Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Nerd Rage While Winning Friends and Influencing PvPers

Last night, I did something that I don't usually do in WoW.  I went on a major nerd rage during our rated PvP group.  I was leading the offense and was calling targets and telling people to CC stuff and things were not going down.  I saw targets that were not the kill target going down first.  I even had somebody say they were CCing the kill target literally 2 seconds after I said that person was the kill target.  In addition, someone who was not a BG leader was trying to change our strat in a Warsong Gulch, which I won't give away what our strat is.

Sometimes nerd raging is helpful.  Sometimes, it is not.  I'm sure we have all heard the audio with a raid leader just berating everybody in a level 60 Onyxia raid which has the famous phrase "More DoTs".  Just berating the whole raid usually does not get the results you are looking for.  That usually brings down the morale of the group.  A better technique would be to rage against one or two people who are not doing their jobs correctly.  That way, you may change the behavior of those one to two people instead of bringing down the entire group.

Also, the language of how you say it is important.  I'm not saying don't curse.  I said "fuck" at least once last night during my nerd rage.  However, endless cursing without content is useless.  If you are just cursing endlessly and not providing any help to people, you are just endlessly cursing for no reason and people don't know why, which tends to piss people off more than help them. 

Also, nerd raging is for during matches only.  After matches are for constructive criticism.  Don't continue raging after matches.  People accept nerd raging during a match because of the time constaint of the match.  People don't want to berated after the match.  After the matchs where I did nerd rage, I brought up issues that occurred during the match in a critical way, but not in a rageful way.  In high pressure situations, nerd raging is usually accepted.  However, nerd raging should not occur after a match.  After a match is a time to calm down and look at the situation as a whole.  Sometimes, you may even find that your nerd rage was over the line after calming down a little.

Final thing that is needed to properly nerd rage is balance.  It is okay to point out faults during nerd rages.  In real life, I work with a boss who routinely picks out faults, sometimes even faults that are not there at all.  However, something my boss doesn't do is make compliments when good stuff occurs.  If your team is doing a good job, tell them they are doing a great job.  Nobody likes constant nerd raging at them without any compliments on what they are doing right.  If you return a flag that is very difficult, compliment your part of the team.  If you have balance, your team will accept your nerd rages knowing that they will get complimented when they do stuff properly. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Site News: New Blogs, Drunken Podcasts, and New Update Schedule

I have not done a general site update in quite some time, so I decided it was time to give an update as to what is going on with the site.

First off, I want to say the biggest thanks to everybody who comes to the site.  In 2011, we have already had over 10,000 visits in the first three months of this year, something that almost took the entire 2010 to achieve, so thank you very much for your continued support.  I know blog posts have been a little slower coming around than usual, down from the every day schedule I was keeping, but I am glad you still come regularly.

Second, I want to announce that I was on the Leet Sauced podcast for episode 20, Redhawks Strikes Back.  I really would encourage you to check them out, not just my episode, but all 20 of them so far.  These guys are quickly becoming some of the most popular people in the WoW community and I'm glad to call them friends and guildmates of mine.  Pick it up and I gurantee you will laugh your ass off and learn something too.

Third, during the podcast, you will hear me mention my new Rift blog, Redhawks Ascension.  I know a lot of WoW players are very interested in Rift as well.  If you are interested in even learning a little bit about Rift from someone who has played WoW, you will enjoy this blog.

With a new blog, it also has brought into attention my updating schedule.   As I mentioned earlier, I have been trying to update this blog every single day and Redhawks Ascension when I have something to say.  However, to consolidate my time in a little more orderly fashion and to provide enough content for two blogs, this blog will be updated twice a week on Monday and Thursday.  Redhawks Ascension will be updated on Tuesday and Friday.  This will also give me a little break during the week.  Of course, if big news breaks (patches, major WoW news, etc.), this will get thrown out immediately and I will update whichever one it is more pertinent to update during that time.

So again, I want to say, thank you very much, and I hope you continue to enjoy the site and keep coming.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Fix Feral Druids in Rated BGs

I know a lot of the PvP feral druids have complained about their state in Rated BGs.  In 4.0.6, they lost the ability to shapeshift out of snares.  In 4.1, they are nerfing Lifebloom, one of the few healing spells that feral druids can use that was somewhat helpful.  They used to be the ideal flag carriers due to the fact that they had travel form, which could help them move across the map quicker, and bear form, to help mitigate damage by increasing their stamina and armor.  However, they have been religated to about 4th line, behind protection warriors, protection paladins, and blood death knights.

So looking at, there could be some ways to save the Feral Druid in rated BGs.  Here are a few non-game breaking things that could be done to fix it.  I'm not suggesting do all of these, because that would break the game.  I'm saying maybe do one or two of them.

1) Make Shapeshift Useful Again - This used to be their biggest advantage.  Even as a moonkin, I routinely practice changing in and out of moonkin form to break snares.  (Mainly because I still can.) Giving them this back would give the advantage needed for them to become competent flag carriers again.

2) Kitty Heroic Leap - While a giant bear jumping the distance that a warrior can is absolutely ridiculous, the idea that a cat could do it is much less so.  Feral kitties already get Feral Charge, which is basically a jump behind an opponent, just use the same animation for heroic kitty leap. 

3) Fear - This is likely not gonna happen, but couldn't a bear have a roar that scares everybody off of him for a few seconds.  I don't think it is completely unreasonable to have.  Call it Terrifying Roar and make all enemies fear for 8 seconds.

4) Nerf Lifebloom Only For Casters - In other words, the game can already recognize if you have spellpower gear on and what your spellpower is.  Make it that if your total spellpower is above 6500, your Lifebloom is nerfed appropriately. Again, very unlikely to happen, but would give some benefit.

5) Make Barkskin Protect From CC. - Barskin is the ability that decreases the amount of damage you take.  Why not have the added benefit to have it free you out of snares, traps, etc. for its 8 second duration?  Paladins have Hand of Freedom, which removes movement impairing effects.  It would act very similarly to that but would also have the damage mitigation.  Either that, or make it a glyph that would decrease the amount of mitigation, but give you the CC protection.  Heck, if they make it a glyph, I would consider getting it for my moonkin/resto.

I'm sure there are other ways to get bears back up to the flag carrying positions they have held prior to 4.0.6.  I'm also sure that Blizzard is working on a way to balance it out so that all the tank classes can be reasonable flag carriers in rated BGs.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Money for Virtual Goods - Intrinsic Value versus Personal Value

This past weekend, my fiance and myself were discussing things that we do in games that cost money.  We both play Smurfs Village on the iPad, which is a cross between a party game and Farmville with adorable Smurfs as the workers.  We both have probably spent around $25 buying Smurfberries in the game to help us along.  The game doesn't require it, but it makes it easier to play.  With some of the players in game, that is probably nothing.  I'm sure some people have put hundreds of dollars into their Smurf village.

During the course of this discussion, we came up to the fact that it is kind of weird to pay for things which have no intrensic value.  I brought up that in the course of playing World of Warcraft, which she does not play, I have bought two virtual pets for myself, a mount, and pay monthly to watch an AH that doesn't really exist.  That is outside of the normal fee just to play the game.  However, these items have personal value for me.  I still use my sparkle pony in my rotation of mounts since I use Gogo Mount to randomly pick a mount.  I also still pull out my little moonkin and my pandaren monk every so often.  And of course, I use my remote AH all the time.  Add in all the time getting gear that just helps me play the game better, and I have probably spent as much as people who put hundreds of dollars into Smurf Village.

The reason I bring this up is we have the newest mount that can be bought in game soon, the Winged Lion.  A lot of people are going to complain again that they are having to spend money to get a mount.  To those people, I say that it may not hold any intrinsic value to you, but to some, it may hold a personal value.  If they want to spend their money on a flying lion, it is their money and not of importance to you.  You both have different values.  In addition, some people may not get achievements like "Glory of the Cataclysm Raider" where they can get mounts and this is their way to get something new.  Basically, whether or not you pay for a mount, it is your decision.  You must determine the value for you, not for everybody else.

Will I be getting a winged lion?  It depends.  I will be honest, from the datamined pictures on MMO - Champion, he kind of looks ugly, so I'm thinking no.  However, new pictures may come out where it looks incredible and I may change my mind.  But the value for me is how cool the mount looks?  The Sparkle Pony looked awesome, almost like something out of Ulduar.   Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for the winged lion.  Maybe seeing it in action will change my mind about this one.    

The point is to all the people QQing about another mount, just let go of it.  It is not your money, it is not required, and it does not give an unfair advantage to someone.  It is a mount.  And if you do buy one when they come out and are on the Ner'zhul server, fly around the dwarven district in Stormwind so I can take a look at it.  You may sway my decision.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vivid Dream Emerald - Useful for Moonkins?

When patch 4.0.6 came out, there was one new green gem added to the game that is centered around PvP, the Vivid Dream Emerald.  The Vivid Dream Emerald provides + 20 resilience and + 20 spell penetration.  In PvE, our blue gemmed slots will be gemmed with the Purified Demonseye, which is +20 Intellect and + 20 Spirit.  So the major question, would this gem be more useful than Purified Demonseye for PvP.  The answer is possibly depending on your situation.  I'm gonna break this into two different categories:  moonkins with offspec other than restoration and moonkins with a resto offspec.

In addition, if you are going for spell penetration cap, the cap is 228.  There is an enchant that will get you 70 spell penetration for your cloak.  There is also a PvP cloak, Vicious Gladiator's Drape of Diffusion that has 201 spell penetration.  It makes it look like you could hit the cap with just these two items, but you don't want to sacrifice hit for spell penetration, which depending on your gear, you might be doing.

Moonkins with Other Offspec -  Looking at the moonkin's vicious 5 pieces for PvP, this is the slot breakdown.

1 Meta Socket - Meta Gem of Your Choice (See prior blogs for my PvP choice)
3 Red Sockets - Use Brilliant Inferno Ruby
2 Blue Sockets - Usually Purified Demonseyes
2 Yellow Sockets - Usually Reckless Ember Topazs

If using PvE gemming strategy, you would end up with + 200 Intellect, + 40 Spirit, + 40 Haste.  If you take out all the blue and yellow sockets and replace them with Vivid Dream Emerald, you give up 40 Spirit and 40 Haste for + 80 Spell Penetration.  Even with the enchant on a cloak, you still wouldn't hit the spell penetration cap.  To hit the cap, you would also have gem with the Vivid Dream Emerald in your pristmatic slot in your relic, in your belt buckle slot, and in 2 red sockets, which means now you are giving up 80 intellect (assuming you would have used Brilliant Inferno Rubies for all those slots) as well to hit the spell penetration cap.

All this math comes down to a single fact.  If you are just building a moonkin PvP set, you will need to get the Vicious Gladiator's Cloak of Diffusion.  Once you do that, you won't need to gem with the Vivid anyway.  If you need the Vicious Gladiator's Cloak of Meditation for being hit capped (since it has Spirit on it), you will need to gem with the Vivid Dream Emerald to hit the spell penetration cap, but be prepared to give up a lot of helpful DPS stats to get it.

Moonkins with Resto Offspec - First thing that is necessary is knowing spell penetration does nothing for heals at all.  It has no benefit.  A few blog post ago, I mentioned that you can switch out 2 of our moonkin 5 piece to get the resilience bonus for your restoration spec and pick up more spirit.  The two pieces in particular were the shoulders and the chest.  The two blue gem sockets and one of the yellow gem sockets are still around.  So now, you have 60 spell penetration in a restoraton set that doesn't matter about it. 

If you are a moonkin with a restoration offspec, you should never gem spell penetration in your gear, which means you can forget about the Vivid Dream Emerald.  You can save up your Conquest points and get the Vicious Gladiator's Cloak of Diffusion to use just for moonkin alone and get the spell penetration enchant.  But have it as a seperate equipment set, not as a part of the shared set.

So all in all, the biggest advice I could give is go for the Vicious Gladiator's Cloak of Diffusion and forget about using Vivid Dream Emeralds entirely.    However, remember, don't sacrifice hit for spell penetration.  It is useful, but not more useful than hit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Get a Rated BG Group from Trade Chat

Last night, I did something that I thought was a little bold on my part.  I tried building a PUG rated BG group.  I mostly did it just for fun to see how it would go.  Here is the thought process behind building a rated BG comp from PUGs that I developed during the night.

1) Lay Down the Requirements - I had a lot of people message me when I posted I was looking for more for rated BGs saying they had 1k to 2k resielience.  The fact of the matter is most people I have run into in rated BGs have at least the Bloodthirsty Gladiator set and quite a few have the full Vicious Gladiator set for their class/spec.  If you are coming in with less than 3k resilience, you are gonna get smacked around a bit.  I made it crystal clear that everybody had to have at least 3k resilience.  The other requirement I had was that everybody needed to download Mumble for communication sakes.  Believe or not, some people have problems downloading Mumble.  I had people refuse to come to a pretty good rated BG group because they didn't want to download Mumble.

2) Setting Up an Ideal Composition - Knowing that 2 of the current 3 rated BGs involved capture the flag, I built the PUG rated BG group around this.  Here is the composition I decided to go with:

One flag runner (Prot Warrior, Feral Druid with Tank Gemming/Enchanting, Blood DK, Prot Pally)

Three main heals (Any healing class would be fine, but prefer three different healing classes.)

One DPS/Heals - Somebody willing to DPS in Gilneas but heal in the other two. (Moonkin/Resto druid is excellent for this.)

Five DPS split into three categories:  Three heavy CC ranged classes (Mage, Warlock, etc.), one heavy CC melee class (Subtelty Rogue usually),  and one high DPS (any class)

3) Questions to Ask - Of course, if you meet the class and resilience requirement, it doesn't mean you would get in necessarily.   I asked each person about their rated BG experience.  First question I usually asked is what is your current rated BG rating.  Having a low rating did not necessarily exclude you from coming, but I was going to keep more of an eye on you and if you started failing, you would be replaced.  In addition, some people with really high resilience has just had problems finding rated BG groups, so I was willing to give people a chance.  I also asked about their arena rating to get an idea of how much they PvP, etc.   This is all important.

4) Breaking Hearts - Sometimes, you have to let people down easy.  For example, I got about 5 mages asking to come.  However, we were already full on mages.  So I would whisper them back and tell them that we are full on mages, but hang around and if something happens, I could bring them in.

5) Set Up Expectations - Once everybody gets in your communication device of choice, you should set up expectations.  I told them up front that I would explain strats as we got to the BGs.  I also told them to make sure they are communicating and calling their CC.  It is important to tell them what you are expecting from them as a rated BG team up front.  Find the problems early and correct as soon as possible. 

As one of the leaders of my guild's rated BG group, I also have additional important roles.  I need to watch these PUGs to see who I would and would not want to bring back if we needed people again.  There may even be people we want to encourage to come join our guild and our rated BG group. 

Final thing I can say is give yourself some time.  It took about an hour and a half to build a group I was comfortable with, we went into one Gilneas BG, won, and then had two people drop.  We replaced one but could never find a healer to replace the other, so after about 30 minutes of going through trade chat, we had to call it.  The lesson I learned last night is to get on early to start finding people if you think you may need to PUG some people for your normal rated BG group.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blizzard's New Patching Strategy - A Great Deal

Last week, Blizzard mentioned that the new Firelands raid would not appear until patch 4.2, skipping patch 4.1 entirely.  This is a huge shift from their strategy in Wrath of the Lich King.  In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard released 3.1, which was Ulduar; 3.2, which was the Argent Tournament; and 3.3 which was Icecrown.  Yes, they did add Ruby Sanctum in 3.3.5, but that was just a small addition like the VoA bosses.  However, in Wrath patches, they only added 4 more 5 mans with 3 of those coming in the Icecrown patch and 1 additional BG, Isle of Conquest, in 3.2. 

If more frequent patching means more stuff for everybody, I am all for it.  Look at what we know we are getting in 4.1.  We are getting two 5 man dungeons with epic gear and rare mounts in them.  And we know for a fact that Abyssal Maw is coming in 4.2 with the Firelands raid.  And they still likely have 2 tiers of content after that.  With going back to old world content, they are opening up the ability to have all the dungeons tuned to level 85 heroics.  We could easily see 5 - 7 more 5 mans and at least 3 more raids.  If they add in a few more BGs then it will be absolutely perfect.  We know for a fact that we are getting 3 15 man BGs retuned for rated BGs.

In addition to expected content, they are going to be adding in guild quest, new questing area for Firelands raid, and new achievements. Who knows what else they are going to have for patches 4.2 and beyond.  Path of the Titans may make a comeback.  They might fix archaeology to not make it more boring than fishing.  The more they can push our in smaller patches, the happier everybody will be.

The main reason I think the are doing this is because of what I'm calling the great drought of 2010.  In December 2009, they released Icecrown.  From December 2009 until December 2010, there was only one minor content patch and no major content patches at all.  As much as I loved Icecrown as a raid, by the time July rolled around, it was getting kind of stale.  Hopefully, this new strategy from Blizzard will prevent another content drought from occuring.  In fact, Blizzard can't have another drought like that.  Rift has already come out and is garnering a lot of attention.  Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out this year and will garner a lot of attention as well.  If they have even a 6 month drought this year, there are two viable MMOs ready to take their place this time.

So bravo Blizzard for doing smaller content patches to help keep the game fresh.  Hopefully, this strategy will pay off for you in this year where you may have the hardest competition yet.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Resto Druid PvP - The Major Gear Question

Just wait and see how much you will be freaked out when it turns back into a person or a dog.
Yes, this old moonkin has decided to try out being a resto druid in PvP for a bit.  My main spec is still moonkin.  However, the PvP gear does not have any hit on it which makes it nice to also use it for resto druid spec for PvP.

I have said mutliple times that the balance 4 set PvP bonus is incredible and every moonkin should have it if you are PvPing.  However, if you are building a resto set, should you go for the 4 piece bonus or get the additional resilience?

 My suggestion is to go 2 and 3 on the resto PvP set with the balance set in order to get the 400 additional resilience. (Note:  This will hold true until 4.1 at least.  With the resilience change, this answer may or may not change.)

Let us take a quick look at the restoration 4 piece set bonuses.  The 4 piece set restoration bonus  for PvP is:

4 Piece: Reduces the Cooldown on your Swiftmend ability by 2 seconds.
4 Piece: Increases Intellect by 180.

Swiftmend is currently on a 15 second cooldown.  It also should be glyphed anyway so that you can keep HoTs up while using Swiftmend.  In addition, if you have talented into Efforvesence, which I have, then you have another HoT being used.   The difference between 13 seconds and 15 seconds is neglibile if I'm not alive though.

As for the 2 piece + 400 resilience bonus for the restoration set, it decreases damage by 6.87% going from a full resto set to breaking it up between 2 restoration and 3 piece balance set or vice versa.  6.87% is alot of damage mitigation.  If someone hits you for a 30k hit in the 4 piece restoration set, you will decrease the hit to 28k hit with a 2 and 3 setup.  The 2k difference could be the difference between saving yourself or a flag carrier and dieing.

So, the next question is if you are like me and have the full balance PvP set, what two pieces of restoration gear do you pick up for honor.  Looking at the difference betwen balance and restoration, here are the importance of stats as of right now.

  Moonkin: Spirit (to 5% hit cap) > Hit (to 5% hit cap) > Intellect > Haste > Resilience > Critical Strike > Mastery

Restoration: Intellect > Spirit > Haste > Resilience > Mastery > Critical Strike

Some explanation.  In the moonkin order of importance, spirit is only useful to the PvP hit cap (which is 5%).  Hit can be used but none of the PvP gear for moonkins I have seen has hit on it anyway.  Then as a DPS, you want the things that will increase your DPS, mainly intellect and haste.  From there, you want to stay alive, so you get resilience (although you would never gem for resilience anyway).  From there, critical strike rating and mastery.  However, for healers, this changes up slightly.  The purpose of the healers is to stay alive and to keep their target alive.  To keep their people alive, you need the strongest heals you can get.  You will get this from Intellect, Spirit, and Haste.  Spirit also helps with in combat mana restoration.  From there, resilience is the next most important stat in order to keep yourself alive.  Again, I wouldn't gem or enchant for resilience, but you can if you want.  From there, mastery and critical strike rating with mastery being ahead of critical strike for restoration.

Since spirit is the second most valuable stat to a restoration PvPers, it should go without saying that you want to pick up the PvP pieces with spirit.  With the spirit PvP set, there are only two pieces with spirit, while the moonkin set has no Spirit on it.  The Bloody/Vicious Gladiator's Kodohide Spaulders and Robes (links are for the Vicious set) would be my choice.  Combined, they give you and additional 311 spirit in the Bloody set and 360 with the Vicious set.  In addition, you should have picked up some other gear with spirit already to hit your hit cap as a moonkin so you should have a good amount of spirit.

So, if you are doing both balance and restoration in PvP, you shouldn't have to change up your gear alot.  You may however, want to get the resilience bonus from not going with your 4 piece restoration set by splitting up your moonkin set into a 3 balance and 2 restoration piece set.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Hopes for Rated BGs for 4.1

Earlier this week, I talked about the current PTR patch notes for patch 4.1.  While there were a few battleground changes, there was not a lot of talk about something that I have been looking for since they moved all rated BGs to 10 vs. 10.   Reworking the 15 man BGs into 10 man BGs. 

Nothing against the current 10 vs. 10 battlegrounds, but they are starting to get a little stale.  Two of them are played exactly the same while Gilneas is actually a different BG, which may be why I'm enjoying it a little more right now.  Here are some ideas I have on making the 15 man BGs into new 10 man rated BGs.

Arathi Basin - Considering defense is gonna be harder spread out over 5 nodes, they need to make flag caps shorter in Arathi Basin, maybe 30 seconds to change faction.  That way, it punishes the team that zergs and rewards the team that coordinates.  In that case, each node becomes a little 4 vs. 4 or 3 vs. 3 arena match.  Playing smart defense would also be necessary.  There would be very little incentive to push a 4th node so it would come down to straight PvP.

Strand of the Ancients - Of all the BGs, this would be the hardest to change. (And truth be told, I personally wouldn't be hurt if they didn't change it.)  However, since we are dealing with fewer people, the battlefield needs to be shorted slightly.  Maybe you only have to break the blue or green gate, then have a wide PvP area leading up to the yellow gate and the relic chamber.  In addition, I would take away the time limit for the 1st offense team or at least make it longer since you are dealing with less people.  In addition, make the explosive charges do more damage and the demolishers do less or make the demolishers squishy.  As of right now, the focus on Strand of the Ancients isn't PvP, it is kill the demolishers.  If they upped the damage of the explosive charges, it would be more incentive to PvP, especially if they made it where you drop the charges if you die.

Eye of the Storm - Of all the 15 man BGs, this is the one where they can probably get away with making no changes.  Area caps are based on number of alive people.  The flag is still in the middle.  I can't see any reliable zerg strat that would work.  It would probably go into a 2 node vs. 2 node situation with PvP right in the middle for the flag, which means flag caps would likely decide the winner.  My one big request in all of this is for Blizzard to do what they do in Tol Barad.  Put Slowfall automatically on the players at the start of the game so they don't take fall damage.  I know they did not do it at one time, but they set a precedent with Tol Barad for the defense team.

So, I'm hoping, sooner rather than later, that we get the redone 15 man BGs into 10 man rated BGs.  I would be happy with even new BGs. (An underwater Vashj'ir BG would be awesome.)   If I had to design one, it would be a one flag capture the flag.  Each team has a base with multiple entrances.  There is a flag in the middle that everyone is going for.  You get 100 points per cap, first team to 1000 wins.   It would literally be a 10 man versus 10 man arena fight for the flag every time.   

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different

From a British Shorthair, this quote is not surprising.

Notice:  If you come here for moonkin/druid/PvP/WoW talk, you can come back tomorrow for your regularly scheduled WoW blog post.  I just wanted to take one blog post to talk about the new MMORPG, Rift.

No man can live by bread alone.  As much fun as WoW is, there are times you have to try playing some other games.  For some, it may be Call of Duty: Black Ops or Halo: Reach.  For others, it may be Starcraft II.  I recently have been trying to diversify my game playing a little.  I first started with DC Universe Online.  While I'm sure I will return to it sometime, it just wasn't enough to hold my interest.   This could mainly be because I have never been a huge fan of comics.  However, when I heard the discussion about Rift, it sounded incredibly interesting.  From the description I initially heard, it was WoW plus prettier graphics.  I thought I would try it out some.  What I found when I started playing Rift in the Head Start was something more incredible than I could have come up with.

I first started off playing Guardian.  Nothing against the Guardian starting area, but it seemed to be same old, same old.  It starts off in the current game time with you trying to defend the world against Regulos. (God, I'm hoping I spell that correctly.)  I got my Guardian character up to level 6.  However, some of my Twitter followers said they were joining a group on Emberlord as Defiants.

Sorry DK and Worgen starting zones in WoW (I haven't played Goblin yet so I won't judge you), but the Defiant starting area kicks your ass.  As a defiant, you start in the future being brought back to life.  The world has collapsed under Regulos' terror.  Their goal is to send you back in time to prevent the future from happening.  There are explosions all around you and it feels like the final stand in a war.  And the area ends with your first boss fight, which is incredible.  After that, you go through the time machine portal back to current game time. 

As soon as you leave the starting area, you will likely encounter your first Rift.  Remember all the fun you had with the elemental world events and closing the rifts there.  Now imagine it on a zone wide scale.  It is a nice interruption from the questing.  You quest a little, then the sky turns black and you know you have a Rift to deal with.  It makes for incredible pacing that I have not experienced in an MMO in a long time.  As soon as a Rift happens, it gives you the option to join a public raid to help take down the Rift which gives you a good amount of experience.  Also, the game auto hands out the loot and what you get is in your quest log. 

Everything I have talked about is pure gameplay.  I have not even gotten to the deep class customization where you get to choose your main calling (warrior, cleric, mage, or rogue).  Then instead of being consolidated to one of three trees, you get to pick what three trees you want in the first place.  For my defiant, I'm wanting to experience some of the dungeons, so I decided to roll a tank build of paladin, void knight, warlord.  But you can buy other souls (their fancy terms for specs) to have multiple roles.  I'm thinking of doing a leveling spec of some sort with beastmaster and maybe some other things.  In addition, if you are used to WoW mechanics, you will feel at home.  In game quest helper, check.  Auto-loot option, check. UI customization, not only check, but kicks WoW's ass at it for the default UI.  Unfotunately, you can't have addons yet, but the interface is so good, you really don't need them.

However, I'm not gonna go without bringing up a few of the games faults.  First off, there are only 3 races per faction and to be perfectly honest, I couldn't really tell the difference between any of the 3 defiant races.  One has pointy ears, one looks more human, and the other looks like a human and a draenei from WoW hooked up and made a human baby with weird markings on their face.  Now, there is loads of personal customization you can do, but having a few more race options would have been nice.  Also, rifts maybe happen a little too frequently at times.  I'm trying to complete quest in the level 9 area, then a rift opens up and I have to struggle to find what targets I was looking for in the first place.  Thankfully, the rift events are really fun.  If they weren't, this would be a bigger issue.

I'm only level 9 so far, but I have enjoyed the hell out of Rift.  I'm still gonna play WoW as my main game.  However, this will be a nice distraction from WoW.  I encourage you to look me up in Rift.  I am Redhawks - Defiant Warrior on the Emberlord US server.  I'm going to be joining the Dregcast guild soon on that server, Negative Zero.

Also, I'm sure I'm gonna have a lot more to say about Rift in the future.  So as to not turn this blog in a WoW/Rift blog, I am please to announce Redhawks Ascension, my new Rift blog.  Starting off, I will be talking about my experiences leveling up in Rift.  Once I hit max level, which I intend to do, I will talk about theorycrafting, raiding, etc.  I'm going to be updating it twice a week which I will be intending to update this every day that I can, which is usually weekdays.

So, final conclusion, if you love WoW, I would really recommend checking our Rift.  There is a whole lot to love in there.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Patch 4.1 - Druid and PvP Perspective

Well, 4.1 has finally hit the PTR and combing through the patch notes, there are several intersting things that need to be pointed out related to both druids and PvP.  Here are some of the interesting things I have found so far.

1) Zul'Aman is Back - Ok, I know this has nothing to do with PvP, but Zul'Aman is a druid dream.  Every boss from the 10 man raid during BC had to do with druids.  From the bear boss to the lightning boss, all of them were druid related.  I can't wait to get in there and go crazy.  I mean Zul'Garab is cool, but Zul'Aman was my second raid instance ever cleared.  Of course, I wonder if they are going to kill off Harrison Jones again.

2) DKs get a Battle Rez - I will be honest, I never would have seen this.  First of all, they have had Raise Ally for quite some time, but it made you into a ghoul.  Now, it actually brings you back to life.  It is the first time a melee has a rez (Yes, I know feral druids and enhancement shaman melee, but it is the first time a dedicated melee get it.) and it is only the second class to get a battle rez.  After mages got Time Warp, which was equivalent to Heroism/Bloodlust, I guess we should have seen some class was gonna get a battle rez.  I just thought it might be priest or shaman, I never could have guessed DKs would get it.

3) Resilience Scaling - Now, just reading through what they say about resilience scaling, it could be a little confusing.  What is the reason behind this change?  You know that Blizzard said they wanted to stop people from doing the 2 and 2 on dps/healing caster gear to get the additional resilience.  This is partly an answer to that.  Once you get above 32.5% damage mitigation, the effect decreases.  What does this mean?  Assuming season 10 starts around the time of patch 4.1, we are going to want to get our 4 piece bonuses.  In addition, since our resilience will be higher, we may actually want 1 or 2 PvE pieces to allow for more damage.  For healing classes, they will likely want to stick with full PvP gear however since they tend to get focused a little more than DPS.

4) Cyclone Duration Decreased - In 4.0.6, it increased up to 8 seconds.  Then, they hotfixed it back down to 6 seconds.  Now, they are going to decrease it again down to 5.  I'm not really surprised since cyclone is an incredibly powerful spell, but a lot of other traps last 8 seconds.  There should be some way whether a glyph or something to make it longer for PvP use.

5) Starsurge Nerf - As much as I hate to say it and as much as I love 40k hits on players in full PvP gear, this was needed.  Starsurge was incredibly powerful in PvP, maybe overpowered to be exact.  I mean, it is still 32k hits, but at least it is not half of their health bars.

6) Lifebloom Nerf - Having been playing some resto in PvP as my secondary spec, this was unfortunately  needed as well.  If the bloom critted, it was returning anywhere from 35k to 50k health to a player in PvP.  I have been protecting the flag carrier with 2 of the healers down, had a bloom hit, and the flag carrier stayed alive even while they were focused on him.  Now, if I can just remember not to refresh Lifebloom by stupidly hitting buttons until it blooms.

7) Swipe Cooldown Reduced - I don't tank anymore, but I'm sure I speak for all feral druid tanks when I say, Thank the frickin' Lord.  Having to rotate Swipe and Thrash on almost perfect 3 second intervals is tougher than it looks.

8) Solar Beam More Responsive - My favorite CC tool in BGs just got a little better.  I'm hoping that when the notes say "more responsive", it is if any part of the player is in the Solar Beam, it will silence them.

9) Flag Carrying Debuff Changes - I may have been the only person to do this, but as someone who routinely is on offense trying to get our flag back, I smiled a little when I saw the changes to the flag carrier debuff.  It starts off at increased damage of 10%, then stacks 10% per minute.  Plus, they can't run anymore as they are limited to 100% run speed after 7 minutes.  Yes, even druids and their travel form.

10) Battleground Changes - This BG was typically determined in the first few minutes, but not anymore.  They are setting it up now where you get transported to another graveyard instead of the same graveyard where you die.  This means capturing nodes will be a whole lot easier.  However, this also means that defending nodes will be a lot harder and will take a lot more coordination.  In addition, in Twin Peaks, if you die in the enemy base, you will spawn back at your base.  This will give the defending team some time to breathe and get caught up before another assault comes in against their flag carrier.  This is also likely going to change some strategy since you will want to wipe groups coming in at your flag carrier.  

I know these are preliminary notes and I'm 100% sure there are going to be changes along the way.  However, this should give you some idea of what they are planning for 4.1.