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Archive for March, 2010

It’s been about a week since the first major buff to DK’s in what feels like months, and it seems that we’ve weathered the storm. No hotfixes, no emergency nerfs, and just like that, the whole Icy Touch threat debacle seems to have died down to mere background noise. So what changed?

Blizzard didn’t panic, that’s what, and common sense prevailed. Yes, DK tanks can generate a ton of threat if they spam Icy Touch. No, they weren’t really doing that unless they needed to. And no, we don’t need to spec some gimmick, bogus Icy Slam build to be able to string off a couple IT’s to build a threat lead – any tank spec can do it. The point is, Icy Touch can give us enough of a comfortable lead of particularly front-load aggro to allow us to settle into a regular rotation doing more DPS and AoE TPS. And all things considered, it seems DK threat isn’t ridiculous – factoring in a regular rotation, DK’s, warriors and paladins seem to hover at about the same level in terms of threat generation now. I’m not sure about druids. Druids are weird and smell funny.

Also, Will of the Necropolis seems solid. Not gamebreakingly overpowered, but definitely solid.  For DK tanks feeling too ‘squishy’ in heroics, WotN is a must have, and it’s pretty dang hawt for progression raiding too, obviously. This pretty much cements Blood as the go-to spec for DK’s who want to tank.

Long story short, DK tanking is fun and good again.

On the DPS front, I’ve had marked success with the frost subspec, and 0/17/54 seems to be doing a tad more sustained dps. The real success story is, of course, Dual Wield Frost, and the world first Lich King 25 Hard Mode was done with 2 Frost DPS DK’s in the raid. The spec appears capable of pushing some great numbers, and is particularly good at squeaking out burst when needed which is apparently needed for this fight. Its’ still a good idea, even perhaps required to have a single Unholy DK in the raid to spread Ebon Plague, and the synergy between 1x Unholy and 1 or more Frost DK’s is quite solid. Personally I’d love to go Frost DPS, definitely my favourite DPS spec to date, but until I get a pair of good 1-Handers, sticking to Unholy+Frost-sub with Bryntroll remains the best best.

Overall 3.3.3’s been a great patch for the class, although there appear to be problems with some people signing on and/or staying online. Often I time out and get disconnected trying to log  in, and this seems to be a problem many folks are facing. Hopefully these issues clear up soon.

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Icy Slam

I’m pretty sure I theorized an Icy Touch Spam AKA Icy Slam build come 3.3.3 somewhere. For interest’s sake, here’s a quick build I intend playing around with. It’s a DW build but could probably be modified easily enough to utilise a 2Her. Yes it’s unconventional. No Rime? No Annihilation? Lolwut, I hear you ululate?

The basic idea is just spam the hell out of Icy Touch. Rotation is as simple as IT, IT, BS, BS, PS, PS, RP Dump (Frost Strikes), IT, IT, IT, IT. For AoE, work in HB’s and DnD, possibly Pest a PS if you’re feeling particularly anal retentive.

Word on the steet is that preliminary Icy Touch spamming is doing monster single target TPS, more than could ever be necessary. Initially we may laugh at the prospect but the reality is that high-threat tanks tend to monopolize raid maintanking and if Icy Slam is allowed to streak ahead we will become the new OP FOTM.

Which is why I doubt this change will last, and why everything I’ve written here is probably going to be invaluated before the end of the week.

I have to wonder, though, why this wasn’t spotted on the PTR.

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The two specs I’ll be going for 3.3.3

Cookie-cutter Unholy-subFrost (0/17/54). No Reaping, No Subversion, no Morbidity. Reason for this is that Subversion only affects Scourge Strike in Unholy and since we’ll be dropping Reaping, we won’t be Scourge Striking as much. I’ve been using the 17/0/54 Reaping build thus far and while it’s been great, the hassle of managing Death Runes to Scourge Strike more is something I won’t miss. The reason we don’t take Reaping is pretty long and mathy but boils down to 2x BS + 1x SS always being more DPS than 2X SS.

51/8/12 Blood Tank. This is primarily a high threat build. The main difference between Blood tanks specs before 3.3.3 was no-one took DRW, but with the change to the talent giving it a threat boost to Blood tanks, DRW will prove to be useful. 2 points dropped from MoM to go 2 in Necrosis since it will now proc from Rune Strike. I’d like to take more, but there just aren’t any points to spare.

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With today’s 3.3.3 patch, there’s a lot DK’s have to look forward to. Mostly, though, it’s the DK tanks that have the most to look forward to.

A quick summation of buffs

-Icy Touch threat up to 14x from 2x. There’s that snap aggro we needed.
-WotN internal cooldown removed and can proc of damage lower than 5% of our health. This is going to flatten a lot of spike damage we take in heroics, and provides an extra safety net in raids. There’s the survivability Blood needed.
-Necrosis and Blood Caked Blade will proc off Rune Strike again. There’s the sustained threat Unholy needed.
-Dancing Rune Weapon will contribute to our threat.
-And of course Frost Dual Wield tanking looks even more viable than it already is. More haste from Icy Talons means more Rune Strikes proccing.

These changes make DK tanks, particularly Blood spec, look quite viable again.  It’s a good time for all ye jaded DK’s who’ve replaced your Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle with Fallen Crusader, to once more step to the fore and take up some of the tanking slack.

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The new patch is about to hit and DPS DK’s cookie-cutter FOTM spec, Unholy, looks set to change from a Blood sub-spec, to Frost.

Now, in reality, the theorycraft puts the dps gain only marginally higher than Blood. So marginal as to make it nearly unnoticable. But here’s the kicker :  one must keep in mind this theorycrafting is largely limited to single-target DPS. For multi-target, we are looking at potentially a larger gain, thanks to the new strength buff to Endless Winter, and Black Ice. See, DK’s get their spellpower from Strength/AP. All Unholy DKs’ take Ravenous Dead, which increases STR by 3%. Factor in an extra 4% STR from Endless Winter and we’re looking at a 7% increse in STR. Then factor in Black Ice. TL;DR? Our diseases will be hitting for a lot more. Of course this is tempered by the loss of Bladed Armor and 2-Handed Weapon Specialisation reducing our physical damage, so expect to see Blood and Scourge Strikes dropping in overall damage. But on AoE, our strikes aren’t what give us our numbers – our Pestilence’d diseases are. And now they’re going to be hitting harder.

The 3.3.3 subspec looks to increase single target DPS by anything from 10 to 100 dps according to EJ. Perhaps that’s trivial. But tack on a theoretical increase in our AoE DPS and the logic behind switching to a Frost subspec becomes a lot more solid. If anything, 3.3.3 will only be enforcing Unholy as the ‘go to’ spec for DPS DK’s who want to do it all. Will frost and blood provide superior single target DPS, though? I suppose that’s the question we should be asking.

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I’ve been playing Final Fantasy for a few days now. As a generic working Joe who still raids a lot of WoW, squeezing time in between all of it to play a bit of Xbox or whatever can, as you imagine, become something of a challenge. So while probably the slew of people who bought the game already are undoubtedly way, way ahead of me, I’m still largely trundling through the tutorial.


Vanille. Only Square does ‘impossibly cute’ this well. O hai Chris Hansen…

First impressions are that this is a JRPG on rails, baby. Seriously, if all JRPG’s are linear, this is super duper crazy ass, straight line A to B linear. It’s ridiculous, in fact, just how utterly brain dead, dumbed down and simplified the ‘exploration’ side of this game is. It is, quite literally, a series of hallways. You walk down them, bump into mobs and cut to a battle. Repeat, quite nauseatingly, until you hit a boss or a cutscene. Boy are there a lot of cutscenes. Like, really. A lot.

It’s quite strange, though. I’m not terribly perturbed by this. It’s kinda like I knew I was going to the shoe shop to buy some expensive but practically useless shoes, and that’s what I got. Utterly worthless but oh so pretty shoes. The game is a sight to behold. Cutscenes are lavish, graphics are all sparkly and littered with ooh, aah moments. It’s clear this isn’t so much a game as a sightseeing trip.

Fortunately, combat picks up after a few hours as you’re introduced to more advanced elements and that’s where what depth exists in this game begins to surface. Along with the crystogenesis character advancemenent. See, this game’s tutorial’s pace is pretty slow, so the first couple hours will only scratch the surface. I was literally five or six hours in before game showed me how to ‘level up’ a character. And once I started manually queueing attacks and switching battle tactics on the fly, combat suddenly became quite frantic and enjoyable indeed.

Our intrepid hero, Lightning, doing Lightning-ey things. She does this a lot.

I’ve still got a long way to go before I can really say whether this Final Fantasy breaks the mould or not. It seems like a regular JRPG, but there doesn’t seem to be any ‘grinding’, there seem to be no sidequests. It looks like Square is trying to do to the JRPG genre what Bioware did with Mass Effect 2 and WRPG’s (Western RPG’s), which is a pretty big gamble considering WRPG’s could certainly use a little bit of the heavyweight numberingcrunching and onerous weight removed, but these have never really been problem in JRPG’s in the first place. Still, streamlining away some of the back and forth tedium is a welcome change. It’s a little early to say if they’ve succeeded or not. There’s a ton of stuff I still need to see, to judge whether or not they’ve managed. But I’ll say this much, this is an easy game to get into, it’s beautiful to behold and fighting looks pretty fun. The problems I can forsee developing are: pretty 2 dimensional and annoying as hell characters, a bit of a plodding pace, a storyline that seems pretty obscure (you NEED to read the data logs to have any idea of what the hell’s going on (ie TL;DR issues), where I’ve always believed that walls of text should support the storyline rather than be outright necessary in order to understand it) and, well, something of a disconnected feel to it all.

I’ve always been a huge FF7 fan, and it was because the game somehow managed to pull me in immediately. I find myself having to work to like FF13. Opinions on this game seem justifiably divided, some hating it, some loving it. I guess time will tell which camp I fall into.

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Pug It FTW

Yesterday was a good day. Did we down Lich King? Well, no. We did down Putricide and Valithria the day before, and while that was a good night of raiding overall, it wasn’t strictly speaking a good day for me. All I got out of the deal was 4 frost badges and a bit of rep. That sounds incredibly selfish, but hey. Getting Stuff makes people feel good. Human Nature 101.

Anyways, yesterday I pugged Sarth. It was the weekly. And the pug raid was very well geared, so they went for the Twilight Zone Achievement, which we got using the zerg ‘strat’. On the first try. With 2 lonely mages left standing. Iceblock FTW. My DPS wasn’t too shabby. Lagging behind the mages and hunters but better than all the other hybrids and even the token rogue. Cutting to the chase, for about a half-hour’s worth of raiding I got a rather coveted title – Twilight Vanquisher (it’s still pretty rare), 5 Frost Badges due to it being the weekly raid, and to top it all off I won one of the best DPS trinkets available, Fury of the Five Flights. Been losing out on Whispering Fanged Skull every week – either a rogue/hunter/ret pally/something else wins it, or it doesn’t drop, and we’ve kinda ceased doing TOC 25man which is a pity, I’d love to get my hands on Death’s Choice. QQ. Barring those two, running Greatness and Five Flights is the best in slot available to me right now.

It’s pretty odd how an off night raiding a pug with a bunch of randoms worked out more lucrative to me than grinding ICC10 with my guildies, and really does serve to illustrate how this game has changed since Burning Crusade where, if you wanted to see any kind of raiding content at all, you had to be in a guild. Today, it’s only really the top tier content that requires you to be in a guild and even that’s not necessarily ironclad, I see people organising ICC runs in tradechat every day. Today guilds are strictly there for social reasons and strictly progression.

But for Gearing? Farming?
Go Pug.

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