Monday, January 28, 2008


Moving to WordPress, as it is much more awesome.

New URL:

Bear with me as I make a massive amount of changes, re-arrange tags/categories, set up Search bars, completely change the way the Blogroll works, add extra pages, set up RSS feeds, and all that joyous stuff.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

PvP'ing as a Tank

Arguably the hardest thing to do in WoW, attempting to PvP as a Protection specced character, the classic sword and board style, is an exercise in incredible frustration.
The hugest problems you have is the fact that your damage output is... well, embarrassingly low. You'll have all these people running around with 200 resilience, and you'll be like "Why bother? I have, like, 11% crit. I couldn't critically strike a critter if I tried"

The problem is simple, really. You cannot think to yourself "Ok, how the hell am I going to kill this guy?".

Ask yourself. Do healers see a hunter running up to them and think, "Holy crap, how am I going to kill this guy?" No, no they don't. They immediately look around for someone else who CAN kill the hunter, and then help them do it.

Quite bluntly, you cannot think only with yourself. You have to think about how you can interact with those around you to be successful.
Go read this post about tunnel vision.

The biggest key about being successful in PvP is realizing that you are not alone. There are other people around you, you don't have to kill that evil mage all by yourself. In fact, you most definitely couldn't. You have to start thinking with those around you.

If you are a mage in PvP, what do you do? You crowd control, you deal damage, and you stay at range. Thats what we're good at, thats what we do.

If you are a Prot Paladin, what do you do? You get up close, try to get aggro, and give the DPS people as easy a time as possible to kill the badguys.

Of course, PvP =/= PvE, but some principles hold the same. There is still such a thing as aggro, for example.
Aggro, essentially, means somebody wants to kill you. If you charge somebody and start hitting them in the face with an axe, they will want to kill you.
If a Paladin starts healing you, if the person your hitting is smart, he will switch to trying to kill the Paladin. The Paladin can wipe his aggro by bubbling, therefore rendering him invincible. Its temporary, but the enemy player will no longer be able to kill him. Hence, aggro wipe.

If you are a prot spec warrior, you cannot simply whip out a massive 2H mace and start hammering people. You aren't going to be good at it, thats not your role.
Same way as a rogue cannot suddenly switch to a ranged DPS role, or a warlock to thinking she can go around melee'ing people.

I mean, you can, but you'll fail. Quite miserably.

Let's take a completely hypothetical example.
Say you are standing at Blacksmith, there is a mage on your left, and a holy paladin on your right.
The mage is currently sitting down, and drinking.

Suddenly, you see a hunter come around the corner of the building, and target the Paladin. You are not in combat.

What do you do?

This should be easy. Your healer is in danger! Help him!

Charge the hunter, grats, you stunned him. Now the hunter, if he wants to kill anything, needs to get you out of the picture.
Act like a standard warrior, slap him with hamstring as soon as possible (the pet too, if you can), and start laying the smackdown, as best as you can. Whip out dual weilding swords if you like, and unleash a Devastate.
Suddenly your Frozen! Oh noes! Trapped! You trinket out, and then...

Remember that mage who was drinking? Guess what? He just got Ambushed. Move yer ass over there and get in that rogue's grill!

Intervene, whatever, save the squishy!

Keep in mind that, if the mage is thinking like you, he will see that hunter out there, you on the rogue, and get around to sheeping the hunter at some point. If the mage isn't that smart, well... you did your job.

Ideally, you will tag the rogue with Rend and Hamstring as soon as you can. Keep that rogue stuck next to you, and a DoT ticking so he can't Vanish or anything like that. Keep that bleed effect up, and some of the rogues best tricks will be gone.
If the mage is smart, he's already running from the rogue, running through his own head what he can do here.
Loose hunter? Off goes a polymorph. Whirling around, he immediately starts hitting the rogue with everything he's got. Oh noes! You got blinded by something, and the rogue shadowstepped right behind the mage.
Trinket out, intercept to the rogue, keep on him. Give the mage as much breathing room as possible to unleash some more painful hell on the rogue.

The key is to be as ANNOYING as possible. Rogue pop sprint? Hit him with Concussive Blow, whatever it takes to keep him as pissed off at you as possible. Stay on the rogue until the mage can take over, like when the rogue reachs 30%, is rooted, and the mage is charging up a Shatter combo. Keep Rend up to prevent any last ditch Vanishes.

Same thing versus the hunter, when you have the opportunity.
Concussive Blow, devastate while dual weilding, hell, even stack up some sunders to piss him off.

Whether the made up WoW players did the right thing or not, doesn't really matter. The fact is, YOU are a TANK, so act like one.
You are NOT a mortal strike warrior.
You have a shield. You have Vitality for goodness sake. PLAY like a tank.

See a rogue suddenly leap out at your healer? Intervene! Intercept! Lay some quick movement impairing smackdown to give your healer time to get away.

See an enemy mage near you starting to cast sheep at your healer? Shield bash him!

And if people start hitting you with stuff, thats exactly what you want. You can take the damage, the Holy Priest behind you can't.

For Paladins, its exactly the same. Except replace Concussive Blow with Hammer of Justice, and Rend with Consecrate.

The hugest problem with this is that you will, in essence, depend a great deal on the people around you. And sometimes, they will not come to your rescue.

Sometimes, you will make the perfect setup for escape.
Like that mage earlier. You intervene, slap the rogue with hamstring + rend, and the mage promptly Ice Block. Great. Just great.
Even better is when the mage leaves the hunter unchecked, and the hunter goes off and starts trying to kill your Paladin.
Frustrating? Damn straight it is.
Yo gave that mage the perfect set up to get to range and unleash some delicious damage without having to blow any of his cooldowns, and he goes and immobilizes himself right next to the rogue.

And that happens, it really does.

But again, you really have no choice. You are a tank. You have to depend on those around you to do the damage for you, to heal you, to keep you up, and it is your job to protect them as best as you can.

A hunter trying to flee from a warrior? Hit the warrior with Avenger's Shield. Slow the brute down.
Intercept him. Throw down some Sunders, so the hunter can do more damage. Nail him with Hamstring, so the hunter can easily run away.

Warlock trying to fear your healer? Shield bash it, hamstring both the 'lock AND the 'locks minion, especially if its a felpuppy. Keep those evil things off your healer.

Keep this in mind. You have a specific role, according to your spec. You should know what it is, and play the spec. Do the best you can with the resources you have available, and try to work with the people/classes around you.
Some of them will know what they're doing. Some of them will recognize a perfect hamstring combo as the perfect opportunity to get the hell out of there.

Quite bluntly, you are a tank. Act like it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Patch Notes? /rofl

OMG! The patch notes for 2.4 have been leaked!

Let's see what kind of idiocy the guy who came up with these thought of...

-Ritual of Refreshment will now complete faster when activated by 2 additional players.

Uh. This isn't.... this isn't anything. Once everybody has clicked, it takes a couple seconds for the table to appear, but this is due mostly to lag rather than anything else.
This was a concern? By whom? Were people unable to ninja the mage bikkits fast enough? This isn't a patch note, this is nonsensical.

- Counterspell: The duration has been reduced to 6 seconds, and cooldown reduced to 20 seconds.
Counter spell, 8 second school lockout, 24 second cooldown.
Earth Shock, 2 second school lockout, 6 second cooldown.
Pummel, 4 second school lockout, 10 second cooldown.
Shield Bash, 6 second lockout, 12 second cooldown.
Kick, 5 second lockout, 10 second cooldown.

Starting to notice a trend here? Every "interrupt" spell thingy in the game can effectively lock down a spell school for anywhere from one third of the time to half of the time. Never more than half, never less than one third.
Putting Counterspell as a 6 second lockout with a 20 second cooldown will, unequivocally, make it the weakest spell interrupt in the game. This nerf would move it underneath the 30% effective interrupt line, making, quite literally, everything else a better interrupt effect.
Obviously, this could never happen. The QQ would be immense, and even a mages mortal enemies, the warlocks, would realize this.
Besides, it doesn't even make sense that, allegedly, the most powerful purist caster class in the game would have the weakest anti-spell abilities in the game.
Somebody didn't do their basic math... /wink

- Ice Lance now has a 6 sec cooldown.

Hahahahahahahahaha! Ahahahahahahahahaaa!!! *snorrrt* BAAAAAhahahahahahahahahaaa!

- Spellsteal: It is no longer possible to remove a Shaman's Ghost Wolf buff with this spell.

It never was, dumbass. I mean, yeah, it would be cool, but.... ya know, I even got all excited, went in game, and tried to do this. Not spellstealable.
I'm a sad panda now... you jackass.

- Arcane Power: The spell damage bonus has been reduced to 20%, from 30%, but the mana cost penalty has been removed and it now also increases your chance to crit with spells by 5% for the duration.

K... no. Just no. The entire Arcane Tree is built around the fact that mana consumption is placed on manual. An arcane mage can use up mana as fast as he likes, or as slow as he likes. Effectively, he is the only type of mage who can effectively "throttle" his DPS as required. You need look no further than Arcane Blast to see this relation between mana spent versus damage dealt. Things like a cast time are irrelevant. Its a straight up mana versus damage relationship. Arcane Power is one of the defining talents of the Arcane tree. More damage at the cost of more mana is exactly what the arcane tree is about.
And frankly... who in their RIGHT MIND would let mages have 20% increased damage, and 5% critical strike increase for NO ADDITIONAL mana cost?! Are you insane? The QQ over that would be, quite bluntly, utterly insane. It would take the mage forums a good month to dry out over those tears.

- Improved Blink has been replaced by Arcane Efficiency, a talent that reduces the mana cost of Blink, Counterspell and Spellsteal by 25/50%.

Well, this, at least, makes sense. Mages have been asking for a long time for a reduction in the mana cost of Blink and Spellsteal, which pretty much means Arenas only. Which means that only Arena mages would be interested in this.
However, due to its rather stupid positioning in the Arcane Tree, no arena mage will actually get this, although many will try and think of a deep-ish arcane spec that works.
Unless your partner is a resto druid, it won't work. Really. It won't. Don't even kid yourself. It won't work.

- Slow: The mana cost has been reduced by approximately 24% and the duration reduced to 12 sec, from 15 sec.

*Sings the Nobody Cares song*

- Master of Elements: This talent now also reduces Fire and Frost damage taken by 2/4/6%.

Someone just made this up off the top of their head, didn't they? It's like a more stupid version of Frozen Core.

- Dragon's Breath: The disorient effect will no longer break on damage over time effects.

Kinda a very real problem, considering how many fire effects have DoT effects. It breaks far too much, but in reality, we don't really seem to care much. It's basically a glorified spell interrupt. You can defend it, come up with all these crowd control examples, but seriously. Stop. Think. It breaks on damage, just like Repentance or Polymorph or any of those other things. How often do you really use Dragon's Breath to crowd control something for 3 seconds? If you answered "only when fighting elite mobs", you answered correctly. In any practical example of its use, its basically a massive "Inflict Epic Confusion Here".
And, of course, if you PvP, it's an incredibly useful spell interrupt. Like an Earthshock. Except its an AoE. And does more damage. And looks more awesome.

- Icy Veins: The cooldown has been increased to 5 min, from 3 min and no longer increases your chance to Freeze targets, but now gives your damage spells a 30% chance of applying a chill effect, reducing the target's movement speed by 50% for 5 sec.

Haha. This makes zero sense. I know Blizzard is going to make efforts to try and make every single spec viable for both PvP and PvE, and Icy Veins was an effort to make the frost tree more attractive raiding wise, with the bonus that it would allow frostbolt to become more effective in arenas. Until it was dispelled anyways.
This new version is idiotic. A Chill effect to all spells? Please, have some common sense. If your using it in an arena, its going to be on Frostbolt, which already comes with a guaranteed Chill effect. If you're using it for raiding, a Chill effect is like PoM Pyro'ing a bubbled Paladin. Utterly pointless, stupid, a waste of time.
See below for the cooldown analysis.

- Frozen Core: This talent now increases the mana cost of your Fire spells by 2/4/6%, but reduces the mana cost of your Frost spells by 2/4/6%.

The only people who would be interested in this would be raid frost mages, and possibly arena frost mages. Arena mages are already hard pressed talent point wise in the frost tree, and there literally is no points to spare for this. Even if they wanted to, the increased cost of Fireblast would be kinda silly, since that is the most expensive damage spell arena mages use.
Raiding Frost mages should be highly interested in getting it, as it will pretty much negate any point that Clearcast ever had.

- Ice Floes: This talent now also reduces the cooldown of Icy Veins.

So. With these rather stupid patch notes, the changes to Icy Veins are as thus. The intention was to make frost more attractive to raiders, and indeed, very few mages now run raids without the godly Icy Veins. Increasing the cooldown, as the previous note suggested, would make the spell far less attractive. Tossing in the Ice Floes thing here, and the talent really only becomes attractive to raiding Frost mages.
Meaning, essentially, that this would make the frost tree more viable for raiding in an arbitrary, nonsensical manner.
Look. Understand this. Frost does less damage than fire. Plain and simple. You cannot change this fact. It IS a fact. End of story. This is not going to change.
If you want to make a DPS tree more attractive to raiders, it has to perform well. The Frost tree is the lowest DPS spec mages have avaliable. Therefore, why choose it over one of the other specs? If a DPS class cannot DPS, it needs to have a reason for existing.
Take Ret Paladins for example. It is a DPS class that isn't... well, "on par" with the other DPS classes. However, it brings a level of utility to a raid, such as 3% improved crit rate for everybody raid wide.
Its stuff like that, that makes a tree attractive to raiders. Frost doesn't have that, and it must if Blizzard ever expects it to be a solid Raiding tree.

- Arctic Winds: This talent no longer increases all Frost damage done, but now increase the critical strike chance of your Frost spells by 1/2/3/4/5%.

This actually makes sense. Frost already loves its crit rating a bunch, and this type of talent change would start putting it on par with Fire's crit rate. However, this would actually result in a net.... nothing to frost DPS.
The current Arctic Winds is a 5% increase in DPS, all the time. This new Arctic Winds thingy would be a 100% increase in DPS, 5% of the time. Which, mathematically, works out to an increase of... 5% in DPS. Ha. Look at that. Nothing happens at all.
Of course, it would be awesome in any sort of PvP perspective, since mages are built around the whole Burst Damage thing in PvP. An extra 5% crit would be far more useful in a competitive arena than an extra 5% damage.

- Empowered Frostbolt has been renamed to Empowered Frost and no longer increase the critical strike chance of Frostbolt, but now also increases the amount of bonus spell damage that effects your Icelance spell by 1/2/3/4/5%.

Stupid. Whoever bothered to think up this stuff was an idiot.
If you all can remember, Ice Lance gains 14.29% of our bonus frost damage.
Lets say you have 800 frost damage. Ice Lance will get an additional 114 damage.
Now let's say this change is implemented. Ice Lance will get an additional 154 damage.

So. We replace an increase of 5% critical strike rate on frostbolt, for an additional 40 damage on Ice Lance, and 120 on frozen targets.
Arena mages might think its cool, as it makes Ice Lance hit a little harder than usual, giving them slightly more burst potential. On the other hand, they could just as easily lament the loss of burst potential from the Frostbolt nerf. It depends a lot on play style.
Personally? I'd lament the Frostbolt nerf.

Oh, yeah, and raid frost mages would literally freak. A loss of that 5% Frostbolt crit is, quite bluntly, a loss of 5% DPS.
Which, of course, conflicts entirely with the other Frost changes which were supposed to make the frost tree more attractive to Raiders. Than this, which makes it ugly again.

TL;DR version:

This "patch" is a fake, because it is filled with stupidity.


This is... like, the most awesome thing EVAR.

Blog Azeroth!

It's, like, basically all the big wig bloggers meeting together in this gigantic room open forum thing to chat about WoW.
We can do everything from discuss specific bloggy stuff, like how to do trackbacks on blogger, to what, exactly, is UP with the tooltip for Beastial Wrath?

It's like an asshat free version of the WoW forums, where everyone there is intelligent, respectful, and for the most part already kinda sorta know each other, or at least know OF each other.
For example, take BigBearButt. He probably hasn't the foggiest who I am, but I've been a reader of his since October. He totally stole my comment from here and used it in the title here. Either that, or we both think about hawt bear on bear action on a regular basis. Which, frankly, scares me.

Anyway... so, yeah. Blog Azeroth is the mostest coolest thing ever, and I already have it hotkeyed into my firefox.

And MOST importantly, I can access it from work, thus allowing me to spam and post there while going through the drudgery of my job. I would love to be able to post on my blog from work, but it hates me there.
I wonder if wordpress will work...

Speaking of wordpress, There is a very distinct possibility I will be making the jump over there shortly.
Gathering up all sorts of information, and then ~BAM~ I'll be a wordpress blogger.

Might even get my own domain and everything. I have more than enough cash for it.

Anyway, just like last week, my weekend is buggered to hell because of work again. Damn you FCC!
Won't be able to get a quality post out until Sunday, so expect more rubbish tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Be Shy!

Drop me a line! Say hi! E-mail me! Send me questions anonymously by postcard!

Any and all comments automatically get sent to my e-mail, so rest assured (or paranoid) that everything you say can and will be read.

You can always e-mail me at:

E-mail me about anything. Questions on Spec? On gear? Instance strategies? Want me to constructively critique you? Your gear? E-mail away!
I can send a confidential reply back, post it up here on the blog if you wish (anonymously if you prefer). I might even extrapolate it into a general post about stuff.... of whatever. Ya know.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Special Projects

Meet my hunter, Caresse (Named after one of... fuck it, THE most awesome female I know).
That lovely tiger back there is Snuggles.
Only level 36, I think I'm doing quite well.
285 RAP with Hawk up, 173 Agility, 9.46% Crit, and 147 Stamina (just shy of 2k HP).
Shot speed of 1.73, and YES for the love of all that is hunterage I have an up-to-date scope. (+5 damage, best I could find.)
Snuggles has Cobra Reflexes, Claw, all that good stuff. Growl is under manual control.

I also have over 1000 HKs. Oops.

Oh, yeah, and 17 gold.

As alts go, I'm doing great.

And yes, this will always be an alt. To be honest, only reason I'm leveling a hunter is so I can farm stuff for my mage.
Ever tried farming Primal Fires as a fire mage? It ain't pretty.

So. Get a BM hunter to do it for me. Genious? I think so. Especially since, for some queer reason, I enjoy killing random mobs as a hunter. Who knew?
So, Caresse will become my lovely mats farmer, happily churning out primal fires whenever Rip needs him some spell damage enchants.

Second, in the efforts of creating a smarter mage community, I am working on some ridiculously simple videos of magely basics, covering such things as focus sheeping, and not pulling aggro.
Look for them here as soon as I figure out what this "Codex" thing Divx keeps asking me for.

Also leveling another mage for the sole purpose of getting nice footage for things like how to kite without frost nova, and other such lunacy.

Obviously, I can simply write out these necessary skills, and indeed, have done so in the past.
But the way I figures it, and everyone always says, watching something is far better than reading something.

I promise, something more angry tomorrow. Or an anecdote. Something besides all these helpful contributions to the world...


Leotheras down! On to Karathress! And then everybody died a lot. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

And I swear, if Aetherial Circle (you know who you are) downs Leo within a week of this, you guys CREEP ME RIGHT THE HELL OUT.
Stop doing stuff, like, EXACTLY like Anathema does.

Good God, they both start with the letter "A"...


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Smite versus Fireball

I had originally intended this as a reply to Mera's comment on raiding fire, but as I delved into the matter, I found that I had far too much information to divulge here.
The comment was thus:
"Actually, for base damage per second, smite is the base spell in the game."

Hmm... quite a claim you've made there, Mera.

In my old troll days, I most likely would have replied with "rofl, nub", but I am a respektible blooger now, and I should craft something intelligent to reply with.

So off I go to investigate this, comparing fireball to smite, to find out which of these spells is... I dunno, better I guess.

So. First off, untalented comparison.

Rank 10
Smite an enemy for 549 to 616 damage. 2.5 second cast time. Costs 385 mana.

On average, Smite will hit for 582.5 damage every 2.5 seconds.
Therefore, per second, Smite will:
Deal 233 damage every second.
Cost 154 mana every second.
(1.512 damage per point of mana)

Pretty damn mana efficient, if you ask me. Looking at fireball now...

Rank 13
Deals 633 to 805 damage, and an additional 84 damage over 8 seconds. 3.5 second cast time. Costs 425 mana.

On average, Fireball will hit for 803 (counting the DoT damage) every 3.5 seconds.
Therefore, per second, Fireball will:
Deal 229 damage every second.
Cost 121 mana every second.
(1.892 damage per point of mana)

Le gasp! Smite deals more damage than fireball!

Fireball is more mana efficient, but still...

Ok, let's talent up this biznatches, find out what happens when we "maximize" these two spells against each other.

(Please remember this principle. All talented increases to spell damage come AFTER the caster's bonus spell damage is applied to the spell.)

First, our test beds. We have a priest, specced to maximize his Smite damage. This priest has a spec like 33/28/0, or other some such madness, to get all the talents that make Smite more smitey.
Our mage here is specced the new classic 2/48/11 spec, to maximize his uber leet dee pee ess.
We are going to assume the following.
Both the mage and the priest have unlimited mana.
Both the mage and the priest have untalented 20% critical strike rate.
Both the mage and the priest have 1000 spell damage in their respective school.
Each has 300 spirit, but this is only really important for the priest, thanks to Divine Spirit.

For right now, we're only comparing Fireball versus Smite, and leaving Scorch out of the equation. Meaning the mage's fireballs will hit 15% softer than they would otherwise. We'll get to that later, I promise.

So. First off, let's improve our Smite.

Smite has a 2.5 second cast time (base), meaning it gains 71.42% of our bonus spell damage.
Which means Smite will get an extra 714 damage on top of its tooltip. Now, we're looking at 1263 to 1330 damage per Smite. One fifth of these will critically strike, meaning 150% damage. Smite can critically strike anywhere from 1895 to 1995.
Meaning that Smite, including critical strikes, will do, on average, 1685 damage per cast.

Now let's add in these handy little talents we have...

For Smite, the talents that make it awesome are split between two different trees. We have some in Discipline, some in Holy. We're going to assume that our Priest has talented to get all of them. Meaning, we have the following:

Self buff, Divine Spirit. Increases Spirit by 50 (this will come in handy later).

Force of Will. Increases Spell Damage by 5% and the critical strike chance of offensive spells by 5%. (Smite will now hit for 1299 - 1366 damage, and has a 25% critical strike chance)

Holy Specialization. Increases critical strike chance of Holy spells by 5%. (Smite now has a 30% critical strike chance)

Divine Fury. Reduces the cast time of Smite by 0.5 seconds, among other things, but we're only concerned with Smite. (Smite now has a cast time of 2 seconds)

Searing Light. Increases the damage of Smite by 10% (Smite will now hit for 1429 - 1503 damage)

Spiritual Guidance. Spell damage increased by 25% of the priest's spirit. Our priest, thanks to Divine Spirit, now has 350 spirit. 25% of that would be an extra 88 spell damage.

Surge of Light, just for kicks and giggles. 50% chance on spell critical that the next Smite will be free of cost, but be incapable of critting itself.

So. With all that, our new spell damage value is (1000 + 88)*1.05 = 1142.

Of that 1142, 71.42% of that will apply to Smite. Meaning Smite will gain 816 spell damage on top of the tooltip.
And then from there, Smite will get an extra 10% damage.
Right now, our damage will be 1502 - 1575 per cast.
We also now have a 30% critical strike chance, meaning Surging Light has a 15% chance to proc.
Let's factor these in, then...
Smite will crit for 2253 - 2363 damage. Averaging those in, Smite's relative damage will rise by 692 damage. Average in Surging Light as well, we get an additional 231 damage.

Meaning, fully talented, Smite will do, on average, 2425 - 2498 damage.


Rank 10
Smite an enemy for 2425 to 2498 damage. 2.0 second cast time. Costs 385 mana.

On average, Smite will hit for 2462 damage every 2.0 seconds.
Therefore, per second, Smite will:
Deal 1231 damage every second.
Cost 193 mana every second.
(6.378 damage per point of mana)

Whew, that was long. But there ya go.

Now, let's get to fireball before my fingers fall off...

Fireball has a base cast time of 3.5 seconds, which means we gain the full benefit of our spell damage. Meaning our tooltip damage will be 1633 - 1805. Not including the DoT effect.

As to what we're going to do about the DoT effect. The fireball DoT does not stack, but it does "refresh" in the same way any other debuff would. Assuming we're chain casting these, means the DoT will be refreshed every 3 seconds. Meaning that we get 3 seconds of the 84 damage of 8 seconds, meaning we effectively get 32 damage of that in between fireballs. Bonus spell damage does not apply.

So let's look at our talents.

Improved Fireball, reduces cast time by 0.5 seconds (Fireball now has a cast time of 3 seconds)

Ignite. Critical strikes will now deal 40% of their damage as a DoT ability. (Fireball now, effectively, has 210% damage on any critical strike)

Master of Elements. Critical strikes will restore 30% of their base mana cost. (Mathematically, this means Fireball gets cheaper. We'll get to this soon)

Playing With Fire. 3% increase to spell damage caused. (NOTE THIS!! Spell damage CAUSED, not SPELL DAMAGE. This does not change our base spell damage, but changes what our spell actually hits for. Effectively, this means Fireball's damage is increased by 3%)

Critical Mass. Increases critical strike chance of fire spells by 6%. (Fireball now has a 26% chance to criticall strike)

Fire Power. Increases damage dealt by fire spells by 10%. (Another +10% damage for Fireball)

Pyromaniac. Reduces the mana cost of fire spells by 3%, and increases critical strike chance by 3%. (Fireball now has a 29% chance to critically strike, and is 3% cheaper)

Combustion. (Effectively means we get 3 guaranteed critical strikes with fireball every 3 minutes. We will mathematically add this in at the end)

Molten Fury. When the target is below 20% health, you deal 20% more damage. (Effectively meaning you deal 120% damage 20% of the time.)

Empowered Fireball. Fireball gets an additional 15% of your bonus spell damage. (Hurrah!)

Elemental Precision. Reduces mana cost of frost and fire spells by 3% (Fireball now is 6% cheaper to cast.)

Icy Veins. (Mathematically speaking, 20% more fireballs for 20 seconds every 3 minutes)

Now, let's see what all this does to our precious little fireball.

Like the priest, we're going to assume that we are self buffed, meaning we have Arcane Intellect and Molten Armor up, thus increasing our critical strike chance by 3.5%. Meaning our fireball now has a 32.5% chance to criticall strike.

Fireball will gain 1150 spell damage on top of the base value, and then that amount will be increased by 13%.
Meaning, our new fireball will hit for 2015 - 2209 damage, not including crits or any of that juicy stuff.
So let's toss them in.

First off, how to deal with Combustion. Combustion has a cooldown of 3 minutes, meaning we can use it once every 180 seconds. In 180 seconds, we woul cast 60 fireballs. Of those 60, normally 32.5% of them would crit, working out to 19.5 fireballs crit every 3 minutes. Combustion essentiall guarantees 3 critical strikes, so we can safely assume that it would add 1.5 critical strikes where previously it would have been a regular hit.
Thus, effectively giving us 21/60 fireball crits per those 3 minutes, giving us, mathematically, a revised 35% critical strike chance to fireball. Again, this is mathematically speaking.

Fireball will crit for 4232 - 4639 damage (this is already including the ignite damage) 35% of the time thanks to Combustion.
Average that back in to our base spell damage, fireball will now deal, on average, 3567 - 3761 damage every 3 seconds.

Bear with me, we're almost done. We have but two loose ends left to tie, and these are Icy Veins and Molten Fury.

First, Icy Veins. It will boost our fireball's casting speed by 20% every 3 minutes, essentially meaning every 3 minutes we get to deal 20% more damage. So, for 160 seconds we'll be dealing damage normally, and for 20 of those we'll be doing more.
Therefore, .111% of the time, we'll be dealing 20% more damage, which mathematically works out to 0.0222% more damage.
Factor that in, and fireball will now deal, on average, 3646 - 3845 damage every 3 seconds.

And now we get to Molten Fury. 120% damage, 20% of the time. 1.2 * .2 = 0.24, meaning thanks to Molten Fury, fireball will deal 24% more damage.
Factor that in, and fireball will now deal, on average, 4521 - 4768 damage every 3 seconds.

One last thing relating to mana cost. 35% of the time, fireball will be 30% cheaper. Mathematically, thats a 10.5% reduction to the mana cost of fireball.

I hope you stayed with me all this way. Let's see what fireball looks like now.

Rank 13
Deals 4521 to 4768 damage, and an additional 32 damage over 3 seconds. 3.0 second cast time. Costs 355 mana.

On average, Fireball will hit for 4677 (counting the DoT damage) every 3.0 seconds.
Therefore, per second, Fireball will:
Deal 1559 damage every second.
Cost 118 mana every second.
(13.2 damage per point of mana)


2462 damage per cast : 4677 damage per cast
1231 damage per second : 1559 damage per second
193 mana per second : 118 mana per second
6.378 damage per point of mana : 13.2 damage per point of mana

In conclusion. Fireball has greater DPS than Smite, and over double the mana efficiency of Smite, when considering talents.

Anyone want to wonder what this looks like if we toss in the Scorch debuff? I know I do. Let's math!

SMITE : FIREBALL (with Scorch debuff)
2462 DPC : 5379 DPC
1231 DPS : 1793 DPS
193 MPS : 118 MPS
6.378 DppM : 15.152 DppM

I think its fairly clear which spell is the better one here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Raiding as Fire

Quick Stats

Most Common Specs
10/47/3 - Clearcast raid fire
2/47/11 - Icy Veins raid fire
Gains 210% damage from critical hits.
Spell Hit Cap: 164 rating

Raiding as fire.

We're talking 47 points of awesome into the fire tree, and the others spent wherever you deem fit.

It's easy.

It's unoriginal.

And it works.

Fire is, and always has been, considered THE raiding spec for these reasons. It is easier to play than either arcane or frost, and is especially tailored towards a raid environment.

Let's break out ye old spec analogy again, shall we?

All three main mage specs for raiding (here we're discussing raid arcane, raid fire, and raid frost), play differently.

Arcane, essentially, specs the mage into a balls-to-the-wall Burst DPS spec, mana be damned. Going full bore Arcane Blast with cooldowns blown will put the mage OOM in a matter of seconds, but his DPS will be insane. Utterly insane. Until his mana bar goes limp.
Think of it like the spec designed to kill the trash in raids as fast as possible.
Picture it like a Drag Racer, designed to reach speeds of excess of 240 mph, but can only maintain this for a half mile.

Fire is the opposite. It specs the mage as far away from burst DPS as possible from mage, and essentially specializes the mage for boss fights. Thats why it's so popular, "the" raid spec if you will. Any fight thats under 10 seconds is a waste of a fire mages time. This spec is designed for the long haul.
Think of it like the spec designed to fight the boss mobs in raids efficiently.
Picture it like a massive trucking... truck... designed to reach speeds of no more than 80, 90 mph, but can maintain it for almost a thousand miles.

Frost is the middle ground here. It does not have the same amount of burst damage arcane is capable of, and it does not have the long haul power that fire does. It has better burst damage than fire, and has far greater longevity than arcane.
Think of it like the spec that tries to find a comfortable middle ground between boss fights and trash killing.
Think of it like a wee little Toyota sports car that can go 140 mph, and keep it up for a couple hundred miles.

So, in the effort of providing the information that will help you decide what car is best for you, I present: Raiding Fire.

Firstly, the spell rotation of a fire mage, ideally, will be endless amounts of fireball spamming. By itself, fireball produces some of the very best damage versus time versus mana spent of any spell in the game. A warlock's shadowbolt is the only competitor.
However, a fire mage has this nifty little trick up his sleeve, called "Fire Vulnerability" (the talent is called Improved Scorch). Essentially, every time you hit something with Scorch, they take an extra 3% damage from any and all fire spells and effects. This effect stacks up to 5, meaning if you hit a mob with Scorch five times in a row, that mob will take 15% more damage from any and all fire spells. This debuff lasts 30 seconds.
So, on any given raid boss, you want to build this debuff up to its full stack of five, and then simply refresh the debuff every 28, 29 seconds to keep it going.
Therefore, you will start each fight with Scorch x 5. Once the initial debuff is up, you'll be doing fireball x 9, Scorch once, then repeat.
Obviously, if you have enough spell haste to fit in 10 fireballs in that 28 second time frame, kudos to you.
Essentially, you want to get in as many fireballs as possible between the 30 second timer mark on the debuff, and about 2 seconds away from where the debuff would "fall off". You DO NOT want to lose your stack, so make sure you are casting Scorch by, at the very latest, the 28.5 second mark.

This is, however, depending on a fight where you do not have to move. On fights where you may be switching targets frequently, or moving around a lot, you'll probably want to refresh Scorch more often.
For example, say the Void Reaver fight. If he flings an Arcane thingy at you, cast Scorch one last time before turning and running. Again, losing the Scorch debuff stack is a horrible thing to happen, and will waste many seconds rebuilding it.
To put it bluntly, fireball has, and always will, provide greater DPS than Scorch could ever hope to achieve. Any time spent rebuilding the debuff is time spent not using fireball, which is time spent doing less than your optimal DPS.
You do not want to cast fireball while there is no Scorch debuff, by simple fact that you are losing 15% of your damage if you don't have it up.
If you take nothing else away from this blog, take this:

The Scorch debuff is KEY to maintaining DPS.

If you have other fire mages in the raid, great! All of you can contribute to building the stack as fast as possible, and then have one of them refresh it every 28 seconds while the others do only fireballs. However many mages are not casting Scorch will have higher DPS than if they were the only fire mage in the raid. The one on Scorch refresh duty will have his usual DPS, but the other mage(s) doing nothing but fireball will have higher DPS because of it.

Keep this in mind. The scorch debuff does not just benefit mages, but it also benefits other classes that use fire spells, namely Warlocks.
To be blunt, a full on Scorch debuff increases the damage a warlock deals with fire spells by 15% as well. So we can help out our soul-sucking children, even though they always use Curse of Not-Helpful.
Random Raiding Tip: there are a couple fights during raiding where a warlock must tank a boss. Leotheras comes to mind. Consider this: the warlock pretty much has to spam Searing Pain to get enough aggro to hold the boss. If a full Scorch debuff is present, aforementioned warlock will generate 15% more threat. Sound good? Of course it does.

But what about trash mobs? Attempting to build the scorch debuff, only to have the mob die at 4 stacks can be an issue. If you're guild already has very high DPS, then it might not even be possible to build the scorch stack before the mob dies.
Scorch is a precursor to actual strong DPS. It is not the DPS itself, but is foreplay to the real deal.

Unfortunately, you will have to use your brain about trash mobs. I know, what a cad I am for forcing you to think.

The general rule of thumb across the entire WoW universe is that anything that will be alive for 10 seconds or longer should be Scorched first.
You will have to get a feel for your guilds damage dealing strength to decide how much of a debuff you are going to place on the trash mobs, and it also depends a lot on how many other fire mages there are in the raid.

Let's use me, for example. Being the only fire mage in the raid, I'm the only one who can provide the Scorch debuffs. The DPS power of the raid is also very strong, so there is really little time to cast spells at a mob before it dies.
On the "weak" trash mobs, i.e. the relatively low health caster mobs, I bring scorch up to 3 or 4 stacks, then get off a couple fireballs before finishing with fireblast.
On the stronger trash mobs, the ones with high amounts of health, Scorch is brought up to the full 5 stack, the fireball spamming commences.
If there's two of you fire mages in the raid, there is no reason not to have the full scorch debuff up before hitting fireball.

Similar to frost, and any mage at that, cooldowns should be used the second they are avaliable to be used, with a couple caveats.

Fire produces more aggro than any of the other mage trees, and as such immediately using all your powerful cooldowns might cause too much aggro at the get go. As well, using Combustion at the opening of a fight will pretty much "waste" the cooldown, as most of your Combustion procs will occur on the initial Scorches, which 1) don't have a lot of damage and 2) will not have the full debuff up yet, so you will lose out on damage.

As fire, cooldowns should be used as soon as it is feasible for said cooldowns to be used for fireball spamming, once the Scorch debuff is fully stacked. Make sense?

I'd like to turn your attention to a fire tree talent called "Molten Fury". It increases the damage dealt to targets under 20% health by 20%. To put it bluntly, this ability can be incredibly powerful, but you have to take advantage of it.
Against most trash mobs, for instance, this won't really be noticed, as the mob will only be alive in that health range for a few seconds. On these types of mobs, at the end of a fight, try to time it so a fireball hits right when the mobs health drops under 20%, then finish it off with Scorch / Fireblast to get as much Molten Fury damage as you can.

On boss fights, whatever boss you are fighting is going to be under 20% health for a long, long time. To take full advantage of this, you are going to want to "save" your cooldowns for when said boss drops to 20%, for the sole purpose of stacking powerful cooldowns with Molten Armor.
The reason why "save" is in quotations is because you are not going to go the entire fight without using a single cooldown... right? You're going to be smart and use them about 3 minutes before the boss will hit 20%, right?
You don't want to not touch your cooldowns at all, you just want to make sure you have them avaliable when the boss hits 20%.

If you remember, at the top of the post, I linked the two most commonly used fire builds out there.
The fire tree is always the same, those 47 points there are pretty much solidified.
About the only one you could skip getting would be Dragon's Breath, since it has extremely situational raid usage, and really, its only there to look cool.

You should always have the two points into the Arcane tree for the threat reduction, for all those times where you have to Arcane Explosion spam. Talented, it is the most amount of AoE damage possible for the least amount of threat. All raiding mages should have it.
Also, at least 3 points in frost for Elemental Precision is mandatory. That increases your spell hit, which of course is absolutely necessary.

Choosing between the clearcast spec and the Icy Veins depends entirely on how deep your mana pool is.
Clearcast lets you cast for a longer duration, effectively 10% longer. Icy Veins gives you a boost to your damage dealt, a rather significant one, I might add. Stacked with other cooldowns and Molten Fury, the boost can be staggeringly high.
The downside is that each spell has the same mana cost, so your mana consumption will rise significantly.
As a general rule, if your mana pool is 8500 (unbuffed) or higher, go with the icy veins option
If you have less than 8500, stick with clearcast until your gear gets a little better.

The final, unused point can go wherever you want, it doesn't matter.

And that is how you raid as a fire mage.

Totally Forgot

Hydross down, btw. Guild dropped him on Wednesday. Totally forgot to mention that.

I Finally Did Karazhan

Yeah, I finally did Karazhan yesterday.

Now, I know what you're thinking... how does this mage go from regular instances, straight to Tier 5, then do Karazhan after?

Simple... I haz uber leet skillz.

Ok, no, seriously. I had the Tailored epic set, which means I have 3 extremely solid pieces that will last me a long, long time, and also a bunch of PvP epics that, while not optimal, are still light years beyond anything else you can start 70 with. So I didn't exactly hit 70 with crap all gear, I started with 7 epics ready to go, and quickly collected more. So there. Nyaah.

So, where was I... Oh, yes! Karazhan! We had damn fine group, so we one shotted all but two on our speedy four hour run.

Our group makeup was as follows:
Protection Paladin, an alt of the Guild master. Has the best gear possible outside of Tier 5 for Prot Pallies.
Two rogues, one of which was an alt. Both definitely on the high end gear wise, relative to Kara.
A healer Paladin, who had horrible connection issues, and as such we ended up 9-manning amost the entire run
Myself, setting things on fire and pulling aggro on everything. JOKING, never once pulled aggro.
A Resto shammy, also in overwhelmingly good gear. Except his mace, which is an embarrasment. He keeps running Kara in the hopes of getting ANY healing mace. 3 weeks of nothing. Poor guy.
Holy Priest, overgeared for Kara. Needs him some badges!
Feral Druid, off tank. Doesn't need anything from Kara besides badges.
A brand new 70 warlock, definitely in entry Kara gear. Sporting mostly quest blues at the moment, but has a couple nice epics. Like the Frozen Shadoweave Shoulders, for instance.
A brand new 70 hunter, mostly Kara entry blues, with a couple epics. Heh, guy had a rough night. Being a newbie at all.

We eventually replaced the Holy Paladin with another hunter (you might well know him as Ghostkid, one of my loyal readers), and went on our merry way through Karazhan.

Attumen got owned in short order

Moroes down even faster. The new hunter had some fun here, seeing as how it was like "K, you need to chain trap the one marked with a Blue Square. The whole encounter. If you fail, we all die." We didn't die, so mega props to him.

We cleared to Maiden, downed her no problem.

On we go to Opera. The Prot pally heads out on stage to see what it is, we get Romulo and Julianne. Bubble, run out, restart.
Down they go. Had some DPS issues, meaning me and the warlock were assigned to Romulo and seriously out DPS'ing the two rogues on Julianne.
They had some troubles keeping the heals interrupted, I think they kept kicking Blinding Passion by accident.
Or maybe it was the Devotion buff I got to spellsteal. I only got to do it once, damn priest kept dispelling it. Oh well.
Down they go, badges were had, off we go to Curator.

And here's our first wipe. Resto shammy's mana went kersplat, and the rest of us were basically... yeah, can't DPS Evocates when we're dead.
I had some serious issues with pushback on fireball that encounter. Gah. Like, took over 5 seconds a few times to get the damn spell of. The Flares lurved me, and they didn't die fast enough.
Oh, well, respawn, keep going, utterly destroyed Curator the second time.

Skipped Illhoof (we ain't doing that crap with a new warlock) and on to Shade of Aran.
Downed with few problems.
I got caught in Blizzard once, thanks to the chains, which held me up a bit. Frost Ward, then blink. Had to Ice Block once, I went the wrong way and ran into a Blizzard rather than out of it. lawlz.
Oh! And nobody moved during Flamewreath. Zero damage from that ability.
And the elemental adds were handled nicely by aforementioned new warlock. Kept on banished, and another chain feared the whole fight. Bravo, you don't suck!

Cleared out chess, I tried out being a healer. Healing is stressful when its on a 20 second cooldown. Eep. Was the most stressful moment of the night.

So, we were about ready to call it a night at this point. Meh, went after Prince, almost all of us needed something from him. Me included, I've desired that tier 4 hat for a long time. Just haven't bothered to go get it.
The mindblade would also be sexy. Oh, well, neither dropped.
Our second wipe was here. Off tank got nailed by enfeeble early, then got hit by an Infernal almost instantly upon trying to flee. Dead druid.
Next one dropped right onto the ranged.
So did the next one.
Second time, nobody dies, Infernals were almost a non issue (one did land directly on top of the melee), and the hunter picks up a Decapitator because it looks cool.

So, portal to Shatt, with plans to finish up Sunday night. I immediately take all my hard earned badges and go buy myself some new bracers.

Runed Spell-Cuffs

Snazzy? I like to think so. I've been coveting spell haste for a while now, and this is just the start. Scoring the Pantaloons next, and from there, grab some stuff from ZA if I ever manage to be on during ZA nights, and hopefully will get a speedy little fireball.
Or, at the very least, get Scorch to the point where it will be under the GCD enough so that it always throws my timing off when I get the whole "Can't do that yet" errors.

Won't that be FUN?!

On a related note, anyone have about 5 primal fires I can have? I need me some enchants.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Confessions of a Magi

Even we, the elite of the arcane, masters of fire, have our dirty little secrets.

And where better to admit them then here?

We only drop Refreshment Tables in battlegrounds because we're too lazy to summon our own food and water.
Then, we click them as fast as possible, to empty the table in seconds. Then, we delete all the manna biscuits, besides the ~100 we need, and then blame the hunter next to us for draining the table.
At this point, we tell everyone else that its on cooldown, sorry they missed the biscuits.

The only reason we spec frost to level is because frostbolt makes a really cool noise when you shoot it.

We cast Blizzard on the melee in the Shade of Aran fight, and see how many panic and run out.

We go an entire raid casting only Scorch, because we're playing on a laptop and watching a Zombie movie with our friends.

We always spellsteal a Paladin's "Wings" because, quite frankly, they look better on a mage.

We all secretly wish we had rolled gnome mages.

We all have an inexplicable loathing of retribution Paladins.

If anyone gets mind controlled in a raid, we will do our utmost to kill that person as fast as possible.

If we see a warrior pop Spell Reflect, we cast Polymorph to get a free heal.

We ninja killing blows in battlegrounds with Fireblast.

We will gladly cast Pyroblast on level 1 critters to pad our WWS damage reports.

We all secretly lust for female dranei.

We all have warlock alts.

We love to ride at about 110-120% threat to make the tanks sweat.

We secretly love to be turned into Little Red Riding Hood.

When blizzard stopped letting us summon Portals to Capital Cities in battlegrounds, we mages wept.

Dropping somebody to 1% in a battleground, then casting slow on them and melee'ing them turns us on.

Wehn we meet hunters in a battleground, we take pleasure in killing the pet then running away. Ice blocking, jumping off a cliff, whatever, so the hunter cannot kill us. Then we do it again a few minutes later.

We heal the other side in battlegrounds.

We break our own sheeps and blame someone else. After all, what kind of mage breaks their own sheep? Right?

Restoration druids make us cry.

We use Ice Block at 1% just to be a prick.

We keep polymorph right next to the Arcane Power + Trinket + Presence of Mind + Frostbolt + Icy Veins macro, so people will know how awesome I am... by accident.

We spec to get Imp. Flame Ward, and then run around FRAPSing ourselves reflecting Fire spells.

We all break out into a cold sweat when we're low on Teleportation Runes.

We love to sheep sheep.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm Tired

I'm tired. I'm sick. I cannot take another minute of this madness.

I am talking about Subtlety rogues, obviously.

Am I sick if losing to them? No, that is not the case. As class versus class, the dynamics haven't really changed.

What I'm sick of, what I'm tired of, is these subtlety rogues taking themselves seriously. I am sick of these rogues who run around battlegrounds pretending they have a real spec. I am sick of them using these... gimmicks.

I won't say I'm sorry for these somewhat harsh words, because I'm not.

These.... rogues... these so called Subtlety rogues, are annoying me to death.

In all honesty, the subtlety tree doesn't make sense. It seems to be an incoherent mishmash of stuff, that is better off as a collection of engineering trinkets.

Criticize me if you want, but it doesn't feel like I'm playing against an actual spec... it doesn't feel like an actual talent tree to me. Most talent trees in the game have a built in synergy to them.
Like the mages fire tree for example. Crit enhancing talents, and then talents that feed of crits.
Or, say, the arcane tree. Increases the mana cost and damage of abilities, and has an ability that does more damage the more mana you spend. It also has talents that increase intellect, and then a talent that increases spell damage based on intellect.
Y'see how this works?

And then we have the subtlety tree, which is like... people taped abilities to a dart, blindfolded themselves, spun around, then hurled the dart in a random direction.

I guess thats a little too harsh. After all, the talents do kinda make sense... I mean, it is a PvP tree for the rogues. I mean, it has to be. Look at all those survivability talents in there.

But, see, it's supposed to develop into something. Something awesome, something powerful and sexy. But the subtlety tree never actually... gets there.

Fire Mage: Check me out. I got, like, all this awesome crit stuff. And check it, whenever I crit, I do even more damage!
Rogue: Oh yeah, well, I can get more combo points after resisting your spell!
Fire Mage: Uh... huh... yeah, well, listen, whenever I crit, I also get mana back! And check this out... an active spell that vastly improves my crit rate! Isn't that awesome?
Rogue: HA! When I'm almost dead, I'm not dead, 'cause I can cheat death, you see, see? And then I take, like, no damage ever and I keep living for like an eternity and awesome, and you'll crit me for, like, 4!!
Fire Mage: Uhhh... what... what are you even talking about? Was that even a sentence?
Fire Mage: K, I'm gonna go talk to this warrior over here...
Fire Mage: What the... did you... did you just... what the hell?
Rogue: Can't touch this I am dodgy! I am teh MASTAH of Decepshun!

Exaggerated? Not by much.

Seriously, these subtlety rogues are getting on my nerves.

They are.... annoying. Really, really annoying.

Cheat Death is a really cool idea, but as far as I can tell, it just makes me angry.

Look, you're already dead. Seriously, stop trying. Stop fucking around, just lay down, and die. You think an extra three seconds is going to do anything? C'mon, man, you're just wasting my time, and yours.

And why, oh why did these rogues steal my precious Blink? I mean, c'mon, I'm a bloody MASTER of the Arcane! I can shoot fire from my hands! I set a damn dragon on fire with MY MIND, and now some petty thief has the same skill I do? What. The hell.
Was it really necessary to let rogues teleport? Was this really needed?
Yeah, rogues have mobility issues, but seriously... just handing them an exclusive mage spell seems kinda... unimaginative.

It's not like I hate them. It's not like I get ganked by them.

But they piss me off. It's one of those senseless things that gets you riled up for no apparent reason.

Its similar to waking up, and realizing somebody moved your slippers, and you get entirely pissed off.


There's no real reason...

But BLOODY HELL man these rogues piss me off.