Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Time!

Too much crazy arse stuff at work this week

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Quality Post Tomorrow!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sorry, I'm Chair Spec

Alterac Valley

"maeg tabl now kkthx"
"Sorry, I'm Chair Spec"

Standing Around Orgrimmar

"plz giv watr"
"You say plz because please takes too long to type. I say no rather than yes for the same reason"

"hey can i hav sum waters?"
"Sorry :( I'm fire specced, can't make water atm"

"yo mage water?"

"need 3 stacks water"
"Sorry, food specced"
(NOTE: This didn't actually work)

*Opens trade*
*I put 500 gold into the window*

"hey i need some food"
"Sure thing." *Invites to party* *Makes portal to Thunder Bluff*
"Click for food"
*Leaves Group*

Standing Around Shattrath

"can yo make me some water?"
"/cast Invisibility"
*Run and hide*

"i need a coupla stak s water"
"Thats nice"

"hey, can i have some Water?"
"There's actually a secret way to make your own water. When you throw a snowball at any fire elemental mob, when you loot the elementals body, it gives you water of whatever rank the elenmental was"
"Yeah! I just found that out yesterday! Go try it out!"
"Alright, thanks man!" *Runs off to flight path*
*20 minutes later*
"/lol. Pwnd"

Arathi Basin

"Yo mage, make us a table"
"Sorry, guys, it has a one hour cooldown :( Can't do that yet"
(NOTE: the other mage in the BG whispered me: "i fucking love you")

Me on my Hunter Alt to a 70 mage on Orgrimmar

"Oh Mighty Master of the Arcane... May this worthless pile of pixels beg of you for but a small drink, so that he may quench his unworthy thirst upon your Holy Nectar of the God's Themselves?"
(NOTE: Shamelessly stolen from the forums, it works incredibly well. Have never, ever been turned down with this proposition)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Clarification on the Ret Paladin thingy

As I'm sure I've explained in the past, I no longer play on arena teams on the live servers.

Quite simply, I do not have the willpower to spend hours making enough gold to allow me to swap between arena specs and raiding specs on a weekly basis, or whenever it is called for to do so. It qould quickly cost me a fortune, a fortune I'd rather spend on stuff like consumables so I can actually raid... more better... more goodly... and yes...


I play arenas almost exclusively on the PTR's, which has some very odd, and some very zany things that come with it.

The first odd thing about PTR's is that you can transfer your character over, and whatever items he has on him, will come over.
For example, I can borrow 6000 gold from various people, log out, transfer my character, log in, give all the gold back, and have a character on the PTR who has 6000 gold waiting for me.
Thus making for some... dare I say it... fucking weird economics.

Oh, yeah, and being able to open the AQ gates is really cool. I do it every time. Or try to.

The second odd thing about PTRs is that sometimes... sometimes people make pre-mades. Sometimes you can make pre-made toons, pre-built 70 characters that come in all sorts of fanciful epics.

What this means for a 70 player is a chance to try out another class, and see how it plays.
I, for example, have discovered I absolutely loathe playing a rogue, and yet have immense amounts of fun playing a resto druid. Who knew?
Anyway, the horrible downside of this are people who are, like, level 30 on the live server, and really have no clue how the game works.
These are the people you see in Shattrath, a 70 mage in Arena S2 gear, proudly wearing spirit gems, asking in trade "WTF ARE [Badges of Justice] for?!"

So when pre-mades are allowed onto the PTRs, some very, very interesting things occur.

One of those interesting things are total and complete PvP nubs trying to do arenas with their complete and total nub friends.

One of the most common sights I see are Retribution Paladins, running around in S2 gladiator gear, weilding that big arse sword. Without fail, these people seem to be blood elves, and they all seem to band together and spend their talent points by committee.
Their ret trees look like someone scribbled over it with a crayon, and they attempted to use said scribble as a way to spec into the tree.
Oh, yeah, and the S2 arena gear is atrocious for Ret Paladins. Absolutely horrendously budgeted pieces, with the itemization trying to cover strength, intellect, stamina, spell damage, resilience, and melee crit rating together, resulting in a bunch of sad, decrepit plate pieces.
And we all know how awesome crit rating is... on PvP gear...

So. Let's combine these facts.

We have a bunch of poorly specced Ret Paladins running around, in poorly itemized gear, who have no fucking CLUE how to play their class.

You get the picture yet?

Yes, I realize ret pallies can be a dangerous foe when played well... like, if they're covered in various S3 gear and Black Temple gear, they can beat me. When I'm not frost spec. *cough*

But these Paladins are not skilled. They're gear is barely passable, their spec is laughable, and not one of them has ever played a Paladin past level 4. You can tell.

On live servers, I've been beaten by... 3 Paladins. Once in AV, by some hardcore dwarf dude from Black Dragonflight coated in S3 super gear and Black Temple ret gear.
Once in AB by some hardcore dwarf dude from Black Drago... wait a minute...
The guy from EotS was ALSO some hardcore dwarf dude from Black Dragonflight!

Ok, so it was the same guy.

Thought I'd post this here

Did this up for my guild, so's peeps would have an idea of what mages do raid-wise, specific to Anathema anyways.

It's occured to me that this guild has not had much exposure to mages as a class.

When me and Vox joined, you guys had... what, Sequel?

So I figured I'd put up this post here, in an effort to (briefly) explain how mages work, and most importantly, how us mages currently affect our current raids/dps make-ups and such.
Any wacko with half a brain can say "Mages does DPS, yuh" but feh.

First off. This guild already has incredibly strong DPS capacity. We have multiple hunters and rogues that consistently do incredibly high amounts of damage, and a couple other caster types who make me feel all sad and happy at the same time (I'm looking at you, Abby and Mord).
Frankly, we could drop a DPS group entirely and we'd be fine, damage wise. I mean, we have, what, 4 minutes to spare on average for Void Reaver?
In this regard, Anathema does not really need to have us few mages go all out balls-to-the-wall, because we already have the DPS there. We aren't filling in any holes, because there simply aren't any holes to fill.
You need look no further than some of our random WWS stats pages to see that the magey DPS is always on the low end of the list.
I can QQ all I want, mage DPS is gimped, blah blah, cry, whine, bitch, warlocks are better, blah blah I want some fucking pie.


Polymorph. Anyone who says this crowd control spell isn't amazing is a moron. Is it limited? Yep, sure is. We can only farm-animal certain types of mobs. Are those certain types of mobs present in fast numbers, and powerful, practically begging to be turned into a harmless, cute little animal? You bet they are.
This is, for this guild, the biggest reason to bring along some mages to a group. It's all about the crowd control. Y'all could give a damn about damage, y'all just want some fucking lamb chops.
And that's fine. I'm happy being a sheepbot. If it means people get phat lewtz, people have fun, then I'm more than happy. Job well done, grats Shego on Invincibility Ring. Whatevs. I's cool.


The nature of a mage's damage is far more focused on burst damage than, say, a warlock or a hunter. For example, warlock Curse of Ouchie does 2000 damage over 15 seconds. Nice, sustained DPS. A mage's Bolt Spell of Hurt does 2000 damage THIS BLOODY SECOND, AND EVERY BLOODY SECOND UNTIL THAT COCK-SUCKING NAGA BITCH IS A DAMN CORPSE. And once it's a corpse, we gaze sadly at our empty mana bar.
Simply put, mages are far better at burst damage. We have incredible burst damage. Popping all trinkets and standing there spamming Arcane Blast can easily net over FOUR THOUSAND DAMAGE PER SECOND. But we can only keep that up for.. ohhh... 10 seconds?

Put another way, this means that the mage, as a class, is designed to swiftly and brutally kill "trash". Trash mobs are practically designed to be killed by mages. The encounters don't last long, thus allowing mages to reach our full blown burst potential, mana dumping and burning something down with frightening speed.

Put us up against a boss, and we struggle. We cannot burst DPS, because thats not what the boss requires. A boss fight requires constant, steady DPS, something mages do not do very well. We run into mana issues very quickly, and usually have to do dick-all about a quarter of the time just so we actually can have any sort of mana left partway through the fight. Running OOM when the boss is only at 70% is a very, very real possibility.

I'm going to deviate a bit here, and discuss the two most common raid mage specs there is.
Essentially, its the old Arcane versus Fire argument.

Put bluntly. Arcane maximizes the burst DPS a mage is capable of doing. Arcane Blast spam has the highest burst damage of... well, anything. Like I said above, its a shit-ton of damage really, really fast, but we can't keep it up for long. It is godly for trash. Those little flappy bird thingies before Al'ar? We can mana dump into those things, and deal upwards of 20k damage in 10 seconds, in random blues we purchased from the Auction House. Again, after those 10 seconds, we have zero mana.
And against boss fights, the arcane tree is at a serious disadvantage. It does not have the staying power of literally any other DPS class/spec that exists.
I consistently run OOM on Lurker, repeatedly. I chug every potion I can as fast as I can, and using any and all mana gems whenever possible, AND scale back on my DPS just so I have a chance of bursting the adds down in any type of respectable manner.

Put bluntly. Fire spec specializes the mage towards fighting long encounters. First off, the Scorch debuff is designed for encounters that last at least 30 seconds, the longer the better. The main nuke for the fire tree is a helluva lot cheaper than its arcane equivalent, by almost half. Whereas the arcane tree keeps up a 4k DPS for about 10 seconds, the fire tree keeps up about 900-ish DPS for about 7-8 minutes, 12-13 depending on where evocation is used.
It does not have nearly as strong burst damage as arcane, by simple fact that the tree cannot bring its full power to bear until the scorch debuff has reached its maximum strength, which effectively means the combat must last longer than 7.5 seconds, AT LEAST, for the fire tree to start doing some hefty damage. On most trash, I usually don't even manage to make it to 4 stacks before the mob gets killed.

Holy crap, this is getting long winded.

Anyhoo, one more consideration to make here. Arcane is a spec that performs good, no matter what gear level you have. If you're in a bunch of crappy quest greens, it will perform good. If you're in some excellent Tier 5 epics, it will perform good. If you have the bestest, most amazing AWESOME sweet gear in the game, it will perform good.
Contrarily, in poor gear, fire performs poorly. In good gear, fire performs goodly. In excellent, bestest most amazing AWESOME gear, fire performs most excellent, AWESOME bestest GODLIKE DPS.

I had a point here...

Ahh, yes. Look at it practically. Arcane provides a ton of support to the guild for trash clearing. It has the highest burst damage possible for an offensive caster, and has a couple of highly important talents for polymorphing.
First off, Presence of Mind. Essentially gives an instant cast polymorph, allowing a marked-for-piggy mob to bite the bacon in the same amount of time it takes for me to push the "0" button on my number pad. As well, the improved + spell hit means that few sheeps are resisted. I say "few", because, statistically, 1% of the time something will go horribly wrong.

It was said in, I think, a Botanica run that me, as a mage, was better than some other PuG mage the group had. (I believe this was the run where Erol tried magnificently to get killed by worms, and thanks to the awesome that is T-man, only managed to get killed once). It was commented that my sheeps occured faster, and that I was doing more damage.
Could it be that I was a better mage than random PuG mage so-and-so? Most definitely. But I had an advantage in my spec and utility over that other mage.
Namely, my sheeps were going off faster because they didn't have a cast time. My damage was higher because I could mana-dump during pulls.
The strengths of my spec was a huge factor in the percieved better-ness of me.

Holy fucking hell this is long winded.

So with Arcane spec, as a mage, I am effectively sacrificing my ability to function in boss fights to make the trash pulls far more easier. I am deliberately taking away from DPS talents so my sheeps can be instant, thus preventing many headaches.
And I can do this, because we, as a guild, do not need the DPS on boss fights as much as we need some bloody farm animals.
If we were constantly falling flat on our faces because of enrage timers on boss fights, I would definitely spec back into fire to give us the extra fire power we need to take said bosses down.

You want some numbers? I can do that too.

Assuming cookie cutter mage (600 INT, 200 SPI, 250 crit rating, hit capped, 1k spell damage all schools, fully raid buffed.)

Cookie cutter Arcane/fire spec (50/11/0)
Mage average DPS over ten minute fight: 1193

Cookie cutter Fire raid spec (10/48/3)
Mage average DPS over ten minute fight: 1380

Almost 200 DPS difference between the two, and these numbers are assuming standard raid rotation with an infinite mana supply.
If mana is finite (which it is), the fire spec will still be casting long after the arcane spec has gone home and had a nap.

Hopefully, assuming y'all took the time to read this, you're a little more savvy about the inner workings of raid mages.

If you want your mage to be a utility sheeper trash annihilator, we'll spec arcane and suffer the hit to boss DPS for it.
If you want your mage to be a boss DPS'er, the sheeps will have a cast time, and our trash damage output will be lower.
Now you know.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

@ Ret Paladins

Please. Stop trying.

You rush at me, and try to hit me with your big ugly sword. Does it hit for a lot? I bet it does.

Do you know what I see when I see a Retribution Paladin rushing at me?

I see a warrior. Who doesn't have charge, or intercept, or any way at all to close with me once I get away the first time, assuming you EVER catch me for the first time.

What I see is a crummy melee class that only has two stuns, one of which breaks on damage, both of which can be blinked out of, both of which are, at best, a mild annoyance that can be recovered from. If you could spam Repentance, that would be more serious. But you can't. Your stuns are too far apart to be of any use.

What I see is a Mortal Strike wanna-be that can heal. Meaning, I have a spell-school that I can COMPLETELY LOCK DOWN and prevent you from doing any abilities. Like healing. Or bubbling yourself to prevent your rapidly impending death.

In short.

I see a melee class that cannot close to melee, has incredibly unreliable stuns that I can break in my sleep, and has the ability to let me lock out ALL of their abilities with a single button push.
I see a Warrior with all the necessary mage fighting abilities removed from the class.

Actually, you know what? Keep right on trying.

You Retribtion Paladins are causing my arena team's rating to skyrocket.

And I'm paired with a beast master hunter, for fucks sake.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Embarrasing Mages

So, reading around the blogosphere, far too many blogs reference crappy mages.

Like, FAR TOO MANY. We're talking everything from Big Red Kitty to Lightshield reference poor mages at some point.

Sometimes repeatedly.

What happened, mages? Why are so many of you so poor that we're reduced to being called "that idiot mage with PoM Pyro"?

You know what?

It's cause we have nowhere to go for answers. You want advice on specs/gear? Who do you turn to? You can't go to the mage forums, you will be flamed incessantly and repeatedly.
Even the idolized mages have a bad habit of outright flaming people, or at the very least, saying stuff in a rude manner.

It's no problem to say things bluntly, but do you really have to be rude about it too?

If someone puts spirit gems into their pants, you say to them "Hey. Spirit is useless. Put some spell damage gems in there instead. It'll go a lot further. Here's some math to back you up."
Then we educate the mage, make him a better person, and have essentially flashed him a smile.

Saying "You fucking moron, why the hell would you socket that with spirit?! Are you mentally retarded?"
Does that help? Well it gets the point across, sure. But now you've made him feel like an idiot, you have left him with a bitter feeling, and established yourself as a total asshole. That's not too good for the reputation of the mage community, is it?

So I think I need a goal here. I think I need to go about actually providing a useful database on magery, and provide a friendly environment (well, relatively) so that magey nubs can ask questions without getting flamed.

Well, I mean, you might get flamed anyways. Anybody can comment here.

It's just, I'm on your side. And no flamer can survive the wrath of Euripedes. If all else fails, I know a guy who specializes in Trojans.

And if you ever visit this page, I know your IP address.

Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mind Boggling Stupidity

So I've spent the weekend, desperately attempting to enjoy PvP.

What was once one of my favorite things to do, and something I was good at to the point where it was my pride and joy, has become a quagmire of idiocy and moronity.

Quite simply, I cannot take it anymore.

I'm done. I simply cannot do another battleground at 70.

Wondering why I'm upset? I bet you are. Allow me to iterate my frustrations for you.

1) The introduction of the PvP dailies was, in my opinion, a great idea at the time. It still is a great idea, but the fear that it would attract people to battlegrounds for the sole sake of getting money has proven to be incredibly true. Battlegrounds are plagued with utter nimrods who haven't the slightest idea of how to play their class. These are the same types of people you see with one fantastic epic PvP piece, and the rest are random greens and quest rewards. And not good ones at that. When you see a hunter, with a turtle pet standing at its side, spamming Aimed Shot while getting beat on from behind by a rogue, something is wrong. Even more so when you realize its a blood elf who's tossed spirit enchants on all their gear.
I still think its a wonderful idea, to give the PvP'ers a source of income doing what they love. But its attracted endless reams of ruthlessly undergeared people, who have obviously never seen the inside of a battleground before.
Even worse are the (still) rampant AFKers. Its just they're smarter now. I've seen close to two dozen separate toons running path bots, to run them across a pre-set path through a battleground. I've even seen a rather high tech one that would automatically cast lifebloom every 60 seconds.
And its in battlegrounds that used to be AFK free. Eye of the Storm, Arathi Basin, ruined because there's 3-4 people standing in the starter area. I've even seen an AFKer in Warsong Gulch!

2) The pre-mades. Ever since the new daily quests, alliance pre-mades have sky-rocketed. Whereas before, they were a rarity, now its almost expected the opposing team would be a pre-made. I've run 15 Eyes this weekend, of which all 15 have been against an alliance pre-made. We did win one of those 15, so yay horde.
Arathi Basin gets five-capped against horde unnervingly frequently, but this is largely due to the horde players not having a FUCKING CLUE how to play that particular battleground.
Warsong... is embarrasing. Don't speak to me about that.
Even Alterac Valley has seen pre-mades, mostly from Andorhal. The closest we came was 377 : 0 reinforcement wise.

3) The boycott. If you didn't know, the Alliance on my battlegroup (stormstrike) have been running a boycott of Alterac Valley. It's to the point where the average queue time is an hour and a half.
Why are alliance boycotting? Lemme go ask them myself!

"We have TRIED to use these strats (well, some of us). We cannot get anyone to listen. Over and over we will tell people to cap IB, or that some need to stay and defend, etc.

However, these are constantly met with "I WANNA WIN, ZERG DREK" or "ZERG GALV".

We are TIRED of this. We constantly lose, and nobody on the Alliance will listen to the team strategies. There is 0 teamwork. Stop acting like you are all high and mighty because you clicked a button on the right instead of left when creating your character.

This is why we don't queue. Sick of trying hard as hell to get people to play as a team, only to have nobody listen, play a 40 minute game, and get no reward.

Then you call us pitiful cowards for doing this? Not only is that unbelievably stupid, but it only makes more people want to not queue, just to spite you."

There you have it. Alliance couldn't win, so they simply stopped.

Which sounds just great. Fine. You can't win AV, because you're players are terrible. Ok, no problem. I feel your pain. Oh, god, do I feel your pain.

Because now, I'm in the same position. I cannot get anywhere in PvP, because either my teammates were born with fetal alcohol syndrome, or I'm fighting a pre-made. Either way, horde gets destroyed, I get next to nothing honor wise, and I didn't enjoy any of it.

" What is the reason the horde are QQ'ing so much here about AV?

Are they not winning in other BG's and getting any Honor?

Is AV the only place they can get honor?"

says the little gnome rogue Peaquop from Stonemaul. Why would you say that, knowing full well I do nothing but fight endless alliance premades?

On the bright side, most AV's that DO come up are fine. In general, Horde dominates, in general ending up with 300+ reinforcements to zero. It's fun, its lucrative. Its just waiting two hours is bothersome.

If horde could actually play the same way in the other battlegrounds, I wouldn't be having this problem.

Horde is naturally adept at following instructions in AV. "Defence meet at Galv" "Need support Tower Point", and so on, is always followed up on rapidly, with efficiency and effectiveness.

Remember those AV pre-mades I mentioned? Even then we managed to hold our own for quite a while, managing to hold the graveyards for not one, not two, but 8 waves of attacking alliance before we lost it and fell back to the next.

Then stick those same people in Eye, Arathi, or Warsong. Its like someone threw a mental switch from "Intelligent warrior" to "total fucktard".
Most players seem to just mentally throw a stupid switch, stop listening, and go off randomly doing their own thing, get killed, and call the rest of us idiots.


I'm done.

I'm through with battlegrounds until alliance figures out how to play AV, or horde stops being a bunch of morons. Most likely, this means I'll never play a BG again.

Excuse me. I need to go play some arenas on the PTR. I have Ret pallies to annihilate.