Apparently warlocks are nerfed

So, as a commenter at Mystic Chicanery claims, warlocks are now the least popular class in WoW at 7%, and have even lost to shamans. Which is a class that was only introduced to Alliance in TBC.

I’m not quite sure why the warlock population has dropped like a stone. Of course, I’m one of those that stopped playing my cute little gnome warlock so I didn’t help matters much. The main impression I’m getting is that most people think locks were nerfed in WotLK and are not competitive dps.

This is very puzzling to me as Rethreth randomly prances around pwning every single pull with her felguard cleaving away while rain of fire ticks for about 3.5k every other second on a pack of mobs. I can’t recall the last time she has NOT topped dps, with the very rare exception of a very well geared DK who was not actually asleep. In our Naxx-10 groups, the only one who can come even close is our friend Psin… but he’s also a warlock. Even when I took my Plik out to run free in Borean Tundra, I felt massively overpowered since the new fel armor healing mechanic meant I never needed healing. “Oops I pulled 8 mobs, looks like I have to pop metamorphosis and immolation aura + rain of fire them to death while cackling madly”. Demo specced warlocks can easily solo group quests all the way up to Icecrown. And even then some 5 man quests there were doable.

I’m actually levelling my 54 mage now, and she makes me want to cry compared to my warlock. So why are there so few warlocks now? Which part was nerfed? You mean Rethreth is supposed to do even more than 30% of a 10-man group’s damage?

I don’t get it. Did they really all reroll DKs? >.< If warlocks are nerfed, mages should officially be classified as “non-combat apple strudel vendors” judging by their average dps, but there are still plenty of them around.

Religion

Paladin Schmaladin has a post about a documentary which sounds interesting. It echoes almost perfectly my own feelings about religion. I’m so anti-religion that it’s practically my religion 😛 All the so-called benefits of religion can be provided by a chess club. In the end, religion is nothing but an outdated form of social education that was useful when peasant farmers couldn’t send their children to schools. It served it’s purpose, but it’s time for intelligent humans to move on.

Closing remarks from the documentary reproduced here for posterity:

“The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world actually could come to an end.

“Plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge and have key decisions made by religious people, by irrationalists; By those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn’t learn a lot about it. Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith and enable and elevate it, are our intellectual slaveholders – keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.

“Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think that it is wonderful when someone says, “I am willing Lord, I will do what ever you want me to do!” Except that since there are no Gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people, with their own corruptions, and limitations, and agendas. And anyone who tells you that they know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.

“The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that is what man needs to be considering that human history is just a litany of getting shit dead wrong.

“This is why rational people – anti-religionists – must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves, and those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price. If you belong to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you’d resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler – a mafia wife, with the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travellers.

“If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future decimated by the effects of a religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, lets remember what the real problem was: that we learned how to precipitate mass death, before we got pass the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

“That’s it. Grow up, or die.”

Heroic Achievements

I think Blizzard really struck gold with the achievement system in general, regardless of whether they copied Warhammer’s Tome of Knowledge. I don’t really care who copied whom as long as it results in a better game, obviously good ideas will be used by other people.

Personally, I’m the sort of person who likes to complete objectives, hence why I’ve always tended to try to complete all quests in an area or why I like to level alts (another level 80, check!) So it’s not exactly a surprise that I find myself running around some zones just to discover a few remaining unexplored regions just to get the exploration achievement for that zone, or I’ll actually pop into Ragefire Chasm during the Wrathgate event in Orgrimmar just to get the achievement.

However, one thing I never felt was the urge to get the heroic achievements done, which has a proto-drake mount as an achievement. It took me a while to realise why this is the case, even though I’m a fan of achievements in general.

When I play the game and do instances in particular, I approach it as a problem to be solved. “How do I defeat this boss with this particular group?” The best part of raiding in TBC was helping devise strategies to beat difficult bosses. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that me and my wife were one of the very few people in the guild capable of devising or adapting strategies for difficult bosses. Most players have no clue about gameplay mechanics and their idea of raiding is throwing themselves at a boss until it dies. There is no discussion about what went wrong and no attempt to improve things. Many good players are terribad at explaining what to do. “Don’t stand in fire” is only a simplified criticism and sometimes giving bad players tips and tricks does help.

However, most heroic achievements actually go counter to this approach of problem solving. As an example, there is an achievement in Heroic Utgarde Keep for not shattering the frost tombs on the first boss, Prince Keleseth. The frost tomb does damage and stuns the afflicted player. What’s the best way to counter this ability? Hmm…. shatter it quickly? Hence, doing the achievement basically means “handicap yourself by doing the wrong thing”. Another example is the Watcher achievement for the first boss of Azjol-Nerub, which requires the party to keep all 3 watchers alive until the boss is killed. If the goal is to defeat the boss… then it makes sense that you would kill the guards off quickly rather than purposely tank all 4 mobs.

Does that sound familiar? Hmm… Sartharion will call his drakes to him if they are still alive, buffing fire damage, shadow damage, and reducing the raid’s max hp. What’s the best way to deal with this?

Kill the drakes first…

This is why I feel absolutely no drive to do most heroic achievements. I’ve mentioned before that I can’t pretend to lose. I find it very difficult to purposely play in a manner that does not make sense, hence why I can’t afk in battlegrounds and I can’t play while watching TV etc etc. There is no incentive for me to do the achievements, since I do not care about the proto-drake mount and I do not care about the improved loot. I’m all for achievements like “kill malygos in 6 minutes” because those will come naturally in the course of executing a good clean boss kill. But most of the heroic achievements are in the vein of “This boss has a gimmick. To get the achievement, ignore the gimmick and pretend you’re retarded”. This isn’t really Blizzard’s fault, because how else do you get an achievement besides just killing the boss.

Some people (probably the more competitive in nature) look on it as a challenge. I don’t feel like I accomplished anything by tanking without a weapon. Or not using mangle. Or eating smash. But that’s what the heroic achievements basically are. Admittedly there are some creative strategies used to overcome them, but it all boils down to going really out of the way to do something, which doesn’t appeal to a practical person like me.

Weekend, Wii and Full clear Naxx-10

Quite a eventful weekend last week, even though as usual it passed too fast for my liking 😐

Ruffruf managed to pug OS-10, OS-25, VoA-10 and VoA-25 and walked away with the T7 gloves. Unfortunately without the 2-set bonus it seems inferior to another pair of gloves I had picked up the previous week in Naxx-10 with the guild since its pure mp5, and has lower mp5 than the Wyrmrest Exalted gloves in any event. So it’s rotting in my bags until I get another piece of T7.

We also went to a colleague’s house to play with her new Wii. Very cute games and it was quite fun with a whole bunch of people, but I can foresee that the games will get stale quickly unless you have friends to regularly play with. Furthermore, I think it’s difficult unless you get a group of people who are at roughly the same skill levels. Most of the people there don’t play computer games, and the difference is very obvious. I could pretty easily win in almost all the minigames in Mario Party, with the exception of another guy there who played WoW and Warhammer who at least looked like he knew what he was doing. Even with the little bit we played, I could almost sense the thoughts of “oh he won again”. The games would be much less fun if the same person always won since no one, not even casual players, likes losing all the time. Plus I’m really bad at pretending to lose >.< Then again, its also quite amazing how people who don’t play games often can be so confused about what seem to be very simple instructions.

In WoW, besides numerous pugs (some of which contained epic fail players) our guild managed to clear all of Naxx-10. Most bosses were pretty much 1-shot except for silly mistakes like pulling before everyone is ready and stuff like that, but those don’t count… I went off to play basketball and so missed out on the Kel’Thuzad kill, but it’s still quite funny that we can kill the final boss with 1 hour of attempts with a bunch of casual players who don’t even enchant gear properly, don’t use food/flasks and some don’t even use the proper abilities. That would have been so unthinkable in Burning Crusade! We couldn’t even kill Lurker or Void Reaver in 1 hour 🙂

Only Malygos now remains since I doubt we are really interested in Sartharion with drakes.

Who’s carrying who

Hmm… Tobold has a post about how silly pugs are getting nowadays. Players trying to form groups in our server have also started putting requirements like 2k dps or “must be full epicced” when trying to fill spots for heroics.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to avoid a pug from hell with mages that do 800 dps and afk death knights. But some of these “requirements” are nothing short of pure idiocy. The point of the run is to do the heroic smoothly and quickly. Unless you are going for the heroic achievements, whether or not you kill a boss in 1 min or 45 seconds isn’t a big deal. Requiring someone to be in full epic gear in order to do heroic Nexus is as laughable as only doing deadmines with 4 level 80s to escort you.

The justification used by these players is often that they don’t want to carry along weak players. However, what constitutes carrying someone along? I take that as meaning that player can’t perform their role in the instance. Just because a player does not satisfy purely arbitrary “requirements” does not mean they are being carried along. As long as a tank can hold aggro and not get 1-shot, he has done his job. As long as a healer doesn’t let someone die on every pull, he has done his job. As long as dps can kill a boss before he enrages or the healer runs out of mana, they have done their job.

I can only think of two possible reasons for these players only accepting overgeared group members.

Firstly, these people have no clue what’s going on. They genuinely believe that a healer/dps/tank’s ability to perform their job and complete the instance is directly correlated to how much spellpower or hp they have. This is especially funny given that different classes and specs can have completely different stats. I’ve once had some healer ask me how much defense I had on my feral druid when I offered to tank a easy heroic. For your information, druid tanks require 0 defense. If they have no clue what they are asking about, why are they asking?

As a healer, I prefer tanks who have 25k hp and actually move out of smash and pound rather than 35k hp sacks of shit that sit there and eat everything. As a tank, I prefer 1500 dps players who let me get at least one attack in before starting aoe rather than 2000 dps dumbkin who pull mobs using typhoon and hurricane. As a dps… ok as dps I just nuke everything, who cares what the rest are doing…

The second possibility is that they want overgeared players so that they can brainlessly zerg the instance. They are lazy players and want to watch tv or chat on the phone while pressing frostfire bolt over and over. They also want to feel that they have powerful characters. They want to laugh as they pull 3 packs of mobs at the same time and aoe them down. They want to kill bosses in 20 seconds before they have time to even use their abilities. All this contributes to their feeling like “pro” and elite skilled players, although again I have to say that taking damage from obvious avoidable abilities doesn’t make you elite. How dare the healer not be able to heal them while they tank the boss along with 2 packs of patrolling mobs, they are obviously being held back by his undergeared ass and standing in the way of their feeling like invincible superheroes.

There’s nothing stopping them from continuing to only take overgeared players, it is their choice after all. It’s not against the ToS that they would rather spam in /lfg for 1 hour rather than take a normally geared player and complete the instance in 30 minutes rather than 25 (oh the horror). But make no mistake, its obvious to all who are the ones looking for a free ride. Who works harder during a heroic run, the overgeared tank and dps spamming random buttons or the poor “undergeared and lazy” healer with ONLY 1800 spellpower frantically spamming heals on their dumb asses as they stand in AOEs and cleaves?

My personal conclusion is that it isn’t a big loss that they are setting such requirements, it allows me to pick out the idiots and young kids from the normal people.

Theorycrafting and how it sometimes fails

I’ve been discussing some trinkets and gear stuff with some friends over the past few days. Firstly, a pally wanted to buy the Nobles deck for the 90 int + proc 300 int trinket (costs about 10k gold on our server). Int is the prime stat now, especially for holy pallies due to many synergies with spellpower, crit, and mana regen from replenishment. He claimed that its a great trinket according to many holy pallies (and wanted to borrow 10k gold to buy it…). Another friend wanted to run normal CoT: Strat for the Soul Preserver, a trinket for his druid’s resto set as it is listed as one of the best healing trinkets.

The problem is that any ranking of gear is theoretical and is based on certain assumptions. It depends entirely on how much you weight each stat. It’s more clearcut for dps classes because any increase in dps always has a positive effect : the target will die faster. The question then remains which stat gives a bigger dps boost, and even that ranking depends on your existing stats.

For healing and tanking however, my opinion is that there are certain “breakpoints” beyond which an increase in a stat may be completely meaningless. To give an example, lets say (totally out of my ass here) Soul Preserver will return around 5000 mana to a resto druid over a certain 2 minute fight. That’s technically a 42 mp5 trinket, which sounds pretty damn good. However, what if that resto druid ends the fight with 7000 mana? That means that the trinket was practically worthless. “But it also has spellpower!” Ok sure, but a large proportion of that increase would probably go to overheal… which does nothing. As long as a healer is not running out of mana and is able to keep up with incoming damage, then any additional mana regen gear does nothing, even if theory says its one of the best.

Same goes for tanks and hp. Unless you need a certain amount of hp to survive a hard hitting attack, extra hp actually doesn’t really do anything. E.g. if a boss hits for 20k, then increasing from 21k hp to 25k hp doesn’t really do anything since you still have to heal the tank anyway. It looks scarier having the tank dip to 1k hp instead of 5k, but there isn’t any actual benefit.

Of course better gear is always good (everyone loves loot) but it helps to be aware of the rationale behind theorycraft and why an item is supposed to be good. You might be paying 10k gold just to have 75% mana leftover instead of 50% mana.

I’m back… and with a new resto shaman to boot!

Wow ok I was gone a long time… I had to go back to the army for 2 weeks, during which I slept all over the place in the sun and came back with a amazing tan. While I was gone, little Rethreth scampered all over the place topping dps meters and getting lots of loot.

When I came back, the first thing I did was get my Ruffruf up to level 80. She was 77 when I left, so this took about 2 days. Upon hitting 80, I immediately equipped Zom’s Crackling Bulwark which we had bought for about 1.5k gold. A couple of days later, I also bought Titan-forged Sabatons of Salvation and Titan-forged Ringmail Helm of Salvation, bought for 15 and 40 wintergrasp marks of honor respectively. With the honor we got from getting those marks, I got a Hateful Gladiator’s Band of Dominance.

While I was still elemental specced, I did a couple of heroic pugs which went well. I easily did 1600+ dps in those groups, some of which included death knights with 1000 dps (melee attack was his highest percentage of damage, followed by death and decay) and mages which did 800 dps. Nothing new here…

The more interesting news is that our guild has now cleared everything in 10-man naxx except Kel’Thuzad. With my 3 80’s (one tank, one dps, one healer/dps) I’ve now seen every boss fight albeit with different characters 😛

Spider Wing
Off-tanked with druid, healed/dpsed with shaman

Plague Wing
Cleared Noth, Heigan, Loatheb with pally, dancing was quite easy once you understand it’s just running left -> right -> left -> right…

Construct Wing
Ate hatefuls with druid, dpsed/off-healed with pally
Failed Grobbulus with druid, killed Grobbulus, Gluth and Thaddius with pally

Military Wing
Healed everything with shaman, but only managed to clear 4-horsemen after speccing resto (it was very stressful having 4-horsemen as the first raid after speccing resto for the first time ever… and being asked to heal both Zeliek and Blaumex >.< my brain exploded a few times)

Sapphiron
Took quite a few tries but got him down with only a shaman’s frost resist totem for resists. Helped that we had 3 resto shamans and 1 prot pally in healing gear to heal the people soaking in Chills and Cleaves…

By the time we got Sapphiron down we were pretty tired since we hadn’t really intended on raiding that night and we were getting kinda irritated at a few people (does it make sense to not explain fights properly because you’re lazy, only to wipe a few times because no one even knows which way Sapphiron is supposed to face? “Turn him left” isn’t really hard to explain instead of “east-west” “north-south” “no I meant on minimap”) so we called it at that point.

Once we can clear the rest of Naxx quickly as we get more experienced, we’ll have plenty of time to try KZ rather than pushing on him over and over past midnight on a work day.