Friday, September 26, 2008

WotLK: Buffs and Debuffs Addendum

To tack another thought onto my previous post on blessings in Wrath:

A lot of raid buffs are becoming raid-wide instead of group-wide. So, when I said that a priest only has to cast Prayer of Fortitude five times to a paladin's fifteen or so blessing casts? Yea, try one cast. Prayer of Fortitude will affect all raid members in range. I believe that other such buffs, like Gift of the Wild and Arcane Brilliance, will do the same.

So recap! Raid buffs for priests, mages, druids? One cast per sixty minutes. Blessings for paladins? At best, ten casts per thirty minutes, more likely fifteen casts per fifteen or so, averaging out the ten minute single casts and the thirty minute class-wide buffing.

Blizzard wants to monitor the "fun factor" of the game? Find a way to reduce blessing time consumption like what was done with other raid buffs. Blessings got more cumbersome with the addition of death knights.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

WotLK: Spoilers Ahead, Read At Own Risk

This post is about an upcoming quest-line in Northrend that is hotly discussed on the forums at present. If you wish to remain blissfully ignorant as to quests, content, lore-twists, and all things Wrath of the Lich King, do not read any further.
Currently in WotLK, there is a very long quest-line for the mid-70's that, by all accounts, is the epitome of epic. It pulls together all sorts of storylines and factional heroes for a showdown to rock the entirety of Northrend. If that description doesn't get the juices flowing, I don't know what will.

Factional heroes Fordragon and Saurfang are the leaders of the Alliance and Horde camps at the gates of Icecrown Citadel. The gate is named Angrathar the Wrath Gate - it is forged using the blood of an Old God. I do not have details on the quests leading up to the monumental world-changing event about which I am about to delve, but I have been assured that it is long, involved, and lore-rich.

The camps are gearing for an assault on Icecrown. Fordragon calls Arthas out, a battle ensues, and, well... here's a link to the proceedings:

Now, here's where I go from excited to floored. The Royal Apothecary Society was working in concert with Varimathras - simultaneous to all the hubbub at the Wrath Gate, Varimathras made a bid to overthrow the leadership in the Undercity. Here's some preliminary quest text from Wowwiki:

The Battle For The Undercity

As the combined Horde and Alliance forces began their assault upon Angrathar the Wrath Gate, an uprising broke out in the Undercity. Varimathras and hordes of his demonic brethren overran the city, slaying all those who would not submit to their dark rule. Sylvanas herself was nearly killed in the coup, but managed to escape with a number of loyalists and fled to Orgrimmar. Determined not to allow the Dreadlords a foothold in Horde territory, Thrall and Sylvanas planned an immediate counterattack. In the midst of their planning, Jaina Proudmoore arrived with terrible news: in the wake of Bolvar Fordragon's death, Varian Wrynn had ordered an assault on the Undercity, not to remove the Dreadlords, but as the first strike in a new war against the Horde.

Sylvanas returned to the Undercity at the head of a Horde army,
determined to retake her city. Along with Thrall and Vol'jin, she led the assault into Undercity itself, a cry for her people upon her lips. In the Throne Room, Sylvanas fought and finally slew Varimathras, retaking her Throne at a cost not yet forseen.

The quest info above appears to be from a Horde P.O.V., but rest assured, there's an Alliance component. Wrynn and I believe Lady Proudmoore charge into Undercity at the head of an Alliance contingent to cause general havoc for the Horde.

Now, I've always said that one thing that I've wanted to do more of is raid capital cities. What did Blizzard do? Take note of the bolded text in the above (emphasis added by me). They re-installed the King of Stormwind, made him a warhawk, and had him declare all-out war on the Horde, starting with a raid on a capital city. The quest has players fighting through a phased Undercity alongside several Alliance heroes. It's a whole new world, and that world involves epic quest-sanctioned raids on the Undercity.

I, for one, welcome our new bloodthirsty overlords.

I snipped most of this information from this disucssion thread on Maintankadin, for any who are interested.

EDIT: For more on the above proceedings, check out Alex Ziebart's WoWInsider article.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Paladins Make The Best Lovers

Following Saresa, Matt, Sydera, and Auzara, they're all abso-tively wrong. It's not the granola-munching druids, the pansy-praying priests, the devious demonic warlocks, or even the ego-maniacal GM's that make the best lovers. It's clearly paladins. Why? I'm glad you asked.

We're into role-play
It's a well known fact that nearly every paladin you run into likes to mix it up with some RP. I mean, seriously, have you met many paladins who don't mix it up with some character play from time to time?
We make you feel good about it
With all the blessings, light, and righteous auras radiating from us, you can never feel guilty about indulging your sinful side around a paladin.
We make you better
Want to last longer? We can help you there. We've got a blessing for every occasion, and to fufill your every desire.
We can meet your needs
We can specialize in any tree you want - just let us know how you like it. Just don't ask us to do it from a distance - we prefer a more up-close and personal approach.
We're especially good with our hands
Allow me to lay my hands on you. I promise you'll like it.
We've got Blessing of Protection, baby
Bosutei speaks the truth. Need I say more?

Bless You

This was always a problem for paladin leads in raids, and it still poses a bit of an annoyance going forward in WotLK. For many classes, there is not one optimal blessing that can be cast for blanket coverage, especially now that Blessing of Salvation is gone.

If you have a feral druid, a moonkin, and a resto druid all in a raid, what blessing do you cast? The moonkin and the resto will want wisdom or kings, and the feral will want might or kings, or sanctuary depending on the fight and raid make-up. If you have a holy, ret, and prot paladin in your raid, each of them will want something different as well! Same goes for death knights (DPS vs. tank), warriors (fury/arms vs. prot), and shaman (enhancement vs. resto/ele).

Sure, this was a problem before, but with an expansion coming soon, there is/was an opportunity to address this nagging issue. As it stands, paladins must cast their greater blessings and then update certain people of each class/role with regular blessings. Most other buffs are group-based and generic - the priest who casts Prayer of Fortitude casts it on a group, not a class. In addition, Prayer of Fortitude is a blanket stamina boost. The only buff that a paladin can cast that is effective for everyone regardless of class/role is Blessing of Kings, and it's only available through talents.

What I'm trying to say here is simple. Perhaps, and I'm just throwing this out there, Blizzard should move away from class-based blessings and devote a little time to planning out a more efficient blessing method. It doesn't make sense to cast a blanket Blessing of Wisdom on your three druids if one of them can't benefit from it. There's got to be a better way.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WotLK: Buffs and Debuffs Changes

I know our insane equine friend Suicidal Zebra didn't break the story, but I'm linking his post on buff/debuff changes in the expansion. In the post, he lays out and explains a blue post from a dev on the beta boards which breaks current raid buffs and debuffs into categories, and informs the community that the strongest buff/debuff present will be counted and others ignored.

Now, I don't mean to be alarmist, but consider this for a second. What does a ret paladin bring to a raid in WotLK?

  • 3% crit on debuff judgements
  • Replenishment from Judgements of the Wise
  • 3% haste from Swift Retribution
  • 2% increased damage to all raid members affected by Retribution Aura
Now, let's take a look at each more closely...
  • The crit can be provided by a Holy/Ret paladin, which I anticipate many healer paladins speccing for since Conviction helps their healing now, and they have a reason to Judge. In addition, Totem of Wrath is a additive raid crit buff, so both cannot be active at once.
  • The Replenishment buff, unless it can be provided by multiple people at once, is duplicated by survival hunters and shadow priests. This is nothing exceptional.
  • The haste from Swift Retribution is duplicated by Moonkin Aura.
  • The damage multiplier is duplicated by Ferocious Inspiration.
I'm not saying that no one should spec retribution in WotLK. All I'm meaning to do here is point out that there is no longer a uniqueness or necessity for a ret paladin in high-end raiding. You can get all the buffs a ret brings from other sources. Combine this with the fact that all paladins will be judging (meaning if you have 2 of any spec in the group, you'll get both JoW and JoL), and I'm not sure how many raids will decide "hey, I need a ret paladin!"

Depending on how well Blizzard does in tuning ret paladin damage and mana management, we might see a new age in paladin raid invites - ret paladins being sought after purely on skill rather than a desperate grasp at having a full-time Judgement bot.

Me, though? I might just take the easy way out and spec prot at 80. Everyone always needs a tank, even if they're just "good" and not "OMG amazing!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

WotLK: Retribution Aura

You know how Retribution Aura, in its current state, is sorta wimpy? And you know how the talent in the Retribution tree, Improved Retribution Aura, is avoided like the plague because of this? I have a feeling that the latter is about to change.

In the upcoming expansion, one of the changes being implemented for paladins is that Retribution Aura will scale with spell power on the paladin. What was previously a static thorns-y kickback that most people never noticed is about to get a big boost, since every paladin will have spell power (go go stamina -> spell power and AP -> spell power talents!). Paladins everywhere will have Retribution Auras that kick back 100+ damage upon being hit. When you consider how many times a rogue can stab you in the span of 5 seconds, that damage adds up to an appreciable amount.

What does this mean for the Retribution tree? Well, Improved Retribution Aura just got a whole lot more appealing. At 2 talent points, it increases the damage return on the aura by 50%. On live servers at current, a boost of 50% on the piddly damage the little-used (by ret paladins, anyway) aura is not worth any talent investment whatsoever. Ret paladins hardly activate that aura, and 50% of a small number is small.


With the damage return ramping up and having a scaling component, 50% of that number suddenly became appealing. It's only useful against melee attackers, but a good portion of both PvE and PvP opponents depend on connecting with melee strikes to cause damage. What does this mean to you? Death Knights, Ret Paladins, Enhancement Shamans, Rogues of all types, Warriors of all types, Hunter pets, Feral Druids, and all melee NPC's are going to attack paladins and go "What the hell is killing me? He hasn't even swung at me yet!?! I've lost 1k health just in the span of this stun!"

Unless health pools ramp up to insane proportions at level 80, I think that we're going to learn to absolutely love our Retribution Aura, and possibly even the corresponding talent.

EDIT: Oh, and congrats me, 100th post.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Alltop - The Online Blogazine Rack

Honorshammer's latest blog post reminded me - E4AE has been included in a new online blog initiative: Alltop, the online blogazine rack.

No, they don't use the word blogazine. That's my own doing. Thank me later.

It's basically a site that catalogues major blogs, their latest posts, and allows readers who don't use a feedreader to see all the "popular" blogs in one place. Cool idea. I don't plan on using it, since I use a feedreader for my daily dose of blog, but I might wander over there to see what else they feature and poke my head over to some new blogs.

Alltop's rep asked me to plug them for linking me, and I'm a sheep, so I complied.

Let me know what you think of it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Day Has Come

It's official. I'm a retired raider.

Now, what can I take for these withdrawal symptoms and lingering Warcraft-obsessive tendencies?