Friday, October 31, 2008

One Small Step for Forums, One Giant Leap for WoW-kind

As reported by, Nethaera appeared on the official forums yesterday to inform the community that as of November 6, the official class forum subsections will disappear. In their place will be subsections for Tanking, Healing, and Damage Dealing.

Now, at face value this seems like a great idea. In the past, having holy, prot, and ret paladins in the same place has caused chafing and arguments - namely holy paladins saying "lolret," ret paladins saying "ewww healing," and prot paladins saying "somebody love me!" Putting them into the same forum with their role-counterparts will encourage collaboration in bettering each other at their own roles and halt the bickering amongst intra-class hybrid players. This will effectively put an end to the "Paladin Civil War."

However, I think this will trade one snark for another. Now, prot paladins will wander into the damage-dealing forum for advice on off-spec retribution and be told "go back to the tanking forum, noob" or something of that sort. Not very productive.

Also, the damage-dealing forum is going to be overloaded. Tanking is simple logistics-wise: 4 tank classes, ~3 tanks per raid, that's 12% of the raid that are tanks. Healing: ~8 healers per raid, 4 healing classes, 32% of the raid. The rest of the raid, which is over 60%, is damage dealers. Plus, every class has a damage-dealer option. That forum sub-section is going to be flooded. I'm thinking that Blizz should split the damage-dealing forum into either ranged/melee, or physical/magic. A rogue has no cares about what a mage does for damage-dealing - they work on different resource systems, different schools of damage, and attack from immensely different vantage points.

Also, as BBB noted, hybrids are also losing a place to talk about their class-specific nuances, like shapeshifting macros for druids or seal-related debates for paladins. None of the warriors in the tanking forum are going to care about the prot paladins babbling about Seal of Righteousness versus Seal of Vengeance for threat generation.

So yea, good idea, but poor implementation, and lacking a little bit of foresight.

EDIT: Fixed some typos and phrasing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stairs and Escalators

People please, if you are on an escalator, or a flight of stairs, going up or down (it doesn't matter!), abide by the following rule:

The right is for local traffic, the left is express.

It's like that on highways, and most people understand that etiquette for foot travel as well. However, this morning coming out of the subway, there were many who disregarded this simple and easy to follow rule. While proceeding up the two-person wide escalator out of the subway, there were simpletons who decided to stagnate on the left-hand side of the escalator, blocking the path of those who wished to ascend quickly.

This is rude.

So, for your safety, please stay to the right unless you plan on walking up the up escalator for quick ascent. Otherwise, I might hit you with something sharp and/or heavy if I find myself behind you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Kill Zombies Without a Chainsaw in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1: Activate Divine Shield
Step 2: Wade into a mob of zombies
Step 3: Activate Avenging Wrath and use trinkets
Step 4: Consecrate
Step 5: Holy Wrath
Step 6: Divine Storm
Step 7: Raise hell until the bubble runs out
Step 8: Run the f!$% away, using Judgement and Exorcism at range and dropping new Consecrates behind you
Step 9: Hammer of Justice anything that gets close to you
Step 10: Spam Cleanse on yourself as you run and wait for cooldowns to come back up

If you get other paladins to follow this procedure in tandem with you, you'll have some piles of zombie corpses. Defend your home! For the Light!

Chicken Little, The Sky Is Not Falling

To all those who have asked me in the last few days:

  • Yes, I have seen the newest beta build notes.
  • Yes, I know they're nerfing all seal and Judgement damage.
  • Yes, I know they're halving the mana return of Judgements of the Wise.
  • No, I am not panicking about "retribution being nerfed into the ground."

Look, current state we're overpowered. I was solo'ing an elite with no outside buffs. Me, in a mix of raid and PvP gear, with only Blessing of Might to buff me, smacking an elite in the face. Judgement of Light on the target, Seal of Command on me, instant Flash of Lights and Divine Storms healing me as I went. I was spamming every ability I could, and every time I judged I jumped up back over 80-100% mana. No class is meant to have unlimited resource. Even though mana is not a mechanic that melee classes work well with, when using every ability at our disposal still results in a net gain in resource over time, something is not balanced correctly.

My concern is not that Blizzard is nerfing the damage or the mana situation. My only concern is for non-retribution paladins. These changes will hurt protection threat and holy solo'ing-capability. I'm pretty confident that even with these across-the-board seal & Judgement damage reductions, and even with less mana returned through JotW, that retribution damage will still be high. Divine Storm and Crusader Strike still are instant weapon-damage attacks (ignore the fact that Divine Storm is physical instead of holy), and with Judgement of Wisdom, JotW, and Spiritual Attunement splash damage gains feeding mana back, a cycle of the two strikes and Judgement should still be pretty easy to maintain. What gets cut? Consecration, a pure AoE spell that seemed out of place in a damage rotation anyway. Mages don't cast Blast Wave in their normal rotation, nor do warlocks cast Rain of Fire or Seed of Corruption on single-targets.

Retribution paladins, stop panicking. Put down the pitchforks and torches. This may seem like a similar situation to the 2.0 implementation, but back then we didn't have a semi-open line into the developers (i.e. Ghostcrawler, thank you Mr. Street for keeping us abreast of the situation) and we didn't see retribution in upper tier raids at all. The situation is different.

Am I worried? Sure, I'm worried. I'm not sure that these balance issues will be worked out by expansion release time. I'm not sure that the tests on the Patchwerk fights in beta are being done under feasible raid conditions. I'm not sure that the paladin mana situation was tested in 5-mans at all. But am I going to storm Blizzard's Irvine fortress in protest and cause a ruckus on the forums? No. Absolutely, patently, without a doubt, no. This is beta, changes are inevitable, and balance must be maintained. I'm going to zip it up, sit on my hands, and wait for more data and more news. If I get to 80, do a Naxxramas raid, and can't even hope to keep up on damage with the rest of the party and/or run out of mana 2 minutes into the fight after using my Divine Plea and a mana potion, then I'll start to whine and panic.

Do not be alarmed. This is all normal. Wait for the changes to be made, try them out in beta, and then make a judgment based upon the data you collect there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Undeath, and the Implications Therein

As many have noted, Arthas has made the first move in the coming war. Infected grain has appeared in many major cities, turning law-abiding citizens of both the Alliance and Horde into brain-craving ghoulish zombies. Whole towns have fallen to flocks of rapidly deteriorating carcasses feasting upon the flesh of our dear NPC's and quest-givers. The plague of undeath is spreading, and I fear that the stalwart guardians of the Alliance cannot safeguard our cities themselves.

You must help them.

The power to stem the tide of carnage rests within you. Cleanse the plague from the infected. Call upon your Holy Wrath and stand your Consecrated ground. Unleash a Divine Storm. Do what you must to protect you and your's.

Others may accuse you of being in league with Arthas for cutting down their friends. But if they have turned into zombies, they are no longer friends nor allies. They are the Scourge. They must be stopped.

This is a clarion call to all paladins - retribution, protection, and holy. Protect your homes! Combat the plague! Send these hellish beasts back to the grave!


EDIT: The Plague must be stopped. Join my crusade.
Or join here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Not Getting Political

The following is not meant in any way to endorse any candidate for President of the United States. We here at E4AE plan to remain mum about the upcoming election, even though the author maintains a very opinionated stance on the character of the two "main" party candidates.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, Barack Obama just gained 10 cool points. Talking fantasy football with Rick Reilly until moments before he's supposed to step on stage at a speaking engagement in Ohio? Now that's just plain awesome.

And don't get mad at me for 2 non-WoW posts in one day. I gave you my Art of War impressions this morning!

I Didn't Write These

... but she did. Much like a certain muffin-headed pony-tailed muchacha, I received my pre-order of Julia Nunes's newest album, "I Wrote These," recently (and for those who are interested, you can order it here). On said album is contained nothing short of audiological awesomeness. This latest release by Nunes is all original work, and includes several of her YouTube most popular songs. Here's a track list, and my short reactions to each song:

  1. Maybe I Will - she played this at the Knitting Factory concert I went to a while back. It's pretty catchy, and features Nunes's characteristic multi-tracking of her own voice.
  2. Into the Sunshine - the song that put her on the proverbial "map," it now features a some drums and bass addition. I've heard it bunches, but it's still good.
  3. First Impressions - one of Julia's ukelele originals, little depressing but I still listen to it over and over.
  4. Binoculars - another one that I heard at the Knitting Factory, kinda stalkerish but definitely fun. I can almost dance to it.
  5. Pen to Paper - this song was the most fun song from the Knitting Factory, and I love it. At the peak of each guitar riff, the audience would do a 'stomp clap' thing for two beats and it was friggen awesome. This song rocks my socks.
  6. Short and Sweet - true to its name, this song is like 2 minutes or less. You can sense Julia's anger.
  7. Welcome Vacation - when this song goes into its reprise, it leads off with Julia doing this 'ba ba baaaaaaa' thing that I want to cut down and use as an intro on a presentation or something. Very good song, probably one of my favorites on the album.
  8. You Were - I don't think I had ever heard this one before, but I likey. Hard to describe what it is I like about it, but I do.
  9. Stairwell - this song is great, but so very depressing if you listen close to the lyrics. If I could remember the one lyric toward the end that really gets me, I'd post it, but at the moment I don't. EDIT: the lyric in question: "Well I can't lie / Perhaps I didn't trip / I've been having troubles lately / And I've got something to admit / See I was standing at the top / Just thinking about the Earth / It's been so hard to keep on living / So I thought it might be worth it..."
  10. Regrets - FINALLY HAVE IT AS AN MP3! This is the one I had been waiting for ever-so-patiently (not really, I messaged Julia at least twice on YouTube asking if it'd be on this CD). My favorite Nunes original, she sings this one with such emotion - bottled up frustration/anger with a touch of sadness. As an added bonus, it's got a great bass riff in the CD version that you don't get on YouTube. The only drawback is the delivery has softened from the YouTube version as well. But, beggars can't be choosers, eh?
  11. Odd - I'm going to be perfectly honest. I don't really like this song very much. But, many do. It's one of her uke songs.
  12. Sugar Coats - a collab effort with another guitarist from Julia's general geographical area (name escapes me, left the CD case at home... Kirk? Kirk Stevens? Yea I'll go with that), this one has a very different tone than the rest of the CD. It sort of sticks out. Not that I'm saying it's bad! I like the song, it just doesn't blend with the other tracks.
  13. Roles Reversed - heard this one live at Knitting Factory, where Julia told a little of the story behind it. I love this song, easily my second favorite Julia original. Also, it's slightly better recorded rather than live because of the multi-tracking.
  14. The Debt - creative pseudo-beatboxing in the background makes this one very unique. Plus, the last line of the song sort of sticks with you.

I really liked Julia's first album, "Left Right Wrong," and this one is as good if not surpasses the first one in likeability. Some may say that Julia alone with her guitar/ukelele is the way to go, but I disagree - I love a good bass riff, and unless she grows extra appendages, there's no way that would work. As long as Julia keeps belting out her songs with charged emotion and feeling, and the accompaniment doesn't overpower her voice/guitar, I say include 'em.

Art of War

I've had a chance to mess around at a base level with the new Art of War talent. I have concluded that it is made of win and I absolutely love it. Consider the following:

  • Ret paladins crit a lot.
  • Mana is a non-issue with Judgements of the Wise.
  • With enormous amounts of strength, ret paladins have a great amount of attack power.
  • Sheath of Light converts attack power into spell power.
  • Spell power is used to boost healing.
  • Crit rating applies to both melee and spell casts.
  • Sheath of Light places a HoT on the target after a crit heal.
  • Art of War makes Flash of Light instant after a critical attack.
Now. Take all that in. What does it all mean? Ret paladins don't run out of mana on their own, so they have mana to spare on the odd Flash of Light. The melee ability crits the ret paladin lands will activate Art of War, which means they can just roll off a Flash of Light easily, resetting the swing timer but healing for an appreciable amount due to the Sheath of Light spell power conversion. And if that FoL crits, as it can and will, it leaves a beautiful heal over time behind.

The Sheath of Light - Art of War - Judgements of the Wise holy trinity has completely changed the landscape of solo work and small-scale PvP for ret paladins. I cannot say enough great things about them. Plus, with a scaling Judgement of Light and heals from Divine Storm in addition to frequent and relatively low-mana impact Flash of Lights, and less dependance on Judgement of Wisdom being present, there is the potential for an AMAZING amount of self-healing.

I wonder if I can manage to solo some at-level instance bosses with my current gear.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mount Macro Made of Awesome

As I noted to CyrnraAnar in the comments to my last post, here is the macro I use for mounting/dismounting:

#showtooltip Turbo-Charged Flying Machine
/cast [flyable,nomounted] Turbo-Charged Flying Machine; [noflyable,nomounted] Charger
/stopmacro [nomounted]
It will:
  • Mount my flying machine if I'm in an area that allows flying (i.e. Outland)
  • Mount my Charger if I'm in an area that allows mounts but no flying
  • Dismount if I'm currently mounted.
Replace everywhere where it says "Turbo-Charged Flying Machine" with your flying mount of choice, and you can replace "Charger" with your ground mount of choice (Amani War Bear? Chocobo? Gnomish Death Chicken? Whatever).

Now if I could only figure out the syntax to make it toggle my Crusader/Retribution Aura when I mount/dismount...

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Hotness

The new UI. Looks much like the old UI. But whateva.

The reason you see 5 of my unit frame is because I'm targeting and focusing myself. From left to right I have my personal unit frame, my target, my target's target, my focus's target, and my focus. The party/raid frames appear in the upper left, and boss timers start at the top and then the critical timers move to the bottom in between the target of target and focus's target frames.

The list:
Aperture - the mod that enables the creation of the "black strip" or "dead space" seen at the bottom of my screen.
Bartender4 - action bar modification, now with Bongos-like "mouse-over keybinding" functionality.
Buffalo - buff/debuff display modification.
Clique - fairly user-friendly mod that allows assignment of spell casting in a mouse-over click-to-cast manner; fairly common amongst healers. I use it solely for Flash of Light and Holy Light - I assigned Flash to shift + left click, Holy Light to shift + right click for ease of healing.
ClosetGnome - alternative to ItemRack and Outfitter. I'm used to it after using it for several months.
CowTip - tooltip modification. CowTip is one of the most comprehensive tooltip mods out there, I've gotten so used to being able to mouse-over a target and have it display who the target is targetting. I can't arena without it.
Deadly Boss Mods - commonly used boss ability notification mod.
OmniCC - displays the numerical value for ability cooldowns on their action bar icon. Knowing that I've got 2 seconds until I can Crusader Strike is a good thing, so I don't waste this next global cooldown on something stupid like a heal (har har).
oRA2 - raid mod for main tank/main assist display.
Parrot - replacement for Scrolling Combat Text. Still trying it on for size, so far I've found it a positive experience.
Prat 3.0 - chat box mod, allows for mouse-wheel scrolling in chat and very customizable chat display.
Proximo - arena mod, nearly essential for arena play.
Quartz - cast bar/swing timer display, complete with latency estimation.
simpleMiniMap - allows for customization and moving of the minimap.
X-Perl Unit Frames - fairly common unit frame mod.

EDIT: Added a short description of functionality next to each mod, because I'm sure there are people out there wondering what each does.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Passing Game

Non-WoW post incoming. I feel the need to address this issue because of a few gripes, namely a hatred of the Dallas Cowboys, extreme disrespect for Terrell Owens, and the misconceptions around the wide receiver commonly known as T.O.

No, this post is not about passing loot.

NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens is frequently cited as one of the best active players at his position. NFL "experts" laud his ability to gain yards after the catch, his sound pass-catching ability, and his powerful frame.

What I do not understand is how the same experts can turn around and explain that the reason he isn't producing gobs of yards, catches, and points for the Cowboys is that he isn't able to fight through press coverage, isn't getting separation from corners, and the QB isn't looking his way enough.

TO is 6'3", larger than most any cornerback that lines up opposite him. He supposedly has great upper body strength, which is what enables him to gain those yards-after-catch by fighting off arm tackles. Why is it, then, that a guy gifted physically can't fight through press coverage? A jam at the line of scrimmage from a smaller guy shouldn't be throwing him off that much.

And then, if he's so good, why can't he create separation in his routes? Good receivers are usually skilled in route-running, able to make a cut or a move that will throw the cornerback off and create some space. They also need a base amount of foot speed - a receiver who can't outrun a defensive tackle probably won't be able to create any separation, even if they make all the right cuts. TO supposedly has more than enough speed to come out of a break. If so, why are all the experts and announcers claiming that he's not able to create separation, but unwilling to criticize him for it?

All the reports I've been reading keep saying that the Cowboys "aren't getting him the ball enough," or they "need to get him involved more," or "should find ways to let him make plays." I say, if he's considered one of the upper echelon of wide receivers in the league today, he should be able to create plays. Maybe he's not getting open? Maybe his route-running isn't crisp, so the corners are draped all over him? Maybe he's just a loud-mouth and isn't really that good? If people want to claim that TO is one of, if not the, top receiver in the NFL, why did they have to go out and grab Roy Williams from the Lions to distract defenses from blanketing TO? The Carolina Panthers are able to get Steve Smith the ball and let him make plays, and I can't name a single other wide-out on their team. Good players don't need excuses, they simply execute. If TO were part of the elite, he'd be able to create separation and get open, and fight off the press coverage at the line. I think that his lack of production is simply evidence that he's a mediocre wide receiver that can put up gaudy numbers against bad defenses.

Make no mistake about it - I'm a NY Giants fan, I'd love to see TO and the Cowboys go down in flames this season. However, I'm terribly tired of seeing all this fanfare in the media about how the Cowboys need to do more to get TO the ball. I think that TO needs to do more to get the Cowboys some points. It's a two-way street, my friends, and this selfish, self-promoting sonofabeesting needs to put up or shut up if he's really that good.

End non-WoW transmission. I now return you to your regular retribution programming.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Now Hear This: Changes to Stat Priorities

With 3.0 came a few key changes to the way things work for retribution. Consider the following:

  • Armor penetration became rating-based rather than flat reduction
  • Divine Strength gained an extra 5% strength-booster
  • Sheath of Light adds spell power based on attack power, and both stats affect Judgement damage
  • Consecration now scales with attack power and spell power
  • Exorcism now scales with attack power and spell power

Even more than before (and you thought it wasn't possible!), your total AP is the main deciding factor in your damage. Every single ability you use scales with AP in some way, and those that scaled with spell power now get gains from both, AND you have a decent amount of spell power through Sheath of Light.

Before, in a raid setting, if you achieved enough armor reduction from gear with the right debuffs in place, ArPen was considered a golden stat to stack. Now, in light of the new-found AP scaling of all our DPS abilities, stack strength almost exclusively. Haste is great too. Don't worry so much about the crit and ArPen, go for hit to cap (~142 if you can get there since there's no more Precision), strength, and haste. Let everything else come naturally.

Over the next few weeks I'll be re-evaluating my Avenger's Path - Essential Posts and either making edits or re-writing as necessary to reflect these changes. Also, if I have time, I might wade back into the sea of posts at EJ and figure out if these educated assumptions are correct. (PS - if any of you follow the EJ ret thread(s) closely and can verify these assertions, please feel free to let me know. That thread has grown exponentially while I wasn't watching.)

Please Delete Your WTF Folder

After piddling around with the patching and the frantic panicking, I figured out that somehow a setting on my router was not forwarding a port correctly, and that's why I couldn't connect to WoW. Problem solved, Cathmor alive and well.

I decided I wanted a totally fresh start with my UI now that 3.0 borked most of my add-ons. I trounced around some of the major cities yesterday with the default Blizzard UI after deleting my WTF and saved variables, only preserving my macros.

Over the next few days/weeks, I'll be rebuilding my UI from scratch and exploring new keybindings, since I've got all sorts of new buttons to push (DIVINE STORM!). I've been reduced to a total nooblet, however - I never realized how much I had come to rely on my target-of-target frame in PvP, and I can't stand the Blizzard base UI combat text. Also, the new Seal & Judgement system has me in all sorts of confusion, with Judgement being 3 spells instead of 1, the debuff not being tied to the seal, and Judgement being on the global cooldown now. And remembering that Avenging Wrath doesn't incur Forbearance is apparently difficult for me.

Anyway, I'm going to try to build the leanest UI I can just so I have fewer add-ons in the folder. If you have any suggestions for new and improved working add-ons and mods, please leave them in the comments! Some add-ons that I have been considering:

Pally Power - because there's still nothing better.
Pitbull - alter my unit frames and tooltips.
oRA2 - main tank windows for raids, if/when I raid.
Omen - everybody's favorite threat meter.
FuBar - if I can find plug-ins for most of the mods I install, I definitely liked having FuBar. I'm just not sure if it's working correctly in 3.0.
Prat (or equivalent) - being able to mouse-scroll through the chat window is amazing.
Parrot - I've been told that Parrot is a good floating combat text mod. Might give it a shot. I'm open to alternatives.
Cartographer - better map interface.
Bartender4 - better bindings, better bar placement, Bartender4.
Deadly Boss Mods - because everyone needs to know when that whirlwind is about to happen.
Item Rack (or equivalent) - I don't know how I managed my gear swapping without ClosetGnome or Item Rack. I need one of them back.
Proximo - for all my arena needs.
Buffalo (or equivalent) - to alter the appearance/location of my buff bars.
Cooldown Count - so that I know exactly how long until I can Divine Storm.
Quartz - for casting bars and swing timers.
Aperture (possibly) - if I find myself in need of more screen space, I might re-install this viewport mod.

If anyone knows of mods that work, mods that don't work, or mods that are better amongst the ones listed above, please feel free to say so. And if I didn't list a mod that you think is crucial to any ret paladin, pipe up and tell me!

Other than lose some arena matches, gawk at the achievements UI, blast my interface into the Stone Age, completely re-bind my keys, explore the new harbor, and mess around with a few new macros, I just ran around in some of the major cities trying to decide what to do. A guildmate threw me a Glyph of Judgement and a Glyph of Seal of Command, so I equipped those, and I re-enchanted my Dreadboots for Surefooted. FYI, Surefooted had 10 crit rating added to the 10 hit rating on the enchant, it is now an amazing enchant, especially with Precision gone and everyone asking "WHERE'S MY HIT RATING?" Go re-enchant the boots you love.

Merry WoW'ing, one and all! I'll be back soon with some UI re-building tips/gripes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Case You Missed Me That Much...

... a third post from your's truly on this Wednesday afternoon!

I was reading through my feedreader and caught this post by BBB. Since I'm currently unattached, I can say this without fear of any repercussions:

The Butt is right. I'm in total agreement with just about everything on his list.

Except for maybe the camping comment. I was never one to enjoy camping. Elsewise, I'm on board with everything he said.

Boss Spotlight: Felmyst

In a continuing effort to educate the community on how Retribution Paladins should approach fights that pose specific difficulties to the class, E4AE proudly presents another "Boss Spotlight!" In quite possibly the last installment for a while: Felmyst.

Felmyst is the third boss of Sunwell Plateau, accessible after Brutallus is killed. Felmyst is the remains of Madrigosa, a blue dragon that attempted to subdue Brutallus before she was summarily slaughtered. The blood of the pit lord seeped into the soil and corrupted what was left of the noble dragon, warping her into a fel dragon and granting her new and dangerous abilities.

Why are we talking about this boss?
Unlike the preceeding boss, Brutallus, Felmyst requires a lot of movement and
situational awareness. Felmyst will frequently alternate between "ground" and "air" phases, much like Nightbane from Karazhan. Also like Nightbane, the air phase is characterized by a horde of skeletons raining from the heavens to slaughter all of the living. That, plus all the raid damage being thrown around, means you need to be light on your feet and keep your wits about you. One false move, an inopportune lag spike, or any hesitation in your movement can spell fatality for you and yours.

What to do when facing Felmyst
The fight is almost squarely on the healers (notably the priests), but there are still a few things you, as a ret paladin, about which you need to be aware.

Felmyst is about awareness. First, ground phase awareness. Ol' Mystie will periodically cast Gas Cloud, which is a debuff that drains health and mana from everyone in range and can only be dispelled via immunities or Mass Dispel. You need to stay aware of your HP - if you drop low, gulp a health potion or healthstone. The amount of raid damage in this fight will keep your mana topped via Spiritual Attunement gains from heals, so don't save the potion cooldown for a mana potion. Keep yourself alive, the healers are going to be stretched.

The second ability during ground phase that you need to be aware of is Encapsulate. Felmyst will turn and target a random person in the raid other than the main tank and cast this ability on that raider, lifting them in the air and dealing damage to that person and everyone within 20 yards. You need to carefully watch your surroundings, and at the first sign of Felmyst casting Encapsulate, run like your life depends on it. Because it does. Before Arcane resistance is figured in, Encapsulate can deal about 10.5k damage in 3 seconds. I don't know about you, but I run about 10.6k HP raid buffed, and there's frequent damage from Felmyst's Noxious Fumes aura constantly eating away at that total. If you hesitate, you die. Keep an eye on your distance from others, and know your exit strategy should someone near you get hit with Encapsulate.

After a set period of time, Felmyst will take to the air. The first part of the air phase involves dodging Felmyst's green trail of doom. She uses a targeted breath attack that is easily out-run, but can catch people by surprise. The breath leaves a green trail that spawns skeletons, and if anyone crosses the trail more skeletons spawn. It needs to be said: don't stand in the green stuff. Move away from it. And if the breath attack targets you, kite it. Don't just stand there, you'll die.

After she does the green spew thing twice, she'll decide to carpet bomb entire sections of the area with green gas. Anyone caught in the gas will get irreversibly mind controlled and thus must die. Again, don't stand in the bad things. Keep an eye on Felmyst, she always bombs either the northern half or southern half of the map, and will tip which way she's going seconds before her attack. Run the other way, as fast as your greaves allow.

As you can see, many things can threaten your health in this fight. Give priority to your life-saving abilities. Watch for clothies in danger of becoming skeleton snacks, and BoP them. Lay on Hands a tank in trouble. Divine Shield to save yourself, and only use Avenging Wrath if you are assured safety (Divine Shield on cooldown, Encapsulate just happened, still 20s or more left on the ground phase). Also, since there is so many "move or die" situations in this fight, Pursuit of Justice can be your best friend. At the very least, you absolutely need Cat's Swiftness or Boar's Speed on your boots if you've invested your talents elsewhere.

Besides all that... ummm... pew pew and such?

Special note: Several of the tips in this guide are obsolete because of changes brought in the Echoes of Doom patch, specifically saving Avenging Wrath. My original thoughts on the fight are preserved here for posterity, since this is how I learned it. For your own purposes, you may use Avenging Wrath at any point in the ground phase when you think you'll be able to stand still for the entire duration and pound away at Felmyst's backside.

I've Got A Bad Feeling 'Bout This...

It seems that breaking my add-ons wasn't the only thing I should have been worried about when anticipating the Echoes of Doom patch. I left my compy on all day yesterday with the Blizzard Downloader active so that I could patch up when I got home and log in to see swirly hammers of death.

What greeted me after work was not a fully patched client, but instead a Blizzard Downloader stalled at 97% complete on its task. I hit cancel and then loaded up WoW to prompt it to try again, but the client must have been borked somehow in this procedure, because now when I attempt to log in to my account via the WoW client, it tries to connect and then reports back "Login Server Down." I know for a fact that the login servers are functioning, as I was sitting in Ventrilo with guildmates who were logging in and out while these shenanigans were happening.

I noticed late last night that my game version was reporting to me as 3.0.1, so I left for work this morning with my computer downloading a 3.0.1 -> 3.0.2 patch from a mirror. If downloading and attempting to install that patch doesn't work, I might declare a holy jihad on my computer. I want to Divine Storm things and wander around Stormwind Harbor, dagnabit!

I think I might affect a class change, because this situation is definitely filling my rage bar.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are You Prepared?

T-minus one day and counting, people! Patch 3.0 is upon us. Make sure you head over to Wowhead's WotLK pages and craft up a new spec, get those herbs ready to gouge the auction market (the scribes will gobble them up!), and go find some new add-ons, because I guarantee that a bunch will break tomorrow.

Also, get ready to hand that herb money back to the scribes who get up to 350 skill, because you'll want to pay them for glyphs. Natch.

I've gotta figure out how I'm going to change my keybinds! Divine Storm must be accomodated!

And if you've got any hope/chance of achieving a high arena rating, make sure you get your games in tonight. Season 4 ends with the patch.

(Yes, I know, I'm a terrible blogger. You try blogging about raiding as retribution when you raid twice a month.)

Speaking of raiding! I ended up playing a little last night, and got yoinked into Sunwell to fill the shoes of my guild's replacement for me. He disconnected and then went M.I.A. mid-raid, so I got to see my first Felmyst kill (Triple conqueror drop! No boots for me though, 'cuz I'm not a raider.), and then watched the raid get totally smashed by the Eredar Twins a few times until they decided to toss me for more healing. I felt so used! I'm Something Wicked's call girl - get the call when they've got the itch, do my thang, then get thrown out when they're done with me.

Not even a goodbye kiss. Harumph.

I'll write up the Felmyst strat from a ret paladin's perspective soon. Keep a look out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Revisiting Hybrid Theory

Today I verbally eviscerated another paladin from my realm very methodically on the official forums in a discussion about WotLK retribution specs (scroll down to post #39, end of the page, for my comprehensive response to the discussion).

If you do click through, be forewarned that page 1 is terribly formatted because post #14 by poster "Johalonos" contains no spaces. Scroll down and ignore that poster before continuing if you value your sanity.

The discussion migrated toward out of the box thinking when speccing ret for PvE, and retaining the ability to heal. That discussion brought to mind previous posts by Rohan of Blessing of Kings.

To date, Blizzard has been moving hybrids toward specialized roles, handcuffing their abilities to be fluid hybrids (that is, switch between roles mid-stream in an encounter). It dawned on me in the course of the aforementioned evisceration that we've reversed direction, in a good way. Talents like Sheath of Light and Art of War, coupled with unified physical/spell crit rating, are allowing traditionally modal hybrids to act a little bit more like fluid hybrids. Now, stacking my strength/AP will increase my spell power, so that the heals I throw won't be utterly puny. And Art of War allows for quick Flash of Light casts, so that I'm not just at base healing ability.

What do you think? Are these talents a sign that Blizzard is attempting to move hybrids back toward a fluid model, rather than strictly defining them in modal roles?