Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First dance with the Lich King!

So, just yesterday I was fretting on another shaman blog that I feared we had hit a wall with Sindragosa. I don't know if it was the new 10% ICC buff, or just improved raid coordination, but we got her down in just 3 tries last night!

We got to take a peek at the Lich King encounter, which incorporates some unique encounter mechanics, feels dynamic and fun, and has an epic feel to it. I like that his fight seems to incorporate little elements of other WOTLK fights: his Necrotic Plague ability is kind of similar to Rotface's Mutated Infection; healing up a raid after an Infest is similar to healing a target of Lord Jaraxxus's Incinerate Flesh (In fact, I'm thinking of trying to fix up my broken GridStatusRaidDebuff so I can actually make sure the raid is getting Infest taken off).

We got in about 10 attempts last night, and were comfortably getting him into phase 2. Though we're not going to have any more raids this week due to the Easter break, I'm pretty confident that we'll be able to get a hang of those Defiles down, and I'm hoping to see Phase 3 next time I'm in there.

From a resto shaman perspective, I found the healing intense. It's not constant AOE like BQL or Sindragosa, but instead it's sudden bursts of intense raid healing. Maybe it's because it was my first night on the encounter, and maybe I was a little paranoid, and overhealing a bit, but I found myself burning through mana like crazy. I am gonna try to set up my shaman_hep parse for my log to just look at the LK encounter, but as it's such an intense fight, and so much longer than the other ICC encounters, I am thinking I'm going to have to rethink my stat weights and trinket choices for that fight, and I may go back to the mana restore meta gem.

So excited to finally get a crack at this guy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Patch 3.3.3 for the tunnel-visioned Shaman

By all accounts, patch 3.3.3 drops tomorrow. As a shaman, what do you need to know about? Not much!

Quote from Zarhym
PTR Patch 3.3.3 Notes - 03.15.10
  • Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
  • Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
  • Unleashed Rage: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
  • Shaman Tier-10 4-Piece Elemental set Bonus: This bonus has been slightly adjusted to account for the fact that haste now modifies Flame Shock's periodic damage ticks. The bonus now makes the shaman's Lava Burst cause Flame Shock to tick at least two additional times before expiring.

Really nothing much going on for resto shaman, but some interesting changes for ele. The flame shock buff is nice, and considering that when I play ele I have a ton of extra haste from the resto pieces I can't replace, I'll get a ton of use out of it I'm sure. I'm still not crazy about the ele t10 set, and considering it's my second spec, I'll probably never see it anyway.

Other interesting notes? Daily battlegrounds being revamped, a hidden mechanic in wintergrasp that will handicap factions that win wintergrasp more than 3 times in a row. But as a resto shaman, the note that probably I found the most interesting?

Quote from Zarhym

Dungeons and Raids
  • Blood-Queen Lana'thel: Pact of the Darkfallen now applies damage twice as often, but for half the damage. This change will make the removal of the spell a bit more responsive.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Is mp5 irrelevant on progression fights?

I've run into some very strange gearing issues lately. The main problem for me is that the value of mp5 fluctuates wildly from fight to fight. The main reason is that for most of the progression fights, there is either so much raid damage that our Water Shield makes gearing for mp5 on these fights completely inefficient (Putricide, Blood Queen, Sindragosa), or there are mechanics that make mp5 irrelevant (Valithria).

To give you an idea, Water Shield procs every 2 seconds on Blood Queen, which combined with Improved Water Shield gave me about 540 mp5. On Sindragosa, Frost Aura causes Water Shield to proc every 3 seconds, and combined with the forced throttling of Unchained Magic, I never need my mana tide on either of these fights unless I die unexpectedly. Some shaman will carry multiple sets for different fights, and for these fights would opt out of mp5 entirely; I'm too lazy to gem and balance multiple sets myself, but I have to figure that if I'm going to min-max for any fight, it should be the hard progression fights, right?

In my combat log parse last night, my Insightful Earthsiege Diamond got a distressingly low HEP value of about 40 HEP. While most shaman agree that The Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond is the best choice when you have double solace, I'm thinking of switching to this even though I don't even have those. In addition to gaining the crit heal effect, I will be gaining a little haste by replacing the one mp5 gem I have to meet my blue gem requirement with a yellow haste gem.

So I think I'm going to start moving away from mp5 entirely, starting with my meta gem, and then replacing my boot enchant with Tuskarr's Vitality (which I should have done a long time ago). I'm hoping it's not going to be super painful when my guild gets to heroic modes, for fights that won't have these contstant damage mechanics, but I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Broken Vote to Kick system

The Dungeon Finder system introduced in 3.3.0 was in many ways a revitalization of the casual dungeon system, and allowed players with only half an hour to play each day an effective way to get a measurable amount of progress toward new loot every day.

However, one aspect of it that is deeply flawed is the Vote to Kick system. I was really excited when I read a blue post a few weeks ago saying:
Quote from Zarhym
It's not mentioned in the notes, but the Vote Kick option no longer has a 15-minute cooldown. Enjoy. :) (Source)

However, last night we got into Occulus, and 2 pulls into the dungeon, our rogue happily announces that he has to go afk to eat dinner. We immediately attempt to kick him and get the frustrating message "You cannot kick this player for another 14 minutes". I don't know if the change got reverted, or if this was a bug, but we had to go through the already annoying trash and early bosses of the Occulus with only 4 players, and then when the timer was about to run out, our rogue returns and says "Ok ready!". Naturally, because we're not idiots, we still just waited for the timer to run out and then kicked him anyway, but it still was an irritating reminder that there are still people in this game who know that it is possible to get something for doing nothing.

I have had so many conflicting experiences with the Vote to Kick system that I really don't know what to expect from it at any given time. At present though, it is not a reliable way to keep lazy players from leeching effort from regular players just trying to have fun and playing the game as it is intended. In that regards, it is very similar to the well-intentioned, but ultimately useless "report player AFK" option in battlegrounds. I have to say that I've never seen this deter any afkers from happily going about