Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Tier 10 and their Origins

Most people have probably noticed that Icecrown's Tier 10 reflects upon key iconic figures that make up the Lich King's army in Northrend, so here's a post where you can see for yourself the sets currently available on MMOChampion and from the PTR, and the figures that influence the designs:

Warrior T10. Hard to find the Vry'kul resemblance at first but after looking for the key figure, King Ymiron, we can see the boar shoulders are a deliberate reference to the King's belt. Very cool design, reflective of the wonderful T3/T6 warrior design as well, which was one of the best designed sets out there.

Rogue T10. Obvious reference to the Northrend Geist. Who doesn't love The Leaper? Aside from the obvious one eye helm, a real world reference to the Cyborg Ninja of Metal Gear Solid fame, the noose from the Geist features prominently in the rogue set. The rough stitches provide the details to the set pieces whilst resembling like the same rough stitches that we see on fleshbeast creations throughout Northrend.

Mage T10. The San'layn have been a mysterious prescence throughout Northrend. With a whole wing dedicated to the mysterious blood drinkers in Icecrown Citadel, they deserve some kind of recognition for their services to the Lich King. The mummified bandages go away from the San'layn model in favour of an ornate, jeweled, set design.

Hunter T10. Cryptlordstalker! Nerubians have played a huge part in how the Scourge rose to power, and the traitor king Anub'arak is the basis for the hunter tier. The spiked helm is the obvious trait, as does the big smooth and round shoulders that resemble the crypt lord. However, we lose the minor Egyptian details from the transition of cryptlord to hunter. Instead, we get belts and other leathery touches to make it a hunter set that looks like a cryptlord, rather than the other way around.

Druid T10. Not a perfect reference, but pretty much resembles the undead beasts such as Gluth and other shadowy fiends. It has the stag-like horns that clearly make it a druid set, and despite the faceless look I like it.

Death Knight T10. Pretty obvious! Skull placements, unsymmetric shoulders, triple spiked helm are the main features that make transition from Arthas to the death knight set.

Priest T10. I'm probably a teeny bit bitter that the obvious choice of inspiration for a priest set, the Val'kyr, have been snubbed. Instead we get a Dreadmist sort of looking set, influenced by Necromancers such as Heigan the Unclean. There have been recolors shown on official WoW forums that make it look a lot nicer, but to me, the overall look remains pretty uninspired. Hell, even a skull-o-meter count results is a big fat zero. The only thing that makes it look remotely like an Icecrown set is pair of horns at the bottom of the dress. Sorry Horde, looks like T10 got the same designers that designed the "Alliance" T9 cloth, which didn't have any actual Alliance insignias at all.

Val'kyrs remain the missed obvious choice still, after all, Arthas never seems to walk around anywhere without his two Val'kyrs in early Northrend quests. The angelic winged look combined with the power over life of death that they have would've made a great inspiration for the priest tier 10. Some priests have already taken steps to redesign the set, such as Saerah. It looks fantastic:

I have left out Warlocks and Paladins because I'm not too sure on their in-game references, and Shamans haven't been released yet. Does anyone have ideas?

Priest Tier 10 Released & [Spoiler] "Lava Man"

Quick post before bed, will edit in the morning but:

Ugh, here I was hoping with all the themes going on with the class sets, Priests would get Val'kyrs as their inspiration for T10. Instead we got.. a makeover from the same guys who should've been fired for the atrocity that was Alliance T9. Lately Blizzard seems to have forgotten their priestly angelic icons that formed the basis for some of the stunning early set designs. A real shame that priests have to finish WOTLK with such a dull and generic design, but hey, we can always grab warlock offset pieces, I guess?

This new build also gave us a new model. Humanoid.. burnt and scorched, yet still alive.. almost as if someone with the power of flame and life had touched him. PTR always gives us some fun stuff. Armor on Lava Man remains similar to Bolvar, so it's probably that..

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Hallow's End 2009

Hallow's End started at 01:00 server time and a lot of people had the same idea of getting there early and get a run in before the daily reset. The loots have been updated but the item levels are still Heroic Dungeon/Naxx10 quality epics which isn't what was to expected considering the gear resets Blizzard keeps doing so much of. Maybe we'll see another Direbrew Mug before next week, who knows.

Friday, 16 October 2009

How To: ForteXorcist

ForteXorcist setup as suggested by Jaedia - and all in one image! Only deals with Spell Timer, Cooldown Timer is something I don't really tweak with, although it's not much different.

I also updated my other addons, Postal now tracks how many mails you have incoming altogether, and lets you know when you can retrieve them. I also grabbed GupPet, which replaces Livestock for automated companion pet action. Lurky summoning without effort!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

More 3.3 Priest Changes

As I caught news of the latest PTR changes on Tuesday night, I immediately got the patch and went on it to check it out. And I wasn't the only one.

And so, along with five others at midnight, tested out our damage - although with the amount of debuffs on the dummies, the numbers kept being skewed. I think we can safely say we were buffed. However, I might be wrong, so feel free to buff us some more! The changes have been reported on several blogs already, haste applying to dots when in shadowform being the main buff amongst others.

My testing method remained the same across all tries, which was to simply do damage until I reached approximately 500k, with one shadowfiend usage. The initial buffs we have received so far give us 200-300 dps, but there are still some bugs regarding haste on the PTR, as well as the lag on there. It also doesn't help that I haven't really been gearing for haste (300 was Elitist Jerks current recommendation), and therefore don't get to see the full benefit. I have been avoiding the spirit stat, and means I tend to lose out on haste too. EJ is also rife with theorycrafting at the moment, which makes for some good reads.

Another Good Thing as a result of shadowform haste means that we finally have a choice in glyphs! Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain is being changed so that you gain 1% mana every tick, as a result of mana consumption being higher from haste (having to recast dots more often). Although it is probably going to be the Raider's Choice, there are other choices to take for third glyph, chiefly Glyph of Dispersion, also for mana regen and 'ohshit' purposes. A dark horse would be Glyph of Power Word: Shield, one I used for levelling to 80 during shadow for AoE grinding. Who knows, we might see a comeback for raiding!

I have neglected to mention some other 3.3 goodies, such as the T10 set bonuses. Reducing Mind Flay channelling, meaning we don't have to wait for the first 50% of the spell before we see a damage tick? Awesome. The new 40 yard range on nameplates is cool also, especially when you have an addon like Aloft. Blizzard are really going all out on this last patch (it's going to last a good 4-5 months before Cataclysm, after all), and we ain't seen the end of it yet.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Druid Art Contest: My Submission!

A tweet caught my eye today, and I naturally followed and found a Druid Art Contest! Icedragon is giving away a game card for the best drawing. I don't particularly want to win it but it's nice to have a reason to doodle once in a while. Here's my entry:

That's right. John Lennon Tree. Bitches.

Will Jaina Get The Noose?

Came across a blog today, Empowered Fire. As the name suggests, it is a mage blog and it's two authors have some interesting topics on Magery and their Life in General. However one perked me up - entitled "Jaina Gets Her Groove Back". It's funny how the author (a self proclaimed feminist) describes the new Jaina model as looking like "a diplomat and very powerful mage without her ass hanging out", seeing how the latest model can be described as 'Anna Nicole Smith with Down's Syndrome'. And improved cleavage. Not that I'm complaining. About the latter. I myself believe new Jaina would've looked far better with the headstrong Cinematic Jaina's eyes.

With the latest patch we see Jaina and Sylvanas being heavily featured in the new dungeons, the deaths of the two heroines have been brought up and have made for some interesting discussion. After all, both have been already been changed as a result of Arthas' descent into the Lich King, so it would only serve to complete their story if they were to die off, right? Some believe Jaina's makeover heralds her immortality through Icecrown, although we have precedence for new models to come out only to stay unused, in the case of Kalecgos, one of the first unique human models. Although very much alive in the lore, the model and character remains unused after Sunwell and throughout Wrath, so he might as well be.

But do I think she is honestly under the threat of death? I don't think so. Take Cairne Bloodhoof, who is also rumoured to die. He already has a replacement NPC for his quests. And let's not forget Jaina's part in the whole Alliance vs. Horde saga that has been steadily unfolding. The sympathetic side of the Humans couldn't possibly lose their only representative. And Theramore their leader. Jaina also represents the Kirin Tor, although I'm not entirely sure if they will continue be involved in the upcoming Cataclysm storyline. They are barely involved in Icecrown as it is, Argent Dawn and Ebon Hold instead hold that ground. It will be sad if they go the way of the Shattered Sun, as they are one of the larger factions out there and have been involved in a lot of the lore. But one thing is for certain, Jaina's story does not end yet.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


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Lately I have been reading around about shadowpriests being far more effective at multidotting than single target damage. Multidotting being the art of throwing up your dots on multiple targets. I have never been a strong advocate of switching targets mid-fight, since priests were never known as a burst class, but a class with a slow buildup to a steady and stable damage. Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting around with multidotting with a mix of results with intent on a writeup. Keep in mind with the haste changes with our Shadow Word: Pain glyph in 3.3 we should see a bigger rise in damage with multidots compared to without.

Before you experiment with multidotting, you should set up your UI so that you can manage your focus target. This means setting up your binds so that you can set and target your focus easily, and also placing your focus window in a convenient place helps too. You can also setup a target last target macro for even easier juggling. And of course, having an awesome mod like ForteXorcist for dot tracking.

There are two ways in how you can multidot.

Method 1: Fire and Forget

This situation applies to adds which usually die fairly quickly, like Snobolds on Gormok the Impaler or the Light Sparks on XT-002 hard mode. After I start my initial rotation on the boss mob, I set the boss to focus and tab to the add and throw a Vampiric Touch and Shadow Word: Pain on it, and go back to the focus target.

Method 2: A Juggling Act

For adds that outlast the twelve or so seconds until VT expires, you can refresh the SW:P dot with Mind Flay. This is a bit more complex as you have to be aware of both targets, and constantly have to make decisions over what spell to cast. Therefore it's more likely you'll make more mistakes, and do less damage, which isn't what we want out of this scenario.

In either case, VT and Mind Blast remains top of the priority list. For adds such as the Nerubian Burrower on Anub'arak I occasionally refresh the SW:P with MF. Sometimes it warrants one if we're ahead of Anub's submerge, sometimes not. With multidotting you need to experiment around. For example, with the Twin Val'kyrs I found multidotting to be far less effective than to stay on single target. In that case it's obviously more preferable to do more damage on the target who is weak to your color,

My experiments with multidotting continues. I haven't made up my mind whether or not it is totally worth it yet, as some fights I see higher numbers and some lower. With the changes that come with the next patch however, it is a good time to be prepared for what is to come.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

3.3 Priest Haste Dot Changes

Ghostcrawler announced earlier that Priests will be getting a new Shadow Word: Pain glyph in patch 3.3, which allows haste to affect the DoT component of the spell. The current SW:P glyph gets moved to Glyph of Mind Flay, whilst the existing MF glyph gets made baseline (about time!).

SW:P is about the 4th/5th most damaging spell in a fight overall, so I'm not completely convinced that it'll bring us up to scratch with other classes in a single mob scenario, but I like that Blizzard haven't forgotten about shadowpriests still. And it's not like we'll have to replace glyphs either.

I placed 8th overall in today's 25man Korallon with around 5.9k dps - including Wild Magic Potion during Heroism. Emalon I got 2nd solely due to being able to throw up a VT/SW:P on the extra add as I was keeping my rotation on him.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Video: Lord Jaraxxus

I have been a bit lazy these past few days, having given up on the markets for now. However I finally got round to finishing my Lord Jaraxxus video, and although I would've preferred a few more sessions to grab some more angles to the fights, I am reasonably happy with how it turned out. The film itself took two sessions to film, the first of which was used for the intro and the second for the fight itself.

The stripper platform was created by having four layers - alexstraza, blood elf, draenei, scene - and rendering it. Then have the rendered video and greenscreened Wilfred in two layers, which was the same way I did the other walking videos.

I experimented with a panorama tool to have more smoother panning in my videos, and it worked out pretty well. In the same scene I used a gaussian blur to artificially create a depth of field, although since I didn't use the effect in the other pimpwalk scenes it feels a bit out of place.

Originally planned to use a Pink Floyd for the music track but it didn't really mesh up well, so I decided to use something from the Evangelion 2.0 soundtrack instead. The ending of the video offers a cooler take on Wilfred rather than leaving him as just another disposable redshirt gnome.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Going from Tank to Healer

The transition from tank to healer is not a smooth one, but thanks to patch 2.3, Blizzard has made the task of gearing up to be raid ready much easier. I had been picking up off-spec gear for my druid during Trial of the Champion farming sessions, so I had a decent enough head start. ToC5 in Normal and Heroic modes will fill out most of your slots provided you are willing to spend the time to farm the instance with friends and guildmates. The auction house will fill out the rest of the gaps, with crafted items such as Faces of Doom and Wispcloak which shouldn't break your budget too much. Regardless, I ambitiously joined an OS25 group sporting my badge T8 feral helm and chest.

Before my resto keys were even bound I found myself in front of Sartharion as a healer. Druid healing seems a lot more relaxed than priest healing, with Rejuvenation being main spell to toss liberally around on anyone not on full health. Regrowth is used for those suffering from a bit more sustained damage, with Nourish and Swiftmend being the fastest heals. For group healing Wild Growth is used, which works similar to Circle of Healing in that it targets people within range of the target.

All this I had to quickly work out reasonably quickly but I feel I did decently enough - no one seemed to question my healing, or even the fact I was wearing tank helm and robe, anyway! I enjoyed the experience, now to test myself in a five man situation..