Once More – Into The Breach

It has been a plain ridiculous amount of time since I last blogged, for which I have received plenty of well-deserved flak, but such is how matters worked out, and it was probably for the best anyways. Perhaps it would have been better if I had been a bit more persistent with the whole thing, but I simply haven’t been terribly enthused about anything WoW related (or MMO related at all, for that matter) in a while, and writing without any motivation beyond “because I should” is just horrid. On the other hand, when you have a topic which truly interests you, which gets your brain racing in a dozen different directions trying to speculate, math, or reason out the possibilities… well, in such a case, writing is easy. The hard part in such a scenario is not how to start, but when to stop, and when you find yourself in such a situation, you generally welcome it… as I do now.

What, may you ask, has finally given me this sudden impulse to ramble?

No, it wasn’t the press release from last week which detailed Blizzard’s ingenius plot to merge Farmville, Pokemon, Kung Fu Panda, and, of course, Warcraft, to concoct a product which could rival crack or nicotine in terms of addictability (which isn’t a word, but should be).  For those who follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m actually pretty pleased with how Mists of Pandaria looks and I have few, if any, complaints. My largest concern isn’t that the expansion will be awesome, but rather that subsequent patches during the expansion’s life cycle may not live up to that initial joy. As I would argue was largely the case with Cataclysm, but that’s neither here nor there.

No, I wasn’t in the first wave of MoP beta, unfortunately, although such a thing is just a matter of time.  I did do the Annual Pass immediately, in combination with my account being open since January 2005 (which is crazy to think about, but another topic for another time, perhaps), so I’m not too concerned this time around.

No, it wasn’t some shocking Death Knight revelation any of the actual beta testers (curse their souls; unconcerned I may be, but jealous and envious of those with access all the same!) discovered. DK wise, things appear pretty much as expected, from what I read, which isn’t shocking – we didn’t get any drastic changes (beyond the ones inherent with the talent reform), as most of our mechanics stayed roughly the same, and our new abilities are all pretty unambiguous in their effects, so no real surprises there. If you’re happy with your DK now, you’ll likely be even happier in MoP. We didn’t get anything likeable taken away/nerfed (in usability; numbers are rather pointless to consider at the moment), and got plenty of quality of life improvements, on top of some new toys to play with. Which isn’t to say I won’ t spend some time during beta talking about Death Knights – I almost certainly will – just that I see little to talk about as of yet, and thus will hold off till we see a bit more/things develop/I get beta access.

The reason for this entry?

Warlocks, of all things. Crazier still, it’s about the potential of Warlock tanks – beyond the rare gimmick encounter like Illidan. The very, very real potential.

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Cata BiS – Frost 2H

Remember, Unholy BiS can be found here, Frost DW BiS can be found here, and the stats weights from which all of these sets were generated can be found here.

This is a bit delayed, I know; apparently a number of items got some of their socket bonuses/colors/stats changed around. Glancing through the previous lists, everything should still be perfectly accurate, save for the reforging aspect, which I’ll likely have to tweak once I actually put it into the EJ thread. The items themselves are what’s most important, and there shouldn’t be any differences there – at the most, one item a list, an that’s easily remedied.

One thing to note which was brought up in comments in one of the previous BiS posts: trinkets. All Catalcysm trinkets appear to have an approximate 16.67% (1/6) uptime, which is half the current normal of 33.33% (1/3). On top of that, the budget of the proc/use of a trinket appear to be the exact same as the budget of the passive stat – for instance, if a trinket has 200 passive whatever, the proc would equal out to be 200 of a stat (which, when combined with the uptime, means the value would be 1200). It’s a topic I can delve into more at a later date if so desired, but for now, simply something to keep in mind.

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Cata BiS – Frost DW

See title, insert standard disclaimer (could change before going live), and all that jazz. Remember you can view example stat weights here or see Unholy’s BiS lists here.

I’ll have Frost 2H up tomorrow evening, most likely, after which point I’ll get to discussing where each spec stands at level 85. Not that there’s much to discuss there, unfortunately; Unholy and Frost DW are near equal, ± about 3% relative to one another, pending specific encounter and personal gear. Frost 2H is about 10% behind either of those two, which is an insurmountable gap except in the most unusual of circumstances.

Getting on with it:

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Cata BiS – Unholy

Self-explanatory title; best in slot lists for Unholy based off of the stat weights generated and discussed in my post from last evening.

Doing this “by hand” (meaning without the use of a gear optimizer, program, or spreadsheet of some sort) are somewhat annoying, and thus it may be a day or two until I bother to tackle Frost. Gear choices and gemming is easy to figure out, for the most part; it’s reforging which can be taxing on one’s brain!

Anyways, jumping right into it:

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Blood – Some Thoughts

Typically, I try to stay away from writing on tanking matters. It’s not that I’m any less knowledgeable and informed of that aspect of the class/game; I tanked up until tier 9 on Consider, as well as having spent the entirety of Burning Crusade doing so on my druid, and in general just keep myself up to date on what’s what in regards to the role. Nor is it because I find tanking any less interesting or complicated than dpsing; quite the opposite, if anything, as tanks has to consider all the same things dps do, and then some. For every entry on a dps subject, there’s three of the same sort I could do for tanking!

The reason why I try to confine myself to dps is twofold; partially because there are many sources – notably Pwnwear – for high quality tanking Death Knight discussions already, and partially because (presumably) most of my traffic is likely dps oriented for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, all of that is rendered irrelevant by the simple fact that I’m currently locked out of my account on live (and none too thrilled about it), and thus am limited solely to beta!  It’s past the point where there’s anything interesting to play and test on there in regards to Unholy (stats are imbalanced relative to one another, some bugs are annoying, and some mechanics – SI/RC proccing on hit, not cast – are obnoxious, but overall, the spec is pretty solid) or Frost (it has a lot of issues, sure, but the same issues have been around for months, and thus there’s little new to say on the subject!), and thus I’ve spent some time as Blood tanking in heroics and raids, and figure I may as well share my two cents. If such doesn’t interest you, I completely understand, and simply don’t continue reading! This is a one time deviation, I assure you.

Before I begin, in short: Blood DKs on beta are currently in a fantastic position, in near every aspect, and those individuals like the questioner at Blizzcon who was concerned about the viability of the spec (because people perceived him, as an individual, as bad, but that’s beside the point!) need not worry a bit. If anything, nerfs are needed, not buffs.

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Simulating – What’s Where

The single most common question in regard to 4.0.1 also happens to be one of the sillest: “What spec does the most dps?” or some variation there of.

Consider this a simple stab at answering it.

I ran 100 hours of 5 minute fights. Each spec was in an optimized BiS set, reforged, gemmed, and enchanted as appropriate. The Frost sims were done as their best race, Worgen, with Unholy as theirs; Orc. Each were using an AP flask, str food, and speed pots. The Unholy sims assumed 100 RP/45 seconds from AMS usage. The ICC buff was, of course, turned off, although it would be easy to multiply the final number by 1.3 if you wished to factor it in. So forth.

The XMLs of each set up are linked in the spec/weapon name, so you can confirm the results (and just test stuff in general) yourself.

With that said, you’ll see things are quite similar across the specs… with the notable exception of Unholy DW!

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Woosh – I Must Be Missing Something

I’m sure most everyone is familiar with the following post:

Summed up:

  1. Ruby Sanctum was delayed so that the release cross-region would be better alligned (although, admittedly, not necessarily concurrent).
  2. Today, 72 servers are down for 24 hour maintenance.
  3. Today, Ruby Sanctum was released.

Uh, what?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I understand EU servers are used to getting patches and the like a day later, but why would you intentionally delay an instance for the expressed desire to partially right this wrong… only to have EU/Korean/Taiwanese servers still get the instance later, but also have US servers suffer as well?

Although individual servers have occasionally gone down on patch/instance release days, I can’t remember Blizzard ever intentionally taking down a handful of servers in advance (and for reasons unrelated to the patch/instance release) on the day, and it’s rather bizarre that they would do so on one of the first times they’ve tried to make up for the lack of synchronization in region release.

Color me clueless.

Yes, full disclousure – my server is one of the ones still down. Even if such wasn’t the case, it would still seem just as illogical and mind-boggling… I just might not be bored enough to comment on it!