Thursday, August 30, 2012

Handy macros for 5.0.4

Yeah, I folded. I'm a horrible person.
Now that 5.0.4 is live and we're all getting used to the new spells and mechanics (or, if you're like me, have spent the last two days trying to cobble together something resembling a workable UI since all of your favorite addons broke), I'm looking forward to MoP and what I'd like to accomplish with my little corner of the internet.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of great resources out there to find "the basics" for each spec like the general "rotation" or how you should be gemming/reforging, but it's the more advanced mechanics and practices that make the difference between a bad player and a good one, and even still the difference between a good player and a great one. Most warlocks who specced Demonology in 4.3 because they were told "it's the best spec" never heard about having a Mastery set or learned how to pet-twist. Should I macro Felstorm into Shadowbolt so that it's always being used as soon as it's available or should I hold off a couple seconds to time it with Dark Soul? What stats make my Doomguard stronger and when is the best time to use it? These are the things that intrigue me and what I will probably focus on for Mists of Pandaria.

I may still do some "Warlock 101" stuff. It will just depend on how pleased I am with what a few other sites do. In the meantime, I have a couple useful macros for your 5.0.4 Warlock.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I miss being a Blood Elf . . .

I think I'm in the middle of learning an expensive lesson. Several months ago I made a fairly impulsive decision to faction and server transfer in order to get away from a few people in my guild. It wasn't quite a "rage transfer" as I'd been mulling it over for a while, but still pretty impulsive as I kind of just woke up one day and said "Screw it, I'm done". I could have just left the guild itself but I didn't want to deal with harassing whispers or anything of that nature. In addition, I felt like I could use a fresh start to clear my mind and take some time off. The small amount of time I played in Vanilla was as a Night Elf and I found myself starting to miss the streets of Stormwind and the trees of Darnassus, so I took the opportunity to not only change guilds and servers, but also factions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Talents and Flavor Text

So, there's something that's been on my mind lately. Early on in MoP development (around the time of the Press Release in the spring) observant players would have noticed that certain Warlock talents had flavor text attached to them on the talent pane. Generally, they were quotes from famous Warlocks (in lore or in the community) that said something fairly fitting for the talent it was attached to. I've included a more complete list below, but here's an example:

Sacrificial Pact - "Let someone else pay the price of your recklessness." - Zelfrax

Monday, August 20, 2012

Looking ahead to Pandaria

I won't be raiding this week due to in-laws sleeping on my couch about three feet from my computer (they don't like me yelling at the computer at 2AM while they're trying to sleep - they're funny that way), so outside of some transmog runs or LFR stuff after work, most of my gaming time will be playing Clash of Clans on my phone or Ocarina of Time on the Wii in the bedroom.

That's ok, though. With 5.0 less than a week away and the expansion launching in about a month, I'm finding it very hard to justify logging on right now. I'm too bored with Cataclysm and too excited about Mists to spend any time working on my side projects. Why grind rep when the daily cap is going away? Why farm UBRS for Blackblade of Shahram when AoE looting will make it easier and more lucrative next week? Why bother fine tuning my Mastery set when I probably won't even need it in a few days?

I think a few days off is never a bad thing. I'm already starting to reflect on the expansion, what went wrong on a more personal level and how I'd like to remedy that for Mist of Pandaria.

Consider these my "New Expansion Resolutions".

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grimoire of Sacrifice just got a lot more interesting

Going back and looking at it, it seems that the information that I was reading off of Wowhead's MoP Talent Calculator was not what some people might call "up to date", leading to a lackluster presentation of Sacrifice on my part. The information was correct at one point, possibly even when I started working on the post a few days earlier, just not when I hit that "Publish" button. That's what I get for going off of a third party site instead of looking directly at the beta client.

I bow humbly before you and beg your forgiveness.

During the last talent preview I mentioned that I wasn't sure how they were going to balance the three level 75 talents without some extensive mechanical changes. It seems Blizzard agreed with me because Sacrifice has undergone a transformation of sorts that, while still maintaining the essence and flavor of the talent, manages to make it much more compelling both in its damage increase and its utility.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What I’d like to see change in Mists of Pandaria before launch

5.0.4 has been announced and given an official date which means that beta testing is definitely in its final stages (not like that's a surprise or anything). For the development side of things, we're unlikely to see much more than number balancing and bug fixes rather than large sweeping changes to mechanics. That said, no project like World of Warcraft is ever truly finished and, while Mists of Pandaria is as close to "done" as we can realistically expect, there are still some changes I'd like to see before September 25th. 

Disclaimer: I'm not a game developer and have an extremely limited knowledge of what actually goes into a complex system like WoW. In short, I know enough to know that I know nothing and that what I'm asking for in this post could be anywhere from a ten minute fix to a 3 month project that requires an entire team.

Search Function for the Mount Pane - Once 5.0.4 hits live servers and mounts are shared across all characters (with some exceptions), I will be sitting on around 150 mounts. A quick scan of Wowhead shows another 68 mounts in the Mists of Pandaria files. Combine that with the 20 or so mounts already available in game that I don't have (as well as a few that are no longer obtainable) and the idea of someone having over 225 mounts in their collection becomes . . . not impossible. Now, that's not to say that everyone will have that many, but I think even the 50 mount mark will be pretty easy to hit with minimal effort (42 just from currently existing Horde/Alliance factions). This means that finding "that one mount" in your Mount & Pet pane will be more than a little difficult. The pet tab has a handy little search feature to find "that one pet", can't we have something similar for mounts?

On that note, I'd also like a way to see which mounts that you don't have (again) similar to the pet tab. Currently, you need addons for this sort of thing and I don't see why that should be necessary.

Shivarra 1H Functionality for the Glyph of Felguard – I love the Glyph of Felguard. Anyone who's read some of my other posts knows this pretty intimately. I love visual customization so the changes to minor glyphs, along with Transmogrification as a whole, make me giggle like a school girl. It is by FAR my favorite part of the expansion. That said, it makes me a little sad that I'll only get to use it in my Demo spec (if I have one - as a progression raider I don't always have that luxury). This fits squarely in the "this may be a far bigger project than I'm assuming" category, but what I would like to see is the Glyph of Felguard's functionality extend to the Shivarra, allowing us to change the one handed weapons that she carries. Not only would this add more flavor and fun to the glyph, but it would also make it a viable option for Affliction and Destro locks, if only those specced into Supremacy. The Talon of Azshara model is cool and all, but I can think of a few others I'd also like to see.

Easier Dual Wielding for the Wrathguard - On the same note, I love that you can use the Glyph of Felguard to change both of the weapons your Wrathguard uses. However, every time I've seen someone talk about how awesome it is to dual wield (typically in a video game setting, of course) the discussion usually revolves around dual wielding two of the same weapon. Currently, the only way to get your Wrathguard to sport two copies of the same weapon is to have two copies of the same weapon in your backpack. This seems an unnecessary and needlessly tedious mechanic for something that is intended to be nothing more than simple fun. Transmogrification doesn't require you to have two copies of a weapon to alter both of your equipped ones, why should the glyph? Especially since the coolest ones are incredibly rare or hard to get. What I'd like is for it to default to dual wielding the same weapon if there is only one in your backpack, but keep the random choice when there are several.

Larger Weapons for the Wrathguard – Perhaps this is a persistent bug, but the Wrathguard weapon size/scaling has always seemed . . . underwhelming. While the standard Felguard gets to keep his massive and intimidating weapon, the same item in the Wrathguard's hands shrinks to a fraction of it's original size. Even the really large weapons like polearms are smaller in his hands than in my characters, and some of the smaller swords or axes look more like daggers when he's holding them. I realize that there may be some clipping issues involved in his attack animations, but can we get even a slight boost? Maybe 30%? It just bugs me that the upgraded version of my biggest and baddest demon carries around weapons that are as small as or smaller than what I use. As an analogy, the change should be like going from Arms to Titan's Grip, not from Arms to Subtlety.

Unfortunately, the Supremacy demons are bugged and cannot be summoned right now, otherwise I would have some screenshots to demonstrate.

Points Dump – Not to be a snarky douchecanoe, but haven't we learned this lesson already? We had a way to dump Emblems/Honor into gems in Wrath, BoE's to buy with VP and trade goods to buy with JP/Honor in Cataclysm. However, like in the beginning of Cataclysm (which involved an emergency patch-in of a trade goods vendor because people needed a way to dump excess points), we are now without a way to dump excess points. Once we have everything we need from JP, Honor or VP and the tier continues on, we'll quickly find ourselves capped on points with nothing to spend them on. Maybe I'm missing something (I fully acknowledge that possibility), but I see no BoE's from Valor, no trade goods or gems from JP or Honor. Transmog gear from previous expansions will only take you so far. We need something else to spend points on. 

Again, I may just be missing something. I hope that I am.

A Couple More Minors for Priests – This definitely falls in the "too late" section. Some specs have been pretty spoiled so far with regards to Minor Glyph options, but not all of them. Healing Priests in particular are a bit short. So far we have four glyphs that are not specific to a particular spec. One that is specific to Discipline, one for Holy and four for Shadow.
  • Confession - Kinda cool, I guess. Had potential to be much more interesting (at least in terms of the confessions you could get out of it), but mostly a novelty item that I feel will lose its flavor quickly.
  • Shackle Undead - Which we use . . . how often?
  • Heavens - Kinda cool, but a pretty minor visual change that most people probably wont even notice.
  • Holy Resurrection - Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to really see this one yet, but it sounds cool.
  • [Holy] The Val'kyr - Pretty cool.
  • [Disc] Borrowed Time - Not bad, reminds me of something someone would put into a PowerAuras set up.
So, all said and done, after you've gotten bored with Confessions and realized that you haven't had Shackle Undead on your bars since ICC, A Holy or Disc Priest will be left with Holy Res, Heavens and Val'kyr/Borrowed Time. That's not much to choose from.

Side note: Warlocks are also pretty unbalanced with two options specific to Affliction, one for Destro and five just for Demonology. However, they have quite a few that aren't specific to a spec so it's not as much of an issue.

Wider Trade Skill Window - It’s just time to do this. It's already been done to the quest log and the result was beautiful, but the trade skill pane is still smashed into a cramped little window. Let's go to a double-wide format like the quest log and make everyone happier. To see what I mean, check out the addon someone created to do just this:

Seriously, once you start using that addon you'll never go back. There's no reason why this couldn't be a default aspect of the standard UI.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

7/8 Heroic

I need to get up for work in 3 hours, but it was worth it. 

By this time tomorrow I should be a Savior of Azeroth.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Talent Choices for Warlocks: 75 and 90

I've tried to make some sort of talent guide on several occasions, but the old talent tree format meant that an in depth analysis of each talent would make for something more akin to a text book or stereo instruction manual than a guide, so I've been putting it off for like three years. Now that the old 31 Point system is going away and being replaced with a total of 18 talents, it's much easier than it was before. It also means that I can wrap up this little series on the third post rather then the 24th and less of me talking is something we can all be happy about!

Let's look at the fifth and sixth tiers, the homes of the most interesting talents in our arsenal this time through. 

 On a side note, I love that doing my research for these posts has helped me uncover and report several bugs in the beta, some of which are fairly bizarre. So, to everyone reading this, thank you. Both of you. You're helping Blizzard make a better game.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's a tad warm today

I ever mention how much I hate summer? No? Well, I really, really hate summer.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Talent Choices for Warlocks: 45 and 60

We've already looked at level 15 and 30 talents and discussed the various situations where they might be useful, now it's time to move further down and look at the 45 and 60 talents. Sorry, I don't have a clever intro this time.

Tier 3 - Level 45

Where Tier 1 was themed exclusively around various methods of health regeneration, this tier is all about damage mitigation and, as such, can have some nice synergy with Tier 1. Again, there is no "wrong" choice here in most situations and what you pick will be based on your your level, group composition or the context of the fight mechanics. These talents had some really awesome flavor text early on in MoP development that has since been removed. I wish they'd kept it.

Running out of time . . .

There are only 7 full lockouts left before we're all heading into Pandaria to go plant crops, kill manifestations of negative energy and make small creatures fight each other to the death. The Mists of Pandaria pre-patch has not hit live servers yet but we can probably expect it to go up at around the end of the month, give or take a week. That leaves 3-5 weeks to finish your Pre-5.0 bucket list. That's . . . not all that long.

Still on mine
  • Kill Heroic Madness - We got to the third plate on H-Spine last night. The DPS is consistently there (we've killed the first Tendon in one lift a couple times . . . /flex), we just need to get better at handling bloods in later phases and stop dying to stupid crap. We'll get there if people stay interested and keep showing up every week. I need to save my roll-fu mojo for the mount when we finally get the kill. There isn't enough time to farm the kill and get everyone their own before 5.0 and the possible removal of it's 100% drop rate. I really don't want to go back to DS every week to farm that mount after spending 10 months in there.
  • Kill Heroic Ragnaros - My guild at the time just gave up on him well before DS was released. Yes, I'm still bitter about that since I know we could have done it if a certain someone would have stopped whining about how hard it was and actually tried to be constructive for once. I really want to get a Pureblood Firehawk while it's still guaranteed. Even if I don't get the mount, few titles are as fitting for a Destruction Warlock as "Firelord". Firelord Revynn. I like the sound of that.
  • Finish Glory of the Firelands Raider - I'll need Openraid for this one. No one on my server is interested in doing normals anymore and the few achievements I need are either impossible or much harder on Heroic. I want my purple bird, dagnabbit!
  • Level Alchemy on two more characters - I'll have a total of 5 Alchemists ready for Mists of Pandaria. Living Steel cooldowns ftw.
  • Tabard of the Scarlet Crusade - With no official word and Scarlet Monastery being revamped, this is still in the "no one knows" category of things that may or may not be going away. I'd like to get my hands on it before it's too late. (Status: Done!)
  • Cap JP/Honor on my main - Yeah, I know. I haven't needed anything from VP in months and I'm clearing DS every week but I still only have a couple hundred points to my name. Blame the ability to convert PvE and PvP points and the fact that I want several PvP weapons for my felguard.
  • Decide which character I'm going to level after my Warlock - This is the problem with having 8 85's. Elemental and Resto have managed to be more fun in MoP (in my opinion at least) than it is in Catalcysm, but I've always loved my Hunter. There's also that whole thing with farming alts and not being able to fly until 90. I suppose this will happen after the pre-patch when I get to play with all my characters with all my normal addons. Trying to get the feel for a character is noticably more difficult when none of your macros or keybinds are there and everything is in wierd spots.
  • Finish leveling Skinning on my Shaman - Formerly an herbalist, I recently dropped the profession since she's now on the same server as my Druid and it doesn't make sense to have more than one character with the same gathering profession. I picked Skinning because leather can be good cash, but it's really obnoxious to level.

The "would be nice but probably isn't going to happen" list
  • Get my Rogue and Mage to 85 - As an altaholic, it's bugging me that those two characters aren't max level yet. I might be able to get my Mage done, but my Rogue requires more leveling through Northrend and . . . ugh.
  • Finish Frostbitten/Bloody Rare - Cross realm zones are going to increase competition for rare spawn mobs significantly in old and vacant places like Shadowmoon Valley and Zul'drak. I just doubt I'll have the time and patience to camp 10-15 rare spawn mobs in the next couple weeks. Oh well, I got the one that matters.
  • Get Fandral's Flamescythe for my Druid - She's still using the crappy 353 from ZG that she's had since T11. I don't play her enough for it to really matter but I want to be a flame kitty while I can. Her gear kinda sucks though (at least in comparison to most people these days, she still outgears pre-nerf normal modes) so it's unlikely that anyone will be willing to take her along.
  • Find a guild for my alts - The problem with late night progression guilds is that they tend to be pretty vacant outside of raid times. I'd like to find a social/casual group that raids on weekends for funsies. However, I'm not the type to just strike up random conversations with strangers so I tend to just lurk in social guilds and be that creepy quiet guy in the corner that no one cares about.

It's going to be a busy couple weeks.