Monday, July 30, 2012

Talent Choices for Warlocks: 15 and 30

Part of the natural expansion cycle is the introduction of new spells, talents and abilities. Some seem really cool at first but end up being a considerable source of frustration for all involved. Others appear less useful initially, but become a staple of the warlock toolbox. Mists of Pandaria will be no different. In addition to the massive class overhaul affecting all three Warlock specs, we're also getting a new toy and a completely revamped talent system.

Opinions on the existing talent system vary heavily. Blizzard feels that it's an archaic "bad trap" that serves only to separate people by their Google-fu, rather than their skill as a player. While I tend to agree with Blizzard (I don't feel that plugging in a build that the guys at Elitist Jerks came up with and forgetting about it for the rest of the tier is compelling gameplay), there are those who are claiming that the removal of talent points as we know them is removing all sense of customization and individuality from the game. I disagree, but I at least see their point on this. No longer will we have one-off Fel Emberstorm builds or Dual Wield Unholy DK's. You will no longer be able to subspec into Affliction (instead of Destruction) as a Demonology Warlock if you want extra survivability for leveling or soloing. In any case, the old system is going away.

Rather than removing choice, the new talent system is intended to be all about choice. A lot of the options don't provide a clear DPS or survivability increase because they are all supposed to be strong in their own way. If all goes according to plan, then play style, preference and fight mechanics will affect your talent choice more than what is simply "best". Like the Hunter Pet revamp of Cataclysm, there will be no clear "best" anymore if the tuning is correct. Even still, one of the most common questions I see in Trade on the beta is still the same old "What is best?”

Due to the class revamp, I'm expecting to see a flood of new or unshelved warlocks at the start of the expansion. In light of that, I want to take some time to look at the different talents that we're getting and take a look at what talents are “best" for you as a leveling, raiding or PvPing Warlock as well as their pros and cons, whether you're level 12 or 86 or 90. At no point will I tell you to pick one talent over any other in all situations. Instead my hope is to provide context of when, for example, Burning Rush may be a better choice than Unbound Will and when it may not. This will be fairly in depth, so I've had to break it up into multiple posts (again) to keep it from being overwhelmingly long.

Beta is beta, subject to change, blah blah blah . . .

Saturday, July 28, 2012

That whole "Base PvP Defense" thing

One of the things that has always annoyed me (and a lot of other people) about PvP is the barrier to entry. Sure, you can go out and spend a few thousand gold on crafted resilience gear, but that's a substantial price to pay for someone who's not even sure they'll enjoy the activity yet. They could also convert their Justice and Valor Points into Honor and Conquest and buy some of the more current items, but those points represent a significant time investment to most players even this late in the expansion and, unless they're swimming in points with nothing to spend them on, can probably be better spent somewhere else. The only other option is one the majority of players will take. Put on your best PvE gear (and maybe a piece or two you grabbed from Baradin hold) and queue for a random battleground. After all, why spend the gold or points on something you may hate when you can try it out for free first?

Quick! Everyone kill the Warlock!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preparing for Mists of Pandaria

Well, it's official. We have a release date. For some of us that means you can safely sit back on cruise control for the next 2 months and do whatever suits your fancy. For others (like me), the clock is now ticking to get all that crap done that you've been putting off for the last two years. It may be a Heroic: Madness kill, a meta-achievement, or finally finishing your Legendary. However, as September 25th nears it will stop being time to finish your bucket list and start being time to get your affairs in order. I'm going to take a look at some things you may want to take care of before stepping onto the ship to Pandaria.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Transmogrifying your demon - Part 5: Cataclysm

I noticed an odd trend while going through MogIt and AtlasLoot for Felguard weapons. Classic (despite having a lot of bland leveling weapons) and Wrath of the Lich King had way too many cool choices and had to be pruned down pretty heavily in order to keep the posts to a reasonable size. Burning Crusade had a lot of interesting and exotic looks, but a lot of them didn't agree with me or weren't suitable to be carried around by a massive demon. For Cataclysm however, I really had to scrape and grind together to barely fill out the list. I can wax philosophical about the shrinking loot tables from the 10/25 merger, compare the amount of bosses in Firelands and Dragon Soul versus Icecrown and Ulduar or a number of other things, but at the end of the day those things would not cover up the "problem" (quotes because it's only really a problem in the context of putting together something like this post and realistically has little to do with the quality of the expansion). There just weren't that many gearing options to choose from in Cataclysm.

We all remember the problems with filling the range slot in T11 (a BoE trash drop from a raid with no trash, Warriors had to make do with a leveling green or spend a small fortune on a BoE) or how hard it was to get a decent set of bracers. Plate DPS will remember how their Tier shoulders were literally the ONLY way to upgrade that item slot in Firelands. There is no such thing as a 410 item level cloak in Dragon Soul, leading tanks to still hit up Heroic Rhyolith for their best-in-slot, despite being an agility item. I'm not usually one to sit back and pick on Blizzard and point out all the things they did wrong, but I think we can all agree that they really dropped the ball on itemization this time around. As for how it affects this topic at hand: where there is a lack of items, there is a lack of weapon models. Still, I managed to pick out a few winners.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ambermist said so . . .

My name isn't actually Revynn and I don't have demonic minions.

Recently, Ambermist at Battle Chicken put out a challenge to WoW bloggers everywhere to stop whining about Rogue mechanics or fussing over broken spell effects and to spend some time revealing things about themselves. I know I've only been at this for a few weeks, but I'm going to pretend that other people besides my wife are interested in me personally and follow suit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Transmogrifying your demon: Part 4 - Wrath

It's time for another look at the redesigned Glyph of Felguard and eligible weapons. This time we're going back to Northrend.

Has nothing to do with Felguards or weapons, I just like the picture.
Despite first creating my WoW account back in Vanilla, right around when guilds were preparing for Blackwing Lair, I was a very casual player and eventually had to take time away from the game to tend to my new marriage. I didn't really begin playing again until the early days of Wrath of the Lich King, so while I remember seeing Necropoli floating outside Thunder Bluff and Darnassus and fighting off undead spawning at the city gates as part of the Naxx40 release, I am for all intents and purposes a "Wrath Baby". It's for this reason that raids like Naxxramas and Icecrown Citadel evoke a very special sense of nostalgia to me. It was while fighting the drakes of Obsidian Sanctum that I learned the importance of "not standing in stuff", I learned how to position a boss and tank swap in Naxx and how to dot-and-run in Yogg's Brain Room.

Because of all that, it's no surprise that some of my favorite weapon models in the game are all waiting to be ripped from the hands of the Lich King and his minions. Let's take a look at a few that I want to have my Felguard and Wrathguard carrying in Mists of Pandaria. As always, these are just my all-stars and there are dozens of others that I've chosen to leave out for one reason or another. MogIt and AtlasLoot are your friends.

To catch up, check the links below:

Part 1: The Basics
Part 2: Classic WoW
Part 3: Burning Crusade

Monday, July 16, 2012

Transmogrifying your demon: Part 3 - Burning Crusade

I've been looking at the redesigned Glyph of Felguard coming in Mists of Pandaria and some of the weapons I'll personally be chasing down for my own use.

To catch up, check the links below:
Yes, I know this isn't a BC weapon.
Part 1: The Basics
Part 2: Classic WoW

While Vanilla WoW had a lot of fairly bland gear design (even a lot of Molten Core drops were recolors of leveling gear), things took a turn for the exotic when we packed our bags and ventured into Outland. Rather than every quest reward weapon being a variation of "long silver pointy stick", we began to see eye colorful and sometimes eye twisting designs like the Honed Voidaxe. This makes for some interesting choices when deciding what your Felguard or Wrathguard should be using to hit things in the face (or ankle, in the case of raid bosses). Besides, what place is more fitting to provide you with a demonic weapon than Outland?

Anyway, let's jump in.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Giggity . . .

I had plans today to get back to my Felguard weapons articles, but then this happened:

That's just my luck, though. Despite farming for the Blackblade of Shahram on my warlock for several weeks now, it just figures that I would finally see it drop on my new DK's first run through UBRS at level 59. After months and months of clearing ToC25 with my guild while it was relevant content, my best-in-slot trinket didn't drop until I took a couple weeks off of raiding well into ICC at which point it dropped three weeks in a row and went to alts and off-specs.

Now, despite having several alts parked in Storm Peaks on multiple servers so I can quickly and easily camp him whenever I have an hour or so to kill, this punk finally showed up when I decided to go farm Saronite on a whim.

Not that I'm complaining . . . .

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What a difference a guild makes

I'm going to say something that I never thought I would say. Ready? Here it goes:

I had a lot of fun in Dragon Soul last night.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Transmogrifying your demon: Part 2 - Classic WoW

I already talked a little bit about the upcoming Glyph of Felguard a few days ago and I have to admit that I'm having a lot of fun with it on the Beta. A quick romp through Molten Core followed by a trip to the PvP vendor (who is currently accepting gold instead of honor for testing purposes) got me an Obsidian Edged Blade and a few other flashy weapons to play around with. As a side note, despite being much easier at 90, you can still die in there by pulling multiple raid bosses while soaked in debuffs.

What I want to do now is take a quick look at some of my favorite eligible weapons that you may or may not also want to start farming for your own collection. Even with the leveling scene in WoW being comprised mostly of fairly bland weapon models, Blizzard has had 8 long years to make plenty of really cool weapons for us to choose from so I'm going to break it up by expansion so as not to make this a novella.

Note: Some of these weapons are locked behind bosses that are impossible or very hard to solo, meaning that you will likely be in a group when you see it drop. Keep a link to the glyph handy and state your intentions before you start pulling trash. You may or may not be able to actually hit the "Need" button and a little communication beforehand will prevent your prize from being disenchanted.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Addon Fun: Windows Instant Messenger (WIM)

Very often it becomes easy to miss that distinctive pink lettering while you're working the auction house, grinding archaeology with the music playing or just not paying attention. Amidst the endless Thunderfury spam and guild advertising macros of most servers trade channel, a whisper can blaze through your chat box as if it was never even there.

Other times, you may be forming a PuG for an old Transmog/Mount run and get multiple whispers at once from people interested in tagging along. And how many times have you had multiple conversations going at once with different people, but had trouble keeping track of it all? Enter WIM.

WIM or WoW Instant Messenger, is a fairly simple addon, but it's simplicity is its beauty. It does little more than take your whispers and fly them out into their own seperate window. It doesn't seem like much, but it's a small change that has huge implications. By having each conversation in its own box allows you to carry on multiple conversations with ease. It also acts as sort of a voice mail program for when people whisper you while you're AFK since the whisper won't get flooded out of your chat box by guild chat, trade spam or group messages while in a dungeon.

I've had WIM installed since the first time I saw it back in the early days of Wrath of the Lich King, and it's become one of those Addons that I simply cant live without anymore. It never fails or breaks, it never clashes with other addons and works seamlessly with other chat modifications like Prat or Chatter. It's been my voicemail service, my Jewelcrafting order queue when I had 7 people lining up for cuts, it's helped me form pugs and keep in touch with old friends from other servers.

If the default Warcraft-themed skin isn't for you, there are several other options you can download and try out as well. I've been enjoying the cleaner look of the WIM_ElvUI skin for some time now.

Seriously, give it a shot. You may never go back.

Download WIM here: