Sunday, April 18, 2010

Class Preview Hoedown pt. 3: LETS DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN

I intended to get this out the moment Paladin hit, but I'm a busy man.


So Beast Mastery now gets a signature replacement for Steady Shot; big whop. It looks like they're trying to really prop up this tree, which was the red-headed step child of Wrath DPS. See my comments on Subtlety for my predictions. Mastery is exactly what I would come up with given 2 seconds to think one up. Have fun ressing pets guys.

Marksman and Survival look pretty unchanged, aside from the UTTER UPHEAVAL caused by Focus instead of Mana. I like the change, now Rogues won't feel so special and I always welcome that. Both of their masteries look bleh, but it's worth noting that Marksman Mastery's relative worth will increase as your gear gets better, so keep those spreadsheets handy guys!

I'm interested in the cost/cooldown of Camouflage, and I wonder if it will see use in DPS rotations, since it gives you a damage boost for using it. I also wonder if you can use it on a mount; if not, it'll probably be rubbish most of the time, since it will preclude attacking and moving fast. There's a lot of quality of life improvements for hunters, between no more ammo and more pets, which is nice.


It is very lame for Druids that their big lvl 85 ability will only be used by Balance. Well, lame for not-Balance druids, I guess. It could be a lot of fun to play Balance provided all you do isn't starfire/wrath/starfire/wrath, with Nature's Torment thrown around as applicable. If there's like, a proc to, say, fire off two mega-powerful wraths, which you naturally follow up with beefcake starfires. The Mastery by itself just enforces alternating.

Feral looks to be getting much love, with a situational utility move and an extra move for bears, plus a Pummel-like move, AND cat rotation is getting a little easier? That's nice. I wish Stampeding Roar wasn't on such a long cooldown, since it's hard to tell when extra movement speed is needed until Taladrim has already killed everyone. Mastery is fine, but notice how there's two of them, one for cat and one for bear? Methinks they could have used this for DKs, to keep blood DPS alive if nothing else.

TREE OF LIFE ROAAAAR! A lot of Druids seem to think Blizzard won't buff their baseline healing, or the tree's effects, and that's pretty outrageous. I like the idea of one class with a Metamorphosis-like button for healing. Restoration gets basically nothing else from the preview, but that doesn't mean the same thing as they aren't changing; seems like they're just re-tooling their spells. The Mastery bonus is rad, but I kinda wished it had played into the new Tree mechanic more, like Demonology.


Arcane looks like the spec everyone will be dipping into if nothing else, since now all mages use Missiles. Arcane Focus returns mana whenever you miss, which seems goddamned useless once you get hit capped. Although, since their Mastery rewards staying at high mana (a bizarre mechanic) maybe at high levels arcane mages will forsake hit gear to get mana back. What a brave new world.

Fire mages, whom I have a soft spot for, cause Pyroblast is awesome, look fairly unchanged aside from minor tweaks, but that's fine I guess. They had the most involved of the mage rotations anyway (not saying much). Their Mastery looks all right, but I have to wonder, with no dot clipping, will Ignite be one dot that refreshes and resets its damage based on the last spell, or will they all pile on top of each other, like Impale?

Frost Mages don't seem to get much initially, but with the Arcane Missile change, plus their Mastery encouraging not-Frostbolt, it looks like they'll become a more interesting spec. Not much to say here.

TIME WARP LOL. Take that Shamans; now you'll have to be GOOD to go on raids.

PALADIN (yay!)

Holy Paladins finally get a raid heal ability, as well as a SUPERBEEF heal to match up with the Cata design. I like that Paly raid healing radiates from the paladin; it makes them unique, and still somewhat limited compared to a lot of others. The mastery is a nice way to keep the traditional desire for +crit going, though it might only come out at high enough gear levels.

Prot's getting distinct rotations for single and multi mob tanking WOOOOAH! I don't think it's really necessary to aim to do this, but if they're nerfing Prot's AoE threat in general, it would have probably fallen out that you don't, say, consecrate a single guy. Mastery is bleh; it does mean Paladins will take consistently less damage, compared to a warrior spiking megablocks.

Ret gains Crusader Strike from level one; that's quite cool. From the end-game perspective, though, no concrete changes for ret, aside from making their rotation tougher. No more smashing 12345 to get mad deeps I guess. Their Mastery is all right, though I fear it turning to a crazy bullshit stat akin to Armor Pen.

Guardian of Ancient Kings is totally shithouse awesome and is exactly what I expect from a lvl 85 ability. Useful to all specs, visually interesting, and very useful. Paladins make out like bandits in this respect.

There, done! In retrospect, this was kinda a bad idea. It ended up being long winded and forced me to comment on classes I know relatively little about (e.g. rogues). Oh well, it was an experiment, and the point of experiments is that sometimes they don't work. See you next time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Class Preview Hoedown pt. 2: Electric Boogaloo



If Blizz thinks Arms warriors won't wine to have bosses constantly moved about for minimal DPS increases, they don't know a DPS's mind. Numbars is everything, and if moving the bosses increases numbars, and tanks don't do it, then the tanks worship HITLER. End of story. Mastery seems fun visually, but bleh (much like Elemental's).

TG will die; Blizz is trying to make Str one-handers for someone other than Frost, and Fury will be it. Damn Blizzard, this is just a dick move; TG was a fan favorite, and I can't see it ever being rad again, lest loot tables be cocked over. Anyway, mastery looks bleh, all it means is that you should be blowing your CDs all the time, which you should do ANYWAY.

Prot looks largely unchanged, so there's not much to say, except HOLY COW A MASTERY I LIKE. Firstly, using Mastery as a way to up threat without dumping more DPS stats on the armor is rad. Secondly, critical blocking is very cool and will likely set Warriors apart as the kings of shields. Very thematic, even if it is just a passive mitigation stat.

There's some hokey things going on with Warriors in general though. So you get a bonus for hitting 100% rage, but also there's a rage dump? Which is it Blizz, do Warriors try to hit 100%, or try not to? I suspect it'll be all about hitting 100%, then dumping/using abilities, and regaining that 100% buff just as it's about to fade. Which feels finicky to me. Shouts and Sunder changes are good, but you knew that already.


Looks like the specs are staying roughly the same, so I'ma just freestyle this prose, yo. Blood being the tanking spec is a good idea. While 3 tanks 1 class was fun, and a noble experiment, the concerns of trying to balance them all, both with each other and with the encounters outweigh the novelty. By focusing on one tree, DKs can have a plethora of cooldowns and other neat abilities. Hopefully someone gets Dancing Rune Weapon; it's an awesome DPS ability and I'd hate to see it evaporate. Maybe Frost.

Dark Simulacrum will be mildly useful in PVE for a few bosses, but it will be nothing short of hilarious in PVP. A few scenarios: the warlock fears your healer, and gets feared in return. A shammy hits Greater Healing Wave, and you get healed to full! A mage tries to escape with Blink and you FOLLOW. A cunning paly sees the Simulacrum and DIs, killing you in the process! No clue how many of these scenarios will actually be real, but it sounds like Blizz tried to make an ability DESIGNED to generate hilarious PVP stories.

So the rune system has gone into revision. What this means is DKs willcan have runes off cooldown (a disgraceful situation as it stands), as long as they can get to using them within 10 seconds, it evens out. This will make abilities like Blood Tap and Empower Rune Weapon a huge deal, both for DPS squeezing a little more out of the rotation to tanks firing off emergency cooldowns. I just have to wonder if hitting two buttons (Oblit/Scourge + Blood Strike/Pestilence) plus runic power dumping will be very fun. I could easily see them adding a no-cost attack with a cooldown, just to spice it up; as it stands, it sounds like a dull rotation with a lot of downtime.


Assassination looks poised to continue it's dominance as the PVE spec of choice? Why, you ask? Well, the other two trees are both listed with survivability as a concern, especially combat. Presumably, the extra survivability will come at some cost, and since survivability is only a concern in PVP, it will be like giving up something for nothing in PVE. This is of course assuming the specs are balanced; it could fall out that assassination starts out just in the shitter. Oddly enough, looking at the mastery, it's extra poison damage. Considering they wanted to move away from auto attack + poison damage as the bulk of rogue DPS and that assassination is more burst-y, that seems like an incredibly poor fit.

Despite what I just said, I hope Combat is the king of PVE. Why? Loot tables; daggers are for assholes who hate all other classes. The tree doesn't look much changed, from all they've said, except for getting rid of the weapon-specific talents. Their mastery will probably promote building up higher combos, as their non-finishers are proportionally more powerful. It might even get to the point where it's more efficient to never use finishers, though I doubt that would go un-nerfed for long.

Subtlety is the red headed step child of rogue PVE, and for good historical reason. I imagine it will continue being the slippery bastard it is in PVP, and it's just impossible to tell how good it will be in PVE. Knowing Blizzard and how they handle uncompetitive DPS specs, it will either be GOD SPEC for the first two weeks of Cata and then get steadily nerfed every minor patch until 4.1 or so, or be sort of weak, and then get a minor buff every major content patch until they're viable just in time to kill Deathwing. Their mastery is all right, but I can't help think Assassination and Subtlety should have switched, with Ass. getting the big finishers and subtlety whittling down the opposition with poison.

I don't know that much about rogues, so this one is kinda spartan. I will say this though, Smoke Bombs will be the best quality of life ability a tank could ever ask from a DPS. LoS pulling is crazy stupid looking; you poke your head in, say something bad about a wizard's mom, then run around the corner where the rape-chopper is waiting. I don't know what's worse, that, or the fact that the wizard falls for it.

I split the previews into three posts instead of the planned two for purely aesthetic purposes (read: OCD). Deal with it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Class Preview Hoedown pt. 1

Firstly, go to and read up on the class previews, cause this will make no sense otherwise. There's a lot to say, so I'ma be brief.


So Blizz wants to make Elemental less tied to the GCD? I guess they might just push all of their CDs out and make them them Ret With Totems. Their mastery is incredibly bleh, aside from maybe making them respec at some level of mastery.

The Spirit -> Hit thing is really clever, and I applaud it. It seems Blizzard is finally getting something right (not holding my breath for no more spell plate). Their mastery looks more fun than Enhancement visually, but equally as passive. Earthquake will probably be rad, too. I like it.

With Resto being the swiss army knife of healing specs (tank, spot, and raid all in one!) they seem to be getting even more tools. Spirit link will be nice for tank and spot healing, and now they get CoH too! I think Resto will fill more the raid heal niche then it does now. And that Mastery bonus is the sexiest thing yet: more heals to those that need it the most.


Affliction looks almost unchanged, aside from the Curse -> Bane change. Their Mastery is about as bleh as they come, making a DoT dependant class even more so. No more DoT clipping will make it more accessible though, which is a plus.

Demonology seems to have gotten a much-needed revisiting, with Metamorphosis no longer giving you wack-ass abilities so much and a unique spell to cast. I suspect it'll be much more it's own tree rather than a weird Frankenstein of Demo, Affliction, and Hunter BM. Mastery is also more intriguing, as the spec seems geared around being in Metamorphosis a LOT.

Demo gets a mobility spell and Imps will almost certainly be a higher percent of DPS, and that's about it. Mastery is as earthshatteringly dull as Affliction, to boot. And I'm not saying anything about the new soul shard mechanic cause it's so different, who knows what the fuck. It will be nice to actually have 4 bags like a real person though.


First of all, no Q&A for Priests? EF-U BLIZZ. Anyway, two shields sounds like fun and will mix up the Disc play a bit. PW:Barrier will also be neat, provided it is different from AMZ in two ways: it doesn't have to center on self, and it can absorb more damage than a single fart from Hodir. Mastery looks to make an already absorbtion-reliant class even more so. Whether you think this is rad or not will vary.

Looks like Blizz is trying to make Holy the healing switch hitter of Cata with their Chakra thingy. Disappointingly, it looks like unless you do one thing a lot for a given time, you'll suck at all of them. It also provides (if I get this right) a disincentive to throw a quick CoH or two around while tank healing, which I always thought a good all-purpose healer should do. Mastery is bleh, I imagine the HoT will be wasted most of the time. I am also not excited about Heal, because adding another spell to an already bloated healing spec is not what I wanted.

MIND SPIKE, FUCK YES. I've always wanted something like this in Shadow, and now my trash numbers won't have to be garbage. Otherwise, looks like business as usual, except for SW:P becoming a kill-shot kinda thing. As if Shadow wasn't complex enough, we need to track another cooldown for the last fourth of the fight. Mastery looks visually interesting, and if they actually have the talent trees interact with it, might make for a lot of fun macros.

I would complain about Leap of Faith, but Tobold beat me to it. Also, Inner Will looks to be only good in PvP, generally speaking; I'm surprised they didn't just come out and say it's for that.

Tune in next time, for the rest of the classes! Except paladins, they smell!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Movin' On Up

Nocturne is taking a break for the month of April, because even the most noble beasts must rest and replenish themselves to approach their rigors with new strength. Also because Zenhakar is a big ol' jerk that puts his school and career ahead of ICC.

Fine whatever, I don't need them; after all, the Chinese character for blah blah blah. I've seized this moment to walk off the beaten path to do something I normally wouldn't do. Not PVP, god no, I haven't suffered massive head trauma and started to think RPG PvP is at all ever remotely a good idea. No, I'm joining a 25-man ICC guild made up of TOTAL STRANGERS. Oh me oh my.

I often rag on Blizzard for making 25-man the default raiding format for a multitude of reasons, some of which aren't totally selfish. And it occured to me, I haven't really ever DONE 25-man in WotLK. I did some in BC, mainly 2 SCC, 1 Mag, and the easy half of TK, and found them all to be the suck compared to the more intimate and immediate environment of Kara and ZA. This may be the only time I ever refer to liking Kara even with heavy qualification, so enjoy it.

So why do it now, when I hated in back in BC? For science, or maybe for this blog to give me something fresh to write about? NO. It is out of pure greed, perhaps tempered with boredom, that I make this foray in to the terrifying world of 25-mans. Blizzard finally got to me with Nibelung, that sweet siren beauty. I can imagine their meetings: "Hey, there are still people out there who like 10-man raiding." "Well, how about in ICC, we make the 10-man items slightly weaker in stats like normal, but change out the really cool/fun procs for garbage procs and on-use abilities. They'll look stupid and contribute nothing to DPS, and they'll be shamed into coming over." I'm looking at you, Abracadaver.

Now I can't talk anymore, I need to pour over gear lists for 2 hours to figure out how the hell I can make up 101 hit without using anymore of my AMAZINGLY AWFUL tier gear.