Been a while since I could take the time to even touch this page. Fair amount of activity, but just a lack of time to get anything meaningful posted:
12/12 in normal content, FINALLY: Nearly 2 months (from around the time of my last post until now) ago we started on Nefarian. Not a difficult encounter, although for 90% of our attempts, I was resto due to a dearth of healers. Finally, last week we had enough healers I was able to dps, and equipped with my Reverberation talent I alone could lock down one of the P2 adds, thus allowing our other dpsers to go all out on their targets without worrying with interrupts (thus proving that dps shaman are king for this instance of interrupts). Up until last week, our attempts were constantly marred by disconnect after disconnect…and it wasn’t always the same people. Even folks with amazingly good hardware (myself included) would randomly get dropped out, only to come back dead (or worse, alive just before Onyxia respawned, resulting in more dead people if said person couldn’t take a dive in the lava fast enough). Last week, though, we finally overcame all of the garbage disconnects, excuses, and whatnot and made a corpse of Nefarian (again). Video of our first kill can be found here. Shadow priest POV. Also for whatever reason, Al’akir seems 100x easier on 10 man compared to 25.
Flirting with “FOTM”: If you’re looking for yours truly in the above video…look closer to the ground. That’s right, I was a goblin in that video. Feeling a bit bored, I checked out goblin animations and racials and decided to give it a go. Couple of days later, I started noticing a racial I was missing that was really starting to annoy me: Hardiness. Doesn’t sound like much, but I found myself in at least half a dozen instances of “if that stun wore off half a second sooner I could’ve gotten a heal off…” in the 3 days I was a good ol’ gobbie. That, plus I simply flat out started missing being an orc, heh. In fact, the experience has convinced me I should probably convert some of my alts to what I dub “the supreme Horde race”…but that’s an expensive endeavor. Cheaper than a weekend out on the town, I suppose, heh. I refer to goblin as FOTM because nearly half the Horde shaman on my server have race changed to goblin…and the whole feeling of “jumping on the bandwagon” had my skin crawling.
Elemental PVP, oh how I hate thee…: I’ve been moonlighting as resto for PVP for a fair amount of Cata so far. Elemental feels so pathetic for pvp right now that it’s simply frustrating to play. Quit my 2’s team in a fit of rage after losing several games in a row where I felt I could literally do nothing. Despite how frustrating ele PVP is, running around as resto right now reminds me of how god mode it once was late in BC (only surpassed by resto druids, but what didn’t they surpass then?). Rejoined the team, took some chill pills (simply a figure of speech; no drugs were taken during the queueing of arena) and just deal with it for now. Yes, I’m playing ele in 2s…fortunately my friend is a shadow priest, who has a fair amount of CC and peeling capability, which an ele MUST have if they want to do anything in arena now. The one game I went resto with my friend, we won…but it was a 20 minute ordeal vs an affliction lock/resto druid team. We’re not exactly patient with arena; we want games done in 5 mins or less, heh.
ARGH SO CLOSE: In the past 2 months I would slave away on weekends for various Call To Arms for BGs I needed achievements from, and now I stand 1 achievement away from the Battlemaster title I’ve coveted ever since seeing it in game: Arathi Basin Perfection. The infuriating part is I have this achievement on 2 of my alts, and I’m over 150 recorded AB victories on my shaman without a perfect win. I still say it’s a matter of when, not if…but damn, it’s irritating. Repeated efforts to form an organized group for it have fallen through due to folks not being online. Even without Battlemaster, I’ve managed to eek over the 12k achievement point mark, which felt pretty cool. Not sure if I’ll get to 13k, though! :P
All for now…I’ll try to be a bit more prompt with updating this in the future, though, perhaps my once-a-week-or-two shenanigans, which I think is fair.
The dust from the holiday shenanigans has settled down, playoff football is upon us, and many guilds such as mine are now kicking off raiding in Cataclysm. I’ve been splitting raiding time between resto and elemental, which doesn’t bother me whatsoever; If my switching to resto for a day means we start a raid on time, then I’m all for it, because I hate wasting time.
I actually find playing resto fun and enjoyable currently. It’s as if shaman have tools for healing any and all situations right now. The new “healing model” for Cataclysm has taken little adjusting to on my end, since my playstyle when healing already fit the framework Blizzard had planned for Cata healing. As far back as BC, I would always load up on MP5 (now spirit) on as many items as possible, for I am always afraid of going OOM. I preferred to gear for long fights, such as heroic LK during WotLK (a fight that could take upwards of 15 minutes for a kill). The resto shaman mastery, Deep Healing, works nicely in my opinion. It’s basically a form of crit that isn’t a chance; it’s somewhat more reliable, although I don’t know how exactly the game determines how much benefit your heals get on a target (something I may research on a slow work day, heh). I won’t advocate stacking mastery, mind you, but if you get some here and there on your gear, it’s not the end of the universe; worst case, you can reforge some mastery into haste/crit/spirit.
From an elemental standpoint, it hasn’t been too bad. In our 25 man runs, when I’ve been dps, I’m usually in the middle of the pack, leaning toward the top. In most cases, I’m within 10-15% of the top dps, which I find acceptable, since part of that can be attributed to level of play, aka me slacking. In non-gimmick fights, I’ve been averaging 15-16k. I suspect this number will go up in weeks to come due to not only acquiring gear, but better dps uptime due to knowing the mechanics of the fights.
One thing as elemental that’s been both a blessing and curse is our fire totems. It is a blessing that we are no longer relegated to having to be a “Totem of Wrath bot”, as I’ve seen it called (albeit with more suggestive language, heh). Now that we can consistently use dps totems instead of a buff totem, it’s pretty sweet…when the totems aren’t retarded. Searing Totem makes me want to strangle kittens at times. On many occasions when there is a target switch (aka one trash mob dead, on to the next one that’s right beside it), the totem won’t acquire the second target. I quickly learned to recall/redrop ST on the Omitron fight, because it’s insistence on hitting a shielded target caused us to wipe.
Then there’s our beloved Fire Elemental Totem. It’s a massive dps increase when compared to Searing Totem, but it would need to be since it’s a 5/10 minute cooldown (depending on whether it’s glyphed or not). FE, though, like it’s searing kin, has a mind of it’s own at times and will attack whatever it fancies, regardless of what mob has my flame shock on it. It also has a leash back in the event a mob gets too far away; this isn’t a big deal for searing totem, since it can simply be placed again. Not the case for FE, since it has a cooldown. FE also has a tendency to get insta-gibbed due to raid damage/mechanics, such as what happened to mine during Twin Dragons attempts in Bastion last night. I’m not sure what exactly gibbed it; there’s a pretty good possibility I plunked it down in a bad spot, or at a bad time, or both.
There’s an ongoing discussion of the fire totem matter in this Totemspot thread. There are a couple of ideas posted there that I find interesting, such as letting Unleash Flame, a spell seldom used as elemental, refresh or extend our flame shock’s DoT duration. A simple yet radical idea floating about is letting elemental shaman use the elemental totems (earth and fire) as permanent pets. The way I envision it, searing totem could be scrapped, thus relegating us to using Flametongue for the spell damage increase, then having the elemental function as a mobile searing totem. One downside is that it would lose it’s aoe DPS, but that spell could work akin to a mage’s blast wave, only without any knockback/daze (if they still have that). Otherwise the elemental turrets flame bolts at our target. The earth ele could simply function as a “tank” pet, which is pretty much what it does now.
Keep in mind the ideas posted here are 1. most likely not original, and 2. purely wishlisting, if you want to call it that. I’m not wishing for these things; if they are added, great, if not, no big deal. I honestly would never expect to have either of our elementals as permanent pets, even for just the elemental spec, since we would be treading dangerously toward being a warlock or hunter. I don’t see any harm in generating ideas, be they practical or ridiculous; any kind of idea could provide fuel for the proverbial fire that is the Blizzard think tank that conjures up the changes that DO take place.
Overall, I’m satisfied with my shaman experience in Cata, but that isn’t to say that it is perfect and is in need of no improvement. I’m seeing things, such as issues mentioned here, that could use some attention, but they aren’t game breaking issues at this point.
May be another 2 weeks or so before I get back around to posting, being that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are upon us now. That said, it’s a dreadfully slow day at work, so I thought I’d drop some more observations and thoughts here.
I haven’t done much of anything in terms of raiding since my last post here. That said, based on experiences in heroics, I’m looking forward to raiding, whether it’s as elemental or resto (and now that most of our healing core is at 85 and farming heroics with the rest of us, I’ll most likely be back to my old elemental self).
Elemental DPS seems like it will be fine, least to me. One thing I have started to notice as my gear has improved, though, is that Lava Burst isn’t the “burst” that it used to be. Lightning Bolt crits are now hitting almost as hard as my LvB crits, but I think there’s several factors in play; for one, LB will be getting the majority of Clearcasting charges, which on top of cooldowns amplify it a lot. Also, we have to remember that in most cases LvB is guaranteed to be a crit, whereas LB may crit 20-25% of the time. To think “omg LvB barely crits harder than LB so it sucks” would be ridiculous, since LvB gives us the benefit of consistently having CC charges up. This is especially critical since mana usage has gone up significantly; I have had some points where I ran OOM. That brings me to another point…
What meta gem should we be using? Well, once I crafted my engineering goggles, I immediately dropped a chaotic shadowspirit in the meta slot, and gemmed accordingly. Int/spirit or int/hit (depending on how the gem market was at the time) gems in red, blue sockets with mastery/hit, and yellows with just haste. However, after getting pretty much all the gemmable gear I would need going into raiding (barring BoE epics I’m 1-2 items away from being BiS pre-raiding), I swapped my meta to the Int/+2% mana meta, and went back to our old way of gemming: Int in red, int/spi in blue, int/haste in yellow. I do not have conclusive evidence that my DPS has increased, but going by seat-of-the-pants feel, it seems like I’m doing more dps now. Added benefits include a mana pool that increased by almost 8k…this may not seem like a big deal, but I noticed I went from having mana trouble in long fights to cruising through fights retaining most all of my mana barring occasions I had to use Earthquake (which is going to destroy the mana pool no matter what, heh). The meta swap also lets my eng goggles double dip, and by that I mean that I get to use them in my resto set now.
On the resto front, I’ve been throughly enjoying the challenge that we call the new healing model. Hopefully healing won’t return to where it was in late WotLK, where (for heroics at least) I could basically /afk my way through heroics, or if I was feeling really risky I would queue as a healer and instead be in full elemental gear/spec and would DPS…and if I REALLY wanted to be snarky, I would ask the group why the healer was top dps, heh. I only pulled that snarky card if someone in the group was being a douche, though. Now, for the new healing model, I find that I’m mostly using Riptide and Healing Wave, since they are by far the most mana efficient of our spells. Greater Healing Wave comes into play if someone’s trickling down low on health, and combined with our mastery, it provides a considerable chunk of health restored in most cases; nowhere near the levels of throughput we had in WotLK, but we’re not supposed to have such throughput. Healing Surge has taken the place of Chain Heal as our “Oh S***” button, namely when a DPS’s health spikes down, or if the tank starts to take a dive on HP. As for CH…it’s nowhere near the super power it once was. This is probably the biggest change I’ve had to cope with, because like many shaman I had engrained in my brain that “when in doubt, chain heal”. This doesn’t work well anymore, because in a couple of cases I had that thought occur to me, cast a CH, then someone would die. However…couple CH with our new Healing Rain and we’re capable of some absurd amounts of multi-target healing. Again, it’s nothing like what we had before where a CH would basically heal up 3-4 people virtually all their HP, but it’s still a potent combination. HR allows us to smooth out damage done on a group of folks (such as the melee + tank clump on most all boss fights) while healing other targets…it’s a shaman form of Beacon of Light, I suppose.
I also got back into my PVP groove, starting with Tol Barad…and for once I’m going to say “What the fuck, Blizz?” TB is perhaps the biggest PVP blunder they’ve ever introduced in this game, even more so than the countless revamps of AV (should’ve left it alone IMO). For those who have not tried TB, there are 3 bases and 3 towers. The attacking team has to capture all 3 bases in order to win; they can destroy the 3 towers to buy themselves more time if needed. The defending team technically does not have to hold a single base; so long as one of the 3 bases is in the grey and the time expires, the defense wins. This relegates TB to being nothing more than zerg vs. zerg, with the defense being heavily favored. The simplest solution to this would be to require that 2 of the 3 bases be held to win, whether the O or D is holding them. This gives the D more reason to try and defend the towers, and would discourage both sides from running around with one giant zerg. Couple the TB blunder with the MMR/conquest point bugs that cropped up and you have a lot of aggravated PVPers. On top of that, random BG queues are still pretty awful, and it doesn’t help that more often than not I end up in a group that’s…well, bad, to put it nicely. One positive note, though: You can get all of your conquest points for a week by winning 5 arena matches, which when you have next to no rating is pretty easy to accomplish. This is a big saving grace for us Horde here in the US, since we often have to wait 15-20 minutes to get into a random BG. Granted, it’s gonna take about 4 months to get all of my vicious pvp gear at this rate, but it took about that long in BC for my warrior to get full S2 gear, so it’s not that big a deal. Oh, and that time can be reduced simply by increasing one’s rating, whether it’s in arena or in rated BGs.
Also, after juggling several options for a second profession after dropping Leatherworking (since it would cost me a small fortune to buy all the mats I would’ve needed to level it), I opted for Alchemy and became a Potion Master. This has paid off nicely because I can now sell Truegold cooldowns or Living Elements cooldowns. I was aided in this endeavor by my druid alt, who has herbalism and inscription. Put it simply, a tauren druid cannot be beaten when it comes to herbing, period. The tauren Cultivation racial makes the cast time for herb gathering half a second, which has allowed me to snipe herbs from others charging the same herb node as I on many occasions. If I’m not thrilled with Engineering come next content patch, I may very well drop it in favor of picking up herbing on my shaman so that I’m never stuck without a way to level professions unless I bust out an alt. Besides, herbalism now provides a haste CD that maths out to be an average of 80 haste, so it’s pretty baller when compared to mining and skinning. Mining gets on my nerves at this point because everyone, their brother, and their mother is out mining ore. Were I playing in morning times like some of my friends, it probably wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m generally having to play during prime time, so that’s out of the question. Oh, and leveling alchemy from 1-525 cost me about 1/10th the amount it took to get Engineering from 450-525…so for any up and coming raiders undecided on what professions to pick up to help them with raiding, you can always count on herbalism and alchemy to be of solid use, no matter what class/spec you play. Oh, and it can make you some gold, too…that’s always a plus.
Well, it’s approaching the hour I get to leave the office, so happy holidays to those who have read this far, and those who don’t even know this blog exists. :-P
As of about 8 hours ago, hordes and alliances of WoW players (seewhatIdidthere?) ventured forth to begin the quest(s) to 85 for the first time on live servers. I happened to log on at 6:45AM, about 4 hours after launch here stateside, and at least half of the 23 people on from my guild were already 81, with 2 being 82. I only had enough time to train for Illustrious Grand Master in all of my professions and pick up Archaeology, for I did not have today off of work. That’s ok, though, because I have Mondays off for the remainder of the year. :)
Yesterday, I managed to accomplish 2 goals I had set before Cataclysm officially befell us. Despite the fact I had told my friends I was not going to do any of the new quests in Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms until I could fly, I found that even on a mere epic ground mount I was able to blaze through quests at lightning speed. I managed to complete all but 2 zones worth of quests in Kalimdor, which put me at a nice even 10000 achievement points. Had there not been a reduction of points with the Shattering 2 weeks ago, I would’ve had this number cleared sooner. Of course, said reduction in points was due to several achievements converting to feats of strength. I would have gotten all of Kalimdor’s quests done and probably a fair portion of EK had I not decided to beat my head against the RNG wall that is fishing achievements; I managed a new sea turtle mount but that was the only achievement I managed out of a good 15-20 hours fishing over the past week and a half.
Oh, did I mention there were 2 goals? During the last 2 weeks, there has been a flurry of people/groups gunning for Herald of the Titans, where you basically defeat Algalon in 10 man Ulduar using the proper level gear from the time. A trio of guildies got in a group that started working on the achievement several weeks ago, and they managed to get the title this past Wednesday. I had messaged the leader of that group (not a guildie of mine) to pull me in if there was room, which there wasn’t. Friday, one of my Real ID friends messages me while I’m on an alt, stating one of my guild’s officers was looking for me. I don’t get messages like that unless it something with a degree of seriousness, so I put my serious face on and hopped over to my main. Turns out said officer was in another Herald group that I was unaware of, and that group had a healer that had quit/transferred/etc., and they wanted to know if I still had my gear set. Despite the fact my Herald set was tailor made for elemental, I managed to bastardize it enough to make a half decent resto set of it. We then proceeded to make a couple of pulls, one of which we got to 25%, before my officer and I had to jet out for more attempts on HLK 25 (which we did not get mainly due to the Internet Monster devouring random people’s connections). We came in last night and by 10 PM server (a mere 5 hours before Cata went live here), we came through with the title. Sadly, in my haste and excitement, I didn’t get a screenshot although we did take a group pic. Oops. :P
After weeks of wiping on HLK 25, ending WotLK with Herald and 10k achievement points feels pretty good. Now it’s on to 85 and all of the new and exciting events/raids/etc. that Cata has to offer. I’m looking forward to hopping on later today after work with a couple of my buddies as we smash face through Hyjal/Vashj’ir (thinking we will run Hyjal first) and have a great time in doing so. As much as I’m a sucker for achievements and feats of strength, I’m more than happy to concede all of the realm first shenanigans. To those seeking them, though, good luck and have fun, and see everyone at 85!
Despite having been away for a bit, I happened to catch glimpse of some of the upcoming gear sets in Cataclysm, notably Tier 11 and Season 9 gear:
Not the most visually impressive shaman sets IMO, but one thing to keep in mind is they are being modeled on a human, so the proportions and what not aren’t accurate for most of the races that can wear the gear. I find shaman gear to be more visually impressive on an orc, anyhow; just a small touch of bias there, nothing more. :)
For the T11, I’m liking the color scheme on the right as being the default one, and I would suspect the purple one being the heroic version (if they stick to that formula to differentiate the sets). The green looks much like something you’d expect to see on a druid. With the S9 gear, I see either the top or bottom color schemes being used; I think I’m leaning toward the bottom (blue) set since it would be more of a visual contrast to the T11 colors shown. Of course, all of this is merely my opinion on the matter, so I could be totally wrong on all of it. Wouldn’t be the first time, nor last. :D
This week marks the first full week of raiding I’ve attended since I stopped playing, and I’ve gotten pretty lucky. This past Sunday, I picked up the Split Shape Belt, which was the last item from Halion 25 normal mode. Tuesday, I went into full on loot whore mode, scoring the Bulwark of Smouldering Steel, Necrophotic Greaves, and Belt of the Blood Nova. The shield was a definite highlight, for I had been using the regular version seemingly forever (I want to say I got it in February). Strange how some slots tend to go months and months between upgrades; the shield slot is one of such. With the stat changes going into Cata (mp5 converted to spirit, which is converted to hit for elemental), perhaps this won’t be as problematic.
Last, but not least: A wonderful note from the upcoming beta build.
* Elemental Reach now also increases the range of Searing Totem by 7/15 yards.
This will put searing totem’s range at 35 yards, and we don’t know currently if totemic reach in the enhance tree applies to searing totem. Based on the wording of the talent, it would, so we could be looking at a potential 41 yard range on searing totem. I think I may opt to pass on totemic reach, though, if this range increase via elemental reach does make it live (and I think it will) in favor of reverberation, most likely. As I previously noted, though, it’s really nice having some options available in the talent tree.
I haven’t done much notable stuff on beta (just got to 81 at one point last week), but I did pick up a rather snazzy achievement last night. Now I present Acheron’s first heroic Sindragosa 25 kill:
I did not record this; this work is courtesy of our shadow priest, Thaeron, so props to him for setting this up. If you are looking for yours truly, I’m the only orc shaman running around, usually off to the left whenever I a.) had Unchained Magic or b.) was running down to duck behind a frost tomb.
Of course, I die after Sindy goes down because everyone was being a goober going “YAY WE WIN!!1!1one” while I’m going “MMRMRRMRMRMRRMRRMRMRH”. That’s what I guess I sound like being encased in ice. o.o
Now we have options: We will work on Lk heroic some on Sunday, but starting next week, we will either start clearing all of heroic ICC to work on LK more, or we’ll treat ourselves to some faceroll achievements in order to obtain Icebound Vanquisher mounts. Either way, I’m happy.
Unrelated note, the little world event for the retaking of the Echo Isles is entertaining. Be a part of WoW history if you haven’t already!
So I do my round-about of wow-related sites this morning and find out that a new build is up on the Cata beta servers, and with it comes even more changes to the already radically changed talent trees:
Over-dramatized summary of initial community reaction: OMFG WARE IZ ANCESTRAL SWIFTNESS!1!11 It’s dead and out the door, least as of this build. I’m not sweating it, despite the fact I’m a huge fanboy of the current Improved Ghost Wolf (prior to 3.3 it was always in my PVE builds). The more logical conclusions is that the insta-cast ghost wolf portion of the talent will return, either as baseline or as a new glyph of some sort…perhaps one of the new “medium” glyphs (which will be called major in Cata).
With the current trees, 34/2/5 looks like a solid build; points in Spark of Life could be shifted into Improved Shields for maximum mana efficiency, or in the event we get some retarded Vezax-style fight in Cata, those 3 points could come from Unrelenting Storm and be put in Ancestral Knowledge. I’m liking the current tree setup a little more now than the previous build, because it allows for a little bit of customization: Do you want maximum mana efficiency, or do you trade some of that for some survivability? There may very well be more changes, but I like the direction this is going in, save for having lost Ancestral Swiftness as it was.
Another thing I just realized I like: This build could be utilized for both PVE and PVP. I do wonder how well we will fare being that we are losing Ancestral Shift, but with increased health pools in relation to damage, hopefully things will work out fine. Having done PVP in WoTLK without Ancestral Shift…ow. Don’t do that. :-P
In other news, I combed over my elemental leveling guide and found that I had omitted Fire Nova and Magma Totem…fail and some more fail. Everything else in it appears to be relevant and up to date, but that’s just for WoTLK. Cata leveling will be totally different (perhaps even easier yet more fun at the same time). My guide can be found here.
Last, but not least, the ICC welfare buff is now at 30%, which last I recall was the highest that it was shown to be, least from datamined information circa November 2009. I don’t see a need for it to go any higher, really, and this is coming from someone who’s only 9/12 in heroic ICC 25. Our tanks were already pushing 80k hp fully raid buffed, so this may put them over that…funny how that’s about 10 times as much as a well-geared tank in vanilla. We’ve come quite a long way since then, heh.
Edit: Or the whole thing with Ancestral Swiftness was merely a setback…it wasn’t removed after all. See? That’s why I hate discussing beta things (but there isn’t much else to discuss) :-P