Sunday, December 21, 2008

PvP Boomkin Builds

So I was looking yesterday, and noticed that wowwiki has finally got around to doing some basic boomkin builds that should "get you started" on the pvp front. I'm not really particularly happy with either one of them, though I recognise the need to spec partially into the resto tree to get Omen of Clarity at least, and not go 71 points into balance like I'm currently doing (hey, I like to explore my tree fully). Anyway:

Firstly, the more "serious" pvp build, I like this one less than the other but it has its benefits. I really dislike that this tree tosses both insect swarm, the most mana-efficient dot in the game, and eclipse which I find to be a dps boost. Begin controversy arguing now. I agree with the elimination of starfall, I have that currently and I can count on 0 hands the number of times that I've cast it and not had it get me into exponentially more trouble with the huge range on it. I understand you could put a major glyph into it but I'm already packing the SF & Wrath ones, with the third already slotted to MF after I calculated it would give me a 300-point damage boost (lose 600 from the initial, gain 900 in the dot part). I could toss the wrath glyph I suppose but it's not that worthwhile a talent to me. I'm eh on the elimination of IFF and BoP -- both dropping your chance to hit. I particularly like that IFF when talented gives you an extra 3% crit chance on the target, and it brings you to a 99% hit chance which is pretty damned good. I could probably spare BoP with the hit dagger from the Kirin Tor, at least till I pick up some Arena weapons which probably won't have any hit rating on them. Gale Winds I think is not a particularly useful talent, the added cyclone range is nice but I don't think it's going to be that useful in arena where you close gaps too quickly for any range to really be important.

Second build, allegedly a mixmash if you need more pve viability, I like more. I like this stuff we're getting out of the resto tree, I hadn't realised they added boomkin benefits to some of those talents so it's good to spec into both furor and master shapeshifter. Intensity's a must, obviously, so I would keep this resto side of the tree how it is. Many of the same complaints apply to this build though at least they kept insect swarm. Dreamstate I'm not sure is that important, I don't have OOM issues in Arenas or BGs, deaths are too quick, and you already have Intensity so...

I think I'm going to try this one when I hit 80. Yes I did throw some stuff into Dreamstate after all, but only b/c I had nowhere else to put the last couple talents (same rationale on Owlkin frenzy). Keep my eclipse and the hit chance at 100% (I guess you never know when that extra 1% might be important...).

I wish I knew more about Nature's Splendor -- it increases the length of your periodic spells...does it also increase the damage/healing so that you have the same amount per tick? Or is it the same amount just spread over a longer time, ie, you get less per tick? Nobody seems to have any definitive comments on it one way or the other.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

*drool* PvP gear!

PvP gear is out as of Tuesday, and with it my flirtation with 10-man raiding. Back to what I know and love, Boomkin pvp! I think that I'll restrict my PvE gear to drops off heroics, especially as that lets me continue my exclusivity viz a viz not grouping with death knights.

There seems to be a slightly skewed requirement here with regard to arena ratings, to wit --

No Rating Moderate Rating Uber Rating

Gear Savage Hateful Deadly

Accessories Hateful Deadly n/a?

And of course there are currently no weapons available besides the Deadly ones which is ridiculous as they have a 2030 rating requirement on them.

If you take the simple route to getting savage gear, ie., mixing with arena points instead of trying to do straight up honor which is much more expensive, you should be able to get full gear & accessories after the trifling total of 347,200 honor and 1625 arena points. Which is not terribly bad considering that you could get I think around 5000 honor every four matches, and you could pick up a piece of gear every week assuming you did the arena matches. 278 matches later, you have a full gear set! To say nothing of what you start with, which for me right now equates to approximately 25k honor. It's really nice I think that they dropped the mark requirement on any pvp pieces, reducing marks to the sole point of turn-ins for yet more honor. I admire what they did before which seemed like an incentive to get you to do certain bgs, but I don't think you really lose that here since you'd still need to do all the bgs about equally (except AV, praise Lolth that was the one they dropped in exchange for strand of the ancients) in order to have an even turn-in rate.

Gear, no choice on -- obviously it's the savage wyrmhide all the way. WRT to accessories though there's a little bit of choice, at least on some of the gear. Do you want hit, crit, haste, or mp5? Hit is *just* about worthless I think, as you'd expect with a primarily pve stat. There's a 96% hit chance against an equivalent level, which all the BGs are at 80, so you only need 4% more and boomkin have an automatic 4% from talents, and bumped to 7 if you bother (or have time) to cast IFF on your target. Ditto the worthlessness of mp5 or spirit on gear -- you die so fast in a BG there's no way you run through your entire mana pool...I don't think it's happened more than a handful of times in all the BGs I've done, though on occasion it has occurred in longer-running arena matches. So...crit / haste / spellpower? Spellpower trumps on importance I think, but between the other two what do you do? I'm inclined to give a slight edge to haste here, if only because people are stacking serious resilience nowadays which somewhat lowers the effectiveness of crit; but on the other hand it's an extremely useful pve stat and much as I might like to, I don't spend 100% of my time in BGs so :-).

The savage gear nets --

blue xxx
red xxx
yellow xx
meta x

There is also a prismatic one that you could add to your belt slot with a belt least I assume any serious person would do so.

For the meta I'm tossed between the Ember Skyflare (25 sp, 2% int) and the Enigmatic Skyflare (21 crit, 10% reduced snare/root). I think the ember is probably better for overall usage, especially with druids slipping out of roots through shifting and the medallion of the alliance for getting out of fear. If I start running into a ton of locks in arena though I'll probably switch out for the Impassive Skyflare (21 crit, 10% reduced fear).

As per usual I think we're shooting for blue-int, red-spellpower, yellow-crit. The yellow I'm figuring on Perfect Smooth Sun Crystal (+14 crit), for red Runed Scarlet Ruby (+19 spellpower), and usual blue provides trouble, tending to be more PvE-useful than PvP, tons of spirit and mp5-based gems, and little to choose from pvp-wise. There is of course the old fallback to straight stam boosts a la Solid Star of Elune...but I'm more inclined I think to go with something like Forceful Forest Emerald (8 haste, 12 stam) or Jagged Forest Emerald (8 crit, 12 stam) so I'm at least getting something caster-useful out of it.

My guild recently had a Vent Meeting where I was yet again reassured that This Time things will be, you know, different, and we're going to be Super Serial about PvP / arenas, etc. My confidence in such promises dwindles every time it comes up and goes unfulfilled. But the beauty of arenas, of course, is that I don't *need* my guild to do them. Where it suffers is trying to do BG premades, a chimeric dream that I have that the few of us pvpers in the guild have never been able to convince the rest of the folks to come along for. I rather suspect that I'm going to have to go with my fallback on this one, trying to do premades with Meridius, though the chat channel they allegedly created for that purpose seems to have died as I haven't heard anything on it for a long-o time.

Time to hit 80 already so I can start implementing this :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Other shouts --

I found a nice blog the other day so if I may point other boomkin in the general direction of Gray Matter, I'm sure he'd appreciate the visits!

Also, on the Traumatic Shift front, I changed my mind and went for daggers instead on the vague and possibly unfounded idea that I'd be able to find more crit on a dagger than a mace. And also the fellow above seems to think the dagger from the Kirin Tor rep reward is pretty much one of the best pre-raiding one-handed weapons ever so that played a factor too. I got a nice off-hand to replace my AH junk yesterday by getting into a group for nexus and getting the Tome of ... something I don't remember the name of, off of Anomalus. Thanks to Telk, Sylene, Aldimere, and guildmate Xirlok for putting up with my anti-DK policy.

Strange but true story: had a conversation with Telk while I was looking for a group (difficult as a dps anyway, more so with said policy) which was actually fairly civil about why I refuse to group with DKs. So I noted that in an attempt to wrap up the conversation, something like "thank you for being so courteous, it's above the flak I usually get" and his response was all, "I guess you can be a bigest against is racist against trolls". Huwah? Reply to courtesy is to descend into calling me a bigot? Anyway I thought that was a write-off until Aldimere who was the leader of the group invited me in and look, there was Telk in the group. Weirdness. It almost makes me wonder if I could just shortcut the tiresome attempts of people to "convert" me to DKs by saying I'm a bigot. Hard to argue with that, right? The wife thinks otherwise, that it would intensify argument. I have not yet seen a good enough argument to convert me, the most cogent being "well so you're against warlocks too?". I think there's a fundamental difference between calling in demons from another plane and enslaving them to your will, and forcibly reanimating dead corpses and desecrating their post-death experience. Other people apparently would lump that in the same group. I split that on two reasons: one, I think there's a difference between enslaving an evil demon, and enslaving a good person. Fine line, yes, but wouldn't you feel better about making Hitler your personal slave and Mother Theresa, even if you hated slavery across the board? And two, from a practical standpoint I have to draw a line somewhere or I'd never be able to play. Excluding one class is tough but doable, even though it probably virtually excludes me from anything over a 5-man run, but excluding two would be impossible, I'd be reduced to solo play all the time. And that would suck as I've been making a slight priority shift in Ihra with the expansion so that I want him to have some good PvE gear as well as PvP gear. Prior to wrath, I walked around in a full set of PvP gear all the time with I think 2 rings and a set of bracers to switch out for PvE.

Also a shoutout to Carbonite, a lovely add-on. I downloaded it on the recommendation of some guildies who said it was better than Quest Helper, in order to power-level my mage Forol on my wife's server. I have been generally satisfied with it, even though the map supercedes Cartographer's and doesn't tell me instance levels anymore. But two days ago it came in amazingly handy. I was farming caribou meat in BT and I passed a 71 DK. In direct violation of my policy I allowed him to live because hey, he was 3 levels under me and I felt an odd stirring which was probably pity though I can't tell for certain. His response: to wait for 5-10 minutes until I was heavily engaged with two other mobs, and then jump me and kill me. I rezzed, and Carbonite via its interesting "friends list for gankers" told me where he was on the map, which was way far away and I'd've never found him by myself. I was able to hunt him down and murder him like a dog. For the record he was mounted and not engaged in any fighting at all so it was a much fairer fight than he gave me.

PvP notes on that fight: I again continue to hate how you have to kill unholy(? I think?) dks twice, first as themselves and then again as a ghoul. That's not cool, they're hard enough to kill anyway and then to give them an extra life adds to the unfairness. I'm still not sure what happened in dragonblight a few weeks ago where I had to kill a ganking DK three separate times before she died for good; wife came up with the theory that she had a soulstone on her maybe. I don't know but that needs some serious nerfing. Also I started the fight by rooting, which has generally been my answer to dk's having insane melee dps, stay as far away from that as possible. And he death-gripped me thus nullifying the roots. I understand that's on a 30-second cooldown so if i had to do that again I guess I would root, expect to be death-gripped, and shift to travel to get the distance back while my trees pounded on him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Traumatic Switches

First of all, a shoutout to this quest, the first in a very long time that actually gave some caster leather; no good for me as still under my level but I'm getting MIGHTY SICK of seeing quests with the reward choice of caster cloth, feral leather, something mail that I don't look at too closely, and something plate that I also don't look at too closely. Show me some love, yo.

In other news, Ihra needs to L2READ his talents that, put into Improved Moonkin Form, mean that I get additional spellpower equal to 15% of my Spirit. So who knew, that has some value after all. I did a search yesterday for caster leather in dungeon drops, which isn't too terribly good but --

70 pants out of Utgarde, off of Ingvar
71 belt out of the Nexus, off of Telastra
72 shoulders AND staff out of Azjol-Nerub, off of Hadronox
73 gloves out of Ahn'Kahet, off of Elder Nadox
74 helm and necklace out of Drak'Tharon Keep, off of Trollgore and Novos, respectively
75 pants and necklace out of Violet Hold, off of Erekem and Zuramat, respectively
78 cloak and ring out of Gundrak, off of Gal'darah and Moorabi.

With a slight revision here because after 74 levels of staves, Ihra is making a wrenching switch to mace & offhand. I take a dps hit, a slight sp boost, and loose big on hit and crit...for the moment because I'm using AH goods instead of good drops which could make up for that. To wit, there's a nice offhand from Anomalus in the Nexus, and a good 76 mace off of Moorabi in Gundrak, could I but get there.

On the other hand, daggers might be a good choice also, with the Kirin Tor giving an excellent revered dagger, and who doesn't love rep rewards?

Could be difficult though as my rigid anti-DK policy kept me out of no less than three separate instance groups yesterday.

I continue to whine about four key recipes not being in-game from Bliz, thus preventing me from getting my Hail to the Chef achievement. GRUMBLE.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Was checking out my resilience options today and the disheartening conclusion here is that I seem only able to hit about 455 without gemming specifically for it...I am loathe to do so because I don't really think it's that worth it *shrug*. I was galvanised by discovering that my former twos partner and stilll-current Partner in the Long-Suffering For Instance PVP Minority apparently hit 495 which is just about the cap (497.5). Of course he has the benefit of a shield as well as a weapon which gives him an extra 30 or so. Oh well. I have a lot less time than I thought to grab my arena gear before Wrath comes out middle of November so eek.

In other news though I'm close to exalted with the Stormpike Guard (the easy one) and that's a third of the way to the Justicar title I want. And speaking of Wrath, you can get a "The Argent Champion" title if you're exalted with both the Argent Dawn and the Argent Crusade. I knew all that grinding for AD rep was going to pay off eventually :-).

And today with the assistance of trusty Sherpa guide Filby I went mountaineering and climbed WOWverest:

0X00: Me and Filby survey the peak with trepidation, yet determined that we shall ascend the summit. Filby expresses an optimistic hope that we will encounter some Blood Elves along the way, that he may sate his bloodlust and fill his little vials with blood.

0Y00: We have reached base camp. To Filby's great distress, no Blood Elves yet sighted. We replenish our packs from the gnomes, who engage in a mindlessly repetitive "throw stick into fire" action. We try to get some information about the weather, assuming they must have attempted the ascent earlier, but they are unresponsive.

0Z37: I have arrived at the summit! I try not to be unsettled by the skeleton next to the posted flag. Filby, despite my fervent entreaties that the top is "RIGHT over THERE!", thinks he sees a Blood Elf when we are not fifty feet from the summit and instead of making history, runs off to investigate this phantasm. Therefore I keep the glory for myself.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Balance Patch Notes

Took a little bit of digging but it seems Wow Insider DOES have some commentary on the WotLK beta patch notes for balance druids here.

Main thing: Entangling roots INDOORS now. Increased treant damage which means my 3 points invested in brambles becomes even more awesome. And let's not forget, more aoe, and hurricane apparently has no CD now (!?). Makes us more mage-y I guess but I've always felt inferior only having one aoe so to now have 3 makes me happy.

I'm still unsure how I feel about this new spellpower gig they've got going on, but since all my stuff is X + dam, X + healing right now anyway I'm kind of thinking I might not see too much impact.

The main complaint in the commentary (and the comments on the commentary) seems to be that it's more difficult to pick a general spec, now you kind of have to pick a spec geared to PVP *or* PVE instead of having a more utilitarian one. I'd noticed a little of that anyway, but I guess it's more exacerbated now? I'm not sure I see it, but if that's true then my answer is that you should stop whining. Just how you have to get different gear sets if you want to be truly successful PVP *and* PVE, that may be the case here too now with specs. However I'm not sure it's as big a stress deal as people are making it -- I've read some things that said blizz was trying to get those two fields closer together, for example by putting some high-quality resil gear in raids, or the well-known statistic that walking into your first raid your weapon should probably be a PVP reward. So I'm not sure how much credence should be assigned to somethign that on first glance looks like blizzard doing an about face and heading back in the opposite direction. Guess we'll see more about that as things develop.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here we go again :

Another day, another blog. But since I love WoW so much, maybe I'll do better at regular updates for this one.

It's Friday, and I suppose that's as good a time as any to be posting a blog. My guild's running Kara as they usually do, and as usual I am left in the cold because of my work schedule, le sigh. I was going to pursue one of two alternate plans tonight: 1) Do the maximum 25 dailies, which I've never done before, or 2) Get some peeps to help run me through Durnholde, Slave Pens, or Underbog, which I need to clear out the last two quests in my log and finally achieve my long-awaited 70 present to myself, a completely clean log. Yes, some of you are saying, couldn't you just abandon all the quests and do it that way? I could...but that feels unethical somehow. Anyway that plan fell through because my connection is fritzing *again* and I don't have the work ethic to go downstairs and reset the router again.

Since I actually got into a 5s team this week for arena (gasp!) I was more free to play around with my 2s. My usual partner's been suspiciously AFK and I think he's found new and better friends to play 2s with until I am better geared. True that; still, my resilence is at 304 right now which is certainly not negligible, and the spell dam is at something like +760 since I went exalted with scryer's and got a pretty ring for my trouble. That is also the cause behind goal #1 -- I bought like 550 signets to push to exalted, and the ring was another 63, so I basically splurged like 600g and am therefore down to around 500 and in what you might call the "70 poorhouse".

But back to the subject at hand -- with the freedom to play on my twos, I borrowed my RL friend Melvant, a frost mage, and headed over to the arenas. That went up and down, we tended to get smashed on the non-rated skirmishes, mainly because I think there's no rating match-up on that one so you can get wildly disparate groups. So we tried a couple rated matches and tended to get clobbered for our trouble, coming out I think about 1-4 and splashing our (slash, my) team rating down to about 1275. Our one win came against a warrior/pally combo that we faced a couple times but other than the first time couldn't seem to beat. I find I'm usually very happy when I face warriors because they can be rooted and then they're a stationary target I can back away from and destroy at my leisure. The problem is that Melvant, while pretty well-geared for Kara, seems to be moving away from PVP. When I initially showed him the S1 gear he could get just for BG-ing (the so-called "welfare epics", though I don't approve of the term as it still requires a lot of work to get), he was thrilled and all gung-ho. I think that's worn off though, and his only PVP gear remains his s1 pants, and the s2 staff. Now he seems to be shifting back towards PVE again which I think was always his first love and that may mean trouble. Anyway his resilience is if I remember correctly a truly pathetic 59, on top of being a mage and therefore incredibly squishy. People quickly learned to just smoke him first and then I'd be left in a 2-1 gang-up situation.

What frustrates me is that I've heard boomkin / frost mage is an excellent 2s arrangement with serious potential. Unlike, say, boomkin / resto shammy which is the one I'm running with right now. I mean at some level, it's a moot point. I don't seek to be the best of the best, and the fact that there's likely to be a ceiling to my current 2s team doesn't really bother me because the ceiling is probably around 1800 or so and that's enough to get me tricked out with Brutal Gladiator's gear anyway. The only benefit to pushing past that rating is getting a pretty title on my name at the end of the season ('Duelist Ihrayeep'! Woot...not) and that doesn't matter to me so much.

(Finished on Saturday morning:)

Also my shammy's eye has been wandering over to a better 2s team where they actually win, unlike ours. Thinks I should join them, only then it seems to me there's four people on a 2s team which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially since it was originally 2 teams of 2 anyway. Why not just go back to that? The only sense I can see in it is the desire to mooch off of a team that does better, thus getting us a better ranking and therefore better gear. Call me a naive idealist but I have this loyalty concept about "let's just stick with one team and make it as good as it can be", instead of shopping around for the best combo. I mean, yes, that sounds bad and it is, I am admitting it's a fault, not a bonus; really you should get the best combo you can *first*, and *then* make it the best it can be. So anyone who reads that as a slight on my current partner, be aware that it's not. He's probably thinking about this better than I am. *shrug*.

And if that's true, maybe the best way to arrange this is to not claw tightly to him like someone who sticks with a bad marriage because they have nowhere better to go. Maybe I should just let him go and be happy over there, and just start advertising for a new partner more in line with what complements me -- because to be honest I was just happy to *have* a partner, without having done a whole lot of research on what the best choices for me were. And now I'm in a better place as far as arena familiarity is concerned, plus with 300 resilience I probably wouldn't be laughed out of general channel when I went looking.

In other, brief aside kind of news -- somewhere somehow our appeal was granted by the Blizzard gods and we got our original guild name back. So...HA. I thumb my feathered boomkin nose at whatever RP jerk decided we were wrecking the experience for him. *Thumb*. Cheers to "Kakegijo's Guild", may it never return as our guild name ever again.