Archive for December, 2008

30
Dec
08

The Forgotten Zone – Icecrown

I think that Blizzard did a great job in Icecrown.  Some of the questlines are epic in feel.  The zone looks really gritty and has a great atmosphere.  The flying boats are cool, too.

And its mostly empty.

Almost everyone in my guild hit level 80 in Storm Peaks or, at latest, a handful of quests into Icecrown.  Once at 80, the race to raid begins and questing is put aside.  Have you tried to get together a group for the 5-man Icecrown quests?  I’ve tried, but have been unsuccessful.  Its too bad, because some of the quest rewards are awesome.

(note that many of those 5-man quests can be done by a group of 2 or 3, but a couple are tougher)

Its a shame that Blizzard put so much thought into the zone for so few to see.

Rogues – for pre-heroic gear try to do the questlines there to get the Severed Noose of Westwind, Shoulderpads of Fleshwerks, Bloodbane Cloak, The Darkspeaker’s Treads, Signet of Bridenbrad, and Vengance Shiv.  All of that is good enough gear to start heroics with.

26
Dec
08

DPS Test

Our raid leader asked me to do a DPS test on a Heroic Practice Dummy. We’re getting ready for our first guild Naxx run and he’s checking everyone out.

Keep in mind that I just hit 80, I have not run a single heroic instance or gotten a single insignia. So my loot is all crafted items and quest rewards. I have not enchanted my gear yet except my weapons (Mongoose) and the Leatherworking enhancements to legs and wrists.

With no raid buffs at all and no consumables, I was able to maintain about 1450 dps over five minutes on the dummy. I am disgusted with my pathetic hit rating, but the agility, crit, and attack power on the gear I have makes it so that my damage is up despite my misses.

I told the raid leader my results, but I had no way to project how that would increase with raid buffs.

Later, we gathered up a group of four of us – me, a Death Knight, Enh Shaman, and Prot/Ret Pally – for a group DPS test. That gave me Windfury Totem, Bloodlust, Greater Blessing of Might, Heart of the Crusader, and Horn of Winter. I ate a Snapper Extreme for good measure and +40 hit rating. I didn’t take any potions or flasks.

I was able to maintain 2000 dps over 5 minutes, even though I had not yet gotten my new dagger enchanted, so I expect I could have been even a bit higher. That was just a hair behind the Shaman and Death Knight, but they have both been running heroics so they have better gear. Its clear that I should be able to out-damage them once I get some upgrades and enchants (on stationary tank-and-spenk bosses, in any case).

That made me feel a little better about the state of rogue dps. I know we’re not the top anymore, but I need to make sure that I earn my raid spot.

23
Dec
08

Northrend Reputation Rewards for Rogues

With the championing system in Wrath, we have to make a choice every time we set foot into a level 80 or heroic dungeon. What tabard should we put on? Which faction should we gain rep for?

Here are some rogue-worthy things that can be obtained from the various factions.

Note: Sorry that there are no pop-up item links. WordPress.com won’t allow those scripts.

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These five factions (Argent Crusade, Kirin Tor, Knights of the Ebon Blade, Wyrmrest Accord, and Alliance Vanguard/Horde Expedition) can be championed. If you run a lot of instances at level 80 you can get to the rewards relatively quickly.

Argent Crusade

  • at Revered you can get the Zombie Sweeper Shotgun, which is good if you need to find hit rating from somewhere
  • at Exalted there are the Boots of the Neverending Path, which are some of the best pre-raid feet in the game right now (also with a lot of hit rating)

Kirin Tor

  • at Honored there is the dagger Lightblade Rivener, which is very fast (1.4) and a good option if you can’t afford the mats for the crafted daggers
  • at Revered you get the Mind-Expanding Leggings, which is one of the best pre-raid leg items out there (lots of expertise)

Knights of the Ebon Blade

  • at Honored, there is the Unholy Persuader fist weapon, but it is off-hand and slow
  • Revered gets the must-have Arcanum of Torment, which is the best head enchant in the game for melee dps
  • also at Revered, sword rogues will like the Reaper of Dark Souls as a great pre-raid weapon
  • Exalted gets you the Darkheart Chestguard, which has enough agility (88) to overcome its use of the lackluster armor penetration in its stats

Wyrmrest Accord

  • Honored reputation earns you the Fang of Truth, which is a nice fast off-hand sword for combat rogues
  • at Exalted you’ll get the very desirable Dragonfriend Bracers

Alliance Vanguard/Horde Expedition

  • At Revered you can get the Vanguard Soldier’s Dagger (Alliance) or Warsong Shanker (Horde). They are both fairly mediocre weapon options. You should have better by the time you reach the level where you can use them.

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These two factions (Sons of Hodir, Kalu’ak) cannot be championed, so you’ll have to do daily quests for their reputation rewards.

The Sons of Hodir (you’ll need to do a whole lot of quests in Storm Peaks to start getting rep)

  • at Honored you’ll get the Lesser Inscription of the Axe to enchant your shoulders
  • also at Honored you can buy the Spaulders of Frozen Knives, which are pretty good until you can get the crafted ones or a heroic drop
  • Revered has the dagger Broken Stalactite, which has an excellent mix of +hit, +crit, and agility. Unfortunately, its slow (1.8). Its still a great option for dagger rogues.
  • at Exalted you can enchant your shoulders with the Greater Inscription of the Axe. This is the best shoulder enchant out there unless you have Inscription

Kalu’ak (walrus people)

  • Honored rep gets you the Whale-Skin Breastplate, which is pretty good at about level 76-77 but you’ll replace it with quest rewards and instance drops later.
  • Revered has the Traditional Flensing Knife, which is a pretty good dagger but at 1.7 speed you’ll probably find better from other rep or quest rewards

horizontal_sword

These two factions (Oracles and Frenzyheart) are mutually exclusive. If you raise your rep with one you will lose rep with the other, much like the Scryer and Aldor factions back in BC. Both are located in Sholazar Basin, and the rep is gained through daily quests. You’ll have to do a series of quests for both factions before you even get the chance to choose.

Oracles

  • Revered rep earns you the Glitterscale Wrap. Its a very good pre-raid option if you can’t afford the crafted belt.
  • At Exalted you can get the Oracle Talisman of Ablution, although I think you’ll find a lot of better trinket options out there. Its probably good for PvP.

Frenzyheart Tribe

What are you waiting for? Get out there and do some dailies!

22
Dec
08

Pre-Raid gear changes at 80

Level 80… at last.

Here’s what happened to me gear-wise when I hit 80.

I had already leveled my LW to 440 and collected the mats I would need, so I immediately crafted my Trollwoven Spaulders, Trollwoven Girdle, and Ice Striker’s Cloak. Someone in the guild donated a belt buckle for my new belt, so that added a gem slot.

From my guild bank I withdrew a Librarian’s Paper Cutter and Chain Gang Legguards that had been sitting there waiting for me.

I did an Utgarde Pinnacle run and grabbed the Drake Rider’s Tunic and Headguard of Retaliation.

So that was seven new pieces of gear within about an hour. All of it is pre-raid, re-heroic, pre-rep grind. My AP went up by several hundred. My crit rating is still in the toilet and my hit rating is not what it should be. I hope that loot from heroics will solve that.

Here is how I stand right now:

Overall stats right now (unbuffed)

  • 718 Agility
  • about 2500 AP depending on which dagger and ring I wear
  • 230 hit rating with Saronite Shiv, 185 with Paper Cutter (I can get it higher with other gear by sacrificing some crit and AP)
  • about 19% crit (per paper doll), depending on specific trinkets (much higher in actuality once talents kick in during combat)
  • 15k health

Note: see that I am wearing five pieces that I crafted with Leatherworking. Yes, LW is useful for pre-raid gear. Unfortunately, I expect to replace most of those once I am raiding.

Now – a dilemma. Someone in the guild has offered to craft me a Titansteel Shanker. That would replace my Saronite Shiv. At first glance it looks like a good upgrade. But my hit rating is already low. To lose the +55 hit from the Shiv could be problematic. I’m worried that it will slow down my poison stacking and impact my Envenom cycle.

I think I’ll spend today at the Practice Dummy.

22
Dec
08

Ding

ding80

19
Dec
08

Time off from work = lots of WoW

Have you ever taken a day off from work or school specifically for the purpose of playing WoW? I don’t mean that you stayed home sick and happened to play since you were home anyway. I mean you woke up, decided that you had some supremely important WoW stuff, and didn’t go to work/school just for that reason.

I have never done that. I almost did after the Wrath release, but I was scheduled for a mandatory meeting on release day and ended up at work anyway. Plus, my job affords me lots of days off, so I can always put off my Warcraft urges until my next long weekend or extended holiday.

This is on my mind because after today I have two weeks off for the holidays. :) Just in time to start grinding heroics and rep for pre-raid gear. I hope to get a lot accomplished in the next couple of weeks. If I get enough done, I might earn my way into my guild’s first official Naxx run on January 2nd.  (I hope my wife doesn’t have a lot of projects planned)

——————————————————————————————

Today I saw someone at my job who was wearing a blue Santa hat. My first thought was, “I wonder what boss dropped that?”

17
Dec
08

Warcraft Apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch

Edit: since the time this post was made, Blizzard has shut down some iPod apps.  I don’t think that Warcraft Chest or Warcraft Characters are available at this time.

For my birthday I was the happy recipient of the iPod Touch. This handy little gadget has a million uses, from the calendar to watching movies to productivity tools with a web browser to music. The first thing a new Touch owner does is download a bunch of new apps from the App Store.

After getting the necessities, I browsed around the App Store for something useful. I found a few Warcraft apps that have really helped out. And they are all freeEdit:  since I wrote this post back in December, these apps have been changed so that they are no longer free.

Do you like using AtlasLoot in game? There is a similar program for the Touch and iPhone called Warcraft Chest.

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It has almost everything AtlasLoot does. You can search through loot lists for raids and instances, on normal or heroic, and it will show you the full item description just like it appears on WoWhead. It doesn’t require internet access. I use this when sitting around during down time, or when I just want to look at the new stuff in Wrath.

A second app that has become useful is WoWTalent. It is a fully functional talent calculator for your iPhone, iPod Touch. It has all of the trees and talent descriptions, and allows you to build a complete spec and then save it.

picture-004

This would be really useful for someone who respecs a lot. I use it when I go from my Combat leveling spec to my Mutilate instancing spec or back. I can pull up a spec on my iPod and refer to it as I put points into my trees. No more mistakes!

The third app I got is called Warcraft Characters. It is a very easy to use armory app. It retrieves your characters from the armory and shows you abilities, talent spec, skills, etc… It does require internet access to refresh it, but you can view the cached information with no access.

picture-003

All of these do the same functions as in-game add-ons. But I am trying to cut down on my add-ons, and I hate alt-tabbing out of the game to look stuff up. So these apps for my iPod Touch are very useful and easily accessible while I am playing or just sitting in traffic. They are all available for free through iTUnes or the App Store on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

16
Dec
08

Strategizing

This weekend I got this whisper from my guild’s raid leader…

RL: I’ve heard that rogue dps is trailing behind other classes in end game

Me: Oh yeah?

RL: Yeah. I’m waiting for you to ding 80 so you can prove it wrong.

Honestly, I’ve heard the same rumors.

So now the pressure is on to perform, to stand up for rogues everywhere! That said, my guild has a fury warrior who is doing over 3500 single-target dps, and assorted casters who are around 2500. So I’ll be measured against them when I hit 80 and start doing heroics and Naxx.

Today I went back to my raiding Mutilate spec so I can start training myself on the key bindings until they are second nature.

I need to stack the odds in my favor so that I can hit the ground running as soon as I reach 80. I am dragging my feet a little on my way to 80 to make sure my Leatherworking is leveled. I want to be able to craft and equip the Trollwoven Girdle and Trollwoven Spaulders as soon as I level. Those are better than just about any heroic instance drop for those slots, and are a significant upgrade over my quest blues.

My LW is currently at 427. I need it to be at 440. To get from 427 to 440 I will have to make Virulent Spaulders and Icescale Leg Armor. Once at 440 I need to buy the two patterns, and then craft them. Total mats for this process: 56 Heavy Borean Leather, 13 Eternal Fire, 11 Eternal Shadow, 24 Arctic Fur, 20 Icy Dragonscale, and 2 Frozen Orb, barring some bad luck with RNG. Whew.

Fortunately, I have about 15 Arctic Furs in my bank along with a bunch of leather and dragonscales, and I think we have a Frozen Orb or two in the guild bank. Still, if I want to get these items quickly I’ll have to buy a lot of Eternals and a few Arctic Furs. I think I’m looking at 1500g if I buy it all on the AH. Heck, its only pretend money. And I should be able to make some of it back by selling the Icescale Leg Armor.

I should probably craft the Ice Striker’s Cloak, too. But that’s adding another Frozen Orb and a handful of Eternals to the mix, which would push me near the 2k gold cost for this.

I’m happy with my weapons for now – my two Saronite Shivs are fast (1.4) and have the hit rating I’ll need to get me near the Poison Hit Cap. Mongoose on both is still the way to go. My pre-Wrath trinkets, Dragonspine Trophy and Darkmoon Card: Crusade hold up well against newer items for boss fights, so I’ll stick with those. I may try to fish up the Chain Gang Legguards in Dalaran if I have the time.

I will try to grab a couple of nice BoE rings from a JC or the AH. I’ll give my guild’s enchanters some work by getting my gear enchanted. After that, I hope I’ll be ready to put up respectable DPS numbers in heroics. I won’t be at 3300 dps yet, but when the loot starts coming in from heroics I should see a quick improvement. Once I am there I’ll post my gear.

10
Dec
08

Update to Hit Rating calculations

Last week I wrote an extensive explanation of hit rating.

The folks at Elitist Jerks have been doing extensive in-game testing.  So far there is conclusive evidence that that one-handed base chance to miss and the chance to miss with special attacks has been reducded to 8% (formerly 9%).  I have edited the post to reflect the new hit rating cap.

This doesn’t really have a lot of impact.  Before, you needed 131 hit rating to eliminate misses with special attacks.  Now you only need 99.  I’m fairly certain that most or all rogues are above both of those numbers at level 80, so we won’t be adjusting our gear due to this change.

There is some evidence that the dual wielding miss chance is now 27% (down from 28%) but its not conclusive yet.  If the experts settle on a new number for that, I’ll adjust my numbers accordingly.

10
Dec
08

On a positive note

That last post was kind of whiny.  Sorry.

On the positive side, there are already twenty players in my guild at level 80 (and I’m not one of them).  Most of them have been running heroics for gear.  A few have done Naxx PuGs.  No one has left the guild to go to more progression oriented guilds, as I was worried about earlier.  Of the people who are not yet 80, at least 5 of them are “core” raiders from BC who know how to play their class.  So we have a strong group forming.

We even have a new person in the guild who used to be in one of the top raiding guilds in the U.S., but decided to “go casual” in Wrath.  It should be interesting to see his perspective on things.

Suddenly the question has been posed – are we going to spend time on 10-man raids or 25-man raids?  I never really expected to have that dilemma.  Its a nice spot to be in.

We just need a couple more healers to get geared up and we’ll be ready to dive in.  I think we can even get up and raiding before Christmas.  Woo-hoo!




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
December 2008
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