Archive for September, 2009

30
Sep
09

I’m likin’ the envenom buff

This weekend we ran into 10-man Ulduar to clear through to the Keepers and set up for some attempts at Yogg-Saron next weekend (hooray for raid ID extensions!).

Its been a few weeks since the last time I was in Ulduar.  In that time, I’ve picked up the Dexterous Brightstone Ring (35 Emblems of Triumph) and the Sparkling Onyxia Tooth Pendant (Onyxia Head turn-in) and done some re-gemming (Aldriana’s spreadsheet says to gem for AP).

I like Deconstructor as a good dps test.  Much like Patchwerk, its a melee-friendly fight.  We get to stand still and dps, only shifting targets when the Heart drops.

On most Ulduar 10 runs, I had been finishing at somewhere between 5500-6200 dps on that fight, depending on which raid buffs I had at the time and how many times I got the Light or Gravity bomb.  I raid with a typical Assassination spec, and raid buffed I have about 5000 AP.

This weekend, though, I did just shy of 7k dps on Deconstructor.  Now, there’s no way that my two gear changes accounted for a 1000 dps increase.  Unfortuntely, I didn’t have combat log parse to look at for this run.  I can only assume, though, that the Envenom buff played a significant part in that increase.

Thanks Blizzard!

24
Sep
09

What is typical?

I read a lot of WoW blogs.  My feed reader keeps track of somewhere between 70-80 different blogs.  On many of those blogs, we get to read about the author’s efforts in Ulduar hard modes, downing Yogg-Saron, getting the Twilight Vanquisher title, or grabbing T9 gear.

Yet, I feel that these blogs, while entertaining and fascinating, do not represent the majority of players. That got me thinking – where is the average player these days?

Warcraft Census shows that there are just under three million level 80 characters in the US and EU servers.  This doesn’t represent three million players because many players have multiple toons at 80.  There is no way to tell how many, so its just guesswork from here.  Lets say that is somewhere between 2-2.5 million players with a level 80 character, just as an estimate.

Guildprogress.com tracks just over 160,000 US and EU guilds that have at least some level of progression in WotLK raids.  How many level 80 players is that?  How many of those guilds are defunct?  How much player overlap is there between rated guilds?  I don’t know of any way to tell.  If this represents a mix of 10 and 25 man raiding guilds, and every 10-man guild has 15 raiders, and every 25 man guild had 30 raiders, then 160,000+ guilds would account for well over two million raiders.

Rough estimates, I know, and I could be off by a million or so players in any direction.  The implication here, though, is that the majority of players who have a level 80 character have done at least some level of raiding, even if it is just OS 10 or Naxx 10.

That is a strong testament to Blizzard’s philosophy of making raiding accessible.

But does that continue on to higher levels of raiding?  Not exactly.

Guildprogress only tracks 94k guilds that have kills in Ulduar 10.  That’s than 60% of the number of guilds that have progressed in OS or Naxx.  We can extend that to the number of players, and assume that maybe 60% of the players have done any Ulduar raiding.

Guildprogress tracks only 36k guilds in the US and EU that have any progress in Trial of the Crusader 10-man normal.  That is 22% of the number of guilds that had kills in Naxx or OS.  Thus, we can say that maybe 1/4 or fewer of the players with a level 80 character have gone into ToC at any difficulty level.

So what is a typical player these days?  Most players have a max-level character.  The majority of those have been in either Naxxramas or Obsidian Sanctum to some extent.  Somewhere between half to two-thirds of them have done Ulduar raids, and maybe a quarter have done any of ToC.

Very, very few are fully clearing Ulduar.  1600 guilds were listed with Algalon kills.  That’s a tiny fraction – about 1% of the tracked guilds.  Somewhere around 15-16k guilds have Yogg kills – around 10% of tracked guilds.

Conclusion (and yes, its on shaky numerical ground)… while Blizzard can proudly say that most players have had raiding available to them, there are still places that will remain unseen by the majority of the player base.  Yogg-Saron, Algalon, and the ToC bosses past the Faction Champions, for example, are still elusive heights where many players will never tread.

23
Sep
09

Onyxia is fun

Patch day!

We threw a group together for 10-man Onyxia tonight.  Of the 10, four had fought her pre-BC (I am not one of them).  That made it easy to explain the fight, since the mechanics are essentially the same.

WoWScrnShot_092209_233302

I won the roll for her head and got the Sparkling Onyxia Tooth Pendant – my first piece of iLvL 245 gear.

A couple of quick notes for rogues…

  • Phase 1 is super-easy tank-n-spank, but don’t let that fool you.  It gets tougher.
  • Don’t attack the elite Dragonkin that come out in phase 2.  They demolish melee attackers with an ability called Ignite Weapon.  Leave them to ranged classes.
  • Despite the nerf in the patch, FoK spam is not dead.  Every time we got a whelp group, I hit FoK until my keybindings were ready to blow up.  My dps totals were huge.
  • TotT is awesome for helping a tank gather up whelps during phase 2.
  • If you have your camera angled upward you can see where Onyxia is going to aim her Deep Breath during phase 2.
  • I wasn’t able to prevent Onyxia’s fears with CoS in phase three.  I might have been mis-timing it, because we had a lot of lag.  And Evasion didn’t keep me from getting tail-swiped, either.

All in all its a very fun fight.  Its certainly easy enough to be puggable if there are a few people in the raid who can explain it well.  There are plenty of opportunities to make dumb mistakes (not avoiding Deep Breath, meleeing the elite dragonkin, running into a whelp cave, etc) so a lot of pugs will fail early on, I suspect.

22
Sep
09

Rogues rock

When I started raiding, back in the Karazhan days, I was the only rogue in my guild that was level 70. Others had leveled rogues for a while, but not to max level. At that time, I was competitive for top dps, but couldn’t quite keep up with our hunters.

We made an alliance with another guild to raid Gruul and Magtheridon, and there were a total of three rogues in our 25-man raids. The three of us routinely finished at or near the top of the meters with an occasional mage, warlock, or hunter mixed in. Eventually one left for a more progressed guild and the other stopped playing, and we went into WotLK as a one-rogue raid again.

All through WotLK and into Naxxramas and Ulduar I was the only max level rogue in the guild for any length of time. I sat at the top of the damage meters from start to finish, and have continued there.

A funny thing happened along the way… our shadow priest rolled a rogue alt, got it to max level and made it his main. Then our DK got a rogue to max level and switched it to his main as well. And one of our mages switched to a rogue as his raiding toon, also. As they leveled, they all told me how much fun the rogue was to play, both in PvP and PvE. Now in my guild there are between two and four rogues in every raid. Also, there are an assortment of rogue alts at various stages of leveling. I don’t expect them all to make it to max level or to raid. But they are having plenty of fun.

Even Blizzard thinks its a great playstyle. Remember, in the Rogue Q&A when they said, “Overall, we really like the way the combo point and finishing move system works. If anything, the risk is that we could push too many other classes towards this system, which makes it less unique for the rogue.” That, plus the fact that rogues get very few changes in each patch, tells me that the class is playing well.

I’m not about to say that rogues are for everyone. But if you haven’t tried it, you should.

11
Sep
09

Envenom getting a boost

In the past two days the WoW world has seen Heroic Anub’arak killed by some of the top guilds in the world.  Paragon (EU – Lightning’s Blade) did it first.  Their top dps was a rogue, and rogues were three of their top five.

Next up was Stars (Crystalspine Stinger – Taiwan).  Rogues took the #1-4 spots on their damage meter.

Clearly, rogues are sitting pretty in WoW right now.  However, it is worth noting that all of Paragon’s rogues were combat specced, using Fist/Dagger.  For us Assassination rogues, that’s a little disheartening.  It not that I ever expect to put up 10k dps the way that Paragon’s rogues did.  But still, no one wants to play the “second best” spec.

Good news!  On the PTR currently, Envenom is getting a boost.  Here’s the blue post about it…Assassination

  • Envenom now benefits from Attack Power a little more.

1 dose: [ 9% of AP + 215 ] damage (Up from [ 7% of AP + 216 ] damage)
2 doses: [ 18% of AP + 430 ] damage (Up from [ 14% of AP + 432 ] damage)
3 doses: [ 27% of AP + 645 ] damage (Up from [ 21% of AP + 648 ] damage)
4 doses: [ 36% of AP + 860 ] damage (Up from [ 28% of AP + 864 ] damage)
5 doses: [ 45% of AP + 1075 ] damage (Up from [ 35% of AP + 1080 ] damage)

Looks like Blizz is trying to bring Assassination specs back to the forefront.  That gets my approval.

10
Sep
09

Ahhhh…

Its a nice feeling to finish a big project.  Its like finishing an epic quest chain.

I haven’t touched the blog in about three weeks.  School started, and I was swamped with that (to any high school students who are reading this – you should know that your teachers work much harder than you do for the first few weeks of school).  On top of that, my school administration dropped a huge project in my lap on a very short deadline.  Today the project reached its completion, and I’m getting into a groove in my teaching.  I may be able to get back to a normal schedule.

For the past three weeks I haven’t had the time or energy to blog, but I’ve played some WoW as a way of taking my mind off my work.  Most of my time has been spent leveling my paladin (now level 75).  I’m playing him as a shockadin spec, basically because no one else does.

That’s always been the way I chose my alts.  I like to find the path that few others are doing.  I played my priest as shadow back when no one was shadow spec, then I switched him to Discipline when that was considered good only for PvP.  I leveled my paladin as prot spec from 1-70 when prot pallies did squat for damage and ran out of mana every fight.  Now I’m playing him specced for holy shock, and its quite fun.  I never run out of mana, and holy shock hits like a bomb on mobs around my level.  I ran AN with a PuG and was able to hold my own on the damage meter.  When I get him near 80 I’ll switch to prot because our guild needs more tanks.

On my main, I finally got my two T8.5 pieces with Emblems of Conquest.  Either piece by itself was a side-grade for me, but both together with the two-piece bonus was an upgrade.  Plus I got the Acidmaw Boots from 10-man ToC.  So, three upgrades in a week – sweet.  After I got them enchanted and gemmed, we went into VoA to fight the new boss, and my dps was almost 2k ahead of the next best dps class!  Holy cow!

I have a few goals upcoming:

  • Kill Yogg-Saron (10-man).  We’ve seen the fight a couple of times.  Time to figure it out and finish it off.
  • Get past the darn PvP fight in normal ToC 10-man.  I hate that fight with the heat of a thousand suns.
  • Get back to doing the Argent Crusade dailies.  I’ve got all of the titles, but I’d like the pony for my squire.
  • Get some more T8 gear.  The only pieces I have are the two I bought with Emblems.  I have never gotten a T8 drop from 10-man Ulduar.
  • Lrn2heal.  I’m still struggling with my Discipline priest.  I think I may be forced to switch to Holy.  I have a lot of problems healing 5-man instances when the whole group takes damage, and its frustrating.

Anyway, I’m back!




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)
September 2009
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