Archive for the 'General' Category


Set Long Term Goals to survive content droughts

We’re looking at 14 months without any new content in the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  And yet I still have plenty left to do.

Early in the WoD cycle I set up some long term goals.  Collecting pets and mounts, earning reputations, getting achievements, leveling alts, making gold, etc…

As I played the game I would do these in small doses.  I didn’t try and race through them. Slow and steady. At this point, I still haven’t completed many of them.  I actually feel rushed.  It is true that my game time has fallen to maybe two or three hours a week, but I still feel that I have plenty to do to keep me occupied.

Each time I log on I have some activity that I can work on and make progress.  I’m never bored.

By this point, after five expansions, we should expect that content won’t come as fast as we’d like it.  I think that too often we jump into the game and try to do everything in a hurry.  If you set long term goals and maintain a moderate pace you’ll make the game last longer.



Still no spoilers

Until this point I have kept myself out of the loop on Legion.  I have not looked extensively at class updates.  I have not taken even a single glance at the Artifacts or the Class Halls.  I can tell that these are works in progress and so I have covered up my ears and said la la la la to keep from seeing them in an unfinished state.

With the announcement that Legion will drop on August 30, I expect that the game will move into beta by May.  At that point I’ll probably start looking at the way things are shaking out.

If I get invited into the beta I will play it.  I have been in the beta for the past several expansions and I try to do my job and give feedback, find bugs, etc…

On that note…

I’ve been playing WoW for a long time.  Is it my memory playing trick on me, or is this extended “alpha” testing new for Blizzard?  Hear me out…

In the past few expansions, the beta test populations have gotten larger and larger.  People have come to think of beta as early game access, rather than testing and bug fixing.  I suspect this might be frustrating for Blizzard.  When folks don’t get a beta invite, they get angry. (entitlement issues)

How does Blizzard fix this? They could just give out fewer beta invites.  However, that will alienate or anger an already dissatisfied player base.  So instead they run their usual beta testing but call it “alpha”.  No one is angry because there’s no expectation to get invited to a limited alpha, and they are waiting for the beta and their inevitable invite.

When the game does finally go to beta, lots of invites go out and it is essentially early access in everything but name.

So is Blizzard just changing the names to keep everyone placated? Lets see how many of us get into the beta.


Forever a… Lock?

In the current content lull, I’ve been working on alts.  I’ve never been an alt-o-holic.  I have some, but I’m not over loaded with them.

My main is, of course, my rogue.  I also have a max level druid that I play and raid with.  I have a max-level paladin that I keep leveled and geared in case we need a tank in a pinch. I have a max level shadow priest for when I feel like doing caster dps.  I also have a max level arcane mage that I use for for inscription and enchanting, but I do find him fun to play.

I have a 2nd rogue and a warrior at level 92 to have more garrisons for gold making.

That leaves me with shaman, hunter, death knight, monk, and warlock that I have never leveled up to or even near the level cap.  I’ve heard that locks are fun these days, so I decided to give the lock a go.

Well, at low levels it really sucked.  For one, the demon pets are too strong (same complaint I have about hunters).  I can sick my pet on things and then go off and pick flowers while the pet does all the work.  I never get hit or even bothered.  Some people see this as a feature, but to me that’s dull and uninteresting.

Second is that it was too repetitive.  There wasn’t enough variety in the attack options.

Worst, though were running dungeons.  With just one instant nuke (HoG), in general I would get one or maybe two casts off per pull.  I finished in dead last in damage on every dungeon run I made from level 20 until level 80. I got kicked out once and threatened on other occasions due to low damage. I had to stack haste, haste, and more haste on my gear just to get off more casts to do decent damage.

Plus the lack of a speed boost was annoying.  I was often left behind in dungeons, and I’d catch up in time to get one cast before everything was dead.

On top of that, I hate managing pets.  The pet has caused problems in a couple of dungeon runs due to pathing oddities or pulling extra mobs.

I don’t really know how I made it, but now at higher levels the lock is starting to perform a little better. If I time things well I can do competitive damage.  Plus the pet makes questing efficient since I can pull a lot of mobs at once (at low levels I wasn’t doing much questing)

I doubt I’ll be playing this toon with any frequency once I hit the level cap, but it has been an experience.

Next up… maybe shaman?  I really didn’t like DK or monk in the little I played them, and I’ve had enough with the pets for now so I’ll wait on the hunter.


Rogue Talents Datamined – Subtlety

Disclaimer: datamining is unreliable.  Nothing here is certain to make it live.

Disclaimer: these talents, even datamined, may not be in their right place in the talent tree.

First, it must be said that Subtlety Rogues have new baseline abilities.  This is important to set out first because many of the talents modify them.

Shadowstrike – Appear behind your target and attack.  Awards two combo points.  This will replace Ambush and Shadowstep.  Requires stealth.

Shuriken Toss – Formerly a talent, now a Subtlety baseline attack from range. Awards one combo point.

Nightblade – melee finishing move that does Shadow damage and reduces movement speed by 50%

Now that that is out of the way, let look at what the dataminers have found in the Legion beta files.

Subtlety Talents:

With the removal of Honor Among Thieves, the combo point generation will be very different for Sub rogues.  The new baseline ability Shadow Techniques gives a chance to proc combo points from autoattacks.  That will replace HoT.

Eleven out of twenty-one of our old talents have been removed for Outlaw spec.  Here are the new talents that replace them:

New Talents

  • Master of Subtlety – its back!  Attacks made from stealth and for 10 seconds after cause 10% additional damage.
  • Weaponmaster – Your attacks have a chance to hit the target twice each tie they deal damage
  • Gloomblade – basic attack, replaces Backstab.  Does shadow damage, awards one combo point.  No positional preference.

One interesting aspect of Subtlety rogues is how much of their damage is being shifted from physical to shadow.  If they use the Gloomblade talent and also use Nightblade as the finisher, then only their autoattacks are doing physical damage.

  • Deeper Strategem – can gain up to 6 combo points, and finishers can use up to 6 combo points
  • Acrobatic Strikes – increases the range of your melee attacks by 3 yards
  • Into the Fray – increases your movement speed at all times by 15%
  • Deeper Strategem – you may now have up to 6 combo points and finishing moves can cosume up to 6 combo points
  • Vigor – increases maximum energy by 50 and base energy regeneration rate by 10%
  • Soothing Darkness – Heal 3% of your life every second while you stay in stealth
  • Strike From the Shadows – Your Shadowstrikes also stun the target for 2 seconds.

Strike From the Shadows is interesting.  It turns Shadowstrike into a combination of Shadowstep, Ambush, and Cheap Shot all in one.

  • Tangled Shadow – Nightblade now reduces target movement speed by an additional 20%
  • Premeditation – Cheap Shot and Shadowstrike generate 1 additional combo point
  • Alacrity – Finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to grant 1% haste for 20 seconds.  Stacks up to 25 times.
  • Expanded Technique – your combo point generators now have a chance to trigger Shadow Techniques

Expanded Technique should just be built into a baseline ability.  Otherwise it is dull.

  • Relentless Strikes – you gain an additional 40 energy when you enter stealth

Also, rogues gain a baseline ability called Master of Shadows at level 54 that provides 60 energy when you enter stealth.  Thus, if Relentless Strike is chosen as a talent you would get 100 energy.

I can’t really get a mental feel for this spec.changes to this spec.  It clearly intends for you to jump in and out of stealth as often as possible, which is interesting.  Not sure about the interplay of all the talents and new abilities.  I’ll be sure to try it if I get into the beta.


Rogue talents datamined – Assassination

Disclaimer: datamining is unreliable.  Nothing here is certain to make it live.

Disclaimer: these talents, even datamined, may not be in their right place in the talent tree.

Now that that is out of the way, let look at what the dataminers have found in the Legion beta files.

Assassination Talents:

So we see that ten of our old talents have been removed or made baseline.  Here are the new talents that replace them:

New Talents

  • Master Poisoner – increases poison damage by 10% and non-damaging poison effects by 20%
  • Elaborate Planning – finishing moves grant 20% increased damage for 4 seconds
  • Hemorrhage (!) – basic attack that increases bleed damage on the target and awards 1 combo point.  Costs 30 energy.

Wow, Hemo in Assassination (unless this is a datamining glitch).  It costs more than half of the energy of Mutilate and does less than half the baseline damage, but the increase in bleed damage is hard to calculate.  It will be interesting to see if it is worth choosing that as a tier 1 talent over a more straightforward one like Elaborate Planning.

  • Deeper Strategem – you may now have up to 6 combo points and finishing moves can cosume up to 6 combo points
  • Vigor – increases maximum energy by 50 and base energy regeneration rate by 10%
  • Paralytic Poison – its back!  Removed in WoD, it has returned in a new form. Causes 10% increased duration of Cheap Shot and Kidney Shot.
  • Thuggee – Each time the target takes bleed damage there is a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on Garrote, but the silence from Garrote now only lasts 1 second.  Also, it makes me think of the second Indiana Jones movie.

If you take Vigor (3rd tier) and Venom Rush (7th tier) then you have 150 energy and a super-fast regeneration rate.

Thuggee seems odd.  Garrote only has a 15 second cooldown.  Do we need a talent that might reset it?

  • Numbing Poison – not the same as the old min-numbing poison.  Each application increases your damage on the target by 10%.  Stacks up to 5 times.
  • Alacrity – Finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to grant 1% haste for 20 seconds.  Stacks up to 25 times.

I don’t get the Alacrity as written.  If it only lasts 20 seconds, there is no way to stack it 25 times, unless each new application also extends the duration of previous applications.  If that is the case, then as long as you use a 5-point finisher once every 20 seconds, you will eventually have +25% haste.

  • Blood Sweat – every time you deal bleed damage, there is a 30% chance to spread it to a nearby target

Thank goodness there is no more reagent cost to switch spec.  People will be switching in and out of Blood Sweat for single vs multi target fights.

As typical with rogues, there are no sweeping changes here.  We’ll see more changes in the Combat Outlaw spec.


Rogue redesign in Legion

I’m not sure how long it would take me to get used to not using poisons.  I’ve used them since vanilla, going back to when we had to craft them ourselves.  They are second nature to me.  Fortunately, I typically play an Assassination rogue, and they are keeping poisons.

Here’s the quick recap:

Assassination rogues

No huge changes for assassination rogues.  No word in today’s preview about AoE.

  • Still use poisons
  • Still use rupture, garrote, mutilate, envenom
  • Seal Fate can now proc off of each hand with mutilate.  That means that  a single mutilate could potentially award 4 combo points on a double-crit
  • Venomous Wounds gives energy
  • Mastery increases poison damage

Combat Outlaw Rogue

The spec has been renamed and redesigned to embody more of a bandit/swashbuckler/pirate type.  Seems like it will play similarly to how combat plays now, but with a couple of neat new attacks.

  • Stealth de-emphasized.  Ambush is the only opener.
  • No poisons.
  • Still uses Slice and Dice, Combat Potency, Ruthlessness, Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry
  • Saber Slash replaces Sinister Strike.  35% chance to proc an additional attack, ad an extra combo point, and make the next Pistol Shot free
  • Pistol Shot – draw a concealed pistol. 20 yard range, slows movement.
  • Lunge Through = finisher
  • Mastery = Main Gauche

Subtlety Rogue

Emphasizing stealth.  Multiple ways of returning to stealth during a fight to re-open.  No poisons, but now can apply shadow DoT.

  • No poisons.
  • Shadowstrike – opener combines Shadowstep and Ambush.  Teleport and attack from behind.
  • Backstab no longer requires you to be behind the target, but grants a 30% damage bonus if you are.
  • Nightblade = finisher that deals damage and applies a shadow DoT
  • Still has Eviscerate as finisher, also
  • Shadow Dance – on a finisher, 20% chance per combo point to activate stealth for 3 seconds.  Creates a decoy of you to confuse enemies. Works differently in PvP.
  • Shadow Techniques – autoattacks can generate combo points (probably replaces Honor Among Thieves)
  • Mastery = Executioner, increases damage by finishers


Even though Combat was renamed and re-themed, it looks like Subtlety got the most changes.  Still, reading the forums indicates that people are pretty excited about the Outlaw spec.  We’ll see how all this evolves as Legion approaches and when we see all of this in beta.



Blizzcon has come and gone.  I watched the Overwatch stuff with some interest, although I may never play the game because I don’t expect to enjoy a game that is all fighting with no story arc.

The Legion information was pretty good.  Really it was “we’re bringing you lots more of the same!” which is fine if you’re still playing the game, as I am.  If you have left WoW, I’m not sure what was there that would bring you back.  The artifact weapon is cool – if you’re a paladin and get Ashbringer.  The other classes get more obscure weapons that would interest lore geeks, but they are not of themselves as exciting.

This is no fault of Blizzard.  The MMO genre is played out. They can’t change it because people hate change.  But by not changing it we just get more of the same.

With the Class Halls idea, I keep hearing people say that it looks like a glorified quest hub.  So what if it is?  After all these years, do you really expect WoW to abandon quest hubs?

I’m looking forward to a new leveling experience, new 5-man dungeons, and new story.  It looks like we’ll get Karazhan reimagined as a 5-man, Demon Hunters, and quality of life improvements.

As of this writing, Blizzard is revealing class previews three per day.  The Rogue preview is last.  The new Outlaw spec (formerly combat) should be interesting to see.  I’ll wait and see how that plays out.


Dinaer - 100 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 92 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 91 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 100 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 100 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
May 2016
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