Archive for the 'Mists of Pandaria expansion' Category


Race to the Legendary Cloak, updated again

On October 20, I posted that I had decided to pursue a legendary cloak for an alt, since they had removed the Test of Valor quest.  My concern was that I wouldn’t have enough time to do all the collection quests before WoD.

Here’s how it has gone so far:

October 14-20: started collecting Secrets of the Empire.  Got 6 in the first week through LFR.  I ran all 6 available LFR raids (20 bosses) that can drop the Secrets

October 21-27: got 6 more in my second week of the quest through LFR, giving me 12 out of 20.  Again, I ran all 20 bosses that can drop Secrets.

October 28-November 3: Got the last 7 Secrets that I needed from 16 LFR boss kills.  Did the Forge quest on the Isle of Thunder.  Ran my one remaining LFR raid to try and get some Titan Runestones, but got none.  Tried to use the Premade Raid Finder tool to do some normal-mode raids, but none of the groups I was in killed even a single boss.

November 4-November 10:  After a week of running all 14 LFR bosses that drop Titan Runestones, I had 6.  Then I spent a whole weekend signing up for premade groups to do the raids on Normal.  That was… unsuccessful.  The premade groups were generally awful.  After something like 10 hours of signing up, forming up, replacing people who dropped, etc… I got all of two more Runestones.  I was not able to find a premade group that was coordinated enough to kill Lei Shen.  Out of the 14 bosses I could have killed on Normal, I think I only killed 9 or 10.  I now have 8 Runestones out of 12.

This now leaves me with two nights – Tuesday and Wednesday – to get 4 more Runestones, complete a Celestial’s challenge, kill the four Celestials on Timeless Isle, and then kill Garrosh.  Depending on queue times, that could easily take 5-6 hours over two nights.  I don’t really have that time, so I will have to decide how late I’m going to stay up in order to finish this.  How important is it to get my 3rd cloak?


A Test of Valor

One of the nice gestures that Blizzard made for us in the 6.0.2 pre-WoD patch is to remove the quest A Test of Valor.  That quest, part of the legendary cloak line, had us earning 3000 Valor Points.  This took a minimum of three weeks but for casual players took much longer.  The idea behind removing that was to make a last-minute push for your legendary cloak possible.

The Test of Valor quest was removed on October 14.  WoD drops on November 13.

Assuming that the lockouts will reset on Tuesday, November 12 as usual (leaving a two-day “week” with a new lockout before WoD) then we have 4 full lockouts and 1 abbreviated lockout to do the rest of the legendary cloak questline.

The biggest obstacle there is collecting the Secrets of the Empire.  You have to get 20. Now you’re squirming in the hands of the RNG gods.

There are 20 bosses you can kill each week to get Secrets.  In 4 weeks that is 80 chances, plus whatever you can do in the two-day “week” before WoD.  Thus you need to get roughly one Secret to drop per four boss kills.  (That is assuming you have the time to run 20 bosses each week).  That is not even considering the time you need for the steps that come after this quest.

That’s a little tight for me.  I’d hate to go through all this effort only to fall short due to random chance.  I really think that Blizzard should have extended the Gaze of the Black Prince buff all the way through WoD release.  Otherwise, removing the Test of Valor quest wasn’t as useful as they thought.

Edit: I was lucky and got 6 in my first week.  I’ve heard panicked complaints from others who only got 2 or 3.


Mists Raiding Recap

Amid all the talk that Blizzard is dumbing the game down, blah blah blah, I can say with certainty that raiding in Mists kicked our butts more than any raiding since Burning Crusade.

When I say that Mists raids were hard, the typical troll response I get is that my guild is “bad”.  Thing is, we’re the same people that raiding together since BC, and we weren’t bad before.

Just for comparison, here’s our raiding history.  In Burning Crusade we were just learning to raid, so we were way way behind the curve, and I didn’t include that here.  Once Wrath hit, we had a full team and were raiding right from the start.  Here’s how we did (10-man normal modes only – we never do heroic)

Wrath of the Lich King

Naxxramas:  Released October 2008, Cleared January 2009

Obsidian Sanctum:  Released  October 2008, Cleared December 2008

Eye of Eternity:  Released October 2008, Cleared March 2009

Trial of the Crusader:  Released August 2009, Cleared September 2009

Ulduar:  Released September 2009, Cleared March 2010

Icecrown Citadel:   Released December 2009, Cleared April 2010

Summary – for most of Wrath we were on schedule, finishing each tier (10-man) before the next tier was released.  We did get bogged down for a while in Ulduar – specifically on Yogg-Saron, which took us months


Bastion of Twilight:  Released December 2010 Cleared June 2011

Throne of the Four Winds:  Released December 2010, Cleared June 2011

Blackwing Descent:  Released December 2010, Cleared June 2011

Firelands:  Released June 2011, Cleared December 2011

Dragon Soul:  Released November 2011, Cleared March 2012

Summary – We were just a hair behind in this expansion.  For most raids, we cleared them up to the final boss and got stuck, then killed that boss as soon as the next tier was released and we got some gear upgrades.  We never gave up and never felt defeated.

Mists of Pandaria

Mogu’shan Vaults:  Released October 2012, Cleared February 2013

Heart of Fear:  Released October 2012, Cleared April 2013.  Stuck at Garalon for months.

Terrace of Endless Spring:  Released November 2012, Cleared April 2013

Throne of Thunder:  Released March 2013, Cleared: Never.  We got stuck on Horridon and our raiding collapsed after that.

Siege of Orgrimmar:  Released September 2013, Cleared July 2014 (flex only)

Summary – you can see how we hit a wall in this expansion.  We were way behind, never coming close to finishing a tier before the next tier was released.  We always needed LFR gear from a higher tier to clear the previous tier.

Since the raid team in Mists was essentially the same as the raid team in Wrath and Cata, it looks to me like the raids were just plain harder for us in Mists.  Either that or the particular mechanics in this expansion didn’t play to our playstyle, and we weren’t able to adjust.

I also feel like LFR hurt our raiding mojo.  Players stopped learning boss fight mechanics because in LFR you could ignore them.  There was little personal responsibility for damage avoidance and team play because LFR trained the players to overlook that.  Every time we showed up for a raid, the mechanics and roles had to be re-explained.  This was definitely laziness on the part of our players, but I put much of that on LFR.

I’m not sure if we’ll even be able to field a raid team in WoD.  Mists really left a sour taste with a lot of our players, and I would not be surprised if the “extended breaks” for some of our players at the end of Mists turned into full retirements.


Sha-Touched Weapon… good or bad?

When we got our sha-touched weapons back in Throne of Thunder, we were, of course, excited.  The 500 Agility gem made those weapons super-powerful.

That was then.  This is now.

Now I’m a little annoyed.  I mostly run LFR and Flex raids.  The daggers that drop, although a higher iLvL, are not really an upgrade over the sha-touched dagger.  That 500 agility gem is overwhelming.

For this reason, I’m still running with my dagger from the previous tier.  Its a little frustrating to keep raiding without getting upgrades for that item slot.

Looking back, I wish that the sha-touched bonus was something that could be applied to future weapons, much like the capacitive primal diamond that I have for my head slot.

Its always interesting to look back on game features that seemed good when they were new and examine how they age as the game moves on.


Gold Proving Grounds for Rogues

In each patch there is something that catches my attention and gets me to focus.  In 5.4, it was Proving Grounds.

I went in there all cocky and sure that this was going to be a breeze for someone with my experience.  Turns out that the Gold level dps was a good challenge.  I actually ended up reforging, changing talents, and flasking up to finish it.

I only did it as assassination so I can’t give any specific tips about combat (is anyone playing combat?) or subtlety strategies.

General Tips:

  • I did find myself energy starved at certain times.  Most of the mobs are level 91-92 (except the Sha in the last two waves), so you can get away with not being hit-capped at 7.5%.  There is a reforger in the scenario instance.  I reforged some of my hit away to haste to help my energy regen.
  • Always get a Rupture going, even if just 1cp, for the energy return (Venomous Wounds).
  • MARKED FOR DEATH IS OP.  Once I made sure that Marked for Death was hotkeyed, the scenario got much easier.  Remember that the cooldown on Marked for Death resets if your target dies in under a minute.  ALL of the targets there last less than a minute (except the Sha), so you can start each mob with 5 combo points for great burst.
  • Potions are disabled, but you can use a flask and food buff.
  • Your gear is going to get scaled down to level 463.  Tier bonuses don’t work.  Meta gems don’t work.  For that reason, feel free to equip different gear than you would normally wear in raids, as long as its itemized well, gemmed, enchanted, and higher than 463.  Don’t feel the need to keep your tier sets together or that high level trinket you got from SoO if you can find something lower level with a better proc.

Specific Tips

  • Target the Banana Tossers first.  I used Cloak and Dagger to jump behind them, hit them with Cheap Shot, then Marked for Death for a 5cp Rupture.  Then I burned them down ASAP.
  • When you have a group of little virmen, you can leave them for last.  However, when you run past them you can Fan of Knives once or twice to get some poison ticking while you take care of other targets.
  • The only spell that you need to interrupt is the heal that is cast by Mystics.  The Amber Weavers conjure Amber Spheres, but they can help you if you maneuver right.  The Amber Spheres encase and stun whatever they hit, whether its you or one of your targets.  Whatever is encased takes extra damage.  If you can maneuver it to hit one of your targets, then you can burn it down more quickly.
  • The small banshees die really fast.  When they spawn you have to turn and get them, but you can stay on your current target for another second or two to either finish it off, or refresh Rupture to keep ticking while you’re attacking the banshee.
  • You’ll see little damage-buff items spawn.  In the gold challenge, one spawns after wave 3 and one after wave 7 or 8.  I encourage you to save them both for wave 10.  If you need them to get past earlier waves, then you’re probably not going to have the dps to finish the last wave, anyway.
  • The last wave is hard because the Sha has a shield up most of the time that is reducing your damage by 75%.  When he drops the shield, use all of your damage cooldowns.  If you’ve saved the damage buff items you should use one of those as well.

Patch 5.4 for Rogues

A rare post from me here.

Rogues are getting nicely buffed in tomorrow’s patch.  I find that curious, because on my assassination rogue I regularly out-dps players who are 10 iLvL higher than me in gear.  I thought that maybe it was going to be buffs targeted at Combat, which is the stepchild spec this expansion.  But no.  Its across the board.

I think that other classes are getting buffed as well, so this may be just a push to bump numbers up overall for the new raid tier.



  • Evasion now increases dodge chance by 100% (was 50%), cooldown has been reduced to 2 minutes (down from 3 minutes), and duration has been reduced to 10 seconds (down from 15 seconds).
  • Eviscerate now deals 10% less damage.
  • Fan of Knives damage has been increased by 25%.
  • Recuperate now restores 4% of maximum health every 3 seconds, up from 3%.
  • Sinister Strike deals an increased 240% of weapon damage (up from 145%), but now costs 50 Energy (up from 40 Energy).


  • Assassination Rogues should no longer be eligible for any other weapon types except daggers in situations where loot is automatically awarded(Raid Finder, Bonus Rolls, Heroic/Normal Scenarios, and the upcoming Flexible Raid difficulty.)
  • Dispatch now deals 645% weapon damage (up from 460%).
  • Mutilate now deals 280% weapon damage (up from 200%).


  • New passive ability, Ruthlessness: This passive ability is learned by Combat Rogues at Level 32. The Rogue gains a 20% chance per combo point (100% chance at 5 combo points) to immediately regain 1 combo point while performing a finishing move.
  • Killing Spree targeting has been changed. If Blade Flurry is not active, Killing Spree will now hit the Rogue’s target 7 times or pick the closest eligible target if none had been selected. Killing Spree will continue to work as it has while Blade Flurry is active.
  • Revealing Strike now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 125%).
  • Vitality now increases Attack Power by 40% (up from 30%).
  • Fixed an issue where certain conditions can cause Blade Flurry to not deal damage to additional nearby opponents.


  • Backstab now deals 380% weapon damage (up from 275%).
  • Hemorrhage now deals 160% weapons damage (up from 140%); 232% weapons damage if a dagger is equipped (up from 203% for daggers).
  • Sanguinary Vein now increases damage against targets with bleed effects by 25% (up from 20%).


  • Burst of Speed’s cost has been reduced to 15 Energy (down from 30 Energy).
  • Cheat Death now reduces damage taken by 85% after activating (up from 80%).
  • Cloak and Dagger now allows the Rogue to use Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot from 40 yards away (up from 30 yards).
  • Nightstalker now increases damage dealt by abilities while stealthed by 50%, up from 25%.
  • Paralytic Poison now stuns the target at 4 applications of the poison (down from 5 applications).
  • Shadowstep now has a reduced cooldown of 20 seconds (down from 24 seconds).


  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Adrenaline Rush’s effect is now baseline and has been replaced with Glyph of Redirect.
      • Glyph of Redirect now reduces the cooldown of Redirect by 50 seconds (down from Redirect no longer has a cooldown).
    • Glyph of Blind now only removes damage-over-time effects that would cause Blind to break. For Rogues that also have the Dirty Tricks talent, this means Blind will no longer remove the Rogue’s poison or bleed effects.
    • Glyph of Crippling Poison has been replaced with Glyph of Sharpened Knives.
      • Glyph of Sharpened Knives now causes Fan of Knives to also damage the armor of its victims, applying 1 application of the Weakened Armor effect to each target.
    • Glyph of Debilitation has been replaced with Glyph of Recovery.
      • Glyph of Recovery increases the healing  received by the Rogue while Recuperate is active.
    • Glyph of Recuperate now increases the healing of Recuperate by an additional 1% (up from 0.5%).
    • Glyph of Sap has been replaced with Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins.
      • Glyph of Hemorrhaging Veins causes Sanguinary Veins ability to also increase damage done to targets affected by Hemorrhage.
    • Glyph of Shiv now reduces the cooldown of Shiv by 3 seconds (was 2 seconds).
  • New Minor Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Distraction: Distract now summons a decoy at the target location.
    • Glyph of the Headhunter: Throw and Deadly Throw abilities will now throw axes regardless of the Rogue’s currently equipped weapon.

Class Armor

  • Rogue Tier-15 4-piece set bonus now causes Shadow Blades to reduce the cost of all abilities by 15% (down from 40%).

Long Time, No Post

Its been a month since I’ve posted anything.  It will probably continue this way for a while.  I’ve got nothing to say.

I still play the game.  However, my guild is stuck on Horridon for over a month now.  I haven’t done much in the game other than log on twice a week to raid an do occasional pet bettles.  I haven’t done a single bit of content that came out in patch 5.3.

With the summer here, I may find more time to play so I may get back  involved in the game.  As of now, I am so weakly connected to WoW that blogging about it rarely comes to mind.

When we get more details about flex raids, I imagine I’ll have something to say.  That upcoming feature has piqued my interest.


Horridon the horrible

In MoP, each raid has had its “roadblock” boss.  Mogu’shan Vaults had Elegon.  Heart of Fear had Garalon.  Terrace… well that didn’t have anything (on normal mode, at least).

Now in Throne of Thunder we are at a dead stop on Horridon.  I feel like this isn’t even the roadblock boss for most people, but it is for us.

I have issues with this fight, and not just because its a rotten fight for rogues.  Its also an annoying fight for just general playing.

(1) Horridon has a big ass.  Seriously.  I can’t tell you how many times my view has been blocked because this huge dinosaur has charged into my screen.  I have to keep adjusting my camera view during the fight to see around it.  Very frustrating.  I ended up playing with my camera zoomed out into the sky, but I really don’t like that perspective.

(2) Targeting is awful when adds are all grouped together.  In many add-based fights, you can simply AoE down a group of adds.  In this fight, that big group of adds has one tougher one in the group that you are trying to focus.  Finding him in that pile is a terrible chore.  Yes, you can write a targeting macro, but I consider that to be an inelegant kludge solution to an encounter design problem.

(3) Frozen Orbs.  Oh, to be a ranged class that can spread out and plink away at the Frozen Warlords without standing in the midst of Frozen Orbs.  Either I’m in the melee zone, dying to Orbs or I’m out of range doing essentially nothing.  This phase stinks for rogues.

I have yet to see past the third door, so I can’t even comment on the rest of the fight.

Maybe something will suddenly click and I’ll find a secret that I’ve been missing.  Until that happens, this fight annoys me more than any other in MoP raiding so far.



Rogue-only Easter Egg

I originally saw this on Reddit, then it was posted on WoW Insider.  There is a hidden bit of content in WoW that is a nod to the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.  Only rogues can access it.

For the full discussion including background and a thorough walkthrough, go to Chase Christian’s writeup at WoW Insider.  For the quick version, here are the steps:

  • Go to Ravenholdt Manor
  • Outside the Manor, find Reislek’s Ghost
  • With the Glyph of Disguise equipped, pickpocket Reislek’s Ghost and take his appearance
  • Go into the Manor and go to the basement
  • With the Glyph of Detection equipped, look for a sparkle near the floor in a corner of the room
  • Use Detection to reveal the ghost of Orsur
  • Talk to him.  He’ll think that you are Reislek.
  • You’ll get the Survivor’s Bag of Coins, which is a fun item to play with
  • Pickpocket humanoids to get coins to fill the bag (they fade whenever you change zones)

See the WoW Insider article for more discussion on how you can play with the coins.




My Opinion: LFR is ruining the game

What does that title mean?  Let me explain.  I’ve said this all before, but seeing GuildOx rankings really slammed the point home for me.

First – understand that I don’t consider LFR to be actual raiding.  Its more like sightseeing.  Yes, I know that LFR is tougher now than it was back in Cata.  However, the increasing Determination buff means that you can continue to screw up and you’ll eventually succeed despite yourself.  Its a nice way for everyone to see the raid encounters without being accountable for their performance.  Its a good thing.  I am not anti-LFR.  I don’t run it myself, but I don’t hate it.  Its an aspect of the game that is available if you want it.


I recently went on GuildOx to see how my guild stacked up against other guilds on my realm.  I was surprised to see that, on Sen’jin which is by no means a dead realm, only 20 or so guilds have completed Tier 14 raids on normal mode.  In fact, my guild *just* killed Amber-Shaper Unsok this week on 10 normal, and we are only the 25th guild on the server to do so.

I’m not even looking at heroic modes.  Just normal.  If you have cleared T14 on normal and done the first boss in T15, then you’re a top twenty guild on my server.


What does this tell me?  It tells me that guilds (at least on my realm) aren’t really doing progression raids anymore.  Since raiding is such a large part of the game, I can’t imagine that people aren’t raiding.  The obvious conclusion is that people are getting their raiding fix through LFR, and not so much in guild raids.

I have a problem with this.

In my personal vision of WoW, guilds and interpersonal interaction are the heart and soul of the game.  The need for cooperation to overcome obstacles is what the original raid encounters were built on.  Communication, people doing their job, everyone having a role… these were the skills that set the foundation for the more fun and challenging raid bosses.  LFR doesn’t have much or any of that.

I really, really don’t like this model.  Yes, LFR gets people into raiding, and that is a good thing.  But its being used as an expected part of the gearing path.  People run Thone of Thunder (LFR) in order to gear up for Throne of Thunder (normal).  What is this nonsense?  Run a raid to gear for the same raid?  How is this different than the ToC days in Wrath, when you ran 10 man to gear up for 25 man?

There isn’t even any sense of anticipation or buildup.  A new patch comes out with a new raid.  A week later it opens up on LFR.  Then… Boom!  In a couple of hours of pugging you have cleared the newly available raid content.  It trivializes the time and effort of raid design.

For me (and this is just my approach) I am looking forward to seeing Throne of Thunder.  I’m looking forward to figuring out the encounters one by one and progressing through it.  I’m looking forward to hearing the vocalizations of the bosses and getting to know their story and their personality.  I’ll see it when I get to it, after my guild clears tier 14.  All of that anticipation is lost in LFR raiding.

WoW is a great MMO.  WoW is a mediocre single-player game, and LFR has allowed it to drift into that mode.  LFR as a way into raiding is fine.  LFR as a true alternative to guild raiding is not in the best interests of the game, in my opinion.

(What?  You don’t care about the story and anticipation of raids?  You only care about gear?  This isn’t the blog post you’re looking for.  Move along.  Move along.)


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
January 2021
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