Friday, January 30, 2009

More Arcane Stuff...

So... now that the new fix is in and I'm done sending hate mail to developers... lets talk Arcane... again. Arcane is still one of (if not the) top DPS specs for mage, so lets take a look at it. Last time I spoke about mana regen, lets look at soem other things...

Specs: The primary build is typically some variant of 57/3/11. It's a powerful single target spec. 2/3 in ice shards actually gives it acceptable AoE (And devastating aoE if you can blow some coll downs wih it) The biggest drawback is that it does not bring Improved Scorch or Winter's chill to the Raid. This means that this is the spec for the "second" mage, as your first mage has to bring this buff. THere is a 51/20/0 Arcane spec that can be used, but you will be giving up a numbe of key DPS boosting talents to get improved scorch. Scorch also does not fit into Arcane's rotations very well. So only use this if you have to.

Rotation: Arcane is still a dynamic play style, in fact with the "fix" it is now more of a dynamic style than it was before. For most players you think about what spells do you want to cast. For arcane, the question is more about what spells don't I want to be casting.

Arcane missles, for the most part, is a loser spell. Even talented, it is a loser in terms of DPS and DPM. The only time you want to cast Arcane Missiles is when Missile Barrage procs. Period. End of story. It does however do a lot of damage for one spell. So it's a good candidate for the Arcane Blast debuff.

Arcane Barrage: This is a good spell. It has better DPS than Arcane Blast (no stacks) or Arcane missles but still not as good as AM with Missle Barrage. So with no other buffs, this is your best spell.

Arcane Blast: For he most part, you want to minimize the number of times you have to cast AB unstacked. AB does more DPS as it gets stacked, but of course, at the cost of Mana. It is completely unsustainable fully stacked.

So... What does this mean? Well ideally, you start with Abar, the you'd cast AB until you got a MBarr proc then cast AM. The problem is that is is VERY mana intensive. For a slight loss in DPS, but a huge gain in Mana, go Abar, ABx3. If you get a MBar proc, cast AM. If not Cast Abarr and start over again. This will cost a couple % in DPS but is about 2/3 the mana cost.

So we pick the second one right becasue it's more efficent... right? HA! You forget! This is Arcane baby and we are not locked into just using one cycle! Base the cycle you use on the fight you are in. Got exta mana? Hold out for that MBarr proc and use the first "Burn" cycle. Runnig strapped for mana? Go back to the more efficent version. Still strapped for mana? Reduce ABx3 to ABx2. In this way Arcaen can adjust itself to fit the fight that it's in.

Guess Who's Back And Not Happy...

I got home again a few days ago from being out of town for over a week. (After being out of town for 2 weeks for Christmas holidays.) It's nice because I've needed a break from WoW. Except now I'm pissed off at myself & Blizzard.

Those M#%^$##$ckers!!!

I failed to plan ahead with my need for 1 more skill point (339 LWing) before getting to 440 & starting to make decent epic gear. The patch 3.0.8 changed the most cost effective patterns to include Frozen Orbs. So, not only do they require Arctic Fur (Which they secretly lowered the drop rate on) but now I need Frozen Orbs to make them. It's not even been a 50% success rate for me. I spent countless hours farming for Arctic Fur before I gave up and spent over 600 gold getting from 435 to 439.


OK, I'm better now.

I don't mind this being hard. I mind that the drop rate on the item that's in EVERY pattern we use has been reduced to the point where farming is nightmarish & AH prices are outrageous.


OK, seriously, I'm OK now.

Fucking Blizzard Developers.

Note: As I was completing this post I went ahead and bought - Sigh - more mats in the AH and got to 440. Now I have to farm/buy the mats to get my patterns, but at least I'm there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh Joy. I've been.. "fixed"

Maybe this is a fix in the same way you fix a dog, I'm not sure how the dog feels about it though.

So... Arcane has been hotfixed. And of course with any hotfix like this, come the inevitable, what did the fix break?

The Fix: Well the primary change is that it's no longer possible to cast ABarr at the end of an Arcane Missiles and have ABar gain the AB Buff. Now to be fair this is a fix. You were effectively getting 2 charges out of Arcane Blast when 1 was clearly all that was intended.

The upshot of this is that it's a dps loss for Arcane. Not a huge loss, but a loss none the less. It also measn that the rotation is not as clear as it one was and theorycrafters will needto figure it out.

Another Fix(?): Well it looks like the bordering on broken glyph is getting nerfed. While the Arcane Blast Glyph still says it's 5%, the peopel testing it are showing a 3% increase. Sigh, I knew it was too good to last.

A Clear Bug: Arcane Missles is not gaining any benefit from the Arcane Blast Glyph. It is only seeing the 15/30/45 buff, not the 18/36/54 that ABar and AB see.

My real problem here is with Blizzard. First off, why wasn't this fixed sooner? I've seen people talking about this bug for quite soem time on the PTR. Isn't that the purpose of the PTR? To fix things there? Why do they let it go live, let us react to the change, and then les then a week later change it all up again? So one week of being live is Greater than the month of being on the PTR? Then why even use the PTR? It's not like they are managing to together a patch that doesn't crash everytime wintergrasp is taken.

Second, why are we receiving zero communication about this? Not a single blue post about the changes. Nothing about what is intended or what is a bug. There was no communication before hand to tell us that that a fix was coming and now nothing to tell us that it's here. This is lousy communication. And it also makes me worry about Deep Frost which could lose it's extra FoF charge if a similar "fix" is put in for it. (And it's the same bug, why shouldn't it get the same fix?)

Bottom line is that I am not a happy mage here. I was just starting to settle into a new spec. I had spent quite a bit of gold respecing and reglyphing, and now I feel like I'm back to the drawing board again.

So to Blizzard, I have one request. MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thinking like an Arcane Mage

So I've decided that I've been out of the arcane biz too long. With the recent patch, arcane got much love much of it in the form of a really uber new glyph and some of it in the form of a nice exploitable bug. (the bug vs feature issue is a whole other post) Seeing as I really haven't enjoied the "You must be Frostfire" way that mages have been so far in WotLK, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out the ole Arcane spec again.

The spec is what I remember Arcane being in the past. Dynamic and flexible. Insane DPS at completely unsustainable DPM. However, I kind of noticed today that I (and many others) had really approached this spec like it's another fire spec. Find the right rotation and work it to death. (In this case it was AB->AB->AB->AM->ABar) I tried it and was surprised that I wasn't having mana issues. I mean not even close to having mana issues. So I dropped my glyph of Mage armor and switched to Glyph of Molten Armor. No mana issues so why not get 5% more Crit? Makes Sense? Right?

Well maybe to a Fire mage, but to an Arcane mage, that is just the wrong way of thinking. If you have more mana, cast a more mana intensive cycle. Mage armor (Glyphed)_gives me between 400-500 additional MP5. Molten armor (Glyphed) is 5% crit or 230 crit rating. Form a gear standpoint, 450 MP5 is worth TONS more than 230 crit rating. And with Arcane, you can take advantage of that extra mana and convert it into damage.

To be honest I'm kind of embarrassed at myself. I should have been thinking like this all along. I'm really looking forward to exploring Arcane in more depth in the next few weeks. It's nice to come home again, even if it does mean I have to actually think.

I'm trying to show off here...

And sometimes they just don't make it easy.

Of course, part of it is my own fault. I didn't hit the screen capture button as it happened. And now, with the servers down installing the arena fix, I can't log on to take a new screen shot boasting of my accomplishment.

So you guys get a screen shot of the Armory.

My second 80. Woohoo!!

Nord is next to level.

Then after that, I suspect I'll be focusing on my shaman. As much as I joined in with the rest of you all making fun of the "sex-changes" a few posts back, odds are good Mhera will not remain female for much longer. I want Farimaer (my Horde troll on Malfurion) back and if I can't change his race, faction, and server then Mhera will just have to take his place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patch day

3.0.8 went live today.

I know a lot of folks looking forward to the changes (and even some of the nerfs).

Log on and get it.

EDIT: It's patch day alright. Servers came back up on schedule but Wintergrasp is causing Northrend server crashes like crazy. (Seeing as that's where I am with Avouz at the moment, I know this is the cause.)

First battle, Horde won and immediately after the server crashed. Came back on and the battle had reset. This time, Alliance won and once again, the server crashed on victory. Sure enough, came back up with the battle reset again.

Fun, although nice way to get honor via exploit.

EDIT: Oh, this is rich. I ported out of Wintergrasp after two battles, but while I'm smelting ore in Dalaran, I'm still getting honor from tower destruction and such. LOL.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Being an old school geek, I've been playing fantasy games both on the computer and on the tabletop for well over two-thirds of my 36 years. So I get a kick out of folks in WoW who name their toons for obscure things in old fantasy games or novels or whatever.

So here's a bit of trivia for you old schoolers like me. Here's a screenshot of a toon on Garona that Nord stumbled onto last night in Dalaran.

1) Do you know what his name references?

2) If you do, do you remember what you had to do to create this effect?

EDIT: You folks disappoint me. :-(

I spoke to my friend John on the phone the other day and he knew the answers immediately.

1) The Wizardry series. Tiltowait was the uber damage spell from that game.

2) Each spell in Wizardry had a four letter code that you had to type in to cast it. Tiltowait's code was NUKE

Heroic virgin no more

Ok, maybe the title is a little TMI, but anyhow. Stofnar hit his first Wrath heroic instance on Sunday evening. Five of us were on and ready to go for the first time since the end of the Christmas holiday (Actually, I think we had all seven of us available, but that's beside the point.) We hit Halls of Lightning, which was the daily, on heroic.

One of us made an observation part way through the run that I think sums up nicely what Wrath is about. He said that Blizzard doesn't really care much about levelers anymore: It's all about endgame. For those of us running mains and alts through Wrath's zones wondering when it was going to get difficult, I now have your answer.

Granted, HoL was not super-difficult, not in the ways heroic Arc or Shadow Lab were in TBC. We had a bit of trouble on the dual-wielding whirlwinding runcasters (Stofnar died on every pull or close to it.) Our kill of the second boss, Volkhan, was a bit sloppy, but we got it done. Then there's Lokan...

To put it mildly, Lokan kicked our ass.

We pulled him probably a dozen times, each time working on getting our coordination down on the movements of that fight. We debated strategies after each failed pull, weighed options. Felt despair that this boss was unbeatable. For me, it felt like Classic WoW way back in Molten Core trying to beat Luci or Magmadar for the first time. It was HARD and yet very satisfying even through we never managed to beat him.

I want another piece of Lokan and I'm pleased that heroics are finally producing a challenge for us. Looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Yeah, WoW has made me so much more productive.


Friday, January 2, 2009

There has got to be a better solution than this...

GARONA is full.
Position in queue: 338
Estimated wait time: Sometime next year.

Blizz really needs to get their crap together in regards to fixing the raid lag problem. Reducing the max population down so that there's queues every night is NOT the answer.