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The Queue: From the photo album {WoW}

Dec 12th 2010 12:50PM @ David: Actually, you don't. Unholy Presence is just a walking speed increase, and even if it was for mounts, it wouldn't increase your mount speed since mount speed increases do not stack. However, mount speed increases are also not additive, so you're moving even faster. A 310 mount with a 20% mount speed increase will increase your movement speed by 392. The reason is simple: you have to take the 20% into account after adding in your base movement speed of 100. So, 100+310 = 410. 20% of 410 is 82. 410+82 = 492. 492-100 = 392.

For those curious:

280 + 10% = 318
280 + 20% = 356
280 + 40% = 432
310 + 10% = 351
310 + 20% = 392
310 + 40% = 474

(The 10% is for abilities like the Guild Perk called Fast Track).

Totem Talk: Elemental stats and reforging principles in 4.0.1 {WoW}

Oct 22nd 2010 1:21AM Ugh, I forgot about the less-than sign. Disable that garbage, sheesh =/



I've been studying and analyzing my fights in raids, 5-mans, and solo situations and I've noticed some neat things, some great things, and some annoying things. To summarize:

1) Fulmination randomly decides when it wants to generate threat and when it does not. I've crit an Earth Shock + Fulmination for over 30k damage and ended up with 3k threat. I really don't understand this one.

2) Endless flame shock is a great thing and a terrible thing. It's great when you can line up procs such as a full 10-stack of Surging Power from a Dislodged Foreign Object with your Elemental Mastery for +1000 spell power and 15% increased damage. It's terrible when you cannot get it to fall off to get a new, stronger one on.

This is actually a very important point, so I'll get into a little more detail here. Before, this wasn't an issue, as you could toss up a new Flame Shock that would override your original, weak one (your first FS is always your weakest as raid buffs and procs have not happened yet). When we did Blood Queen Lana'thel this week though, I noticed a serious issue. I had a 2-minute Flame Shock ticking from before I got the bite that I was not able to override with a new Flame Shock with 100% increased damage. Absolutely killed my DPS. I think the only time you can override your old Flame Shock is if its duration is less than 18 seconds, so with the infinite Flame Shocks we're all getting, you have to do it early or choose not to Lava Burst. Like I said, it's tricky.

3) For those who know the Sindragosa encounter in Icecrown Citadel, you no longer have to worry about Unchained Magic, at least for now. Elemental is not considered a DPS or healing spec and will not receive this debuff. This will probably get fixed, so enjoy it while you can. I know I did.

4) Earthquake's knockdown may or may not be considered a stun. If it's not a stun, it will be extremely helpful in the Lich King encounter as it will not put other stuns on DR. Even as it is, it's great for certain situations, like Rot Worms on Valithria. Be careful though, as this ability generates a ton of threat.

5) Speaking of threat, I'm noticing Shadow Priests and Balance Druids are having a lot of issues with it. Elemental certainly is not. A lot of our DPS comes from Overload hits, which are 0 threat, so this is to be expected. It's still pretty cool though, since those two specs are sitting around waiting to fight half the time.

6) /Stopcasting does not work for Lava Burst, but it may work for Earth Shock. What does work is

/castsequence Lightning Bolt,
/cast Lava Burst

The comma is intentional. This will use Lava Burst as soon as it's up. It's tricky to get used to, but it's really helpful when you can't readily track Lava Surge procs (Power Auras is at least half a second behind on registering them, unfortunately).

And finally, boy do I love Spirit. I can finally fill in all the pieces of gear I didn't have available 277 gear for before because it had mp5 on it.

Totem Talk: Elemental stats and reforging principles in 4.0.1 {WoW}

Oct 22nd 2010 1:19AM I've been studying and analyzing my fights in raids, 5-mans, and solo situations and I've noticed some neat things, some great things, and some annoying things. To summarize:

1) Fulmination randomly decides when it wants to generate threat and when it does not. I've crit an Earth Shock + Fulmination for over 30k damage and ended up with 3k threat. I really don't understand this one.

2) Endless flame shock is a great thing and a terrible thing. It's great when you can line up procs such as a full 10-stack of Surging Power from a Dislodged Foreign Object with your Elemental Mastery for +1000 spell power and 15% increased damage. It's terrible when you cannot get it to fall off to get a new, stronger one on.

This is actually a very important point, so I'll get into a little more detail here. Before, this wasn't an issue, as you could toss up a new Flame Shock that would override your original, weak one (your first FS is always your weakest as raid buffs and procs have not happened yet). When we did Blood Queen Lana'thel this week though, I noticed a serious issue. I had a 2-minute Flame Shock ticking from before I got the bite that I was not able to override with a new Flame Shock with 100% increased damage. Absolutely killed my DPS. I think the only time you can override your old Flame Shock is if its duration is

Cataclysm beta: New glyphs for rogues and shaman {WoW}

Sep 4th 2010 12:59AM Are you kidding? I had a hard time narrowing it down to 3! And I'm talking PVE here, too!

* Chain Lightning - Strikes 2 additional targets, deals 10% less initial damage. Potentially useful, though probably not practical.

* Elemental Mastery - While active, take 20% less damage - Your healers will love you, first of all. Not to mention, a dead DPS does 0 DPS. This gives us a PVE defensive cooldown. We sorely needed it. Think Festergut if you miss a spore. Almost every other class has a trick they can use during it to save them. Now we do too. Sure, you don't get to use it at the time you wanted, but it will save you more than a few times. Of that I can be sure.

* Ghost Wolf - Additional 10% movement speed. Ghost Wolf is indoors now, so this is 50% movement speed. Perfect for "I have the big explody debuff and I need to get out of the raid" situations.

* Healing Stream Totem - Increases Fire, Frost, Nature resistance - This will be pretty sweet unless it doesn't stack with Mark of the Wild. Almost all buffs were consolidated in Cataclysm, so I wouldn't be surprised if this one was too. But it is nice to have a 4-in-1 totem.

* Hex - Reduces cooldown by 15s. CC is supposed to be a bigger factor in Cataclysm, and making the cooldown on Hex 30s instead of 45 could mean the difference between waiting between pulls and actually killing some more stuff.

* Lightning Shield - Can no longer lose charges to attackers when at 3 or less. I think this one is a quality-of-life thing. If some boss mechanic triggers our shield (which a lot of boss mechanics currently do) and it falls off, we lose DPS refreshing it all the time. This solves that problem.

* Shocking - GCD of Shock spells reduced to 1s. Speculation said that this would be useful even in WotLK. It just makes it so there's one second between Shocking and doing something else, rather than 1.5 (without haste, of course). Considering that Shocks are going to be a larger part of our rotation, this could be a huge time-saver. 0.5 seconds adds up when you think about using one shock every ~9 seconds in PVE. On a 5-minute fight, this saves you about 16 seconds, which is at least 8 more lightning bolts you could be tossing out. That's actually pretty significant in the long run.

* Thunder - Reduces Thunderstorm cooldown by 10s. This is obviously a much better PVP skill than PVE, but honestly, we all use thunderstorm more often than we think to regen mana. Especially in a 5-man run when you don't have Replenishment and you're using Chain Lightning much more often. Time will tell whether our mana actually becomes an issue, but for now, this isn't half-bad.

I'd go with Elemental Mastery to have a defensive cooldown, Lightning Shield (though I'm skeptical of its potential uses), and either Ghost Wolf or Thunder. I'll let the math nerds calculate whether Shocking is a bigger DPS increase than refreshing Lightning Shield things or if mana will be an issue or not. It may end up being EM, LS, and Shocking.

Guest Post: 32 tricks for Icecrown Citadel {WoW}

Aug 10th 2010 9:22AM Supposed to be a reply to kmarcy1729, which he'll never read now because the comment system decided this post was too amazing to reply to him and it should instead be relegated to page 6.

Sigh...

Guest Post: 32 tricks for Icecrown Citadel {WoW}

Aug 10th 2010 9:20AM These tips make the fights easier. They're not necessary. At all. They make the raid more interesting, more smooth, or just more fun.

The raids of WotLK are designed to be "figure out a way to deal with this laundry list of things the boss can do". If you know your class really well, you will come up with neat tricks along the way that will make dealing with some of those things easier. If you don't, you still have to deal with it, but you'll have to do it the hard way.

Let's take the most recognizable trick in the entirety of Icecrown Citadel. In the final encounter of the raid, facing off against the Lich King himself, you soon realize it is an add-heavy fight and dealing with the adds is almost as important as dealing with the bad dude himself. In the second phase of the fight, the adds are Val'kyr who swoop down and snatch one (three in 25-man) person and start to fly toward the edge of the platform. Your job is to kill the Val'kyr before it can make it all the way to the edge of the platform and throw your raid member into oblivion.

This is basically what Blizzard is telling you: Deal with the above situation. So, you and your raid group come up with a strategy to deal with this. You're going to try to Stun them, so they can't move at all. It turns out they can be stunned, but the stun is subject to diminishing returns, so you have to think about which stuns to use. You can slow them down as well, but they have a buff that prevents them from being slowed past 50%, so you can't just toss a Chains of Ice on them and be done with it. You come to the conclusion that it's going to require a combination of slows and stuns, so you look through your raid group to figure out who has the best tools for this job.

Then after you sort all that out, one of your Warlocks pipes up over Vent and says that he'd like to try using Demonic Circle and just hang out on the edge. If a Val'kyr comes his way, he'll just let it drag him off the edge and simply Teleport back up. Hey, it saves you a lot of hassle and if he falls to his death, it's still a win/win situation as you managed to get rid of your Warlock! So you let him try it. And what do you know, it actually works! You don't have to lose DPS switching targets, so you get to focus more DPS on The Lich King / the other Val'kyr.

This is what this article is about. There are little tips and tricks that are outside of the general strategy of how to handle an encounter that make your raid go just a little smoother. These are hardly necessary to the success of your raid and it's not required out of every player. It's just a little thing you can do that will make your raid leader take notice of how good you are. Like when you're doing Anub'arak HM and one of your idiot DPS pull aggro on a spider, pulling it off the permafrost just as it wants to start burrowing underground and you pull off a clutch Thunderstorm to knock it right back into the ice before it can ruin your precious Tribute to Insanity kill.

As for your followup posts, yes, raiding does turn into a well-oiled machine, but that's AFTER you do it for the first time. There is a lot of planning involved, there are a lot of wipes involved, and there's a lot of thinking involved in successfully executing your first kill on a boss. Once you do it, and assuming you didn't cheese it by utilizing some obscure ability to win or relied on the random-number generator to make it easier for you, you will be able to do it again utilizing the same or a similar strategy. Is there anything wrong with that? A better question is, is there anything not right with that? Why should a fight require specific abilities from specific classes to win? Especially a 10-man fight. Blizzard has designed these fights to be doable as long as you have 1-2 tanks, 2-3 healers, and 5-7 DPS (2-3, 4-7, 15-19 in 25, respectively). It's really that simple.

You asked what the point of Vanish is if Rogues don't *need* to use it. It's a utility spell. If you're really, really good with the timing on it, you can cheat past some mechanics on some fights, like Marks on Saurfang. However, the most common use in raids, at least from my experience, is to drop threat. Same with Feign Death and Invisiblity. These abilities have next to no utility in raids other than to manage threat, but that's the point. The PVP uses of some abilities far outclass the PVE uses, and vice-versa. No class in this game uses the same abilities they do in PVE as they do in PVP. There's some overlap, yes, but it's an entirely different game. For example, I play an Elemental Shaman, and Thunderstorm is kickass in PVP, but it's mostly worthless in PVE. There are a few fun situations I use it for, but for the most part, you'll never see me use my 51-point talent in a raid. If there's nothing to knock back and I don't need the mana (rofl@Elemental needing mana), then there's no use for Thunderstorm. Does that cheapen the ability? Hell no! It's still my favorite ability in the game and I still get a kick out of it every time I use it to do something amazing that nobody else in my raid could have done. Or I can just use it out of spite for not having an AOE when every other caster DPS is sitting back channeling their piddly little Recount winners without any effort whatsoever.

Guest Post: 32 tricks for Icecrown Citadel {WoW}

Aug 10th 2010 1:00AM Bears are bears. This Sap ability only works on Humanoids, and they are classified as Beasts once they shapeshift into Bear form. They are immune to it permanently.

Guest Post: 32 tricks for Icecrown Citadel {WoW}

Aug 9th 2010 9:35PM Elemental Shaman protips.

Marrowgar: Chain Lightning. If you target the boss, the chances of CL hopping to a Spike is low, but when you target the spike, it will have a much higher chance of jumping to the boss.

Deathwhisper: Try to keep Thunderstorm on cooldown, as well as Hex. When you do 25-man hardmode of this fight, you will get a lot of ire from your raid if you walk over to the melee and Thunderstorm them. Though it is hilarious.

Gunship: Again, a nice fight for Chain Lightning if your job is to handle the archers or portal adds. Try to target archers that are lined up and it will jump to all 3.

Saurfang: Chain Lightning isn't a good idea here, even though it pads your meters. CL is not reduced by the anti-AOE aura the beasts have, so you will pull aggro on multiple beasts and most likely die. If the beasts are still in melee range after 3-5 seconds, then CL is a good idea, as threat is probably on someone else at that point.

Also, be careful using Earthbind's roots. It can save your life against a blood beast, but it can also ruin someone else's day. Thunderstorm is a much better tool to get them away from you, but Earthbind will give you another 3 seconds or so.

Another mostly useless tip is that this is an outdoor fight, so ghost wolf works. If you're going to wipe, you can shift to ghost wolf and run onto the ship docked right outside. Luck plays a small factor in whether you live or die, but it is a much more convenient way of resetting the fight.

Rotface: As mentioned in the article, DKs can indeed slow down slimes. But so can you! FRAWSTSHOOOCK!

Putricide: Chain Lightning any time an ooze is near Putricide. Your strats may differ from ours, but Putricide starts out near the green one for us, so that's one free CL. The orange one gets kited through him so melee can cleave and end up near him, so there's another.

Blood Wing trash - Cleansing Totem! Seriously, drop it. Your healers will thank you.

BPC: If you're lucky enough to be able to use Searing Totem but unlucky enough to be forced to handle the Kinetic Bombs (hardmode is hard =/ ), then consider using Searing to keep a bomb up. It does work... most of the time. So does Chain Lightning, if the two bombs are close enough to each other width and height-wise.

Lana'thel: Once again, if you're lucky enough to drop a totem other than ToW and good enough to have high enough DPS to get bitten sometime during the fight, then drop your Fire Elemental early on. The Elemental's damage does not scale with your 100% damage increase, but Searing/Magma do.

Sindragosa trash - Spinestalker does an AOE fear, so Tremor is useful. What's more useful is DPSing from max-range, as the fear only has a 30-yard radius. It won't even affect you!

Sindragosa: I haven't had the fortune of doing the Normal mode on this encounter for a long, long time (hard mode makes me cry ;_; ) but the last time I did, I was able to use a trick to eek out one extra spell before Instability was too high and I had to stand still. If your Flame Shock falls off during the time where you're stacking Instability, get to the pre-determined number of stacks your raid has set up and immediately Flame Shock after finishing the last spell. You should only get one stack of Instability. This may have been fixed, as I said.

The Lich King: Get your tanks to carry the Lich King along with the Val'kyr in phase 2. This is not just an Elemental thing--this is useful for nearly every class in your raid. You can cleave the adds and him at the same time. Absolutely essential for hardmode.

In phase 3, the best thing you can do against Vile Spirits (if you're not soaking them in hardmode) is FS, LvB, CL, new target. You could just try to nuke one down, but depending on your raid group, getting more and more targets dotted up and using CL on cooldown is a much better use for your raid. Especially if you have fire mages, warlocks, shadow priests, and/or moonkin, as their abilities do better and better with more and more targets to hit.

Also, Earthbind can save your life here as well. Thunderstorm is also useful, but timing the height difference can be tricky and you're more likely to have it blow up on you when you try to use it. Typhoon vastly outclasses Thunderstorm on this fight, sadly. Frost Shock is also a great tool if the Spirit isn't going to get in range of a Frost Trap or EB totem.



A generic tip that I've been using more and more often these days to help manage initial threat on a target (especially Raging Spirits in the transition phases of The Lich King encounter) is that you should use Wind Shear after applying Flame Shock, which will equalize your threat back down to 0 most of the time. This is useful for all quick-spawning adds that can insta-gib you, much like the Raging Spirits can. You get an extra second of having no threat despite beginning your rotation. Your tank should have sufficient threat by the time Lava Burst lands a second later to cover it.

The exception to this is if you need Wind Shear to actually interrupt something.

Wrath Retrospective: Ulduar {WoW}

Jun 11th 2010 5:08PM Here's a strange point that I don't see made often: It's also one of the only dungeons that catered to so many different professions.

Herbalist? Say hello to Freya's room, where 75% of the enemies are Herbable and there are herbs EVERYWHERE. People STILL use this room to farm herbs because of the incredibly high spawn rate of Frost Lotus, sometimes getting up to 10 of them in a single soft reset.

Miner? Sneak behind General Vezax and nab those Pure Saronite Deposits. Prepare to be floored.

Skinner? Load up on Jormungars in Hodir's caves.

Alchemist? Alchemist Cache!

Engineer? Not one, not two, but -three- bosses you can Salvage for parts!

Not to mention the multitude of amazing patterns, enchants, plans, etc. you could earn from doing hard modes.

The raid practically gave you free mats to keep raiding every week at a break-even cost, even if you wiped repeatedly.

Addon Spotlight: Geist {WoW}

Jun 10th 2010 3:15PM MSBT has a "skill is ready!" component. This is entirely different.

First of all, Power Auras uses graphics to tell you information. People respond better to images. It takes some getting used to, but you configure all the images yourself, so it's not too difficult. You can even just utilize the original spell graphic.

Second of all, Power Auras has triggers for things that you wouldn't even believe, only limited by your own imagination.

For my Shaman, it's important for me to know that my Flametongue Weapon buff has fallen off, so I chose to plant a big mostly-opaque red circle dead-center on the screen, indicating that I am currently shorting myself 274 spellpower. Similarly, I have a blue circle in the same area indicating that I am shorting myself 47 / 172 spellpower via Flask of the North / Frost Wyrm. These are large and annoying persistent circles on the screen for as long as I stay in combat.

For my Paladin, it's very easy to run out of mana if I can't keep Divine Plea up, so I set up a system that shows me the timer on my current Divine Plea. If that timer expires, a large graphic shows up and stays up until I use Divine Plea again.

While I was leveling my mage and my hunter, I used one that would tell me exactly when Deep Freeze / Kill Shot were ready. It's difficult to know exactly when 20% hits or if the ability is still on cooldown from a previous kill while questing, so this only shows up if the skill is off cooldown and if the enemy is below 20%. As for Deep Freeze, I did some dungeons while leveling that mage and it was incredibly useful to know when it was ready to use, because it's hard to tell when you've "frozen" an enemy that cannot be frozen.

On my priest, I merely have a bunch of spell icons for the abilities with short cooldowns I use all the time during boss fights depending on the spec (CoH, PoM, Penance), and dimming the icon while it's not ready, showing a timer above when it will be.

Typically while leveling any class, I will use large buff icons in the top-right (I don't keep buffs there any longer as I use Elkano's Buff Bars along the right edge) that indicate when an important class ability needs to be re-buffed, because it's sometimes difficult to keep track of time when you're quest grinding and you can forget that you haven't buffed yourself for hours.

To sum it all up, Power Auras is useful for:

1) A reminder to buff yourself or others.
2) Tracking procs that change your priorities.
3) Showing timers for how long skills have until they're ready or how long a debuff will last on the target or how long a buff will last on you.