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Posts with tag damage

Solving the mathmatical tangles of ArPen

Armor penetration is probably one of the most misunderstood stats in the game, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's only become popular lately -- while it's been in the game since 1.10, it's only started showing up regularly on items in Wrath. And even then it's really only a meta-meta stat: the core abilities like Strength and Agility are easy to understand, the next level of abilities are things like hit rating and crit rating, and then armor penetration, you could argue, goes another level after that: it's a stat that affects a stat affected by a stat. It's for that reason, then, that Xanthan argues we need a more elegant solution.

Armor penetration basically allows you to hit an opponent as if they're wearing less armor than they really are. That's not to hard to understand -- if you have a certain amount of armor penetration, then the opponent armor number in the equation that determines damage done is lower (edit: by a percentage, not a number) than it would usually be. But the confusion comes in when you see how armor penetration scales. It actually scales exponentially, not linearly -- if you have no ArP and you increase it by a little bit, you only get a little extra damage increase. But if you have a lot, and you add a little more onto that, then you'll get a bigger damage increase, due to the way the math works (I'm bad at math, but Xanthan has an excellent, clear description of the calculations in the forum thread, and we've posted some explanations before as well). Blizzard recently capped ArP at 100% (so you could never get into a place where you're reducing armor below the amount of armor that's there), but it's still possible to have the amount of armor reduced equal the amount of armor on a target, causing the equation of armor vs. armor penetration to divide by 0, and at that point, things get wacky, and terms like "infinite damage" come into play.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

Crygil wants to know what you think of class roles

CM Crygil has posted a very general thread over on the forums asking players what they think of the various class roles out there: "Ranged/Melee/DPS, Tanking and Healing." As you probably have noticed, those three roles make up what are often called the Holy Trinity in role-playing games and MMOs: either you do damage, prevent damage, or recover from damage, and those three roles make up the basics of most roleplaying combat systems, including the battles in World of Warcraft.

But as quite a few people in the thread say, they're not quite sure just why Crygil is asking for this information. Sure, there are lots of good and informative answers in here (most people actually spread out "the trinity" to four roles, splitting melee/close combat and ranged/magic combat into two parts), but as there has always been, there's really nothing outside of the kind of thinking that's been done before on the subject -- anytime developers try to break out a new part of the trinity of roles, they either fall right back into the stereotypes (a bard that casts magic damage "songs" is really just a dressed up Mage), or they end up breaking the game (mind control/crowd controller is a new class idea that's been played around with before, but as Blizzard has discovered, it's extremely hard to balance that exactly right).

As Crygil later says, these questions are his, not Blizzard's -- he just wants to get some perspective on what the forums dwellers think of how the current roles work. And he promises that CC is "on its way back," so maybe Blizzard will try to do some more experimenting with the different types of roles classes can play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Forums

Ghostcrawler respondes to balance questions

Our buddy Ghostcrawler has appeared on the forums answering (or re-answering, as he says) a few concerns about the balance of the game. Most of his answer is about PvP: he says that Death Knights and Holy Pallies are overpowered, but that while Blizzard does believe there are more imbalances, debate is still raging about exactly where they are. And he does say that while burst damage is still a concern, he feels that Blizzard did a lot to combat that when they started Season 5, and that the bigger concern now is getting mana pools under control. Too many fights now have healers just going and going, and while they don't want fights to end super fast, they can't all drag out, either.

He also talks more in-depth about the balance between gear you can get from PvP and PvE and how it needs to be fixed: he straight out says that 25-man Naxx is too easy to PuG, and agrees that Ulduar and future PvP weapons "should ideally require the same amount of investment." Likewise, when Blizzard tried to reset the resilience stacking at the start of Season 5, they had players facing very powerful weapons from the PvE raids like Kel'thuzad, which lead to, as he says, "a perfect storm for fast Arena deaths." Which is probably why so many players left the Arenas.

The plan for the future? Ulduar's hard modes will be way tougher than Heroic Naxx, so players won't be able to PuG PvE and then go kill in PvP right away. Of course Death Knights are still cruising for a nerfing, if patch 3.1 doesn't bring them down off their high Deathcharger. And GC suggests that in the future, starter PvP gear may beef up resilience at the cost of offensive stats, so that players don't begin with gear that has great defense and offense right away.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Classes, Forums, Arena

Changes to AoE in patch 3.0.4

Ghostcrawler let us all know today of a few changes for classes that are being left out of the "AoE fun." He's only talking in relatively broad terms right now, and will give specifics later when things are more locked down.

Some of the changes include:
  • Shaman: Removing threat from the Fire Nova Totem and Magma Totem, and increasing the damage done by the Magma Totem.
  • Rogue: Fan of Knives cooldown removed. Daggers more useful for Fan of Knives.
  • Druid: Swipe will now be a baseline ability.
He mentions that these changes will be seen in the next minor content patch. Ghostcrawler also hints that they will be available in the next PTR push (which we're expecting relatively soon)

Filed under: Druid, Rogue, Shaman, Patches, Instances, Classes

Hybrid Theory: Yet another spell power discussion

Yeah, I used this picture again. What are you gonna do about it?
Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

Last week we talked a bit about gear and spell power, and various related things. I mostly approached it as supplying my personal experiences, but a lot of people wanted numbers. Specifically, how your current gear will translate into the new spell power mechanic.

A kind fellow named Dan helped us out with a little bit of that in the comments section last week, so let's expand upon it somewhat. Again, this will focus mostly on the Healer and Caster aspects of the Hybrids. You Melee guys don't really need to worry about how spell power will change your gear.

Alright, so the question is this: If you have a choice between taking +Damage gear or +Healing gear in the current game right now, which would be a better choice for taking with you into Wrath of the Lich King leveling? Let's make liberal use of Wowhead, shall we?

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Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Hybrid Theory, Wrath of the Lich King

Phat Loot Phriday: Torch of the Damned


We've been a little husky the past few weeks here at Phat Loot Phriday, so this week we're aiming to fix that, and get back to what this column is all about: gigantic spiky, glowy things that you can kill with.

Name: Torch of the Damned (Wowhead, Thottbot, Retribution)
Type: Epic Two-hand Mace
Damage/Speed: 396-595 / 3.80 (130.4 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +51 Strength, +45 Stamina
  • Improves crit strike rating by 38, improves haste rating by 50.
  • Great for Paladins, and any other class that uses weapon damage for certain abilities. Warning: this gets into some deep math, and you guys know I'm bad at that, so expect to see some more number crunching in the comments. Basically, Seal of Command, a Ret Pally talent, gives a chance to add 70% of the weapon's damage to any normal attacks, and since most weapons trade off speed for damage (as in, the slower the weapon, the higher the damage), slow weapons are better -- you'll get more damage output when SoC procs. And since this weapon is very slow and very powerful, you'll get more damage overall out of Seal of Command.
  • The Haste rating is also good for Paladins, not because it will help with Seal of Command (SoC is a procs-per-minute talent, so no matter how many times you hit, you can't get it to proc more often), but because it'll let you hit more often, which means more white damage. Any class that benefits from big swing damage (Windfury is awesome when it procs with a huge weapon like this) will love this mace.
  • Oh, and anytime we mention a two-handed weapon, Matthew Rossi's eyebrow twitches until we mention Titan's Grip. Imagine seeing a Warrior wielding this baby... and something else at the same time. Yeah.
How to Get It: Drops from the Essence of Anger, which is part of the Reliquary of Souls in the Black Temple (which, trivia for you, was influenced heavily by Sinistar, an old arcade game). Essence of Anger is the third phase, so get your 25 man raid up to that point, be one of those silly Ret Paladins (silly Paladins -- DPSing is for Hunters, Locks, Mages, and Rogues!), and spend your DKP or win the roll, whatever you need to do. Then you too can haul around this big purple spiky Mace, swinging it at will and bringing your enemies to their knees with just one proc.

Getting Rid of It: You probably won't, for a while. But it does disenchant into a Void Crystal, and vendors will buy it back for 18g 43s 86c

Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Phat Loot Phriday, Bosses, Classes

No threat for Lifebloom


Lume the Mad has done the math (very thoroughly), and he's got the answer for Druids: the end healing burst of Lifebloom doesn't cause any threat at all, either for the caster or the recipient. He first pared the entire situation of casting Lifebloom down to its basic elements -- you've got a player who body pulls a mob, and a Druid healing them. He took out all possible reactive abilities that might cause threat, and then set up a situation where the Druid obtained threat, and cast LIfebloom on another player, with an opposing faction Shaman purging the spell early (so it could jump straight to the end heal), and the mob stayed on the Druid -- the big heal didn't cause threat for the recipient at all. Finally, Lum tested if the Druid was recieving aggro, and as you can see above, neither the Druid caster or the Warlock is affected by the end heal of Lifebloom -- just one point of damage can still pull the mob around.

There's been a lot of discussion about this already -- the HoT aspect of Lifebloom still does cause threat (for the Druid), and so you combine that with the fact that lots of people were testing under "unsecure" situations, and the whole thing got very confusing. But Lum's tests seem very clear: Druids can cast away knowing that they won't pull aggro with that burst of healing at the end of the spell.

[Thanks, Matticus!]

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Raiding, Guides

Forum post of the day: Rogues are unhappy

The patch went live today, and Blizzard wasn't kidding about the Cheat Death Nerf. In case you missed it, here's how it reads:

Cheat Death: This talent has been rebalanced significantly. Killing blows are no longer 100% absorbed. If the Rogue is below 10% health, the killing blow is still completely absorbed; if the Rogue is over 10% health, enough damage will be absorbed to reduce the Rogue's health down to 10%. For the following 3 seconds, damage is not always reduced by 90%; it is now reduced by a maximum of 90%, depending on how much resilience the Rogue has. The damage reduction will be four times the damage reduction resilience causes against critical strikes.

Needless to say, Rogues are pretty unhappy, especially since Blizzard hasn't taken much interest in fixing the "vanish bug." Skudo of Altar of Storms takes this as proof that Blizzard hates Rogues. On top of that this must mean that Blizzard favors Druids since they rescinded their decision to make Scare Beast an instant ability.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Talents, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

WWI '08 Panel: Mage

Well. At first, it didn't seem to me like Tom Chilton had as much news for Mages at the first WWI dev panel as he did for other classes, but one of the Q&A dialogues did reveal a nice vision for our future.

The most common news being reported, of course, is the new "bolt" spell -- the Frostfire bolt. This is a direct damage nuke that's a mix of "fire" and "ice" damage types, and will help circumvent the resistances of certain bosses who have an affinity for an element. Eh. I mean, that's great and all, but it doesn't really speak to any retooling or massive re-vamp at the ways Mages need help.

However, during the Q&A, one of the audience members was a lot more pointed. Now that everyone seems to have their own spammable crowd control, he askes, what's being done to bring Mages back to a more unique role?

The answer was awesome. Simply put, if everyone's doing crowd control, then Mages are going to be buffed in their hallmark: raw, unadulterated damage. Especially since Seed of Corruption shines against our AE damage ability, Chilton says we should expect to see our overall damage output increased.

Does this mean Mages will become the epitome of WoW DPS? Mm, I'm not holding my breath - but at least in terms of putting us back in a vital, noticeable role, the future looks hopeful. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the WWI event, and try and bring the best (and worst) news available.

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

Midsummer Fun: The bonfire buffs

When headed out to level, farm, or grind during the Midsummer Fire Festival this year, be sure to head to the zone's bonfire for your side (there's one outside of almost every Horde or Alliance settlement) and throw in a blossom. You'll be glad you did, no matter what your level. You'll get one buff right off the bat: The Fire Festival Fury buff. This 60 minute buff will not only give you a straight 3% to your critical strike chance, but you'll also get a damage shield that will do fire damage equal to your level to all who attack you. That's right, Thorns, eat your heart out.

But what's even better is that it doesn't stop there.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Events, News items, Leveling, Guides, Making money, Buffs

Totem Talk: Shocks and awe


Totem Talk, the column for shamans, takes another look at offense this week. Matthew Rossi covers how to burn, freeze, or... whatever earth shock is supposed to be, a big rock in the face? He couldn't tell you. But whatever it is, it really annoys spellcasters. Boom, clod of earth in the face, no spells for you!

Last week, on Totem Talk, we escaped a burning warehouse only to discover that Diego really isn't the father...

Oh, wait. No, sorry, that was something else entirely. Last week, we talked about direct damage totems. This week, we're going to talk about those signature abilities of the shaman class, those lovely shocks and the lightning bolts we can throw. The fury of the elements in the palm of your hand? The ability to chain a bolt of lightning to hit multiple targets? Shamans can do these things. The two DPS specs use them differently (Enhancement shamans rarely use lightning bolt or chain lightning, while Elemental shamans are less likely to use shocks since they don't really need to be all that close to their targets, although of course you'll see an elemental shaman using a shock to kite or interrupt and an enhancement shaman throwing a few bolts of lightning when told not to engage in melee for whatever reason) but together they make up the offensive spellcasting options of the shaman class.

There are at present three classes of shock spells that shamans can use. These are Earth Shock, Flame Shock, and Frost Shock. As you might expect, each has an elemental affiliation (Earth, Fire and Water respectively) and its own special characteristics that recommend using it in specific situations. All shock spells are linked, meaning that if you use one shock you lock out the other two as well for the duration of the shock cooldown (which is six seconds) meaning that you have to be careful when using them to some degree. It's not a terrible burden, just something to keep in mind as you explore what each shock does and what situations each is best for.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Leveling, Talents, (Shaman) Totem Talk

The science of snagging a tag

WoWWiki defines the tag as damaging a mob, thereby reserving the monster or NPC for you and your party so that only you may loot or gain XP from it. It also turns the status bar of the mob gray to other players to indicate that it has been tagged by another player. Rufushonkeriv asks an interesting question over at LiveJournal, however, about kill stealing and how it can happen in World of Warcraft. The tagging mechanism, which isn't present in more than a few MMOs, is supposed to prevent kill stealing in the game.

However, the poster asks how a mob he has tagged is sometimes tagged away from him and explains how, when attempting the same thing, he only ends up killing a grayed-out mob faster. It is quite possible that the poster uses a DoT spell to get a mob's aggro, only to lose it to another player who deals damage with an instant cast spell. Lag can also sometimes explain how a player might think she damaged a mob first, only to have it turn gray when another player hits it.

Technically, the first player to damage a mob tags it -- it isn't the player who has aggro or the player who first cast a non-damaging spell on the mob (such as Mana Tap or Hunter's Mark). There is some confusion as to the amount of damage needed to secure the tag. For example, if a player damages a mob for 1 point and a second later another player hits it for 1,000... who tags the mob? In theory, it should be the player who hit the mob for 1, because she damaged the mob first. The mechanic is pretty straightforward but in some cases players are confuddled through a mix of lag, lack of understanding about the tagging rules, and just plain old bad luck. As a rule of thumb, when tagging, hit it fast and hit it hard!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips

Totem Talk: The Arsenal

Totem Talk is the column for Shamans. Matthew Rossi has been rediscovering his restoration roots this week, so of course he's decided to write a column all about the offensive aspects of the shaman class. There's something seriously wrong with that boy.

Damage dealing. The next few columns will discuss just how shamans go about putting the hurt on people: this series (The Arsenal) is about totems, shocks and the two lightning bolt spells, the offensive arsenal of the shaman class. As you first start out playing a shaman, you quickly learn that there are a variety of ways to output damage as a shaman: offensive totems, instant-cast but short range shocks, and longer rage lightning bolt and chain lightning spells with a casting time. As time passes and you settle into either a melee role using weapons or a caster role (meaning that you don't want to be anywhere near the things you're killing) you'll change the way you use these abilities. There are effectively two 'play styles' for the shaman, which we'll call 'elemental' and 'enhancement' for the specs that make the optimum use of these styles: a restoration shaman can act like an elemental or an enhancement shaman as he or she chooses, but even in equivalent gear she'll of course be less effective at dealing damage than they are, since the restoration spec is optimized for healing.

This week we'll be primarily talking about totems in a direct offensive role.

Some totems, of the fire variety, deal direct damage, either through a directed fireball effect (Searing Totem) an area effect burst (Fire Nova Totem) or a continuing AoE pulse (Magma Totem). There are other totems that an enhancement or elemental playstyle benefits from dropping during combat (we all know about Windfury, Grace of Air, Wrath of Air, and Totem of Wrath by now I'd assume) but these are not direct damage totems and so this paragraph is the last time I'll be mentioning them. It's interesting to note that Totem of Wrath is a fire totem, and so you can't drop any of the direct damage totems if you use it, but by the time an elemental shaman has Totem of Wrath he or she probably prefers it for most situations anyway. A starting shaman will probably be dropping Searing Totem as much as possible, mana permitting, as it's one of the first offensive totems you'll get (level 10 vs Fire Nova at level 12 and Magma Totem at level 26).

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Scattered Shots: Auto Shot

Scattered Shots is for hunters. 'Nuff said.

One of the most confusing things about a hunter's repertoire of spells is the exact use of Auto Shot. This ability is unlike the abilities of any other class, quite different from a warrior's swing timer, or a caster's wand shooting. Auto Shot is like a metronome, and the music of hunter DPS requires that we play according to its beat.

We've discussed Auto Shot a little bit in last week's introduction to Shot Rotation, but Auto Shot is much more complex than is first apparent from simply reading the ability's tooltip. First of all, there is a discrepancy between what the interface shows you of Auto Shot and what is actually going on. If you don't use any hunter addons, you may have great difficulty getting a feeling for any of what this article is about, because Auto Shot doesn't have any representation in the default UI. If you use an addon like Quartz or ZHunterMod, however, you'll be presented with a timer that looks something like a regular casting bar -- and while this Auto Shot bar will help a great deal, it is still not complete. No matter what, your imagination and inner sense of timing are going to have to do a good bit of work in getting your shots timed right.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Add-Ons, Guides, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

WoW Rookie: All you needed to know about stats, part 3


In today's continuation of our series on what the various stats in World of Warcraft do for you, we're going to be discussing caster stats. And, while a long-time player probably knows everything I'm talking about here, someone who's newer to the game might find spelling all of these things out to be handy. Curious as to how gear with +spell damage helps you out? Not quite sure how useful gear with mana per five seconds on it is for your class? You're in the right place.

However, before you keep reading, it's well worth it to check out part 1 (covering the five main game attributes) and part 2 (covering statistics effecting physical damage). Coming up our next installment we'll talk about defensive statistics (armor, dodge, parry, resilience, etc), so stay tuned!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

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