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Posts with tag mastery

Stats 201: Getting your secondary stats just right

Though we did an article covering the game's basic stats that will guide you through leveling any character, once you hit level 90 you need to start considering your secondary stats. These stats, like hit and expertise, become more important when you stop leveling through content and gear to stop at top-tier content. Unfortunately, figuring out what these stats are, what they do, and what you need isn't exactly self-explanatory -- sometimes even requiring you to consult an addon or website to figure out whether a new piece of gear is really an upgrade.

Fortunately, Blizzard is working on simplifying the system with Warlords of Draenor, removing a some secondary stats and the ability to reforge gear -- which will make it a lot easier to tell what gear is an upgrade and start using it immediately. Unfortunately, if you're a new 90 or you've just boosted a new character to 90, you still have to deal with the current system, so we'll lay out just what the secondary stats on your gear mean -- and how to tweak them to your liking with reforging so you're ready to hop into LFR or whatever else you want to do.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

The future of itemization

I've written long, eloquent defenses of reforging. And this week, I finally snapped. The fact that I have to reforge between my arms spec and my fury spec (and not just reforge, but regem) has finally broken me. I now take it all back - reforging sucks. It compensates for things that are flaws in the modern game, but I no longer find that charming. I just find it irritating that those faults exist and that we have a means to wallpaper over them doesn't change the fact that they exist.

In a way, my relationship with reforging mirrors my relationship with the old tanking scheme that existed before Mists of Pandaria - I knew there were flaws with threat generation, but I'd grown familiar with them. I understood that they were there and how to circumvent them. In the modern game, there are significant flaws with itemization, and reforging is that means to circumvent them, so I've been a big booster of and supporter of it ever since it was introduced back in Cataclysm. But I was wrong. Using reforging to sandpaper down the jagged edges where gear doesn't meet our needs doesn't change the fact that gear doesn't meet our needs - it merely conceals those edges.

We know that we're going to have two new stats - multistrike and readiness - in addition to critical strike, haste and mastery. None of these are caps in the same way that hit or expertise are (soon to be were) - we'll see how they work, but we already know some talents will affect them or be affected by them, like the upcoming Anger Management talent for warriors. So what I'm wondering is, are we finally going to see a situation where there's enough gear with stats individual classes want that we don't need a system to make up for gear's shortcomings? Or are we just going to have to make the best of bad itemization again, like we did back in Wrath?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Arcane Brilliance: The Big Freeze

Arcane Brilliance The Big Freeze
Every other week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we wish we had four-piece T16 so we could drop an icy boulder on someone, preferably lots of someones.

Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome last week. I appreciated all of the comments, and everyone was positive and friendly. Except, of course, Ms. Felface over there. She called us muffinmakers, something only a warlock would say. We don't make muffins, we conjure delicious confections with toothsome frosting. A muffin is just a sad cupcake, yearning to be something better - pretty much like warlocks, really.

I told you I would be checking out your questions, and reading through the comments highlighted for me that there is still some confusion about frost and its mysterious new mastery. I'm hoping we can unfog that for you this week.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Blood Pact: Warlock stats and set bonuses in patch 5.4

Blood Pact Warlock stats in patch 54 MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill gets cleansed of disease and starts on a new rivalry.

*cough* *cough* *haaaaaack* Megan coughs violently into a clutch of raggy, mucused-up robes.

It's all good. I'm going to survive. The healers haven't cleansed me since that last time I dropped the Gateway still inside the windstorm, so I'm stuck to my cookie cooldown. I really don't blame them for that. But, I gotta say it was worth a little cough to see all the melee drop dead like that. Don't worry, I'm not cursed or anyth--

What is that. No -- THAT. Who the ... You guys let a mage in here?!

Well. *Megan steeples her fingers.* No matter. Warlocks are still better than those muffinmakers in patch 5.4.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Lichborne: New mastery ideas for death knights

Lichborne New mastery ideas for death knights
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

One of the more intriguing general class changes on the 5.4 PTR has been the complete redesign of frost mage mastery. Frost mages currently get Frostburn, which deals extra damage on specifically frozen targets and adds extra damage from their water elemental. With most bosses being immune from freeze mechanics, you can imagine this mastery doesn't do much good for PvE mages. Thus, the redesign on patch 5.4 grants frost mages Icicles, which allows them to do more mastery-based damage in all situations.

Death knight masteries aren't in quite as dire straits as the frost mage mastery was. Blood Shield, in fact, is downright solid. Our DPS masteries, on the other hand, are rather bland, being straight elemental damage buffs. They also come with some compatibility problems which causes the mastery stat to turn out low value for non dual wielders. With that in mind, this week we'll speculate on what Blizzard could do in the upcoming expansion to make mastery a little more enticing for death knights, especially for DPS.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: The problem with Killing Machine and DPS stat weights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With patch 5.4 coming along on the PTR, one thing that came into my brain as I reviewed the latest changes is thinking about what death knight issues weren't addressed, in this patch or others. Some class changes in this patch are inevitable, because you do want all classes to have a good experience and be well balanced going into the final raid of the expansion, the shining centerpiece of it all. At the same time, though, there's still problems, problems that may not be addressed until patch 6.0, if at all. Today, we're going to discuss one of those problems, namely, Killing Machine, and the deeper flaws it may magnify in the current frost death knight stat priority.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: DPS stats for tanking death knights

Lichborne DPS stats for tanking death knights
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

So Rossi bought this up in his last column, and I feel like it is a valid question. If haste is a valid gearing strategy for Paladins, why shouldn't it be for the other tanks? The idea of haste and critical strike as being valid, even desirable stats for a tank seems almost anathema, but as of Mists, especially, it's worth a look. Paladins even have a gearing strategy built around haste. Are they the only ones? Should death knights be considering haste and critical strike rating? Should Blizzard be looking at ways to make haste and critical strike rating more desirable for tanks? We'll consider those questions this week.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Itemization Concerns

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Itemization Concerns
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

I admit the title is a fancy way for me to say I want to talk about a bunch of stuff, all related to warriors without dedicating the entire column to one of the topics. These things I want to discuss include:
  1. The ridiculous dependence on crit to the exclusion of pretty much all other DPS stats for fury.
  2. Warrior tank threat/DPS and how it holds back the class.
  3. The ridiculous amount of hit on Throne of Thunder gear.
  4. Why I'm still annoyed that haste does nothing for protection warriors.
I know I've been flogging that haste for protection horse for a while, but it just irks me to see two of the plate classes getting solid use out of haste/expertise or haste/mastery gear for their tank sets and we get nothing. Considering point #2 for warrior tanks (namely, that our DPS and thus threat is just way behind the other tanks) I find it absolutely maddening to see haste be so completely useless for protection warriors. It doesn't give us resources at all, due to the way rage regenerates in Defensive Stance - it doesn't even help us with our rage generators like Shield Slam and Revenge because haste does nothing for our GCD. I took a pair of haste legs for my tank set recently (they were still a huge upgrade, that's how bad my old tank legs were) and every time I look at that haste on them, and know I can't reforge all of it away, I get this lump in my gut where the snarky itemization elitist in me says haste? Really?

I hate that guy. I hate him even more because I know he's right. Haste has no business on my tanking gear because haste does nothing for a warrior tank. Nothing. We don't even generate rage from our autoattacks, so the miniscule increase in attack speed doesn't even avail us.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

Encrypted Text: Rogues and RPPM

Encrypted Text Rogues and RPPM WEDNESDAY
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

If you have any questions about what gear you should use or about your specific DPS stat weights, you should use Shadowcraft to get the answers. WoW is a game with dozens of different mechanics and complex intersections. There's no way to guess or intuit what's right for your rogue. Every rogue has different access to gear, and you're always limited by what actually drops. You shouldn't focus on trying to theorycraft in a gear vacuum, because the gear you currently have is important in planning the proper upgrade paths.

That said, there's no reason you shouldn't understand some of the underlying mechanics that determine what gear and stats are good for you. The newest mechanic in WoW is the Real Proc-Per-Minute (RPPM) system, which affects several proc-based effects like our weapon enchants, trinkets, and the legendary meta gem. RPPM is a very different system for procs than we've seen in the past.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Blood Pact: Catching up on Patch 5.3

Blood Pact Catchup on Patch 53 MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill is free to pet battle all day, e'ry day.

I tried to gauge when Patch 5.3 would hit so that I'd end the series on World of Logs just in time, but unfortunately I overestimated and the new patch has cut me off. With my original plan of posts, I'd be a week short, but now...uhhhh it might be a halftime break.

In case you've missed the World of Logs posts so far, here's a recap:
  • A brief overview of ranking and the combo of how to tell what warlock or pet you would or should be looking at,
  • Looking closer at some of the graphs on World of Logs, and
  • How to use the buffs and debuffs graph to gauge proper cooldown or proc usage, as well as a basic understanding of what stats (for trinket procs) do for each spec.
I intend to explore some warlock-specific examples using the expression editor to dive deep into the combat log, but I'm not sure I can fit it all into one post. I'll finish the series off with a deeper look at the damage done tables and how the spells spread for each spec in general raid encounter styles.

But this week? This week is a little shorter and lighter while we go over what Patch 5.3 means for warlocks.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blood Pact: Buffs and debuffs for warlocks and logs

Blood Pact Buffs and debuffs for warlocks and logs MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill is almost free for summer. Almost.

The last two weeks have been on simple topics like glancing at a raid parse on World of Logs (WoL) or looking at the various graphs WoL has. Before we dive into the actual combat log itself with the expression editor, I'm going to take a stop at what buffs and debuffs are going on in the fight. This information is still broad in scope and can apply to almost anyone, but it's still important foundation knowledge for warlocks and logs.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Blood Pact: Find greater knowledge in elites' tricks

Blood Pact Exploring off the tricks of the elite MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill finally landed a heroic-mode soulwell this Ji-Kun kill.

Every time we hit Ji-Kun, I try to place a soulwell mid-air. There isn't any performance-breaking reason to do this other than pure amusement as raidmates try to "grab the cookie from my jar, young grasshopper." But it's possibly my favorite use of KJC so far.

This isn't an trick that requires super skill. Mostly, it's whether or not you can time your cast, your latency, and the wind that grabs you off Gastropod Boulevard.

But what I do like to do sometimes is watch elite players from the top guilds in the world do fights in a crazy or simply slightly different way. Usually this involves watching a lot of soloing videos: e.g, Spygnesy, who just uploaded a warlock solo of Ragnaros in Firelands. But when it comes to minor tips for huge meter wrecking, I love watching Sparkuggz of play.

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Blood Pact: The chaotic influence of haste

Blood Pact The chaotic influence of haste MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill may play affliction in-game, but really she's a destro 'lock IRL.

I'm starting to dislike hit rating again. Previously, with reforging, it was totally possible to sit there with 14.96%, 14.97%, 14.98%, 14.99%, or the occasional rare times I nearly hit fifteen-even, just off by a mere handful of rating points. Now, with the huge amounts of stats on our gear, I feel like we're approaching Wrath-era hit rating juggling, where a new piece means you're way under hit cap or way over hit cap.

This is not a fun stat balancing. Hit is coming back around to the pre-reforge era where it it's actually irritating to balance, not just annoying.

But I don't want to talk about spell hit this time. I want to talk about the very-coolness of haste.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Encrypted Text: Examining assassination's AoE rotation

crimson tempest
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Deadly Poison is everything to an assassination rogue. It makes up between 35-40% of our single-target DPS. Our mastery bonus, Potent Poisons, increases our poison damage and causes mastery rating to be our best stat by far. Our primary finisher, Envenom, is designed specifically to increase the amount of Deadly Poison procs we see. Mutilate, Dispatch, and assassination's other abilities are all minor players compared to Deadly Poison.

Deadly Poison is also the key to assassination's AoE performance, as it makes up over 50% of our overall damage. All of our AoE decisions have to be seen through the lens of maximizing Deadly Poison's damage. Fan of Knives is the key to applying Deadly Poison to several targets at once. When there are more than two targets around, we replace Mutilate and Dispatch with Fan of Knives as our main combo point builder and work from there.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Lichborne: Death knight DPS presences get some major changes

Lichborne Death knight DPS presences get some major changes
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

If you've been following death knight news at all, you know that presences -- specifically, the interplay between Frost Presence and Unholy Presence -- have been a hot button issue for some time now. The flames only got hotter in the Mists of Pandaria beta, as massive changes to presences caused severe issues in our class mechanics and rotations. Luckily, Blizzard's heard our pleas and recently released a huge overhaul to the DPS presences on the beta. This week, we'll take a look and see what they did.

The basic rundown
  • The base global cooldown for all death knights is now 1 second. As a result, Unholy Presence no longer provides this bonus.
  • Unholy spec death knights now get Improved Unholy Presence, which provides an extra 10% rune regeneration and attack speed when in Unholy Presence.
  • Frost Presence lost a good chunk of its extra runic power regeneration (it's down to 20% from 100%), as well as the extra 30 base runic power.
  • Frost spec death knights now get Improved Frost Presence, which reduces the cost of Frost Strike by 15 runic power when in Frost Presence.
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes no longer generates 15 runic power per a hit but does make your Obliterates cause 50% more damage while using a two-handed weapon.
  • Threat of Thassarian no longer has an off-hand damage bonus but does increase your Frost Strike damage by 50%
  • Improved Icy Talons is now Unholy Aura, and both DPS specs gain use of it.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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