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Posts with tag melee

A Death Knight's first dungeon: Dos and don'ts, part one

Since day one of Wrath of the Lich King, people have been rolling Death Knights. While many seem to be getting along just great, many others are in need of guidance.

This will be a two-part article, and will focus on the things that you will need to know when working with others in a dungeon setting.

Today, I will be discussing the basic things that any meleer should know when entering a dungeon.

Many Death Knights have never had a melee character, and may not know how to avoid aggro while dealing high damage and staying out of the tank's way.

In part two, I will discuss your AoE abilities and their place in a dungeon setting, as well as covering the buttons you should never, ever push while in an instance.

I will also run down some very basic rule of thumbs for your gear and talents, as well as including a discussion about some of the group-oriented talents that you could acquire.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Expansions, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Checking your caps: Defense, Block, Hit, Expertise

Honor's Code has a great post up about the secondary gear stats that often get overlooked in favor of the main attributes. Everyone knows that Hunters need Agility and Warriors need Strength, but after that, things tend to get a little fuzzy -- just what does Expertise or Hit do for you? HC breaks it down from a Pally perspective, but what they say about these stats is helpful for any class that has to deal with attacking the bad guys.

Defense comes first -- defense rating, for tanks, allows you to make sure that bosses can't crit you. Each class has its own defense cap, and the cap has changed from 70 to 80, so you'll have to keep an eye out for your own cap when you get that far. Block is next -- a high Block rating means you're pushing other attack options off the table when you're hit, so that when something does hit you, you block the damage on it. Both of those stats are mainly for tanks -- other classes, who aren't getting hit, won't have to worry about them at all.

But Hit and Expertise you will have to worry about if you're DPS -- Hit will make sure that you don't miss your target (the fewer misses you have, the higher your DPS), and Expertise makes sure that those hits don't become dodges or parries. This is tough stuff, and it shows up much earlier in Wrath, it seems, than it did in Burning Crusade, But the good news is that there's a lot of help around -- Honor's Code offers a great overview for what everything means, and from there, you can search our site or others for what you need to know about each stat and how it works with your class.

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Blood Sport: Cleave carnage

So. Arenas. How have your Arena campaigns been coming along? Lately, we've been encountering a lot of melee teams in our bracket. Melee has been enjoying a rise in popularity since Season 3, when Armor Penetration made its debut in Arena gear. Of course, with Armor Penetration stats maintaining status quo across the board in Season 4 while Armor values went up, this has become less of a factor. Nonetheless, the melee pain train continues to chug along, with more double melee teams having a strong showing in 3v3 and of course the popular triple melee Cleave setup in 5v5. For the most part, any team comp with two or more physical DPS classes is technically a Cleave team.

Melee in 5v5 was popularized by Serennia in his Warrior / Rogue / Enh. Shaman and 2-healer set-up which he tried to dub 'Trifecta'. Trifecta never stuck, of course, so Cleave became a more popular term coming both from the Warrior ability and the fact that a target descended upon by multiple melee will feel like she's being cleaved in half. More than a few clothies have cried foul, and some have accused such comps as being brainless, skill-less, and -- pardon me quoting the term -- "gay". [EDIT: No, it is not okay to use the term "gay" in a derogatory manner, let's just make that clear.]

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Forum post of the day: Pushback on Pushback

I remember the day that patch 2.3 was released. I got out of work at six PM as was stoked to get home and try some of the glorious improvements. I had a 25 minute commute then, north on I-15 right past the Las Vegas Strip. Usually by six most of the traffic had cleared and it was pretty smooth sailing- except that day. Some genius decided that it was a good idea to reduce the four-lane freeway to one. My left leg aching from working the clutch and blood pressure rising from impatience and a bit of road rage, it took me about an hour and a half to get home. I should be used to pushback though; I play a caster in WoW.

Debigmacca of Aman'Thul believes that Wrath would be a good time to do away with spell pushback. His argument is based on the number of stuns, fears, and assorted other of immobilization effects that abound in the current state of the game. There was some agreement with the original poster that spell pushback is unnecessary as casters often quickly fall prey to melee DPS. There's only so much a trinket can do.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, Battlegrounds, Arena, Forum Post of the Day

WWI '08 Panel: Warlock

Warlocks got a few mentions at this morning's WWI class panel, not only with confirmation of some previously mentioned spells in the form of Demon Form and the Demonic Circle, but in relation to the Mage, confirming the eternal struggle that seems to go on between the two classes. Still, what these mentioned changes do for the class, I believe, is mostly unclear.

Demon Form and Damage

Demon Form, otherwise known as Illidan form to the dev team, is something that a lot of Warlocks having been asking for for quite some time. Admittedly, it's pretty cool. Being able to morph into a Demon and gaining temporary access to a whole new skill set to devastate the enemy with? Yeah, I can't see that not being fun. But the question remains: How will it perform?

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Talents, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Totem Talk: Scraping off the rust

One of the interesting aspects to playing a class as varied as the shaman (or any hybrid, really, but Hybrid Theory's on weekends, you should read that too) is the disparate roles you can end up playing. For example, on my slowly leveling paladin, I'm constantly forced to look at quest drops and say "Well, it's a healing drop, but it would be an upgrade to my healing set, so I'll hold onto it." On my shamans, even though I rarely see a quest drop nowadays, I've worked to assemble elemental, enhancement and restoration sets for each: my restoration shaman has been getting some love lately, with certain new drops and enchants helping increase his plus heal to around 1800 or so, but at the same time I've been forced to realize something.

I went three months playing nothing but enhancement and man, I was rusty. The first Magisters' Terrace run I did on the orc was a parade of dead tank, dead me, dead DPS. Now, admittedly, this is entirely due to my own foolishness in trying to heal MgT my first run back on the job, so to speak, and subsequent runs in Shattered Halls and Black Morass went much better, helping me to get my legs back under me. It's not like you actually forget the role so much as you have to take the time for it to become familiar again.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Raiding, Talents, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Breakfast Topic: Spell pushback

Spellpower of Malfurion posted on the Priest forums that spell pushback is an indication that Blizzard prefers melee classes over spell casters. In his thread, the original poster used the example of a sixteen-second actual cast time for a second and a half spell due to spell pushback. This greatly reduced the effect of casters against melee classes. Songbreeze of Dragonmaw echoed this sentiment with the response, "Welcome to World of Meleecraft."

Other posters disagreed. Some stated that many PvE encounters favor casters. Nemarra of Tichondrius pointed out that melee characters have an equal disadvantage at range. Casters also have access to instant spells and abilities such as Blink, Frost Nova and Curse of Exhaustion to help them get out of melee range. Others have access to Power Word Shield and Earth Shield that mitigate the effects of pushback. If you're concerned about spell pushback, you should pay particular attention to how your spec can mitigate it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Talents, Forums

Scattered Shots: Weapon choices

(Apologies for the late posting of Scattered Shots. Next week we'll be back on our Thursday schedule.)

Last week I covered crowd control using traps. This week, filling in for David, I'll discuss the options available to hunters for weapon choice: ranged and melee alike. Hunters have a wide variety of weapons we can train, but our main concern is usually going to be ranged weapons: the bow, crossbow, and gun. Secondary to the ranged weapon of course is what we carry at our sides. Hunters can train in every weapon style except for maces (one and two hand) and wands. It's not technically a weapon, but for the sake of this discussion it's important to note that hunters cannot train in the use of shields. What this means is that there's a lot of weapons we can use, while not all of them are weapons that we should.

Adding to the decision is the fact that we hunters can learn to dual wield one handed weapons at level twenty. With one weapon, you tend to get more punch close up, but with two weapons you might lose some damage in melee, but gain an extra weapon's worth of stat bonuses, enchantments, and other augmentations. Each weapon you have equipped contributes its individual bonuses, if any, so it's a good idea to weigh the options, even for melee weapons which you might hardly ever use.

Earlier in the column, I recommended a low level hunter train in a two handed weapon early, since the first ten levels involve a greater percentage of melee combat, prior to getting a pet to handle your aggro. I'll talk about where to train what weapons, what augmentations you can add to weapons, and which ranged weapons are the best, after the jump!

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Filed under: Hunter, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Guides, Classes, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

The Light and How to Swing It: A class full of irony

I have once again managed to steal the Light for another week, as regular columnists Chris and Elizabeth are off on their own epic quests while I am left to tend to the shop, so to speak. For today, we'll take a closer look at how the class is designed and its inherent ironies.

When I first rolled a Paladin, I didn't know what I was getting into. I rolled it mainly as a companion toon for my playing partner, my wife, who was elated at the Horde finally getting a 'pretty' race and promptly rolled a Warlock. As I leveled with her demon-enslaving new main, the experience challenged and frustrated me and it soon became apparent that Blizzard had designed the Paladin under a completely different design perspective. I was hooked. If there are any perceived failures about the class, it is largely because Blizzard had a vision for the Paladin class that was different from traditional class designs.

Blizzard worked hard at defining each class with a clear directive to make each one feel different from the others. Rogues had Energy, combo points and finishing moves; Warriors had Rage, a sort of reverse Mana bar; and Shamans had the totem system. Paladins are designed largely around the interesting Seal system. Everything that a Paladin does revolves around Seals, Blessings, and Auras, with Seals being the primary mechanic for dealing any sort of damage. For the most part, class design has worked for many classes while others, like the Shaman, have had more than its fair share of issues.

Personally, I love the Paladin class. My main is now a Blood Elf Paladin, with my Troll Shaman getting a little less love than it used to. I also used to play a Troll Hunter and an Undead Rogue. While I enjoyed all of them as I played them, it was the Paladin that appealed to me the most. To be honest, I still have no idea why. Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was hybrid aspect. Maybe, for all I know, it was the coolness of it all. When you get right down to it, though, Paladins have -- if you examine it very carefully -- what is probably the most inherently flawed ironic class design in the game. Let me explain.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Shifting Tanzanite shifts

A minor(but interesting) change was included in the last PTR push: The Shifting Tanzanite has had its stats changed up a bit. Previously a Strength/Agility gem, it is now Agility/Stamina, as you can see above.

Previously, this was arguably the best blue gem in the game for melee DPS classes. With the introduction of the Heroic gems no longer being Unique in patch 2.4, it was a little exciting to be able to slot more than one of these at a time, even if blues aren't the most desirable color for physical damage dealers. Now, the Shifting Tanzanite is still desired, but not necessarily to fill that same role or by the same people. One of the few highly sought after Heroic gems has been gutted.

Why? Nobody knows but Blizzard. One of my theories is these Heroic gems are not meant to be a "best in slot" but an alternative option, even now that you can socket multiples in your armor. It probably won't bother too many melee DPS because as good as that gem was, it was only the best blue for melee. Most melee do not stack blues at all. Tanks do stack blues, however. While this gem has become a little better for the tanks, it most likely does not outweigh Solid Stars of Elune and most certainly is not better than Solid Empyrean Sapphires for the raiders among us.

Filed under: Patches, News items, Enchants

Wing Clip as weapon leveler

Mania posted about a tip from Lienna about spamming Wing Clip to powerlevel weapon skill, and I've confirmed that yes, as long as you wait for the global cooldown (obviously), you an spam Wing Clip and you'll receive weapon skill ups for those hits. Though I didn't try it with any abilities, I'd assume that it works for any instant melee hit (Sunder Armor jumps to mind). Of course, you not only have to worry about hitting whatever it is you choose to hit, but you also have to worry about killing it-- I did have to step back and finish off the mob with my hunter's bow.

So it seems hunters can level their weapon skills a little faster than other classes. And why shouldn't they? They have a lot more weapons to skill up, and it's not like melee weapon skill matters much to hunters anyway, except at the very limits of min-maxing. A melee hit is a melee hit-- if hunters get to hit more often, then they get to level weapon skill faster, too.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Classes

Phat Loot Phriday: Cataclysm's Edge

No messing around here. Just a big, bad sword. This is why half of us are playing a sword and sorcery game in the first place, right?

Name: Cataclysm's Edge (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWWiki, WoWDigger)
Type: Epic Two-hand Sword
Damage/Speed: 386 - 580 / 3.50 (138.0 DPS)
  • +75 (!) Strength, +49 Stamina
  • Equip: your attacks ignore 335 of your opponent's armor. And that's not a proc, that's an equip. Wild. The math around that is complicated to say the least, but suffice it to say that whenever you attack anything with the sword, you treat the opponent like it has 335 less armor than it really does. Which means even more damage.
  • And all that strength adds damage as well, since strength adds to attack power, which adds to melee damage, too. In short, when something gets hit with this sword, it feels it.
  • And I always get called out and shown up when I make statements like this, but according to WoWWiki, this is the highest DPS melee weapon in the game. Theorycrafters, if you would like to challenge that, feel free to do so in the comments below. WoWWiki shows that the Axe from the Illidan Kael'thas (you're right, I'm drunk) event does more damage, but that's a summoned axe, and not a player-useable weapon. Same deal with the Artifact Twin Blades of Azzinoth. So I'm standing by the original claim. Prove me wrong if you must.
How to Get It: Drops from Archimonde, the last boss in Mount Hyjal (and arguably, the game itself). It's a 10 to 15% drop, so you'll need to get him down a few times for the odds to fall in your favor. And you'll have to fight all those Mortal Strike warriors and ret pallies for the roll, since everybody who likes chopping things in half will be after this one.

But the good news is that this will last long after the "gear reset" coming in the expansion. I hesitate to say that it will actually be able to challenge Frostmourne (because who knows how they'll implement that in the game), but odds are that if you're lucky enough to get this now, you'll be chopping things with it for quite a while.

Getting Rid of It: Are you nuts? If you have so many of these things laying around that you have to get rid of one, go talk to Matthew Rossi, our warrior writer-- I'm sure he'll want one. But if you must vendor it, you'll get 19g 57s and 38c for it. Disenchants, as usual, into a Void Crystal.

Filed under: Items, Tips, Humor, Phat Loot Phriday

Hunter deadzone is dead: new minimum range = 5 yards, not 1

It appears that the latest information from the PTR for Patch 2.3 regarding hunters' ranged attacks is incorrect, as are the cries of multitudes who feel that hunters shooting close up would be unfairly overpowered. Drysc says:
There's a tooltip error, it should be "5-35 yards". We want melee and ranged to be kept separate, so that when in melee attack range you should not be able to use a ranged attack. There's some amount of 'give' there, especially in fast paced PvP which can produce some temporary gray area but that's fully known with this change.

Feeding the issue of the tooltip error is a bug currently where you can indeed range attack someone while being meleed, but that's in the process of being resolved as well.
When I first saw the new "1-41" range for hunters (that's with the extended-range talent "Hawk Eye") over on World of Raids, I knew that something was wrong. To let hunters use melee and ranged attacks at the same time means that they would often do better up close to their enemies rather than far away, and would go against a lot of the fundamental concepts around which the class is based. As it is, the mechanic of switching between melee and ranged attacks is one of the exciting things about being a hunter, and, now that the deadzone is dying at last, there won't be that block of frustration getting in the way between the two.

Filed under: Hunter, Patches

Patch 2.3 and you: Thursday grab-bag

Though the torrent of tidbits coming from Blizz Central has slowed, there are still a few new and interesting items for everyone (particularly Hunters, Mages, and melee people) to peruse today.
  • [Hunter] Trueshot Aura will be free to cast and is going to last until canceled. (source)
  • [Hunter] Serpent Sting, Immolation Trap and Explosive Trap are going to gain additional damage based on ranged attack power. (source)
  • [Mage] Fire Ward and Frost Ward now gain additional benefit from spell damage bonuses (source)
  • [Mage] Detect Magic removed, all players will see their target's beneficial effects at all times (source)
  • [Rogue] one other change to poisons though is that they will last for one hour now, increased from 30 minutes. (source)
  • all disarm immunity effects in the game were changed to 50% disarm duration reduction (non stacking) (source)
  • The Guild Banks are still in the works and planned for patch 2.3. (source)
  • Duration of wizard and mana oils created by enchanters has been increased. (source)
  • Auction House will now sort server side. If multiple pages exist you will be able to sort across all pages.
  • Auction House post times have been changed to 12, 24, and 48 hours. Deposit prices remain the same for each time increment.
  • You will now be able to ctrl-click a recipe to preview the item the recipe will create in the dressing room.
  • Ogri'la Faction Vendor: This vendor now sells potions useable anywhere for a large number of Apexis Shards. 50 shards, as good as super mana/heal pots. (source for the above 4)
The big news here, as I see it, is that there will no longer be full disarm immunity in the game, at all, period. I sense a drop in value for Steel Weapon Chains. The TSA change makes perfect sense: it is called an aura, after all. And being able to sort AH searches across pages is also long, long overdue. How do you all feel about this latest preview of patch 2.3?

Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, News items, Forums

Calling the wipe... and what happens next

World of Matticus has an interesting piece up about a touchy subject in raidleading: calling the wipe. It's a tough job leading the raid. Everyone's there to down the boss, yes, but especially when learning a fight, a raidleader has to balance a lot of different priorities-- are potions used or not? Who rezzes after a wipe? How are the healers balanced? And when things go really bad, they have to decide, sometimes on a moment's notice, whether to call a wipe and reset the encounter, or try to push onward. Everyone knows what's possible-- everyone's seen a fight where the last Mage left is able to get one last fireball off and finish off the boss-- but the raidleader has to look at reality and make that call.

Now, Matticus is actually pretty gung-ho about things-- he says not to wipe unless you're down to your last healer and you've only got one rez left. I agree that there are times when soulstones should be popped (if we have enough locks, we'll usually soulstone our main healer, and so if aggro ever gets lost, he pops right back up again), but if you're on the first attempt of the day, there's nothing wrong with saving a few rezzes and repair payments. Especially in a place like Gruul's Lair on High King Maulgar, where it's easy to get out when things go south, there's no reason to fight when two tanks drop on a bad pull. Just run, save the money, and come back when HKM has reset.

But Matticus is dead on about what happens after a wipe is actually called.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

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