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Posts with tag min-maxing

Spiritual Guidance: Best professions for Cataclysm shadow priests

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Each Wednesday, Fox Van Allen steps up to offer his State of the Spec address a nation of priests, preaching the superiority of the shadow spec. The holy and discipline spec response, offered by Dawn Moore, will be broadcast immediately after on a channel no one watches (like CNN or CBS).

President Obama gave his State of the Union address last week. I didn't watch it, because I was too busy catching reruns of Canadian home improvement shows on HGTV. You understand. I don't follow politics. I don't even like to vote -- I just have my neighbor do it for me.

As much as I tried avoiding the speech, I still caught bits and pieces of it the next morning. From what I hear, we're in a recession. Now, I'm not exactly sure what that means, per se. From what I understand, part of it is that people are having trouble finding jobs. I don't understand why, though -- jobs are plentiful in World of Warcraft. Why, they're so plentiful, everyone is encouraged to take two of them!

Professions are a great way to earn money, but they also carry with them some powerful stats bonuses and profession-specific perks. Which two professions should your DPS-maximizing shadow priest choose? It's a tougher question than it sounds, and some of the top choices may surprise you.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

A little pre-80 min/maxing can be helpful

Gnomeaggedon has written up a great guide to something a lot of players (including me) haven't worried about at all in the past: min/maxing your gear before you ever hit level 80. Aside from twinking, there seems to be almost no reason to worry much about gear before you hit the endgame -- you can level in almost anything these days, and by the time you hit 80, you'll replace it all anyway. Why bother? But Gnome makes a good point: he says you should put the minimum of effort in to max out your gear's power. Better gear will help you level faster, will help you play better, and I'll even add that it will help you learn your class better; figuring out early on which stats you want to choose over others will be a big help when you are dealing with all of the epics at level 80. You don't have to spend all your time choosing gear pre-80, as most of it will get replaced with regular quest rewards anyway. But it's good to put some thought into it.

So how's it done? Gnome's posts have some excellent tips on browsing Wowhead for new gear, using Rawr to analyze where your character's at now, and eventually looking ahead to what's next (I'll throw Gear Wishlist in again, simply because that's helped me out a lot). There's so many great tools out there for choosing gear, and it's interesting to note that they're still helpful even pre-80. Taking a second to check your gear while leveling up might actually make that grind that much easier.

Filed under: Items, Instances, Leveling, Guides

Are there bad talents?

Tree Bark Jacket, a resto-druid-themed blog that was new to me, has an interesting post up about whether there is such a thing as an entirely bad talent. The author's argument is that no, there is not, the reason being that even talents that are regularly dismissed are still useful sometimes; they're just situational.

For instance, Improved Tranquility, while certainly sub-par in 25-man raids, shines in heroics, and Living Seed is nice for healing tanks through chunky damage.

On a broader scope, Keeva makes the important point that you can't make all your talent decisions based on Recount or on people's advice from Elitist Jerks (etc.). Everyone's playstyle and raid makeup is different, and every raid encounter is different.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Talents

Insider Trader: Patch 3.2 Q&A

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Patch 3.2 has been shaping up to be a welcome event for professions in World of Warcraft. Soon, we will all have access to the next "tier" of gems and profession-unique buffs.

This week, I will be devoting the column space to answering some reader questions. Pre-patch notes and Public Test Realm data can often create confusion, especially when we know that anything could change before we ever see it live.

At the very end, I have included a bit of a spoiler, although I attempted to keep the details to a minimum and the wild speculation to a maximum.

Are the new flasks for Alchemists only? - Joemama
The new flask is called Flask of the North and can only be used by Alchemists with a skill of at least 400. This flask is clearly inferior to the Wrath raiding flasks because it is meant to be used in arenas. While it should give you a bit of a boost, Blizzard does not want everyone suddenly becoming Alchemists in order to compete.

Of course, if you play the game primarily for arena, then you might consider switching if you haven't already.

The most exciting changes for Alchemists will likely be the new epic gem transmutes and the fact that potions will stack to 20.

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Filed under: Alchemy, Cooking, Enchanting, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Economy, Jewelcrafting, Features, Making money, Insider Trader (Professions)

Insider Trader: Profession-specific buffs part 2


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Last week, Insider Trader discussed the profession-only bonuses associated with Inscription, Jewelcrafting and Enchanting. This week, I'm going to walk you through the rest of them, and include a final summary and comparison at the end.

Tailoring Perks

Tailors have the ability to enchant their own cloaks. Other players can get cloak enchants from Enchanters, although the Tailoring ones are superior in many cases.
  • Darkglow Embroidery: Chance to restore 300 mana on spell cast. There seems to be a 60 second internal cooldown, with a proc rate of 35%, which is equal to 25 mp5.
  • Lightweave Embroidery: Chance on spell cast to increase your spellpower by 250 for 15 seconds.
  • Swordguard Embroidery: Chance for melee and ranged attacks to sometimes increase your attack power by 300 for 15 seconds.
There seems to be a 45 second internal cooldown on Lightweave and Swordguard, meaning that for 15 seconds out of every 45 seconds (+, if you don't proc it on the next hit, but they do seem to proc within a hit or three), you have the effect. This averages out to 83 SP, and 100 AP respectively, in ideal conditions. Depending on your luck with procs, the average decreases the longer it takes you to proc it again.

For example, after 45 seconds, each spell has a chance to proc the effect. If you managed it at the 50 second mark, the average becomes +75 SP.

Casters who are not Tailors can currently choose between Enchant Cloak - Wisdom and Enchant Cloak - Greater Speed.

Wisdom grants you a measly 10 spirit, as well as a now obsolete 2% threat reduction. The +23 haste rating is nice, but provides neither mana nor spellpower.

Enchant Cloak - Major Agility grants you +22 agility to cloak. Agility is inefficient to everyone except rogues, hunters, shamans and druid cats, who would get +22 AP from it as well as the crit/dodge/armor. In terms of attack power alone, the Swordguard enchant is the clear winner.

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Filed under: Herbalism, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Enchanting, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Guides, Buffs, Enchants, Insider Trader (Professions), Inscription

Insider Trader: Profession-specific buffs part 3

Mining
Miners are given Toughness, an ability that at max rank, awards +50 stamina. This is a lovely bonus for tanks! A tank's talents will take this well beyond +500 hp, and stamina is also multiplied by buffs and talents such as Blessing of Kings (and not all stats are). This is also going to be helpful in PvP, where stamina is especially important.

Herbalism
Herbalists get Lifeblood, a self-heal, that at max rank, awards +2000 HP over 5 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. This can be used in or out of combat, and the spell effect entails flowers sprouting up from the ground all around the character.

It is difficult to gauge the actual benefit of this ability across classes and in different situations. In the last few seconds of a close fight, where it is you or them, even a small boost in HP could bump you up to victory. Then again, tanks benefit more from stamina due to talents that factor in your total stamina to then award you with extra stamina (Sacred Duty), increased power (Touched by the Light), and other benefits. It is also difficult to say whether an extra boost in damage might also be worth more than this small heal in a tough spot.

Almost all classes find this ability helpful while leveling and soloing. Raiders will often use it to top themselves off or buy some time until their next heal.

Skinning
Skinners become Masters of Anatomy, and gain 32 critical strike rating, which is equal to 0.70% crit. This is especially useful to classes who have talents that boost stats based on your crit rating, increase your crit by a %, or where your crit rating actually grants you other stats, such as mana for holy paladins.

The Skinning and Mining bonuses equate to about 2 gems worth of stats, and Lifeblood is all about how you use it.

Conclusion and Comparison
As you can see, for most of the professions, the benefits and stat increases are approximately equal. Let's use spell power to demonstrate this:
  • JC: +39.
  • Enchanting: +38.
  • Inscription: +37.
  • Tailoring: 250 SP for 15 seconds of every 45 seconds+. This averages to +83 SP in ideal conditions (meaning, it procs on your next heal after the cooldown is up). In fact, it will likely always be under, though somewhat near, this ideal. A more realistic average is +75 SP.
  • LW: +37.
  • Blacksmithing: +38.
  • Engineers: +18 and a parachute.
  • Alchemy: +37.
As you can see, the profession bonuses are basically equivalent, and this is true across each stat. There are some exceptions. As I noted earlier, the Engineering enchants are not only meant to increase your stats, but also combine your gadgets, absorbing them into your everyday armor. Without this absorption, the only way to use them would be to take off your super special raiding/PvP gear in favor of a piece of gear or trinket that you carry around for special occasions. Because of this convenience, they seem to eat up itemization points.

Still, there are several that are still worth taking, even over other options available for that slot. The Tailoring enchant noted above is currently being debated as OP, and may be subject to tweaking in the future. It is also worth noting that because this is a passive proc, it is not always going to be utilized. You might proc it near the end of a fight, for example, or when you're topping someone off between pulls, and waste most of the added spell power.
Each week, Insider Trader takes you behind the scenes of the bustling sub-culture of professional craftsmen, examining the profitable, the tragically lacking, and the methods behind the madness. Check out part 1 of this Guide to Profession-Specific Buffs!



Filed under: Herbalism, Mining, Skinning, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Enchanting, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Guides, Buffs, Enchants, Insider Trader (Professions), Inscription

Encrypted Text: The fuzzy math of theorycrafting

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll be talking about the methods used to break down gear and talents into their fundamental parts, and compare them intelligently.

While it's not recognized as an official term by the Oxford Dictionary, "theorycrafting" is definitely the biggest buzzword in the Rogue community. Originally coined by Starcraft players looking to use their mathematics knowledge to perfect their strategies and unit build orders, it refers to the idea of using math to guide your choices, instead of simply playing from your gut.

From the lowest level of forum troll to the most serious raiders, many Rogues love to punch numbers into spreadsheets and talk about the PPM (proc-per-minute) chance of Mongoose. Theorycrafting is a largely arcane art, and unfortunately an inability to play ball with these math magicians can be grounds for ostracism from the discussion at hand. Asking for talent or skill help on the Public Rogue Forums will likely result in recommendations like "Check the spreadsheet or delete your character."

Obviously you've become attached to your assassin of the shadows, so after the cut we'll talk about how to become a theorycrafter even if you weren't first in your algebra class.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Cheeky's Hunter spreadsheet revived

A while back, we noted the retirement of Cheeky from the world of Hunter theorycrafting, leaving her unparalleled Hunter Spreadsheet an orphan and Hunter min-maxers everywhere with the prospect of being deprived of an amazing tool going in to a new expansion.

Luckily, it looks like the torch will be taken up as Wertez of the Hunting Lodge has decided to take over the project with Cheeky's blessing. You'll be able to find the Spreadsheet at the Hunting Lodge itself now, under the Hunter Research and Info category on the site's sidebar.

With Hunter mechanics changing in some pretty basic ways going into Wrath of the Lich King, we'll need a strong and steady hand to guide the spreadsheet into the level 80 end game. Here's wishing good luck to Wertez!

Filed under: Hunter, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Raiding

Ready Check: Progress raids and You



Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Or wipe to them. Again. And again. And again... This week, we look at progression and what it means to you.

This week, we were going to present a column on Brutallus, in similar vein to our Kalecgos and Zul'Aman timed run walkthroughs. However, we'll be leaving you in suspense for another week, as disheartening 1% wipes prevent us from actually having killed him yet. So, until we manage to eke out that final drop of DPS, we present WoW Insider's handy guide to Progress Raiding and You.

There are two main 'classes' of raid, progress and farm; progress raids involve conquering new content, such as facing (and killing) a boss for the first time, whereas farm raids are easy rides through familiar territory, with clean kills and quick epics. Obviously, there's some middle ground, when you kill something for the second or third time -- but at some point the fight becomes repeatable, easy, and unlikely to warrant a second trash clear, earning it the title 'farm'.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, Ready Check (Raiding)

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