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Posts with tag survivability

Encrypted Text: The incredible, indestructible rogue

rogue tank
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.

There used to be a saying amongst healers: "It costs less mana to rez a rogue than to heal one." Rogues were the only non-plate melee class (shaman and druids were healers), and our leather armor didn't absorb heavy blows. I remember gearing my first rogue specifically for stamina and fire resistance. I wouldn't be invited to the raid unless I could meet the 4,000 HP minimum health requirement. If I accidentally stole aggro, I would be squashed like a grape.

Times have changed. Rogues are now the most durable melee class, and it's not even close. Enhancement shamans and fury warriors can't toss on a shield without severing all hope of dealing competitive DPS. Rogues are capable of dealing nearly their maximum damage while taking less damage than any other class in the raid.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Lichborne: A death knight DPS guide to staying alive in PvE

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.

I know it's probably a bit weird to be talking about PvE DPS when the big story for PvE is the new cool stuff we can get by tanking -- but by now, the shine is probably off the apple for many Call to Arms participants. With bugs preventing us from getting bags and DPSers who refuse to follow kill orders or use crowd control, many have decided even the chance at a cool new pet isn't enough.

That's why, for everyone who's gone back to DPS and for everyone who never stopped DPSing, I want to offer a few quick tips for surviving in PvE. Maybe you're dealing with an inexperienced Call to Arms tank; maybe you're still working on recognizing your own threat levels. But whatever the reason, DPSers do die from time to time, and in Cataclysm, they seem to die faster and easier. Many of these tips will be death knight-specific, and some will be a bit more general.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we continue our discussion of ways to avoid dying horribly. This week's tip: Roll a death knight.

Yes, the sad reality of being a mage is the ever-present threat of a swift and ignominious demise. We're like every character in The Walking Dead: We could go at any time, and our only consolation is that God willing, we'll be able to blow up a few zombies on our way out.

Last week, we discussed a few methods for surviving to pew pew another day, namely aggro drop and damage mitigation. This week, we turn our attention to two other lifesaving techniques: movement and crowd control. Just remember as we go forward that every time a mage survives a fight, an angel punches a warlock in the face. Have I used that joke before? I may have. Doesn't make it any less true. Angels hate warlocks. So does Jesus. And me. And, I pray, all of you.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Why survivability matters in Cataclysm class design

Blizzard has told us again and again that survivability is going to matter more in Cataclysm, and it sounds like we may have to unlearn a lot of the bad habits from Wrath. I think this point was really driven home by developer Ion Hazzikostas in the class Q&A at BlizzCon 2010.

A player was complaining about being forced to take utility talents to reach the bottom of her tree, and she gave as an example a talent that reduced the magic damage taken. She pointed out that the only time you'd take damage was if you stood in fire, which should never happen anyway.

Ion could have pointed out the many, many boss encounters in which the room just pulses unavoidable AoE damage throughout the fight, but instead, he went in what I think was a very insightful route when he responded:
In an ideal world, none of these things would be needed, right? In an ideal world, something like combat rez wouldn't be a useful ability because no one should ever die. In reality, people die.
This is pretty much spot on. We've had a lot of discussion recently about combat rez changes -- but just like no one should ever get hit by a void zone, so too should no one ever die if everyone is doing his or her job. But they do, and combat rez is a great ability. With healers at risk of running OOM in Cataclysm, anything that reduces your damage taken or increases your self-healing is going to help your raid. After all, dead DPS do no damage, and wiped raids kill no bosses.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Light and How to Swing It: The Tankadin for Dummies


I know a lot of you have asked for this, and I know I haven't been delivering on the tanking front, so here it is. Today, we focus solely on Paladin tanks, who in my very humble opinion make the absolute best tanks in the game. With dual specs looming on the horizon, many of you will be considering the Protection tree for the first time. Some of you might have been picking up the odd tanking piece here and there with your spare DKP or heroic drops that nobody else needs. This is good. Let's go over a few things that should help us know the tanking role a little better.

First off, today we'll focus on the basics. Veteran tanks won't need all this information, but you're all free to read and nitpick because, well, I'm your whipping boy. Ok, so, you want to tank? The good news is that ever since 3.0, Paladin tanks share pretty much all gear with the other plate-wearing tanks. No more of that silly Spell Power nonsense. You're looking at gear with Stamina, Strength, and all those tanking stats like Defense, Block Rating, etc. This means it's easier to gear up. Actually, you should probably think about gearing up now before dual specs roll around and that Holy Pally rolls on your Red Sword of Courage for his "other spec". For today, let's take a look at some attributes that contribute to our survivability.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Dealing with Crushing Blows

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives is supposed to explore issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, does what no one seems to want, and discusses playing a druid in the game as it is still known, rather than the expansion that is still two months away. Although it is likely Wrath of the Lich King will worm it's way in somehow.

I'd like to take a minute to talk about a mechanic that has defined the Feral Druid tanking philosophy, even though you might not know it.

I'm talking here about Crushing Blows.

A Crushing Blow is an attack made only by NPCs that does 150% of normal attack damage.

A Crushing Blow can happen if the NPC you are fighting has a base weapon skill 15 or more points higher than your base defense skill. Base defense skill is the only thing that counts towards the chance of a Crushing Blow; Defense Rating and Expertise are of no help whatsoever.

At level 70, if you are fully trained up, your defense and weapon skills should be 350 each.

Raid Bosses are level 73. They have 365 weapon skill. That's 15 weapon skill points higher than your possible defense.

Do you see the connection, my friends? If you are main tanking a raid boss that is level 73, then you are susceptible to Crushing Blows

As you might expect, tanks wish to know how to avoid taking these suddenly massive chunks of damage, if at all possible.

You may have heard before that Paladins and Warriors can "push Crushing Blows off the table", but you might not know what that means, exactly.

What kind of table is it? A nice mahogany? Teak? Perhaps inlaid parquet? Are they pushed off the table vigorously, so that they clatter all over the floor?

You may also have heard that having your attacks Parried by a raid boss can cause BAD THINGS to happen, especially if you can suffer from Crushing Blows.

Well, let's talk about this whole thing a little more after the break, shall we?

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Bosses, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Lichborne: Guys and Ghouls

Welcome to Lichborne, where we ask the tough questions: Will Death Knights be ready for launch? Will they really have 3 trees that can tank and DPS? And what kind of a ghoul name is Eyeslobber?

Ghouls
have been one of my most beloved features of the Death Knight for some now. I like having an undead squire by my side, and they can be pretty useful for some extra dps and even some lifesaving interference in a pinch. However, they also felt like one of the least firmed up aspects of a Death Knight for some time now, with abilities coming and going on a patchly basis, and bugs that kept the ghoul from being summoned or allowed to summon a massive army of ghouls in no time flat.

Still, they have their uses, and despite still being incredibly flimsy healthwise, do offer a decent amount of extra damage when they're up. The drawback is that 50 silver is a lot for a pet that lasts less than 5 minutes, and without points in the Unholy tree, the Ghoul is completely uncontrollable, and may have a tendency to run into suicidal situations without listening to a word you say.

As far as perfecting the Ghoul and deciding on its place in the class, there seems to be two schools of thought. The first, mostly made of Unholy specced Death Knights, sees the Ghoul as a fun and useful part of the class, and wants to see it tweaked to have good survivability, good dps, and generally be worth keeping out. The other class see Ghouls as mostly a novelty, a thing to be bought out occasionally, and such a pain to upkeep that they don't really want to have to deal with it as a pillar of the class. They'd rather be able to forget it exists when they want to.

Both positions have their passionate supporters, but Blizzard seems to have found a rather ingenious way to give both sides what they want: Talents. Recent talent changes provide a lot of buffs, and if you collect them all, you should have a much easier time using your ghoul to your hearts content.


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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: On Blood leveling and Beta

Welcome to Lichborne, where every week Daniel Whitcomb makes sense of the amazing, ever-changing betatastic Death Knight class

So here's yet another example of how mutable Death Knights are at the moment: This week, I decided to spec Blood all week and make a genuine effort to learn all the ins and outs I could so that I could bring you a good solid overview of Blood for this weekend's column.

Then build 8820 came along, and Blood, while having the same basic mechanics, got a rather big hit to its health regeneration and DPS abilities, and I'm left trying to figure out the extent of the damages. In the end, I don't think Blood was horribly nerfed in this build, but it might have been slightly overnerfed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Scattered Shots: The dev team takes on PvP

Welcome once again to Scattered Shots, WoW Insider's spot for all things Hunter, except for the stuff Big Red Kitty covers. Daniel Whitcomb will be your host today (a day late, for which he apologizes) as David Bowers tries to shake off some extra aggro.

The state of Hunters in PvP is perhaps one of the most debated subjects in WoW PvP. Some call Hunters overpowered for their dispelling Arcane Shot (which is going away in Wrath, to be sent to the non-damaging Tranquilizing Shot), while others point to their low Arena representation and the ease of using line of sight to negate most of their DPS and Abolish Poison to get rid of their main PvP utility as proof that they need buffs. Regardless, even the devs acknowledge that Hunters probably need some help in PvP, and class designer Koraa recently spoke on the subject on the Beta forums. In his post, he covered the problems he sees Hunters having, and how Blizzard will be helping with those moving forward into Wrath.

Unfortunately, his solutions seem confused in and of themselves. They involve giving Hunters more melee attack power (instead of more way to break from melee so they can use their ranged weapon) and a variety of talents scattered around many trees in such a way that it will be difficult for a solid PvP build to get them all. And, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, they still aren't giving pets resilience.

Other Hunters such as Megatf have done an excellent job responding to some of Koraa's points in the thread itself, but I'd like to address and respond to the post myself in this week's column, and see how they stack up to the problems Hunters face in small scale Arena PvP.

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Filed under: Hunter, PvP, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Shifting Perspectives: Bear Tanking Strategies Part 2

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, sometimes known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, continues his discussion of the finer points of bear tanking.

Previously, I talked about exactly how threat mechanics work in groups. Now, you might think I was going to use that knowledge to inform our decisions on being a bear tank.

Instead, I'm going to talk about gearing up.

I'd like to start by saying, up front, that this article is unlikely to contain stunning new information that will change your bear tanking world. For those players that are firmly bear tanking their way through Gruul's Lair and beyond, you are most likely to read this, chuckle, and move on. You are already living the dream, kicking butt and taking purples. Hopefully, you will share some of your insight with the rest of us.

But for the player just starting out, eager to prepare themselves to be the best bear tank they can be, I hope that this article will be of some help.

So you want to be a bear tank. Great! Bear tanks are lots of fun, and speccing feral gives you the wonderful ability to not only be able to tank at the drop of a /invite, but also let's you solo effectively with a simple change of gear.

To be a bear tank, you need to realize that your role requires you to focus on two main responsibilities;

  • Threat generation
  • Staying alive

Threat generation is exactly that; you must put out enough threat to keep your enemies focused on you, while the rest of your party kills them.

Staying alive blends into two different philosophies;

Survivability is your ability to still be alive after taking a big old whack from the boss, or suffering spiky irregular damage the healer was unprepared for.

Mitigation is your ability to avoid or reduce taking that damage altogether.

Today, we are going to focus on the second of those two responsibilities, staying alive, and how to plan your gear choices effectively.

More after the break!

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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