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Posts with tag utility

The Heart of the Wild controversy: Should players be allowed to change specs in combat?

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In a recent Mists of Pandaria beta build, the tooltip for one of the currently inaccessible druid talents, Heart of the Wild, was significantly rewritten and updated. The full tooltip is long, but the key assumption is that every six minutes, a druid of any spec can click a button and automatically be able change to another combat role for 45 seconds, with little drop-off in effectiveness. Restoration druids can start dealing damage, DPSers of either persuasion can throw around some heals or tank an add, and guardian tanks can even spread around a few HoTs without having to leave Bear Form and turn into paste. That's the theory, anyway.

As you can imagine, this idea generated some heated debate in the druid blogger community. The noted Lissanna of Restokin called it "(likely) the the least used talent out of any talent tree in the history of the game" Murmurs also agreed, saying "HotW has a pure functionality problem. It can never truly fulfill the position that it is attempting to grasp."

In opposition, Tangedyn, the co-creator of the Mew feral druid simulator and frequent contributor to The Inconspicuous Bear, wrote "... there's no reason to deny druids that want the versatility the capability to perform to their best of their abilities."

So who's right? Well, let's take a closer look at both sides of the argument, since this debate brings up several important issues to any WoW raider.

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Filed under: Druid, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: Refreshing the retribution utility toolbox

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

I have always been a staunch supporter of the Ret Paladin DPS Equality movement. Ever since my male blood elf first picked up a two-hander and started swinging, I've been quite fixated with the entire meter-chasing DPS subculture that manifests itself in at least a small handful of raiders in each and every guild. There were a few tricks that felt too dirty to use (I'm looking at you, agility gear during Wrath), but for the most part, I have enjoyed the process of milking as much delicious damage from my character as possible.

Lately, however, I have found myself examining this philosophy in a wider scope. Sure, battling for the top spot on Skada has been fun, but is that truly what we should be aspiring to? Is there more to being a ret paladin than golden combo points and a big weapon? Clearly the answer to this question is, "Of course, Dan, are you mental? We have so much utility -- get the net!"

Well ... chyeah, right! Actually, you are right -- our utility spells are among the things that set us apart from other classes and keep us from being just better-looking rogues. But is their mere existence enough, or should our playstyle involve some form of active utility? What would this look like, and is it even feasible?

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

Blood Sport: Finding your PVP playstyle in arena, part 2

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 Gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in Blood Sport.

We talked last week about finding your PVP playstyle in an attempt to find better partners. People with the same view on how an arena battle should be won usually find themselves doing much better than otherwise. The strategy doesn't have to be necessarily the best strategy or tactics used, as long as everyone is on the same page. I've seen inferior strategies work wonders when everyone on the opposing team is in sync with each other.

While we went over a variety of topics, including offense vs. defense, crowd control vs. damage, and leader vs. follower mentality, I don't believe I've quite done justice to healers or overarching views on arena. So we'll be discussing this for a bit more today, then moving onto something else next week.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

The Light and How to Swing It: Bringing utility in Cataclysm

With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons. Please send screenshots as well as any comments to my email at gregg@wow.com.

Sorry, the above graphic really has nothing to do with today's column, but I wanted to feature more of the new built-in "power auras" that Blizzard added to the game.

As for today's message, I know the following is going to raise some red flags for those long-time paladins out there, but don't freak out. I'm going to ask that you start stepping up and bringing a bit more utility.

Relax, I didn't mean it in a vanilla or BC sort of way when you were sometimes just brought for certain buffs and nothing to do with your damage, tanking or healing. I mean it in a real sense that we do have some utility available to us in addition to everything else that we do, much the same way that hunters' traps bring utility to their class.

The coming expansion is going to be harder than we're used to. We've been just nuking things for so long that a lot of our utility abilities have slowly worked their way off of our toolbars, or we're getting new abilities in the expansion to fill roles we haven't had before.

Let's take a look at what we're going to be expected to start doing once the Cataclysm gets into full swing.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Non-utilized utility items

So among my full to bursting bags on all of my characters, one thing the high level ones pretty much all have is the Skyguard Drape (or the caster equivalent thereof). Even my Death Knight has enough skyguard reputation to have one. I figure if I ever I have some need to fall from a great height, I can just strap it on real quick and jump, and it will always be there just in case the opportune moment arrives.

But here's the problem: I have never needed to use it. Not even once.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Moonkins aiming to get DPS and group utility

Paladins weren't the only ones to get some attention from the crab last night. The Balance Druid post wasn't an especially information-filled post, but mostly served as a reminder that even though the devs may not respond to your threads, they are paying attention. Ghostcrawler explains that whlie she may be focusing more heavily on Feral Druids, that doesn't mean she isn't aware of Balance's needs. She clarifies their role in a raid (caster, duh), and states a Moonkin's needs to meet that role. She lists the following:
  • Competitive dps. Mages and warlocks just tend to get a lot of attention, maybe because there are more of them, or more races of them, or they are more archetypal classes (in the familiarity sense).
  • Good AoE utility. Encounters and dungeons tend to get designed with the assumption that the ranged DPS can do AoE. Hurricane is phenomenal now. I healed a run today and did really competitive dps with Hurricane on the ranged pulls. And I wasn't even Balance! I love Starfall. It's a rare spell because it feels new -- it isn't single target and it isn't classical Hurricane-style AoE either.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

WWI '08 Death Knight Demo: Unholy spells and talents


Unholy was originally touted as the PvP DPS tree. What it appears to do rather well, though, are diseases and minions. If your vision of a Death Knight is close to a Diablo 2 Necromancer type, leading an army of undead minions and spreading plague and exploding corpses across the land, Unholy is probably going to be the tree for you. Of course, your crowd control is probably going to be a little peeved at you with all those DoTs, but that's what AE spells like Death and Decay and Unholy Blight are for, right?

Unholy also seems to include quite a bit of utility, including the ability to resist lots of spells and status effects, and some debilitating debuffs, so it could be called a utility tree of sorts as well. Here's a list of some of the Unholy spells and talents available in the WWI Demo:

Unholy Spells:

Death Gate
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
10 second cast, 15 minute cooldown
Description: Returns you to Ebon Hold (Note: Since Ebon Hold is not yet implemented, in the demo it returned you to Tirion Fordring).

Death Grip
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 35 second cooldown.
30 yard range
Description: Harness the unholy energy that surrounds and binds all matter, drawing the target toward the Death Knight and forcing the enemy to attack the Death Knight for 3 seconds.

Plague Strike
Requires level 55
Costs 1 Blood Rune and 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast
Melee range
Description: A vicious strike that deals weapon damage plus 37 and plagues the target, dealing 350 shadow damage over 12 seconds.

Raise Dead
Requires level 56
Costs 2 Unholy Runes
Instant cast
30 yard range
Description: Raises a ghoul from a corpse to fight by your side. if the target corpse is not humanoid, Corpse Dust must be supplied to complete the spell.

Death Strike
Requires level 58
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Description: A deadly attack that deals 60% weapon damage. if the target dies within 6 sec and yields exp or honor, Death Strike heals the Death Knight for 406 damage.

Death and Decay
Requires level 60
Costs 1 Unholy Rune, 1 Blood Rune, 1 Frost Rune.
30 second cooldown
30 yard range
Description: 100 shadow damage modified by Attack Power is inflicted every 2 seconds to all targets in the affected area for 10 seconds. Has a chance to cause affected targets to cower in fear

Degeneration
Requires level 62
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Description: Instantly attack the target, dealing 60% weapon damage and inflicting a disease dealing 91 damage over 21 seconds. Any existing heal over time spells on the target become corrupted, dramatically increasing the damage done by the disease and removing the healing effect. Stacks up to 3 times.

Unholy Presence
Requires level 70
Description: Imbues the Death Knight with unholy fury, increasing attack speed by 15% and reducing the global cooldown on all Death Knight abilities by 0.5 seconds.

Anti-Magic Shell
Requires level 75
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
20 second cooldown
Description: Surrounds the Death Knight in an anti-magic shell, absorbing 75% of the damage dealt by the next harmful spell. Damage absorbed by anti-magic shell energizes the Death Knight with additional runic power. Lasts 5 seconds.

Army of the Dead
Requires level 80
Costs 2 Unholy Runes
10 minute cooldown
Description: Summons an entire legion of your best ghouls to fight by your side.

Unholy Talents:

Lichborne
Requires 10 talent points
Instant cast, 5 minute cooldown
Description: Draw upon unholy energy to become undead for 30 seconds. While undead, you are immune to charm, fear, and sleep effects, and your horrifying visage causes melee attacks to have an additional 25% chance to miss you (Will of the Forsaken, eat your heart out!).

Corpse Explosion
Requires 20 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant cast
20 yard range
Description: Unleashes all available runic power to cause a targeted corpse to explode for 3.6 nature damage per 10 runic power to all enemies within 20 yards.

Improved Corpse Explosion
Requires 25 talent points, Corpse Explosion
Costs up to 2 talent points
Description: Exploded corpses cause 25% additional damage and have a 50% chance per point to cast a disease on enemy targets that deals 36% of the explosion Damage over 9 seconds.

Magic Suppression
Requires 25 talent points.
Costs up to 5 talent points
Description: You take 1% less damage from all magic per talent point. In addition, your anti-magic shell absorbs an additional 5% of spell damage.

Anti-Magic Zone
Requires 30 talent points, 5 points in Magic Suppression
Costs 1 Unholy Rune
Instant cast, 2 minute cooldown
20 yard range
Description: Places a large, static, anti-magic zone which can protect any party members inside it. The anti-magic zone absorbs 75% of the damage dealt by the next harmful spell. absorbs up to 10000 damage. lasts 30 seconds.

Crypt Fever
Requires 35 talent points
Costs up to 5 talent points
Description: Your diseases also cause crypt fever, which reduces an enemies attributes by 1% per talent point. Crypt Fever lasts for 18 seconds and can stack up to 3 times

Ebon Plaguebringer
Requires 40 talent points, 5 points in Crypt Fever
Costs up to 3 points.
Description: Your Crypt Fever morphs into Ebon Plague, which increases vulnerability to magic by 1% per talent point in addition to reducing attributes by 5%. Ebon Plague lasts for 18 seconds and can stack up to 3 times.

Summon Gargoyle
Requires 40 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant Cast, 5m cooldown
30 yard range
Description: A gargoyle flies into the area and bombards the target with shadow damage modified by the Death Knight's attack power. Persists for 1 second per 8 runic power up to 1 minute.

Unholy Blight
Requires 50 talent points
Requires Runic Power
Instant Cast, 1 minute cooldown
Description: A creeping swarm of unholy insects surrounds the caster for a 10 yard radius. all enemies caught in the swarm take 34 damage and are plagued with a disease that can stack up to 3 times. persists for 1s per 10 runic power.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, News items, Expansions, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Hybrid Theory: Is it too much?


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.

Here on Hybrid Theory, we've done a lot of glorifying the group utility that Hybrids provide. It's one of their strongest points, and the factor that could make or break their raid spot in a setting of pure recruitment. Recently, I discussed the direction this concept of utility is going with a few raidmates of mine, and some interesting points were made.

The synergy between classes in The Burning Crusade is powerful, but moving in a direction in which the classes and specs become too reliant on one another, or you have to decide which hybrid is more important to you than another hybrid in the same role. Some class/spec combinations simply can't perform in a raid setting without a specific hybrid class alongside them. Some hybrid classes can't perform without other hybrids in their group. This poses a problem for the pure classes, and even though we don't know the exact details of the Death Knight, adding another class may only make things harder.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Hybrid Theory, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Hybrid Theory: Brutallus and You


Every week, Alex Ziebart comes to you with Hybrid Theory. A column with... theories about hybrids, I guess. I mean, that's what it says at least. I guess it could be something else, but probably not. Honestly, you should probably just read it and find out for yourself.

In the past here on Hybrid Theory, we've discussed what Hybrids are capable of doing in a raid, as far as beneficial talents and utilities. We talked about the fact that a few well-placed hybrids in your raid can take your DPS from 'good' to 'horrifyingly good.' All of this comes to the front again in a boss that many high-end raid groups are clashing against right now: Brutallus.

If you haven't read anything on this boss yet, it's the single largest gear check in WoW yet. It's Burning Crusade's Patchwerk, mostly. To beat Brutallus, you need roughly 29,000 sustained DPS across your entire raid. If you don't pull that off, you hit his enrage timer and he destroys all of you. Simple as that! If you're lucky you can burn off a final two or three percent of his health after the enrage, but that's about as far as you go. That three percent is about 300,000 health, so don't get too confident.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Hybrid Theory

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