Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First Post Patch Raid

Oi-vey, am I behind on my posting or what?
Anyway, we raided one time right after the new talents came out. I did well, but consistently lost to our Rogue. Here’s the meter from Deathbringer Saurfang. DBS-meter He’s very good and very well geared, plus he’s been playing a Rogue as his main since at least Burning Crusade and I’m just starting to play my Warrior. I know 9k is a little low based on some numbers I’ve heard from other Warriors, but this was 10 man, with only 10 man buffs. Suffice to say, I was pleased with my performance. Here is the breakdown of my damage: dbs-breakdown 
The 4 misses indicate I still need more hit. I need to do some research on the Glancing mechanic, and figure out why that was almost as high as Crit. As you can see I’m pretty much ignoring Slam. MMO-Champion states that the new Beta build has reduced the Rage cost of Slam. That will help because it just wasn’t doing enough damage for the Rage cost.
The situation in the game hasn’t changed a great deal. We actually scheduled another raid, but I was going to a Childbirth Refresher course that night with Mrs. Hammer. You see there is a little Hammer that we are expecting around the first week of the New Year. I’m shopping for a laptop I can use in the hospital to play WoW, and Civ V. I’m strapped for cash and can’t go over $500. If you are tech savvy and could make a recommendation, I’d love to hear it. I’m going to be watching the Black Friday adds like a hawk looking for a deal.
I’ve been frantically preparing for NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is, I’ve provided a handy dandy link to the main site. I’ve got a rough outline for my story. It’s nothing like what I did for the Blizzard Short Story contest. You will find nary an elf or orc in it. While I’m looking forward to NaNo, I’m really beginning to have my doubts that I can finish it with work, church, and a very pregnant wife.
We currently stand about 5 weeks out from Cataclysm. With the help of some friendly guild mates, I was able to complete The Hallowed, which was one of the goals I had. One guild mate, in particular, was impressive. Without being asked, she came all the way from Desolace, where she is busting out LoreMaster, to Dalaran just to zap me with the costume I needed. I had no idea she was so far out when I put out a call in Guild Chat for a the costume I needed. Her generosity and selflessness were very much appreciated.
I’ve continued to work on my Argent Tournament standing, getting to Champion of Thunderbluff and now working on the Trolls. I’d really love the portable bank/mailbox from the Tournament for questing in Cataclysm. The other goal I have right now is to get Kingslayer on my Warrior. He only lacks an Arthas kill, but I don’t think my chances are very good, especially with losing gaming nights to NaNoWriMo. My best bet is probably to find a PuG working on the encounter and hope we can get it down.
My other goals are to get his Fishing up, finish his Enchanting, and continue to make money for Cataclysm. Other than doing the Argent Tournament dailies, I’ve been doing quests in IceCrown I’ve missed. I'm getting almost 14g a quest, which isn’t bad. Without some miracle, I’m going to fall far short of my goal of 50k.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How I’m Playing My Warrior in 4.0.1

So let's take a look at how I'm playing my warrior in 4.0.1. Let me first give credit where credit is due. Most everything I'm doing in game comes from reading the excellent work of Tankspot posters, and specifically the Understanding Fury in 4.0 thread. The value I hope to add with my blog post is to take that 19 page thread and boil it down to its essence. It is entirely possible that some, or all of this information is WRONG. If you spot and error or omission, please mention it in the comments so I can ninja edit it.
Of the three paths open to that warrior dps, I chose to go with Titan Grip. My two handers are better than my one handers (251/251 v.251/232), and my one handers are agility weapons while my two handers are strength weapons. Curious, I did some perusing of the Cataclysm raid loot and the do indeed have strength one handers. The set is a Sword main hand, and Fist off hand. That should make it easier to determine which weapons to prioritize, and which should go to your Rogues and Enhance Shaman. It also means those weapons will never drop for our raid.
I haven't tried arms yet, but I understand its doing okay. Trying arms would require me to regen and reforge and I'm trying my best to limit spending before cataclysm.

Spec

The spec I went with was 3/31/2. This spec takes War Academy from arms, and Incite from Protection. Then it takes all the talents in the fury tree except for Piercing Howl, Heroic Fury, Furious Attacks, Skirmisher and Single Minded Fury. Single Minded Fury is a choice. If I take Titan’s Grip, I won’t take Single Minded Fury, and vice versa. Most of the points I skipped have a PVP feel to them, and that’s largely why I skipped them. The po int in Blood Craze could probably be spent better somewhere else, but I really like the idea behind Blood Craze. Blood Craze has a chance to proc a small HoT on you every time you take damage. With so much raid damage flying around, I really like the idea of giving my healers a little cushion. Plus, I’m doing quite a bit of solo work these days, and I find the HoT to be very nice when I’m on my own.
My Glyphs are Raging Blow, Bloodthrist, Slam, Cleaving, Victory Rush, Death Wish, Battle, Bezerker Rage, and Enduring Victory. Victory Rush and Enduring Victory are really more for soloing/leveling.

Rotation

The main spells for Fury Warriors are Bloodthrist (BT), Heroic Strike (HS), Raging Blow (RB), and instant Slam (S). Fury Warriors have a talent that gives them an instant Slam. The rotation I’m using currently is BT –> HS –> RB –> maybe instant Slam –> Repeat. abir
There are two key aspects to working this rotation, Enrage uptime and Rage management. Being Enraged activates the Fury Warrior Mastery which is bonus damage while Enraged. The problem is Enrage is a proc, but we have two ways to force the proc: Death Wish, and Bezerker Rage. I tend to fire off Death Wish first because it has the longer cooldown, but you want to be aware of where you are in the fight. You definitely want Death Wish available for the Execute phase (below 20%) because Execute is hitting like a truck right now.
The key aspect of Rage management is to realize that Warriors are not swimming in rage like we were in Wrath. You have to think about what comes next and decide if you need to pool a little rage or launch the special attack. That’s the reason I say maybe Slam.  You are better off ignoring Slam if you don’t have enough rage to Heroic Strike on cooldown. The big reason for this is that Heroic Strike is basically  Cliff Lee to Slam’s Yankee’s, which is to say that Heroic Strike beats the living snot out of Slam for damage. I don’t think that’s intended, but that is the current reality.

Gear (Gems/Reforging)

Fury Warriors have a couple of goals when we look at gearing and gemming. The first goal is to hard cap hit. This means we need 24% plus the 3% we get from Fury. After we hard cap hit, we are looking to get to 26 Expertise which should eliminate dodges. Now we know every swing will connect. This is crucial for Rage generation and giving ourselves opportunities to proc Enrage. We want crit at around 35%. With this much crit, we ensure a very good uptime on Flurry. More crit contributes to DPS, but it doesn’t do a whole lot more for Flurry uptime. We also want a good amount of Haste. Haste will allow us to generate Rage faster and smooth out the rotation. But our best stat is Strength. It is buffed by our Plate Specialization, so each point of strength is worth 1.05 points right off the bat.
For gear, it is now critical we wear all Plate. Before 4.0.1, there were some leather or mail pieces that were better than their plate counterparts. That is no longer the case, we need Plate now.
With gemming, we now want to match socket bonuses. For Red sockets, its good old Bold (+20 strength). For Blue, it’s now Etched (+10 Str/+10 hit), and for yellow the community is torn between Fierce (+10 Str / +10 Haste) and Inscribed (+10 Str / +10 Crit).
It will likely be necessary to reforge to reach the hit cap, and possibly regem. What I did was reforge Crit into Hit if the piece didn’t have hit on it. Personally, I’m going with Fierce as I’m happy with where my crit is, even after reforging.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The New 4.0.1 Warrior

One of the reasons I picked my Warrior over my Paladin was the breadth of changes the Paladin class underwent in 4.0.1. With the possible exception of the Hunter class, no class saw a bigger change to its core mechanics than the Paladin.
But I was wrong thinking that the Warrior would be pretty much the same as he had been previously. I was very excited to see an actual raid had been scheduled for Thursday night, and I wanted to do the best I could for my fellow guild mates. That meant I needed to understand the new Fury Warrior.
There are three ways Warrior DPS could go in 4.0.1 and Cataclysm: Titan’s Grip, Single Minded Fury, or Arms. Titan’s Grip is using two two-handed weapons. This is what Warriors have done through Wrath. Single Minded Fury is a Fury Warrior using two one-handed weapons. This is how Fury Warriors worked in Vanilla and Burning Crusade. Arms, is well, Arms, and has traditionally been the PVP tree. Once the dust settles at Level 85, one of these three options will be mathed out to be ‘the best’, and that is what the majority of DPS Warriors will play.
But the Warrior at 80 is a different beast from she will be at 85. Since 4.0.1 hit, Warriors have seen the removal of Armor Penetration. Every melee class benefitted from it, but its removal really hit Warriors in the teeth. Most other melee dps, with the possible exception of Rogues, all have some magic attacks as part of their arsenal. These attacks bypass armor and were not affected by the removal of Armor Penetration. The next issue is the removal of the talent, Armed to the Teeth, which gave Warriors 1 attack power for ever 3 armor they had. The talent was an incentive to use Plate Armor, but it wasn’t strong enough. In its place is Plate Specialization which is a flat 5% damage increase if you use all Plate Armor. In addition, there was a bug with Heroic Strike that caused Fury Warriors to need very little in the way of hit rating. Because we could turn virtually every white swing into a Heroic Strike, Fury Warriors needed only 5% hit. With the bug fixed, Fury Warriors needed more hit.
For Fury specifically, the revamped talent trees meant that we could no longer access the talent Deep Wounds. This talent put a DoT on our target when we crit, and was staple of Fury DPS. Further exacerbating this issue, was the Warrior 2 piece bonus which gave a chance to proc Attack Power every time Deep Wounds ticked. Things are not much better for our Arms Warriors brothers. Much of their rotation is built around a proc that resets the cool down of Colossus Smash, a new spell trained at Level 81. They sort of don’t have that yet. Colossus Smash puts up a debuff that basically emulates 100% Armor Penetration.
When you combine these changes with no one really knowing how to play their toon anymore, you get the reduced DPS Warriors were seeing last week. Blizzard came to the rescue with a hotfix that increased Warriors damage.
I initially chose Fury for my Warrior because it was the superior Raid DPS, and let’s face it, dual wielding two huge axes (how I do love being Tauren) is freaking cool looking.
The theme of the two Specs was elucidated by Ghostcralwer. “The Arms warrior has pet names for all his weapons, while the Fury warrior shows up for battle drunk and half clothed.”  I certainly like the idea of the Arms Warrior better, but the execution of the Fury Warrior in the actual game is just more fun.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention that for the first time in the history of the known universe, Retribution Paladins actually got a hotfix buffed after a patch rather than a quick knee-jerk nerf. Someone please check the temperature in Hades, they may have freeze warnings up. I did take Honors out for a spin to try the new system, but with SpartanUI not including the Holy Power Bar, I was lost.
Tomorrow, I’m going to go through the current spec, stats, and rotation I’m using on my Warrior.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What To Do With The Blog

4.01 has marked the official switch from my Paladin to my Warrior, along with switching from a main spec Tank to a main spec DPS. My game play, and therefore the fodder for my blog, is going to be more focused on the Warrior DPS side of things. I’ve debated if it would make more sense to simply shut down Honors Code, and create a new blog to reflect the new focus. An informal survey of my Twitter follows seems to indicate that the DPS Warrior appears to be underrepresented in the Blogosphre. It’s a similar situation to the Paladin Tank when I started the blog way back in 2007.
On the writing front, I wasn’t named among the winners for the Blizzard Short Story Contest, but I had a blast , and I learned some important lessons as well. I will allow myself the delusion that I made it at least past the first couple of cuts, but honestly, I have no idea if that is true.  Now I want to take that experience and expand upon it for NaNoWriMo. So if blog posts are sparse during the month of November, well, now you know why.
I really wish I was one of those bloggers, like Big Bear Butt, who seems to get away with posting just about anything. He talks about his Druid, his Hunter, and even throws in real life stories about driving a big rig. I would love to be able to pull that off.
What do you think? Should I just start writing about Warriors and stabbing stuff, or create a new blog and let the lights go out on Honors Code?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Patch Night 4.0

I got home late on Tuesday night because that is the night I’m leading a Financial Peace University (FPU) group. FPU is a great program created by a guy named Dave Ramsey, and I am happy to be able to provide it to people in my local area. It  teaches you how money really works, how to get out of debt, be prepared for emergencies, invest and so much more. More than one million families have benefited from Dave’s class. On average these families paid off $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 in just 90 days.
Because I got in late, I got a late start on my patching process. I had had the background downloader download the patch already, but it still took a while for it to install. When I finally logged in, it was about as I had expected, which is to say, it was a state of pandelerium. As a precaution, learned from previous big patch days, I had turned all my addons off. The first one to get turned back on was SpartanUI, which, much to my relief, worked for the most part. The other addon I got working was Bagnon. That at least got me functional.
My main goal was to get all my stockpiled materials to the auction house as quickly as I could. Over the past week, I had been doing Auctioneer scans and buying up Glyphs that were dramatically underpriced. I paid between 5g and 1g for these Glyphs. Now, you have to understand that I’m risk adverse, so instead of buying huge stacks of Glyphs, I bought them ones and twos, so I only had about a dozen Glyphs to sell. In addition to the Glyphs, I also had a stack of gems to put up. This amounted to about a dozen Cardinal Rubies, bought mostly with Honor pre-patch, as well as Scarlet Rubies and Bloodstones. Actually, I had a whole bunch of ‘green’ level gems from prospecting. My plan had been to load up on Scarlet Rubies and supply the happy alchemists who would be transmuting like crazy.
The first snag in the brilliant plan was that the transmutation cooldown had not, in fact, been removed. Whether that was a bug, or the Developers changing their minds, I don’t know. The second snag was discovered when I went to actually start posting stuff. My addon of choice is Auctioneer, and it was thoroughly borked. So I had to post the old fashioned way. I’m hoping Auctioneer gets updated soon, or I’ll have to go hunting for a replacement.
As I opened the Glyph pane on the Auction House, I smiled. The Glyphs were going for 80g to 90g a pop. My theory is that is a very limited time occurrence. Last night was something of a feeding frenzy, and people were spending money like mad. I put up my Glyphs at a 20g to 30g undercut. I wanted to make sure they sold, even if they sold to another Glyph seller who wanted to repost them. Before I posted, I got on vent and explained what I was doing, in case any of my Guildmates were posting.
It was at this point, I discovered the annoying, one click per auction. Because I was not using mods, I had to manually separate my stacks.
Next, I had Honors cut some STR, INT, and AGI red gems from my stash of Cardinal Rubies. I put those up, as well as some uncut Rubies. I went ahead and put all the rest of my gems, I’ll see if they sell.
Going with my idea that this is a limited time occurrence, I’ve held off on my own glyph and gem purchases. I think things will calm down quickly. There will be a little bump this weekend when the weekend players come online, but after that I expect the prices, especially on Glyphs to be much lower than you saw Tuesday night.
I am very curious to see what is in my Bank Mule’s mailbox tonight when I log in.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No April Fools Joke

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about a small event happening on December 7,2010. It’s actually a rather large event. One could say it is right down cataclysmic.
Someone reminded me on Twitter that I never blogged about what I was going to make my main toon in Cataclysm. My last blog was about how I decided that the Druid would not be the one to get to 85 first. The next toon that I eliminated was the Hunter. I still plan on taking him to 85 at some point, but not first. Hunters have undergone too many changes in Cataclysm, and I’m not looking for a roller coaster of buffs and nerfs while they rebalance what is in essence a new class. For the same reason, I’m retiring my venerable Paladin. The Paladin has once again undergone a dramatic redesign. While I appreciate the Developers efforts to bring the class closer to their vision, I’m not excited about relearning my class. If I was going to do that, I would really want to take a toon from level 1 on up.
I know I risk getting lumped in with the group of people who abandoned their Paladins once they required  ‘skillz’, but I think anyone who has known me would know that was not a motivation.
There are still issues with the Paladin that have been left unaddressed as we move to the end of the Cataclysm Beta. Prot Paladins are still in need of a short cooldown, off the global, interrupt. But most concerning to me is that even at this late stage, the Developers are still monkeying around with something as basic as the Prot Paladin rotation. I still have concerns based on the previous times the game has expanded. I was around for the launch of Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King. In both cases, Paladins were nerfed heavily because of balance issue in the x.0 (2.0, 3.0) patch. This mainly effected Retribution, but invariably, Protection got caught in the collateral damage. In the past two expansions, Paladins have come into the release somewhere between broken and barely functional, and its only the x.3 patch that finally fixes them. I’ve seen this movie twice, I won’t be going for the trifecta.
So it is the odd choice of my Warrior who will be the first to Level 85. I have really enjoyed playing the DPS Warrior, and I also enjoy getting to Tank from time to time. As burnt out as I got on tanking towards the middle to end of Wrath, I’ve realized I miss it. With the Warrior, I can be our melee DPS (which my Guild Leader tells me we are very light on at the moment), and I can also be our fill in tank. In addition, I’ll have those Tank insta-ques for Randoms which is always nice.
I’ve also decided to make my Goblin a Shaman. I tried the mage, but man, are they squishy. How did you people level up like that?  I like that the Shaman has the ability to take a couple of hits if the mob gets in close, plus a nice melee strike come Cataclysm that all Shamans, even Resto/Elemental get. I still don’t get why the Mage who is all magical, gets a permanent Water ELEMENTAL pet, but Shamans, the MASTERS of the ELEMENTS, don’t get a permanent ELEMENTAL.
I’ve actually debated making the Shaman my main, but I would want more play time before I was comfortable committing to that as a main. I really like the idea of an Enhance/Elemental Shaman and both playstyle look like a lot of fun. But would it be fair to my guild to be a Ele/Enh Shaman. Would there be pressure at some point to break out the Resto? But probably the biggest reason I’m not going to pick the Shaman is that would put me way, way behind the rest of the guild. I probably wouldn’t hit 85 until Tier 12 was out , and I’d miss the first Tier of raids in Cataclysm. I’m going to be one of the slower levelers to begin with, so starting at 1 would just put me that much father behind.
This, in some part, is because I’ve changed the way I approach the game. I have a fairly large life change planned for the first of the year, which will throw my schedule into chaos. But, in addition to that, I’ve changed how I spend my time with the game.
I’ve always maintained that the time I choose to devote to Warcraft would be devoted to something equally unproductive would I not be playing. It might be another video game, like Civ or SWTOR when that comes out. It might be TV like Castle, Mythbusters, or NFL Football (good gravy, do my beloved Panthers stink this year).
But recently, I’ve decided to try to pick up a new skill, and I want to devote some of my gaming time to learning that new skill. There isn’t room in my life for the major life change, the new skill, and everything else I’ve been doing. I’m going to have to break the balance I have now, and establish some new boundaries. I feel really fortunate to be in a guild where we can only raid 3 hours a night, and where we are free to choose to raid only 1 to 2 times per week. Hopefully, the guys won’t mind me leveling a little slower than the rest and I will be able to catch up once I’m 85.
So I’m trading Blue Bars for Red in Cataclysm. I am the Warrior.abir