More on Mind Control

Today, Fox Van Allen wrote a simply amazing article on WoW Insider that lists all the humanoids in every Cata dungeon and what abilities they have. It is a beautiful thing and must have taken ages to accomplish. I definately have it bookmarked for future reference.

Please, go check it out:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/01/26/spiritual-guidance-a-monstrous-compendium-for-the-mind-controll/

New Patch 4.0.6 Notes

Blizz has updated the Patch Notes for Patch 4.0.6. The very first thing I noticed is:

Dungeons & Raids

  • Level-85 normal dungeon bosses dropping Justice Points — 30 justice points are awarded for normal level-85 dungeon boss kills to help with gearing up for heroics.
  • Daily Random Normal Dungeon Justice Points reward doubled — Increased from 70 to 140, again to easy gearing up for heroics.
  • Dungeon discovery prerequisite removed — There is no requirement to have discovered the dungeon entrance in order to queue for that dungeon in the random dungeon finder tool.

Source:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/01/24/ptr-patch-4-0-6-notes-updated-for-jan-24/

Wow! What a mixed message they are sending us. In the same patch we are getting quite a few nerfs to heroics (and several buffs to heroic bosses) and now JP will be dropping from Level 85 normals, admittedly at a reduced rate.

Let us recap Cataclysm so far, as told by Blizz:

We want dungeons to be hard and epics to be epic again. You have to quest, grind rep for gear and run normals for more gear to get to heroics. We have some arbitrary number of ilvl that you need to enter heroics but you can totally beat the system by having random gear in your bags. This gear can be plate if you’re a cloth wearer or even leather in the bags of a mail wearer with stats that don’t even match your chosen class/spec combo.

And then there was much QQ on the forums as to the difficulty of the heroics and lack of phat lewts. This QQ was written by the very scrapings of the bottom of the barrel that is the official forums. The rest of us laughed at these people and shook our heads at their “entitlement” attitude. But, Blizz seems to want to be everything to everyone – a good business strategy to be sure but leaves the rest of us a bit frustrated.

Then, Ghostcrawler made a very good blog post about “Heroics are Hard!” on the same day the first round of heroic nerfs were announced. A bit of bad timing if you ask me. While I do like the lessening of trash in heroic Dead Mines, I feel it’s too soon and Blizz has bowed down to the QQ’ing masses.

Which brings me to today’s announcement of the dungeon changes. JP falling in normals means that you could possibly be raid-ready with never stepping foot into a heroic. And, you can do all the Dungeons without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite capital city. Let that really sink in and fester in your mind. I could theoretically park my level 80 Druid in Stormwind and Q in the dungeon finder as a tank my way to level 85. Sure, it will take a while but I could do it.

What does this all mean for us normal, responsible types? It means we will need to prepare ourselves for people who wait for rez’es because they have no clue how to get back inside Blackrock Caverns after a wipe. Queue times for normal Halls of Origination and Lost City will be longer since they are at least 10 times easier than Grim Batol. I expect to see people LFM in Trade chat to farm both of those for JP because of the outrageous Q times.

I honestly don’t know why it needs to be “easier” to gear for heroics. I didn’t have any trouble getting to the 329 ilvl requirement on my Priest (my first 85). It took me a few days to get some good drops and to scrape together enough cloth for some crafted items but I did it. (This was before the hot fix to tailors to loot extra cloth and most of cloth in the GB was meant for me.) I remember how happy I was when I hit that magical number! Then I got into my first heroic soon after and I was not nearly geared or experienced enough to be doing them with anything resembling ease.

Who are these people complaining that it’s hard to gear for heroics? Are they the mouth breathers who inhabit the forums or are they people with legitimate issues with the system? The only issue I have it that you can cheat your way into the ilvl requirement. I had a Warrior tank last night in HEROIC Halls of Origination still in the epic 232 helm from Halls of REFLECTION and the Frost badge 264 tank trinket. He only had 115k health fully buffed. How in the hell did he get into a heroic in the first place? He had extra gear in his bags that cheated his way into heroics. We asked him about it and he said he couldn’t find anything better. Granted, it took a long time for me to replace my Wrath gear but I was in full heroic ICC raid gear. Someone still rocking a 232 piece should have replaced it in the first zones of Cata so he really must not have been trying very hard. I can attest to the lack of leveling tank plate but even the green DPS plate had significantly more Stam and Strength than a Wrath purple.

In closing, will I use the new changes to my advantage when I gear up my Paladin and level my Druid? You bet your ass I will. I may not agree with the dumbing down of heroics and gearing so soon after launch but I will take it. I had a teacher in high school who told me that there are two things a person should never turn down when offered to them: hand lotion and breath mints. These new dungeons changes are like hand lotion and breath mints: we don’t need them per se but it makes life easier for people around us.

Tol Ba’roken

  Ever since Blizz had reversed it’s decission to give 1800 honor for the victors of Tol Barad, the Horde have held TB around 95% of the time on Skywall. We even went a whole week without it and it wasn’t for our lack of trying. Each time I was there to try and take it back we had a full 40 man raid group. Someone assumed command and we all zerged each base, like you’re supposed to, and still we could not win. I don’t know about you but I hate the zerg as a tactic. It opens up fighting on the road and leaves us open to re-capture at our flank. TB is the circle jerk of zerging – we just run around the circle and the opposing team follows.

Tol Barad is a total waste of time the way it is now. We knock over the towers and the timer gets longer and longer – the pain of being in there is palpable as people start bitching at each other. One minute you can breathe a sigh of relief that the torture is almost over and then some jackass mows over a tower and now we have 12 more minutes to bang our heads against the Horde.

How could we make it better, or at least more tolerable? The first thing would be to lessen the number of bases needed to win to two. That would stop the turtle of the offense in one base. If we can spread out and use the WHOLE map instead of one point it would be infinitely more enjoyable. I don’t like being parked in Ironclad if we are defending just like I don’t like rez’ing across the map and running to a base I have no chance to capture.

Second thing would be to give everyone a commendation and a sliver of rep for playing. When we lost Wintergrasp, at least we had one commendation to show for it. Alliance on my server is getting very disillusioned with the whole thing with many not even Queuing anymore because there is next to no benefit seeing as it takes an act of God to retake it. I would be much more apt to play if I got something other than half an hour of frustration and a handful of honor kills.

Which brings me to the third thing that needs to be changed: bring back Tenacity. Enough of the 1:1 ratio – it isn’t working to “balance” each faction. If anything, it makes it worse. I would much rather take a full 40 man group against a 20 man group with a few stacks of tenacity. At least then we would have a chance at brute forcing a victory during an off peak hour.

And it’s not just Blizz who are “doing it wrong”. I have seen a lot of players being complete idiots. Let me count the ways:

1) Not wearing PvP gear. I have about 2K resil now with 20% damage and mana drain reduction in my incomplete PvP set. Every little bit helps. The difference between a player in PvE gear and one in PvP gear is amazing. You can spot them from a mile away not just from the armor design but from the amount of damage they take. I’ve had Horde stop working on me to attack the player next to me who was in raid gear just to kill them in a few seconds. People in BGs with no PvP gear are mana sponges for healers, plain and simple.

2) Fighting on the road and not at a flag. Does the run leading from Farm to Lumber Mill really matter? No, it doesn’t. It’s like fighting in the middle of WSG. Yes, Honor Kills are nice but spending 25 minutes deadlocked with each flag in opposite flag rooms is pointless.

3) Going along with fighting on the road is fighting at one entrance to a building in TB. For twenty minutes, Alliance rez’ed at the graveyard outside of Ironclad and went directly for that door. The Horde turtled that entrance so they weren’t expecting an assault from behind them. My little group of guildies went in the back way and provided a distraction so the main group could get past the freaking doorway. When in doubt, look at your map! Hey, there’s 30 little dots at this one entrance when the building has 3 total entrances, which should I go to? Common sense, people, for fuck’s sake.

4) Not protecting the healers. It’s not just me that gets focus fired; it can be the big purple tree or the Paladin with an obvious shield and glow of Beacon or even the Priest who isn’t in Shadow. Healers are not that hard to spot – they can most likely be found surrounded by Rogues and Feral Druids. There is no more of a glorious combination in a BG than a wrecking ball DPS and with a good healer at their side. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You keep me alive and I will do the same for you. Simple, isn’t it? Protect the healers and win the game.

5) Not playing D. I know defense is not the sexiest thing to do in a BG and you won’t get mass numbers of Honor Kills but it is what wins games. Don’t cap a flag and then run off. Stay there and call out “in comings” to get some reinforcements to hold that point.

PvP is not some mystical, arcane thing known to only those “hard core” PvP people. It is about using your damn head and thinking about what your next 3 or 4 steps should be. In Tol Barad, there is no thinking about what your next step should be when you’re running around like a chicken with out a head. It’s utter chaos and it needs to be fixed. If not fixed completely then go back to 1800 honor for a win or maybe down to 900 honor. Give everyone a chance at those dailies and the cake walk raid boss that drops the T11.

I appreciate Blizz acknowledges that TB is not right and I understand that it will take a patch to fix it. There is nothing in the 4.0.6 patch notes about TB other than the commendations are BOA and things will respawn differently. Who knows if it will be fixed in patch 4.1 and I am positive that patch is many months away. What do we do in the meantime? Do we do dailies until we scream at the very sight of another blue exclamation point? How do we last through months upon months of frustration? Only time will tell.

Silly Post

 It’s time for a silly post! It’s been over a month of SRS BSNS in Cata. I think we can all relax just a little bit. We need to stop and smell the roses a little bit and really look at all the great content Blizz has provided us with.

So far the greatest thing we have seen is a menagerie of animals (my Worgen self included) able to ride on camels.

OM NOM NOM!

The leaf that broke the camel's back

The Ramhaken Camel mount will provide hours of joy, whether it be from just running around or flailing yourself off a gunship in PvP.

Going to kill some Horde... Herpity-Derp!

We also got new zones like Twilight Highlands that is equal parts amazing lore-gasm and frustrating bugs like quests that don’t complete and things that strangely hover in midair.

"Get that ruddy great beastie out o' ma fountain!"

And here we have the rarest of all Twilight Jasmine, the epic floaty variety

Twilight Higlands is also plagued by Deathwing. This shouldn’t be so surprising to me seeing that it is called “TWILIGHT Highlands”. You imagine Deathwing would like to hang out with his cronies and make trouble for the Red Dragonflight. I wonder how many times he’s done the flaming bag of poo prank on Alexstraza’s doorstep. With Korialstrazs strangely missing in the new zone, she would have to deal with it herself in her pointy metal thigh-highs.

If you look closely, you can make out the bag of poo in his hand

Deathwing’s burniation of the land will give you none other than strangely floating fire.

Fly-thru Fire: for all of your achievement needs!

We got Archeology with Cata. It’s the supreme, epic time waster to end all time wasters. But you can get epics!, people cry. I have 2 epics from it: the level 60 caster cloth chest and the level 80 agility axe. The only problem? My Priest is level 85 and my Hunter is also level 85. I have no alts that can use these things nor do I plan on it. /sigh

That is my artifact! GD Ninja!

Pretty sunrays in The Wetlands

We have also seen new Murlocs! And then we killed them…

Stop playing with your food, Bags...

Apparently, Goblins are now the best cooks. I finally found the “pleasure palace” in Azshara and the food looks delicious.

This is just the appetizer for "fluffy" Worgen like me

  Lorcu was in attendance at the very first Goblin Cooking School held in Rachet a few weeks ago. He learned to make the most delicious Fishburgers you can imagine out of Toughened Flesh that falls off of Worgs. The genius of Goblins is a frightening thing.

Not pictured: the Stormwind phonebook Lorcu is standing on to see over the BBQ

Another day, more BM Hunter hate… Tis the life of a stuburn Hunter…

oh God! Not a Devilsaur! It's a BM Hunter, run away!

Even Thrall hates BM Hunters. I don’t care what that hunky, manly, handsome devil of an Orc thinks about me… UMMM… Thrall… O.O Wait, What?

Notice that his faction is listed as The Earthen Ring. This Alli approves.

Mind Control and You

I have dusted off my Paladin to gather Volatile Life and herbs for the guild. While I was gathering I thought I might as well level while I’m down there. I tried Ret but it consisted of this rotation: DIVINE STORM! Smack smack smack DIVINE STORM! WEEE! Oh something shiny! DIVINE STORM!

To say I sucked at it would be an understatement so I got my Prot spec and gear on just to fall in love being a tank again. My very first Cata dungeon was Throne of Tides. I love this place on my Priest because I actually get to Mind Control! My party has a Shadow Priest so I ask him to MC some of the mobs. He flat out refuses to do it. He says it’s not useful in any way. I beg to differ, sir. I couldn’t outline all of my reasons in /p so I will here.

 Priests need to utilize Mind Control as an acceptable form of CC. This applies to all Priests – healing and DPS.

 What other means of CC do we have? We have Psychic Scream – the much inferior version of a Warlock fear. It doesn’t last nearly as long and there is a certain part about it that is AOE affected. Shadow Priests have access to Psychic Horror (3 second fear and 10 second disarm) but it’s a lackluster PvP talent at best. There is also a Shadow talent called Paralysis (2 second stun from a Mind Blast crit) but it is mostly a leveling/PvP talent and a good number of mobs in dungeons are immune to it.  Also, 2 seconds is not a very long time.

 So what does Mind Control do? It allows you to take control of an enemy for up to 30 seconds and gives you access to their abilities and/or spells. It can be for less than one minute, dependant on LOS, the distance between the caster and the mob CC’d and whether or not the caster sustains damage during the channel.

 Once we have control of an enemy what happens next? Our action bar will change and give us access to that mob’s abilities. Usually there is a melee auto-attack and a few other spells since we really should be controlling caster mobs. Take a quick glance at what abilities are present. Did you MC a healer? If so, there should be a massive heal that can be directed at your tank. Did you MC a caster DPS? If so, there should be a massive DPS spell. There are usually 2 abilities besides the auto-attack. For example, Shaman type mobs will have Riptide for healing and Chain Lightening for DPS.

 Now that you have control and know the spells what should be your priority? If you are Holy or Disc, it should be to use the healing spell on your party or tank. If everyone is in no danger, go ahead and DPS the tank’s target with the DPS spell or the melee auto-attack. If you are Shadow, DPS the tank’s target first but do keep an eye out on the party’s health. We want to be as helpful as possible to our group so if you can toss a major heal on someone that needs it – do it.

 Our 30 seconds has almost run out, what should we do? We need to look around and if the tank is actively working on another target it’s best to reapply MC, if possible. This is where it gets a bit tricky. I usually have my CC mob as my /focus so I can easily target them to get the MC spell going. You will have aggro on this mob once it breaks so squeezing in MC can be a chore between attacks but it can be done. If not, the group needs to be told so your tank can taunt off of you. You DO NOT want to use Fade in this situation if you are Shadow because 9 times out of 10 the next person on the aggro table will be the healer. You can tank that mob for a few seconds while your tank establishes aggro. If your Silence is up (and it should be) – use it to run the mob to the tank to make it easier on them.

 I have established how to do it but when should we use Mind Control? It’s not really needed on all pulls but using it on the more difficult trash mobs can really be a boon to the group. Specific examples would be the Naga Shaman in Throne of Tides and the Temple Adepts in Vortex Pinnacle. (I wouldn’t recommend Mind Controlling the Master of Air mobs in VP because they can be impossible to gain control of once the MC breaks due to their erratic AOE DPS spell.) These are both healer mobs that come in pairs of twos so if your group is light on interrupts it can really make life easier.

 What kind of damage or healing are we looking at from an MC’d mob? I have seen 40K melee swings and 50K Holy Fire hits from Temple Adepts. Healing has about the same numbers with 35-40K heals. When will we ever see those kinds of numbers outside of gimmick fights like Halfus or Dreamwalker? We most likely won’t at this stage. I can’t ever remember a time when I had 40K crits of anything – regardless of heals or damage.

 We also need to remember that MC’d mobs use their own mana pool to OUR advantage. The Priest isn’t using mana other than the initial cast of Mind Control so during the channel they are actually regenning mana and doing substainial more damage/healing than they would have normally. I can remember when I saved a wipe in Throne of Tides because I MC’d a Naga Shaman when I was almost OOM and the tank was falling quick. I used her mana to my advantage so when the MC finally broke I had gotten quite a bit of my own mana back and we’re able to continue with no deaths.

 What’s not to love about Mind Control? It can be a bitch to set up and requires communication with your group. Mind Control should be treated like any other form of CC like Hex or Polymorph. Tanks need to be made aware of it and should ask for a caster to MC’d. Or the Priest can suggest that they MC and then mark the one they are going to control.

 Speaking of marking targets, there is an add on called Lucky Charms 2 that will put all the raid markers on a toolbar so it’s easier to click on them. It saves some time and Luna swears by it to mark targets and assign certain CC spells to certain mobs when he tanks.

 With the right amount of patience and skill, Mind Control can be a great addition to a group’s CC arsenal. Communication is the key to any successful Crowd Control and Mind Control is no exception.

 For further reading, WoW Wiki has a really good article on Mind Control:

http://www.wowwiki.com/Mind_Control

EDIT:::

Damn your eyes, WoW Insider! I got my MC post out before you did, so there!

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/01/12/spiritual-guidance-a-guide-to-mind-control-for-shadow-priests/

Patch 4.0.6 Priest Changes

I found the patch notes at:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/01/06/official-ptr-patch-4-0-6-patch-notes/

I left out the Holy changes because I don’t play Holy.

Per WoW Insider

Priests

  • The duration of Levitate has been increased to 10 minutes, up from 2.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Fortitude has been reduced by approximately 68%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
  • The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
  • The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
  • The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.

Talent specializations

Discipline

  • Focused Will now procs when the priest is critically hit, in addition to its current effect.
  • Improved Power Word: Shield now also increases the amount absorbed by an additional 15/30% when cast on oneself.
  • Pain Suppression is no longer dispellable.

Glyphs

  • Glyph of Mind Flay no longer requires Shadow Word: Pain to be on the target.
  • Glyph of Pain Suppression has been renamed Glyph of Desperation and now allows Guardian Spirit to be cast while stunned, in addition to Pain Suppression.
  • Glyph of Psychic Horror now reduces the cooldown of Psychic Horror by 30 seconds, down from 60.
  • Glyph of Spirit of Redemption has been converted into Glyph of Prayer of Mending, which increases the healing done by the first charge of Prayer of Mending by 60%.

Hot Fix from 05 Jan 11:

  • The heal from Atonement is now capped at 30% of the priest’s health before any modifiers such as healing percentage bonus effects/talents.

I’m not sure why Levitate has been increased in duration. Could this be a sign that a future raid encounter needs a Priest to provide Levitate on the raid? I use Levitate for two things: fishing and gliding down the hill from Lumber Mill. I guess it’s a buff to quality of life.

Reducing the cost of the party buffs have been a long time coming. Fort wasn’t so bad but Shadow Protection was way too expensive. I would buff everyone and then immediatly drop to drink before the pull. There was no way to rebuff in the middle of a fight if someone was battle rez’d because the cost was prohibitive. Paladins and Druids don’t have this problem and so shouldn’t we.

Reducing the cost of Renew? Hell and yes! They just chopped off over a 1K mana to the cost of it. Just another reason to love on the Renew. During the raid last week I was tossing Renews on raid members to help out Treston on raid heals but I was blowing through my mana at the same time. This is a very welcome change.

The Disc changes are mostly PvP related but I do like the bubble being buffed when cast on yourself. I am notoriously bad at being slow in moving out of stuff so it gives me a little wiggle room.

The bubble has also been nerfed/buffed at the same exact time. The cost has increased by quite a lot but it’s over twice as effective. My bubbles are normally about 11K so with this increase I’ll be seeing over 22K bubbles. I really think this will shift the stat weights in favor of Mastery over Crit since Mastery makes bubbles bigger. Before it was kind of a meh stat but now it looks a lot better since it won’t just be a drop in the bucket of a tank’s moster health pool. I think it will make Inner Will damn near mandatory for Disc Priests to run with, as well. It remains to be seen if we will be making mana back with Rapture or just breaking even with this change.

The glyph changes are really intersting. With the Glyph of Desperation they have made our Holy breatheran more viable in PvP. Glyph of Pain Suppression is manadatory in any Disc PvP spec and it is nice to see Holy getting some PvP love. Perhaps we will see more Holy Priests in BGs – which would be quite welcome for the shear raw numbers they can produce. Honestly, it would be nice to see any kind of healers in BGs. I get lonely sometimes.

The new Glyph of Prayer of Mending is something I will be trying as soon as the patch hits. I am a huge supporter of PoM and giving a tank 60% more healing could never be a bad thing. PoM is instant and another good reason to have Inner Will up.

The Hot Fix from a few days ago is also interesting. Thirty percent of my health pool would be a hair over 34K. I have yet to see a Smite hit for over 18K on a crit. I’m not sure why they decided to cap that because I don’t really think it needed a cap because the numbers are low to begin with. Will we be seeing 34K Smite crits toward the end of the expansion? Time will tell but I kind of doubt it.

All in all, the changes are positive and I can’t wait to test out the new glyphs.

Huntard vs Haters

Last night’s Fail! PUG was a trip to Heroic Throne of Tides. The Pally tank and the DK were from the same guild. A Resto Druid and a Mage rounded out the group. It started out possitive enough. The tank asked what spec I am and I said BM. The Druid said BM at the same time followed by a frowny face :(. I had my new shiny tiger from Uldum out so it shouldn’t have been apparent that I’m BM from my pet so he was looking at me.

The first pull goes really well. I get my mob all nice and trapped. We aren’t in any danger at all. We go up the elevelator and the tank says it’s dinner time and he’ll BRB. The DK says she’ll tank until the first boss while we wait.

The trash up to the first boss goes just fine and the CC is really nice. The Mage is seriously on the ball with his sheeping and my traps don’t miss. The run is shaping up to be really good except for the tank who’s still AFK. We get to the first boss when the Druid links his Recount. I don’t know how fucked up his Recount is but it’s making me look pretty bad.

O.o

Then he said:

"BM sucks more after Cata"

I told him “yeah but I like my pets”. He countered with “for leveling”. Then he dropped group. Did he hate on me so hard that he just could not stand to be anywhere near my horrible choice to be BM?

Good Riddance

What, exactly, have I done wrong here? I have reliable CC and I’m doing a good amount of damage on trash. I didn’t even get to a boss that I could go really all out on. I am not an AOE class anymore since focus was introduced and Volley was removed.

I didn’t even have the chance to prove myself. I’ve come a long way this week with my Hunter. I went from around 5800 DPS to 8900 DPS on bosses just this week. I’ve done all sorts of research and improved  my gear. I still have a few greens to replace but I’m doing just fine.

Why all the hate on BM? I can bring every raid buff in the game including Heroism. So, really, why all the hate? Is it because I do a little less damage than other specs? Is it because I refuse to follow the lemmings off the cliff and go Survival because it’s the flavor of the month?

Every spec of every class has an ebb and flow of buffs and nerfs. Maybe two months down the road Marksman will be the awesome spec again and Survival will be nerfed into the ground. Or 2 patches from now BM will be horribly overpowered and in need of a nerf. Specs are ever changing and dynamic. You pick the spec you like and deal with whatever changes come down the pipe. It’s what comes with playing this game.

I play WoW to have fun. I think having fun means running around in pigtails with a freaking huge, white and purple Devilsaur at my side.

Alexstraza says: haters gonna hate

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