Wednesday, 31 March 2010


It's amazing how much raid buffs can affect fury warrior dps. My typical raid composition is

Prot pally
Prot/ret pally (he's ret for single tank fights, which is Dreamwalker and BQL so far)
Holy priest x2
Resto/elemental shaman
Elemental shaman
Combat rogue
Survival Hunter
Arcane/fire mage
Fury warrior

You will note the buffs I am lacking are

Melee haste - Frost DK
Minor speed - Moonkin/Ret pally
Attack power multiplier - Enhancment shammy/Blood DK/MM Hunter
Bleed debuff - Arms warrior/Feral Druid

In addition, the strength of earth totem we get is not talented.

According to the simulation in Landsoul's spreadsheet, the lack of these buffs reduces my theoretical maximum dps by 1,100, or around 15%. That's a massive difference. I wonder if other classes are so reliant on such a wide variety of buffs to do reasonable dps.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Killer Queen

Finally had a second run at Dreamwalker and the Crimson Halls, and got a kill of all three bosses (or rather not a kill, in the case of Dreamwalker). Of the three fights, BQL is by far the most interesting and fun, and is very well designed.

Here's my take on the 10 man version of the fight as a fury warrior.

The boss is (roughly) tank and spank, with some tweaks. She should be tanked in the centre of the room, slightly towards the back.

She has two minor abilities to be aware of - a linking ability ("Pact of the Darkfallen") which creates a beam between two people and causes AoE damage. If you get this simply run to the other end of the beam - once the pair of you are within 5 yards the effect is cancelled. The second minor ability causes shadows to appear under your feet ("Swarming Shadows") in the same way as Legion Flames for Jarraxus. Just kite the fires away to the side of the room and run around the edge until it disappears, then intercept back to the boss.

There is a special cleave which means that you need one MT and one "OT" who must stack on top of each other. The "OT" should in fact be a dpser, and ideally a dpser with as high health as possible. There is no point in taking a second tank since the damage the OT receives cannot be mitigated. Health and stamina buffs are still useful though, so +stam trinkets can still be used. Plate dps are ideal for the OT role since plate armour gets more stamina for its ilevel than other armour types. If you are the OT remember that you will be attacking from the front and therefore the boss will be able to parry your attacks. It's therefore worth stacking expertise for this fight to maximise your dps. The boss does not parry-haste, so don't worry about MT deaths - you simply need the expertise for your dps.

The key mechanic in the fight is the vampiric bite. This must be managed pretty much flawlessly otherwise you will wipe to mind control or the hard enrage. After 15 seconds she will bite someone. Exactly who she picks is not widely understood, but the consensus seems to be that she picks the non-tank who is highest on the threat meter (whether dps or healer). I understand that -threat modifiers and abilities may be turned off for this purpose. Of my 5 attempts on this boss, I was bitten first twice, which is presumably because I was using sunder armour and thus causing extra threat. Basically - a fury warrior is quite likely to be bitten first so be ready.

When you are bitten you gain double damage, you heal yourself when attacking, plus your attacks do zero threat. I was getting 7k melee white attacks non-crit when I had death wish and trinkets up. It's seriously fun. The boss has a massive health pool and a short hard enrage, so this buff is absolutely necessary to beating the encounter. The buff lasts for 75 seconds. When it runs out you get a cool red effect around the screen, a new action bar with just one ability (bound to "1"), and you need to use that ability to bite a friendly target within 15 seconds. If you do that, your buff timer is refreshed to 75 seconds, and the person you bit has the same buff. 75 seconds later, both biter and bitee will need to find someone to chomp on, meaning that four of you will then be vampires, etc etc.

If you fail to bite someone then you get mind controlled for the rest of the fight. Basically it's a wipe.

The key to managing this is to realise that there will be four rounds of biting before the enrage hits and you wipe. Eight raid members will therefore be vamps by the end of the fight. We handled the biting as follows:

1 - Someone is bitten by BQL

2 - If the person bitten was a ranged person (dps or healer) they bite our best melee dps. If the first vamp was a melee dpser, they bite our best ranged dps.

From here on - ranged dpsers only bite ranged dpers and healers, while melee dpsers only bite melee dpsers and tanks.

3 - We now have 1 ranged and 1 melee dpser as vamps. The ranged dpser bites another ranged dpser. The melee dpser bites another melee dpser.

This prevents the two vamps trying to bite the same person.

4 - This is the hard round. Everyone in your raid needs to have a "bite buddy" - someone that they will bite in round four, and someone that is unlikely to be bitten in the first three rounds. Both your tanks are candidates, as are the healers. You need to know before the fight who you will bite in this round, and where they will be standing approximately. If you are being bitten, you need to know who will be coming to bite you. My bite buddy was our OT, a ret paladin.

This method doesn't work so well (although it does work) if you get a healer bitten in the first round, but that didn't happen in any of our 5 attempts last night so it may be pretty rare I think.
You will not get to a fifth round of biting (or at least you shouldn't). You will hit the enrage first.

The boss will enter "phase 2" from time to time - it should happen twice in the fight. She runs to the middle of the room, flies into the air, fears the raid for 4 seconds (breakable with berserker rage), and starts shooting bloodbolts at people. These do AoE damage so you need to spread out. Plan in advance where you are going to run to, and crucially run to the same place every time. If you run to the same place every time, your groupmates will know to expect you there and will steer clear. After about 10 seconds the boss will come back to the ground.

As regards phase 2, the only thing to remember is that you don't want your sunder armour debuff to drop off during this phase, so remember to renew it just before she flies up. Secondly, the second phase 2 coincides with the fourth round of biting. This can cause a problem if your bite buddy is running away to a corner and you need to bite him. Make sure you raid knows that if they have not yet been bitten at the start of the second air phase they need to find their bite buddy very quickly, then quickly spread out.

Best of luck!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


This blog started out with lots of posts about "what I'm doing", and while the focus has changed a bit I think it's good to put down here where I'm at in ICC at the moment.

Since I downed the Prof a couple of weeks back I've been to a couple of raids. My team raids twice a week, and I generally go to the first of those raids. We've been extending the raid lock, which is great, and both of the raids I've been on have been learning nights. In each case the boss went down in the second raid. This is frustrating from an achievement perspective, but hey I'm seeing the fights, having fun and, most importantly, Not Sucking At DPS which is good.

So I've been wiping on Blood Princes and Dreamwalker basically. Both times on the learning night we got very very close. I think 5% on Princes, and 98% on Dreamwalker (and the Dreamwalker wipe was a real sickener as our rogue accidentally clicked on the healer portal halfway through the fight and caused one of our healers to lose his stack of +heal buffs).

From a dps perspective I was near the top on Dreamwalker, which is hardly surprising because it's a multi-target fight. I put points into "heroic fury" to help with movement on that fight, and it's a real bonus to have intercept available more often.

On Blood Princes it was harder, since the knockback really makes the fight annoying for melee. My damage done was very high however, because I am good at not standing within 10 yards of people when the boss casts empowered vortex. I therefore survive longer than people who have not yet developed this key skill, and do more damage overall as a result. You can't outgear that!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I've been thinking about the attack table a little bit, and in particular about the crit cap. I have never really considered the crit cap before, but it turns out that I am getting rather near it. To demonstrate how problems can arise, suppose you are a dual wielding fury warrior, with no hit or expertise, attacking from the rear. With white attacks your attack table would be:

Miss - 27%
Dodge - 6.5%
Glancing blow - 24%
Crit/hit - 42.5%

Therefore if you have crit chance of 25% the white attack table is

Miss - 27%
Dodge - 6.5%
Glancing - 24%
Crit - 25%
Hit - 17.5%

It can be seen that any crit above 42.5% will be wasted as regards white attacks - extra crit will not increase white attack damage as it will be "off the table". Special attacks do not glance, and have a miss rate of (I believe) 9% rather than 27%, so have higher crit caps. This is why +hit and +expertise gear is so important - not only is it a linear damage increase, but it also increases rage generation and increases the crit cap.

I am expertise capped, have +11.5% hit, and crit of about 40%. My white attack table is as follows:

Miss - 15.5%
Glancing - 24%
Crit - 40%
Hit - 20.5%

When you consider rampage adds 5%, and raid buffs account for around another 5%, the crit cap is only 10.5% away. This is something I will need to monitor as my gear improves - I currently have gear score of only 5,375, so there is likely to be considerable improvement in my crit rating as I gear up. This cap is only for white attacks however - most of my damage comes from yellow attacks where the table is

Miss - 0%
Dodge - 0%
Glancing - 0%
Crit - 40%
Hit - 60%

No such worries here then!

The point I need to take away from this is that as my gear improves the desirability of crit is going to fall away sharply when it ceases to benefit my white attacks any more. I may need to regem when I get near the tipping point, as I currently have some yellow +crit gems that I could swap out.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Since I am now a dps warrior, I had to change my professions. Inscription will stay since that's still useful, but herbalism had to go as it has no dps benefit at all. I therefore have spent the last few days and several thousand gold levelling jewelcrafting.

Impressions - the period up to 300 is absolutely painful. There were simply not enough gems and ore on the AH for me to do it without farming, so I had to run around on a mining alt farming ores for several hours. Seeing the only Azerothian Diamonds on the AH listed for 20g each was very depressing. From 350 onwards though it was cake - I had lots of cobalt and saronite ore saved up from levelling an alt, and being exalted with all the northrend factions meant that I could immediately pick up rare recipes. The last 20 or 30 skillpoints will (if my gems on the AH sell) actually end up making me a few hundred gold in profit, rather than costing a few hundred gold.

I need to find my feet a bit with the new skill, but the daily quest and currency system is interesting - reminiscent of the excellent cooking quests (which are one of the minor successes of this expansion I think). I should have my first Bold Dragon's Eye gem tonight, for a total increase in strength of 14x3=42 when all three are socketed.

It's quite a large investment for about 110 attack power (or 75 dps at my gear level) but that's what raiding is all about - working hard on your gear (grumble), and hopefully I can make the gold back through buying and selling gems.

On the gold making front - prices (and therefore profits) continue to rise for glyphs, although I note that one of my fellow glyph sellers seems to undercut me pretty regularly and quite quickly after I post, so I am making less money overall. I guess I am on his friends list. I will have to combat this by getting my bank alt to post (which is just annoying tbh). Having JC as an alternative source of money will be useful.

Friday, 19 March 2010

New template

The old template was a bit dark. This one's a little bit easier on the eye.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Black leather

Why is it that leather armour is still better than plate armour for dps warriors? Why can't Blizzard fix this? Compare the two ICC10 chest armour drops:


Blade-scored Carapace (drops from Deathbringer)
152 strength
72 crit rating
84 haste

The strength gives 304 attack power, plus 20% (zerker stance) plus 10% (kings) gives 304 x 1.2 x 1.1 = 401 attack power.
The crit rating gives 1.57% crit


Chestguard of the Frigid Noose (drops from Lady Deathwhisper)
200 attack power
79 armour pen
132 agility
99 haste

The agility is increased by 1.1 by kings, and gives crit (62.5 agi = 1% crit). The agility is therefore 2.32% crit.

God only knows how armour pen affects my dps - I assume it makes it go up. According to Landsoul's spreadsheet, a point of Armour Pen is worth about 0.8 of a point of strength to me. This means that 79 armour pen is worth 63.3 strength.

I'm going to ignore the haste, as it isn't worth much and it kind of balances. On the basis that the armour pen balances out 63.3/152 x 401 attack power = 166 attack power, we are therefore left comparing 235 attack power and 1.57% crit with 200 attack power and 2.3% crit - ie 35 attack power in favour of the plate, and 0.73% crit in favour of the leather. The leather is definitely better.

I am currently wearing the leather chest armour.

It's kind of ironic that there was so much clamour from warriors etc for the introduction of a +strength ashen verdict rep ring, when the +agility ring is better for us anyway. Similarly the +strength Quel'delar which I have is inferior to the +agility version.

I think the problem is that for warriors the conversion of agility into crit is simply too good. We get too much crit per point of agility. I wonder if warriors are balanced around being in plate armour, and therefore by being in leather armour we get "extra" dps. The alternative is that we are balanced around being in leather armour and those warriors who insist on wearing plate are gimping themselves.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


The last couple of 10 man raids I've been picked as dps rather than a tank. It happens that I'm leading the raid on Friday and was chatting last night to the guy who's been picked as tank instead of me. I mentioned to him that I was going to select myself as a tank instead on Friday, so he might want to sign for one of the other 10 man raids instead. But then I thought about it. And thought about it some more. And I realised that I would be gimping my raid team really badly by going on Friday's raid as a tank.

I can only raid once a week at the moment, but our team raids twice. So for the second raid we need to ensure that there is a skilled and geared second tank available. I can best serve my raid team by making a permanent switch to dps, and grabbing this other guy to be a fixed tank for the team. I'm much easier to replace if I am a dpser.

So that's what I've done - I'm now fury main spec. It hurt to change, especially since I've worked so hard on my tanking gear, but there it is - life is full of difficult compromises.

So what to do now? Well I want to be the best dps warrior that I can be. My fury gear has up to now been offspec only, and so is a real mixed bag (I still have ilevel 200 and 219 items, for example). I pull about 5-6k single target, which is not really anywhere near good enough. I need to practice my rotations, sort out my spec, start grabbing the frost emblem gear when available, and get the crafted gear made. If my gear score will always lag behind my raid mates (because they do 25s and have access to full ilevel 264 gear) I need to ensure that my knowledge of the class and the encounters and (crikey!) my gaming ability will be enough to bridge the gap.

In short over the next two weeks I want to:

- Get the ilevel 264 boots crafted (this will require me to make another 2k gold or thereabouts from the AH)

- Get the ilevel 245 braces crafted (Landsoul's spreadsheet says these are better than the ICC10 loot)

- Spend my frost emblems on some T10 - probably the shoulders

- Try to get in an ICC25 pug to grab the two handed axe from the first boss

Time to get started.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Hunting, Shooting, Fishing

I levelled my cooking and fishing skills about a year or so ago. They were not very profitable at the time and so while I used to do the daily quests for gold, I pretty much ignored them after a while.

After a particularly successful ICC run meant I had to find nine new epic gems, plus four new enchants, however, I was pretty much skint last week. With the glyph business dying off a little on my server now we have a new seller who posts glyphs in huge quantities for 5g each, I looked into these old tradeskills to see if there was anything I could use to make money from. I was pleasantly surprised.

I used to make the +hit and +expertise food. The +hit food was better because the mats are so cheap and they use fish that you get from open water fishing - you don't need to find pools and can just fish away. Since (inexplicably) people often can't be bothered to cook the raw fish they get, it was sometimes possible to pick up the fish from the AH for a few silver, and sell on the cooked fish for 4g each. This market seems to be much smaller now - presumably because of the extra hit and expertise on gear so people don't need to use special food to hit the caps.

I have therefore tried to find new markets, and looked again at cooking. Most of the food you can make is rendered obsolete by fish feasts. I need to do some research before I decide whether making fish feasts is worthwhile or not - I doubt it to be honest, but need to look into it carefully. For now, I have hit upon the idea of making food that is better than the fish feast buff. I hope that min/max guilds who are trying hardmodes will use this instead of fish feasts.

I am mainly focussing on dragonfin angelfish at the moment. These are fished up from Dragonblight and the pools are quite rare. Nevertheless, when cooked into +str or +agi food, they sell for around 150g per stack, or even more sometimes. It's possible with good luck on spawns, or by fishing late at night (when rocking a baby to sleep, for instance!) to grab a full stack of fish in around 15 minutes, so this pulls in a decent (if unspectacular) income. The annoying thing is that most (but not quite all) of the value is in the raw fish on my server - it's not possible to buy the raw fish from the AH and cook them yourself for a huge profit. Still - I watch for bargains on there and they do pop up from time to time.

Another reasonable way I have found to make money is on my mage alt. He will never be a main character raider, and so while I am enjoying gearing him up and blasting through instances from time to time, buying him gear with frost emblems is a waste of time. I therefore sold my first primordial saronite on this toon on the AH last night, netting 1750g. A few minutes later I saw someone selling primordial saronite over /2 for 1500g. What I should have done is immediately buy it from him and flip it straight onto the AH for 166g profit (taking account of the AH cut), but I am paranoid about being stuck with this stuff as prices fall (and when 4.0 hits it will be worthless of course). I should have been a bit braver, as demand will probably stay high for a while yet.

I am still making decent money from glyphs. I have worked out that every stack of icethorn that I buy makes me 40g profit assuming I buy it for 10g, mill it for 1 snowfall ink and 6 ink of the sea, and the resulting glyphs sell for 4 or 5g each. Occasionally I do a bit better than this, such as last night when I was the only person listing one of the key warlock glyphs, and I sold three of them in 10 minutes for 20g each. Inscription can be a bit of a grind though, especially because you can't afk-craft or afk-mill. It gets tiresome to have to manually click through the process for the umpteenth time, which is why I am not a big time glyph seller - I just use it to make about 500g a week and that's me happy.

In an effort to make a higher margin on fewer items, I have made a few of the inscription offhand items. These need to be sold over /2 instead of the AH because it is rare in my experience that people will browse the AH for an offhand, but the profit margins are 50g-100g per item, and they are really quick to craft.

I'd quite like to get the crafted tanking legs, which will cost about 15,000 gold at current prices. I guess if I sold everything right now I would have about 6-7,000 or something over all my alts. Still some way to go yet.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Four seconds

I downed Professor Putricide for the first time last Friday, in my 10 man raid.

I feel conflicted.

I'm really pleased to have finally killed that guy - we had two or three (I forget) very long trying evenings of wipes, including some heartbreaking sub-5% deaths. But (and here's the thing) we killed him with the new ICC buff...

The +5% damage/heals/health zone-wide buff. So did we only succeed because of this buff? Could we have killed him without it? I guess I'll never know now (because I doubt I'll be able to convince my team to try again without it).

So I did what I always do why I'm worried or upset - I got my calculator out.

The only time on the Prof fight when dps/heals are a particular concern is in phase 3, which he enters at 35% health. Most of the deaths occur due to dps throughput, rather than health - the 5% health is likely to be 1,000 to 1,500 health for a non-tank and my experience is that non-tank deaths in phase 3 are due to massive pulses from the raidwide aura he casts - ie the overkill is quite large. The healing bonus is not really relevant except in tank healing, since the heals cast on non-tanks will either be so big they top the player off, or so small that 5% is neither here nor there. Low dps however means that the debuff stacks higher and higher on the tanks, causing higher and higher raid AOE damage, and leading to a wipe.

Focussing on the dps bonus therefore - the prof has 9.7 million health, so you have to burn him for 3.4 million health in phase 3. The "5% extra damage" buff equates to the boss having 4.8% less health, ie 3,238,000 health (explanation - you do 3,238,000 damage to him, the buff increases that by 5% to 3.4 million). The effect of the dps increase therefore is that the time you take to do phase 3 is reduced by 4.8%.

Phase 3 always seems like it is over in seconds when I run it. It is such a crazy dps fest that it condenses in my memory to a frantic button-mashing blur. I estimate that given that all the dpsers will be burning cooldowns in phase 3, and heroism will be used, a decent 10 man dpser might put out say 6k in phase 3. Let's assume 5k to 6k, 5.5k on average - just to be safe. Working on the basis of 6 dpsers and tanks doing 2k this gives a raid dps figure of 37k. This means that phase 3 might last 88 seconds assuming no-one dies. This is reduced from 92 seconds without the ICC buff. The buff therefore equates to killing him four seconds faster.

Four seconds. Is that the difference between success and failure?

In our kill our OT died just as the boss did. Would the MT have been able to take over for four seconds? Would the raid damage aura have pulsed once more and wiped us? I think (hope) that we'd have been ok, but I still wonder how it could have gone in those last few seconds.

Monday, 8 March 2010

It came from the PUG

Why do I hate PUG raids? Let me count the ways:

1) The delays

Why does it take so long for 25 people to arrive at the instance, get into the right spec and click yes to a ready check? Last night we had a new boss to fight - the instance reset boss. Some cretin spoke to King Wrynn and turned off the +5% buff in ICC, so we had to get everyone out of the instance and reset it. It took about 20 minutes of constant raid warnings. They were standing right by the instance entrance too.

2) The buff police

"OMG I NEED BOM FFS" No you don't. You don't need it. Your dps is shit, it will still be shit with BOM. Just shut up and get on with your job and we will redo paladin buffs before the boss.

3) The loot drama

Wodin's Lucky Necklace dropped from trash last night and 20 people hit need on it. By sheer fluke it went to a dps warrior for whom it was an upgrade (not me - I passed). Since it has agi on it we had two hunters leave because they refused to believe that it's a great dps warrior item. We also had whining on /ra for the rest of the raid.

PUG raids turn everyone into a ninja.

4) The cascade of quitters

You wipe. One person leaves without a word. Then a second. The assumption grows that the raid is over and all of a sudden half your raid leaves.

Why do they do this? It took 45 minutes to put the raid together and you could find one or two new members easily. If people would just wait for 5 minutes then the raid could continue. Because they all leave as a kind of knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction, they've wasted 45 minutes of their time - how is that efficient?

5) Gearscore e-peen

If you have good gear score then make the hell sure that your performance lives up to it, or shut the hell up. People with 5.6k gearscore who bitch about "carrying noobs" and then pull 4k dps really really annoy me. It's ok to be shit, but don't be shit and superior.

Yes, I had an annoying PUG last night. How could you tell?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Shield Block RIP

Still thinking about avoidance - so if block is 30% mitigation, what will happen with shield block? Presumably this will go or change substantially - otherwise 100% block/avoid chance, and hits that get through are mitigated by 60% (90% if it's a crit block)!

And this active 25% of the time?

I think that shield block will be changed signficantly in Cataclysm.

This is a shame, as it's one of my favourite warrior abilities.

Avoidance changes - some thoughts

There are a number of stat and mechanic changes being announced for 4.0. A full list is available here, but these caught my eye

Block Rating - Block is being redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve your chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are today.

I wonder if the developers will leave critical block as it is (ie 60% blocks). If so, and using current encounters for illustration, we might expect blocks of 15k to 20k in 25 man content. That's quite a lot. I know that the intention is that bosses won't hit so hard in Cataclysm, so these numbers don't quite correspond to what we'll see in 4.0. Nevertheless, block will remain a very powerful mitigation/avoidance tool, and it's still not going to be easy for Blizzard to balance blocking classes (particularly warriors) with non-blocking classes.

With lower boss damage per swing and mana management becoming important again (this is the stated design goal anyway) avoidance may be as important as stamina and mitigation in Cataclysm. Nevertheless, since warriors can block it makes sense that their other avoidance and/or EH should be lower than druids and DKs to compensate for this. It will be interesting to see if we get lower EH (as we have now), and whether this actually matters.

Parry - Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, when you parry an attack, it and the next attack will each hit for 50% damage (assuming they hit at all). In other words, Dodge is a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack, Parry is a chance to avoid 50% of the damage from two attacks, and Block is a chance to avoid 30% of the damage from one attack.

Two points - firstly on the basis that spiky damage = bad, this will make parry better than dodge [Edit - no it won't, because you can block, dodge or parry the second attack, or it can miss. This means that parry will have around 75% of the value of dodge, depending on your avoidance levels] Good for DKs, bad for druids. Secondly, I wonder if this mechanic will be applied to mobs and bosses as well. If so, the value of expertise plumments for tanks, because one of the main reasons we take it is to avoid being parry-hasted. There is no mention of expertise being removed in the blue post, so I guess it just becomes a dps stat.

EDIT: Been thinking about it. If you can avoid the second attack then this is a massive nerf to parry because it is unquestionably worse for mitigation purposes than dodge, even before DRs kick in. But if they make it so you can't avoid the second attack, who would ever stack parry because parrying an attack means you can't dodge the next one - it lowers the value of your dodge stat! This change can't make it to live surely?

Monday, 1 March 2010

Quote of the day

Such a day, Rum all out -our company somewhat sober: -a damn confusion among us! Rogues a plotting; -great talk of separation. - So I look'd sharp for a prize; - such a day took one, with a great deal of liquor on board, so kept the company hot, damn'd hot, then all things went well again

Blackbeard Teach, Pirate