Wednesday, 24 November 2010

To the ground, baby!

Well, the nerfs are in and to paraphrase Zapp Brannigan - the warrior nerfs are like the warriors' love - hard and fast.

You can read the full list in all its horror in the patch notes. Most of the nerfs reduce damage done by 17%, but some are different. I'm going to look at Fury and Prot since those are the specs I have experience of. Assume that all abilities are reduced in damage by 17% unless mentioned.


Raging Blow is reduced by 27%
Mastery is buffed by 50%
Slam rage cost reduced from 20 to 15

This is a very heavy nerf for raging blow. It may be that the changes to mastery (extra damage while enraged) balances this out, but looking at some napkin maths I doubt it. The effect on our rotations is hard to see at present - previously the fury rotation was
Raging blow (where available) > Bloodthirst > Heroic strike. It may be that raging blow drops from being the main nuke to being a filler.

I still can't see a place for slam - the problem with it has been that heroic strike is so good that rather than being a way to bleed off excess rage we want to hit it on cooldown. If we are doing that we just don't have the spare rage to hit slam as well (or at least I don't) and you therefore drop slam altogether. I've seen the suggestion that slam procs need to cost zero rage and I agree with that. On the basis that we have more rage now than we will have at any time in Cata (crit, hit and haste are higher now than they will be) I can't see this change making slam attractive.


Devastate is unchanged
Revenge is unchanged
Shockwave is unchanged
Shield Slam is unchanged at 85 (not sure about at 80)

The only ability that prot uses which was nerfed is heroic strike. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Currently like for fury heroic strike is so good that it distorts the rotation - Shield slam > revenge > heroic strike with devastate being relegated to maintaining the debuff.

It may be that the nerf to heroic strike is enough to change the rotation but frankly I doubt it because heroic strike is simply so far ahead of devastate and shockwave at present. It should also be noted that the cookie cutter prot spec at the moment includes field dressing and blood craze, and so most raiding tanks (including me) haven't taken the war academy talent, which when maxed boosts heroic strike by 15%. The net effect of taking warbringer will bring us back to where we are now - that devastate is there just for the debuff (or can be dropped if you have the right kind of hunter pet with you), concussion blow is a stun only and shockwave is for utility and AoE tanking.

Oh, and finally, the rend nerf should pretty much kill off Blood and thunder as a prot talent I think!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Arthas at 85

Tobold is a good blogger, in that he writes interestingly and well on varied subjects. I check his blog most days. I get quite frustrated about his attitude to raiding however. His comment about raiding in WotLK is as follows:

"I wouldn't say I have "finished" Wrath of the Lich King, for example I am not among the half million players who killed Arthas. But that was definitively due to lack of even trying, as I found WotLK raiding not that much fun: Too much "Super Mario Brothers" or "Simon Says" or "Don't stand in the fire", however you want to call that, and not enough focus on actually playing your class, if you know what I mean. I'm looking forward to Cataclysm, where at least healing appears to require more thinking (3 of my 5 level 80s are healers), and hope that Cataclysm raiding has a bit more tactical fights that require players to think on their feet instead of raid encounters resembling some sort of complicated ballet where the most important thing is that everybody stands at exactly the right position at the right time. Maybe I'll get to kill Arthas when I'm level 85 in some fun guild outing."

Tobold seems to like tank and spank fights. He doesn't like to have to run around much, he doesn't like to have to react to scripted attacks, and he doesn't like to learn a "best" rotation for his class. What he likes is to make decisions on the fly about what's the best spell or ability to cast, which for him makes interesting gameplay. I disagree, but it takes all sorts to make a world etc etc.

What I find interesting is that he thinks that he'll be able to come back at level 85 and kill Arthas for fun. I actually think that Arthas farming at level 85 will not happen very much at all. Consider the following:

- It's a long instance. You need to kill 11 bosses pre Arthas (and Sindragosa will be no pushover at 85 either).

- There are mechanics that can kill you that you can't outgear or outlevel. Defile will still kill you at 85 if you stand in it. Soul Reaper will still take off 90k of tank health in a few seconds. The necrotic plague does 50k damage to you when it ticks, or more if it has already killed some ghouls - that will still hurt at 85. The Val'kyr can drop a level 85 person off the edge of the raid. If you get hit by an ice sphere it's still a one shot kill. The fight is hard. It will still be reasonably tough at 85.

- It's hard to underman the fight. You still probably need 2 tanks for phase 1 (otherwise you are going to get plague in your melee or your tank is going to need to be cleansed all the time leading to higher boss melee damage). You still need 2 healers, since one healer might get grabbed by a Val'kyr in phase 2 or ported into the sword in phase 3 and you'll need another to cover.

- He doesn't drop anything cool or unique like a legendary weapon or a rare mount. The weapons don't have unique models either - they look the same as the normal raid drops.

And finally...

- Most good raiders have killed Arthas already. I'm sorry, but if you haven't killed Arthas yet then either you aren't a very good player, or you are new, or you have had some kind of unspecified other problem like a guild split or personal issues. Assuming that they do indeed remove the kingslayer title then there will be little incentive for experienced or talented raiders to go back and kill Arthas on a new alt. This means an Arthas pug will probably be an utter disaster.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Some simple tanking macros

Some very basic tanking macros I use. Nothing particularly clever, but you might like them.


Credit to Veneretio of the now-defunct TankingTips for this one.

/castsequence [harm] reset=15 Charge, Intercept; [help] Intervene

If you press the button it casts charge. If you press it within 15 seconds it casts intercept. If the target is friendly it casts intervene. Note that if you have gyphed charge for a shorter cooldown you should change it to say "reset=14". Also, don't spam the button otherwise you'll cast charge and then intercept on the same target straight away.

Cooldown macros

I macro a warning to my healers when I use a cooldown. Stuff like

#showtooltip last stand
/cast last stand
/s Everblue used Last Stand

I think it helps your healers to know you are using a cooldown so that they can adjust their healing strategy accordingly.

Startattack macro

If you use a special ability and you have enough rage then you'll cast the ability and begin attacking your target with normal melee attacks (if you weren't already). If you don't have enough rage to cast the ability then you will not start attacking your target with white attacks either, and thus you won't start gaining rage. You'll just stand there like a lemon.

I therefore macro the startattack command to devastate (or bloodthirst in fury spec, or mortal strike in arms spec) as follows:

#showtooltip devastate
/cast devastate

Lucky charms

One final tip. Via the keybindings in the normal blizzard UI it's possible to bind "set the skull raid marker" to a key. I've bound this to the "8" key in my UI, meaning that it's relatively easy to get the dps to focus fire on one target without messing around with menus during a fight.

Monday, 1 November 2010