Site Meter Curse of Senility: March 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How you too can be a mediocre warlock like me!

Applying all necessary scientific standards and rigor, I have come to a most startling of inductions: switching from making posts a big deal, to making them quick little things is not as easy as it sounds. There's this whole mental battle involved, where my brain is like "NO, WE MUST TRY HARD TO BE AWESOME, IT'S WHAT WE DO," and then my other brain is like "STFU NAB, IT TIEM WRITE NAO" but the first brain is quick to reply "NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU." And then I usually go cross-eyed and pass out. I am losing SO much time to these frequent blackouts. Fortunately there is less than 24 hours left in finals week, so for better or for worse I'll have more time on my hands soon.

But you didn't read this far just to hear me bitch.

I've been thinking a lot about gear lately. More specifically, I've been thinking about gear that can be acquired relatively painlessly after hitting 80. This thinking really started after the criticisms I received after my first post at WoW Insider; Gearing your Warlock for Naxx-10. But more recently it has been fueled by the fact that my good buddy Kolrawn is fast approaching 80, and I'd like to get him geared up as fast as I can so I have somebody to compare myself against.

Hey, that's not warlock gear!

With that in mind, I took a look at my armory page to see how much of my gear I could get into his hands ASAP. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I'll be able to get him geared up, and was hit by a fresh wave of disappointment over how easy it is to get geared up in this expac. So without further ado: my gear, and how to get it.

The Mantle of Deceit, Azure Cloth Bindings, Rod of the Fallen Monarch, and Woven Brace Leggings all have an extremely high chance (25%-50% according to armory) off of the end-bosses in heroics. Which I can easily drag my buddy through.

The Plush Sash of Guzbah, Ward of the Violet Citadel, Sundial of the Exiled and Band of Channeled Magic are all purchasable from badge vendors (the last one is the only one which requires 25-man badges) for a decently small number of badges.

Both the Ebonweave Gloves and the Deathchill Cloak can be crafted by yours truly, or purchased off the auction house. And speaking of purchased off the AH, my Chain of Latent Energies was a BoE drop in 25-man Naxx, so it's probably on the AH every now and again as well.

And lastly, the Sandals of Crimson Fury I have come from exalted reputation with Wyrmrest Accord.

When all is said and done, you need to do a surprisingly small amount of work to get all of that gear, and if you do get it all, you're more than ready to be a valued participant in full-clears of Naxx-10 or 25. But of course, there are a few pieces of gear I have that can't be acquired quite so easily.

My main hand weapon, the Grieving Spellblade was an extremely lucky drop the first time I was in Naxx-10, but the Flameheart Spell Scalpel from being revered with the Kirin Tor is an excellent hold over until you get similarly lucky.

Just over the weekend, I got two new pieces of gear in Naxx-10; the Heros' Plagueheart Robes and the Cowl of Winged Fear But before I had those I wore the easily craftable Ebonweave Robe, and the Argent Skullcap -- which is a reward of one of the easiest quests ever.

All that leaves of mine that isn't easy to get is my second ring, the Ring of the Fated from Naxx 10, and Dying Curse from Naxx 25. But there are more trinkets and rings in the game for warlocks right now than I could possibly count. Mark of the War Prisoner and the Signet of Hopeful Light both come to mind, but there are tons more out there.

Muuuuch better...

So yeah, that's what's been on my mind as of late. I'm actually glad I took the time to write this down too. This will serve as a check-list for when my buddy Kolrawn finally makes it to 80. And who knows? Maybe if you thought the list I made for WoW Insider was too easymode, this will be more to your liking. Though I don't know if any of my readership actually overlaps.

...DAMNIT. This was supposed to be a short post. I really suck at this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What the fuck is this shit?

So I did some doodling last night. It happened to be a warlock, and I thought to myself 'huh, I could not post this, and have a day without content, or I could post it and have a day with content that people will make fun of me for.' And since I'm all about your entertainment at my expense, I present to you "Dumb looking, petless, Level-23 warlock"

I assure you, this will never be an art blog.

I totally didn't mean for him to look Asian. When this was still black and white, I thought I'd give him unusual facial hair. Then I decided to color it with my colored pencils, but I don't know where my good colored pencils are. So, I only had a handful of colors at my disposal, and I'm no good at color mixing. This was all that was available for the face. W00t for incidental racism.

I'm actually reasonably happy with it. I'll never be able to draw anything more than bulky doodles, but this is one of the first times I've done a pose, without extensive reference. And while there are certainly things that could use improvement, it overall turned out a little better than expected. The hands turned out much better than hands I draw usually do, though one of them got messed up while I was inking. The hat is also a low-point. The idea was to make a relatively classic looking, villainous warlock, and I've always liked the witch hat look. But it simply didn't work at all. On the bright side I think I figured out how I could have done it better, so maybe I can fix it next time I attempt something like this.

Regularly scheduled word crafting will resume next time I decide to write.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thoughts on 3.1 Affliction

Aside from briefly popping online to prepare for a work related project, which I obviously can't write about here, I haven't logged in since the Naxx run detailed in my previous post. Well, actually, while running a standup comedy night on ventrillo I did spend time grinding water elementals between Arathi Basin matches on Arnoux -- who ding'd 38 by the way. But her recent adventures have hardly been worth writing home about. Or worth writing the internet about, as the case may be.

Doesn't stop me from arbitrarily selecting this screenshot to break up the wall of text though!

After the comedy-a-thon was over though, I spent maybe twenty or thirty minutes talking about my thoughts on the future of affliction warlocks to my buddy Kolrawn, who has been too busy tanking for me on his prot pally to really keep up with all the warlock rigmarole. After working through all my thoughts on the matter, I realized it might be something you, my imaginary groupies, might be interested in hearing about.

As a disclaimer, I should note that I haven't been on the PTR, so I haven't actually been able to get any testing done. Any opinions I hold at this point are largely speculative, and based on the latest warlock changes that I'm aware of.

Blizzard's aforementioned intention to simplify the affliction rotation has, unfortunately, come to pass. Not only is Siphon Life being removed as a damaging spell, but now Immolate and Unstable Affliction occupy the same 'slot' on a target, meaning only one of them can be active per warlock at any given time. These changes effectively remove two spells from my active rotation.

What's left is Shadow Bolt > Haunt > Corruption > Curse of Agony > Unstable Affliction > Shadowbolt Spam. Corruption is obviously removed from the rotation after the first cast, meaning that affliction will become roughly a 4 button spec. This is starting to feel a lot like the 3-button days of Burning Crusade.

Particularly annoying is the sudden lack of timer synergy between dots. Right now Siphon Life and Curse of Agony are cast together, because they have similar timers. Same thing with Unstable Affliction and Immolate. The way this caused the rotation to work out was something like two shadow bolts, then haunt, then two dots, then two shadow bolts, then haunt, then two dots, and so on. Very comfortable and easy to work with. Now that the timers of each dot are so astoundingly disparate, it seems likely that switching between shadow bolts, haunt, and dot refreshment may become a bit hectic. But it's far too early to actually say.

Supposedly the upside of this simplification is that it will allow affliction warlocks to do better damage on bosses that require a lot of moving. The oft-heard complaint about affliction is that it is the 'Patchwerk-spec,' and that it doesn't really excel in any other fight. Speaking from my own experience however, I've found this to be absolutely untrue. I certainly do my best damage on Patchwerk -- find me a class that doesn't -- but I frequently top the meters on a variety of other bosses. Sometimes I don't, but that's just the way the game works. Different classes and specs excel in different situations. It would be terrible game design if one class was able to top DPS 100% of the time.

I actually ended up in second place overall for this fight, but the fact that I was able to lead by a significant margin after such a large percentage of one of the most rotation-jarring fights in the game is a clear indication of affliction's versatility.

Frankly, since this change will cause a larger percentage of our overall damage output to rely on Shadow Bolt, I think we're going to see a DROP in DPS for fights which require a lot of moving. At least dots kept on ticking away when we were too busy to cast. But again, such speculation is perhaps getting a little ahead of myself; particularly considering some of the other buffs the tree is getting.

I might say that I look forward to figuring out the best rhythm for the new affliction once patch 3.1 hits the live realms, but that would be a lie. The longer I get to play with my belovedly complex affliction spec, the happier I'll be. I mean, I'm a crotchety old man; you expect me to welcome change?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Repo man, here for your dread citadel!

It took me awhile after Lich King hit to really get back into the swing of raiding. My guild had largely fallen apart in the last few months of Burning Crusade, and many of my raiding contacts from those days have yet to actually hit level 80. So Lich King was almost a fresh start for me, save for the few close friends of mine who stuck by me. My raiding progression was further pushed back when the raid leader of a group I was starting to raid with semi-regularly decided to uproot and transfer over to another server -- taking several other members of the group with him.

So a few weeks ago, quoting Godfather III the whole time, I decided it was time to start raid leading again.

Bigglesworth didn't like my post about Addons. He thinks Necrosis is awesome.

Between the group that actually stuck around, a few friend-of-a-friends that have started running with us, and even a pick-up-player or two, we've actually assembled a relatively reliable group. It's not perfect of course; I maintain my proud tradition of never being able to find a fucking mage, and our group has such variable schedules that getting us all together can be hell. That said, the two runs of Naxx-10 we've done so far have gone remarkably well. The first time we got together, I scheduled 4 hours of time, and considering that many of the group members had yet to see Naxx at all (some were still in level 70 raiding gear) I predicted to the tank beforehand that in that time we'd clear spider wing, and possibly plague wing. I figured we'd pop over and kill Patchwerk at the end of the night, as a nice easy note to go out on. As it turned out we absolutely tore through Spider, Plague, and Military wings in the allotted time, and took out Patchwerk as well.

We had some difficulty with the schedule, but this Saturday just past we went to Naxx for the second time. This time I scheduled 5 hours of time, figuring that given our previous success, it would be wise to give the group some more leeway to really see if we could clear the content.

The group managed to clear the first 3 wings in only 3 hours total, edging out our best time from the previous week by an hour. (Though I DID die on Heigan, ending my perfect record of dance-survival) With two hours to spare, the abomination wing was about to become our bitch. I think there were two wipes in all; one on Grobbulus and one on Gluth. Thaddius went down like a chump; one-shot by the kickass peeps it is my privileged to raid with.

Abom wing was new content for the group though, so it took us a bit of time to clear it. By the time we were done, we were only fifteen or twenty minutes away from the eight o' clock end time for the raid. But we were running high on the adrenalin that comes from clearing content smoothly, and decided to extend the raid time a bit to try our hands at frost quarter.

Saph was easily one-shot, despite only two or three of our people actually possessing prior experience with the fight. Kel'Thuzzad took a tad bit longer, but after four or five attempts, Naxxramas was ours. Full cleared after two weeks.

I think I'm going to stick with the skull theme, as I rather like the aesthetic. But I'm going to do some serious cleaning in the plague and spider wings. Get those wall fixed up, and remove the giant mushrooms. Maybe turn them into guest quarters and a dining hall respectively.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Generic QQ

Those of you with sherlockian deductive abilities may have noticed, Curse of Senility didn't update yesterday. Or the day before that. Or indeed, CoS has hardly updated at all for awhile now. What it breaks down to is this: when your 50 hours per week school program requires a lot of writing, and your job requires a lot of writing, and your hobby requires a lot of writing -- guess which one of them gets the shaft during a crunch period? It's horrid, really, because Curse of Senility is by far my favorite writing project at the moment. There's something about submitting your work to be graded, be it by professors I respect, or by ravenous hordes of commentators that I don't, which kills a little bit of my writing spirit. But you don't want to listen to me QQ, and I don't want to subject you to it.

And let me assure you, gentle reader, that the purpose of this post is not to tell you that I'm giving up, or that I'm taking a hiatus, or even intending to lower my ideal post frequency (which is about 3 times a week.) I'd be rather ashamed of myself if I accepted any of those alternatives, and indeed, am rather ashamed of myself for how little I've posted here as of late. However, I must be reasonable. I have been posting a great deal less, despite my sincere desire not to do that. I would be a moron to think it's even an option to change nothing, yet still do a better job of making myself proud than I have in the past. Something has to change.

The solution came to me a moment ago when -- right as I was about to post my analysis of the warlock changes in patch 3.1 -- Pike informed me that there are a bunch of new ones. Thus making my post obsolete before I even set it to go live. I internally went through a miniature version of the stages of grief ("oh shit no," "I took too long," "FUCKING BUSY SCHEDUEL," "Maybe I can post it anyway," "Well, I guess that's that.") then decided that it was time to make some alterations to the way I view this blog. Always before I was wary of any post under a thousand words, thinking that perhaps I selected far too narrow a topic. However, producing 3k+ words of well edited and interesting material every week, while maintaining my other more necessary writing projects has proven to be too demanding. At least, too demanding for my current level of self-discipline.

So as a compromise, I'm going to change my standards for what constitutes a worthy topic on Curse of Senility. Things I previously avoided writing about, such as specific instance runs, brief anecdotes about my game related experiences, and commentary on WoW related media I find around the internet will start appearing on Curse of Senility within the next couple days.

This does not mean that I intend to stop writing the longer and, in my estimation, more interesting posts I've written up to this point. Those posts are far more fun to write, and I would rather stop writing this blog altogether than abandon them. That said, writing seems to me very much like eating is. If you insist that all your meals be gourmet, then you're going to go hungry sometimes, or you might even starve. In the interest of avoiding starvation, I've decided to be willing to hit up Pizza Hut now and again. (Starvation in this metaphore is me giving up on the blog.)

Thank you for reading, and for your continued patience.

(TL;DR: I'm going to start posting shorter blog entries.)

Oh, and as a final note on the 3.1 changes that I was going to comment on; I will probably be posting on them sometime soon. But, in the interest of getting to the fucking point: