Sunday, July 25, 2010

Off-topic: Achieving a personal goal (almost)

Many of you have probably seen me from my interview for "The Raid" (here is a link if you have not). That interview was conducted in early February, and at the time I was around 200lbs, just over half way there. Exactly one year ago I was 225 lbs, and today I am just short of my original goal at 185 (my goal was 180). Just before that interview I had actually gained some of the weight back so by cheating and counting that I have lost exactly 50 lbs in the span of a year.

This is a very serious issue for gamers, but it is also a very misinformed stereotype, because it is VERY easy to be a gamer and be healthy. The combination of a poor diet plus a sedentary lifestyle leads to a lot of problems. But there are two types of people, people who are overweight and blame video games and do not care, and the people who know the real problem is that they are making poor choices when it comes to nutrition and lack of exercise. Over the past year, I have been a part of the tankspot team who is helping to raise awareness on the issue. As a tankspot donor, we have a special "Fitness" Forum. I really have to thank all of them for the support and motivation to keep going. When I started gaining weight again it was them who kickstarted me back into my program. I could not have done it without them because let me tell you, it is not easy, not only losing it in the first place but keeping the motivation, to not gain it all back (because believe me I could easily gain back all the weight in a matter of weeks).

My personal journey began when I realized that if I did not do something with my health, I would be at serious risk, especially because in my case, I also have a thyroid condition, which is a major part of my problem and my struggles. The first major change was eating. I was never an unhealthy eater, I would just eat way to much. Cutting back from 6-7 meals a day to 3-5 meals a day, within 2 months I was already down 25 lbs. In combination with that was signing up for a gym and beginning a running plan: the couch to 5K. It was at that point where I platued and backtracked. After not seeing any aditional weight loss for the next month, combined with not being able to move from week 4 to week 5 after 2 months of trying, and I gained 10 lbs back before Christmas. Seemed a lot of people were having this problem because the tankspot fitness forum kind of exploded with activity again at this point and most of us started getting back on track. My mother has been on Weight Watchers for years, so while I had been following the program loosely, I finally decided to sign up and really stick with it. This has been a huge help. By simply righting down and tracking everything you eat, you really begin to notice things and begin to change. I started going running again as well. And since I signed up in the 3 months I have been doing it I have lost an additional 18 lbs.

Pitfalls (and things I need to work on):
- Get back to the doctor and get my thyroid back in check
- When I run, I get out of breath so quickly, I think I might have some kind of exercise induced asthma
- When I do not see a change for 2 weeks I lose a huge amount of my motivation and gain weight that third week
- My gym membership is running out next week and I really do not know how I am going to afford renewing it

Finally, yesterday Aliena announced she is starting a fitness channel for gamers on her youtube channel. So I figured I would help her out a bit and wish her luck as well as for my own continued success as well as my fellow tankspoters and to anyone who wants to change their lifestyle to try and be more healthy, GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My thoughts on the new trees:

In a word UNFINISHED. In another, UNTOUCHED!

Long version:

Honestly seems like they just threw druids away for later because they did not know what they wanted to do. Take ferocity and furor for example, are they increasing the ability cost across the board because right off the bat everything now costs 2 extra rage and energy, and they finally give in and give me a 3 point furor AND IT STILL is 60% chance, my personal record is 10 consecutive shifts without a rage proc (either that or they just removed ranks 4 and 5 and did not update the first 3, for both the ones I mentioned)

I am so upset at how bad these are, and without even having looked at the other classes (besides druid and prot warrior) I doubt there is but 1 maybe 2 trees as bad and unfinished as our feral tree. Everything I am about to right will probably have been for nothing by the time the next patch comes out (read as: 100% overhaul of feral).

Cat: NOW WHAT! there are simply not enough points to use 41 points as a cat.
Bear: -> -> where is out field dressing in either the first or second tier of resto, where is our imp LOTP = Blood craze? So because we have 2 roles in our tree we get nothing but boring non-interactive talents? No, my thoughts are still feral has been completely untouched and anything that had more than 3 ranks just had the last 2 removed and made to look nice so they could release something.

First tier:

See above, but 2 forced points are completely useless to bears (and while great for pvp cats, in pve unless after the first 10 seconds of a boss fight), and the other 3 are only marginally useful for both cat and bear.

Second tier:

Primal fury: Double cp on cat crits removed, This is going to be very detrimental to rotations, although maybe this is what they want, this would turn FB into a true finisher that you would only ever use if you did not have to use rip (see nomnomnom). Depending on rage, we may skip this as bears, but probably not.

Feral Swiftness: 30% is so fast, I am surprised it is still that high (see pursuit of justice). As for the dodge, again I am surprised that is not part of the bear "you get free stuff for picking feral." More on this later (see natural reaction).

Fury swipes: cat white attacks made up suck a small portion of damage compared to other melee, and even with haste effecting energy it was still not a great stat. This will help make haste a competitive stat. Does this swing give rage for bears? Either way with haste effecting rage, more threat is more threat, simply a matter of will we have room for it.

Infected wounds: ravage has been added to applying it.

Third Tier:

(Imp) feral charge: see below

KOTJ: depends on the implementation of enrage. If the armor reduction is not removed, this is worthless for bears, if it is, this is better than imp feral charge.

Fourth Tier:

Imp LOTP: it appears to be missing ...

Skull Bash: Well this is one way to force us to take it, put in in the tier that has even with it a max of 3 points a bear would want.

Fifth Tier:

Natural Reaction: Again, I am surprised this is still there. My suggestion, remove this talent, and role the rage on dodge into feral swiftness, and remove the dodge from both and place it on the mastery

Endless carnage: Picking it because I expect the numbers to be tweaked and pulverize actually worth hitting, because right now there is no reason to.

Primal Madness: see above, although if enrage is no longer a second shield wall, and losses the armor reduction, when we hit it it will be because we want rage, and this would make it more effective in the role it is supposed to play. Unfortunately it is a role that is not needed making the talent lackluster. Cats will only get this because they have nothing else.

Sixth Tier: Again only 4 points a bear would even want.

Rend and Tear: see above about talent ranks and reduced effectiveness. It is nice they reduced maul but I still think this should not effect maul at all but rather give a bonus to mangle.

Pulverize: Wait and See.

Seventh Tier:

Berserk: Only because there is nothing else to get with only 1 point unless I want cat only talents.

Resto: I expected as much, of the 4 tank classes we have by far the weakest sub-secs (frost/unholy, ret, arms/fury). I expect resto to get a field dressing like talent. Only having 3 points to pick as a bear in the first tier of resto is utterly unacceptable.

P.S. I wrote this at 5 in the morning because I could not sleep, please ignore the ramblings and QQ, I know stuff is going to change DRASTICALLY, and I like this post to be a predictions/see how far they came when live comes post.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

OoC from blizzard

Source: Blizzard

If I had to guess, Omen of Clarity will be a trained ability. It's too useful to different kinds of druids. Even if you put it shallow in Resto, Feral wouldn't be able to benefit from it until very high level.

But we'll see....

This is probably one of those "don't quote me on this because things can always change" but if the new 31 point trees are as done as I think they are, OoC will not be a talent in the next beta push.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

25-man Heroic Halion

Complete with tips and tricks.


Outside MT: Position Halion so the center of his hitbox is about 1/2 way between the wall and the center of the room. The portal to get into phase 2 always spawns relative to where Halion is, so keeping it dead center leaves people more open to breaths and cleaves when they zone into phase 2. Your back should be to the firewall but this will also block your camera. When the meteor falls, the big add will be MDed to you, they are not tauntable so if you are main tanking you really should be (god I swore I would never say this I hate this glyph) using glyph of maul to keep agro on it as they get burned down once the AOE ends.

Add tank: SWIPESWIPESWIPESWIPESWIPE. Sometimes a pet can actually pull agro on it (felguard cleave being the biggest culprit) or the MT can get proxy agro and they will not come to the raid. Just target them while spamming swipe and taunt. Otherwise just keep Halion targeted while mauling and swiping to get that extra maul damage on the boss.

Inside MT: you can either go cat to help dps but I recommend staying in bear and helping pick up the little adds. This will be especially helpful if the add tank gets the debuff and has to run out to be dispelled.

Phase 2:

Outside MT: Stay outside and jump around doing nothing. This will allow you to not only get him properly positioned for phase 3 but also everyone will get a threat wipe while you will keep your threat from phase 1.

Add tank: go cat and DPS

Inside MT: Make sure you are the first person inside, he will not activate until hit (or after a few seconds if he is not hit) so feral charge him and turn him to your left. This is to make sure the raid does not get breathed on or cleaved, and specifically left because of the rotation of the orbs. Do not run to fast and run into the back of the beam to your left, this is not pleasant.

Phase 3:

Outside MT and Add Tank: same as phase 1

Inside MT: Same as phase 2


Outside MT and Inside MT: The breath is probably one of the weakest breathes of any dragon, use armor neck cape rings organ and sindragosa's flawless fang.

Add Tank: The adds are all fire damage so SFF and either Satrina's/Jugs vit or CSK. Double ring of binding if you have them or ring of binding + devium's or twin valk. I use the Princes's cape (royal crimson) with an FR enchant and I have a spare pair of bracers that I put an FR fur lining on. You can also get the FR helm enchant from Kirin Tor rep if you are so inclined.

MAJOR!!!! Talent change announcement

When we first announced our design goals for class talent trees back at BlizzCon 2009, one of our major stated focuses was to remove some of the boring and "mandatory" passive talents. We mentioned that we wanted talent choices to feel more flavorful and fun, yet more meaningful at the same time. Recently, we had our fansites release information on work-in-progress talent tree previews for druids, priests, shaman, and rogues. From those previews and via alpha test feedback, a primary response we heard was that these trees didn’t incorporate the original design goals discussed at BlizzCon. This response echoes something we have been feeling internally for some time, namely that the talent tree system has not aged well since we first increased the level cap beyond level 60. In an upcoming beta build, we will unveil bold overhauls of all 30 talent trees.

Talent Tree Vision

One of the basic tenets of Blizzard game design is that of “concentrated coolness.” We’d rather have a simpler design with a lot of depth, than a complicated but shallow design. The goal for Cataclysm remains to remove a lot of the passive (or lame) talents, but we don’t think that’s possible with the current tree size. To resolve this, we're reducing each tree to 31-point talents. With this reduction in tree size we need to make sure they're being purchased along a similar leveling curve, and therefore will also be reducing the number of total talent points and the speed at which they're awarded during the leveling process.

As a result, we can keep the unique talents in each tree, particularly those which provide new spells, abilities or mechanics. We’ll still have room for extra flavorful talents and room for player customization, but we can trim a great deal of fat from each tree. The idea isn’t to give players fewer choices, but to make those choices feel more meaningful. Your rotations won’t change and you won’t lose any cool talents. What will change are all of the filler talents you had to pick up to get to the next fun talent, as well as most talents that required 5 of your hard-earned points.

We are also taking a hard look at many of the mandatory PvP talents, such as spell pushback or mechanic duration reductions. While there will always be PvP vs. PvE builds, we’d like for the difference to be less extreme, so that players don’t feel like they necessarily need to spend their second talent specialization on a PvP build.

The Rise of Specialization

We want to focus the talent trees towards your chosen style of gameplay right away. That first point you spend in a tree should be very meaningful. If you choose Enhancement, we want you to feel like an Enhancement shaman right away, not thirty talent points later. When talent trees are unlocked at level 10, you will be asked to choose your specialization (e.g. whether you want to be an Arms, Fury or Protection warrior) before spending that first point. Making this choice comes with certain benefits, including whatever passive bonuses you need to be effective in that role, and a signature ability that used to be buried deeper in the talent trees. These abilities and bonuses are only available by specializing in a specific tree. Each tree awards its own unique active ability and passives when chosen. The passive bonuses range from flat percentage increases, like a 20% increase to Fire damage for Fire mages or spell range increases for casters, to more interesting passives such as the passive rage regeneration of the former Anger Management talent for Arms warriors, Dual-Wield Specialization for Fury warriors and Combat rogues, or the ability to dual-wield itself for Enhancement shaman.

The initial talent tree selection unlocks active abilities that are core to the chosen role. Our goal is to choose abilities that let the specializations come into their own much earlier than was possible when a specialization-defining talent had to be buried deep enough that other talent trees couldn’t access them. For example, having Lava Lash and Dual-Wield right away lets an Enhancement shaman feel like an Enhancement shaman. Other role-defining examples of abilities players can now get for free at level 10 include Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam, Mutilate, Shadow Step, Thunderstorm, Earth Shield, Water Elemental, and Penance.

Getting Down to the Grit

Talent trees will have around 20 unique talents instead of today's (roughly) 30 talents, and aesthetically will look a bit more like the original World of Warcraft talent trees. The 31-point talents will generally be the same as the 51-point talents we already had planned for Cataclysm. A lot of the boring or extremely specialized talents have been removed, but we don't want to remove anything that’s going to affect spell/ability rotations. We want to keep overall damage, healing, and survivability roughly the same while providing a lot of the passive bonuses for free based on your specialization choice.

While leveling, you will get 1 talent point about every 2 levels (41 points total at level 85). Our goal is to alternate between gaining a new class spell or ability and gaining a talent point with each level. As another significant change, you will not be able to put points into a different talent tree until you have dedicated 31 talent points to your primary specialization. While leveling, this will be possible at 70. Picking a talent specialization should feel important. To that end, we want to make sure new players understand the significance of reaching the bottom of their specialization tree before gaining the option of spending points in the other trees. We intend to make sure dual-specialization and re-talenting function exactly as they do today so players do not feel locked into their specialization choice.

A True Mastery

The original passive Mastery bonuses players were to receive according to how they spent points in each tree are being replaced by the automatic passive bonuses earned when a tree specialization is chosen. These passives are flat percentages and we no longer intend for them to scale with the number of talent points spent. The Mastery bonus that was unique to each tree will now be derived from the Mastery stat, found on high-level items, and Mastery will be a passive skill learned from class trainers around level 75. In most cases, the Mastery stats will be the same as the tree-unique bonuses we announced earlier this year. These stats can be improved by stacking Mastery Rating found on high-level items.

To Recap

When players reach level 10, they are presented with basic information on the three specializations within their class and are asked to choose one. Then they spend their talent point. The other trees darken and are unavailable until 31 points are spent in the chosen tree. The character is awarded an active ability, and one or more passive bonuses unique to the tree they've chosen. As they gain levels, they'll alternate between receiving a talent point and gaining new skills. They'll have a 31-point tree to work down, with each talent being more integral and exciting than they have been in the past. Once they spend their 31'st point in the final talent (at level 70), the other trees open up and become available to allocate points into from then on. As characters move into the level 78+ areas in Cataclysm, they'll begin seeing items with a new stat, Mastery. Once they learn the Mastery skill from their class trainer they'll receive bonuses from the stat based on the tree they've specialized in.

We understand that these are significant changes and we still have details to solidify. We feel, however, that these changes better fulfill our original class design goals for Cataclysm, and we're confident that they will make for a better gameplay experience. Your constructive feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

Comments to come shortly (once I finish working on something else)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The ICC buff and you: Getting max TPS

(I had not planned on releasing this post until the 30% buff came out, but since you asked nicely O.o)

With the buff now at 25%, even in full DPS gear I have more HP than I did the first week of hard modes in full tank gear (with no zone buff yet). And since most of the fights are completely boring as a tank, what better to do than try and set TPS records.

First, the spec:

Next, the rotation: I like to build up a 5 stack of lacerate first, to let my idol stack up, as opposed to berserking straight away, to give my berserk that extra crit, but mileage may vary. Even if I use it right on the pull, on most bosses I will not get a second one so that really does not matter, and since you probably used KOTJ to get rage for the pull, why not wait and line up berserk with your second enrage. Well anyway after that you can pretty much just macro it and go afk. Assuming a 5 stack is already up, Mangle-> Lacerate-> FF->Mangle->Swipe->Swipe->Mangle->FF->Swipe->Repeat. This is why it is important to cap hit and expertise because you are refreshing that lacerate with under a second to go so if it misses/is parried you need to start your stack all over again. Also MAULMAULMAULMAULMAUL!

After that, the gear: (wowhead does not like my leatherworking for some reason but the bracers have the 102 stam leatherworking lining). Is this the ideal setup, far from it, but it is what I have to use, just to give you guys an idea of the direction to go.

Things to keep in mind, at the 20% buff, I still used my 277 tanking helm (with stam meta) and for the extra armor boost. I also had my tanking belt with 2x30 stam gems and a 51 stam gem until the 25% buff.

The most important thing to do is cap hit and expertise before anything else, although what the parry cap actually is is anywhere between 54-60 depending on who you ask (I think 14% or 56 is the right number but don't quote me). The three pieces I love for this are the trinket, the cape, and the chest. All very easy to obtain (10 man HM trial, 10 man Morrowgar, 25 Gunship) which combined give 5% hit and 30 expertise skill (40 on the character sheet because of talents).

The other important thing is still use 4pc t10. With KotJ, you will be using enrage a lot. If you do not have the bonus, the armor loss from using enrage, combined with already reduced stam and armor from the dps gear, will be very deadly.

Lastly, Fights I use this on (all heroic mode):
  • LM
  • LDW (swap the bracers for the identical ones just with a 70 frost resist fur lining, and change the runestone to Sind's flawless fang)
  • LOLship
  • Deathbringer
  • Rotface
  • Festergut (this may surprise people, and you may think this is because I am the first tank, but I am not. Surviving the 3 stack is about using cooldowns nothing more)
  • BQL
Putricide is a moderatly difficult attempt boss better safe than sorry, Princes I tank 2 of them and they kinda hurt, stuff dies to fast on Dreamwalker so might as well use tank gear to let the healers heal the boss more, and sind I am the offtank so while my DPS contribution could be better, I have had some bad luck with healer blocks on that fight.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Make that 4 new posts:

If you would like to give feedback on any of the changes, or would like something posted in the beta forums, please visit the Bear thread in the tankspot beta forums: Anyone with solid feedback and/or suggestions will be better served writing a well-written post there as opposed to a chicken-scratch blog comment which will most likely never be seen by anyone important. the "official" bear beta thread.

GC post that really pissed me off

Tanks have a lot more cooldowns to use than they used to. Fundamentally though, our difficulty model is dependent on requiring a stable of healers to keep the tank up. If the tank has too much control over whether he or she lives or dies, then your success or failure has a lot more to do with the skill of that one player rather than the coordination of the raid as a whole (which is where we want it).
Right now, it feels exactly like GC is describing, tanks live or die depending on the skill of the healers and the tank does not have enough control over our own lives. Sure, the days of 30 minute shield walls are gone, but only because encounter designs require it. To many bosses in cata have followed the "I have a hard hitting ability that I use exactly once a minute and if you do not CD it you die". Fusion punch, Sarth's breaths, Vezax "kite" phase, Soul Repear, Mimiron's plasma blast, Festurgut's 3 stack. I hate being forced to used a cooldown on a script, and not as an O SHIT SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED.

I guess this is more of a rant about encounter design as opposed to lack of cooldowns or tanks controling their own life, but there is no such thing as a "CLUCH COOLDOWN" that saved the tanks life anymore like there used to be.

The last part: "coordination of the raid as a whole," this can easily be solved by balancing the external cooldowns, in which paladins are still way to strong in that category and new tree form notwithstanding for a tank cooldown, have none. Working with healers so the raid does not use 5 cooldowns at once and as a result have none for the next ability falls into what GC is talking about but again feels to scripted because of the way big boss abilities have worked in LK.

New though thanks to kalon

Source: Felhoof:

I'd rather have mangle apply the armor debuff automatically and keep FF the way it was. FF fulfilled a lot of needs for a bear, and these changes essentially ruin it.

My reply:

FFF IS our ranged puller, taunt should never be used to pull. I have been against this change from the first time I saw it.

The way FF should work, is that on live it should have a rage cost, and have it be removed in Cata, which is the opposite of the way it is. (since on live it works as a range pull but is also being used every 6 seconds since it does so much threat). Having not really tested bear at all, I am told FF (bear) is doing about 2/3 the damage/threat it does on live. This creates 2 problems. 1) no bear will ever spec into feral aggression because we will only use FF as a range pull and not part of our standard rotation, regardless of FF's CD 2) our only ranged pull HAS A COST.

Armor should be moved to mangle, which would give give us a reason to use berserk at the start of a fight (to get the 3 stack up faster), furthermore a reason to even spec into it at all as bear which at the moment most bears will not. And it will also let you remove the rage cost from from FF, redesign feral aggression, and INCREASE to CD on FF (bear) to really fulfill the role of a ranged pull.

The big thing is, if the damage of FF really has been cut by that much, there is no reason blizzard cannot double or even triple the cooldown to solidify that it is indeed our ranged pull and not supposed to be part of our rotation.


Just a couple of notes, because I am on a crusade right now (see here).

  • Skull bash is terribly implemented, forcing bears to spend 2 points in brutal impact, they might as well not give us an interrupt at all.
  • We have no dire bear form, I guess the plan is to have bear form scale with level but as of right now it apparently does not.
  • FF and other similar abilities need to share a slot. Right now, if a balance druid uses FF and a bear uses FF(bear), even those do not stack, let alone sunder. Having to spend 5 talent points to stack up a debuff faster is a bad talent. Feral Aggression needs to be completely reworked and the armor debuffs fixed.
  • Maul is the elephant in the room, if it stays as is, mangle will be used once a minute for the debuff and FF will be used on the pull and that is it. The rotation is in a bad place right now.
  • Cooldowns, shield block is on a shorter cooldown than barkskin and provides more mitigation (even if it is melee damage only), IBF can be talented to 60%, we still have no spell exclusive cooldown, and our mastery is probably the worst of the 4.
That's all I got for now, working on the feral write-up for tankspot which I will cross-post here once I finish.