Silent Ice, Raging Fire (Part I)

Afternoon folks…

I’ve got a little series coming up that I’d like to share. It isn’t a blog on a specific subject, but one of my own writings that I thought I’d toss out there. Maybe let you all get a feel for it, and even toss around some editorial comments.

The story is called “Silent Ice, Raging Fire.” It is a compilation of the life of my World of Warcraft Paladin, between the expansions of Wrath of the Lich King and the Cataclysm. It has a couple of twists and turns, and even a little love story attached.

It is a pretty rough draft. I’ve only gone over it a couple times, and made changes here and there, but haven’t really proofread it fully yet. I’m pretty sure that the chronology should be in place, but any comments are welcome.

We’ll start it, after the break…

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Mogolympics and more…

Evening all…

Long time no see.  I’ve had the beta for a while now, gotten to experience some of the new goodies coming to us in September (25th) but not as much as I could have.  Been busy around the Lionbearer household.

Transmogolympics

First up, a little side project.  I signed up to participate in the [Trans]mogolympics.  It was randomly decided that I would represent the Mag’har. It made for a fun little project to work on.  I’ve been told that I can display my flagbearer, but nothing more… so here he is.

Mag'har Flagbearer

Mag’har Flagbearer

On that note, I’ve completed all of the transmog outfits, and will be posting them here once the competition is underway. Check out the [Trans]mogolympics site over at Arcane Wordsmith for more information.

On the homefront

On a completely different subject, my wife and I have been busy at work on opening a bake shop, aptly named “Happy Cake.” She’s acquired a building and has been working day and night on getting it ready for a grand opening.  I truly wish that there was more that I could do to help out, but my day job has otherwise taken up my time. She’s really excited, and I am ecstatic and so proud of her working on making a dream come true.  It’s cost a pretty penny, but we’re sure it’ll be successful.  Fortunately we didn’t have to pay to have a website built… cause I do that for a living, haha (that’ll be coming soon as well).  To top it off, my oldest will be turning 5 next month, so we’ll have a really busy year coming up.

Happy Cake: Cakes, Cupcakes, & More

Happy Cake: Cakes, Cupcakes, & More

Amateur writing

I’m not sure if you all remember me mentioning that I was working on a sidestory/RP/fanfic pertaining to my own characters (in fact several).  Well, I finished one of them, it’s a little over 25 pages long. It’s a very rough draft, and I’m sure has all kinds of errors all over it, but I want to share it with you all.

I’m going to start a series of posts that include about 5 pages a piece. It’ll be posted here on this blog, as well as my other Horizon’s Blade writing blog.

 

I hope to see you all on September 25th, God willing, I’ll be joining you on the journey into the Mists of Pandaria.

The Long Word :: 10/29/2010

Welcome to another edition of The Long Word.  Got some interesting stuff this week.  Including some changes for my Paladin, and some good news for my DK. Lastly, I’ll try to keep everybody up to date with the latest releases and updates from Blizzard.

The Long Word

The Long Word

 “Tanking” Care of Business

Yes, yes… it’s a corny title, so sue me. But it gives me a good start for this part of the post. After reading some of my favorite Tankadin’s blog (Righteous Defense), I decided to give Prot a shot again. I felt a bit lost with Retribution. Sure there were more buttons to push; however, it felt as if there was a lot of waiting, either that or I just had not yet figured out a “rotation” to work with. I usually topped out at aobut 5k dps, and just couldn’t break that barrier. Sure it’s still a good number, but I didn’t want to feel limited by my inept Ret skills, and wanted to go back to something a bit more comfortable.

Boy was it a suprise to see how little comfort was there. I will agree, originally Paladin Protection tanking was a bit of a faceroll.  The same buttons, whenever the popped up, no procs, no Holy Power, the same old same old. That has all changed. I will admit, it is a much more fluid feeling rotation, though the rotation changes dependant on the types of enemies, and yes, it gets  a bit monotonous hitting Crusader Strike every other attack, but wow does it feel so much more structured and fluid.

Per Rhidach

Pull with AS > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > J > CS > AS > CS > Shor > CS > J > CS > HW > CS > ShoR > CS > AS > CS > J > CS > ShoR > etc.

The rotation looks a bit complicaated, but isn’t that bad. It’s donned the name “939″, and though can be considered  a rotation, requires for you to watch for procs, and have patience on using abilities “as they light up.”

A big change, is the fact that Holy Shield is no longer cast on yourself, but rather placed as a buff upon using Shield of the Righteous. Speaking of ShoR… it hits like a truck with 3 Holy Power… just keep that in mind ;)  It is important to get the ShoR of as soon as possible though, so that you have that extra block buffer up.  It will normally last until you have built up the Holy Power to place a full power ShoR, so get it up as soon as you can.

Threat

This is a tough subject.  First up, you automatically get Vengeance upon choosing Protection.  This converts some of the damage done to you to Attack Power, allowing you to hit a bit harder, in turn generating more threat. Next up is the good ol standby of Righteous Fury. This still provides us with the threat we need, as well as… if I’m not mistaken… our ability to be uncrittable (defense cap’d).

I was able to tank a few heroics last night, and discovered that our front side threat has really dropped from what it was.  And, to tell you the truth, AoE threat has appeared to have been lowered as expected. But it took me a little whlie to realize it.  First of all, I had forgotten to use Hammer of the Righteous whenever tanking groups… oops, give me a break here, it was only my first or second instance since 4.0.1.  I had gotten so used to being able to use HoR as an extra attack when tanking groups, that I forgot the fact that it and Crusader Strike are exclusive from each other, and now share a cooldown. This did however, teach me how flexible our new rotation is. I was able to go from AoE tanking a group using HoR down to a single target focus by replacing HoR with CS on the fly, allowing me to keep threat up on a single target while the DPS burns it.

As I mentioned earlier, it feels very fluid, and the spells seem to work very well with each other. By the end of the night, I had pretty much gotten the rotation down pat, and was still hitting about 3k dps on the charts.

Tasty Holy Buffs

With the latest info released, it looks like several of our holy spells are getting a nice buffs.  Check out the list below:

  • Holy Radiance‘s effectiveness now diminish on targets farther than x yards away.
  • Divine Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 8538-9512 to 11100-12366 (!).
  • Flash of Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 5313-5961 to 6907-7750.
  • Holy Shock base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3033-3285 to 3943-4271.
  • Holy Light base healing has been increased by 30%. From 3202-3567 to 4162-4637.
  • Beacon of Light now lasts 5 min, up from 1 min.
  • Mastery: Illuminated Healing now absorbs 10% of the amount healed, up from 8%. Now lasts 8 sec, up from 6 sec. Each point of mastery increases the absorb amount by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%.
  • Lay on Hands no longer restores mana.
  • Holy Wrath now scales from 61% of SpellPower, up from 30%. Base damage reduced by 22%, from 3122 to 2435.
  • Exorcism now scales from 34.4% of SpellPower or AP, up from 15%. Base damage increased by 15% from 2343 to 2741.

In the words of the Almighty Cthuloo… “Yum Yum!”

So, let’s begin:

Holy Radiance
This actually did not come as a surprise to me.  I expected that you couldn’t run across the raid, and heal everybody for the same amount.  That really just seemed to be a bit overpowered to me.  So this change, was sort of expected. I still can’t wait to get this spell though.

Divine Light
Holy tauren… them thar numbers is quite large. And to think that those are base numbers, not buffed by spell power or any other healing buffs. Ever since 4.0.1 came out, I felt that Divine Light was a bit weak for its status as the heal bomb. But now with these “enhanced” numbers, I feel that we’ll begin to see some huge heals again, and possibly some more use of this spell.

Flash of Light
Yup, it’s still potent, and yup, it’s still expensive.  However, I have a feeling (since I haven’t really done any raids since 4.0.1) that it will still be used, and now be spammed as much as Holy Light was back in the day. It feels so strange to not use it as my go-to spell, but it’s quick cast is so very nice combined with it’s big numbers.

Holy Shock
Not a whole lot to say, like the other healing spells, it got a nice buff in base potency, and in turn should mean a little quicker turn around on tanks after damage spikes.

Holy Light
Our “go to” spell, though still slow as Christmas (unless a proc is present), did get a little bit of a buff as well. Again, not much different here, besides the base potency change.

Beacon of Light (!)
Oh shout praise and joy to the Heavens! Beacon of Light is now a 5 minute buff!  That is a very big change.  One thing that it will save is an extra global cooldown.  I’ve always had those moments, when I need to get some big heals out, but also notice that the Beacon is starting to drop off of the tank, or my beacon target.  This change will be huge.  Next is the mana savings.  With Beacon’s cost having been dropped as of 4.0.1 (6% base mana), it still is not an easy decision to make when you are running on fumes. But now that you will likely only have to cast it once maybe twice a fight, there is a good bit of savings there.

As for the Glyph to go with it, it now removes the mana cost… hmmm… not much of a help considering you will likely have regained enough mana to cast it tenfold by the time it would fall off after 5 minutes.  Means it’s time to take another look at my glyphs.  Or just follow Tarinae’s advice and go with the Cleanse Glyph in it’s place.

Mastery: Illuminated Healing
This new central mechanic of our class has gotten a nice initial buff of a 2% increase to the amount absorbed. In addition, an extra .25% is earned with each point of Mastery added.  I’m not really sure of the reasoning behind this; however, it is a welcome addition.

Lay on Hands
Well, it no longer returns mana as well as HP.  This is not that big of a deal to me, as I was not using it to return mana, but rather save a tank from the brink of death (or get huge numbers on Valithria Dreamwalker). It does have an effect on the Glyph though, which has now been changed to simply return 10% mana to you upon using it on another target.  This is a welcome change, as it provides the same amount of mana return as Divine Plea would, but without the Healing debuff.

Holy Wrath
The damage output of this spell is now buffed by over twice as much spellpower now (61% up from 30%), though the base damage has been dropped by 22%. I’ve yet to really work these numbers in game, but some quick napkin math says that it’s about a 300 damage boost:

Original (with 3100 spellpower):
3122 (base) + 930 (30% SP) = 4052

New (with 3100 spellpower):
2435 (base) + 1891 (61% SP) = 4326

Nothing huge, but a nice little buff nonetheless. It very well may scale better with Ret and Prot, but I don’t have many numbers to work with there.

Exorcism
Again, like Holy Wrath, not much use for a Holy Paladin, but it too has been buffed to scale a bit higher via Spellpower or Attack Power (I’m assuming whichever is higher).

Original (with 3100 Spellpower):
2343 (base) + 465 (15% SP) = 2808

New (with 3100 Spellpower):
2741 (base) + 1066.4 (34.4% SP) = 3807.4

It is about a 1000 damage increase… very nice.

The Longer Word

Well, that’s all for the paladin class that I have got for this week. I’m sure I’ll have more as I get back into doing a few raids.

In other news though, I finally got my Horseman’s Mount.  I actually got it after my son watched me take down the HH, and was about to head into the living room to play with some cars.  I opened the pumpkin (which I thought I had not gotten since I thought my bags were full), and apparently had one slot left in my bags.  So there went a stack of chilled meat… oh well, very much worth the mount,  haha.  Simply put, I’ve basically slowed down doing that fight anymore on my paladin, though have been hitting him up on my death knight.

Speaking of my Death Knight, he’s now getting close to half way through level 79.  I hope to hit 80 this weekend.  Sadly this will only be my second max level character. He has been fun to play though, an interesting difference from the paladin. He’s also my money maker, selling glyphs left and right.  But I’ll have more on him later.

Until next week… Light be with you.

Tank Validation and Accountability

Tanks make mistakes too.

Tanks make mistakes too.

I’ve decided to continue this series on my observations about how different roles are treated. I’ve already hit the big one to me, and that is healing. Next, I plan to point out some of the faults blamed on tanks, including a story from a fellow tank and friend of mine.

Like healing, tanking is often a required role in a group. Not always, at least 98% of the time in 5 mans, but 100% in raids. The short and sweet is that if you do not have a meat shield on the front lines, you are going to become that meat shield. That mound of flesh wrapped in plate (or furry leather) armor is there to get punched in the face repeatedly so you don’t have to. Because of this, they too should be treated with a certain level of respect. In addition to their normal duties, Tanks also often are placed in a position of leadership, whether they like it or not.

For nearly 6 months, I would tank on my Paladin. It was a nice change of pace, but also changed my view of how a tank’s job works. I remember when I first started the dungeon crawl, that the tank was allowed a certain amount of time at the beginning of a pull to gain aggro. This was before threat became such an easy thing to come by. Back when Warriors had to get a certain number of Sunder Armors off before the raid or group even thought about casting anything. Now-a-days, from what I’ve noticed, that is no longer the case. It is now a race to the end of the dungeon, and a test to see who can kill the mob faster. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as quick runs mean quick rewards, but it can cause problems as well.

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Paladin Predictions: Cataclysm

*raspberry*

Alrighty, since we’ve got another week to wait for the Paladin Cataclysm class preview, I thought that it would be a good time to put my predictions in, at least to fill the time.
Some of these predictions may actually have some real backing due to things mentioned in other class previews, but as Blizzard states:

Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.

So, on with the show.  I’ll separate these into their respective classes, so that we have some kind of organization, and who knows, maybe I’ll be close on some of them.


Protection PaladinProtection:
I believe that Protection will have the guaranteed Mastery ability of Vengeance.

This new mechanic is designed to ensure that tank damage output (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will grant a stacking Attack Power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have an Attack Power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree; these values will be smaller at lower levels.

So, this means that our tanks will likely be gaining an AP buff from damage taken. Now, Linedan did have a point. Here’s his quote:

Right now, in tank gear, Linedan has around 46,000 health. With his tank weapon, unbuffed, he has 4391 AP. 10% of 46,000 is, surprise, 4600. 4600 + 4391 = 8991 AP. That’s almost…well…OVER NINE THOUSAND. (Oh, sue me, you were thinking it too.) You mean to tell me that Blizzard is going to give me the potential, while tanking, to more than double my attack power, simply by getting hit in the face?

That’s a lot of AP, crazy amounts in fact. Now, I don’t have that much AP, I might top out at 3k, and maybe more buffed, but the Vengeance buff only works off of Unbuffed HP, so my 32,500 HP would equal about 3250 AP, add that to my 3k AP (which can still be buffed upwards of 4k) and I’d have 6k-7.5k AP. That’s a lot of Attack Power. Another thing that I thought about is the fact that all “Defense Rating” stats are going to be turned into either Stamina or Avoidance stats. That’s going to grow our health pools even higher, unless the amount of health gained from Stamina is changed. If, for example I suddenly gain 5k health because of all the stat changes, that’s still another 500 AP. It’s going to be really interesting how they plan to balance this.

There was another little caveat that Linedan caught. What about those moments where you’re not getting hit in the face? There are a lot of cases, especially in WotLK, where you had to swap tanks, whether it be to wear off a debuff, or to keep from getting insta-gibbed. In these cases, your AP and in turn DPS will drop significantly. In his case with Warriors, dps was already low, but as stated before, we can’t really make a determination until we see real numbers and see what changes to damaging abilities come out with Cataclysm.

Now, another change I’m hoping for and predicting is a gap closer. Maybe, just maybe we’ll sprout wings, and leap onto our enemies (yes, borrowing from Heroic Leap), but calling it Righteous Intercept, or something like that. That would be SWEET. It would also fill in that ability that us Paladin tanks have always wanted. We can’t charge, we can’t deathgrip, we have to either silence with Avenger’s Shield, and hope we don’t pull any extra mobs, or facepull the enemies. This I mean specifically for caster enemies, where LoS pulls aren’t available.

Righteous Intercept
4% base mana
8-25 yard range
Instant        15 sec Cooldown
Requires Righteous Fury
The paladin sprouts wings and leaps towards the target, slamming the ground with his or her hammer, causing a 3 sec stun to surrounding targets.  Stun will be broken by any damage dealt.

Lastly, something that is missing from the Paladin tanking toolbox is an off the GCD spell interrupt. The current selection we have is….. Avenger’s Shield, and that’s about it. I’m considering PvE situations, where more often then not, a Boss is immune to Hammer of Justice. (Though I’ve yet to research whether the spell interrupt is not resisted… hmm.) Anyway, a nice, quick (even decent cooldown) silence would be nice. Don’t have any ideas off the top of my head though.


Retribution PaladinRetribution
I really am unsure what we can do here.  Retribution is a very well balanced melee DPS branch, with a lot of Crit and AP emphasized.  The only thing that is truly lacking here is, again, that gap closer.  A ret paladin can be tearing up a target, but if it moves away, we still have to get back into melee range, and if that target is moving faster then you (even with Pursuit of Justice, think about a Mage blink), how can you catch up?  It took me a little while to think of something, but I figured a possibility. It may be a utility spell as well as a speed increase spell that could be used while in combat.

Think of a short duration Sprint/Dash with a increase to dodge of, say 5-10%.  What this would do, is allow the paladin to have a quick (maybe 5 sec) boost of speed that allowed them to catch up with the target, however the small dodge increase, allowed them to resist some (not all) snare mechanics that may be holding them back.  I even came up with the name “Grace of Menethil”, I thought maybe “Grace of Uther”, but Uther seemed to me more on the Holy side than Arthas was (before he got all mean and lichy).

Grace of Menethil
Instant          2 min cooldown
Temprarily increases the movement speed of the Paladin by 50%, in addition to increasing dodge chance by 5-10%.

Another suggestion, would be a ranged mini-Hammer of Justice.  This would throw a “spectral” weapon at the target stunning them temporarily (say 3 sec), just enough for the Paladin to catch up, and to keep it balanced only allow it to be useable while in combat and on the same cooldown as Hammer of Justice, simply so that a Ret pally couldn’t open up with a ranged stun, then start wailing away, and then HoJ again to keep the stunlock up.  Maybe call it “Hammer of Divine Fury”

Hammer of Divine Fury
3% of base mana
1 sec cast          1 min cooldown
20 yard range

Stuns the target for 6 sec and interrupts non-player spellcasting for 3 sec. Only usable while in combat, and exclusive to Hammer of Justice.


Holy PaladinHoly
Ah, home sweet home, here’s where I can see the most changes happening.  First up, mobile healing.  With the introduction of “Spiritwalker’s Grace” for the Shamans, I can see something close to that (not identical) being implemented for Holy Paladins, called Lightbringer’s Will.  If you think about it, Holy Paladins currently heal like an actual tree would heal.  We’re rooted into one place, casting away our lives.  There is not much movement available to a Holy Paladin (except certain cases, see Paladin Raid Healer), and because of that, it makes for some scary moments when you have to run out of the fire, but still need to top off the Tank.  I could see there being some balancing where healing is slightly less effective while moving, but still capable of happening.

Lightbringer’s Will
Instant Cast      10 sec duration
2 minute Cooldown

Fills the Paladin with the will of Uther Lightbringer, allowing them to cast uninterrupted by movement or damage.  Healing done is decreased by 10% while moving.

Another concept that I thought about was a way to integrate an AoE heal into our own current skills.  Some suggestions have been made, and I have had the same idea myself, where if talented in the Holy Tree, Concecration provided an AoE heal around the Paladin instead of damage to surrounding targets.  This would be the balancing factor, as often double duty spells (heal/damage) can be the target of nerfs and QQ.  Either it could use the current Concecration, or create a new spell called Concecration of Light.  I based it a bit more on a Wild Growth mechanic then a Circle of Healing type spell, simply because it would work like Concecration, where the healing would come in pulses.  I included the “infinite number of targets” part simply because of the mechanics of the spell.  It would also require groups to move towards the paladin when heals are needed like that.  I also increased the range just slightly so that it would cover a greater amount of people, and still allow for boss mechanics to limit it’s use.  Some other spells seem to be taking advantage of the “diminishing returns” that multiple targets would create, this may use that mechanic as well, as further balancing may be needed.

Concecration of Light
23% of base Mana
Instant cast         10 sec cooldown
Concecrates the land beneath the Paladin, healing friendly party or raid members within 20 yards of the Paladin for 1442 over 7 sec. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the Concecrated ground begins to cool.


I hope you like my ideas, and have some of your own.  Us pallies gotta wait till Friday for any info on our class, so this might whet your whistle while we wait.

Viva la Paladin!

Class Previews

This week should be fun.  Blizzard is releasing Cataclysm class previews throughout the week.  I hope to be  all inclusive and begin to provide info for each class as it is released.

Though it may not be paladin related, I will be providing ALL classes in the next few posts.  This post here will be used as a landing ground for each, with small comments and links to the full notes.

Enjoy the info as it becomes available, and please no QQ, I just waxed the floors.

Shaman Class PreviewShaman Class Preview
April 07, 2010
11:00 am CST

Warlock Class PreviewWarlock Class Preview
April 07, 2010
3:00 pm CST

Priest Class PreviewPriest Class Preview
April 08, 2010
2:00 am CST

Warrior Class PreviewWarrior Class Preview
April 08, 2010
11:00 am CST

Death Knight Class PreviewDeath Knight Class Preview
April 08, 2010
8:00 pm CST

Rogue Class previewRogue Class Preview
April 09, 2010
1:00 am CST

Hunter Class PreviewHunter Class Preview
April 09, 2010
11:00 am CST

Druid Class PreviewDruid Class Preview
April 09, 2010
9:15 pm CST

Mage Class PreviewMage Class Preview
April 10, 2010
1:57 am CST

Paladin Class PreviewPaladin Class Preview
April 14, 2010
7:00 am CST