Mar 21, 2009

Tozz 50 & 60

Earlier this week, Tozz hit 60. Time to 60: 3d, 14h, 42m, 5s.

1-10: 2 hours, 39 minutes, 42 seconds.
11-20: 8 hours, 3 minutes, 58 seconds.
21-30: 15 hours, 20 minutes, 56 seconds.
31-40: 18 hours, 7 minutes, 30 seconds.
41-50: 18 hours, 17 minutes, 11 seconds.
51-60: 23 hours, 41 minutes, 54 seconds.

Mar 20, 2009

Mage Changes in 3.1

Since being gently prodded by Alarand to do so, here are my thoughts on mage changes in 3.1 (special thanks to "Fuegogrande" for compiling a nice list of changes).

Firstly, it seems the major change in 3.1 is going to be how mana is used and regenerated. Basically, with 3.0, I never run out of mana. That's why the arcane spec has been used so heavily (I'm still Frostfire, and following last night's 10 man Naxx, it's quite evident that I need to go Arcane to keep up with DPS). Because Arcane mages can more efficiently translate mana into damage, they are able to do more damage since we have so much mana available to us. I never have to evocate and I only use my mana gems to get the two piece bonus. In 3.1, they're going to make mana regen much more important and make it much tougher for everyone to keep their mana pools from emptying.


* Arcane Meditation - Now allows 17/33/50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 10/20/30%.
* Mage Armor - Now allows 50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 30%.
*Arcane Blast stacking effect is no longer considered a Magic effect and will not be dispelled.

So as we can see here, the first two changes deal with mana regeneration. Currently, Arcane Meditation allows 30% mana regeneration when fully talented. This is a key talent if you are an arcane mage since you're converting mana to damage as fast as possible. So in the next patch it goes up to 50% which is quite a boost. Similarly, while sporting Mage Armor in 3.1, you can easily have 100% of your mana regeneration while in combat which is a huge boost. However, losing a straight 3% crit (5% if using the glyph) from Molten Armor, is a huge loss. From most of the arcane theorycrafting I've seen, molten armor is the preferred armor over mage armor unless you're having mana issues. As for the Arcane Blast change, that's meant for PvP, so I'll ignore it.


* Burnout - Now increases your spell critical damage bonus with all spells. Changed from only Fire spells.
* Pyromaniac - Now allows 17/33/50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting. Up from 10/20/30%.
* Fiery Payback - Now also melee and ranged attacks made against the target have a 5/10% chance to disarm your attacker's main hand and ranged weapons.
* Impact - Gives your damaging spells a 4/7/10% chance to cause the next Fire Blast you cast to stun the target for 2 sec.
* Ignite: The damage done by this talent no longer receives modifications from effects that increase or decrease damage done by a percentage.
* Improved Scorch: Increased critical strike chance is now 1%, down from 2% per application of the Improved Scorch effect.
* Molten Armor now causes 170 Fire damage when hit for all ranks (Up from 75/130/170) and also increases your critical strike rating by 25% of your spirit.

Burnout now affecting all spells seems like a huge boost, but it's so far down the fire tree, that it's only going to be applicable to fire/frostfire mages. So giving me an extra 50% bonus damage to all spells is nice for when I'm casting Blizzards, I don't see how it will affect my damage much. Fiery Payback and Impact are PvP skills so I won't touch on them. The Ignite change seems like a significant nerf, but I have no numbers to back it up. When you Ignite a target, you get a bonus of 40% more damage. This is usually positively affected by spells like Curse of Elements so we lose some extra damage in certain situations.

The improved scorch nerf really will hurt us though. Previously, we could easily stack 5 scorch debuffs on the target and gain 10% extra crit chance. With a crit modifier of 230% for frostfire bolts, we gained a lot of extra damage from this 10% extra crit. In the next patch, it will be just 5% extra crit. It appears that a warlock's Incinerate spell, when glyphed will add a 5% crit debuff to the target, so stacking scorch and incinerate will get us back to a 10% crit bonus, but that forces 10 mans to run with a warlock if they want to get that full 10% crit bonus that applies raid-wide. This is a tough nerf to handle and I'm not liking it one bit.

Previously, Molten Armor gave a 3% (5% glyphed) extra crit chance. With the change in the next patch, it goes to 25% of spirit. Right now my spirit is 374. 25% is 93.5. 93.5 crit = 2% extra crit. So I effectively lose 3% crit chance. That sucks. Combined with the improved scorch nerf, I'm losing 8% crit. No thank you.


* Improved Water Elemental - Increases the duration of your Summon Water Elemental spell by 5/10/15 sec and your Frostbolt spell has a 33/66/100% chance to grant the Replenishment effect to up to 10 party or raid members mana regeneration equal to 0.25% of their maximum mana per second for 15 sec.
* Winter’s Chill: Increased critical strike chance is now 1%, down from 2% per application of Winter’s Chill.

The frost changes have a change to the water elemental, which is not used in PvE that often, and the same Winter's Chill nerf that Improved Scorch received.

There's also some glyph changes, but I can go over those in another post. Nothing too big there. But in the end, it will be interesting to see how the mana regen changes work themselves out. And we'll see how the crit nerfs hurt our DPS. If you look at the changes that are announced daily, there's quite obviously many more changes to every other class and it seems as if mages are getting the short end of the stick. We have very few (if any) buffs, but instead, a couple of nerfs. With the mana changes, I can't see arcane staying atop the charts (and I unfortunately haven't had the time to track all the changes at Elitist Jerks). I think we'll just have to do the standard wait and see approach to figure out how all these changes will affect us. In the end, it seems like a slight nerf.

Mar 19, 2009

Achievement 500 is...

Nothing I was expecting! So I figured it'd be Make Quick Werk of Him, but that was #501. Number 500 was...drumroll please...

The Dedicated Few!

Achievement 500
We finished off just the plague quarter after already doing the rest of Naxx with just 8 a long time ago, so I now sit at 502 achievements since, although we didn't get The Undying, I did get my Wooly Mammoth after Naxx with my 201 emblems.

After that, I ventured over to Sholazar Basin and switched from the Oracles to the Frenzyheart (after picking up another Mysterious Egg of course).

So, now that that's done, I need to focus on my UI and get rid of these small bars under Scorchio - what are they?? I can't figure out what addon has placed them there.

What are these bars?

Wow, Tier 8 Bonuses

# 2Piece Bonus -- Your Arcane Blast, Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt, and Fireball spells have a chance to grant you 350 spell power for 15 sec.
# 4Piece Bonus -- You have a chance for the effect of your Missile Barrage, Hot Streak, or Brain Freeze talent not to be consumed when you cast the spells which benefit.

Both of those are pretty amazing. The 2 piece bonus might be better than the two piece Tier 7 bonus, assuming it procs more often than you can use your mana gems (every 2 minutes). However, with the mana regen nerfs incoming with the next patch, losing the 40% mana gem bonus might be tough. Optimally, I'd like to hold on to two pieces of Tier 7.5 and get the two piece Tier 8 bonus as well.

As for the four piece bonus, thinking about it, it might not be as spectacular as I first thought. Given Hot Streak is a very temperamental proc, and given that the effect only has a "chance" to proc, you might, at best get a free pyroblast every couple minutes. I think a 5% bonus crit damage bonus is a little better, even though I'm not running with it right now since I'm still missing the
Valorous Frostfire Robe. From what I've heard, the four piece Valorous set with Gothik's Cowl is the way to go (yet that head piece refuses to drop as well...

That Cowl, along with one of two weapon upgrades I'm desperately searching for provide me with the best DPS upgrades at the current point. Here's hoping I can find one of them this Friday...

Mar 17, 2009

Achievement #500

Now that I'm at 499, there's very few achievements that could be #500.

In order of possibility of being #500:

If we don't beat Patch in 3 minutes, we can still go for The Undying. If we don't get The Undying, I'll have enough badges after Thursday's run to pick up my mammoth.

What to do with No Progress?

Last night, I joined a raid that is a hodge-podge of groups and we went to Malygos with the intention of bringing down Sartharion with two drakes afterward. So after we took down Malygos in a few tries, we went over to Sartharion. We had a couple of players that hadn't seen the fight with one drake, let alone two, so we introduced them in the easiest way possible - threw them into the fire - quite literally. After multiple wipes with healers dying in blue circles or flame walls, we almost got the first drake down. But it never happened. That first drake never went down. We kept having a tank get thrown into the lava or a healer get hit by a tail swipe or the whelps would go crazy and take out DPS.

After a while, what are you to do? How many shots do you take at two drakes without any improvement before moving on and just doing one drake?

On one hand, I understand the raid leader wanting to do two drakes. We can do one without an issue it seems, so two should be a good challenge. However, when you have a healer who dies in the following manner: blue circle, flame wall, blue circle, flame wall, sartharion, flame wall, how can you continue? I think at some point you have to tell that person to shape up or not come. There's no room for error on two drakes, let alone three drakes. So if you have players who consistently make mistakes, they need to leave the raid for the rest of the raid to progress.

At one point though, you just need to call it. We spent two hours banging our heads against a wall, making no progress. I guess that's the limit of most sane people. I'm not sure how much more I could have taken. This after an hour spent on forming up for Malygos, killing Malygos, and then forming up for Sartharion. Three hours for Malygos and Sartharion + 1 drake is insane. However, good came of it.

First, I got achievement #499. Due to people not picking up the hover disks properly, I hopped on one and picked up Heroic: Denyin' the Scion. But the best part of the night was finally taking down Sartharion and getting the Illustration of the Dragon Soul. It's the best in slot trinket for us mages, and after seeing the first three go to healers (who benefit from it, but not nearly as much as DPS benefit from it), I was happy to finally get my hands on it. I now have the top two trinkets for mages in the Illustration and Embrace of the Spider. One day I'll get my T7.5 gloves from Sarth...