May 23, 2009

A Busy Day

After spending most of the day running around various locations such as Tanaris, the Hinterlands, Winterspring, and Hellfire Peninsula, I had the ore and bars necessary I thought to power level engineering to 375. Unfortunately, I underestimated the materials necessary to build a couple of items I wanted, so I did end up spending about 150g on the auction house, but in the end, I got to 375 engineering and I have my Flying Machine and my Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, mounts #78 and #79.

I then quickly ran into Gnomeregan, got the Pet Bombling schematic on my first kill and quickly made my very own Pet Bombling, for pet #103.

Not content to sit at 79 mounts, I made my way back up to the Argent Tournament, spent my last gold and 5 champions seals, and bought a Swift Brown Steed for mount #80! 20 to go. 8 more Argent Tourney mounts, 2 tailoring mounts (I'm taking up tailoring when I drop engineering), and 5 PvP mounts (who knows when I'll ever have time to get all those marks), and I'm still 5 mounts short of 100. 100 is still probably pretty unobtainable for me at the current time. Kudos to those that have their 100 mounts. That's quite an achievement.

Speaking of achievements, I got one last night during our 25 man Ulduar run. Even though we only took down three bosses (we were down a main tank, an off-tank, and healing was a bit on the weak side), I managed to sneak in Take Out Those Turrets. I was hoping to make it back to a demolisher to get Three Car Garage, but even though a chopper was there to pick me up, I was covered in siege engines and couldn't make the transition. Oh well, next week!

May 21, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, after a frustrating start to the night running into massive issues with Hodir, finally switching to four! healers on our tenth! attempt, we got him down. After Hodir, we quickly transitioned to Thorim and proceeded to take three attempts to learn his trash and take him down on the fourth try. I was actually a little disappointed with Thorim. Yes, it took us three attempts to learn his gauntlet and arena, but once you get that down, he's a pushover. Well, on to Mimiron next week! We'll get him.

P.S. Pushing the Mimiron button doesn't just activate a timer as we found out as we were about to leave Ulduar for the night. At least it provided a bit of levity as we all were annoyed with the repeated Hodir attempts (especially after we three-shotted him last week with three healers).

On a bright note, I am getting really good at picking up Hodir buffs as I earned Staying Buffed All Winter and as we took down Thorim, we all got I'll Take You All On. Last night, on the third of the Freya elders, I also earned (finally) Got My Mind on My Money (10,000). Just 15,000 more gold to go.

Concerning DPS

The wonderful gnome mage blog, Gnomeaggedon asked, When is your DPS too low? Now while I won't go into exact numbers, he brings up some questions in the article I'll take a stab at.

How/against whom do you measure it?

As a mage I measure my DPS against everyone in the raid. Traditionally, us mages have been at, or near the top of DPS meters. There's no reason why we shouldn't be above any other class. Recently, the developers have stated that the "pure DPS" classes, rogues, mages, hunters, and warlocks should all be about equal atop the damage meters. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case for quite a long time. I keep up on all the recent theorycrafting and I have the optimal spec with the right gems and the right amount of hit rating and all the best enchants and yet, there's little I can do against a rogue these days.

Similarly, feral druids can consistently out DPS me if they know what they're doing which is quite confusing since these "hybrid DPS" classes should not be able to out DPS any pure DPS class. At the present time, I'm pretty confused as to the state of mages in the game as there are many other classes with the ability to out DPS mages, though you always have to be careful as you go from fight to fight.

What fights are acceptable measuring posts?

I think what you're looking for here is the single target, limited movement, pure DPS races. Or, in other words, Patchwerk. There's no movement, there's no threat ceiling to worry about if you have competent tanks and you can go all out to the best of your ability. On our final few Naxx25 runs, I was always in the top 3 or 5 depending on RNG of crits, but still, it's quite disconcerting to see feral druids top you and know there's nothing you can do to top them because your gear just isn't dropping like you had hoped (again, it comes back to RNG).

Trash I throw out. Each pull is so vastly different that you can't ever measure DPS from trash. In Naxxramas, it was pure AOE, in Ulduar, you have sheeps, you have spell stealing, you have to bunch up and get interrupted, so trash is never a way to measure DPS in my opinion. Similarly, because there's trash in a full run, you can't measure it there either.

So what do you use as a measuring post? I'm finding in Ulduar, there is no answer. In the end, it comes down to raid utility. Are you properly decursing if necessary? Are you killing the trees on Freya or breaking the ice blocks on Thorim? Are you targeting the right mob and giving it your full DPS or are you AOE'ing when you shouldn't be or hitting Freya when she's healing each tick?

What can you do?

I pretty much agree with my fellow gnome here. Stay alive, burn every cooldown you have whenever you can (and if you're using a mana intensive spec, know when to use evocation (at the end of a heroism or icy veins)), and play around with dual specs.

If you're not alive, you can't do any damage. If you can't stay alive, you're leaving decursing to either another mage or a druid who should be healing. If you're dead, you might hope for a druid to pick you up, but it's not likely. If you're a Frostfire mage, you have multiple cooldowns to use. You've got your mana gems, icy veins, combustion (if talented), and mirror images (if they can stay alive, it's worth using the global cooldown). So you just need to essentially use them every time they're up, except under certain conditions. For example, I find that my mana gem and Icy Veins cooldowns are quite similar and it's optimal to use these two together. Why get hasted frostfire bolts if you can get hasted frostfire bolts with extra spellpower? If you just have to wait 10 seconds to line these two up, I think it's worth it (though I have no theorycraft to back that up). Similarly, if you have Molten Fury and your target is at 37% when Icy Veins is available, wait a couple seconds until you're under 35% and you can do 12% more hasted damage.

What do you do in the end?

When all is said and done, if your group takes the boss down, you've been successful. In the end, while I look at the DPS meters and sometimes some idiot (usually the person leading the meters) will link them for the raid to see, they're worthless. Congrats, you were able to stand on the boss and DPS longer than me. On XT-002, while you were there getting in your optimal rotation, I was AOE'ing the trash from the scrap piles down. Without me, you wouldn't have killed the boss. While you were sitting on Freya during her final phase doing insane DPS, I was switching to the trees to prevent her from healing and hitting the enrage timer. While you were sitting in one place on Kologarn DPSing the hand and torso at the same time, I was hitting only the hand, AOE'ing the rubble, AND running away from eye beams. In the end, meters mean nothing. As long as you contributed damage and the group took down the boss, you are a success.

The original post was "When is your DPS too low?" Well, while there definitely is a low end, as long as you continually work on improving your DPS, your raid shouldn't have an issue with you. If you're running heroics on off raid nights to get gear that will help your DPS and doing dailies to buy materials for the enchants needed to maximize your DPS and contributing to boss kills on a consistent basis, what do they have to complain about? Maybe your rotation could be tweaked, that's why it's always good to have someone else to bounce ideas off of. Maybe your gemming could be improved - ask your fellow raiders to take a look. While I always try and do the best DPS and/or damage on each and every fight, it's a sad fact these days that mages are not going to be at the top of the meters, but when you look at all the utility we bring to a raid, that's fine with me (well maybe it's not...but...).

So maybe I've been rambling about DPS, maybe my points aren't the most well laid out here, but essentially I just wish people would stop obsessing about DPS and stop trying to top the meters at the cost of others in the raid. If all you care about is DPS on a single target when you could have been better utilized on adds or could have been decursing or sapping or sleeping, then you're not giving it your all.

May 19, 2009

Quick Updates

Today I got my Murkimus the Gladiator. He is amazing. That makes 101 pets. I also bought a couple of mounts, including the Turbostrider, bringing my count to 77 mounts. Still a long way to go to 100. Including the 8 remaining Argent Tourney faction pets plus the Argent Hippogryph, I'm at 86. Still a bit tough to hit 100...