Archive for March, 2011

Topics of the Week #13

With 4.1 coming closer to fruition, lets do a deep dive into some of the upcoming game changes. Kitty discussion to come in a following post.

Firelands Raid Delayed

Quote from Blizzard (Source)

The decision to move Firlands to 4.2 was also motivated by a desire to move away from the “monolithic” content patches World of Warcraft has received recently, towards smaller updates, Brack said.

“Patch 4.1 provides our players with access to the completely redesigned Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub five-player dungeons, where they’ll be able to experience challenging encounters featuring all-new boss mechanics, obtain updated epic-level loot, and possibly acquire rare mounts.

“One of our long-standing development goals is to release regular content updates for the community to enjoy. These updates are generally focused on introducing specific content, like a new raid or new gameplay features.

“Our plan is to package these features into smaller content updates and to release them as soon as possible, rather than wait and release larger updates more infrequently.

“The previously announced Firelands raid will be part of content update 4.2 which should come soon after 4.1.

Heres the problem with this concept, sure you can make small releases of content to keep the general public happy however it can also be perceived as filler content. ZG/ZA will do nothing for raiding guilds and really is a way to supplement people who dont have access to raid gear. This is the same issue as when Onyxia (and to a lesser extent TOC) was released. Sure it helped a lot of casual players and a lot of alts but it really was not worth doing for anyone who participated in raids. I guess this is one of those things that benefit the mass vs the few so its probably in the best interest of majority of players.

Return of Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman

Quote from Blizzard (Source)

The Gurubashi Tribe Persists

Originally a 20-player dungeon released in patch 1.7, Zul’Gurub will once again open its gates, featuring updated lore, all-new encounters, achievements, and improved loot! Zul’Gurub is now a level-85 five-player Heroic difficulty dungeon. To provide a new tier above the current Cataclysm dungeons, players can expect to find epic-quality item level 353 loot. The minimum average item level to enter this Heroic dungeon is 346.

The Return of Zul’Aman

Ever a player favorite, the level-70 ten-player dungeon of Zul’Aman is being reintroduced as a level-85 Heroic five-player dungeon. Zul’Aman will join Zul’Gurub in a new Dungeon Finder tier of Heroic dungeons, providing epic-quality item level 353 loot. The minimum average item level to enter this Heroic dungeon is also 346. While Zul’Aman will be more of a throwback to the original dungeon featuring many of the same encounters, players can expect to find some updated gameplay mechanics, as well as new environment textures and lighting.

With the Zuls returning, you may be wondering about the unique mounts that were once contained therein. We’re pleased to announce that new versions of the rare raptor, tiger, and bear mounts will be available, while the old versions of these mounts will remain unique to those who already have them. We’ll reveal more about how these updated mounts can be obtained in the future.

The new loot table for ZG/ZA can be found here. My beef with this is why keep reintroducing old mounts (Raptor/Tiger/Warbear) when you say they are removed for good. People spent lots of time farming these mounts putting time in to make sure they obtained it before it was removed. I’m not trying to be elitist, in fact if that is the policy is to remove it all then so be it but keep it consistent. Black/Plagued proto drakes were removed very early and if you’re going to bring back the tiger/raptor AND the warbear, then I for one would love to get my Black Proto Drake. Even if it is a rehashed colour scheme, I completed Glory of the Raider (25 Player) so I don’t see any reason why it can be reintroduced. Lets keep the theme consistent one way or another.

Quality of Play Improvements

Interestingly enough, there are quite a few improvements to gameplay that will affect everyone. They’re really not game breaking but they do make things a lot easier for players in general.

  • All major cities will now have every type of profession trainer and their associated trade supply vendors.
  • The Dungeon Finder now attempts to avoid putting damage-dealing classes with the same armor type in a group. (Source)
  • It is an issue we’re aware of and having been looking into. We’ve applied a number of hotfixes to phased gathering nodes since the release of Cataclysm, but this one is still there and is certainly a bugger. (Source)
  • Daily dungeons will be changed to weekly dungeon caps (Source)
  • Updated old school TBC maps (Source, Source)
  • All trade goods available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors have had their prices reduced by 50%.
  • Maelstrom Crystals are now available for purchase with Honor or Justice Points from the associated commodities vendors.

Maelstrom prices will be bottoming up in the very near future. If you have some spare ones, its a good time to sell now before you miss out on the oppourtunity.

I think the best improvement of all is the change from Daily to Weekly dungeons. That gives players a lot more flexibility to run multiple dungeons a day instead of being forced to logon everyday to try and cap your Valor Points. Having to logon everyday to try and cap VP/Guild XP is a ridiculous concept which I covered previously in a prior post, which leads to the next update…

Guild Experience Changes

  • The amount of guild experience rewarded for rated Battleground guild group wins has been dramatically increased.
  • Players are now rewarded guild experience for Honorable Kills in the field.
  • Players are now rewarded guild experience for Battleground wins in Battleground brackets up to level 80.
  • Arena teams are now awarded guild experience for wins. The entire team must be members of the same guild to earn this experience.

Finally, new ways to cap guild XP.  But in typical Blizzard fashion, too little too late. If you are a small raiding guild you’re probably only logging in to raid twice a week at this point which means you cap 2 days of the week. Whereas large monstrosity guilds that have 500 players that are full of people that don’t interact with each other but run dungeons nonstop for their mains/alts are capping on a daily basis. The whole concept of Guild Perks/Leveling was to bring your guild closer, yet all its done is make it more beneficial to be in the biggest guild you can possibly find with little regard for who’s in it.

Guild Transfer & Guild Rename Services Coming

Originally Posted by Nethaera (Source)

We want to give everyone an early heads-up regarding our plan to implement a guild relocation service for World of Warcraft. The idea is for a guild leader to be able to transfer a guild to another realm. The guild structure remains intact, including the guild leader, guild bank, ranks, and guild name (depending on availability).

Guild members who decide to relocate with their guild may initiate their own paid character transfer. Upon a successful transfer they will automatically be part of the guild when they first log into the new realm. Their guild rank and guild reputation will be intact.

Guild leaders who do not want a change of scenery may also choose to pick a new guild name using another new service. These services are in development and we will be providing additional details at a future point in time.

As with all of the features and services we offer, we intend to incorporate the guild relocation service in a way that will not disrupt the game play experience. Please note that this feature will require extensive internal testing, so you may see bits and pieces of the service appear on the public test realms. We’ll announce further details at http://www.WorldofWarcraft.com.

This is a very very interesting concept and probably a very worthwhile concept. With the changes to how guilds work (perks, bonuses) it would be god awful to transfer a server and have to regrind everything which essentially takes months if not a whole year. For us being on such a small low pop server there is always a thought in the back of our minds to consider a server transfer and this is definitely a worthwhile consideration. Looking forward to seeing what the cost is as well as what sort of restrictions (if any) there will be.

20th Anniversary for Blizzard

I don’t know about most of you readers out there but the reason why I started playing WOW was because of Blizzard and its history of amazing games. I had never even tried an MMO before so it really speaks to my firm trust in Blizzards ability to churn out good games. WC1, WC2, WC3, SC1, D1, D2, WOW, SC2 I own them all and I’ve enjoyed all of them. Granted, none of them have held my interest as long as WOW but I am definitely looking forward to D3 and their next gen MMO whenever they are ready.

A website dedicated to the anniversary has been put up which can be found here.

Kitty PVP Gear Basics

As promised, I wanted to cover some of the basics of Feral PVP, starting with gear selections. I know a lot of people prefer to get a suitable set of gear before they even step into Arenas so this seems like the logical place to start.

Basic Concepts

There are several things that you need to keep in mind when gearing your toon for PVP. However unlike PVE there is no set in stone method to approach PVP gear selection. In Cata (as discussed previously) you almost have no choice in the matter with many slots only having one possible option. PVP however is different in that there is choice on gear slots but also choice as to whether you wish to wear PVP or PVE gear in some slots (more on this later).

If we break it down, we can probably summarize into a few basic principles:

  1. How much Resilience should one wear?
  2. Carrying enough Spell Penetration
  3. Carrying enough Hit

Resilience:

This is very much a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer. (Hold on this is really vague Rarren) Well ya sorry, I can’t answer this for you. There are so many variables that directly impact how much you may want to use. Just to list a few:

  • 2’s vs 3’s vs 5’s arena
  • double dps vs healer/dps (in 2’s)
  • what comps you’re facing
  • how you deal with pressure
  • whether you get focused more than your partner(s)

All these things contribute to how much you may need to wear. Bottom line is the more you wear the more survivability you will have but at the same time, the less output you can produce. Essentially wearing less resilience can be rephrased as “how much can you cheat without getting burned regularly”.

Spell Penetration

Spell pen is the statistic that reduces your target’s resistance to your spells and is purely a PVP stat. It will only work on targets that have resistance (natural or via buffs) and has no effect if your target has no resistance. A good example of how this affects druids is nature resistance to Cyclone. If your target has mark or has other resistance buffs, it will lessen the chance that your Cyclone will land. The new cap for Spell Penetration in Cataclysm is now 195 and can be attained via enchants & gems.

Hit

Completely the opposite of PVE, hit is an important statistic that must be capped in PVP. You don’t have the luxury of missing as every hit counts and missing an interrupt could mean and win or loss. The hit cap for PVP would be the amount of hit required to hit a normal level 85 target which is 5%. Hit can be obtained from gear as well as enchants/gems & reforging so there is plenty of choice in terms of where your hit is obtained from.


Gear Selection

For the purpose of gear discussion, I will use the epic (365) version of PVP gear, however it the suffix is the same on blue (346) PVP gear. Below is a listing of the available PVP items to feral kitties:

Helm: Vicious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm
Neck: Vicious Gladiator’s Necklace of Proficiency/Vicious Gladiator’s Necklace of Prowess (Exp or Mastery)
Shoulders: Vicious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders
Cloak: Vicious Gladiator’s Cape of Cruelty/Vicious Gladiator’s Cape of Prowess (Crit or Mastery)
Chest: Vicious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes
Bracers: Vicious Gladiator’s Armwarps of Accuracy/Vicious Gladiator’s Armwraps of Alacrity (Hit or Haste)
Gloves: Vicious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Gloves
Waist: Vicious Gladiator’s Waistband of Accruacy/Vicious Gladiator’s Waistband of Cruelty (Hit or Crit)
Leggings: Vicious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Legguards
Boots:  Vicious Gladiator’s Boots of Alacrity/Vicious Gladiator’s Boots of Cruelty (Haste or Crit)
Rings:  Vicious Gladiator’s Ring of Accuracy/Vicious Gladiator’s Ring of Cruelty (Hit or Crit)
Trinkets:  More on this below
Weapon: Vicious Gladiator’s Pike/Vicious Gladiator’s Staff
Relic: Vicious Gladiator’s Relic of Triumph
Merging a bit of the basic discussion we had earlier with some basic feral stat priorities (discussed in previous posts), we can come to the following conclusions.

Hit > Mastery/Crit > Haste > Expertise

Why you may ask? Well as mentioned above, Hit is absolutely critical in PVP as you cant afford to miss and wait for dots to be applied later. Mastery/Crit as like in PVE are very desirable. Personally I prefer Mastery over Crit as once dots are applied they will hit harder, you don’t necessary know how long you will be able to hit a target before you are CC’ed off so the harder your dots hit the better. Haste/Expertise need little explanation as their value in PVE is minimal. So, with the prioritization scheme we can now decide that the suffix priority should be Accuracy > Prowess > Cruelty

Finally, and most importantly weapon choice. In short, yes the items are exactly the same, its just a matter of whether you prefer the look of the Staff or Pike. Personally? Pike Wins.


Trinket Selection

Like PVE, there are a lot of choices for trinkets and it is very much a playstyle choice. More DPS or More Survivability? All together you have the option of mixing and matching 11 different trinkets together. Naturally you must get at least one of the trinkets that removes all impairing abilities (or “trinket” as we all call it). That means you will have to take at least PVP #1 (Medallion of Tenactiy) or PVP #3 (Medallion of Cruelty). The 2nd trinket however is up to you. Personally, I’ve been using Essence of Cyclone but thats because I have the ilv 372 version, however I have been contemplating picking up PVP #6 for more survivability but keeping the up front burst.

Keep in mind that the below listing is not listed in any specific order.

  1. Vicious Gladiator’s Medallion of Tenacity (+340 Resil / Trinket)
  2. Vicious Gladiator’s Insignia of Conquest (+340 Resil / +963 Agil 20s)
  3. Vicious Gladiator’s Medallion of Cruelty (+340 Crit / Trinket)
  4. Vicious Gladiator’s Emblem of Tenacity (+340 Resil / +16169 HP 15s)
  5. Vicious Gladiator’s Emblem of Cruelty (+340 Crit / +16169 HP 15s)
  6. Vicious Gladiators Badge of Conquest (+340 Resil / +1605 Agil 20s)
  1. Fluid Death (+321 Hit / Agility Proc)
  2. Essence of Cyclone (+321 Agility / Crit Proc)
  3. Prestor’s Talisman of Machination (+321 Agility / Haste Proc)
  4. Unsolvable Riddle (+321 Mastery / Agility Proc)
  5. Unheeded Warning (+321 Agility / White Dmg Proc)

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed that I don’t carry any PVE gear in my current PVP setup. If you’re very astute you may have noticed in Season 8 I wore quite a bit of PVE gear (Pants/Ring & Val’anyr). That was because I knew what my survivability was like as a resto druid and I knew I could cheat and get away with having more healing while keeping myself (and my partners) alive. As feral its a very different ballgame especially since I’m playing double dps in 2’s only currently. Survivability is king and the most important when you have nobody to heal you. This is what I mean by its really up to you how much resil you wear. If I were playing healer/dps in 2’s I would probably put more PVE gear on knowing that I would be healed. Or once I start playing 3’s that will probably change as well. Most importantly, your set of gear should never stay the same no matter what comp. If you run into a comp that counters (gives you difficulty) then maybe you should put more resilience on to deal with it. That’s the really intersting thing about PVP as there really is never a set of gear you are finalized on its always changing depending on what you play and encounter.

Up Next: PVP Gemming, Enchanting & Reforging


I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

About Me

A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

For any questions or concerns contact me via comments or e-mail

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Mimiron's Head
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Amani War Bear
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Master Builder's Shirt
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Commander
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Tabard of the Lightbringer

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