Yeah, it’s been a while, but I have ideas floating around.
After discussion with Catulla & Cynwise on how to destro, I was describing how I think the various warlock specs play across their spell toolkits.
In short: Affliction tends to divide based on how long the target takes to die (aka, health pool). Demonology depends on the number of targets available. Destruction plays across not only how many targets are available but how they are spread in the field of play.
I described destro as having a unique toolkit across all the number-differentiations of mobs: single target, dual (2 targets), multitarget (3+ not necessarily clumped), cleave (tight clump around central target), and area of effect (loose clump within a target circle). As contrast, affliction and demonology both have single target toolkits and AoE/cleave toolkits, with the middling “multitarget but not AoE/cleave” being simply the single target toolkits on multiple mobs (aka multidotting).
Destro is unique because it ports its single target spells to nearly all of the target number situations, and it also differentiates between cleave and area of effect (though destro’s cleave methods and AoE methods do overlap in use quite often). Cynwise pointed out that you can almost think of Fire and Brimstone (FnB) as a stance, a la Metamorphosis. I agree, especially now that FnB is a toggle rather than an outright spender.
Cat then asked if I could provide an example for each type for destro. So I sketched out destro’s spells according to how you differentiate multitarget and single target toolkits. Someone else asked for affliction after I posted the destro spread, so I did affliction and demonology as well. I’m probably rusty on the demo one, though; it’s based off what I remember using in Throne of Thunder, particularly on Lei Shen.
I was Frapsing myself trying to solo things on the Timeless Isle, just talking randomly through stuff with the examples I find on the Isle (mainly Kilnmasters as being good Havoc examples and Chanters being good RoF-as-aggro examples). I thought about making these spread notes into a video with examples of mobs in-game in soloable places (read: Isle of Giants, Isle of Thunder, Timeless Isle — the Isles are really good for practice), so maybe newer warlocks can see how to practice on their own.
(It’s also pretty general knowledge on how to approach world mobs and instance trash packs, which leads to figuring out which spec might perform best on an encounter without having pulled much on a boss. It’s only warlock-specific in using the warlock spells.)
I’ve ground out exalted Emperor Shaohao rep relearning (& re-enjoying) destruction, and I previously ground out my Bone White Raptor on the Isle of Giants when I learned demonology for tier 15. I do believe there are plenty of practice examples for players out there in dailies or general max-level world content for the various specs and minor tricks. Video editing allows for me to put a static slide of a spell toolkit (or major chunk of spell chunks), and then demonstrate it with footage of a quest mob or elite.
I’m not sure if that idea is too ambitious or if it’s even useful at all for players.
Originally, I envisioned this long series going step by step through a warlock parse — well, three of them, since there’s the three specs — and it would make everything super-clear. Then I realized that would soon be outdated if major mechanics were changed in patches. Although warlocks were totally reworked for Mists of Pandaria’s launch and we haven’t seen anything spec-breakingly change yet, it could happen later down the expansion road.
So instead I started to write a How To Read World of Logs series, with both veteran warlocks and raid leaders in mind, just with a warlock/caster DPS’s focus and examples. It is still the warlock class column, after all, but you might have noticed there aren’t many class columns still regularly active on WoW Insider. Blood Pact is really the only ranged DPS one left at the moment (sometimes there’s a hunter column every once in a bit). So I’m not bothered if something I write turns out to apply to most DPS in general — what helps people, helps people. Plus, not only are warlocks reading my columns, but warlock alts who might not know everything yet (especially with the MoP revamp).
Hopefully, these posts will help you decipher a log parse for a warlock in future patches, not just this one. There might be a few details to change, but I would prefer to teach method and a little common sense rather than to have you all come back patch after patch. The latter might be better for business, but I don’t think it would be better in the long run for your game play. Yeah, I do get paid to write a column, but I would prefer to help other warlocks learn and love the class.
So here’s the series, just five posts, though they total 7742 words, and only the Introduction is actually under the 1500-word limit! They’re all summed up in the last post anyway, but here it is again:
- Introduction: types of warlocks, pets, and rankings 101
- Graphs & Tables: Analyze Damage Done, Player details, Damage done by spell
- Buffs & Debuffs: what is says + favorable stats from procs
- Combat log kung fu: digging into the expression editor/combat log with two warlock examples
- CompareBot: using CompareBot (part of RaidBots) to compare WoL tables for 2-3 warlocks
Unfortunately, as @snack_road pointed out to me, it’s possible what I’m trying to do isn’t going to work in the 1500-wd per week column format. Five posts is bordering on too long; on a regular blog that would be something like a week or two (a post every day? every other day?), but on WI it’s over a month of the same flipping topic. So before I try to do a SimulationCraft series, I want to write it out first (at least, most of it), and then try to present it in less than a month. It might be insane to try, but you never know, it might work.
I realized one problem with my quality too late in the writing of the series — I was writing it one post at a time. I think if I had written it all out ahead of time, maybe I could have grouped it together a little better. Did I really need the rankings in the 101 post? Probably not. Should I have instead gone over what specs tend to crop up on what fights? Maybe.
The last post for WoL was going to be a DPSBot/Rankings population comparison, because ranking can really be misleading sometimes. If you play demonology on Horridon, you’ll likely rank because hardly anyone plays it on Horridon, but if you play destruction, you’ll need to be actually good to rank. I also hadn’t done much of the spreadsheeting to compare the RaidBots to WoL ranking DPS limits, and then Cynwise posted his Class Distribution Data for Patch 5.3. So I realized, I ought to look at this over an entire tier (sayyyyyy Throne of Thunder), and then I could show things like how a class changes over a tier, since as we get more in stat budget, the order of top DPS naturally shifts a bit.
Maybe you’re figured this out already, but I’m usually experimenting with format or topic in one way or another when I post a Blood Pact to pending. So far, the more I experiment, the better I get and also the more fun I have, so I’m going to keep doing it. Some people might not agree with how I’ve been doing the column compared to past writers. But after a year I finally realized it’s better in the long run to go do my thing the way I want to rather than trying to please all the critics all the time. It’s exhausting trying to be “correct” about everything all the time, and it’s much more relaxing and really exciting to just be in a discussion with other people. So I’m trying to provide discussion jumping-off points for topics rather than trying to list out what you should be doing this patch.
I’m still working on how to get lots of specific details on “heavy” topics like SimC or WoL into that 1500-wd space, but even the “lighter” topics like stories or soloing are meant to inspire rather than dictate. Hopefully it all works in the end. As always, if you have any ideas or topics you want me to explore (or any screenshots to show!), you can always send them to me: megan at wowinsider dot com.
Look. I’m not on Medivh primarily. Sure, I have an alt in Waypoint because they are awesome, but my established characters are over on Elune. And I like raiding over there on Elune.
My problem is I also like to write. Or, at least I did. I haven’t in a while. I keep telling myself that I don’t have enough time, that when I move to a solo apartment I’ll have my creative space, that I’ll just finish this one thing and leave this note here and then I’ll get back into it (but I never do).
So I’m jealous of the Waypoint crew. They have fun RP stuff that goes on (even though they only joke about being an RP guild) that I would love to get in on.
But I’m not on their server, and cross-realm parties only go so far. (For one, we’d have to be online at the same time, and usually that time I’m raiding or otherwise working. Sadface.)
But then their Tumblr account posted this and Cynwise posted this in response. I said something on Twitter about wanting to write a little something, and Snack said “do iiiiiiit, it’s a lot of fun.” I don’t want to butt in unexpectedly or godmode or whatever, so here’s just a little fic for the Waypoint folks featuring Poneria the warlock (and also a little of Machairi the nelf rogue).
Sorry for the … uh what shall we call this. I don’t want want to say this blog is dead, though it rather was for a while. When your warlock blog becomes a series of writing rants or posts about how your guild is recruiting, it might fit the bill of mostly dead. It’s not all-dead, because there’s only one thing you can do with all-dead.
Speaking of recruiting, my guild is 5/12 N on 25-man as of last night. We finished off T14 as 4/16 25H. We’re a bit full at the moment, though being full never lasts for long. At this point I think we’re looking for an awesome mage or warlock to fill it out. We’re trying to add a third night to our 25man schedule, so being able to raid at least 2 of 3 nights — Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday — is something you need to be able to do. Preferably a Sunday night since that’s the added day and our raiders are already used to showing up for W & Th.
I should update our kill pictures and other things on my guild page, but I have other things I’m doing. Have a screenshot.
Back to the blog.
Writing Blood Pact basically just meant that everything I wanted to talk about warlock-wise went there. For one, it’s paid over there and not over here, but for two, I also felt a little guilty if I wanted to take a topic over here, even if I thought it was too long/big to discuss over there. I just kept telling myself that it was writing practice, to work on my tendency to filling space with needless words.
But, writing for Blood Pact is highly public, and since I am The Warlock Columnist with all the capital letters of importance, any misstep I make is blown out of (or just into bigger) proportion instead of what happens when a random blogger missteps in her own corner of the internet. There’s not much room to learn, unless I try to do it with the creative side instead of with the actual facts.
Also, hi, I’ve been the warlock columnist at WoW Insider for a year now and I haven’t died yet. Go me. Insert joke about knocking on a tree druid without somehow sounding perverse.
Moving on, I’m trying to learn from my lessons there. I’m going to explore doing fun projects or topics, researching before I write this time, and then trying to not sound/read like a school paper summary on the topic. But to support that, I need space to muse and go in the wrong directions of the maze despite all the hate the internet gives you when you dare to do something suboptimally. Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Well, OK, you can read textbooks all you want and do experiments by yourself, but I think you get more out of learning when you do it with someone else, conversing about it.
Doing my own little projects is a thing I having really done since high school. Oddly enough, my depression and anxiety issues really started get in my way around then, too. Maybe coincidence — I’m sure I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should now that I’m on my own and have no parents to schedule things for me. But I have found myself less angry and less agitated in general when I create outside of pure research writing, which is what most of Blood Pact and boss guides for the guild have been. When I creatively write, whether fiction or poetry, or when I draw or when I try to organize gear or strategies or transmogs together, then I seem to find my inner peace more often.
So I’m going to go in that direction and hope it takes me closer to my mountain. I feel like I don’t know where my mountain is. Some days I’m surrounded by trees, so it’s a nice view, but I can’t see my mountain. Sometimes, much like last week and rather most of 2013 so far, those trees are thorns and I’m all out of swords.
So here’s to CFN and some theorycrafting pursuits that are hopefully not as incorrect or misled as I think they probably will be. (Maybe some toon roleplay? Maybe.) FC is going to stop trying to be fancy pants warlock who is always perfect and just go back to being my personal space, where often warlock things will happen.
My guild has reached a milestone where we’ve done heroic content before any nerf and actually been the first 25man guild on our server to hit up heroic content. Of course, there’s plenty of 10man guilds who have beaten the pants off us, but if you prefer the 25man size, we’re actually pretty good for our schedule now.
We are recruiting! Now that we’re better than when we started out, we’re going to be a bit pickier than before, so here’s some things you might want to know.
What class/specs we want:
- Ranged DPS: We’re looking for caster deeps, particularly warlocks (!) and (unfortunately) mages.
We are heavy on melee right now, full on our healer complement, and are working on a third/swing tank, but if you think you are awesome, feel free to apply. We’ll take a great player over a specific class.
Some info bits about us:
- 25-man focus. We have a progression/gearing 10man, but the focus is on the 25man.
- We’re 2/16 25H, with heroic Stone Guard and heroic Feng kills under our belts.
- Required raid nights are Wednesday & Thursday, 8-11:00pm server/Eastern.
- We use an out-of-game raid calendar, from which raid leads will approve 25 to go that week/day.
- We start raid invites around 7:55pm server, and we usually invite by you whispering a codeword to the raid leader (who invites automatically via an addon). So be online and ready to go.
- We end raids before or at 11:00pm server most days; it depends on pulls when exactly. Around 9:30pm is our halfway break (10-15min).
- The guild provides food, pots, and flasks, but as a trial/applicant, bringing your own stuff helps out your app.
- We use EPGP for loot. We’ve rarely had actual problems with it, and people are actually really generous with passing to help gear others.
- A few guildmates PvP, but most of us don’t. Our server is heavily Alliance PvE.`
Regarding guild disposition:
- As I put it: we derp a lot, and still kill things. So be prepared for derping, because it happens. Derpful kills are termed “UR-style kills.” We have had kills where the last member standing was the Greater Earth Elemental and/or our Blood DK.
- As my GM put it: “we are a rule guild.” We have a lot of rules, but it’s mostly so we’re clear on our expectations and demands.
- As my raid leader put it: “There’s really only two rules. One, don’t be a dick, both online in raid and offline on Twitter/elsewhere. Two: tell us if you have to leave or whatever.” (I may or may not violate One in offline mode occasionally, but I’m way better than I was.)
I have some tips on applying, particularly to my guild, from watching various applicants come and go.
Have some raid experience:
- Bring a raid log: chances are, someone will ask for a World of Logs from you. If you have one to show off, bring it! Otherwise, we’ll likely pull you from raidbots.
- Experience > gear: Even if you’ve taken a break from raiding, if you have past raid logs from Cataclysm or even Wrath, bring them.
- Name your raiding alts: If you’ve raided on a different character for a while, even with the account-wide achievs active, name which alts you’ve played before & what roles (tanking/DPS/heals). We like to double-check backgrounds on raid progression.
- Be prepared to explain your stuff. Guildmates are allowed to look at your app and comment on any oddities or differences they see in your app.
But gear is not unimportant:
- Log out in your intended raiding spec and gear, please, so we can see you properly on the Armory. Even if you mess around with odd talents, please let your Armory reflect how you’re going to approach a general boss fight.
- We’re moving into heroic modes starting with Mogu’shan Vaults, so while we admire dedication, being dressed in all LFR gear won’t get you very far. Some of the lower geared raiders we have are approximately 490 ilvl, so aim for that.
- Professions! Be using your bonuses. Cooking is a great bonus, if you can make your own food.
- I know my GM in particular likes to look at how well you’ve kept up with reputations; it’s a dedication thing but also if there’s good gear to be bought still.
Remember, it’s a 25-man environment:
- Make sure your computer can handle all the graphical/combat log requirements. Anyone remember shamans + green healy thing on Ultraxion?! You don’t need top-of-the-line, but be able to raid on what you’ve got.
- There’s more people. Be willing to work with more people, especially if you’re applying for healing. As far as DPS goes, feel free to talk to other raid members or your class or role. When it looked like we were going to get a third warlock, the other warlock and I made a warlock channel so we could all talk to each other during the fight (we whisper each other enough now).
And now, have some pretty progression pictures that I just posted of past kills. You can see other kills on my guild’s page here.
I installed Reforgelite to try it out, and found it pretty good for a while. Then I tried to play with not-quite-hit-cap while still meeting my haste threshold, and Reforgelite proceeded to disappoint me on taking 4-5 attempts per new piece of gear to find a set of stats I was pleased with. That’s easily 500-800 gold of reforging, and I just didn’t want to waste more on it. I tried my old by hand method with pen, paper, and basic arithmetic, and netted myself a better simulated DPS with that reforging than anything Reforgelite had ever given me with that gearset.
So I’m back to my old method of reforging, which is doing the math by hand. It’s not even difficult math. It’s mostly a logic problem. I referred to it on Twitter as being like the old logic problem where you have a two-seater boat and you must get a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across a river. The wolf will eat the goat and the goat will eat the cabbage, so you have to pick which you leave alone wisely.
So let me show you how I do it. You might think it’s just a bunch of work, but what works for you works for you and what works for me works for me.
Since I do this a lot, it doesn’t take me very long. 5 minutes? It’s not the seconds an addon might take, but I don’t mind it.
Stat weights, gear upgrades, and reforging
One stat weight priority does not, in fact, rule them all.
The stat weights that come out of SimulationCraft are meant for additions to the gear that has already been simmed. You may judge enchants, gems, and upgrades in ilevel with these, since you are doing nothing to the original gear. Reforging, however, is not an addition, but a transfer. Different reforges will yield slightly different simulated DPS and stat weights.
Different gemming schemes will also simulate differently, since you are replacing gems not adding gems. Upgrades in ilevel will generally increase your DPS, as they’ll have more of a stat (primarily, more intellect) on them than before, but a change in secondary stats may put a minor ilevel upgrade a little below your current piece, reforging depending. With a good understanding of how a gear change will affect the simulation, you can guess without re-simming.
But it is safest to re-simulate for every gear change you make, no matter how small.
However, you can use the stat weights as a general guideline for what reforging strategy is the best. Ideally, your secondary stats — mastery, haste, and crit — will align to the same value when you’ve found the perfect reforge. That is, you have the Goldilocks amount of each stat on your gear.
On hit: Similarly, because the stat weights address additions to your gear, the weight for hit will drop significantly when simulated with a hit-capped gearset, as any additional hit will be useless. This is not evidence that the hit cap is insignificant. Meeting the hit cap helps you deal with your personal lag at realizing when your spells have missed a target. If you don’t want to worry about missing, then cap your hit as close as possible to cap.
I don’t like missing. It’s just fucking annoying. Thus I try to cap my hit within a certain margin.
My personal margin for hit used to be within a hybrid gem’s worth of hit. As my current gear will reforge for more than that, but not quite double on some pieces, I’ve now accepted 4900 (14.41%) as the lowest I’ll go, though I prefer 5000-5100 (14.70-15.00%).
I used my most recent simulation stat weights for the gem calculations. My stat weights have changed only a little (a margin of 0.10 points, maybe) over about 4 gear piece changes, so I feel confident using recent stat weights on a 1-piece change. In this case, especially so, since the stats on that piece were the same (mastery & crit –> mastery & crit). My most recent simulation yielded these stat weights:
- 3.81 intellect
- 3.13 spellpower
- 1.94 mastery
- 2.05 haste
- 1.64 hit
- 1.35 crit
- 0.06 error margin
In the past, I’ve found that mastery rises significantly after I’ve reached a haste threshold of 11-12% (4677-5102 rating) on my gear. This is not surprising considering the major T14N haste DoT breakpoint is 4717 (Corruption +2).
Previously, mastery had been greater than haste, but this simulation, my gear was severely lacking in haste pieces. Even with reforging mostly to haste, I barely hit the 4717 breakpoint I wanted.
This time I was only a few reforges off the haste breakpoint, so I felt confident going for the “haste (4717) > mastery > haste” gearing/reforging strategy.
You can’t reforge to another stat already present on that piece of gear. The exception is that expertise counts like hit for spellcasters, so reforging to expertise on a piece of gear that already has hit is effectively adding hit without breaking the rule.
Other than that rule, reforging is about knowing when to stop (caps and breakpoints). The more you know about specific amounts of a stat affecting your gear, the better you can reforge without an optimizer.
I’ve enchanted and gemmed each piece separately. I’m trying out pure hit gems in blue sockets, so I can push as much reforging towards favorable stats. Once I reached about 11-12% haste, my mastery stat weight grew so that hybrid gems (orange for mastery/intellect) started to overtake my pure intellect gems (red), so I gem on a yellow-based scheme:
- Prismatic or yellow sockets = +320 mastery / Fractured Amberjewel
- Red sockets = +80 intellect & +160 mastery / Artful Vermillion Onyx
- Blue sockets (way below hit cap) = +320 hit / Rigid River’s Heart
- Blue sockets (close to cap) = +160 hit & +160 mastery / Sensei’s Wild Jade
I start with all my gear unreforged. It doesn’t cost gold to unreforge, and at worst, I might spend 150-200g reforging a bunch of pieces. But this starts with me what I need to achieve and all my options.
I already have a shorthand I write with; most are obvious, except hit is T since H is already haste. My stat priority is I > SP > T (to cap) > M >= H (4717) > C. I also have reduced the slots to two-letter combinations in my shorthand. I used to have a “wd” for the ranged slot, and a mh/2h designation, but not anymore!
I write down the slots, their secondary stats in priority order, and how much the lesser stat will reforge into. Parentheses indicate I’d rather leave that piece alone, but here’s how much it will reforge to, just in case. Writing down both stats helps me lay out which stats I can or can’t reforge into. The second column is for knowing what pieces I’ve set aside for reforging.
|hd = TC –> 257||? –> ?|
|nk = T(M –> 145)||? –> ?|
|sh = HC –> 205||? –> ?|
|bk = MC –> 166||? –> ?|
|ch = MC –> 299||? –> ?|
|wr = T(H –> 184)||? –> ?|
|ha = T(H –> 260)||? –> ?|
|wa = M(H –> 220)||? –> ?|
|lg = TC –> 303||? –> ?|
|ft = M(H –> 220)||? –> ?|
|f1 = T(M –> 129)||? –> ?|
|f2 = T(H –> 166)||? –> ?|
|t1 = n/a||? –> ?|
|t2 = (H –> 382)||? –> ?|
|mh = MC –> 92||? –> ?|
|oh = T(M –> 150)||? –> ?|
I want to meet a specific cap (5100 hit but no more) and a specific breakpoint (at least 4717 haste). So I write down at the unreforged totals:
- 4965 hit
- 4177 haste
I want a tiny bit more hit (135 rating to cap) and a handful of haste (540 rating).
Immediately, I see from my list that reforging the main hand dagger to hit will net me pretty close to cap. I’ll have 5057 hit rating (14.87%), which is close enough for me.
It’s time to work on haste. I need more haste, so I don’t want to reforge any of it off just yet, so I strike out all the “H –> #” reforges. I also would prefer not to reforge off any mastery, so I temporarily strike out my “M –> #” reforges. I also strike out my shoulders as reforging to mastery, since I obviously cannot reforge the crit on there to haste. Here’s what’s left:
- hd = TC –> 257
- bk = MC –> 166
- ch = MC –> 299
- lg = TC –> 303
I won’t be reforging my back and chest pieces to mastery, since they already have mastery on them. Leaving them alone would be leaving all that unwanted crit on there, so that makes them prime pieces for haste reforging.
166 + 299 = 465, which is 75 off from the desired 540+. I do have some haste pieces without mastery on my reforge list, however, and I could always reforge those off into mastery to hit the correct haste breakpoint. Let’s look at those:
- wr = TH –> 184
- ha = TH –> 260
- f2 = TH –> 166
- t2 = H –> 382
The lowest +haste reforge is the head slot at 257, and the matching -haste reforge that I chose was the second finger slot at 166.
Here’s the math again: 4177 + 166 + 299 + 257 – 166 = 4733. That’s only 16 rating off the haste breakpoint. Pretty tight, eh!
I then let all the remaining mastery-able reforges be mastery, since affliction loves that stat right now. Here’s the end result with 5057 hit (14.87%), 4733 haste (11.14%), and 6204 mastery (55.02%):
|hd = TC –> 257||C –> H|
|nk = T(M –> 145)||–|
|sh = HC –> 205||C –> M|
|bk = MC –> 166||C –> H|
|ch = MC –> 299||C –> H|
|wr = T(H –> 184)||–|
|ha = T(H –> 260)||–|
|wa = M(H –> 220)||–|
|lg = TC –> 303||C –> M|
|ft = M(H –> 220)||–|
|f1 = T(M –> 129)||–|
|f2 = T(H –> 166)||H –> M|
|t1 = n/a||–|
|t2 = (H –> 382)||–|
|mh = MC –> 92||C –> T|
|oh = T(M –> 150)||–|
And really…that’s it. That’s all there is to reforging by hand. No complicated math; just adding and subtracting goats and cabbages.
Just an 87 shockadin, y’know, killing turtles for shells, and this mogu gets all up in my grill about personal space.
WELL EXCUSE YOU I WAS HERE FIRST.
I’m not mad. Swear.
I thought that I’d get back into dungeon/raid soloing when my bear got gear and level 90, but I’ve started up again on the warlock this time, now that the Wrath raids are actually really doable at 90.
I have a somewhat private soloing blog that might be resurrected later. Maybe.
Anyway. This was my first pull in a long time of AQ40.
(But I already know the mounts from previous AQ runs with friends.)
This isn’t a warlock post, but it’s highly relevant to me.
I typed a bunch about my thoughts relating to it and how this is how it works with me on Blood Pact and yada yada yada…
You don’t need to hear that. Go read the comic.
Here’s some things I wanted to mention anyway.
I love this quote:
Inspiration is more like food poisoning: it sprays out uncontrollably when you need it the least.
which is why writers tend to carry a pen and some paper or some other means of writing absolutely everywhere. Shower tip: Go get those washable crayons for bathtime for kids that work on bathroom tiles. Regular crayons if you’re a cheapo like me.
The notebook looks a lot like my notebooks, than I have everywhere. Lots of arrows. Lots of random remarks and even “LOL” on things. Underlining. Writing in different directions because I ran out of room on the page but it’s relevant so I can’t just turn the page over. Yep.
If you have done all of these things and you still don’t have anything to write about, then you shouldn’t be a writer.
reminds me of this scene from Sister Act 2 (up to 1:32):
Writing is usually the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, so I figure. (Sometimes I think of WoW first. Welp.)
And the comments thing. I have yet to learn that I need to not really read/consider the comments on Blood Pact. But I’m almost out of the funk from the hit post shitstorm.
But I’ll work that one while I work on other self-goals for my writing.
Tonight we knocked over Gara’jal AND Spirit Kings. Gara’jal went down in 2 attempts to add to our 2 attempts last night, and Spirit Kings we saw for the first time plus 4 wipes. Pretty good progress I think!
We have 2 — myself and another fantastic warlock who will cream me on the meters if I don’t bring my A-game. The officers are looking for a third to fill out our 25man raiding since warlocks appear to be hot right now.
We’re also looking for a feral druid, a windwalker monk, and a shadow priest.
You can read more about our guild at our portal page or you can look through my page for the guild here on Fel Concentration. I try to keep that one updated with all the kills I’m there for, at least. We one-shot Stone Guard on our first time in there as 25man and we’re currently working on Feng, though I hope he topples over soon. Some raiders have been probing the Vaults on 10man and have gotten so far as 4/6 in the few weeks we’ve been in there.
We let our raiders comment on apps, particularly apps of their class. (Be prepared for my brutal honesty on warlock apps.)
We are raiding already in Mogu’shan Vaults, so officers will be looking for that caliber of gear & spec. Some tips based on past apps we’ve had:
- Gear: Be at least raid-ready at the very least. This means heroic 5man gear, world boss pieces if you’re lucky, crafted gear if you can get it, and LFR gear.
- Reps: Since we’re in the first tier of the new expansion, officers are looking at reputations to be done. We’re not expecting Exalted with everything, but be doing your part to reach the required Honored/Revered states.
- Spec: Know it. We’re typically flexible about which spec you’d like to play so long as you can carry your weight or exceed typical expectations.
- Raid experience: It’s great if you have some past experience, but not totally required. If you have it on other toons than the one you’re apping on, please link those & tell us what for.
- Logs: Someone will ask you for one, since it’s easy to spout off the latest theorycraft but less so to actually perform it. So log an LFR if you can or give us current logs if you have those.
Days | Wednesday and Thursday nights are the main & required raids, being our 25man nights. We have 10man nights on Sunday and Monday; in early tier it’s likely a progression group, in late tier it’s likely an alt group.
The rest of the week is subjective to guild members doing various activities, but in the past we have done Old World raids on Tuesdays and casual PvP on Fridays or Saturdays.
Time | We’re on the Elune server which operates at Eastern US time and we have many members on the east coast, so we operate on Eastern US time. Raids start at 8pm server, with invites around 7:50-7:55, and end at approximately 11:00pm server, boss pulls cooperating. Scheduled activities can be whenever but they generally follow the pattern of raids, 8-11p.
Loot & Signups | We sign up for raids using an out-of-game calendar, and the officers/raid leads approve members for the raid. We use EPGP as our loot system.
Style of progression | We’re not looking to be server-first or even “hardcore.” I think the general consensus is to see all the content, and heroics if we can, while it is current, but we are always looking to push ourselves further. We finished 8/8 25H in Dragon Soul, and I think we’d like to see that repeated in T14.
As I tend to sum it up: we derp about as much as you can derp during the boss fight but we end up killing it anyway. There are “traditions” of UR to be killing things past the enrage or killing a progression boss with 20-23 people in raid or doing an achievement by accident. If you’re not so forgiving of us not doing it the Correct Way, then maybe we’re not a good fit for you, because we often have to adapt the Everybody Does It This Way strat to our own quirks.
Yeah, we kinda one-shot them last night, which was our first 25man raid in normals. Spent the rest of the night trying to get the p2-p3 transition to work on Feng.
It’s entirely possible to be on a Proto Drake mount and not be a gigantic dick about blocking the NPC.
I’ve gotten a few requests for an export of how I do my unit frames. In the past, I’ve used highly customizable frames like Pitbull, but currently I use Shadowed Unit Frames. The ability to snap some frames to others appeals to my OCD about spaces between my frames.
Here’s the export at Pastebin. You can import it into Shadowed Unit Frames by clicking on the Layout Manager tab of “General” and pasting the code into the box. The code is quite large, so don’t be alarmed if it takes a minute to load.
About my setup
My warlock’s setup has changed since Cataclysm; I now have my frames much like I had my bear’s frames in Cataclysm. They are centered just below my toon (so I can see fire). My UI is currently set for my monitor which is 1920×1080, so you may have to adjust my settings to fit your screen. The frames also all disappear when out of combat and not targeting anything, so I can enjoy the view.
In case you don’t have it, the font is Myriad Condensed Web and the bar texture is Minimalist.
- Player frame is to the left. I like my mana bars on top. I prefer to see my health percent as well as my current/total health, as it can depend on the encounter which I need to see.
- Pet frame is anchored to the left of my player frame. It’s the portrait plus a health bar; I rarely if ever need to see my pet’s mana/energy. The portrait does just fine for seeing which pet it is.
- Pet target frame is above the pet frame and overlapping with my player frame. It’s got the name of the mob and is just a health bar, so I can double-check easily enough to see that my pet is hitting the correct target.
- Focus frame is anchored to bottom left of my player frame. I usually use this for bosses or escort NPCs.
- Focus target frame is anchored to bottom left of my focus frame.
- The space in between player and target frames is where my Weak Auras, cast bar, and my debuffs on my target go.
- Target frame is set up similarly to my player frame. I’m often targeting a mob, being a DPS class, so the health text is closest to the center since it’s most important for me. Again, it has both percent and current health, since the encounter can vary on which I need specifically.
- Target of target and target of target of target frames are set up similarly if diagonally mirrored to focus & focus target frames. These help me tell if a tank is switching targets or sticking to the same one (re: threat).
- Omen Threat Meter sits directly to the right of my target frame and expands upward.
- Main tank frame is small with just a name and health bar, since as DPS I really only care if my tank is about to die. It has the raid icon in case an icon is called out rather than a tank’s name.
- Main tank target frame is much larger, for fast clicking to switch to a called target. As a DPS, health percentage (for rough estimate) and raid icon are most important to me, so they are closer to my field of vision and larger.
- Boss frames sit to the right of main tank frames. The mana bar is visible in case it is important (I imagine I’ll use it for Stone Guard), but this frame usually doesn’t show on many encounters.
- I use Grid for raid & party frames, and they sit as small boxes off to the left side of my screen. I typically use my raid frames as a DPS to see who is dead, as in should I go die in a fire to help the wipe end faster.
Have a picture while out of combat with the configuration up.
I will probably get a screenshot later in raid with Stone Guard to see if the boss frames show correctly.
I don’t like being globalled via a stunlock situation. I don’t like sitting at “defend farm” all battleground long, even though I know if I attempt to leave it, the dumb paladin will follow me instead of staying. I’ve found it’s much better with friends, but it also has to be the right friends. I don’t want to play through a battleground listening to you bitch about this mechanic is too OP because you had no defenses left or obviously this better geared team is better geared. I don’t like it when friends who came with me give up on the first flag capture and either sit in the BG complaining or literally AFK out and then make the rest of us wait for your timer to finish before we queue again.
That’s just all the not-fun I’ve had in BGs.
But the highs when I pull a decent match, even if I did poorly or we lost — I like those. I want more of those.
I also still think PvP is a battle against the self, though I hit that wall in PvE finally on heroic Spine. Learning to trust that I do actually know how to do things and that I need to just go with it instead of flipping a shit all the time. You’ve probably noticed that, the flipping a shit, right?
I also write Blood Pact, and Blood Pact doesn’t have the subtitle of “Warlocks Who Only Raid.” I need to write more about other things in the game, like PvP. But I prefer my writing when it’s about things I’ve done or experienced. It’s most real and interesting to me, then. So I gotta PvP.
I want to set a reasonable PvP goal for the season — that is, Season 12. Who knows when it ends, but I figure that’s a good time frame. It’s what, a tier of raiding?
I have 7268 Honorable Kills on my warlock as of writing. I don’t know if 10k is a good goal or if it’s too big for one season of casual play. Remember: I’m going to be raiding, farming, alting, and challenge-moding, too. I want to do rated play, but I don’t know if I can find a partner who will match my times and skill.
@Jagoex suggested I do Battlemaster, or shoot for it at least. As you can see I’ve only just begun if I go for it.
Battlemaster entails finishing the Master of the five old battlegrounds:
Master of Alterac Valley:
- Alterac Valley Veteran = 13 /100
- Alterac Grave Robber = 2 / 50
- Tower Defense = 0 / 50
- Loyal Defender = 19 / 50
Everything Counts The Sickly Gazelle
- Stormpike Perfection
- Alterac Valley All-Star
Stormpike Battle Charger To the Looter Go the Spoils
Master of Arathi Basin:
- Arathi Basin Veteran = 19 /100
- Arathi Basin Perfection
- Me and the Cappin’ Makin’ it Happen = 15 / 50
- Disgracin’ the Basin = 3 bases in a single battle
- Overly Defensive = 3 bases in a single battle
- To The Rescue! = 2 / 50
- Resilient Victory
- Territorial Dominance = 1 / 10
- Let’s Get This Done
We Had It All Along *cough*
- Arathi Basin All-Star
Arathi Basin Assassin
Master of Warsong Gulch:
- Warsong Gulch Veteran = 8 / 100
- Capture the Flag
- Persistent Defender = 1 / 50
- Frenzied Defender = 5 flags in a single battle
Warsong Gulch Perfection
- Warsong Expedience
Not In My House
- Quick Cap
- Supreme Defender = 32 / 100
- Save the Day
Master of Eye of the Storm:
- Eye of the Storm Veteran = 11 / 100
- The Perfect Storm
- Eye of the Storm Domination = 2 / 10
- Stormtrooper = 5 in a single battle
- Storm Capper
- Bound for Glory
- Bloodthirsty Berserker
Master of Strand of the Ancients:
- Strand of the Ancients Veteran = 11 / 100
Storm the Beach
- Steady Hands = 2 in a single battle
- The Dapper Sapper = 0 / 100
- Explosives Expert = 5 in a single battle
Not Even a Scratch
- Artillery Veteran = 39 / 100
- Drop It! = 33 / 100
Drop It Now! Ancient Protector Ancient Courtyard Protector Defense of the Ancients
There’s also the other battleground achievements to consider. Master of Isle of Conquest, Master of Battle for Gilneas, Master of Twin Peaks, Master of the two newest battlegrounds — Silvershard Mines and Temple of Kotmogu! Don’t get me started on whether I should go back to the graveyards that are Wintergrasp and Tol Barad.
I also want to see rated play. But again, schedules, and often is the case, gear. Or just plain composition. But I want to try.
I would also like some friends to PvP with, whether BattleTag or on Elune itself, I don’t care. I prefer the non-bitching PvP friends, the ones that just want to go and blow up some Horde.
If I got persuaded into leveling a Horde warlock, I might be persuaded into leveling via PvP. Just maybe.
These are actually from our 2nd anniversary gala we had in Dalaran on September 20th, but today is our birthday of guild raiding. /guildinfo says we started on the 26th, but we didn’t raid until that Thursday, which was the 30th. Phew!
For our guild awards that we do every year or every tier (maybe it’s every tier, actually):
- Juvenate, Most Improved Raider, with comments on how he stepped up into our healing lead mid-T13
- Zweibel, Best Raid Performance / MVP, with comments on his raid leading and being a superb hunter
- Venat & Ariano, Most Helpful Members, with comments on availability to help with anything & being generally friendly and awesome
- Amowrath, Officer’s Choice, for growing within the guild from noob to very helpful dude
We played TriviaBot and discovered that Mageurburnz (@druidleaves) is ridiculous at it, whether that’s because of his news reporter skillz or previous downtime in Orgrimmar, we don’t know. Our last trivia question was answered with Gurthalak, which was fitting since we seemed to get at least one if not multiple Gurths every raid early on in Dragon Soul. We started to hand them out to new members simply because we got so many.
We spent our last week getting meta drakes from Dragon Soul for a lot of guildies.
Our last game was Dalaran Darts, where we run off the rock trying to hit the iceberg in the lake.
The question was if your raid leader asked you to jumped off a cliff, what would you do? As Venat said, “I always follow my raid leader,” and indeed, our raid leader went first. Unfortunately, his plan of ruining us all with Path of Frost was shattered by his unforeseen death on the iceberg.
Happy 2nd Birthday, UR!
If you’re looking for more info about UR, you can look at the about page I set aside for my guild on this blog.
First Kael’thas gave me the chocobo on my bear. Then Anzu pitched in with the Reins of the Raven Lord.
I suppose now it’s off to farm Baron, Slabhide, and Altairus.
Want my commentary on warlocks in 5.0.4 Dragon Soul? Check out Blood Pact soon.
Tonight we killed 25H Spine, the fight against whose wall we’d been beating our heads for the past month. We would have killed 25H Madness, too, were it not for the blood bug. We did the 15%-24% yo-yo with the bloods a few times before Deathwing finally enraged at the end of our night.
Since there’s word that it really is bugged on H Madness and that a hotfix is coming soon, he should be dead next week.
We like to brag that we’re the #1 25man on the server, even though that isn’t saying much. We’re #1 because we’re the last 25man guild standing at the end of Cataclysm.
Say what you want about other Elune 10man guilds who have been 8/8H for months now who are recruiting for 25s in Mists of Pandaria. We’re still 25man for all of Dragon Soul, and we beat the 25 encounters they gave up on. We’ve done it with funky composition and we’ve done it with the attendance boss critting us in back-to-back nights, so yes, “gave up” is the phrase I’m sticking with.
We’re not server-first kills, but we don’t give up. It’s actually not strange to see our progression happening with 20-24 people in raid on a 25man fight. If you like that kind of crazy where the boss dies with just the Earth Elemental standing, and two nights a week is your thing, you might want to check us out for Mists of Pandaria.
I realize I don’t really blog much solid warlock stuff over here anymore, but I write it over at Blood Pact, instead. If you’re looking for warlock information and guides for MoP and/or Patch 5.0.4, I’ve already gotten some stuff written down over there. Some of the stuff I’ve been writing since I started at WoW Insider is out of date with how the beta is working, so I’ve grabbed what I think is still relevant/useful.
Spec summary — Goes over general talent choices, damage cooldowns, healing cooldowns, curses. Then each spec gets a brief summary of major glyphs, pet use, stat priority at 85, and rotation breakdown.
Core summary — Things changed up for warlocks in general as well as in each spec. This covers Dark Intent, Symbiosis, general stat priorities, and briefly how the specs are structured so to keep the different spec flavors while retaining a unified warlock class.
Pets & Grimoires — My attempt at everything from the very basics of pet mechanics (for new locks who may or may not have played a pet class before) to the meatier Grimoire discussion. Goes over pet stances/commands, pet abilities, Command Demon’s various abilities, and brief summaries of the Grimoire uses per spec. The destro specific Grimoire use is possibly outdated (already!); Sacrifice wins in the pet sims, but the Observer (Supremacy) has been seen in the raiding sim.
- Related: Supremacy pet voice emotes
Minor glyphs — A focus on showing off some of the cosmetic glyphs, but covering all the minor glyphs.
Warlock tanking — In which I tested out warlock tanking in Dark Apotheosis and found that my demon could do it better.
Leveling in MoP — I know one of the hurdles to new warlocks is the painful / confusing leveling. It got better in Mists, trust me.
Spells that are the same name but different — Like Dark Intent. It’s raid-wide now, OK?
Level 90 Talents — An overview of the level 90 talents. I’ll revisit this, as some of it might be out of date.
Demonic Gateway — A video I found on Demonic Gateway before I got my shiny new computer with Fraps. Demonic Gateway is our level 87 ability, and yes, you can go through it mounted!
Those who are not afraid to wield power — A new book showed up in Stormwind, summarizing warlocks’ efforts at gaining power after the events of Cataclysm. I went with it and tried to weave in new MoP warlock abilities with warlock flavor & personality.
Green fire questline possibility — This will always be in the back of my mind, OK?
This week, my guild is raiding in Dragon Soul under the 5.0.4 patch, so I’m tempted to do a Dragon Soul with 5.0 mechanics post. We’ll see how it goes.
I have plans for September posting, but if you have requests for MoP warlock posts, please let me know here or at WoW Insider.
I found Squirt’s new spot in Act II again, and …well…
With patch 1.0.4 for Diablo III, witch doctors got a lot of buffs to their pets. I’d forgotten that the patch went out this Tuesday, so after we wiped for 3 hours on Spine 25H (yay disconnect boss), I needed something to kill. I needed something to whet my appetite for mob death. So I went back to D3, as it’s become my haven for more-than-occasional derping and yet amazingly satisfying as I hack-n-slash everything in sight.
Previously, I loved Zombie Dogs initially, but later found out by a guildmate who had a 60 Witch Doctor (WD) that they were pretty much useless outside of Normal. And they were. They died in a few hits if not already one-shot, and the Gargantuan wasn’t much better. I had fun through Nightmare & Hell as a CC-master using Zombie Wall, but that was about as much zombie as I got at once as a witch doctor. I figured I would end up as a fearbomb-style WD, which I didn’t mind, since I love to fearbomb in PvP in WoW. But I did miss the whole army of zombies style of WD.
Well, that’s back now. I played through Act I Inferno (+ Paragon 1) with a wizard friend (& then with another barb friend to make 3) and we were wrecking FACE. It was gloriously fun, incredibly satisfying, and totally made up for the torture that can be H Spine. My Zombie Dogs also didn’t die very much; I resummon a lot at 2 ZDogs left, and that really only happened when we had a ridiculous elite pack or possibly 2 packs. I even switched to Grasp of the Dead: Death is Life rune, so I got the Hotdogging achievement.
Here’s my new build as a witch doctor with zombies. I’m still experimenting with all the things, and like I’ve said, I’m pretty casual when it comes to Diablo III. So if you want to rip me a new one about it, go somewhere else, because no fucks are given.
I also found the dye color Forest while out adventuring, and I have to say it’s maybe my new favorite dye to wear on my WD. I was previously wearing Cardinal/Red with a Diablo-looking helmet.
I have to say, as a warlock and a witch doctor, zombies & fel green or go home.
I’d have more time for Diablo III talk, but I’m still writing up warlock things for patch 5.0.4 for WoW & the eventual Mists of Pandaria guides after that. I feel like I’m relearning my warlock groove. That is, I’ve got all the research down; now it’s time to get the intuition with my skills back. I also get to throw a twist into my schedule in the form of a job, so I get to maybe actually crack down on my lazy writing since time will be less available now.
Busy busy busy, in other words. But the witch doctor and my zombies are making for some relaxing slaughtering of the masses.
I copied my warlock over again to beta, to see what 85 warlocking will be like. I locked her XP, so she’ll stay 85 no matter what I do, and then I took her dungeon-soloing as demonology with the Dark Apotheosis glyph. I started with Grimoire of Supremacy and a voidlord, but soon tried out Sacrifice alternating between actually sacrificing and running with a voidwalker out.
I tried Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle normals, as I’ll be trying those for their mounts. Killing up to and including both Slabhide and Altairus is not too horrible. It still required a bit of pet control from me and some stance-dancing, but I survived and killed them with minimal dying.
So I decided at the end of one Vortex Pinnacle that instead of running to the entrance like a normal person, I ought to just jump off the side. You know, since they made it so the little tornado that picks you up returns you to the entrance. Right? Right?
I’d finished Altairus in Metamorphosis, so I just jumped, and then Demonic Leaped over the landing into the clouds.
You read the title of this post right? Right?
And you remember that Falling Meteor means using Demonic Leap while falling means you don’t die, right?
I know this because I sank to the bottom of Vortex Pinnacle, hit 1% health…and then started regenerating health without a tornado or teleport back up. I floated right out of Vortex Pinnacle proper, and soon was in nothing but clouds. Still floating, still moving, and still very much alive.
Okay. Character Stuck option, right? Hearthstone is out because you can’t cast while moving. The other option is to kill yourself by pressing the return to graveyard button, which returns you to the GY totally dead. So I click that.
“Can’t do that while moving.”
Well. Um. Okay. Blizzard, I thought you were hit-capped so you could hit moving targets.
…I got it!
I’ll just logout.
“You can’t logout now.”
So I have to kill myself with absolutely no assistance from Blizzard, right?
I’m a warlock! Self-harm is my specialty! I can do this!
Life Tap doesn’t kill you anymore; it just fizzles if you don’t have enough health.
I tried Burning Rush, but that too turned off when I reached the point of not enough health.
Hellfire! I was technically out of combat, so I can’t tell if Hellfire was just refusing to tick me over into death or if I was regenerating too fast for it to do so. I tried to pair up Burning Rush with Hellfire, hoping they both would outtick the health regen. Nope.
I dismissed my voidwalker — who could still be Sacrificial Pacted! — and then Life Tapped down to single-digit percents, and THEN Sacrificial Pact, but Sac Pact apparently only does half of your current health if you have no demon. I suppose that’s a good thing in all other situations, but it didn’t help me this time.
After a while I finally floated back into Vortex Pinnacle proper, including floating through walls. Okay, time to get out before something bad happens.
Plan alt+F4 finally worked.
I log back in, hoping maybe that reset it.
I’m still at the bottom of Vortex Pinnacle, but where I jumped originally, and no longer seem to be floating by. I start to click my hearthstone, just to see if it will work, and it says I’m moving. I must be still falling.
Okay, whatever, it can still kill me, right?
Oh, go on. Guess what it told me.
Let’s just alt+F4 once more and let it sit overnight through the dungeon reset.
I was questing in the Dread Wastes doing some Klaaxi questlines. I’d hit 90 barely into the Dread Wastes, and it had just opened, so it was about as mechanically buggy as it is atmospherically buggy. So I’m just now getting around to it for the first time, really, as I run out of fishing/cooking/farming dailies to do.
Anyway, I had this one quest where you go kill the Coldbite Matriarch.
You know what I yelled when I dropped into the cave, right?
Yes, running over the eggs spawns hatchlings (& hatchlings are spawned in the fight).