Affliction & New Talents

Class guides will be more useful than ever. If I start a warlock it’d be nice if a veteran told me uses for my level 15 talents (1)… Before? “OK, 31 points in blah, a few points in bluh, done.” (2)


I don’t know that I can say I’ll be a “veteran” when Mists rolls around with this totally new talent system.  I know a bunch about what was, but I don’t know much about what will come to pass, Frodo.

Affliction’s Flavor To Me

I’ve been playing my warlock as affliction since Feb 2008.  Almost four years, one spec the whole time.  Almost three years spent raiding, though not always on the warlock.

I can tell you I don’t play for the top theorycrafting spec.  I’ve been lucky to have affliction as top dog most of the time, but I’ve played it when it was second fiddle to destruction and demonology, too.  I’ve been frustrated with affliction in a raiding environment only twice; otherwise I’ve loved it.

The first was Valithria Dreamwalker, because I just couldn’t keep up with the burst DPS on lead-directed targets.  It took me a few evenings to find my groove as affliction — my wheedling down of big targets and spreading of DoTs everywhere.

The second time was Ragnaros, both sizes, because of the transition adds and the burst DPS I didn’t have but was required of me.  I was so frustrated and almost crying at not being able to play my favored spec on the ultimate boss of a tier.  I went destruction because I did not have the gear or the skill to pull off demonology in a raid progression environment, despite my knowledge of the three warlocks hinting that demo was possibly the favored spec for Raggy Pants.

Then I came back to Aff once I saw phase 3 of Ragnaros.  SO MUCH JOY TO COME BACK! 🙂

Affliction has long had a lack of burst.  Affliction, then, has long been less about the killing now and more about the killing later.  Affliction has always held a sort of sinister playfulness in my mind; we play with our food before we eat it.  Therefore, it does no good to immediately set your target on fire with a burst spell; there must be conscious suffering over a period of time before their doom is set.  I try to keep this in mind as I go through the talents, because I love affliction and would love to continue playing affliction as long as I can.

Implications for Raiding

First off, I wonder how people will keep track of the talent choosings.  Right now, with three trees of 31+ points each, there’s a #/#/# notation.  My affliction spec, for example, is 31/4/6 — 31 points in Affliction, 4 in Demonology, and 6 in Destruction.  Sometimes in theorycrafting they will talk about specific talents in a specific tree by the tier the talent is in; you need 5 points in tier 1 to proceed to tier to grab X talent.  We currently have 7 tiers of talents per tree with 41 points to spend; you need to spend at least 31 points in your spec’s tree.

The new Mists talents are 6 tiers of 3 talents each, and you can choose only one of 3.

So you end up with just six talents, but these talents are switchable like glyphs, they said (out of combat, etc.).  We’ll still have dual-spec, so you can have a set healing spec or a set tanking spec or a set pvp spec, but dual-spec may largely disappear for pure DPS classes.  If we can just switch the talents around with little cost (10s of time if you know what you want), why would you ever change whole spec sets?

For notation, I thought of chess notation at first.  Which tier followed by a letter for which talent in that tier: 1c, for example, would be Harvest of Life for warlocks.  Then I figured people would drop the tiers (we’d still refer to tiers in discussion) and just list the talent letter notations: abbaca, e.g., which would be Harvest of Life, Mortal Coil, Soul Link, Bloodstone, Grimoire of Sacrifice, Archimonde’s Vengeance.

For raiding applicants to guilds (or promotion / guidance within) and discussion of spec choice, I wonder what going away from the cookie-cutter specs will do, for better or for worse.  As of right now, as Bug said, “you put some points in blah, points in bluh, and done.”  There’s little discussion involved in where the points go, and this is especially the case for affliction.  Some other DPS specs might have actual choice in their trees, but affliction still remains largely an obviously-PvE talent versus an obviously-PvP talent.  There’s two PvP-specific (Fears) talents for Affliction’s tree — Improved Fear and Howl of Terror — and the rest you dump points into for PvE, often maxing out the talent.  Even the choosings for subspecs (the other 10 points that can go into other trees) are quite obvious which you should or should not choose.  Any Afflock who chooses Improved Immolate is either trollin’ or stupid.

Now, it will become more about tailoring to the fight.  Now, I imagine guild applications may become more interview-like.  Maybe they will be bland like a list of essay questions (“We’re standing at Baleroc.  Which talents do you choose & why?”).  Or maybe the applicant process can become more personally-involved; maybe your class officer (or fellow raid members) will be in on the Vent interview or vigorously posting on the forum app thread about the mechanics of your chosen talents and spell selection.  Will fraps’d fights become the new requirement for applications? (A WoL or two or three is pretty common nowadays.)

Blizzard appears to want to move away from “competent = correct checkboxes checked and gear worn” and closer to “competent = way you handle the fight with your given gear and spec and spell toolbox.”

But, as always, when you throw in groups of people who repeatedly test specs against a boss (colloquial: wiping on a boss), there will still be “standard” choices and “standard” spell selections.  Just like boss order in a flexible instance: no one says you have to do Shannox first but most people do it anyway because he’s the accepted “easiest”/”entrance” boss.  (UR actually does Beth’tilac first, and then we clear from there to spawn Shannox.)

So…I’m just going to give my (lengthy, rambly) thoughts on the warlock talents, as an affliction warlock raider myself.

The Warlock Talents

Pictures (MMO-Champion): Tier 1 (level 15), Tier 2 (30), Tier 3 (45), Tier 4 (60), Tier 5 (75), Tier 6 (90).

Notation-style: (a-c x6)

  1. (a) Dark Regeneration, (b) Soul Leech, (c) Harvest of Life
  2. (a) Howl of Terror, (b) Mortal Coil, (c) Shadowfury
  3. (a) Hour of Twilight, (b) Soul Link, (c) Sacrificial Pact
  4. (a) Bloodstone, (b) Soul Drain, (c) Nether Ward
  5. (a) Grimoire of Supremacy, (b) Grimoire of Service, (c) Grimoire of Sacrifice
  6. (a) Archimonde’s Vengeance, (b) Kil’jaeden’s Cunning, (c) Illidan’s Guile

Notes on Malefic Grasp: There’s an ability called Malefic Grasp (abbrev. MG) that’s mentioned in the talents.  Judging by search hits from the mere mention of it, warlocks everywhere are searching for what this new spell is exactly.  Where it’s mentioned in the talents is alongside Shadow Bolt (SB) and Incinerate (Incin), the known and current filler spells for warlocks.  Therefore, my (& others’) speculation is that MG is the third filler spell to further differentiate the three specs of warlocks.  Currently, demonology shares a filler with Aff or Destro, depending on whether shadow (SB) or fire (Incin) ends up being a better damage per execute time (DPET) spell.  With the nerfs to Drain Life in tier 12, Blizzard has already said that it intends for Shadow Bolt to be affliction’s filler, and Incinerate naturally fits destruction’s fire focus, so the concluding speculation is that Malefic Grasp will be demonology’s filler spell.

Tier Themes: After looking at all the warlock talents, I first wanted to see if I could spot the separate spec talents.  Which ones belong to affliction, which to demonology, which to destruction.  Then I realized each tier has a theme, more or less.

Tier 1 = Drain / Self-Healing

  1. Dark Regeneration | Restores 50% of your maximum health over 25 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 3m CD.
  2. Soul Leech | Your Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp heal you for 25% of the damage dealt.
  3. Harvest of Life | Drains the life from the life from the target and all targets within 20 yards, causing 94 Shadow damage and restoring 2% of the caster’s total health per target every 1 sec.  Lasts 3 sec.  640 Mana + 20 per sec. / Channeled / 40yd range / GCD.
    Empowered Channel: Recasting this spell before it finishes boosts the duration by 3 sec.  Stacks 5 times.

Dark Regeneration and Soul Leech are both straight healing from ability use: DR is a CD itself, while SLeech is a rebate-like heal (you cast a spell and get some of it “back”).  The percentages make Dark Regen sound like a powerful cooldown, so I did some napkin math to put the two in perspective.

My maximum health right now, on my Armory, is about 130k.  50% ~= 65k; over 25s that means ~2.6k HPS, which is 2% max health per sec.  Without raid buffs, mind you; so with raid buffs, I’d imagine this amount would be a bit higher.  DR is a set heal over a long period of time.

Looking at a WoL log from a 25man raid, my Shadow Bolt does about 15k on an average hit (over the whole night) and 31k on a crit.  This leads to a ~3.75k heal or 7.75k heal on a crit.  SL is dependent on my firing off Shadow Bolts, which is dependent on various things like DPS assignment (multiple targets, alive-time of targets) or movement (…without KJC (t6) of course).

The difference ends up being in the healing/damage pattern, because I think the healing numbers would come out about the same.  DR is a set HoT; it will tick every so often for a fixed amount.  SLeech is a variable direct heal, which is dependent on your current DPS performance.

SLeech I imagine would be the standard raid talent; you do nothing different as your filler is what procs the effect.  It also invokes a bit of a choice; if you need a small heal NOW, you can cast your filler spell and receive one without putting strain on the healers to heal everyone up.  SLeech’s healing would also be a major factor of your self-healing, probably like how Siphon Life is now.  It’s not much, but it helps when it counts (Chimaeron as affliction is ridiculous).

DR sounds more of a heavy healer helper (it has a cooldown’s cooldown) than a regular heal.  DR sounds like something you would use when the boss fight mechanics include a large period of little to no raid damage followed by a short period of very heavy raid damage.  Typical over-time spells (HoTs & DoTs) tend to follow the rule of 3s for standard ticks, but this one might follow a rule of 5s, considering 24s would be more in line with a 3s tick.

I don’t know how well a 25s period of heavy raid damage would go over with the healers, but it would provide a bit of a buffer for healers if there’s a heavy raid damage period or blast (almost die, like Ashbury’s Stay of Execution or Chimaeron’s Massacre), and then a period of nothing for the follow-up raid healing.

Harvest of Life.  Oh boy.  This reads like an AoE Drain Life.

HoL on a single-target boss fight would even out in the healing that DR & SLeech offer: 2% per sec.  HoL on a multi-target fight, on the other hand, would have some potential awesome healing.

Except warlocks are not healers.

This might be the token PvP talent (proximity in PvP happens all the time), or, it could be a burst affliction spell, if the damage scales well enough (a good chunk of AoE dmg every second? yes please!).  Seed of Corruption has a cast time to it.  Rain of Fire tends to be both weak and takes a long time (considering raid DPS) to tick the first time, as well as being very position-dependent (targeting circle…and then the tank moves everything out of the area = sadface).  Even as a single target spell, it would be nice to get some usable burst action for affliction.

I would like to wait and see on HoL as to how worthy it can be in a raid situation.

The other interesting tidbit I found about HoL is the Empowered effect.  Naturally, I figure Empowering will come through by Soulburning, since affliction is said to still have soul shards as a resource system.  Demonology was reported with “Demonic Fury” and destruction would get “Infernal Embers.”  Demonic Fury is a powerup to a buff, while Infernal Embers sounds like combo points.  Soul Shards will remain the same mechanic, with hopefully more interesting things to do.

However, the weird part about HoL’s Empowered effect is that it encourages you to clip the ticks!  (At least, until the fifth and last stack.)  DoT clipping — that is, recasting the DoT before the last tick has ticked — has long been a big no-no in warlockery (unless a major buff proc just happened and it is worth it to recast the DoT).  In Cataclysm, the “continuation” of the last tick into the new cast somewhat fixed clipping, but you can still clip spells with variable damage on ticks, like Bane of Agony.

Tier 2 = CC (Fear, Horror, Stun)

  1. Howl of Terror | Howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yds to flee in terror for 8 sec.  Damage caused may interrupt the effect.  1280 Mana / Instant-cast / 40s CD.
  2. Mortal Coil | Causes an enemy target to run in horror for 3 sec.  The caster restores 25% of their maximum health.  1920 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 45 sec CD.
  3. Shadowfury | Shadowfury is unleashed, stunning all enemies within 8 yds for 3 sec.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 20s CD.

All of these are existing spells; Mortal Coil is merely Death Coil renamed with some added health restoration.  The cool thing is Shadowfury, currently a Destro-only talent, will be open for Demo & Aff to use.

This tier will definitely change on your CC needs per fight; it will change up affliction PvP a bit with having a choice between either Howl or Coil, but not both (as you currently have both).  Death Coil is a good cover for a Fear (since DC is a horror effect, which does not share diminishing returns with Fear), and in PvE I sometimes use it as a clutch 2nd healthstone (Lady Blaumeux, anyone?).  Shadowfury is useful now on Ragnaros as destruction during the phase transitions, and Howl is a popular melee peel in PvP.

Tier 3 = Damage Reductions (Straight)

  1. Hour of Twilight | When a damaging attack brings you below 20% of your maximum health, all damage taken is reduced by 50% for 10 sec.  This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds.
  2. Soul Link | When active, all damage and healing the Warlock takes is shared with her active demon.  That damage cannot be prevented.  Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 40yd range.
  3. Sacrificial Pact | Your demon sacrifices itself to prevent all damage you would take for 10 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 100yd range / 5min CD.

Hour of Twilight …I think this one depends on how often we should find ourselves sub-20% health.  Sounds great for PvP (except, perhaps the internal cooldown), but I don’t know how many times in raid I find myself sub-20% when it’s not a wipe situation or a specific fight mechanic (Chimaeron).  Hmmmm.

Soul Link looks the same as current for the most part, except this time it adds in the effect from a maxed-out Fel Synergy talent — the healing of your pet.  It sounds great at first, but I remember pets have a passive Avoidance for AoE spells (the Doomguard appears to ignore EVERYTHING it stands in), and even without Fel Synergy, my pet didn’t die that often.  Considering the other two read like PvP, I think this will be the de facto raid talent for this tier.

Side-track: I am of the mind that healers are not responsible for my pet in a raid setting, even if it is a large portion of my damage.  I’m one of the route where I’m responsible for my pet, even when it bugs out and stands in fire (that’s what passive is for!).  So talents for healing pets are welcome in my book.

Sacrifical Pact.  Ohhhhhhhh, I’ll be honest, this reads like old-style paladin bubble for warlocks.  All damage immunity for 10 seconds?  While that would be a great cooldown in raids, this reads for the nerf path with heavy concerns in PvP.  The 5min CD would probably prevent it from seeing action in Arenas, but in Battlegrounds, I see possible nerfing down the road in either duration or allowing some damage through or possibly exception spells like Chaos Bolt (used to be) and Heroic Throw (is).

Tier 4 = Damage Reductions (Absorb/Heal)

  1. Bloodstone | Instantly restores 44% of the Warlock’s base health and increases healing received by 50% for 10 sec.  No Resource / Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  2. Spell Drain | The next single target spell focused at you heals you for half the damage it would have dealt.  Lasts 4 sec.  640 Mana / Instant-cast / 20s CD.
  3. Nether Ward | Transforms your Twilight Ward into Nether Ward.  Absorbs 3141 damage.  Lasts 30s.  30s CD.  When you absorb damage, you gain Nether Protection, reducing all damage by that spell school by 15% for 12 sec.

Bloodstone is a straight-up heal, and then a bonus to healing receive.  Spell Drain is a half-heal ward, and Nether Ward is an absorb plus some reduced spell damage taken (what it is now, just not limited to the Destro tree anymore).

Both NW & SD are limited to spells only; any fights with physical damage will use Bloodstone better.  Spell Drain particularly sounds like a great PvP spell for when you’re getting focused down.

Personally, when I go destro on Ragnaros, I use Nether Ward (or try to!) all the time.  I figure Nether Ward will be the go-to raid talent, especially since the duration seems to line up with the cooldown.  I figure the numbers will get changed, but as is, you can add Nether Ward into your line-up as a 30s-CD spell for raid damage.

I don’t know that theorycrafting guides will advocate NW; after all, it has no DPS increase besides “you live to cast another day.”  However, I grew up a warlock who took surviving as a central part of DPS.  I approach DPS as I should take as little attention from the healers as possible; I’m responsible for any damage I can avoid.  If I can throw in a ward every 30s to reduce my damage taken, I will do it, and I’ll advocate it.

Tier 5 = Minion Enhancement

  1. Grimoire of Supremacy | You command stronger demons.  replacing your normalminions.  These demons deal 10% additional damage and have more powerful abilities.
    Summonable Demons: Fel Imp, Voidlord, Shivan, Beholder, Abyssal, Terrorguard.
  2. Grimoire of Service | Instantly summon a second demon who fights for 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  3. Grimoire of Sacrifice | You sacrifice your pet to gain increased damage and health.  Lasts for 3 min.  Summoning another pet cancels the effect.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

Ah, tier 5.

From looking at Twitter when the talents were previewed, Grimoire of Supremacy was a jizz-in-the-pants moment for warlocks everywhere, even if you weren’t Demo.  At the very least, the minions we love most have outdated models, and new, shiny things make anyone smile.

Minion choice is a thing we do in our theorycrafting; it’s why Demo uses the felhunter even though the felguard is the “demonology” flavor pet.  It’s why, for a time, affliction used the succubus, even though the felhunter is the “affliction” flavor pet.  In raid theorycrafting for a warlock’s personal DPS, you take the pet that does the best job.  Currently (as of 4.2), the felhunter is the best single-target pet for pet DPS by itself.  The felguard jumps up if you’re Demo and you have Meta and other cooldowns going, and the imp is Destro’s pet because of additional DPS benefits it provides to the warlock herself.

If there’s a talent that introduces vastly more awesome pets for all three specs, then this will be the mandatory talent to take.  Which is a problem for Blizzard, since Blizzard wants to move away from cookie-cutter specs.  The other two talents would need to boost our damage by a similar amount to compete with this one.

My other concern with Supremacy is the Blizzard Killed My Dog effect.  I love fighting with Bheezhem by my side.  Or Ormmon.  Or Bizmir.  I remember when Blizzard temporarily killed all our dogs.  I cried and canceled my raid spot because it just was not the same raiding without my felpuppy.  I felt stupid for being so upset over just a name change, but…it’s my Bheezhem.  He goes everywhere with me.

So with Supremacy will my Bheezhem just evolve or transform into something more powerful?  Or will I need to meet new minions?  Will I have to stay with these new minions? Or will Blizzard be able to balance and diversify the fights such that I can take another tier 5 talent (& my default minions) on other fights?

Service at first sounds like a mini Mirror Image for minions.  (Type “Mini Minion Mirror Image” five times fast.)  Will I get the true mirror image copy, and then have two Bheezhems running around?

Or does this mean I can summon a completely different pet and have both out simultaneously?  For Demo, currently alternating between two pets, this would be amazing.  Thirty seconds is just long enough for ability and trinket cooldowns to finish their course (and then some).

Sacrifice is the last one, and after reading the other two, it sounds a bit meh (at first).  Perhaps with some actual numbers for the increased damage done, we’ll be able to discuss it better.  Right now it is just a straight DPS increase, with the possible side-effect of a mini max-health boost, but without your minion by your side (as summoning another minion cancels the effect).

I think Sacrifice will be the choice for affliction, actually.  Saccing your demon just before you launch into cooldowns or into a multidotting situation would benefit the affliction lock more than just a second demon or a stronger demon.  None of Aff’s secondary stats significantly boost our demons’ performance; rather, we often use our demons to boost ours (Demon Soul, CC, etc.).  Versus: the tandem that destruction locks have with the casting imp macros & procs, and the almost complete dependency demonology locks have with their demons.  A straight damage increase would be more appealing to the affliction warlock as we do the heavy-lifting on our combined master-and-minion DPS.

Tier 6 = Special Ability

  1. Archimonde’s Vengeance | Curse an enemy, inflicting 25% of all damage you take to also harm them.  Lasts 15 sec.  Instant-cast / 1min CD.
  2. Kil’jaeden’s Cunning | You can cast and channel while moving, but doing so doubles the cast time or period of a spell.
  3. Illidan’s Guile | Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp deal splash damage to enemies within 10 yards of their target.  Lasts 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

First off, I was sad there was no Gul’dan or Cho’gall reference in there.  Three demons just do not offer too much variety in my warlock role models.  (Also, Medivh, though I’m not sharp enough on lore to argue he’s a warlock versus a mage.)  Besides, demon warlocks are just plain boring.  I mean, they’re demons — of course they will be full of fel.  Zzzzzzzzz.

At first I thought that Archimonde’s Vengeance was Bane of Havoc redone.  Then I reread it, and, well, it sort of is.  Instead of transferring damage you deal to another target to also the cursed target (Bane of Havoc), it transfers damage you took from the cursed target.  Sounds great for a major boss-nuke phase, especially if you’re not in a position to be actively dealing damage (moving, out of range, etc.).

For PvP, it also sounds pretty cool, especially since it does not specify caster of spell damage on you.  It doesn’t say if you poke me, I reflect some back to you.  It says if you poke me or if Tom pokes me, I reflect some damage back to you.  The anti-focus-fire for warlocks, I suppose.  For PvE, this means it will work like a Bane of Havoc if we have more multi-“room” fights, like Beth’tilac’s up & down areas.  Makes me wonder if we will still retain Bane of Havoc in Mists.

It also tickles my “Demo likes melee” thought.  Demo likes melee because of Immolation Aura and Shadowflame, but Aff and Destro also like melee range for Shadowflame if they can get there.  There are other times when we need to stand in melee with others — “share the love” mechanics (Argaloth, Scorpion Majordomo, etc.).  While you almost never die to these mechanics due to the majority of the raid in the same spot splitting all the damage, it’s pretty cool to have a damage-increase incentive to share the love with my raid members.

I’m specifically looking ahead to Morchok‘s Resonating Crystal mechanic, where you need 3 people minimum to share the love, and I figure raids will often stick to just 3 people sharing.  While life isn’t so bad when you’re a clothy sharing with 12-24 other people, life might get a tad hairy if you’re a clothy sharing with only 2 others (who, if the crystal spawns in range, might also be clothies!).  With AV, on the other hand, the more damage you take, the more damage AV deals.  I think it’s an interesting concept of almost-dying-to-deal-more-DPS.

Kil’jaeden’s Cunning is Spiritwalker’s Grace for warlocks.  With a time penalty.  That makes sense since KJC would be the de facto talent everywhere if it did not have such a penalty.

I don’t think it would be terribly attractive for affliction at all.  Affliction loves haste, specifically for more DoT ticks rather than just a shorter Shadow Bolt cast time.  Affliction especially loves haste for more DoT ticks once everyone else in the raid has geared up.

You’ll notice this in the beginning of tiers and comparing them to later in the tiers.  When everyone is struggling to perform, affliction starts to shine because our DPS is more dependent on how long the target is alive / how much health there is to destroy.  The longer the fight goes, the more DoT ticks we can fit in, so the higher our DPS seems at the beginning of a tier.  As everyone gears up around us, even though we ourselves have also improved with gear, our DPS actually starts to go down on trivial fights like trash in instances, since the available health pools aren’t up as long for us to get our DoTs up and ticking.

Introducing a longer period between ticks wouldn’t be attractive to an affliction warlock.  As we are, now, affliction is actually better on movement than destruction or demonology is.  We don’t lose as much DPS from moving, and we lose even less if we’ve learned to stagger-step our Shadow Bolts in.  (Stagger-step = cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, etc.)

Illidan’s Guile sounds a bit meh to me, possibly because I already paw at Seed of Corruption like candy on Halloween.  The difference between which AoE a warlock (or any DPSer) uses depends largely on the pattern of mob position.

If mobs are in a fixed position, more or less, then a warlock is more likely to use a target-circle (Rain of Fire) or cone effect (Shadowflame) type of AoE.  Target circles are often channeled, too, and often the only time you have to stand still for AoE is a stack-up point.  If the mobs are stacked on top of raiders (Ragnaros phase 2), then the radial AoEs will be used if they are stronger (and usually are) than the target-circle or cone-effect AoEs.

Rain of Fire just doesn’t really work out for warlocks.  Shadowflame is awesome on bosses for a bit of single-target DPS, but it’s not a typical AoE.

Radial AoEs — Seed of Corruption, Hellfire, e.g. — do not have a specific target-circle on the ground placement.  Instead, they radiate outward a set distance from a specific point; Seed radiates from the current target, and Hellfire radiates from the warlock herself.  Hellfire is currently only utilized by Demo locks, who can move while Hellfiring, and Seed is a short enough cast that Aff and Destro locks can stagger-step it at the worst.  The advantage of radial AoEs is that if the mobs move, your AoE is still very effective.  Either you move with Hellfire, or you learn with Seed to place it on the most-central mob.  (Another thing with Seed if you try to pick the target which will live longest, so you can spam it longer, which leads to sometimes switching Seed target mid-fight.)

Splash damage works like a radial AoE.  It hits things nearby.

I don’t know why specifically IG was introduced when we already have Seed of Corruption.  I think perhaps if you are Demo or Destro you may like IG, since you can deal normal damage without switching to a weaker AoE (Seed is outside of Destro’s main spell school, but Rain of Fire is a much weaker AoE).

As for affliction?  My Seed casts are faster than Shadow Bolt, reaches farther than IG (15yds versus 10yds), and if Soulburned Seed doesn’t go away, it’s actually more beneficial for me to switch to Seed to spread my DoTs than it is to use some filler splash damage (which is most likely NOT a DoT).  I suppose it could be a way to get some burst damage in; Shadow Bolt definitely hits harder as a single hit than Seed, but that would depend on how much of the original hit splashes.

My Affliction Raiding Spec?

Of course, as Blizzard intends this to be switchable on a per-fight basis, I don’t think I can say anymore that any one spec is the way to go.  But, what are the talents I will pick first?  Which talents would I wear if I was walking into a Mists raid tomorrow?

I think I will go BCBCCA: Soul Leech, Shadowfury, Soul Link, Nether Ward, Grimoire of Sacrifice, and Archimonde’s Vengeance.  (Wowhead has a Mists calculator now!  Here’s my build.)

I also find it a tad funny to see the specs flip talent screen sides.  Traditionally, the specs go in alphabetical order, so you’ll see today affliction, demonology, destruction, left to right.  The Mists talents, on the other hand, appear to have right-side affliction and left-side destruction talents.

Soul Leech is a do-what-you-do healing effect for me.  Shadowfury is a CC I enjoy when I go destro, and sometimes wish I had as affliction, since affliction’s utility is either curse application or pet-dependent.  Soul Link is because it works well enough now, and I also think it would be awesome and hilarious to have an SL/SL build* again.  Nether Ward is a great reduction for spell damage, and most raid damage, even in melee stack-ups, is spell-based.  Grimoire of Sacrifice, I gave my reasons above; in short, I think it would provide the most benefit as affliction spec.  Archimonde’s Vengeance because as an affliction warlock, I really do feel that my health, mana, and damage are fluid and connected concepts that are swapped and transformed between each other often enough.  One of affliction’s strengths is self-healing, so I’m not too afraid to take a few hits for more damage.  It also feels exciting when you’re at that point of your health pool where you could very well die in the next hit, but by definition you’re not dead yet, so you keep casting.

*SL/SL (short for Siphon Life / Soul Link) was an old Wrath build where the warlock went down the affliction tree just enough to get Siphon Life (about halfway down), and then went down the demonology tree the rest of the way.  This resulted in a high-survivability/damage build that was pretty awesome for soloing old dungeons and for PvP.

What will you pick first?  Whys are most welcome. 🙂

Affliction & New Talents


I feel like I oughta be writing some “real” post that discusses, oh, I don’t know, talents or gear or boss strats or whatever.  I am supposed to be a warlock blog, y’know, not some random blog that rambles on and on and drones on and on, oh, and, by the way, I play a warlock.

But I’ve been doing things in WoW.  Various things.  Things I’m a bit proud of (some of them), but things I understand if you’re a bit “eh whatever” about them.

Mostly involving Acheesements.  I don’t know if people use that word to mock achievements or what; usually I think an Achievement is something you do at the intended level, whereas an Acheesement is something you go back and do.  Like reputations from two expansions ago.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Outland lately. Yo Ho, Yo Ho, and a Bottle of Rumsey Rum…


Long Time, No Writing

I was talking to somebody about writing.  And telling them about how I don’t really want to write about affliction things you can find elsewhere, like talents & glyphs & spells & stuff.

How I want to write about affliction the way I like how-to-write-better books.

I don’t like the ones that say “do this” or “don’t do this” or “this is for that.”

I far prefer the ones that just tell “so this is me when I began writing and this was me two days later and this was me three years later and this is me decades now.”  The ones that just really talk about the writing itself, or the circumstances that prompted the writing, but not really saying why.  Maybe a personal why, so I can take that personal lesson with me, but also so I can take my own personal lesson with me.

It’s a bit like pornography.  I know I like a how-to-write-better book when I like it.

I don’t like being told what to do, and I don’t really like telling others what to do.  I’m all for that whole figuring it out yourself process.

But even now, that stupid gear list I did for heroics gear?  THAT gets me the most pageviews.  Posts I really enjoyed writing, and even now, still enjoy reading?  Not much beyond their dawning week.

So this friend I was talking to then said, “Do you have to write for them, or for you?”

Pageviews are nice highs to have.


When I don’t like how-to-write-better books, I think it’s because I detect a bit too much For Them and a bit too little For You.

So, that answers that.


I’d leave it there, but while raiding, I’ve been doing a bunch of PvP (both BGs and a tiny bit of 2v2 Arena) and, more recently, going back to Outland to grind BC rep and solo/<5-man BC dungeons.  While doing a Kael’thas Sunstrider attempt (The Eye) on Twitter, someone sent me a link of them doing a 3-man of it.

In the process, I found 2 new blogs to read: Glow’s Branches & The Other Tank. To start: for soloing old dungeons (a favorite relaxation/anger-purge of mine) and for taking screenshots (for sharing those things I’ve been doing).  I’ll read on from there.

Long Time, No Writing

1 Year…ish…

Twitter conversation about blog anniversary trends

Technically my Hello World post was on December 23rd, 2009.

But I think something like 100 posts would be a better milestone to celebrate.  Particularly since I tend to have a couple weeks’ lag in between spurts of posting rather than a solid year of posting on a regular schedule.  This makes #94. Here’s a year’s worth of babble.

1 Year…ish…

Maintenance Day Filler

Inspired by Shamelessly stolen from Alas’s post.  And because I’m not happy enough with my demon fic thing to post it yet.

Theme: pick a tameable hunter pet and name it after you.  Which pet would it be?

Wicked / Spooky sounds Warlocky, right?

Green Chimaera like the Vilewing.  Pretty much anything Fel makes the list of Warlock-feel, but the Chimaera looks particularly nasty.

Black Widow Spiders — I particularly like Zarakh’s model, but the plain ole BWS works too.

Black Cats – Though, I’m partial to spots.

Black Wolves – In order of preference: Saber Worg, Worg, Wolf.

Vampire Bat – It’s not a real Vampire Bat unless the wings are red, mkay?

Black Scorpion – I think my fledgling hunter will actually go get this one.  I like the grrrr! but so small & compact.

Personality of Me

But I really think the Pet of Me should be based on me, since basing it on warlockery would make it a Pet of Warlock.  So what am I?

Am I a sporebat? Quiet, floats around, pretty in terms of colors, but odd-looking in terms of features?  They reside in my favorite zone, Zangarmarsh.  I like the quiet and colors there.

It’d be cool to be a Wind Serpent, particularly the ones in Zul’Drak.  Maybe it fits; a lot of time I end up getting carried away on some wind of insult or inspiration.  I’m a bit spiky to deal with sometimes and I tend to hang back from friendships at first, staying mostly neutral.  I like to think of myself as a staunch protector, maybe not so Tenacious but definitely Cunning enough to defeat opponents.

Or a raptor, maybe?  Especially this guy.  Can’t you see the smile on his face?  Green, like Warlocks should be, and they fight by almost bouncing.  They don’t just OM NOM bite you, it’s like OM NOM BOUNCE.  And who wouldn’t want to run with their arms outstretched like zombies?

I like the Green Raptor one, personally. He’s got a great grin.  🙂  But since a lot of people come here for colors, I think I’d end up a sporebat in other people’s minds.

Maintenance Day Filler

BAST: What Has WoW Taught You … Refrain

Was reading some of the posts noted by’s Daily Quest, and it had linked a whole issue of the Escapist magazine (online).  The DQ’s theme was Roleplaying, and after reading Shade’s fantastic article on the Ashbringer, I was in a “RP HOORAY!” mood and decided to check it out.

Well, there was the one article about playing in a realism military RPG.  The article itself was kinda cool, but I’m not huffing and bouncing to go be in a modern-military-unit game (though military-unit history is interesting to me), so I wasn’t super excited.

Then I reached the end of the article, bottom of page 4.

I didn’t express this sentiment because I knew that, if he has the heart to keep trudging on, he won’t need to hear it from me. Sooner or later, playing in this fake military unit over the internet will either break him in two or make him a man. Sometimes people take what we are at face value, a bunch of nerds playing soldier. The truth is that the roles that we play in the 75th Ranger Regiment are as valid as the roles that we play in real life: supporting friend, benevolent leader, proud parent, and even village idiot.

Playing in this unit, as we tell our stories of pain and heartache along with our stories of victory and happiness, we become comrades and friends. “Realism” may have been the hook for me, but the people that I’ve met, the stories and battles that we’ve shared, is what keeps me logging in every weekend.

So as I sat alone in the channel recently departed by Johnson, I knew that if he can reach that level, if he can come to grips with the roles that we play, then he will realize that camaraderie is worth more than all the XP, Kill to Death Ratios, or match wins in the world.

I colored some parts that particularly stood out to me.  By “stood out,” I mean I had a big grin on my face and I said, “Fuck Yeah! That’s what I meant to say!”

BAST: What Has WoW Taught You … Refrain

Got A Groove Back

The A is important.  I don’t know if it’s my groove yet or not, but I’ve got a few itches to write some stuff down.  More than a few.

It was the writer’s block that is no ideas.

Now it is the writer’s block that is too many ideas. And they’re flying around at super fast speed in my head, all clamoring for attention.

I start sentences with “And” way way way too much.  Stream of consciousness, kay?

The World Cup is Over


Now, I have absolutely no good reason to wake up in the morning.  Except maybe to get on Xeny or Nooky.

I played soccer for years when I was younger.  I really should find some intramural team in college that I can play on.  I’m starting to really miss it.  Especially goalkeeping and midfield, because those were my two big positions.

For the interested: my progression of positions: defense –> GK (big foot + agggressive defense) –> forward (big foot + better GK than me) –> midfield (not so aggressive forward + more endurance than my teammates) –> referee (mother/daughter reffing FTW).  Obviously, I’m destined to become a soccer mom and coach my kids’ soccer teams.

So uh, yeah.  The World Cup is pretty much why there has been no blog for a month. And dealing with depres–nyahhhh it was mostly the World Cup.

Although I was rooting for Netherlands during the final, I’m still glad Spain won.  (The octopus wins!)  It made me smile to finally see Casillas — one of, if not the best GK in the world atm — get to lift the trophy first.  I mean, this is only his third Cup, and he’s one of my favorite players.  So I was happy.  And I thought it was hilarious that the crowd would stop the vuvuzelas to boo at Suarez (Uruguay) whenever he got the ball during the third-place game.

The only thing sad about the World Cup is when Americans get so excited when we’re in it, and then we go out in the round of 16, and it’s like who fucking cares about soccer, again.  And there are few people I can talk to and gush about this goal or that foul or this set piece or this save.  And then they tell me they just can’t get into it, or they don’t have someone to explain the terminology and rules to them.  But, if you want to get into soccer, and you haven’t yet, I’d advise you to listen to commentators, at least, especially the Europeans, because the Euros are serious about their soccer, errr, football.

Especially the Brits.  Because a) BRITISH ACCENTS ❤ and b) they’re so funny when they’re completely harsh about some play or another.  Like, every bad remark isn’t some PC remark you’d get off an American commentator, your reaction after it is something along the lines of “ooooooooo BURRRRRRRRRRRRRNNN!”

But there is one non-Brit commentator whom I absolutely love. If you ever hear on ESPN (for Americans, I don’t know if ESPN reaches other parts of the world) the name Tommy Smyth (“Sm-eye-th”), an Irish guy…he’s the best, I think.  He’s absolutely brutal.  🙂  He wasn’t one of the TV commentators (my favorite of the TV ones was the Netherlands guy, Ruud Gullit!), but he was on the ESPN radio than my dad and I listened to on my dad’s Sirius XM radio in the car on the 4th of July trip.  And when we were late getting back from morning errands.

Why all the brutality that I like about soccer? I don’t really know, but I am against replays. I mean, goal-line replays, for goals only, that I’ll allow, but I really really don’t want replays in soccer.  Otherwise I’m afraid it’ll end up like American football where it takes half an hour to play 10 game-minutes, because people are wasting time and objecting to shit all over the place.  I mean, soccer games are long enough.  But it’s not really making the game longer that bothers me.  The part that really gives me the thrill in playing or reffing soccer is that I can lose.  I’m mortal, in a sports sense.  Knowing the ref is human, you can use that to your advantage (the Brazilians were SNEAKY in their pushing!), but having him as the sole judge — and the center ref has seconds to judge things — in what happens just…energizes me.  Knowing the players are human, both your own team and the opposing team, gives me power because I know it’s possible to beat somebody.

It’s like in practice, I could never be the fastest player.  Even the sprinting practices, I just couldn’t do it.  But in a game, there’s all that adrenaline pumping, because THE GAME IS ON THE LINE, GURLZ, and suddenly I can voom so fast down the field, I could rez Norweigan Blues.  Knowing it’s not the end of the world, that I get another go at it, that just ruins most of the thrill and spirit of the game for me.  So I’m really against introducing replay technogology to soccer.

But that’s my view.  I like my soccer as raw as possible. What about you?

World Cup of Warcraft

Okay, I, uh, I…I brainstormed this whole thing out, and wrote pieces of it.  I don’t know if anyone would really want to read commentator-like style on soccer played Azeroth-style.  Considering how many people read this blog, and then how many of you actually follow soccer and like it?  It’d be something I’d totally enjoy writing, I think I could actually get lost in it, since I love both soccer and WoW, but I don’t know that I should post it if none of you would like it.

Wanting to Redo My Toon Bios

It’s like my UI funk.  Every month or so, I want to tweak things aesthetically for no reason other than to tweak them in another way.  It’s like alt-ing for UIs, I guess.

Anyway, I did these long Toon Bios for my main toons over in the sidebar, including some playing in WoW Model Viewer, and now I’m not really loving them, so I want to switch them around again.

Whatever, I’m weird, move on.


I don’t really like the iTunes interface for browsing podcasts on iTunes, but I use an iPod, so iTunes is what I have.  But I want to BROWSE, damnit, because I don’t know of any really.  I’m a podcast newb.  But I’ve found some!  (If you have any other suggestions, I’ll try some!)

All Things Azeroth:  I listened in on one (12 July 2010), in the middle of it.  The trivia question was which eternal was once a mortal?  And I’m proud to say that though I’m a bit of a WoW-lore noob, I got it right away.  Medivh!  I didn’t put it in the chat room, though.  I’m such a lurker.

Obscurecast: it’s hosted by Brits, I mean, that’s, like, justification enough, right?  Seriously, British & Australian accents generally hook me anyway.  But it’s also the British way of insulting things and British humor (“humour”) that I love so much.  I just get a fuzzy ooo-so-creative feeling inside.

The Football Ramble: It’s about soccer.  It’s hosted by Brits.  Need I say more about why I love it?

Zooming on Alts

Xeny hit Northrend (& 70!).  I’m having so much fun as a moonkin since I got Starfall.  It’s just…ridiculous…how many mobs I can kill at one time.  Granted, sometimes I have to pull out the treants and then Typhoon the place, and then pop Nature’s Grasp, and then Innervate AND pot, and then maybe almost survive.  And sometimes I die, and think, “Well, if it weren’t for that pat, I’d’a had it.”

I feel bad about the alting when I, y’know, a few months ago applied and got accepted into a raiding guild.  Okay, Conspiracy isn’t hardmodes or anything high pressure, but I do feel terribly bad for basically dropping out for the summer.  Because currently my time is not totally under my control, and people like parents just don’t understand that online people are real people.  But I feel bad anyway.

Especially since Xeny is a “traditional” alt for me, on Elune.  That is, no heirlooms, no money from the mains, totally starting fresh as if it’s my first toon on the server…and unguilded.  So I haven’t logged onto Pone or Ama in ages, but I’ve totally been on Elune almost every day now.

Okay, maybe every day.  But most of that time is spent AFK reading blogs or doing chores or watching the World Cup.  Interruptions for which leveling solo is perfect.

Northrend is still exciting.  But I did feel the excitement start to fade.  Burn out, you might say.  I’ve been Alliance.  I have 3 80s, a 70, and a couple of 60 DKs, and they’re all Alliance.  I’ve done the Alliance quest chains in pretty much every zone.  I have leveling Alliance down, I think.

I’m wondering if Horde is much different.

So I started the 3rd version of Panoukla (NOOKY!) the DK. She’s on a totally different server, and she’s Forsaken.  I started with a Troll, but then I thought about the Northrend Forsaken questlines, and I totally caved and rerolled her as Undead.  Aside from the crap hairstyles, I love the Forsaken.  (Seriously, the girl hairstyles, wtf mate?  Laaaaaaaaame.)  Emotes and everything.

Nooky is out of the DK starting area and in Hellfire Peninsula. I’m too poor to buy flying skill, but I got myself a Green Wind Rider for when I do get enough money.  Who knows when I will.  But, um, yeah, Thrallmar is …different… Okay, yeah, about half the quests are the same damn thing: go kill the same guys at Expedition Armory, e.g.  But the others, they’re different.  And, holy crap, I actually have to read the quest and open up the map to figure out where I need to go.

Can’t wait till Northrend, though.  Especially since I just finished Outland with Xeny.  Ick.  But, once I get out of Hellfire, it’s ZANGARMARSH TIME!

Zangarmarsh is my favorite zone ever. I look forward to it every time, and then once I finish it the Loremaster part of that zone (54 quests is cake on Alliance, anyway), it’s rather boring.  I mean, I have the epic Northrend story quest chains to look forward to, but considering this will be my 4th or 5th time through them…maybe not so exciting.

Which is why I’m hoping Horde Northrend questlines are somewhat different lore-wise than Alliance Northrend questlines.  Don’t spoil anything for me, though!

Got A Groove Back

Leveling a Roleplayer

Many topics & events are popping up in the SAN forums. One of them was since a good majority of the bloggers rerolled a brand new toon on a strange server rather than transferring, we’re all back at square one level-wise. So why not blog about leveling whatever toon you picked?

Well, I figured I’d pick a warlock and name her Poneria so there was no confusion. And despite leveling a warlock demo this time instead of affliction, it’s still really the same. So I thought, hey, why not learn to RP, too! Except that Poneria is firmly stuck in my head as my main, and while, yeah, I figure I could just write another story with the same name, it feels…dirty and wrong. For one, I can’t remember all the stories I had with The Scarlet Robes. Yeah, I would have to include TSR adventures because it feels like a part of my main.

But the TSR I knew isn’t on Argent Dawn. So…it feels wrong to roleplay my old warlock anew.

New toon then? But what? Though I have an urge to play a male dwarf (I normally play female toons & I don’t like the female dwarf model, hence, no dwarven toons for me), possibly a paladin, I have several qualms.

  1. A male dwarf is cross-gender for me, and I’m not terribly confident that I understand a guy’s personality beyond the stereotypical protector personality.  So go figure, a paladin.
  2. My other favorite stereotype personality to attempt roleplay is an evil character, though I would sincerely try to justify his/her evilness whether by logic or personality or history.  However, evil characters are either DKs (reformed evil or perhaps not so reformed) or warlocks (see above for dilemma of persona).
  3. I can only think of stereotypes?  Or are these archetypes, I can’t tell.
  4. I’m not too sure I have the Scottish accent down, or hell, even writing accents in general. So I feel like maybe I ought to just stick to a human, where I can get away with not having a specific accent.
  5. My experience has been either event-based (forum-RP) or it was my own fanfiction, so given a prompt, I believe I can RP well enough.  It’s the LARPing I’m afraid is hard.
  6. My previous written characters were so totally Mary Sue.  This is bad.
  7. I want to hang out with SAN, but also I want to try RP.  Which would be kind of weird to explain why my WoW character is in a guild called Single Abstract Noun.  Of course, the obvious solution is to leave my baby Poneria in SAN and then RP elsewhere, whether it’s on AD or not.

Although this feels like I’m ripping off Psynister and creating my own notebook of leveling a roleplayer, it’s what I would like to do.  It’ll give me space to ask for out-of-game feedback or to experiment or to gather my research together or whatever purposes.

I think my first step is to explore the forums and blogs surrounding RP in WoW and then my second step is to develop the basics of a character to play.  Musings to come!

Leveling a Roleplayer

Around Azeroth: 28 Feb – 6 Mar

Y’know all those philosophy posts I never got around to…  Well, I just kept thinking.  And I might have lost the list of them… <.< >.>  But this past week has provoked some thoughts.  So I will continue in my uber-length fashion as always…

I’m concentrating on a few warlockery things, because I want to try out some demonology a little.  So my bookmark bar (yeah, I put up currently reading pages up there) has some intro to demo articles on it.  We’ll see how it goes later.  I’m also trying to lurk more on the warlock section of EJ and lurking on the WoW Warlock forums.  Not that you can really tell if I lurk more, but I need to read them some more.

<Single Abstract Noun> has been going around the blogosphere a little. I decided to be obvious and roll a human warlock named Poneria on Argent Dawn-US to join up with my States-side bloggin’ brethern. Of course, it’s not exclusive to bloggers, anyone is allowed in, but there’s a ton of bloggers already there. I log on sometimes to hit level 5 things but mostly to percolate.

Seriously, I’ll be out of ideas to blog, I’ll log onto AD, and then *poof* ideas, they come.  If I’m AFK on AD, you can always whisper me or Twitter me, and the sound of either of those will get my attention.

The Elder Blogging Event has concluded, and you can check out Khi’s list of Elders to read them all.  The event got linked on, which was awesome. 🙂  My top five in no particular order (there’s 17, go read them all!):

  • Psynister linking his own posts and various other blogs as gifts.  Clever…
  • Cynwise gives some zen advice for newbie PvPers.  I need this for my baby priest (she’s 40! halfway there!) because I’m a firecracker when confronted with dying and/or stupidity.
  • Zahia’s Grid guide.  Though I prefer TBJ, any addon guide that’s thorough is good in my book.
  • Ophelie’s tips for PuGging dungeons.  Bonus tip: if you are the last to leave group, sometimes the teleport in/out option isn’t there anymore and you have to hearth.  Sometimes it is, but half the time, it isn’t.  Maybe sometimes I actually beat out the other person to leaving?  Bonus bonus tip: if you leave the instance via the door portal, it pops you back where you were as if you had used the teleport option. 🙂
  • Gazimoff’s mage roleplaying.  That post and reading up on WoW lore makes me want to take a day and just go over warlock-specific lore.  That post and reading Too Many Annas makes me want to learn to & actually RP some day on a WoW server.

Good news, everyone! Conspiracy downed Putricide 25.  The 10man I was in this week also managed to down two-heal one-shot Putricide, and got a couple of tries in on Dreamwalker after we killed Blood Queen.  Wootah!

Nibuca did a State of the UII’ve been wanting to do one myself, but I’m moving it around, playing with it, plus I still get crap every once in a while for still WASDing.  I tried mouse-moving once, and …I move the camera too much normally, so I kept autorunning in The Bad.  =/

If you want to prettify your DBM bars, check this out.  Personally, the big red or orange bars stick out in my face, so I’m afraid that prettifying them will lead me to not pay attention as often.  But I like this post because it gives you an inside look of the addon folder if you’ve ever wondered how you can mix & match with not just whole addons but addon parts as well.

I’m still getting into the flow of raiding with Conspiracy.  Putricide is oodles of fun now, I think, even when we wipe, I feel like I’m having fun.  It’s even in the <35% DPS like your life depends on it because your life does, in fact, depend on it.  Dreamwalker is more frustrating than I’d want, and I feel like I never really got to struggle much on things like Deathwhisper, Saurfang, or Rotface.  Y’know, the bosses I heard so much about, then read up on so many times, only to go with Conspiracy and one-shot them all?  Yeah…I get excited when I get to kite on Saurfang.

That hot topic about blogging about your guild I like being honest.  For one, it’s less stressful than to keep up what you should and should not know.  For two, I don’t get into icky situations about being passive aggressive or two-faced.  For three, you can be as honest back to me, so it forces me to grow a thick skin and a spine at the same time.  In fact, one of my first posts concerned guildmates and a situation that made me uneasy.  However, I never told them I had a blog until I left, and I don’t think any of them read it.

Now that I’m in Conspiracy, well…they know I have one, Lissanna told them when I applied.  At first I thought it was okay because it would explain my novel length of an application.  But now..I don’t know.  I’m still a probie, so I’m still nervous half the time that I’m going to mess up whether being stupid about my class or not knowing an encounter or not being prepared or standing in The Bad or not doing enough dps for my gear or being unable to keep that @%#$ing Kinetic Bomb up that’s across the room from me but still on *my* side…lots of worrying, but trying to remain calm and constructive and willing to get better when I do actually mess up.

By the way…Flow is a domain now.  Update your RSS feed, too, so you’re not like me wondering why the hell Flow is double-posting every day. <.< >.>

Honestly, no matter the class, I like looking at other people’s UIs.  Probably because sometimes it sparks an idea I never thought of, or maybe I’ve been looking for an addon to do this one thing and there it is, or maybe I have this one addon, but here’s a better one, etc.  I love addons and UIs.

Miss Medicina’s big healing post that sparked some debate.  I want to write my opinion about logiccrafting healing, but I feel like my opinion would be very weak and one-sided, since I’ve only ever played a tree (my shammy is still 52 or something), and I’ve only ever really raid-healed in bulk.  I’ve tank-healed a few times, but I was normally chosen by HPS not by spec or anything, so I don’t feel justified as an authority on tank healing anyway.  Heck, I don’t really feel justified as an authority on warlocks, even though I’ve been playing one since I started WoW.

Matticus’s cross-training post reminded me of the Robes.  This is honestly how we operated — we took whoever signed up for the raid, so long as we had a good ratio of tanks, healers, and dps, and went with it.  Like Pocahontas, I never stepped in the same raid twice.  It’s the thing most different and difficult about Conspiracy to me, honestly. Being able to get over hitting CoE when I’m DPSing next to Lissanna, since I’m so used to provided that debuff.  Being able to not freak out about having only 339 hit rating because there’s always a draenei (I’m 3 +hit short, I know) and most often a boomkin or a spriest (could get away with 289!) in my raiding group.

The fresh perspectives part particularly speaks to me.  Story time?  Story time.  Onyxia 10, pug raid.  They didn’t really explain the fight before just pulling it.  Apparently I was SUCH A N00B for going in the wrong corner during phase 3 and thus being feared into the whelps.

There are 4 “corners” to pick from (6 if you want to count the groups that did it in the entrance or in the back where P1 usually happens, or ∞ if you want to count the groups that did it wherever she landed), and I swear every PuG Onyxia raid picked a different one.  It’s another reason I’m nervous in Conspiracy: I’ve watched the Tankspot videos, yeah, but I have no clue how you guys particularly do it.  So I’m going to pretend I haven’t seen it anyway so you can explain it to me.  Plus, it’s a refresher from what I read, right?

Don’t forget to visit the Blog Azeroth forums and see more Around Azeroth links from other bloggers!

Around Azeroth: 28 Feb – 6 Mar

Elder Poneria

Well, not yet.  I still have to die a lot in Orgrimmar & Thunder Bluff.

But Khi at Tree Burglar suggested an Elder Event for Blog Azeroth, where, as our in-game avatars travel throughout all Azeroth to find words of wisdom, we bloggers should take the time to wander throughout the WoW blogs for more words of respect.

The Lunar Festival, to me, feels like a whole month of introspection and relaxing and being happy instead of being focused purely on the numbers and purples all the time.  One of the ways to introspect is to go through old photo albums.  For us, that’s screenshots.  Now that I realize I’ve lost many screenshots due to computer issues and never thinking to backup WoW (“I’ll just install it again, big deal…” >.<), and with Cataclysm coming, I’m on a quest to capture as much of Azeroth as I can/like. So the wisdom I impart to you is to take a step back from raiding or roleplaying or collecting pets or going wild in a bubble, just every once in a while, and find those awing or funky scenes in Azeroth.

(The black bottoms and tops are my viewport & its art (SunnArt addon).)

You don't have to be a Norwegian Blue to pine for the Fjords.

1. Be a penguin. Just chilling out there, forever, on the edges of Howling Fjords.

Grab a music player or turn the WoW music back on if it helps you forget the crazy world better.  I often fish with music or a dvd playing in the background.  But forget raiding.  Forget numbers and gear.  Forget people.  Forget professions.  Forget spells and abilities.  It’s just you…

My dreadsteed made me feel like a warlock, but it also made me feel like a Scarlet Robe. It's very close to my heart.

2. …and your mount. Pick a mount special to you.

My favorite mount is my dreadsteed. When I fly, it’s my carpet, but I really prefer to go by dreadsteed.  Various reasons make the dreadsteed special to me.  You can switch out mounts if you don’t have an absolute favorite.  I only suggest mounts because it lets you get to places faster.  Actually, when I’m lining up a shot, I use my run/walk toggle a lot to tweak where I’m standing along with using my camera.

I had to adjust some things and take multiple shots to get this picture just so.

3. Alt+Z.

You may want your interface if you are traveling in dangerous areas (for PvP or leveling reasons).  But really, don’t use it while you’re taking the screenshot.

Also maximize your graphics settings to what you like.  You can play with minimal settings (the only setting of mine that isn’t lowest is particle density, for raid floor voidzones), but for one shot at a time, you can tweak the settingsView Distance is great for landscapes (which I like), so is Environment Detail.  I sometimes mess with Weather Intensity for rainy zones like the northwestern edge of Sholazar Basin or the Wetlands.

With my normal settings, I saw faint shadows of things behind Akali. View Distance + Environment Details were needed to see Gundrak's awesome in the background.

Some tips:

  • View Distance will reload your UI, but the others can be fiddled with without logging in and out.  The ones that do require a log in/out will say so in the tooltip when you hover over the slider.
  • You can use your flying mount to figure out if you can land on top of things (you can stand on the spear in Dun Niffleheim, but you can’t stand on the big helm).  You can even just use your flying mount, if applicable.
  • Don’t forget zoom! Zoom all the way in if you don’t want your toon in the picture.  Or zoom halfway in, so you’re translucent against the background.  Or zoom so far out you can barely make out your tiny figure against the vast majesty of your background.
  • You’ll move the camera a lot.  Experiment with being above things, to the side of things, below things, facing the wrong way!
  • Unless you’re worried about disk space, take as many printscreens as you feel like (try to capture the lightning in the Storm Peaks!).  Wait for your idle pose to track all the way through and snap a mid-animation shot (see my dreadsteed photo).
The steep camera angle I needed to get the Wrathgate sans Ruby Flowers worked to make it imposing, too.
I spent a good twenty minutes just trying to get a good angle on the Spirit of the North that didn't include blue dragons at random angles.

4. Go places. For whatever reason.

Fishing in Northrend for consumables.  Fishing to skill up.  Achievements.  Sunsets. Sunrises.  Moonrises. Moonsets.  Boats/Zepps leaving/approaching dock.  Flying on a flightpath.  Flying by yourself.  Revisiting your starting area and giving Garrick Padfoot a good level 80 whack for giving you level 4 grief.  Weather.  Monuments.  Old quests.

Take some screenshots.  Here’s a small portion of what I got out of just Northrend.

The Kalu'ak are always cheerful and calm. 🙂
I always love this ember miniarea of the Fjords, despite the burning.
Un'goro Crater! So very green...
I took this because it reminded me of the Temple of Apollo at Corinth while facing Acrocorinth, except flipped.
The Temple of Apollo at Corinth with Acrocorinth in the background, in case you were wondering.

5. Revisit your screenshots folder every once in a while. Y’know, about as often as you need to LOLflume down the Grizzly Hills river.

Typically all your screenshots are saved to a folder in your WoW folder, wherever you put that (C:\…\World of Warcraft\Screenshots\).  If you use Vista or 7 and can’t find your screenshots, try this blue post to search for it, and you should be able to find them.

ESPECIALLY go ride the Log Flume. 😀

RT Nibuca: Log Flume: In Grizzly hills: Go upriver to the sawmill. Talk to friendly NPC at top of spiral steps. Take Ride. LOL uncontrollably. Repeat.

Take what you wish from my piece of the Elder advising, but I hope you enjoy your World of Warcraft, whatever that is.

Elder Poneria