The Game Doesn’t Always Begin At The End

February 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, WoW General)

So, I’ve been fairly quiet.  Part of that is, of course, being gainfully employed once again, which is keeping me busy.  But also, I’ve found a somewhat unexpected experience when I came back to WoW this time around.  The game and I just haven’t clicked.

I’ve taken hiatuses (hiati?) before.  I figured I’d get ramped up for raiding and be good to go.  I ran a few heroics, got a few badges, and just Ran. Out. Of. Steam.  I found I lacked any enthusiasm for gearing up for raiding.  Now, I’ve always had a bit of that essential laziness (I don’t think I ever did get exalted with Sons of Hodir), but this time, the chore just seemed even more tedious than usual.

On some level, this bothers me.  I really want to see Icecrown Citadel.  My entire mental conception of my character and her history requires her to go into Icecrown Citadel.  I’m not going to see Icecrown Citadel if I go a month at a time between logons.  But I don’t, however, appear to want to see Icecrown Citadel badly enough to gear up from Naxx25-Ulduar10 level gear to where I’d be ready (assuming my guild even still exists such that it would be an option – it’s been a month since I logged on, so I have no idea).  But when my alternative is pugging Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle again, I feel a piece of my soul die.  And not in a good warlocky way, either.

Meanwhile, the siren song of Lord of the Rings Online has sucked me in entirely.  My hunter (think WoW hunter, but without a pet, so playstyle’s an almost more mage-style nuke-em-before-they-get-to-you) is level 44, and I have a small stable of alts I’m playing with as well.  Another few levels, and I can begin heading south towards a certain rather nasty dwarf ruin of considerable notoriety.

(And once again, Turbine, I’ll go into considerably more detail about the awesomeness of  your game if you send me a big fat check, so I can be one of those Kept Bloggers I keep hearing so much about!)

Why, I find myself wondering, am I spending time in a new MMO while precious raiding hours slip away?  After all, raiding has been what I’ve organized my endgame around since I first hit 70 on the lock.  And that, I think, is what it comes down to – it’s endgame.

Everybody has heard the claim that “WoW begins at level cap”, or that the endgame is the real game.  I’ve made the argument (I forget where) that that’s only true after you level your first character to level cap – the first time through, every new zone is exciting.  Leveling alts, that’s not as true – by a certain point, you’ve either leveled through a zone before, or you don’t actually have any interest in doing a particular zone (the latter is the case for me with most of the forested Kalimdor zones, for example – I’m just not interested.)

The raiding endgame is something I got into from the perspective of being an explorer.  I wanted to see what the inside of Medivh’s tower looked like.  I wanted to see this Kael’thas guy I kept reading about in the quest text (yes, I read quest text).  I wanted to see what was behind door number 1.  That said, raiding is also about the furthest thing from exploration there is.  The whole point of exploring is to boldly go where noone who is you, at least, has gone before.  If you show up to a raid, on the other hand, not having watched the videos that tell you precisely what to expect when you enter the boss’s room, you’re not doing your job.

It reminds me of how my dad and I used to play those old Sierra adventure games – King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and so forth.  Those games, for any of my readers who are too young (/cry) to have played them, had a point system that was your score – up in the corner, you’d have a tag that said “Score: 135 of 280”, for example.  You could, if you went through the game without exploring around the edges of the game too much, complete the game with considerably less than a maximum score.  I usually did.  I wanted to see the next part more than I wanted to be absolutely positive I hadn’t missed a point somewhere in the room.  My dad, on the other hand, wanted the maximum score.  Different types on the Bartle Scale (though as I read it, despite my characterization of my motives and his, my type would actually be “Achiever”, and his would be “Explorer”).

And that’s where things stand right now – there isn’t really anything in WoW to explore.  LotRO is nothing but exploration for me right now.  And so, that’s where I am.

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Sigh. Figures.

August 14, 2009 at 10:06 am (Raiding)

Alas, Blizzard is backsliding.  Per Zarhym re: the new Onyxia mount:

The drop rate will be extremely low. One day I will have it, though as soon as I loot it I’ll probably be struck by lightning on a sunny day and attacked by a shark, all while in the presumed comfort of my living quarters.

One thing Blizzard did quite nicely in a couple of cases in Wrath is move away from the lightning-strike model of mount drops (Ashes of A’lar, Attumen, etc.).  Obtaining the bronze drake requires a hard-mode performance of CoS.  Obtaining the Twilight or Black drakes requires a hard-mode performance of OS.  However, if you accomplished these (I’ve done the first, but not (yet) the second), it’s a 100% drop rate.  Rare, to be sure (well, the OS drakes are, anyway), but worth the attempt.  Because you absolutely can get both, if you’re willing to put in the effort.  It’s within reach if you put your mind to it.

There is no point, however, in attempting to go for a one-in-a-thousand mount from a once-a-week boss.  You can do absolutely nothing to improve your chances.  In a given year, you’ll get fifty-two attempts.  That’s a 5.07% chance your raid will see it drop at some point over the course of a year.  Then you have to win the roll (if you’re interested in the mount, unless the drop rate is different between 10 and 25 man, I strongly suggest going 10-man).  This is not something to aspire to – the return on investment, time-wise, is far too weak.  This is the in-game equivalent of buying a lottery ticket.  Lotteries are a tax on people who can’t do math, and this mount is an incentive for those same people.

People will do the instance (just as they do Malygos), but the mount will not be a motivating factor (just as nobody does Malygos to get a blue drake, and nobody’s grinding Kael’thas at 80 to try to get the big fiery bird).

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Love. This.

August 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm (Raiding)

I was sort of wondering if Blizzard was doing anything special for the five year anniversary.  They are.

I do wish they’d restore the attunement quest chain that I never got to finish, but in the absence of that, I love the idea of getting to experience some actual semblance of what the original raid was like (doing the level 60 version at level 80 isn’t even close).  Plus, I really really want the mount.

And I really want to know about those “big plans” for the 3.2.2 content patch, of which this is apparently only a part.

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No Warlocks Need Apply.

July 31, 2009 at 9:52 am (Raiding, Warlock)

Seen yesterday, in Trade channel (yes, yes, I know, I turned it back off, but for a while there, I just couldn’t look away):

“LF6DPS VoA-25.  No hunters, death knights, or warlocks, all others welcome. PST.”

Wait.

What?

Okay, let’s start with the fact that you’re looking for 6 DPS.  That suggests you’re not all that close to having built the group yet (yes, I know, DPS are dime a dozen, but this guy was still a nickel short, and there was more than one group in /Trade recruiting DPS for a VoA run).  I know warlocks are a rather underrepresented class at level 80 (9th out of 10, only rogues have lower representation), but hunters and (especially) death knights are not.  Per the Warcraft census (not enough data on Duskwood to give a reliable result, so I used all US PvE realms as a proxy) those three classes together make up 33% of the Alliance level 80 player population.  So, immediately, you’re knocking out a rather huge chunk of your potential DPSers, regardless of skill or gear.

The question is: why?  If the raid leader is stupid enough to simply decide “no death knights/hunters/warlocks know how to play their class”, well, there’s nothing to do for that, and I hope he/she enjoyed endlessly wiping on Emalon because he/she is a drooling idiot.  It’s not like the raid needs any diversity to speak of – DPS is DPS is DPS.  It’s clearly not a utility thing, as said raid leader didn’t feel the need to say “no rogues”, and rogues have no utility whatsoever.  Plus, you’ve eliminated two of the three classes that can do the 13% spell damage debuff on the target, so they’d better have had a boomkin, or they are seriously gimping themselves (and their non-Warlock caster DPSers).

I suppose it could be the design of the Emalon fight (specifically the need for high burst damage to take out the overcharged add before it wipes the raid), but even there, his choice of classes is bizarre.  Is a shadow priest really a better choice for burst than a Destruction warlock?  A Marksmanship hunter?  Are DKs (all DKs) really hurting for burst?  Affliction warlock, fine, that’s a rough fight for affliction, and I wouldn’t go into it specced affliction.  But this guy’s exclusion was a bit overbroad.

After that, I run out of ideas.  They’re all pet classes?  I can’t think of how that makes a difference.  The only thing I can think of (and it just occurred to me as I was writing this) is that maybe it was a semi-guild run pugging additional people, and they didn’t want anybody to compete with guildies if tier gear dropped (any other gear is going to have at least one other class potentially rolling on it anyway).  If that’s the case, okay, but a better solution would be to find out if said warlock (or whoever) actually needed the loot in question (if it’s PvP loot, for example, no way would I be interested in it, and if it’s the T8 pants, I already have them), or whether it’s just being done for badges.  Not like you can’t enforce that by means of master looter (and if it’s a semi-guild-run and they don’t have it on master looter, then they’re idiots).  Just say ahead of time “All loot of XYZ sort is reserved for guildies”, and as long as that’s made clear in advance, so that people have time to back out before being saved to the instance, it’s all good.

Anyone have any ideas on this that I’m not thinking of?

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A good first step

July 31, 2009 at 1:12 am (Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, the Guild Which Shall Not Be Named Because People Will Make Fun of My Latin had its first night of real not-playing-around-in-vanilla-content raiding tonight.  First fun discovery – the answer to that question “I wonder when they’re sending out raid invites” that passed briefly through my head was “Whenever you get off your ass and do it, because you’re the guildmaster.”  Oh yeah.  I suppose I’ll be used to that eventually.  I’m also terrible with authority – not in the I-turn-into-Genghis-Khan sense, but in the sense that I’m far more likely to preface my “Switch over to your main characters for invites” request with embellishments like “whenever’s convenient for you”, “if it’s not to much trouble”, or “unless there are any objections, of course.”  I assume time and many evenings of trying to do the equivalent of herding cats will eventually cure me of that.

Anyway, it wasn’t the most ambitious night of raiding ever, but we cleared two quarters of Naxx-10 (spider and plague wings) with nine people.  And one of those nine people was me off-tanking on my pally, which I’m absolutely terrible at, so really, it was like we had eight and a half.  Maybe 8 1/4.  I did get a few nice pieces of loot though, including my tier shoulders.  Which will make me a slightly better-geared mediocre tank.

Lots of rust needed to be shaken off, even from those of us who weren’t spending our time muttering “No, you’re supposed to pull aggro, it’s kind of your job,” to ourselves.  But that’s why we started out easy.  Anyway, we have a very solid core of raiders, so I’m really excited to see how we do in Ulduar, which will be real progression for many of us (I’ve seen about half of it in 10-man, but some of our raiders have never been, or have only downed the first boss, so I’m excited to see what happens).  I’m also very excited that we will, eventually, recruit a second geared, competent tank, and I will be free to resume blowing stuff up, which is what I’m best at.

Okay, okay, I’m officially done bitching about my tanking skills.  Or lack thereof.

In addition to our nine raiders from this evening, and a tenth currently on vacation, we have two more on the way from my old guild (probably joining us next week, when one of them returns from vacation) – a tank and a healer.  Score!  Also interesting are the mutterings that we may be absorbing some old long-ago raiding buddies of ours (“ours” referring to me and a couple of my officers) whose current guild appears to be in its death throes (diagnosis – a terminal case of guild drama).  Given that they’re not children, or addicted to drama themselves (in fact, they’re fleeing it), the more the merrier – if this keeps up, we may be in 25 mans sooner than I anticipated.  Meaning before Satan needs to put on a sweater.  At the very least, we will have enough people that we don’t have to pray for every single guild member to log on (in what is, after all, not a hardcore guild) in order to run a raid.

Other shoe is no doubt dropping in 3…..2…..1……

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Because I am completely insane…

July 23, 2009 at 11:58 am (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

…a former guildie and I were chatting while I was leveling my mage in Un’Goro Crater (in contrast to Tamarind, I’m generally not a fan of the zone, largely because I don’t share Tam’s enthusaiasm for “f*ck-off enormous dinosaurs” with apparent stealth abilities, but the quests are piled up too thickly to not do the zone, and I’ve done all the 50-60 old world zones enough that I’m really just trying to get to 58 so I can head to outland).  The guy I was talking to is a former LVer, and we were discussing where we were headed in the way of a new guild.  I mentioned the hardcore guild I applied to (application since withdrawn, for reasons I’ll get into shortly), he talked about trying out a friend’s guild, but being unimpressed, and then those magic words were spoken*:

“We could always start our own.”

Somewhere, millions of voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.  Then they started laughing their asses off.

Said guildie quondam guildieque futurus, of course, was perfectly happy to defer GM-ship to me.  In point of fact, I think his exact words were “Not it!”

I’m doomed.  First officer’s meeting (both of us) is tonight.

*Please note:  said magic words probably weren’t spoken, or typed, at least not precisely, but conversation wound around to the general idea, in a way I can’t quite remember, and  I reserve the right to dramatically reinterpret what happened for the sake of storytelling, so piss off.

EDITED TO ADD:  On the bright side, I can’t imagine anything more likely to lead to a lot of hilarious bitterness, self-deprecation, angst, rage, and all-around entertainment than me trying to run a guild.  So this blog should be in good shape, if nothing else.

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Guild applications

July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm (Raiding)

So, realizing that, in fact, the raiding bug was not going away, but would continue to nibble at my ankle until I did something about it, I submitted my first full-blown guild application (my joining A New Dawn was under special circumstances, and I basically had an in with a few members of Legio Vici – I honestly don’t even remember if I completed a full application for either one).  The catalyst for this particular application was seeing a recruiting thread, and seeing a prominent guild on my server needed a warlock.  So, what the heck – I put in an app.  I liked the policies as outlined on the guild’s site.

First thought:  clearly, I wasn’t missing anything in avoiding the guild application process before.  I’ve had medical tests for the sorts of illnesses one doesn’t discuss in polite company that were less thorough.  I’ve never led a guild, but I can only assume that on some level, it’s an idiot filter – someone who’s too impatient, arrogant, or ADHD-addled to fill out a 30-to-45-minute application is someone you probably don’t want raiding with you.

Second thought:  this is probably the hardest-core raiding guild I’ve applied to.  I’m definitely punching above my weight here.  If they decide I’m not yet adequately geared, that’s cool (I got one boss into Ulduar25 with LV, whereas these guys are working on Yogg-Saron, so obviously, that’s a pretty steep gap).  I will find it hard to entirely blame them, much as I can’t entirely dismiss some of the criticisms of my gear/gems/chants that came from one of the guild’s warlocks, though other criticisms I thought were, in context, not correct, and (politely) said as much.

Third thought: anxiety.  I don’t know anybody in this guild.  Thus, I don’t know the guild’s Asshat Quotient.  Which is, I suppose, the point of the initiatory period – not only for them to audition me, but me to audition them.  On some level, I internalized the idea that a hardcore raiding guild must necessarily be made up of asshats (probably because the “hardest core” members of my first raiding guild were wannabe-hardcores, as Temitope characterized them).  I certainly hope it’s not, at any rate.

Final thought:  re: the warlock mentioned above, clearly, there’s no professional courtesy among demon-summoning disease-inflicting nether-twisting Servitors and Manipulators of Darkness.  Who knew?

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Blog Azeroth: Don’t Stand in the Fire

June 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, Warlock)

It’s the lastest Blog Azeroth Topic of the Week – awareness of one’s surroundings in a raid, multitasking, etc.  Obviously, it’s a particularly keen question for healers, but I’ll talk about it from my perspective.  And, I suspect, go way off-topic in the process.

If there is a rule that any DPSer worth their salt has drilled into their head from the begining, as the dividing line between a DPSer and a noob, it’s Don’t Stand In The Fire.  Now, the fire can be a void zone, a pancake, actual fire, whatever.  Odds are pretty good that if a raid boss spawns it, you’re not supposed to stand in it (if there’s an exception, you’ll know.)  After all, we’re told, we DPSers don’t actually have to do anything hard, you understand – not like tanking or healing.  We’re just rolling our faces across the keyboard, so we have no excuse for failing to step out of the fire.

Okay, sarcasm notwithstanding, no doubt, DPS is an easier job than either tanking or healing.  For starters, you can be a lousy DPS and still get dragged along successfully – that’s much harder to do as a lousy tank or a lousy healer.  Nevertheless, how “hard” it is depends on a lot of things, and has changed over the course of the game (sometimes up, sometimes down).

I’ve played a Warlock for as long as I’ve been playing this game, and I’ve raided in different specs, across  different patches.  To shed a little light on the “DPS perspective” on multitasking and situational awareness, I’ll talk about how my awareness was shaped by three specs I’ve raided with – 0/21/40 (Demonic Sacrifice/Destro) in TBC, Wrath Deep Affliction (pre-3.1), and Wrath Deep Destro (post 3.1).   Or, as one might call them, (a) too cold, (b) too hot, and (c) just right.

I raided T5 and early T6 (which is about as far as I got in TBC) as 0/21/40.  This spec, for those who didn’t play it, relied upon Demonic Sacrifice (used on a Succubus) to buff your shadow damage.  You would then apply a curse, and do nothing the entire fight but spam shadowbolt.  Put it another way, my rotation was 122222222222……..22222…….22222…….I think you get the idea.  I was always near the top of the DPS meters.  I was also bored silly.  Had I died to “standing in the fire” when I was specced that way, I would have justifiably been mocked within an inch of my life.  It did, however, give me wonderful opportunities to appreciate the lovely scenery in SSC, TK, and Hyjal, and enjoy the pretty colors of all my guildmates’ spells and abilities.

Oddly, though, the boredom may have hampered my situational awareness in some respects, because it allowed me to get mentally lazy.  So when I died to environmental hazards (it happened very occasionally, and was a major occasion for embarassment when it did) it was because I was so disengaged after an entire instance of pressing ‘2’ that I genuinely wasn’t paying attention.

Anyway, Wrath came around, and (having replaced my keyboard with one with a functioning ‘2’ key), I went back to affliction to level and do early raiding.  Affliction was my early raid spec, and my leveling spec, and I loved it.  And Haunt was such a neat addition – I was quite excited.  Then I started raiding with it.  I did okay (I was still generally quite high on the DPS charts, and sometimes at the top of them), my DOT uptime was  good, but Affliction, the DOT spec, had finally become too damned complicated.  Consider the rotation:  Shadowbolt (to put up the first stack of Shadow Embrace), Haunt, Unstable Affliction, Immolate, Curse of Agony, Corruption, and Siphon Life.  Many of these have 1.5 second cast times, others are instant cast.  At this point, all your DOTs are up (and key to Affliction DPS was keeping DOTs up as much as possible, without letting them fall off or clipping them, as both hurt your DPS).  Once all your DOTs are up, you can toss a shadowbolt.  And then, whaddya know – Haunt’s about to fall off.  So, you reup it (because if it falls off, you’re really screwed), and can toss another shadowbolt.  Uh-oh – UA and Immolate are about to fall off – so, you redo both of them.  And somewhere around this point is when all your DOTs, with all their different cooldowns and durations, cause you to stop having a “rotation”.  You simply try, desperately, to keep up whichever’s about to go down, because if you screw one up, your whole rotation falls apart and all your DOTs are falling off.  When you’re in “the zone”, mentally, it couldn’t be beat.  If you’re not in the zone, you’re hosed.  And to stay in the zone means to have your eyes glued to your DOT timer (it was an impossible spec to play without a DOT timer addon), and either have your spells bound to your keys, or have an almost intuitive sense of where to click.  Given all that, in contrast to my 0/21/40 build, my situational awareness playing that spec was pretty limited – the nature of the spec was that it was unforgiving – you were either top of the charts, or it was such a mess you were at the bottom.  I was proud that I generally played it well, and had some of the “don’t nerf my rotation!” feeling as a result.  But keeping that level of complexity was not practical.  I tended to die to environmental hazards a lot.

Post 3.1, I went deep Destro, and my sense is that this is the kind of balance I like to play with, in terms of juggling.  Curse of Doom is worth casting (other shadow DOTs aren’t), but I only have to reup it once a minute.  And otherwise, my spells are Immolate, Conflagrate, Chaos Bolt, and Incinerate.  Don’t clip Immolate, and don’t let it fall off.  Otherwise, it’s a question of priority – conflagrate if you can, if not, chaos bolt if you can, otherwise, incinerate.  It’s not shadowbolt spam – I do actually have to pay some attention to my rotation, and I can’t play it with one of those little bobbing-birdy toys set up over my ‘2’ key – but I can also pay attention to things like where the gap in Sarth’s wall of fire is, whether I’m positively or negatively charged by Thaddius, when I have one of those “I’m-the-bomb” debuffs on me, or whatever.  I can’t get lazy, like shadowbolt spam allowed, so I stay on my toes, but I’m not going crazy trying not to screw up my rotation, and that happy medium of just-enough-complexity-to-keep-me-interested saves me from too many embarassing deaths in the middle of a giant smoky black pancake of doom.

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3.2 – Raiding

June 18, 2009 at 4:08 am (Raiding)

So, more info has been released about the 3.2 raid.  Honestly, I kind of hate the sound of it.  This is largely for the same reason I hate the whole Argent Tournament thing in the first place.  Okay, one of the reasons – the other is that I can’t joust to save my life.

The appeal of raiding, to me, is not just the tactical exercise.  It’s the story – the lore.  There were places, and major characters in the story, that I would never get to see if I didn’t raid.  That’s why I started.  I get why attunements were ditched, but honestly, it worked for me that, in TBC, there was a progression that was largely story-driven.  Outside quest chains sent you to the instances, and sent you “up the chain” to Vashj, Kael, and eventually Illidan.  Sunwell was a continuation (not that I got to see it, mind you).  Naxx’s and Malygos’ storylines played out in Wrath, leading up to the actual instances themselves,  even in the absence of any actual breadcrumb quest to Naxx.

OS, on the other hand, just sits there.  Nothing led us down there, no quests even suggested there was anything down there.  There’s no story associated with OS (yeah, I know, it’s in a book, but frankly, that’s cheap – I don’t want to have to buy more freaking Blizzard merchandise to get the storyline of a game I’ve already spent too much money on, particularly given the utterly craptastic quality of pretty much every media-tie-in novel ever writtentyped.)  Hence, I’ve never been a particular fan of OS.

Ulduar has great story associated with it.  Great addition.  I can’t freaking wait to face Yogg-Saron, given all the times I’ve encountered his handiwork.  Ditto the Titan bosses I’ve run into in some capacity (Thorim, for example).

If they wanted a new raid instance for 3.2 (perfectly reasonable), here’s a thought – Azjol Nerub occupies a huge freaking role in Warcraft lore.  At one point, if I remember correctly, they were considering making it an underground zone of some sort – quest hub, instances, etc. (maybe something like Moria seems to be in LotRO).  The two AN instances, on the other hand, don’t do the place justice.  So that might have made for a very cool raid – fill in a lore gap.  Make the Nerubian Kingdom (The Lich King’s first victims) something truly amazing, instead of a couple of cheap five-man instances for people in their early to mid 70s.

This “Crusaders’ Coliseum” sounds like OS, only more so.  As with the stupidity of the whole “We’re invading Icecrown thanks to the horrible contagion Arthas unleashed on us last year, so instead of actually killing the undead who populate it, let’s spend our days jousting!”, now we’re going to, what, be gladiators killing really powerful monsters the Argent Crusade has captured and is just keeping around for gladiatorial combat?  Really?  This is a good use of the time and resources of the Argent Crusade?  Bread and circuses, hold the bread?

Seems to me Abbendis and the Scarlet CrusadeOnslaught might have run a more competent war than these jokers.  At least she might have understood the point of the war was to kill the freaking Scourge (even if her definition of “Scourge” was what the lawyers would call overbroad).

EDITED TO ADD:  Oh yeah, and if they make jousting an actual mechanic in a boss fight, I’m quitting this stupid game.  I am Sick.  Unto.  Death.  of vehicles, vehicle boss fights, vehicle instances, vehicle quests, vehicle breakfast cereals, and whatever-the-frack-else-you-use-vehicles-for-in-WoW.  I get it, Blizzard.  You made a new mechanic.  Bully for you.  Now stop it.

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Time to Rethink Curses

June 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm (Raiding, Warlock)

One of the changes in Wrath that had a number of warlocks /wristing was the “normalization” of debuffing – that is to say, the spreading around of debuffs to different classes, making what had previously been very distinct debuffs equivalent (and non-stacking).  I honestly never saw what the angst was about this.  Frankly, when there’s an unholy death knight, or a boomkin, in the raid, I’m happy I don’t have to deal with Curse of Elements.  Yes, it was annoying that our CoE (the first, the original!) had to be talented to be equal, but that’s not a legitimate complaint about game design – it’s pique.  It’s also no longer the case, as of 3.1.

The same is also true of Curse of Weakness, a spell that doesn’t stack with certain warrior and druid abilities.

That said, sometimes the curses have to be dragged out.  And here is one point where the current design disadvantages warlocks.  Our curses are not merely debuffs – they’re also part of our damage rotation (even as Destruction, Curse of Doom is part of the rotation on boss fights).  For Affliction warlocks, Curse of Agony is a significant part of their DPS – affliction warlocks, however, are classically the “best” debuffers among warlocks.  Malediction used to boost CoE, and Frailty boosts CoW.  But the warlock has to gimp his/her DPS  for the good of the raid (always the right choice when necessary, to be sure, but annoying), a choice which isn’t forced on the classes with comparable debuffs – boomkins and unholy death knights apply their CoE equivalents passively as a side effect of their attacks.  Boomkins and feral druids toss Faerie Fire on the mob, and it’s not replacing some other spell in their rotation – it’s fire and more-or-less forget.

The problem isn’t the debuff curses, the problem is Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom.  One solution, it seems to me, is to change those two spells – make them no longer “curses”, but straight-up DOTs like Corruption, so they’re part of the warlocks’ rotation regardless of whether the warlock is on CoE duty.  Whether the new spells “Agony” and “Doom” stack or not, I don’t much care (it would be a buff to our DPS, which admittedly, we probably don’t really need right now).  They could merge the spells, or do away with Doom altogether and I wouldn’t be unhappy (though if they get rid of Curse of Doom, Destro should get a tiny damage boost to compensate, as it would be a DPS nerf – Agony requires too much work in an already busy rotation, so it’s a net DPS loss for Destro.)

Another solution is a bit more radical, but interesting – keep CoA and CoD, but drop the others.  The debuffs applied would then be applied as part of Curse of Agony.  I’m not sure how one might do this mechanically – perhaps something akin to a paladin’s Auras or a death knight’s Presences?  A warlock has Auras of, say, Weakness, Elemental Vulnerability, Demonic Tongues, Exhaustion, etc.  And depending on which aura the warlock has on, the applicable debuff is applied passively when Curse of Agony or Curse of Doom (perhaps one unified spell “Curse”?) is applied.

Any thoughts?

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