Friday, March 22, 2013

My Colors

  I have a few topics I'm writing/re-writing about, but they need more polish before I post (which I really need to do more often), but for now, I just want to give a shout out to the three guilds I have characters most active in. I'm new to all three, but I'm already feeling very at-home with each of them.

  I joined Tiyospaye on my Rogue Kalyssa mere minutes after things didn't work out with another guild, and I really felt like I was rolling the dice with these guys. It was worth the chance. The other day, we cleared MSV completely. I died to lag a couple times, and had position issues on Elegon (i.e. ran to far from healers), but we did pretty well. Last night, we wiped on Imperial Vizier all night long. We had issues, but we methodically improved until we had to call it on account of time. I'm not afraid of failure, or of calling myself out on mistakes. The rest of the group seems to be of the same opinion, and I appreciate a Raid Leader calling us out when we fail. It's their job. We wiped a lot, but we learned a lot and were going in the right direction. I have much confidence in this group, and look forward to future runs.

  In addition to their two raid groups (cleverly not named A team and B team, it's Rook's group and Mo's group.) they also are very social. I even joined their Facebook group.

  As a side note, I'm a bad Rogue. I sometimes forget my poisons and I have died to Attenuation.

*update* I won't play with a tank/raid leader who takes a two week break with no notification, and comes back expecting their old spot waiting for them. Also, I don't like getting passed up on gear.

  I pugged into a Hellfire Knights run, and wasn't expecting too much, since I'd just about given up raiding on the Horde side of Durotan. They were on Wind Lord and we wiped all night long. We tried many different tactics, and were progressing towards a kill. We had to call it a night, eventually, but I had already decided I like these guys. Happily, they like my performance, so they offered a guild invite. I spoke my reservations based on my previous raiding experiences, but noted that I like the way we were wiping. To me, a good wipe is a learning experience, and that is what we were doing. We were not slamming our heads against the boss, hoping for gear and the gods of RNG to bless us.

  I stayed on their vent for a while chatting, and it seems we are compatible in our raid philosophies. I cap hit and hard cap expertise, which is a paradigm shift in tanking toward active mitigation. Many other players, especially ones that have been playing a while, are resistant to this, but these guys are not getting into the weeds, micromanaging their raiders gear, itemization, rotation, ect. They are looking for performance. I like that. Of course, I am competing with a DK for hit/expertise/haste/mastery plate, so I'll have to acknowledge that he needs that as DPS plate before I need it for tanking. I guess I'll be reforging out of some parry and dodge for a while. At least I won't get called a noob while doing it.

  My first raid with these guys is tonight, and I hope it goes well. I'm a good Pally. I mitigate a lot of damage and almost never get hit by Attenuation.

*update* Turns out they don't understand Pally tanking. I'm not in Hellfire anymore.

   On a whim, I rolled an alt (Kallil, a Troll Monk) on Proudmoore and joined Taint. The specific guild I am in is Goblin Taint, but all Taint guilds are linked as a joint community.  My reason for doing so is because I'm bisexual, but I have no LGBT friends. I also live in a red state, with all the accompanying problems. I decided to try and bring my hobby and real life a bit closer together in an attempt to reduce the fractured feeling I get from having disparate sets of "rules of what I talk about in given settings". I hope to be more readily my "bi-self", which is difficult. I grew up in the Dominionist Christian culture, then served 8 years under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Old habits die hard.

  Being around people as openly gay/gay-friendly as the members of Taint is a bit of a sink or swim situation. It's a culture shock, for sure, but a welcome one. I'm going to level gradually, and get used to hearing what gay people talk about when the squares aren't around (hint: it's in the name).

  So that's what I'm doing lately. I'm sure it's soon to result in more interesting experiences to blog about.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Prot Pally Stat Priority

  My priority for secondary stats is: Hit 7.5%>Expertise 15%>Mastery>Haste>Parry>=Dodge

  The various class guides I use recommend these Prot Pally priorities and stat weights:
  • Noxxic: Stamina > Hit (7.5%) > Expertise (15%) > Haste > Mastery > Parry > Dodge
  • WoW Heroes: Stamina > Hit (7.5%) >= Expertise (15%) > Mastery > Haste > Parry >= Dodge
  • Icy-Veins: Stamina (until you have enough,) > Hit 7.5% > Expertise 15% > Mastery > Haste
  • WoW Reforge: Hit 2550 cap, Expertise 5100 cap, Mastery 1.04, Hit 0.65, Expertise 0.43, Haste 0.41, Parry 0.35, Dodge 0.35
  • Elitist Jerks/Theck (of Sacred Duty)(via Ask Mr Robot):  (C/Ma) Stamina 1.5, Hit 1.1, Expertise 1.09, Armor 1, Mastery 1, Haste 0.8, Strength, 0.6,  Parry 0.5, Dodge 0.5
   Each guide lists Stamina first, and for good reasons. Noxxic and Icy-Veins each say enough Stamina to survive the "big hits". Theck takes it even further saying "I completely disagree about Stamina being “situational.” It is hands-down your best survivability stat, period." - Sacred Duty.

  There is also consensus that capping Hit and hardcapping Expertise is one of the viable gearing strategies, and possibly best. One of my operating principles of playing a Paladin is generating and spending as Holy Power as possible. For this reason, I cap in order to be sure that every Holy Power generator lands.

  I began this expansion by gemming and enchanting for Hit and Expertise, equipping a Ghost Iron Dragonling (ilevel 450) with Hit and Expertise cogwheels, and using Expertise food and elixirs. After capping Hit and Expertise without elixirs or food, I switched to the Stamina options. Now I've begun to shift as many as possible of my gems and enchants to Stamina options while maintaining caps. My ilevel being 481, I still have some ways to go.

  After Stamina and the Hit and Expertise caps, the question turns to Haste vs. Mastery vs. Dodge/Parry. In patch 5.2, the traditional tank stats, Dodge and Parry, are just now useful as Holy Power generators, more so in situations with many hits coming in. However, stacking avoidance still does not sim better than Mastery, Haste, or mixed builds.

  Haste generates more Holy Power, resulting in greater uptime of Shield of the Righteous. Mastery makes each SotR more powerful. A mixed approach is possible as well. I prioritize Mastery since while I'm now fairly well practiced with using the SotR buff, there's still room for improvement. If in the future some progression boss fight were more suited to a higher uptime vs. a stronger buff, I'll try reforging for haste, but before I can fully use that strategy, I think I should be at least 95% on using available Holy Power generators. I might be already, but I'd have to review a log. The reason for my hesitation to stack Mastery is that missed Holy Power generators, i.e. not using one immediately after is comes off cooldown, greatly reduce the advantage of Haste.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I've Gone Rogue! (My class experiences so far)

Yes, my pet is bigger than me.

  I played a bit in Classic as a Tauren Hunter (For the Horde!), but had to quit before BC. I restarted halfway through Wrath as a Dwarf Hunter (For the Beards and Brews!). After I got my Hunter to 80, I geared up with 2pT9, 2pT10, and doing TOC and ICC regularly. I started raiding as BM, switched to SV pretty quickly, since 3.3 killed BM raiding, and waited until I had 4pT10 to switch to the ArPen MM build. Overall, I'd say SV was the better add-killing spec (e.g. blood beasts), but MM was definitely better sustained DPS. We didn't down the LK before Cata hit, and Eutopia slowly drifted apart after that.

  I pugged BoT and BWD (but not Tot4W, no one did that). I got onto a lot of friends lists as a reliable stand in DPS, with add management on Magmaw being my specialty. I'd switch between SV and MM, depending on how much AoE I needed to do. Firelands was alright for Hunters, as long as I didn't die in a fire. DS was great for SV, since it got boosted so much over the other specs. As for the fights, meh. Just another tier. I was a bit jaded at first over how everybody got 4p tier by hitting the loot pinata. I didn't down Nef or Rag, so I didn't complete those tier sets. I didn't deserve them. At first I thought that sets should be reserved for raiders that complete normal mode content, but that was my "LFR as pre-raid" attitude that has softened since then. Anyway, that didn't matter too much since I had started doing rated battlegrounds. I'd switch between BM and MM, depending on how much utility we needed (i.e. Silencing Shot). I really enjoyed Hunter PvP.

  In MoP, though, it's my 5th 90. Still my main, just late to the party, and when people ask what class I play, my first answer is still Hunter.

  Getting bit by the alt bug all started with a harmless goal of playing every starting zone, just for the experience. Then I got the idea to play every class to 20 to get a beginners feel for how they work. I liked Priest so much, I just kept going, slowly dungeon crawling my way up.

  I eventually dinged 85 in early Cata. Then I had two characters to raid on. I raided on my Priest more so than my Hunter, since healers were in higher demand. I would occasionally spec Shadow for a BWD run when FL came out, but other than that I was Disc/Holy all the way. I'd say my biggest challenges were healing Magmaw while undergeared, healing both tanks on Omnitron, last phase of Beth, and clearing debuffs on Spine *shudder*. I also played Disc in rated battlegrounds a lot, and though I didn't get very high in rating (over 1700), I did learn a lot and had a lot of fun. I also did as much of the legendary chain as I could, but never expected to finish it. I got to do the solo part, though.

 In MoP, I leveled my Priest to 90 for Tillers, but haven't done much else but Inscription with her. I might do some LFR here and there, but it's mostly a crafting alt now, while I focus on other classes.

   I tried leveling a DK a few times in Wrath, but it just didn't click for me then. I'd gotten several into late BC dungeons, close to the level 78 threshold that would have been the point at the time where the sunk cost fallacy would compel me to finish leveling. I tried a Tauren DK, which was cool, but I wasn't that interested in branching out to the Horde yet. I tried a Night Elf DK, and I really don't know what I was thinking. I hate Night Elves. I tried a male and female Human DK, but neither felt quite right. I finally rolled a Dwarf DK, and then knew that I'd be rolling Dwarves from then on. My Human Priest gets grandmothered in, but no more.

  It still took me a while to level, but learning to tank in Cata heroic dungeons was quite the experience. Most notably, the last humanoid trash pack in VP under the triangle was a killer. I learned a lot about myself and my limits during those pulls. As for mechanics, Ozruk was the most instructional. Break yourself! I got into raid tanking during Firelands and DS. Tanking was my new toy! I rarely DPS on my DK, which is a bit odd for me, since I usually like to be proficient with all specs of the classes I play.

  For now, my DK just does the first half of the ore shuffle, Tillers, and the occasional LFR.

  My Shammy I rolled in the Cata pre-patch, when the new race-class combinations came out. I'd previously tried an Orc Shammy, again I wasn't that interested in the Horde yet. I had earlier tried a Draenei Warrior, and found that their self heal, along with JC stone statues and mining's Toughness is pretty potent, but I don't like Draenei. I had to wait for the Wildhammers to rejoin the Alliance.

  I leveled my new Dwarf Shammy relatively fast in Cata, eventually dinging 85 in time to run Firelands and DS. I healed sometimes, and Shammy healing is great, but I prefer bashing my enemies with wind- and flame-powered beer steins. Enhance is the most fun DPS spec to play! When I get the PvP bug, I respec to Elemental for that, since knockbacks are so much fun. It's finally being leveled to 90 now in 5.2.

  My Tauren Paladin I rolled at the start of Cata, since the lore change interested me. It was a tough desicion, between another Dwarf, or a first Horde character for the longest time. I flipped a coin. Heads, I go Dwarf, Tails, I go Tauren ('cause they have tails). Here's the trick: Don't go by the result of the coin toss. Go by the emotional reaction resulting from observing the result of the coin toss. It came up heads, and I felt I was going to miss out on a newer experience, given the changes to the 1-60 content. So I rolled Tauren. It was awesome, and has stayed awesome! I think leveling Inscription a second time was a big motivator to level, but grinding instances as Prot never felt like a chore.

  I got to 85 in time to gear up well enough to hit the block cap. That small window of time in DS LFR was my only experience raiding with passive mitigation. I like tanking, but Cata Pallys were less interesting than Cata DK's.

  I leveled fast in 5.0, mostly to get Tillers and Inscription going, but also geared up pretty well in LFR. The new mechanics are great! And I'm good at it! I tried running with a couple different raid teams, but neither of them ended up working out. My Pally now sits at 480 ilevel, holding my personal guild bank <The Cow Level> full of stuff for the AH, crafting away at Inscription and Alchemy. The Horde side of Durotan is small, but fragmented into vindictively fierce factions. The few guilds that raid normal modes tend to hate each other, while the few that raid heroic modes seem untouchable. Perhaps I'll raid normal mode again there someday, but I don't see it happening soon.

  My Dwarf Rogue I rolled along with my Dwarf Shammy, and I named them Kalyka and Kalyssa, respectively, with the thought that they're sisters. I don't RP at all, but it's fun to think of each character having a backstory. While the Shammy took off fast, the Rogue got stuck at 50 for almost a year. It just didn't click for me at first, and I was having so much fun with my Hunter, Priest, DK, and Shammy all at 85, all raiding or doing rated battlegrounds. It seems there's a limit to how many max characters I can keep up with at a time while playing 20 hours a week.

  I did finally level in time to run DS LFR. When MoP hit, my Rogue was the first to 90 so I could get Herbalism, Inscription, and Tillers going. I ran a bit of LFR, so my gear gradually improved. After givving up on raiding Horde-side, I saw a group recruiting Ally, so I hit LFR and got really lucky, then hit the AH and filled the gaps. Though the first group I've tried didn't work out, I'm in a different group now that will start this week.

  I feel like I've been floundering a bit between the Rogue specs. Combat is what I've played the most, so I'm decent at handling Bandit's Guile. Subtlety is what I've played second most, since I've kept it as my off-spec for the occasional random battleground. I've now also raided as Sub, and it's positional limitations aside, I like it. It's easier to handle than Combat. I've tried Assassin a couple times, but I don't know it's nuances at all. I've considered respeccing to it to really broaden my experience properly, but my first priority is to DPS well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Drama Time, Two Gquits in a Row

  When I stopped raiding on my Pally, it was because people who call themselves <Nubs For Life> apparently are not willing to entertain the idea that they could be wrong, or could improve. Pally tanks in 5.0/5.1 capped hit, hardcapped expertise, and stacked haste and/or mastery. (I stacked mastery). I was told I would not be able to roll main spec on the haste/hit cloak off the first boss in HoF, since it didn't have dodge or parry on it. Guess what's last in my stat priority? Dodge and parry. They're not bad, just not as good as mastery and haste. (5.2 balances stats out, but haste is not dead, just diminished a bit. The change makes it so dodge and parry don't cause revulsion at the sight of it.) Not being allowed to roll for a BiS item was the beginning of the end for me. Also, I was already seeing that the other tank had the attitude that he was as good as it gets, and the healers were never, ever at fault for anything.

  The night we finally started real attempts on Elegon, DPS was pushing us into the phases just fine, and even killing the add a bit early sometimes, making it difficult to deal with the resulting AoE. Healers just didn't have the throughput to keep up, but wouldn't and couldn't be blamed. Fault is fault, and there's no reason to take it personal, it's just fault. If you can't accept it, you can't improve.

  Earlier in the night, the tank shield dropped. Since I already had the LFR version, upgraded, it wasn't a huge upgrade for me, so I told the raid that if someone had a blue shield they could replace, I'd let them have it. So the pug got it. No problem. Except that when I start armory stalking people trying to figure out what all was going on, I notice that the pug had the LFR shield. I /w the raid leader to explain what was going on, but no luck. I /w the pug to reiterate I was giving it up only to replace a blue, but no luck.

 So I /gquit and /ignored a bunch of Nubs. I should have seen it coming. These players were waiting for luck and gear to get them through it. Skill>Gear, people! As a matter of record, the pug was from <Foundation>, the guild leader of which is Killergreys. I was cautioned by Nubs not to play with that "drunk piece of shit". I don't know the guy, and I'm not saying that's what he is, just saying that's what Nubs think of him. Huh, maybe if Nubs don't like him, I might. I like getting drunk too! But his guild mate is, well... a good player (topped the meters), but damn she got offended really fast. Fran, if you read this, I don't hate you. It was just a misunderstanding. I gquit for the other reasons, not for the shield. I really don't care about gear that much. I care about playing well.

  I took an invite to raid with <Ferus Ordo> on my Rogue, but after a couple of nights of raiding, I didn't like what I saw. The class officer was telling me to stand behind the boss and use Backstab as my main combo point generator. Which I was doing! Duh! What would he tell me next, that W moves me forward? Not helpful. Not relevant. The problem was that the healers were not healing me at all sometimes. I'd die to Spirit Bolt after not getting healed for 20 seconds. A Rogue cannot live on Leeching Poison, Shiv, and Recuperate alone. We'd gotten into a bad cycle of "He dies early, so not worth healing as much" causing me to die more often, due to no heals, furthering reinforcing the idea I'm not worth healing, which causes me to die even more! After the raid, I gquit with no speech and went about my dailies. The class officer asked me a few questions about it, wanted to know if he had been too hard on me (pfft, no), and acknowledging that I wasn't getting healed, but I stayed non-committal. I just don't like drama. The guild leader took it personal though.

  If that's the attitude of the guild leader, I don't want to be anywhere near them. (Damn, that typo is embarrassing. WTF is "raif"?) New Rule: Don't take very seriously anyone who uses a variation of "slap in the face". Offense is taken. If you are offended, it's your fault. Also, the guild hopper accusation is baseless. I played only in Ephemera since I rolled that character. I went out on a limb to try a new guild, and decided that the first one that I tried wasn't worth it. Holy crap! I'm such a guild hopper!

  So now that my dirty laundry is sufficiently aired, I'm gonna get into the new content. Happy Patch Day everyone!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Playing Rares

  It seems to have gotten to that point just before a new patch where seemingly boring topics get brought up, but a certain type of player flocks to the topic and is so eager to dissect it, share data, exposit opinions, ect. I am that type of player. As a matter of fact, the URL of this blog (thehunterchannel) is a reference to when my Wrath guild members would say they'd get me my own Hunter channel to talk about the finer details of playing the class (of which is my 5th 90, but still my main!). I think they just wanted me to shut up so we could get on with the raid, though.

  Anyway, the latest topic to take my fancy is race/class combinations! How exciting! I've already posted about My opinion of WoW Races, in which I reference Pratchett, Tolkien, Star Trek, and Napolean Dynomite, but so far I've been mostly silent about classes, much less race/class combinations. The article that piqued my interest is Are you a rare? on WoW Insider. Of the race/class combos listed, I play a Dwarf Mage, a Tauren Monk, and a Dwarf Rogue. The Mage and Monk are level 30 and 20, so they don't really count yet, but the Dwarf Rogue does in spades.

  The race/class list:
  1. Troll Monk: 17,100
  2. Dwarf Monk: 17,700
  3. Orc Monk: 23,200
  4. Dwarf Mage: 33,700
  5. Tauren Monk: 34,400
  6. Gnome Monk: 35,000
  7. Undead Monk: 44,300
  8. Dwarf Warlock: 44,800
  9. Pandaren Rogue: 57,100
  10. Troll Warlock: 60,800
  11. Orc Mage: 64,800
  12. Dwarf Rogue: 65,200
  13. Troll Death Knight: 69,000
  14. Pandaren Mage: 70,400
  15. Blood Elf Monk: 72,200
As the article points out, Monks feature heavily, mostly due to the heavy influence of Pandaren Monks. If we eliminate Monks from the list, we get:
  1. Dwarf Mage: 33,700
  2. Dwarf Warlock: 44,800
  3. Pandaren Rogue: 57,100
  4. Troll Warlock: 60,800
  5. Orc Mage: 64,800
  6. Dwarf Rogue: 65,200
  7. Troll Death Knight: 69,000
  8. Pandaren Mage: 70,400
   About Pandaren Mages and Rogues briefly, I think it's natural that the Rogue option is less popular, since Monks are the newer option, the Legendary Bump is over, and the class is currently experiencing somewhat of a population crunch. Cynwise has an amazing as usual article that touches on it. I can't begin to guess why Pandaren Mages are less popular, though.

  Of the new options Cataclysm brought us, we have Dwarf Mage, Dwarf Warlock, Orc Mage, and Troll Warlock on the Rare list. If we consider the bonuses other races have that benefit casters, i.e. Gnomes, Draenei, and Worgen, it's apparent why people playing these classes tend not to choose Dwarf. That doesn't explain why Orc Mages are unpopular, though, since Blood Fury is a competitive racial trait, as well as Command, for Frost spec. Same with Trolls with Berserking and Beast Slaying. I guess everyone is just rolling Blood Elves.

  That leaves Troll Death Knights from Wrath, and Dwarf Rogues from Classic.

  Why Troll Death Knights are not more popular, I can't even begin to guess. Neither can I begin to care. It's not that I dislike Trolls, I'm just largely indifferent to them. I really like Vol'jin's character, and the story of the Trolls in general, but it just doesn't click for me. It's not that I dislike Death Knights either. Some of my favorite tanks are Death Knights.

  Dwarf Rogues are a unique specimen. Dwarves are typically more traditional, plain, straight forward. There's nothing sneaky or sinister about a beer stein in the face. It would seem that Dwarves are more Strength or Stamina types than Agility, except that there is a large Dwarf Hunter and Shaman population, and I'm pretty sure a lot of those Shaman are specced Enhance. So what is it about Rogues that is different than those two classes? Well, for Dwarf Shaman, there's the Wildhammer heritage being claimed, and Dwarf Hunters were featured in the friggin WoW Preview. For Rogues, there's not so much in the way of lore or story.

  Why I play a Dwarf Rogue really has nothing to do with the particular race/class dynamic. I just like Dwarves. When I went to roll a new class, the first decision was Horde or Ally, and since Tauren cannot be Rogues, it defaulted to Ally. Since Dwarves can be Rogues, it defaulted to Dwarf Rogue. I didn't even consider playing any of the other races. I tried a Worgen Druid, but Worgen are just especially hairy and noisy Humans. I have a Human Priest (which I have considered race changing to Dwarf, but I've grown attached), but one Human is enough. I've played the old and new Gnome starting zone, just for the experience, so I know for sure I could not play a Gnome for any greater length of time.

  Special by happenstance, I suppose. A female Dwarf Rogue, my first to 90, and my best equipped, currently. I'm raiding as Sub with a Combat spec for the Dogs. I've been farming a bit of honor upgrading my last 463's, but I'm not very good at Rogue PvP. I do like capping a lot. Between Smoke Bomb, Blind, and outright burst DPS, I can capture Gold Mine often enough. Now if Ally can just defend a base once in a while, we'd be winning.