Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hybrid theory

It seems like the concept of Hybrid classes is slowly disappearing from WoW, and has been since TBC came out. Not that I dislike TBC - unlike many other hybrid QQers, I don't think either TBC or WotLK has or will ruin WoW, and I'm generally very happy with how things have turned out.

But there really are no hybrids anymore. The closest we've come to a true hybrid lately has been Feral Druids - their pvp gear generally features an excellent mix of combat and caster stats... or did, until arena season 3 took the focus off adding +healing to feral gear and increasingly pigeonholing them into a rogue replacement class. They buffed Nurturing Instinct to attempt to combat this notion, but they dps better and heal worse than any season before this.

Shamans as well are seeing themselves as hybrids vanish from this world - Elemental is probably the closest to a hybrid spec they have around now. I say Elemental instead of Enhancement because Enhancement shamans' gear is mostly balanced around melee stats, and they tend to have mana pools too small to fulfill the caster requirements of being a hybrid... whereas elementals can deal incredible amounts of damage with crits and have the mana pools to support a healing role if one becomes necessary.

Way back in the pre-tbc days, shamans were feared far and wide because as hybrids they were so excellently balanced - their pvp gear had lots of health, mana, combat and caster stats; they could wreck you from up close or far away, heal themselves well, and interrupt or absorb anything you cared to throw at them. But each set of gear available for them now is pretty much custom-tailored to fit one role: caster dps, melee dps, or healing.

The necessity of being excellent at one thing outweighs the benefits of being a hybrid; the prevalence of Resilience not only eats stat allocation points on gear but requires you to invest more in your primary damage dealing tree to overcome this new defense, and the insane amount of damage a dedicated damage dealer can put out means you have to be a pure healer to deal with it or else you're constantly playing catch-up with yourself.

All this said, I feel Resilience is a very, very good thing - no longer can you be destroyed from full health in a tiny span of time by a crit-based DPS class (like Rogue, Mage, or Hunter), and if it necessitated eliminating the hybrid playstyle to make sure every class at least stands a chance against every other class, then so be it. Granted WoW isn't there yet - Rogues will still tear down most of the cloth-wearing classes with little effort, and stand little chance against a good Warrior, but it's a step in the right direction.

That said, my Shaman is (going to be) Resto, because I believe in maintaining control with a strong defense, and the addition of 1/3 spell damage to all +healing gear is, in my opinion (others may not share it), the closest possible state to becoming a hybrid again. An enormously strong defense coupled with a mediocre offense is better than an extremely strong offense with little staying power - and I believe that Blizzard agrees with me. Just look at that there Resilience thing.

Shaman may not, at the present time, (objectively) be as good at pvp healing as Druids are... but I don't want to play a Resto druid. I don't want to be ultra-squishy if caught out of Bear form, I don't like the HoT-and-kite playstyle, and I don't want to be caught without a standard rez in PvE. ;)

Enjoy my perspective. I reserve the right to swear at and curse the lineage of any trolls that may not agree with me. No anonymous comments will be accepted. :)


So, completely unannounced, some time ago I quit wow.


Of course a few months later I realized it wasn't the game I didn't like... it was raiding. Specifically, living in EST and raiding in PST; the time difference was messing me up.

My guild raided from 6 to 9 server, which worked out to be from 9 to 12 my time, which meant there was no time for anything at all after raiding except going to bed. I started to dread it, and my dread of raiding became attached to the game as a whole, and so I gleefully said goodbye for a while.

My blog also dropped off rather sharply because I realized suddenly that I really didn't have anything penetratingly amazing to write about. I hope to correct that in the future.

But I obviously play wow again. I'm having fun - my Hunter got her Netherdrake, my Druid has finished his Swift Flight Form questline up to the final quest (anybody on Proudmoore want to run SV a few times with me? The last item I need before I feel confident tanking heroics rests just 12,200 Cenarion Expedition rep out of my reach), and my wife and I started some Horde characters.

Tantalum the Warrior and Shammalot the Shaman. We're level 23 now, and having great fun.

Like when that 28 druid started trying to kill our escort mob... boy did we stomp him. Then he rezzed and we stomped him again.

Good times.

So in the relatively near future I also plan to move this to my own personal site, since it's kind of just sitting there soaking up hosting fees at the moment. I may as well make something of it.

Apologies to anybody who had any interest in reading my incoherent ramblings before I dropped off the face of the internet. That was very rude of me. Bad blog author. There will be no biscuits with supper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


So! Long-overdue, I present...

The Status Update!

Crit McGee
P. Veepee
Tak Pouer

Druid: Level 70, ~13000 health, 16,000 armor, tankilicious. Lots of group quests to do to fill out my tanking set, but I have a good head start on it.
Hunter: Level 70 (that's right, still.), spec adjusted, pvpin' her little heart out. Man, hunter pvp is fun... I have however developed the most amazingly beastly hatred for rogues.

No more entrapment, no more Readiness, no more master tactician (great talent but never there when you need it, like on short fights, which pvp is full of), 5/5 mortal shots and the triumphant return of Scatter Shot fills out my summary of changes.

I've trained and levelled a cat, just for a change. My boar will always be #1 in my heart, but hey, variety is good too.

Talon King Ikiss is a total pushover now that I'm used to it - my new Most Hated slot goes to... all of Shattered Halls! The first boss is simple. The second boss... not so simple but doesn't bug me at all since I can FD out of the random aggro shifts. Kargath is also a PITA, but nothing compared to the monotonous grind of the trash pulls. Pulls of 6 mobs always make me nervous, and these are no exception.

In the interim I've also tried out Beastmastery (again) and discovered (again) that I'm still not a huge fan. Immunity to all forms of crowd control is indescribably awesome, but having the only interrupt I'm capable of inflicting come from my pet with its huge miss rate just isn't my cup of tea, I s'pose.

I'm a Hunter at heart, and a Survival hunter at that. Darn skippy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ding 65... and phat loot! (?!)

Hit 65 in Nagrand the other day... does that place screw with your sense of direction like it does mine? For some reason whenever I'm in that zone I have to check the map every two minutes, only to discover I've taken the wrong road out of Halaa, like I do every time.

But I've already obtained some fantastic loot for my drood - the Staff of Natural Fury. Mmm. Purples. I managed to buy it from a guildie at a substantial discount, too, joyous day!

Of course I had to dip into my epic mount money. Oh well. Flying faster is a luxury just like having epic druid staves. ;)

Stealth is still incomparably fun - like doing quest after 70 and learning to fly I can just sneak right up to the named mob I need to kill and do so instead of having to fight through an entire camp to get there.

What else...? Ah yeah, Lifebloom! This spell is SO sweet. Another instant-cast HoT to throw on yourself after a fight is always welcome, and this comes in incredibly handy when main-healing instances, as any class with the ability to heal will eventually be asked to do. I have 450 +healing or so (in my healing gear) and stacking lifebloom 3 times on a single target will heal him for 240 or so per second as long as I maintain the stacks. Oftentimes this by itself is enough to keep a target alive, and if not, I can just toss on a Rejuvenation or use Regrowth.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ding 62... wtb STR

Per the post title, I've hit 62 with my Druid, and Maim is pure awesome. It's spike damage a la Ferocious Bite (not nearly as strong, but unlike Rip it can crit) with a nice long Incapacitate effect that isn't broken by DoTs. You get a nice little break to heal or cast Roots or both, and you get to watch your enemy's life get ticked away by Pounce and Rake.

But where's all the leather gear with Strength? I'm decked out in Rogue gear, doing plenty of damage, but I have about half as much Strength now as I did before I left Azeroth. This totally kills the effectiveness of the Nurturing Instinct talent (increases healing done by 50% of your Strength), which is ordinarily a great levelling (and PvP) talent. So far I've seen exactly one piece of leather with Strength, the blue chest from Zeth'gor Must Burn.

I've taken to wearing +healing rings instead of dps rings, it helps downtime some and gives me more mana to boot.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ding! 58

Mah dr00d hit 58 last night, joy of joys, and he's already picked up a significant boost to his already crazy cat form damage and a whole ton of health, not to mention upgrades to his healing set.

One thing I can't seem to figure out, with all this new Outland gear... where does my Mana come from? All the Feral gear I can see is damage stats and Stamina, no Intellect at all. Unless I want to wear boomkin gear and sacrifice my DPS I don't see where to find it, and the mana pool is a significant contributor to a druid's longevity.

I logged onto my Hunter as well to help a paladin guildie get his Charger - what a cool event. Not as cool as the Warlock event, but still very fun. And Rattlegore STILL hurts like a b#%@h.

I had a nice complement from this party on my pulling skills... made me all happy inside.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


That's right - something not related to Hunters?! Sacrilege! But s'true. I've had a Drood at level 40 for some months now, and I decided "Well I've got DPS covered. Problem is, so does a not-at-all-pulled-out-of-thin-air 87.62 percent of the player population."

After seeing months and months of "lf healer and tank" in every channel I have access to I figured it couldn't hurt to have a class at level 70 that could fill those roles, and that's where I've been spending my time lately.

Druids are a unique beast. It's the only class in the game that you could throw five of in a single party and have a (reasonably) well-balanced group: the basic roles of tank, healer, melee dps, and ranged dps all covered. Plus you could skip huge chunks of instances entirely if you felt so inclined... of course you have very limited crowd control and no removal of magic debuffs, but meh.

And stealth is incomparably fun.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brain Mouse Tuesday

My Vanadium theorizes that I say random things because there is in fact a tiny mouse lost inside my skull, randomly chewing on synapses in search of its lost cheese.

Today the Brain Mouse has taken control of my blog.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is reeeally good.

2) Dollar Store books are often quite excellent. Helps you remember there are more than just 3 big name authors out there with a lot of talent.

3) The ones that aren't excellent are horrendous. There is no middle ground.

4) Nobody sells .3 mm mechanical pencil lead.

5) I have a little over 2400 gold now. Maybe someday I'll have a flying epic.

6) There is no number 6. This is because it is hiding in its room, terrified of number 7. Why?

Because 7) 8) 9).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ein und vierzig (or) How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Readiness

It was once said to me:

SV has something not a lot of specs for any class has. Redundancy.

From your ramblings it appears as if you aren’t spec’d to do anything but recover from your mistakes/resists.

Lots of talents there to make traps better - faster cooldowns can conceivably be construed as redundancy, since they certainly aren't necessary for a competent chain-trapper... one with a cooperative group, anyway.

Likewise, Counterattack - it serves precisely the same purpose as Wing Clip, in the end, particularly with points in the Improved version.

But really, one point in the tree stands out more than the others, and I speak of course of Readiness.

Ah, Readiness.

In order to examine the skill, you have to examine its effects - in this case, the Hunter skills that are reset when you click that button. Purely by coincidence, I have a list.

Raptor Strike
Arcane Shot
Concussive Shot
Distracting Shot
Scare Beast
Aimed Shot
Rapid Fire
Mongoose Bite
Viper Sting
Wyvern Sting
Tranquilizing Shot
Kill Command

Immediately you will see that some of them are more worth the 5-minute cooldown than others. Some of the skills above have longer cooldowns in proportion to elevated levels of usefulness, and its these that are what make Readiness so great. I feel I can say without fear of contradiction that several of the skills up there, like Kill Command and Distracting Shot, are criminal wastes of such a beauty of a talented skill.

I'll begin with the obvious: Feign Death. I've used this once or twice to escape repair bills, but only if I am the last person standing and there is absolutely no chance of victory. Why? 'cause it will piss your party members off if you FD too early and they get eaten. Even if they would die anyway, it's worth it to me to take the death so I can share in their frustration rather than being a target of their resentment.

Next: Traps. Specifically Freezing Trap. Burning Readiness to fix that big yellow "Resist" is a perfectly valid use of the skill, especially when the mob you are trapping is of the variety that will two-shot you. This can also be used with some creativity to trap 3 mobs simultaneously for up to 26 seconds, giving your party a head start on whatever is left. You can also release an Ark-worthy flood of serpents with a triple Snake Trap, or effectively nuke a crowd of weak mobs with a triple Explosive Trap.

Double Deterrence is also very useful in the proper circumstances - Deterrence and Aspect of the Monkey together turn you into a bona fide untouchable Mongoose Biting Counterattacking pain in the keister. People are wont to cry "But! Overpower!" at which point I'll kindly point out that Hunters are already Dodge machines, and you're likely already getting Overpowered every 6 seconds as it stands - dodging damn near every other attack they make will still reduce the damage you suffer considerably while you wait for that canary yellow Counterattack proc to fly up on your screen.

Much of what remains is a large variety of short cooldowns - most under 10 seconds. A few of them may be worth Readinessing (Readinessing? Did he say Readinessing?) at your discretion - Concussive Shot is a good choice for this, as is Multi-Shot. It's one of the strongest shots we have, and it can help you load on the damage to a group of enemies before they separate.

Scare Beast - another good one. Fearlock that Druid or Shaman; 18 continuous seconds of Fear is more than enough time for a Hunter to lay on some serious hurt. Less useful in PvE, since Fear is an undesirable method of crowd control, but I'm sure you can find a use for it somewhere.

Viper Sting - Good for giving that caster a piece of your mind in a hurry, 2700 mana gone with no reprieve is nothing to sneeze at even in this world of 10k+ mana pools.

And we come to one of my favorites: Rapid Fire. Combine Rapid Fire with one of the garden-variety attack power trinkets and you become a force to be reckoned with... combine it with a Haste Rating trinket to become a shrapnel-spitting death blur with a thirst for blood.

Or as only some of the 6.52% can do it - first one, then the other.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

World of Significant Othercraft

In other news, my wife (owner of the cooking blog in my links section) who also loves WoW, did this the other day:

Booyah! <3