Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lessons from Flame Leviathan Hard Mode

Here are a few things we learned while attempting Flame Leviathan (FL) with several towers up the other night (our best attempt: 25% with two towers up).

- The Freya tower is probably the hardest one since it introduces adds (one big one, then medium ones and then small ones). These adds change the dynamic of the fight radically so I suggest destroying this tower first.

- The Hodir tower slows down everyone and occasionally ice tombs players, who need to be freed by rockets quickly.

- The Thorim tower creates a beam that damages people around it and also increases the damage that Leviathan deals.

- Only Mimiron's tower beam goes along a predictable path, the other two seem to follow one person for a little while, they stop and then cause damage.

- Because of everything that's happening with additional towers, you can't expect to do the "kite clockwise" strategy. The fight becomes a lot more chaotic and while it's recommended to try to kite along a clockwise/counter-clockwise path, kiters need to do whatever they can in order to dodge beams as well.

- As a consequence of the previous point, motorcycles need to adjust very quickly by trying to predict where the kiter is going and then lay an oil slick on FL's path. Lighting up these slicks with the rockets is more important then ever.

- Flame Vents need to be interrupted at all costs, and because of the high enery cost of Electroshock, Siege Engine drivers should use the same strategy as we did during Malygos: wait for your energy to pool over 60% before you Ram, so that you can cast an Electroshock immediately if FL starts casting Flame Vents. Interrupting seems a bit flaky: ofentimes, it seems to go off (you see the blue arc) but doesn't interrupt.

- Passengers of Demolishers need to pick up Pyrite in-between launches. So far, we have given priority to launching them in order to maximize Overload times, but we probably need to balance this more with 2+ towers. The cycle should look like "Pick up 5 pyrites, get in position to be launched, launch, Overload, picked up by motorcycle, get back into a Demolisher, pick up pyrite, etc...". In short: don't get launched before you have reloaded 5 Pyrites (note: I haven't verified this in the field, it's just something we should try).

- If the Hodir tower is up, everybody gets slowed down, which means that everyone needs to start backing off earlier during Overload or they will quickly be caught up by FL.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A newcomer in the combat log analysis web site: worldoflogs.com

Sample reports:

* Guild calendar
* Overall report
* Specific boss fight

The uploader works in real time (you let it run while you're raiding) and as you can see, the reports show more sophisticated graphs than wws and wmo: they show deaths, Blood Lust/Heroism times, etc...

Need to play with it more, but it certainly looks interesting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

As some of you know, I'm a big believer in "money over all". I think money is the best way to get mats and that even farming is usually a wealth loss since unless you get lucky, you will be much better off running a few dailies and buying the mats you wanted to farm off the AH.

With Ulduar just around the corner, I decided to move one step further in this direction and I started selling pretty much everything of value that I own.

The trend started with obvious items such as Frozen Orbs or Dragon's Eyes, but soon, I was selling various food, green and blue gems, leathers, scales, silks, eternals, etc... If my main is not guaranteed to need it very soon (which is pretty much limited to a couple of blue gems), off to the AH it goes. And hell, it can be argued that even if it's something I might need in two-three weeks, I might still be better off selling it now and buying it from the AH when the need arises.

I have a couple of reasons to back this up this decision:

  • Ulduar will make most items drop in prices at the AH. Note that I said "most" (see caveat below).
  • There is little point in immobilizing hundreds of gold in assets in the expectations that I might need it later. I'd rather sell all my stuff for 500g and have to buy some back for 100g in a few weeks.

I'm also planning on spending pretty much all my Emblems of Heroism to buy Frozen Orbs since these sell for 80g pretty reliably. I'm even considering converting a few Emblems of Valor for that, although I still occasionally see people looking to buy the bracers for 1500g+, so it might be worth holding on to at least 60 of those.

My big question is: what items do you think will actually go up in price when Ulduar comes out?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Powerleveling Jewelcrafting

I'm almost done powerleveling Jewelcrafting and since I already received a few questions, I thought I'd share my notes with everyone.

Blizzard really did a good job with this profession in WOTLK.

One thing I like about Jewelcrafting is that you don't need to max it out to start deriving benefits from it, even if you raid. The target is 375, which is when you unlock the daily quest and when you can cut the Dragon's Eye gems, which only Jewelcrafters can use.

These gems are prismatic, meaning they can fit in any slot, and they are also more powerful than the regular gems (e.g. +27 strength instead of +16). You can't use more than three on your person, though, but it's still going to be useful for people who are using blue fillers in order to satisfy a metagem requirement.

In my case, I had two purple gems +12 sta/+8 str, which means that once I used of my three Dragon's Eyes, I ended up with +59 str (19 + 19 + 11), which is nothing to sneeze at.

Here are the guides I used:

WOW Wiki
WOW Guide Online
WOW professions

It cost me about 2000g to get to 420, so it wasn't too bad. Make sure you use two guides when you powerlevel because they all have holes at some point, or they give you instructions that are sometimes more expensive than their alternative. AuctionLite and Postal are lifesaver add-ons for intensive powerleveling since they save you a lot of clicks.

Leveling slows down after 420. You can get 5 more points by creating Prisms, which have a 24 hour cooldowns, but other than that, you'll need to create meta gems to max out. It's not that expensive if you can get an alchemist to transmute the gems for you, and each recipe costs five tokens, so that's five days of dailies.

Unfortunately, just like all the other professions, there doesn't seem to be much point in leveling Jewelcrafting past 440. Hopefully this will change with Ulduar, although I haven't read anything about this yet.

In the next post, I'll cover 420-450.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PTR 3.1 early impressions

First of all, check out the gorgeous 2mn preview of Ulduar.

I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the movie or with the content of the page:
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="layout/ulduar.xsl"?>

<page lang="en_us">
How awesome is that?

As for the PTR, the client keeps crashing so it's barely usable right now, but the short time I spent there confirmed to me that dual specs are fantastic. The UI is very intuitive too, and you get a full set of new toolbars for each spec (I was afraid they would limit the change to the main bar, not sure why).

I was a bit disappointed to find out that talent points are still spent immediately, so you need to plan ahead and not make a mistake or you'll have to pay the respec fee to start again. I seem to recall that Blizzard wanted to do the same thing as the Talented add-on: you define your spec at your own pace, move points around until you're satisfied and then you say "Ok" and the spec is applied.

Oh, and instant spec change == epic win.

I haven't tried the gear manager yet but it seems to be a bit primitive compared to the existing add-ons (and it doesn't appear to automatically switch when you change your spec). I suspect that ItemRack/Outfitter will still be useful, especially for their abilities to define gear sets based on other sets.

I noticed a few changes in the DK talent trees that were not documented anywhere, need to spend more time playing with them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Calculating a gear score by scraping the Armory

I am very impressed by the content of the Armory pages: they're 100% XML. No HTML, no CSS, no Javascript. An XSL spreadsheet does all the magic and a request just returns your full model in XML.

As an experiment, I wrote a quick Ruby script that calculates a gear score for a character. Here is a sample output:
Valorous Bonescythe Helmet:213
Icy Blast Amulet:213
Valorous Bonescythe Pauldrons:213
Valorous Bonescythe Breastplate:213
Belt of the Tortured:213
Valorous Bonescythe Legplates:213
Boots of Captain Ellis:213
Thrusting Bands:213
Dislocating Handguards:213
Strong-Handed Ring:213
Ring of Invincibility:213
Mirror of Truth:200
Fury of the Five Flights:213
Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak:213
Webbed Death:213
Sinister Revenge:226
Spinning Fate:213
Gear score for Rozz: 3595
Reference: Blue (Superior):2992 Heroic:3096 Naxx10:3200 Naxx25 (Epic):3408 Max:3616
The script is about forty lines of Ruby and you can download it here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here are the dps charts from our latest Sarth3D kill last night.

Top DPS. I haven't seen that since the early days in Black Temple on my Rogue, and Rogue DPS has been declining steadily ever since.

I still find it disturbing that a Death Knight that has been raiding for basically two weeks can top the dps charts like this, even though Sarth3D is obviously very AOE intensive.