Back to the The Typical Ramblings of Kae
I’ve made a string of seemingly useful posts, so it’s time to take a break. For all those who found me while I was being useful… well I apologize if I deceived you, but rambling is my typical modus operandi.
Time for a bunch of incohesive ramblings about things that seemed too short for a single blog post. To be fair, added together they are probably too long for one blog post, but that has never stopped me before.
There’s been quite a bit of discussion about how the encounters in Cataclysm favor ranged over melee. Some of the top-end guilds have been benching many of their melee players. In case you haven’t seen the quote from Paragon after their Ascendant Council Heroic kill, here it is:
“Also, a big thank you for the melee DPS’ers who play in the guild. They had to pass up spots again for alts, simply because the encounter design is incredibly punishing for any melee. It’s a pretty glaring oversight when bringing in more than one or two of them results in ridiculous increases in damage taken in the last phase due to non-stop chaining chain lightning. Dropping out melee characters in favor of ranged ones has been a recurring theme throughout this whole raiding tier, but we hope that it’s over now with only the end bosses and Sinestra left.
Here’s to hoping next tier of raiding won’t favor ranged by design. Maybe even go wild and give some incentive to bring in melee, too.”
When top guilds make moves like this, a lot of guild/raid leaders take notice. I imagine that melee dps will have to struggle hard to earn their raid spots now. My hope though, is that Blizzard will also take notice and make a stronger effort to balance future encounters in Cataclysm.
I played a rogue all through Wrath, so I am certainly familiar with the hazards of being melee. There are many encounter design styles where melee have issues:
- Close-up AOE surrounding the boss that cause the melee to need to run out, such as whirlwind
- Fights that require you to spread out to avoid chaining a debuff or ability – you can only bring a certain number of melee or it is impossible for them to not take damage
- Fights with adds spawning away from the boss – melee need to run to them, meaning that they can’t do any DPS while moving from target to target
- Any fight where the boss moves significantly (such as charging or teleporting), requiring the melee to run to it
- Any fight where the boss is up in the air for a phase, and only ranged can continue DPSing
- Bosses with cleaves or tail-swipes. A slight mistaken movement by the tank can wipe the melee DPS out.
- Bosses that are enormous and block your field of vision when you’re stabbing at their back – can cause you to miss something you need to move away from
- On many encounters, if the tank doesn’t position a boss correctly, melee can’t DPS without standing in a fire
Conversely, there are some places where melee have the advantage:
- Fights where you get “sucked in” to the boss at a phase change. This is very disorienting for ranged, but doesn’t cause the melee any issue
- Fights where the boss is being kited – melee can do their full damage rotations while moving if they are skilled. With most ranged classes, moving causes a significant DPS decrease because they can’t cast their primary spells while moving
- Fights requiring interrupts. Most melee classes have great interrupts. With the class homogenization, ranged have been given them too, but they still aren’t as “good”. For example, a DPS shaman’s Wind Shear the shaman to casting to use it. A rogue doesn’t have to interrupt their cast to Kick, they just have to spare one global cooldown.
- Fights where a boss only casts a debuff to targets at range, such as Festergut
Fights where ranged have to do specific “jobs” that are opposed to doing DPS on the boss don’t count. Yes, they hurt the ranged “DPS numbers”, and are more challenging for ranged players, but in general with this kind of fight you need to have ranged players, and Melee get to stick on the boss not because they are more useful but because it’s the only place they can even contribute. Saurfang is a great example here.
I’m well aware that I didn’t mention everything, but you get the general idea. Unfortunately in Cataclysm, it seems that Blizzard designed more encounters that match the first list. I haven’t played my rogue in Cataclysm a lot, but from my limited experience it felt more punishing than playing my ranged elemental shaman. A number of other guildmates commented on this as well. Our fantastic cat dps druid has taken to playing his hunter instead, as the encounters are less punishing for him (and hunters are OP).
I don’t envy Blizzard in balancing the encounters as well as possible max DPS for each of the classes. Considering the implications in PVP makes this exceptionally complicated. It’s unfortunate that melee DPS are having to suffer, but I hope that the smart guilds will continue to bring them. If the next tier of raiding does things differently, you will still want geared and practiced melee players on your raid team. The adversity will also help hone the skills of your melee players, and weed out those that aren’t committed to being the best.
I’m at the point where running normal dungeons really only gives me rep, so I’m getting into the swing of Heroics. I only run them with guildies, but I’ve seen most of them now (I think Stonecore is the only one I haven’t been in). That’s not to say that I have completed them all, just that I’ve seen the encounters. Vortex Pinnacle, the Lost City of Tol’vir, and Throne of Tides seem the easiest for us. Certain bosses gave us issues with their burst DPS requirements, such as Ripsnarl, or Commander Springvale. Others will just require more practice, such as Karsh Steelbender, and the last two bosses in Grim Batol.
Overall I love the more challenging encounters, both as healing and DPS. I’m getting the hang of the Cataclysm healing style and find it far more rewarding than in Wrath. I usually have something to do, and I have time to think about it. With gear and practiced CC, the trash pulls are no longer terrifying. Bosses feel unique and interesting, requiring careful control in most cases.
I used to really enjoy fishing. It’s great to do while watching TV, and it really feels like you are contributing to your guild (à la fish feast) and your own raid performance. Unfortunately, the Cataclysm fish feast is hard to unlock – you need 10,000 pools fished by guild members. The individual fish needed as a caster is the Deapsea Sagefish. It turns into unappetizing sounding food that grants you intellect or spirit depending on your need.
I know I’m not the first to complain about it, but it is so incredibly irritating that I can’t resist. You see, Deepsea Sagefish do not swim in pools. Apparently they are antisocial fish. You can only find them in open ocean water. This means that when you fish for the only fish you need as a caster, you aren’t contributing to earning your guild a fish feast. And on top of that, the fish you are most likely to catch when fishing in the open sea is… Murglesnout. Every time I think of Murglesnout, I am filled with a surge of rage. Murglesnout is a trash fish (but not actually classified as junk), which vendors for only a few silver, and can be made into absolutely nothing. This is one of those things that just seems so broken to me, like the phased herb/mining nodes that disappear when you get close to them. Why would Blizz intentionally punish casters?
Addicting. Enough said.
Jewelcrafting – Alchemy Synergy
I love that my two max characters are an alchemist and a jewelcrafter. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that they each depend on the other to fully make use of their professions. Jewelcrafters prospect for Green-quality gems which can be turned into Metas or Blue-quality raw gems, which can then be cut by the jewelcrafter. A jewelcrafter who is also a miner can supply the alchemist with most of the mats for Truegold. The alchemist who also herbs can fill in the gaps with volatiles by gathering and transmuting volatile life to air and fire. This all leads to profit on the AH.
Initially I was pissed by the whole chaos orb thing, but I got over it. Only people who have a valid chaos-orb-using profession can roll on them, because they are BOP. This does somewhat offset the fact that their professions just really suck to level – they should be given some benefit. In a guild, it is only a minor inconvenience and means you have to place orders with crafters and hope they get lucky. I think my husband is one orb away from being able to make me a shiny epic mail chest-piece. Outside of a guild, you’re likely to only get these crafted items for an exorbitant amount of money, either on the AH or by spamming trade chat for a crafter with chaos orbs in stock.
This essentially means that the people who have this crafted gear are the ones that have the professions themselves, have a helpful guild, or have money coming out of their ears. I’m OK with that, I guess. I wonder if later in the expansion they will go back to being just like frozen orbs – BOE and greed only. If not, then eventually they will be useless.
My priest is now 79 and I’m feeding her all my BOE greens and cloth. I’ve been able to make a few cheap enchants and spellthread to add to my main’s gear, which makes the priest quite useful. I prefer when I can be self-sufficient with my professions. Asking other people for things bugs the crap out of me, even though I know guildmates are always happy to help. I also despise spending money on mats – I will farm until my eyes dry out. I even leveled Jardal’s inscription for him by feeding him stacks of herbs, just so he could get enough Inferno Ink for me to send to a guildie to make my relic.
I’ll probably comment more on the shaman changes when a full draft of the patch notes is posted but my initial reaction is mixed.
The buffs to resto are nice. The mana tide changes mean no more on-use spirit trinket macroed with Mana Tide for ridiculous mana boosts. I’m honestly not surprised – this seemed like an unintended consequence of the way Mana Tide worked. It was fun while it lasted.
The loss of a “set it and forget it” Tremor Totem breaks my heart a bit. I knew Tremor Totem was too good to be true. Hooray for further killing our utility. I’m not at all still bitter about the removal of Cleansing Totem.
EDIT: Hooray Lava Burst buff!!
Something Smells Fishy In Azeroth
Two guildmates of mine, Bark (feral druid), and Marv (priest) have opened up a new blog, Stormwind Bait Company. This is only their first day, but I’m very excited to see what they bring to the WOW blogosphere. I’ve spent a lot of nights running heroics with this goofy duo. Common antics include pulling with the Rainbow Generator, and life-gripping anyone who has never “experienced” it. They are also very knowledgeable although they may try to deny it behind a facade of humor. Go right now and check them out!
I will leave you with more amusing druid screenshots.
This second screenshot occurred when we found a fantastic bug while in Throne of the Tides. We discovered that you could mount other people’s single player mounts, which would leave you standing on the mounts head. This alone cracked me up, until we discovered that you could also do this with the Worgen’s running wild “mount”.
So of course, we had to see a moonkin on the worgen’s back.