Warlock: Talent Realized

“Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.”
Robert Half

Warlock: Talent Realized

I don’t know how many parents that I’ve frustrated after I’ve heard, “My son is very talented”. In my mind, talent is cheap and only suggests potential. Let’s see some work and then we can talk.

The Affliction Warlock is a powerful single-target class. The damage starts low and then builds as the many damage-over-time spells peak and then cook along. The key in sustaining the damage on a raid boss is careful management of these spells and when to refresh them.

Since the newest raid started, I’ve been a weak player but it is getting better and better with experience and learning more everyday. Frankly, I’ve been over-whelmed by all of the new-to-me ways to play.

My initial mistake with to take the full raiding build from the Guide Sites. Hammering away and guessing at buttons, even if they were the best buttons, was giving me some bottom of the pack numbers.

So: I changed my talents. Two of the spells that I would have to track “on cooldown” have been changed to the passive talent.

Agony should be one of my top hitters. I went and got a Weak Aura that will track the spell as a count-down bar so I can refresh it before it is spent. This will keep the spell at top form and not need to ramp up.

Last night we downed seven bosses on Normal. Nothing to brag on that except that we squeezed in seven bosses in three hours (yay us for moving forward quickly). My DPS is now in the top third of the raid! And, I know that I can be a lot better.

My intention is to add another talent that I have to sustain once I have Agony down. This will be a while because it isn’t easy! However, I hope within the next few months to fold in the more active talents as I get control of each new one.

It seems that the Warlock class player needs to have a rhythm, building in a tick-tock motion into the muscle memory so you can look away from the boss for a moment because you know that you know that a spell needs refreshing.

It is a challenge but I am entrenching myself in this new class the best that can within reason!

I remember the faces of my freshman class when I told them that they were all accepted because of their talent in auditions. Then I told them to look around the room and realize that talent is cheap. Let’s get to work.



Method: World First

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Abraham Lincoln

Method: World First

I got sucked in and watched the race. I was on when they downed the boss a few hours ago. Me, watching an esport. It was exciting when they won!

I don’t really watch. They pulled over three hundred times on Jaina. I had it on for an hour yesterday, listening, while I did the dailies. Same thing again today, doing dailies and then flipping when they’d start a run.

The viewing goes up and down. It was between 62,000 and 92,000 watchers. That is the size of a football stadium which sounds pretty good but football games also have home viewers too. Red Bull was one of the sponsors and I remember that. So, they did a good job there.

The announcers call themselves “casters”. It is a bit too cute, but okay. Short for broadcasters with a gaming spin, I guess. They had to fill the time when Method was not doing a run. It was just okay. Because I watch American football a lot, I know that the announcer can make any game pretty good; but a so-so announcer can make even the best game drag.

Remember the MDI when the announcer said that a player was “going ham”? Then everybody started saying “going ham” and I felt that the announcers for the Method run were trying to get some slang stuffed into the raid lingo.

Watching the run itself was very bad. You can’t see anything. The announcers said that Method had to change all of their graphic settings to be able to see the encounter. All of those addons make it look like the stock market channel with way too much info.

Those Method guys are really smart and really good at playing WoW. They super fine-tuned their strategy, even getting their Troll characters for the racial. Every little thing, they worked it out. That part is pretty cool.

I’ve never watched before and I don’t know if I’ll ever watch again. I certainly would not watch second place. But, this time, I did watch and it was fun and exciting.

The Raid Splits

“I’m saving that rocker for the day when I feel as old as I really am.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Raid Splits

This new raid, Battle of Dazar’alor, has mechanics which divide the raid team into two groups to complete a task. Our raid team has about sixteen players; two tanks, four healers and ten dps.

One of the reasons that we run four healers is because of the splits. Once we clear the progression part which implies more damage taken, it could be possible to drop to three, leaving one healer in the hot seat. I’d hope that would be me!

The fights are designed pretty well. One team might be best served with more ranged to beat a mechanic and the other might even out with a need for melee.

On Opulence and the Storm Blockade, the fight opens with the split teams and their task is to finish at the same time. Often one team is vamping while the other team is pushing their buttons hard to catch up. On the Storm Blockade, the first finished team can zoom other to the other and help; at least on Normal.

The third team split is on the King fight. He’ll grab the nearest fifty percent of the raid and pull them to another place. The tanks avoid this and we wanted our strongest players to be yanked to push to the next phase.

I like it.

Splitting the teams means that everyone has to try hard. Believe it or not, casual raid teams often have a friend-of-a-friend who is new and not experienced. My attitude is “leave ’em dead” and they can watch to learn, while my cynical side wonders if they just surf Facebook until the fight is over.

Dividing the teams into two separate experiences also means that the designers can stuff us into smaller rooms and really put the nasty stuff on the floor for us to dodge and avoid. It can feel claustrophobic and a great relief when we get back together in a larger room.

We’ve seen raid splits before. I remember the three sisters in Black Rock Foundry where a team had to go up top for a task. It is fun and I will always be the first to volunteer.

The design for Battle of Dazar’alor on Normal is very good. My expectation is that we will gear up and when we move to Heroic that there will be one or two new mechanics per boss and we’ll easily learn those as we have already done the work on the main mechanics.

This means that I am super-duper looking forward to the LFR on Tuesday to see how the next wing plays for total random groupings. What if everyone turns right and no one goes left? It should be fun.

BfA: Season Two, Week Two

“Danger has a bracing effect.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

BfA: Season Two, Week Two

Now that we have gotten a feel for the changes, it is time to report.

Season Two brings us the much harder mythic plus dungeons. A four Key is pretty hard, depending on the dungeon. Underroot was a last minute failure and, as always, when you get close and lose it is discouraging.

The deal with mythic plus is that a stray step can bring unwanted adds. That seems to be the perpetual problem while trying to be methodical as possible. An extra big add or a bunch of smaller makes one ponder the value and effort because I don’t think that they are very fun. This is not universal, lots of players in my guild love them.

The new raid is open. I am five of nine so far, with a likely six or seven tonight. Healers are used to it but tanks are facing new challenges. Some are thinking that a third tank could make a difference. The swaps due to stacks need perfect timing and excellent communication. Candidly, it is has been a long time since we’ve seen the tanks taking so much heat.

What is your strategy for the 7th Legion Medals? Both of my most active characters have the 395 ring with the very useful port to Boralus. So, are you saving up for the Big Spend on the mount or are you buying your way up on the smaller items with the assumption that eventually we will have too many medals and not enough items?

I’ve yet to spend any Doubloons and find the Titan Risiduum something to not chase.

So many players are shifting to full time Warmode. I have yet to take this step.

The new 3:1 ratio on the raid-earned crafting mats really suck. Cooking is a bitch, man.

Pets and Toys are still arriving from random drops. Our Pet Tab in the guild vault is filling up with Scabbys and Detective Dans.

The initial surge of excitement for higher gear on the first week is softening. We out-gear the Assaults and are rolling the dice on the Emissary daily.

To sum up: the dungeons are the same and the new raid is exciting and fun!

And that is that!

Lunar Elder’s Hearthstone Macro’d

“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”
H. L. Mencken

Lunar Elder’s Hearthstone Macro’d

The Lunar Festival is here! After honoring your Elders and gathering 30 Elder’s Coins, you can purchase this new toy.

Lunar Elder’s Hearthstone
Item Level 1
Binds when picked up
Use: Returns you to . Speak to an Innkeeper in a different place to change your home location. (30 Min Cooldown)
“Return home in the wisest way possible!”

World Event: Lunar Festival

The toy is account wide and will return you to whichever inn that character has chosen.

Since the tooltip says, “Return home in the wisest way possible!” I think it is time to add some fun toys to the visual. The hearth has several stages of animation with kneeling, wise waving of the arm and finally a firework to hasten your departure.

How about waving that arm to smell your popcorn AND the foul smell of a noisy fart?

I’m sorry, folks, it has to be done.

#showtooltip Lunar Elder's Hearthstone
/cast Pretty Draenor Pearl
/cast Foul Belly
/cast Bubble Wand
/cast Everlasting Alliance Firework
/cast Hot Buttered Popcorn
/cast Lunar Elder's Hearthstone

We cast, we kneel, we fart, beg pardon.

Behold! My magic popcorn!




Here is my Gnome, you can see the bubbles well in this screenshot.

Oh, it smells so good.


New Warlock: Pros and Cons

“How lovely are the portals of the night, when stars come out to watch the daylight die.”
Thomas Cole

New Warlock: Pros and Cons

My new Warlock is coming along. Season Two has brought some nice upgrades but I still need to learn how to play. I’ve only raided twice this week and three times last week in Uldir. Yesterday saw my first Mythic Plus.

When we talk about our rotation it is about sustaining high levels of damage over a long period of time, sometimes up to twelve minutes. The designers work to make us break our play by making us move or shift to mobs.

Affliction Warlock is my specialization and it is still new. New enough that I’m not ready to try the other two choices. In fact, I’m still learning my pets who can add to my damage or interrupt.

We do burst damage well. We can hit hard and fast but that will wane down to almost (it feels like) a dribble until all of our cooldowns can line up again so a bunch of spells can be activated at once.

With our burst damage, this means in a raid that we are very keen on fight length and also Hero or burn phases, often holding on to things until needed. In a dungeon, we are not very good at AoE and so are not effective on trash mobs but we’ll shine on the very short boss fights.

Warlocks bring some unique utility. Our healthstones (lock rocks) and our summoning portal and our gateway portals are only found on Warlocks. We also have a spot that we can put the ground and we can teleport to that spot later!

I was surprised at the demand for the Soulstone. This can be placed on a player so that if they die, they can come back to life. This can also be cast on a dead player by the Warlock to bring them back to life. This battle rez is in demand!

As an engineer, of course I have Jeeves and (very soon) Reaves for repairs.

There will be updates as more is learned about this challenging class.

The Genius of Dazar’alor

“Recycling old buildings to show art is very important.”
Agnes Gund

The Genius of Dazar’alor

When we first entered the raid on Tuesday, everyone was excited. We all hushed and shushed each other was we watched the cutscene. And we all looked around.

I asked if where we were was the actual Horde city and one of our players said, “oh sure” and began telling us where the vendors and flight masters and other things were in the city.

A couple of years ago, Ion in one of his Dev Q&As explained the pacing of expansions and content. He said the thing that took the longest was the artwork, quests and fights and encounters could be done pretty quickly but they needed the artwork.

Blizzard has some of the top-flight talent in the world when it comes to their artwork. Using existing artwork is the key to making a lot more content for us. Ion said that the Brawler’s Guild was a weekend side project for two of his guys and Brawlers is hugely popular.

The artwork for the Battle of Dazar’alor was done before the raid was designed. This is the first time that I can recall when we have entered a raid with a known map and design. At least so far, I’ve only seen four bosses.

This is genius! Blizzard could generate a lot more content quicker, faster and easier by using existing stuff. I accept that our new raid is in a known area but I also want to see an occasional Ulduar too; that place was lovely.

I wonder how long it took to make this raid compared to a typical process of new artwork.

Darkshore and Arathi both got updated but I wonder if it got a complete bottom-to-top overhaul. I think that in many cases we like going to well-known zones to accomplish a task.

So, tonight when we go back into the raid and we are climbing the steps, I plan to stop and look around. Genius, I tell ya.