Overdue

No matter how much I intend to update this journal, I always seem to allow laspes … of the large kind. So let’s see if I can’t get everyone caught up with my going-ons …

Seems Blizzard will be releasing WotLK November 13th despite indications from the beta that it won’t be completely ready. But what ever is? When I worked at Namco games would routinely ship with bugs in them; sometimes even game-crashing bugs. Then when you think about the constantly evolving nature of a MMO, it only makes sense that they’d push it out sooner than polish it to a spit-shine.

Unfortunately 11/13 falls smack dab in the middle of this school term which will limit my game time. If I were not taking vacation time (Nov. 13,14,17-21) I’d barely be able to spend time in Northrend. Taking some time off from work will allow me to split my focus between school and WotLK while maintaining a happy household.

Being a month out from the expansion has led to changes in plans, mainly that I’ll be getting my rogue to 80 pretty much before anything else. With the changes that have come to the combat tree, I may just return to a combat build for leveling, (and maybe even for PVP given the mobility nerf to lolstep). I’ll toy with a mutilate build once 3.0.2 hits next week, but I’ll have to toss mongoose on the daggers I have: [Direbrew’s Shanker] & [Retainer’s Blade].

Part of the reason for the decision to focus solely on my rogue come expansion time is to get in on the ground floor of level 80 arena. My current 3v3 partners and I will be reforming a 3v3 team for season 5 and we’re determined to not allow gear dictate our ratings as much.

Last week we went a disappointing 4-6 dropping us to the low 1400s which killed our morale and drive. Yet we gathered again and went 7-3 this week pushing our ratings back to scratching at that ellusive 1500+ rating … le sigh. At this point in the game we keep running into teams with s3 weapons and/or s4 gear, even in the sub-1500 bracket.

Granted there isn’t a /huge/ difference between our s2/3 gear and s3/4 gear we’ve been facing, but folks that have acquired said s3/4 gear are far more experienced in the arena scene and have strategic advantages. Fortunately the arena scene will be almost completely different in the 80s and we’ll be learning along with the rest of the scene. So we’re confident that we’ll fare much much better in WotLK.

As for other WotLK plans, my mage on Whisperwind is easily going to be level 55 by the launch (she’s currently @ lv52)and I’ll probably put more focus on my DK on Whisperwind than I will on Cenarius (my main server). I don’t really need another alt on Cenarius to neglect, but having a DK on Whisperwind will give me more reason to spend time over there. Besides, I’m sure the alliance in the Rampage battlegroup could use a good/decent PVPer.

While my DK on Whisperwind will likely become my main, I’m determined to get my mage to 80 to PVP with her. Well, her and my DK of course. Seems that I live for PVP in WoW despite how inherently flawed it is. *smirk*

And now for some random screenshots …



Water elementals + Frost Spec = Paaaaaiiiiin


Brewfest Concert Event in BRD


Thunder Bluff is so beautiful

And now for some random thoughts …

  • I feel completely lost watching season 3 of Heroes (haven’t seen seasons 1 & 2)
  • I really like the new Filter album that was ninja released back in March (just discovered it last week)
  • My front yard is a complete loss; completely infested with crab grass
  • My sister picked out a stuffed Cactaur for her birthday present
  • I really need an iPhone 3G so I can listen to the Woody Show while not in Live 105’s broadcast area
  • When will the Niners get a good QB again? J.T O’Sullivan is NOT the future of the Niners
  • It’s October already?!
  • I’m sick of politicians and wish someone decent would actually run for office (hate both Obama and McCain)

Short-fall

I really don’t want to QQ, but getting into arena-based pvp this late in the TBC cycle is frustrating. Simply put, gear just makes too much of a difference (skill can only compensate so much) and if you’re just starting out, you’re pretty much fodder for those that are rolling s3+ gear.

Okay, so I’m not completely uber-undergeared (Nevik’s Armory), but lacking 400+ resilience makes cheat death worthless. I swapped the 3 points I had in CD into Master of Subtlety and so far I’ve been happy with the results. Sure, once my arena teams get above 1600 and we’re consistantly facing well-geared opponents I’ll need to respec to get CD back for survibility when focused, but for the time being, the extra burst damage is coming in handy.

Ran 20 matches (10 in 2v2 and 10 in 3v3) and ended up once again 50/50 on our wins and losses. We got absolutely trounced, twice, by a war/shaman/lock team in 3v3 where the majority of them were rocking t6/s3 gear. Considering that our hunter lacks the most amount of pvp gear, when he got focused, he died faster than any of us could react.

Then in 2v2 with the priest we got to QQ over the a-typical druid/war combo that is very very difficult to play against as a lol-step rogue and hybrid disc/holy priest. Afterwards we strategized on how to approach the match and came up with the conclusion that without a substantial burst of damage, we’ll have to CC the warrior and burn the druid down.

To accomplish this, we’re hoping that I’ll be able to open with a sap on the warrior while the priest begins a mind control while I hopefully find the druid. Should the warrior trinket the MC my priest will then scream the warrior off and when he breaks the fear by stance-dancing I’ll toss a blind on him. At this point hopefully the druid hasn’t run too far away and/or I can catch the druid in travel/caster form with a 5pt kidney shot (after opening on him with a 5pt imp.exposed armor) and burn him down before he can react while my priest mana burns and pw:deaths him to help with the burst.

Seems fairly simple, but execution is something that we’ll need to master. There is no room for error against a war/druid comp because a single hamstring/mortal strike on me = QQ. We’ll get more wiggle room as we continue to gear up (s3 pants will have to wait until next tuesday ;_;) and as we improve our coordination overall. (Broken record, I know ….)

On a positive note, I’m getting far more confident that our 2v2 rating will continue to improve as the weeks go by (we improved our rating in 2v2 by 20’sh points) and hopefully we’ll stop the hemorraging of our 3v3 rating (lost 3 pts) providing that our hunter team-mate grinds some BGs to improve his DPS.

And then there’s the approaching gear reset for 80’s arena. Still no details on how it’s going to work other than arena 71-79 will be skirmishes only while 80 is the return of rated matches (lv70 matches will also remain rated). Yet there are more lingering questions such as: will pvp-oriented gear be obtainable through leveling (either through instances or questing)? will s3/4 arena gear hold up and be a good starting ground for season 5? when will season 5 start up?

I just hope that once Blizz announces an actual date, they stick to it (yah right ….) so I can take a week of vacation to focus on burning through to level 80 and get as much of a headstart on lv80 pvp as possible. Yup, looks like pvp is going to remain my focus.

Decisions

Twenty-three months have passed since I blog’d about what potential talent builds I’d pick up for TBC. I figure it would be fun to reflect on those ideas and look forward to my current ideas for WotLK with my rogue. Back in August ’06 I laid out 4 talent spreads, 2 combat specs, a mutilate spec, and a pvp spec. Unfortunately I don’t have “snap-shots” of those builds, so I’m at a loss for what my “pvp idea” was, but suffice to say, rogue talents have gone through some changes since then.

In the end I mostly stuck with a combat build (20/41/0) since it provided lots of solo-oriented and group/raid talents. Of course instead of utilizing swords, I’m a mace-rogue if only because my buddy Trogdor assisted me with forging my Dragonstrike. Then once I got serious about pvp, mainly because raiding is pretty much not a possibility, I’ve stuck with your “cookie-cutter” lol-step build (20/0/41).

I’m still contemplating taking 3 pts out of cheat death for master of subtlety considering at 299 resil, cheat death only occassionally makes a difference as I usually die a (split)second later. Getting an extra 10% damage for 6 seconds could give me that extra burst damage I need in the arena when I’m able to properly open on someone: (Premed > Cheap Shot > (Imp) Expose Armor > Vanish > Cheap Shot > Hemo > Kidney Shot)

Speaking of arena combat, so far my 3v3 team with priest buddy and his brother’s hunter is slowly coming together. We’re still ranked really low (1449 rating as of our last outting) but overall our gear is pretty bad (I have about 100 resil on my other teammates) and we haven’t completely fleshed out our teamwork and plan-of-attack based on enemy composition. With that said, we’re doing well considering and for the most part going 50/50 with most of our matches.

We’re on the threshold of getting our first piece of season 3 gear; if we manage a 1554 rating we’ll have 1500 pts on Tuesday. I was hoping to hold out and pick up the s4 pants, but considering I’m still wearing the ghetto-pvp pants (rep pvp gear) picking up the s3 pants will provide a substantial increase to my stats overall. I’m also only a mere 8k honor away from picking up the +80 AP trinket which will bring me well over 1600 AP and make me a little more effective.

After that, I’ll more than likely upgrade my s1 head to s3 head and socket a relentless earthstorm diamond in it as opposed to a powerful earthstorm diamond. I’m also hoping to run a kara or two, or three, to get those leather boots that Moroes drops for even more socketing fun and to finally slap an enchantment on my feet. (I’m still boot-enchantless >.<)

So while there is still a lot of gear upgrades for me to obtain for pvp, the realization of just how much better my rogue is geared now prior to WotLK compared to how he was geared prior to TBC is incredible. It also has definitely affected my WotLK plans, and I’m pretty sure I’ll start WotLK on my rogue with a (16/4/41) build and dump those extra 10 talents points into the combat tree as I level leaving me with 16/14/41 build.

Going with that hybrid leveling build should provide substantial mob-killing power and give me some tricks like lol-step to make leveling fun. My current spec is actually faster at killing mobs solo than my combat-mace spec. So I’m fairly certain that it’ll remain faster as I continue to gear up prior to WotLK. Yet I don’t plan on keeping that hybrid spec once I do hit 80 as return to the pvp scene, or possibly start raiding.

While it’s hard to truly gauge what pvp will be like at 80 I’m either leaning towards 30/0/41 or 58/8/5. Going with 30/0/41 gives me the same pvp-flexibility I’m accustomed too right now while adding in seal fate for faster combo point generation. The mutilate build seems like it’d be tons of fun, even though it’d lack mobility. It would also hinge the acquistion of pvp-daggers (or if the removal of “Required: Daggers” is not a bug, maces will be lots of fun to mutilate with =).

If I do decide to put more focus on grouping and raiding, I’ll probably go with either Combat Maces (20/51/0) (Or combat swords) or try being a positional rogue with Combat Daggers (17/50/4).

Whichever spec I end up with mainly depends on weapon acquistion as I level, but if Blizz does impliment the ability for us to carry 2 specs, obviously I’ll carry one of the two pvp specs and a combat spec. I’ll probably continue to refine these specs as the trees are tweaked, and/or more information becomes available to what the new end-game/pvp will be like.

7-11

Arena 2v2 is an interesting beast. My performance is under a microscope in 2v2 and if I eff up, my priest buddy and I get flattened. Tonight we went 7-11 despite the fact that Indraal (the priest) needs “better” gear and is shy of 9k health buffed. Druids are problematic for us since my spec doesn’t have enough burst damage potential to out-dps the heals. We also got thoroughly raped by a rogue/mage combo, but overall we were pretty satisfied with our performance.


Click for a larger image.

We finished the evening at a 1450 rating but with some more gear upgrades, we should be able to improve our rating – especially as we improve our coordination and teamwork. One really good sign was my ability to relax a bit more as we ran our matches tonight. I remembered to control as much as I could, just need to make sure I don’t accidentally blind an opponent right after being feared ^^;

Hideous

Progression in PVP gear has been pretty steady on my rogue for the past couple of weeks. This is thanks to my lack of following through on working on my alts. Prior to most of my WoW sessions I think to myself “I really should work on my alts” or “I’ll definitely hop on my druid and work on him.” Yet, usually when I log into my rogue for the pvp daily, I just end up pvp’ng the rest of the time.

Yesterday I reluctantly picked up my s2 shoulders, (I hate the rogue s2 shoulders), as an upgrade in that slot will require a 1950+ rating and if the first week of arena play with my 3v3 team is any indication, it’s going to be a looooooonnnnggg time before we get there. Out of nine matches, we only won two and we failed to get our tenth match in on monday night. Considering that two of us have never arena’d before I suppose we did alright. Hopefully as we continue to play our teamwork will improve and we’ll overcome our less than ideal composition (two rogues and a priest).

I will also be running with the priest in a 2v2 setting and I’m a little more optimistic about our chances despite neither of us yet running a 2v2 match. The main issue that I’m running into in arena play is how uptight I feel; I end up becoming pvp-tarded and play horrendously. If I can begin to relax I know I’ll play a lot better and might actually get our teams on the winning side of 500.

Short-term goals for my rogue are to pick up the old s3 bracers and the 30k honor +80 AP battlemaster trinket. I’m hoping to hold off on buying the s2 head/pants and picking up the s3 head/pants (or s4 pants) as upgrades, but that will depend on how quickly my arena teams improve. I also need to start running dailies again as gemming my s2 shoulders halved my coffers. And I need to run Ahune as much as I can in the next two days to pick up the deathfrost enchant. (Finally got enchanting to 300 =)

Other than my rogue, I still need to get my priest, druid, and paladin up to 70. Getting Schmelzen (my priest) won’t be too difficult to get to 70 as she’s sitting at 64.5, but both my paladin and druid are sitting at 30. On top of that I need to give my druid some priority considering he’s the only miner I have now and I’ll need a miner to help my priest get up to 375 in engineering. Ugh! Too much to do, not enough time.

Fail

After a 2 week long obsession with pvp on my rogue, I’ve started hating rogue pvp again. Well okay, I’m still combat spec’d and don’t get to ShS (back before TBC I spec’d for ShS and absolutely loved it … but that was when ShS + Ambush was still moderately useful). I’ve contemplated many times on respec’ng for ShS, but I really really love AR and dropping warriors in s1/2 gear (s3 wars are still ;_; for rogues). Then of course there are horrific horde PuGs that can’t seem to pvp … but I digress.

Season 4 is now on the horizon and now I’m at a crossroads of what to do with my rogue. I despise the s2 rogue gear, but will probably replace the few pieces of pvp gear I have. I would like to join an arena team and get some s3 gear, but I’m not /that/ serious about trying to get s4 gear. (Side Note: the s4 gear has actually grown on me and I like it quite a bit)

Yet from what I’ve been reading, t6 gear serves a rogue a lot better for arena (simply because of the incredible dps t6 gear provides) but I’m not geared for raiding right now. There is badge gear to fill those gaps, but I’d prefer to run heroics with my guild; which is problematic with most nights dedicated to raiding.

On top of that, kara runs have been falling through and it’d be really hard for me to get in on a ZA run. *Shrug* In the grand scheme of things getting geared right now isn’t all /that/ important since we’re looking at WotLK by the end of the year and we’ll be going through another gear-reset somewhere between 70-80. My rogue right now is so much better geared than he was at 60 prior to TBC, so I’m pretty happy with that.

With the PVP wearing down on my rogue and the motivation to raid continues to be non-existant I’ve been spending some time on my paladin. Blizz definitely improved the leveling rate in the old-world and the conversion of many elite to normal npcs makes many quests fairly simple to solo. So my old goal of getting a paladin up to 70 to tank seems like a good diversion while I continue to be undecided on my rogue.