Tag: WorldofWarcraft

The Butcher says…

Everyone and his pup seems to have a view on raiding in WoW but what about the bosses themselves? They have to put up with group after group coming at them hurling all manner of spells and abilities and of course have to adjust their strategy based on the difficulty setting of the raid (I’m including LFR within this generic raid term here – I know – crazy old me). What do they think about it all? Is it working for them or is it back to the drawing board for Blizzard? I sat down with the Highmaul Butcher (as opposed to my High Street butcher – he hasn’t got a bloody clue about WoW raiding but can fillet a steak without an addon) and asked him for his thoughts on the subject.

Me: Ok I’ll cut straight to the chase – LFR, Normal, Heroic or Mythic?

Mythic every time my friend, every time. Normal and Heroic have their moments I’ll grant you that. But really if it’s not Mythic it’s not real raiding –  it’s just different degrees of derping. Or do I mean twerking? Which is the one where you wiggle like this? (Shows me – my eyes bleed.)

Me: I think that’s twerking … sort of. Can you stop now please.

Yes yes you’re right. Got to think of the old hips. Anyway I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the non-Mythic guys and gals – yes I said gals – I’m all politically correct now – Blizzard made me go on a course after I messaged Ms. Iron Reaver inviting her to pound a certain part of my … well anyway I was asked to go on a course. But in terms of the non-mythic raiders – while I do throw some tricky stuff at them, you know Cleave, Gushing Wounds that sort of thing (and when I’m really showboating I get into a sort of Frenzy that puts the fear of god in them),  the bottom line is it’s all watered down from Mythic. In Mythic I pull out all the stops. I even have the Night-Twisted Cadavers along for a bit of added spice. And what they can do with their Paleobombs – well even I get nervous when I see them approaching. For the other raids I do what the Powers That Be tell me. And that is,  “Put on a show Butch but don’t go crazy now. Some of these raiders are sensitive folk and we don’t want to lose them. At least not until Overwatch is out of Beta.” (Pauses) Umm no I mean … they didn’t say that …not at all … oh dear I’ve said to much. This is all off the record right?

Me: If by off the record you mean published on a blog read by few then yes totally. So what’s your strategy for LFR?

Alcohol. Lots of it. Me and the trash play a drinking game. One shot every time someone stands in bad stuff and dies – easy obviously. Two shots every time a DPSer accuses everyone else in the raid of being AFK.  We down the bottle when the raid descends into Lord of the Flies type madness and everyone eats a healer.  That’s the best bit. To be honest I’m paralytic in most LFRs.

Me: Do you think it’s all too easy?

Look you know the score. Its a bit of lighthearted fun. Honestly I don’t give a toss as long as they’re paying their subs and I collect my paycheck. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. It’s all about the money when you come down to it. They pay it and I take it. I’m not going to complain. But if I want a real challenge I go Mythic. No question.

Me: So not Normal or Heroic?

Well to be fair those groups try – they really do. Me and the boys call them The Tryers and we mean no disrespect by it. Earnest, sincere – I’ll give you that. Real nice people for the most part. Sometimes I join them on Mumble or Teamspeak  – they don’t know I’m there of course – and I listen to what they’re saying and god bless them, they’re really planning things out. Someone is told to do X and Y, someone else Z – and yes I know my alphabet – just the last three letters though- they’re the only ones you need. Anyway I just laugh because I know that nine times out of ten they are all going to get stage fright on the first attempt and start hurling god knows what in my direction. But they get there in the end. And then we all pose for a lovely screenshot. I have to play dead of course so you don’t ever see me smile but inside I’m beaming – I’m that proud of the little group.

Me: And mythic?

Hard core bad asses everyone of them. The fights really take it out of me to be honest but it’s great challenge and when I beat them the endorphin rush is second to none. We really work for it though – I don’t think that’s always appreciated. And I’m bummed that us Bosses are not getting the Moose in the next patch. I kinda thought that’s what Blizzard had in mind when the Moose was datamined – a little thank you to us Bosses. But no it’s another perk for the high end raiders. I can’t even buy it in the shop. And the thing is – well my first cuddly was a moose so I really wanted this mount  and (sob) and (more sobs) – oh let’s change the subject – I get upset just thinking about it.

Me: Ok so what about the future?

Well I’m looking to retire – I’ve made no secret of this. I’m getting too old for this raiding lark. And the writings on the wall- look I wrote it over there – “eSports is the future”. I wish I could get into Heroes I really do, but that wannabe from Diablo got my gig.  So I’ve got my eye on Hearthstone now. I’ve written god knows how many letters to the Powers That Be suggesting I become an 8 mana rare  – think Molten Giants but way cooler. In fact maybe your readers can help me out here? I know for a fact Blizzard base all their development decisions on the number of tweets they receive on a subject. So go on – let’s get  #ButcherForHearthstone trending. Do it for me. Please.

Virtual Blizzcon – here I come (maybe)

Getting very excited about Blizzcon & strongly considering buying a Virtual Ticket. Even my toes are tingling (although that might be because the boiler is due a service). Now I know some people have decried (hysterically rent their garb more like) the lack of WoW stuff at Blizzcon but to me (a)it seems pretty much the same as normal – although I’ve not got any graphs to prove this (slacker yes) (b)it is Blizzcon so has to cover all Blizzard games not just WoW and  (c)umm  can’t think of a third one – I’ll distract you by singing until we get to the next paragraph.

Lalalalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Ok. Hope you enjoyed that. Anyhoo I am a big Hearthstone fan (& total pro within the hardcore level 17 circuit) so for me the mix of WoW & Hearthstone stuff is perfect. I’m unlikely to spend much time watching the other game segments. I’ve never done a lot  in Starcraft & Diablo, am only mildly interested in Overwatch & while I have enjoyed Heroes whenever I’ve played it, I haven’t played it much. So for me its going to be the WoW & Hearthstone items that draw me in – with the real toe tingling excitement reserved for the Hearthstone championship (I loved it when little Fruitbat won last year  – I’m such a fan)

I am particularly looking forward to the following:-

  1. The opening ceremony – I will be all snuggled up on the sofa bed watching this  (I bring it out for special occasions – I believe the Queen does the same). I wonder if any big announcement will be made? I know most people think there will be nothing big for WoW but I, the lone voice in the Azeroth wilderness, continue to hold out the hope that they will announce WoW is going F2P. Now I know there are no doubt (a)zillions of reasons why this will never happen (b)why this would a bad bad thing (c)why this could mean the END OF THE WORLD (OF WARCRAFT) AS WE KNOW IT but (a)I don’t like spending money every month (b)I don’t like spending money every month (c)I DON’T LIKE SPENDING MONEY EVERY MONTH. But I love the game & feel sad without it (boohoo poor me and my first world problems). And let’s not talk about WoW tokens – they don’t work for me. I have never been able to make much gold – I think I must lazily vendor all the good stuff or something. I basically make enough gold to get by but not enough to buy a token. Heyho. F2P please – you can do it just for me if you want.
  2. The Legion overview – excited to know more about this & finding out likely timescales (assuming these are realistic & not just made up on the night to get the crowd cheering).
  3. The Hearthstone “What’s Next?”  item – oooh interesting, although I’m not sure I can handle much more new stuff in Hearthstone right now. I’m still getting my head around TGT. And I don’t even know what I would want in the way of new stuff – I’m very happy with the game exactly as it is. What I definitely don’t want is anything in the way of in-game chat. There’s already too much BM with just the limited emotes available. I do not want those asshats to be allowed to string a sentence together (assuming they can). I like my Hearthstone like I like my men – silent and defeated (a joke dear husband, a joke)
  4. Hearthstone World Championship & Exhibition match –  needs no words – just excitement & popcorn (even though it will be crazy o’clock in the morning when I’m watching this I’m sure I’ll be awake enough to stuff some popcorn in my mouth – or a pizza).

Somewhat less excited about:-

  1. All the contests – not for me. Crowdsourced entertainment. The sort of thing you have to be there & drunk on atmosphere (or something else) to enjoy.
  2. The cinematic segments – if these are basically “Look at how we made this – don’t we do a good cut scene?” then they are not for me. I expect Blizzard to be able to do a good cutscene and I’m not their mother. I’m not giving them a pat on the back and extra pocket money for a well designed orc, even if they managed to colour inside the lines.
  3. Epic Cosplay & You – this sounds like a “Look at how this person made a super duper Naga outfit. You can do it too with three cardboard boxes, four hundred rolls of toilet paper and one partially sedated goldfish.” Not for me. I have better things to do with cardboard boxes and toilet paper (although admittedly have yet to find a way for the goldfish to earn its keep).
  4. Anything introduced with the words “Deep Dive” –  business jargon that has no place in a games convention. Plus totally insensitive to the goldfish.

One last thought:-

Just noticed it says Opening Ceremony on Main Stage, but Simulcast Ceremony in Halls A, B, C & Arena. Ooh Simulcast. This must be a new Sims-like game. How come nobody else has noticed this. Blizzard Watch – I demand an article speculating on what it means post haste. It’s going to be Blizzard does the Sims I just know it. Now that’s something I would be interested in. I’m definitely going to buy a Virtual Ticket for that. Money well spent.

 

Rotation Madness

After the debacle of my last dungeon run I decided to revisit Icy Veins to try & get to grips with my Balance Druid. While I know the last run was particularly bad because of the individuals involved I am still uncomfortable with my reliance on Bitten’s Druid Spellflash to play my Druid. I want to better understand the rotation.

So fortified with a strong coffee & a sugary pop tart I earlier sat down to study the Icy Veins guide – specifically the rotation page that can be found here:-

http://www.icy-veins.com/wow/balance-druid-pve-dps-rotation-cooldowns-abilities

It all started well enough. The intro reads:-

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Gapezilla, one of the best Balance Druids in the world, who raids in Encore, and whose stream you can watch on Twitch, and by Cyous, a high-end Balance Druid theorycrafter and retired raider, who raided in Promethean. You can follow him on Twitter.”

Well these guys must know what they’re doing. I’m clearly in safe paws here.

The guide begins:

Apply and maintain Moonfire and Sunfire on the target.

You should try to apply and refresh both DoTs when you are [at] their respective Peaks (Lunar Peak for Moonfire and Solar Peak for Sunfire), but this is not essential.

This end bit immediately troubles me. When job applications say something is desirable but not essential you know they’re using it to sort the wheat from the chaff. I don’t want to make the wrong call here. But on the whole it seems ok. I mean I know what a DoT is (and that group on Monday called me useless. Bah. Piffle.) Ok add me to the wheat pile sir.

Since Sunfire lasts considerably less than Moonfire and since it is only available when you are in a Solar Eclipse, you will have to refresh it before leaving Solar Eclipse (or right after entering it) in order to maintain full uptime on it.

Whoa there! You told me to apply & maintain both but are now telling me Sunfire isn’t available until I am in Solar Eclipse. This implies Moonfire is always available. But later on you say you can only apply each DoT when you are in its respective eclipse. So why are you singling out Sunfire here and giving me pause for thought (or is it Paws for though – heh heh)?

I digress. It goes onto say:-

Cast  Starsurge

You should cast Starsurge often enough to make sure that its charges are always rolling.

Rolling? Is this a technical term? I’m assuming it means always building up new charges rather than letting Starsurge sit back all maxed up with unspent charges? If so please say that. What’s with all this faddy “rolling” talk. I was born in the 70s. The only roll I know is Rock’n’Roll and even that was old school in my day.

Casting Starsurge in Lunar Eclipse will grant Lunar Empowerment, and casting it in Solar Eclipse will grant  Solar Empowerment (both buffs last 30 seconds).

30 seconds. Awesome. Note to self: must not waste it by dancing, however tempted.

You should always use up the charges provided by these buffs before re-casting Starsurge, so as not to waste any charges.”

Sorry I was dancing. What charges would that be then? Not Starsurge charges as you’ve said not to use Starsurge. Do you mean Lunar/Solar Peak charges? Is that even a thing? 

Later on it says:

…you will have to make sure to use up all the charges of the current buff before re-casting Starsurge in the same eclipse. For example, if you have 2 stacks of Solar Empowerment, you should not cast Starsurge again in Solar Eclipse, because the stacks will be overwritten. We cannot stress enough how vital it is never to overwrite an Empowerment buff.

Oh god I’m shaking. I never realised how dangerous this is. I might OVERWRITE AN EMPOWERMENT BUFF. Do you know what that means? No? Thank God. Not just me then. But it’s serious stuff. It’s in bold & everything.

You should cast Starsurge as you are approaching a Lunar or Solar Peak so that you can cast the buffed spells at (or close to) the Peak.

More bold. My nerves can’t take this. Even “Peak” is capitalised. Perhaps they’re over egging it though – like when they tell you not to use a mobile phone in intensive care (a bit of texting by the bedside never did anyone any harm my grandmother used to say – in fact she said it while she was in intensive care as it happens, but then her machine went all funny and they took away my phone).

IcyVeins continues:-

Thanks to Shooting Stars, you will sometimes get a free charge of Starsurge

Awww thanks Shooting Stars. You shouldn’t have. Really you shouldn’t have. Take it back. I don’t know what to do with the ones I already have.

Cast Wrath while you are in a Solar Eclipse

Cast Starfire while you are in a Lunar Eclipse.

Simple dimple. Even I can do this bit. On a good day. Perhaps I’ll just ignore the earlier stuff & spam these ones. Just kidding. I know I have to apply DoTs when available, use Starsurge to keep it rolling, don’t use Starsurge when Lunar & Solar empowerment buffs give me some other charge (I trust some icon will flash at this point), but do use it just before/after entering eclipse to get said buffs. And of course don’t stand in fire, try to be a bit social by typing in chat, grow 8 more hands and another pair of eyes. Easy peasy.

But then just as I’m getting confident Icy Veins blows it all by saying:

This is the basic rotation cycle. There are certain subtleties with regards to eclipses that you will need to understand. This is a very important aspect, which we discuss in our detailed rotation section.

Oh god. I need more cofffee. That was the simple stuff?

I look at their advice for the opening rotation:

The ideal opening rotation at the start of the fight is as follows:

Cast Incarnation: Chosen of Elune 3 seconds before the pull.

Note to self: tell PUG tank I need to be alerted 3 seconds before every boss pull. That’ll go down well.

Prepot and cast Starsurge 1.5 seconds before the pull.

Prepot? I’m assuming this is tech talk for swig a potion. I’ll stick to my coffee thanks. And 1.5 seconds – crikey that’s precise. Even heart surgeons allow for some flex in their timings (or Granny’s did – another reason for the intensive care machine mishap perhaps – so can I have my phone back now please? I have a funeral to arrange.)

Back to Ivy Veins:-

In case you are closer to the boss than maximum range when you begin the fight, use Starsurge 1 second before the pull, instead.

Whaa? Firstly comma overload. Secondly I never stand anywhere other than max range. Often in fact I’m out of range checking Recount & wondering why my DpS is so low. Thirdly – 1 second? Where did my 0.5 go? I’m just going to ignore this bit. This is balance rotation at a quantum level.

I skim further down.

Astral Communion spell … accelerates your Balance Energy cycle by 300% for 4 seconds. This ability is channeled, and it makes it easy to quickly get into a desired Eclipse, if for some reason you want to do this.

That last bit is vague isn’t it? Why would I want to pick one over the other? Until I’m advised differently my decision will be based on where I am in my monthly cycle (fits with the overall theme I think).

In order to keep up Sunfire, you need [to] refresh it shortly before leaving Solar Eclipse, or … sometimes you will need to refresh it immediately on re-entering Solar Eclipse to prevent it from dropping off. This is acceptable.

Thank god. I thought I’d made a major faux pas the last time I did that (like the time I ate my soup with a fish knife)

There no longer is any real restriction about when it is too soon to refresh a DoT.

Good stuff. Those restrictions were onerous. I’ll just spam away. I think I’m getting the hang of this balance stuff.

If you are using Euphoria as your Tier 7 talent, then there is a slight change in how your DoTs should be refreshed. Namely, Moonfire only needs to be refreshed every other  Lunar Peak, and  Sunfire only needs to be refreshed every  Solar Peak (instead of casting it twice per cycle).

What? No! Just shut up, shut up, shut up.  That’s it. It’s over. I’m out. I’ll never get the hang of this and I’m never looking at the sun or moon again. Cat form here I come. Clawing, ripping & shredding. I can do that (you should see me eat chicken). Just nobody mention combo points. I really don’t want to know.