Thursday, April 20, 2006

Much love for Blizzard

Very nice, apparently Blizzard has fixed the bug where Lay on Hands was not properly refunding mana to the Paladin should s/he cast the spell on him/herself. Apparently it's fixed now and working as intended: Paladin's mana is completely drained, Paladin is healed for 100% of the Paladin's maximum Hit Points, Paladin receives 550 mana back (at highest rank). This is great news. Also, Blizzard announced the patch notes for the 1.10.2 mini-patch, which will allow Divine Favor to work offensively with Holy Shock. So a Paladin with 31 points in Holy will now get a crit instant-cast, 20 yard heal or Holy damage spell every 2 minutes. This is even better news.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The joys of playing a Paladin

I love both of my Paladins, to the point I'm tempted to roll another one just for the heck of it. Last week I went through SM Armory with 2 guildies (60 Hunter and 32 Druid) and a random (awful) level 33 hunter. I was basically left on my own and it was freaking great! After much debate on my part, I equipped the Bonechewer I picked up in Uldaman and had a blast. While Paladins aren't a DPS class, I was still cranking out over 110 DPS, and was decently able to pull aggro when I needed to. My last two talent points have gone into Improved Righteous Fury and the difference is noticed. I've yet to try and main tank an instance, but once I get the third point in Imp. RF, I'm confident that between Consecration and Seal of Righteousness, I'd be able to hold aggro on my main target decently well. In line with maintaining aggro like this, I also love the fact that Paladins can essentially turn off aggro generation altogether by simply not using SoR and RF. Other than those times that I'm main healer, I like being up front and swinging away, as I find it not only speeds things up, but I never pull aggro when I'm not supposed to. I just toss on either Seal of the Crusader or Judge Seal of Light and go to town. Warriors appreciate having Devotion Aura and the fact that I don't pull aggro off them and healers can pretty much leave me be, so they've got one less person to worry about. Sadly, I've grouped with entirely too many Paladins who don't work with their given talents, but that's another story. For all the fun I had, the non-guilded Hunter that was with us made me want to pull out my hair. We were discussing loot rules and I told the group that the only thing I wanted to roll on was the Ravager, and would pass on any other BOP items that dropped. Nobody seemed to have any problems, however a few minutes later, I got a tell from this Hunter telling me not to roll on the Ravager as I had no claim to it since my current weapon was better. Excuse me? Last time I checked, Hunters don't melee and particularly don't benefit from weapons that have a proc, rather than stat bonuses. I replied saying that he was perfectly free to roll on it as well, but made it clear that if it dropped, I was going to roll on it as well. This wasn't good enough for him, of course, so the tells continued. It started off with him saying he would "appreciate" it if I wouldn't roll on the Ravager, then degraded into basically calling me a thief because I was planning to roll on an axe that he couldn't even use for another 4 levels. I got a little sick of it and brought it to the attention of the group leader who promptly came out and told him right in Party chat that if he had such a problem with it, he could find another group to walk him through Armory. Naturally, the axe didn't drop and he needed the Raging Berserker's Helm (because it will be great for him in 7 levels, right?), but still, after basically getting called a ninja for winning a roll on the Triune Amulet a few weeks ago, grouping with non-guildies as a Paladin has really left a bad taste in my mouth. I never had these problems while leveling with my Warlock, I guess it just goes to show how little some people understand the concept of a hybrid class. Edit: Why would I want to roll on the Ravager if I already had the Bonechewer? Fun factor, for one thing, but I also frequently walk groups of low-level guildies through the Deadmines to help them gear up, and killing multiple mobs makes my life considerably easier. In my eyes, it's an item that I would have kept and used frequently, which is more than enough reason to expect to be able to roll on it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Further comments on the PVP system

There's a great discussion going on over at Blessing of Kings about how to improve the PVP system in World of Warcraft. I've chipped in my suggestion; remove the concept of "Honor" from Battlegrounds and shift everything over to a faction-based system. I'm sure that I'm missing something, but the theorycraft makes sense to me. My example was for Warsong Gulch and suggested faction gains for the following:
  1. Winning the match
  2. Turning in the flag
  3. Capturing the flag
  4. Killing a flag carrier
  5. Killing an opponent inside your base
The only exception would be for winning: you could only get honor for winning if you've made at least one point of faction otherwise. Since the focus would be on winning instead of just killing, teamwork would be important, but so would individual skill. Hopefully, this would dissuade graveyard camping and instead shift the goals back towards an actual competitive match. I doubt this would cut down on the amount of twinking taking place, but since emphasis is taken away from simply steamrolling over the opponents, it would still give the advantage to an organized team. Althought I'm still just getting started with Battlegrounds, I can already see that teamwork definitely pays off, that some people just want a free ride and that the honor system rewards the investment of time over actual skill. I may not be able to see the whole picture with my limited experience (so far), but I do think my proposed change would address these three main points. Of course, if we're talking about eliminiating the whole Honor system, something has to replace it. A second level of faction could be offered, a generic PVP faction that is independant of the battlegrounds, but WoW already has so much faction grinding in it already, I'm not sure if this is the best way to go. Perhaps ranks could be quest-based, getting progressivly harder and valid for a certain period of in-game time once completed. For example, to get first rank, you just had to win one WSG match. To get second, you had to win three consecutive WSG matches and so on, with the goals being progressivly harder as you go on. I'm not sure how this would scale or how ranks would deteriorate, but it would focus more on skill, rather than just the amount of time you can invest and the number of people who you can get to help you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

New gear!

Much thanks to Amandrace (60 Paladin on Hellscream, Raid Leader in the ShadowKnights) for the Deadmines run today. I came out with some amazing new gear: Need to go back for the Gold-plated Buckler, but that shouldn't be overly difficult to get. I hit 18 too, and have to be careful of my experience now. Last thing I want to do is hit 19 too soon, that would limit the other gear I'd like to try and get. I'm going to see if I can get into a BFD group and get the Arctic Buckler, but that's going to be a stretch with only about a level and a half worth of experience to work with. Now that my gear is starting to come together, I'm starting to look towards getting some enchants, particularly on my chestpiece and weapons. My Rakzur Club has +3 Intellect on it now, which has to go. I'm thinking of aiming for a damage-dealing enchant on the Club (such as firey) and a more defensive one of the Cruel Barb (such as icy chill). Since the mats are ridiculously easy to get, I'm going to get either Enchant Shield - Lesser Block or Enchant Shield - Greater Stamina on whichever shield I end up using. Aside from that, Enchant Boots - Minor Speed on my boots and Enchant Chest - Major Health on my chestpiece, and +Strength and +Stamina on whatever else. I picked up and started leveling my fishing too, aiming for the Lucky Fishing Hat. If things go well overall, I may take my main and try to pick up some of the Librams, +100 hit points and +150 mana wouldn't hurt, that's for sure. Forget the Librams, they're not worth it for what I'm looking to do. I'm looking forward to leveling up my Enchanting too, I've got the recipe for Minor Mana Oil waiting for me in the bank, just need to get up another 13 points and I'll be able to use that. Lasts through death, thankfully, which should make it quite useful. Edit: Gah, need to be level 20 to use the Mana Oil...Sorry Maintain, you're outta luck!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The role of Hybrids in Battlegrounds

The Problem

I've had an ongoing discussion with a friend of mine regarding his Druid's role at end-game, and am wondering how that same discussion applies to PVP. Basically, my friend has a 60 Druid (and has had this Druid at 60 since about July of last year) and doesn't think he should be pigeon-holed into healing in end-game content. As a result, he's been to MC only a handful of times and instead spends his time either in Battlegrounds or trying to get the remaining pieces of his Wildheart set. This is a concious choice, I'm pretty sure he realizes that he could have his whole Cenarian set by this time if he was healing in MC, so it's a matter of principle on his part. Since he runs Battlegrounds so often, he's currently Balance specced all the way through Moonkin and says he still gets nasty tells from people expecting him to heal them. Is this expected of all hybrid classes in Battlegrounds? I'm not sure what to expect with a Paladin, but I'm not twinking this toon out just to be a healbot, I want to be out there swinging my weapon and making the most of my abilities. Yes, I'm going to heal, but not at the expense of having fun.

The Solution?

So, what to do? I can heal, but not as well as a Priest or Druid at the level. I won't have Flash of Light, so the best I can do is a 2.5 second heal for about 175 health. I'll have Blessing of Light available every 3 minutes, but that's only good against physical damage, if there are any casters, they'll blast right through it... Best I can figure is saving up my heals for use when I plan to use my shield, where I can get off two of them without interruption. This will only work every 5 minutes, and I've always got the ace-up-the-sleeve of Lay on Hands for any panic moments. Is this viable? Can I expect to be allowed to use my heals as I see fit, or am I going to get deluged with tells from morons demanding heals all the time?

The Alternative...

Well, I suppose the alternative to healing would be not healing...I would prefer not to go that route (healing does give CP), but for the level, the gear I'm looking at getting barely has any +Intellect on it, so my mana pool is likely to be small to begin with. Granted, it will improve with the WSG rewards as I gain reputation, but that's a way off still. Time will tell, but for the time-being, I'm going to save my heals for when they're going to make a difference and use them when I think they're needed. I'm concerned that I'll end up filling up my ignore list, but I'll climb this mountain when I come to it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

First post

What are you doing?

Despite all common sense, I've decided to roll a Paladin and twink it for the level 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket. Why a Paladin? A few reasons, actually:
  • Best armor class available for the level range (Devotion Aura)
  • Blessing of Protection and Blessing of Freedom
  • In my opinion, best talents available for the level range:
    1. Increase chance to block by 30% when critted;
    2. An extra 3% chance to hit with melee attacks;
    3. Cooldown on Blessing of Protection reduced to 3 minutes and duration of Blessing of Freedom increased by 6 seconds.
My guild (The ShadowKnights on Hellscream, US PVE) has a number of twinks for this level already, but most are offensive classes, rogues and warriors primarily. I'm hoping to help both defending the flag (by healing and otherwise being difficult to kill) and helping carriers (healing, again, and Blessings of Protection and Freedom). More than anything, I'm interested in having fun and helping my team, I'm less concerned with the number of Honor Kills I get or the amount of Contribution Points I accumulate.

Gear

So far, I managed to get a great weapon (Rakzur's Club) and a great belt (Stormbringer Belt) for about 20 gold total, and have found a few other items that should be fairly easy to get to round out my gear: As tempting as it may be, I'm going to avoid dropping hundreds of gold on enchantments at this level. Maintain is an enchanter herself, however, so I'll be taking advantage of every enchant that I can swing, capped at skill level 150.

Rewards

Another incentive to run the 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket are the WSG Faction rewards. I've already got another Paladin up to level 41 (a bubble and a half away from 42, but I digress) and I know how hard it is to get gear that's actually really useful to the Paladin class. So far, a lot of my gear is mis-matched, some with high strength and stamina, some with intellect and some with healing. Being hybrids, we also fall to the bottom of the "need" pile in instances, there are almost always other classes in the party who can use the items that we want. With regards to the WSG rewards, I get a great mix of useful stats without gimping any one in particular: These are just at Honored reputation too, there are other items and upgrades to the above at higher ranks. With these rewards, not only will I be filling out otherwise empty spots (who has a neckpiece at level 19?), but ensuring that I'm not screwing myself over stats-wise.