Wednesday, April 30, 2008

World of Warcraft Music is FTL?

Something occurred to me the other day while I sat in my office, scouring the pages of YouTube. I search long and hard diligently through my library of music trying to find a good audio/video combo for the blog's Song of the Week, but not once have I ever wondered "why."

I don't mean that in an existential "damn it Jago, you should be spending more time with your family instead of being on the interwebs!" kind of way or anything like that. I'm not a troll, afterall, and nor am I that philosophical (well, at least not right now). I don't spend enough time browsing to have to worry about it.

This moment of clarity was more along the lines of asking "why are you searching for music for a SotW when there is plenty of music in WoW to begin with!"

"Why" haven't I ever considered the music of the WoW OSTs before?

"Why" do we tend to play our own music instead of listening to the in-game ear orgy of tunes?

I asked the most elite of jerks, the chatters of the Elite Jerks forum, just these questions, and omg did it end up in an amazing conversation. We started with the basics of WoW music, and then got into the topics of the game's overall design, emphasis, and direction since it's conception to the present.

During these exchanges, I found that people were incredibly passionate about the MMO experience, and that a huge majority felt that the World of Warcraft falls incredibly short in terms of it's immersive properties when compared with other MMOs. The game's music, many who felt this way stated, is a part of the problem. It is "repetitive" and is extremely lacking in variety, almost to the point where it lacks any real identity.

It's no wonder that most of the players I was chatting with don't even have music enabled... and haven't since pre-TBC!

Here's how a part of the epic conversation played out, after I asked how they would describe WoW's musical experience:

[01:37] Jagoex: ah, assumed it was a typo, and very few wow music pieces are good for more then a listen or two
[01:37] oh, the word you're looking for is "in-game ear infection"
[01:37] Jagoex: but orgrimar music is kinda nice for a few run throughs
[01:38] I disabled the sound back in uhhh, MC or BWL
[01:38] Molten Core theme is written in 17/8
[01:38] or polymeter
[01:38] err, music
[01:38] I haven't had music enabled since, it was more of an annoyance than anything else
[01:39] falk|hiding: so they wrote music in polymeter the only place they cant polymorph anything?
[01:39] evil
[01:39] Especially when I got an external player pumping them beatz!

That pretty much sums it up, in my honest opinion. I guess there is a legit reason why no WoW track has been a SotW afterall.

So what do you guys think? Do you enjoy listening to the original WoW OSTs while you play or is it just not enough auditory goodness for ya? Let your thoughts be known!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday's Poll

Check back every Sunday for a new poll question posted by Warlocks, for Warlocks. And if you've got an idea for a question, send it my way!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For the WoW Family

Big Red Kitty posted this picture on his blog the other day, and for a reason you might not expect. Read on to find out more, and how you can help.

Playing in the World of Warcraft, we are all accustomed to the entrance and exit of others. Whether it be in a PuG group, a guild, or even the servers we play on, people are always coming and going -- so much so, in fact, that it's sometimes hard to get to know those that we play with. To some, this act of nameless-passing in a fantasy world doesn't matter; it's simply a part of the MMO experience.

But to others who do value the individuals beyond the toons that they play, a real social experience is a very big deal. It is an important part of their gaming that they cherish greatly, and it is because of these players that WoW is more than just a hunt for epics. It is a family, of sorts, that creates a sense of belonging, and therefore, keeps us coming back for more.

This past week, the guild Aetherial Circle of Drenden lost one such member. Her toon's name was Sharvan, and her passing has hit her WoW family in a fierce kind of way. Her guildmate, Bigredkitty, describes the pain as only one close to her possibly can, stating that he and the AC are "reeling from the shock and loss" of one of the "sweetest and kindest" people they have ever known.

It says a lot that internet acquaintances can feel so strongly about a loss like this. I can't even imagine what her family and RL friends are going through. It must be immeasurably tough.

BRK has set up a donation system on his website to help the family deal with the most horrible of expenses during this tragic time. If you wish to help, head over to Big Red Kitty and click the "Donate" button on the right-hand side of the page. Go over there and check it out. Help out if you can.

And for those interested in paying your respects or simply respecting the grandeur of the experience, check out BRK's Running of Da Bulls for Sharvan, which is coming up in about a week or so.

In the meantime, remember your guildies, your friends, and your family, and don't forget to tell them how much they mean to you.

Do it now. Do it often.

For Sharvan. "/moo."

Friday, April 25, 2008

On the Matter of Arena Ratings

Read this comment over on WoW Insider, and thought it does a pretty good job of summing up one angle of the anti-Arena perspective:

Terrible changes. This is what I posted to my raid's forums (and yes, we're high-end raiders working on Sunwell):

I think comparing PvP rewards to PvE rewards is ridiculous. You don't fight other players in the Sunwell, so it doesn't matter how strong your gear is compared to what other people are wearing. It does, very much so, in PvP and according to this system the "rich get richer". Those who already have the perfect spec and the perfect class and the good gear and the perfect team setup (which means being unable to play with friends more often than not) now gain even more of an advantage over the people who lack these things. If the gear was only usable in the arena and people were in the brackets were they were supposed to be it wouldn't be that much of an issue, but when 30% (or more) of the arena games you fight at 1600 rating are against people in full s3 who are supposed to be at 2100, it suddenly matters a -lot-. And that's not getting into the effect on battlegrounds, which is pretty ridiculous already. My ret paladin, who is in mixed S1/S3 gear with very few of the honor rewards, -destroys- many people in the battlegrounds. It can't be much fun to be a fresh 70 and unable to do much of anything.

The point of the arena system was to limit the gear gap in pvp by letting everyone have a chance at the good gear. The reward for being good was getting it much, much faster, and having a shot at the end-of-season rewards. The mistake Blizzard made was making the gear so ridiculously good it upset raiders who based their enjoyment of the game on comparing the arena gear to the gear they get from PvE encounters (yes, an over-simplification, I know). Now people are focused on ilevels and trying to prevent people from having the same quality gear they do because of pride without ever really considering the impact restricting the arena gear has on the game.

Blizzard really destroyed any semblance of PvE/PvP reward balancing by their insane item inflation. That's fairly well established. Trying to balance it at the end of the Burning Crusade serves what purpose, exactly? People already have ilevel 141 epics, what's the point in restricting ilevel 151? All it does is upset the people who are into pvp and have relied on it for personal character progression, but are unable to make it to the higher ratings for some reason or another. And what many skilled pvpers fail to understand is if you take away the incentive for lower rated players to participate, the entire arena ladder shifts down. If 1,000 players who were previously at 1400 rating quit the arena because there is no reason for them to play, then 1,000 players who were ranked above them will shift down to 1400, making the higher ratings that much harder to obtain. If the players who are NOW at 1400 quit playing, then another 1,000 will shift down. And so on, and so on.

All in all it's a terrible decision. Blizzard messed up so badly with the arena for Burning Crusade, that they're trying to "balance" the rewards now when it's already way too late for BC is nothing more than a bad joke.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Song of the Week: Knights of Cydonia

I know, I know... SotW posts are total content cop-outs and require absolutely no effort to post whatsoever. But in my defense, it has been an incredibly busy day, and imho, there's no better way to wind things down than with a great, kick-a__ song. ;)

This week's SotW is Knights of Cydonia by Muse. If you've never heard of them or this song before, try to imagine a more modern and alternative (read: better) and less flamboyant version of Queen and you'll have a pretty accurate idea of what you're about to see and hear. If that sounds absolutely awful to you (hey, I'm not a fan of Queen myself), don't worry! The song is truly fantastic, and the video is totally zomg epic in it's own right. It's like an old western, complete with a hero, heroine, horses, villian... and robots, and laser beams!

Yeah, definitely awesome.

So without further ado, here's the vid. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PvP Isn't Dead... It's Just Being Tortured

Things have been ridiculously hectic around here lately, and I apologize for the lack of posts that I've completed over the last few days. But as busy as I've been, I feel like I just have to say something about a post Drysc made on the official WoW PvP Forums today, where he announced that some "honor" items would have an Arena point requirement during Season 4.

It's garbage. Absolute garbage.

In a time when they are supposedly cracking down on point selling and other illegal activities, they are willing to saturate the system with unmotivated, low-ranked, farm-able players? That makes no sense whatsoever!

For some reason, perhaps e-sport motivated, Blizzard is making everything about Warcraft PvP centered around Arena play. With this S4 change, it is essentially forcing all PvP'ers to engage in the Arena, even if we've never had the desire to and for goals we have never had to enter the Arena for, ever. Total B.S, if you ask me.

Way to pigeon-hole players into doing your bidding.

Just stop already, for the love of the game.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

War Tools, for the Theory-crafter in All of Us

While doing my daily creeping on the official Warlock Forums, I stumbled upon something totally sexy. It is a link to War Tools, a slick new(ish) website that offers customizable talent trees for your inner tweaker. And yes, it's addicting as it sounds.

I've already wasted way too much time putting together an "improved" Affliction Tree for Warlocks, just for the heck of it! Thankfully, the work is save-and-sharable, so all the theory-crafting anyone does is easily retrievable and review-able. Pretty sweet!

Happy crafting. ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Immolate Effect and Rotation Down-time

For Affliction Warlocks, Immolate is a giant, raging, burning pain in the rear. Since the release of The Burning Crusade, it has been one of the most uncertain of spells in the Warlock's DoT arsenal. Questions abound about where in a spell rotation it should be used, and like a hemorrhoid that just won't go away, those questions remain. Sure, we 'locks have got ideas about when the spell is most useful, but unlike the Corruption/UA issue, nothing has ever been burned in stone. The data just isn't out there, and as a result, the spell still displays an aura of mystery that has many still scratching their heads. Just check the Warlock Forums and see for yourself.

But if you've ever specced Affliction, where Immolate is considered viable at certain gear levels, you already know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm sure you've asked yourself when you should cast the spell, and if it's poor damage-to-mana ratio is even worth casting it in the first place. And I'm also sure you've noticed that you must refresh it every 13.5 seconds, faster than any other 'lock DoT, which regularly cuts into Shadow Bolt spam.

And perhaps worst of all is the fact that Immolate is responsible for a majority of lost GCDs in a DoT rotation. This is usually because the spell ends up competing for refreshment with another DoT. Again, this is an after-effect of it's short 15-second duration, but it can result in some major issues with DPS maximization. Not a good thing.

Unfortunately, even given all of this poor design and it's interrupting character, the fact still remains that for some (mostly those who have just hit 70), Immolate is a DPS boost that should still be used in their spell rotation. And luckily, I'm beginning to understand what it'll take to figure out where exactly it should be.

While compiling some numbers regarding Affliction raid specs, I noticed something. The MaxDPS spell rotation, which puts Immolate at the end of the DoT application cycle, results in two lost GCDs just 12 spells in! What happens is that both UA and Imol end up requiring a refresh at the same time, the exact kind of situation we do not want to find ourselves in:

1) Agony* -> Corr -> UA -> SL -> Immol -> SB spam (41/0/20)
2) Agony* -> Corr -> SL -> Immol -> SB spam (40/0/21)
3) CoS -> SB spam (0/21/40)

Stats: +1000 Spell Damage, 202 Spell Hit, 17% Spell Crit**

*Avg damage will be used.
**Random number generator used to calculate critical hits


1) 0.00... Agony… 24 secs… 234 dmg every 2 secs… 2805
2) 1.50... Corr… 18 secs… 421 dmg every 3 secs… 2525
3) 3.00… UA… 18 secs… 412 dmg every 3 secs… 2475
4) 4.50… SL… 30 secs… 179 every 3 secs… 1793
5) 6.00… Immol… 15 secs… 531 DD, 253 every 3 secs… 1265
6) 7.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
7) 10.00… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
8) 12.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 1574
9) 15.00… SB… 2.5 secs…1574
10) 17.50… SB… 2.5 secs… 2361 (Crit)
11) 20.00… Corr…18 secs… 3030 (ISB)
12) 21.50… UA… 18 secs… 2970 (ISB) >UA and Immolate Compete for Reapplication

Surprised by this result, I moved Immolate to the very front of my DoT rotation, hoping that would minimize lost GCDs. This sequence resulted in the equivalent loss of two GCDs after 17 spells or about 30 seconds:

1) 0.00… Immol… 15 secs…
2) 1.50… Agony… 24 secs…
3) 3.00… Corr… 18 secs…
4) 4.50… UA… 18 secs…
5) 6.00… SL… 30 secs…
6) 7.50… SB… 2.5 secs
7) 10.00… SB… 2.5 secs
8) 12.50… SB… 2.5 secs
9) 15.00… Immol… 15 secs
10) 16.50… SB… 2.5 secs
11) 19.00… SB… 2.5 secs
12) 21.50… Corr… 18 secs… -0.5
13) 23.00… UA… 18 secs…
14) 24.50… SB… 2.5 secs
15) 27.00… Agony… 24 secs -1.5
16) 28.50… SB… 2.5 secs
17) 31.00… Immol… 15 secs -1.0
18) 32.50… SB… 2.5 secs
19) 35.00… SB… 2.5 secs
20) 37.50… SB… 2.5 secs

Pretty interesting stuff for sure. And the most important part about these observations is that I'm beginning to think that all of these lost GCDs eventually even out in time, no matter where you place Immolate in your initial sequence. Of course, I can't be absolutely sure without actually testing that hypothesis, but the data seems to hint that is the case.

Be careful though! If this idea pans out to be true, it still doesn't mean that you should cast Immolate anywhere in your rotation.

You want to settle down with a sequence that minimizes early losses of GCDs
. That way, you are more likely to see the mob you are working on go down before ever having to deal with a lost GCD! Keep that in mind the next time you're clearing your way through trash mobs. ;)

Anyway, I'll work more on these rotation calcs this weekend. Hopefully they'll help us find something more conclusive about these effects on rotation downtime. In the meantime, however, use Immolate wisely. It can burn you too. ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the Warlock Forums: Is Demonic Sacrifice a Problem?

Draele of Thunderhorn started what is perhaps one of the best discussions that is currently receiving a good amount of attention on the official Warlock Forums. In it, he questions the current talent tree designs, and more specifically and significantly, the synergy between Demonic Sacrifice and Destruction.

Draele argues that because Destruction and DS go together so well and form the standard of Warlock raiding, Blizzard will have a very hard time creating a raid-worthy 51-point Destruction talent that players will choose instead of Demonic Sacrifice. He sees DS, therefore, as a limiting agent in the progression of the Destruction tree, and Warlock design in general. He attacks the issue from many different angles, relating DS's power to the poor status of Warlock pets in a raiding environment, for example.

Truly, this is one thought-provoking discussion that is a fantastic and definite must-read. It is full of great ideas and theory-crafting, and touches upon the basic nature of Warlock design. We can only hope the boys over at Blizzard are paying close attention to this one.

Kudos, Draele. Job well done. ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Warlock Poetry is FTW

I never would have imagined that a post of mine would have a picture like this start things off. I mean, it doesn't set a great precedent for the rest of the post, does it? It's just so dark and depressing... even for a Warlock!

But the fact remains, and as the title says, there's some poetry out there that is just excellent, and while I am not a poetry connoisseur, I know a good rhyme when I read one.

And this, my friends, is a good rhyme.

Onibrak of Laughing Skull posted an epicly poetic piece of anti-QQ on the Official Warlock Forums back in September of 2007. I missed it back then, but thankfully, the thread was bumped earlier today for no apparent reason other than it's pure awesomeness, and by a Mage no less!

Here's the piece if you happened to have missed it too:

Twas the night before WotLK, and all through the game
Not a creature was stirring, or acting quite lame.
Warlocks in the forums, talking about gear
I had just settled down for a nice post on fear

When out on the forums arose such a crying
I clicked from my peace to see what insults were flying
And what to my wondering eyes would appear
But a QQ post titled "Warlocks and Fear"

They ranted and cursed up and down the page
A mindless QQ by a rogue, druid, or mage.
I began to read, knowing as I got started
That the OP of this post must be #*@!ing retarded

On Skill coil! On Stamina! On Soul link and Drains
The bad grammar and logic gave my tired mind pains.
More rapid than epics these QQers they posted
Thinking their jeers cause my class to be roasted

But at the end of the day, we were still throwing Dots
And the criers still crying posted more of their thoughts
And the Warlocks continued to melt faces quite free
So please stop the QQ and bend over for me.

Lol, it's good and you know it. It definitely put a smile on my face, and the last line is so appropriately inappropriate, that it actually works!

Kudos to Onibrak for the excellent piece. Keep the works coming!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Warlocking 201: Timing Your Trinkets, Part 1

So you've done it! You've got the gear, the spell damage, and finally found a great DoT rotation and cast sequence to work with. You're ready to take your Warlocking to the next level! But before you can graduate to the almighty 0/21/40 raiding spec, you've got some growing to do, and those trinkets sitting in your inventory are a great place to start.

Let me just start by saying that trinkets, while awesome and completely necessary, are really quite a deceptive bunch. They let on to be much more simplistic than they actually are, advertising that they increase your spell damage for a duration of time, but saying nothing about where in your DoT rotation you should use them, if anywhere at all.

When I first started raiding with an Affliction spec (first as UA, then Ruin), I wasn't really worried about buffing my DoTS with added damage. I popped my trinkets AFTER applying them, hoping to have the added damage affect as many Shadow Bolts as possible. I assumed that was where the most DPS was, and I never questioned it because the approach performed extremely well.

However, I recently began to question that long-standing assumption, and after chatting with fellow 'lock and blogger Psychonia, actually crunched the numbers to see exactly what is going on behind those sexy trinket animations, and what damage I was or wasn't missing.

Assuming that the Warlock is level 70, has 1000 bonus damage, no talents (simplifies things greatly), and is using the Icon of the Silver Crescent, here's what I calculated:

Popping a trinket AFTER applying DoTS and BEFORE Shadow Bolt spamming would result in 155 x 0.8571 (trinket's added dmg multiplied by SB dmg coefficient) x 8 (number of SB casts within 20 seconds) = 1062.8 overall bonus damage. Pretty straightforward and simple enough, right?

Well, the math involving the DoTS is a little more complicated and difficult to keep track of, so I calculated them the long way just to keep myself from missing something important down the line. Sorry for the number-orgy in advance. =P

With the same assumptions as before, except this time popping the trinket BEFORE DoTS have been applied, the numbers looked like this:

DoT - Coefficient - Base Damage - Damage After Bonus - Damage After Trinket

CoA -- 120% -- 1356 -- 2556 -- 2742
Cor -- 93.6% -- 900 -- 1836 -- 1981
UA -- 180% -- 1050 -- 2850 -- 3129
SL -- 100% -- 630 -- 1630 -- 1785
Imo -- 20%DD,65%DoT -- 327, 615 -- 1792 -- 1924

DoT damage difference totals PLUS Shadow Bolt x 5 (number that can be cast in the remaining time the trinket is active) = 1561 overall bonus damage.

Hmm, interesting.

So the result is that you get about 30% GREATER damage production trinketing before going through a DoT sequence than when using trinketed Shadow Bolts alone.

But wait! There's a pretty serious problem with our data! The base numbers do not take into account critical strikes and Improved Shadow Bolt procs, which have a significant impact on our would-be conclusions.

It turns out that if you average one critical strike every four Shadow Bolt casts, or a crit rate of 25% (the magical Ruin > UA threshold), popping a trinket AFTER applying your DoTS equates to more DPS. This was exactly the situation I found myself in, which helps explain why spamming trinketed Shadow Bolts worked for me. However, if this is not the case you find yourself in and you are also very lacking in the Spell Hit department, than you should definitely trinket BEFORE applying your DoTS.

Make sense? I hope so! But if not, let me know, and especially do so if I made a mistake somewhere. ;)

Next week, when Warlocking 201: Part 2 lands, we'll take a look at WHERE in your DoT sequence is the best place to pop a trinket, if that's where it needs to be. In the meantime, however, go grind your Hit and Crit gear buy some high-end gems if you need to. Because the sooner you have the stats to go 0/21/40, the sooner you won't have to worry about these DoT sequences anymore.

And the sooner that is, the better. ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a Conspiracy

With statements like this, it's no wonder we are the bane of the WoW community!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Vision of Fire-Lock Raiding

SK Gaming, known for their ground-breaking encounters and incredibly drawn-out video introductions, has taken down the Eredar Twins in fiery fashion. Fiery Warlock fashion, that is.

In this video of their Sunwell encounter, the raid is comprised of 3 Warlocks, all of which are specced for Fire DPS. It's a little surprising and out of the ordinary to have zero Shadow Warlocks in a raid, but as you will see via the performance of the Fire 'locks, it actually works out very well!

What it must come down to is raid composition in this case. I see a few Mages on the field, but I don't believe there are any Shadow Priests (no Shadow Weaving?). Such a composition would definitely tilt the scale into Fire 'locking's favor, and boy does it ever.

But still, I wonder how Shadow Warlocks could perform in a situation such as this... but that's a topic for a different time.

Here's more fuel for the Fire vs. Shadow debate. Enjoy. ;)

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Time for a Warlock Flying Mount

Original image taken from an ad for "Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire" for the Nintendo Wii.

When I first decided to roll a Warlock more than two years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I had no clue that we would become the most hated (read: best) class in PvP, generally dominate range DPS in PvE, and, perhaps best of all, received ridiculously awesome land mounts for very little cost at all, and with no training required!

I first laid eyes on our wonderfully-free Dreadsteed while being proudly displayed by it's rider in the Undercity, and gasped IRL when he told me that it was "free." The idea of a summon-able mount transcended everything I knew about the game at that time (but hey, I was stacking intellect back then, so wth did I know?), but I quickly learned that they were a staple of the Warlock class, and even help to define it.

So, where are our fiery summon-able flying mounts, then?

I was surprised and disappointed when The Burning Crusade turned up nothing for us (that makes sense on so many levels, doesn't it?). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if summonable flying mounts were in our future, they wouldn't be at level 70.

Here's why:

Giving Warlocks a summon-able flying mount at level 70 would mean that we would receive "free" mounts in back-to-back brackets. And considering the cost of obtaining the training for a flying mount, I don't think that Blizzard could justify the inevitable fallout that would occur. I mean, we get enough heat as it is already.

That being said, I believe there is a good chance that we may be seeing summonable flying mounts soon, and even in the next leveling bracket to be introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King. By that time, most players will already have experienced the trials of obtaining the upper ranks of Riding Skill, and with everyone on an even level, they will be much less likely to perceive a new Warlock mount as a freebie of sorts, and therefore, an unfair advantage.

Another reason I believe a summon-able flying mount is not too far off is that we didn't see a new summon in our current bracket. That is the first time that has happened in WoW's history, and I can't see Blizzard doing that to the class two brackets in a row. So, we are due for something good for sure.

And lets not forget the theory that Warlocks will be receiving a summonable mount every 20 levels. I'm all for that one!

But even with all of the signs that point to a new mount very soon, I personally don't see why Blizzard couldn't have just added a Riding Skill requirement to a potential Warlock flying mount at level 70. I know the social outpouring of hate would have been overwhelming and all, but it really would not have been a big deal.

And considering all of the nerfs we have taken since the expansion's release, I think we already deserve it. ;)

Anyway, here's to our new mount - as unpredictable it's appearance may be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cast Sequence Corruption

There's a Warlock on the Official 'lock Forums that is a frequent poster of all things Affliction. He is Fallenman of Mal'ganis, and he believes himself to be quite the authority on DoT cast sequences. So much so, infact, that he can often be found arguing with other posters about the most unimaginative of issues. In his most recent squabble, for example, he argues that Corruption should "ALWAYS" be cast after UA in a DoT cast sequence.

Fallenman, I don't mean to sound (or read) like a pompous prick, but that's just plain wrong!

I'll try to explain why, but be warned... it's late, and I tend to banter on and on when I'm tired. Proceed with caution, and caffeine.

Casting UA before Corruption is a bad idea from a logistics standpoint. It totally limits what you can cast AFTER Corruption, because you start dealing with global cooldowns and potential DoT down-time at that point. For example, if Immolate happens to require a refresh right after the UA/Corr cast somewhere down the line, you'll eventually have 3 DoTS to reapply and all at the same time! Since it is our ideal to have DoTS expire one GC away from each other, this is definitely not a good thing.

Fallenman recognizes this, and even states that you should "NEVER" cast Immolate after a UA/Corr sequence. But using his approach, you'll eventually find yourself in just that situation.

So what can you do to help prevent that experience and keep your DPS as high as possible?

Ignore Fallenman's faulty logic and cast Corruption right before Unstable Affliction... always.

Consider these two points.

1) Casting UA and Corruption back-to-back in any order results in the same amount of damage spread out over the same amount of time. Both DoTS are ticking for 18 seconds within a 21-second window. When switched, the two spells will also fall into the same portion of your cast sequence as before. The only difference created by changing their order of application is when they tick in relation to one another -- that's it.

2) Cast sequence theories such as Fallenman's are strictly based on a mathematical approach. More specifically, they hope to solve a temporal problem, looking to minimize DoT down-time based on the synergy of each individual DoT's duration and global cooldowns. The goal is to make sure that DoTS don't all expire at the same time, because if they do, global cooldowns will eventually delay their timely reapplication and ultimately lower DPS.

Casting Corruption and then UA ensures that you can cast ANY spell after that particular sequence and with minimal potential ill-effects. The two DoTS will not expire at the same time, do not introduce any GC conflicts, and this, therefore, is the most logical sequence.

And, incase you need another reason to switch your corrupted cast sequence, here's what the boys over at MaxDPS think is the ideal (sans Immolate):

At this point, it should be an easy switch. Corruption before UA, always.

Sorry, Fallenman. Maybe next time. ;)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just for LoLs

I'm not quick to admit it, but I'm a big fan of all of those Chuck Norris jokes floating around the internets. After dealing with Trade chat chaos and flying through The Barrens about a million times, I should be sick of them, I know. But there's just something about them that keep me coming back for more.

Here are some of my favorites:

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Macgyver can build a plane out of gum and paper clips, but Chuck Norris can kill him and take it.

Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his dad did.

Chuck Norris is suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Chuck Norris does not wear a condom. Because there is no such thing as protection from Chuck Norris.

Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.

If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.

Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song.

Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.

Chuck Norris CAN believe it's not butter.

Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

Chuck Norris grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

It takes Chuck Norris 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.

If at first you don't succeed, you're not Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris does not play the lottery. It doesn't have nearly enough balls.

When chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

Chuck Norris doesn't fear Warlocks. Warlocks Fear Chuck Norris. (HA!)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nihilum Does Brutallus - Some Quick Observations

A little raiding guild by the name of Nihilum is at it again, making headlines with videos of some big-time encounters. Their latest, posted last Friday, features the smooth take-down of Brutallus -- so smooth in-fact, that the video goes perfectly with a plain bagel, and is actually just a tad boring.

But aside from being a borderline 4-minute snooze-fest, there's actually quite a bit to see that is totally worthwhile. And, with 3 Warlocks in their raid group, we could all probably learn a thing or two as well.

For starters, it's interesting to note that all 3 Warlocks are 0/21/40 (or a variant of such) and that all have sacrificed their Succubus for the added Shadow damage. I know that shouldn't be all that surprising, but it's interesting that Blood Pact isn't being utilized in their setup to help pad the tank from Brutallus's damage. What's even more surprising, in this regard, is that they are actually increasing the Brut's damage by using Curse of Recklessness!

Using Recklessness against a casting boss is one thing, but I definitely wouldn't expect it to be used against a T6-level melee'ing boss.

Also of interest is how quickly the DPS picks up after Brutallus is pulled. The Warlocks don't even have time to cast Corruption before they start Shadow Bolt spamming! One 'lock does get off an Immolate (which I believe is argued as a better choice than Corruption in a situation like this), and does so more than once during the duration of the battle. But that's it as far as Shadow Bolt compliments go. And with Buzzkill doing almost 2400 DPS at one point, it's hard to argue that they're not doing it absolutely right.

Anyway, enough of my boring banter. Here's the video.

Enjoy. ;)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Warlocking 101: Orc, Undead, or Blood Elf?

"Warlocking 101" is a series that attempts to answer newbie questions about the Warlock class. Articles will include information ranging from the creatiion of your Warlock to basic leveling strategies, etc. For more advanced information, keep an eye out for high-level articles to come. =)

The Burning Question

So, you've decided to roll a Warlock. Congratulations on making a fantastic decision! The class is incredibly fun to play, solo or in a group setting, so your choice is a very smart and understandable one. If this is your first Warlock, you undoubtedly have questions about how to maximize your performance as you fulfill your role. I am happy to help out if I can, and the Warlocking 101 series will aim to do just that.

This session, we'll start by looking at one of the most basic and common questions I am asked by new Warlocks:

"Which race's racials are better for Warlocking? The Undead or Blood Elves?"

Short answer: Undeads make better Warlocks than Blood Elves. No question about it.

The Blood Elf racials are nice, and can be useful in certain situations, but the Undead racials are much more complimentary to the Warlock class. To understand why that's the case, treat each combination of racial traits as if they were a trinket, and consider how useful that trinket would be to Warlocks.

The Racials

First, lets consider the Undead and their Cannibalize and Will of the Forsaken abilities. Cannibalize is a health regenerating ability that is useful in-combat or out. It is effective on humanoids (all playable characters) and undead targets, and regens 7% of your total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds, with a reasonably short two minute cooldown. Will of the Forsaken breaks Fear, Sleep, and Charm effects, can be used preemptively, and provides a buff that makes you immune to such effects for 5 seconds.

These abilities would make an incredible Warlock trinket that any Warlock in their right mind would pursue. Cannibalize compliments the Warlock-defining Life Tap spell VERY well, and minimizes downtime and increases efficiency in many different situations. It's also on a separate cooldown timer than potions and Healthstones, offering a 3rd option for in-combat healing!

As for Will of the Forsaken, any trinket effect that restores control to your character and prevents loss of control for a period of time is an immeasurably great ability, for obvious reasons. =)

Now lets take a look at the Blood Elves and their Mana Tap and Arcane Torrent abilities.

Mana Tap is a "free" no-mana-cost spell that reduces your target's mana by a set amount that scales with level. It applies a buff that charges you with arcane energy, stackable up to 3 times between the spell's 30 second cooldown. Arcane Torrent silences enemies within 8 yards for 2 secs, and increases your mana by a set amount based on the number of Mana Taps you have stacked.

Warlocks can pretty much ignore the mana-regenerating abilities of these spells, since the class is built around converting stamina to mana and need not concern themselves with other methods. The silence and mana-draining abilities, however, are definitely a draw.

But are they worthwhile enough to trump the very Warlock-strong Undead racials?

In my opinion, the answer is a definitive no.

The distance-limitation of Arcane Torrent is a significant hurdle one must jump in making the spell useful in a variety of situations. And Mana Tap just doesn't drain enough mana to make it as effective as it should be.

Sorry, Blood Elves. At least you look good though. ;)

Orc Warlocks Need Love Too

Now, lets take the question a bit further and introduce another, very important variable. Orcs can roll Warlocks too, and make incredibly effective ones at that. Some even say that their racials are the best for Warlocks, arguing that they directly compliment our strengths and weaknesses very well.

They definitely are complimentary, but the best? Lets take a closer look:

Orcs have Blood Fury, which increases spell damage by an amount that scales with level (up to +150 @ Lvl 60, for example) for 15 seconds, and with a short 2 minute cooldown. Hardiness increases resistance to stun effects by 15%, and Command increases pet melee damage by 5%. All are fantastic abilities/qualities for a Warlock to have in any situation!

The Hard Part: Orc vs. Undead

So which set of abilities would make for a better trinket? Would it be one that increases spell damage, helps resist stuns, and increases pet damage, or one that restores control to your character and offers quick in-combat health regen? Which would you pick up as a Warlock?

Obviously, this is a very subjective question, and to answer it would be situationally or focus-dependent. PvEers may find the Orc racials better for raiding while PvPers may find the Undead racials better for Arena matches, or even the other way around, for example.

Personally, I consider the extra pet damage of the Orc racials to just be okay. The real strength within the Orc lies in the extra spell damage and stun resists, which would be very nice against the Warlock counter-classes -- Rogues and Warriors.

But when it comes down to it, in my honest opinion, both of those abilities are not as dependable as the Forsaken racial abilities. Both are limited by either a "% chance to proc" or an "up to x amount of spell damage" variable, which require a bit of luck to get the most out of. Neither Will of the Forsaken or Cannibalize function in that manner, and will always perform at a specific level, no matter the situation.

That being said, Orcs make very good Warlocks. Better 'locks than Blood Elves for sure, and sometimes, even better than Undead 'locks, based on the situation.

Personal Preference FTW

Racial abilities aside, another question you should ask yourself is this: how important is all of that information to your own perception of your character? If your answer is "very important," than you should probably choose an Undead or Orc Warlock to level. If your answered "not very important," than choose whatever you will be most happy with (read: "looking at"), period.

I wonder which race that will be...


*The bulk of this post is a re-post from an August 17, 2007 topic.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sorry about the Mess

I'll be tweaking the site a bit throughout this weekend, so if you could just ignore the fugly for a bit, that'd be great. Thanks. =)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Song of the Week

In my mind, there are three types of music that are great compliments to WoW. First, there is the grinding/farming music that for me, is usually relatively mellow. Second, there is PvE dungeon/raid music that is a little more upbeat, but like the encounters they sing to, aren't too fast melodically and can even be a bit drawn out. And finally, you have the lightning quick, booming music that is totally win with a side of PvP.

Not all types of music fall distinctly into one of these categories, and can often even fill two of them nicely. One such example is this week's SotW, which works beautifully for both PvE and PvP, imho. It's a little song by the name of Denied, by the great Swedish band Sonic Syndicate. The video is very low-budget and not-so-good, but the audio is where it's at. Enjoy. =)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"The Death of PvP"

Take a trip through the Plaguelands these days and you'll notice a very loud and obnoxious silence that permeates the air. The same can be said of Stranglethorn Vail, Blackrock Mountain, and anywhere else world PvP used to take place. For the old-school PvPers out there, the emptiness of these once booming lands is incredibly depressing, and the following video will definitely jerk a tear or two. For the new-schoolers, it'll show you what you missed during the glory days of WoW, pre-TBC, and back when PvP actually meant something substantial.


/salute to High Warlords, Grand Marshals, and Old World PvP. To fighting on the ramps of Blackrock and in the sands of Silithus. To the tradition of cross-faction competition, rivalry, and truly knowing your realm. To the best of days WoW has ever seen, and the hope to experience them again someday.

Thanks for linking the vid, Fuhz.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tip of the Week: Mouseover Fear Macro

This week's TotW is a quick and easy way to further manage your Fear targeting. For situations where you need to stay on your current target, Focus-cast another, and still be able to Fear on-the-fly, this macro will allow you to Fear opponents simply by mousing over them. No sloppy targeting or Focusing issues need apply here. Just point, and Fear.

/cast [target=mouseover, harm] Fear

Happy mouse-overing. ;)