Archive | June, 2011

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Shannox

This is the first of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!


You’ll have to clear a decent  amount of trash to get Shannox to even spawn, so get to work. Also clear out a little area where you’ll fight Shannox and his puppies.

Abilities

Shannox is a hunter and comes with two pets: Rageface and Riplimb. Rageface doesn’t have an aggro table, whereas Riplimb does. Rageface will regularly leap at a player and cast Face Rage, which hurts… a lot. The only way to get Rageface to stop mauling the player is to land a big crit on him (think Iron Constructs on Ignis), something in the ballpark of 30,000 damage or greater for 10-man and 45,000 damage or greater for 25-man. Divine Shield should wipe this if you’re targeted, but I’ve never had a chance to try; our strat should make this clear.

Riplimb, on the other hand, doesn’t do much you need to be concerned about. Whenever Shannox tosses his spear, Riplimb will play fetch and bring it back to the hunter, so if you’re DPSing Riplimb when this happens, be wary of where the dog is walking!

Shannox has a number of abilities to look out for. First of all, he’ll periodically cast Arcing Slash which does a conical cleave in front of him. If you’re in melee range hitting Shannox, make sure to behind him (this should be second nature by now, but it has to be said).

He’ll also be throwing out traps frequently, which look like standard hunter traps but larger.

Do NOT step on these. If triggered, Immolation Trap (seen here at the top of the screenshot) will do instant, massive fire damage, put a fire DoT on you, and increase your damage taken for a time, burning through healer mana faster than a teenage girl through her father’s credit card.

Crystal Prison Trap (at the bottom of the screenshot), on the other hand, will encase you in a crystal that can create LoS issues for healers and casters and take valuable DPS time to break you out. Do your raid a favor and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

One last ability to look out for: Hurl Spear. He’ll occasionally toss out his spear, the target of which will be a large red target on the ground; you literally can’t miss this. Stay out of this and all of the fire that its impact creates.

100%-30%

The strat that worked for us, on 25-man, was to have Riplimb and Shannox tanked separately, with all DPS burning down Rageface right off the bat. He’ll jump around whilst raging your guildmates’ faces, so do your best to keep up with him (Long Arm of the Law + Pursuit of Justice = WIN). Avoiding traps is paramount.

When Rageface dies, melee DPS jumped on Shannox while ranged switched to Riplimb. We were careful to not put slows on Riplimb as he doing so gives him Dogged Determination, making him immune to slows at just the wrong times. Anyway, DPS was continued on both Riplimb and Shannox until the latter was just above 30%, at which point all DPS were poured onto Riplimb to burn him down quickly.

30%-Dead

For each dog that dies, Shannox gains a stack of Frenzy. We dealt with one stack for most of the fight without issue; when the second one goes out, however, tank survivability turns the remaining 30% into a burn phase; kill Shannox before he kills your tank. He’ll still toss out traps, so watch out for those, but if you can dodge those and your healers can keep up their efforts, you should see him drop in no time!

Patch 4.2 Study Guide

Now that realms are down and we’re definitely getting the patch this time, I thought I’d just consolidate some of the more Ret-relevant notes for your viewing pleasure! (source)

Players are once again free to dance in combat (without causing graphic errors). Other animations, such as attacks, will take precedence over dancing. The dance animation will be suppressed until the higher priority animation is complete. Fun has been unnerfed.

This nerf went on for far too long! I mean, what else do you do when Atramedes goes up in the air?

Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs.

Unless they stealth-buffed the range on Repentance, we won’t experience this great change. Whenever I’m asked to CC something, I inevitably facepull it before I can get in range to cast Repent. I mean, seriously Blizz, is it so much to ask to get 10 more freaking yards?!

Edit: Stealth-buffed indeed: Repentance (PTR)

Guardian of Ancient Kings uses the new Assist pet stance functionality.

Sweet. He still shuffles very awkwardly though; not a complaint, just a chortle-inducing observation!

Rebuke, Divine Shield and Divine Protection have new icons.

I foresee many life-threatening situations being borked simply because many of us click these abilities (not Rebuke, though; you NEED to have that keybound!) and won’t recognize the new spell icons in time to save ourselves. Great hilarity will ensue!

Seal of Righteousness now can be activated by any melee ability, not just single target melee abilities. This adds Hammer of the Righteous (the physical component) and Divine Storm to the list of abilities that can activate this seal. In addition, Seal of Righteousness procs can now be critical effects.

Combine that change with this one:

The Seals of Command talent now makes Seal of Righteousness hit an unlimited number of melee targets, instead of only 2 additional targets.

I’m going to wait to proclaim this as the solution to our shoddy AoE DPS, since a lot of important AoE phases don’t usually have more than 5 or 6 adds anyway.

This does make me wonder, though: if SoR can proc off DS, and DS can hit four things, and each SoR can hit an ‘unlimited number of melee targets,’  does that translate into 4X number of SoR procs, where X is the number of targets? Because then that could have a larger effect than I first thought…

Inquiry of Faith now increases Inquisition duration by 66/133/200%, up from 50/100/150%.

Combine this change with our T11 four-piece bonus and you got yourself an interesting situation in terms of tier piece upgrades (Future blog post? Perhaps!).

Glyph of Seal of Truth expertise bonus now also works when Seal of Righteousness is active.

They really are setting up Seal of Righteousness to be this expansion’s Seal of Command. Oh man, the glory days; how I yearn for them!

Selfless Healer can no longer be dispelled and cannot be stolen via Spellsteal; and, in addition to its current effects, it lowers the cooldown of Word of Glory by 5/10 seconds.

… Still not worth getting in a PvE build. But, ah, there you go PvPers. Enjoy?

From Fellow Facerollers: Viability in 10s

Today’s post comes to us from my inbox, of all places. This great question was posed by Throgil:

After tanking most of Wrath, I have hung up my shield  in this expansion to DPS.  All was fine in 25 man, however in the last month or two sign-ups have dwindled and we have regressed to 10 man raids.  Although my raid leader hasn’t said anything I have felt obliged to sit out of fights where a lot of AoE damage is required, e.g. Cho’Gall, and as we are training on Sinestra now, I feel that I don’t bring enough tools to the table to suit the fight mechanics. This is frustrating as I would like to be there to see the guild’s first kill.

Do you feel Ret brings enough versatility to a 10 man raid to warrant a place every week? Am I right to sit out for a more ‘suited’ class or am I just underselling myself?

Let’s take a moment for story time before we jump into some discussion here.

Last Tuesday night was my second night of raid-leading… ever. My first was Sunday for a 10-man ‘clean-up’ raid. Most of Tuesday night was spent on heroic Maloriak attempts, which were really hit or miss.

Anyway, the officers and I eventually realized that our DPS could use some improving as adds weren’t dying as quickly as we needed them to, so I was faced with a tough decision. I had to swap out a relatively-weak ranged DPS for one that was on standby, a DPS that I knew would just blow those adds to hell.

I bit my lip and sent a whisper to the DPS I was going to replace, telling him what was going on and why I needed to replace him. His response was not what I expected; he seemed really hurt, as if I accused him of being the sole reason why the boss wasn’t dead yet, and that’s not what I intended at all.

Getting benched isn’t an easy pill to swallow, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that you raid as a guild; their successes are your successes and vice versa. Sure, you may not get an achievement or gear if you sit out, but your guild will move forward. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

___________________________________________

Now, to address Throgil’s question:

I’m glad you can see our strengths and weaknesses on certain encounters and put those in a sufficient context to evaluate your contributions to the raid as a whole. That kind of attitude is a very mature and logical response to some of the more unfriendly fights we’ve seen thus far.

This could use more AoE...

That being said, I think Ret has a lot of staying power in tier 11, and is certainly not the worst off in the whole game.

As always, our Hands are the very definition of utility: not only are Salvation, Freedom, and Protection immediately useful in many situations, but Sacrifice can be a particularly potent tank cooldown if you let your healers know you’re using it.

Holy Radiance and, to a lesser extent, Word of Glory can both be valuable contributions to healer mana preservation. You’re not going to be landing any raid-saving bomb heals, but every little bit helps!

I have to admit, however, that what I’m doing here is trying to compensate for our poor AoE DPS with utility. There are many other specs and classes that have gobs of utility AND good AoE DPS; in fact, most specs have some form of raid-wide utility, whether it be a damage-reduction cooldown, a class-wide AoE heal, or a combat rez. Blizzard has acknowledged that AoE damage is a weakness of ours and are working on getting us back up to par, but we still have to deal with it until they do.

There may be situations where swapping out a Ret for a more AoE-friendly class is ideal, especially in the tight rosters of 10-mans. It has been my experience, though, that even the most AoE-dependent fights have heavy single-target phases as well, and it’s these parts where I feel that Ret really shines. While we have a little ramp-up time (getting a 5-stack of Censure and a 3-HP Inquisition rolling), Ret has the capability of pushing out some impressive numbers when needed. Proper cooldown management and a little luck can go a long way to seeing your name at the top of those charts.

Overall, don’t sell yourself short, Throgil. We have our strengths and our weaknesses just like everyone else; just don’t let your raid leader focus on those weaknesses! Remind him or her on an ongoing basis how potent a good Ret can be and you might just start seeing others with similarly-weak AoE being replaced before you!

Going into Overtime

Wednesday night pretty much concluded Enveloping Shadows’ 25-man progression for the entry tier of Cataclysm. Unless something goes horribly awry, 4.2 should be dropping next Tuesday and we’ll be moving on to more fiery pastures. For the tier, we knocked out 12/12 normals and 4/13 heroics, so not too shabby for starting a month later than most guilds!

For the past few weeks we’ve been working on heroic Maloriak as our latest progression encounter. For roughly half of our attempts, and most of our “serious-mode” attempts, I was an add tank.

To be completely honest, I would not want to be a melee on this fight. Dodging puddles while trying to keep maximum contact on the Vile Swills, all while realizing that our AoE sucks and, as such, only doing single-target DPS? No thanks, I’ll take my shield and concussions!

A quick breakdown of the strat that worked for us: we had two add tanks (Rhidach and I) kiting oozes/aberrations, and a third tank (Lofaz, a DK) on Maloriak.

When oozes came out, we kited them around the periphery of the room, moving quickly out of puddles but slowly when we could afford to, until DPS finished them all off.

During red phases, Lofaz turned Maloriak towards the left wall so that Rhi and I didn’t get hit by the blast. Rhidach ran over within 30 yards of the melee pile and popped Divine Guardian for the first Scorching Blast, with a disc priest’s Power Word: Barrier covering the second.

For the rest of the time between dark phases, Rhidach and I tanked 3 waves of aberrations at a time, a total of 9 adds. When the second and third waves came out, we had hunters throw Ice Traps back by the add spawns, allowing us to kite the aberrations and give the healers some time to breathe.

During green phases, Rhidach and I would bring the aberrations together at the base of the stairs and pop CDs to stay alive. DPS would do their thing, and we’d ideally have all of the aberrations down with time to spare before pushing another dark phase.

When phase 2 hit, we immediately hit Bloodlust and went to town. Rhidach and Lofaz switched places, Rhi taking Maloriak and Lofaz and I taking Prime Subjects. Rhi expertly sidestepped Magma Jets while Lofaz and I chained cooldowns and prayed.

For me, the last 10% was chaos incarnate. I was dancing around my Prime Subject, spasmatically hitting my Space bar out of nervousness while watching flames erupt and frost bombs detonate, flinging my friends every which way. When the dust settled (literally), Maloriak and almost half of the raid laid dead on the floor. We… had done it! WE WON!

Unfortunately, he didn’t drop any Conq leg tokens OR our BiS belt. But it didn’t matter; that title was enough reward for me…

Patch 4.2 Retribution Gear Guide – Part 2

Welcome back! In the last post, we discussed gear options in patch 4.2, covering essentially the left half of the character sheet as well as gloves. Today we’ll go over the remaining pieces. Believe me when I say ‘be very, very excited.’

WAIST

Cinch of the Flaming Ember – There seem to be a lot of non-options this tier. First the shoulders, then the cloak (sorta), and now the belt. At least it’s not a Haste/Expertise piece. If you’re Honored with the Avengers of Hyjal, you can pick this up for 300 gold.

LEGS

Lavaworm Legplates – Not a terrible offset piece, although the truckloads of Hit on all of these pieces if giving me cause for concern. Drops off Alysrazor.

Immolation Legplates – A very strong entry for our T12, I would recommend getting these and never, ever letting them go. Not worth replacing these with the Lavaworm unless Hit becomes an issue, which seems unlikely. Purchasable with 2,200 Valor points.

FEET

Warboots of Mighty Lords – Another blacksmithing piece, another Hit/Crit piece, another gold sink. Technically better than the next boots if you need the Hit, marginal if you don’t. Again, inquire about these at your local smithy.

Arachnaflame Treads – Some decent boots, despite the Haste. It is my suspicion that we’ll be drowning in Hit, so I won’t mind picking these up when they drop. Since they’re BoE (at least, as of today they are), you can either wait for them to drop off Beth’tilac or buy them off the AH.

RINGS

Alysrazor’s Band – One of few ring options for us this tier. No need to discuss itemization since we’ll have no choice but to pick it up (unless, of course, you have a Dargonax’s Signet… lucky bastard)! Drops off… oh, take a wild guess.

Serrated Brimstone Signet – An interesting ring, not because of the stats (Crit/Haste), but because they’re limiting the number of ‘Brimstone’ rings you can have on at one time. What this means for us is that we can’t go and pick up the tank version (Deflecting Brimstone Band) and reforge the Dodge away.

Clever Blizzard.

Obsidian Signet of the Avengers – An ilvl 391 piece, this one might take a while to get, so don’t plan on having it grace your fingers right away. When you’re Exalted with the Avengers of Hyjal, you can pick this bad boy up for 500 gold.

Dargonax’s Signet – An honorable mention: if you have this ring from Sinestra, know that it’s better than any of the 378 rings listed here. Hold onto it!

TRINKETS

Apparatus of Khaz’goroth – Static Strength combined with a huge Mastery on-use? Not bad, not bad. The only downside to this puppy is that, like all other on-use trinkets, it doesn’t play nice with the Engineering glove tinker, Synapse Springs. I have yet to find out where this comes from (it’s probably a trash drop like it’s second cousin, Fury of Angerforge, but I can’t say for certain), so we’ll have to wait on that.

Essence of the Eternal Flame – Essentially this patch’s Impatience of Youth, the only major difference being a 1 minute cooldown on the on-use, as opposed to Impatience’s 2 minute CD. Once you’re Revered with the Avengers of Hyjal, you can buy this guy for 400 gold.

Vessel of Acceleration – While the previous two trinkets are somewhat difficult to justify upgrading from heroic tier 11 trinkets, I would hope that there is no such question about this trinket. Given that it is ilvl 384, it’s fairly obvious that this trinket drops off Ragnaros.

RELIC

Relic of the Elemental Lords – Our default relic. Reforge the Haste, socket a Bold, you know the deal. Purchasable for 700 Valor points.

WEAPON

Skullstealer Greataxe – A decent starter weapon, the lack of a socket makes me a little sad. Of course they paired Mastery with Haste, so you’ll know what you’ll be reforging. Drops off Shannox.

Zoid’s Firelit Greatsword – Despite Crit being technically worth a little less than Mastery in stat weightings, this is a very strong option. The socket alone allows you to get 20 more Strength on your weapon when compared to Skullstealer. The only significant problem is that I have no idea where this drops; not in the Dungeon Journal, not on any lists yet. It could drop off trash, but I suppose we’ll just wait and see.

Sulfuras, The Extinguished Hand – This is the reason you should’ve been biting your nails in anticipation. The best of the best, the cream of the crop, Firelands’ pièce de résistance… I’m having recurring dreams of getting this weapon. Slowest speed of all weapons this tier, two red sockets, 20 Strength socket bonus, Crit AND Mastery… oh God. Excuse me while I go change my pants. Drops off Ragnaros (the mace, not my pants).

Patch 4.2 Retribution Gear Guide – Part 1

Most of us believed that patch 4.2 would be dropping on Tuesday, June 21st. Blizzard, however, had other plans! Since we in fact have another week before everything gets set ablaze, I have the time to do a quick and dirty gear guide for 4.2, so let’s get started!

HEAD

Greathelm of the Voracious Maw – The high amounts of Crit and Mastery will make this piece a good contender to swap out tier. Drops off Alysrazor.

Immolation Helmet – Speaking of tier, here it is. The Hit and Crit aren’t bad, and the red socket will make getting the socket bonus less of a penalty. Like in the previous tier, you’ll need a helm token to buy this piece.

NECK

Necklace of Fetishes – Again, Hit and Crit, so… not bad. Has the same amount of Strength as the next neck and has a few more points of Crit, so if Hit and Expertise become trivial through other gear, this neck would be favorable. Drops off Shannox.

Stoneheart Choker – Almost a duplicate of the previous neck, except with Expertise in place of Hit and a few points of difference. Purchasable with 1,250 Valor points.

SHOULDERS

Immolation Pauldrons – Easy selection here, these are the only shoulders available to us! Don’t even suggest picking up Spaulders of Recurring Flame and reforging… just don’t. You’ll need a token to pick this one up.

CLOAK

Bladed Flamewrath Cover – Another easy pick, this is the only ilvl 378 cloak for Ret in 4.2. If you’re Friendly with the Avengers of Hyjal, you can pick this up for 250 gold from their quartermaster.

Mantle of Fury – A runner-up cloak, this Crit/Haste cloak will bridge the gap between 359 and 378 cloaks. Pick this up after completing The Vow, the ending quest to “The Call of the World-Shaman” questline.

CHEST

Breastplate of Shifting Visions – One of our best stats combined with our worst, the mere presence of Mastery on this piece forces us to ponder using it to replace our fifth tier piece. Drops off Majordomo Staghelm.

Immolation Battleplate – Our tier piece has Haste and Expertise, two stats that we have watched turn into ugly and plentiful things. Purchasable with 2,200 Valor points.

WRIST

Earthcrack Bracers – Not terrible bracers if you ignore the large chunk of Haste. Drops off Lord Rhyolith.

Gigantiform Bracers – The superior choice for bracers this tier, Hit and Mastery in healthy amounts, AND they are BoE. So, if you have a lot of gold, you’re sure to see these on the AH sometime soon, or you can purchase them for 1,250 Valor points.

GLOVES

Fireskin Gauntlets – These things come loaded with a metric ass-ton (which is an imperial shit-ton) of Hit, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this piece either plays a big roll in overall gearing. It would, however, be replacing a tier piece, so we’ll hold off on that assessment for now. Drops off Lord Rhyolith.

Fists of Fury – Thankfully, Blizzard is adding new recipes to make crafting profession remain relevant aside from their profession-only bonuses. These gloves, and other epic 4.2 craftables, take Living Embers to make which are the equivalent of Primordial Saronites in ICC. Expect to pay through the nose for these.

Immolation Gauntlets – Our tier gloves are actually quite well itemized this patch. An abundance of Hit seems to be the common theme this tier, but the Mastery can keep coming for all I care. Purchasable with 1,650 Valor points.

In the next post, I’ll finish off the gearing list for the right half of the character sheet!

Retribution Balance Changes in 4.2

Ghostcrawler recently posted a list of balance changes in 4.2 to address concerns from players. Holy changes took up a good portion of GC’s discussion on paladins, but there were a few nuggets of Retribution in there if you look hard enough:

  • We buffed Seal of Righteousness to let Retribution use it for AE fights as intended, and also to buff Ret AE damage overall.

I haven’t been able to hop on the PTR and see just how much our AoE has improved thanks to this change, but I appreciate that they see it as a problem and are trying to remedy it. Let’s all hope and pray that Seal of Righteousness becomes Cata’s proper Seal ‘o Cleave.

  • We made a slight buff to Selfless Healer. While we thought the old model was unbalanced and turned Ret into too much of a healing spec, we heard from a lot of players who liked the utility of being able to help heal somewhat. This talent should provide that trade-off in a more balanced way.
  • We made Selfless Healer, Divine Protection, and Beacon of Light no longer dispellable so that paladins didn’t lose so much of their survivability in PvP to dispels. (At no point in this patch was Avenging Wrath undispellable — that was a myth.)

Good for our PvP-loving brethren, irrelevant to us raiding Rets. If they would have kept the Selfless Healer damage buff change I’d be telling a completely different story; alas, they removed it fairly quickly.

Also, a guildmate of mine kept saying that Avenging Wrath was going to be undispellable (he’s a mage and loves to Spellsteal them), but thankfully GC cleared that right up.

  • We buffed Holy Radiance both to help PvE paladins feel like they could make larger contributions to raid healing (especially in light of the single-target nerfs) but also as part of a significant buff to Speed of Light to let Holy paladins have more mobility in PvP.

Another nice change for PvE. For example, I constantly pop my Holy Radiance for Feuds on Chimaeron, during P3 of Nefarian, and just generally any time I’m in a big pile of melee and we’re getting hit with lots of damage.

Sure, it eats a decent chunk of mana, but let’s not forget that Rets don’t run on mana; we run on leaded gasoline and hard liquor.

Correction: Apparently the buff to Holy Radiance only affects Holy Paladinsthrough the talent Speed of Light. So no benefit to Ret, although it would be nice! Thanks for @walkstweets on Twitter for the heads up!

Back in Action

Hello again! Long time no see, eh? We should catch up sometime, maybe grab some dinner, a couple drinks, perhaps catch a movie… see where the evening takes us?

You may have noticed that my last post was about waiting for patch 4.1. Well, now we’re waiting for patch 4.2, and you may have been wondering,

“Hey, Antigen, where’s all the 4.1 content?”

I’m asking Blizzard the same question.

I never ran any of the troll heroics on my paladin. He didn’t need the gear, nor the Valor points, and I wasn’t really interested in seeing how they turned pretty epic raids into watered-down 5-mans.

I did get to see them on an alt, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. Long story short, it seemed to me that they tried to make up for the lack of content in 4.1 by making the troll heroics long as hell.

Anyway, now that we have some new raid content coming out, I’ve got the fever! Here’s a sneak preview of a few topics I’ll be working on in the near future:

Gear Guides

Definitely something I’ll be churning out in a short while. After all, we all need to know what to hoard DKP for!

Tier 12 Discussion

Another great topic, our two-piece and four-piece bonuses are a little more flavorful than the boring “X damage increased by 10%” that we’ve had before.

Inquiry of Faith Change

This post will be one of those “in-depth” articles, where we look at how increasing the efficacy of each point of Holy Power for Inquisition duration and see how that interacts with our rotation and, namely, our four-piece T11 bonus.

Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions for future posts, feel free to either leave a comment below, or shoot me an e-mail at hazmacewillraid@gmail.com!