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My sole purpose in posting today is to brag.

I got my Kalu'ak reputation up to Exalted today, and finally got the most awesome fishing pole in the game, the Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole. Sure, there's one pole that'll give you a higher Fishing bonus, but it doesn't look nearly as cool (nor is it as easy to get). While I was there, I also picked up the baby penguin pet, and a new mace.

But all of that isn't nearly as cool as what else I got today: a Green Proto-Drake mount. You get it from the Mysterious Egg sold by the Oracles at Revered. The egg takes a week to hatch, and WoWhead says it only has a 4% chance of dropping this mount. I got it on my first try. And man, it looks REALLY cool! The texture is beautiful, and the animation is amazing. It may be the best-looking mount in the game, with the X-51 Nether-Rocket X-TREME (which I would kill for) being the one possible exception.

Just gotta get me a Traveler's Tundra Mammoth and a Mechano-Hog and I officially win WoW.
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Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've been playing WLK constantly since it came out, and it's been a friggin' blast. I just hit 77 about 5 minutes ago.

Before the news, I've just gotta might've read a few Blue Posts on the forums that claimed that elemental shaman DPS wasn't poor before lvl. 75 (when you get Lava Burst). That's definitely not true. Pre-Lava Burst, I was firing off several Lightning Bolts, a couple Chain Lightnings, a Thunderstorm when available, and a Fire Nova Totem or two just to kill a single creature. After I got Lava Burst, I'm down to 2 or 3 LBs, a Flame Shock, and a Lava Burst. Holy crap, Lava Burst hits hard. It's certainly possible to level 70-74 even with poor DPS, but I'm doing much better now that I have Lava. Mmmm.

Anyway, on to the news: WE'RE GETTING BUFFED!




Well, Blizzard's verdict on Shaman AOE is in, and the news is pretty good, though I was kinda hoping for a new spell. What they're actually doing is removing threat from Fire Nova and Magma Totems. Which is great, because I'm tired of losing them when I try to use them against something I haven't damaged yet. Also, they're boosting the damage done by Magma Totem, which is quite welcome.

Some players have complained that we still have to run up to a target to do damage. That's an issue (though we still have Chain Lightning) but it's not that big of a deal. After all, Mages and Warlocks need to get up close for Arcane Explosion and Hellfire. If you're trying to AOE something you can't get close to (like a boss), you're probably doing something wrong. That's why we have Flametongue Totem and Totem of Wrath, or you could also use Searing Totem.

I still think we need to get our damage-dealing totems off the same element as our buffing totems though. It sounds like Blizz is still trying to improve totems, so maybe we'll see something in the future.


Talent Changes

Here's the stuff that makes me squeal with glee. Well, not really. I don't actually squeal, and I doubt I'm capable of feeling glee. But anyway...

Unrelenting Storm will only cost 3 points (down from 5) and its effect goes up to 12% (from 10%). Sweet.

Elemental Warding and Elemental Shields are being combined, so the talent just reduces ALL damage taken by 6%. That makes it a much better talent, and puts it on par with the mage version. I'm still not going to get it, but it's now a matter of preference, not lack of quality.

Storm, Earth, & Fire will only cost 3 points (down from 5) for the same effect. Well, not exactly. They're BUFFING it so it increases Flame Shock by 60% now (from 50%). And it's being moved to where Elemental Shields used to be.

NEW TALENT! "Shamanism". Pretty non-specific name, isn't it? A 5-pointer in Tier 8, which will give Lightning Bolt an extra 10% of our spell power (finally making up for the coefficient nerf from back when they changed LB's base casting time) and Lava Burst an extra 20%. (Numbers subject to change.)


All in all, this is a great patch for Elemental shamans. Which is a first.


UPDATES! Dec. 15, 2008

Whoa, Blizzard isn't done buffing us, apparently.

Elemental Oath will now cause Clearcasting (aka Elemental Focus) to boost our damage by 5/10% while active. If you've got enough crit (33% or so, I'd say) you're going to see a DPS increase of about 10%. Nice! (Note: that's only OUR damage, not the group's.)

Elemental Mastery has been changed, and it's about time! Now, it'll increase crit chance by 20% for 30 seconds (cooldown is still 3 minutes). I'll miss the old version somewhat (I have it macroed into Thunderstorm so it does a ton of damage when I use it, which is probably why they changed it) but this new version is definitely a buff. Makes Glyph of Elemental Mastery much more appealing too.

Glyph of Lightning Bolt will increase LB damage by 4% instead of decreasing its mana by 10%. Sounds good to me, since I was thinking about getting rid of the LB glyph anyway. Mana hasn't been much of an issue for me, but damage has.

Glyph of Fire Nova Totem reduces FNT's cooldown by 3 seconds, instead of increasing its radius. I'm not sure what to think about that. If it's decreasing the "detonation" cooldown (like Imp. FNT used to), it's awesome. If it's decreasing the 15-second cooldown between uses, it's kinda lame. I think it's probably the second one.

Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem will now reduce the totem's cooldown by 10 minutes, up from 4. That's...huge. Does that mean it'll be usable in Arenas?


There are some other non-elemental Shaman updates, but they're not nearly as interesting. In general, you should just keep MMO Champion on your news reader at all times.



WoWScrnShot_120608_184046I respecced. To Enhancement.

I know, I've made my reputation on being the foremost expert on the Elemental tree in the game (HA HA HA), but I felt the need to try something different.

And it is pretty fun, even though I run out of mana every 3 kills. And I have rather sad gear. And I'm using two daggers. And I have no Strength. And I'm still using Elemental glyphs. And the way I'm specced will probably cause a lot of experienced Enhancement players to cringe.

The good news is that I'm doing pretty well with it. I kill stuff quickly, and the downtime isn't too bad.

Spirit Wolves are fun, although I wish they also restored mana when you use them. In fact, they're so fun that I wish they were a baseline ability for the entire shaman class.

Yea, this spec definitely has major mana issues (Elemental seems fine...better than fine, in fact). I ignored the recommendations of many players and took Static Shock. It's a fun talent, but unfortunately it looks like Enhance shamans need to have Water Shield up almost constantly. Maybe it's good for PvP, or maybe this is something Blizz needs to fix.

I definitely need to get a couple slow weapons, so I can get bigger numbers out of Stormstrike and Lava Lash. I've heard that a lot of players don't like LL, especially since it necessitates using WF/FT instead of the popular WF/WF, but I wanted to try everything this spec has to offer. If you can't get comparable DPS when using LL, that's obviously another thing Blizz needs to fix.

I'm not going to stick with Enhancement forever, but I'll definitely give it a few weeks to try all the ins and outs.


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I, like everyone else who bought WLK, recently made a Death Knight (named Pareidolius, from the word "pareidolia"). And I, like everyone else, was dismayed to find that trade skills start at ZERO. So now, I've gotta run all across old-world Azeroth picking low-level flowers so I can make low-level crap that I'll vendor (fortunately, low-level Glyphs are desirable for everyone, so it's not a complete waste) so I can pick higher-level flowers so I can make higher-level crap...well, you know how it goes.

The biggest mistake Blizzard made in this expansion (besides allowing gnomes to be DKs) was setting tradeskills at base level for new Death Knights. They're basically saying "here, go waste your time on something we could've easily fixed". How? Easy. Since Death Knights enter the "real world" at lvl. 58 (and immediately head to Outland), they should automatically start their new trade skills with 290 skill points. They should walk through the Dark Portal, get to a profession trainer, have Master-level crafting available to them to train, and be given 290 points right then and there.

Another way to fix this problem, and the skill point system in general (including weapons, defense, etc.) would be to give all players the option to go to a trainer and train up to the appropriate level, or pretty close to it. It's not fun to have to go and "grind" up your skill on something. Who wants to run around collecting materials, or even worse: buying them off the AH? Who wants to go stand in one place and get beat on to level their defense skill? On Baluki, I've been using nothing but daggers for a VERY long time. If I decided to respec to Enhancement (and I've been collecting gear for it, partly because I don't have a choice (WTF BLIZZARD? DID YOU FORGET THAT ELEMENTALS EXIST?!?) and partly to try it out) I would have to go wail on some low-level creatures to get my skill up so I can be effective in combat.

I'm sure Blizzard knew about this problem, but for some reason they chose not to address it. I hope they do some day, but it'll be too late for my Death Knight, because he's going to get his Herbalism and Inscription skills to 275 before he hits Outland. And he's going to hate every minute of it.

I sure am glad I have podcasts and audiobooks.


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Glyphs Glyphs, which are created by characters who have the new Inscription profession (if you didn't already know), add a pretty interesting new element to the game. They're basically alternative talents that, in many cases, do interesting or unusual things to your spells, and they can actually change the way you play, unlike most of the benefits you receive from the other professions. Here's a list of the new Shaman Glyphs, and whether or not they're worth getting.


Major Glyphs

Glyph of Chain Heal (Req. lvl. 40) - Your Chain Heal heals 1 additional target.
I like the idea of our Chain spells hitting additional targets, but this glyph may be a bit too weak, at least compared to other glyphs. This seems to increase your total healing done by CH by about 7%, which isn't terrible, but it all depends on your style, and how often you use CH. It'd be nice if this glyph also reduced the per-jump power decrease by 5% or something.

Glyph of Chain Lightning (Req. lvl. 32) - Your Chain Lightning strikes 1 additional target.
This seems like the same thing as the CH glyph, but because CL loses less power per jump (30% instead of 50% on CH) it winds up adding about 13% to your total damage done by a single CL cast. However, unlike CH, CL has a 6-second cooldown. With the Storm, Earth, and Fire talent, Elemental specs can get that down to 3.5 seconds, which makes this a pretty attractive glyph to use, especially in PvP. It's not bad for Enhancement specs too, but I think there are better ones for you to use.

Glyph of Earth Shock (Req. lvl. 15) - Reduces the global cooldown triggered by your Earth Shock ability by 1 sec.
This strikes me as something that'll probably be useful in Arenas, but not anywhere else.

Glyph of Earthliving Weapon (Req. lvl. 30) - Increases the chance for your Earthliving weapon to trigger by 5%.
Pretty small buff, but it's probably a good one to use if you're a healer.

Glyph of Elemental Mastery - Reduces the cooldown of your Elemental Mastery ability by 30 sec.
Personally, I don't think I'd even notice having this.

Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem (Req. lvl. 68) - Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 min.
The Fire Elemental does a pretty decent amount of damage, especially if you're Elemental-specced. A definite "maybe".

Glyph of Fire Nova Totem (Req. lvl. 15) - Increases the radius of Fire Nova Totem's effect by 2 yards.
If you use FNT a lot, this one's pretty good. Effectively, it's increasing the totem's area of effect by 44% (452 square yards vs. 314). The newest version of Improved FNT increases the totem's damage by 20% AND gives a 2-second stun (but no detonation time reduction anymore), so this will allow you to damage and stun a much larger amount of people, potentially.

Glyph of Flame Shock (Req. lvl. 15) - Increases the duration of your Flame Shock ability by 6 sec and it is not consumed by casting Lava Burst.
This one has just been updated, and it's phenomenal for Elementals now. Let's crunch some numbers: Rank 9 Flame Shock (lvl. 80) does 500 dmg, then 556 over the next 12 seconds. With the Storm, Earth, & Fire talent, 556 becomes 843. With the Flame glyph, that's 1264 over 18 seconds. To put that in perspective, baseline Corruption (warlock spell) only does 1080 over 18 seconds. AND you won't have to keep recasting it, because Lava Burst won't eat it up. Essential glyph. Will probably get nerfed.

Glyph of Flametongue Weapon (Req. lvl. 15) - Increases spell critical strike chance by 2% while Flametongue Weapon is active.
Not bad, I suppose. Extra crit is always good. If you're Elemental and can't find a glyph that you'd find more useful, get this.

Glyph of Frost Shock (Req. lvl. 20) - Increases the duration of your Frost Shock by 2 sec.
Meh. Go for it, if you do a lot of kiting or flag-pursuing. Dungeoneers shouldn't bother.

Glyph of Healing Stream Totem (Req. lvl. 20) - Your Healing Stream Totem heals for an additional 20%.
There are much better Resto glyphs. I wouldn't bother.

Glyph of Healing Wave (Req. lvl. 15) - Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else.
Great if you find yourself as Main Healer often.

Glyph of Lava - Your Lava Burst spell gains an additional 10% of your spellpower
I think this one kinda sucks. This would be great if it affected Lightning Bolt instead. But 10% more spellpower on a spell you can only cast every 8 seconds is pretty lame.

Glyph of Lava Lash - Damage on your Lava Lash is increased by an additional 10% if your weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
I'm still trying to figure out how LL will affect Enhancement players, but this looks pretty weak. Even weaker than Glyph of Lava Burst.

Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave (Req. lvl. 20) - Your Lesser Healing Wave heals for 20% more if the target is also affected by your Earth Shield.
This makes it easier to keep your MH (or yourself) alive in a pinch. Depends on how often you use LHW, I guess.

Glyph of Lightning Bolt (Req. lvl. 15) - Reduces the cost of your Lightning Bolt ability by 10%.
Probably essential for raiding shamans.

Glyph of Lightning Shield (Req. lvl. 15) - Increases the damage from Lightning Shield by 20%.
Pretty powerful if you also have Static Shock and Improved Shields.

Glyph of Mana Tide Totem (Req. lvl. 40) - Your Mana Tide Totem grants an additional Spell Power of each target's maximum mana each time it pulses.
Makes a powerful totem even more poweful? Sure, go for it.

Glyph of Stormstrike (Req. lvl. 40) - Increases the nature damage bonus from your Stormstrike ability by an additional 8%.
Could add a pretty decent amount of extra DPS to your meter.

Glyph of Water Mastery (Req. lvl. 20) - Increases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield spell by 30%.
A good one if you're having troubles with mana, although you may want a different glyph instead (like the ones that affect Lightning Bolt or Mana Tide).

Glyph of Windfury Weapon (Req. lvl. 30) - The attack power bonus on the additional attacks granted by Windfury Weapon is increased by 40%.
Seems good, but not as powerful as it once would have been, since I think just about everyone's going to be going WF/FT now instead of WF/WF.


Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Astral Recall (Req. lvl. 30) - Cooldown of your Astral Recall spell reduced by 2.5 min.
For those people who are so neurotic that they need to get to the AH more than 5 times every hour. Otherwise, worthless.

Glyph of Ghost Wolf (Req. lvl. 20) - Your Ghost Wolf form regenerates an additional 1% of your maximum health every 5 sec.
Not too bad for Enhance shamans, actually.

Glyph of Renewed Life (Req. lvl. 30) - All stats increased by 5% for 1 min when you Reincarnate.
Improved Death glyph. If you have Imp. Reincarnate and you like to pop up and finish off the guy who just finished YOU off, this could be handy to get the upper hand.

Glyph of Water Breathing (Req. lvl. 22) - Your Water Breathing spell no longer requires a reagent.
I don't think I should have to get a glyph to have this effect. But I will anyway, because the other minor glyphs suck.

Glyph of Water Walking (Req. lvl. 28) - Your Water Walking spell no longer requires a reagent.
See above.

Glyph of Water Shield (Req. lvl. 20) - Increases the number of charges on your Water Shield spell by 1.
Probably most useful for Resto shamans with Imp. Water Shield and Imp. Shields.


Dammit, I want a Glyph of Hex. I want to be able to turn people into penguins or skunks or other critters, like Mages can turn people into sheep, pigs, cats, snakes, and turtles.


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I just wanted to write up an update on the state of the shaman class in the WOTLK beta right now. First, I've gotta say that I'm NOT in the beta. Don't want to be. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that because this is a beta, things are going to change.

The Good

There have been a lot of very interesting changes in the Enhancement tree that make it very appealing to an Elemental shaman, to the point that we probably don't need to go into Resto anymore.

Ancestral Knowledge is finally useful, since it'll increase our Intellect by 10%, instead of our mana by 5%. The old AK sucked a whole lot, and this change helps us not only with mana, but with spell crit too. And, of course, that extra Int is going to make Unrelenting Storm more powerful.

Thundering Strikes affects spell crit now too. So instead of going 20 points into Resto to get Tidal Mastery, we can just go 10 points into Enhance. Sweet.

They moved Elemental Weapons up to Tier 3, so we Elementals can grab it for that 30% increase to Flametongue's spell damage buff.

Shamanistic Focus now just reduces the mana cost of all Shocks by 45%. For one talent point. Holy crap, this is great for Elemental shamans (especially now that we're going to be using Flame Shock more often, and Wind Shock in dungeons), but probably lackluster for Enhance shamans.

Totems will now last for 5 minutes instead of just 2. I don't think they're increasing their mana cost either (it's hard to tell now that most spells cost a percentage of your base mana instead of a set amount). This is a great change, but it does make Totemic Focus MUCH less attractive. Who cares about 25% off totem cost when they last for 5 minutes?

I've pretty much decided that I'll be foregoing putting anything into Restoration, and will put at least 14 points into Enhance.

Lava Flows has been back in for a while (replacing Paralysis, which I'll miss) and it looks pretty good. Increasing the range on Flame Shock is basically essential now, since we'll be using it in our casting rotations to make sure that Lava Burst crits every time it's cast. And the fact that this talent also increases Burst's crit damage by 24% means that Blizz pretty much expects you not to cast Burst without Flame Shock up on your target. Which also means that Lava Burst is probably going to be pretty weak and/or expensive when it doesn't crit.

Lava Lash is a new Enhancement talent. Looks pretty cool, and I think it'll finally put an end to putting Windfury on both weapons in favor of WF/FT. It's really weird that Flametongue will be so useful to both Elemental and Enhance shamans now. I wouldn't be surprised if they broke it into 2 separate spells, especially since Blizz has said that they don't want Enhance to be as focused on +spell dmg as they are in the beta right now. So, does this basically mean that Enhance shamans will be looking for slow weapons in the off-hand slot? Maybe they already do. Lava Lash will also work well with the changed Stormstrike (see "The Meh" below).

We finally have a "Wind Shock" spell. It's just an Earth Shock that doesn't cause any damage, and costs less mana. This was added as a replacement for Rank 1 Earth Shock, which many shamans (myself included) have been using for interrupting casting in dungeons, and in fights when we run low on mana. Wind Shock costs less mana, but not less than Rank 1 ES does now. Oh, and it also reduces threat. We finally have an active threat-reducer!

Earthen Power causes Earthbind Totem to remove all snares from any friendly player in its range when it pulses. That's pretty cool. Kinda like an old idea I had a while back, where certain talents could give certain totems the ability to cause opposite buffs/debuffs to friends/enemies.

The Bad

I really don't like what they've done with group buffing mechanics. Sure they're all raid-wide now, but they've made them all much more lame. In their effort to ensure that some classes aren't favored over others because of the group buffs they provide, Blizzard has made all group buffs much more generic. Just look at our poor Elemental Oath. I thought it was pretty cool when EO caused a 6% mana-cost-reduction buff as well as a 6% spell crit chance increase, but now it's just 5% spell crit chance without the mana reduction. Booooring. Not only that, but it doesn't stack with the Moonkin aura.

Generalized group buffs do help to prevent certain classes from being favored over other classes, but Blizzard could've solved that problem without having to make things more generic. Definitely a big disappointment in an otherwise awesome expansion.

The Meh

Storm, Earth, and Fire was changed again. Instead of providing a needed bonus to our primary nuke, it now reduces the cooldown on Chain Lightning. Personally, I'd rather have the LB bonus, but I'm sure a lot of PvPers would prefer the CL bonus.

Spirit Link has been replaced by Riptide. I really liked seeing Spirit Link added to the game, since it's a classic WC3 spell (the Spirit Walkers had it) but it may have been a victim of the aforementioned group buff normalization - if Blizz can't give this buff to more than one class, nobody can have it. Pfft. Riptide does seem like it'll be pretty cool once the kinks are worked out. It's nice that they're giving Resto a HoT finally (besides the one that procs with Earthliving Weapon).

Stormstrike will only affect attacks made by the shaman who cast it. This is good, because it means that Rogue poisons won't eat up the charges anymore. But it's bad, because Elemental Shaman and Balance Druid nukes won't eat up the charges anymore. Also, Stormstrike affects Fire and Frost spells in addition to Nature now, which is cool.

Thunderstorm is an awesome PvP talent. But, that knockback can cause a lot of problems in dungeons. I think it'd be nice if it were split into two spells: one with the damage and knockback, and the other with the damage and mana-restoration. Or maybe a new spell could be added that would freeze enemies in place so they're not knocked back when Thunderstorm is used. I wonder, does a Mage's Frost Nova prevent enemies from being knocked back?

Stoneclaw Totem will protect your totems from being destroyed, which is cool. However, having it out prevents you from having any other Earth totems out, of course. It's a trade-off. Not something I'll use all the time, but a good option to have.

Things that still need to be addressed

Elemental looks kinda boring next to Enhancement now. Enhance shamans will be attacking, shocking, stormstriking, lava lashing, lightning shielding, casting instant nukes, and summoning wolves. Elemental in dungeons, however, will just be nuking and shocking, but with 2 nukes now instead of one (which is definitely needed, don't get me wrong). It'd be nice to see a new spell or something in the Elemental tree to make things more interesting. Elemental in PvP will be a bit better thanks to Thunderstorm, but that spell is very problematic everywhere else. Hell, I'm seriously considering going Enhance in WOTLK.

From what I understand, Elemental DPS is pretty low in Beta right now. But Blizz has said they're working on that, so I'm not too worried.

I'm a bit concerned about our Fire totems. We Elementals pack a lot of damage with our Searing, Fire Nova, Magma, and Fire Elemental totems, but in dungeons we use them a lot less, so we can use Flametongue and Totem of Wrath. This has been true since the beginning, but it still bothers me. I'd like to see those two totems changed to a different totem category, with Fire reserved exclusively for damage-dealing totems. However, the existing 3 totem categories are pretty crowded already. Maybe it's time to add a 5th totem category, like the theoretical Spirit totem that has been alluded to a few times in the past. Now that totems last 5 minutes, it won't be as much of a hassle to keep 5 going at once.

Here's a crazy idea. When all 5 totems are down, the shaman gains "Elemental Form". The shaman levitates and is covered in a blue aura with lightning bolts coming off it. Think Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen (see image at the top of this post). As a result, we get a damage buff or something. It should only work if you're within 40 yards of your totems, and should probably last for about 15 seconds if one of your totems is destroyed (so you're not constantly jumping in and out of Elemental Form each time a totem is destroyed).

Yes, I know that Captain Planet is also blue, and also levitates, and this would inevitably be labelled "Captain Planet Form", but I don't care. It's Dr. Manhattan Form, dammit!



on Sunday, August 31, 2008

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I just wanted to point out that this past month I hit 70 on both my Mage and my Hunter. I rule.

I've also been working on my Rogue quite a bit. I've gotten him from 35 to 45 in about 2 weeks.

I've also been playing my Priest, but that's a huge pain in the ass. I don't know how other people do it. I've got her up to 32, and it's taking forever. I originally had her specced Shadow, but I actually have her specced for Holy DPS now, shockingly enough. Shadow just didn't seem to gel for me. The Holy DPS spec I have right now is fairly effective, but the mana efficiency is atrocious.

I'm still working on my Paladin too, who's at 64 right now. She'll probably be the next to 70. I had respecced back to Prot for its AOE abilities, but I was having much more fun with Ret, so I switched back.

My Warlock has been sitting in Shattrath at 51 for months now, disenchanting and making potions. I'll probably pick her up again once I get my Pally to 70, and the first thing I'll do is respec back to Affliction. I wanted to try the Felguard, and I don't really care for it. Which is weird, because my Hunter is a BM.

My Warrior and my Druid are still sitting at 18 and 20. I have no interest in playing either. I don't like the Warrior class in general (at least not at 18) and I already have a rogue, warrior, mage, and priest, so I don't feel any desire to play my druid over the others.

I'm really looking forward to adding a Death Knight to my repertoire.


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I just wanted to mention that I've got a new blog that I've been working on for about a month now. It's quite a departure for me, because it actually covers some serious topics, like politics, science, religion, and so on. I must warn you though: you probably won't approve of some of the topics I cover. But go ahead and check it out if you're curious; you'll survive. If nothing else, you'll get to see what I look like in real life. And I'd love to get some feedback.

In case anyone is wondering, I still intend to keep writing THIS blog. There just isn't a whole lot for me to talk about right now. I've been working on a feature post that I'm tentatively calling "WoW's biggest mistakes", which I hope will turn out pretty good.



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I just wanted to show off this animation test I did for one of my Multimedia courses. I took the Baluki illustration I did a few months ago and created a walking loop in After Effects, then tossed down a bunch of trees and bushes and rendered it all out.

I don't know what I'm going to do with this though. I've thought about doing a series of animated clips, or perhaps a webcomic. But I don't know yet. In all likelihood, nothing will come of it. But I think it looks pretty cool.


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This quest used to be so much harder. Now they've added exclamation points above every item you're supposed to find, AND an NPC. Sigh.
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Now that the Beta is open, there's all sorts of info pouring out onto the internet. Naturally, I've gotta talk about all the new shaman changes, and offer my heavily-biased opinion of them.

Man, this is a huge post.


Totem Changes

First, in case you didn't already know, Totems are no longer considered spells, so you can cast them when silenced. Just wanted to get that out of the way first. Good change.

Oh, and also in case you didn't already know, Totems will now affect the entire raid. FINALLY!

Strength of Earth Totem increases both Strength AND Agility. This is the same as having SoE and GoA out at once. Very nice.

Grace of Air Totem is gone. See Strength of Earth.

Stoneskin Totem now gives a flat Armor bonus instead of a damage-reducer. Not bad, but kinda boring. After all, Paladins, Druids, and Resto Shams already have armor-increasing buffs.

Windwall Totem is gone. Since Stoneskin now affects all physical damage, it makes sense to trash it. And really, who's going to miss it?

Flametongue Totem now does what Wrath of Air Totem does (increases spell damage). This certainly puts it in conflict with Totem of Wrath, not to mention all the other offensive fire totems.

Wrath of Air Totem now increases spell casting speed by 10%. Sweet.

Windfury Totem completely changed. Now increases melee attack speed by 16%. Um, why does melee get 6% more? This also means that Windfury Totem actually does something for US too! I kinda wish they'd change the name though, since it doesn't do the same thing as Windfury Weapon anymore.

Tranquil Air Totem is gone. Good riddance.


Elemental Talent Changes

Elemental Focus now affects healing spells. That's a pretty handy change.

Improved Fire Nova Totem will reduce the movement speed of all affected targets by 75% for 4 seconds, instead of stunning them for 2 seconds. Overall, a pretty good change.

Elemental Shields now reduces all physical damage taken by 6%, instead of reducing your chance to be physically crit by 6%. Interesting change, and it probably adds up to about the same thing in PvP, but now it's useful in PvE too. Nice to have, but still optional in my opinion. Not that every talent NEEDS to be an essential talent.

Elemental Oath has been completely changed, and definitely for the better. Your spell crits cause a 2% reduction in spell mana cost and a 2% increase in spell crit damage for party members for 15 seconds, AND it stacks 3 times. This is proof that Blizzard loves me. This is the Elemental Unleashed Rage I've always hoped for.

Astral Shift now decreases incoming damage by 30% when you're stunned, feared, or silenced. Very cool, and useful in both PvP and PvE (though less so in PvE). Previously, it decreased incoming damage for a few seconds after you've been crit twice in a row, which kinda sucked.

New talent called Paralysis. I'm just going to cut-and paste this.

Paralysis (3/3)
Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells gains an additional 10% of your bonus spell damage effects, and your Lightning Bolt has a 15% chance to Paralyze the target, reducing their movement, attack and casting speed by 75%. The target regains 15% of their movement, attack and casting speed each second. Lasts 5 sec.

No, THAT is proof that Blizzard loves me.'s so beautiful.

Unfortunately, they got rid of Lava Flow, which Increases the amount of spell damage gained while having Flametongue Weapon equipped by 5/10/15%, and increases the damage done by your Flame Shock and Lava Burst by 4/8/12%. That's too bad, because I really liked that talent. Hopefully they'll axe Totem of Wrath and put Lava Flow back in.

Overall some amazing changes, with one exception. However, we're still missing +3% to hit, now that Elemental Oath has been changed and Elemental Precision modified. I'm guessing that we'll just have to get used to it.

UPDATE 8/1/08: They're getting rid of Paralysis too. Sigh. I really like that one.


Enhancement Talent Changes

Enhancing Totems now affects Flametongue Totem too, which is cool. But, it's up to 3 points (it's currently at 2) which is understandable. Remember, Grace of Air is being folded into Strength of Earth, which is why it isn't listed anymore. I'll definitely be grabbing this for my Elemental spec.

Shield Spec is gone! Finally!

Improved Weapon Totems is now just Improved Windfury Totem, which should come as no surprise. It increases the attack speed bonus by 4%, bring WFT up to +20% attack speed.

Improved Shamanistic Rage is gone. And in its place is...

Spectral Transformation
You have a 50/100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects when you transform into a Ghost Wolf, and your Spirit Wolves to have a 50/100% chance to be immune to all stun, snare and movement Impairing effects when summoned.

Not bad. I can definitely see it getting changed though. We still have no idea what these wolves do.

Here's another new one. This replaces a confusing and mostly uninteresting talent that I can't even remember the name of.

Maelstrom Weapon
When you critically hit with a melee weapon, you reduce the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell by 4/8/12/16/20%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 15 seconds.

So, insta-cast nukes from Enhance shammies? Interesting idea.


Restoration Talent Changes

Totemic Focus is now a Tier 1 talent, swapping places with Tidal Focus. THANK YOU BLIZZARD! Any interest in making Tidal Mastery a Tier 1 talent? How about Nature's Swiftness?

Ooooh, Nature's Guidance is gone. Interesting. Now we're down by 6% spell hit and 3% melee hit.

Improved Water Shield is new. Activates a water globe every time you crit with LHW or HW. Cool, but this should really grant more charges too, since it's going to be a hassle recasting it all the time.

Spirit Link is now percentage-based, and won't break after a certain amount of damage is distributed.

You link the friendly target with up to two nearby friendly targets, causing 50% of any damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. If any target takes a blow greater than 30% of their health, or shared damage would reduce a target's health below 20%, the link is broken. You can only have one link active at a time.

It's a bit confusing, but as far as I can tell, that means you won't have to keep recasting it, which is cool. Although, it seems like that 30% limit would make it worthless for a lot of boss fights. Maybe I'm wrong.



I had ideas for this section, but I've either forgotten them or I've figured out that they're actually pretty bad suggestions. So, my only one:

Lava Flow talent
Put it back in! Please!


All in all, some amazing changes. I can't wait to play it.



Sorry about my absense lately, folks. I've been pretty broke, and so I'm taking a break from WoW.

I'm definitely coming back, of course. If not in the next few weeks, then definitely for WotLK. I'm probably more likely to come back in 2 or 3 weeks.

So, what have I been up to besides that? I've been playing a few other games; I tried out Dungeons & Dragons Online (with the free 10-day trial) and it's pretty cool. Very well made, pretty fun, but it's just not as great as WoW. Or, tabletop D&D. I play D&D with a group of friends every few weeks (when our work schedules line up) for about a year now, and the best part of the game is definitely making fun of your friends and fucking with the DM the whole time. We take turns DMing, so everyone has the chance to be ridiculed.

I also just got a copy of Diablo 2 from a friend to try. Can you believe I've never played it? So far, my favorite character is the Sorceress (who wields Fire, Frost, and Lightning...sound familiar?).

I also got back into class for the summer, which is going well so far. One more quarter after this, and I'll finally have an Associate's degree.


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Oooh, at last. The new Shaman talents and spells have been leaked. I'm going to go through them and explain what I like (nearly all of it) and what I don't (almost none of it). Keep in mind that this stuff WILL change. Some stuff will be buffed/nerfed, some will be reworked, some will be removed completely, and some will be added in the future. This stuff is from a very early version of the expansion, and we're not even supposed to be able to see it yet.

UPDATE 6/27/08: I've updated this post with My Concerns. You can read them at the bottom of the post.

New Spells

Lava Burst - You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing Lava Burst to critically hit. 2-second cast time, 8 second cooldown, 30-yard range.

At last, we get a new nuke, which looks pretty awesome. This spell will ensure that we use Flame Shock a lot more often, which itself will be much more powerful thanks to new Elemental talents. Rather than doing nothing but shoot lightning bolts at our targets (in dungeons, at least), we'll most likely be getting new spell rotations ensuring that Flame Shock is always up, using Lava Burst when it's ready, and Lightning Bolting in between. And of course the guaranteed crit will probably proc Elemental Focus.

My Verdict (so far): Great

Hex - Transforms the enemy into a random critter, reducing the target's movement speed by 75%. While moving, the hexed target cannot attack or cast spells. Only one target can be hexed at a time. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts. 0.5 sec cast, 1 minute cooldown, 20-yard range.

Finally, CC! Basically a mini-Polymorph, but it gives the target the ability to try to run away (not that they'll be doing it very quickly). The only problem is that I don't know how long they stay hexed. I get the feeling that it'll only be a few seconds, which would be unfortunate. It would be nice to have a longer (or more frequently castable) hex so we can provide some more reliable CC in dungeons.

UPDATE 6/27/08: There's a video of this spell in use on the site linked at the bottom of this post. Looks like it's about 8 seconds long. Not too bad. Also, the critter is a frog, but there are probably others.

My Verdict: Ok/Great (Depends on how long the hex effect is.)

Earthliving Weapon - Imbue the Shaman's weapon with earthen life. Increases healing done by {50} (scales with level) and each heal has a 20% chance to proc Earthliving on the target, healing an additional 180 over 6 seconds.

Cool, a new weapon buff for healers! The flat stat increase is nice, but getting a new HoT along with it is pretty cool too. I've got nothing bad to say about this.

My Verdict: Great

New 51-Point Talents

Thunder (Elemental) - You call down a bolt of lighting, energizing you and damaging nearby enemies within 10 yards. Restores 5% mana to you and deals 595 to 679 nature damage to all nearby enemies, knocking them back 20 yards. Instant cast, 45 sec cooldown.

This is pretty cool. Finally, a way to get rogues off my ass in PvP. And it's pretty cool to see a knockback effect on one of our spells. Also, it's nice to have another AOE spell. I can see this being fun to use with Fire Nova Totem (especially with the new talent-based stun effect) and it'll also be nice for protecting allies. The mana-restoring aspect is kinda weird, but I certainly won't complain. My only issue is that it seems to be primarily a PvP talent. Not that that's a bad thing.

My Verdict: Pretty Good

Feral Spirit (Enhancement) - Summons 2 Spirit Wolves under the command of the Shaman, lasting 30 sec.

Heh, after all the complaining we did when it was announced before BC came out that we'd be able to summon elementals but not spirit wolves, in a way this sounds like Blizzard's way of saying "fine, HERE are your fucking spirit wolves!" Not that they've necessarily short-changed us. Unfortunately, there's not any other info that I've been able to find on the subject. It'd be nice to know what the wolves do, what the cooldown is, or even what color they are (I hope they're black and purple like they were in WC3). Hopefully they do more than just attack stuff.

My Verdict: Who Knows?

Spirit Link (Restoration) - You link the friendly target with two nearby targets, causing 50% of the damage taken to be distributed to the linked targets. After 2200 damage, the link will sever. Instant cast, cooldown unknown.

Yay, another WC3 spell! This looks like it'll be the new Tank's Best Friend. I can see a lot of potential for griefing though, since it makes the two people nearest to the target to take more damage. Maybe it's not that big of an issue (especially since the max damage that anyone will take will be 550). And frankly, the damage absorbed seems a bit low; maybe instead of expiring after 2200 damage, it should use up charges each time damage is absorbed. Then again, that would make it much less useful when fighting fast-damaging opponents (part of which can be mitigated with Stoneskin Totem). It's an interesting problem, if it is a problem at all.

My Verdict: Love it, shows promise, but may need some work

New Talents

Elemental Oath (Elemental) - Increases chance to hit with all spells by 50/100% when Elemental Focus or Elemental Mastery is active.

Considering that shamans are so crit-happy, and that any well-geared shaman generally has Elemental Focus active most of the time in a fight, this is quite a boost. In fact, it'll probably get nerfed, even considering that they nerfed Elemental Precision down to +3% spell hit (from 6%). Also, Elemental Focus and Elemental Mastery are required to get it.

My Verdict: Sounds pretty good.

Astral Shift (Elemental) - When you are critically hit twice in a row, you have a 33/66/100% chance to shift into the Astra Plane, causing you to be immune to all physical damage for 3 sec. This effect has a 30 second cooldown.

This will be our third talent that only works when we get crit on. I don't like any of them. For starters, they're basically PvP-only. We get crit so little in PvE that it's often a surprise to see them proc. I think they all need to be reworked so they're valid in all (or most) areas of the game, not just PvP, not just Raids (I'm looking at you, Totem of Wrath).

So, how do we fix it? How about changing it so that it activates when you take a certain amount of damage within a certain amount of time? Say, when you lose 40% of your health within 3 seconds? Also, the cooldown seems too long, and/or the duration of the immunity seems too short. Even then, it doesn't seem great.

My Verdict: Needs major work done

Lava Flow (Elemental) - Increases the amount of spell damage gained while having Flametongue Weapon equipped by 5/10/15%, and increases the damage done by your Flame Shock and Lava Burst by 4/8/12%.

This talent (and the next) makes Flame Shock a serious threat to your enemies. For a long time now, its use has been optional, but now it'll be essential. And of course, making Lava Burst more effective is a no-brainer.

But wait, what's this about Flametongue? Sounds to me like it's getting changed to give extra spell damage, which is quite nice. I wonder if they'll do anything for Frostbrand and Rockbiter too, since those are so rarely used.

Verdict: Great

Storm, Earth, and Fire (Elemental) - Your Frost Shock has a 5/10/15/20/25% chance to root the target in frozen ice for 2 sec., your Earth Shock's range is increased by 1/2/3/4/5 yards and the periodic damage done by your Flame Shock is increased by 20/40/60/80/100%.

Wow, that's quite a talent. Let's break it down by element.
Storm - I guess that's Frost Shock. It's nice that we're getting so many forms of CC now, but 2 seconds from a spell that can only be cast every 5-6 seconds seems a little weak, especially considering how many ways a Frost Mage has to freeze you. Other than that, I like it.
Earth - Boring, but decent.
Fire - Wow, that's really nice. That'll definitely make me use Flame Shock way more, AND it gives me synergy with Lava Burst. Plus, with the Lava Flow talent, it makes the combination of Flame Shock and Lava Burst VERY potent. I'd take this talent even if it didn't have the Storm and Earth parts.

My Verdict: Great, but needs some minor changes.

Mental Dexterity (Enhancement) - Increases your Attack Power by 33/66/100% of your Intellect.

That's a pretty significant chunk of AP there, and will definitely help to make Hunter gear more viable for Enhance shamans. Also, it basically makes Ancestral Knowledge essential, since it affects Intellect now. It's interesting that this is a 3rd-tier talent, which will no doubt make it easier for Resto shamans to operate while soloing.

Improved Stormstrike (Enhancement) - Increases the number of Stormstrike charges by 1/2, and decreases the cooldown by 1/2 seconds.

Can't go wrong here. I'm especially happy with this, because it means that when I'm grouped with an Enhance shaman, he won't be gobbling up all the SS charges with his piddly little Earth Shocks, so I can use some of them for my massive Lightning Bolts.

The Rest (Enhancement)

Look, I don't feel like running down the rest of these Enhancement talents. They all look good to me, but I literally haven't been Enhance-specced in years.

Cleanse Spirit (Restoration) - Remove 1 disease, 1 poison, and 1 curse from the target.

Not exactly original, but it's nice, and will give Restos some extra efficiency when fighting rogues, death knights, and now warlocks.

Verdict: Good!

Blessing of the Eternals (Restoration) - Increases spell crit by 2/4%, and bonus +heal from Earthliving Weapon by 5/10%.

That extra crit will be nice to have, since Resto is going to be so much more focused on crits now (see Ancestral Awakening).

Verdict: Pretty good

Ancestral Awakening (Restoration) - When Healing Wave or Lesser Healing Wave crit, an Ancestral Spirit heals the nearest friendly target for 20/40/60% of the amount healed initially.

Wow, this is awesome. I bet that amount is nerfed, but it's still a very useful talent, and will likely make Restos hoard crit gear a lot more than they do now. I sure hope you get to actually see the spirit when it heals. I can imagine seeing shamans standing in the back healing, with a spirit standing next to them occasionally. Neat.

Verdict: Awesome.

Improved Earth Shield (Restoration) - Increases the number of charges by 1/2, and increases the healing done by 5/10%.

All in all, a good talent. However, it doesn't matter how many charges it has if someone comes along and just purges it off of you. It needs a purge-resistance element, like "reduces chance that ES will be purged by 25/50%".

Verdict: Missing something.

...and Tidal Waves looks fine.

Changed Talents

  • Earth's Grasp moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Still sucks.
  • Convection now 3 points, down from 5, same bonus!
  • Call of Flame affects Lava Burst now.
  • Elemental Devastation moved from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
  • Elemental Focus now required for Elemental Fury. Still the best 2 points you'll ever spend.
  • Improved Fire Totems now Improved Fire Nova Totem. Gives 50/100% chance to stun ALL affected for 2 seconds! Magma Totem threat reduction element removed (hopefully they'll reduce its base threat).
  • Storm Reach also increases radius of Thunder spell by 10/20%.
  • Elemental Precision nerfed to +1/2/3% spell hit, from 2/4/6%. See Elemental Oath. Also, threat reduction TRIPLED to 10/20/30%, from 4/7/10%.
  • Lightning Overload no longer required for Totem of Wrath.
  • Enhancing Totems moved from Tier 3 to Tier 1.
  • Improved Lightning Shield renamed Improved Elemental Shields, moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1. Now affects Water and Earth Shield as well.
  • Shield Specialization is STILL THERE. Now down from 5 points to 2. Chance to block up to 10% from 5%, amount blocked down from 25% to 20%.
  • Healing Focus reduced from 5 points to 3. Same bonus.


My Concerns

Elemental's PvP Emphasis
I know a lot of people think that the Elemental tree is primarily meant for PvP, but I don't agree. Of course, the signs are certainly pointing in that direction. The new talents Astral Shift and Thunder, along with Elemental Shields and Eye of the Storm, are mostly or entirely useful only in PvP. However, there are also the PvE abilities like Totem of Wrath, Unrelenting Storm, and Elemental Precision that point to the idea that Blizzard wants the tree to be viable for dungeons too.

So...where are the new PvE talents? The Elemental tree still lacks a way for players to buff the group differently from other shamans, besides Totem of Wrath (which is still only good for raiding). Elemental needs its own Unleashed Rage: an ability that triggers when damage is dealt and buffs the whole group in a meaningful way. Or, its own Stormstrike: an ability that causes a meaningful debuff on the enemy.

Here are some random suggestions:

Thunder seems like it'll be useful for protecting an ally for a couple seconds when they draw aggro. How about giving it an AOE aggro-reduction for all allies within its effective radius (10 yards) based on a percentage of the damage dealt?

Eye of the Storm should give you a constant chance to avoid interruption instead of being a crit-activated ability. That would make it useful in both PvP and PvE.

Make Astral Shift a self-activated ability. The affect should probably be nerfed, of course. Say, 50% physical damage reduction for 5 seconds.

We could use a talent that buffs Wrath of Air Totem. Enhancement has 3 ways to buff useful Enhance totems, Resto has Restorative Totems. Sure, we can make our damage-dealing Elemental totems more powerful, but that's about it. Personally, I think Totem of Wrath should be eliminated and replaced with something like this:

Totem of Wrath (3 points)
Your Wrath of Air Totem's effectiveness is increased by 10/20/30%. In addition, it increases your group's chance to hit and critically hit with spells by 1/2/3%.

Elemental Shields is decent for PvP, but how about making it reduce damage taken over a certain percentage of your total health? Like this:

Elemental Shields (3 points)
If any incoming damage exceeds 25% of your total health, it will be reduced by 10/20/30%.

Lava Burst is pretty cool, but I think it could be even better if they gave it a debuff ability when it "eats" your Flame Shock. Something like this:

Lava Burst
You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 888 to 1132 Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing the Lava Shock effect, which decreases [armor/spell resistance/attack speed/casting speed] on the target for 8 seconds.

Those may be a bit strong, but you get the idea.


Well, that's it for now. I'm sure I'll think of more stuff to talk about in the future.

[WotLK Information Wiki]


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I haven't been playing a lot of WoW lately. I loaded up Oblivion again, and its various add-ons, expansion, and mods (the whole thing takes up about 10 gigs) and have been playing that a bit.

I also recently downloaded the Spore Creature Creator, and man that's fun to play with. Even though I only have the demo, I've made a lot of really cool creatures. Imagine what I'll be able to make with the whole thing!

Here's a little box thingy that displays all the creatures I've made so far:

Yea, I know this post has nothing to do with WoW.



on Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Today I received an e-mail from WoWBreak, which is a WoW-themed user-submitted news site, similar to Digg.

It's pretty neat. It looks like it'll be handy for keeping up on the latest news and blogs that aren't already being posted on WoW Insider or MMO-Champion or whatever. But, it needs more users.

I've added a few of my posts to the site. You can see my submission list here. Feel free to "tag" my stories so they get on the front page. If you want to. Please.

[WoWBreak] [Stories submitted by Baluki]


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About a week ago, I decided I was ready for a change with my mage Trellan (who's currently 56, but was 54 at the time). He's been full Frost from the beginning, but I felt like trying out a Fire spec. So I traded in my durable, CC-endowed, AOE powerhouse frost spec for a glass cannon fire spec. How do I like it?

Well, it's ok. The damage output is nice, and the fact that you can kill stuff really quickly is fun, but I spent too much time eating and drinking between fights. And, it's pretty bad for fighting more than one opponent.

The fire spells seem kinda weird to me, too. Pyroblast is a great opener, but after that I don't know what to do besides keep firing off fireballs. What is Scorch for? Blast Wave confuses me, and Flamestrike is just difficult to use. As for the rest of the talents, I just don't "get" them.

So, clearly being Fire-specced isn't my thing; I went back to Frost. Maybe I'll try Arcane the next time I want to try something different, perhaps once I have Arcane Blast at 64.

By the way, I'll gladly accept any tips and explanations for making the most of a Fire Mage. I'm always willing to try again.



on Sunday, May 18, 2008

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A while ago, I added the Project Wonderful ad box you can see on the left. Since then, I've made a whopping $2.

So, I've decided to put those two dollars into getting the word out about this blog by placing ads on other WoW-related web sites. Gotta spend money to make money, you know.

At this moment, I've placed 4 ads on 4 different sites. I'm paying them 0-5 cents per day (depending on how popular the site is) for one week. Hopefully my investment of a whopping 35 cents will pay off in increased traffic and, ideally, more ad revenue for me. We'll see.

Oh. Here are the simple ads I created, which should be showing up on the aforementioned sites. They're also useful if you want to link to me.

Argh, looks like I need to change the background color on one of them.


That's 3

on Wednesday, May 07, 2008



Well, I got my third character to Outland. Aellsa, my Blood Elf Paladin, is now 60 and tearing up Hellfire Peninsula on her new SuperChicken. She joins Baluki (70 shaman) and Inebrius (68 hunter) on the shattered world.

I recently wrote a post about changing her spec from Prot (which she had been from 20 to 57) to Ret, and even though some people suggested that I respec her to Holy (which sounds like a terrible way to solo level) I did in fact go Ret.

Man, I sure am levelling up a lot faster. I knew that Protadin multi-mob tank-grinding was slower than going Ret, but I didn't know how much slower. Not only is Ret faster, but it's also a lot more fun. I still plan to go back to Prot when I hit 70, but until then Ret is my spec of choice.

I really thought that my mage Trellan would be my next character to hit Outland, because I've been playing him a lot lately. I guess I got kinda frustrated with my paladin, though that problem was solved by going Ret. I also respecced my mage to Fire (from Frost) and I'm surprised by how much faster my killing with him is too.

I'm pretty sure my mage will be the next to hit Outland, since he's lvl. 55 right now. My warlock is lvl. 50, but I haven't played her at all for months, except to disenchant stuff and make potions.

After her, my next character is Abscondius, my rogue, who's only 35. Haven't played him in a long time either. Then there's my shadow priest Sallas at 29, my drood Spamfire at 20, my warrior Oroc at 18, and my other shaman Rogahn at 14 (who will probably be deleted in favor of a Death Knight if Blizz doesn't increase the characters-per-server cap).



on Monday, May 05, 2008


This is a list of other WoW-related blogs that I like. To possibly get yours on the list, just leave a comment with a link below.

And feel free to add me to your lists, if you like my blog.

Laser Chicken
By: Delos
Focus: Balance Droods


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NOTICE: I was completely wrong in this post. See Edit 2 at the bottom for details.

I'm a casual PvPer, and I've been doing Battlegrounds from time to time to upgrade my crappier gear to sweet, sweet Season 1, Vindicator's, and other assorted Honor-buyable gear.

However, once Season 4 starts, Blizz is making some changes that will require Arena ratings for some of that gear.

According to MMO-Champion, Blizzard will be giving the Boots, Rings, and Bracers an Arena Rating requirement. So, go get those now before it's too late, if you don't do Arenas like me.

The Belts, Necklaces, and Trinkets won't have an arena rating, so if you're thinking about buying one of those, it's a good idea to hold off and spend your honor points on the items listed in the previous paragraph.

I've been saving up to replace my green-quality belt for a while now (I've been busy, and broke) but I've decided to replace my boots (the second item on my list due for replacement) instead.

Just thought I'd throw that warning out there. I have no idea when Season 4 will start, but I doubt it'll be this Tuesday, so I think we have at least a week to get what we need.

EDIT: There's some confusion about whether or not the current Vindicator's gear is being replaced on the vendors with the new Guardian's gear. If it's not, you can pretty much ignore this post. I was under the impression that it was.

EDIT 2: Bah, I was totally wrong. They're not removing the Season 3 honor-bought gear (aka Vindicator's) after all. So, my new advice: don't buy a Belt, Neck, or Trinket until Season 4. Unless you want to. I'm writing this as someone who doesn't get a lot of time to PvP anyway (and quickly tires of it when I do), so I will definitely be waiting to replace my gear.


Pile of Death

on Friday, May 02, 2008

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Remember when I used to just post screenshots on this blog? Here's a throwback to olden days.

Here's a pile of kobolds I (and, um, that prot paladin) killed while we were clearing out our mine in AV. One thing I can't stand about AV is how people always forget about defending the mines after they've been captured. Eventually, some opposing rogue or feral drood will come along and capture it. I usually end up going back to recap it, but I really suck at killing rogues (and they excel it killing ME).
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I made it to lvl. 57 on my Paladin specced Protection. But lately, I haven't been playing her, because it's been hard to AOE grind in Winterspring, EPL, and Silithus.

So, I'm looking for some advice. I'll be heading for Outland as soon as I hit 58, so should I just stick it out? Is it easier to do Prot AOE grinding in Outland, or would it be much easier to respec to Retribution? I know it'll be easier, but will it be MUCH easier?

Here's a build I've been considering if I do go Ret.

The main reason I want to stick with Prot is so I can tank well. But then again, I haven't been doing much of that lately. Maybe I just talked myself into switching already...


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With the help of the new Fishing daily quest (which added some much-needed fun to the profession) I hit 375 in all of my secondary skills last week. That's right, I even have Cooking maxed (which is easy to do, especially when you're fishing a lot).

Of course, I DON'T have my weapon skills maxed yet. I've been using almost nothing but a dagger since I hit Outland, and since I'm Elemental, I don't even use THAT very often. Usually just to deliver Flametongue for the last 5% of a creature's health, so I don't waste mana. In fact, my 2-handed Axes and Maces skills are only at 1 right now. I felt a need to train those talents, even though I've never used them. Hey, it was only 20 silver.
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Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3Tier 4Tier 5

Well, I suppose it's probably time for me to do this again, eh? I'll also have to go back and update a couple of the talents I've already reviewed, because Blizzard changed some. Thanks a lot, Blizz. :)


  • Storm Reach
  • Increases the range of your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells by 3/6 yards.

    Not essential, but it's pretty nice to have. It's always a good idea to have as much space between you and your enemy when you're a caster. In this case, it increases the range of your lightning spells from 30 yards to 36 yards.

    In PvP, this lets you Chain Lightning a group of Alliance scum from far away without being close enough for many other range-based abilities. Of course, hunters will still be able to hit you from a gazillion yards away, but that's unavoidable.

    In dungeons, it lets you stand out of range of a lot of boss abilities. For example, Murmur's Sonic Boom ability has a range of 34 yards. And if you're soloing, that extra 6 yards will usually give you time to launch one more lightning bolt before the mob starts wailing on you.

  • Elemental Fury
  • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Searing, Magma, and Fire Nova Totems and your Fire, Frost, and Nature spells by 100%.

    Essential. Get it get it get it. It's only one point, and it doubles your spell crit damage. If you didn't know by now, Elemental shamans are VERY crit-focused. Get it. Essential.

  • Unrelenting Storm
  • Regenerate mana equal to 2/4/6/8/10% of your Intellect every 5 sec, even while casting.

    This used to be much more useful (back when BC was released) than it is now, because a few important changes have been made to help our mana regeneration.

    1. Mana Spring Totem has been increased from 30mp5 to 50mp5.
    2. Elemental Focus now procs on crits, and helps us with sustained casting much more.
    3. Water Shield gives more mana back when it procs, and also gives us a flat 50mp5 while it's on.
    4. Lightning Bolt & Chain Lightning now cost us less mana to cast, as well as Water Shield and Lightning Shield.
    5. Better itemization, and numerous other improvements.

    So, mana regeneration isn't nearly as much of a problem for us as it once was. When BC first came out, I would have said that you should definitely take this talent. But now, it's not that great. 400 Int will only get you 40mp5.

    If you're doing a lot of raiding, with a lot of long fights, it's a pretty decent talent to have. But if you're not raiding, you probably shouldn't bother unless you have to stick more points somewhere to go deeper in the tree.


  • Improved Weapon Totems
  • Increases the melee attack power bonus of your Windfury Totem by 15/30% and increases the damage caused by your Flametongue Totem by 6/12%.

    This talent will not help YOU in any way. You use Windfury Weapon and Flametongue Weapon, not the totem equivalents, because the totems are weaker. But, they affect your group.

    I recommend getting this talent if you're a dungeoneer, raider, or if you're on an Arena team with a couple other meleers. It can help your tank generate more aggro, and your warriors, rogues and paladins do more damage. Unfortunately, weapon totems don't work on droods or hunter pets (unless it's been changed recently), though it may work on some warlock pets. As I've said before, my knowledge of Enhancement is far less than my knowledge of the other trees.

  • Spirit Weapons
  • Gives a chance to parry enemy melee attacks and reduces the threat generated by your melee attacks by 30%.

    Parry gives you a flat 5% chance to avoid attacks, in case you were wondering.

    This is a GREAT talent, and it only costs ONE talent point. Everyone should get it. The end.

  • Elemental Weapons
  • Increases the damage caused by your Rockbiter Weapon by 7/14/20%, your Windfury Weapon effect by 13/27/40% and increases the damage caused by your Flametongue Weapon and Frostbrand Weapon by 5/10/15%.

    This is another essential talent for the Enhancement shaman. It's kinda like Improved Weapon Totems, except that it affects YOU, and only you. This does nothing more than increase your damage output. Which is awesome. Get it, unless you don't WANT to do more damage. But you do, don't you? Awww yea.


  • Healing Way
  • Your Healing Wave spells have a 33/66/100% chance to increase the effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells on that target by 6% for 15 sec. This effect will stack up to 3 times.

    This is a pretty powerful spell that helps you a ton for single-target healing. It'll increase the effectiveness of your Healing Wave spell by 15% after a few casts (which can be quickly stacked by casting Rank 1 of HW). And since it affects all HW spells cast on the target, it'll help the other resto shamans in your raid.

    Oh...I said raid. Yes, this spell is most useful to raiders and dungeoneers. If you're in a solid, organized guild, you should make sure that at least one resto shaman in your raid has this talent. Not everyone needs to have it.

    It's less useful in PvP, because you'll probably be using Chain Heal most of the time, which isn't affected by Healing Way. Or, you'll be spamming heals on multiple targets. But it can be useful in PvP too. And if you're doing Arenas, it's probably very helpful, as long as you don't get insta-killed for being a healer.

  • Nature's Swiftness
  • When activated, your next Nature spell with a casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell.

    This is your "oh shit" button. Use it to give you or your ally an instant heal. Helps you a lot when you get jumped by a rogue, mobbed by mobs, and can help prevent wipes.

    It's also very useful to the Elemental shaman who doesn't want to get Totem of Wrath (and I'll cover that later). It works on Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning, so you can get some pretty decent burst damage. And, you can macro it up with Elemental Mastery, trinkets, Berserking, Bloodlust, and whatever else you want, to get a very powerful instant crit.

    It also works on Ghost Wolf.

  • Focused Mind
  • Reduces the duration of any Silence or Interrupt effects used against the Shaman by 10/20/30%. This effect does not stack with other similar effects.

    Not to be confused with the shadow priest talent of the same name (and same icon).

    It seems to be mostly a PvP talent, useful for surviving rogues, mages and shadow priests with silence effects, and of course shamans with Earth Shock. Doesn't affect fears, disorients, or movement-impairing effects. Can also be handy in PvE for getting back to healing quicker than the other healing classes when silenced.

    Not an essential talent, but it can be useful.

Well, that wraps up this installment. I'll try to get the others done faster next time. Which should be easy, because next time I only have 5 talents to review. Then 7, then 4, then 3, then I'm done until WLK.