Archive for the ‘Icecrown Citadel’ Category

What’s the first thing you’d do after a five-month hiatus?

I headed out for a test drive. After picking up the Black Bruise and Keleseth’s Seducer in April, a new job and new time constraints meant I had no more time for raiding, and I decided to take a break.

When I logged in last night and checked the character pane, I saw the icons and remembered: Hey, I’ve got a pair of bad-ass fist weapons here!

Some old-school friends were starting up a late 10-man ICC run, and we ran a quick six-boss gauntlet. Here are the numbers:

Gear Score: 5784

DPS: 9772.3

Buffs: Improved Might, Kings, MotW (scroll), Fish Feast, Intellect, no flask.

For half the raid, it was an alt run, so the context may be a bit skewed. The 9777 DPS was good for second on the meter, behind a very solid Elemental Shaman friend who has a heroic weapon and the four-piece set bonus.

Which I still don’t have. But, hey, Cataclysm might be here in less than two months, so what’s the worry?

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In this week’s Totem Talk, Rich Malloy points out using Shock and Awe’s priority system as a guide for our DPS rotation “is a net DPS loss for experienced Enhancement players.”

I’ll take it one step further and point out it’s a net loss for everybody.

Shaman priority system

Windfury: The ultimate priority.

We’ve had quite a few posts on this subject, and I’ve repeated it like a mantra — there is no DPS rotation. While the guys over at Elitist Jerks take math to the extremes (bless their hearts) and tweak on down to the fraction level, it’s been established since early in the expansion that the beautiful new synergy between melee and casting gave us a unique system that couldn’t be simplified in terms of macros or “rotations.”

Simply put, you can’t be lazy when playing this spec, and macros are only going to hurt your DPS contribution to your raid. While that’s fine for heroics and older tiers, DPS spots for current tiers are almost always competitive, especially at the 10-man level. In a 25-man there are always a few spots for people to get “carried” through content…but do you really want to be that guy?

For my own set-up, I use Shock-and-Awe for one thing: to flash a small bar bright red and give me an audio cue when Maelstrom Weapon reaches five stacks.

That’s really all the help I need for rotation-specific, real time information. I stick to the standard priority system otherwise, and DBM takes care of my other split-second information needs. Everything else is purely cosmetic, and my personal preference has always been a clean UI — I find clutter only increases my chances of missing something critical and letting the raid down.

If Enhancement players were the type of people who are bothered by having to do extra work, we wouldn’t have rolled Shamans. After all, easy as it is to forget, it wasn’t until a few months ago that we had to set up each individual totem on every pull. Hunters, Warlocks and Mages don’t have to do that, and they can open up as soon as the threat numbers look favorable.

Maybe we’re spoiled by the revamped totem system. Or maybe — and this is my suspicion — the awesomeness of the Enhancement spec in Wrath has lured in players who might otherwise have specced Elemental or Resto, or rolled a different class altogether.

But I try to look at it this way — the more control over DPS abilities we have, the bigger the upside if we work hard. And that’s a wonderful problem to have.

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman rotations

What’s up with Stormstrike?

After a nearly six-month hiatus from the game, it’s back to Northrend — to finish out the storyline, to see the expansion through and to relive the Old World one last time before the much-anticipated sundering throws everything in upheaval.

And while we’ve still got a lot to discuss before the new expansion drops — the Ruby Sanctum, ICC heroic modes and other great content — now seems like a good time to discuss how Cataclysm will change the class and spec we all love.

Stay tuned for a fresh round of commentary, interviews and discussion on the end of Wrath and the beginning of the Cataclysm.

Last night I picked up the Frost Giant’s Cleaver from the Gunship Battle in 10-man Icecrown.

The raid was significant for a couple reasons, most especially because it was my guild’s first real progression night in many weeks, since we had cleared the first wing of Icecrown Citadel and it was our first foray into the upper reaches of Icecrown.

Our raid had been delayed for the better part of an hour, so after three attempts at Festergut — 86%, 48% and ~ 30% — we called it for the night, with plans to go back sometime during the weekend. Festergut, like Deathbringer Saurfang, is an easy fight for melee DPS, requiring almost no movement. With its short enrage timer and stand-still mechanics, from a melee perspective it’s similar to the Patchwerk fight and can serve as a good benchmark for actual DPS numbers. I plan to revisit the fight in an upcoming post, with more detail from a melee DPS perspective.

Although it’s near-impossible to look at Trade Chat on my server without seeing at least one rep farming group forming, the only Ashen Verdict rep I’ve gotten has been from actual runs, ie. going in to kill bosses. As such, I ended the night a few hundred rep shy of upgrading my ring, but all-in-all a good night.

But, yeah, the weapon: I’ve historically had terrible luck getting weapons to drop — Kel’thuzad never did drop Calamity’s Grasp for me, Anub never dropped his sweet iLevel 245 weapons, and Ulduar’s hard-mode encounters didn’t yield any weapons for me until the Masticator dropped — AFTER I had already gotten the iLevel 232 versions of Anub’s weapons. In fact, my bad luck stretches all the way back to TBC, when Najentus refused to drop the much-coveted Rising Tide.

Frost Giant's Cleaver

Frost Giant's Cleaver - Image courtesy MMO Champion

So going from an iLevel 232 mainhand weapon — the Frostblade Hatchet — to the iLevel 251 Frost Giant’s Cleaver might not be the biggest leap, but for me it’s a major DPS upgrade, with noticeable gains once I’d gotten it enchanted — mid-raid — with Berserking. That makes me a very happy Shaman.

Coming soon, we’ll have some more detailed posts on Icecrown’s second wing, and the encounters from a melee perspective. In the meantime, check out some other Stormstrike goodness:

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

MMO-Champion’s most recent post is packed with Icecrown news, including some major lore-changing spoilers. Don’t click the link if you don’t want to know how things end.  Tucked in to the bottom of the post, however, is this sweet new video of Invincible, the Lich King’s mount — which has a very small chance to drop for players.

There have been other videos floating around, but this one gives a nice view of the mount from all angles and in different locations, including the Icecrown zone and Stormwind. There are clear views of Invincible’s lift-off animation, as well as its unique flying animations, which show the horse beating its wings as its legs hang below in a motion that’s distinctly different from how they move on the ground.

In the past, we’ve seen some mount blunders, with rare or expensive mounts missing animations or looking decidedly awkward when they land. But with Invincible, the design, detail and animation are all befitting a mount that will most likely be extremely rare and sought-after:

19: Runs of the heroic instances where the Battered Hilt drops.

152: Number of boss encounters during those 19 runs.

3: Times the 2.6-speed, ArP-featuring abomination to Enhancement Shamans, Nighttime, has dropped.

25: Random players I’ve grouped with.

0: Battered Hilts I’ve seen so far.

Despite the holiday season, and a serious lack of will to raid — nevermind a serious lack of regular raiders — my guild is now 4/4 in Icecrown Citadel. We can all kick back with some eggnog with the satisfaction of knowing we’ll be ready when the next wing opens.

In the meantime, blogging has been light here at Stormstrike. You humble Tauren correspondent has relatives in his house, presents to wrap (we are procrastinators up in Thunder Bluff) and familial obligations to attend to.

But I leave you with this. Here’s to hoping you all get what you want for Christmas, whether it’s a Battered Hilt, a Frost Giant’s Cleaver, or a Frostmourne Replica (you nerds!). Merry Christmas!

FRAGILE -- Must be Italian.