Thursday, July 31, 2008

S4 - Week 6: Amazing week, different team (sort of)

Hey folks, Week 6 is here and instead of playing my usual 2's Kelf and I joined up with a rouge I've been playing with a lot during my off days. Kyllia. I wanted to write about my 2's matches with Kyllia, but despite being quite fun, the rating (and dificulty getting there) has been on par with Kelf and I, perhaps a little worse.

SO.. ON TO LAST NIGHT. All 3 of us join Kyllia's abandoned 3's team and que up. The starting rating for the team is 1403, so I expect some easy wins, but with a new team you never know. We started out like this:

It was incredible, win after friggin' win! I had never had so many wins in a row. Of course the first 8 or so were needed just to get us up to 1500, after that I expected stiffer competition and shortly after I got it. 12th Game we met up against Mage/Mage/healer (A priest I think) and were handed our first loss.

We downed the healer but then took to long figuring out which mage to get on, but Kelf went down. I got the 1st mage right after, but then died myself, leaving Kyllia vs the last mage. It was close both were down under 30% but we lost.

Fortunatly the loss was more due to our lack of focus, not because the team was better. We met up with them again that night and beat them :)

We did go up against one team Rogue/Rogue/Priest who beat us twice in a row. This was the only team we faced that night that I felt we were "outclassed" everything else felt very duable. End of the night 20-5, 1601 rating!

Kelf was finally able to pick up his chestpiece and Kyllia got a S4 thrown weapon. Some truely excellent work by everyone that night. There were three things I noticed that I watned to share though.... I'm not sure how this will affect us going forward.

#1) We got a lot of teams multiple times, some as many as 3 or 4. This was great because we could farm them, but in higher rankings I wonder if this could reverse on us. We played late on Wednesday night, so perhaps this was just due to the time slot.

#2) The vast majority of our losses so far seemed either timing issues, or mess ups on our part. This bodes well for us making 1700 or higher, but only more games under our belt will show if this was an especially lucky night or not.

#3) Many teams gave us less then 15 points, meaning that we were paired against lower ranked teams. I'm not going to read into this too much, as a staring rating of 1403 and late time slot made the parings a little odd. But I'm keeping an eye out on how many points we win in the future.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

S4 - Week 5: Stagflation

I have to pause for a quick sidebar to say I switched 2's teams
last week for a while (more on that in a later post)
and then joined Kelf again last night. Which means
my personal rating reset to 1500, but that doesn't
affect the matchups or overall point allocation as
I was within 150 points of the team rating

Stagflation is where inflation goes up and while your economy stays soft. Kelf and I played last night and it felt similar. We were getting as little as 12 points for a win and as much as -18 for a loss.

The matches started out strong. First two matches were pretty easy wins, a good feeling. But then the 3rd match came up. I didn't see Kelf inside, and I got the "disconnect" tone on Vent. A few seconds later I hear Kelf come back, he got disconnected from the Game. Hoping back in, he didn't see the que and the match was starting 2 vs 1. Kelf and I started talking about what would happen if I quit before the match started, but that converstation happened a little too late and I went in solo. I held my own against a priest/rouge for a couple minutes but there was no doubt the match was theirs. Tally was now 2-1

We take a 2nd loss to a priest/warlock team, then a win, then another loss. Score is now 3-2, but our rating is sitting around 1549?!? WTF? The problem was that we were loosing more points then gaining each match. We keep on trucking and eventually make it up around 1579. Kelf was eager to see 1600 and we keep on going. But a couple back-to-back losses take us back down.

We eventually stopped at 7 - 6, with our score only going up by 9 points. At the time I thought we had actually lost 2 points overal, but looking at last weeks posting I see we gained a little... precious little for 15 matches.

Friday, July 18, 2008

WOTLK Paladin Talent info released

Hey folks, Blizz has released the talents for the new WOW expansion. A lot of new stuff out there, and with months before the release some changes are gauranteed. Here's a link to the talent tree and what I think will be a viable arena spec.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hitting my gear limit.

As you know, if you've been reading my weekly arena posts, I briefly hit 1600 a couple of days ago before dropping back to 1557. I took that shining window of opportunity and bought my chest piece. That leaves me with 4 possible items to parenthases you'll see the % chance that I think I'll be able to reach that person rating with my current team

S4 Ring - 1,650 rating - (70%)
S4 Boots - 1,700 rating - (25%)
S4 Helm - 1,700 rating - (25%)
S3 Weapon - 1,800 rating - (1%)

As you can see, I'm running out of arena items to buy, and even more to the point I'm hitting a wall, where even if I have the points, I may not have the rating to get the last few items. What am I going to do then? I'm a few weeks away from having to answer that question, so I'll put it on hold for now.

I have been looking at upgrading my last piece of blue gear....That's right, my secret shame, I have one last blue item that I head into battle with every week. My old trusty Libram of Zeal I got this because it was realativly easy to obtain by myself. Most Librams require PvE content runs and I just don't do a lot of that. The 60 badge grind for Dory's embrace took forever.

After a little research, my new Libram will be Libram of Divine Judgement which seems to have around a 40-50% proc rate. This new Libram should help me in two ways:

#1) I should average an extra 80-100 AP over the course of a match. Considering that upgrading EVERYTHING from S3 to S4 gives +43 Strength (minus shoulders and weapon, which upgrade from S1 to S2) This is like doubling the Strength given from a complete season upgrade.

#2) I might hit Seal of Crusader a couple times during an arena match, but Seal of Command is BY FAR my most common seal. So a lot more use out of this.

Of course that means it's back to doing some specific daily quests, and grinding heroic SP. Fortunatly I had a couple badges left from my cloak purchase, combind with the chance for daily's to drop badges I could (theoretically) complete the nessisary badges with 3 heroic daily runs.... Considering how hard it is to find a pug group, I'll shoot for getting this some time in August.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

S4 - Week 4: Up the down staircase

So week 4 is upon us and Kelf and I met up late (even for us) last night. A start time of 10:30pm server time. I was a little concerned that as late as it was, we'd have only better (harder) teams to play against. Now as a reminder we started the week at 1551, which meant we needed a solid 4 wins to get to 1600, the next benchmark for gear.

On the plus side I had warmed up with a couple skirmish matches before we started AND had picked up my new legs right before the match. On the minus side I was going without much sleep and had to brew some 9pm coffee to keep me fresh, if a little tweaky.

So, first match comes up we win pretty easy. Que up again right away, this time we pull a Warrior/Druid combo (our first of many that night). These guys were terribad. Not much resilience and the warrior totally ignored me, leaving me to down the druid pretty quick. we IMMEDIATLY que up again, hoping to pull the same team. We're in luck and 2 minutes later the score is 3-0

I'm starting to think the evening is going pretty well and I take a quick look at the rating. It's higher then I thought 1591.... Now I'm a little nervous. A win would get us over 1,600 a loss and we're back down into the 1,570's.

We pull out of the gate and it's not the same team. Shaman and (if I remember right) a rouge. "Shammy" I say to Kelf and proceed to go at it.... This team wasn't going down without a fight. Quite a bit of Pillar humping, dumping of totems and of course the Shaman running away in wolf form. However after a slighty prolonged game we beat them!! 1,606 BABY / 4-0!! I'm extatic and tell Kelf to go get his gear. I'm picking up mine before we get into another match. I can't believe how well this week is going. Perhaps we need to que up at 10:30pm all the time :)

WHOA COWBOY. Kelf tell me he's short on points, by around 300. If we maintain this rating thru 10 games he can pick up the chest piece next week, but for now he has to pass. "That sucks" I tell him. He say's he'll drool over it another week. I go ahead and pick up my new chest but can't use it just yet.. need to get it gemmed and enchanted first.

The way the night is going, I'm having visions of 1650 but it was not to be. The break in queing was not good for us.

Next team up was a Shadow Priest and Shaman. UGH.... a couple times Kelf managed some last minute heals to keep us alive and managed to get that Priest down to 3%... but couldn't seal the deal. Our first loss of the night 4-1. The next match against another druid/warrior brought us our 2nd loss. Then a series of losses after that. Suddenly our 4-0 turned into a 4-5 and our 1606 rating had slipped to 1542.

I get a (probably well deserved) few words from Kelf about my inability to stay in his healing range. And how my chasing around the opponent left me vounerable AND out of range a handful of times over the last few matches.... Something I need to work on. But that's for another post.

So our last match ques up. Warrior/Druid combo again. These guys are good.... and annoying! The druid is humping that pillar like it was the 1st woman he's seen in 20 years. The warrior starts up on me, but after about 5 minutes of this, he switches over to Kelf, leaving me and the druid to go at it.

I swear this Druid is on auto-pilot. Spamming the same few heals once he gets a little ways aroudn the pillar, and switching to bear form whenever his health gets below 50% (or when he feels the need to hump that pillar again).

I'm doing all the right things, but this druid is as well. And he's regening mana like crazy. Meanwhile Kelf is down to a couple thousand mana as the warrior keeps beating on him, but he's able to do amazing things with little mana and has no problems keeping himself healed. Meanwhile the match is DRAAGING on.

I'd say about 10 minutes into the match, I get the potential for my 1st break. Up to now, I wasn't doing a ton of damage, his resilence combined with bear from was keeping my hits around 600-800 damage. But I had finished drinking up a little while ago and had set myself up.
- 2 Stuns available
- Full mana
- Avenging Wrath ready to pop
- Holy Vengance stacked x5

So, when the druid switched to humanoid form I put repentance on him, then poped my wings, and started wailing away. 2nd stun off and more damage. With the wings on I was getting thru the resilience a bit and getting crits in the 1,000 - 1,500 range. The druid's health slipped to under 20% for the first time ever. Just as importantly his mana was starting to get low.... I figured if I could repeat this cycle every 3 minutes I could eventually wear him down.

A couple repeats later I could see it was taking a toll. The druid was getting eager to run away for a bit and suddenly the guy stops humping the pillar and starts running all around the Arena. We briefly switch to the warrior at one point and get him down to 10%, but the druid runs back in time and heals the guy.

Back to chasing the druid....a few more cycles and finaly I get the druid. With no healer, the warrior goes down shortly after. What a friggin' long match! Seemed like it was for ever, but at least 20 minutes, probably closer to half an hour.

Kelf was done, I was too..... 1557 final score. 5-5 and 6 points higher then we started.

P.S. - I'd like to mention that during this match both Kelf and I had to break away to drink multiple times. I was especially vounerable to this, and probably sat to drink about 5 times during the match. The opponents lack of getting on me when drinking (or in the case of the druid) sitting down to drink himself while I got away was what eventually did the team in.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

S4 - Week 3: One step forward, two steps back.

So we met up on our usual Tuesday night and said 1600 or bust. Guess what? It was a bust. Here's how it went down.

First match against a druid/warrior combo. More often then not, we have this combo down. This time however, they were doing all the right things, warrior was stunning me keeping me from stacking Holy Vengance on they guy (this is the most mana efficent way of getting a druid down.. if you can stack it x5) and also allowing the Seal of Justice to expire once in a while, letting the druid run away.

The match started running long. 5 minutes into it my newborn started crying. 10 minutes into it I had to hold her and play at the same time.... now I'm not saying this caused the loss, but it didn't help. 15 minutes into the match we both went OOM and died.... I took a 10 minute break to put the baby down.

Back we go, and soon it's 0-3, then 1-5 and soon after 2-7. Although the scoreboard doesn't reflect it, most of the matches were very close with two of them leaving only Kelf and 1 opposing teamember to slug it out. But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss. We win the last match and end up around 1513....The night's not over though. We keep slugging along and a few close matches later we're at 3-9.. the rating has tanked to around 1491. OUCH

At this point I'm filled with a grim resolve.
I've seen this happen last season but I know we're WAAY better then a sub 1500 team. I start cueing us up and we start hammering away. This next team is Hunter/Hunter, we pick one and down him in a few seconds. Then we tear the other one a new asshole. Que up again and another win, followed by another. We're on a roll but it's late, even for us. Perhaps 11:20pm or so. We wind up going 7-9 and ending at 1551.

I give my "way to get out of the toilet" congratulations and we log for the night.

On one hand, disapointing. We were two wins away from 1600 at the begining of the night, now we're about 4. On the plus side, we were able to salvage the rating somewhat and walk away with some dignity.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Season 4 - Week 2

Hey folks, technically it's week 3 today , but I'm writing about my matches last night.. we played late as my 2's partner was out of town.

So I got on around 9:40pm... We ended week 1 at 1559 and I told Kelf that we're going 1575 or bust. That's the rating we needed to get our S4 bracers. 16 points doesn't sound hard, but considering loosing the 1st match can put you at -30 or more, it sure can be.

We start out a little rocky... we usualy do, but I hate seeing the rating tank. 3 games into it, we're 1-2 and another loss to a Lock/Rouge combo puts us at 1-3. Now, we saw this combo about 3 more times that night. After the 1st loss due to switching targets from the lock to rouge, we kept solid focus on the Lock and (while the matches wern't easy) didn't loose to that combo again.

9 matches in and we're 4-5..... A hard evening. Last match we win (I think a lock/rouge again) and we're 5-5 with 1563 rating. 4 measily points higher then when we started, but we got our 10.

Of course, I said 1575 or bust, and Kelf was game, so we kept going. Of course we fought a few priest/xxx combo's during these matches and while we no longer fear an automatic loss against a priest on the team, I'd probably bet against myself..... Mana burn is a BITCH when both members are so mana dependent.

So it was with a sinking feeling that at 7-7 and once again at 1563 and we get a shaman/priest combo. This is not a combo we were hoping to go against. If we win this match we get our bracers... loose and we're 30 points away again. We try to keep the shaman busy, but we HAVE to kill the priest first..... The shaman seems to be elemental, so he's thowing a good deal of damage, but Kelf is bravely healing thru it.

The priest isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knows enough to start thowing in mana burns with increasing frequency. The priest see's that he can outheal my damage and both opponent's start going after Kelf.... "I'm running out of mana" comes they cry from my headphones. Here I make a fateful decision....

I'm taking plenty of DOT (Damage over time) thanks to the priest. My bubble is available, which will dispel everything and leave me alive longer. However so is my Avenging Wrath. Using this would cancel my bubble ability but substantially increase my DPS.

Since my opponents are focused on my partner, and I'm behind the priest, I go ahead an pop Avenging Wrath.. the wings come out and CRIT 2,200, CRIT 2,000... The prest goes well under 20%.... I spam concecration for some periodic damage and finish the priest off before he can heal. We then finish off the Shaman at a more leasurly pace.

+13 points... 1576 rating! WHEW!

We call it a night. That felt good, real good. We earned those bracers last night.