Monday, May 18, 2009

The end of Ret Blogging? or the end of Ret?

Drunkenclod, have you been drinking again?....

Sure, but not right now, at this moment I'm quite sober and have noticed a sobering trend going on. THE DEATH OF RET.

No, I don't mean Blizz is eliminating the Ret class, nor do I think everyone's going to stop playing as a Ret pally and switch to a DK (or other class) alt. But I've been having this feeling of...well... apathy towards my Ret Pally ever since this latest patch went live; actually it's even more twards WOW in general, but since Ret is my default spec I think it's causing my happy feelings of Ret to vanish. The sense of "Fun" is going away. Turns out it's not just me. Other Rets are feeling the same way (I bet other classes are as well, but I'm sticking to RET for now).

Let's see what's changed in patch 3.1 for me. Perhaps the best thing to do is to compare what I WAS doing in 3.0 and what I AM doing in 3.1

- Before 3.1 I was grinding out dailies on a regular basis, and enjoying it. My stash of gold had dwindled to a couple thousand and I needed to get it back up. I also needed Holar Rep for a shoulder enchant, AND farming plenty of ore for AH sales. After 3.1 it seems less important. I'm back in the 6-7k gold range, with nothing realy to buy. Added rep isn't going to get me anything besides an achievement point, and I swear there's only so many times I can joust an opponent in the Argent daily before I just get tired of mashing the same 3 buttons, in the same pattern, against the same opponent, in the same circle... well you get my drift.... Gold Dailies have lost their "luster".

PvE - Before 3.1 I was going raid and heroic content like mad (for me anyway) traditionally I wan't a fan of raiding, but in patch 3.0 the best gear came from 25 man, and excellent gear from 10 man, even a few 5's if I saved the badges. I ran everything from 5 man heroics to 25 man OS and even pugged Naxx a couple times. I looked forward to a nice 25 man OS group each week and VOA. (VOA will be addressed later as part of Wintergrasp)... After 3.1 it didn't make much sense to bother with 5 or (outside of Uldar) 10 mans at all. I mean the gear is so poor compared to Uldar or high level Arena that unless you've just hit 80 your gear is better already. Even old 25 man content gear is "average" for the veteran player but nothing to look forward to.

That leaves me to try and pug Uldar, which I havn't evn tried considering how hard folks say it is, and my PvP guild sure doesn't run it.... Leaving me no real gear upgrade outside of VOA and Arena... so let's look at those.

Wintergrasp/VOA - Before 3.1, ah wintergrasp was excellent. Sometimes laggy but overall playable. Sweet daily honor and enough turnaround to make it interesting. Also it was pretty easy to pick up a pug for 10 and 25 man after victory... And that pug would down the boss 80-90% of the time after the 1st month or so.... After 3.1 Wintergrasp gameplay was similar enough, but VOA bit the big one. Harder to get PUGs together. And when you did a large argument ensued on whether to do both bosses - just 1 - which one to do 1st and of course the people that left in disgust when the 2nd boss didn't go down, leaving you to wait and find replacements. I've HEARD this is somewhat better so after a couple weeks of leaving VOA alone I'm going to give it another shot. Wintergrasp remains one of the last interesting things going on. I hope the former glory days will come again. Not sure if the fact the honor goes back to weekly from daily will cause another round of fail though.....

Arena - Before patch 3.1 the season itself was very frustrating to play, BUT it was easy enough to get more then enough arena points. In fact I could outfit both specs in a couple months and still have left over points. The only problem was that the gear was sub-par. After 3.1 New season, new gear, and it's GOOD gear. But it takes a long time to get the gear. More honor is needed for each piece and (for most people including me) I'm getting around the same number of arena points....... Add to that the problem of any PvPer not having an upgrade path for a weapon... and the fact that you get the same # of points for a team rating of 150 as you do for 1,500 it just doesn't give you as much incentive to do a ton of arena. For the average player 10 games a week is as good as 50, especially in 3's and 5's.

BG's - Before patch 3.1 well overall OK with SOTA replacing AV as the main place to go for honor, a lot of grinding but the gear upgrades were huge. After patch 3.1 BG's the same but better queuing and improved AV again... another uber long grind for gear but this time it's more of an incremental gear upgrade rather then seeing a huge stat boost from crafted blue gear.

Playstyle -
Here's the deal, a Ret Pally is all about DPS. In PvE DPS it's fairly similar before an after the patch. Gear and talents provide some improvement but other classes have similar improvements so compared to others our DPS numbers on the raid charts haven't moved much. In PvP we received nerf after nerf.. no exorcism, less burst, bubble dispellable by warriors and priests, and of course (for many) Armor upgrades with no Weapon Upgrade. This means life is harder for RET in PvP... In fact blizz thinks the playstle is so "broken" their giving it a new overhaul once again... we'll see what this does for Ret but I'm not holding my breath; I expect either it's great but they wind up nerfing it so severely it sucks again... or their attempts to make it more "interesting" will realy just make it "harder"

So is it just me? Am I jaded? I don't think so.... look at the blogs I link to. There's 7 Ret Pally Blogs and they used to be updated multiple times per week, some every day. None of them except for Eye for an Eye have been updated recently... and what does E4E post? That he's not doing as much in WOW and is going to stop blogging regularly.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finally a 3's team - but no one to play against.

Hey folks,

So I got what appears to be a solid 3's team going last night. I've played with both people before and we all get along well. The leader of the group is an excellent player; however this is an alt character for him.

I'm thrilled to join what could be a regular 3's team.... The only problem? I think we're going plateau in the 1600s; this is much lower then our team would have peaked in other seasons. What's the problem? No One is Playing 3's.

What do you mean Drunk? Well let's take a look at the armory. We ended the night with a 705 rating. That put our team on page 3 of 11... and 950th place.

Wow 3rd page out of 11, and in the top 1,000 already? Seems kind of high doesn't it. Well it turns out that by the time you get to page 7 all the teams are inactive.

So how many active teams are there in my battlegroup? Well if you count active as more then zero games then roughly 2,200. If you count active teams as more then 10 games we're closer to 1500.

Now I know it's early in the season, but plenty of folks have reached or surpassed the 1500 mark in 2v2.

Teams over 1500 in my battlegroup 2v2 = 1275
Teams over 1500 in my battlegroup 3v3 = 339
Teams over 1500 on my server 3v3 = 13

Now here's where I could start talking about how I'm PRO, my teams LEET and we'll PWN everyone for Gladiator in 3's.... Instead I'll be more realistic and say that if we get past 1500 this week we'll be one of the top 10 threes teams on my server

That my friends is a sad story for arena, and shows that Blizzard needs to encourage more participation in arenas. Do you need more proof? Would you like me to answer what place I would be in with a just over 1500 team in 5v5?

Currently a 1513 rating in 5's will give me:
  • 1st place on my server
  • 22nd in my battlegroup.
Linky linky

Monday, May 11, 2009

40k honor weekend

Actually 42,956....but who's counting :).... Lets face it, with Season 6 there's hours upon hours of grinding honor ahead of us. The Deadly offset runs over 256,000 honor. Heaven help you if you need to gear 2 specs!

So Friday night I log in and no arena partner hounding me to play 2's.. So I get on the honor grind and boy am I in for a pleasant surprise.

First let's get to what's NOT a surprise.... Wingergrasp. If for some strange, freaky, insane, reason you're not running this once per day you're throwing away a solid 5k honor for about 20 minutes of play. If you do no other grinding of honor you should get in a raid, and do the 3 daily quests associated with this battle. BOOM 5k minimum honor,

NOW, let's get to my very pleasant surprise!.............. Alterec Valley! (shh not so loud) After abandoning this BG for months, literally trying it out only a handful of times in WOTLK with absolutely horrid results, I had given this BG up for dead.

I mean truly terrible results, I'm talking 5 alliance to 40 horde at the start. People joking about ever winning again and the horde getting crazy achievements while farming AV for 1200 honor in about 10 minutes, while the poor alliance get killed a dozen times and end with about 50 honor. It was so bad I opened up a ticket with Blizzard asking them to fix the huge start disparity (They assured me there was no problem)

Well this weekend was AV weekend and I thought I'd give it another try. Blizz clearly fixed something in patch 3.1

  • Que time = Instantaneous, or 1 minute at most, usually within 5 seconds.
  • Average BG time = 10-12 minutes. Both teams just zerged all day. That's 5-6 battles per hour
  • Average honor for loss = 1,000
  • Average honor for win = 1,500
  • Average win % = 70
This was like a dream come true, sure a few battles were 20-30 minutes but VERY few. and more wins then losses. Here I am raking 6-8k per hour on average. WOW. My only regret is that I couldn't spend more time doing AV. My time these days is limited and I took some of it to arena. I'd say I did about 5 hours of AV total over the 2 days.

So did I get anything nice for myself with all that honor? Sure did. Now that deadly trinkets don't have a rating requirement I scooped up the Battlemaster's Conviction to replace my faithful Battlemaster's Determination. BAM +190 AP (actually +110 over my old one) plus an instant 3,385 heal YES PLEASE

Here's a couple screenshots of my weekend.... as always CLICK for a large view.

#1) I logged inside wintergrasp, horde controlled. Here's me killing the two horde inside and planting my awesome flag of ownership in one of their rotting bodies.

#2) Here's one of the better WG's I out healed everyone by a crazy amount. Just under 2k honor for that win, although it was one of the longer lasting games.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Arena gear - Cost and Time breakdown

Hi Folks,

I've been a bit busy at work (you know the thing that keeps a roof over my head until my blog is bought out by Blizz for millions :) But now that the 2nd week of Season 6 and many players are starting to eye their first piece of arena gear.

I've put together a chart showing all of the gear cost, complete with honor points, rating and arena points. Click the chart to see it in full size

Depending on a variety of things last season your gear is probably a mish-mash of Saronite - Deadly gear so I'm not going to go into detail on what to upgrade first, that's going to depend on how good/bad your current gear is and how high you expect your arena rating to hit this season.

I will say this - with deadly offset gear requiring no rating, and Deadly core sets rating ranging from between 1250 - 1500, I wouldn't waste time on hateful gear if at all possible. Go straight to deadly and furious offsets.

Don't know how you're going to do this season? Look at your rating last season and assume you'll be right around the same. That should help you figure out if you're going for the Furious Bracers at 1400 PR, or sticking with Deadly.

What about cost? This is where it gets ugly in my mind, especially if you're gearing for two talent trees (Holy and Ret in my case) With Blizzards new rule that any team rated under 1500 will earn points as if they were at 1500 here's the minim you will earn each week, even if your rating is at 1, or 100, or 1,000

2v2 = 261
3v3 = 303
5v5 = 344

Worst case scenario (and most likely for many people) is that you only have a 2v2 team and it's under 1500. That means you'll be waiting between 2-3 weeks to get enough arena points for the core deadly gear, or about 3 months for the full core set. 6 months to deck out both specs.

Furious is even crazier. Even if you get to the 1700's for some of the main pieces it's about 4 weeks per piece (assuming a 1750 2's rating gives you 519 points, and a core item runs over 2k AP)

So, the lesson here? Don't burn yourself out, you'll be playing the whole season to gear out. No mad rushes for gear like S5. Blizz has slowed the progression of acquiring top level gear both in PvE and PvP. Not a bad thing in my opinion but a change of pace from what we've seen in WOTLK.