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Stars and Dragons

2010/07/31

Starcraft 2 has been consuming a lot of my playtime recently. RTS games were my first real gaming love, and this one sets a new standard. The single player is everything I ever wanted from a game, amazing. Multiplayer is great, especially playing in teams is fun. I’m enjoying myself too much to do a lot of WoW stuff now.
However I did manage to jump in a raid yesterday and down Halion on my first night of trying. Really nice fight, and cool to heal. Then I did my first few attempts on the Lich King. That fight is really cool. We did not reach phase 3, but it was nice to see that last boss of ICC for a bit.
Anyway, back to SC2 it is.

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Holy Power Toys For Retribution

2010/07/27

Since Holy Power has been announced a lot of excitement has surrounded Paladins in the Cataclysm Beta. The spec that currently has the most going on with Holy Power is certainly Retribution. That is where you can currently find most of the Holy Power consuming abilities, and it has the most interaction with the new resource.

Gaining Holy Power

Crusader Strike is our main Holy Power generator, giving us a Holy Power charge each time we use it. It becomes available at level one for all specs, so we can start generating power straight away. If we get talents to bring down the cooldown to three seconds, as Ghostcrawler said we will be alternating between Crusader Strike and one other ability every time. Building up three Holy Power will be very quick, so we get easy access to our strong new attacks.

Divine Purpose is a talent that Read more…

Armor Specialization

2010/07/23

The latest Cataclysm beta build includes Armor Specializations for all classes. This means that when you wear a full suit of the highest armor class you can wear you get a 5% bonus to your primary stat. For Paladins this means wearing only plate. Ret will get a 5% Strength bonus, Holy 5% Intellect. Yummy, free Intellect.

This means it is very unlikely to be a good idea to equip one non-plate piece. Maybe if you have a number of better mail, leather, or cloth pieces, it is still an improvement, but it needs to offset a large amount of Intellect or Strength now.

Besides the free stats, the main advantage of this Read more…

PvP Gear: Resilience

2010/07/22

One of the things you notice when you just start in PvP is that you die very easily. Ever wonder why a heroics boss has 900.000 hp? Because three guys hitting you with fireballs hurts. This can be quite frustrating for a new PvP player. Luckily there is an answer: resilience. Resilience does a number of things, but in general it reduces the damage you take when fighting other players. So the fireballs will hurt less, hopefully enough for you to run up to the mage and smash him with a mace.

The protection that resilience provides comes in four flavours: Read more…

Choices in Cataclysm trees

2010/07/21
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One of the stated design goals for Cataclysm is to give players more choice. I have seen posts on forums claiming that the 31 point talent trees present us with less choice, something extensively commented on by Ghostcrawler. While we may have fewer talent points to spend in fewer talents altogether, this means we have less options, which is not the same as having less choice.

Options versus choices

In the current trees there are simply bad talents. Sure, you can choose these, but doing so is a bad thing. Since you generally do not want bad things, this is not really a choice, just the illusion of choice. You have the option of picking them, but you should not. There is something to be said for filtering out good players by their talent spec, but on the other hand, the skills involved with this are not so much playing WoW, as using spreadsheets and reading forums. I can understand why Blizzard wants to move away from this. Read more…

Holy Power

2010/07/19

The biggest news of the Twitter Dev Chat this weekend was definitely the revealing of the new Paladin resource/mechanic: Holy Power. Now some people have already commented on the lame name, as well as on what it does, so you should check out Blessing of Kings, Suicidal Zebra, or Righteous Defense. To recap, Holy Power is a combination of Combo Points (we build up three points with Crusader Strike or Holy Shock) and Runic Power (it stays on us independent on our target). We can use up all points on a special ability, or to buff abilities we have now. The list of Holy Power abilities is:

An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory
A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition
A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict
Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power
Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power

The most interesting for Holy is Word of Glory. Since mana is supposed to matter a lot in Cataclysm, a free heal is really nice. Also it is instant, meaning it keeps us mobile and arrives at a target fast. We will probably be trading off small Words of Glory when we need to spread the love, while saving up for a big one for heavier healing. This is assuming Word of Glory does indeed scale with Holy Power built up, but this is most likely. Holy does not seem to get much from the other abilities, so I am hoping we get something else from Holy Power actually.

For Retribution there are some more opportunities there. Do you use Inquisition to buff damage, use the increased damage from Divine Storm, or use this beauty:

Templar’s Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all applications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:
1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
3 Holy Power: 225% Weapon Damage

It will be interesting to see how this all makes the priority queue more interesting. I am expecting a Ret Pally to want to keep up Inquisition, make use of the increased Divine Storm damage whenever possible, and finish off with Templar’s Verdict only when the Inquisition buff is not about to fall off. This would seem to be the way in which all the abilities are relevant.

All in all this sure freshens Paladins up in Cataclysm, giving us some new toys to play with. There was more in the Developer Chat, that I plan to comment on soon, but Holy Power sure was the coolest thing.

Quel’Delar

2010/07/17
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At one point during WotLK I spent some time saving up money. I thought it would be nice to sit on some gold, for when I wanted to start leveling another character, or get epic flying for one of my toons. But for a while that money just seemed to be sitting there. Thinking about the potential weapon upgrades for my Holy gear, and the little time I spend raiding nowadays I figured I should go for Quel’Delar. I had the gold, and didn’t feel like trying my luck in the dungeons, figuring if one did drop, I could just sell it and recoup the cost anyway.

Now if you are looking for a new weapon outside of raiding and have the gold lying around, I can really recommend dropping the gold for a Battered Hilt. The reason: the quest line. It is quite amazing, and definitely one of my favourites so far. One of the coolest aspects (and this might be a bit of a spoiler) is that you get to go to the Sunwell, which was previously only accessible as part of the last raid of BC. Since I barely managed to get to 70 before WotLK was released this was a lot of fun for me. Other than there is the fun laundry business in Dalaran.

The most awkward bit of the questline is the part where you have to go into Halls of Reflection, without actually doing the instance. I felt a bit bad about forcing a whole group to go through the motions just for my sword, while it is a tad hard to do it alone without just the right setup. Even though you can use Uther as a tank, as a melee class I found I was not able to do enough damage to get credit for the kill, while staying out of the whirlwind. In the end I asked a guildy to tank it for me while healing him, and it was a breeze.

The sword itself looks quite nice and has good stats as a healer sword. I have not really looked into it as a dps sword, but the stats seem to be ok for that as well.

Just make sure you do not pay too much for it: watch your auction house for a while to see the price range for a hilt. That, or just get lucky with a drop.