Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time to Retire Tirion Fordring?

Let's be honest here, there are few more prominant mortal characters in Warcraft right now than Tirion Fordring. He's gone from a retired former Paladin who lost his family and watched as his son was corrupted and killed to the dude who's risen above the strife between the races and is taking the fight to Arthas. He's honourable, impartial and even-handed to a fault. Over the course of the Expansion he's brought diverse races and classes into the ranks of the Argent Crusade and succeeded in quelling much of the antagonism between the major factions. It's likely were it not for Garrosh Hellscream, Fordring would be able to forge a cease-fire between Thrall and Varian Wrynn. He also currently wields the Ashbringer, a more badass weapon you're not likely to see, and urged the acceptance of Deathknights into the fold of the Alliance and Horde.

Fordring has become a rallying standard when the Horde and Alliance have a common enemy, and as such will continue to be an obstacle when the game seeks to foster conflict between the races as seen in Cataclysm. He would also be the first target for any enemy seeking greater dominance over Azeroth. The character is starting to play a more central role in end-game lore than any of the major faction leaders. In short, this guy has to go.

One Last Hurrah for Arthas?

With all that's happened over the past few (in-game) months the power and evil of the Lich King is getting lost in the shuffle. We know that he destroy our souls with one spell but even now he's too timid in reacting to our encroachments into Icecrown. He should be planning something special to negate the advantages Tirion brings to the Crusade. And the figure of the Lich King is powerful enough to warrant taking out some big names as we bring him down. Fordring, as a neutral, well-loved and big name character, is a prime candidate.

There are of course more than a few ways in which Arthas may blunt the effectiveness of Fordring. Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head.

  • Poison his steed, Mirador.
  • Defile the tomb of Uther Lightbringer.
  • Systematically turn a large number of his Crusade. He may be able to take them being killed, but corruption from within would tear the Crusade apart. Bartholemew, Tyrosus and the Crusaders at the Tourney are contenders.
  • Reveal his estranged wife Karandra as a member of the Cult of the Damned.
  • Raise his son Taelen as an Ghoul or even a Deathknight to lead the Undead vangard against the Argent Crusade.

  • Without a doubt, Arthas will be dispatched in 3.3 either through elimination or redemption. It also appears that he has put plans in motion to counter the Alliance and Horde specifically by the enforced turning of two of their champions. Surely, after going to so much trouble to draw out Fordring for battle he will target the main man again.

    Presupposing an encounter between Arthas and Tirion the Ashbringer and Frostmourne saga's should be concluded. In so doing the backstory detailing the origin of both Runeblades should finally be fully revealed, explaining if the Ashbringer was indeed forged from the spark of a Naaru and who crafted Frostmourne. Perhaps the confrontation between these two opposing elements would cause them both to be destroyed. It might even have been a plan of the Naaru; we know that they are adept at seeing the bigger picture and planning ahead.

    The Aftermath - Disbanding the Argent Crusade, Inspiring New Paladins

    With the death of Fordring and the supposed end of the Lich King's Undead threat the disparate groups which make up the Argent Crusade should slowly drift apart. Recall that the Crusade was conceived as a union of the Argent Dawn and the Order of the Silver Hand, the latter of which is an Alliance group that has set aside the issues around working with the Horde to combat a common foe. The Argent Dawn may well continue as a neutral faction in the future, but greatly diminished in power and influence.

    The memory of Fordring would serve as an inspiration for new Paladins that transcended boundaries of race, especially if supported by the major moderate figures of the Horde such as Thrall and Saurfang. If handled correctly this could inspire the Tauren to feel comfortable embracing the Light, just as they embrace nature now.

    Blood Knights and the Order of the Silver Hand could feature as two new major PvP factions in the Cataclysm world, both seeking to discover the origins of Light in the Titan Parthenon. Alternatively, the Order could be a neutral class faction similar to the Ebon Blade or Cenarion Circle, but I think divorcing it that far from the Alliance would be a mistake.

    Other Lore Potential: Garrosh, Daval Prestor and the Old Gods (Spoilers!)

    How has Garrosh changed from a whiny crybaby to the Warchief-in-Waiting? We could perhaps justify it in a retcon (otherwise known as OMG Comic!), but perhaps simply using the available tools would get the job done. Recall that what may appear to be a series of unconnected threats is essentially the fight for dominance of two overarching forces: the Titan Pantheon and Old Gods.

    As seen at Blizzcon, Horde fortifications are being reinforced with a curious black iron which should seem familiar: it's Saronite. There's only one source of the dangerous ore in the world and the mining of it leads to inevitable madness with prolonged exposure because of the whisperings of the Old Gods. Surely only a fool would expose themselves and others to their influence, and not even Garrosh would support such an action? However, perhaps Garrosh came into contact with Saronite very early and the Old Gods, sensing a weak and malleable mind, chose to corrupt him. This would certainly account for his fast change of outlook, aggression, and erratic temperament.

    The Dragon Aspect Deathwing will return in Cataclysm, and may reappear as Lord Daval Prestor. It was never made clear if his cover had been blown or if only Rhonin and Krasus know his true identity, but he was once an ally of the leader of Gilneas, Genn Greymane. Prestor may once again wield power and influence amongst the Alliance, continuing the plans of the Old Gods on Azeroth by sowing the seeds of conflict between the Alliance and Horde. The unmasking of Lord Prestor could in fact be a major event in WoW before the Deathwing raid instances are released, recapturing the epic feel of a similar quest now removed.

    With 3.3 likely due some time before the new year a protracted release date for Cataclysm seems unlikely. As Dylan once said, 'Time's, they are a'changing', and 4.0 will see the biggest upheaval in the games' history. I just hope that the lore surrounding the events is as compelling as it needs to be, and isn't all farmed out to the Comic Series.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Failures In Phasing.

    'Phasing Tech' was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King and allows players to observe changes in the world around them as they complete quest objectives. The system has increased the sense of immersion, letting everyone feel that their efforts in Azeroth are having a lasting impact on the game world. Currently only doodads, npc's and players are capable of 'phasing', but one of the features discussed in the Cataclysm preview panel was the concept of terrain phasing.

    Early attempts at phasing weren't as successful as had been hoped.

    Perhaps the best current example of the use of the use of phasing is the Deathknight starter area, where it is used extensively to show the taking of the area around Acheus from the Scarlet Crusade as a series of quests. Presumably terrain phasing would be used to show the environmental and geographic impact of the re-emergence of Deathwing into the physical plane.

    The 1-60 levelling experience and zones is set to be re-vamped, and phasing will no doublt be a big feature of the redesign given its' success in Wrath. Unfortunately this brings with it a couple of headaches: questing as a group and completing the most challenging quests where players are in different states of phase.

    Phased Group Questing

    If you've tried to do the 'Riders of Blood/Frost/Holy' phased quest chain in Icecrown you'll know that finding someone at the your place in the quest chain can be exceedingly difficult. If they're not at the correct phase not only can they not see the quest objectives, they also cannot even see other party members. In an ideal world you'd boost them to the correct point in the quest chain but because of phasing you can't help them out with the pre-reqs to hasten the process or overcome a difficult objective. By the same token players who have fully completed the quest chain cannot help you at any stage in the process. There's also an impact on levelling groups, due to the risk of being locked out of group activities if you did a bit of solo-questing when they were busy.

    Phasing large portions of the new Azerothian terrain implies that even larger areas of the world map will have multiple phases within which the interaction of players would be difficult. In theory releasing new lvl1-60 content should make the old world seem bustling and busy, but in reality heavy phasing could make it seem like a ghost world and prevent effective grouping.

    The End of the Sprawling Quest Chain

    Veteran players will perhaps recall how levelling in the Barrens or Darkshore zones tended to feature more travelling time than actual time completing the quest objectives. Lower Exp/Level and mounts at level 20 have served to ameliorate the problem but levelling in these two areas remain an annoyance compared to Wrath zones. Well, all is not lost, Blizzard stated that the lvl1-60 levelling experience won't feature nearly as much travelling time. This may or may not have an altruistic motive, but it is a direct consequence of terrain phasing.

    If you want to have quests a long way from your central hub you need to make allowances not only for the objectives' phase state, but also the phase state of the NPC's around the area and now the terrain as well, which is much harder to compensate for. For example, we know that in Cataclysm a shoreline (presumed to be in Darkshore) will be eroded over the course of a phased quest chain, and this prevents any objectives from being present in the eroded coastline unless intimately linked with the chain that phases the terrain. Currently the occurances of this sort of conflict are rare, I can only think of The Hunter and the Prince when Battle Before the Citadel is in your quest log, but the conflict is set to become commonplace.

    Inherently, phasing makes multi-zone quest chains harder to design, which is great for levelling but not so much for epic end-game quest chains sprawling across the game world.

    The Solutions

    There are a few ways to approach the dealing witht he problem. The easiest by far is the status quo: a great deal of the quest chains are solo content with the harder objectives consigned to instances (which can then be grouped as usual) or not not be phased at all. This means that although out-of-instance groups can be difficult to form the completion of tougher objectives can be done with the aid of an instance group, but it should probably be veered away from if you want to encourage the levelling of alts. Sons of Hodir and the pre-'Rider' Shadow Vault quest lines are a good example of this.

    The second, and perhaps more difficult to implement, would be a 'Join Phase' option in a party. In principle a player could be allowed to aid members of a group in a different phase of a quest chain, and the only way to do this would be to temporarily duplicate their phase information. Once the selected player has 'caught up' to a party member that member would then to continue to progress along the quest chain as normal. Obviously this is not a trivial change, but is quite handy because not only is it useful for completing those tough elite world quests, it also makes grouping up socially for a zone to work through some quests collaboratively a cinch. Small levelling groups wouldn't have to worry too much about a member having completed the odd quest or zone on their own and being locked out of participation in the group for long periods of time.

    There is the 'Starship Pegasus' risk upon changing terrain phase states, but this could be avoided by the use of safe locations for phase changes (non-phasing towns or any zone terrain which stays unchanged).

    Summary - Cool has it's Consequences

    I really like the phase style of quests seen in Wrath. It's a great addition to the game and finally makes it feel like your having an impact in the game world without that world having to be instanced. The risk of a world that appears dead even with hundreds of players in the zone will always be the danger of phasing, perhaps leading to the realisation that the tech should be used sparingly and more intelligently than it currently is. However the quests are designed, the ability for party members to link their phase state info should be included if you want to encourage 1-60 levelling.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    My Life Is Now Complete

    Just watching the Blizzcon dance contest. Saw a fat dude Riverdance. Awesome, even better than the guy doing MC Hammer in a shell suit.

    Jay Mohr, who's been hitting the pies, is on fire...

    Friday, August 21, 2009


    I feed this Venomhide Raptor Hatchling every morning, and supposedly she's trying to decide if i'm her mother. I just know that if she decides the wrong way she'll bite my face off whilst I sleep.

    And why won't Mor'vek answer my damn questions about matricide in Venomhide society? That bastard Troll just grins whenever I ask. And where did he get that Tauren horn from?

    Light! She's staring at me again!

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Task for the Weekend Yr 2: Find Blizzcon Information.

    Well, the year's come around again and Blizzcon is about to start. Last year I was wondering where I was going to get the tasty, tasty information as and when it occurred, and to a certain extent struck gold with Chrom's suggestion of Warcraft Radio for streaming and catch-up. Hopefully they'll be operating a similar service again.

    This year my brother and his GF have invested in the live stream (dey love dem murlocs) so I'll be popping 'round theirs' for an evening of food, films and announcements as they happen. However much of the meatiest stuff will be going on in the wee hours UK time, so yet again I'm looking for links to chats, live-blogging and twitter feeds of the event. No web address is to long, nor bandwidth requirement too wide. My purse can definitely be too small though... I'm a cheap git who needs his money ;).

    I'll throw any and all suggestions up in this post, so if you want to publicize what you're doing for Blizzcon that's fine too.

    If I can get my head round Twitter I may throw up a few 'tweets', live as it were. Don't get your hopes up though, it's still the work of the devil.

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    Milking Lore.

    Holy Cow, Lighthoof, DivineSteak... I think you guys can make up your own puns ;).

    Original Screenshot from Firelight's Ret Paladin Blog (mate, where have you gone?)


    Do Want! It'd be hilarious if legions of fans turned up to Blizzcon with these shirts.

    More Tauren Paladin images on google. I particularly like the Lawbringer-clad Tauren who looks set to burst into a rendition of 'Peanut Butter Jelly Time'.


    Moar Puns!

    Dairy Storm
    Cowstrader Strike
    Horseradish of the Righteous
    Sirloin of Command

    3.2.2 SoC Mechanic Clarification: No Proc From DS

    GC has just weighed in on the new functionality of SoC. As a reminder, this is the current wording of the SoC change in the PTR Patch Notes:

    Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack.

    Just now GC posted the following clarification:

    The idea was always that Seals were a choice. We have just iterated on them so much this patch that one of them kept coming up as the only real Seal. Hopefully this latest design will work out.

    If an attack procs a seal of command then that seal of command can chain onto up to two different targets.

    That is correct, with one clarification. It must be a single-target attack. If the attack is already multi-target like Divine Storm, then only the damage procs, not the cleave.

    Now that's a real downer. Okay, perhaps 12 Cleaving procs of SoC would have been too much, but now we'll never know. It's still your go-to trash/AoE Seal, but it still won't have the punch of DS's synergy with SoB. Ditto Hammer of the Righteous.

    As for "he idea was always that Seals were a choice", pull the other one GC, it's got bells on. Seals haven't been structured as a genuine choice for DPS since 1.0, and the 3.0 changes made any on the fly decisions regarding Seals near impossible due to the high mana cost. Place some more Dev time in all three of the DPS Seals, give them more flavour and differentiate them, if you want us to swallow that line.

    And how about a minor glyph to reduce the mana cost of swapping? Eh?

    P.S. Tauren Paladins Bitches!

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    PTR Patch 3.2.2 Paladin Notes; Poor, Poor Rogues.

    Well, that was quick. Nary a week into 3.2 and we have the first signs of the next mini-patch, 3.2.2. This of course is the Onyxia revamp and Prot/Holy PvP nerf patch patch, but there are quite a few things of interest. As usual MMO-Champ has the details, but here are the Paladin changes:

    Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.

    Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.

    Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.

    Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack.

    The devil will be in the detail of course, but my gut instinct is that this is a fairly significant reduction in PvE Tanking threat which I'm not sure was wholly necessary. That said, this should only rear it's ugly head in the highest end PvE raids or more accurately when DPS is way above the curve. An increase in cooldown of HoJ by 10 seconds seems pretty harsh as it once again reaffirms the Prot Paladin as last in the ability to deal with caster raid bosses, and no matter how useful it was in PvP this seems like a heavy price to pay.

    Will this kill the ProtHoly build choice for PvP healing? I'm not convinced to be perfectly honest but it certainly seems a lot less viable because it will no longer have any 'free' spellpower to compensate for Divine Plea's self-MS. However even with Touched by the Light taking a huge hit the myriad CC options and durability available to deep Prot may continue to make it a strong contender to those who can extract the most from their build. In any case, this is unlikely to make deep Holy that much more attractive to those PvP Healers who have shunned it in the past. The 34/0/37 build popular in Season 5 may well make another appearance in some form if the lack of Dispell protection can be worked around.

    Healing with Prot/Ret gear should still be a no-go. It's unlikely that a shallow 7k mana pool will have the mana resources necessary to keep up even with permanent Divine Plea, and it goes without saying that the use of Divine Plea would have to be more considered.

    The Seal of Command (now Seal of Cleave ;)) change is interesting. Very interesting. I'm not sure that the value in PvP is anything to shout about as any opposition team that chooses to clump together will probably be a walk-over anyway, but it definitely has very strong PvE applications in dealing with trash and add waves. One Divine Storm has the potential to deal up to 12 SoC hits in one cast, allowing Paladins to more than regain ground lost in 3.2 with the removal of Seal of Blood. SoC will not proc from multi-target melee attacks like DS and Hammer of the Righteous (see latest). Seal switching would still be required to make use of this though, and there is no indication that this has become a less expensive proposition (gogo SoC/SoV cost reduction minor glyph). SoC hasn't found its' niche quite yet and is still of limited value in PvP but it's good to see it get a little love.

    In other news, Rogues got smacked hard. Very hard. No more interrupting Fan of Knives, lower damage FoK and an internal cooldown on Honour Among Thieves. Would not like to be an official board CM in the morning.

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    Orphan Adoption: Wolvar or Gorloc?

    Children's Week Part Two is currently up on the servers, and features Matron Aria of Dalaran requests for help in keeping the orphan's under her care amused. This time you have a choice of companion, the Wolvar pup Kekek or Oracle hatchling Roo.

    I brought Kekek along for the ride, and he seemed suitably impressed with the majesty of the Dragon Queen and power of that notorious killer Hemit Nesingwary. I was also privileged to gain an insight into the future of the Wolvar and Kekek himself.

    Who will you adopt, even for a few hours? If you want to lend a helping hand don't forget, the Matron won't be around forever.

    European Accounts Unable to Log On to WoW Servers.

    Update: Things seem to be working fine now :).

    Loads of reports kicking around that European WoW game accounts which have been converted to game accounts cannot log in to the game since the servers were updated to Patch 3.2.

    So if you have a account and were worried that it was just you... don't worry, it's not. The forums are currently down so Blizzard can't relay info on whether they are aware of the problem and provide an ETA on the fix unfortunately. accounts can however log in to account management on the main WoW-Europe website if you want to check out your account status.

    Accounts which haven't been converted to accounts appear to be unaffected by this specific issue and can log in normally. As to the stability and playability on those realms... YMMV.

    I'll see if I can update this as and when more info is gleaned.

    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    Last Minute SoV Shin-kick.

    Wooohooo, don't you love changes going forward in the Live version that were never tested and largely unannounced. After a month of it working in the opposite manner, JoV will no longer proc Seal of Vengeance.

    From the official patch notes:



    Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Corruption: These seals have been redesigned. Only auto-attacks and Shield of the Righteous can place the debuff on the paladin’s current target(s). However, while the seal is active, each melee swing or ability (excluding judgements) that lands on the target will deal a percentage of weapon damage as Holy damage to the target. This damage maxes out at 33% weapon damage with 5 applications of the debuff and scales upward evenly based on how many applications of the debuff are active. This Holy damage deals double-damage critical strikes. In addition, the damage-over-time debuff is now considered a melee attack for the purposes of determining its chance to hit, miss, be dodged or parried.

    I've got no confirmation that this has yet made it into the Live build as yet (sorry guys, Europe gets the patch tonight and servers will be up sometime in September) but to be honest it's not an absolutely huge nerf (though I'd hardly call it insignificant). It can really be summed up in one phrase: 'JoV already hits like a truck and we really, really don't want you using it in PvP'.

    ADDED: Rasputin on EJ has just confirmed that SoV does not proc from JoV. Goodie.

    Embracing Your Inner Gnomish Army Knife: Ret Utility Talents in 3.2.

    Imagine the scenario: 3.2 has dropped... doesn't take much imagination, does it? Your talents have reset, and you just don't know what you should be speccing into. Well, I hope to take you through a few of the available options for a 3.2 PvE talent spec.

    The Retribution Base Spec.

    Retribution has always been both blessed and cursed with a really, really simple base build. Dump all your points in the DPS increasing talents and you've got 14 talent points to play with. Well, in 3.2 you'll be down to 9:

    3.2 PTR Ret Base Spec

    All that's changed is taking 5/5 in Seals of the Pure, which increases the DoT, Proc and Judgement damage of your Seal of Vengeance/Corruption. When SoV is firing on all cylinders the talent really is a quite considerable DPS increase, and also has the happy coincidence of also improving SoR to a generally better level than SoC. Until you hear differently, always take this talent in your PvE build.

    So, there are 9 Points to spend and two major routes to go down: Holy or Prot... putting all of your 9 spare in Ret isn't really necessary. So, what should you go for?

    Variant One: Lay On Hands and Aura Mastery (13/5/52 + 1)

    Buried away there in the patch notes is the change to Improved Lay on Hands. Rather than increase Armour by 25/50% for 15secs the talent now reduces physical damage taken by 20%. This is an improvement from 3.2 for all classes with less than 16700 (~Shaman + Shield) or greater than 36600 Armour. 3.2's Imp LoH is a maximum of 1.7% effective damage reduction worse than the 3.1 incarnation (at 33k unbuffed armour). The value of this talent is therefore lower than you would like as LoH is typically for tanks, but has some breathing room for Mail and lesser wearers in PvE vs adds.

    Aura Mastery hasn't had much impact in the PvE landscape, but the resistance to spell pushback and uninterruptability has been a lifesaver in many an Ulduar hard-mode. The temp boost to Resistance Auras isn't nearly as useful as I'd hoped it would be, but overall it's well worth grabbing if you traverse down the tree that far.

    This build would leave 1 spare point to place into any talent of your choice which strikes me as a very expensive investment, mainly because the 5 of the 8 points are pretty much worthless. The build is somewhat less than ideal considering that most of the remaining utility talents in range are 2pt talents.

    Variant Two: Divine Sacrifice (5/11/52 + 3)

    In the past I've been grossly unfair to this skill. My initial criticism still stands: an AoE damage redirection skill is too dangerous with the amount of damage thrown out in many encounters, and in other encounters the damage redirected would be too trivial to matter. However, I've moderated my opinion slightly in one particular set of circumstances: when the talent is used in conjunction with Divine Shield.

    One of the quirks of damage redirection such as DiSac and HoSac is that they do not bypass the immunity provided by Divine Shield. Hence, if you DiSac just after DS damage is still redirected but not inflicted; there is no risk of insta-gibbing.

    In 3.1, Divine Sacrifice whilst under the effects of Divine Shield was pretty much uncapped, leading to the term 'Raid-wall' being coined to describe DS's 30% raid-wide damage reduction for 10 seconds at the cost of 2 GCD's and a 5 min cooldown. Theorycrafters don't have a solid understanding of why this happens; it has been by turns ascribed to server timing issues, bizarre interaction with immunities or the buff continuing to redirect damage from all raid members until one has redirected an amount totaling 150% of the Paladins health, at which time the effect fades from all raid members. That it's buggy is the only firm conclusions which can be made

    Unfortunately, this talent continues to be buggy and opportunities to test it have been few and far between. The best intelligence so far is that it's even more buggy, and may last the full 10 seconds or may break early. If the skill hasn't been changed then it is far and away the best raid-wide mitigation talent in the game, but if the damage redirected is properly capped even under the effects of DS its' value is significantly diminished. I'll repost on Divine Sacrifice as/when I know more, but given how good it's been in 3.1 it seems churlish not to give it a go in 3.2.

    Update: Barrelroll in comments states that it is fully capped at 150% of the Paladin's Health, meaning that its been nerfed hard and probably isn't raid viable. Better to use DS and HoSanc as a single-target shield wall when absolutely necessary and spend the points elsewhere.

    Taking DSac leaves 3 talent points spare, 4 if you only take 1pt in Pursuit of Justice (not recommended!).

    Variant 3: Other Utility

    Divine Guardian, a great talent investment and mainstay of 3.1, is no longer reachable in PvE builds. The improvement to Flash of Light and higher Ret GCD use makes this a double-blow. On the other hand Vindication is now a viable PvE talent, so at least there's still something to invest in.

    Depending on the build you choose somewhere between nine and one talent points are left over, and your options are a little sparse between.

    Improved Blessing of Might - +62.5AP per point, max 2 points.
    Vindication - -287AP per point, max 2 points. Now works on Boss Mobs.
    Divinity - Increase healing done to you by 5% and healing you do by 5%.
    Guardian's Favor - Reduces HoF and HoP cooldowns by 8 and 120 seconds respectively.
    Divine Purpose - HoF generates a stun break.

    Vindication should probably be your first investment choice for your remaining talent points. It doesn't stack with Demoralizing Roar/Shout, but its' effect is as strong as the fully improved version of these two abilities. As it procs from Divine Storm the -AP proc can be distributed amongst multiple enemies in situations where more than one target is in melee range. It also doesn't require a GCD to refresh, and that's quite important for Ret's GCD-heavy rotation. Protections Paladins will probably take this ability, so consider it if you are rolling with Druid, Warrior or Deathknight tanks.

    Imp. BoM is Imp. BoM, the spell hasn't changed and still rocks your raid. Holy Paladins seeking the improved mana efficiencies of a Ret build will probably pick it up though, and even a Tankadin may well have at least 1 point in it. This should be second place in priority after Vindication.

    Divinity isn't as strong in 3.2 with the nerf to JoLight's healing power. It makes reasonably useful filler for getting down to Divine Sacrifice or for left-over points, but otherwise it's not really powerful enough to warrant the points.

    Divine Purpose and Guardian's Favour are both exceptionally dependent on the encounter mechanic. At times they may be extremely useful, in other circumstances the abilities that they affect may not even be hotkeyed. Shouldn't normally be a part of your PvE build.

    Paladins interested purely in doing DPS should have rolled a rogue and happy to pass up raid mitigation talents in Prot and Holy could choose the following build (or some variant): I'm a Fighter, Not a Lover build.


    So, there are your options.

    Monday, August 03, 2009

    On The Shopping List Of Most Ret Paladin's This Summer...

    I don't mean the Argent Changer (for 100 Champion Seals).

    Nor Tier 9, that set of dubious fashion.

    It's the Libram of Valiance:

    This effect has a proc chance of close to 100% and an internal cooldown of roughly 45 seconds, leading to an average up-time of 33%. So long as this remains the case the Proc is worth around 169 AP /w Kings, which compares favorably with the Furious Gladiator's Libram of Fortitude (144 AP with 100% uptime). Predicting the 200Str proc and chaining cooldowns in order to gain the most benefit from this buff will tend to stretch its' lead over last Seasons' PvP Libram.

    PvPers will still want the Furious Gladiator's Libram due to SoV's lack of PvP viability, and can look forward to an upgrade in Season 7. Incidentally, the Season 7 Libram is worth slightly more than Valiance at 172 AP. However it is budgeted at 6 ilvl's higher, so this disparity seems very reasonable.

    The Libram of Valiance can be bought for 25 Emblems of Triumph from your friendly Triumph Emblem vendor. Emblems of Triumph are dropped in the 10-man and 25-man Crusaders Coliseum raid instances (both normal and heroic), or may be obtained as a reward for the Heroic Daily Quest. Unless you are already rocking the Furious Gladiator's Libram this probably represents the canniest investment you can make with your first Triumph Emblems, especially as it doesn't drop from any boss.


    In the current live build (as of 13th August) the Libram of Valiance has an uptime of 95%, equating to a passive 190 Strength. Frankly this is all sorts of overbudget in a single item slot and should be toned down pretty soon, probably via hotfix. Until then though, go mad.

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    New Blog Design, First Draft.

    Okay, I've had a thrash about in Blogger and finished a rough draft of a new blog template for this site. I've popped it on a test blog rather than risk screwing up this one, for obvious reasons, which can be found here:

    My Testbed Blog

    Screenshot of the layout:

    Obviously it's a work in progress, a few of my own conclusions so far are:

    1) The banner is at least too tall, probably too big all around.
    2) The predominantly grey-scale colour scheme is a little flat, I could do with adding some more colour just to liven things up.
    3) Widgets, widgets, widgets. I not sure there's anything I need to add, but there may be a few things I want to. Maybe couple of mini armory links or the like.
    4) The Linkbar really isn't working well with this design. Perhaps drop it?

    So, what do you think at this stage. Any and all comments and suggestions are welcome :).

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