Transmogrification! The pros and the cons

Blizzard are feeling either a bit threatened or extremely inventive, to judge from the onslaught of announcements yesterday. Void storage! Loads of dungeons! No more threat! Deathwing’s Butt-Crack!

(Well, OK, his back. We iz raidin on it, apparently.)

And, of course, Trans… Mogrifi… CATION! Yes, Blizzard have gotten their RP on, and will now be allowing us to change the appearance of items to look like entirely different items, opening up a world of possibility for RP gear, low-level instance runs, and high profits on Black Mageweave Leggings.

And you know what a big announcement like this means – yes, that’s right – a list post!

So, in the “OMG AWESUM DRESSES!” camp (which, I should stress, firmly includes me), we have:

  • The Big Bear Butt himself is very, very, very excited: “Well, kiss the clown suit goodbye, my friends, and say hello to a whole new game of planning your special outfit and then going out there and GETTING IT.”
  • Matthew McCurley at WoW Insider thinks this marks the end of a major theory in WoW design: “With transmogrification signaling the end of the silhouette era, could this possibly mean that with the next expansion, potentially concerning oft-rumored Pandaria, that we could see the inclusion of WoW’s first bi-factional race? “
  • Typhoon Andrew is excited that this change allows us to have “signature” looks like our favourite fantasy heroes: “There are npcs in WoW that are known by their weapons, characters in films and books (etc) that are linked to the weapons they wield and the equipment they carry. Indy’s whip & gun from the Indiana Jones films, Elric’s sword from the novels, all sorts of Final Fantasy memes.”

And on Ian Hislop’s team – no, wait – in the “Erm, yes, but aren’t there some problems?” camp we have:

  • Blessing of Kings is concerned that this change will stagnate the game: “I guarantee that the vast majority of paladins will be wearing T2 Judgement from now until the end of time. Judgement is awesome. But its time has come and gone. New tier sets will just not be as exciting as before when everyone wears the best of the old ones.”
  • Big Bear Butt then heard that, for some idiotic reason, we won’t be able to transmogrify to legendaries: “How completely frakkin’ stupid! If the whole point is that you have to possess the item in your own inventory, then why in the hell would you NOT want to be able to display that you have a legendary? Why?”
  • And Marks 365 likes the idea a lot, but is concerned about having to collect all that gear all over again: “The problem? I no longer have any of my Tier 4, 5, 7, 8, or 9 sitting around. Did I have it at one point? Absolutely. Does this mean I’m going to have to go back and farm it again? While it might be fun to do for one or two sets, I don’t want to have to run ToC again. Ever.”

Are you looking forward to TransMo with unbridled joy and a closet full of old armour? Will you be starting up old-content raids to get the cool stuff? Do you think there are problems? Or do you think that there’s a problem most people haven’t spotted with the idea?

Quotes taken directly from their respective posts.

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Patch 4.3 Unholy Death Knight (DK) Quick-Start Guide: stats, spec and talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, and rotation

Ah, Unholy. After a brief and unpleasant interval at the bottom of the tree in 4.1, it’s going from strength to strength as it heads into Patch 4.3, and the Fight with Deathwing’s Appendages. So, get your stats, specs, glyphs, gems, reforging priorities, rotation and all that other stuff sorted out right here, and let’s get on to the slaying.

Updated Nov 29th 2011 for Patch 4.3

Unholy Death Knight changes in Patch 4.3

Unholy only has a few changes, but they’re good ones. Unholy Might now offers 25% additional Strength, up from 20%. In addition, all DK pets now properly inherit Crit and Spell Penetration stats from their master, and Unholy’s gargoyle will now always use its ranged attack, which will make it more effective. Finally, we’re the beneficiaries of the global 4.3 melee DPS buff, giving us an extra 10% attack power.

Unholy set bonuses in T13 are strong, but don’t significantly change gearing or rotation once achieved.

Rotation / Priorities

Unholy DKs, like most DPS classes in Cataclysm, do not have a “rotation” as such. Instead, they work on a priority system – use the most important abilities whenever possible before less important ones.

Single-Target

Top Priority: Diseases and Dark Transformation. Apply or reapply diseases as first priority, preferably using Outbreak, and use Dark Transformation whenever it’s available.

Second Priority: Death and Decay or Scourge Strike if Death Runes are available. Use DnD even on single-target fights. Use Scourge Strike if DnD is on cooldown.

Third Priority: Death Coil IF Sudden Doom is up or Festering Strike. Only use Festering Strike here if it will extend your diseases.

Fourth Priority: Death and Decay or Scourge Strike. This is your bread-and-butter.

AOE

For standard dungeon packs, you still want to use the single-target rotation above. Only use the AOE rotation here for LARGE packs of mobs. Switch to Frost Presence when using this.

Follow the same priorities as for Single Target – however, ignore Festering Strike, and use Pestilence to spread your diseases.

Other abilities

For the love of Pete, remember that you can use Raise Ally to combat-res! Other abilities to bear in mind are Icebound Fortitude (to not die), Death Strike (to not die) and your various interrupts.

As far as your damage cooldowns go, Empower Rune Weapon, Gargoyle, and Unholy Frenzy should be used together, ideally. Army Of The Dead is best used on a pull or a phase transition – and be SURE that your ghouls won’t taunt anything important before using it. Seriously. Or you will be very unpopular.

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Best Unholy DPS Spec

The unholy forces of Elitist Jerks and #Acherus on IRC align to agree that this build (Patch 4.3) is the best option.

At Tier 3, you’ll have to spend a point in one of two places – either Unholy Command or Desecration. Unless you have a specific need for mob slowing abilities, take Unholy Command.

There are also 3 points left at the end of the talent build that you can spend in a variety of places. Good options include:

  • Improved Blood Tap (Second Tier, Blood) – can be used to increase your DPS with more runes. Not always useful, but a handy option.
  • Runic Power Mastery (First Tier, Frost) – increases your maximum Runic Power. Useful, but less so than you might expect because you’ll usually be below 100. One point highly recommended.
  • Magic Suppression and/or Anti-Magic Zone (4th and 5th Tier, Unholy) – very useful survival talents with some DPS application. Anti-Magic Zone is very situational, Magic Suppression generally useful.

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Strength is by far your most important stat, followed by Hit to the Hit Cap (961 for anyone except Draenai, for whom it’s 841), then Haste, Crit, Mastery, Expertise to the Expertise cap of 26

Gems: Always choose a Bold Inferno Ruby unless a socket provides 20 or more Strength or 40 or more of another important stat. In the latter case, use either Fierce Ember Topaz or Etched Demonseye as appropriate.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit up to the hit cap. Then, reforge to Haste, or Crit if that’s not possible. Never reforge Haste to anything else, including Hit.

Buffs: Stay in Unholy Presence and use Rune of the Fallen Crusader. Keep Horn of Winter up whenever possible.

Enchants for Unholy

Remember to check if your profession offers better enhancement options for a slot!

Head Arcanum of the Wildhammer (Alliance) or Dragonmaw (Horde)
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Jagged Stone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Major Strength
Hands Enchant Gloves – Mighty Strength
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Dragonscale Leg Armor
Feet Enchant Boots – Haste or Precision if you’re not hit-capped
Weapon Rune of the Fallen Crusader

Glyphs for Unholy

Prime: Glyph of Death Coil, Glyph of Scourge Strike, Glyph of Raise Dead unless you want to focus on AOE damage, in which case replace the first two with Glyph of Icy Touch and Glyph of Death and Decay.

Major: Glyph of Anti-Magic Shell, Glyph of Blood Boil, Glyph of Pestilence.

Minor: Glyph of Blood Tap, Glyph of Death’s Embrace, Glyph of Path of Frost – all of these are actually useful!

  • Elitist Jerks – Unholy Guide – Unusually well-written and easy to follow for EJ, this is a superb guide. If you want more detail than this article has given you, go here. Updated for Patch 4.3 already!
  • Son Of A Lich – from the people who also write the EJ Death Knight guides, a superb site for all DKs.
  • #Archerus IRC channel on irc.coldfront.net – GREAT DK community.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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Patch 4.3 WoW Holy Priest Quick Start guide – stats, spec and talents, glyphs, gems, reforging, chakras, and healing spells

Ah, Holy Priests. The priestliess of priests. The WoW priest that feels like a priest. OK, I’m going to stop that now before a Disc player removes my face – but nonetheless, Holy priests are awesome. And if you want to know how to spec or what talents to pick as you head into Dragon Soul to play “count the tentacle” with Deathwing, here’s our Patch 4.3 Quick Start guide to what glyphs and gems you should use, how to reforge, stat weights, enchantments, and how to use your spells – read on.

Updated 29th Nov 2011 for Patch 4.3

Holy Priest changes in Patch 4.3

The new patch has a couple of very significant changes for Holy Priests. Firstly, they’ve redesigned Spirit of Redemption to – no, just kidding. But seriously, folks.

The biggest change is a major buff to Divine Hymn. The State of Mind talent has been removed, and replaced by “Heavenly Voice”, which boosts Divine Hymn’s healing and reduces its CD. That’s going to mean you’ll need to move some talent points into what becomes a must-have talent now, particularly given Divine Hymn also now affects 5 targets.

The other play-affecting change, aside from a couple of minor buffs to Guardian Spirit and Holy Word: Serenity, is that Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%. It’ll likely only be useful in 25-man content now.

Spell usage / Rotation

Healers don’t have a fixed rotation as such – apart from anything else, you’re only healing when someone takes damage! However, it is important to know how to use your spells.

First thing: Chakras. The Chakra state is one of the Holy Priest’s signature abilities, and can look pretty complicated – however, it’s actually very simple.

Holy Priests can work in one of 3 “states” – either single-target healing, AOE healing, or DPS.

To go into a chakra state, you first cast the Chakra spell, which “signals” that you want to change state. Then, you cast either a single-target heal, AOE heal, or damage spell to go into the appropriate state.

Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Binding Heal put you in Serenity, the single-target mode. Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending put you in Sanctuary, the AOE healing state. (Smite and Mind Spike put you in Chastise, the DPS state).

These state changes can’t occur more than once every 30 seconds – however, whilst you’re in each state, you’ll get a bonus to that type of healing, and your Holy Word spell alters to become a spell of that type – single-target, AOE or DPS.

Single-target healing

If you’re only healing one target most of the time, you’ll be in the Serenity chakra, putting up Renew to tick away merrily, then using Heal almost continuously to keep your target topped off without much mana cost.

If the target takes a lot of damage, you’ll use either Greater Heal, if you have time, Flash Heal, if it’s an emergency (but watch your mana pool!), or your Holy Word if it’s off cooldown.

If the group suddenly takes damage, pop Circle of Healing (your cooldown AOE heal) and use Prayer of Mending (which will heal your primary target when they next take damage) to pick up the single-target slack.

AOE/Group healing

First up, train your group to CLICK ON THE DAMN LIGHTWELL. *Lightwell *is the single most mana-efficient heal in the Holy Priest’s arsenal and delivers a powerful heal. You may want to use a macro or the RSA addon to announce when it goes down.

You’ll want to be in Chakra: Sanctuary when group healing, and put a Lightwell down somewhere accessible for the group. Your primary group heal is* Prayer of Healing* – use it liberally. Use Circle of Healing any time it’s off cooldown and is needed, in preference to Prayer of Healing. If the group’s taking damage irregularly, also use Prayer of Mending. Remember to use single-target heals too!

Don’t use Holy Word: Sanctuary unless you’re sure you need it – it’s very expensive. The best time to use it is 2-3 seconds before you know the group is about to take heavy damage – for example, from Electrocute on Nefarian.

Finally, if you need to move with the group and they need healing, use Holy Nova. If you just need to stabilise someone, Renew is also useful.

Cooldowns

Divine Hymn is a powerful AOE heal on a short (3 min) cooldown – use it on very heavy damage phases. For mana regen, use Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope – ideally, these should be used at the same time. Guardian Spirit is a powerful spell to save a single person – particularly if they’re about to take a damage spike you can’t heal. Oh, and remember Leap Of Faith, aka Life Grip, for those times when someone stands in what they shouldn’t have stood in!

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Holy Talent Spec

Batman. (Sorry)

The standard Holy talent spec looks a lot like this, and that spec will serve you well in raids or dungeons.

It leaves you with 2 points to spend where you will – a few good choices are:

  • Veiled Shadows at the top of the Shadow tree is a nice utility talent. It reduces your Fade cooldown – nice – but the key element is a reduction in your Shadowfiend cooldown, meaning more mana regen. Particularly useful early on with less mana available.
  • Darkness, also at the top of the Shadow tree, grants up to 3% Haste. Haste is probably the most valuable secondary stat for a Holy priest unless mana is a problem – once you aren’t running out of mana, highly recommended.
  • Rapid Renewal, in the third tier of the Holy tree, should be taken if you find yourself using HoTs a lot – another close-to-mandatory talent.
  • Surge of Light, in the second tier of Holy, is a good talent if you’re having mana problems.
  • Desperate Prayer is a great “Oh, S—t!” button, particularly if you tend to find yourself standing in the Bad a lot.

If in doubt, Darkness and Rapid Renewal are good choices. If you find you’re having mana problems, swap to Veiled Shadows and Surge of Light.

Stats, Reforging and Gems

Unlike DPS classes, there is no set best way to gear and reforge – instead, there are a few options, depending on what you most feel you need as a healer.

You care most about two stats: Intellect, which boosts your overall healing power, and Spirit, which controls your mana pool and mana regeneration. You should gem and enchant for these two stats.

Beyond this, you want enough Haste to get 12.5% haste, as shown on your character sheet, and Mastery is your next most useful stat, above Crit, which is close to useless for Holy priests.

Reforging: reforge everything to Spirit until you no longer worry about running out of mana in dungeons. Then, reforge to Haste until you have 12.5%, and after that, reforge to either Mastery for better mana efficiency through a lingering Heal Over Time or Haste to speed up your spells, as you prefer.

Holy Priest enchants

Several professions have “superior” enchants – use them if the stats are appropriate. Felfire Inscription on shoulders from Inscription, for example.

Head Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Hands Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery or Enchant Gloves – Haste – either / or
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Feet Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (the run speed is very useful)
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Heartsong or Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent – see below
Off-Hand Weapon Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect

Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent will tend to be superior for a mainhand enchant once you have mostly iLevel 378 gear and beyond. Below that Heartsong is probably better. See this post for more math on that.

Glyphs

  • Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Renew and Glyph of Prayer of Healing. For the third glyph, choose Glyph of Lightwell if you play with people who remember to click on it, or Glyph of Guardian Spirit otherwise.
  • Major Glyphs: Prayer of Mending and two others. Circle of Healing is potentially useful in 25-man, particularly if you don’t suffer mana problems. Dispel Magic is useful on Dispel-heavy fights. There’s no other must-have third Major glyph – use whatever you like. It won’t matter too much!
  • Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Levitate, and Glyph of Fading are good choices.

Sadly none of these guides are updated to Patch 4.3 yet.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we scour the blogosphere daily looking for the most interesting discussions and posts about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you, all in one place, right here. See what’s on the Pot today!

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WTB Epic Colorz!

Feature ideas for MMOs are ten a penny. But every so often a gem appears, from someone who’s either thought really hard about the genre as a whole or has just been struck by the inspiration fairy – and who wouldn’t want a close encounter with Kylie?

Ferrel of Epic Slant seems to have had a close encounter of the fey kind today, or else he’s Just That Good, because he’s requesting a feature that I’d not thought of for ages, but would substantially improve most MMOs – achievement-based appearances:

There should be some difference in appearance between the raider and soloist. Top PvP players should be easily recognizable if they choose to be. I’m not talking about a raw power increase here. I just want to look different. This exact concept was one of the reasons I was drawn to Warhammer Online prior to release. They promised players that as you leveled orcs would get bigger and have longer teef (Orc-ified). Dwarves would grow their beards. Elves would be more… elfish. You get the picture. The sad thing is that promise was not implemented. The idea is solid, however, and I really want someone to steal it.

WoW, in particular, already has a lot of achievement-based rewards, but nearly all of them are mount or title-based, these days. I still remember in Vanilla, though, when high-rank PvP sets were extremely recognisable – it was occasionally a bit of a thrill just to see someone in REALLY impressive shoulderpads, and suddenly realise “Hey, that guy’s the High Warlord!”

And it’s often lamented these days that most characters end up looking alike. So maybe, instead of a great skeletal dragon, top raiders should just get a Seriously Awesome Hat?

Everyone loves a hat.

What do you think? Yay or nay to awesome hats for top raiders?

_Quote taken directly from Ferrel’s post_

_You can find Ferrel’s Epic Slant homepage here_**

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What Do You Do About Other Players’ Weird Gear?

Hats off to Rades for proving that you can’t just assume a player knows his shizzle – or otherwise – by his gear choices. In his latest post Rades talks about a little trick he played on the WoW twitter community, asking them what they’d do if a raider turned up to their raid in PvP gear. He got various responses – I’ll let you guess them, or go read them over on his post.

What he didn’t tell them when he asked the question was that he was talking about himself. He’s currently running around killing internet dragons in PvE raids using PvP gear. Why? He says he’s done the maths (and later in his post he actually proves that) and that the PvP gear setup is the best one for his spec right now.

I would like to gently suggest that if you see an unusual equipment choice, don’t automatically assume that player is bad. Don’t assume you know more than them about their class.

Sometimes a Green is better than a Blue. Sometimes a Blue is better than a Purple. Sometimes PVP is better than PVE.

And sometimes other players actually do know what they’re doing.

But even more importantly – what’s with the hate? The condescension?

Rades gets into the thick of it in his post, warning us all to watch out for snubbing players like any ‘gearscore Gary’. He reminds us how often we saw that at the end of Wrath and how we all muttered darkly about it. Even so, there’s nothing preachy about Rades’ tone: all he’s saying is that if a player’s done the maths and reading behind their gear choices, their weird dress style just might be right for them.

What do you think – do you enjoy seeing weird gear choices or do you think WoW’s gear is too homogenized to make weird gear acceptable besides for one or two specs?

_You can find Rades’ post here

You can find Orcish Army Knife’s homepage here_

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Everything You Need To Know About Gearing for PvP in Cata

Evening all! Rebecca’s taking a couple of days off from the Pot to recover from the Cata-binge, and so for the next few days I’m at the helm. Bwaahahahaaha. Etc.

First up this evening, we’ve got a fantastically useful post from Cynwise. He’s basically gone through every source of PvP gear for all levels, for everyone from the hardcore Arena guy to, well, me, the man who’s only ever played 7 Arena fights and lost 6 of them. (I think the 7th group were all AFK).

One of the biggest shifts in the new gear model is that most PvP gear does not require PvP ratings to purchase. There is no longer a massive gear discrepancy between low and high rated players, as long as you can get the Conquest Points to purchase it, the top-tier gear is yours.

It sounds like, with the new expansion, now’s an excellent time for anyone, even the PvP newbie, to get a bit of pee vs pee combat in. And Cynwise’s guide makes the entire shenaigan sound accessible and understandable, rather than the frightening morass of arena ratings and hardcore requirements that I’d always assumed Wrath PvP was, from what I saw of it.

If you’ve got any thoughts of getting into arenas or battlegrounds, give the guide a look!

Are you planning to delve into PvP this expansion? Or staying clear and sticking to PvE?

_Quote taken directly from Cynwise’s post.

You can find_ Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual here.__

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Vixsin: Preparing for Cataclysm Dungeons and Heroics

So I’m guessing there’s a decent chance you’re getting your dungeon or heroic hat on at the moment. Given Cataclysm’s a brave new world of adventures, or at least of shiny lootses, a fair few of us are feeling a tad awkward about the whole dungeoneering thing. Well, Vixsin’s come to our rescue with a post on getting into dungeons and heroics.

Vixsin’s picked up that a lot of people are pondering what equipment they need in order to be ready for various types of group content. As a healer herself, Vixsin’s post is aimed mostly at healers but I’m guessing that everyone can get something out of it.

The good news is that a starter gear set is well within your reach, provided that you quested your way through the various Cataclysm zones. In fact, I was able to step into heroics immediately after hitting 85, with just a minor amount of work, no BOEs, and a couple very solid quest items.

She opens up with a list of her heroic-ready gear, showing how little of it she had to do anything but quest for. She also talks about which are the easiest heroics – a useful reference for everyone including healers wanting to test eeking out their mana bar.

A great post timed just right to help us not run around like headless chickens panicking about bridging the gap to heroics.

What about you – do you need any other information or opinions on heroics before you set foot in them?

_Quote taken directly from Vixsin’s post

You can find LifeInGroup5’s homepage here_

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