Why MMOs Shouldn’t Tell Stories

Ah, the story of our favourite MMO. That’s why we play, right? To learn what happens to our favourite heroes, villains, and…

Wait, what? No?

MMOs appear to have disappeared down a “story” rabbit-hole as of 2013. From the increasing linearity of much of WoW to Guild Wars 2’s “All Trahearne, all the time” plotline, game developers appear to be convinced that what we want is to play alongside a classic fantasy epic.

As you may have guessed by now, I’m not really of that opinion. And neither, it turns out, is Syl, who writes a fantastic piece at her new site, MMO Gypsy, pointing out just why the “big plot” push of the last few years just doesn’t seem satisfying to many people:

“I honestly think the constant demand for increased “story telling” in MMORPGs is mislead. The so-called fourth pillar of game design is overrated for this genre in particular, for should not the player drive the narrative rather than being driven by it? And it would be a good thing to remember how great stories are really created and why more and more story-driven quests and events in MMOs are in fact counter-productive to the immersive experience. Worlds are immersive when they engage us and make us partake – not listen to.

Great writing is the art of not saying things. It’s the skill of knowing which things to write and which to leave out. The greatest of authors understand that it won’t do to spell out all the details, secrets and twists about a story; this is not how interesting characters or plot are created. I believe typically most writers spend the first half of their journey learning to flesh out, formulate and construct interesting, complex plot-lines. After that, they spend the other half of the time removing information and un-saying too many words. I can confirm this for my own writing journey, that it’s a struggle of learning what not to say, rather than what to say and mustering that “courage for silence” which tangentially, is also a central theme in the education of teachers (which happens to be my professional background). Didactics 101 will teach you that for greatest learning effect, impact and longevity, your audience needs to make as many steps of the journey on their own as possible. They must try unearth and unravel the story (or learning subject) by themselves. The teacher should only ever be the prompter, the one asking questions and if required the fallback plan.”

Read the rest of Why Storytelling In MMORPGs Is Overrated

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How We Learned To Love WoW’s Changes

Happy New Year, one and all!

It’s safe to say that in the 8 years (!) I’ve been playing MMORPGs, we’ve seen a lot of changes – but the last few years may have seen the most dramatic, and controversial, changes of all, particularly for WoW.

From LF* to quest difficulty to the Daily Quest Revolution, the game’s changed almost beyond recognition.

And so, today we have four bloggers each looking at how the game’s changed, and how – and if – they’re coping with it:

  • Big Bear Butt thinks that the new mass of Daily Quests is massive paradigm shift we need to adjust to, not a small change“I think the core gameplay in World of Warcraft is now being built around daily quests, and if you’re still stuck thinking of dailies as something we will someday get past, good morning Mr Phelps it’s time for your 6:00 AM wakeup call.”
  • Tzufit offers a series of tips on how best to cope with LFR if it’s a part of the game you don’t love“I would say that I have been lucky to have relatively few bad experiences in LFR since this expansion was released, but I truly believe that it’s more than just luck.”
  • Redbeard explains how he managed to stop stressing about newer classes being hugely overpowered“Unless your toon is being picked on by the OP ones, is this really that much of a problem that it requires a Dev to get out the nerfbat? “
  • And The Grumpy Elf asks whether WoW in 2013 is a game any newbie would enjoy“The leveling speed is way too fast that it would never allow people to get in touch with the characters, to get a real feel for how they play. “

Talking of changes – the Melting Pot’s going through a couple too. I’ll write more about that next week!

What do you think? Has WoW changed beyond recognition?

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Running World Of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria under Linux / WINE: Fixing Agent.exe failed and other update errors

For Linux users, using WINE to upgrade World of Warcraft after the release of Mists of Pandaria has proven a bit tricky. If your update is crashing, you’re having problems with DNSAPI.DLL, or you’re hitting the dreaded ‘Agent.exe failed‘ message, don’t worry: here at MMO Melting Pot we’ve compiled a series of tweaks, fixes and solutions to get you up and running again.

Last updated: 26th September 2012 for Mists of Pandaria

If your installation isn’t playing ball, try the following steps, in order:

Step 1: Consider reinstalling from scratch

A fresh installation of WoW is often a good idea when a new expansion is released. If you have the time and the bandwidth, consider reinstalling World of Warcraft completely. By far the best way to do so is by using the online installer. You can download the installer from your Battle.net page. Then, just run wine World-of-Warcraft-Setup-enUS.exe (substituting the correct name of the installer if yours is different, obviously).

If you’d rather not go through the hassle of a complete reinstall, keep reading for a few tricks that might save your bacon (and your bandwidth).

Step 2: Rename your configuration folders

The chances are good that the configuration folders automatically created by the Blizzard downloader are not working correctly for your installation. Luckilly, if the download can’t find these files it will recreate them automatically. So, let’s deliberately remove these files, to force the downloader to recreate them.

Rather than permanently deleting the files, we’re going to just rename them – that way, we can always put them back later if we need to. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open a file browser (use Nautilus, or whatever file browser you normally use).
  2. Navigate to your Home directory (/home/<<your username>>/).
  3. Press ‘Ctrl+H‘, or choose ‘Show hidden files’ from the View menu. You’ll now be able to see all the ‘hidden’ files and hidden directories in your home directory – those are the files whose name starts with a period (.).

    • The directory you’re looking for is called .wine. Once you find it, double-click it to open it.
    • Navigate to ~/.wine/drive_c/users/Public/Application Data/.1 You’ll see a directory called Battle.net and a directory called Blizzard Entertainment. Don’t worry about any other directories – they’ve just been created by other programs you’ve run under WINE.

      • Rename Battle.net to Battle.net.Cataclysm. Rename Blizzard Entertainment to Blizzard Entertainment.Cataclysm.2 Don’t close the file browser just yet.

Step 3: Run Wow.exe and watch it crash

  1. Now open a Terminal, and run
    wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/Wow.exe.3 The WoW updater will open, start to download something, and then after a short while it will crash. Don’t worry: this is what we actually want to happen at this stage.

    • Check the Terminal from which you launched WoW. The Launcher will have printed a whole bunch of information and error messages. You can ignore most of it: the specific line we’re interested in will look something like this: err:module:import_dll Library DNSAPI.dll (which is needed by L"C:\\users\\Public\\Application Data\\Battle.net\\Agent\\Agent.1363\\Agent.exe") not found<br /> err:module:LdrInitializeThunk Main exe initialization for L"C:\\users\\Public\\Application Data\\Battle.net\\Agent\\Agent.1363\\Agent.exe" failed, status c0000135.

      Ugly, huh? The important bit is the Agent.1363. Your error message might well contain a different number than 1363. Whatever the number, take a note of it: we’ll need it soon.

      • No Warcraft-related programs should be running right now, but just to be sure, let’s manually run commands to stop them. In your Terminal, type the following commands one after the other: killall Agent.exe
        killall Wow.exe
        killall Launcher.exe

        • In your file browser, check that the directories Battle.net and Blizzard Entertainment have been recreated.

Step 4: Fix DNSAPI.dll

  1. Run the WINE configuration utility, either by clicking Configure Wine in your applications menu, or by running winecfg from a terminal.
  2. Click the Libraries tab.
  3. Click the drop-down list under ‘New overrides for library:’, and choose ‘dnsapi.dll.
  4. Click ‘Add’.
  5. Cick ‘Edit’, and change the Load Order to ‘Builtin (Wine)’.
  6. Click ‘OK’, then click ‘OK’ again to close the WINE configuration utility.

Step 5: Profit! Run Agent.exe with a special flag

We’re almost done.

  1. Back in your Terminal, run the following command (you’ll need the number you noted down earlier): wine ~/.wine/drive_c/users/Public/Application\ Data/Battle.net/Agent/Agent.<<your number>>/Agent.exe --nohttpauth &
    Note, that’s two dashes (–) before nohttpauth.

    • Wait a few seconds, just to make sure the Agent.exe tool has had a chance to kick in. Don’t worry about the text being printed to your Terminal.
    • Run
      wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/Wow.exe.3

The World of Warcraft updater will launch again, but this time it won’t crash! Once it’s downloaded the update, the proper WoW Launcher will open and will start to download the new patch. Once it’s done, congratulations: you’re ready to play!

Troubleshooting

I’ve got the Launcher working, but it won’t download anything!

WINE can sometimes have trouble with the peer-to-peer technology used by the Launcher. Try disabling Peer-to-Peer transfers. You’ll find it in the Launcher, under Options > Downloader Preferences > Enable Peer-to-Peer Transfer.

I’m on a 64-bit system, and WoW runs really slowly / times out constantly

Try forcing WINE to run WoW in 32-bit compatibility mode. Use the following command:

setarch i386 -3 -L -B -R wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/Wow.exe

I’ve got a decent graphics card, but WoW runs slower than I’d expect

Try forcing WoW to run in OpenGL mode. Just append --opengl to the end of the command, like this:

~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/World\ of\ Warcraft/Wow.exe --opengl

I have a different problem, which is not covered by your useless so-called Troubleshooting section!

Make a comment on this post. I’ll try to help you out if I can. Alternatively, have a read through the World of Warcraft entry on WINE’s AppDB site. There’s some pretty good tips on there.

Credits

The information in this post has been compiled from the expert knowledge of the MMO Melting Pot staff, along with tips and tricks shared online by many WINE-using Warcraft players, particularly the great community at WINE’s AppDB site.

1 If your installation is in a different location than .wine (if you’re using a different wine prefix, or you’re running Vineyard or Crossover or PlayOnLinux, or you just like being awkward), navigate to that directory instead.
2 You can choose any name you like here – the .Cataclysm suffix is just what I choose.
3 Or whatever command you normally use to run WoW.

Have you spotted a mistake? Did the tips in this article work for you? Do you have any tips to share with other Linux users? Let us know in the comments!

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Demonology Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

We might not have gotten to be the Warlock Tank, but Demonology warlocks have been having a great time in Mists of Pandaria and WoW Patch [patchnumber] doesn’t change that, as we barrel into Garrosh. But does it change new mechanics, talents, glyphs, gemming, reforging? Don’t worry – this Quick-start guide will help you get reforged, gemmed, up to speed on MoP stat weights and ability priorities, so you can get on with the evil laughter and the ridiculous DPS as soon as possible.

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Demonology Warlock changes in Patch [patchnumber]

Talent changes and some other alterations.

Demonology “Rotation” and Priorities

Demonology’s new rotation is governed by Demonic Fury, our new primary resource. We build it up in caster form and spend it in demon form – and everything we do is balanced around that.

Single-target DPS

Start out by casting Corruption and Hand of Gul’dan on your target.

  • Top Priority: Maintain Corruption and Shadowflame on your target. The latter is maintained through Hand of Gul’dan.
  • Second Priority: If the Molten Core buff is active on you, cast Soul Fire.
  • Third Priority: If you have nothing else to do, cast Shadow Bolt.

You should keep doing this until you nearly have 1000 Demonic Fury. At that point, use Dark Soul, and then use Metamorphosis.

Whilst in Metamorphosis:

  • Top Priority: Cast Doom on your target and keep it up.
  • Second Priority: If the Molten Core buff is active on you, cast Soul Fire. If not, cast Touch of Chaos.

Leave Metamorphosis when Dark Soul expires.

After that, go into Metamorphosis whenever you have close to 1000 Demonic Fury. If Dark Soul is available, cast it before Metamorphosing and stay in Demon Form until it runs out. Otherwise, stay in Demon Form until you hit 750 Demonic Fury, then come out.

Preferably, time Metamorphosis for a time when you’ll have a damage buff up.

You can get more advanced with your Demonic Fury management once you’re familiar with this basic approach – see the guides in the “Links” section.

AOE DPS

Against 2-3 targets keep Corruption /Doom up on all of them, and otherwise use your standard rotation. Also, use Command Demon to get your Felguard to cast Felstorm.

Against 4 or more targets, use Void Ray rather than Touch of Chaos in demon form, and otherwise proceed as for 2-3 enemies.

Cooldowns

  • Dark Soul is already built into your priorities – see above.
  • Use Summon Doomguard for single-target DPS and Summon Infernal for multi-target DPS. Use both whenever available.
  • Use Life Tap to restore mana to you.
  • Use Soulshatter to drop aggro from monsters attacking you. Particularly important before using Life Tap!
  • Unending Resolve reduces damage you take – particularly valuable if you’re on low life thanks to Life Tap.
  • Soulstone now functions as a combat resurrection – remember to use it if no-one else can combat res.
  • Imp Swarm – if you’re using the Imp Swarm glyph, this is a powerful DPS cooldown. Use it to boost your Demonic Fury, too.

Buffs

Summon a Felguard. Remember to cast Dark Intent, and summon a Soulwell if your party or raid wants one!

Demonology Warlock Talent Choices

Whilst MoP talents are designed to be chosen on a per-encounter basis, here’s a good talent build for most situations:

  • Tier 1: Soul Leech – makes all your damage spells heal you (a bit).
  • Tier 2: Mortal Coil – gives you a self-heal spell.
  • Tier 3: Soul Link – passive ability.
  • Tier 4: Unbound Will – gives you a cooldown which removes movement impairing effects, mind control, and magic debuffs.
  • Tier 5: Grimoire of Service – lets you summon a second demon briefly, giving you an additional cooldown.
  • Tier 6: Archimonde’s Vengeance – gives you a second Dark Soul charge.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Demonology Warlock

Intellect is still the key stat for Demonology warlocks. After that, it’s Hit to hit cap (15% / 5100 ) then Haste.

Reforging: Reforge to hit cap first (15% / 5100), then reforge everything else to Haste. Reforge from Hit over cap first, then Critical Strike.

Gems: Use Brilliant gems in Red sockets, Reckless gems in Yellow sockets and Veiled gems in Blue sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap – so if you can’t reforge to Hit, you can still reforge to Expertise.

Demo lock Glyphs

Destro locks will mostly choose situationally amongst MoP glyphs, but here are some good general choices:

Major: Glyph of Demon Training, Glyph of Imp Swarm, Glyph of Siphon Life

Minor: Glyph of Falling Meteor, Glyph of Carrion Swarm, Glyph of Hand of Gul’dan – these DO actually have an effect.

Demonology Warlock enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

If you want more detail, particularly on Demonic Fury management, there are a few good guides out there right now.

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Destruction Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

Burn! BURN, you oversized, underwhelming Thrall stand-in! Yes, us Destruction warlocks should enjoy WoW Patch [patchnumber] – at least, those of us who are sick and tired of Garrosh (which, let’s face it, is pretty much all of us) will. With this quick-start guide, you’ll be able to get your talents and glyphs chosen, your reforging and gemming done for the right stats, and your DPS rotation sorted out in time to start burning Garrosh’s minions in no time. !

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Destruction Warlock changes in Patch [patchnumber]

Significant talent and rotation changes.

Destruction “Rotation” and Priorities

Destruction’s new ability rotation looks complicated, but actually is pretty simple. You’ve got two new resources – Backdraft and Burning Embers. So it’s basically “build up one, build up the other”.

Single-target DPS

Start out by casting Immolate on your target.

  • Top Priority: If Immolate is about to drop, re-cast it. If you have two “charges” of Conflagrate remaining, cast Conflagrate.
  • Second Priority: If you have more than 3 Burning Embers or you’re under a damage buff, cast Chaos Bolt, or Shadowburn if the target is below 20%.
  • Third Priority: Cast Conflagrate if you can. If not, cast Incinerate.

You can use Fel Flame instead of Incinerate, if you’re moving.

Note that you can get more complex with how you’re managing your resources here – see the guides in “Links” for more advanced strategies. This is a simple, easy-to-understand rotation.

AOE DPS

Against up to 3 enemies, use your regular rotation, but keep Rain Of Fire up as a high priority.

Against 4 or more enemies, open by casting Rain of Fire, then Fire and Brimstone, then Immolate on one of your targets. Then cast Conflagrate, then Incinerate if you still have Burning Embers. As soon as a target drops below 20% health, use Havok then Shadowburn on it.

Cooldowns

  • Build up as many Burning Embers as possible before using Dark Soul: Instability. Try to use Dark Soul: Instability as often as possible.
  • Use Summon Doomguard for single-target DPS and Summon Infernal for multi-target DPS. Use whichever one is more appropriate whenever available.
  • Ember Tap restores health, but at the cost of DPS, as it uses a Burning Ember. However, dead warlocks can’t DPS – so don’t be afraid to use it in an emergency.
  • Use Soulshatter to drop aggro from monsters attacking you.
  • Unending Resolve reduces damage you take.
  • Soulstone now functions as a combat resurrection – remember to use it if no-one else can combat res.

Buffs

Summon an Observer. Remember to cast Dark Intent, and summon a Soulwell if your party or raid wants one!

Destruction Warlock Talent Choices

MoP talents are designed to be changed on a per-encounter basis – however, to start off with, here’s a solid general talent setup:

  • Tier 1: Soul Leech – makes all your damage spells heal you (a bit).
  • Tier 2: Mortal Coil – gives you a self-heal spell.
  • Tier 3: Soul Link – passive ability.
  • Tier 4: Unbound Will – gives you a cooldown which removes movement impairing effects, mind control, and magic debuffs.
  • Tier 5: Grimoire of Supremacy – Grimoire of Sacrifice is slightly better multi-target, but also more complex.
  • Tier 6: Archimonde’s Vengeance – gives you more flexibility with Dark Soul.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Destruction Warlock

Intellect is most important for Destruction warlocks. After that, it’s Hit to hit cap (15% / 1537 ) followed by Mastery.

Reforging: Reforge to hit cap first (15% / 1537), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit over cap first, then Haste.

Gems: Use Artful gems in Red sockets, Fractured gems in Yellow sockets and Sensei’s gems in Blue sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford.

Expertise: Note that Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap – so if you can’t reforge to Hit, you can still reforge to Expertise.

Destro lock Glyphs

A number of glyphs have situationally specific uses, but here’s a good no-downsides selection:

Major: Glyph of Conflagrate, Glyph of Ember Tap, Glyph of Siphon Life

Minor: Your choice. No real effects in DPS terms.

Destruction Warlock enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery or Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

Here are some options for more information:

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Affliction Warlock Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

Garrosh! Has lost! The Plot! Yes, Mists of Pandaria Patch [patchnumber] is here. We’ve already seen new gylphs, new talents, new stat, reforging and gem priorities and a new ability rotation / priority system, and now those are being changed still further? But if you’re staring around in confusion, fear not – this quick-start guide will get you up and causing agony fast in MoP, without having to read a wall of text!

Updated [guideupdated] for World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Affliction Warlock changes in [patchnumber]

Significant changes to talents, stat weight updates, Fel Flame nerfed, generally a lot of minor changes.

Affliction “Rotation” and Priorities

Affliction’s ability rotation has been considerably simplified in MoP, which is a bit of a relief. You’ll still need to keep track of multiple Damage Over Time spells, though – we recommend installing an addon like Need To Know to keep track of when your spells end.

Single-target DPS

Start out by casting Agony, Corruption and Unstable Affliction on your target.

  • Top Priority: If any of Agony, Corruption or Unstable Affliction are about to drop, re-cast them. It is particularly important not to let Agony drop.
  • Second Priority: If your DOTs have more than 8 seconds to run or Haunt has less than 2 seconds to run, and you have 4 Soul Shards or Dark Soul: Misery active, cast Haunt.
  • Third Priority: If you don’t have anything else to do, cast Drain Soul if your target is below 20% health, or Malefic Grasp otherwise.

If you need to refresh any of your Damage Over Time spells when the target’s below 20%, just use Soulburn, then Soul Swap to refresh all three.

AOE DPS

Below 3 targets, just use your normal rotation and try and keep as many DOTs running on enemies as possible.

Against 3-4 enemies, keep DOTs up on all of them and fill remaining time with Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul.

Against 5 or more enemies, open with Soulburn followed by Seed Of Corruption, then attempt to use Soulburn->Soul Swap on as many targets as possible.

Affliction AOE has always been a bit tricky, and it continues to be so. If you’re new to multi-dotting, don’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away – practise makes perfect!

Cooldowns

  • Use Dark Soul: Misery whenever it’s available, unless Time Warp/Heroism/Bloodlust is running, in which case wait for that to end.
  • Use Summon Doomguard for single-target DPS and Summon Infernal for multi-target DPS. Use whichever is most appropriate whenever available.
  • Use Life Tap when you run low on mana.
  • Use Soulshatter to drop aggro from monsters attacking you. Particularly important before using Life Tap!
  • Unending Resolve reduces damage you take – particularly valuable if you’re on low life thanks to Life Tap.
  • Soulstone now functions as a combat resurrection – remember to use it if no-one else can combat res.

Buffs

Remember to summon a demon. If you’re using our default talents, use the Observer for single-target fights and the Fel Imp for multi-target fights.

Remember to cast Dark Intent, and summon a Soulwell if your party or raid wants one! Also, if no-one else in your raid or party can do so, cast Curse of the Elements on important targets.

Affliction Warlock Talent Choices

As you get more experienced with these talents, and MoP progresses, you’ll probably change them on an encounter-by-encounter basis – but here’s a solid talent setup to start playing with:

  • Tier 1: Soul Leech – makes all your damage spells heal you (a bit).
  • Tier 2: Mortal Coil – gives you a self-heal spell.
  • Tier 3: Soul Link – passive talent
  • Tier 4: Unbound Will – gives you a cooldown which removes movement impairing effects, mind control, and magic debuffs.
  • Tier 5: Grimoire of Supremacy – better demons!
  • Tier 6: Archimonde’s Vengeance – gives you more flexibility with Dark Soul.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Affliction Warlock

Intellect is the most important stat for Affliction warlocks, with Hit to hit cap (15% / 5100 ) followed by Mastery as the most important secondary stats.

Reforging: Reforge to hit cap first (15% / 5100), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit over cap, then Crit first.

Gems: Use Artful gems in Red sockets, Sensei’s in Blue Sockets and Fractured in Yellow sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap, so if you can’t reforge to Hit, you can still reforge to Expertise.

Afflic Warlock Glyphs

A number of glyphs have situationally specific uses, but here’s a good no-downsides selection:

Major: Glyph of Soulstone, Glyph of Unstable Affliction, Glyph of Siphon Life

Minor: Your choice. No real effects in DPS terms.

Affliction Warlock enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery or Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

There are a couple of great guides out there if you’re looking for more info to support your ‘flicking:

  • Megan O’Neill writes on Warlocks for WoW Insider, and is doing a great job covering everything you need to know aboutMoP
  • Icy Veins has a very good, highly detailed guide to Affliction – useful for the greater detail sections in particular.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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Frost Mage Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.2 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

It’s the time we’ve all been waiting for: the time to turn Garrosh Hellscream into an ice lolly. Yep, in WoW Patch [patchnumber] we finally get to kill him. And the Melting Pot is here to help. Here’s a quick-start guide to get you into the action in MoP with solid talent choices, glyph choices, your ability rotation and stat priorities, and reforging, gems and enchants all sorted. Read on – we promise it’s not a wall of text!

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Frost Mage changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]

Some changes to our talents and glyphs.

Frost “Rotation” and Priorities

The new Frost rotation is pretty simple, at least at level 90. These rotations assume you’re using our recommended talent builds:

Single-target DPS

  • Top Priority: If the +25% damage buff is about to drop, cast Evocation. Otherwise, cast Living Bomb if it’s not on your target.
  • Second Priority: Cast Frozen Orb if it’s available. If it’s available, cast Freeze from your elemental.
  • Third Priority: If you have the Brain Freeze buff active, cast Frostfire Bolt. If you have charges of Fingers of Frost, cast Ice Lance.
  • Fourth Priority: Cast Frostbolt.

AOE DPS

  • Top Priority Keep Nether Tempest up on as many enemies as possible
  • Second Priority Use Cone of Cold on cooldown.
  • Third Priority Use your single-target rotation on one enemy.

If enemies are scattered, keep Living Bomb applied on as many of them as possible and perform your usual single-target rotation on one of them.

Cooldowns

  • Icy Veins: Cast this whenever it’s available (and you’re in combat, obviously).
  • Evocation: In addition to using it in your rotation, in the unlikely event you’re running low on mana, use it!
  • Alter Time: Use this during Icy Veins to get an extra 6 seconds out of it.
  • Mirror Image: Cast whenever it’s available unless they won’t be able to attack the boss in the next 30 seconds.
  • Time Warp: If you’re raiding, ask your raid leader when to cast it. Otherwise, cast on boss fights.
  • Invisiblity: Use to drop threat if you have it. With Greater Invisibility (see talents) also becomes a powerful damage-avoidance CD.

Buffs

Use Frost Armor (appropriately enough), cast Arcane Brilliance, and remember to create a Mana Gem.

Frost Mage Talent Choices

In 5.0, you’ll eventually end up switching talents per-fight. However, to get started, here’s a good general-purpose selection:

  • Tier 1: Ice Floes – provides you with a spell to use during movement.
  • Tier 2: Ice Barrier – a solid cooldown to reduce damage to you.
  • Tier 3: Frostjaw
  • Tier 4: Greater Invisibility
  • Tier 5: Nether Tempest
  • Tier 6: Rune of Power

If you know you need to do maximum damage to a single target and nothing else, switch to Living Bomb in Tier 5, and use it like Nether Tempest.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Frost Mage

Intellect is the most important stat for all Mages. For Frost, this is followed by Hit to the 15% Spell Hit Cap, then Haste.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit until 15% hit (5100 rating), then reforge to Haste. Reforge from Hit above the cap first, then Mastery.

Gems: Use Reckless gems in red slots, Quick gems in yellow slots and Lightning gems in blue slots.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Hit Cap, so if you can’t reforge to Hit, reforge to Expertise to reach the cap.

Frost Mage Glyphs

As you get more expert with Patch 5.x, you’ll probably end up changing Glyphs frequently, but for now, here’s a no-downside build that will get you started quickly:

Major: Glyph of Splitting Ice, Glyph of Icy Veins, Glyph of Cone of Cold

Minor: Glyph of Momentum, two others of your choice.

Frost Mage enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste or Superior Expertise
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

If you want to get more in-depth with your Frost Mage play, here are some great resources:

  • If you want a super-in-depth guide – the kind of thing that Elitist Jerks used to be famous for – Icy Veins are the place to go
  • Christian Belt at WoW Insider writes their Mage column.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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Fire Mage Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

Garrosh has finally lost the plot in WoW Patch [patchnumber], and that means it’s time to figure out the latest changes before heading out to light him on fire. So, want to get up to speed fast with our rotation, ability priorities, stat priorities, reforging and gems too? Read on.

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Fire Mage changes in Wow Patch [patchnumber]

Some changes to Glyphs and Talents.

Fire “Rotation” and Priorities

The new Fire priority system is really, really simple at level 90 –

Single-target DPS

This assumes you’re using our recommended talents, below.

  • Top Priority: If the +25% damage buff from Evocation has less than 5 sec to run, cast Evocation. If not, if Living Bomb isn’t on your target, cast Living Bomb.
  • Second Priority: If you have the Pyroblast! buff active, cast Pyroblast.
  • Third Priority: If you have the “Heating Up” buff active and Inferno Blast is available, cast Inferno Blast.
  • Fourth Priority: Otherwise, cast Fireball, or Scorch if you’re moving.

It’s possible to optimise your rotation more (see Links), but this approach will give you very solid DPS.

AOE DPS

For less than 4 enemies, use your regular rotation. For 4 or more:

  • Top Priority Keep Nether Tempest up on as many enemies as possible
  • Third Priority Use your single-target rotation on one enemy.

Cooldowns

  • Combustion: Cast this after scoring a critical hit with Fireball. Read the guides in “links” for more details on optimising this.
  • Evocation: Aside from its use in your rotation, obviously, use it if you’re ever running out of mana!
  • Alter Time: Unless you think you’ll need it to avoid dying, use this when you have Pyroblast! to get a second use of the ability.
  • Mirror Image: Cast whenever it’s available unless you’re sure your images won’t be able to attack for the full 30 seconds.
  • Time Warp: If you’re raiding, ask your raid leader when to cast it. Otherwise, cast on boss fights.

Buffs

Use Molten Armor, cast Arcane Brilliance, and remember to create a Mana Gem.

Fire Mage Talent Choices

Mage 5.x talent choices are particularly flexible, and we heartily encourage you to experiment with them. However, for a quick-start setup of talents that’s simple to use, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Presence Of Mind – a cooldown to get an instant Pyroblast.
  • Tier 2: Ice Barrier – a solid cooldown to reduce damage to you.
  • Tier 3: Ring of Frost
  • Tier 4: Greater Invisibility: turns Invisibility into a damage-avoidance cooldown.
  • Tier 5: Nether Tempest
  • Tier 6: Invocation. You can swap to Incanter’s Ward for high-movement fights, but otherwise Invocation gives the best DPS.

If you know you need to do maximum damage to a single target and nothing else, switch to Living Bomb in Tier 5, and use it like Nether Tempest.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Fire Mage

Stat priorities for Fire Mages are simple in MoP. Intellect is most important, followed by Hit to the 15% Spell Hit Cap, then Critical Strike.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit until 15% hit (5100 rating), then reforge to Critical Strike. Reforge from Hit above the cap first, then Mastery.

Gems: Use Potent gems in Red sockets, Smooth gems in yellow sockets, and Piercing gems in blue sockets. Note that Brilliant gems are still pretty good, so there’s no need to replace everything! But at 5.4 levels of gearing, Crit is slightly better in gems.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem, whichever you can afford and use.

Note: Expertise adds to Mages’ Hit as if it were Hit itself. That means you can reforge to Expertise if you can’t reforge to Hit on a piece of armor.

Fire Mage Glyphs

You’ll end up picking glyphs on a per-fight basis- like talents, they’re very situational now – but to start off with, here’s a good no-downside selection:

Major: Glyph of Combustion, Glyph of Cone of Cold, Glyph of Inferno Blast

Minor: Glyph of Momentum, Glyph of Loose Mana, one other of your choice.

Fire Mage enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Expertise or Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

Fire Mages are honestly pretty simple – but there are still some complexities with things like Ignite (yes, it still exists). If you want to get more in-depth:

  • Icy Veins started as a Mage guide. Their Fire Mage article is top-notch.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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Arcane Mage Quick-Start Guide for WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

It is That Time, the time when the Gods – or GMs, at least – mess with our minds – and our ability rotations. Yep, the latest patch for Mists of Pandaria is here, WoW Patch [patchnumber]. But don’t stress – if you want to get up and blasting away at Garrosh’s minions fast, this quick start guide will help you choose talents, get your reforging, gems and stat priorities right for this new world, pick the best glyphs, and figure out just what you should be casting when… Let’s get cracking!

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Arcane Mage Changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]

Our glyphs and talents have changed somewhat.

Arcane “Rotation” and Priorities

The Arcane rotation has been much simplified. We don’t have two phases any longer. Instead, we just concentrate on keeping our Bomb used as often as possible while maintaining our mana just below 100%.

Single-target DPS

  • Top Priority: Cast Arcane Missiles if it’s available and you’re at four stacks of Arcane Charge.
  • Second Priority: Cast Arcane Barrage if you’re at four stacks of Arcane Charge.
  • Third Priority: If Living Bomb isn’t active on your target, cast Living Bomb. If not, cast Arcane Blast.

You’re trying to maintain your mana as close as possible to 100% without hitting 100%. If your mana is dipping, cast Arcane Barrage at less stacks of Arcane Charge. If it’s capping, cast at more stacks of Arcane Charge.

Very Important – Make sure you’re using your Rune of Power properly. Recast whenever it has 1 second left and make sure to stand in it at all times.

AOE DPS

Up to 4 enemies, keep Living Bomb on all of them and use your regular rotation on one of them.

At 4 or more enemies:

  • Top Priority Keep Nether Tempest up on as many enemies as possible
  • Second Priority Use your single-target rotation on one enemy.

Cooldowns

Your big cooldown is Arcane Power, which you should use as often as you can – use any damage-increasing trinkets and potions at the same time. Ideally use it at 4 stacks of Arcane Charge.

Whilst it’s up, use your regular rotation, but use Arcane Barrage at 3 stacks of Arcane Charge if you’re dipping below 85% mana.

Other CDs:

  • Use Alter Time during Arcane Power if possible – it’ll give you another 6 seconds of Arcane Power.
  • Use Mirror Images on cooldown, unless there’s about to be a pause in the fight.
  • Cast Time Warp when your raid leader tells you to, or in a dungeon on boss fights.
  • Use Invisibility as a threat dropping ability.

Buffs

Use Mage Armor, cast Arcane Brilliance, and remember to create a Mana Gem.

Arcane Mage Talent Choices

Mage 5.x talent choices are particularly flexible, and we heartily encourage you to experiment with them. However, for a quick-start setup of talents that’s simple to use, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Ice Floes – DPS ability used whilst moving.
  • Tier 2: Ice Barrier – a solid cooldown to reduce damage to you.
  • Tier 3: Frostjaw
  • Tier 4: Greater Invisibility: makes your Invisibility spell also a major damage reduction cooldown.
  • Tier 5: Living Bomb
  • Tier 6: Rune of Power.

If you’re in an almost continuous movement fight, choose Incanter’s Ward for Tier 6 instead, but Rune of Power is much better for movement fights in Patch [patchnumber] than it was before.

In Tier 5, all three abilities are nearly perfectly balanced. They also all alter your rotation. If you chose a different Bomb ability:

  • Living Bomb: Re-cast it whenever it explodes.
  • Nether Tempest: Refresh it before its last tick. (NOTE – this is more complex and so is our least favourite choice here.)

Stats, reforging and gemming for Arcane Mage

Stat priorities for Arcane Mages are pretty simple in [patchnumber]. Intellect is your most important stat, followed by Hit to the 15% Spell Hit Cap, then Mastery.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit until you hit 15% hit (5100 rating), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit above the cap, then Crit first.

Gems: Use Artful (Int/Mastery) gems in red sockets, Fractured (Mastery) gems in yellow sockets and Sensei’s (Mastery/Hit) gems in blue sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem of whatever type.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Spell Hit Cap, so if you can’t reforge to Hit on an item, reforge to Expertise to hit the cap.

Arcane Mage Glyphs

5.0 Glyphs are very situational – you’ll probably end up using different ones for different fights – but here’s a good no-downside selection to start with:

Major: Glyph of Arcane Explosion, Glyph of Mana Gem, Glyph of Evocation

Minor: Glyph of Momentum, Glyph of Loose Mana, one other of your choice.

Arcane Mage enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

If you want more details on your mana control or talent choices, here are a couple of solid links to check out:

  • Icy Veins started as a Mage guide, and their Arcane Mage guidance is top-notch.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

If you’ve found this article useful, please consider sharing it using the buttons below!

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How WoW Has Changed … Well, Everyone

How has your time in World of Warcraft changed you?

That’s the deceptively simple question that Syl of Raging Monkeys asked this week. Many of us have been inhabiting Azeroth for seven or more years, spending as much time with it as we do with our friends – indeed, for a lot of us, it’s how we spend time with many of our friends or family. It’s undeniably been a significant part of our lives.

So, as we’ve been staring into Azeroth, has Azeroth been staring into us? And if so, what has changed?

  • Syl started the bandwagon off with a fascinating look at how her motivations for playing have changed almost completely in the time she’s been a serious WoW player“One can certainly argue that some of the change is due to the effect of time; I’ve been there done that for a very long time, I moved on to wanting different. And while that may play a part, I still don’t think it’s the main factor but rather the way how these aspects were designed and realized in WoW.”
  • Klepsacovic, who played his first MMO with WoW and has subsequently stopped playing it, reflects on all the ways that WoW changed his real life, mostly for good“As an introvert, WoW was a great thing, a place where I could fit in as a loser of a college student. Until the community shifted, I had some notion of where people stood, and where if things were perhaps too much srs bns, that was fine, because we were all on the same page with it. Different people are playing now, and that’s fine, but it’s not the place for me anymore. “
  • Rakuno at Shards of Imagination considers his initial reaction to various game concepts, and how they subsequently panned out for him“The few times I tried raiding I felt like a small cog on it, unimportant and completely disconnected from everything that was happening and everyone participating on it. That is a completely different feeling I get from running a dungeon with a small group of friends. “
  • River at High Latency Life considers the ways that WoW has changed his life both in-game and out“Some of those readers actually became my friends, and one of those friends became a co-writer here. Her name was Bee, and she helped me through a pretty bad time of my life when I was in the hospital.”
  • And finally, Wapsipinicon at Goetia’s Letters shares the very personal and touching story of how WoW helped her dream again“I was seriously ill last summer, and the following months of my recovery were when I began playing WoW on a near-daily basis. And then early this year I very suddenly realized: as I leveled my toons I was putting together backgrounds and stories for them. And I was “working” on those stories in my head throughout the day. I was daydreaming again. “

If you write a post joining these other bloggers in this discussion, let me know and I’ll add it to this roundup!

How has WoW changed your life?

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