20
Dec
09

Slight change

There’s been a slight change to Furiously. I’ve moved it over to www.furiously.eu, so please update your links and bookmarks (optimistic person aren’t I). This page will stay up, but wont be updated anymore.

17
Dec
09

One week later

So it has been a week and a bit of patch 3.3. Is all looking well? Is everybody having fun? Are the new instances living up to their hype? Is 3.3 a fitting climax to Wrath?

First off, for warriors it has been a thoroughly uneventful patch. We’re not touched by the AOE nerf and we have had absolutely no changes to any of our abilities or talents. Judging from what I can see in instances and raids that is perfectly alright…we’re in a decent place just now. And for once, our tier chestpiece isn’t the most boring looking of them all.

I was originally going to do a long piece on the Frozen Halls, but then realised that by the time I had published it people would already have been running it for days solid. The big plot twist would be no surprise at all, nor would the cimactic battle at the end. Instead, here comes the shorthand guide to furying in Frozen Halls:

The Forge of Souls

  • Trash is perfect for furies, but do give your tank a chance for getting aggro
  • If possible help your tank out by interrupting the odd cast
  • At Bronjahm, hit the stolen souls
  • At the endboss, stop DPS when it mirrors a soul…everybody will be happier

The Pit of Saron

  • Stick close to the tank to avoid pulling patrolling mobs
  • On Garfrost, hide now and again if you get too many stacks of the debuff
  • On Ick, run from the nova
  • On Tyrannus it makes life easier if you stop DPS when youre branded
  • Oh…dont stand in white runic circles

The Halls of Reflection

  • Fury your heart out on the trash, but be mindful because the mobs do hurt
  • Interrupt is a good thing
  • Full on DPS on boss one
  • Full on DPS on boss two

That’s pretty much it.

Of course, the 5-man is only half the instancing madness in 3.3. The other, of course, is Icecrown Citadel whose first boss, Lord Marrowgar, already has caused enough problems for him to a)have his damage output nerfed and b)been made tauntable. I applaud the former since he hit jolly hard, at least in the 10-man version, but I have to admit that the latter has me thinking “oh, so people have really unlearned their raiding skills of ages past”. Yes, I know I sound like a grumpy old grandparent now, but back in the day it was not unusual to have taunt immune bosses, and we had 40 man raids back then.

I do appreciate that the transitions can go tremendously badly, but honestly I still think it is, to use a phrase, “dumbing it down” a tic too much. At least after only a week. Basically it appears to me that Blizzard have responded to complaints (and internal testing perhaps) by turning every knob in the house. Turn down his damage, by all means, because it was needed. But give it another week before you change anything else.

UNLESS (and this is a big one) it was never intended that he should be taunt immune.

Next up for me: Lady Deathwhisper.

How far are you along in 3.3?

08
Dec
09

3.3 this week

And it’s official, being spouted from every news site on the internet: patch 3.3 will hit this week as expected.

New bits of kit, a whole new tier of epics, new encounters, a new grouping interface…there certainly seems to be plenty of stuff to do in this the last major patch of Wrath. Of course, it’ll be a while until we get to face off with Arthas in the Citadel yet due to the gating of the instance.

Warriors need not look much at the patch notes though. There are no fury related updates at all. Either that means that Blizzard are happy with us the way we are now, or that they haven’t yet managed to solve whatever is wrong.

The T10 set bonuses are as follows:

  • (2) Set: When your Deep Wounds ability deals damage you have a 3% chance to gain 16% attack power for 10 sec.
  • (4) Set: You have a 20% chance for your Bloodsurge and Sudden Death talents to grant 2 charges of their effect instead of 1, reduce the global cooldown on Execute or Slam by 0.5 sec, and for the duration of the effect to be increased by 100%.

A simple one, and a not-so-simple one, and quite possibly one of the more interesting set bonuses we’ve seen in a long time. More on that one later though. For now, 3.3 is coming. Bring on the patch day mayhem.

07
Dec
09

Icecrown 5-man – The rest

Having covered armour and weapons, about time we get round to the various bits and pieces that we all wear and can’t see, i.e. rings, trinkets, necks, and that ever present ranged weapon (because we do a lot of pulling as DPS warriors, oh my yes).

We have:

The general theme here seems to be sharp pointy bits (I shudder to think about what exactly the lady promised).

That’s not a kni…

For once there is a ranged weapon which hunters wont necessarily want as well, unlike guns and bows where you have to fight them off with a stick usually. At ilevel 232 there is a whole boatload of different ranged weapons to compare with. I count some 10 weapons to compare directly with, coming from various sources. There are really a lot of things to compare this brand new knife to. However, I shall compare with just one, namely the Crimson Star. I know it is ilevel 245, but most people who have been doing any amount of heroics and raids will most likely have one, or swapped it for something else that’s better. So the Crimson Star is really the benchmark.

Papa’s will give you:

  • 1.17% Crit
  • 0.7% Haste
  • 54 AP

Crimson Star features:

  • 3.42 Expertise
  • 2.27% ArPen
  • 57 AP

Would you really want to downgrade to the Papa’s if you have the Crimson Star? Sure, if you don’t like ArPen and have way too much Expertise already. Otherwise, it’s a clear choice here. And before you think about it: no…nuhuh…nosiree!

Empty promises?

This ring is a bit peculiar in that the stats do not favour rogues or druids, and instead favours plate users. You can argue that it’s not necessarily a bad thing though. It reminds me of the Carnivorous Band from Icehowl (albeit without a socket) with Crit and Expertise swapped for the Haste and ArPen. The pair of them together would make a lovely ring combo in fact. The tooltip for the Lady’s Promise does interestingly NOT mention “unique-equipped” hinting that you may just be able to equip two of them, but don’t quote me on that.

The other alternative is the Planestalker Signet from 10-man Lord Jaraxxus, although that is very much itemised towards rogues and druidy types rather than warriors (it features Agility, Hit Rating, ArPen and AP). That said,the Signet is a lovely ring no doubt about it. If you are critically short on Hit Rating and ArPen it is a contender, otherwise I would rather aim for a Carnivorous Lady Promise.

Barbed Chokers

For some odd reason, Blizz apparently like the thought of necklaces full of protruding spikey bits. Either they are closet goths and emos, or they think warriors are…or maybe that warriors are all practitioners of various forms of BDSM. Be that as it may, let’s compare it to the ilevel 232 version of the Collar of Ceaseless Torment (there we go again with the SM). Essentially they are near identical, save for one thing: The Choker has Haste (!) and the Collar has ArPen. Essentially you are given a choice between Haste and ArPen, and that in itself isn’t a bad thing.

Put it in your pocket

So it’s an animal already known for pointy and nasty bits…and its needle encrusted too? Wear cloves, have padded pockets.

Joking aside, Grim Toll and Mjolnir Runestone have returned in a spiky version. In fact, it is a slightly upgraded Runestone. For a comparison between earlier trinkets, have a look here. I may have missed out some trinkets, and if so please do shout out.

Trinkets are always interesting to compare since they rarely stand up to a direct comparison, usually featuring a single stat and a proc. In this case we can compare to the Toll and the Runestone directly however, and if they were popular, chances are this one will be too. ArPen has proven itself time and time again and it should be no different this time. Crit and ArPen…not bad as a combo at all. If you happen upon this little trinket and you are not desperate for something like Hit Rating or Expertise (which you hopefully aren’t) it is definitely a keeper.

So this is where the look at gear from the 5-man instances of Icecrown ends. There are some good thing in there as well as some rather bland things, mostly as a product of Blizzard having to create a single plate “set” for 3 plate classes who all want slightly different things. All in all, not a bad selection with some upgrades, a few sidegrades and a few things for those who have yet to get better bits.

04
Dec
09

Icecrown 5 man – armour

So far, 5 bits of plate have been uncovered in the Icecrown 5-man instance. Doesn’t really seem like a lot does it? For example, there are seemingly no legs in there. If you’re planning on getting an entire lvl232 plate outfit from 5-man grinding, you will be DPS’ing in your underwear to a certain extent.

Note to all Hordies: Throughout I will compare to Alliance plate, so if you feel offended by this I do apologise and direct you to my complaints department. Please send all complaints to the attention of:

Mr. Varian Wrynn (king)
Stormwind Keep
Stormwind City
Nation of Stormwind

That over and done with, these are the five bits of plate found in the Icecrown instance (heroic):

The first thing that leaps to mind when looking at these things is: haste. 3 of 5 pieces have haste rating on them, and if there is a stat I couldn’t care less about it’s haste. Blame the DK’s and paladins that we get all that haste.

Let us compare the T9 chest with the chest from Icecrown: here. I realise that it possibly isn’t quite a fair comparison, since the T9 piece has the possibility of a set bonus, yet you can argue that due to their identical itemlevel, they will still be equally good from a mechanics viewpoint. The main difference, apart from the two sockets on the T9 chest, is the choice between Arpen and Haste Rating. The Frost Wyrm has 16 Str more than the T9, however that is easily rectified by putting in Str gems (and there is additionally 6 Str to be gained from the socket bonus). Unless you are softcapped on ArPen, and using one of the Arpen trinkets (like the Grim Toll), I see absolutely no reason to swap ArPen for Haste.

The Grinning Skull Boots are slightly more interesting, in that they have no real counterpart in the raids. The closest you get are the Battlelord’s Plate Boots, Boots of the Underdweller, and the Plated Greaves of Providence, neither of which are ilevel 232. For a comparison between these, hop over here. Statswise, they feature the very decent combination of ArPen and Crit Rating. Unless you are really stuck for Hit Rating, in which case the Underdwellers are probably your thing, these are worth picking up.

The Weeping Gauntlets feature Haste (66) and Crit Rating (49). The two alternatives are the Gauntlets of Rising Anger and Wrynn’s Gauntlets of Conquest, both of which features Crit and Hit Rating…oh and they each have a yellow socket too.

Haste versus Hit Rating and Socket. It’s a lot of Haste to be sure, and to boot the Weeping Gauntlets has a smidgeon more Strength on them. It’s a matter of taste on this one, since the sockets cannot make up for all that Haste, but on the other hand, Hit Rating is nice up to a certain point, and sources of it aren’t too commonplace on gear these days. The huge big nono is to let your Hit Rating drop below the soft cap really.

Time for the shoulders then. First comment: More Haste! The T9 shoulders feature a bit more Crit Rating and a red socket (which would even out the difference in Strength). As with the chestpiece, I see no reason to swap unless you are hitting the soft cap for ArPen with a trinket proc. Is there a pattern here?

The Malykriss Vambraces versus the Armguards of the Nether Lord. These are a toss between ArPen and Hit Rating. Do you need one or the other? The other differences are minute enough for that to be the main question…ArPen vs Hit Rating.

Observant people will now probably go “Ello…why didn’t you compare with non-raid kit? People who do 5-mans don’t always raid y’know.”

However, comparing ilevel 219 to 232 gear is a bit superfluous since the items will nearly always be an upgrade to your current kit. In addition, if I did that, the people with ilevel 200 gear would come along and say “Oi!” as well, demanding more comparisons. Flippancy aside, with the relatively quick amassing of Emblems of Triumph, I think it fairly safe to assume that most people will have at least 1 or 2 pieces of T9 by now.

Overall, the new gear is fairly decent when you consider it has been made to be used by 3 different classes with very different needs. The fact that the boots fill a gap in the raid loot is a nice bonus for the unlucky ones who have not been able to replace their old ones. If you have had any amount of luck in raids however, the rest of the loot will probably be more or less uninteresting however.

Next up, trinkets and the rest of it.

02
Dec
09

Icecrown 5-man – weapons

Being the last with the news has its advantages. You don’t have to turn to datamining yourself, you can just pull information off other places. Since 3.3 is purportedly coming on the 9th (or 8th) of this month, it might be time to look at what one can actually get in there.

Naturally enough, weapons are the first thing that come to mind. So let’s have a quick look at the weapons that we may find in the 5-man instance.

Or should I say: weapon

So far, the PTR people have uncovered one single fury weapon in the 5-man instance: the Tyrannical Beheader. While it preserves the status quo from the Coliseum 5-man, where you also found precisely 1 weapon, it does leave me asking the question: “Well, what if you’d prefer slightly different stats? Where’s the choice?” Grumbling aside, let’s look at the stats

  • 129 Strength (258 AP)
  • 92 Haste Rating
  • 53 Armor Penetration (3.44% ArPen)
  • 1 Yellow socket

Compare this to the other two lvl232 weapons, the Reckoning and the Keen Obsidian Edged Blade.

Reckoning

  • 183 AP
  • 112 Agility (1.72% Crit)
  • 62 Haste Rating
  • 86 Armor Penetration (5.59% ArPen)
  • 1 Blue socket

Keen Obsidian Edged Blade

  • 129 Strength (258 AP)
  • 92 Expertise Rating (11.22 Exp)
  • 61 Crit Rating (1.33% Crit)

Looking at the stats distribution, the Beheader falls somewhere inbetween the Reckoning and the OEB. It has the “undesirable” Haste from the Reckoning but has a Socket, as opposed to the OEB from which it gets its Strength. All in all, its an okayish weapon, but I wouldnt swap my Reckoning for it, if I had one that is. If you currently equip an OEB, it might be worth it, but only if you can get those 11 Exp from elsewhere. And even then it is weigning Crit Rating vs ArPen, Haste, and a Socket. It’ll come down to individual gearing.

Overall, the Beheader is solid but not great. It is sure to be an upgrade for the people who’ve not yet had any luck with weapons upgrades in TotCR (like me), but it will not be much of an upgrade otherwise. Of course, if you are running 25-man raids, or heroic 10-man raids, this isn’t an upgrade at all.

Upcoming, a look at the armour drops from the 5-man Icecrown.

30
Nov
09

The neverending story – addons

A while back I did some talking (well, writing) about addons for furies. Quite a bit of time has passed since then, and as is the case with UI’s…they change. And consequently, mine has changed too. This has involved some addons being chucked out, others come in, and yet others staying the same.

The list I posted originally was the following:

  • SatrinaBuffFrames
  • Bartender4
  • Grid
  • DBM (DeadlyBossMods)
  • Recount
  • Omen
  • AzCastBars
  • OmniCC

I’ll spoil the ending, I have actually changed things:

  • SatrinaBuffFrames
  • Bartender4
  • Grid
  • DBM (DeadlyBossMods)
  • Recount
  • Omen
  • Quartz
  • OmniCC

Hard to spot the difference? I swapped AzCastBars for Quartz, simply because I felt like trying it. And it worked out, as well as do some other nice things, so I decided to keep it.

Anyway, the above addons aren’t the whole picture, they’re the combat/fury related addons. Other addons that have snuck their way into my addons folder:

  • Chatter
  • TotemTimers (for when the shammy calls)
  • Clique (oh gosh does it make healing nice)

Still, as addon collections go, I consider myself relatively lightweight. But, if I essentially haven’t changed my addons lineup, why resurrect the dead horse? Because I felt like it, and particularly because the addons themselves are only half the story. The big, gigantic, huge, issue is how we apply them to our UI’s, whether we do it according to the “more is better” principle or whatever other idea that made sense at the time.

Let’s apply the question to my own UI then. What has changed? It might be worth it to look at my various ideas of what makes a UI, the central theme so to speak.

The analogue approach

When designing an interface there are two schools of thought essentially. The one I call the analogue approach, and the digital approach. I first thought of it in relation to synthesizers and other electronic gadgets (it applies to anything electronic essentially). In more visual terms, on one hand you have the apparatus with every parameter having its own knob or dial, so that all the information is visible all the time. On the other hand you have a menu driven interface, which shows you only the barest necessities at all times, while hiding more detailed information in a slick (or not so slick) menu system. But you get a very simple interface out of it.

When I first started playing WoW, I was firmly rooted in the analogue mindset. I wanted all the abilities visible, in an orderly way of course, all the time. In raids, I could see everybodies mana and health, I could see tanks targets, all that jazz. The advantage was that I did not have to open any windows or browse any menus to see something…it was all there (within reason).

The clean analogue

Eventually, as I think happens for every analogue person, you are able to sort through the information available to you, and you decide what is unimportant, and cut it out. Its akin to packing for a camping trip…you lay all of the gear out you want to bring, upon packing you find it’ll weigh too much, and you cut out the stuff you dont need.

This was also the time when I really started taking an interest in how the UI looked, the time of SimpleMap, Buttonfacade, those kinds of things.

Do I really need that?

Granted, I am not one of those people who can cut the UI entirely. Two reasons. The first…I AM A CLICKER! There, I said it, now stop laughing. The second…a visible UI is just part of WoW for me. If it wasn’t there, something would be missing. As a result, I haven’t gone all minimalist, but I have started using addon functionality. For example I have a bar that only shows in combat, full of things that I’d never need outside combat (pots, stones, disarm macro, demo shout, that sort of thing).

That said, as I’ve said before, I am quite minimalist on which addons I install. If I don’t strictly need it, it goes. So apart from one eyecandy addon (Chatter), I have no purely visual addons installed any more. Part of the reason for this was that I, maybe as a minority, do like some of the UI graphics, like the default player and target frames, and the map itself. So I have tried to preserve as much of it as possible, not that its much mind you.

Wot now?

Put shortly: How should I know? I have been using the same addons for 6 months (for the newest one), so my UI is quite stable in that regard. Sometimes it does happen that addons get discontinued, but if you choose the old and popular addons, chances are that they wont. It isn’t so much a case of finding new addons as it is a case of streamlining how the UI works, what the addons do…it is shaping the flow of information itself, rather than changing the pipes.

For a more tangible prediction about the future: I’ll be taking a look at my addons again, as well as my UI as a whole.




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