Posts Tagged ‘loot

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.

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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.

27
Nov
09

You are at the end of the road. Do you…

Patch 3.3 is coming, yay woohoo, all that jazz. By now we’ve all no doubt been following it meticulously. Or possibly not. In effect I am asking myself this question: is patch 3.3 just more of the same old grind that we got in 3.2? Or is it the spine tingling conclusion to 5 years of arch nemesis lore. Yes, I remember back in vanilla when Icecrown was only talked about in whispers, where Northrend was this forbidden continent to the far north, frozen and ancient, filled with horrors of the lich kings creation.

Now Kel’Thuzad, once the scourge of Lordaeron, is no more. Even the old god of death, Yogg-Saron is no more. And the valiant heroes of Azeroth have taken to slaughtering eachother in the arena, supposedly as way of selecting only the worthy people to go to Icecrown Citadel. Tirion does have a bit of explanation to do there in my opinion.

In short: Is Icecrown more of the grindy loot fest that the Argent Coliseum has been? Or is it actually going to be a climactic struggle, rivalling Ragnaros in epicness? Yes, ol’ Rag is a shade of his former self these days, but answer me truthfully those of you who witnessed it back then: Was it not epic when he burst forth from his pool of molten rock? TOO SOON EXECUTUS!

To answer the question, it may well be a climactic struggle, an epic ending to an epic expansion. But story and lore is but one part of the epic feeling. The other is…loot. And the third is: stuff to do that isn’t just dailies and more silly rep grinding.

I might’ve covered point 1 already. Let’s get right down to point 2 then, the loot, the reason we kill the poor bosses 10 times rather than 1. And with that, we have to mention the loot distribution system since its an integral part of the whole notion of loot. It is possibly here that we’ll see the crux of the matter appear.

Now, Blizz have already revealed the loot system, or rather it has been mentioned in various places by people who have experienced it on the PTR. The usual clause about subject to change will apply here of course. But judging from this description(link) we will have to first get the standard “hohum” version of the epic, only to upgrade it as we go along. Sound like a familiar system? That’s because it is…it’s a slightly altered version of the Zul’Gurub and Ahn’Qiraj loot systems. While those were perhaps based on rep it still amounts to the same thing; you have to grind the instance enough to get the loot.

In effect that places a brake on things, not the progress per se, but the loot progression itself. It would only hinder raid progression if it contained blocking mechanisms like FR or FrR or some other vanilla tactic, but it doesn’t. So why do it at all? Because it will extend the length of time that people will be interested in going back to the instance. Not that there will be anywhere better to go, but it seems simply like a delaying tactic. People are going to get their T10 no doubt, they just have to wait a tiny bit longer before they upgrade it.

The third leg is the “non raiding” bit of the patch. Realistically speaking, I doubt very much that we’ll get a departure from the Coliseum formula. The indications all point to more of the same, for better or worse. There is a new faction to grind for too (The Ashen Verdict). It is a tried and tested formula, but one can’t help but think that it starts feeling a bit samey by now. “Right-o, that’s one more faction to exalted. Next!”

It is the balancing act between the (perhaps) too hard reputation requirements for the heroics of TBC and the fact that immediate access, or “default key”, solutions are…let’s face it…boring. If anybody can just waltz in, a bit of the feeling of achievement does go away. For some that is no problem (yes, I’m looking at you “gief eipx n0w!” people), but for people whom might be a tiny bit interested in stories and lore it is unsatisfying. I could go on at length, but that would be a topic all of its own. The important point is to appreciate the tightrope that Blizz is walking.

So, all that said, will Icecrown Citadel be a fitting conclusion to the reign of the Lich King? From a game perspective seen, Blizzard are pouring all of their experience into making it the best raiding instance yet, and given their ability to walk tightropes, it is quite certain to be a good bit of fun. While Naxx might have suffered because it was essentially a pre-TBC refurbished to modern standards, Ulduar (and to a lesser extent the Coliseum) had very new and very interesting challenges. And most of all, it had a grand majesty about it…and is there anything better than to kill bosses in environments that look nice? I am confident that the raiding aspect will be good and that we wont be let down.

And just to reiterate it, yes I fully expect a new batch of dailies and new pets, and new tabards, and new bits and bobs to grind for. After all, we have to make money for repairs don’t we. While I don’t enjoy the grindy aspect of WoW, I am quite certain that we wont be let down here either.

That said however, in one way patch 3.3 is destined to fail.

Bringing closure to a storyline that began with the very launch of vanilla WoW 5 years of go cannot possibly live up to all the stories, memories and lore that comes before it. I still remember entering the Western Plaguelands, riding to Chillwind on my slow horse and taking in the destruction and desolation that the Scourge had brought with them. The names and the places of the past, when they were more than just places to grind runecloth for a tailoring alt: Andorhal, Corrins Crossing, Scholomance, Stratholme…

So when the Lich King finally dies, when Arthas and Nerzhul are finally destroyed…then what? Do we go back to the daily grind for the Ashen Verdict “to get that cool undead baby gryphon” or do we sit back and reflect upon the 5 years that have built up to this moment?

What will you do?