Thursday, May 20, 2010

2s Comps and Trying to Game the System

I've played 2s since season 1 for the same reason as everyone else: it's easy to coordinate 1 other friend to play regularly. And fun. It's one of the few truly co-op experiences WoW has when you're level-capped. Sure, there's raiding and all that shit, and yes, it's an MMO.. it's all co-op at some point, but I like playing with 1 or 2 friends, not 9-24. I like Army of Two, I loved Conflict: Desert Storm, I even got through Kain & Lynch; I love the 2-player experience. But 2s in WoW is about as balanced as a 1-legged giraffe. You can see the dominant comps here. And if you've ever tried to outplay any one of these comps with, say, a rogue/hunter team, you know why they're dominant.

I've run a lot of comps, having 10 80s at my disposal, but my partners are consistently a druid and a lock. Strong 2s partners, plenty of faceroll comps with those classes in them. Here's a quick break down of comps, successes, and failures over the years:
  • Played an OP comp out of the gate: disc/afflic (if I remember correctly). This is back when DoTs weren't affected by resilience and it was OM NOM time. We played on BG9, fairly stiff competition as always, and got Duelist titles. We sucked, never juking anything, I'm not sure we ever mana-drained a single opponent, and I stacked my guy with green stamina gear. GREENS! I basically charged out, people tried to explode me, and by the time they realized I was literally a damage sponge, my lock had blown them up. I went shadow and we started just riding right out, fear-bombing, and nuking. But this is exactly what an OP comp in 2s can do: play TERRIBLY and win.
  • The next comp I seriously played was frost mage / resto druid. A very tough comp it turned out. We got up to the 1400s (S7) maybe, but came up short. I don't raid, so I never have the spellpower to really gib anyone. I couldn't drain healers, so fights lasted forever as they would pole-hump, get just enough back, and keep things moving. Druid healers were nearly impossible for me to kill and we actually had one match end in a tie after 45 minutes... both teams lost points. It was a real "what are you doing with your life" moment. A better frost-mage druid partner would probably be either dps spec, but having a healer allows us to play terribly and slowly learn still. It's a deceptive crutch, but one we seem to always need.
  • I switched up to a protpally, playing with the same resto druid, and it was a joke. Pallys are outrageously easy to play. We stopped around the same area, but the struggle to get there was nonexistent in comparison. Mages are always setting up their kills, always freezing, stunning, silencing, and unloading. Pallys, on the other hand, just rub their balls in your face until you die. They never stop, never run out of mana, never get snared, and basically can't get quicked.
  • Disc/Boom. Not easy. No real overlapping strengths. As a disc, I can heal him, drain them, dispel away, that sort of thing, and turn on the offense when needed, but I still feel like I don't do enough. When left alone, I can't swing those fights, and that's a problem. Also, I get chain cc'd so easily, even if I SW:D the first sheep, 2 more are incoming and if I trinket one, some other form of cc, like a fear, is enough for them to send my partner to Mars. I always think you need either a mana drain or a mortal strike in your comp, and we have one of those two things, but it's not enough. Now, 99.9% of the problem is our skills but whatever... we're working on that.
  • Disc/Afflic. Back to the beginning. It's solid expect the fears overlap diminishing returns and that blows a bit. But we play well together and have a good enough time.

So what should I be playing with my 2 available partners? Well, Warrior/Resto and Resto/Afflic would be the safest choices, I think. I've switched to Resto/Afflic for my lock's sake, we'll see how we adjust to that from Disc. Cyclone is outrageous and root is sneaky strong. Preventing damage beats healing it any day. As for playing my warrior with my resto brother? Holy crap am I bad at that class... Again, I don't raid, and I know it's a very gear-dependent build, but I just can't get anything going with that guy. I want to try it again, but it was embarrassing. Where my pally could blow people apart with his smoldering gaze and chiseled features, my warrior stands around snared (I know this is PEBKAC, stfu) and frail, looking like I've lagged out all the time. I'm going to try frost mage / boomkin next, but really, I should just L2P, take the supercomp, and get my gear on.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Wintergrasp is Broken

I transferred a few toons to one account and to Area 52 (which is like the Canal St. of horde servers) and got back into pvp. Not in that order, to be honest. I went to Area 52 for the pve, for the pug raiding, for the AH, for the usual benefits of a fucking massive population. But the pvp was so much easier than on BG9 that I started having fun again. Somehow, the level of competition doesn't detract in anyway from my satisfaction. Zat and I charge out with the OP comp of disc/boomkin and literally just skillfall two ungeared melees before I've cast my first shield... and it's fun! I am, in that way, a tool.

So I will be talking about our pvp climb up 2s and 3s (1550 and 1200 atm) and trying to make some videos w/ skype chat just for fun.

Oh, and Area 52's WG is dumb as shit. 1 alliance vs 80 horde, just standing in his spawn point, invincible, while people duel each other in catapults to complete their quests and everyone else spawn camps the bridge guards. It really is simply a chore.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My new To-Do

Well, my crews are basically geared to the 5k gearscore toon. All that means is that there isn't a bit of triumph badge gear I want, nor anything from ICC 5 mans. So what am I doing now? Well, the scepter of the shifting sands quest chain, of course. I was playing from day 1 and remember gates of AQ being opened. What I really remember is selling basic leathers and clothes for a mint during that time. Anyway, I haven't seen most of the old world raids so this seemed like a fun way to do that.

I cleared BWL (after buying 6 Ony scale cloaks...) with my brother in tow for Razorgore. I tried a handful of times to have 4 of my guys heal in the center of the room while I broke eggs with the fifth but they just got overrun eventually and it was a joke with one extra person on smash-duty. The rest of the instance was very cool. The suppression room is fucking brutal without a rogue though, and what the hell is up with that gate that looks like it should skip it after you defeat Lashlayer? I couldn't find any way to open that.

Now, I'm grinding up my Brood of Nozdormu rep by killing the first 2-3 pulls in AQ40. I did the repeatable quest once but I think this is a lot faster with 5 guys (and they all get the rep). I'm half-way through hated (15k+) and need about 15 or so more clears I think to advance (and then a few more to get through the more-trivial stages before neutral).

Also, I have completed all but one of the Glory of the Hero achievements. I'm missing Dehydration, which is driving me insane because I just can't seem to get lucky and get Ichoron when I try it each day. But, I should have five red proto-drakes soon enough. If anyone has any questions on how to multibox these, fire away while it's still fresh in my head. I needed help for only one, if I recall, which was Watch Him Die (had my brother tank the adds in the other room, just to make it trivial). Split Personality was the only one I seriously struggled with. I tried this one maybe 25-30 times before getting it, although it's very easy to reset, so you only have to worry about occasionally clearing re-popped trash again.

I've been looking at the BC raids to see what I could clear there and let me tell you... those places ain't no joke. I wiped in BT and SSC on bosses. I think if I put my mind to it, I could do much better of course, but since the loot is pointless, it makes it tough to invest a lot just for exploration purposes. I think I'll just join a full old-world raid to see these eventually.

That being said, I fished up the Lurker Below which started me thinking that maybe I'd try for the Salty title on my first toon ever (the only one with fishing and cooking leveled). So I spent a little while fishing, which is surprisingly enjoyable for me. I don't know why.

And that's the update. I really needed this post just to sort out what I was doing... I hate aimlessly playing.
  • The scepter quest chain and finishing Glory of the Hero with the A-team
  • Salty title with Padfoot
  • Finish leveling up my 67 team

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Success and failure

I crushed the timed CoS and got my first Drake. It was perhaps the best moment for me since the 45-min Baron run back in the day. I actually shouted out in happiness... alone in my apartment. I only have one 300 skill rider in my boxing group so the spoils went to him. It's bitter sweet, I think I can get more, clearly, but they will essentially cost me 5k gold for each drop at this point on.

I solo joined a Naxx pug for the first time and jesus, it was brutal. We dropped like 2 bosses in the spider wing before people just left. It was a great reminder of how bad pugs can be but I still want to start raiding a bit more.

Just for fun, 2 other guildies and I went in to OS and did pretty damn well. We dropped the first two drakes and wiped on the last one that becomes immune before one guildie had to go to bed. But, my guys are not nearly even close to geared. Hit rating is a problem in these raids. I need a lot more of it across the board. Even so, it really gave me hope that with a bit of upgrading and some knowledge, 10-man content will be possible to at least explore.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Stage of History

I did some ridiculous shit today. I don't know where I started or where I finished. I was ostensibly working through most of it and just doing it here and there... But in the end, I dropped Ony again (I guess the reset was this morning?), flattened Attumen, Raptor, and Tiger bosses (no mounts), killed the Panther boss (hoping for a quick 18 slot bag), and then... cleared Molten Core.

I didn't really mean to. I just wanted to check it out. But then it was so good, the memories of seeing 40 bodies lying dead in these old areas I haven't been back to.

Only moment of trouble was Majordomo. I didn't really realize what was going on at first and lost 4 of the team to teleporting (on to the pit or something? I'm still not sure what happened) before just settling down with my DK and death strike for healing, and a few minutes later, I was opening the chest.

Later, I took a shot at timed CoS (the daily) and got to the the last pause before the drake fight (where Arthas tells you to rest). I think there's only 2-3 more pulls from there and I was not nearly max'ed out. I wasn't flasked, fully buffed, well-fed, all that shit. I was slow in some areas. But, I didn't wipe or lose anyone for that matter, which is the first time that's happened. I basically need to remember to blow my tanking cooldowns on some of those bigger trash pulls in the first half. The bosses don't really bother me at all but sometimes, between aggro and losing focus, I can let things get out of control on those early pulls.

So, time to take fight club up a notch or shut it down forever. I took all my kids, individually, and checked there DPS on the target dummies. It broke down like this from highest to lowest obviously:
Ele Shaman - 3.5k
Frost Mage - 2.3k
Surv Hunter - 2.1k
Demo Lock - 1.8k
Mutilate Rogue - 1.8k
S Priest - 1.7k
Boomkin - .8k

The gears range but they're all getting there. So, I don't really understand what the fuck is the difference. Well, it's 2-3 things. Gear differences, rotations are less efficient here and there, specs are better and worse, glyphs are more and less easy to utilize with 1-button. But, let's put it straight out there: Shaman kick ass for boxing. Kick. Teh. Ass. My ele shaman has been leading the pack from day one and I promise you, it has nothing to do with me and my borderline retardation. I don't know if I'd prefer 3 more shaman or if I sort of like the challenge of getting my other classes more efficient and devastating. According to the dual-boxing forums, people running all sorts of class comps have massive DPS success in the end, so I know it's just me. And the tinkering IS the game for me. So, I guess you could say I'm happy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Onyxia vs Doomwalker

I tried to "farm" my easy heroics because I'm kind of fiending for a few pieces of badge gear. I rolled through Gundrak and DTK with zero wipes, finally! In fact, I finished DTK with the Eck debuff still on my crew (nothing that impressive since it's an hour buff and I kill Eck right before the last boss). Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about the team. I did AN and wiped once on the final guy but knocked him down on the next try. Went to Nexus and plowed through the place until Keristrasza... I downed her yesterday but today it was not to be.

I tried everything I could think of... different totems, different lock pets, different gear, different cool downs saved for the enrage timer. I attempted her probably 9-10 times but in the end, I just gave in for the day. I even had her at 1500 hps. It's funny... playing with even a single other person, we would have killed her. but things fall apart in multiboxing and it's not pretty. I read a priest solo'd her by dot'ing and running around the instance (she's slow as shit).

Then I went to CoS and blew that. Then I tried doing Naxx 10 with my brother (so 6 of us) and the second mob stumped us (the gargoyle that heals fully at 30%). We were going to switch around to up our dps and we would have dropped it but he had to split. Then I went and killed Onyxia for fun (my first time). Man, I wish I'd been farming this bitch for months now... 18 slot bags alone are worth like the 10 minutes of killing it took. Then I went to kill Doomwalker because I heard he drops 500g. He also drops bombs. I got him to 10% but didn't know about the enrage timer (fucking game mechanic... the only thing it enrages is me) and he blew my crew up as well.

I'm done for a bit. Just wanted to try some fun things. Might go in to MC or BWL and see how those go. I've never seen Karazhan either. It's funny, years ago I installed a private server version of WoW on one of my hard drives. I went in and gave myself all sorts of shit and went through BWL and MC, just checking things out (BWL was the top instance at that point). Now, with this crew, I sort of feel like I'm back there again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why is this game so nice with it?

Quick hits I wanted to mention:
  • I only have one shaman in my crew (I know... what a fucking oversight) so for totems, as with the cup that holds the blood of Christ, I have to choose.. and choose wisely. In each totem slot I can drop either an offensive or defensive buff basically. I'm dropping Stoneskin (the DK buff Horn of Winter takes the place of Strength of Earth, something I only just found out... because I'm a fuckin noob), Totem of Wrath (you really have to... even in the blizzard-happy fight with Novos, you can't give up that buff on four casters for a little frost resistance), Cleansing Totem, and Nature Resistance Totem. Now, the first two don't really have better choices. The last two are questionable, right? I could have mana/health regen and Wrath of Air down instead. But having the Cleansing Totem down all the time has been invaluable. The number of fucking mobs that spit weird goo in my face is insane and I don't have time to micro-manage every fight. Always having this down and not needing to know before hand whether I'm entering into a plague bukkake has saved me a couple of wipes per instance run. The thing is, keeping your tank up is all that matters as long as he/she's got aggro. If that's true, everything else can basically be fixed. So I'm giving up a bit of DPS but my survivability has ratcheted up.
  • I made a purge/tranq shot macro. It's just a /stopcasting macro that's bound to one key. There are a lot of mobs that enrage in these Heroics. I know that most of you are steamrolling through all of these and there's no point to using cc or tranq shots. But I want to develop good habits for Icecrown so I can make pulls as easy as possible. When I see someone enrage, I start a heal on myself and then purge/tranq the mob and the fights suddenly become trivial.
  • Bloodlust is sofa king amazing. It's almost like coffee to me. No matter what obstacle I face in life, all I need is a little coffee. I could accidentally pull Yogg with my shaman and if I bloodlust, I'll suddenly feel like "you know what? I think I got a shot here!"
  • This brings me to my next point. My macro for "freaking out" (that's actually what I call it) basically /use's trinkets and longer buff cooldowns like rapid fire, icy veins, whatever. Use this every fight. I can't believe how short some of these amazing cooldowns are. 2 minutes for Power Infusion? Really? Although I have really long cooldowns like bloodlust on a separate button for boss fights. You want some things to always be ready.
  • Make sure your team has a disenchanter. Don't be like me.
  • When I started, my focus was simplicity. As I've introduced more complex play (utilizing more of each classes' specialities), my game has improved. Don't shy away from stepping your game up a bit. If you're failing, add CC, stop AoE tanking, decurse, drink elixirs, get enchanted and gemmed better. Basically, don't give up, do what it takes, and think and you should crush anything... anything that doesn't require you to move each individual toon too much, that is.
  • These last two bits are about my DK Tank. First, Army of Dead is fucking hilarious. This crew of morons that remind me of the weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (who does a tribute to the weasels in WFRR? I fucking love this world) pops out all around you. Sometimes you summon one in such a way that it aggros the boss you're about to pull (I know: only I'm this dumb). They taunt like Ocho-Cinco and for some weird reason, they'll have a boss surrounded and then the whole group will run like 20 yards away WITH the boss. Sometimes this takes the boss out of my DPS range. Sometimes the boss has an enrage timer. Sometimes I wipe. But there are a few times where it's great to have that many extra hit points taking random beatings for you. I still like to use it whenever I can.. if only for the hilarity.
  • My current DK build is pretty good. I've tried maybe 15 builds and all have been fine, to be honest. But there are a few things I took this time that I doubt any serious tank takes. First, lowering my deathgrip cooldown helps a lot. As I said already, as long as the tank is alive with aggro, life is good. Anything that let's me fix a fight spiraling out of control I like. This really does save my ass and when wipes are costing my group 100g a wipe (15-20g per guy, of course), I'm over it. I'm over wiping. In WoW, at least. Anyway, third, I love Master of Ghouls. Having the ghoul out perpetually is key for me because of the number of times I 'oh shit!' sacrifice it for the health. I could just try to bring him out a minute before I need to sacrifice him but the way I play, that's just not predictable and I'm too scatter-brained. I constantly play my shadow priest without shadowform after a wipe. I need all the help I can get.