Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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Status Update

December 8, 2008

So, I have been back home for a week but haven’t managed to get a meaningful post together just yet so I thought I would do a quick status update with a few thoughts on life and WAR.

Firstly, real life is pretty much hampering my ability to spend time in game. I am finishing up my current job next week and then have to pack the house and move interstate. Between the preparation for the move and tidying up loose ends with my job, I have managed a total of about 3 decent gaming sessions since I have been back in town.

In my first session back I managed to knock over all the Heavy Metal event tasks and unlock access to the new tank classes. While I was happy to be able to participate in the event after being away for all bar two of the days, I was a bit disappointed by how easy it was to complete the tasks. In fact, the hardest thing about the tasks was getting a Reikland Factory scenario to pop. I think if they had split the tasks into two and you had access to one for the first half of the event and then access to the other for the rest, it would have put a bit more emphasis on participation over the duration of the event. Unlocking the access to the new classes feels a little hollow knowing I was only online for 1 night out of the whole period.

Another big event that occurred while I was away was the release of the WoW expansion Wrath of the Lich King. Most of my mates and fellow guildies are all pretty keen WoW players so when I came back the guild was empty and everyone was off playing in Northrend. Understanding that most of my mates wouldn’t be coming back, I have transferred GM of <The Basin> to one of my alts and moved Xibalba across to a new guild <NoFear>. This decision was a difficult one for me having been the impetus behind setting up the guild on Ironclaw, but I felt that without an active guild, my time in WAR would be pretty limited so I made the move hoping to keep my enthusiasm for the game going.

Patch 1.05 and 1.06 have come out and while they haven’t fixed all the issues I was hoping, I am happy with the progress Mythic are making towards improving the game. The changes have improved my DPS a little while my healing seems to be about the same. I now use my big heal more often due to the shorter cast time and reduced push back and I think that is a nice improvement, particularly as I am now running with an alchemy spec (more on that in another post). I still get a little bit of animation stutter on occasion, but it is much improved on the previous implementations. Now Mythic just need to bring in patch 1.1 and the ORvR changes!

Well, that is a quick wrap up of things. I am going to be in and out over the next few weeks so my blog updates will be a little patchy, particularly the couple of weeks around New Years when I will be between houses.

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Zealots in 1.0.5

November 8, 2008

Patch notes are up for 1.0.5 and here are the current zealot specific changes:

  • Endless Gifts: This ability will no longer affect Winds of Insanity.
  • Boon of Tzeentch: The damage of this ability has increased.
  • Dark Medicine: The stat contribution for this ability has been fixed; it was previously receiving more stat benefits than intended.
  • Manipulation: This ability will no longer trigger if the target of the heal is already at full health.
  • Mark of Remaking: This ability will now be affected by the anti-resurrection aura.
  • Warp Reality: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Demon Spittle: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been decreased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Tzeentch’s Lash: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been slightly increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Wind of Insanity: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Vortex: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Spell Destroyer: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Mark of Daemonic Fury: This ability now also increases the target’s Ballistic Skill.
  • Tzeentch’s Cordial: The duration of this ability has been increased to 24 seconds, and the overall amount healed over this duration remains the same.

All DoT abilities got a slight item stat contribution buff except Demon Spittle. This will help out with soloing but isn’t a big issue as far as I am concerned.

Our main HoT Tzeentch’s Cordial has had its duration increased from 15 sec to 24 sec, reducing the healing for each tick. Dark Medicine has had its stat contribution reduced to bring it more into line with our other spells.

All other DoTs in the game are being rebalanced to provide a slight increase in damage due to stat contribution. This increase in damage combined with the reduction in healing from the HoTs will make life as a healer a little more difficult as already mentioned by Regis and Spinks.

Thankfully a few vocal healers have jumped on the IGN forums and highlighted their concerns and Mark Jacobs has responded with this comment:

Just so you know, in the last 24 hours I’ve had two major conversations about healers. The first one revolves around a change to the scenario scoring system to better reward healers for their contributions. The second was around the patch notes. The team knows how important healers are to the game’s success and as we prep for 1.0.5 and put it up on the PTS, healers will be focused on to ensure that when the patch goes LIVE, that they have what they need to succeed either as pure healers and/or hybrids.

Mark

This was followed by these changes expected to be implemented on the PTS prior to it opening:

d) For our healers, we are looking at making the following changes:

Ranged Healers

Long Cast Big heals go from 3s cast to 2.5s cast
Interrupt / setback value on long heals is reduced by 50%

Melee Healers
Divine Strike and Rend soul will now heal for 350% damage dealt instead of 250%

Like the IBs, this is just part of an ongoing process. As I said yesterday, the team will continue to look very carefully at the healers on the PTS and if more changes need to be made, we’ll make them.

While I am glad they will monitor how healers go on the PTS, I am not sure that the changes to the long cast time spells will make that much of a difference. I intend on trying out the changes when the PTS comes up so I will pass on my thoughts once I have played around with things a bit there. Mythic seem to be responding well to the feedback so far despite what intially seemed like a kick in the teeth for healers.

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Witching Night and all that Jazz

November 5, 2008

I haven’t had much to say here because I have been out of town and my game time has been limited. I did manage to get around 3-4 hours play during the Witching Night event but as Syp mentioned pretty much everyone has already covered that in detail.

One thing I will mention however is that I was a little disappointed that the item rewards were a cloak and mask. I just don’t see the point in rewards that I am not going to use at all. I would prefer that Mythic did something with either the dye or trophy system or maybe provided a nice achievement I could put in my bragging rights to indicate I had participated in the event rather than a cloak and mask that I would only wear around IC if I remembered to actually equip them. I did see in their announcement for the Heavy Metal live event that they would provide a trophy as a reward for the first level of influence which I think is a good move, unfortunately I will be out of town again for all bar 3 days of that event.

On a happy note, the Witching Night influence grind wasn’t too bad and the elite reward mask was BoE so my bank alt has a nice new mask to wear around IC. I also noticed that the first level reward potion that gives you the title is not bound so I have mailed it around to my alts so they all have access to “The Spooky” title. It seems mailing the potion resets the use count as well.

Delicate Silver Mask

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Zealot Dark Rites Mastery Review

October 29, 2008

It has been a bit over a week since I repecced to Dark Rites so I thought I would expand a bit on the comments I made earlier. I have played with the spec a fair bit in scenarios, Open RvR, PQs and solo and levelled a couple of times in the process. My current spec looks like this.

In scenarios I have found the spec to be pretty solid. It certainly works best if your team is close to hand but with liberal use of Leaping Alteration it isn’t too shabby in cross group healing. My combat log still has around 45% of my healing coming via Tzeentch’s Cordial (a core ability so not affected by spec), 32% from Leaping Alteration, Dust of Pandemonium and Ritual of Lunacy with the other 23% from various sources. I did notice I used Flash of Chaos a lot more with this spec than with my previous Witchcraft spec, however I am not sure if this is due to the spec or because Order in T3 are targeting me more than they had previously.

In Keep attack and defence Dark Rites really shines. The ability to heal team members that aren’t in LOS is invaluable when fighting up and down the Keep ramps and allows you to sit out of LOS of the Order DPS while keeping all group mates topped up. Spamming Dust of Pandemonium can drain your AP pretty quickly but with a battle standard around to help it isn’t too bad. I didn’t get a chance to try the Restorative Burst tactic (3 more levels to go) but the synergies with Dust of Pandemonium are hard to beat as you have a chance to crit on each party member in range.

Solo a Dark Rites spec is pretty average. I found I struggled to keep myself up if I tried to take advantage of the more powerful Demon Spittle and my AoE heals just weren’t efficient enough to warrant their use. In some situations while solo I couldn’t even use Demon Spittle for fear of pulling too many adds so kills tended to drag out a bit more than they did previously. With a Witchcraft spec I was able to solo -1 champions without too many issues (apart from the time it took of course) but I found myself out of AP and very shortly dead even against -4 champs with the Dark Rites spec.

In group questing and PQs the Dark Rites spec was better than my solo experience. I was able to AoE mobs while throwing the occasion heal on group mates and felt slightly more useful than I did when Witchcraft specced.

Overall, I would rate a Dark Rites spec as great for Open RvR, ok for scenarios depending on group/map and group PvE and I would rate it as poor for anything solo.

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First Thoughts on Dark Rites tree

October 21, 2008

Previously I had specced fully into the Witchcraft Mastery tree as that suited my healing style of throwing around HoTs and shields while constantly moving. However, since entering T3 I have found that the LOS issues on some maps such as Temple of Isha have resulted in me using Dust of Pandemonium a lot more than I had previously and this prompted me to rethink my spec.

So, last night I respecced and put 8 points into Dark Rites and grabbed Ritual of Lunacy. I hadn’t been that impressed with the description of the ritual in the Witchcraft spec tree so I didn’t really bother with it but ritual of Lunacy seemed more useful so I thought I would give it a shot.

With the new spec I ran a couple of scenarios and the healing I was putting out was around the same mark as I had in the previous couple of scenarios prior to the spec change. I found that not having to worry so much about LOS was a benifit although I didn’t get into a Temple of Isha to really try it out.

I felt that the Ritual of Lunacy was worth using and I had one down on top of the flag in the Doomfist Crater match pretty much the whole time. It worked like another HoT on my group when we were all attacking the flag and I didn’t have to worry about targeting people. I didn’t notice whether LOS affected the Ritual but I am hoping it didn’t as a couple of times I threw it down on the top of a ramp to try and cover the area just beyond where I couldn’t get LOS.

I spent a bit of time spamming Dust of Pandemonium but I found I would run out of AP fairly quickly. It worked quite well when we were up against a group of BW doing AoE but it just didn’t keep up with the damage if someone was being focussed. The best thing about it was that it ignored LOS so in those maps with pillars and walls blocking LOS it does make life a little easier.

In short, I think the spec has a lot of potential and will stick with it for a while yet. I like Ritual of Lunacy and it certainly felt like it was worth the point. I will run a bunch more scenarios and have a look over my combat log data and report back on any further findings.

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Stats for Zealots

October 14, 2008

In a similar vein to what Regis over at Wizards & Wenches has done for the DoK, I am going to run over the stats and comment on their importance for the Zealot. My focus as a Zealot is healing in RvR so my comments are biased to that role, however I will make comment on solo viability and DPS stats.

Willpower: Increases your chance to Disrupt attacks and increases healing dealt to allies.

Zealots are healers, this stat is the only one that increases you healing, therefore it is the most important stat IMO.

Now there has been a bit of discussion over the relative merits of willpower versus wounds. The discussion postulates that wounds is of more benefit than willpower as +1 willpower only increases you healing by 0.2 hps where as +1 wounds provides an additional 10 health. When it comes to soloing and any situation where you take the bulk of the damage this is quite true, however any time you are partied up and someone else is taking the damage, additional wounds on your part aren’t going to keep them alive where as additional willpower will.

Willpower has the added advantage of increasing your chance to disrupt spells so those Bright Wizards become less of an issue as you increase you willpower.

Wounds: Increases the amount of health you have.

Wounds is you buffer against burst DPS. It gives you more time to switch to yourself to heal and reduces the likelihood of you being insta gibbed by the assist train. Regis has a good analysis of Toughness versus Wounds here, but in general I prioritise Wounds slightly higher than Toughness as it is more difficult to find on gear and I tend to die more often from burst damage than sustained damage. However, as Regis mentions, a balance of Wounds and Toughness is probably best.

For solo questing I would recommend stacking a bit of Wounds so that you can survive getting ganked by a respawn or an unexpected add.

Toughness: Reduces damage dealt to you by opponents.

This will lower the amount of damage taken from each hit. As above, having a bit of toughness is important, however I feel that with our HoT giving Zealots a proxy toughness, surviving burst DPS is more important so therefore wounds is rated higher.

If you were min/maxing PvE it might be worth looking into the amount of toughness you would need for your HoT to counter the incoming damage but so far I have found the base amount of toughness to be more than enough for solo questing against single mobs.

Intelligence: Increases Magic Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or disrupt attacks.

This is the key stat for solo/DPS Zealots. It increases your spell damage and reduces the chance your spells will be disrupted. I have a separate gear set for solo PvE which is stacked with intelligence but I don’t generally have it in my RvR/Healing set as my damage is usually less than 10% of my healing and therefore the benefit in RvR is marginal.

Initiative: Increases your chance to evade attacks, detect stealthed enemies, and lowers your chance to be critically hit.

Reduced crit chance, increase evade and increased stealth detection all sound nice but really you would still be better off going for more wounds or toughness. Maybe of situational use if you are getting hit from stealth by Witch hunters all the time.

Weapon Skill: Increases your chance to Parry attacks and penetrate an opponents armour.

The increase to parry is a marginal benefit but really there is no point in getting additional weapon skill for a Zealot. Once again you would be better off looking for Toughness or Wounds.

Strength: Increases Melee Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or parry attacks.

I am not sure how much our melee hits for but if you are relying on your melee attack for damage then something is wrong. I don’t see any point in this stat for a Zealot.

Ballistic Skill: Increases Ranged Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or evade attacks.

As the Zealot doesn’t have any ranged attacks this stat is worthless.

Ok, so there you have my thoughts on stats for the Zealot. Willpower is the king of healing with Wounds and Toughness as required for survivability. I intend on having a bit more of a closer look at how much is enough as far as survivability goes but so far I haven’t had too many issues with survivability.

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Levelling as a Zealot

October 9, 2008

First up, let me state that levelling as a Zealot isn’t as hard as you may first think. A Zealot in WAR is quite different to a priest in WoW as you have quite a few options when it comes to how and where you level. I rolled a Zealot because I wanted to be a healer and I have specced in Witchcraft because that is the path that suits my healing style. I have also prioritised my items for healing over damage (I do maintain a damage set, but I only upgrade it if I can’t get an upgrade for my healing set). Despite this, I feel that I am levelling at a pretty good pace and the only reason I am not at cap is because of my available play time.

Now, your options for levelling are to either solo or group quest, run popular PQs in an open group or run scenarios either solo or in a group. I have done a bit of everything but found that running scenarios and solo questing in between has been the most effective means to level for me. As some people have already mentioned, there are not sufficient quests in T2 to level at the appropriate rate without changing to another pairing. Even mixing in some scenarios there isn’t quite enough. The approach I took was to run through the Chaos versus Empire chapter 5 and 6, then pop over to Dark Elf versus High Elf area and do Chapters 5-8. I then popped back into Chaos versus Empire for Chapters 7 and 8. This saw me through to 19 with a few runs in Stone Trolls Crossing just to balance things out.

One significant change that came in just as I hit 19 was the ability to queue for scenarios from any racial pairing. I am not sure if all servers were the same, but this dropped my queue times from around 30 minutes per scenario down to around 2 minutes for the Mourkain Temple scenario (the others don’t tend to happen much at all any more). Most of my time from mid way through 19 to mid way through 21 has now been spent in Mourkain Temple. In fact, last night I was riding down from Chaos Chapter 9 to the Warcamp in Ostland while queued for Mourkain Temple. In the time it took me to ride that distance I had done 6-7 scenarios and gained 1/2 a level. Not bad for what is essentially less than 10 minutes outside of a scenario.

Why are scenarios so effective for levelling? Well, as a healer you are usually involved in every kill that happens as you will heal the DPS who are making the kills. This gives you a reasonable amount of XP for each scenario run. I find that I am usually in the top 3 for XP each scenario we win and if we lose, my XP might drop from 10k to 7k, which isn’t too bad at all. 10k XP from an 8 minute game in Mourkain Temple is a pretty good rate of XP gain but the best thing about it is I can play my Zealot how I want to play; as a healer.

Now there will be times when scenarios aren’t popping and this is when you will do some questing. I will admit, Zealots kill things a little slower than a sorceress when solo. However, as solo questing isn’t the only way to level, when you do quest it doesn’t tend to drag on as much as just grinding quests does. When questing I will swap out my healing set for a damage set that is stacked with +int and +wounds to help me survive. I also swap around my tactics. One tactic that makes life a fair bit easier is Divine Fury which you get at level 13. The other tactic I run is Endless Gifts. With these minor changes you can increase you damage output enough to make a difference.

The next thing to note for soloing is the ability cycle. I generally start out a pull with Scourge, then put up my Harbinger of Doom, followed by a Tzeentch’s Cry, Warp Reality, Demon Spittle, Tzeentch’s Cry, Tzeentch’s Cordial if required, Demon Spittle, Tzeentch’s Cry and maybe the activated ability from Mark of Daemonic Fury. Mobs usually die prior to the last tick of Warp Reality so around the 20 second mark. I can take down 2 equal level mobs at once in a little under 40 seconds but my AP ends up being a little low.

I have found PQs to be a bit hit and miss now that I have fallen a little behind the levelling curve. If there are people around running PQs I will join in to add a bit of variety and get some influence but unless one of the influence rewards is a big upgrade, I will not go out of my way to complete PQs or bother to grind the first stage solo.

I hope this gives some insight into how levelling a Zealot doesn’t have to be a chore and I would be interested in hearing how you have levelled your toons.