June 26, 2010

So there you are.  Prancing about as a invisible wolf thing, looking for your next victim.  There he is… yeah, that unexpecting Shadow Priest guarding the Lumbermill ‘ought to fly reel gud.

Stop. Right. There.

Yeah, you.  Get out of Ghost Wolf and stop looking for people whom you can fling off ledges with Thunderstorm.  You’re better than that.  Not only does everyone hate Shamans that much more when you do it, but you aren’t helping anyone.  Remember the part where you had to get close and then got promptly shanked after a brief chuckle?

“But, Ribeiro the best Shaman ever” you ask, “If not Thunderstorming people off of ledges, then what?!”

Let me tell you children, let me tell you…

The Shaman class in general has long been one of the weakest in terms of Battleground-based PVP.  With little to no crowd control, we Shamans used to simply hope nobody followed the bolt of chain lightning back to our position.  Times have changed.  With Hex and Thunderstorm in our arsenal we can keep the enemy at bay long enough to do some damage.  Don’t underestimate just how powerful turning someone into a frog can be; not to mention how annoyed it must make them.  They can’t attack you if they broke their peripherals out of frog-induced rage, after all.

The totems also provide a Shaman with quick group-wide buffs as well as various other means to annoy the enemy with.  Grounding totem can really annoy a casting-time heavy caster such as a mage and the Earthbind Totem is a legendary friend to casters everywhere.  Defending a flag?  Don’t be affraid to drop your Fire Elemental Totem when things start getting real.


Ribeiro Fixes Azeroth: The Mount Slot

December 26, 2009

So, I’m back for the time being and as a revival of my legendary blogging experience I’m coming back with a new blog-featurette called “Ribeiro Fixes Azeroth”.  This series will look at the game in general and delve into how I would recommend Blizzard fix things or add additional features (or remove bad ones).

The first of of this series will revolve around the additions.  I’ve just jumped into the waters of the 3.3 patch and noted that its primarily just a addon update.  I say that meaning that it primarily just adds little features on top of the game’s current build and on the “pun” side of the phrase it impliments things on the official user interface that popular addon’s have provided players for years (e.g. Quest tracking a-la Quest Helper/Carbonite).

This isn’t a bad thing nor was that a put down.  In fact I think it shows that Blizzard may not know how to do certain things with it’s game, but it certainly is in tune with the community and what’s going on, on certain levels.

Over the years the most we’ve seen added as far as equipment goes are new equipment pieces under the same basic hierarchies.  My recent idea was to add a brand new equipment slot that I am referring to the Mount Slot – though due to connotations this may be subject to official change.

In this slot you of course can equip various items into that will effect the way your mounts perform.  The beauty of the idea comes from the various ways you could make them alter your mounts.

Here are some I’ve come up with:

  • Incremental increase of speed that’s stackable with things like Crusader Aura.
  • Harder to dismount rider when being attacked.
  • Decrease cast time of mount (perhaps making it instant).
  • Gives mount an AOE stun ability for easy get aways.
  • Saddle bag that gives the player an additional bag slot.

I’m sure there are tons more you could do with this, including tiers of upgraded versions of certain ones such as speed increases and so forth.

And that concludes the first installment of Ribeiro Fixes Azeroth.


Alternatives!

June 28, 2009

Well, Fearnath the Warlock hit 60 a few days back and after a night off from RAF we’re back at it with our Alliance set hitting 37 and 36 last night.

I managed to snag 4 of the Dreadmist set pieces before I hit 60 and stopped, so my Warlock looks pretty menacing right now.  Until I go to outlands and the gear makes me look like a rainbow.

Looking to get into work up my next strategy guide for Heroics soon as well, so stay tuned.


Alternatives!

June 21, 2009

What am I up to?

I would be lying if I said raiding.  I’d be lying if I said I was even interested in logging in on Ribeiro as of the last week.  Me and a friends started new accounts and have been doing Recruit-a-Friend for the triple XP. 

Right now we have a 40 Orc Warlock (Fearnath) and a 40 Troll Hunter playing together then the other day we started Alliance toons which hit 20 last night – a 20 Dwarf Paladin (Seeley) and his 20 Human Mage.

I’m really enjoying myself – not because the content is great, I guess leveling in itself still has an appeal – the progression and clear sign of production isn’t so vague as it is with gearing yourself and so forth.  You light up and gain a level, there’s no question of stats or colored names or whether or not you have a high enough bonus heals to do the new content.  It’s clear cut and that is a relief all on it’s own.

The plan is that we will take a mini-vacation from horde when 3.2 launches and do some Alliance with some guildies.  Seeing as I don’t want to play Shaman again even for the final 10 levels (Alliance Ribeiro is 70), the idea was to get some Alliance ready to level from 60 to 80.  Since I miss my Paladin that was stolen all those years ago – the natural choice was to do a original 8 Paladin.  Human or Dwarf?  Dwarf of course!

Now I can tell people to “Walk into my face”.


Ribeiro Knows Best: Improving The Resto Shaman

June 20, 2009

There have been discussions about this very topic all over the resto-shaman blogosphere for a long time.  Probably for the entire 5-year life of World of Warcraft.  Right now the problem the Shaman faces as a healer is that it doesn’t excell at any one healing scenario.  While balancing has been taken to the next level as of late by Blizzard we still seem to fall short when compared to at least one other healing class depending on what aspect of healing we are discussing.  The two primary healing scenarios in any MMO are of course AOE vs. Single Target.  AOE of course being a loose term as there are various forms an AOE can take shape in.  Chained heals, cone heals, and actual AOE burst heals in the form of an explosion of healing power originating from the caster.  Essentially the Resto-Shaman that used to be a very key healer in any raid is now the mediocre healer that gets set asside the first time your healing roster becomes too large to include every healer in your guild.

The question is, what do you change or tweak about the resto-shaman to make him/her a prominent healer again and what should their healing niche be?  Should they modify the Shaman’s chain healing ability to make them the choice AOE healer or should the improve the Healing Waves in order to make them the ideal single-target healer?

Personally I think it would be a waste of a sweet spell – the Chain Heal – to not focus on the Shaman’s ability to AOE heal.  I love it, simply put.  It’s unique, it’s fun to cast – it’s the calling card of the Resto Shaman.  The question was always, what can you do to the Chain Heal ability to make it better in turn making the Shaman better at AOE healing?

My answer is, “Nothing”.  Frankly the answer isn’t in modifying Chain Heal or any heal that is already in existence for that matter (though Healing Wave could use a little versatility).  The key is in adding something new to the arsenal or a new feature to one of the other spells that will enhance the Shaman’s AOE capabilities.

My main idea is simple.

The key to my idea is Riptide.  In our current state, Riptide is a very excellent addition to the arsenal of a Resto-Shaman.  We finally got a Heal-Over-Time spell and the Tidal Waves buff that you get with it really makes the rotation of a Shaman much less boring than it was a while ago before the days of the Riptide. 

Right now, when you cast Riptide you can cast a Chain Heal on the same target and it will absorb the Riptide allowing for  a slightly larger number on your Chain Heal.  However it does remove the Riptide (thus the word absorb).  My idea was to change this situation up.  A lot of caster classes are looking alike in many areas to keep them even now days.  For instance, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks now have the ability if spec’d right to proc instant casts of certain spells.  Such as the Shadowbolt via Back Lash.  Why not take a few pages from the news class – the Death Knight? 

What could I possibly mean?  Well, take a look at the Death Knight’s Pestilence ability.  In Death Knight form essentially, you put a series of disease based DOT’s on your primary target.  With the click of a button you can use Pestilence and it will chain together any targets within a certain distance of that target and put the same diseases on them as well, effectively turning your DOT into an AOE DOT.  Now, try putting that same system into the form of a heal – more specifically a combination of Riptide and Chain Heal.  You cast Riptide on your tank and with the simple cast of Chain Heal you put Riptide on two other melee targets.  Effectively turning your Riptide into a partial AOE.  This would give your heals a boost.  Riptide in itself is week so perhaps a tweak of the amount it ticks for is also in order….

OR

The Death Knight’s Blood Boil ability is another key idea in this new structure of healing I’m thinking of.  With the use of Blood Boil anyone effected with a disease explodes for an amount of damage multiplied by however many diseases you’ve managed to infect them with.  You could use this as well.  Give the Shaman an ability to explode any target that has the new Riptide on them for a burst of heals.  To ensure this isn’t overpowered (and it could easily be) give it a relatively long recast timer.  You could make it a new shock of some sort.  This would give you the ability to burst AOE heal as many targets as you can spread it to with your Chain Heal – effectively making the Shaman a very effective AOE healer as well as making the Chain Heal Glyph worth a damn.

Anyway, that’s my idea.  What do my fellow Resto’s think?


Shaman Healing Guide: Heroic UK

June 14, 2009

Introduction

Heroic Utgarde Keep is arguably one of the easiest of the heroics.  With a team of experienced party members to surround yourself with the instance should go by pretty easily.  Just get yourself a defense capped tank and a decent set of DPS who preferably know the boss fights and your on your way to a pretty carefree heroic run.  Like with my Nexus suggestion I feel that 1600 is a solid number for starting most heroics but you can probably make due with 1-150 less than that.

Trash Mobs

Most of the trash in this instance consists of Vyrkul and undead with a few dragons and wolves along the way.  Luckily these Vyrkul don’t hit as hard as their angrier brethren in Utgarde Pinnacle.  There isn’t much special you really need to do here.  Watch for picking up more than one group on a couple tight knit fights and you should be fine just running with a riptide+2LHW combination on most encounters. 

The first section of the instance will consist of groups of Vyrkul, pull them carefully as to not aggro the entire first hall and you should be fine.  The next room is the same deal, a couple groups of Vyrkul in close proximity – this will lead you to your first boss (Scroll down for boss strategy).

 Next is the “dragon room”.  Make sure when you encounter the dragons, that the tank faces them away from the rest of your party as to not get them caught in the cone of their fire breath.  Taking down the dragons first then the Vyrkul generally works best.  Clearing left half of the room and leaving the right is an easy way to cut some time off of the run.  Next there are halls filled with undead, most of them are non-elite mobs huddled around a single elite.  These halls are a breeze, but you might need to use your cleanse – the totem is a waste, just use the spell on the diseases.  Then some more Vyrkul.  Next will be the boss duo (Scroll down for boss strategy).

After this boss there are more Vyrkul and undead rooms and halls.  Watch for patrols in the rooms with stairs as they usually have a Vyrkul with a pet dog moving up and down them and at one point there will be a roving group of Geists in a room with a set of stairs and some Vyrkul gatherings, Vyrkul stand in your way for the rest of the way to the final boss of the instance (Scroll down for boss strategy).

Additional:  For the most the instance is groups of Vyrkul in between bosses.  So long as you take the CASTERS down first, you won’t have a problem, but they can really hurt your party especially if it’s melee heavy as they do a sort of corpse explosion type spell.

Prince Keleseth

This is the first and easiest boss of the instance.  The strategy is pretty simple.  Have everyone stack up on the tank, the only exception would be a hunter as they need a minimum distance to do adaquate damage, but even they should be standing as close as possible.  If you have a paladin tank this fight is a breeze, all they have to do is keep concencration down, but other tanks can do just as well.  The reason you stack is that there are going to be waves of trash skeletons coming at you in groups.  They are more annoying than dangerous, but if they get onto a soft class you can lose them pretty quick.  The best bet is that you draw them all into one area so the tank can just swipe them up as they keep attacking the boss.  The other reason is that since there are in fact waves of mobs coming at you while you combat this boss you will have adds getting pieces of DPS as well as yourself from time to time and spamming chain heal makes easy work of it when everyone is standing right on top of each other.  The only other quirk of the boss is that he will ice block random party members and the ice needs to be broken for them to be able to do anything again, this is very key if they ice block you – the healer, or rarely the tank.

Dalronn the Controller and Skavard the Constructor

This is probably the most interesting fight but can also be the most painful if your group isn’t up for the coordination challenge it can present.  The basic idea behind the fight is that you are fighting two bosses at once.  One is a caster who fires shadowbolts and the other is a melee who hits pretty hard.  When you kill one, they come back as a ghost version of themselves, the difference between the ghost and the actual version is that the ghost has random aggro tables, so ocne you kill it they will essentially attack whoever they want.  Which is why you want to take one boss to 10 percent health, then switch to the other boss and kill him, then go back to the first and finish him off.  It’s a DPS heavy fight because of this.  An additional note that your group should know is that the melee (Skavard) will do a charge move hitting people who are farther away and this resets his aggro table, meaning the tank will have to retaunt and gain more aggro after he does this.  However, there is an easy way to get around this and that is to have your group in tight around the fight so he doesn’t have the space to initiate his charge.  The second strategy is to kill one or the other and hope they don’t wipe you while they’re running around in ghost form.  This is easy in normal UK, but in heroic it will rarely work unless you have over-geared DPS in the group.

Ingvar the Plunderer

The final and arguably the most difficult boss of the instance is Ingvar the Plunderer.  You will exit the keep into an outside area of the instance which you will clear of Vyrkul on your way to him.  Feel free to show off your Ghost Wolf form in the mean time.  The battle area you will fight Ingvar on is a circular area with  pillars around the inside of it.  These can be used as key strategic advantages during the fight.  You will want your casters at max range and near the first set of pillars you will see as you enter the area.  These will help in case your tank doesn’t know what he’s doing.  If you have shadow resistence buffs available, go ahead and take them.  There are two phases to this fight.  You kill Ingvar once and he will respawn and come back for a second round as a Scourge version of himself – meaning this is the hard phase.  The first phase is pretty simple, he will do an AOE that does less damage the further you are away from it, which is why your casters are at range.  It is a weak AOE so this isn’t a big deal just yet.  Once you down him he will lay there for a while and will be rez’d by a Valkyree, when he coems back to life he unleashes a big AOE so don’t stand near him.  When the tank picks him back up he’ll pull him to the furthest side of the circle away from the ranged.  Now when he does his AOE (Dark Smash) it will be legitimate so your melee will take cover behind the nearest pillar.  The key is that the tank tanks him facing the wall, not the group.  The smash is mostly a cone so there shouldn’t be much damage being caused if they do this right as he stops in place once he starts casting.  If your melee get behind a pillar they will usually take no damage at all.  The main threat as far as damage goes however is his floating axe he will summon, it whirlwinds for a ton of damage and your tank should be tanking him away from it once it spawns.  If it catches a soft melee they will basically die right off the bat.  The save bet to heal this fight is to keep your tidal waves buff up from Riptide so you can keep everyone topped off with quick LHW’s.  Keep earth shield on the tank and everything else should be fine.  It’s not a healing intense fight unless the rest of your party members are failures.  There is also a shout debuff he casts that will cause havoc if you are casting when it hits, so keep an eye on Ingvars timers.  Deadly Boss Mod add-on really helps with this timing.

(WORK IN PROGRESS)


Ribeiro Knows Best: Ten Small Changes

June 13, 2009

In my second installment of RKB I’m going to discuss a few changes that are small but that could have a big impact on various portions of the game – or the game as a whole.

So without further delay…

1. Remove “Daze”

  • The ability for almost every mob to slow you down if you are moving away from them has plagued myself and many others since the game was launched.  It’s a painful situation to just want to get from one place to another and you get dismounted or simple slowed to a hault and have to take part in combat you wanted no part of to begin with.  Or you get yourself in over your head, your health is plummeting and you want to get away – no way.  Not unless you’re a pally with a bubble or a rogue with some sprint can you escape the doom that is the Daze ability.  Get rid of it, I assure you – leveling will be that much less painful to take part in.

2. Delete Rogues

  • Sorry my Rogue friends.  Your class is more trouble than it’s worth.  Stun locks are still ridiculous and frankly my guild Rogues argue over dagger drops for 10 minutes everytime we finish Naxx.   Besides, we have DK’s now and I haven’t seen anyone use crowd control in an instance since the launch of WOTLK.

3.  Remove every Battleground except for WSG

  • AV is too long with not enough payback for not only the queue time but the time it takes to complete.  AB isn’t too annoying but it’s not fun either.  Eye of the Storm has potential if you make the objectives closer and make it a 10v10 and SOTA is just silly.

4. Stuns?

  • Why does EVERY class have the ability to stun or root or silence?  It makes PVP really annoying.  See Warhammer for viable setups as far as PVP crowd control goes.  You don’t need a lot of stuns to make crowd control viable in PVP.  Crowd control shouldn’t be the means to yoru enemies end, it should be your way of extending your life when you are in need – and not all classes NEED that.

5. Delete levels 1-60.

  • Lets face it, Blizzard stoped paying attention to the 1-60 content once the Burning Crusade was about 50 percent finished.  Very few changes and no additions.  And yet most of your leveling time is still spent in this mundane portion of the game.  Idealy you would see a developer speed up the XP gain here – which we have.  But not nearly enough, it’s at the point now that I refuse to level a character unless I am getting the triple XP from Recruit-A-Friend.   Why should we have to suffer through part of the game that even the developers want no part of anymore.

6.  Stop making classes less or more powerful than they are.

  • There are a lot of ways to “balance” classes in an MMORPG.  Most developers go the “easy” route of making a classes spells less or more powerful according to what they think it needs to be level with the other classes.  This way is easier but it is far less effective, which is why after over five years of popularity and life Blizzard are still changing their classes in this way to try to balance them.  The real way you balance a class is to analyze the class and figure out what you want from that class in all situations.  Whether it’s raiding, solo or PVP.  Identify the roll of that class and expand on that.  This MAY include reducing the damage or improving the damage of a spell here or there, but that shouldn’t be what you base your changes on as a whole.  The more you focus on the identity of a class the faster your classes will be balanced and the less I will have to worry about what class is going to be able to waste my Shaman in battlegrounds next week and when I’ll be able to kill a Disc Priest in less than 6 hours (*Days).  There are a lot of DPS classes but it isn’t that hard to make each class accomplish the causing of damage in different ways, for instance.

7.  Expand races.

  • It doesn’t have to be much – you don’t have to design a new race (while I still am disappointed that BE’s and Draenei don’t really count as new at all considering how lazily they were put together).  Y0u could do something as simple as opening up a class option for a certain race that it didn’t have before.  Who wouldn’t want a Gnome Paladin or an Undead Hunter?

8.  Expand on the recustomization features recently added.

  • I was impressed with the addition of this feature.  For a fee I could change my characters appearance, name and even their gender.  But in other games, namely EQ2 – I could do even more (and less, admittedly).  Why can’t I change factions?  It’s no longer an issue of faction specific classes such as what Paladin or Shaman used to be prior to TBC.  Why can’t I change races?  If they can program duel-speccing they can program the swapping of races, I assure you.  I love my troll but I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish it was  Tauren.

9.  Shaman forms.

  • Sorry to be bias but you are on a Rest-Shaman blog.  Why are we only allowed to change into a Ghost Wolf while Druids can not only change into a travel form, but a stealth dps form, a tank form, healing tree form AND a flight form.  I don’t think Shamans should be a tank or even be able to stealth (though it makes sense that a Ghost Wolf might be able to go invisible) but it would be nice if we could stay in Ghost Wolf form to do combat – but even more so if we could have a Ghost Hawk or something of that sort that we can fly as.

10.  In-game Quest Helper

  • I know, I know – most of these “little changes” probably take a lot of time to impliment.  But, the game is almost unplayable without some sort of Quest Helper mod that shows you where to go on your map for quests, at least impossible once you have played WITH it compared to without.  They have been adding add-on features into the normal game for a while now, why not add the most popular features?  We don’t even have an in-game DPS meter yet.

I won’t lie – I was scraping the bottom of the barrel when I got half-way through, but here it is.  Some “small” changes to make big differences.  Maybe next time I’ll do “big” changes to make “big differences”.


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