Progress: LFR week, challenge mode gear scaling

After running LFR on various toons for a week, I finally got my rogue to hit iLevel 355 and halfway through the twilight dungeon quests. My feral druid completed the Kalimdor midsummer fire achievement and my paladin completed the Northrend ones. Gosh, it’ll be a couple more years before I get the purple drake, if ever. At least the whole shared achievement means that I can do it on different toons depending on what I’m in the mood of playing at that time.

My priest got four (yes, FOUR) drops from the LFR in one run, so he’s at iLevel 380 now, has 4pc tier bonus, and only missing chest piece from looking like this. My mage got the chest piece and now has 2pc tier bonus, which looks seriously wonky. I haven’t tried it on the training dummy, but it’s seriously gonna step up the arcane rotation pace a little bit.

On the other news, Blizzard just clarified the challenge mode gear scaling here. I agree with their rationales, mostly centered around keeping hit caps and expertise caps intact while scaling down everything else. But there are a few issues with this approach:

  • Most people that’s “that good” (i.e., have hopes of completing gold level challenges) are probably in a raiding team somewhere, or will be sporting raid-level gear shortly. These people are going to gem and reforge their gear around raid boss hit-caps, as opposed to heroic boss hit-caps. For casters, there’s a HUGE leap from being hit-capped against level 92 mobs to against level 93. That’s a lot of item budgets wasted if Blizzard insists on keeping the hit-cap. With the item budget as scarce as it is due to downscaling, this is a huge blow to the other secondary stats. Note to self: find out how to properly spell hit-cap. Hit cap? hitcap? hit-cap? hit_cap?
  • Some people gear around soft-caps such as haste plateaus. If you keep the hit-cap but scale down the haste, you might seriously mess up a warlock / spriest / boomkin’s dps, or a resto druid’s hps.
  • Let’s not even get to tanks where there’s an intricate interaction between mastery (for shield tanks), dodge, and parry.

With those inconveniences, I expect that there will be a lot of people keeping an extra set of gear, gemmed and reforged exactly for the purpose of entering a dungeon mode challenge. There will be theorycrafters out there explaining how to game the downscaling system so that you “land” on the haste plateaus you want. There will be a Mr. Robot-like sites or addons figuring this out. Another alternative that’s been suggested by WowInsider commenters are:

  1. Have a fixed stats for people upon entering the dungeon. If you’re going to play as a combat rogue, this is your stat, period. Well, it does solve all the issues I raised above, but it introduces other issues, namely:
    • Research / Preparation. Dungeon challenge is not meant to be brute-forced with gear, true, but it’s also not meant to take away the how-well-do-you-know-your-class part. Part of what differentiates great players from good players are knowing what the soft caps are and how to utilize them. I remember that when I was finally able to reach a the sixth tick of rejuvenation on my druid, suddenly my “rotation” (if there’s ever such thing for a healer) changes. I prioritize rejuvenation a little bit more, knowing that it heals for more. I usually don’t give much credit to raiders who know how to look things up online. I don’t consider that “skill.” What I consider skill is the ability to understand why those stats are weighed that way and how to respond accordingly when your stats change.
    • Interaction with talent system. I haven’t seen ALL the talents of the class I play (which is like, almost all of them), but there might be talent choices that begets different caps or even stat priorities.
    • Personalization / Playstyle. At some point in Cata, there were to viable styles of discipline priest. I think one was bubble spam, the other was heal spam. I dunno I forget, I didn’t have a level 85 priest back then. I thought that was pretty cool that Blizz was able to tune it so closely so that there’s no clear winner. I’m sure some other classes have that choice too. The two styles also require different stat priorities.
  2. Let each toon chooses the stats they want to scale down while keeping others intact. As a druid, I wouldn’t care about crit or mastery for example, but I want to keep my spirit and my haste where they are. As a mage, I would want to keep my hit rating but I don’t care about the others. Doesn’t solve the level 92 vs 93 mob conundrum but it solves the other ones.
  3. Let each toon BUDGET their stats themselves. Upon entering a dungeon (or previously, where you can save a profile), you are given this much item budget, and it’s up to you how to allocate them. This is probably the best approach functionally, but it’s horribe from the user experience point of view. Raiders and seasoned players would be able to figure this out quickly. But what about your regular joe players who are new and trying to click at “hey what is this dungeon challenge button?” and then BAM, hit with a window full of knobs and buttons that doesn’t make much sense?

I honestly don’t know what the best solution is. Maybe they have thought this through and still think that the solution they put forth was the lesser of all evils.

Inventory, gold sink mounts

Ok I didn’t get much progress these last few days other than just farming Ahune and burning blossoms, and doing some AH. Who know stock dust flipping could be so profitable?

It’s been almost a month since my last inventory post, so I’m going to update my character list with their new levels and iLevels.

Alliance

  • Gerana, level 85 night elf druid. Spec: restoration. Balance for questing. ILevel: 381.
  • Suroe, level 85 human death knight. Spec: blood. Unholy for questing. ILevel: 381.
  • Zarama, level 85 human mage. Spec: arcane. Frost for questing. ILevel: 378.
  • Elang, level 85 human priest. Spec: discipline. ILevel: 367 378.
  • Benume, level 84 85 night elf druid. Spec: feral (bear), feral (cat). ILevel: 359.
  • Delima, level 84 85 human rogue. Spec: combat. ILevel: 324.

Horde

  • Urumba, level 85 tauren shaman. Spec: restoration. Elemental for questing. ILevel: 376
  • Xarto, level 85 undead warlock. Spec: demonology. ILevel: 374 377.
  • Velone, level 85 blood elf paladin. Spec: protection, holy. ILevel: 375 376 (holy), 365 370 (protection).
  • Harja, level 71 orc hunter. Spec: beast mastery
  • Yelna, level 70 blood elf priest. Spec: holy
  • Radum, level 70 tauren druid. Spec: restoration / balance.
  • Tugar, level 70 orc death knight. Spec: unholy.

As you can see, the biggest progress is in gearing up and leveling up the last trio: priest, druid, rogue.

On the other news, since all gold-sink mounts will be account bound, I’m thinking that maybe I can buy a couple of them and have all my toons share access to the mounts. There are a few to choose from, each having their own features and “coolness” factor. I’m going to list them and my thoughts on each:

  • Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth. Cost: 20k, 16k if you’re exalted with Kirin Tor (which I think one of my toons is). Pros: Cheap. Comes with vendor and repair, and can seat up to three people. Perfect for a triboxer. Cons: the vendor only sells up to level 80 food and drink. No indication whether this would be updated in Mists, most likely no. Also, it does not fly. I thought this was going to be a deal breaker, but apparently many of the mounts in this list also do not fly, which is a shame.
  • Grand Expedition Yak. Cost: 60k, doesn’t seem like any reputation discount would apply. There are some reports that guild perk discounts would cause it to go down all the way to 54k, but still very expensive. Pros: Comes with a repair vendor that sells level 90 food and rink, and a reforger. How often do I need to reforge really? Also can seat up to three people. Cons: 60k. Enough said.
  • Mechano-hog / Mekgineer’s chopper. Cost: depending on market, but I estimate it to be around 12-15k. Pros: Cheap. Style factor. Also smaller than mammoths, so it would actually fit into small doorways. This was a huge deal back in Dalaran, but I don’t know about the doors in Pandaria. Cons: can only fit two people. Annoying chopper sound. Does not fly.
  • Sandstone Drake. Cost: depending on market, but I’ve bought one for 25k which is below vendor mat cost. Pros: you become the dragon itself, so huge style factor. Cons: can only fit two people.
  • Grand Ice Mammoth. Cost: 10k, but with exalted discount and guild perk, goes down to 7k. Pros: dirt cheap. Can fit three people. Cons: Does not fly. No vendors.
  • Ice Mammoth. Cost: 800 gold at exalted. I’m not gonna comment on this one since I have it already.
  • Jeweled Onyx Panther. Cost: 2 million gold for the onyx, and 500k for the other colors. Umm kthxbai.
  • Cloud Serpents. Right now there’s not much information on it, so I can’t comment too much.

As you can see, in order to narrow down the choices, I have to ask the following questions:

  • Do I want a reforger? Most likely no, since I don’t get new gear that often.
  • Do I want a vendor? It’s 7/10 on the scale of necessity. It’s not crucial but can be helpful.
  • 3 people ground mount vs 2 people flying mount? This is the toughest choice. Most likely I’ll just end up getting both. The 3 people ground mount would help during leveling process or things like Tol Barad dailies. The 2 people flying mount would help transport a lowbie from point A to point B, although there are otherwaysto do that. Blizzard has indicated that Have Group Will Travel will be replaced by something else, and they have not changed their stance since. So 2 people flying mount will be more necessary than before.

Verdict: the current plan is to get both Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth and Sandstone Drakes. This way each toon will have insta-access to vendors, 3 seater, and a flying 2 seater for the purpose of transporting lowbies.

Progress: new gear, gold sink mounts

After running a few rounds of LFR last night, my priest gets a headpiece that gets him 3/5 of T13, upping his iLevel to 378. My druid gets the legging for T13 which gets her the 4pc set bonus. Technically she has ALL of T13, although she’s not equipping the head piece since she has the level 397 valor one.

On the other news, the gold sink mounts are going to be account-bound, per this post. I’m conflicted whether the prices are going to go up or down, since on the one hand the value and usefulness of each item increased, but on the other hand, the demand would decrease. Only a few people are able to afford these kinds of mounts, and those who do usually don’t hold back to afford it on multiple characters. But who knows, maybe because it’s account-bound now, more people would be willing to shell out the gold, thus increasing demand.

At any rate, I’ve bought two alchemy mounts. Even if the price didn’t go up, I can always equip them on two of my accounts. If they do go up, maybe I’ll sell one for a nice profit, or I’ll sell both, depending on how greedy I feel at that moment. Either way, they’re dirt-cheap right now, costing only 25k each, considering that it costs 24k in vendor mats alone.

Progress: warlock getting some gear, new vanity glyphs

My warlock ran through LFR first wing and got the T14 leggings as well as Mosswrought Shoulderguards. With that, his iLevel rose to 377 now. I’m also equally excited about the way his gears look. Unfortunately, his chest is still a level 378 dungeon drop, which destroys the way everything looks. But once he gets T14 chest or enough valor points to buy the valor version, he will look like this.

On the other news, new rounds of vanity glyphs are published here. I’m excited about some of them especially hunter glyph: fetch. But I’m not sure if giving monks a flight form similar to druids is a good idea.

Progress: priest, midsummer festival

Last night I ran LFR the second wing, and by luck I got RIGHT into the fourth boss. Also, by luck, all the other healers were uber-geared druids and shamans that already have heroic Ti’tahk. So of course it dropped and I got it. His iLevel is up to 378 now. Somehow I’m not complaining the fact that I got it right after I enchanted my previous weapon. I think it was an acceptable loss.

And now, today is the first day of midsummer festival. It is also the second day of summer solstice and heat wave. I can’t wait to spend most of this weekend doing event activities. I haven’t thoroughly read the guides, but my impressions are:

  • Bonfires around Azeroth and Outland. Each should award a sizable chunk of XP. It should help my rogue ding to 85 a bit faster
  • Level 353 2h-staff for casters. Right now all my casters have RF-level weapons, so this would be of no use for me. But it’s just so pretty. Maybe I’ll use it for transmogrification.
  • Level 353 cloak for all specs. Right now, upon dinging 85, you can do the Thrall quest line and get a 365 cloak. The thing is, it’s LONG and BORING, all of them.
  • Getting burning blossom tokens that you can exchange for a pet. Note that I only care about pets since they’ll be sellable in Pandaria.

 

Progress: priest, how to mess with life grip

Last night my priest got his T13 legs, the RF version. So now his iLevel is 377. Not bad for someone who just dinged less than a month ago. Of course he still has 3 pvp pieces, so that’s kinda cheating.

While running RF the first wing, I realized that now I have a spell that is in my action bar but never been used: Life Grip It’s very situational, and a new spell too, so I guess that’s why it hasn’t occurred to me to use it. Of course you can use it for good: to save your comrades from dying in the fire. But since last night’s RF was particularly bad, I wonder how you can use this spell to mess with someone.

  • In Morchok, you can life grip someone when he is running away from black goo. Grip him back to you so that he’s standing right in the middle of the goo. Oh would that make you standing in goo too? That’s okay because you can shield and heal yourself. Bonus points: your enemy annoying friend is most likely running away radially from Morchok. If I remember correctly, life grip does not change the momentum of the target. So after being life gripped, he is most likely still running in the same direction. If you life grip him such that he’s facing and running into stone walls, he’d need to change direction, back track, and then escape properly. He’d be dead by then.
  • I can’t think of anything to do in Warlord Zonozz, especially in LFR. Maybe if you want to wipe the raid, you can life grip the tank to a far-far away place but even then that’s not that catastrophic.
  • In Yorsahj, you can life grip one of the dpser who’s chasing the slime back to boss. It’s not gonna kill him, but it’s just for laughs.
  • In Hagara, you can totally kill someone with well-timed and well-positioned life grip right into the ice wall.
  • In Ultraxion: can’t think of anything
  • In Warmaster Blackhorn: you can life grip someone to various fire on the ground, especially the small fire when in LFR you’re not supposed to stand in. These won’t kill him but it would just mess him up.
  • In Spine: oh boy. For starters you can grip the amalgamation tank right into the tail area, so that amalgamation won’t explode near the neck. Remember, they can’t kick you in combat. Also, you can grip the amalgamation tank into an area full of blood corpses when the amalgamation is still near full health. That way, it’ll reach 9 stacks near full health, which is almost always a wipe, unless the rest of your healing team are uber (since you know, if you do decide to do this most likely you won’t be healing anyone either).
  • In Madness: you can grip anyone when they’re trying to jump the platform. This might lead to a bug where they’ll fall down and die. Even if not, at least they’ll be annoyed. Also, you can wipe the raid during the last platform by gripping the tank out of the bubble, so that he has to tank Elementium Terror without Nozdormu’s buff. Lastly, I haven’t seen this happen so this is just a conjecture. When the Mutated Corruption does Impale, it would find anyone within melee range with the highest threat. So if you grip the current tank at the second impale, the impale would then go to either the previous tank that already has 1 stack of debuff, or the highest melee dps, both of which are not likely to survive, or at least, time it well so that the other healers don’t have a chance to react to it.

Note: I’m not evil. I just sorta am, especially if I’m irritated.Warning: performing any of these can get you kicked from the LFR. Use with caution, or when you’re ready to leave anyway. Also remember, in general in life, don’t be a jerk. Do these only if they deserve it.