So, It’s Patch 3.0.2 Day…

15 10 2008

  Well, after much consternation and debate, it’s finally here. 3.0.2. I’ll admit that I’ve had equal parts apprehension and excitement about this, as I have so very many toons that I can enjoy it with (or bemoan nerfs).

  I think that the overriding feeling for me has been a feeling of loss for Ribeye. As of this writing, he was the only one that I was able to log on with and re-talent. I realize that there are a lot of new mitigation talents, and cute “last stand” hot buttons, but it really pains me to see what happened to my armor. Long story short, I saw it drop roughly 9000 points. When you’re dealing with an armor number as high as a Druid’s is, that doesn’t represent as massive of a fractional decrease as, say anyone not in plate (I don’t think Manchego even *has* 9000 armor!)… but, it’s enough to see my overall armor mitigation drop from the 75% cap down to something like 67.88% or so. That only tells part of the story, though, since the 75% was against lvl 70 mobs, and (boss mobs being 3 levels higher), was actually in some state of progress just under 75% for them as well. The reality is, I lost somewhere around 9% off my physical damage mitigation for any raid boss – and even though there are offsets for it from talents, this hurts. it hurts because it reduces my tanking effectiveness, but more importantly it hurts my bear pride. I spent a *lot* of time grinding out the gear for that set. Exalted faction reps, Badges (almost 500 of em), and repeatedly running instances until I got the drops that I had targeted for specific slots. In the end, I had a pretty fine bear on my hands, more than enough margin for error to cover up any growing pains that I still had to come on my Lrn2tank learning curve. I worked my way into the Guild tanking rotation as I improved, watching my assignment go from “Gronn-Priest #3” to ZA offtank to Designated Weekly Nightbane Tank ™, and eventually working up to the point where I knew – if I’m in the Raid for Gruul or Mags, I’m the MT. It was a fun run, and certainly a feather in my cap to wear that badge of honor, to know that I had the ability to do what only a select few could. Now? I feel pretty pedestrian. I’m not even sure how I’ll hold up to damage spikes in a Heroic. I understand that these changes were made because, at level 80, bears were dominating. I also understand that I just might get reacquainted with the armor cap once MiM can manage to get Naxx on farm in WotLK. Heck, I even get all kinds of crazy boosts for my DPS and threat (admittedly not needed, as I rarely lose threat, and – for a tank – I’ve always had good DPS numbers.) For now, though, I’m a wounded bear. I’m even to the point where I’m waffling a bit on whether to go Resto again, though I’m presently staying Feral. What I might be lacking in raw stats now, I can compensate for with tanking experience.. once I learn all of the damn hot buttons. Well, I get a Feral Charge ability for kitty form, so I guess that’s plus. Oh yeah, one last gripe. Thanks to the stupid 11-point Resto Tax to get Omen of Clarity, which is damn near required for any Feral, no 70 Druid gets to try their new 51-point party favor yet. Either get Berserk, or OOC. You no can has both.

  On the other side of the coin, there are some alts that I am positively ecstatic to play with. I really like the changes made to the Resto Shaman tree, and the Glyphs are beautiful. Chain Heal 4 targets? Yes, please. The one for Healing Wave, too – heals caster for 20% of the output? That’s gonna be a great one when healing single-tank fights with splash damage output that hits casters, say something like Halazzi. Stupid corrupted lightning totem got ya down? Imminent Saberlash not giving you time to heal yourself? No problem, just keep healing your tank, you’ll be topped off fast enough. The 51-point talent, Riptide, seems a little bland at present… but there are sooo many little perks strewn throughout now that I think Manchego is going to be some real fun. I think that, as long as I can be prudent with Mana management, and keep an eye on my totems / water shield for maximum mana, she’s got potential to be a real force.

  I’m excited for Hiltzaile too. Yeah, I hear all the stuff about Mutilate being OP right now, and everyone + their mother is Subtlety these days… but I’ve really grown to like Combat, and there are some nasty new tricks in there that are not only great for Raiding, but will really improve the solo viability of the spec. Specifically, Unfair Advantage and Killing Spree. OMGWTFBBQDPS on demand. And to think, I used to just mash Slice ‘n Dice + Blade Flurry + Trinket + Adrenaline Rush for those important moments, now I get more fun killing tricks? Whee!

  Eltoro will be a blast to play as well, there have been a lot of nice DPS-friendly upgrades worked into the Hunter trees. I’m still planning on keeping him Survival specced. While I find it grossly disappointing that Expose Weakness no longer delivers Raid-wide lovin’, I think that the utility he’ll provide as a mana battery / freezing trap on the hoof will be a huge boon to raids. I don’t know how much I’ll get to use him, especially in 10-mans as MiM already has several Hunters – Ayephael, Lomez, Ornot, Rahael and Xanadoodoo come to mind off the top of my head (listed alphabetically for safety!) – who are not only very good players, but either have Hunters for mains or as a close second. Working in my favor (currently) is that, to the best of my knowledge, they’re all going BM or MM for spec. Still, that’s sort of the role for Toro, though. Slot in as needed, but not every run. On the plus side, Core Hounds and Devilsaurs, oh my! We’re going into MC as a Guild Nov 1, and you bet your ass I’m gonna get him Lock-summoned in for an orange one.

  I’m fairly in neutral about the two casters, the Mage and Lock. For Bubba, the Mage, I look at the talent tree and don’t see too much of a reason to go deep fire still – and that’s sort of disappointing. It’s kind of like all of the other kids getting Christmas presents, and I’ve got nothing to open. As currently laid out, I’m going to stay more or less with my present Fire / Arcane setup, though I’ll back out enough points from Arcane that I lose Presence of Mind for the time being, but still retain the 30% mana regen while casting. The more I play this game, the more I realize that a concerted focus on mana retention and conservation makes a strong player, and I’m not willing to drop it just yet. That’ll leave 43 points for Fire. Not enough for Living Bomb, but I’m having trouble seeing that spell as anything but a mana sink thats bound to pull some unwanted aggro via the AOE splash damage. I’ll deal without it for now.

  For the Warlock, I’m having a hard time settling on which tree. I levelled to 60 under Destruction, because I was levelling with Ness and I could. 60-70, Demonology because it’s crazy good for solo play. Once I got 70, and got tired of the stupid Felguard getting hosed on every boss fight, I tried out Affliction. Displeased with the results, and really kind of boring to try and keep the curses / etc all ticking at once. Went back to Destruction and Shadowbolted faces at that point, and I feel like she’s done well. Now, though, I look at Destro and see a lot of PvP-type talents. the 51 point talent, Chaos Bolt, is quite nice – but I don’t know that I can justify some of the expenditures along the way to obtain it, or the lost functionality from my current 21-point Affliction tree (because, yes, Shadowfury is more PvP, too!). The best workup I can find for Raid viability now is Full Affliction, but I still have the boredom hangup there. Maybe something will come to me after I leaf through the talent trees from a few Guild ‘Locks. I’ll say this much, though – no more instant-cast Corruption (untalented instant cast, as I found last night!) sucks, and so does the redesign for Amplify Curse. DOTs on the run, no more (since the only curse you get to do in raids is COE anyhow), and no more double-whammy curses to save up for things like Curator. I got 27,500 off a Amplified + Trinketed Curse of Doom on him once. Let me tell ya, you see a number like THAT on screen, well… you just can’t help but grin!

  Entering into the picture as well now is the Paladin. He’s staying Prot for sure, and I think that I’m going to see better functionality out of him now. The same nerf bat that has been bludgeoning poor Ribeye will be a boon to Eusko as Prot Pally viability gets boosted. He’s up to 68 now, questing alongside my wife’s Mage. That’s absolute hax for tandem levelling – Consecrate everything up, Blizzard it down. I’ll admit, I really haven’t spent very much time researching the new Pally talents (unlike Zerei; I’ll just let him do my legwork for me, lol!), but the general feeling I get is one of a smoothed-out gearing and developmental curve. Prior to this patch, there were *so* many stats that a Prot Pally needed, it was almost impossible to gear for them all without leaving a glaring hole somewhere else in your gear. Now, with the homogenization of so many things (Strength is Shield Block *and* Threat *and* Spellpower now?!?) [silly noob, stamina affects spellpower >.<], it appears to have become markedly easier. That, and Blizz looks to be coddling anything that tanks and doesn’t look like a bear. I’m really more worries about getting him to 70. Gratuitous Badge running, or any serious instancing, I’ll save for someone else. He can get his gear in WotLK. On the upside for him though – he gets to be my Inscription guy. Currently setup Skinning / Mining; since I never got Mining past 280 on him, I won’t shed too many tears when I replace it with Inscription.

  Well, almost off work, I get to go home and play Talent Tree God… oh! I just remembered, I get a Hunter Pet tree now too! 🙂 /Cheer ChompyChompy!

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