Tag Archives: warcraft

ding (smite ftw)

Well, it took me twelve years, but I finally did it. As of about noon-thirty yesterday, I have a max level healing character in an MMORPG. Kikichikki‘s fourth major incarnation is now a level 70 draenei priest in Warcraft.

Kiki Kaboom

I did it right this time. Kiki spent the vast majority of her post-newbie levels as a holy/discipline hybrid build and eventually ended up at 28/33/0. Smite and mana efficiency FTW.

I also planned ahead. Not only did I have 5 pieces of lvl 70 eq waiting for me (including the Primal Mooncloth set). Not only did I have enough money saved up to buy my flying mount, but I actually “camped the chicken spawn”. I hit level 70 less than 30 yards from the riding trainer in Wildhammer, bought my chicken, and flew away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kiki currently has 6741 hp, 9266 mana, just shy of 1250 bonus healing and 154 mp5 while casting (354 while not casting). She has over 400 int and spirit. Her /played is just over 10 days.

boring history

(Seriously, I’m about to ramble for a few hours… Hey, I said this took 12 years…)

I’ve always enjoyed healing in RPG’s, and I like to think that I’ve gotten fairly good at it over the years. I play clerics and druids in pen and paper RPG’s. I cried like a baby when Aeris died – and not just because I was emotionally involved in the story (which I was), but also because she was my healer. My first MUD character became a priest on September 10th, 1996.

I’m not sure what exactly it is about healing in games that I enjoy so much, but I like it more than summoning (a close second – playing healers who can summon makes me giddy). I’m pretty sure my original obsession with clerics was strictly the result of numberchasing munchkinitis. In AD&D, clerics felt like the most flexible class to me. They could heal, they could smite, they could summon at very low levels, they had good hp and could wear heavy armour and hit things with big hammers. My online handle “Allaryin” comes from my first successful D&D character, a chaotic good dwarven cleric of Tempus – the Forgotten Realms god of war.

However, in subsequent games, I recanted this position. Somewhere along the line, the idea of being able to do anything and everything at any time started losing its appeal. I became less interested in whacking things with hammers and calling down fire to consume my enemies whole… and more interested in passively altering events. Why wield the hammer yourself when the fighter can do a better job at it – especially with my help keeping him alive?

Future incarnations of Allaryin stopped following warrior gods like Tempus and started following Lathander the god of light and creation… and eventually evolved into followers of Ilmater the martyr’s god. I became obsessed with keeping my party members standing, even if it meant they had to find another priest to raise me when I fell. ๐Ÿ˜›

When ’96 rolled around and I was introduced to muds, it was a happy coincidence that the guys who kickstarted the addiction were a knight and a priest. I quickly gravitated toward the priest’s guild and when the time came, chose to play as a priest of Morike, the game world’s goddess of healing. Though I eventually played almost every other class in the game, I always came back to Morike. If I logged into the mud right now, Allaryin would still be there, a very dusty and unplayed but still very fervent follower of the light.

Fast forward to March of 2004, FFXI hit my PS2 and I was all ready to reinvent Allaryin again as a Tarutaru white mage, but the game’s user interface had other plans. I was unable to figure out how to choose a name of my own, and after several attempts finally gave up and decided to use the random generator. Kikichikki was born.

Kiki was also doomed to failure by a game that made solo play absolutely impossible, especially for the entirely defensive white mage class. I don’t think I ever hit level 21, but I hit level 20 about 50 times… having not quite mastered the fine art of controlling aggro in order to avoid getting killed in groups.

Kiki saw a brief reincarnation as an Agatean Pishite on the Discworld mud that lasted a few months before real life conspired to prevent me from playing. When I returned, the character had been wiped for inactivity ๐Ÿ™

In early 2006, Kiki’s next stop was City of Heroes. I rolled the character four or five times but never really got into it – however, when City of Villains came out, I rolled Columns, a Necromancy/Poison mastermind who spent most of his time keeping people alive (or reanimating them as the case may be).

When World of Warcraft launched, I was unimpressed with my options for healers. During the open beta, I determined that paladins, druids, and shamans were too confusing and priests were too squishy. Summoning was where it was at, and a few months later when I was finally bullied into opening an account, I rolled Allaryin as a dwarven hunter.

In the intervening years, I have tried leveling healers several times, but the closest I ever got was a 40 paladin (who isn’t even healer spec any more). Priests were always squishy, I hit level 15-20 with several attempts but always gave up at my inability to solo with the class – but I had always tried to level as a shadow priest since that’s what common convention states is the best build for soloing.

shadow is overrated

Kiki Mooncloth

I repeat. Shadow is overrated.

I originally (like 2 months ago when the topic was fresher on my mind) meant for this to be a separate rant, but as I never wrote it I may as well go into the subject briefly here.

Again, this time with feeling. Shadow is overrated.

Maybe I’m just complete noobsauce, but I just couldn’t make a shadow priest work. I’ve got a level 50 warlock, which you’d think would be comparable. But it isn’t. In World of Warcraft, playing a low level shadow priest is more like playing a melee hunter. Just because the game lets you spec for stupid doesn’t mean it actually works.

I’m not saying that the shadow talent tree is worthless. I’m not saying that high level shadow priests aren’t amazing and viable in groups. Nor am I saying that shadow priests can’t be obnoxiously effective in PvP, and I am certainly not suggesting anyone try to solo to 70 w/o picking up any offensive talents.

I am saying that shadow priests are pointless in low level (<50 or so) PvE solo content. I am saying that the holy and discipline talent trees have much better options for solo players at lower levels. When Kiki was in her early 40's, I figured I'd give shadow another chance. I had been a holy smite build until this point and had intentionally waited to respec shadow until I could buy enough talents to make it worthwhile. I advanced two levels as a shadow priest before giving up in disgust. What is wrong with shadow priests? Let me count the ways. At level 10, a priest is highly squishy. They're going to be healing themselves a lot - their fights take longer since they do less damage and they've got less defense (not getting the first rank of their personal armour spell until level 12). Going immediately into either of the available shadow talents means delaying or neglecting Healing Focus (2 points for 70% resistance to interruption while healing). Time wasted trying to heal through interruptions means a corpse run. Waiting until level 12 to take your first shadow talent point means you can't get Mind Flay (the first really useful shadow talent) until 22. Everyone talks up Spirit Tap (increased mana regen for 15s after a kill) but water really is very cheap and low level priests really shouldn't be using mana to kill things anyway. Wand DPS is much more reliable and even outperforms smite at low levels. Lowbie priests should never run out of mana since they've offloaded their spells to before the mob closed into melee and are spending the rest of their time in combat wanding and regenning for the next fight. Blackout is even more useless at low level. 10% chance to stun the target for 3 seconds with your shadow spells? There is only one direct damage shadow spell before Mind Flay, and it’s on an 8 second cooldown.

For the same five talent points that would have been wasted in regen you don’t need or stuns that you can’t depend on… you could have 70% resistance to interruption while healing AND one of:

  • +15% wand dps (up to 25% after 2 more points).
  • +15% healing over time from your renew spell (which should be your most commonly cast spell at this level).
  • +3% crit from your holy spells (up to +5% after 2 more points, this includes heals and nukes).

Shadow damage can be mitigated. There is no such thing as holy resistance. Smite always works. And it’s not on a cooldown, so you can actually spam it.

Shadow priests’ damage output is highly equipment-dependent. To truly be worth the pain of playing a shadow priest, you need gobs of +shadow damage equipment. The soonest a character can be effectively loaded up with +shadow gear is level 40.

Shadowform requires level 40 at the absolute minimum. That’s if you completely ignore the other two talent trees…

Can’t cast holy spells while in shadowform. Since you still have access to discipline spells, this isn’t a huge nerf (unlike a druid’s specialized caster forms which pretty much limit you to nuking or healing)… but it is still inconvenient. If for whatever reason you do need to cast a holy spell while soloing in shadowform, switching back costs a huge amount of mana.

DoT’s don’t crit.

Shadow priests blow through mana like nothing I’ve ever seen before. With one’s primary sources of damage being a DoT and a channeled DoT, you waste a lot of mana. Shadow Word: Pain suffers from the same problem that all DoT’s have – it rarely has a chance to tick to conclusion. Likewise, with Mind Flay, any hit you take while channeling will reduce the damage/mana ratio of the spell dramatically.

When hunting trolls as a shadow priest in Arathi, Kiki had to stop and drink after every other kill, even with Spirit Tap. As a smite priest, both her dps and her mana efficiency were higher. She could take 3 or 4 mobs before resting.

After the failed adventures in shadowform, Kiki gave a heavy discipline build a whirl. It too was disappointingly less effective than the heavy holy build had been – but, while she did less damage and her heals were weaker… at least she was sturdier and had more mana to cast the weaker spells with.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that from a purely munchkin standpoint, shadow spec is not a good idea for solo PvE before level 50, and is just… well, unplayable before 40.

If you want to play a shadow priest, do yourself a favor and either always party or level a hybrid build of some sort or another and respec to shadow when you get to Outland.

Let the flames commence.

Oh wait, that’s right. You can’t do that in shadowform ๐Ÿ˜›

(Yes, I know the pun was horrendous. I’m sorry. Kind of.)

mmo /played

How much time have I spent plugged in to virtual worlds over the years? Idunno. Can’t really track it very accurately because a lot of the numbers have been thrown away or were never recorded in the first place. I’ve been meaning to take this survey for a while now, and a few minutes of investigation have proven enlightening or at least vaguely entertaining (to me).

world of warcraft

I primarily play Allaryin, a dwarven hunter, my only lvl 70 char. I don’t raid and I burnt out on PvP a while ago. In fact, I hardly play any more. My account is currently pending cancellation (like the 4th or 5th time) as soon as my paid time runs out again.

Despite all of that, my total /played for all of my extant characters is about 53 days. 37 of those were spent on Al.

everquest 2

I’ve had 3 main characters over the years. That said, however, my total playtime on all remaining characters is barely 7.5 days. Half of that has been spent on my current ‘main’, Juvu, a lvl 35/31 sarnak shadowknight/armoursmith – my first serious attempt at playing a tank in any MMO in over 10 years.

city of heroes/villains

I don’t know what my CoH/CoV played time is. My subscription is not active. But I have two characters that I’ve spent the bulk of my time on, Tetris and Columns. I suspect Tetris’s /played time is 2x that of Columns’, despite their vast level differences.

ffxi

I have no idea how much time I spent on FFXI. I don’t even remember if that sort of data was easy to acquire or not. My main character, Kikichikki the Taru WHM hovered at the lvl 20 boundary off and on for months before we finally pulled the plug on our accounts for the last time.

three kingdoms

3K is the mud I played the most during college, and despite my lack of desire to continue playing there, I have hosted several sites for different guilds over the years. My character has hopped between just about every class available in the game, and is finally back in Priests where he started. He is 65 days old.

discworld

The Discworld mud is probably still my favorite text-based game of all time. I’ve put in a lot of time into every class in the game, but all of my alts appear to have been deleted over the years. The only character I have remaining is my main, the current incarnation of Allaryin of the Venerable Council of Seers – 14 days old.

walraven

I guess it’s not much surprise that I’ve spent more time on my own game than anything else. Since I first added character age tracking, Allaryin has logged in excess of 260 days of play/idle time.

Of course, in all of these games, I’ve had other characters that took time but were eventually deleted for one reason or another. And then there are all of the games I only demo’d or beta’d… and the numerous derivative faceless Diku clone MUD’s and cookie cutter Korean MMO’s…

It will take a LONG time for these newfangled graphical games to even come close to the time I’ve spent on MUD’s.

evolution of warcraft – zones and professions

It’s time for another one of my prediction posts re WoW. This time around will be several shorter predictions and may or may not be my last post of this type for a while ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prediction: The next expansion will focus on expanding Azeroth

I don’t think the next expansion will be the Emerald Dream – that’s expansion the 3rd. This time around, we’re going to come back to Azeroth and fill in the holes in the map. And there are numerous holes in the map of Azeroth right now.

There are at least 3 more continents we’ve not yet gotten access to: Northrend, Undermine, and Pandaria. There is also lore surrounding the Maelstrom and the associated bits of sunken Kalimdor.

Even on our existing continents, we’re missing several areas. A few of my favorites:

  • Grim Batol is a potential overland zone with at least one high level instance east of Loch Modan and the Wetlands.
  • Mount Hyjal is where the final battle of WC3 took place. It’s been a big closed off zone since the beginning of the game. In the last patch, they released two new flight paths essentially adjacent to the mountain border with Hyjal.
  • Uldum is a big instance gate in southern Tanaris that taunted me every time i drove past it. Everyone’s expecting this one, just don’t know when it’ll happen.
  • Dalaran is another obvious place for expansion. It’s the big purple bubble that all Undead players bump into on their way to Taren Mill for the first time.
  • Gilneas is another big gate next to Silverpine. There were some pretty funny rumors going around before the Draenei and Blood Elves were announced that the zone was entirely peopled by werewolves… ๐Ÿ™‚

Northrend (Image borrowed from WoWWikiรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs scan of _Lands_of_Mystery_ p84)

Most of the smart money is on Northrend as the primary focus of the next expansion, and I tend to agree. There have been hints in the past that Arthas might be a level 80 raid boss. People have been begging for it for a while now – we’ve wanted this more than we wanted Outland ๐Ÿ˜›

It also does nice things for bringing people back to Azeroth to do more than just shop or powerlevel alts.

How do we get to Northrend? I suspect that there will need to be boats installed. Viable locations for these ships might be eastern Azshara, Undermine, and northern Tristfal.

I actually really like the idea of establishing a settlement on one of the tips of Azshara, but it would be weird for a new city to magically appear out there overnight. Tristfal has the same problem, but to a much lesser degree – it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to imagine the Forsaken setting up a naval base out there to lead the charge in taking the war back to Scourge territory.

Undermine, and the island it lives in (Kezan), are the most logical choice… unless they open up Gilneas.

Gilneas is fun. Since there’s no communication with the place, it’s entirely possible that everyone inside’s been killed and turned into zombies or what-have-you… or that it’ll finally be willing to join with humanity in the fight against the Scourge. Maybe the Scourge broke through the wall and they came crawling to Southshore for help? This would give the Alliance a potential starting point to get out there. But I doubt it’ll happen. If I had to bet on the fate of Gilneas, though, I say they’re the new Southern Plaguelands by now – especially since the Alliance already have a much more probable city up that way in Dalaran.

Undermine really is the most logical choice. Probably. It’s a sizable island dedicated to commerce. The goblins certainly would see a profit in allowing both Horde and Alliance navies to set up shipyards on their northern shores – so long as they behave themselves and don’t kill each other in goblin territory (just like any other goblin controlled city).

I’d like to see Undermine become the new Shattrath. It makes the most sense to connect it to Steamwheedle Port (esp since no other boats use the dock atm), but that’s a pretty inconvenient location for such an important travel route. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to also connect it to Ratchet or Booty Bay somehow. Possibly tie it into the zeppelin network and give the Alliance a boat out of Southsore?

By connecting Undermine to lvl 20-40 zones, it would be quite appropriate to make the Isle of Kezan actually contain a good bit of content suitable to that level range. Make it into several (4-5) areas that provide a viable alternative to Stranglethorn and Desolace. The game is currently weakest in the lvl 30-50 content range right now, this is a good solution. With no new races, there’s no need to introduce new pairs of newbie zones – that effort should be bumped up to mid-level content ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, if we allow Undermine to become a large travel hub and allow it to connect players to Northrend, what do they have to do up there? High level content. Mid level content. Max level content. Several new instances. Northrend is big – really big. The map shows 11 zones plus plenty of spots for instances. Perhaps it could be made suitable for levels 50 and above – or even levels 45 and above. The continent is big enough that they could easily add another 45-55 zone in addition to zones all the way up to level 80.

But… we need a lot more lvl 70+ content in the next expansion, right? Well… TBC introduced a total of 11 new overworld zones in addition to instances. If they considered 7 zones sufficient new high level content for this expansion, I don’t see why the next expansion should be any different. Add an extra chunk or two of lvl 70+ content to Outland, leave the rest in Northrend, and we’ve still got room to resolve the dearth of mid-level content.

Suggested overworld zone level breakdown:

  • Kezan – 30-40, 35-45 x2, 40-50
  • Northrend – 45-55, 55-60, 60-65, 65-70, 70-75 x3, 73-78 x2, 75-80 x2
  • Outland – 70-75, 75-80

This is a total of 17 zones – 6 more than TBC introduced. As a reasonable trade-off, I’d like to think that not every zone needs unique world PvP objectives and multiple instances in the initial launch. They can do with these what they did with Ghostlands and Zul’Aman – that is, the instance needn’t be launched at the same time as the zone containing it. There is plenty of other precedence for this.

I think it is entirely reasonable to focus new instanced content on lvl 70+, so perhaps none of the lvl <70 zones get new instances? Either way... I predict that the world will be getting a lot larger and that most of the growth will be on Azeroth this time. And I hope I hope I hope they do something about the lack of good mid-level overland zones in the game. They needn't be huge zones, just interesting changes of pace for people hoping to get their 6th alt over lvl 50 w/o repeating the same blasted quests over and over again.

Prediction: Access to Outland will be improved

Since low level players can already get to Shattrath with a little help from a friendly mage, the level 58 restriction on going through the Dark Portal feels really arbitrary. Especially since it’s possible to enter the Ramparts at level 55, and the level requirement for Master crafting professions is only 50 but they must be trained in Outland. I’d like to see the gate opened to all players capable of driving across the Blasted Lands in the first place. That’s good enough of a restriction already.

Perhaps they’ll eventually add some easier transport methods direct to the Dark Portal? Maybe a portal from Dalaran? Maybe one each from Stormwind and Orgrimmar? Perhaps a faction-neutral zeppelin path from Booty Bay?

Prediction: Woodworking will finally be made available to players

They released Jewelcrafting in TBC with … interesting results. It was an expansion-only profession that was still able to benefit players who were too cheap/uninterested to grab the expansion. It is terribly useful to lvl 65+ characters, just like Enchantments and Alchemy have always been important to high end players.

However, launching a new profession also made for an awful glut of cheap goods on the market. I am a lvl 367/375 jewelcrafter now, and I have yet to break even. I doubt I ever will. I spent hundreds and hundreds of gold to get from 250 to 300. The economy is terribly wrecked as a result of the new demand for jewels, but shrug. It’s not like the incredible inflation from Outland didn’t have a huge effect on prices either ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of the most requested features from players has always been that they let us make our own bows and arrows. I think a profession that makes bows, arrows, staves, and shields would be great. This would fill the gap left by other crafting professions and make it possible to finally craft every type of equipment in the game.

The big problem with releasing woodworking is with the gathering aspect of things… do you add trees to herbalism? Do you make lumber drop off of certain common NPC varieties like cloth does? Do you make trees harvestable by anyone? Do you add a woodcutter/lumberjack gathering profession? Do you make woodworking a combination gathering/crafting profession? None of these options by itself is very ideal.

Enchanting and Jewelcrafting are already combination gathering/crafting professions, with the exception that improvement in the gathering aspect of the profession is only possible by improving the crafting aspect. I think this is a good starting point for Woodworkers.

Allow Woodworkers to break apart bows and staves in order to get special materials – but not their own work (you can’t DE something you just enchanted and expect to get the shards back). Allow them to harvest wood from certain npc corpse types just like miners and herbalists can now. Make plant type mobs likely to drop wood in addition to flowers. Make the numerous lumber mills around the game actually spawn piles of lumber that any player can loot – similar to treasure chests.

I think adding some basic types of lumber (reusing the enchanting wand and campfire materials) to common vendors would not hurt at all – every other crafting profession has to buy some of their reagents already, why not these too?

And if Blizzard does all of that… I think it might work. I don’t like the idea of generically choppable tree nodes like mines and flowers. There’s something about the size of things that just doesn’t quite work for me. Perhaps there could be a class of largish flowers that herbalists can gather if they carry a tool with them. Or, perhaps they could just go ahead and add small trees to the world map that can be cut down. Shrug.

Prediction: The crafting skill cap will be raised to 450, others skills will only increase to 400

This isn’t much of a logical jump here. They need a new tier to make equipment for lvl 80’s. They’ve actually caught themselves in a pretty vicious cycle by bumping character levels out of sync with the crafting levels. When the game launched, both combat and crafting skill caps were 300. When TBC launched, though, they only added 50 levels to combat skills while crafting caps went up by another 75.

If they make the next tier of crafting skill also have a cap of 450, they’ll have gotten 50 ranks out of sync unless they surprise everyone and bump the level cap in the game to 90 ๐Ÿ˜‰ My money’s on increasing the imbalance between the skill numbers.

As far as other skills go… I don’t know. Adding another tier or two of riding skill works well, but what would they add at that point? Aquatic mounts? Mounts that work in certain underground Nerubian zones? I guess the current disparity between crafting and normal skills AND riding skills shows that they don’t much care about the actual balance between the numbers. But I wish they would – it would make things pretty again ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prediction: Secondary skills will get some love

First aid can do precisely two things right now. It can make bandaids and it can make antivenom potions. Mostly, it just makes bandaids since the antivenom is quite inconvenient. I’d like to see first aid have an easier time of curing poisons and have options for treating disease based debuffs – make healing poison easier and make healing disease about as difficult as healing poison is now. They also need to add some additional tiers to the poisons. Right now, the only way to make lvl 60 antivenom is through an Argent Dawn recipe. There is no lvl 70 antivenom – and besides, the ingredients they’d probably use for them are currently being monopolized by people who want to defect over to Scryers ๐Ÿ˜›

I’d also really like it if they could give inoculations that act as long-term disease/poison prevention buffs. It would give priests a reason to train first aid. But a 30 minute buff with say 5 charges of poison curing? Good stuff. Rogues would probably throw a fit, but shrug, I play a hunter. I dislike rogues ๐Ÿ˜‰

At present, cooks can only manufacture food. The skill can’t make drinks – even if a handful of cooking recipes do give +mp5 from their well fed buffs. I think allowing players to manufacture their own drinks would be fun and would entice more people to drop time into the skill. Right now, if people rely on secondary skills for out-of-combat healing, they’re 99% likely to be using bandages anyway…

Besides, it’s not like adding drinks to the skill will in any way unbalance things. Mage water’s still free, ne? ๐Ÿ™‚

Currently, the worst secondary skill is fishing. It requires an insane time commitment to level and is actually quite dangerous at times. This makes it terribly unattractive to anyone but hunters and cooks. And since there are very few people who train cooking in any meaningful way… fishing gets even less attention. I like fishing, but… I’ve not really engaged in any fishing since hitting 300 a while back.

I want to see net fishing. I want to see more fish that come out of the water and attack you. I want to see fishing with dynamite and shotguns and traps. Fishing could easily be made into an interesting mini-game. All crafting could. EQ2 did a great job with that, and WoW could really use a new type of gameplay right about now.

evolution of warcraft – classes

This post was originally started back in mid-March of 2007 and it’s about time that I finished it…

Well, it’s time for my second blind prophetic mumbling. Last time, I talked about the direction I think that Horde/Alliance relationships should (and are starting to) move in.

Prediction: The next expansion will not introduce new races, but will introduce new classes.

I’d hit on this topic over a year ago.

Specifically, I would like to see two new character classes available – monk (defensive cloth-wearing melee type) and necromancer (zombie herder).

Pardo claims that one of the design goals of the game is ‘concentrated coolness‘ and thus they have 8 very unique classes in stead of something like EQ2 where you have numerous pairs of very similar classes.

So… before you start whining that necros would basically just be another brand of warlock, no, they aren’t. I actually have a harder time justifying monks than necros – though high end BC fist weapons have finally made an “unarmed” type class much more viable. My general justification for these ideas is that there is prior precedence for both classes and that they would be viable player classes in WoW. They make use of mechanics

I’m not interested in runemasters as a class, largely because I feel that they’d take more work to become viable and because Blizzard would get a lot of flack and accusations of copying Warhammer Online’s runepriest class.

It is my stated opinion that necromancers would make a fine addition to both gameplay and to world theme. They’re very traditional fare for the franchise, with skeleton armies being my arch-nemesis back in WC1… So, how can we make necros both thematically acceptable and give them sufficient uniqueness that they’re not just warlocks with zombies? Easily ๐Ÿ™‚

And as far as monks vs concentrated coolness? How much cooler can you get than a clothie who can main tank instances?


necromancers

Weapons: dagger, sword (at 10), fist (at 20), wand
Armour: cloth, leather (at 60)
Talent Trees: Decay, Preservation, Animation
Role: nature/shadow/ice spell dps, highly expendable pets, wipe recovery
Races: undead(?), troll, blood elf, gnome, human(?)
Primary Stats: intelligence, spirit

class highlights
Necromancers are primarily a direct damage spell dps class. Their primary attacks are nature (poison/disease) based but they do get access to some shadow and ice direct damage spells. Their poison nukes do proc dots and debuffs, but they have no specific dot spells (ie, dots are all side-effects of nukes, more like a mage than a warlock in this sense).

They have the ability to reanimate corpses (or summon ghosts from a graveyard), but these summons are very different than those of a warlock or a hunter, and the necromancer has much less control over their summons than a hunter or warlock would. Necromancer pets steadily decay over time and cannot be healed through traditional means.

Necros have a number of ‘control’ points at their disposal. These points limit the frequency at which corpses may be reanimated and the number of zombies that may be had at once. Yes, multiple pets. Control points do not regenerate instantly upon the death of the summon.

Because a necro’s summons require that the caster either be in a graveyard or that they have a suitable corpse present, and because they require control points… necromancers will frequently find themselves forced to operate without a legion of zombies.

While they are not healers, necromancers should be very adept at wipe recovery. They can’t prevent party members from dying, but they can certainly bring them back after they do ๐Ÿ˜‰

hordes of zombies
When somebody says necromancer, they’re not talking guys who raise the occasional zombie to do their bidding. They’re talking legions of undead minions. In WC3 terms, we’re talking Arthas the Death Knight, etc…

So, I think a fundamental feature of the necromancer class should be the ability to have multiple combat pets at once. No other class boasts this feature – at least, no other class boasts the ability to actually control multiple combat pets at once. Anyone can get trinkets or temporary uncontrollable pets.

And I think that should be the biggest feature of the class, the ability to raise and control multiple pets at a time. Of course, this comes with two major problems:

  • The game interface currently can’t deal with multiple controllable pets at once.
  • Everyone else is gonna whine and complain like spoiled little baby childrens.

To the former problem I can only say that since there weren’t any new classes in Burning Crusade, they’ve over a year to iron out the UI/driver issues ๐Ÿ™‚ That, and by limiting the control options given to necro pets, things should be made easier.

To the whining and complaining, it’s a valid concern. However, you must consider who’s gonna be complaining. Hunters and warlocks. Blizzard hates them, so it doesn’t much matter, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚ In all seriousness though, if we allow necromancers to have multiple summons at once, we need to: either make individual necro pets somehow weaker than individual hunter and warlock pets, or make it way more difficult for necros to break the 1 pet at a time limit, or come up with some sort of combination of the two.

Part of the whining and complaining would be Blizzard themselves, of course. But they’ve lost the right to complain about concentration of summoning powers now that they’ve given limited summoning abilities to correctly specced mages (who deserve it), shamans (who don’t), priests (who huh?), and druids (… huh?!?!).

other summoners
Hunters have to catch and train and feed their pets. They can only take one pet with them at a time – and have to buy stable space in order to store other pets. They can call their pet instantly, unless it is dead – at which point they must spend time and mana to rez the critter. Hunter pets must earn xp in order to level up, but the player also gets a very large degree of room in which to customize their pets. Hunters can name their pets.

Warlocks have to quest for each of their new summons, of which they get a total of 8 or so. These quests get increasingly more difficult (it’s possible for a lock to have their imp at level 3 or 4, but the succubus quest is long enough that it took me all the way through level 20 and into 21 to complete, etc…). Warlocks get free mounts. Warlocks always have to spend mana to summon their pets (and shards, and sometimes party members :P). Warlock pets have no feelings, so it doesn’t hurt to let them die any more than it does to leave them behind in a dangerous situation. Each warlock pet is a unique critter with vast differences in usefulness, and the player may switch them out at any time. The pets level along with the player but are also completely identical to any other warlock’s pet of the same level. Warlock pets come pre-named.

Other classes with summons must purchase them with high tier talent points. They’re generally short term big attack spells. I’d like to see a necro’s summons fit somewhere in between these and a warlock’s.

I think the first difference between necromancers and warlocks should be that the difference in loyalty and cuddly feelings towards a necro’s pets and a lock’s pets should be roughly the same as the difference between locks and hunters. Ie, it should be cheap to raise zombies.

There should be no names given to the summons. There is no training of zombies. Each minion is a new creature, who will be used up and thrown away. Other players cannot heal zombies. They do not regenerate on their own, in fact, they decay gradually over time. Many of a necromancer’s bigger spells should cost a minion as a reagent.

summoning methods
Ok, so it stands to reason that necros need bodies to re-animate or something like that, ne? Sounds good to me. I’d like corpses to act the role of a warlock’s shards with two major differences. First, shards are portable. Corpses are not. Second, any kill worth xp/honor is worth a shard. Not all corpses will be suitable, and some mobs don’t even leave corpses at all.

Like the warlock can always summon an imp in the absence of shards, a necromancer should be able to animate corpses from a graveyard. These critters will be weaker than those from fresh kills, but oh well.

What corpses are suitable? Well, I think it should be a function of level. Just like a hunter gains different tracking abilities as they advance, a necro should be able to raise different varieties of corpse as they advance.

Level 10 – humanoid
Level 20 – beast (most beasts)
Level 30 – demon (some demons)
Level 50 – giant
Level 70 – dragonkin (some dragonkin)

Note that undead, elementals, and critters w/o a creature type will never be suitable fodder for necromancers. This includes a necro’s pets who have been destroyed (they’ll not actually leave corpses). Also note that the individual creature itself doesn’t much matter (only level). So a lvl 30 bear will be just as useful to a necromancer as a lvl 30 kobold.

Starting at level 10, and continuing every 6 levels afterward, the necromancer should get a new way in which to animate corpses (ie, a new spell). Each spell is only usable with certain corpse types.

Level 10 – skeleton (any)
Level 16 – zombie (humanoid, beast, giant)
Level 22 – ghoul (humanoid, beast, giant)
Level 28 – ghost (any, graveyard)
Level 34 – abomination (humanoid, giant)
Level 40 – death knight (humanoid)
Level 46 – crypt fiend (beast)
Level 52 – felwalker (demon)
Level 58 – deathguard (any)
Level 64 – wraith (humanoid, demon, graveyard)
Level 70 – lich (humanoid, demon, dragonkin)

Animating zombies should be quick compared to warlocks, but not entirely instant. I’m thinking a 3 second casting time to start with on skeletons and +0.5 sec to casting time of each additional level of spell (so ghouls are 4 seconds and liches are 8 seconds). Possibly allow 5 talent points to be spent on reducing casting times of all animation spells by 0.5 seconds (reducing skeletons to 0.5 sec casting time and liches to 5.5).

Each pet will generally fall into one of three categories: offensive, defensive, or utility (pets that aren’t terribly impressive in general combat but have some decent abilities in specific situations).

Skeleton
Animated sack of bones. Offensive, no special abilities.
Zombie
Skeleton with some meat on. Defensive. Cannibalize, can eat zombie-suitable corpses for healing.
Ghoul
Utility zombie. Melee damage inflicted is divided evenly between mana and hp. Against rogues and warriors, that half damage is discarded.
Ghost
White incorporeal spirit. Offensive. Frost bolt.
Abomination
Like the big scourge guys. Defensive. Heavy melee with poison cloud taunt.
Death Knight
Ghoul with armour. Utility. Can heal undead minions.
Crypt Fiend
Undead nerubian. Utility. Root. Ranged insect summon type nature damage attacks.
Felwalker
Skeletal felhound. Defensive. Highly resistant to magic – any spell resisted has a chance of backfiring on the caster for a heavy taunting effect.
Deathguard
Skeletal doomguard. Defensive. Highly resistant to physical damage. Sunder, revenge.
Wraith
Red incorporeal spirit. Offensive. Shadow bolt. Can drain life to heal self.
Lich
Ghoul in mage robes. Offensive. Ice and shadow single target nukes, aoe shadow debuff, single target ice-based snare.

In addition to these guaranteed summon types, necromancers should also be able to purchase a few different types of minions through talent points at tiers 3, 5, and 9 in the Animation tree.

Tier 3 (level 20+) – shambler (any)
Tier 5 (level 30+) – shadow nexus (graveyard)
Tier 9 (level 50+) – mirror image (humanoid)

Shambler
Small slime-shaped mass of flesh. Utility. The necromancer gets 2 shamblers from a corpse, which cost only one CP between the two of them. No combat abilities whatsoever. Shamblers exist only as cheap minions to sacrifice to other spells.
Shadow Nexus
Incorporeal black and purple cloud. Defensive. The nexus has no direct attacks but does possess a powerful AoE taunt ability, an aura that debuffs enemies within range, and an ability that reflects 75% of all damage taken back to the attacker as shadow damage.
Mirror Image
Looks like the necro character with a green tint effect similar to shadowform/berzerk. Offensive. The mirror image echoes any offensive spell cast by the necromancer that does not cost reagents or minions.
control points
Necromancers are allowed multiple pets at a time. However, the more minions they raise, the weaker they become themselves. The hard limit on the number of summons a necro may have at once is measured by ‘control points’. Necros earn 2 CP at level 10 when they complete their quest arc and are given further quests to improve their control by one more point at levels 30, 50, and 70 for a grand total of 5 CP. It might be possible to purchase a single additional CP through the use of a max tier animation talent point.

Skeletons, zombies, ghouls, ghosts, and pairs of shamblers cost 1 CP to animate. Abominations, death knights, shadow nexuses, crypt fiends, and felwalkers cost 2 CP. Deathguards, wraiths, and liches cost 3 CP. Mirror images cost 4 CP. The necro may distribute these points however they want.

The level of the corpse does not affect the CP cost. In fact, it is entirely possible for a necromancer to spend 3 CP on animating a lvl 50 corpse as a lich and then guard it with a pair of level 65 zombies.

For every CP spent in maintaining an undead minion, the necromancer suffers a fairly stiff penalty: -5% max HP, -5% max mana, and -5% to spell damage. Without any pets, the necro should inflict damage on par with a shadow priest. With a full compliment, he should hit about as hard as a paladin with a fishing pole. These penalties may be reduced with animation talent points.

When conjuring minions, a necromancer may only use corpses that were slain by his party. There is no implicit level limit, thus a baby necro could theoretically make himself a level 50 zombie… if he were in a twinking party. But the newbie who wanders into a high level zone can’t animate corpses left behind by high levels too inconsiderate to loot them.

However, when a necromancer DOES wind up with a pet bigger than themselves, the CP cost for that pet is increased by 1.

If a necromancer ever finds themselves overexerted on CP, their smallest minion dies. If they are still over their CP limit, another one dies, etc… though I don’t really see how that one’d be possible.

CP do not regenerate immediately upon the death of the minion – even though the associated stat penalty does. The necromancer must either wait 2 full minutes for the CP to regenerate, or they must cast a lvl 40 spell that regenerates the CP For them (in exchange for a percentage of their base mana).

care and feeding
Necromancer minions do not earn xp. They do not level to scale with their master. They are whatever level of corpse the player re-animated from. Graveyard minions are leveled based on the entry level difficulty of the zone, minus 5 (minimum level of 5 in newbie zones).

So, if a player were to summon a few pets in the kodo graveyard, they’d wind up with some lvl 25 minions since Desolace is lvl 30-40.

Necromancer minions can’t be healed by traditional means. Players can’t use healing spells or bandages on them. The only ways they can be healed are either by eating corpses or by healing themselves. The necromancer has no normal heal spell for his pets – but he CAN sacrifice one pet to heal another.

In fact, much of what a necromancer does involves killing pets to make himself and his remaining pets stronger.

The three most basic necromancer minion sac abilities are:

  1. Sac a minion to provide friendly target with a shell that reduces melee/ranged damage taken by X for 30 minutes.
  2. Sac a minion to feed another minion. 50% of the sacrificed pet’s health and mana are transferred. If the sacced minion is of equal or higher level than the healed minion, the healed minion’s level is increased by 1.
  3. Sac a minion to inflict tremendous damage to a single enemy.

The necromancer may not specify which pet is used to fuel an ability that costs a minion. In stead, the game selects the necro’s weakest, lowest CP value minion automatically.

When a minion dies or is sacrificed, a portion of any aggro they have generated is returned to the necromancer. The rest dissipates.

wipe recovery
Necromancers have two resurrect abilities that they may use on party members. They also have a feign death / ice block type ability that flushes their aggro and takes them out of combat.

Revive Ally
Level 20. Usable only out of combat. 2 second cast. No cooldown. Brings the party member back with 5% of their max hp and mana and a -50% spirit debuff that lasts for 1 minute. Otherwise is very inexpensive to use and quick to cast
Reanimate Ally
Level 40. Usable only during combat. 3 second cast. 30 minute cooldown. Sacrifice one of the necromancer’s minions to bring an ally back to life with 100% health and 100% mana. The party member also comes back in a berzerk and uncontrollable state, with +50% to damage done and immunity to CC that lasts for 30 seconds before the player is given control of their character.
Suspended Animation
Level 20. Instant cast. 10 minute cooldown. The necromancer sacrifices a minion in order to flush all aggro and enter a state of suspended animation that lasts for 1 minute. During this state, the necromancer cannot act or be acted upon. They do not regenerate mana or health. Any of their minions still active will continue to act with their previous orders. The state may not be terminated early. When the spell ends, the necromancer will wake with a 30 second -50% spirit debuff.
spells and abilities
Necromancers get 3 basic nuke spells.

Initially, they start play with Toxic Strike which does a burst of nature damage up front and applies a short debuff that reduces the target’s nature resistance. This debuff may be improved with decay talents such that it stacks up to 5 times and increases the victim’s susceptibility to crits.

At level 6, they pick up Icebolt, a frost damage nuke that does half of its damage up front and the rest as a brief dot that stacks up to 5 times.

At higher levels, necromancers also get a Darkbolt spell that does shadow damage and (with talents) has a chance to proc an accuracy debuff on the victim.

Another general thematic element that I would like to see with necromancers is that they are essentially combat alchemists. Sort of how druids are connected to herbalism and warlocks are connected to tailoring, there should be numerous quests that expect a necromancer to have ready access to a friendly alchemist. Many of a necromancer’s spells will cost rogue poison components as reagents.

The necromancer’s initial 30-minute self buff spell will give them some armour points and will reduce their generated threat.

A large set of spells available to necromancers will be referred to as ‘infusions’. Infusions are not necessarily one type of spell, there are offensive and defensive infusions. Regardless of the type, necros will only be allowed to maintain one infusion at once (as a hunter’s stings, a warlock’s curses, a paladin’s judgements, etc…). Necros should be given a large variety of infusions to choose from. All infusions count as poison debuffs, even the beneficial ones, and no infusions may be cast on the necromancer himself or party members (but they may be used on a necromancer’s minions).

At level 20, necromancers gain a Metabolize Poison buff spell that cures 1 poison effect on the target, replacing it with an hp regeneration effect in stead. The size of the effect depends on the rank of the metabolize spell cast, not on the size of the poison cured. This spell can be used to heal minions.

Nuke-wise, the necromancer should be weak in the AoE damage arena. They should have area attacks, but these should be primarily debuffing in nature – like disease clouds, etc…

At level 60, necromancers should gain Sever Spirit, an expensive high powered shadow nuke that will instantly reanimate the victim as the biggest appropriate minion type available to the necromancer if the target dies within 3 seconds of being hit by the spell.

Necros should also receive some sort of ability to CC undead. Whether it’s more like shackle, turn undead, or enslave, I don’t really care. Perhaps they could have all three.

talent trees
The three talent trees available to necromancers are Preservation, Decay, and Animation.

The preservation tree improves a necromancer’s minions (makes them last longer). It also improves their ice-based nuke spells.

The decay tree improves a necromancer’s debuffs as well as their nature and shadow damage attacks.

The animation tree improves the actual process of creating minions (speeding it up, making it cost less, etc…). The tree also gives the necromancer an additional CP and three additional summon types.

Animation necros will probably be the least viable PvP build, simply because of their limited options for corpses in BG’s and the arena. Decay necros should be similar to shadow priests in party usefulness. Preservation will likely be the soloing spec.


monks

Weapons: fist, staff (at 10), polearm (at 20), thrown
Armour: cloth, leather
Talent Trees: Mind, Body, Weapon
Role: downtime reduction, dodge/resist tank, melee dps
Races: orc, troll, human, night elf, draenei(?)
Primary Stats: agility, spirit

class highlights
Monks have a mana bar, not energy or rage. They are primarily a defensive melee class that relies upon dodging attacks to compensate for their low damage mitigation. Their special abilities do physical and arcane spell damage.

They are capable of wearing both cloth and leather armour but receive major bonuses to dodge and spell resistance when wearing only cloth equipment. The strength of this buff is sufficient to make monks viable tanks.

Monks start off with a pair of fist weapons and the ability to dual wield them. As they progress, they gain the ability to use staves and polearms, and have special abilities that are only usable with either fists or staff/polearm (treated identically for purposes of abilities).

Monks learn a number of ‘forms’ that they may adopt, similar to a hunter’s aspects or a paladin’s auras. Every form enables a single special ability that may only be used while in that form, otherwise, the forms all have passive effects that only directly impact the monk himself.

A monk retains a portion of their mana regen even when casting and is also capable of channeling mana to party members in order to keep them going. Other than channeling mana, they have no ability to heal people other than themselves.

dodging and resisting
Monks should receive a phenomenal amount of base dodge. Like… more than a hunter with permanent aspect of the monkey. On average, they should dodge better than a rogue with similar stats and eq. They should also get good chances to parry when wielding a staff/polearm.

In addition to this, monks should have an ability that gives them an additional chance to dodge every attack. If an attack is avoided as a result of this ability, a large amount of threat is generated. This is the monk’s primary threat generation mechanism – annoying mobs by dodging their attacks. It should therefore also make them very effective at tanking multiple targets at once.

Monks should have high natural spell resist. They receive +1 resist to all 5 spell damage types for every 10 points of spirit they have.

Monks receive a mobility buff whenever they are wearing only cloth armour. This buff is what makes the phenomenal dodge possible, and should also give the monk increased spell resistance chances.

But, you ask… if the mobility buff is so good, why should a monk even consider wearing leather at all? Well, there will still likely be fights where their dodge is insufficient to make up for the lost damage mitigation from wearing cloth. Or there are fights where the increased number of hits taken doesn’t really matter if the mobs are going down fast enough…

forms and specials
Monks have a number of forms that they may adopt. These forms are similar to warrior stances and hunter aspects. Monks begin play with one form and receive a new combat form every 12 or so levels. Every form applies one or two passive affects to the monk and also activates a unique special ability that is only usable within that form.

Specials are powered by ‘momentum points’. These points are earned when the monk dodges or parries an attack or completely resists a spell. A maximum of one momentum point may be earned per second. Once charged up, specials are unleashed in a manner similar to a paladin’s judgement spell (ie, a single ability with a short cooldown that is used to activate all specials).

If the monk does not use their special to flush momentum points, they act as a buff that enhances the effectiveness of the monk’s current form. Momentum charges up to 10 times and has a short duration unless refreshed by avoiding another attack, so it quickly disappears once the fight is over.

Changing forms is instant and does not cost mana. It does, however, flush any momentum points saved up.

Owl (Level 1)
Owl form grants the monk the ability to retain 10% of their natural mana regeneration while casting.
Momentum: Every point of momentum increases the mana regeneration by 8%, thus at 10 points of momentum, the monk retains 90% of their mana regen while casting.
Special: For each point of momentum burnt, the monk regenerates 1% of their maximum mana.
Mongoose (Level 12)
Mongoose form grants the monk increased dodging abilities (+10%). Mongoose form may be improved with talents to give a total of +20% dodge.
Momentum: Every point of momentum increases the monk’s threat generation by 10%.
Special: For each point of momentum burnt, the monk taunts one enemy within range. These points are spent round-robin, starting with whatever mob the monk has targetted. Thus, if burning 7 points in a battle with 3 enemies, every enemy will be taunted twice, with the monk’s target receiving a 3rd taunting effect.
Turtle (Level 24)
Turtle form grants the monk increased spell resistance. This resistance starts at +20, but increases with additional ranks of the ability to a maximum of +60 spell resist.
Momentum: Every point of momentum gives resisted spells a 5% chance of being reflected back at the caster.
Special: The monk gains a buff with 1 charge per momentum point burnt. Every second for 30 seconds (or until out of charges), the buff will attempt to dispel a single negative magic or curse effect from the monk, costing 1 charge per success.
Crane (Level 36)
Crane form grants the monk increased mobility (+8% run speed) and +10% weapon attack speed.
Momentum: Every point of momentum increases the monk’s attack speed by 2% (to a maximum of +30%).
Special: The monk blinks backwards away from their enemy. More momentum translates into a longer distance blinked.
Scorpion (Level 48)
Scorpion form grants the monk arcane spell damage equal to 50% of all physical damage dealt.
Momentum: Every point of momentum increases the damage dealt by 10% (to a maximum of 150%).
Special: Unleashing scorpion form momentum reduces the target’s arcane resist by 5 per point burnt. Additional specials will not stack – the larger effect will stick. The debuff has a short duration but is refreshed any time the target takes arcane damage.
Tiger (Level 60)
Tiger form converts mirrors of the monk’s natural mana regeneration with an equivalent amount of health regeneration.
Momentum: Every point of tiger form momentum allows the monk to retain 3% of their natural mana regeneration while casting.
Special: For each point of momentum burnt, the monk regenerates 2% of their maximum health.
Dragon (Level 72)
Dragon form reduces the casting cost of all Mind and Body abilities by 50%.
Momentum: Each point of momentum reduces the casting cost by a further 3% (to a maximum of 80% cost reduction).
Special: The monk receives a buff with a 30 second duration and one charge per momentum point burnt. Every time the monk gets a critical effect with a spell while the buff lasts, the cost of the spell is refunded.
mana regeneration
Several of a monk’s forms improve their mana availability. A monk in either owl or dragon form should be able to maintain a healthy surplus of mana energy, despite their low intelligence score. This mana should then easily be shared with party members. Starting at about level 20, the monk should receive a Channel Mana spell that very efficiently gives mana to the target ally (over time).

At higher levels, monks should also get the ability to (less efficiently) burst channel mana to a party member or perhaps (even less efficiently) burst channel mana to the entire party.

spells and abilities
Monks start out with an Arcane Palm spell that has a 1 second casting time and inflicts a short magic dot (arcane damage) on the target.

At level 10, they get Arcane Fist, an instant cast spell that empowers their next melee attack with additional arcane damage.

At level 10, they also get Stunning Palm, a short-term (12 seconds without talents) CC ability that works only on humanoids and will disengage the monk from the target and purge any potentially interruptive arcane damage DoT effects on the target (talent). Any damage taken will interrupt the effect (talents may allow dots a chance not to interrupt the CC). When the spell ends, the target will be afflicted as with Arcane Palm.

At level 20, they get an ability to throw their enemy 10-30 yards away. Giants and other large enemies may not be throwable.

At level 30, monks get Far Strike, an inexpensive instant attack that delivers a normal weapon strike as arcane damage up to 20 yards away (up to 30 yards with talents). Far strike has a 6 second cooldown (reduced to 1 second with talents).

At level 40, monks gain a 30 minute buff that allows them to automatically counter up to one melee or ranged attack per second with either arcane fist or far strike as appropriate and as remaining mana allows.

At level 50, monks should be able to perform an AoE attack that inflicts minimal damage but also generates a large amount of threat and knocks back multiple targets (number of potential knockback targets increases with additional ranks).

Monks should also have the ability to heal themselves, but not others. They should be able to flush poison, bleeder and disease effects from themselves via a spell in addition to the turtle form’s ability to purge magic and curses. They should have an instant cast self-heal over time spell as well as a channeled self heal (which can be rendered 70% uninterruptible through talents).

talent trees
The monk talent trees are Mind, Body, and Weapon.

Mind primarily affects the monk’s ability to generate and channel mana. It improves their spellcasting efficiency and their resistance to fear and similar effects. It also improves their arcane damage dealt.

Body affects the monk’s ability to avoid taking damage, increases their unarmed attack damage, and increases their self-healing and threat generating effects.

Weapon affects the monk’s abilities with staves, polearms, and thrown weapons. It should be able to give them a large amount of +parry% as well as several special attacks, including one that depends on thrown weapons. Weapon spec should include threat reduction techniques that allow the monk to act as DPS in a party without stealing aggro.

Each talent tree should also introduce a new combat form at tier 9 and could also improve the efficiency of associated other forms (Owl is a Mind form, Crane is a Weapon form, etc…).

prospecting math 2.1

Ok, this is just some quick proof of my dorkiness. WoW patch 2.1 included a change to the prospecting math where attempts are always guaranteed to yield a gem now. Having read the patch notes ahead of time, I stockpiled a bit of ore to take advantage of what I hoped would be an upgrade in the gem drop rate. I prospected over 15 stacks of ore just now, and here are the results:

155 fel iron ore (7.75 stacks)

31 fel iron dust
8 flame spessarite
8 golden draenite
6 deep peridot
6 shadow draenite
4 blood garnet
3 azure moonstone

175 adamant ore (8.75 stacks)

35 adamant dust
10 flame spessarite
7 shadow draenite
6 azure moonstone
6 blood garnet
6 golden draenite
5 deep peridot
3 talasite
2 dawnstone
2 noble topaz
1 living ruby
1 star of elune

math

The quick math shows that fel iron prospecting produced 1.13 (35/31) uncommon gems per attempt.

Adamant gave me a 1.14 (40/35) uncommon gems per attempt and 0.26 (9/35) rare gems (total of 1.4 gems per attempt). Getting two uncommon gems at once is not unusual, and getting an uncommon and a rare gem together is also not unusual (looks like what’s guaranteed in the new math is at least one uncommon gem, anything else is extra).

I also had one adamant prospecting attempt out of the 35×5 adamant that produced three gems at once (2 uncommon, one rare). This could be a case of the two different chances (14% chance for an extra uncommon gem and 26% chance for a rare gem) both rolling at the same time. The small numbers math says that there’s a ~3.5% chance of both coming up at once, which jives neatly with my experience (1/35 ~= 2.8%).

One point of interest is that the uncommon gem production seems to be roughly even now between the two ore types (roughly 4.5 uncommon gems per stack). The only difference giving adamant a higher drop rate is its production of approximately 1 rare gem per stack of ore.

The sample isn’t big enough to make any definitive statements about individual gems having higher drop rates than others but my sample at least does seem to hint that orange gems are slightly more likely to drop than average and that blue and red are less likely. The difference here is well within statistically meaningless fuzzy grey territory, however, so don’t complain if you prospect 100 stacks of ore and get all azure moonstones ๐Ÿ˜‰

old math

By popular request, I have hunted down some of the old prospecting math. Kaliope has a wonderful blog on WoW crafting issues and recorded some numbers on the subject. She also has posts on mithril, thorium, and lowbie ore prospecting results before patch 2.1.

100 mithril ore (5 stacks)

20 mithril dust
11 star ruby
10 aquamarine
4 citrine
1 blue sapphire
1 large opal

70 adamant ore (3.5 stacks)

14 adamant dust
6 golden draenite
6 shadow draenite
4 deep peridot
1 azure moonstone
1 blood garnet
1 flame spessarite
1 talasite

90 thorium ore (4.5 stacks)

18 thorium dust
6 star ruby
4 large opal
2 azerothian diamond
2 blue sapphire
1 huge emerald

Her numbers use smaller sets than mine and are therefore even more prone to the vagaries of the random number deities. What she did notice was an 83% drop rate on gems from thorium (15/18), 1.35 gems per prospecting with mithril (27/20), and 1.29 gems per attempt with adamant (18/14). These numbers jive with my memories of the experience. She reported rare cases of getting 3 gems per attempt and several attempts w/o getting anything.

These are all over the charts but show two things:

  1. the results from prospecting were much more random before this recent patch
  2. rare gems really were pretty rare

Her one talasite from 3.5 stacks is a 7.1% drop rate… compared to the 26% drop rate that I noticed under the new math. The higher randomness prior to 2.1 meant it was possible to burn an entire stack of ore and get only dust. I remember very acutely a stretch of 6 adamant prospectings where I got no gems.

If her rate of ~1.3 gems per prospecting (assuming the thorium exercise was a fluke) was accurate, then the numbers are similar enough to mine to assume that no real change in the overall rate of gem production resulted from the patch… they just normalized things a bit, and I like it ๐Ÿ˜‰

thottbot

It just occurred to me (4pm, May 23rd) that Thott might have some data on the subject. Turns out they do. I’ve saved a snapshot of the data before it becomes too corrupted by the changes in this patch, but the trends they show are pretty easy to spot.

36740 fel iron ore (1837 stacks)

7348 adamant dust
1235 flame spessarite
1223 deep peridot
1200 shadow draenite
1175 blood garnet
1160 azure moonstone
1143 golden draenite
72 talasite
65 dawnstone
65 noble topaz
64 living ruby
63 nightseye
54 star of elune

82700 adamant ore (4135 stacks)

16540 adamant dust
3143 flame spessarite
3262 blood garnet
3258 azure moonstone
3192 deep peridot
3153 golden draenite
3114 shadow draenite
400 talasite
394 star of elune
387 dawnstone
373 noble topaz
361 nightseye
360 living ruby

The adamant prospectings show a rate of 2.2-2.4% for each rare gem and 18.8-19.7% for each uncommon gem. Add things up and they give a 13.8% chance of getting any rare gem and 115.6% chance of getting an uncommon gem for a grand average of 1.29 gems per prospecting – confirming Kaliope’s numbers but showing that rare gems aren’t quite as rare as in her experience.

The fel iron attempts have about half the sample size, but are still quite statistically valid. Rare gems had a 0.7-1.0% chance of dropping (5.3% total) where uncommon gems had a 15.5-16.8% chance (97% total). So with fel iron, people were getting ~1.02 gems per attempt. Fel iron clearly had a lower drop rate.

So in conclusionary fashion, I will finally give a rest to this post by stating that my current guesses as to the changes to the new math:

  • Both fel iron and adamant have been given the same base chance to prospect green quality gems. This chance is probably similar to the old adamant rate of 1.15 gems per attempt.
  • Adamant rare gems look like they might have had their drop rate doubled. Clearly, making this statement from only 35 samples isn’t as accurate as it could be… but something like 0.25 rare gems per attempt sounds like a perfectly reasonable number to me – especially if I were the one pulling these numbers out of the proverbial hat when tweaking the algorithm ๐Ÿ˜‰

next blizzard title predictions

A little while ago, Blizzard announced that they would be announcing their next game on May 19th. For the last few days, their home page has been a running timeline of their previous big titles (no Lost Vikings, however :P).

Speculation has been rampant, and largely baseless. So… I figure it’s time to write down my own unfounded guesses, before the announcement actually arrives.

There are a few things that they could announce. Two things that I am pretty confident they will not, however, be announcing are 1) another MMO (ie, no World of Starcraft) or 2) Starcraft Ghost. Of course, I could be wrong… but in the first case, I doubt they have neither the personnel to support a second MMO nor the desire to detract customers away from WoW. And in the second, I believe them when they said that Ghost was on indefinite hold.

This leaves us with a few more probable possibilities.

something completely different

I strongly doubt that they will launch a completely new franchise here. Firstly, Blizzard really does have a good thing going with Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Anything else is… you might say wasted effort. They already have strong mythologies to build upon. Second, their home page is doing a countdown of these franchises. That feels more like they’re building up to a sequel than to something entirely new.

warcraft 4

This is probably the least likely option from among the real possibilities. Warcraft 3 was not terribly long ago and they’re busy telling the story of Azeroth through WoW. Their ability to do another Warcraft RTS – at least one with any meaningful plot – is severely compromised by the existence of the MMO. Regular story updates through WoW make WC4 a… most tricksy proposition.

diablo 3

While it’s probably not going to happen, I really like the idea of a new Diablo. It has the potential to be developed in direct competition with Guild Wars and Dungeon Runners. And while I enjoyed Guild Wars (and am very hopeful to see what they’re going to do with GW2), and have an old friend on the DR team… I would probably enjoy Diablo 3 more than either of them. Diablo would have better solo play than GW and would look better than DR.

And as with any other Blizzard title, It would also be very likely that the game would be released with OSX capability… and would be very easily configured to run under Wine/Cedega.

There’s also just something about the idea of seeing another good graphical roguelike by the people who did the original good graphical roguelike that makes me wish it were going to happen. Diablo3.com is owned by a group of fans with a petition for a new game. I doubt they’d be reluctant to sell the domain over when the time comes.

starcraft 2

And it is my opinion that the most likely candidate is a new Starcraft RTS. SC has been a… well, phenomenon doesn’t do it justice. The title has been obscenely successful. It is 8 years old and can be acquired for $10 in the bargain software bin of your local Walmart. Yet, people still play it. They still play Starcraft tournaments. I, myself, played it as recently as this past spring break.

The title has been long overdue a sequel, especially given their inability to bring Ghost to market. Blizzard has specified their every intention to write a sequel… they’ve just never been more specific than that.

The one thing I fear with SC2 is that it will be more like WC3 than SC or WC2. I can only hope that Blizzard realizes this… and makes SC2 a true sequel, not a completely different game that just happens to share a common setting.

update

Looks like I was right. SC2 it is. And it looks like everything I hoped it would be. Ureshii ^_^

Not that the prediction required any magical clairvoyant muscles, mind… but yeah ๐Ÿ˜‰