Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Problem With Warlocks

So why are there so few warlocks? Cynwise has a great series of posts on the matter, and I figured i'd throw in my 2 cents.  First off, go read his posts. It's okay, I'll wait, plus it's a great blog...

Leveling Data on warlocks is worse than I thought
Where did all the Warlocks go in Cataclysm?

Now, having just leveled a mage to 85 and being (in a rather slow process) of leveling a lock to 85, I figured I could perhaps shed some light on the leveling game.  Here's the problems as I see them...
1)No real incentive to have a 'lock in a raid. No nifty buffs, just healthstones and demon TV. At least as a mage I can give my healers more mana (mmmm int buff) and cake. As a lock, I can give you underwater breathing. Big Whoop.

2) Warlocks are kinda underpowered in the leveling game. Mages are too, actually, or maybe I just stinke at frost maging. But playing affliction, I feel like I barely have time to dot a mob before the other dps have killed it. Destruction feels a bit better, but not by much.

3) I get bitched at for Life Tapping. Only way I can do halfway decent dps on non bosses is Rain of Fire, and that gets expensive mana-wise.  Healers that don't mind Life Tapping seem to be few and far between. Believe me, I understand, I hated life tapping locks too, but a good warlock knows when you life tap and when you don't.

4) PVP survivability. I have none. Luckly I don't mind this overmuch, since I die a lot in PVP anyway, but it's kind of annoying being completely heirloomed out and still being that squishy. I do get a ridiculous amount of glee running around a BG with my gnome hair (on a Forsaken) dotting the crap out of everyone and giggling when my dots kill them. Sadly, this is generally shortly after they've killed me.

5) Pets. I remember my first lock (a belf who's somewhere in the 30s level-wise and this was endBC/beginning of Wraith days) having a blueberry who held aggro. He was a complete idiot compared to my hunter's pets. Still feels that way. Running around with an imp who does more damage than I do (because his cast time is less) is plain embarrassing.

6) Pure DPS class, no other options. Let's look at the other pure DPS classes....
Mage->squishy, can have pet, long cast time, but 2 viable end-game specs, much-wanted buff, portals and cake! Competes for cloth gear.  Stupid cloth competition....
Hunter->Fast-paced, many options in terms of pets (and pet buffs), extreme soloing and farming very viable. Only competition for agility mail is enhancement shaman
Rogue->Just got a legendary, can pick-pocket, and stealth. Plus, seen as the extremely viable PVP class.  Only competition for leather agility gear is feral druids.

7) If I want to play an evil toon, warlocks seem like a natural choice. But DKs start at 55, get ridiculously good gear to start, and are easier to play well. So unless I must be ranged, I'm probably going to go for a DK

If I have a friend just starting to play WoW, I'm going to steer them towards a hybrid class. If they really want to play pure ranged DPS, I'm going to suggest a hunter or mage. The dot DPS of locks is fun, but I play a shadowpriest, I'm used to dot management and it took me several months to learn how to do it properly. Warlocks are simply not a class I'd recommend to a beginner. I also wouldn't recommend priests (shadow is complicated), or feral druids. If you want to heal and hit stuff with a big weapon, I'd say pally, if you want to heal and cast I'd say shaman, and if you want to tank and or hit stuff with two big weapons, hello warrior. If you have no idea at all, I'd say hello druid.

Warlocks are awesome, and I'm actually really looking forward to raiding on my 'lock when she gets there. Here's hoping Mists makes them a bit more viable, since a good warlock is a wonder to behold.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

UI Design for Dummies

First, figure out what's the most important stuff to know. This will vary from role to role, and from toon to toon. Generally this would be....
Party health bars for healers
Threat levels for tanks
Procs and/or DoT Durations for DPS

If you're raiding, this would likely also include
Boss Health, timing of bad stuff, warnings about where you're standing, that sort of thing

If you're PVPing, this would likely also include stun durations, cooldowns of your team, that sort of thing.

Now figure out how you want to display this most important stuff. Party health bars could be displayed by Grid or vuhdo or the raid frames addon of your choice. Threat levels can be displayed by Omen or tidy plates: threat plates. Procs could be displayed by NeedtoKnow, Power Auras, or a bunch of others.  Dot durations can also be displayed by the above.

Positioning wise, the most important thing to remember is....
Now, here's Lyllea's healing UI in a raid, to see what I'm talking about....

Notice vuhdo right in the center there? And under it is BigWigs countdowns for tank cooldowns. Below Vuhdo are my bars, and my cooldowns are shown on the spells themselves.

And here we see her DPS UI. See the difference (other than the minimap, which is due to it being patch day when this was taken and out-of-date addons weren't enabled)? Power auras is telling me I have shadow orbs, and vuhdo's off to the side.

And here's Eiunn's DPS UI as another example. Hopefully this gives you some ideas.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to get a mage somewhere in 10 steps...

Step 1) curse paucity of dungeon-choices in random dungeon finder from 84-85. Stonecore I HATE YOU! Vortex, I still like you, but only in comparison to Stonecore. Seriously, aren't there supposed to be others in here besides you two?

Step 2) Continue to run dungeons, while cursing. Console self with rep gains and justice points. Almost hit justice cap.

Step 3) Stop by the Faire long enough to pick up one of the books that allows for collecting of things. Because those things sell well in the AH, that's why.

Step 4) Curse tanks who see either Stonecore or Vortex and drop. HATE THEM SO!

Step 5)

Step 6) Put on full set of 377 crafted pvp gear. 

Step 7) Spend those hard-earned justice points. I went for a ring, a neck, and a wand (decisions based only on upgrading ilevels)

Step 8) Check gear score. 0_o at fact that in about 10 minutes went from new 85 to geared enough for Hour of Twilight heroics (okay, pvp gear is nowhere near optimal, and I'll be testing my dps before I hit them to make sure it's adequate, but still!)

Step 9) Realize it's past 4 am. Also realize that Ask Mr Robot is now firmly convinced Angetia's gearing for PVP (can't think why :) ). Decide to blog briefly, then go to bed.

Step 10) Figure out how to mage at 85 (that's tomorrow's problem)