Friday, April 27, 2007 closed!

Almost anyone who reads various blogs knows by now that as of a week ago has gone on "Indefinite Lockdown". This sucks for many of us Paladins as that was a place where we could all get together and call a sort of home. Maybe there were some other good bastions (I've heard Elitist Jerks' forum was one such place), but I couldn't see them since I'm behind my work firewall.

Anyway, originally I was going to post on why I thought it closed, but I realized it was a bad idea because some people might read it and start spreading rumors. Not good, so I put this post on hold. Recently my brain clicked on something related to it, which is what I'm going to post about:

Despite being saddened by the closing (even temporarily) of this blog, I think it has a good side effect: Vaelin is no longer posting there. Vaelin has always been very pro-Ret spec, and I can sympathize with him, one of my best friends is a Ret specced Paladin. He would post occasionally over on, and whenever I noticed him posting it was always for the good of Ret Pallys.

That was up until about a month ago. Around the middle of March he found out about Warrior Priests of Sigmar, from the upcoming game Warhammer online: Age of Reckoning (aka WAR). He made a few other posts that month, but then took a big break towards the end of the month. Then he didn't really post again until the middle of next month, when he had let his WoW account expire. At this point I feel that Mastgrr should have removed him from posting on

But he didn't. Vaelin's previous views of "All for one, one for all" and the betterment of Ret paladins to make them equal with Holy and Prot spec paladins were gone. In his own words, he had seen the light, and the Devs didn't care about Ret pallys. So he basically took the stance that if Blizz didn't care about him and his brethren, why should he care about anyone else. Suddenly Holy paladins were no longer brothers who preferred a different playing style, but instead "the enemy". If you signed up for being a paladin with anything other than Ret spec in mind, you were a traitor.

Thus became a rallying point for those who hated everyone who was not a Ret spec paladin, and specifically Holy paladins, and the WoW Devs. Now, I can't say that Holy paladins helped with this. Both sides were being quite vitriolic towards one another. With every post by either Mastgrr or Vaelin being filled with people fighting over which side was right, instead of just each trying to fix what's wrong with their build and live in happiness.

My problem with Vaelin isn't that he wanted to play however he wants (smashing faces), where he wants (in raids, in PvP, wherever). My problem is that instead of fighting for Ret paladins, he fought against Holy paladins, and also gave others a rallying point for similar views. This made him no better than those that opposed him, and accomplished nothing.

And he hasn't stopped. He made a blog for Warrior Priests in WAR, and his most recent post was him asking for someone to go to BlizzCon and get his or her pic taken at the Con dressed as a Warrior Priest. This will solve nothing other than insulting the devs, if they realize what it means. As a blogger on a major paladin site, maybe he could have gotten the devs to work towards fixing the Ret tree. Instead he created an opposition that was so blinded by hatred that they would be ignored.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Caster weapons vs. Tanking weapons

This is a quote from a forum I frequent:

I've also found physical damage weapons to be better than spell damage weapons for threat generation and they have better tanking stats. 30 DPS is 30 TPS. If you compare to something like Mana Wrath, Seal/Judgement of the Righteous only equals that with 60% Righteous Fury and it doesn't use mana. If you have improved Righteous Fury or are constantly being topped off allowing you to spam JoR and Consecrate, a spell damage weapon is probably better for threat, but I haven't seen a spell damage weapon with tank stats yet.

My reply is this:
This one you're wrong about. I just worked out the math and barring that you're Ret specced, as long as you are using Righteous Fury at all, using a spell damage sword is a better use of your iLVL points in a weapon. As basics I'm using two pretty high level weapons... The Sun Eater and Blade of the Archmage. They are both iLVL 95 epic weapons, so they both are about the same "quality", thus with other weapons, the values should scale appropriately or at least closely.

Using just abilities available to all Paladins (that is SoR, JoR and Consecration), we can put out more threat over the course of a minute than the equal amount put out by pure sword DpS. Note: This is just the addition of spell damage from the BotA and additional DPS from the swords themselves. It does not take into acount basic damage from the spells or additional damage from gear outside fo the swords.

The Sun Eater's DpS = 78.8 x 60 = 4728 DpM (Damage per Minute) thus 4728 TpM (Threat per Minute).

Blade of the Archmage's DpS = 41.1 x 60 = 2466 DpM thus 2466 TpM.

From here we see how much BotA's 150 spell damage impacts the threat generation of the three universal tools Paladins have at their disposal.

First off I'll list the spell damage coefficents for those who don't know:
Seal of Righteousness: 9.2% per 1.0 weapon speed which translates to 16.56% for BotA with an estimated 12 Procs per Minute (PpM)
Judgement of Righteousness: 73% every 10 seconds.
Consecration: 76% every 8 seconds.

150 spell damage
x 0.1656 percent of spell damage applied to SoR
= 24.84 Damage per strike
x 12 PpM
= 298.08 average DpM
x 0.6 Bonus threat modifier applied to holy damage from Righteous Fury
= 178.848 bonus threat generated by Righteous Fury
+ 298.08 average DpM
= 476.928 average TpM

150 spell damage
x 0.73 percent of spell damage applied to JoR
= 109.5 Damage per Judgement
x 6 Judgements a minute
= 657 average DpM
x 0.6 Bonus threat modifier applied to holy damage from Righteous Fury
= 394.2 bonus threat generated by Righteous Fury
+ 657 average DpM
= 1051.2 average TpM

150 spell damage
x 0.76 percent of spell damage applied to Consecration
= 114 Damage per Consecration
x 7.5 Consecrations a minute
= 885 average DpM
x 0.6 Bonus threat modifier applied to holy damage from Righteous Fury
= 531 bonus threat generated by Righteous Fury
+ 885 average DpM
= 1416 average TpM

From here we add together all four values to come to a total of 5410.128 Threat generated a minute. This is obviously more than Sun Eater's TpM, and is even further lengthened when we remember that Holy Damage does not normally have resistance, and that all mobs will have some amount of armor.

Obviously there are two major flaws in my above example that I fully expected people to respond to, so I will preempt those responses here:

First off, who in their right mind would use Consecration constantly against a single target? It's insanely mana waste-y. As I said, this is an untalented Paladin. As you work your way up other trees new abilities would be unlocked that would replace (Holy Shield for example) or minimize the impact of it (Divine Illumination comes to mind). And also, if you have Imp. Righteous Fury and Imp. Judgements your TpM just from melee attacks and Seal and Judgement of Righteousness with BotA is almost on par with the TpM of The Sun Eater.

The other flaw is Retadins. Retadins, with their access to Seal of Command and Crusading Strike are in a slightly different position than other paladins, because the base damage of their two primary Holy Damage abilities are based upon the damage of the attack that procs it. Theoretically a Retadin could put out on-par or possibly better TpM with a combination of slow 1H and SoC + CS. Since I'm not overly familiar with the mechanics nor the damage coefficents of either of those spells, I won't state authoritatively that they are better or worse than other abilities, but the potential is there.

One final note: By not spending iLVL points on more melee DpS, and instead using it to boost your spell damage, you are freeing up spell damage in other gear slots to fix other deficiencies in Paladin tanking such as a lack of Stamina and Defense Rating.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The burly, faithful man inside demands justice!

Sometime after I left my old raiding guild, Ebon Order and rejoined my original guild Order of the White Lion, I made a Paladin. His name was Alixander. I created him around the time it was really accepted that Paladins were made for healing. I could have made a Druid, but I've never been overly enthused with the idea of playing a Druid, or a Night Elf for that matter. I could also have made a Priest, but that idea made me grimace, since I'd already done the "wearing cloth and dying a lot" thing once as Kaziel. Instead I decided to roll a Paladin for teh leet healz (mind you this was all pre-tBC so Shamans weren't an option). Anyway, I leveled Alix up to 60 and enjoyed it as an alternative to my Mage since he was decked out in a mix of MC and BWL epics, so pretty much anything from the level 60 5-mans were steps down.

Then the expansion came! *dun dun dun* Suddenly Paladins aren't just pure healbots anymore! They can respectably tank now. *le gasp* This called for a respec. Mind you, I was still fully Holy specced, but my remaining 20~ points got tossed into Protection instead of Retribution, giving me the ability to tank some of the basic 5 mans if we needed to, and additionally the ability to switch to offtanking fairly painlessly. So I get Alix up to around 66 leveling with my then SO, when our quasi-relationship ended, and we stop leveling.

So at this point I decide to focus fully on Kaz, and let Alix just kinda do nothing for a month or two. Got to 70, and I decided it was epic flying mount time and specifically Netherdrake. Since I could easily predict that it would take already having 300 riding skill, I began working my way towards the imposing 5,200g I would need to buy and fly an armored Gryphon (and eventually my Netherdrake). I finished up most of the quests available to Kaz, netting me an impressive 2,500g (after training and buying my flying mount) just from the post 70 quest rewards (also this is before 2.1 so I'll have even more quests to do after the patch!). Only about half way there, I made some investments in purchasing some rare recipes that sell decently, that have already made up their value in returns, but still needed more. So I started farming Fire Elementals for Motes of Fire. Decent money, but boring and slow.

Then something clicked in my brain... the best money you can make is from questing at 70. I have a Paladin who's 66. Four levels is easily doable. So I pulled Alix out of storage, and got back to the quest grind. I also figure having another 70 healer, and one who's actually playing in the guild would be immensely helpful. So since Friday or so I've been leveling Alix (save for most of Saturday when I was questing in Nagrand with my group).

On Sunday did two Underbog runs as Alix, one with two guildies and two PUGers, and one full guild run. The full guild run I picked up the Warrior D1 repaint shoulders from the Underbog. Good defense, and a couple of gem slots helping me continue to work on my currently craptastic tanking armor set. I also offtanked a good 2/3rds of the run... only to realize something. Tanking as a paladin? Tons o' fun!

So I spent the rest of Sunday night and most of Monday mulling over thoughts of becoming a Tankadin full time... Honestly, it made me really happy. I probably had more fun tanking as a Paladin than I've had playing my Mage in a while. Mind you, I've had tons of fun playing WoW, but the actual gameplay of playing Kaz was kinda meh. Not bad, mind you, but not really fun either. Playing as Alix-tank was.

Well, last night I decided to start working on it, getting the gear, and seeing about respeccing after 2.1 (no point now with the fairly big potential changes being made to the Prot tree after the expansion). I don't want to jump fully into this only to find out that I've wasted tons of money and time in something that was just an "Oh hey, something new" thing instead of something I really enjoy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The problem with off-specs

About two weeks back I made a post over in It was in response to people freaking out about paladins being described as one of the "et cetera classes" Basically Tigole posted saying that they would be fixing glancing blows, listing it as a fix for, and I quote "We’ve done a tuning pass of many of our dungeons/bosses/encounters to ensure that nothing overly punishing occurs to “melee DPS’ that would lead people to favor ranged DPS over Rogues/DPS Warriors etc." which caused half of the readers of to just freak because this obviously meant that all Blizzard devs hate ret paladins and think of them as an "etc. class". *rolls eyes* Anyway, after doing some brain storming, I came up with his, and posted, but since I posted it a day or two after the post was made, it got missed amongst all the other news. (To see the rest of that post look here: )

I was thinking about this earlier, and I realized one issue has nothing to do with whether or not Ret/Prot pallies are unwanted, or whether or not Holy Pallies are awesomer than anything under the sun. It's pure numbers.

With tBC coming out, all the new raid instances are 25 or 10 man instances. There are also currently 9 classes playable, which means, assuming you brought a balanced group, you'd have 7 classes with 3 people, and 2 classes with 2 people.

Now, before I go any further, I want to clarify, that one of the major goals I see of the posts made on this blog is not calling for Paladins to be buffed through the roof. Instead, it is for all Paladin talent trees (and to a lesser degree all classes) to be able to spec a certain way and still do their thing in a raid:
Spec Holy: You heal.
Spec Prot: You tank.
Spec Ret: You smash faces.

While this is a good line of thought, as I said, there's a problem. The problem is pure numbers. Specifically the number of primary healer specs.

Let's do some theorycrafting. We have a 25 man raid, and it's the group I listed above (7 classes with 3 people, and 2 classes with 2 people) and each person has a different spec. The 2 classes with 2 people will be mages and rogues, b/c they both have roughly the same CC abilities, and otherwise just DPS (specifically the two "left out" are a Subtlety Rogue and a Frost Mage). This breaks down to:
Pure DPS: Balance Druid, Marksmanship Hunter, Fire Mage, Assassination Rogue, Combat Rogue, Elemental Shaman, Demonology Warlock, Destruction Warlock, Arms Warrior, and Fury Warrior
DPS/Utility mix: Beastmastery Hunter, Survival Hunter, Arcane Mage, Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest, Enhancement Shaman, Affliction Warlock
DPS/Tanking mix: Feral Druid
Pure Tanks: Protection Paladins, Protection Warriors
Healing/Utility mix: Discipline Priest
Pure Healing: Restoration Druid, Holy Paladin, Holy Priest, Restoration Shaman

As you can clearly tell there are only 5 specs that can fill their role, and effectively heal at the same time. And lets be honest, 5 people can not, no matter how awesome they are, keep a whole raid alive. For the bosses who use AOE abilities, or have adds, the healer for a group would need to not only be healing the tank, but also healing their own group.

As Vaelin said,
"By discontinuing 40-man raids in the expansion and beyond (as far as we know) as well as adding a "new" class to each faction, Blizzard reduced the number of free slots available to any particular class. With the exception of Shadow Priests, this has hurt "off-specced" hybrids tremendously."
And he is exactly right. With fewer slots, there are very few to no slots available for a non-healer, when a healer is needed. This is not a problem that was created by one group. It is a joint mistake caused by, what I would guess, is not enough communication between Class Design and the Raid & Dungeon team.

From here, there are two "fixes" (if this problem ever gets fixed per say).

1) Tigole realizes there too large a need for healers, and thus those that can heal are being excluded, so the "fix" is to lower damage output, increase health, and increase defense/resists. The battles take about as long as before, but instead of requiring 8-10 of 25 man raid to be healers, it only calls for 5-7 to be healers. But now to take the enemy down efficiently you need more DPS and Utility, so you bring more offspecs. Everyone's happy? Well, it might fix the problem, per say, but I think it would also make fights very very boring. With less damage means less pressure. I go into raid dungeons to be challenged in figuring out how to beat a boss, not to kill a bigger version of what's outside. With a self imposed cap on damage, fights would be snorefests, and (speaking only for myself) that's not the answer that I think is needed.

2) The other answer is Class Design sees this problem, and goes in and pretty much retools the Retribution, Enhancement, Balance and possibly Elemental trees, almost from the ground up. Instead of being "DPS with a little support" they are turned into something akin to the Shadow Priest. They do some damage (nothing huge) but though that, healing is done. At core, what's needed is more ways to heal, but ways to heal that don't involve standing at the back being a healbot. The idea I'm thinking about is something along the lines of a certain percent of their damage is turned into healing for all members of their raid within a certain radius (say... 10-15 yards). By having them do damage, they do what is needed (keep people alive) while at the same time they can do what they want (which is do damage).

Also, before anyone accuses me of being anti-holy, my paladin is and always has been a healbot. My spec is 42/19/0, and when I created Alixander, I made him specifically to fill the lacking role of a on-call healer for my guild (this was back before the expansion). Honestly, I prefer standing back in the rear and healing, but that's my prerogative. Paladins, and all classes, IMO should have a choice, and right now I don't think we do, if we want to raid.

I'm a leader?

Or at least so it seems.

Okay, so playing Final Fantasy XI, I joined what became known as the CoP (Chains of Promathia) Super Set. A set party is a group of people who work together towards a goal, such as finishing missions, or getting levels. Well the Super Set was more than a party worth of people (6 in FFXI's case), who work together to get through the CoP missions. While it wasn't intended to be, it was an experiment to see if this setup could work. While I didn't start out as the leader, the old leader got burnt out on FFXI in general, and ended up breaking away from the game as a whole. So after about 2 months of inactivity we got together and said someone had to lead. No one stepped forward so after a week I just took over. Anyway, the results of the experiment was that about 4-5 people ended up carrying the other 9-13 through constant redos of missions. Not fun, as FFXI has XP loss on deaths, not to mention the lost value of materials, so making upwards of 6 to 7 runs on a single fight to get everyone through is nothing short of maddening. The end result was I became the leader of one normal sized set (6 people).

One of the additional effects of the CoP Super Set was I started leveling Paladin (PLD). In FFXI, PLDs are the definitive tanks, they do little damage, but wear heavy armor and take hits in the face like they are being hit by a feather pillow. Well, a few others in my CoP set needed to level jobs to be able to be complete CoP (need to be at 70-75 range for the final few missions). So the three of us along with three others got together and formed a set party. At first I was referred to as "our mighty leader" and given the leadership position in our set. At this point I was already busy leading the two other CoP Super Set groups (it hadn't collapsed into 1 normal group yet), so I asked why I was the leader, and pretty much told them I had no interest in leading, and someone else took over. Point still stands that they assumed I'd be the leader.

Finally we come to the most recent thing. I play WoW, and a group of people in my guild and I started off questing together in Nagrand. This originally began as they were questing in Nagrand and I hadn't completed the quests there, so I joined them. If nothing else I just wanted to avoid the pain of having to solo my way through the Hemit Nesingwary quest lines. Kill 30 mobs x 9? No thanks. So we started working together to do all the quests for the zone. Later on one of the members husband joined us. Also, we later in an unrelated situation joined up to do a Sethekk Halls run. Group composition is pretty good: (Balance) Druid, Mage(me), (Prot) Paladin, (Holy) Priest, and Warlock. So we're about to start doing Nagrand questing again tonight, and I had one of the members make a post about it as a reminder on the forums. What did he title it? "Kaz and Crew Nagrand Expedition". I kid you not. Kaz and Crew. So apparently I'm the leader of this little group as well.

Now, originally I was going end this post with something along the lines of "Apparently all it takes to be a leader is... doing anything." but before I could finish this post I got called away to do some real work. So while working I talked to my superior, and mentioned all this, and asked him what he thought defined a leader.
Now, a little background on this guy: he was in the army and made it to the rank of Master Sergeant or E-8. The rank scale for enlisted soldiers goes from E-1 (Private) all the way to E-9 Sergeant Major (with various lateral promotions). At and after the rank of E-5 or Sergeant you have to in a managerial position. It's just the way the Army works. So basically he had upward of 10 to 15 years of being a leader of soldiers. Anyway, his reply was "A leader will look out for his subordinates, and makes sure they doing their duties."
Now for a little more background, this time on myself. I'm also ex-Army. I didn't get as high as my superior, was only in for four years, but at various points I was in charge of others, and for six months I held the highest rank of the lower enlisted in my section (before I transferred to another unit) so in a form of training for the potential of being in a managerial position, I was made manager of two others, so I have some real experience in being a leader.
Anyway, back to the present, after hearing my superior describe his opinion of what makes a leader, I realized that this stuff I was doing, almost automatically. In my mind it wasn't "being a leader" it was "being a good member of a team", though apparently it paints me into the position of being a leader... Well, it could be worse. At least I'm fairly intelligent and can get things done. *toots own horn*

Monday, April 16, 2007

What this blog is...

Sometimes I'll be posting my posts thoughts on MMOs in general.

Sometimes I'll be reposting posts I made in other MMO blogs.

Sometimes I'll be posting reviews or previews of stuff I've played.

Sometimes I'll just be posted thoughts on recent experiences.