Furry Healing

Saturday, September 02, 2006

RDX6 -- Alpha 4

The newest version of RDX6 got released sometime last evening. I took about two hours to mess around with some of the new things which have been added. The largest change is to the unit frame designs which are available. Veni has provided us with a way to customize the unit frames and bars significantly more than we were previously able.

Other than the unit frame designs, the second large change was the initial release of a window creation wizard. The way the wizard saves things could use some tweaking and I'm sure future incarnations of the wizard will change things, but its a good first cut.

If I manage to get all my packing finished tomorrow in a timely manner I'll get in game to do a little more testing and take some screenshots in order to better display what the new unit frames are capable of.

Until then, the changelog will have to do..

Alpha 4
* Window wizard
* Mouse binding: Assist Unit
* Mouse binding: option to not retarget after spell cast
* Slash commands for show/hide RDX (/rdx hide and /rdx show)
* UnitFrames will use Feature Editor
* Bug: issue where unitframes aren't being properly parented to their windows
* Bug: Aura data structure sometimes gets "stuck" in an invalid state (periodic ProcessAuras())
* Can no longer rename over top of an already existing file.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Quick Note About Moving...

... other than its not terribly fun.. I've found I never realize how much junk I hang on to until I move. The reason for this? I don't go to throw a bunch of junk away until I move. Funny eh?

Burning Crusade Preview - Warlocks

Up until now I've expressed interest mostly in things pertaining to the Druid class. While I love the Druid class and think it is incredibly rewarding to be a healer, I also play a Warlock. My Warlock was my first Horde character as well as my first max-level Horde character. Since Blizzard has not yet released the Druid preview for TBC but has released the Warlock talents and spells I'd like to take some time to look at these.

First I'd like to look at the new and the improved spells in the Warlock's arsenal; In general, I think the Warlock changes are directly related to this and the implications it has..

I will say this, for expansion the debuff limit is being increased from 16 to 40, combined with the focus on smaller raid dungeons, Warlock players will have more freedom and opportunity to use their debuffing abilities with less limitation. Beyond this, all classes will have new spells, talents and abilities that they will bring to the table by the time level 70 is achieved.

I hate quoting the above without a source, but I'm positive it was a blue post on the World of Warcraft Official Forums which have recently undergone a revamp destroying all the old posts.

The increase in debuff slots and the decrease in raid size could mean extremely competitive dps (damage per second) from Warlocks. Currently in large scale raids Warlock dps suffers considerably if they are not permitted to use their debuffs; debuffs are also the most efficient dpm (damage per mana) spells available to Warlocks.

The extremely restrictive factor for Warlock dps is threat, or rather their inability to reduce threat without dying. This concern is directly addressed by..

Soulshatter - Rank 1
Requires Level 66
193 Health
Instant cast 5 min cooldown
Reagents: Soul Shard
Reduces threat by 50% for all enemies.

I like this spell because to me it still requires the Warlock to toe the aggro line in order to get maximum benefit; the Warlock lives on a precarious line.

Another new spell, Incinerate, introduces an interesting mechanic. Incinerate gains bonus damage for having an active Immolate spell. It also looks to be the direct damage fire nuke which Warlocks have been asking for since heavy Destruction builds became more popular (Conflagrate.. yummy!).

Incinerate - Rank 2
Requires Level 70
300 Mana 30 yd range
2.5 sec cast
Deals 429 to 497 Fire damage to your target and
an additional 107 to 125 Fire damage if the target
is affected by an Immolate spell.

I particularly like this because it doesn't have any extra aggro generation attached to it like Searing Pain does which makes it spammable.

Another thing Blizzard has implemented, in a way, which players have been clamoring for is a shadow based AoE spell. I say Blizzard has done this 'in a way' because they introduced two ways to do AoE shadow damage, the first is an effect of Seed of Corruption.

Seed of Corruption - Rank 1
Requires Level 70
882 Mana 30 yd range
2 sec cast
Imbeds a demon seed in the enemy target, causing
1044 Shadow damage over 18 sec. When the target
takes 1044 total damage, the seed will inflict
1110 to 1290 Shadow damage to all enemies within
15 yards of the target. Only one Corruption spell
per Warlock can be active on any one target.

The second shadow based AoE is the new 41 point talent in the Destruction tree.

All three of the Warlock talent trees have seen a much needed revamp for the expansion. The changes to the early (first seven) tiers of Destruction and Demonology got mostly tweaking; unsurprisingly the Affliction tree saw significant changes. Affliction has been a staple part of raiding builds for a long time, but it was largely agreed by the community there were far to many filler talents.

In Affliction..

  • Improved Drain Health and Improved Drain Mana got consolidated and revamped. Instead of a flat increase they increase according to the number of Affliction debuffs the target has

  • Curse of Exhaustion (CoEx) has been changed from a 1 point talent with an additional 4 talent points required for fully improved CoEx to a single point talent for full effect.

  • Empowered Corruption has been added in place of Improved Drain Mana, making Corruption an even more powerful DoT.

  • Shadow Embrace has been added, presumably replacing Improved CoEx, adding additional reason to keep Affliction debuffs on targets being tanked.

Additionally, the new top (seventh, eigth and ninth) tier talents are quite good. Lasting Afflictions seems the Warlock equivalent of Improved Shadow Word:Pain except for multiple spells; Contagion further increases the Warlock's damage from debuffs; Malediction will increase magic raid dps by three percent (assuming both Curse of Shadows {CoS} and Curse of Elements {CoE}); Unstable Affliction is a nasty little PvP surprise. I think Blizzard did an excellent job of cleaning up the Affliction tree (particularly if they make Improved Curse of Agony {CoA} affect spell damage).

I also like whats been done in Demonology. Demonology continues to have the only flat aggro reduction available to Warlocks, the problem was Demonology Warlocks (in my experience) rarely did enough damage without sacrificing their pet (making the aggro reducer impossible) to need the aggro reduction. It appears Blizzard is attempting to correct this for TBC by adding talents such as Demonic Aegis which will increase the spell damage bonus received from the new Fel Armor spell and Demonic Tactics which will increase total damage from the Warlock by five percent. However, even with Demonic tactics I believe a Warlock would still need to sacrifice their Succubus in order to deal respectable damage (compared to the Affliction or Destruction Warlocks). Due to this I believe (unless the summonable Fel Guard is amazing) the Demonology tree will remain more of a PvP tree as opposed to a PvE tree.

Lastly I want to look at the changes made to the Destruction tree. In the first five tiers the only change Blizzard made to Destruction was to reduce Improved Searing Pain to a three point investment (formerly five points). In tiers six and seven Blizzard has added two 'defensive' talents; Nether Protection has a chance to grant 4 seconds of immunity to damage from the fire and shadow schools after being damaged by either; Soul Leech has a chance to return some of the damage dealt by direct damage spells to the Warlock as health. Shadow and Flame in tier eight allows the Warlock to gain an even greater contribution from their +damage gear. Finally Shadofury in tier nine gives the Warlock an AoE shadow spell on a cooldown.

I really like all the changes to the trees as I believe they are in the spirit of the design of the different trees. Heavy Destruction builds remain glass cannons, heavy Affliction builds will have considerably stronger debuffs across the board, and I imagine a Warlock Soul Linked to his summoned Fel Guard would be quite the irritation to kill.

In light of whats been released for the Warlock class I'm not only excited to play my Warlock in TBC, but I'm filled with anticipation to see what they decide to do with the Druid class.

Its Crazy How Life Works

Just as my raid group is doing what I love to be doing, namely learning and defeating new bosses, my move date comes up. Due to the move I've missed several raids and I'm going to miss several more. None-the-less I wish them well in their continued killings in Naxxramas.

Obviously, this means I haven't had a chance to work with RDX6 any more since my last update. Though I do have news regarding Veni's updates; the next set of unit frames will be much more flexible. The most prominent feature in the new unit frames will be the ability to display health and mana bars simultaneously. Hopefully it will also mean the ability to display missing health on the bars as this is one of the things I miss most from my brief stint with RDX5 and from CTRA.

Its likely my updates in the next seven days will be sporadic and likely not Warcraft related since.. well.. I won't be playing Warcraft.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Upgrade Update

I was tinkering around with the new layout templates for a couple hours and was unable to easily port my old CSS to a new layout template.

What this means is I will probably need to start from a different template than I started from last time. I believe this because the structure of the page I started with was significantly different; not to mention the new page elements or widgets introduced by the new stuff Blogger has in the beta.

Blogger Upgrade

When I logged in to the blogger website this morning I was excited to see my blog was eligible to be moved to Blogger Beta. Soon after I made the switch.

After making the switch I realized I was about to lose my template. As you can see (assuming you've been here before) the layout of this page has changed quite drastically. Hopefully tonight I can find time to redo my layout so it at least resembles what it looked like before because I really liked it. Probably part of the reason I liked it was because I spent about two hours modifying an existing template to make it look the way it did.

Fortunately my lists of links made the conversion, even more fortunately I have a copy of my old template at home. Its likely I will be tinkering with xml and css this evening rather than preparing for my move to Brooklyn, oh how easily I am distracted.

Edit: Plus the feature I was really interested in, namely the categories or labels, doesn't seem to really have added terribly much to this blog. Maybe I'll feel differently once I have it all up and running the way I like again.

Edit: I found I was able to revert to my old layout, which I like much better and so will leave up until I have a chance to modify one of the new layouts to suit me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

RDX6 Desktops

As promised I took some full fleshed shots of Desktops I created in RDX6.

The first shot is of a Desktop of raid members grouped by class.

The second shot is of a Desktop laid out by group number.

The third shot is of a Desktop arranged by 'type'. The obvious exception to this being Druids (for which I used a Window object from the class Desktop). I may further divide DPS into Physical DPS and Magical DPS but I don't have a compelling reason to at the moment.

The Innervate Window in the above shot is I think the most interesting Window I've created so far. The Innervate Window will only show Priests, Mages, or Druids who are alive, within 30 yards, between zero and forty percent mana, and do not have an Innervate buff on them already. The window sorts from lowest mana percentage to highest and when I left click on the bar it casts Innervate. My only semi-gribe about this is I can not make it use a macro which announces in our Druid channel who I am Innervating to prevent overlapping. However, this feature has been brought up to Veni and I imagine it will be implemented some time in the future.


Maexxna Exterminated!

My raid was able to take the giant spider down this evening during their second raid of attempts. I'm extremely impressed with how quickly they were able to get her pounded down, and the consensus seemed to be it was not due to consumables which means I look forward to repeating the feat next week.

Sadly I was unable to be there for the raid (but I jacked a kill shot anyway) on account of my needing to get my car started in order for me to get it to the dealership to have some work done. Apparently not turning on or driving your car for about six months is bad.. who knew?! I'm hoping I'll be able to make the raid this Sunday while we work on some more Naxxramas bosses, but with the whole moving thing going on I'm kind of skeptical about it.

RDX6 - Raid Reaction

I got to utilize the RDX6 Alpha in a real 40 person raid setting for the first time tonight.

As stated previously my major concern was the drag it may put on my system performance wise, but I must say any fear of performance has been alleviated. While using RDX I had no extra noticeable lag in casting times or targetting.

In fact, the only real complaint I had about it was its oddness in window updating. This problem has been talked about a lot on the RDX forums though and Veni says he has found what was causing the issue so I expect it will be fixed soon. There is also a work around for the problem which I ended up implementing. Unfortunately the workaround did not seem to fix the problem but I did not get the oppurtunity to restart the World of Warcraft client or to even reload the UI.

All in all, I'm still quite pleased with this addon and I'm definately looking forward to future developments.

Edit: I'll grab a shot of filled out raid windows next time since the ones in Raid Data Exchange v6 - Update are pretty empty.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Burning Crusade Leak - Druids

It looks as though some of the talents and spells which will be available in The Burning Crusade expansion have been leaked. World of Raids appears to have the majority of them listed.

The Druid changes for TBC are pretty interesting. The Balance and Feral talents appear to be focused on bringing a Druid specced heavily into them more in line with parent class damage output, though it doesn't look like anything in the talents will be helping with the mitigation differences between Warrior and Bear tanks.

I believe the new Restoration 41 point talent will be incredible in a raid situation.

Tier 9
Harmonize: Distributes damage taken by party members within 30 yards between the party while in effect. Note: Its a self cast buff that lasts up to 30 seconds.

While it does not offer any additional mitigation (like Ancestral Fortitude or Inspiration) it would be an incredible way to counteract expected spikes of damage, but like our healing will require proactive use rather than reactive. I really like this because it keeps the 'feel' of the class the same.

I'm also looking forward to some of the new base abilities.

Enervate (Restoration): Drains mana, energy, or rage every second for 20 seconds.

I think this will be an incredibly useful tool in PvP and adds some interesting options to the class. I think it'd a fascinating choice of which to use if it shared a cooldown with Innervate as its essentially the opposite effect.

I'll share some thoughts about the other supposed changes in the future.

Edit: Removed the comment about Cyclone because I had mis-read the description.

Life Rears Its Head

Real life obligations have reared their head at me and so I've been mostly out of game lately. Most of these obligations are related to my upcoming move from the District to Brooklyn which is something I'm really looking forward to.

As far as Warcraft goes, with Faerlina down my raid group has been making a pass at Maexxna and from what I hear has made good progress. I really wish I hadn't had to bail before they started attempts and it would be nice to be there learning Maexxna with them. Learning and disecting encounters is a really enjoyable part of my PvE play experience and I dislike missing it, though I imagine there will be more to come soon.

I'd also like to get some more time with the latest RDX6 Alpha release so I can keep playing.. I mean testing it. I'm also curious about how my machine will perform while running it in a large-scale raid.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cross-Server Battlegrounds

I must admit I had severe reservations about Blizzard implementing cross-server battlegrounds. I was concerned que times would increase, and the average gear of my opponent would go up as well.

After spending the last two or three days doing some relatively decent Arathi Basin PuGs I must withdraw my reservations. Arathi Basin is by far my favorite battleground as a healing Druid. A well timed heal or moonfire can really turn things around and I don't have to run around with a stupid 'Please kill me' flag on my back. Playing Arathi Basin at all prior to 1.12 had only happened when I queued up with a full group. When we queued up as a full fifteen person group the games usually ended within ten minutes. While this is great for grinding honor, its really kind of boring if I'm looking for PvP.

Being able to join an Arathi Basin PuG just for kicks has been a real pleasure whether I was playing my Warlock or my Druid. I'm sure part of the reason I'm enjoying it so much is because I just haven't had the option to for quite a while, but I'm alright with that.

It has also been a joy to find the competition I'm facing from other servers isn't much stiffer than it was from my home server. Of course there are some shining stars out there, but there were some on my server as well. For the most part I find myself fighting the same batch of semi-skilled, semi-geared players I've been fighting all along except now they have different names. Basically, nothing has changed except I can play any battleground I like at any time I like and because of this fact Blizzard gets a genuine 'Thank you' from me.