New Look and Feel

I decided to change up the template of the site... you might have noticed. Essentially, I did not like the narrow feel of it on a wide-screen format. Also, I have taken off the streaming video links from the top and will instead be posting them at the bottom of my posts (like this) so that they get in the way less.

We picked up a Rogue who is in decent gear and seems like a decent player for our 3s team. Guntir and I finally hit 5/5 Relentless with full offpieces, as well, and I have to tell you... there's just something magical about being BiS PvP gear. You go and stand on top of the bank and people are always inspecting you, asking what comp you run, etc. Plus, there is no more pressure of "we need to hit to make sure and get the shoulders next week!" Hopefully, the 3v3 bracket gets more fun now... but we'll see. Our rogue is rocking the poisons build. That is to say, he has picked up 5/5 Improved Poisons so that he gets the newly-implemented 50% chance to apply Deadly Poison, which allows him to get up a 5-stack of Deadly really quickly. However, the real reasons of why this build is nice are as follows:

1) Deadly Poison has dispel resist.
2) Deadly Poison acts as a dispel buffer for Crippling and Wound.
3) Deadly Poison does hilarious damage (1k ticks on my rogue and I have 2k less AP than our new rogue)
4) Deadly Poison will, when it procs while a 5stack is up, proc the OTHER hand's poison... meaning that once a 5stack is up, it acts like he has double-Wound AND Deadly.

Needless to say, this build does a LOT more sustained damage and it has an MS effect. We just need some practice, and this comp should run smoothly. If nothing else, we will get yet another teammate his shoulders (and weapon).

An interesting thing to note here is that I went onto the Arena Junkies to see what the "good" players think about weapon speeds concerning this new build. MY GOOD LORD... they're all retarded and 2600 rated. I will grace you now with one of the retarded comments I saw in the rogue forums:

I'm still going to be rocking 1.8/1.4, you need the slower weapon for bigger Eviscerates.

Moron... Eviscerate is based on AP alone, top-end damage doesn't matter. HOW did you get to 2600 and get this wrong... how!? He's right about the 1.8/1.4 setup just because Wound is a PPM proc-rate whereas Deadly is a flat percent chance to proc... so you want Deadly to proc more often to proc Wound more often, and the speed of your Would Poison hand doesn't matter, so you put that on the slowest possible for bigger Mutilates. BAH.

I will leave you with a video of some matches Guntir and I did in 2s on Monday.

Watch live streaming video from reygahnci at

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Switchin' it up

I switched up how the video acts by default... it's kind of lame on the one hand because it basically cannot stream without ads causing it to bog down to failure every 15 seconds or so, so I simply will put up my newest stream recordings when they are uploaded. Also, I had to juggle the size a bit because the ads were showing up on top of the video itself and this was causing problems because for one reason or another, Firefox is handing the clicks wrong (or something) so you cannot actually HIT the "close" button on the ads or it will cancel the video and open the ad anyway... lame.

SO, I just made the video space big enough to have the ad on screen without overlapping the video. Everybody wins right?

We did 3v3 with our Warrior yesterday after the Holiday break... we are just not very lucky people. We faced RMP 5 times, TSG 3 times, and 4 teams we could beat... one of which was only worth 2 points. I think Blizz is really out to get us... We beat an RMP team once, but it took some amazing luck on our part and some amazingly bad play on theirs.

We got Blade's Edge (instead of RoV which encompassed 8/12 of our matches >_<), started up top, everyone got into combat, and I Cycloned/Abolished to peel Guntir on the bridge. We hoped down but not before getting a Rake/Rip off on the Rogue for miniscule damage (but putting up a long-duration bleed is always a good idea when resetting against a rogue). So, we get below, I don't have DoTs or anything, so I restealth. The Rogue hits CloS and Vanish while jumping off the bridge... which made no sense at all, since I hit him with Bleeds, not Magic DoTs. So, he immediately loses stealth and I Pounce him. Keep in mind that the Rogue didn't trinket earlier, so he trinkets during the Pounce, only to get Charged by Seere and we put up all our bleeds.

He then hits Evasion, Prep, and Vanishes again... only to get knocked out of stealth less than a second later from the bleeds. At this point, Seere is getting peeled with Sheep and rank1 Frostbolts to try and keep him away from their rogue... which Seere isn't calling out, so while Guntir is trying to keep me alive and duck LoS on Mana Burns, he's not seeing that Seere needs dispels (more importantly, he's not hearing it). However, we are absolutely wrecking this PvE-geared Rogue's day... he pops his second Evasion and finally gets on Guntir, but he's out of LoS from his Priest, so I start with a Cyclone while the Priest is in a bad position, toss Abolish on Guntir (I was at a corner where I could see both) and get back on the Rogue. By the time the Rogue realizes that he's dying without heals, he's at 20% HP and out of buttons. He Fan of Knives crippling up on everyone, but I SS out of it and he starts B-lining for his priest who is Cycloned. The Mage polymorphs Guntir and Deep Freezes Seere (this was some pretty exceptional play by the Mage, I gotta say) while I'm about to get on the Rogue... but then it happens... the priest starts casting Gheal instead of Flash/Penance. I assume this is because MS had fallen off and he wanted more bang for his buck... or something... so I go Bear Form and Feral Charge interrupt the heal.

Okay, the Rogue is in a really bad way now, not only did the Priest NOT use Pain Suppression on him, but NOW he's at 10% hp from Bleeds and DoTs (Guntir had spare GCDs while the Priest was out of LoS... so DoTs, right? He already busted CloS about 30 seconds ago!). The Rogue then uses Blind on me, but I immediately trinket and land Bash on the Priest as the school lockout ends (4 more seconds of no healing). The priest tosses out Pain Suppression on the Rogue while stunned, but it's not enough, the Rogue is at ~4% now and I'm on him full-bore and Seere is out of Roots/DF/Polys now, he charges in... we kill the Rogue, they leave.

We played this team twice on RoV and couldn't do ANYTHING to them... when Mages have 100% LoS the entire match, it means your priest is going to get Poly+CounterSpelled+Feared and someone is going to die. This is the thing that bugs me most... RMP isn't a skill comp until you get above 2200. Below that, you are facing scrubs who train 1 target and CC 1 target until they win. Usually, if we can break LoS against these teams, we are going to win because they simply do not have the ability to think on their feet and adjust to changes in the matches. Luckily for them, and unluckily for most others, they do not really have this issue on most maps... they can start it in a good position and faceroll to victory.


We did some 2v2 as well (that I didn't get recorded >_<). Went against a 2300 RestoD+DK and beat them hilariously easily. They really had no idea what to do against us on Sewers. I got a new addon that shows the diminishing returns timers for me and it's REALLY helping in 2s. I wish I had recorded this match to show how amazing Feral+Disc can CC a target who doesn't know how to play. It was an UNDEAD DK... so that means he has Fear-breaks all day and night. We start the match on the boxes and the DK gets Feared (so does the Druid... he was in the wrong spot), which he then TRINKETS... wtf.

Okay, so the DK trinkets, I'm staring at him laughing and have an instant-cast Entangling Roots on him as he busts his Gargoyle. So, I hit the Gargoyle with Mangle to get up the snare, use SR to get that rolling again, and proc another instant... so I Cyclone the Gargoyle and get on the Druid. I am absolutely destroying this Druid, and Guntir is free to do whatever he wants because the DK is still rooted and the Druid refuses to stand next to him, so we get off a bunch of damage, land a stun, and mana burn him... same story, right?

Okay, the DK gets out of roots and the Druid has just expended 50% of his mana while Guntir is still above 12k, it's going well. I switch to the DK to get a snare up and use a 5pt Maim, which he uses IBF on, then eats Psychic Scream again. He uses Lichborne after 2-3 seconds of Fear and breaks it, only to get Cycloned by me (remember, he trinketed before >_<). After the Cyclone, DR on Entangling Roots has fallen off, so I hit him with it and get back on the Druid who has been bleeding mana keeping his DK up (and has not yet used Innervate). Rinse-repeat and we get the Druid to ~20% hp, but he has full HoTs and Berserk runs out... fine, I Cyclone him with 2 seconds left on Lifebloom3. He waits, he waits, lifebloom blooms while he's Cycloned... trinket... no healing received.

BUT IT GETS BETTER... he then uses NS to Cyclone me instantly and starts casting Healing Touch on himself. This part is a little confusing, I thought Regrowth was the claim-to-fame big heal for Restos, but whatever. I trinket the Cyclone immediately (though I will admit, I sat there for about a second going "wait wat..?" after the instant-cyclone figuring out how he did it) and get back on him. I actually HAD 5cps ready for a Maim to I interrupted his HT and threw another Cyclone on the DK so Guntir could get some damage out there. Back in cat, we land Holy Fire, Shadow Word: Death, Pain, DP, 5pt Rip (sr'd of course), and Rake before he gets out of the stun (admittedly, he used Barkskin so he's taking reduced damage from it all, but that is why we're putting out damage with DoTs so that when Barkskin falls off, he'll be in a bad way).

Guntir hobbles over to the druid and the DK comes charging in so that they both eat the Psychic Scream... which the DK finally uses WotF on... only to get Entangling Rooted again as DR had fallen off... again. We are laying into this druid SOOOO hard. He's trying to heal through it and bleeding mana like you wouldn't believe; it's basically 20% mana on the druid and 60% mana on Guntir... neither have gotten their Innervate but the Resto doesn't have dispel protection from Barkskin anymore and they don't HAVE a dispel... things are going well. We keep laying into the druid with about 6 seconds left on Rip and I refresh Rake, hit him with a 5pt Maim (fell off DR), and the DK Deathgrips me off the Druid who is at 10% hp with no HoTs up (Guntir was dispel-training them and we were out-dps'ing Lifebloom), stunned, and I have zero energy and just refreshed my DoTs and got pulled off the druid. I am actually laughing at this point in Vent. Guntir winds up Holy Fire + Death and gets the kill. We win.

Great match, wish I had it recorded... they were ~2320 and they had NO idea how to fight Feral+Disc... we should do 2s more...

Watch live streaming video from reygahnci at

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First Things First!

So here's a picture of my ban... for funsies:

I sent an appeal in and got this reply today (interestingly... I heard no one ever replies to these emails):


After reviewing your account's forum record, we have determined that the appropriate action was taken and will not be repealed. While the Code of Conduct does list penalties for certain categories each incident is reviewed on a case by case basis as stated in the Code of Conduct:

"Blizzard Entertainment reserves the right to suspend your access to these forums at any time for reasons that include, but are not necessarily limited to, your failure to abide by these guidelines.

We reserve the right to evaluate each incident on a case by case basis. The action we take may be more lenient or more severe than those listed under each category."

It's important for us to provide a civil and friendly environment on the forums, where all players can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with each other. Your support in helping us maintain this goal is appreciated.

- The World of Warcraft Community Team

Admittedly, my comment was not very friendly... but come on... this Shammy is in Hateful gear and complaining that his HP is lower than a warrior who is in full Relentless. DUH...

OKAY, so we tried out this random mage who was walking around Orgrimmar while I was talking to a friend yesterday. We were using /s for our discussion which went something like this:

Me: "You know any good mages who would want to slum with a good disc+feral instead of facerolling with disc+rogue?"
Him: "Nah, I only know 2600+ mages, and they don't want to slum with you >_<"
Random Mage: "Hey, I ran RMP to 2200 and got most of the gear... if you don't want to run every single minute of every single day, I'll roll with you."
Me: "... want to try out some skirms right now?"
Mage: "Sure"

So we skirmed... it was hilariously simple... Guntir was surprised at how much damage he was dealing, given that no one was actually taking damage and necessitating heals. I really like this comp when played effectively... we had some pretty impressive CC-combos that went like this:

Psychic Scream, Cyclone, Poly, Poly, Poly, Counter Spell, Cyclone, Psychic Scream...

We are going to hopefully run some games tonight with the mage and see how it works out in practice... keep in mind that skirmishes are easy for a reason... we'll see how 2k makes this team look (I'm hoping it still looks strong).

An aspect of this team that was HILARIOUSLY apparent in skirmishes (and will likely be less apparent in real matches) is that the opposition viewed our team and always made the decision that either Guntir or the Mage were the best target. Let me clue some in on a secret: Ferals cannot be ignored. If you ignore a good Feral, he is going to kill you... and kill you HARD. We had match-up screens at the end which resulted in something like 20k damage done by the mage, 15k damage done by Guntir, 120k damage done by me, and these were the teams who WEREN'T hilarious jokes. The teams that had healers, for instance, would not get raped out the gate and ended up taking 3 minutes (and actually required the use of Berserk... lawl).

It is a really interesting dynamic, having tons of CC. The mage can basically keep all melees off of himself and Guntir, and what I bring to the table as a Feral (as opposed to a Rogue, for instance) is the fact that I can get away from melees AND I'm almost impossible to CC/snare/root. So, while a PMR would have trouble against TSG (Warrior/DK/HPally) in certain circumstances (cooldowns blown, Rogue gets DG'd+CoI'd, Bladestorm), I will be able to D-up (not cooldown-dependent) or actually make a break away from the fray.

I will have the stream going tonight and we will see how it plays out.

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Sigh... damn you forum CMs

Eating yet another 24h ban from the WoW Forums. I swear, I don't do anything! They implemented a new system which allows you to log in and see your characters when you are banned now, but if you try and do a restricted action (post a reply, start a new thread, report someone, etc), you will get this prompt explaining 1) that you are banned, 2) how long you are banned for, 3) which thread/reply you were banned for, and 4) the official ruling on the ban (were you trolling, posting CP, etc?).

It's pretty nice... at least now I know that the CMs banned me for telling a Shammy that the reason he thought he had the lowest hp in the arenas was because he wasn't wearing the latest season's PvP gear, and thus was down a few thousand hit points. Oh well...

I really do HATE 3v3s... it's hard to find competent players. I've rolled with Guntir for 7 seasons now, so we have a vague understanding of one another. That and we have a synergy (anyone watching the 2s matches can see that). The problem is that whenever we go looking for a 3rd, we either find short-bus rejects or we find people who consider US to be short-bus rejects.

Maybe that speaks more toward the problem... if Guntir and I had ever hit 2400, we could post in the Arena Junkies forum and would be sought as teammates by basically everyone else on our server... but we never gave it that much attention. I am really thinking that we are going to be forced to hit 2400 this season to find a replacement for our warrior for next season.

Don't get me wrong. I love Seere, he's a VERY good warrior, and once we have a strat for a comp down, he can execute it as well as anyone. The problem I have is that there simply isn't enough synergy between Warrior and Priest to make the comp viable at high-end play. Priests are considered the third DPS slot in 3v3 teams... they have to be able to turn around and toss out 3-5k damage from Holy Fire, MB, and SW:D as well as keep DoTs rolling. Unfortunately, Warriors don't put out enough front-end pressure for this to work effectively.

Here's an example: you run PMR, one of the opponents gets CC'd somehow (either via sap or blind or poly or w/e). Now, the rogue opens on a target, the Mage starts nuking a target... the priest doesn't really have to heal anyone because the Rogue has cooldowns to live through ANYTHING the opposition can dish out for 15 seconds while the Priest is nuking. PMR plays this way... make it a 3v2 for a few seconds, unload the pain.

Warrior+Feral... both of us are on melee and really I'm the ONLY one who provides offensive utility in the way of CC. Warriors are simply blunt instruments of destruction who happen to provide a 50% healing debuff. If they target me, I don't really have any cooldowns to survive without heals, and if they target Seere, he's in the same boat. Either one of us can D-up and survive for a bit without heals, but our offensive output goes straight into the crapper.

On the other hand, you replace that warrior with a Mage and you lose a little bit in the way of damage output and control, and you also lose a bit of healing reduction (20% instead of 50%... ouch), but you gain AMAZING CC against everything but druids, you gain Counter Spell, which is one of the most hilariously OP spells in the game, and you gain the ability to root opponents in place, making it easier for a Feral to get behind the target and apply Shred damage.

Oh well, I'll keep looking for good players... Seere's not bad, and we can definitely hit 2k with him... but I am always thinking about more. I strive for bigger and better things.

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Someone has to explain this to me...

Arena Team

Resto Shammy
Disc Priest
Feral Druid

... wat!?

Double-healer USUALLY only works when you can get up an MS... or apparently not.

Anyway, I still haven't managed to get the streaming OLD stuff working cleanly... not really sure why. I'm not going to announce when I'll be running PvP as often, but suffice it to say that we USUALLY run Arenas on:

Monday/Wednesday 3-6pm PST.

USUALLY... if you can't make those times to view live, you can always load the video player, click "On Demand" and find the longer clips, they usually have arena coverage.

Side-tracking for moment...

We run Warrior+Feral+Disc at the moment around 2k... I just don't like the comp a lot. It's strong, don't get me wrong, but it is too blunt an instrument for my liking. I REALLY want to find a Hunter (a good hunter) and run Hunter+Disc+Feral... this is a 2400 team waiting to happen... just need to find the right hunter >_<

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Streaming Neatness!

In case you missed our 2v2 exploits, I have set up the channel so that when we are not broadcasting live, our old streams are up on a continuous loop.

Couple things worth mentioning:

1) Guntir's voice isn't getting captured... not sure why, I'll look into it.
2) There's not 100% arena footage, some of it is WG or other BG pwnage because I forgot to turn off the broadcast.

Hope you all enjoyed listening/watching our games, if you have any questions about a certain match or strats we employed (or just a question in general), leave a message here or in the built-in chat and I'll get it answered asap.


Not sure why, but it's a little bit choppy... could just be my connection here at work. One way or the other, there's still some neat stuff there.

You can also go to "On Demand" and view clips directly.


I love how we get lax when we know we've won... we get it to a 2v1 and we're all near topped off. So at about 1h21m into the main arena vid, we kill an affliction warlock while his Resto Druid is running off feared and I throw out an instant-HT on myself to top myself off, and Guntir dispels UA... which crits him for 12k lmao.

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Okay, I commented out the streaming service for the moment... I was having HORRIBLE Firefox-crashing lag after leaving the browser open with the streaming link (down) open as well... eventually it ate up my resources at work and took ~99% of one of my CPUs over and was consuming something like 1GB of RAM... not good.

Anyway, as I said, I just commented it out, so it ought to be back up later when we run 2v2s (~3-3:30PM PST).

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Just got streaming working (as you might notice at the top). If anyone was checking the site between 4:00 and 4:30 PST, you probably saw me whacking on target dummies for a bit (or just standing around writing this post).

Anyway, I'll try and see if I can't tweak the quality a little bit to make it look better (widescreen being shrunk to 4:3 ftl) without destroying my ping. So far it only really knocked my ping up to 100ms, which I basically play with most the time anyway (about 75 usually). SOOOOOOO, I may do some 2s broadcasting later (post to notify) just to test it out... may wait till Monday... we shall see.


I'm also going to be looking into whether it will be simple to put a chat-widget on the side-bar. That way, when I'm streaming I can answer questions directly and interact with all of you!


Booyatica! Got a chat feature working too!


Okay, it's the next morning, just wanted to mention that I switched from Justin.TV to LiveStream (what XFire uses to stream). I think the quality is a little better and I don't have to mash up as much data choking my latency. We'll see how it works, I can switch back relatively easily.

What I wanted to mention was that it has live chat built into the player, so if you see me doing arenas or whatever and I'm broadcasting, I'll try and look at the chat window every now and then to answer questions, talk strats, etc.

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F**cking Destro/Eles

Man... I hate Destro locks and Elemental shammies. I'll be glad if they get some well-deserved nerfs next patch. Seems unlikely that Destros will be eating any real nerfs... at the very least we won't be seeing Shammies dropped 10k LB crits on us anymore (losing the 20% damage reduction PvE 4-set bonus is pretty key).

Anyway, just a couple of updates:

We went 7-8 yesterday and finished 9 rating under where we started, but we decided to call it this week because we wanted to finish above 1990 so Guntir and I could pick up the chest on Tuesday. So, no more arenas this week.

However, I found a solution, perhaps, to my want to stream some arena play. There is an app for Mac called CamTwist which allows the capture of an app, seemless resampling/sizing, and streaming to a source, and Justin.TV has the capacity (supposedly) to accept and stream this for free. So, while I won't be doing any more arena matches this week, I will be testing this out and seeing if it's possible to stream it (if I get it working, might do some 2v2 with it) next week.

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Okay, finally hit 2k and got my shoulders. They look awesome, btw. I really am posting less and less, but with damned near 500 games played this season alone (for our first real 3v3 experience), it's getting difficult to find the time.

I was thinking about it; looking at the high-rated 3v3 teams who have roughly the same win-percentage as us... doesn't it seem odd that Blizz rewards teams who have hit 2900 in the past by making that their MMR and as long as they can maintain 50-50 they're guaranteed to get to 2500+? I mean, 47 point wins and 0 point losses until at least 2200, so they're guaranteed T2 weapons and full Relentless gear... just seems broken to me.

Oh well, if nothing else, we are getting our MMR above 2000 (hopefully above 2200) so that our climb next season will be less painful. Remember, our MMR is basically our TR because we have never participated in 3v3s at 80 before, so our 47 wins stopped around 1000... we had to grind that remaining 1000 rating at 10 a win and 10 a loss... definitely puts us at a disadvantage.

We had some AMAZING wins to hit that 2k mark, btw. The last two matches we played were VERY rough... got a RLS at 2400 MMR... we tried out our strat of "kill the lock and pet at the same time, hope for the best" and basically I died the same time the lock did. Then Seere and Guntir (who have NEVER run 2s in that comp, or together for that matter) proceeded to NARROWLY scrape a win out with a CLUTCH Tremor-kill-fear bomb and the most amazing lag-love ever with Seere Intercepting the Rogue who had CloS, no bleeds, and hit vanish mid-rush, so he got knocked out of stealth and stunned for 3 seconds, hit with Hammy, then Bladestorm... EVERYONE is at ~10% hp at this point, but Guntir got a full Innervate right as I died and he fired the Fearbomb (hence no dispel), so the Rogue just died while guntir pumped up Seere. Then they just had to kill the shammy... still tough.

The very last match was WrDkS, or as I like to call it, Work-Dicks. It takes soooo much RNG to win this match just because of how amazing DKs' damage output is in every position. We have to, basically, keep the warrior in D-stance with a Sword-n-Board up long enough to get the kill on the DK... which is no small feat. Okay, I lag or something to start the match, get knocked from stealth without an opener... sweet! Then they start laying into Seere and we realize the shammy is actually Elemental, not resto (fuck us, right?). Okay, so Seere Ds-up and keeps MS up on both melees while I'm trying, fervently, to keep the DK off him with Cyclone/Roots/Bash/etc... once DR hit the wall I was even throwing out instant-HTs to keep him up a second or two longer (we were absolutely wrecking the DK).

Okay, Seere goes down RIGHT as I cyclone the DK at 5% hp. I start winding up a cyclone which forced the shammy to ground, and fire a second on him before the DK's breaks. Meanwhile, Guntir jumps off to get away from the warrior who has switched to him. I kill the DK even with his OP self-heal nonsense... got the most amazing Shred-TF-Shred-FB during the Shammy's cyclone that ended up doing ~20k damage all crits. I see that the shammy has Tremor down above Guntir on the bridge, so I'm going to go give him a peel and I kill the totem on the way and I use my instant-cast on Roots on the shammy who's out of LoS stuck on the bridge with no trinket... finally a bit of love. I get down below and peel with Feral Charge (Bear), Bash, Cyclone, Tranquility and Guntir gets back to full... and I have Berserk up again... GG.

It was the most epic win AND it knocked us above 2k... so I'm happy.

I'm thinking of recording some of our matches and just throwing them up unedited to a quick-n-dirty sound-track for fun... I've been promising video for a long time and have never got enough footage during 1 season to do it... so maybe I'll just start throwing up some videos (I have a mac, so I can't use XFire streams, maybe there's something LIKE that I can use...)

Anyway, just wanted to update... posts will LIKELY be a little more frequent now that I'm not grinding so hard... but we'll see.

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Okay, let's talk turkey.

I think that I, at the very least, should give an explanation for a few things. First, I have been grinding my brains out in the 3v3 bracket and hating nearly every second of it... until this last week. Secondly, I haven't been posting because I haven't had anything good to say for a good while concerning the sorry state of PvP. Lastly, I still miss 2v2 quite a bit...

Okay, so we were running Survival+Disc+Feral at least meeting... this is an amazing comp that will do extremely well against a number of comps. The offensive output of Survival hunters is insane, they bring MS, and they bring tons of control in the form of Freezing Trap, Wyvern Sting, Scatter Shot, and pet stuns/knockdowns/etc. We played with a pretty well-geared Survival hunter, he knew how to play the game, but unfortunately he transferred to Blackrock to continue playing with friends from his real life, and I will NEVER talk trash about that. We miss Bowjobss every day, he was a pleasure to PvP with and a lot of fun to strategize with.

We then moved on and tried some games (meaning 50-100 games) of Disc+Feral+Rogue, and while this playstyle puts out a TON of damage and control... the rogue wasn't very good. He hit 1800 in twos, bought his weapons, but was a reroll from a Resto druid (hitting a little too close to home for my tastes >_<). When we first started playing with him, he would call out blinds and off-targets and switches all well and good, but he let it start to slip as time went on, and we would have bad communication which lead to the same target being both blinded and cycloned at the same time... this had to end.

We then picked up an 1800 2v2 warrior who had the Relentless T1 weapon; Seere. We have been running Feral+Disc+Warrior ever since... and while we are not yet at 2k, we're rather close (and we're gaining points every week now that we are ironing out the playstyles). This team has a LOT of strengths that the other two don't. First of all, Rogues are extremely squishy from behind while controlled... and while this is difficult to do against good rogues, bad ones explode to melees because they don't fully understand how Evasion works. Secondly, warriors can use Charge and Intercept as interrupts and defensive moves... as well as offensive moves. The only real downside to warrior+priest+feral is that using Poly on Guntir and training the Feral is still as viable a strategy as ever... and it has cost us plenty of matches.

PMR and Wizardcleave obviously give us the most difficulties... but we also have had some trouble figuring out how to handle teams like plate-cleave (warrior+dk+pally/healer) where they simply get MS and Hamstring up on Guntir, pop IBF+AMS and Bladestorm and laugh as Guntir is killed with no peels available. We finally figured out a tactic that works against this comp pretty reliably in that Seere charges the DK to start out in the middle so he isn't on Guntir, I let the warrior charge to Guntir, then Pounce him before he can get Hamstring up, and we split dps until one of them gets low, then CC the higher of the two and full-switch to the other. This USUALLY puts out enough pressure that one of them will blow defensive cooldowns to stay alive AND it means that when they finally set up on Guntir (if they live that long), they are missing some cooldowns... the warrior is usually the highest HP so I keep him out of the healer's LoS and I Cyclone him (to make him trinket), then Root him... there's at least 5-10 seconds of 3v2 coming down on the DK... and the healer could certainly dispel the warrior, but the DK might die, so they usually just spam heals instead which gets us VERY far ahead in the match.

I have really grown to liking 3v3 a bit more... I still hate it, but it's grown on me to the point where I can see the appeal. It's ten times as fast-paced as the 2v2 bracket, and ANY mistakes are QUICKLY and SEVERELY punished, but there is something good in that. When you make a mistake... you SHOULD be punished. Also, coming up with strategies for teams is a little more dynamic since there are more options than "switch to the OTHER target, or keep dps on this one?"

We FINALLY came up with a strategy that works OKAY against PMRs (not good ones... but more PMRs at 2k aren't good). It goes like this: STAY IN STEALTH. Essentially, warrior+priest versus mage+disc is going to be VERY one-sided without starting diminishing returns on one of them... the warrior is going to STAY on that priest as best he can (getting dispelled by Guntir almost exlusively so he can stay on the priest) and put up pressure. This works best when he has Hamstring and MS up, and gets a lucky Overpower to land during Penance... then we're in a good place because we're dealing more damage than they are AND we're costing them more mana. Okay, the rogue (if he hasn't found me) HAS to commit to the warrior now or this match will go slowly towards a loss for the PMR. Once the rogue opens on the warrior, he will usually hit Evasion to try and keep me from opening on him... but Pounce can't be dodged/parried/blocked, and I'm PvP hit-capped, so I'm GOING to land Pounce. I usually start with Berserk during Prowl and open on him hard so I can guarantee getting a 5pt Maim up BEFORE Pounce ends (so he can't dodge that either) and let my warrior just lay into him (if you can't tell... we've hard-switched to the rogue).

We're usually doing so much damage here that I can try and play offensively with CC, so I use an instant-cast Cyclone on the mage to keep him from Polymorphing guntir/seere so we can keep up 3v2 pressure. By the time I'm back in Cat form, the rogue has ~2 seconds left on Maim, so I just make sure to spend my energy on Mangle/Rake/Shreds and right as the stun ends I hit him with Faerie Fire to force him to think CloS (guntir usually has SW:P up and may even have thrown a Holy Fire+Death out on him at this point... doing TONS of damage to the rogue during the stuns is key to getting them off their game). Okay... I use my combo points to put Rip up and immediately start watching for Penances, when I see the first tick of Penance, I can toss my instant-cyclone on the priest to interrupt his best heal (and start the cooldown and keep him from picking his rogue up). From this point on... it's basically "play hard on the rogue and live through double evasion."

It's important to remember a few things:

1) Rogues while stealthed will NOT break stealth if they ABSORB damage... so a lot of times you'll have Rip+Rake+DW up on the rogue as he gets a PW:S and Vanishes to drop some pressure... this is when you should CC the Priest hard... Cyclone+Fear, to keep him from topping off the rogue... the bleeds will eventually break PW:S and knock him out of stealth.

2) Have your warrior keeping Hammy up on the rogue and saving 15 rage for Piercing Howl AS the rogue vanishes wins matches. You find yourself saying this a lot "Okay, he's gunna vanish soon, don't execute... save it for Piercing Howl." This usually is something warrior's are angry about, but after the last couple victories from it... I think I have Seere seeing things from my perspective.

3) Every time you Cyclone, throw an Abolish Poison up on Seere (or Guntir if they're dumb enough to target him). I have seen MORE matches lately where I've thrown an Abolish up, it knocks off Wound on the first tick while I have the rogue stunned/cycloned, and Guntir gets a 3x Penance that heals for full. This will win games. If nothing else, it can give him a chance to knock off Crippling Poison and be faster than the rogue for a moment and get behind him (rogue is snared after all).

All things considered, this comp is fun to run... but Wizardcleave is bullshit. Warlocks can drop 15k damage at once without any counters for it PRETTY reliably... HOWEVER, the 3.3 patch notes were updated today with this little gem:

Conflagrate now deal damage equal to 9 sec of your Immolate or 8 sec of your Shadowflame, and causes an additional damage equal to 3 sec of your Immolate or 2 sec of your Shadowflame over 3 sec.

This means that Conflagrate has taken, in essence, a 25% burst damage nerf but hasn't lost any damage in the long-run... and you're unlikely to be able to dispel that 1-tick-DoT it applies at the end (although... this DoT tick PROBABLY can't crit... so it might end up being a damage nerf after all). So, hopefully this will reel back Warlocks a bit in PvP... no more "shit, I dipped to 80%... better requeue."

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I've been pretty sick lately... but I'll try and get some matches in today and tomorrow and report back how I feel about the instant-cast Cyclones.

I already know that having Hamstring tied to Shred/Mangle is going to be a boon... no more 2-stack nonsense.

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I Hate 3v3s

That basically sums it up... 3v3s takes no skill, you just have to have a comp which encompasses crazy burst damage and some form of immunity.

Rogues have evasion and CloS.
Mages have Iceblock.
Hunters have TBW.
Warriors have Bladestorm.
DKs have AMS and IBF.
Ferals have Berserk (weakest immunity imo).
Etc etc...

3v3 is such a zergfest... we're sitting at ~1800 right now with a BM hunter going "we might need a warrior for the better pressure and immunity."

Wtf, right?

I wish they'd bring 2v2 back... at least that had some semblance of balance in requiring skill to coordinate team actions and ccs... 3v3 is just dumb.

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Armor Penetration in PvP...

Okay, so we picked up this Blood DK for a 3v3 team in season 7... we've been practicing a lot and he hits like a truck launched from space. He stacks ArP and just absolutely destroys high-armor targets... so it got me thinking:

"What if I stacked ArP as well (instead of Agi)?"

So I got to thinking about my sets... do I even HAVE any ArP gear that I can run with in PvP?

Okay, so I need to keep the 4-set bonus for Feral (or do I?... yeah I think I do...), so let's see, I have the T8 helm, that has ArP on it. Sweet, I've got a ring with ArP on it. Sweet, I'm wearing bracers and feet with ArP on them...

All tolled, without looking for more gear or gemming for it, I have 201 ArP. After looking through WoWHead for ArP-grades (lawl), I find that I can farm the non-heroic ToC 5-man for a belt upgrade (I'm lazy and still have a Hateful belt >_<) with 47 ArP on it, and there are 2 easy ring upgrades with ~40 ArP each on them AND a socket a piece (which is better than my current ring).

That would put me up to ~290 ArP without gems... uh ohz...

Okay, I can get the epic ArP gems for 10k honor and a guild-mate cutting them... and I have all these arena points laying about with really nothing to use them on...

If I get these two rings, I will have 14 sockets and 1 meta... one of those gem slots has to be a green (to cover the blue/yellow reqs of the meta), leaving 13 gems for ArP... at 20 ArP rating a piece. Well blimey, that's 260 more ArP rating, which would bring me above the 550 ArP mark...

Holy hell... that's basically 45% armor ignore... before FFF which would bring it to 50% Armor Ignore.

... YEAH ... I think we're gunna go down this road...


DOH... there's Diminishing Returns on Armor Penetration above 7616 armor >_<
It's still extremely strong, but just not AS extremely strong.

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This just in!

Okay, technically it came in after I left work yesterday, but still... it seems important.

Predatory Strikes now gives your finishing moves a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell with a cast time of less than 10 seconds (can't use Revive) instant cast. Yes, this means Cyclone. Yes, this means Entangling Roots. Yes, this means Healing Touch... yes this means a little more PvP love.

Since the patch notes don't explicitly state it, I figured I would put some information here:

1) The proc gives you a buff called Predatory Strikes
2) The proc LOOKS like the icon for PS
3) The proc is a physical buff (can't be purged/dispelled)
4) The proc doesn't appear to have an internal cooldown
5) The proc lasts 15 seconds

... wait, it lasts 15 seconds and doesn't have a cooldown? Doesn't that mean that I can get the proc, wait until I have 3-4 combo points on my train, insta-cyclone his healer, and by the time I use FB on him at 5cps, the healer's Cyclone will be just about done and I can then throw one on the train?

Yes, it is definitely looking that way. This is a HUGE step forward for Ferals. Season 7 Feral control class... fantastic!

Also, I'm going to be talk a bit about Armor Penetration later today if I can find the time.

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Okay, there's a LOT to go over, but I'm going to stick to the PvP-centric changes right now... I'll have more details as they come in:

* No new talents, but 5 more talent points to spend.
* Changing a lot of talents to be "more fun"
* Mastery System which will give passive bonuses as more talents points are spent IN a tree (more points in assassination tree? have some bonus crit value).
* "Path of Titans" character progression. Think "pet talent tree" but for your class, based on the path you choose. So, it's like picking "Druid of the Talon" when you're already a druid... except it's not class-based. Okay, that's confusing, interesting-but-confusing. I'll have more info as it comes.
* Worgen racial OP for arenas: Sprint
* Goblin racial OP for arenas: Blink

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Oh yes my friends!

Another August... that can only mean BlizzCon! That's right, BlizzCon will be opening their doors very soon to the enthralled masses. We're all very excited about the changes that are going to be announced... of course I will have ALL the Druid information I can find here with discussions on the upcoming changes.

In my last post, I talked about design decisions and their impact on the game as a progressively evolving entity... it was a little crazy, I know. This time, I think I'd like to talk about some of the updates we are going to see in 3.2.2. Most notably, Feral Druids (regardless of spec... everyone takes Shredding Attacks) are getting their talents updated such that we will have 20% per combo point on a finishing move to make our next Nature spell with a cast time of less than 10 seconds instant.

Hold on... let's allow this to sink in... has it properly settled? Are you feeling giddy and little over-anxious? You should be.

Pop someone with a 5pt Rip? Guess what, you have an instant-cast Cyclone/Roots/HT/etc waiting for you for the next few seconds (I don't know exactly how many seconds... but I'm installing the PTR right now to test it out). This will DEFINITELY help Ferals feel like a better contender in the 3v3 bracket. I have hesitated posting this update until now simply because I had low hopes that it would actually make it to live.

To be perfectly honest, I still feel like it only have a 50-50 chance of making it to a public release. This is mainly due to the fact that it is simply another instance of Maelstrom weapon, which Enhancement Shammies get AND Ret pallies get (Art of War)... I suppose it's a decent way of leveling out the hybrids so that their dps specs feel a little more in control without making them too powerful, but I feel like this one is borderline overpowered.

Anyway, we tried out a new 3v3 partner last night: a Blood DK. I have to say, his damage output is extremely impressive AND we were winning a lot... I think it's mainly due to the fact that we cleave better than most cleave teams, and control teams lose control when we split out dps to control the controllers. Oh... that and he gives me Hysteria for that hilarious "cannot be blind/sapped/gouged/freezetrapped/wyvernstun/concussionshot/etc" bonus that also gives me 20% more damage. This is a straight to 2k 3v3 team, so I'll be collecting my shoulders and weapons next season after all.

I will report back with more updates as BlizzCon gets underway... I'm excited to say the least.

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The End... erm... The Bigger Scope

Hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to ...

That's right, they've announced the end of Season6, and thus announced the end of the competitive 2v2 bracket as we know it. Well, that's all well and good, actually. In my opinion, this is something that actually should be done now. Before 3.2, I was the first to start the argument for keeping the 2v2 bracket alive and well; I was the poster child of the "SAVE THE ONLY GOOD PVP BRACKET!" However, after the change to resilience, I have come to realize that killing the 2v2 bracket is the right thing to do for PvP to advance.

Do not get me wrong... I still think that the pre-3.2 2v2 bracket was the penultimate showdown of skill and ping (each being equally important... and the availability of one shows off the need of the other more stringently), but since resilience has turned all the underpowered classes with little survivability who got buffs in that vein into unstoppable juggernauts of doom, I'm afraid I just don't have it in me for another season of 30+ minute matches.

That's right, I'm talking about warlocks. They were given 6% damage reduction in shallow destro, they were given their 20% damage reduction back on Soul Link, and they just STARTED to become nigh-invincible... at the very least, you could kill their pet to lower their defenses long enough to usually do some significant damage to either the warlock or the healer's mana pool. However, once the resilience change went through, warlocks who stack resilience and walk around with their Voidwalker are invincible again. There is no dps class who can take them down, it just isn't going to happen. Their pets have resilience too, so they can't get gibbed... the locks pick up Fel Synergy and Improved Health Funnel so their pets cannot die at all, which means they always have Soul Link up... which means they cannot die...

Okay, I'm done.

That's right, done. I'll play the first week or two of 2v2 bracket just to get back to 2200 (or whatever) and sit on that for a Duelist title and rating requirements for the rest of my gear and play the 3v3 bracket.

No, I'm not happy about it... but I gotta do SOMETHING, right?

Let's transition for a moment, I would like to talk about game design, or redesign as it happens.

Do any of you remember playing vanilla? That is, there was only 1 Druid set of gear and it had healing, some crit, int, stam, etc. It was all caster gear. Now, this was a time before Boomkin was, how shall I put this nicely... implemented (Hurricane was the 31-balance spell FFS). Okay, so this is clearly bad because Feral specs don't get anything from these stats, right? So, what does Blizzard do? They make it so that Ferals share gear with Rogues come The Burning Crusade (although they implemented it kind of poorly... Strength was still better for us than Agi, so we'd take weird pieces before true Rogue pieces), and they only furthered this design model in Wrath of the Lich King.

Why do I say "furthered" instead of "improved", you might ask? Well, it is because there is a rift forming since Vanilla, and the Blizz developers only made it larger. Essentially, with every piece of gear that the Feral Druid acquires, he moves further and further from his other specializations and abilities. This is voiced loudly by some in the Druid community who view the class as a true hybrid which should be pushed to use all their abilities, rather than becoming a class who specializes in one aspect of game-play and sits there for the rest of their lives. Ferals just happen to be the most potent example of this, but it certainly exists in other classes as well. For instance, Enhancement shammies share their gear with Hunters (itemization-wise) rather than OTHER Shammies...

Doesn't this seem insane? I suppose there's a possibility that I am the only one who feels that Druids should be getting gear specialized to their class, but it just doesn't sound likely. On the other hand, I can see how Blizz saw this originally, "only one class in the game wears Leather gear with Agility on it, but there are two classes who wear Leather primarily and deal physical damage... only four specs though, three of which are rogues... let's just homogenize Ferals to be rogues but different, that'll solve the problem."

To a great extent it did... but it requires such planning, and tweaking, and retweaking because of way in which both classes scale. Didn't Blizzard already try and homogenize gear to make it more accessible for everyone? I mean, Crit is Crit, right? No longer do we see gear with Spell Crit versus other gear with just Crit, right... and we already changed Bonus Damage and Bonus Healing to both simply be Spell Power, right? So, why didn't we do that with classes? Let's break it down by class and armor type:





Okay, Cloth armor class is broken up pretty easily... there is spell casting cloth gear, and that's it. It makes it simple... sure there will be healer-centric caster-cloth and dps-centric caster-cloth, but largely they are extremely similar. No other armor class is this lucky...

Plate is next in line as being pretty close to perfect... there is tank gear or dps gear. There is a divide there, but at least they are close in their itemization (that is, a little hit rating on your tanking gear isn't so bad, and a little defense on your dps gear isn't the end of the world because there will be other stats which spillover into the correct category. For example, most tanking gear has strength and stam, usually it has hit/exp and dodge/block/parry/etc... so you'll get SOMETHING from the strength and the other stats are close, but not terrible). There is only one class who wears spell-power plate, but we aren't going to talk about this class just yet.

The problem I'm seeing is with Leather and Mail gear... there is physical dps gear and casting gear. The only Leather-wearer who uses casting gear is the Druid class, and the casting-aspects of this class were largely worked out in TBC (with some minor tweaks during the homogenization phase of WotLK). The same is true for Shammies and Mail gear; only ONE class wears caster Mail, it's shammies, and they had that worked out before.

We have this area, however, where ONE spec of Druids and ONE spec of Shammies end up wearing COMPLETELY different gear than their other specs (and Pallies are in a similar boat here for all three of their specs... Holy = SP, Prot = Tankplate, Ret = dpsplate). That's right, it's conclusion time... but it comes in the form of a question:

Why wasn't Feral/Enhance (and ALL pally specs) designed (or redesigned) such that Spell power gear of their armor class was used for their specs? That is, why aren't the talents in the Feral tree set up such that Intellect/Spirit were the driving stats behind Feral Attack Power, rather than Agiliy/Strength? In fact, why wasn't Cat Form redesigned such that it didn't use Attack Power at all, but rather it used Spell Power as its damage calculation. That way, there would be no need for Feral Attack Power staves, instead Ferals would use the same Spell Power staves that their Resto/Balance brethren use.

In this way, we change the model from Classes and Armor Class, to Specs and Armor Class Type. In this way, each class has an armor class and one specialization of that class which each of their specs use... so every class looks more like a pure in terms of itemization:

Cloth (all three specs of all these classes use spell-power):

Rogue (all three specs use Agility leather)
Druid (all three specs use Spell Power Leather)

Hunter (all three specs use Agility mail)
Shaman (all three specs use Spell Power mail)

The ONLY other place to look would be in how the plate-wearers are changed... obviously there needs to be some similar treatment to how Druid tanking would be changed... what if all Plate gear was changed to be strictly DPS plate (except for the Spell Power Plate, obviously which would remain Spell Power plate)? Then, we would change each class in this category to use their main-stat gear for each spec, and change the specs to realize that change (that is, Prot Warriors would wear DPS plate, but their Protection Talents would be changed to "for every critical strike rating you have, you deal 1% less damage but dodge 1% more" (or something) so that the same DPS gear would be good for them without making them powerhouses in PvP! Okay, the breakdown here looks like this:

Warrior (all 3 specs use DPS plate gear)
DK (all 3 specs use DPS plate gear, the talents in some trees will be changed to be tank-centric or dps centric as noted so that as survivability goes up, damage goes down)
Pally (all 3 specs use Spell Power Plate gear, the talents in EVERY tree will have to be redone, Retribution's changes will be similar to Feral/Enhance, Prot will be similar to DK/Warrior except Spell Power instead of Physical stats go towards survivability and lowered heal-ability and damage output, and Holy stays roughly unchnaged)

Would this take a lot of work? Sure... but now you've evened the playing field amongst all the hybrids and pures... each class has ONE set of gear that can be used for all specs, though hybrids have multiple specs which can fulfill different roles... this would actually be the reason for having the hybrid tax. "Sure, you can take a raid of full hybrids, but it won't be as strong as replacing those DPS spots with pures... but still doable." My gripe is that right now, hybrids are "taxes" for DPS because they "can fill multiple roles" when the reality of the matter is that all the hybrids have to actually acquire the gear to fill those roles... so walking into Naxx, a druid can REALLY only do what he geared himself for. I walked into Naxx with a set of budget Feral gear; I could NOT just respec to resto and heal equally well...

I know it's a crazy idea... and it would probably be fret with concerns of "what would stop Feral druids from being amazing healers in their own specs... and if you put talents in the tree which lower the ability of that feral to heal, why do the change at all!?" I don't have a good answer for this except to say that Healing and Nuking is part of the Druid design, but Ferals aren't part of this design... Feral seemed an afterthought of the Rogue design based in Shapeshifting... which is neat in theory but extremely hard to balance.

Food for thought, I suppose.

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OHHHHH the shame!!!

Okay, continuing from our reasonably strong showing on Wednesday, we headed into the arena against yesterday to pretty poor conclusions. Here comes a run-down!!!!

Prot+DK: Fought this team on Ring of Valor and Blade's Edge... there's just NOTHING you can do to this team if they play defensively. The prot pally has infinite mana and the DK can't be gibbed unless some truly magical luck pans out in your favor.

Prot+Warrior: This is less of a headache than DK because we can actually do damage to the warrior. We beat this team every time we play against it.

Druid+Warrior: Played poor-to-mediocre, this team is free points; played well, this team is auto-loss. The druid can drink at his leisure because he's alliance and can drop combat whenever needed. The druid spends the entire match casting Cyclone/Roots/Hibernate on me forcing me OOM and really lowering my damage to nothing. We went 1:3 against this comp... the one we won was on Lordaeron and we had to bleed the druid dry through two innervates and Guntir had to kill him because of the insane CC he can still apply to me with no mana left. Got to the top of the center while his warrior was rooted, the druid was at 100 mana, 1000 hp, I was out of energy and cooldowns, and Guntir landed a Holy Fire with his last points of mana for the kill... then we turtled and had to keep the warrior at bay for 30 seconds until Innervate came back up... we almost lost even then because of Bladeskillz. If I never see another Resto druid in the arena again, I'll be happy.

Rogue+Shadow: We are definitely seeing this team more... and we CAN win if we play defensively and we get a little lucky... I need to work on Cycloning the priest more. We basically went 50:50 against this team because they would occassionally get us into a spot where Guntir was at 50%, get hit with Silenced while I was feared for 5 more seconds, and they would do that much damage... it's unfortunate, but we CAN stop this sometimes. I'm really limited by the fact that I have to save my trinket for Blind...

Lock+Healer: I don't want to understate this... this team is back in full force. Locks are invincible now that their pets are invincible. Haunt locks just throw out TONS of DoTs (which cannot realistically be dispelled), then drain Guntir... it's a long-play team back from s2-4 and I miss/hate it. This really is a strong argument for resilience should NOT be transferred to the pets. Essentially, the lock takes 12.5% damage reduction from resilience (at the cap), then 20% damage reduction via Soul Link. THEN, the pet gets a portion of the lock's resilience, so the 20% damage that goes to the pet gets reduced further... I CALL BULLSHTEIN!

... Unfortunately, that was the extent of our matches last night. Again we were pitted against 2400 rated teams, so our losing record of 9-13 for the week STILL has netted us a gain in rating (though a loss from yesterday's rating)...

Here's what I'm worried about: someone is going to figure out that Prot pallies are invincible healers, particularly when with a second healer, who never run out of mana... someone is going to get two of these healers together and pick up the dps class with the most innate survivability AND damage output (Haunt/SL locks, imo), and run a 3s comp that cannot run out of mana or hp...

My prediction for Season7 is that Prot+Prot+Haunt/SL will be #1 team in 3v3 bracket.

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Let's Talk Turkey!

Feral turkey, to be specific. What is my first impression of 3.2? AMAZING! The Feral nerfs to damage were not poorly received, I still do pretty intense damage in PvP/PvE, just a tiny bit less. The Resilience change really has made Guntir able to live through some serious burst damage (we can pretty reliably beat rogue+priest now). The DK nerfs are largely not felt (sadly, they are still tank-cannons in PvP... though we only faced Frost dks... maybe that's what the OP spec for PvP is now, haven't seen any Unholy yet).

Okay, enough of that, let's talk about our matches from yesterday, which were ALL 2400 MMR btw... not sure why we were getting teams 200 MMR above us, but that's what we got:

Rogue+Dist: we got 4 of these teams and beat 3 of them (the one we didn't beat opened up on Guntir, peeled me with a Fear (which I ate so I could trinket Blind later), and completely unloaded on him to kill him during Pain Suppression... just bad luck). Essentially, rogues in PvE gear can't do enough damage to kill Guntir without me entering into the mix, and the rogues in PvP gear simply can't kill Guntir, making the match a mana-race which we win because of Innervate. This team is actually something we're slightly strong against instead of slightly weak against. Most of the rogues we face wear all PvE gear, so while I'm still dealing the same damage I was in 3.1 to them, they are dealing 10% less to Guntir and ~8% less to me. I'm SUPER happy about the changes in 3.2 with regard to this team.

Rogue+Shadow: we got one of these opponents. It was your standard match except the beginning worked poorly... they Sapped Guntir, started stripping his debuffs, I Pounced the SPriest, switched to Bear, the Rogue jumped Guntir and popped evasion, I Cycloned him, he came out of Cyclone and tried to vanish and I hit him with Bash at the same time... so he vanished and reappeared stunned, put up a bleed, and beat them. Once rogues run out of cooldowns, they lose, particularly when you force the Shadow Priest to start healing... you're doing it right. The only trick here is that they can reset the match twice, so after this the rogue got a dispel from the priest and hit vanish#2 to try and reset, but Guntir and I just stayed in combat with the priest and drew the rogue out and killed him with Berserk + Bleeds. This match was our easiest (also our first match, so we were pleasantly surprised when Guntir lives through the damage).

Protadin+Warrior: we had bad luck on this one. Essentially, we killed the warrior twice if I got ONE crit during the Cyclone on the pally... but it never happened. Then at the end of the match, the warrior got 6 crits during his bladestorm and killed Guntir... skillz right? This isn't one we expect to lose very often (in fact, if we see these teams more I might switch back to Shred to deal more damage... but I love the Mangle spec against priest+rogue... we'll see).

Protadin+FrostDK: This is exactly the same thing as the Prot+Warrior team... bad luck with no crits at crucial times and the Prot pally doesn't OOM. One thing I tried in this match that seemed to REALLY bleed the Protadin's mana pool was that I switched targets hard and keep 5Rips up on both of them as much as possible (with SR up, of course). Prot pallies really take full damage from Rake/Rip (minus resilience and some flat damage reduction talents they have, but not much reduction in all, maybe 15%) as do FrostDKs. There was a point where both of them were at 20% hp and I had Berserk, so we Cycloned the protadin (who didn't have his trinket up... I mean this was a win!) and Berserked the DK (who didn't have IBF up either... we were gunna win) and I had all I needed, he popped his Ghoul, sac'd it for some health, got to 50%, and I just didn't get ANY crits in there. If any ONE of my attacks Crit, we win this match.

Druid+Warrior: We lost to this team as well... quite annoying really. We got the druid OOM after his Innervate (which Guntir knocked off on the first tick) and Guntir had ~4k mana... we should have won. So, I switched to the Druid (mistake #1) to keep him in combat and spending what little mana he had, and Guntir got hit by Improved Overpower, MS, SuddenDeath, a white crit, then an Execute crit... essentially he took the maximum damage he could from that rotation while healing himself for 25% of his full ability. Long-story-short: when we get to this position again (which we do a lot), I won't switch off the warrior and keep him off Guntir and just use FFF to keep the druid from drinking.

Druid+Ret: We faced this team for our first match on the new Lordaeron (which is beautiful by the way). Ret's burst is lowered significantly, but his sustained is still pretty strong. The difference is that Ret only has one defensive cooldown every 5 minutes, so we just train him and CC as needed to apply pressure, eventually we got the gib. The one thing I will make mention about the new Lordaeron is that as a Feral, I move faster than everyone else, and the crypt in the middle has been smoothed out, but the incline is now so severe that when chasing over the top, I will end up flying too far... I end up "falling off" the top instead of walking down the slope. It took me a minute to figure out how best to deal with this... just do figure-8s to avoid CC casts and it'll put you down on the ground where you can turn left/right and be next to your target.

Disc+Ret: We lost to this team... we SHOULDN'T have lost to this team, it was entirely my fault. We almost won a couple times, just didn't do enough damage while the priest was CC'd. Here's the problem: we zone in, I put on a spell-power weapon to buff thorns, and I forgot to take it off. DOH, so I'm running around this match with 3,000 less attack power. That's right, THREE THOUSAND LESS ATTACK POWER... and we almost still won. This won't happen again.

I already spoke a little about Lord, another change they did was that you start in a tunnel as opposed to an alcove now. So, there's no LoS (or bar in the middle of the entry-way) issues: ducking into the starting area cannot break LoS on anyone outside the starting area (can't duck in there and drink)... which is awesome for our team. Also changed in this patch, Sewers has become a better map in one regard that you can mount, it's bigger, and flare/DnD can't reach your stairs from their stairs, so you can stay stealthed against these comps. The one thing I noticed and hated: you have less LoS from the bottom to the top platform, meaning that using Feral Charge (Cat) from the bottom to the top only works if your enemy is right at the edge (whereas you USED to be able to get to nearly the middle of the platform... not anymore). OH, and they took the fire aspect out of the Ring of Valor: when you get to the top, the fire is on for aesthetic reasons, but turns off as soon as you can get out of the area and stays off... awesome changes all around.

So all things considered, I'm extremely happy about 3.2 thus far, we went 5-5 yesterday and gained ~20 rating (as we were playing 2400 teams non-stop), so we're going to try and grind out some more matches to climb.

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Well, they've finally done it...

That's right, my speculation on the matter was completely wrong, apparently. Version 3.2 has officially been released today AND the arena season does not end today... what fevered dream of madness is this!? I honestly could not have foreseen this; it seemed so unlikely.

Okay, let's recap for PvP points:

1) Ferals are getting SLIGHTLY nerfed in the DPS department... emphasis on slightly, you likely won't notice any difference in damage output from yesterday to today.
2) Resilience has been buffed and now specifically targets direct damage non-crits more than it did yesterday; this will likely play like a nerf to rogues/warriors/dks/rets/mages/etc and a relative buff to warlocks/spriests/ferals. Rip/Rake are STILL your bread-n-butter for PvP.
3) Resilience has been slightly nerfed in terms of its effectiveness, but it is a more attractive stat for dps classes (though rogues will still complain that it isn't).
4) Innervate has been changed from a 6min CD 20sec duration that restores ~15k mana, to a 3min CD 10sec duration that restores ~8k mana, for well-coordinated Feral+Healer teams, this will play as a buff (as dispelling innervate will still be effective, but LESS so).
5) Resto druids have been nerfed such that Innervate can be dispelled again... sweet!
6) Ferals are much MUCH prettier in 3.2
7) Ret pallies can't 2shot anyone anymore.
8) Frost dks still can, but their defensive cooldowns have longer cooldowns now, so invincibility is less of the fight.

There are a ton more changes, and obviously I can't cover ALL the bases, but these are definitely the big-hitters as far as Feral PvP is concerned.

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This is why you can't believe everything you read is suggesting, given the following quote, that 3.2 will be released either tomorrow or the next day:

Zahora Hello,

Know first, you do not need to reinstall your game you have to keep a copy on another disk and then to recopy your original hard drive to work in this way, it ' there is no installation to be done or updated.

Then, If you need to reinstall the game, just use the DVD WOTLK, your game will be completely relocated to version 3.0.1.

Meanwhile, you can go to sites like:

- (Http://
- (Http://

updates are sorted by order, you must find all the updates up to version 3.1.3 ... and 3.2 from next Wednesday. (source)

Now... if you follow the link, you will notice something funny: it's in French. Here are my list of concerns with this post:

1) It's in French... the CMs (who aren't developers) tend to get this information wrong. There is a laundry-list of blue posts in the EU boards which have been simply incorrect over the years.
2) This suggests that 3.2 is coming out soon, and using this statement as a given, Blizzard is either ending season 6 without their usual two week reminder, or they will continue season 6 into 3.2... which was all but confirmed to NOT be the case by GC some time ago (apparently before the BlueTracker was implemented... or in a [NoTracking] post; either way I can't find the source. I suppose it's possible I'm dreaming this all up, but I believe he said 3.2 = s7).

Okay, so if s7 doesn't start when 3.2 drops... I'm going to have to relearn DKs on the live arena system??? What if DKs are utterly overpowered again (or underpowered, as laughable as that notion seems)... they can't expect DKs to relearn their class with new abilities in a live competitive system like the arena, can they? However, why would this CM suggest that we are within a week of seeing 3.2 being released unless that were the case? Additionally, if they simply end the season on the nose without the usual 2 week notice period, won't some competitive teams be missing out on information leading to the inevitable end-of-season-grind-for-gladiator-fest?

Or maybe that's the point... could Blizzard be doing this in an attempt to keep people playing their hardest ALL the time, not knowing exactly when the end will be? Remember, the end of season five marked the beginning of the one-week grace period where arena points continued, but titles were being worked out and the arenas were not playable. Perhaps Blizzard is using this as a means to stem the end-of-season-gladiator-grind by letting teams use their remaining one week buying the gear they need as a surprise ending to the season without having to announce 2 weeks ahead of time that the season is drawing to a close.

All heavy-handed speculation on my end... I still don't expect to see 3.2 released for AT LEAST 2 weeks, and that is only if Blizzard decides to announce the end of season six today or tomorrow. We shall see...

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It has been rumored...

There are wild rumors circulating the World of Warcraft boards (and offsite boards, obviously) over whether the 3.2 patch will be being deployed soon. In the minds of many people, most notably warriors and retribution paladins, there are still many more changes that need to be implemented before the patch is ready for a public push. In my opinion, these allegations are partially correct (we all wish that Blizz would listen to some of the ideas of the player-base and ignore others), but for the vast majority of them, they are not.

The ret pallies in particular are up in arms because their burst damage has been gutted and as of the last build, their sustained damage has taken a significant hit as well. For the most part, I can say that I saw this coming; their parses showed that the new Seal procs contributed more than 40% of their overall damage in long single-target fights, and that's something that Blizz has been very vocal about in the past. Essentially, Blizz simply doesn't want yellow damage to predominantly take over as the main source of damage in the raiding environment. The new parses coming out of the PTR have Ret damage with white swings on top and seal procs just under it now, though their overall damage output has taken a significant hit. In conjunction with Judgment of Light getting nerfed in 3.2, Ret pallies worry that they won't be taken to raids because of their lack of damage and utility.

Personally, I feel that if you, as a class, do not bring adequate damage for a raid while you have BiS gear (and you are playing in a non-retarded fashion), then Blizzard will correct your damage output capabilities. However, this is a huge "if" statement; there is always the chance that Blizz feels your damage is at the appropriate level and is not in need of being brought up (as the case with warriors who constantly complain that they do not bring enough damage). If Blizz decides that Ret pallies don't bring enough damage, they will likely buff their sustained damage without touching their burst; I'm guessing that a buff to Righteous Vengeance (their DoT from critical strikes) would probably be the most logical step, as it is the bottom of their damage sources.

Aside from that, we have the Feral druids community which is still up-in-arms (and I'm right there with the vast majority of them) suggesting that Ferals still won't have enough PvP potential in 3.2. I think that Ferals will still be strong with a healer in 2v2, but still weak in 3v3 and 5v5 due in large part to having zero survivability whilst in cat form and zero damage output whilst in bear form (which will also be prettier next patch...). On the other hand, the resilience change will make Cat form a little more sustainable without giving up too much damage, and it will also give Ferals a relative buff in that our Rip and Rake is a large part of our damage in PvP, and all DoTs are going to feel a relative buff in 3.2 PvP.

There are also rumors of another WoW expansion in the works (obviously rumored to be announced at Blizzcon... I might try and get tickets this year to see if I can't get into the Beta a little bit earlier...), and if this is the case, then we will likely not see any major class changes at all until then. Rumored expansion details are NOT a new class, but two new races: Goblins and Worgen... hard to tell which faction these would be part of, as both could easily be horde, but a LOT of backstory would have to exist for either to be alliance.

More in the weeks to come...

* Changing directions here *

In addition to trying to get a decent PvP video out, I'm going to try and re-skin this site a little bit to try and get some more feel for WoW-related stuff. Obviously, this is a little hum-drum in terms of decoration at present, but I have people for those sorts of things. Incidentally, I like to be the rumor-mill, so posting things I get from... certain sources I will start putting up here (many times I get this info before MMO-champ et al).

* Changing direction again *

Got absolutely farmed by a terrible mage+warlock team this week... I hate this team. Essentially, I have to stay on the mage and keep him from getting a Poly off against Guntir. If the mage gets the Poly off, it's basically a GG unless I've got defensive cooldowns (and a trinket for Shadowfury). We beat them once, but couldn't replicate it... there was another match where we SHOULD have won, but I got over-confident in our defensive play-style and ended up going offensive at the wrong time, which caused Guntir to get into a bad position and get Feared ftw. BTW: I'm not much for complaining about Warlocks, but going back MANY MANY months at this point to when my lock was in WotLK beta, I remember saying how I thought Destro was going to be OP... Conflag crits for 10k, Chaos Bolt crits for 12k... you have died. On top of a mage throwing Frostbolt combos at me while I'm stunned for 5 seconds (this is where the trinket comes in to play, if you haven't figured that out).

* Changes directions for the last time *

I feel like I have been getting bored with WoW because of the lack of variety. It used to be a world of change, where I would have something interesting to talk about every week and I would go on diatribes for days at a time, sometimes. Now, it seems like nothing has been changing for a long time, and if anything changes it would be something rather small.

However, I'm beginning to feel like we're on the edge of something big, again. Be it another expansion, or Black Temple info, or something else entirely. I feel like flux is returning to WoW... DKs are getting their classes redesigned in small but meaningful ways, Rets are getting the same treatment, warriors are left at their borderline overpowered position as a sort of hinting at balance, 2v2 is being axed from people who want Gladiator titles, leaving just me and Guntir, it seems, who enjoy the 2v2 bracket for fun more so than anything else...

* Changes direction for the last time again... this time I promise... maybe *

We (Laughing Skull) are having extended maintenance done tomorrow to try and address the old hardware issues we are having (Additional Instances Cannot Be Created at This Time, Please Try Again Later), so hopefully I can get our guild on some fun-runs through Black Temple and what-not for glaives and old gear and what-not.

Well, that's basically all I've got on this front... obviously, I will have more as it comes up, as always - thanks for reading!

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Whoa... where have I been!?

I have no idea... to be perfectly honest, I have not been super busy at work, and I have had some really interesting matches I would like to talk about and some ideas worth mentioning, but I just have not made the time to post here. Well, that changes today!

First and foremost: Patch3.2 has some really interesting patch notes (I don't even remember whether I mentioned this already or not) in the form of Feral moves (basically all of them) have taken about a 10% reduction in damage which roughly equates to a 2-5% overall dps nerf in PvE and probably closer to a 1-3% nerf in PvP. Also in the patch notes, the reduction on shapeshifting costs that is on Primal Tenacity has been moved to King of the Jungle and bumped from 50% at 3 points, to 60% at 3 points, so there is a tiny little buff for Ferals. Additionally, Innervate has been changed from a 6 minute cooldown that lasts 20 seconds and restores 15k mana to a 3 minute cooldown that lasts 10 seconds and restores 7.5k mana. In essence, the Innervate change is a buff in that it will be just as effective but can be used more often, so if it gets dispelled, it's not the end of the world because the cooldown isn't SUPER long... AND it's easier to give it to your priest partner and keep an opponent from dispelling it for the whole duration. Pulling off a full 20-sec Innervate against a team with a dispeller is incredibly difficult, but getting a full 10 seconds off is rather simple.

Also, I switched my PvP spec again... I know, I'm a flip-flopper... whatchagunnado!? This spec is a mangle-based spec that gives up on Protector of the Pack in favor of straight damage output. Frequent readers may recall that the last spec I was using was Ampere's spec, which is a Shred spec that focuses entirely on damage output, and while I like the spec, I thought I'd give Mangle another go with Glyph of Berserk. I really like the idea of Mangle specs because it more freely allows me to play positions against the off-target, rather than continually trying to find my trained target's backside. In addition, when someone goes toe-to-toe with me, I still have my main damaging ability at my disposal, while Shred specs lose that.

ANYWAY... on to the PvP discussion.

We farmed this RestoD+Warrior team this week. They are 2400 rated and they played extremely well, but their druid just didn't know how to react to our style of play (plus he really didn't know anything about Feral mechanics). The most telling sign that a Resto druid doesn't know how to deal with Ferals is that he's letting me dps his warrior while he runs off to drink. Now, don't get me wrong... if you're a Resto Druid, knowing that you can run off and drink in many matches is a great thing, you need the mana and your warrior can knuckle down and soak some damage with your HoTs up. HOWEVER, when you're going against Feral+Disc... it's important to note that the majority of our damage is in the form of DoTs, and that we have TONS of CC. So, we are fighting on Lordaeron, and we understand that this match is going to last at least 11 minutes (and go to at least 17 if anymore than than 11... every 6 minutes... get it?), so we're pressuring the warrior, I'm getting my bleeds up and Rooting him and switching to the druid and Guntir's playing extremely aggressively by throwing up DoTs and waiting for hard-peels before healing to full out of LoS (and there were a few times when he got down to <1000 hp and waited for MS to fall off before Penancing himself back up to 75% or so).

Okay, so we're getting into this fight where I'm dealing my damage to the warrior, he hits his n-th Bladestorm and gets Guntir kind of low, but not really... so thinking the match would continue in this fashion (we've both used an Innervate but Guntir has ~90% mana while their druid has ~40%), the druid HoTs up his warrior and runs toward and enclave to start drinking. I have ~20 seconds left on SR, get up a 5Rip on the warrior, reapply Rake, and start to run after the druid. Guntir, meanwhile, throws up all his DoTs on the warrior and throws out a Holy Fire, followed by a Mind Blast, followed by a SW:D. The warrior is getting into trouble... he's at 40%, his HoTs have fallen off, and he still has DoTs on him. Back to me, I've gotten to the enclave, but the druid didn't FFF me, so I just stealth and open on him with Pounce. I still have SR up, so I just Mangle and Rake, both crit, so I've got the druid in ToL and 5cps out of LoS of his warrior who is getting ROCKED by Guntir and my DoTs, so I hit him with a 5pt Maim (his trinket is on CD because I cycloned him earlier when his warrior dipped), follow it with a Bash into a full-duration Cyclone. I shift to cat and sprint over to the warrior, but it's too late, Guntir had Holy Fire up again and nuked him down.

I love matches like this, playing against worthy adversaries is just fun... I think that's what I will miss most from the 2v2 bracket.

We also beat some no-talent Priest+Rogue facerollers. The rogue just trained Guntir the entire match, and while they were amazingly geared (Rogue was in ALL PvE and doing a truck-load of damage), we figured out their play. We lost the first match without much contest, but the second and third went to us. I got sapped on the bridge in Blade's Edge at the EXACT same time I hit the rogue with FFF, so it was a trade off... he wouldn't get a cheapshot on Guntir, but I wouldn't get into the fight for a hot second. The priest then burned Psychic Scream on me, but I ended up getting INTO the battle so it didn't really do anything except make me get their more slowly than I would have normally (I would have Dashed), the bonus being, however, that I had dropped combat, so I immediately stealthed and Pounced the rogue who trinketed like a fool and ate a Psychic Scream from Guntir while I was casting Cyclone. The rogue hits Will of the Forsaken right as Cyclone lands, so he's off Guntir for a moment. I tossed Guntir an abolish to get him out of there and let him heal without the MS penalty.

As Cyclone ended, I tried to hit the rogue with FFF, but the priest immediately dispelled it off him and the rogue ran back up the ramp to try and break distance from me and restealth (I assume he burned Vanish before this point to get a garrote on Guntir for the gib that didn't seem to have worked), but I still had Dash, remember? So, I dash after him and hit him with another FFF right as he gains stealth, so it immediately knocks him out and I proceed to open up a can of whoop-ass on him. He hits me with a blind and means to switch to Guntir, so I trinket and Entangling Roots him and Cyclone his priest, so the rogue busts CloS and Prep to get Vanish and Evasion back, but he's still FFF so he can't vanish yet and his priest is still Cycloned so he can't get a dispel. As CloS ends (right before the priest's Cyclone), he eats Devouring Plague and SW:P and I toss a moonfire on there for some dispel buffer. I see the priest spamming dispel on the rogue and running straight for us, so I set up for Berserk and pop it... Psychic Scream does nothing and missed Guntir entirely because of range (I had maimed the Rogue with my extra combo points to keep him close to me and away from Guntir). The priest, however, is forced to continue spamming heals on his rogue while Guntir limps over and gets the Psychic Scream off and we ghost the rogue.

To think... if they had just trained me they would have won 3 matches against us yesterday... oh well, more for us I guess... and we needed it too. We got rofl-stomped by a Feral+HfB team one match, got farmed by an amazing Priest+Hunter team twice, lost to that rogue+priest once, and got absolutely DEMOLISHED by a 2600 MMR RestoShammy+HfBRogue.

We also beat a really strong RestoDruid+Destro team. They were pretty well coordinated, but they made the dire mistake of switching from Felhunter to Voidwalker. I will be the first to admit that I do a lot of damage to warlocks when Shred speced, regardless of whether or not they have Soul Link, but as Mangle... my damage is paltry enough that losing some of that damage reduction to just have a dispeller could get you a win... we drained that druid twice and just BARELY killed him. It was a heart-thumping match for our first... but it was fun.

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A bit about video

I'm always at odds with recording matches, as you already know. I have a problem with the in-game recording in that it will occassionally simply freeze my game for 5 seconds and stop recording for unknown reasons (I suspect memory issues are at the heart of this problem... I'm running a shell on my second monitor with top running nonstop to see if I'm just running out of RAM when storing the video data... ramble ramble). Anyway, the point I'm really trying to get at is this:

A Feral PvP video. It really vexes me to the point where I'm on the fence of working on it. On the one hand, I would love to show off some matches in a video, I really like the creative work it lets me do, and I have a lot of ideas for editing that I think would be worth watching. On the other hand, I realize that Feral PvP really is tantamount more than getting the right comps time after time and being better than them. Feral+Priest has a LOT of trouble with Disc+rogue, for instance, but absolutely no trouble with Pally+DK. So, while the video will show how well we play against dk+healer teams, it won't have much versatility in terms of opponents. There will be very few good rogue+priest matchups, for instance.

I don't know, maybe a video would still be really fun to make and watch, but I worry that I'll put it up and the comments would be something akin to "why are the majority of your matches against dk+healer?" I don't have a good answer to that except to say "well, DKs are overpowered and thus over-represented; our team tends to deal with DK+healer better than some other teams, so we get 60% of our wins from those comps."

Meanwhile, my brother and I tanked our rating against a pretty skilled RestoD+HfB team. The team really is a testament to how strong teams which do not share diminishing returns on CC options are together. Essentially, most of these matches would end in me OOM'ing in Cat form, and getting Blind+Cyclone+Hibernate+Sap+Cyclone+Blind while Guntir slowly died. It was a sad bunch of matches... also we lost a match to a FrostDK+Disc team after OOM'ing the priest with both me and guntir at full hp and half mana; that was impressive. Essentially, the priest spent his last couple-hundred mana on Psychic Scream and the Frost DK crit Guntir 3 times in a row with Frost Strikes, each one doing over 6k damage.

Clearly, we were outplayed.

Speaking of being outplayed: Guntir and I have got our Rogues to 80 and now we're working on gearing them out. The funny thing is that while we still have terrible gear, we can see the potential for such a ridiculous comp working in the 2v2 bracket. See, we keep getting in BGs against PvE-geared mooks who instantly die the second we pop out. Sadly, we did some heroics and our numbers are entirely too laughable at the moment (~1500 dps) to actually scare anyone in the arena, but we lost 11 matches (kept our 0 rating >_<) to get some arena points this week anyway. I figure in a week or two we'll have enough PvE gear to get some arena wins.

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The people have spoken!

After further consideration, and after hearing from many players, we are going to change how we approach the 2 vs. 2 arena bracket in Arena Season 7. We still think the 3 vs. 3 and 5 vs. 5 brackets will ultimately offer the best play experience, especially for very competitive gamers for whom game class balance issues are most noticeable. However, we recognize that many players just prefer to play in the 2 vs. 2 bracket and will miss the chance to earn the current season's gear. Therefore, we are going to still allow the 2 vs. 2 bracket to grant access to the current season of gear with three important exceptions: the current season's weapons will not be available for purchase, the current season’s shoulder armor will not be available for purchase, and players will not qualify for the Gladiator title/rewards unless you earn the appropriate rating in the 3 vs. 3 or 5 vs. 5 bracket. We look forward to the changes in the next major content patch and hope to have a great next Arena Season. (source)

While I'm back to being sad about not getting shoulders or weapons... but at the very least, there will be a reason to play 2v2 as everything but a rogue, so that means fewer rogues in 2v2... I'm happy... kind of.

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A Eulogy Seems in Order

I'm just not in the mood...

Really, I had written about four paragraphs of text that really was trying to be a little more professional than this and I just deleted them. I can't really explain my love for the 2v2 bracket... if you did 2v2 with a friend competitively, you will understand why I say this. There was just something magical in discussing strategies before, during, and after matches. There was a touch of splendor when you land that perfect amount of cc/dps/healing/whatever that is so rare; regaling your teammate of your amazing play after a match: "Oh man, I had the best Feral Charge, Bash, Cyclone chain while you nuked the other guy down... it was beautiful." There was nothing better than both of you unwilling to give in and lose a match... fighting, for hours sometimes, against seemingly unbelievable odds to get those 5-15 rating points just because you had too much pride to let go of the match.

I really do not believe that the 2v2 bracket is or ever was balanced. I don't think it CAN be balanced without drastically changing most class abilities and reworking the PvP infrastructure from the ground up. I think that 2v2 was the best thing PvP-wise to ever happen to the World of Warcraft, and I will be truly saddened to see it go by the wayside, ignored and forgotten by many, lost and lamented by too few. So long as it exists, it will be played, but not truly competitive any more, given the changes that Blizzard plans on implementing. No longer will we see a mirror match clash-of-the-titans battle last more than 10 minutes, or for that matter last more than 30 minutes as neither team is willing to submit. Never again will we have the last-minute dash for the top100 in the final days of a season to try and ascertain that gladiator title that is so elusive to so many. Likely, never again will see have 2000 word diatribes by myself discussing the pros and cons of specs in the arena given that our most-played counter-comps are X+Y... more likely my posts will be downtrodden and broken mashups of the week's matches in 3v3, completely betrayed by the 50 matches we did in the 2v2 bracket which didn't matter but were 100 times as fun.

Who am I kidding? Probably no one... I will still be doing 2v2 and talking about it ad nausiem, it just won't carry the weight it once did. Now, when I say that we had a great match against a really good dk+priest that lasted 20 minutes and ended in an epic struggle of CC and dps dominance, culminating in an otherwise amazing victory, the question will be asked "but how good could they be if they're in the 2v2 bracket?" or "how did you beat a team with full s7 gear when you don't have any yourself? They must just be messing around," or "why are you talking about 2v2... 3v3 is where it's at!"

I do, and always will, play multiplayer games with my brother. We had a long hard discussion in the TBC days about PvP in general, and how we probably wouldn't be playing WoW if the other didn't play. Essentially, nothing has changed except that Blizzard is going to demoralize us by making our bracket of choice superfluous in the grand scheme of arena PvP. Sure, we are going to try and get a competitive 3v3 team up and ready for season seven, and sure we will probably get everything (except the tier2 weapons)... but it begs the question:

Will we continue playing 3v3 once we get our gear?

Likely, the answer to this is "no". There will be no caveat, we won't keep playing if we think we can get Gladiator, we won't keep playing if we can make a stab at tier2 weapons, we won't keep playing if... We will simply cease playing 3v3 having gotten everything we need to excel in the 2v2 bracket. Do we play 2v2 currently for gear? Sure, you bet, but what do we really play the 2v2 bracket for?


That's something that will surely be missing from most of season seven, and I don't think Blizzard has realized it yet. Nor do I think Blizzard will ever realize that fact. We don't play 2v2 because it's easier than other brackets... we don't play 2v2 because we are perceived to be overpowered in that bracket... we play 2v2 because it is the best showing of skill the arena has to offer and because doing so is fun. Mark my words, if the other combatants in the 2v2 bracket don't return to it in season seven because there is no gear in it, then the competition will die out, and it will cease to be fun... and blizzard will be losing ~30 bucks per month; that I can guarantee.

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They released the 3.2 patch notes while I was typing up the last post... consider this a placeholder until I get some analysis done and posted...

The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5 player team rating. Rating requirements from 2 player teams can still be used to purchase the previous season of gear.



Just so y'all don't get Chicken-little on me... the Feral dps nerfs are EXTREMELY small, though they might seem big, here's some maths:

Soooooo... the base damage of every Feral offensive ability has been lowered (talking single-target dps here) in 3.2. Fine, but isn't this a non-scaling nerf? For instance, this is something like a 10% damage nerf to Ferals in crap gear, but closer to a 2-3% nerf to Ferals with BiS?

I'm reading this, crunching the numbers with pad-n-paper and not really seeing a HUGE difference... if Shred does 200 less damage every time, I'm going to lose 4000 damage from shred on a fight where I use it 20 times, right? Like... I'm looking at my parses for various fights... and not really seeing that much change...

Okay, here's an example of Hodir:

Rip (r9)496,17128.8985,062
Shred (r9)441,15725.6513,56812,207
Rake (r7)165,1119.6226981,954
Ferocious Bite (r8)53,3843.1317,794
Mangle (Cat) (r5)48,8262.882,3048,382

Okay, so that's about 200 less damage PER Rip, Shred, Rake, and Mangle...

Let's just knock the totals down by that much:
~3000 off of Rip
~5000 off of Shred
~2000 off of Rake
~1500 off of Mangle

Ballparking here...

Total damage over the course of the fight: 1,720,900
Duration of the fight: 04:57
DPS before: ~5736
DPS after: ~5698

That's a difference of less than 40 dps... is the sky really falling here?

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