Week 4, DUNDUNDUN!!!!!

[quote]Death knights, druids, hunters, mages, rogues, warlocks, warriors, oh my! For those participating in our public testing of the upcoming minor content patch 3.3.3, look out this week for a host of fascinating new adjustments to these classes. Chains of Ice innately does what? Nature's Grasp has how many charges? Vitalit...y boosts stamina by how much? Stay tuned to find out the answer to these and more questions![/quote]

There's a fun little post by a hereto unknown Blizzard rep. It's a little bit confusing given the old ways of keeping in touch with the masses; but it's definitely better than the silence Ferals have been receiving lately. Hopefully, Ferals will see some quality of life changes to help us in the arena (cough - Barkskin always gets dispelled, Infected Wounds always gets dispelled, etc).

Okay... so when we last left out heroes, they were drowning on Blizzard's MMR system getting choked out by 1700 RMPs and keeping a 50:50 win-ratio against everything else netting in a 60 rating plunge.

Since then, we did 4 (that's right... four) additional games with the Rogue on Monday. We would have done more, but for one reason or another, he was lagging in Vent only (not in game... very odd) so calling out hardswitches was impossible. In the middle of the last match (Disc+Holy+Warrior), I was calling switches to make them blow cooldowns to set up for the kill and Trake was completely gone... he had started resorting to "target whomever Rey is targeting" as a last-ditch effort. Long-story-short, we went 4-0 beating three 1800-rated teams for a total of 15 points, and one 2150 Disc+Holy+Warrior team (not the same one at the end) for another 15 points. So, in four games we halved our plunge and got back to a respectable 2074.

Which, of course, means that week four (starting today for us) is going to be a grinding nightmare. We will need to grind all the way to 2200 and sit there, which poses two problems: 1) Grinding 126 rating in one week; and 2) getting 2200 and convincing the two others on the team to stop so Guntir and I can buy our 2200 weapons come next Tuesday.

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Season 8; Week 3 sucked

... damn it ...

We went 39-36 and LOST 60 rating... the matchmaking system was kicking our asses.

I don't really want to talk about it...

OKAY, new PTR going up soon. We're HOPING for some over-the-top Feral Druid buffs. We will definitely settle for some over-the-top Arms Warrior nerfs. I may have more later, but basically we need some love...

Ferals have lots of problems at the moment. I've been crusading for a while to get them fixed... but to no avail.

1) Shapeshifting on a separate GCD than everything else... we need this more than basically everything else.

2) Barkskin needs to NOT be dispellable, and perhaps provide some better damage reduction for Ferals only (deep talent to make it 30% undispellable).

3) Feral Charge (Cat) is awful. It never takes the Feral TO his opponent, it always flips your camera more effectively than distraction, it's just bad. Change the Daze to a physical root of the same duration, no interrupt AND make the Charge effect just take me TO my opponent rather than behind him... I'll take care of that by myself.

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Season 8; Week 3

Okay, I realize that week 3 doesn't officially start until tomorrow; however, we hit our goal of 2100 with the shortened schedule (Biostrife had tons of exams today so we had to play it a bit oddly to make sure that Trake got points etc etc). At the point we're at now, arena-points-wise, we may need to hit 2200 this week and retain it next week to ensure that we have enough points at the start of week 5 to purchase the 2200 weapons... but I've been doing the BG-daily every day, so hopefully it won't be too big a problem. The REAL issue still at hand will be WHO has hit the 2200 mark.

Right now, we keep playing either 1900 teams that we faceroll, or 2400 teams who take us toe-to-toe, but eventually beat us (with a few small RMP exceptions as Hunter+Feral+Disc). The good part about this is that when we win, we gain 10-15 depending on the opponents' MMR, and when we lose to the 2400 teams, we only lose 3-5. So, our overall team/personal ratings continue to grow. This will be an important factor in helping determine whether we should make a push for just Guntir and I to hit 2200 for week 4, or Guntir, Bio, and myself (additionally, we are basically weaning the Rogue off the team... which is a bummer but the comp just isn't as viable as it once was).

Oh... so we were talking with Jaywow (a 5-6 time gladiator shammy who just went Enhance the other day) and basically decided that we should start a faceroll 5s team (which we did).


We played 6 games (just to get a flavor) and won them all... even after going down a player in a few games. It's actually pretty surprising, but the majority of the teams we faced (and there were about half above 2k) were all up-front damage-dealers and couldn't keep up with the sustained output of our team (Hunter+Feral is a MONSTER once the healers have popped their trinkets and get double-cc'd). We are probably going to do some more of this 5s comp once we get 2200 in 3s. The idea would be that we get our weapons from 3s, sit on the rating to buy the rest, and play 5v5s for funsies and points the rest of the season... with a small chance at making a 2200 run (and I think that comp REALLY could do it)... then we get everyone "Last Man Standing" and collect our "Arena Master" titles.

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Season 8; Week 2

Okay, we haven't played any games yet... sure... but I can tell you something:

Looks good no matter HOW you cut it... #88 after the first week. The funny thing about Vindication that Guntir and I never knew... there are basically ZERO good horde-side PvP teams. We are the #2 Horde team on Laughing Skull right now... and we finished at about #10 for season 7.

Anyway... Season 8 is STARTING with "LAWL WIZCLEAVES" which is making Rogue+Feral+Disc a tougher setup than in season 7. Hunter+Feral+Disc is still pretty strong against these teams since Hunters can out-rage/LoS a lot of CC options, and since I'm taking the majority of the damage, Guntir is just free-healing me most the time (and luckily, I take 20% MORE healing in Cat Form). We are also seeing a LOT of Rogue+lock+druid teams and warrior+lock+druid... both are tough comps as Rogue+Feral+Disc... but Hunter+Feral+Disc makes it a bit easier for the same reason as Wizcleaves.

We ended the week at ~2050 (as the screen shot showed), but that's only because we were pumping up the rogue and ended with a sub-50% win-ratio (also, wtf... we went 36-38 with the Rogue and gained ~50 rating over with the Hunter alone... not really sure how that worked, but I don't really mind). Bio can't play a lot this week; he is still in school and has an exam on Monday (or something) so we'll just be playing for rating-floating and points this week... which means we're a little short of our goal of 2100 by week 2 (probably... but who knows, we could go 60% win-ratio and end up at 2100 after all... and that would be nice). It will be nice not having to knock out 200+ games this week... something like 20-30 ought to do the trick.

Week 3 is going to be the rough one. If we can get into a good position in week 3, then we can play conservatively for week 4... but if we aren't even 2100 at the start of week 3... then we will likely have another 200+ game grind ahead of us. We are trying our damnedest to hit 2200 in week 4 so we can buy the 2200 weapons the first day of week 5 (along with the rest of the gladiator community), JUST so we can keep competing in the 2200 bracket. I hinted at this in the last post, but the sad truth of the matter is this:

If you don't have a S8T2 weapon in week 5... you won't get one without 1) AMAZING matchmaking luck, or 2) 3-4 more weeks of grinding.

Essentially, week 5 is the point where EVERYONE around 2200 is going to get a RIDICULOUS damage upgrade... and I mean RIDICULOUS. If you don't get one as well, you will be putting out MUCH less damage than them... thus you will be behind in most matches, thus you will lose most matches. This is what is worrying me... we NEED to get into good position in week 3 so we can coast to 2200 in week four... I MIGHT even say that if we manage to hit 2200 in week 3... I'm going to bench the team for a week while we all go get points from a scrubbed 5s team to buy the weapons... and this probably won't go over well since, as you can see in the screenshot, Guntir and I are the highest rated on the team since we're subbing in 2 different players.

What happens if the team is 2201 (which makes Guntir and my person 2200... fuck you blizz... I hit "Queue as Group" for 3v3 battle... it queues us... says "you have left the queue" and gave us a loss for 1pr 0tr... fuck you blizz) in week 3, then Bio and Trake are going to be below that and complain that they want to hit 2200 as well, which MIGHT not happen if we go on a losing streak or something. It becomes a gambling game of "what sounds more appealing": 2/3 of the team has a guaranteed 2200 weapon (one being a healer), or MAYBE 3/3 of the team has 2200 weapons?

... I'd say the former... but I'm part of that 2/3, so I'm probably biased...

We'll see how today goes. If we get in 20-30 games to get Trake's PR up to around the team's rating, and Bio gets some games in for points... MAYBE we could be 2100 or 2150 or so, but we'd have to go on a real tear. I'm HOPING we go on a real tear... it would be NICE to get up to 2150 this week so next week we could just position ourselves around that 2200 mark to make week 4 that much easier.

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Season 8; Week 1

ARGGGGGGG, the first week is always a chore... that initial grind is horrible, and to be perfectly honest, one is forced to get above 2k the first week or suffer the "not enough points for the T2 weapon on week 4, therefore you'll struggle to hit 2200 forever" stigma. I have been rethinking the previous seasons of arena, and I'm reasonably convinced that this is part of our problem.

We hit 2k last night after 124 games (this week, not just last night >_<). Our hunter has played all of them, and while I will definitely talk about that comp (because it's one of my favorites), we are going to try for ~2150 or so today with the Rogue (trying to train him up from 1000 PR). The idea here is that the Rogue and the Hunter should BOTH be 150 rating (or less) from the team rating so that they both get good points. Bio (our hunter) is especially worried about this as he cannot play today and feels that he NEEDS over 1000 arena points per week so that when we're better than 2200 at the end of week 4, he can buy the T2 bow; thus rocketing us to a gladiator position.

The ACTUAL problem here is that we are currently at 2k... if we get the Rogue up to 2k, the team rating (and Guntir's and my PR as well) will be higher than that; problematically, as much as 200-300 higher than that with a decent win-ratio. Now, I'm really not saying that I would have a problem with Guntir and me having 2300 team and personal rating. In fact, I think this would be a boon to the team as it would basically show that we can continue grinding slowly to get both of our teammates above 2200 by week four with enough points to buy the T2 weapon(s). However, it will be bad if the team rating is 2300 and Bio and Trake's PR is 2k... for them. I'm not sure how I feel about this... I think that if I can get the T2 staff, we can get both of them above 2k after week four, but it will be cause for concern for them, as they will be "behind."

We'll just have to wait and see... there's a very high probability that we'll play 50-100 games today with Trake, get him to ~2k, and the team rating will stay about the same because of a 50-50 win-loss ratio.


Hunter+Feral+Disc is basically my favorite (so far) Feral+Disc-based comp. Feral+Rogue+Disc is a good comp, but it has the problem of being a cleave-n-lawl team. By that, I mean that if we don't insta-gib someone out the gate, we're very unlikely to win (essentially, 30 seconds into the match will pretty well determine whether we can win because both Evasions will have been spent by then). With a Hunter in the mix, the game because a much more complex balance between his defensive cooldowns, his escape cooldowns, and our ability to lock up a healer.

HFD brings a bunch of control options to the table:

1) Instant-Cyclone (only for those Ferals who can stay in Cat Form without dying AND land finishers reliably... hard against Rogues and TSG who is training you... but not impossible) - doesn't share DR with anything but itself... never use unless for full duration OR a quick interrupt as the hunter is landing a kill shot.
2) Scatter Shot - Basically a 3 second CC, usually prefacing Freezing Trap, but not always.
3) Freezing Trap - Awesome for teams who cannot dispel or only have 1 dispeller and its the healer.
4) Silencing Shot - 3 seconds silence... hard to complain.
5) Psychic Scream - 8 second AoE instant-cast Fear.

The reason this setup works so well is because none of our crowd control options actually share diminishing returns. We have had matches decided out the gate because of a healer using his trinket on the first Cyclone, only get to Scatter->Freezing->PsychicScream->SilencingShot->FullCyclone for a total of 30 seconds of lockout. 30 seconds of lockout!?!?! Isn't that crazy? The idea is that when we are playing our best... it's a 2v3 for long enough that HOPEFULLY Guntir is able to get away and use a GCD or two to get some DoT pressure out... maybe even a Holy Fire.

The team is pretty strong, but it has a weakness against TSG... if a TSG walks out and trains Guntir 100%, they're going to win. We can't peel the warrior OR the dk off of Guntir, so he's going to get MS, then eat a brostorm and a Strangulate (perfectly acceptable, amirite?). We excel against Hunters and Frost Mages, simply because most Mages who aren't gladiator range are using a LOT of PvE gear for extra damage, so they take TONS from us, and they basically NEVER expect us to be able to drop 20k damage instantly on them before they block. Hunters essentially rely on the fact that they kite well and deal good damage when ignored... we train them 100% (in most cases) and end up killing them within a CC-train on the healer while they have popped Deterrence at 10% thinking that Rip/Rake/Serpent/Pain/DP won't kill him from there... which it will... pretty much without exception.

OH, I'm going to start streaming some fun that Guntir and I have been having in 2s. We were just doing skirms for a bit as Feral+Shadow and we had a 100%* win ratio (* - we actually lost one match, but only because we both got DC'D against Priest+Mage while the mage was out of blocks at 10% and the Priest was eating a full duration Psychic Scream). So, we're going to start pumping our 2v2 up against for funsies and run this comp... I'll try and stream it since I haven't posted ANY video for a long time now (focused too much on getting a good 3s team running reliably to worry about streaming the matches).

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