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Elemental Glyphs Post Patch 3.3

March 26, 2010 12 comments

Patch 3.3.3 brought some lovely elemental changes with it but also changed one of our previously “must have” glyphs. I’ve had a lot of questions and comments asking about the strength of the new contenders for that coveted third major glyph spot so rather than leave people to sift through the comments, I’ll attempt to summarise a little more here.

Why Do We Have to Change Glyphs?

Amongst the elemental changes that arrived with the patch, flame shock, the shock spell used in the elemental rotation, was altered allowing the damage over time component to produce critical strikes by default.

Prior to this patch, we used glyph of flame shock to force those DoT ticks to crit and thus, increasing our personal DPS. When Blizzard changed flame shock’s mechanics to crit by default, they also changed the now useless glyph of flame shock. The tooltip now reads:-

  • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock damage by 60%

From the tooltip alone, it sounds quite good. However we had always had a third glyph hovering on the outskirts of the three recommended elemental glyphs; glyph of lava.

Before patch 3.3 went live, there was quite a debate about the value of glyph of lava versus glyph of totem of wrath. Due to the changes to glyph of flame shock, it became necessary to evaluate it’s new DPS value versus other glyphs. The first obvious glyph to compare it to, was the previously mentioned glyph of lava. A new contender also appeared however, glyph of flametongue weapon, previously a favourite amongst levelling elemental shamans also looked more appealing.

So What Glyphs Should I Be Using?

Firstly, glyph of lightning bolt is still by far our best glyph. Lightning bolt is our primary filler spell and there are no situations where this glyph shouldn’t be used. Our second best glyph is totem of wrath. This glyph gives us an increase in spell damage so effects all our spells across the board.

There are three contenders for the third major spot. These are as follows:-

Glyph of flame shock

  • Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock damage by 60%

Glyph of lava

  • Your Lava Burst spell gains an additional 10% of your spellpower.

Glyph of flametongue weapon

  • Increases spell critical strike chance by 2% while Flametongue Weapon is active.

The first avenue in identifying the strongest of the glyphs was to utilise a spreadsheet such as Zap! Charles over at Planet of the Hats (and Zap’s creator) did exactly this and got the following DPS values:-

  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt: 260 DPS
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath: 170 DPS
  • Glyph of Flametongue Weapon / Glyph of Lava: 120 DPS
  • Glyph of Flame Shock: 80 DPS

How Do I Choose Between Glyph of Flametongue and Glyph of Lava?!

If you’re looking for a definitive answer, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one. The actual values of these glyphs vary from player to player depending upon their gear.

As you start to reach best in slot levels of gear, (boasting very high levels of haste and spell power), crit becomes more valuable to us. Glyph of flametongue provides a 2% critical strike chance increase across all our spells. This does not affect lava burst because when used correctly (that is to say, cast when flame shock is already present on the target), it produces a guaranteed critical strike. At the exact opposite of this we have glyph of lava which boosts our lava burst but doesn’t influence our other spells.

Taking the above into account, the value of each glyph varies depending upon the encounter mechanics, your gear and to some extent, your raid setup. Let’s look at these now.

Encounter Influences

In a fight with multiple targets where you’re utilising chain lightning, a higher percentage of your damage will be coming from your chains. In this case, a 2% critical strike increase will benefit you more than an increase to your lava burst.

In a fight with a great deal of movement where you struggle to maintain a high DPS uptime, then you’ll cast fewer and fewer filler spells. Your priority spell will still be your lava burst so the chances are that a greater percentage of your damage will come from this source. In this case, it would be better to use glyph of lava burst and increase the damage on these hits.

If an encounter requires a period of sudden, high burst damage, glyph of lava will deliver this. Critical strike chance still has an elemental of randomness. Where as a solid boost to your hardest hitting nuke is more reliable and a static DPS increase.

Your Raid Setup

Do you use a demonology warlock? If so, his demonic pact will offer more spell power to your raid than your totem of wrath. In this situation, you should switch and use fire DPS totems. Both your Searing Totem and your Magma Totem utilise your critical strike rating at the time you drop them. In this situation, having a higher level of crit for yourself (via glyph of flametongue totem) will produce a higher level of crit on your totems.

Do you use a boomkin? If so, then the haste aura provided should be taken into account when looking at your own levels of haste. As mentioned earlier, the higher your own haste, the more valuable crit becomes. In addition to this, you should consider your own cooldowns. Are you an engineer? Do you have the haste effect on gloves and do you remember to always use it when it comes off cooldown? Are you a troll? If so you have your racial to consider also. If you’re managing high levels of haste throughout an encounter, then the value of glyph of flametongue will become higher. Why? quite simply because haste effects your lightning bolts and now your flame shocks too. It has very little effect on your lava burst. As such, a higher percentage of your damage will be coming from flame shock and lightning bolts.

Technical Factors

High latency or low FPS both affect your DPS enormously. Due to the fact lava burst is our highest priority spell, it’s likely that your filler spells suffer more from these problems. As such, glyph of lava is probably a better choice.

On the note of lag, if you haven’t yet read Charles’ amazing in depth look at how lag can impact your DPS, go and read this as you may find it very eye opening!

Any Other Options?

There is another glyph option for the third spot though it’s highly circumstantial and not an option available to all of us. If you do have the luxury of raiding with a demonology warlock and are therefore free to use DPS totems, glyphing your fire elemental can be a smart move on some encounters. This glyph reduces the cooldown of your fire elemental totem to five minutes. On some longer fights, this allows you to pop your fiery buddy twice in the course of the fight. An excellent example of this is the Lich King encounter where the use of a fire elemental can drastically increase your damage output. Remember to remove this on fights where you can’t utilise him twice however as it’s a wasted glyph slot to just leave it sat there.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, if you’re looking for an easy, clear cut answer on which third major glyph to use, there isn’t one. I’d encourage you to use Zap! to find out exactly what each glyph is worth to you based on your individual gear levels. From there, consider what encounters you’re working on and how these dictate what you’re casting and where your damage is coming from.

At present, I’m carrying around stacks of both of these glyphs and switching from fight to fight.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Blizzcon 2010

March 26, 2010 3 comments

A very brief update today (though I’m hoping the Lich King guide will be done over the weekend… really!) Yesterday saw the announcement regarding Blizzon 2010. Despite early rumours that Blizzard were considering relocating their flagship event to Las Vegas, it’s return to the Anaheim Convention Centre has been confirmed.

Intriguingly (or perhaps not), the convention dates for this year are the 22nd and 23rd of October. This is considerably later than Blizzcon 2009 which took place on the 21st and 22nd of August.

Naturally, the choice of dates has caused widespread speculation about the release date of Cataclysm. (For those who don’t remember, Blizzcon 2008 fell on October the 10th and 11th as Wrath of the Lich King then went live in November). There are fans sitting on both sides of the fence at present, arguing both that Cataclysm may launch prior to Blizzcon allowing the focus to fall on Starcraft II and Diablo III or that like with Wrath, it will slightly precede the launch of Cataclysm.

(Alternatively of course, the date could have no relation to Cataclysms planned release date)

Tickets aren’t yet on sale so anyone wishing to attend this year’s event would be wise to keep a watchful eye on the official Blizzcon website

Any thoughts from my readers as to whether the dates are somehow significant to the launch of Cataclysm? As always, I’d love to hear your opinions! Alternatively, there is a fun debate regarding this taking place over at wow.com amongst the comments to their Blizzcon announcement. The lovely people over there were once again kind enough to give my blog some publicity so a huge thank you to them and welcome to any new readers.

Categories: Cataclysm

Patch 3.3.3 Post Launch Summary

March 24, 2010 19 comments

Patch 3.3.3 is now live on all realms and as such, so are the elemental changes. I’ve spent some time testing on the dummies this morning but I want to postpone drawing any solid conclusions until I get to raid tonight.

I have spotted at least one undocumented change however and although merely graphical, it’s very welcomed for many elemental shamans I suspect.

For those who chose to go the route of crafting the Lightning-Infused Leggings, the model of these has now been changed to be identical to the Sanctified Frost Witch’s Kilt. No more look like a druid for you!

My initial thoughts are that the changes should put us in a strong DPS position in raids. I’ve been pulling between 7k and 8.3k on the dummy this morning. The latter using heroism and obviously, there are some RNG factors. That’s a definite increase from when I lasted did any extensive dummy testing and didn’t include food buffs or flasks (for reference, I was using the Glyph of Lava).

As a final reminder for any raiding elemental shamans out there who are still unsure of the changes or how they effect you:-

  • Flame Shock’s damage over time component can now crit by default.
  • To account for the above, the glyph of flame shock was changed to give an increased critical strike damage bonus by 60%
  • Glyph of flame shock is no longer worth using. Replace it with either glyph of flametongue or glyph of lava
  • The four set tier ten bonus is now very good. If you have avoided it until now, get it as soon as possible
  • Haste is now affecting your Flame Shock ticks
  • Be aware that the above means you will be Flame Shocking more and your rotation may feel slightly different than pre-patch

Have fun raiding and I’d be happy to hear all your thoughts on the elemental changes today.

Categories: Patch 3.3.3

Pure Pwnage!

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another update (I’m on a roll tonight)

Hey noobs,
I’m gonna like totally like pwn you noobs,
‘Cos I pwn you,
I own you like pretty hard and stuff right!

The above are lyrics. They’re the lyrics to the theme music for a show called Pure Pwnage. Some of you may already be familiar with the hit show “The Guild”. If you’re not, I’d encourage you to check it out for some light, out of game entertainment.

Pure Pwnage has been floating around the internet as a web show for a few years. More recently, it’s creators decided to make it into a TV show and it premiered a couple of weeks ago. I finally watched a couple of episodes tonight after my boyfriend drew my attention to it. The verdict? It’s very funny and while not a show you’d want to sit and enjoy with your none gaming friends, it’s definitely worthy of some relaxation time while you ponder your next viable excuse for failing to meet your friends on a raid evening.

If my judgement alone isn’t enough to entice you, there is an epic scene at the end of the first episode featuring a WoW guild battling for their Tribute to Insanity achievement. I’m sure most of you remember the ventrillo recording of a guild battling Onyxia from Vanilla… More DoTs, More DoTs, Stop DoTs! Oh My God that’s a 50 DKP minus! Yes? Well this clip recaptures exactly that style of raid leading.

Much like the guild, their episodes are available via their own website so you don’t have to worry about illegal downloading. Enjoy while you wait for your servers to come off after the application of patch 3.3!

Categories: Gaming, Misc Stuff

Gaming Prostitution?

March 23, 2010 8 comments

By my own admission, I have been neglecting my blog for the last ten days or so. This has been the result of a combination of factors and naturally, they’re game related. Firstly, my guild began hard modes in Icecrown Citadel and secondly, my second elemental shaman needed to be levelled faster than I had initially anticipated.

I woke up today to discover a lot of hits on my blog and further investigation led me to discover I’d been linked from wow.com as part of their look into patch 3.3 changes. As most bloggers will tell you, while we all do this for various reasons, there is a certain pride from having one of your articles become very widely read (and hopefully, appreciated). On that note, a huge thanks goes out to the lovely lady over at wow.com who was kind enough to give me a mention.

Back on the point….Needless to say, the above put me in an instantly good mood which is a rarity before my first coffee of the day. As I was wildly spamming my boyfriend with very specific details as to how many visitors I’d received, he linked an article to me. Upon reading it, I knew instantly that I could not resist featuring it here. It’s not shaman related, nor is it World of Warcraft related but it’s just too juicy to leave alone.

The article in question? You can find it here

I’ve been gaming for a long time. I was the only girl in a cutting edge PvE guild in one of the first MMOs to really tap into the raiding scene. (This was Everquest, for reference). I’ve witnessed first hand the attitude that girls don’t belong in high end guilds. Thankfully, this belief is quite dated and female gamers are now represented amongst the best guilds in the world. It hasn’t always been this way, however, and there are still some stigmas and stereotypes attached to girl gamers in general. Outside of MMOs, I’m an RTS player primarily, though I also have a weakness for turn based strategies (oh Civilization, how I have lost hours of my life to you.) To sum things up, I play a lot and more over, I take my gaming very seriously.

I want to state straight away that I’m of the belief that what a woman chooses to do with her body is precisely that; a choice – her choice. Providing that there is no exploitation involved, then the best of luck to her as far as I’m concerned. Never the less, this soon to be launching site (or service?) irks me a little in that it’s taken many years for a lot of the bias against female gamers to be chipped away.

I have mental images of chicks giggling into a webcam (pointed down their cleavage naturally) while whispering “oh my god! please be gentle! ohhh *squeeeeel* you got me!” (Please note, I’m quite sure this falls into the date category of “flirty” rather than “dirty” – I refuse to even imagine the second.)

On the other hand, I’m quite fascinated as to how much of a success it will prove to be. With $8.25 buying you approximately ten minutes of online game time with your chosen “playdate”, customers could find their charges adding up at a pretty extortionate rate.

There we have it ladies and gents (yes, there are a couple of male “playdates” ready for action), should you have an urge to pay for game time with one of their undoubtedly delightful members of staff, the site is launching in approximately four hours.

To the millions of ladies out there that enjoy genuinely kicking male ass online without the webcams or the giggling, keep it up and do it well!

Categories: Misc Stuff

The Road to Cataclysm

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Tonight brings a general update in regards to what the future patch content is bringing us. The current patch on the PTR is patch 3.3.3 and it would seem likely that it will hit the live servers next week. (For reference, that’s the patch with the elemental changes!) For my round up on how this effects the raiding elemental shamans out there, check out this blog entry.

Patch 3.3.5 is tentatively believed to be the patch delivering the Ruby Sanctum raid instance; the final raid content for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Some people may remember the current PTR patch including files relating to a pre-Cataclysm event focussing on Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles (the former homes of the Gnomes and the Trolls respectively.)

An update to the official Blizzard site today has brought confirmation that these events will begin after patch 3.9 goes live on the realms.

For the full source of this information, check out the two official pages here and here

Finally, my apologies for the tumble weed like state of my blog over the past week. Firstly my guild, Decimation began hard modes last reset so our raiding has been a little more intense than usual (and thus leaving me more sleepy by raid end. On that note, we scrambled our way to EU rank 13 tonight so the rewards are being reeped). Secondly, my other project, Zinglet has been prioritised a tad as we’ve also begun our alt raids again.

Rest assured, the Lich King boss guide will be heading your way shortly!

Categories: Pre-Cataclysm Events

Patch 3.3.3 And Elemental Changes

March 13, 2010 18 comments

You can read my full guide to elemental shaman glyphs here.

Most people will be aware by now, either through this blog or other resources, that there are more changes afoot for elemental shaman’s in patch 3.3.3. This is the patch currently being tested on the PTR and while we still have no absolute confirmation on when this will hit the live servers, it shouldn’t be too long now.

I’ve delayed rounding up these changes and how they effect us until everything seemed stabilised and there was little chance of alterations to the current changes. While the changes themselves are simple enough, the way they interact with our set bonuses make things slightly more complex. In addition, they require a change of glyphs.

The changes are, as follows:-

  • The damage over time component of Flame Shock can now produce critical strikes and are also affected by spell haste
  • Elemental oath is now a passive aura
  • Glyph of flame shock now increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock’s periodic damage by 60%
  • Elemental shaman tier 10, four set bonus now causes your Lava Burst to add at least two additional periodic damage ticks before expiring
  • Elemental shaman tier 8, two set bonus now increases the periodic damage done by your Flame Shock by 20%

Flame Shock

Prior to this patch, flame shock has always had a default duration of 18 seconds. Some of our tier set bonuses have extended this duration in the past, but it’s default duration has always been 18 seconds.

Patch 3.3.3 brings two very significant changes to our primary shock spell. Firstly, the damage over time component can now produce critical strikes by default. How does this effect us? Currently, of the three “best” elemental shaman major glyphs, one is the glyph of flame shock. At present, this glyph allows the damage over time portion of flame shock to be critical strikes. So simply put, we gain a major glyph slot since we no longer need to use the flame shock glyph. Due to this, the glyph has been redesigned and I’ll come to this later.

Secondly, our flame shocks are now affected by our haste. The haste values of our character will dictate how fast the “ticks” of flame shock are. What does this do to the duration? It shortens it. Obviously, we all have varying levels of haste so flame shock should no longer be thought of as having a fixed duration, rather a fixed number of ticks. By default, this means flame shock has a default, six tick duration.

Previously, most of our tier set bonuses have focussed on lengthening the duration of our flame shock. It’s easy to see why that should result in a DPS increase – the longer the duration, the less we refresh and the more global cooldowns we can spend on lava burst or lightning bolt. After 3.3.3 goes live (and ignoring such set bonuses for the time), flame shock will need to be cast more often. Fear not, the DPS increase from hasted ticks outweighs the DPS loss from fewer lightning bolts cast. In short, yes, this change is a DPS increase.

Elemental Tier 10 Set Bonus

This change created quite a headache initially for the theory crafters. Our current tier 10, four set bonus does the following:-

  • Your lava burst spell increases the duration of your flame shock on the target by 6 seconds

The new bonus reads as follows:-

  • Your lava burst spell adds at least two additional periodic damage ticks to your flame shock

Thanks in part to some confirming comments by Blizzard but mostly due to the work of a couple of amazing theory crafters over at Elitist Jerks (including the lovely Charles over at http://wowhats.wordpress.com), they concluded what the bonus actually does is this:-

  • Your lava burst spell will add however many ticks give an extra flame shock duration closest to 6 seconds

However (and this is where it starts to get slightly more complex), our flame shock ticks are now affected by our personal haste levels so how many extra ticks you receive will be dependent upon your haste. At this point, I’ll refer you to the post over at Elitist Jerks that shows the maths on this for varying levels of haste.

The good news is, our four set bonus will only get stronger with higher levels of haste as the faster our flame shock ticks, the more additional ticks can be gained in the 6 second extended duration. Our current four set bonus is worth around 200 dps. After patch 3.3.3, this value will increase to between 250 and 350 dps (again, this is gear, or rather haste, dependent).

Glyph of Flame Shock

As mentioned, this glyph has been redesigned as it’s effect was negated by flame shock’s now innate chance to produce critical strike effects out of it’s damage over time ticks. After patch 3.3.3 goes live, the flame shock glyph will read as follows:-

  • Glyph of Flame Shock now increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Flame Shock’s periodic damage by 60%

It sounds quite good in theory. Our flame shock ticks faster as it is now affected by haste, it produces critical strikes by default so increased critical strike damage sounds quite tempting. Charles was kind enough to run this glyph through his fabulous Zap! spreadsheet and the results are really disappointing. Of our major glyph choices, their DPS values stand as follows:-

  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt – 260 DPS
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath – 170 DPS
  • Glyph of Flame Shock – 80 DPS

As the figures show, the newly designed glyph of flame shock is worth just 80 DPS. There has always been a debate about the worth of the glyph of totem of wrath versus the glyph of lava so he ran both this glyph and another new contender through Zap! also.

  • Glyph of Lava – 120 DPS
  • Glyph of Flametongue Weapon – 120 DPS

The conclusion? When patch 3.3.3 hits the live servers you need to be removing your glyph of flame shock and replacing it with either glyph of lava or glyph of flametongue weapon.

Elemental DPS Rotation

In essence, our rotation (or priority casting list if you prefer), doesn’t change. Flame shock is still required on a target to receive a guaranteed critical strike from our lava burst. Flame shock will tick faster and no longer has a fixed duration so you will be casting it more frequently. It’s exact duration depends upon your own personal level of haste so we’re moving further away from a “fixed rotation” and more accurately playing with a priority casting list.

There are a few things to note. Firstly, the haste that affects our flame shock is that at the time of casting. Our ticks will not speed up or slow down as our haste changes. For example, if you cast your flame shock under the effect of elemental mastery, if will tick based on your haste at that time. Your ticks would not then slow down when mastery fades. This behaviour extends to the tier 10, four set bonus. When our flame shock receives additional ticks due to our lava burst being cast, these ticks will continue to occur dependent upon our haste when the flame shock was first applied.

Does this effect our rotation? Honestly, no one is sure yet. Clipping DoTs generally results in a loss of DPS. We have an exception to this in regards to lava burst where clipping our flame shock is better than risking lava burst hitting without flame shock on the target. Lava burst is our highest priority spell in our rotation and should be cast as soon as it’s off of it’s cooldown. If this means clipping a flame shock to ensure a critical strike, so be it. The DPS loss from losing that critical strike is greater than the loss caused by clipping the shock.

Should you refresh a flame shock early if you know a loss of haste is incoming? (For example, heroism is reaching it’s close but your flame shock still has a reasonable amount of ticks left.) At this time all I can say is “maybe”. Hopefully a more definitive answer to this will appear when more people have had a chance to play with the new changes.

During periods of movement, you will still be better casting a Frost Shock than clipping a Flame Shock excessively early.

Summary

The changes have been pretty complex from a theory crafting standpoint and kudos should go out to the individuals who spend so much time running the calculations for the less mathematically inclined members of the community. On that note, please be aware that Charles has updated Zap! with the 3.3.3 changes so be sure to go and grab the new version of his must have spreadsheet here

Charles over at Planet of the Hats is infinitely better at the maths than I can ever hope to be, so I’d urge anyone looking for a more in depth, mathematical analysis of the changes to skip over to him. (After all, he’s the nice-but-slightly-older-brother of elemental bloggers)

For the benefit of the people who just want the raw facts, I’ll try to break it down as simply as I can:-

  • When patch 3.3.3 hits, remove your glyph of flame shock. Replace it with either glyph of lava or glyph of flametongue weapon
  • Flame shock now being affected by haste is a DPS increase, despite the need to cast it more frequently
  • Our DPS “rotation” remains the same, you open with flame shock, follow with lava burst and fill with lightning bolts and chain lightnings
  • The duration of our flame shock is no longer a fixed time but rather a fixed number of ticks. As these ticks are affected by our personal levels of haste at the time of casting (and these can vary during a fight), the “time” our flame shock remains on a target will also vary. If you don’t use one, a DoT timer will be essential
  • It’s better to clip a flame shock than to cast a lava burst with a risk of it hitting an unshocked target
  • Our tier 10 four set bonus has got better and it will continue to scale based on our levels of haste. If you have avoided it in the past due to it’s initially questionable value, stop doing so. You really want this bonus
Categories: Patch 3.3.3