As embarrassed as I am to admit it, the truth is that Retribution has a pretty low skill cap. This is an old accusation, but one that has quite a bit of weight in it. Although it used to be primarily an auto-attack class in PvE, things changed with the introduction of Divine Storm and now Exorcism in Patch 3.1. Still, many Retribution Paladins can faceroll their way to good DPS because, well, the class design is really easy to play. There are buttons that you press to do damage, you wait until cooldowns are up... rinse, repeat.
Because you can pick up all talents that contribute to DPS even before you hit Level 80, it becomes a matter of gear scaling after that. In most cases, similarly geared Retribution Paladins in a raid will put out nearly identical numbers with few exceptions. Unlike other DPS classes where the spread can be wide owing to particular talent choices, differences in rotation, gear, and play style, Retribution Paladins have the relatively simple task of resolving priority when an ability comes off cooldown. There are no combo points, no freeze effect bonuses, no procs to wait for.
This isn't to say that Retribution is one-dimensional. It's not. Particularly in PvP, Retribution can reach deeper into its bag of tricks with stuns and incapacitate effects, instant Turn Evil, and a plethora of survivability and anti-cc abilities that you often won't bother with during raids. That said, there isn't anything particularly creative about how Retribution Paladins kill their opponents. It pours on damage. Prior to 3.1 that meant quite a lot of burst. For one glorious week, that meant ranged burst with Exorcism, too.
This week information about the final boss of Ulduar has slowly been revealed, thanks to the guild Wraith on EU-Ysondre. We never got to meet Algalon the Observer on the PTRs so this encounter is one of the most mysterious, both in terms of tactics and of lore.
From what I've seen it's also one of the most gorgeous, but then again, I like stars and floating planets. Algalon himself is an entity composed of stars, a spectral being who is not uncompassionate to the heroes who have come to kill him. He just has a job to do. A job which could see our world being put in serious - even cataclysmic jepoardy.
Needless to say, from here on in, there be SPOILERS about the actual boss fight so read on at your own peril!
Last week, we met Lileya of Lightbringer-EU, who has a rare, lifelong condition that causes her joints dislocate at the drop of a pin. Stacking up a Lifebloom roll can literally dislocate a finger or her wrist. "I get up in the morning, and the first thing we do is check to make sure that all my joints are in place -- which they rarely are," she recounts. "I need help sitting up, and the first thing my husband says when I put my feet on the ground is 'Slowly, let's not dislocate those ankles standing up.' Each day is different but the same."
What keeps Lileya at the keyboard despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges? We visited with Lileya to explore how her love of end-game raiding and her struggle to balance a precarious collection of symptoms and physical challenges keeps her connected to WoW and to life. This week, Part 2 of our interview with this determined player.
Paladin blogger Ferarro thinks that the new legendary mace from Ulduar is a Paladin weapon and she explains why in a detailed post over at her nook. While Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings is a mace that all healing classes can use, the "discovery" of the weapon's proc -- something that's been speculated on for a while -- puts the weapon squarely in the hands of a Paladin. Even Allison found it something of a bummer (she plays a Druid) when she found out about the proc, and even talked about how to assign it when your guild gets those fragments to drop.
Ferarro compares Val'anyr to other best-in-slot competitors, from the Turning Tide from Kel'thuzad to the new Ulduar weapons. Given that the proc seems to favor humongous heals, it seems tailor made for Holy Paladins, masters of nuke healing. The effect also seems to proc pretty often according to Ferraro, who reveals, "for what it's worth, when I saw it in action a while ago it was proccing 100% of the time". Not only that, but she points out that the lack of Spirit makes it sub-par for Priests; the lack of MP5 makes it less than attractive for Shamans; and notes that Druids aren't exactly in the market for Crit Rating, which Val'anyr has. It's a rather interesting read, and something I'll probably send to our GM for some, um, consideration...
Another week, another Blood Pact! Bringing you all the wacky Warlockery that nine out of ten healers recommend for a healthy diet. And it's not because Nick paid them off or anything.
Hello again, my reprehensible cabal of spell casters I call a readership! How's it hangin?
Not a great deal has actually changed for me since last week. I was forced to disband my raiding group due to unfortunate scheduling problems, so I still haven't set foot in Ulduar. And since heroics stopped offering an interesting challenge months ago, I haven't had much of a reason to log in as of late. With Noblegarden upon us though, I suppose I'd better get to it--a proto-drake in my class color doesn't come along every day, yo!
Lacking any escapades of my own to pen for your amusement, I thought it would be nice if I did some research on how the various specs are being played these days, for the benefit of players (like me) who wish their spec' s play style would settle down longer than a handful of months. It's hard enough to be a DPS class beset by near-constant nerfs -- radically changing our play style all the time isn't helping. But enough QQ, lets talk about how Warlocks are doing their pew pew these days.
Patch 3.1.1a download mirror - Tue, 28 Apr 2009 14:35:00 EST What's that you say? Download to slow? Your internet hates torrent traffic? Well don't fear!
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And as always, for the wackiest waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman (and patch downloads), choose Al Harington's wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman emporium and warehouse and WoW Insider's sister site Big Download.
We here at WoW Insider are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.
There's a good selection of places for you to visit today for more interesting articles. Show me a Mookin raiding in Ensidia who's haste capped on himself and on his priest alt that is doing better than a survival hunter in Ulduar and not Naxxramas, please.
The blues have just announced today that "in an upcoming minor patch" (probably patch 3.1.2 or so), the faction mounts that you can get from the Argent Tournament will "have their visual appearances improved," apparently to better match in color their factions. Mounts already purchased will be automatically replaced; if you want to get the original mounts, you'll be able to buy them for 5 Champion's Seals and 500 gold (discounted by faction).
In other "upcoming minor patch" news, the in-game Equipment Manager is coming, as they have been promising. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, it's basically Blizzard's answer to Outfitter et al., and was originally meant to be included in patch 3.1. Some bugs kept it from coming out on time, but apparently we can expect to to soon (or rather, "Soon[TM]") be able to switch gear sets without mods.
There are two greatarticles over at the Lowered Expectations blog about him meeting Ghostcrawler during an event at his university. The posts are quite an interesting read and I highly recommend everyone heads over and checks them out.
There's some interesting tidbits that came out of his time with the Ghost:
Those of us around in the EverQuest days will recognize the "crack"ification of a game's name that can be addicting beyond a healthy level. Not to imply that any amount of crack is healthy. Remember, Turpster says "Don't do drugs!"
But Warcraft? That's healthy. I mean, I still shower every day. And unlike the Orc protagonist in today's video I don't go down and get a big gulp, so I'm better than him.
The video is short and to the point, and Yumfries does a good job animating the characters throughout. The audio cuts are a little rough at points, but that can be overlooked rather easily.
While photographing her friends in their Noblegarden finery, Jaxin of Echo Isles noticed that Chezmoi and Tooty had apparently undergone a little facial reconstruction surgery. The black-haired gnome was rockin' a white, expressionless face, while the red-headed lady had stolen the tattoos and profuse head/eyebrow/ear hair of her night elf sisters. This is more subtle version of the facial reskinning bug than we've seen before. These two just look like people you'd run into at two in the morning smoking cigarettes (or, for the black-haired gnome with the dilated pupils, some wacky tobaccy) outside a goth club, rather than hideous nightmares from beyond time.
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all MMOs, including WoW! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.
Free Realms launches today According to a post on the Free Realms forums from Jason "Pex" Ryan, Community Manager, the servers will be going down this morning at approximately 8:00 AM Pacific, and will remain offline all day today while they push their final patches and run internal tests. They note that they will also be deleting all beta Free Realms characters as well.
Guild Wars hits the 6 million milestone Just in time for their fourth anniversary celebrations, ArenaNet have announced that Guild Wars has sold over six million copies. Coincidence? We think not but it's still a remarkable milestone for this popular MMO. Remember that market leader World of Warcraft has 11.5 million players worldwide and is subscription based. Guild Wars meanwhile, is free-to-play (plus box costs) and only a few months younger than WoW.
LotRO two-year anniversary: Book 8 details announced As our LotRO 2nd anniversary coverage continues, we're pleased to bring you some of the latest news from a recent conference call we had with Turbine. This call involved Jeffrey Steefel, Executive Producer of LotRO, Harry Teasley, Art Director for LotRO and Adam Mersky, Director of Communications for Turbine to provide us with a rundown of the last two years with the game and what the future holds.
Champions Online dated for release on July 14th During an event in the UK today, Cryptic's Bill Roper revealed that Champions Online will officially launch on July 14th 2009 in both the United State and Europe. The launch date, while a tiny bit further than expected, is probably for the better since Jumgpate Evolution is releasing in the middle of June anyhow. If both of these games hit in the same month, we'd probably lose our minds.
Last night I was flying down to Un'Goro to do the Hard BoiledNoblegarden achievement. Long flights get me thinking, at least they did until I installed the Bejeweled addon. World of Warcraft has changed so much since I started playing and 3.1 has brought some of the most interesting changes: dual specs, the hearthstone timer nerf.
Now as I was flying, my guild whispered me asking for my aid in Naxx 10. Fortunately they could summon me but it reminded me of one of the biggest problems with flying in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, you can't get off a bird. Yes I know you can log out and then log back in to be deposited at the next flight point but it's hardly ideal if you need to get off right now.
Since I first started playing, I've wondered why Blizzard don't implement a handy eject button that you could use when on long flights. You could be thrown from the back of your gryphon or wind rider and gently parachute to the ground. Alternatively they could just allow you to hearthstone while flying. But I digress. Readers, I want to know if you could add one mechanic to the game what would it be?
While we don't have the full patch notes yet, Patch 3.1.1a will just correct small issues that cannot be hot-fixed into the game. Notably, the tooltip to the Paladin's Exorcism ability will be updated to reflect that it cannot be used on players.
Realms will be down from 3:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 a.m. EDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT. We'll let you know when they're up, and if there will be any additional extended maintenance.
As Tribunalx says in the video, it's not really easy, and there's a lot you have to keep track of (and Hunters definitely aren't the only class that can do this -- there's probably a Paladin soloing UK and/or a Death Knight out there as well). But it is definitely possible, as you can see above. Maybe we're experiencing a renaissance of Hunter solo possibilities -- next up, The Nexus? Good luck with the Ormorok gauntlet.
QuickArmory's Stats tool lets you browse and inspect popular talent builds - Mon, 27 Apr 2009 18:00:00 EST We've been covering quite a few different ways to see what players are up to in terms of talents after dual specs have been released (both 3D Armory and TalentChic have good information if you're looking for it), and here's another: Erorus at QuickArmory sent us some info on how to pull some talent demographics out of his site as well. He's created a Talent stats page that needs a little explanation, but is actually full of great info on what kinds of builds players are choosing. First, choose a class at the top, and then you'll be taken to a screen where you can see, in percentage points, the given percentage of players of that class who took those points on the tree. In other words, if you look at the Mage page, 62% (as of this writing) of Mages surveyed by the application took at least one point in Inceneration (and 61% took all the points), but only 1% of Mages put any points in Blazing Speed (probably because it sucks -- oh snap!). You can also see the percentage points by spec (by clicking the tabs at the top) and even some general distribution statistics on how people chose to spec within the dual spec system. And the main page for each class includes some percentages on glyph choices as well.
Very impressive. Of course, keep in mind the population here: these are only level 80 characters already in the QuickArmory system (about 12k as of this writing), so it's far from a representative sample of the entire WoW population. But then again, they're also self-selecting -- people who have put themselves into QuickArmory are likely to be more on top of good talent and glyph choices anyway. At any rate, even with the small selection, there are lots of fascinating ways to look at this talent data.
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
You won't find any Noblegarden questions in here. Nada. None. Bupkis.
Feel free to ask any and all WoW related questions in the comments of this post, we'll try to get to them in future editions of The Queue!
"With regards to the Argent Tournament, If you start being a valiant of another city, can you still purchase the items (pet, mount, etc...) of the first city, or do you lose the ability to purchase items from them?"