World of Warcraft Is Now Free To Play Until Level 20

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in Commentary, News, PC, wow | 2 comments

From Ars:

"We’ve removed the previous 10- and 14-day trial time restrictions, and players who are interested in trying outWorld of Warcraft can now play the base game for free up to a maximum character level of 20, including draenei and blood elf characters—all they need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection," Blizzard explained in a statement. If you ran through a previous 14-day trial, you can go back to your character and continue to play from the point you left the game if you’d like, but the level cap will be set at 20.

It’s basically trial mode minus the time cap. Those of you who played the trial before are aware that there are several restrictions to what you can do.

  • A level cap of 20.
  • A maximum of 10 gold.
  • Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
  • Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
  • In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
  • Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
  • Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters’ friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
  • Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
  • Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
  • Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
  • Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
  • Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
  • RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.

Some of these features are meant to protect players from some of the more undesirable activities in the game such as trade chat spam. Also, note that while you can’t create a party, it doesn’t mean you can’t be invited to one. The part of not being able to join a guild sucks though, but I guess with guild perks implemented it’s understandable.

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More On Combat

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in Commentary, Rogue, wow | 5 comments

I have a confession to make in case it wasn’t obvious: the whole point of building a Combat set was to bring back the glory days of WotLK. I’m referring to being able to run both as Combat and Assassination. I just liked having that choice back then. Now that I actually have a decent Combat set, things aren’t working out as I intended.

This explains why:

Q: What’s the top DPS spec?

A: Assassination and Combat are both reasonable options. Combat should be a bit ahead above 35% and a bit behind below 35%, but its hard to say which is going to be higher on average. In practice, I think they’re going to be pretty close on single-target, and primarily distinguished by how they perform in non-single-target situations. That is: Assassination has vastly better AoE and more broadly applicable utility talents, while Combat will be the king of DPSing two targets (via Blade Flurry) and has better burst via cooldowns; for any given fight, this distinction is likely more relevant than the theoretical single-target difference between the specs. [via EJ]

Combat used to be the spec of choice when it came to AoE situations, making it better for 5-man dungeons. Now that Assassination is the superior spec for both single and multi-target fights, the only reason to run Combat is when I’m cleaving. I don’t know about you but I find that option severely limiting.

Don’t get me wrong. Combat DPS is amazing when it’s used properly. With my current gear I usually get 6-7k DPS on single-target and 11k when I can use Blade Flurry. 11k is good damage, obviously. My only problem with it is that it seems so situational.

Think about it.  With Assassination all you need to do after the pull is to cast Tricks then go crazy with Fan of Knives. That’s it. With Combat, I have to decide whether hitting two targets only justifies not touching the others. I also have to worry about the eventual threat issue when Tricks goes down. Bottom line, I need to do more runs as Combat and see what I can learn. I also have to convince myself to stick with Combat even when I start seeing my numbers go down (cleaving nothing, KS on cooldown, etc.)

How about you guys? Any similar experiences? Have you tried running both? Is it better to just stick to one spec?

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Combat In Patch 4.0.6

Combat In Patch 4.0.6

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011 in Commentary, Rogue, wow | 1 comment

WoWScrnShot_021211_084351

So the patch is out. I went ahead and assembled a second set for Combat to try it out. In case you’re wondering why a second set is necessary, it’s because of stat weights; Assassination and Combat have different priorities. For example, Spell Hit is critical to Assassination due to its reliance on poison damage. Special attacks play a more vital role for Combat, making Expertise a priority over Spell Hit. You can look up my previous post on stat weights for more information.

I tried out my Combat set earlier today and here’s what I can tell you.

• This is an early impression, but soloing and questing were more convenient to do in Combat because my special attacks were hitting harder. Downsides? Recuperate was healing less and I was running slower. Why? Because they were both untalented.

Blade Flurry did wonders for my DPS during trash pulls on heroic dungeons. It was fun cleaving everything. However, it also messed up my threat big time. I was using Vanish then Evasion + Cloak of Shadows when it was on cooldown more often than necessary. And yes, even when I was casting Tricks I was still having problems. I’m going to try to include Feint in my rotation and see how it goes. It’s better than turning off Blade Flurry altogether.

• How’s Combat’s single-target DPS compared to Assassination? Forget it, it’s not even close. Go switch specs and use your daggers when you’re fighting only one mob.

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Thoughts on Blade Flurry

Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Commentary, Rogue, wow |

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the patch notes you’ll know that Blade Flurry is about to become a toggleable skill in the upcoming patch, causing Combat rogues to get a permanent cleave. While I admit that it was a notable change, what made it even more interesting was last night’s main hand axe drop, giving me a weapon that I could use for that spec.

Long-time readers of this blog know that back in WotLK I ran Combat for 5-mans and trash pulls then switched to Assassination for boss fights. That switch involved changing specs and weapons only, which isn’t something you want to do in Cata due to the implementation of Mastery. Assassination rogues prioritize hit and mastery while those who prefer Combat reforge to hit and expertise. This leads to the conclusion that if we want to swap between the two specs, we need two sets of gear.

I’ve yet to come to a decision. I could wait until the patch is implemented to see how Blade Flurry performs damage-wise before I start working on getting the gear or I could throw caution (and gold) to the wind and prepare myself beforehand. In case you’re saying that I should check the spreadsheet, I already have. I’m looking at a 3K DPS decrease given that most of the Combat items will be ilvl 333. I’m okay with that. The spreadsheets are for single-target boss fights anyway. Cleaving a second target isn’t accounted for. Not yet anyway.

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Miscellaneous Rogue Info for Cataclysm

Posted by on Dec 20, 2010 in Rogue, Tips, wow |

I hit 85 a couple of days ago and I’m in the process of gearing Sin for raiding. Well, possibly anyway. There are a couple of things we need to sort out guild-wise before we get there but that’s a different story. Anyway, here are a couple of things you might want to know in case you’re also considering getting your rogue geared.

    The item level of regular dungeon drops is 333. Gear that can be acquired by Justice Points is 346. Regular dungeon drops have a heroic equivalent when you run heroic dungeons. The level of these items is also 346 and says “Heroic” under the name.

    You need an item level of 329 in your character sheet to qualify for heroic dungeons.

    Assassination provides the most DPS out of all three specs. Combat is supposed to be close. That isn’t the case in my experience though.

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, everything you need to know about Cata raiding (stats, specs, etc.) can be found here. An in-depth Assassination guide is also here. Specs, stat weights, gems, etc. are all there.

    Here’s a gear list of sorts that you might find useful, sorted by slot. Note that I only queried armor so trinkets, rings, cloaks and weapons aren’t included.

That’s it for now. Hope you find the information useful.

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