Posts Tagged ‘world of warcraft’
On a previous post, David asked:
Since I’ve started playing a warlock, I’m interested in how you run that pet-less demonologist? Sounds different and I’d like to give it a shot.
Since David also linked to an interesting article, with which I don’t entirely agree (I think there’s a new breed of hardcore player that subs out epic six-hour grind-fests into nibbling away at grindy content two hours a night, three nights a week, but with the same spreadsheet-driven longing for NUMBERS that the poop-sock brigade display… but these might look more ‘casual’ based on the actual time spent playing) but which I enjoyed reading, I figure the least I can do is show some love and introduce y’all to Aunty Sybeth.
I’ve had Sybeth since I started playing the WoW thing back in mid-2009, although she’s jumped back and forth across factions a few times. She levelled, in those half-forgotten days of 51-point talent spreads and careful, finicky percentile-counting, as a Demonologist before switching to Affliction when I discovered the joys of running through Battlegrounds with lots of instant-cast fear and damage-over-time effects. During that time I sort of neglected Demonology a bit and, during Cataclysm, only used the spec for daily quests because it was so damn easy and safe (send Felguard to hit things, cast Immolation, wait for Molten Core to trigger, cast Soul Fire, rinse and repeat, cast Health Funnel now and then). I was sure there was more to do with it but I just couldn’t be bothered when I had all that Afflicting to enjoy.
Mists of Pandaria has brought with it some saucy new Warlock powers, in particular some saucy new Glyphs, which have revitalised my interest in Demonology as ‘that spec you can run without a demon’. It seems counter-intuitive, but trust me on this, there’s a method to my madness here. The key lies, as one might expect, in combos. Combos that sort of leapt out at me from the morass of new options in the Mists talent builder and the range of new Glyphs and the revised class specialisation, while I was trying to work out what the hell to do with this Sybeth person. I threw this together on a whim and blow me down dead if it didn’t work quite nicely.
Those of you who keep up with my increasingly irregular diatribes on the House of Paincakes have no doubt bewailed and bemoaned the recent loss of my RPG mojo (and if you haven’t, I don’t wish to hear about it, so could you just feign a spot of bewailing and bemoaning for the sake of appearances? ta very).
The good news is, I’ve found it again, down the back of a sofa in Wolverhampton. Over half term, the Dark Ages Vampire game received a monumental boot up the arse as I finally got to run a proper RP session of some eight hours. With all respect to the in-house group, whose preferences are clear, valid and informed, two and a half hours of intermittent play is not as rewarding as eight hours of sustained play, and that’s an end to it. The Dark Ages game is everything that I think a good game should be – by turns moving, hilarious, wildly improvised by the minute but excruciatingly planned in the grand scale.
That promised ‘every three days’ schedule isn’t really working out, is it?
Let me explain, and then perhaps your ire will be cooled, a little. Not that it should go entirely unspent; content was promised you, and has been withheld, and certain dues must be paid and reparations made if that’s to be forgiven. I hope that comes to pass, in time.
The thing is, I moved house two months ago in order to get busy. Work was drying up, and if I were to continue the practices of eating food and living indoors (practices for which I confess a certain ingrained fondness, born out of habit as much as actual value), not to mention keeping Hark in Goblins and hair dye and whatever else she subsists on (tea and pastries, mostly, it seems), I had to seek out a fresh wellspring.
It hath been sought, and it hath gushed. I have written at least two dissertations’ worth of exemplary material for various bodies in the last two months; I have taught a young man half a century of social history in a week, amending the damage done to him by the professional neglect of others; I have regular invigilation work, and an evening class to teach.
I have also been playing games, shocking as this assertion may appear to you.
The character ‘builds’ I favour in RPGs that cater for that sort of thing, and MMORPGs in particular, are focused on control and manipulation, changing the tempo of an encounter or scene rather than playing a set role in its dynamics. For all that my first WoW character was a Warlock, her Affliction focus is less on raw damage output than on control effects; fear that pins in place or sends you running, a curse that slows you down, damage that can be cloned from one target onto another, a pet that knocks back or locks down key targets and a focus on mobility and instant casts apart from a couple of ‘must stand stills’. Numerically optimal it is not, but it’s exciting in a way that Demonology, the cruise-control levelling spec, isn’t. The fact that my other longest serving character is a Shaman with a variety of single-target, area-of-effect and feedback-loop spells and an array of situational buffs, purges and summons for all occasions hints at a similar approach. I want to love stealthy things like Feral Druids but they slow me down too much; melee was spoiled for me by the Death Knight and its sheer impervious hail of abilities that draw in or slow down targets, hit one place or an area…
Hark, meanwhile, is into short-term; no waiting for things to charge up or other things to trigger, but doing lots of things at a different time. Her Rogue’s ability to stab at you in three different ways per second is part of what endears her to the class – resources are built up and consumed but as a result of doing stuff, as well as as a prerequisite. Things that have a random chance of triggering enrage her; things that she can do sans resources, while waiting for them to come back please her. The Hunter, meanwhile, offers some interaction with the pet, sending it off to attack something while she shoots; she draws comparisons with the Mage, which is an exercise in either firing a wand repeatedly or waiting for a big spell to charge or be channeled while being beaten up. On the matter of the Paladin she is less certain, emitting a sort of farty indecisive harrumph. It might just be the sheer invulnerability and power of the class – similar to my relationship with the Death Knight.
A little thought experiment for you lovely people, while I’m working for the next couple of days. I would like you to consider the following map. You don’t have to know anything about the game that it’s from: in fact, it’s probably an advantage if you don’t, as you won’t have any preconceived notions cluttering up your participation. Suffice to say that you start in either the top left or bottom right, you have fifteen playable units that are most conveniently arranged into groups of five, and your objective is to accumulate points by taking and holding the five numbered objectives around the middle. The more objectives you hold, and for longer, the more points you accumulate. Objective four is raised up and it’s technically possible to see most of the field from there, objective two is sunken down.
This isn’t an experiment in build optimisation; it’s about fieldwork and control. Tear your eyes away from the foxy undead lady on the right and ask yourself how you would approach this map.