Opinion, WoW

Fighting fire with…

Here is a guest post courtesy of Seb, who is both scarily tall and able to speak Japanese.  And he’s Swedish and stuff.  I uh… look, I don’t know how to introduce him when he does it himself in the next paragraph, OK?

Hello! I’m Clavicus and I’m here to talk about fragility. But first, some semblance of an introduction.

I play an Arcane Mage in the Fancy Hat Club, and I’ve been raiding with Chayah since a bit into the Burning Crusade, first as a Paladin tank, then as a Mage, and since a few weeks after the realease of Ulduar, I’ve been arcane and loving it. That’s why I humbly asked C if he’d like me to write something for this excellent piece of internet publishing and he sounded enthusiastic. Then came the process of finding something to write about that would actually be of some sort of interest to Shamans, since they are the primary target audience for this Blog.

That’s when I thought of fragility, because if there’s one thing I bring to raids (beyond buffing intellect and begrudgingly summoning tables) it’s death. My death, to be more exact. (Although our resident Warlock does give me a good run for most-deaths-per-raid) But why is this? Why do I die more than our other raiders?

To start at the beginning, Mages wear cloth. Cloth is comfortable, it sweeps very well in the wind and if you wear a robe, you instantly look like a caster-y person (No, I will never forgive Blizzard for the atrocity that is Mage tier 8). The problem with cloth is that it is, well, paper-thin and is rarely statted in any way to help keep it’s wearer alive. A quick armory-check gives Clavicus 12.66% melee damage reduction, my alt rogue in decent enough heroic gear weighs in on 29.77% and 39% combined dodge and parry chance. Chayah sits on a massive 49.05% reduction. Even at this stage you notice that some of the heavier-equipped classes have a substantial chance of surviving a blow that would make my poor mage no more than a stain on the flagstone.

But that is simply melee, and if you get hit in melee in any sort of boss fight, unless you’re a big bad tank, you’re doing something wrong. What else can be the cause of a player suddenly taking a dirt nap? One of the more obvious reasons is the player in question standing in fire and the healers having something more important to heal. Survivability takes a large part in this, and most classes and specs have at least one trick up their sleeve to help avoid that last fatal attack. Ice Block has saved my skin so many times I don’t even know where to start, Blink is a great way of getting somewhere fast (notable places include Sindragosa and possibly Blood Queen) and invisibility is a great tool for avoiding repair bills, and I haven’t even mentioned Magic Absorption yet. Other classes that are less.. gifted in the areas of direct avoidance can either heal themselves, lose all aggro or wears plate.

Then there is the crux of actually using these abilities. Most of the activated abilities have a cooldown of a few minutes. Divine Shield has a 5 minute cooldown, Ice Block’s is 4 minutes (assuming it is talented). Soulshatter has a 3 minute cooldown and Nature’s Swiftness, although most often used to keep other people alive, has a 2 minute cooldown, the same as Dispersion. This means that they can only be used a few times per fight, although some are only needed once, if at all. (Soulshatter, Vanish and Invisibility come to mind, possibly Feign Death aswell) For the ones that don’t modify threat, however, the cooldown adds an element of risk to the party. If you use your ability now, will it be ready by the next time you find yourself in a pinch? If you don’t use it, will you die? This is the reason why my level 34 troll shaman still has 9 of his super sticky glues left, why I almost never use my healthstone and why I always carry 20 portal and teleport runes. Because some day they might come in really handy.

So my point is this; with raiding as it is now, with most bosses having some way of bringing the pain big time, surviving is at least as important as dpsing. Or healing. Or tanking, although that’s basically their job anyway. The game has moved away from what it was earlier, in legacy and to some extent BC, where it largely was the tank that took the damage and the dpsers that, well, you all see my point. Looking at mainly the healthpools of raiders through the three expansions, my old MT in BWL managed to hit 12k for a short while, and this was considered a Big Thing, at least worthy of mention. In BT my Paladin, the worst of the raid alliance’s four tanks, had around 20k, Clavicus has 26k, our tank regularly breaks 60k, or some insane amount like that. In other words, healthpools will grow larger, we will take even more damage, and raiders, especially raiders doing the harder parts of whatever content is on the ”edge” at the time.

To summarise, most classes have at least one way of preventing their own demise, and as our collective healthbars will elongate and as they do, the damage we take and the importance of using the tools presented to us will increase aswell. But what about the classes that lack ways of removing one’s self from harms way, either by way of encasing yourself in a solid block of ice, getting the light to do you a solid or simply by healing yourself, how can you even begin to read a boss strategy and see all the ways they can kill you? (Yes, this is what I look for while reading a boss strategy, things that can kill me unless I IB and things I can spellsteal)

So, tl;dr, as the hip internet lingo goes. While playing WoW you will end up against odds of your survival that aren’t all too favourable. This is when fragility and survivability come in, and where using the tools that Blizzard gave your class become important. You just have to have the guts to do it.

My name is Clavicus, you stay alive, Azeroth.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “Fighting fire with…

  1. On a serious note, this is why I consider Tuskarr’s an invaluable enchant for elemental shamans, who lack precisely the sorts of emergency buttons – like blink or iceblock – that could help us survive in “oh snap!” moments. It’s also why I tend to talent into damage reduction and movement speed increase talents on my alts whenever possible. Sometimes I wish Ghost Wolf worked indoors, but then I’d have a tough decision to make regarding where to drop two talent points for the instant talent.

    The ability to heal myself has certainly saved my life on plenty of occasions, but it’s not much good against something like Blistering Cold :)

    Posted by Charles | April 19, 2010, 12:04 am
    • I couldn’t agree more here. I cry a bit on the inside when I see a shaman with Icewalker on their boots. If you need the hit, gem it and keep Tuskarr’s – not only will you likely have a dps gain, but having that bit of help to “gtfo” when needed is invaluable!

      Posted by Shkarn | April 19, 2010, 5:24 pm
      • i acutally use the engineering sprint boots, and you can say what you want about getting those 12 extra haste (or whatever) out of jewelcrafting, but that sprint has saved my life(and my raids) a lot of times. To me engineering is hands down the most useful raiding profession as a resto shaman :)

        Posted by Monsieur | April 19, 2010, 11:06 pm
      • Oh I agree with you there. If it weren’t for the fact that I love being a Scribbler/JC combination both for myself and my guild, I’d consider grabbing Engineering…again. The other thing that holds me back is I remember how much of a pain it was to level before, and I can’t bring myself to level it again. I’ve done way too many profession swaps since Vanilla :D

        Posted by Shkarn | April 19, 2010, 11:14 pm
  2. I’ve leveled Engineering a couple of weeks ago, and it wasn’t really a pain, took me about an afternoon, 3.5k of gold and the luck of everything I needed being on the AH :)

    Posted by Kiwii | April 22, 2010, 10:20 am

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