Test Blog

Posted in 1 on March 18, 2010 by thejadedbear

Getting Started: To-dos before your website project

“What do we need to do to get started?” It’s one of the most frequent questions I get asked, and it’s definitely one of the best questions I get asked. First of all, it means we’re going to be doing business together. Second of all, it lets me lay a good foundation for our design and project management teams to be successful from the very beginning of the design process.

So, I thought it might be nice to provide a list of to-dos before starting your website project with us (or with anyone, really). Of course, there are specifics to each organization that get discussed on an individual basis, but here are some good general guidelines (think of something we left out? Let us know in the comments section below!).

Decide who will be responsible for making design decisions

This one sounds like a no-brainer, and for most organizations, it is! This doesn’t mean you can’t have a team or committee in charge of overseeing the project and making design recommendations. It simply means that you’ve got a gameplan for who will review the proofs and who will give feedback on the design. Deciding this up-front will keep you from missing valuable input during the Discovery stages of the process.

Track down your (vector) logo files

This comes highly recommended. When your organization had its logo designed, it’s very likely that the logo was delivered in a vector file format (most commonly .ai or .eps). Tracking down your logo file in its original vector format will make your creative team’s day (we’ll probably send you cupcakes) because we won’t have to work with a rasterized file format that can pixelate or distort. Of course, if all you can find is a .jpg file, we’re more than capable of making it work! Don’t have a logo (or not happy with your logo)? Let us know. We’d be happy to put together some concepts for you.

Plan your content

I know, I know… this smells suspiciously like homework, but you’ll be glad you took the time on the front-end to have your content updated and planned out. Completing all of your content is not absolutely necessary to get the website started, but it’s highly recommended that you have at least started the process. As we develop your website, we’ll provide and discuss a new sitemap, but we find many of our clients are so eager to get the website design completed, that they’ve neglected to polish or update their content (even though we’ve been reminding them to do so). Once the design is ready to launch, they’re caught with several days/weeks of content updates that delay the launch of their incredible new website. As a side note: do you have a team working to write/update content? You might consider signing up for a free or cheap project management system account (Basecamp, for example) for your team to collaborate on content.

Think about your photos

Many websites feature photos (how profound – just bear with me). Do you have photos that you would like for us to use? If so, go ahead and begin gathering them. Do your photos have pictures of people in them? If so, make sure you have photo release forms from the folks in the pictures (when you send photos our way, we assume that you’ve taken care of this step). Please also note, pictures of minors require a photo release form signed by a parent/guardian. Do you need photos taken? Let us know, and we can probably recommend a photographer in your area. If necessary, we have access to extensive stock photo libraries as well.

3.3 Patch Notes for Boomkins (worth mentioning)

Posted in Patches/Changes, Rant on December 15, 2009 by thejadedbear

3.3 is here! Now for the fun. At first, before launch day there seemed to be nothing special for Boomkins, but lo and behold Blizzard came through with a 1-2 punch for us Boomkins.

Talents
* Balance

o Eclipse: This effect will not activate again within 15 seconds of either type of Eclipse effect firing, in addition to the existing 30-second cool-down for each type of Eclipse. In addition, Eclipse now grants a 40% critical strike chance to Starfire and 40% increased damage to Wrath, up from 30%.
o Force of Nature: Health on the treants has been increased.

So you ask, “Empty, why is this so good?” it’s brilliant because it finally allows us to 100% ditch the T8.25 pieces and not feel bad about it. (This is also due to the undocumented change to the T8 2p Bonus nerf from 15% damage increase down to 7%.) A 10% critical buff on Lunar Eclipse and 10% damage buff on Solar Eclipse this finally gives us the buff we needed to get past our crappy itemization on leather SP gear (Trees can have the leather, I’ll take the mage drops >.<…ok only part of the time). As for the change to the Treants….screw the Treants I’m about to spec out of them and grab Typhoon for ICC kitting.

Word for the wise…Grab your T9 4p asap, you will see an over all DPS increase. I am currently seeing 6.1k single target DPS on trash with FM in ICC, and the gear I have is easily obtainable.

I will be posting more in the next few days as I begin to test out a few new experimental specs to try to maximize my burst DoT dmg while maintaining sustainable raid DPS.

3.2 After Thought / Agility – Stam – Idol Discussion (Updated)

Posted in Patches/Changes, Rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by thejadedbear

If you are a bear looking for answers to the 3.2 idol debate, before getting into this post I STRONGLY recommend that you go read Kalon’s post “Don’t get Idol of Mutilation for bears!” and Runyarusco’s post, “Azerothian Idol: 3.2 Edition“.

For many of us 3.2 has brought many changes. This time less changes for the bear, but still some considerable ones.

Mainly, the latest; “The amount of agility required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%.” and “The amount of dodge rating required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%”. Yet another point that reinforces my personal belief that agility is an even more important stat for us bears. I say this because I continue to see more and more bears dropping their agility and stacking stam gems. While stam is a very important stat for Ulduar and content where magic attacks sometimes outweigh the physical, this is how many bears are absorbing the magic attacks. But is stacking an insane stam pool the answer?

My personal oppinion? No. Point for point agility still has a lot to offer the bear. Not only is it increasing our chance to crit, it’s our for sure way of increasing dodge along with an armor contribution from it as well. I will dig more into these detail later in this post. Updated Note: After consulting Kalon over at Think Tank as to why he has decided to stack stam, I have chosen to slightly revise my stance. Kalon has mentioned that he primarily tanks hard modes and situational Ulduar encounters, which benefits from his large pool of EH (Effective Health). For me I find myself primarily tanking Naxx25, Uld10, Uld25, and the beginnings of ToC10 and still find myself benefiting from the added avoidance/mitigation (No hard modes as of yet). I do agree with the context of stacking stam as a situational approach to encounters which is primarily what he is using his bear for at the moment.

If you don’t like the idea of stacking strictly agility, then I propose to strongly consider an agility/stam combo and despite popular belief among tanks…they do make a gem for that. 3.2 has also ushered in new gem options, we now have a +10agil/+15stam epic purple gem that we can use and abuse until our hearts are content. Personally I use the 10agil/15stam gems in my Ulduar gear and I do have a couple +30stam gems that I more than likely will end up swapping out for the 10agil/15stam ones. Only Blizzard knows what is in store for us in the encounters post 3.2, so there may be another change around our corner.

Now, lets talk idols. I am going to re-iterate what Kalon, Runyarusco, and Jacemora have already stated. DON’T GET THE IDOL OF MUTILATION! Ok. Now to explain why. While Agility contributes heavily to a bears ability to dodge they are still very different stats. For a bear one point of agility affects the stats as follows (a value in brackets is the value after BoK multiplier) :

1 Agi = 0.0129744% (0.01427184%) Crit
1 Agi = 0.0225641% (0.0248206%) Dodge
1 Agi = 2.1624 (2.37864) Armor

Yes, agility not only contributes to crit and dodge, but also contributes to armor. Agility, as we know, is subject to BoK so we can with out a doubt expect these stats to multiply with our raid buffs. The Idol of the Corruptor pre-3.2 was known as the only Feral Tank Idol upgrade over Idol of Terror in WotlK and dropped from Ulduar 25. Blizzard has officially got their heads screwed back on straight and made it easier to obtain (but maybe too easy). This idol provides us with a 12 second proc of 153 agility that will in turn give us (with BoK taken into account) when proc’d:

%Dodge %Crit Armor Count
Idol of the Corruptor 3.7975518 2.18359152 363.9319

There’s the hard numbers for Idol of the Corruptor. Now lets look at the Idol of Mutilation.

At first glance this looks like the “kick ass feral tanking idol that all bears have been waiting for“, but is it? While that 200 dodge rating is the shiny object that has captured our attention, will it be all that it is cracked up to be? Lets bring us back down to reality…remember dodge rating is not subject to buff multipliers (BoK, MotW, etc.), and only increases one stat (aka dodge). The dodge rating to dodge multiplier is:

1 DodgeRating = 0.0220982% Dodge
45.2525 DodgeRating = 1% Dodge

On a single proc we can expect the Idol of Mutilation to give us 4.41964% Dodge (200*.0220982=4.41964).

%Dodge %Crit Armor Count
Idol of Mutilation 4.41964 0 0

4.41964% Dodge is quite significant, but we must ask ourselves if it is worth losing the added benefits from the Idol of the Corruptor. Let the numbers sit side by side and speak for themselves.

%Dodge %Crit Armor Count
Idol of the Corruptor 3.7975518 2.18359152 363.93192
Idol of Mutilation 4.41964 0 0

There is an average of 0.6% dodge increase by going with The Idol of Mutilation, but a sacrifice of 2.18% crit chance and 364 armor. At this point, this particular idol will not find its way into my equipment slot.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the possibility of “idol swapping” while in combat to reap the benefits of both idols. Blizzard announced during PTR 3.2 the following:

Items with Triggered Effects: These items generally have cooldowns on how often they can be triggered. Those cooldowns are now triggered each time the item is equipped (example: A trinket has a 45-second cooldown on an effect triggered by player attacks; when a player equips that item, the effect will be unable to be triggered for the first 45 seconds it is worn).

Taking this verbiage into account leads us to assume that this is also in reference to the druid idols and not only trinkets. To attempt to manage a 45 second initial ICD upon equipping an idol, moving around while tanking Hodir and keeping an eye on a priest healer who can’t manage to get a Circle of Healing off on the raid who also just happens to be standing in range of flash freeze….seems a bit unrealistic. IMO idol swapping is out of the question and unrealistic.

Make the right choice.

-jaded

Stop, take a breather, get your facts straight and assess the new situation.

Posted in Patches/Changes, Rant with tags , , on March 6, 2009 by thejadedbear

It amuses me to peruse the official forms and walk away astonished at the complete lack of intelegence (or rather the complete presence of stupidity) that occurs once a new instance of the PTR has been made available to the masses.

Today, on Big Bear Butt’s blog he addressed the cycle that has driven much of the Druid community into a blood thirsty frenzy (cycle: apprehension, fear, worry, and outrage over changes). It’s a great read and recommend that everyone read it.

Anyhow, while in the the Test Realm Forums today I stumbled upon a post in response to the Heart of the Wild nerf that caught me by surprise and I couldn’t help but laugh. Not wanting to poke fun at a situation where someone is clearly upset over the upcoming changes that we well be seeing in 3.1, but I was bothered by what was said by the original poster. I’ll let you see for yourself.

“Are you kidding me? I lost 10k HP the first time this was nerfed, now I am basically losing another 10k hp. WTF are you doing to feral druids honestly? You make it hard enough get armor, and now you are basically pushing our mitigation down further. Like this is honestly a huge nerf since feral tanks rely solely on high stamina and dodge. Either give us our stamina back or give us a huge bonus to the new mitigation ability.”

My main problem with this particular post happened to be his complete lack of facts and reactionary response to the changes without even understanding the current changes that were live in PTR at the time of his post. The following was my response.

This is a serious exaggeration. I encourage all druids to not follow suit like this. The sky is not falling.

Truth be told though, yes we are seeing a a drop in our health due to the 10% decrease in the stamina bonus from HotW (I experienced a 2040HP decrease and I have really close to the same amount of HP as you, and the only reason you are as high as you are is due to the frost resist gear you have equipped. Our biggest hit will be seen in our armor. On my character I experienced close to a 5900 armor decrease on PTR which is a bigger hit than the stam nerf. Currently, the biggest gripe from Druids is that we’re seeing these nerfs without the Savage Defense mechanic in place which will act as another mitigation mechanic much like how block works but our chance to “block” is strongly based on our ability to Crit and the amount blocked is scaled by out already high AP. In other words Crit is becoming our multipurpose “chance to block value” and AP scales the “amount blocked”. Once the Savage Defense mechanic gets implemented in PTR only then will we be able to see the true effects of these changes come into play when we are going head first into new content.

IMO, a month after 3.1 is released and druids will adapt and get used to the new mechanics and it will be business as usual.

Posting recommendation: Don’t react negatively to the changes made to the class, but be willing to work with blizzard to find the right solutions.

Moral of the story? Once you finish reading the PTR notes, Stop, Take a Breather, Understand the facts, assess the new situation and formulate your new game plan. Please, by no means, ‘over react’ and make yourself look like an asshat, it’ll keep us from being embarrassed for you.

It’s not the end of the world, it’s just another challenge in a game.

-jaded

3.1 Druid Talent Tree Changes

Posted in Patches/Changes with tags , on March 5, 2009 by thejadedbear

A Thank you to Demoneater on the Arygos Server for pointing out some flaws in my thinking in this post. I have made some changes below to reflect our brief conversation and have altered the original post to reflect 1 pure feral tank spec and the 2 hybrids that I originally had listed.

___________________________________________

With the Feral Changes taking us by storm in 3.1 we must prepare ourselves for the inevitable respec. In my post last night I mentioned that I would more than likely be discussing the new talent trees in my next post, so here it is.

If you’re like any other bear or WoW player, change is the last thing we want to experience unless it is covered in new content and OP class buffs; so I encourage all Druids to do their best to continue with an optimistic outlook on the future of the druid. My other main character that I play is a Holy Paladin and can say from experience that everytime an inconveniencing change was made to the class in pre-WotLK a small but very loud group of Paladins would assume this ficticious belief that the sky is now falling and the Paladin class as a whole is doomed. Many claimed that the changes would turn the best single target healing class in the game into the worst back of the raid healer. After the expac I believe that it is safe to say that in no way had the Paladin class (esp. Holy spec) been gimped, but had been buffed considerably. Just an example.

Now for my specs of choice.

When looking at my options for coming up with a new Feral spec, there was only one thing that proved a hindrance. The addition of Primal Gore to the 10th tier of the Feral tree has proved to be a slight hurdle. 

With that said, lets talk talents, well at least the ones I would recommend shifting to once 3.1 goes live.

  • First, Primal Gore (Grants the periodic damage from your Rake, Lacerate and Rip abilities the ability to critically hit. 1/1) This should prove to be a big buff to Lacerate. Whith this already being an ability that “causes high threat” we should see our overall TPS go up.
  • Second, a no brainer, Improved Mark of the Wild (Increases the effects of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild spells by 40%, and increases all of your total attributes by 2%.) The revision to this talent that now grants us a 2% increase to all of our total attributes makes this talent worth it’s weight.

Since we’ve identified the new talents of extreme value we are forced to identify the points worth losing, and for the sake of trying not to be redundant you can read my reasons for dropping King of the Jungle (3/3 KotJ is present in the majority of feral tanking builds according to TalentChic) from our talent specs below when I discuss minor hybrid builds. The three points dropped from King of the Jungle are adequate enough to spec into Primal Gore and Improved Mark of the Wild without leaving any gaps. The pure feral tanking spec that we are looking to is a 0/58/13 Pure Feral Tanking Spec. Some variation based on preference could exist in debating Infected Wound’s usefulness as a tank. I’d love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

If going slightly hybrid with your spec is of interest to you, these Changes have been a good challenge for us to “trim some fat” off of our current dust covered talent specs. This now takes us to a “Y” in the road where we must ask ourselves a question of preference.

Which do I as a Feral Druid Tank value more, Mitigation or Threat Generation?

For some of us this is an easy question, for others more difficult, but it really is more of a question of preference than any, but before we answer that we must identify the “fat” that must be trimmed to get our bears into tip top shape once again. For me, after a little research, this answer seemed fairly easy. There are two items in the Feral tree that I could easily see myself going without to make room for some tastier skills.

  • The first that we are forced to look at is King of the Jungle (While using your Enrage ability in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, your damage is increased by 15%, and your Tiger’s Fury ability also instantly restores 60 energy. 3/3), which is extremely nice as a cat, but lets be real…we’re bears and the additional 15% damage while using a skill that reduces our mitigation just doesn’t seem worth it.
  • The second I am willing to sacrifice is Infected Wounds. (Your Shred, Maul, and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target. The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 25% and the attack speed by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 12 sec. 3/3) For me personally, I would imagine if you have a DK spec’d in Improved Icy Touch that would slow the attack speed by 20% this skill youn’t necessarily be too valuable. If there is a higher end Druid that can shed some light into how valuable Infected Wounds is in the higher content I’d love to hear what you have to say.
  • Third, we can sacrifice some points out of Furor (Gives you 100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 100 of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form, and increases your total Intellect while in Moonkin form by 10%.) I recommend dropping 2 points from this talent that will reduce your chance to gain to 60%.

This is where we need to make the choice whether we go with Mitigation or Threat Generation; we must choose between Feral Aggression (5/5) or go for Master Shapeshifter(2/2 with 3/3 in Natural Shapshifter). Basically we have to choose between reducing our targets attack power by 571.2 (Mitigation) or increasing our total physical damage by 4% (Threat/Dmg).

With all that said, here are links to the 2 specs that I recommend: 0/60/11 Hybrid Feral Mitigation Spec & 0/55/16 Hybrid Feral Threat/Dmg Spec.

Feedback is always welcome.

-jaded

Feral Druid Changes 3.1 PTR

Posted in Patches/Changes with tags on March 4, 2009 by thejadedbear

As of today our friends at Blizzard have updated the PTR patch notes to reflect what we are currently experiencing on the PTR.

  • Feral
    • Heart of the Wild: Stamina bonus changed to 2/4/6/8/10%.
    • New Talent: Primal Gore: Grants the periodic damage from your Rake, Lacerate and Rip abilities the ability to critically hit.
    • Savage Roar is now considered an Enrage effect and now increases physical damage done by 30% instead of increasing attack power.

    From what I can tell some items are missing from these feral changes as opposed to the changes we saw when 3.1 notes were originally released to the public. This now leaves me with a few of questions regarding the future of Feral Druids.

    • Is the armor bonus reduction to Survival of the Fittest going to stick and find it’s way into live?
    • Will Savage Defense make the cut, and why has it not been put onto PTR yet?
    • Was the nerf to HotW too extreme of a change  in an attempt even the playing field amongst tanks?

    In an attempt to help me answer some of these questions I went ahead and copied my character to the PTR. After allocating my talent points and removing a point from Infected Wounds to spec into Primal Gore I was ready to see some hard stats. This brings us to an interesting topic on whether or not Druids should be considering dropping 3 talent points from their existing spec to ensure they receive the benefits from IMP MotW (Increase effects of GotW and MotW by 40% and receive a 2% Increase in stats) and Primal Gore I will probably address new specing options in my next post.  The results were as expected. Below is my findings comparing my ‘live’ bear to my ‘PTR’ bear.

    Live

    • 31647 HP
    • 32137 Armor

    PTR

    • 29607 HP
    • 26239 Armor

    These are unbuffed stats and I did not take the time to show the stats that remained unchanged. As you can see my bear health saw a loss of 2040 HP, which isn’t the end of the world, but what really hurts is seeing the 5898 decrease in armor. This means that I can expect to taking an additional 4.57% physical damage after the patch.

    Put this way, if a Naxx boss hits for 40k I should expect to be hit for approx. 1800 more damage per hit before our mitigation from dodge and without taking Savage Defense into account (these are approximates theory crafters need not apply to prove me wrong). Yes it is a nerf; is it the end of the world? No. In later content we’ll make up for these loses and it means that we wont be coasting through boss fights as easy as we have in the past. With the application of an AoE threat mechanic, the druid may begin to lean towards being balanced with other classes with superior abilities. Now we just need to cry for a revamping of our slow threat mechanics and beg that DKs receive their much needed nerf.

    -jaded

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