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So. The Vaykor Hek.

Modelled here by Booben, all praise him ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Modelled here by Booben, all praise him ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

Vay Hek has been a thing for… a bit more than a week now, I think? I’m a huge fan of original-flavour Hek, so this one has been on my list for, oh, a little over a week. Now.

This is a syndicate version of a weapon that already had a syndicate mod. A really good syndicate mod. A syndicate mod that made Hek the only practical shottie before the recent shotgun rework, and which elevated it to the king and eternal overlord spot on a lot of people’s rosters once the buff had been accomplished. And a mod that’s getting a lot of flak for apparently instigating a crisis of faith in the multishot system.

Pictured: subjugation

Pictured: subjugation

See, multishot basically doubles your damage. Your total damage. Most mods only operate on the base damage*, or the damage modified by said base damage mods**. Multishot magics new bullets into existence, and each new round has the full plethora of mods applied. The mods are expensive points-wise, but once you have one or two pure damage mods applied, multishot is easily the biggest point-for-point damage increase in the game.

Vaykor Hek, naturally, can’t use its non-syndicate sibling’s syndicate mod. This lead to calls of uselessness, which has coincided with the dev team taking a good hard look at multishot’s mechanics. Which is generally accepted as “we’re gonna nerf this so hard you’ll never see 60 minutes in T4S again“.

Despite the reaction, the Vaykor isn’t without its selling points. For one thing, it’s the first shotgun in a very long time with a semi-decent crit chance, which means it gives one the opportunity to haul out the previously useless Primed Ravage, if you’re into ranking expensive mods that are only useful on a single weapon. This doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but critical hits actually have a similar total-damage-increase effect to multishot, making them less reliable but equally – or even more – devastating on a weapon that can effectively build for crit. This means that while the Vaykor may not hit as hard on every shot, on average it’ll match its little cousin, and its crits will hit much, much harder.

Vaykor also gets the syndicate radial blast effect without giving up a mod slot. Okay, so calling a straight 200% damage increase for a mere 7 points giving up a slot is a little of a stretch, but that also means you have space to slot more goodies, and you’ll have the syndicate proc from the start while levelling. For someone like me who likes making bars go up, that’s a fair deal. Not that you’ll need to spend as much time on Forma as with the standard Hek, since Vaykor comes with a bushel of free polarities. That’s three forma you won’t have to spend. Okay, two if you’re not as big a fan of the D as DE obviously are. Hur hur.

The Vaykor also has a faster fire rate and twice the ammo capacity. You want the old, pre-broken-reload Strun Wraith back? Yeah, V.Hek has basically the same feel, but with crit instead of status and damage instead of lightning reload. It even seems to have more of a chokk feel to its sound than the almighty thoom of the original.

Now, that’s a pretty big list. You might expect people to look at it and be somewhat impressed. If so, then you’d never have encountered the Warframe fanbase.

Immediate reaction to New Hek’s release was… yeah. Effectively a riot. Insistence that it did less damage, that it was a missed opportunity, that it required the expensive Primed Ravage. Even when theorycrafters proved that its sustained damage beat the Hek, the burst offered by Scattered Justice offered a fallback position for those determined to hold on to their outrage.

This original-flavour Hek has 5 forma on it, and is now obsolete

This original-flavour Hek has 5 forma on it, and is now obsolete

This has had one pleasant side-effect: Vaykor Hek is dirt cheap compared to the other syndicate primaries. Whether because of the forum explosion or the fact that a lot of folks side with Steel Meridian as the obvious Good Guys™, you can pick up a V.Hek in trade for a third of the price of the Sancti Tigris at the moment. And that’s a great thing, because this gun kicks ass.

An 8-round magazine gives you the ability to take on great heaping crowds of enemies, and Warframe is all about the seething mobs. The handling difference is evolutionary. This is a Hek that you can be a little reckless with, because the follow-up is that little bit faster and you’ve got the ammo to spare. Yet it’s still capable of one-shotting anything on the map and most things in the Void.

Some folks are worried that spending time and forma on anything right now is going to be a waste, that the impending Doom of Multishot means they’re going to be left with a useless lump of pig iron. I say: Forma this. Rank it. Enjoy it, and savour the delicious fluids spilled forth by your enemies.

This gun is worth it, even here at the end of the world.

 

  • * Serration, Point Blank, Hornet Strike, Pressure Point – those mods that the wiki insists you put on before anything else. This is for a reason.
  • ** Elemental mods, I/P/S mods – basically anything that says +damage but isn’t in the above list.
I'd have used an achieve screenshot, but this made me laugh

I’d have used an achieve screenshot, but this made me laugh

Garalon fell on sunday, early enough that we got a few pulls on Addsy McAddBoss. Who will probably die tonight, while I’m still working. Q to the QQ, yo. *gangsta signs*

Everything came together pretty smoothly, once we’d dealt with a little OMG ROSTER DRAMAZ. The first couple of pulls featured such amusements as the tanks accidentally getting Pheromones and passing it between them – mostly notable for the healers somehow panic-healing us through four back-to-back Crushes before losing pretty much everyone still standing to the fifth, and everyone else panicking in a fashion that was, in retrospect, hilarious.

Not me, though. I was perfectly calm. Not as if it was our best pull up to that point. *cof*

Friday also featured our first full clear of MSV in one night*, and marks the first night where my shammy’s healed for more than the first boss. That said, it was also sort of the source of the aforementioned dramaz.

Rant cancelled due to lack of entertaining profanity. Suffice it to say that I was only on my shammy because we were lacking warm bodies to fill the roles with actual useful creatures, and listening to complaints about not being chosen for prog (!) when we had to scrape what we could from /g just to fill our friday roster was… slightly bizarre. And my brother wonders why I don’t want to be an officer.

Either way. It looks like we’re soon to be facing my nemesis, the Amber Shaper. 24 rolls and running on those pants. I’m not saying it’ll be a picnic, but he definitely deserves what’s coming his way…

 

* Plus the first boss of HoF, but the full clear was more impressive to me.

So, now that NEW SHINY is all settled and whatnot, a couple of odd things about 5.0.4.

  • LOOK MOM IM LUMINESCENT

    Lighting effects are strange. I can’t bear to look at my orc and tauren characters on the login screen because of the creepy 90s-cg effects.

  • Well, I could bear to look at my Dk, since her background is still the same LK one. Except that she seems to have shrunk in the wash. As has my forsaken Dk. What the…
  • Healers. In PvP. What the hell. Two casts of Flash of Light should not completely fill a health bar from Hammer of Wrath o’ clock. Even post-nerf it’s taking three or four toons to kill a single healer.
  • Isle of Conquest is the playground of bigoted egomaniacs with GIFT up to eleven. At least we usually win. Horde seems to have gotten the idea that “take workshop, kill glaives” is the way to go, and the alliance seems to spend most of their effort in getting into the horde keep and then… running around in circles waiting for the bombs to respawn? Spamming “lol i have no idea what i am doing’ macros? Whatever it is, it’s costing them.

IoC starts getting a bit much after a while.

There seem to be a lot of people PvPing at the moment, because nearly every BG I’ve seen in the past couple of days is a 40-man mess of IoC or AV. Somehow I don’t think the designers of those two bgs understood what that second ‘P’ stands for. These are BGs where I generally finish up with around 10 HKs or so if I’m lucky.

Still, I’ll stick with them if only because healers have minimal impact in the scenarios. Twin Peaks and WSG, on the other hand, are effectively ‘click here to be farmed for half an hour’ nuisances. They’re on my blocked list, but unfortunately said feature has been released in a less than operational state*.

EotS is still my favourite BG, despite everyone and their kid sister getting knockbacks. It’s mobile, encourages actually fighting for the points, and small enough that you don’t spend forever running to the next point while being big enough to avoid feeling cramped, and it’s open. You can literally see any tower from any other tower. WTB about 4 more of these.

All in all it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s not bad enough to stay off the beach.

* OMG REALLY???!! PvP content that wasn’t tested??? We’ll get right on that… soon™! 

Paladin, original flavour

The great thing about PvP is you can pretty much start with nothing and build up over a day or two. I don’t mean “nothing” like a couple of bits and pieces here and there… I mean nothing as in “I don’t even have a spec for this, and I disenchanted any gear I could have used for it months ago”.

Meet Drythorn, my first ever level-capped character. Back in the halcyon days of early tier 11, when Tol Barad was a win-trading fast-track to the honour gear of one’s dreams, Dry sported a full set of ret gear to go along with his prot spec*. Yeah, crazy times. That example I gave in opening isn’t theoretical, though. When I logged him with the bright idea of giving him a PvP-specific spec and letting him loose into BGs, it was with a sinking feeling that I realised that any and all ret gear that I’d accrued over the course of the character’s playtime – including a full set from the HoT dungeons – had been sharded in a manic-depressive cleanup effort. Whoops.

So, from there to here:

  • No ret spec. Somehow I have a Holy offspec. With no gear for that either. Genius.
  • No gear.
  • Approximately 180 elementium ore and 50 volatile fire later, along with 10 minutes on my blacksmith, there was much crafted plate and rejoicing.
  • Spidersilk whatsit trinket can stay, the “shield on low health” proc seems legit for PvP.
  • Somehow I have an old PvP freedom trinket in my bags that escaped the shardening. Sweet. Welcome back, old friend.
  • Jewellery can stay for now because the JCs on my realm are on acid and also who cares really.
  • Okay, wait a sec. The only 2h weapon I can make is absolutely terrible.
  • Screw it, keep the shield and go TB as prot. Simple!
  • Oh god 2k dps what is this
  • Wait a minute, most of the other players are pulling somewhere around there as well, and as Prot I have approximately a million interrupts. Go me!
  • Earned enough honor for shoulders, bracers and a ring. That puts me in range of the season honor requirement for a weapon. Saving every last point until…
  • A weapon! At last. Went for the axe because the other options were gorgeous, but not exactly convincing in terms of threat value.
  • Okay, so I really miss having all of those interrupts. Still, being able to actually kill something is nice.
  • Dear sweet heaven, the 2-piece honor gear bonus is 400 resi. 400. How did I not notice this? Prioritise getting 2p – gloves are good, they’re cheap.
  • 2 days, ~11k honor, 1250 valour converted to conquest, and a whole heap of BGs later, I’m… still getting there. At least it looks good without needing a transmog.

How is it always 30 bloody seconds? Honestly…

Honestly, though, after 2 days your average DPS character has spent a couple of k on BoEs and/or is still waiting for the &%^! weapon to drop off some boss in an HoT and wishing the queue time was shorter. In the case of a PvPer, queue times are obscenely fast, BGs are generally quick, and even if we lose I’m still making progress to the eventual goal. The only thing gating PvP is time invested… and after a couple of years of being screwed by random drops** and needless needing in LFR, points buy is looking pretty damn good.

All of this is mostly in aid of becoming a better offensive player. I do support pretty well in BGs, but my experience in 2v2 has been that an HPala can’t really provide much by way of  pressure in arena***. While that’s probably largely because of how I play the spec, it’s time to try something with a bit more oomph.

The really sad thing is that, since I’ll be in Indonesia and Thailand on honeymoon from the end of this week, I doubt this PvP set is going to go very far. No-one ever accused me of thinking things through…

Ret being tragically broken at Cata’s release, prot was actually more fun, more effective, and more mechanically sound 

** Dry never even saw the mace off Peroth’arn, despite 17 clears of the place

*** Also I really, really hate mana burn

The thought process of the average LFR denizen.

I have a pretty decent stable of alts. 7 current lvl 85s, and 3 alts well on their way. Of the 85s, one is my regular raiding character, and just replaced his final firelands piece on sunday night. All of the others could use gear, but… I haven’t run LFR in almost a month. On any character.

Last time I went to LFR I ended up 2 healing Morchok, despite having a full group. Rather than wait for the loot rolls to resolve so that we could boot the ‘healers’ who were doing nothing of the sort,  one of the tanks pulled trash at Zon’Ozz instead. At which point I lost any interest whatsoever in carrying garbage that didn’t give a toss about other players. I hope the druid who was holding up the rest of the healing left as well. He didn’t deserve the backlash that would no doubt result from the ensuing wipe.

So yeah. Better loot rules would go some way toward making LFR more bearable, and I’m hoping that attitudes will improve without the acrimony of loot drama. What really needs improvement, though, is the people taking advantage.

Given that my fiancee has recently been loath to level the character she’s been playing along with my rogue*, I’ve resorted to fine tuning my priest and hitting up a few more BGs with my paladin. Oh, and of course Tol Barad.

There is no better way to build confidence as a healer than to go to Tol Barad. At least on my server, you will never be cc’d, silenced, interrupted, focussed, etc unless it’s literally you and one other guy at a base. Meanwhile you may find that you can single-handedly keep an arbitrary number of similarly facerolling DPS from melting into goo.

I’m not really aggressive enough to make a good PvP player, but a support role like healing lends itself well to a certain bloody-minded, obstinate mentality.

In a previous post I noted that holy paladins are all but invincible in BGs. This isn’t strictly true… it’s just a strange side effect of mixing in with the melee that means you’ll mostly be attacked by melee rather than casters. With somewhere around 56% damage reduction from armour, a further 30% from resilience, a block/parry/dodge chance if I’m not casting and healing if I am, a paladin isn’t a good target for melee***.

Great against swords. Not so much against fireballs. Who knew?

The ‘not strictly true’ aspect comes in when we’re talking about casters. Armour’s bloody useless against them, which just leaves Resistance Aura**** and resi. For that rare caster who actually notices the paladin down in the furball instead of attempting to reduce the opposing side’s hunters to free-range eco-friendly craters, it turns out that paladins are made of delicious crunchy honour points.

Either way, I’m contemplating asking around in /g for someone to try 2s/3s arena with. My resi’s a bit on the light side, and the only time any of my toons stepped in before resulted in near-instantaneous melting. Should at least help me learn a bit about how to handle focus and cc. Also, I’ve wanted the tasty paladin Conquest outfit since the first preview.

 

* nothing to do with the slightly sarcastic how-to post I made previously**

** or so she maintains

*** not that it stops druids. seriously, there’s nothing more persistent than a kitty druid on a healer. GIVE IT UP, SNUGGLES

**** …which I’m still not sure I should be using rather than Concentration…

Fiancee and I are levelling a fresh pair of toons. Couple of days ago we got Dire Maul capital gardens in LFD. The tank wasn’t great with threat and the warrior was constantly charging ahead into packs, but there was no damage to the party. Heading into the underground section, someone made a comment on how they were doing, which the warrior immediately took as an excuse to rag on the tank.

Wish I could say I stood up against this despicable bullying, but all I bothered with was a quick ‘keep it civil’, followed by tuning out the subsequent bullshit. That tank ended up leaving, and the remainder of the party simply kicked the warrior. Too late, though.

Artist's reproduction of all parties concerned

That tank – who was still learning on her first tanking character – has now had yet another adversarial interaction with a party. She’s got to weigh that attitude against however much she wants to learn the role. She’s got to consider whether the droves of acrimonious tanks may be onto something.

Meanwhile Captain Cretin the warrior goes on the forums and complains about long queue times and tanks who won’t treat him like the special snowflake his kindergarten teacher told him he was.

Truly horrifying is the comment by the warrior that “I don’t even have a tank spec on any of my toons and I’m doing better than you”. At rushing the dungeon? At holding aggro on one or two mobs out of a pack after getting initial aggro anyway? Certainly not at taking less damage. What the hell exactly did this guy think was the tank’s job? Because from where I’m sitting it looks like a stereotypical imbecile who only plays DPS and expects the tank’s job to be ‘wrap a special bubble around me as suits my special status and roll it through the dungeon as quickly as possible’.

I’m sorry, random clod, but what you were doing wasn’t tanking better than the tank, it was DPSing extremely badly. And I wish I could have said that before we kicked you, but it’s too late for that now as well.