Monday, March 3, 2008

Entry 4 - Tap That Trinket!

If you played anytime towards the end of Classic WoW but right before the Burning Crusade was released, I'm sure you remember all the whining that went on about mages using spelldamage trinkets to Pyroblast people into oblivion. It seemed you couldn't get ten posts down the official forums without someone else complaining that some mage (or enterprising warlock) had one or two shotted them in their last BG session. Granted, this was at a time when players with access to these trinkets usually also had access to significantly better gear too, meaning the divide between the one-shotter and the one-shotee was fairly large. At a time when over +400 spell damage was almost unheard of, and resilience had yet to rear its anti-crit head, using a trinket to boost your spell damage up over the threshhold of normalcy led to some fairly big numbers.

Then Hellfire Penninsula opened up, and all of a sudden almost every spell caster in the game had access to a powerful, easy to acquire trinket that did almost the same thing as the long-coveted Talisman of Ephemereal Power: Ancient Crystal Talisman. This lovely green item, obtained early in the 60-70 grind, stayed with me until I finally found a better trinket in Icon of the Silver Crescent. It's been only recently, however, that I've been getting real mileage out of my Use trinkets.

Oh sure, I knew how to pop a trinket before applying my DoTs in an instance to maximize my damage on bosses. I'd even made a nifty little button on my cast bar that set off my shiny bauble (applaud me, I am so brilliant). But when it came to the solo grind, however, I was woefully remiss in consistently maximizing my potential.

See, the problem with the trinkets is that they require you to keep track of the 2 minute cooldown, something that can get seriously annoying while grinding. What's the solution? It's not very elegant, but here is mine:

#showtooltip Unstable Affliction
/Use 14
/Cast Unstable Affliction

That's it. A two-line macro that a trained monkey could have strung together. Replace 14 with 13 if you happen to have your on-use spell damage trinket in the first instead of second slot, and replace Unstable Affliction with whatever spell you like to open with while soloing. I've tried it with Curse of Agony, and that works fine too. What the macro does is to simply activate your trinket every time you cast the spell in question. Most of the time it will be on cooldown, and your toon will often shout that he "can't do that", but it will guarantee that you will have the proc up as much as possible while grinding, at no extra effort to you.

There are a few issues with the macro that you'd have to do some digging to resolve. First of all, it does not go "red" when your target is out of range of the spell you have it set to. This is annoying more than anything, as you can usually glance at one of your similar spells to see if you're in range (most affliction spells, for instance, have the same spell range), but it's something you need to keep in mind. Also, you're going to see the gray spin timer over the icon when your trinket is on cooldown, which gives the misleading impression that the spell ITSELF is uncastable. This is not the case. You could sit there spamming the button and it would cast every chance it got, whether the trinket is on CD or not. It's just visually confusing.

The upside though is, as long as you are grinding, you will be maximizing the use of your trinket. In most cases, this means that, every two minutes, you will be rocking out with over 100 more spell damage than normal. I've found that it's changed the way I tackle grind sessions, as I'm constantly watching the little gray spin timer to see how much longer I have till my next kick, and saving a pack of mobs for just such occasions. Another option is just mapping the trinket activation to a handy key and spamming it periodically, but I'm one of those lazy players who would probably forget. This takes the guesswork out through sheer repetition.

Couple it with a cool conditional trinket (such as the drool-inducing DoT amplifier out of the 5-man Sunwell Dungeon) or the Exalted Shata'ri Skyguard one for some seriously ridiculous grinding. May every elemental you kill yield 2 motes, and every Blood Elf an Arcane Tome. Happy hunting.

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