Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guest Post: Nibelung

I was talking about Nibelung with the elemental shaman in my guild, Bergg (formerly Darkness, who you may have heard of), and he directed me to an excellent post of his on that covers his objections to the weapon.

While this is from the point of view of an elemental shaman, most of his points are valid for any class and should be considered.  They also cover most of the reasons I don't want to use Nibelung for my gear set.

So with his permission:
Let me first say that "fun" procs don't work in high end raiding.

Marrowgar.  When your valkyr stands in the fire, it will die, regardless of the fact that it can heal itself.  When your valkyr stands in the whirlwind, it will die.  When you turn to DPS Bone Spikes, your valkyr won't help you.  You--the best burst DPS class in the game--could have done more damage to that Bone Spike if you had put on a one-hander and shield, but instead, your valkyr is attacking a boss that doesn't have a notable enrage timer.

Deathwhisper.  You're attacking a magic vulnerable add, and so is your valkyr.  The magic vulnerable add dies.  Your valkyr proceeds to cast spells on the nearby magic immune add.  It is now doing less than 1 DPS.  If you get particularly unlucky, your valkyr may attack and kill a friend who gets mind controlled.

Saurfang.  You are THE best kite class/spec in the game for this fight.  It is highly unlikely that a valkyr will spawn during your kite, as you aren't casting as often.  Prior to Blood Beasts, any valkyr procs you get will continue to attack Saurfang instead of the Blood Beasts.  The valkyrs are doing 0 DPS to the most important part of the fight.

Rotface's slime spray will kill your valkyr.

Festergut's plague ability will kill your valkyr.

On Putricide, your valkyr will die to slime, bombs, and mutated oozes.  Your valkyr will not switch to kill the green or orange slimes, the most important part of the fight.  Should any of your valkyr survive, they will constantly be adversely affected by extreme travel times.

On Princes, your valkyr may get stuck on a Kinetic Orb, or an inactive Prince.

On Blood Queen, your valkyr will die to the fire and the bloodbolts.

On Dreamwalker, your valkyr will be adversely affected by movement, and they will not target the newest dangerous enemies.  Instead of having the DPS to kill Blazing Skeletons before they wipe your raid, you will be contributing by having a valkyr, which is attacking a harmless target.  --Actually, now that I think about it, the valkyr won't be attacking a harmless target.  The valkyr will be dead because of the Blazing Skeleton AOE.

On Sindragosa, the valkyr is a double-edged blade.  It can attack when you can't--when you have Unchained Magic, or when you are behind an ice block.  It can also prematurely destroy the ice block that your raid is standing behind, and wipe your raid, and waste a limited attempt.  In the event that it doesn't wipe you, it will die to the frost AOE and the stacking buffet and the cleave and the tail whip and the frost breath and frost bombs and ice block explosions.

Lich King requires even greater and smarter add switching and DPSing than Dreamwalker.  In Phase 1, your valkyr will quickly revert to attacking the closest thing in proximity--probably a harmless ghoul, which was going to be cleaved down anyway.  That will increase your Recount DPS, but in reality, it is 0 DPS; it is ineffective raid DPS, on a fight where you WILL die to the enrage.  (I did last night; 5% from a kill.)  In Phase 3, it is unlikely that you will get a valkyr spawn while DPSing the Val'kyr Shadowguard--so when your friend gets dragged off of the edge of the platform and dies, you can let them know that you decided to give some of your DPS to your valkyr, which was attacking the Lich King instead--or, in a more real scenario, dying to Defile.  In Phase 5, your valkyr will not switch to Vile Spirits because of proximity, despite the fact that they will kill anyone they hit--including the valkyr--and need to be killed immediately.  You also need the kite the Vile Spirits, so much like Saurfang, it is unlikely that the valkyrs will appear at all.  In Phase 5 and 6, you will be phased and killed.  Both phasing and death destroys any valkyrs you had up at the time.  Now you will have to wait for them to proc again to resume your DPS' full potential.

Oh, and--yes, like haste--they don't affect totems.  The difference between haste and valkyrs is that haste helps you win the game all the time, and valkyrs sometimes wipe your raid.

Take your pick.

I also thought of some other incredibly dangerous scenarios:

- Your valkyr may attack frost orbs on Heroic Anub'arak, wiping your raid.
- Your valkyr may attack a CC'd target on Faction Champions, wiping your raid.
- Your valkyr may attack dark orbs on Princes, wiping your raid.
- Your valkyr may continue attacking Putricide even after your raid leader calls for a stop on DPS.  This can wipe your raid.
- Your valkyr may continue attacking the Lich King even after your raid leader calls for a stop on DPS.  This can wipe your raid.
- You can't be on star or constellation duty on Algalon with Nibelung, because the valkyrs may prematurely kill your stars or constellations, wiping the raid.
- Your valkyr may kill a Mimiron piece out of order, wiping your raid.
- Your valkyr may kill a Freya elemental out of order, wiping your raid.

And as far as I know, valkyrs are unable to take advantage of gimmick buffs, which WOTLK is full of.  (source)


  1. I did a post about this here :

    The value of Nibelung for Moonkin is slightly different to other casters due to how easily we hit our various soft caps etc.

    First of all some of your examples are flawed. The Valkyr will only attack a frost orb if you attacked a frost orb. Your valkyr will only attack a CC'd target on FC if you attacked a CC'd target on FC.

    Regarding points where a RL calls for a halt on DPS, the Valkyr is doing comparable damage to a DoT. DPS halts should be called with DoT damage taken into account. In any instance where a Valkyr kills something out of order, then whatever it is has been DPSed too low to start with.

    One of Bergg's negatives - a Valkyr getting stuck on an orb in princes - I view as a positive. In 10-man I was keeping orbs up solo this week, and when I managed to get a Valkyr on one of them that kept an orb out of the picture simplifying my job allowing more DPS time on Princes.

    Some fights will be better for Nibelung than others, but ruling it out entirely as a "gimmick" is a little foolish. In endgame I intend to carry both Nibelung and (eventually) a more "standard" MH/OH combo. In the shorter term I will stand with Nibelung.

  2. (Hamlet):

    This is completely overblown. Most of the parade of horribles consists of "it will DPS something even if you're not supposed to DPS it," but it's DPSing a rather tiny amount--no more than the DoT's people usually have ticking anyway. This is why you leave a cushion of a few% on things that you're not supposed to kill. Similarly, continuing to DPS something even if you switch targets is a property that all DoT's have in the first place (and do they respond to /petattack? I've never checked).

    It would be a more useful post if, instead of reaching for really contrived reasons just to support the preconceived notion that the weapon was bad, you focused on analyzing at which fights would be worth swapping for something else.

    It's a fine weapon. Only thing better is the Arthas mace. Literally not a single one of your list of ICC problems strikes me as a convincing reason not to use the weapon otherwise.

  3. I'm inclined to agree with the above comments. Just looking over the situations, it seems like all of the situations are unlikely at best. Especially those centered around a Valkyr killing a mob that it's not supposed to. The damage that the Valkyr puts out is not even comparable to melee white attacks.

    IMO, the most persuading argument above is the one centered around gimmick buffs. If your Valkyr doesn't benefit from any gimmick buffs, then it is worth relatively less during those times than "equivalent" stats. Like Hamlet said, I think an analysis of which fights would best benefit from switching weapons would prove to be much more useful.

  4. I agree that many of the situations listed are unlikely, but that doesn't mean they are invalid - especially if you are in a guild that is going to be doing limited attempt bosses.

    The common thread behind what Bergg has posted boils down to a couple of simple issues:
    1) Valks do not target switch (and I have tested - the do not respond to /petattack). This makes them unreliable dps in any target-switch situation. Keep in mind also that their AI is unreliable - for example, if you are dpsing on Anub and AOEing, a valk spawned could decide to kill a frost orb after one of the adds dies. You have zero control over that. On Sindragosa you are dpsing ice blocks with relatively very low health, if you spawn valks they could kill someone. The fact that these situations are unlikely doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them.
    2) Valks do not benefit from gimmick buffs.

    Not mentioned by Bergg but still important is the fact that a 2% proc is extremely unreliable. You will see many, many fights where you get a below average proc rate. You will also see fights where you get more dps from them, but you have no control over that. Maybe the BQL attempt where you get amazing valk procs is also the one where someone messes up, gets MCed 3 minutes in and wipes the raid. Maybe the low valk proc attempt would have been a kill, but ends as a 1% wipe.

    I just cannot want to invest dps in a proc like that. The stats (not counting spell power) on my MH/OH combo are still worth around 200 dps, even past both caps. That's pretty valuable. It works in all situations, it's there when I need burst dps, and it's there every single attempt. It pays attention when I target switch and I can stop it on demand.

    Now in the end - Nibelung is probably fine for most raiders. I wouldn't use it on Sindragosa (could kill Ice Blocks which have low health), and I wouldn't use it on the Lich King - too many adds, too much target switching. But for me, I simply don't like the RNG element. I want to maximize my controlled dps, and Nibelung is not controlled.

  5. One more comment that I just thought of.

    There are really three kinds of wipes:
    1) A single player messes up and wipes the raid (not moving fast enough for defile/standing in it, for example).
    2) Failing a dps race - boss enrages before you can kill it.
    3) Incremental wipes. This is harder to quantify but for example:
    P1 LK, the second player with the disease messes up and goes to the wrong place. Disease ends up on a ghoul. This makes the adds last longer, even into p2.
    In P2, because dps is used on the Shambling Horrors two Raging spirits are up with almost full health at the start of P3.
    In P3, the valkyr shadowguards pick up three healers. With two Raging Spirits up, Lich King Soul Reapers the tank and the remaining healers cannot keep up. Raid wipes.

    There are tiny mistakes and tiny things you can do that will have a compounding effect. If you mess up early it can impact your raid later on - I saw this ALL THE TIME while learning Lich King, practically every wipe was someone making a small mistake that then compounded. Small mistakes can wipe your raid.

    Nibelung valks aren't controlled, they are another source (even though unlikely) of tiny mistakes. They can also contribute to you not making a dps race.

  6. Are you sure they can target things like Frost Spheres? Starfall doesn't hit them. I think they're neutral until attacked.

    I understand that conceptually, undirected DPS is kind of disconcerting. I just can't think of a single example in ICC or ToC offhand where it can cause a problem. (What is the Ice Tomb issue people keep talking about? Who leaves Ice Tombs at 5000 HP when people are still hiding behind them? If you did, there would be 10 other things in the raid that have a chance of accidentally killing them).

    So issue 1: them causing wipes by killing something that's not supposed to die. Well, I'll just say, tell me if this ever happens to anyone (whole raid has switched off of a target, no DoT's left on it, lone Val'kyr plinking away until it dies and a wipe ensues). I won't hold my breath.

    Issue 2: they don't focus important targets with you. This is more believable. Still having a hard time coming with example where more total DPS isn't better, though. Saurfang is a tight DPS race unto himself, so DPS on his body is always valuable. Lich King, maybe. Blood Princes if they'll attack a 1HP target.

    Issue 3: don't benefit from unusual player buffs. I probably wouldn't use it at BQL for this reason if you have a comparable weapon (although, Moonkin typically get bitten late, so I'm not even sure how much it matters). Don't think there are any others in the zone.

  7. Big issue with all of your complaints: After the target you were dpsing when the valkyr spawned is dead, the Valkyr will WAIT TO SWITCH TARGETS - it will not auto attack. What it will next attack is the next mob YOU start attacking. Therefore, unless you are casting on a magic immune mob for some reason, your valkyr will not be casting on it.
    Granted, it does not switch targets with you, or respond to normal pet commands, but it does have a (possible bug?) where while your pet (warlock pet, tree-ents) is out AND alive it will respond to the commands you give that pet.
    The fact that the Val'kyrs do not atuo-attack the nearest enemy means that if it's hitting on the wrong enemy, it's a stupid player, not a stupid valkyr.

  8. on heroic lich king you need to maximize valks dps. Nibelung's not going to help you do that.