What to do with Shadowmourne?   3 comments

*Updated to reflect 11/18 datamined informtion for Shadow’s Edge and 11/19 for Shadowmourne.  Updated information is courtesy of mmo-champion.  Updated information will be notated in Orange.

Orange does strange things to people.  It always has, and it likely always will.  In order to prevent any sort of drama that tends to follow the orange pixels around, anyone that intends to step foot into Ice Crown Citadel should start thinking now about how to award the newest legendary, Shadowmourne.

Right now we know very little about the weapon itself, and if it’s very much like Val’ynar we won’t know much more about it until the time is upon us to make the decision to award the weapon.  Great…once again we need to semi-blindly pick a good candidate without all the best information to base the decision.  Bleh.  Well, let’s review what we do know about Shadowmoune:

  • Shadowmoune is a two handed axe.  This will limit who may wield this weapon to 4 3 classes: Death Knights, Paladins, Warriors and Hunters.  However, based on the proc (explained later) we can effectively rule out this being a hunter weapon (more on this below).  *edit: Datamined information confirms that this weapon will only be equipable for Warriors, Death Knights and Paladins.
  • The weapon proc is stated as such: “Your weapon swings have a chance to drain a Soul Fragment from their undead, demon and elemental victims.  When you have acquired 10 soul fragments you will unleash Chaos Bane, dealing 6849-7560 shadow damage split between all undead, demons, and elementals within 8 yards.   *edit: “Your weapon swings have a chance to drain a soul fragment granting you 40 strength.  When you have acquired 10 soul fragments you will unleash Chaos Bane, dealing 1900-2100 shadow damage split between all enemies within 8 yards”
    • The language “your weapon swings” I think pretty clearly indicate that this is intended to be a melee weapon, and effectively rule it out as a stat stick for hunters.  Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I am willing to bet that hunters will not be on the class limitations of the weapon.
  • It seems from the pretty cool lore behind the weapon that there will be quests involved to upgrade the weapon to its maximum potential.  My guess is that there will be three stages/quests for the weapon.  Some of the things stated about Shadowmourne:
    • To contain the energies that dance across its cold edges, Shadowmourne must be hewn from piles of impure Saronite: the hardened blood of the Old God, Yogg-Saron, treated only by master metal-shapers.
    • To fuel its power to kill, it is vital that Shadowmourne be drenched in the souls of the most potent servants of the Scourge as they are slain, one by one, with the unfinished blade.
    • To help break through the Lich King’s armor, Shadowmourne is to be adorned with fragments of the Frozen Throne, originally crafted by Kil’jaeden out of the ice from the Twisting Nether.

So, how do you decide who gets this weapon in your guild?  What is the best way to go about making this decision?  Let’s take a look at some of the things that Monolith is looking at in making our decision.

Keep in mind as we go through this, that a lot of the information is based on speculation and as we receive more information about Shadowmourne, more things may need to be considered with regards to its distribution.  Before even going down to an individual player analysis, there are some broad things to be considered.

  • Is Shadowmourne a tanking or DPS weapon?  While my money is pretty solidly on a DPS weapon, it probably isn’t prudent to rule out that it may be a tanking weapon.  I find this highly unlikely as it would severely limit the weapon to one class, and I just don’t see that happening.  However, there is always the possibility that it may follow Ateish and have a variable selection of options.  I also find this unlikely, as Blizzard didn’t take this route with Val’ynar, when there was a lot bigger argument for diversity.
  • Should Racials be taken into consideration?  I am fairly certain that this is only applicable to Orcs, but I’m not so famaliar with alliance racials that I can be positive.  However, orcs get extra benefit from utilizing axes, thus arguably making this a better weapon for an orc than any other race.  Now, for those min-maxers out there, perhaps this will come into play in making your decision on how to award the weapon.  However, it is my personal opinion that there are far more important things to be considered than if the player happened to be an orc.
  • Should potential changes to spec be considered?  I can’t count the number of times our DK’s have had to respec in order to maximize their damage.  I am hoping that it’s settled down some now and Blizzard is at least somewhat happy with the state of the DK.  We currently have 3 DPS DKs, one blood, one frost and one unholy.  Two of them use two handers, and all three are competitive in damage.  This, of course, is less of an issue with Fury warriors, as they will dual wield two handed weapons.  Should this be taken into account?  Eh…their preferred spec should be, absolutely.  You clearly don’t want to award the item to someone who doesn’t wield a two handed, but on the opposite token, I don’t think you want to be looking into your crystal ball trying to guess if blizzard is going to make changes such that Dks don’t want to use two handed weapons anymore either.  I’d also be fairly willing to bet that they guy with the orange isn’t going to respec to make his orange obsolete!
  • Stats – Fortunately, all melee two handers largely use the same set of stats: Strength, Stamina, Attack Power, Crit, Haste and Armor Penetration.  It is my guess that the weapon will have some combination of the stats I just listed.  Just like Val’anyr, there will probably be some stat on there that will favor one class more than another and once it’s released we will see the “OMG IT’S A BLAH WEAPON!!!”.  Just like with Val’anyr, I’m willing to be that all of the stats will be good for the three classes that can make use of the weapon, but there will probably be a stat that is marginally better for one class than another.  And to that I say you should make the decision to award the weapon the player that deserves it the most.  Maybe Armor Penetration (as an example) is slightly less useful for them…but it is largely going to be the proc and other stats that make the weapon, so don’t pigeon hole your distribution of the weapon based solely on “stats”…it’s not fair to your members!  I strongly believe that it is Blizzard’s intent to make the weapon good for all that can use it.*edit: Datamined stats for Shadow’s Edge  and Shadowmourne have been found.  DISCLAIMER: These are datamined from the PTR and are quite likely to change, but should give us a good idea as to how the stats will look.  Keep in mind that these are stats for just the underlying weapon required to build Shadowmourne, and it can be assumed that Shadowmourne’s stats will be an upgrade to those found on Shadow’s Edge.

    Shadow’s Edge
    Speed: 3.7
    872-1309 Damage (294.7 Damage Per Second)
    185 Stamina
    185 Strength
    Red Socket x2 (Socket Bonus: + 6 Strength)
    Classes: Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight
    Equip: Improves critical strike raiting by 92
    Equip: Improve your Armor Penetration by 92

    Speed 3.7
    954-1592 Damage (344.1 damage per second)
    +198 Stamina
    +223 Strength
    Red Socket x 3 (socket bonus +8 Strength)
    Classes: Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight
    Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 114
    Equip: Increases your armor penetration rating by 114

Ok, well, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, how are we going to decide who we are going to be distributing our weapon?  Well, quite similarly to how we decided to distribute Val’anyr, we are going to set some guidelines for things we are going to look at in picking our recipient.  We are going to take a number of factors into account, and then run the candidates through the filter.  After you’ve decided how you are going to make your decision, take the time to share that information with your guild, so that they know how the decision is being made.  Here are some of the guidelines that we are looking at:

  • Attendance – While this is likely not going to be as big an issue as it was with Val’anyr, because it doesn’t appear that you are going to have to collect a bajillion fragments, it does seem that there is likely going to be parts of the questline that are going to require completion of certain things within Ice Crown.  You are going to want to make sure that your recipient is there.  Of course, you also want someone who is going to be there to use the weapon!  That being said, have a back up!  Know who your second and third choices will be in the event that your recipient isn’t there when the first piece of the weapon drops.
  • Attitude – Like with all of our loot distribution, attitude plays an important role.  We like people to show up with a positive attitude regardless of how many times we are going to wipe that night, and keep giving 100% for every minute of every raid.  These are qualities that we feel should be recognized and rewarded.  If you’ve thrown a fit about not receiving a loot drop, dodged progression nights or threatened to quit the guild for any reason, you probably aren’t going to be high on the list for receiving this item.
  • Performance – The cold truth is that this item is going to be awarded to one of our top performers.  We understand the limitations placed on each class, and the challenges that they face, we understand how to read WoL, we know who is doing their job and who is AFK and auto-attacking.
  • Accountability – This really could go hand in hand with the performance bullet above.  We want to award this item to a member who is accountable for their actions.  If they make a mistake, did they acknowledge it and accept advice on how to resolve the problem, do they actually fix the problem?  If they miss a raid or have something that means they are going to be late, do they inform the leadership?  Do they complain frequently or offer constructive suggestions?
  • Length of Time in the Guild – As I stated above, when we were making decisions on who should receive Shadowmourne, we want it to go to someone who is going to stay with our guild.  The best indicator of that is how long you’ve been in the guild, and how you handled rough patches.  We have been around day one, and have been raiding since Molten Core.  A number of our members are part of this old guard and have shown their dedication to the guild in spades.  We also have some newer members who also have shown amazing dedication as well, but if it came down to a tie between a member that has been with the guild for a year, or one that has been with the guild for four years, this would certainly be a factor that we looked at in making our decision.
  • Helpfulness outside of Raids – This was not so much a factor in our Val’anyr discussions, as for all of our serious candidates, this was a given.  However, because we have some very strong contenders that are fairly equal on almost all accounts and we needed to look at some additional factors.  This was one of the factors that is being considered.  Is the person available outside of raid times?  Do they offer to help others in the guild if it’s needed?  While this is not much of a consideration for our normal loot distribution, as we only require folks to be online for raids, it is something that we are taking into account, albeit not hugely, in making our decision.

Alright, so now that we’ve set out our guidelines, we need to filter our players through them!  We have a total of six eligible candidates (we are sticking with our assumption that this will not be a hunter weapon).  Of those six, one is a tank so we are going preliminarily eliminate him, going on the assumption that this is first and foremost ment to be a DPS weapon.  Of course, should it turn out to have a tanking option, we will re-evaluate.  But let’s be clear about that…it needs to be clearly made for tanking, not a good DPS weapon that makes a good tanking weapon.  Even if it ends up being a BiS tanking item, similar to how Val’anyr was a BiS moonkin weapon, unless there is something that would make this better in the hands of a tank than a DPS, we will continue to view it as a DPS weapon.

That leaves us with 5 candidates.  Three death knights, one arms warrior and one ret paladin.  Of those five, two are new additions to the guild (one being someone who left and just recently came back), which pares it down to three candidates for us.  One DK, one warrior and one paladin.

These three players all have exceptional attendance.  They all perform very well in raids, always come prepared and never shirk progression nights.  So, we do have to filter through some of the other factors that we listed in order to make our decision.  Who complains?  Who is available outside of raids? 

We have come to a preliminary decision on who our first Shadowmourne will be awarded to, but we are still trying to decide who will receive our second if we are lucky enough to see two.  I would go into a bit more detail about how we filtered through folks to get our first recipient, but I know some of my guildmates read this blog, and because it’s not been announced, and because our decision is largely preliminary at this point, I don’t want to be hugely obvious, in the event that we learn more about the weapon and we change our mind!

I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing who is going to receive Shadowmourne before you step foot into Ice Crown Citadel.  Once you’ve decided and you feel it ripe to announce it, make sure that you share not only your choice, but the factors that went into making the decision.  If you’ve been careful about it, you should have your guild’s support for the decision that was made.

I hope that this was helpful, and I wish you good luck on your long journey to Arthas!

3 responses to “What to do with Shadowmourne?

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  1. Unless the stats are really wonky I just don’t think Shadowmourne should be immediately dismissed as a tanking weapon for Death Knights.

    I know shocking, the guy who plays a DK tank wants the legendary for tanking, but despite my bias I really do think that tanks should at least be considered as candidates for this weapon. A DK tank’s weapon is arguably her most important bit of gear in many ways.

    That said, even I’m of the opinion that priority should probably be weighted more towards dps. Still, it should be given a lot of thought.

    • Shayzani, I did state that it should not be immediately written off for your tanks. I think I said it twice even! 😉 I also stated that in our discussions we were only “preliminarily” eliminating our DK tank, but would reconsider once the stats were made available.

      So…I guess I’m saying that I agree they shouldn’t be ruled out completely, I am just suspecting that it is going to be better suited in the hands of a DPS.

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