Friday, February 29, 2008

50K!

According to my nifty little site counter, this site has reached 50,000 views.

Thank you to all the visitors, commentors, and Lurkers. I hope you continue to enjoy what you find on my blog.

Big thanks to World Of Warcraft, Ardent Defender, Positive Warrior, MainTankadin, Repair Bill, and Zen Tanking for linking to me and referring people here.

2.4 Badge Gear

2.4 was announced that Blizzard would be introducing "Tier 6" level Badge gear.

The Legs and Ring look pretty good. Both of the Chests have possibilities but the boots are just bad. The Belt is situational. You would think for their cost and being an entire Tier above the 2.3 Badge they would be clear upgrades in all cases.

Not so much.

First up we have the big ticket item,

Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor
1406 Armor
78 Stamina
Red Socket
Yellow Socket
25 Defense
43 Dodge
37 Spell damage

Comparing it to the 2.3 Legs, Unwavering Legguards.

5 stamina, 3 defense, 43 dodge, 37 spell damage

-1 socket, -30 Block Rating, -59 Block Value

The stamina and defense are easily made up by the extra socket, but the Dodge and Spell Damage blow the old badge legs out of the water.

It seems like I'd want the new Badge Legs for Bosses and threat fights and use the old badge legs in my Block Value set.

100 Badges and it looks like a definite BUY!

They've also added a new Tanking Ring to Badges.

Ring of the Stalwart Protector
392 Armor
45 stamina
28 Dodge

Compared to the Violet Signet of the Great Protector,

+8 Stamina, +28 Dodge

-19 Defense

Assuming I can take the hit in the defense department, this would be an upgrade in most of my sets.

There is new Chest from Badge rewards.

Shattrath Protectorate Breastplate
1668 Armor
78 Stamina
Blue Socket
26 Defense
34 Spell Hit
60 Spell Damage

The Spell Hit really boggles my mind. We only have a couple of skills that rely on spell hit, and those aren't even what I'd consider critical ones. Avengers Shield and Taunt both go off melee hit.

Compared to the Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian,

18 stamina, 4 defense, 25 spell damage

-2 sockets, -38 dodge

The sockets easily equalize out the stamina and defense gains making it a trade of spell damage for dodge.

Initially this looks like a poor trade, however, I'm getting close to having over 25% dodge in nearly every gear set. It might actually make sense to reduce my dodge a little bit and pick up more spell damage, especially if I pick up dodge on the new ring and the new legs.

Now we look at the boots. They recently changed on the PTR to add some additional armor and changed the name as well.

Blues Greave's of the Righteous Guardian
1212 Armor
58 Stamina
Red Socket
23 Spell Hit
34 Shield Block Rating
26 Spell Damage

Comparing these to my current boots, the Sabatons of the Righteous Defender

100 armor, 13 stamina, 5 spell hit, 34 shield block RATING, 3 spell damage
-1 less gem slot
-18 Defense
-30 Block Value

For 75 badges? This is Tier 6 level Badge gear? Give me Righteous Defender any day.

Next up, we have the Girdle of the Fearless.

904 Armor
58 Stamina
Red Socket
34 Defense
23 Hit Rating
22 Expertise

One of the reason I dig the Aldori Legacy Defender so much is because it has the melee hit for Righteous Defense and Avenger's Shield. Nearly every time I do the Bear Avatar in ZA, I get at least one taunt resisted. Those resists have caused wipes or a slow down and have prevented us from beating the timer. Since I won't be seeing the ALD anytime soon, I could substitute this belt in my gearset for situations where a taunt is critical, but it remains a fairly situational piece, and won't be a high priority.

Finally, you have the much anticipated "Warrior" Chest.

Chestguard of Stoicism
1668 Armor
78 Stamina
Red Socket
51 Defense
34 Dodge
39 Block Value

Compared to my current Block Value chest, The Panzar'thar Breastplate,

210 Armor, 27 Stamina, 25 Defense, 34 Dodge
-2 sockets, -24 block rating

The Stamina difference can almost be made up for by the sockets, and you trade the Block Rating for Defense. You pick up some good armor, and healthy amount of dodge.

I do a ton of AoE tanking right now (Tidwalker, Dragonhawk, soon Solarian) so this is definitely a purchase I need to consider.

The Legs, both chests, and the ring come to a nice round 360 badges. The belt would increase that to 435 badges.

Alt Run and Arena

Not really much to report from last night. I logged in and got asked to do a Kara run for a group of alts. I asked if I could take my friend's mage.
Aoesrus has changed jobs recently and his work schedule makes it difficult to raid, so I've been trying to get him in some Kara's for badges, and a couple of pieces of loot that he needs.
Last week, I was able to play Aoesrus in Kara for a PuG and I have to say it was pretty fun. Before I zoned in, Adam, Aoesrus real player, gave me a spell rotation and some tips on how to play a mage.
The first boss we did was Curator. I died a couple of times on the trash when I would run in and start Arcane Explosion on the little mana feeders. Adam told me later Blizzard would have been a better choice.
We get through that and pull Curator. I was Ice Lancing Astral Flares and Frostbolting Curator during Evocation. I think I did okay.
After that we went up to Shade of Aran. I did my best to counterspell his Fireballs, but wow does counterspell have a long cooldown. We didn't end up killing Shade and I had to go at that point because it was getting late.
I was number 3 on the DPS charts, and I have to say, it was pretty fun.
I really started to wonder if I should have leveled my own mage instead of my hunter. I had soloed with Aoesrus back when Adam was leveling to try to help him level, and I didn't like it. I'd see a group of 2 mobs and know that I could take them with my hunter (trap 1, kill 1), but I didn't have a clue how to take them on Aoesrus.
Now what I want to do is get my Hunter in there and see if it was the Mage playstyle or just being DPS, and doing something different.
But last night, my tank was needed, so I went on Honorshammer. We cleared up to Shade and I got 11 Badges.
After Karazhan, I got asked to do Arenas with my 5s team. It was late but I agreed although as it turned out I almost didn't do Arena's at all.
When I joined up, I was informed they were adding someone to the team for the night. It was a guy in my guild that I just don't get along with. We've had our share of disagreements and arguments, and I had decided it was best for us not to do any small group content together. I can't help 25 mans, but I can avoid him as much as possible in 5 and 10 mans.
So when I saw he join the team, I left it. I would rather not have gotten Arena points than do them with this guy.
The irony is, we are very similar people, he and I, which is probably why we annoy each other so much.
He leaves the team, and they invite me back. We went either 2-8 or 3-7, I can't remember.
We had a horrible matrix. Rogue, Warlock, Resto Druid, Holy Priest, and Prot Paladin.
None of us have any significant PVP gear. I think I had the most with 200 Resilience, which was fine in Season 2, but not so much in Season 3.
After having our teammates burst down, I ended up trying to help DPS the Rogues target, Cleanse as much as I could, and throw a heal now and then. I would have respec to Ret but I'm going to be Tanking this weekend, so I didn't want to have to respec twice in about 24 hours.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It Keeps Us Going

Hey Honor how you doing? I have only been to kara once since we spoke. But anyway, I main tanked Attumen, Moroes and healed on maiden. The others said that a pally tank wasn’t any good for maiden, so I just off healed, question is, is that true?
We made it to romeo and Juliet and wiped a few times and everyone called it, couldn’t get a group since. So I took on romeo, dispelled the poison off myself since no pally healers, and got him down to 4%, and the rogue missed the heal on Juliet as she healed herself from 3 to 27% and the healer missed heal on me. We wiped and people started to break and that was that.
I am now like 516 or something and 1.98% crushable. I didn’t seem to get one shot at all.
Sorry for such a long email, I was just happy with my performance, that I owe all to you from reading your blog and wanted to give you a little info on how I did
The other question that I meant to ask is what do you do for spell power? With all the gear that I have obtained is for defense and stamina and such, what do you do to make up for the lack of the spell power? I only have 23 right now, which I know is low, but haven’t had too much trouble keeping aggro, I only worry about it as the rest in my group get better equipped.
I again thank you for all your help and also would like to let you know now that I have been making a little name for myself and started to get whispered quite a lot to come tank a heroic for people I tell them that I am only following your threat rotation recommendations lol :P
I'm glad to hear your first Kara went well. I remember well my first night. I was very nervous, and excited all at the same time. Our plan was just to try Attumen, but we got him down on our first night of attempts.
1. Maiden
The reason people don't dig Paladin Tanks on her is the .5 second silence she does every second. To counteract this, you've got to spam your abilities so that they eventually go off. Paladins are valuable for dispelling Holy Fire and for using Blessing of Sacrifice to get out of Repentance, then healing the tank until the other healers are out.
I actually prefer to heal this fight. I only heal two fights in all of Kara, Maiden and Shade of Aran. It's really annoying to me to have to sit there and bang away on my keys just to get a Holy Shield or Judgement off. That said, I've tanked her any number of times.
2. Romeo and Juliet
We don't get this event often. We seem to get BBW constantly. Romeo is a fast attacker, which makes him ideal for a Paladin to tank. You just have to have your Warrior, Shaman or Rogue get their interrupts on Juliet or it will go poorly.
3. Uncrushable.
For the bosses you are doing, being a little Crushable shouldn't be a big deal. The further you get into Kara the more important being uncrushable will be. Don't attempt Prince if you are not fully Uncrushable. Hopefully you'll see some upgrades from the Bosses you are doing.
4. Spell Damage.
Replace your Sun Eater with a Continuum Blade from Keeper's of Time. Get a 40 Spell Damage enchant on it. You should be good for all of Kara. After that it's either PVP for spell damage Mace or Zul'Aman for the Amani Punisher.

I Wish I Had Been There

You ever heard a story from your friends from a party or event you should have been at, but for whatever reason you weren't.
This is one of those stories.
Back before I got involved in battling the Burning Legion and becoming a Hero of Azeroth, I played table top Role Playing Games.
I had missed the previous nights session, so my gaming buddies relayed the events of the night.
It started out pretty normal. Our party was in Waterdeep. My character, a Bard named Pter was off playing at a local Inn. The others were investigating some mysterious happenings near the mansion of a prominent Noble.
They were noticed by the guards the Noble has employed to keep his property safe. A fight ensued and the guards will killed.
At this point, 3 young ladies entered the room where my friends were playing. They were friends of my GM's roommate.
Small talk ensued, and the girls asked the GM, named Bob, what he did for a living. He replied that he worked for the VA. Bob then asked Larry, who played a Fighter, what he did. Larry responded that he was a Firefighter.
James, who played a Rogue, had been sort of zoned out and was not paying much attention to the conversion.
Bob turned to James and asked,
"James, what do you do?"
James looked at Bob, deadpan, and said,
"I hide the bodies."
The girls suddenly had somewhere very important they needed to be.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeling Threatened?

I record all my boss fights and upload them to WoWWebStats. WWS is a great tool for examining how you are doing. I generally look at things like how much damage the boss is doing to me or how many crushes I took.

I went back to a couple of my WWS parses because I wanted to see what kind of TPS numbers I was producing. Omen or KTM can give you a snapshot of what you are doing at that moment, but at least for me, my TPS can vary quite a bit as the fight goes along.

I got thinking about this when one of the posters on MainTankadin announced that T5 Tankadins should be producing 700 TPS. I wanted to know how I stacked up to that.

So what I wanted to do was take the total threat produced and divide it by the time of the fight.

The first problem I ran into was that there isn't a fight I'm doing right now that is just a "stand there and produce threat" the whole time.

So with that in mind, I'm going to list out the fights, what my role is and what TPS numbers I produced.

Gruul the Dragonkiller - Hurtful Strike Offtank - 530 TPS

I'm producing 0 threat during Shatter and I'm limited by what the maintank can produce, especially early on in the fight. Blocks are very rare so I get very little if any Holy Shield threat.

Hydross the Unstable - Frost Main Tank - 525 TPS

I'm generally only producing threat during my phase. When he is in Nature Phase, I keep up a stack of Seal of Vengeance to facilitate picking him up when he goes back to Frost. You can't block Hydross because he's an elemental so Holy Shield does not good there.

Magtheridon - Main Tank - 616 TPS

I tank the first Channeler then watch for loose Infernals. After two minutes of the fight, I pick Mag and go to town.

The Lurker Below - Guardian Tank - 110 TPS

I'm only producing significant threat during the Submerge. I burst as much threat as I can on my Guardian. There are long stretches of this fight where I'm offhealing and keeping Judgement of Light going.

Morogrim Tidewalker - Murloc Tank - 976 TPS

Massive AoE threat situation. I tank all 12 Murlocs using healing threat from Holy Light.

What I don't have a feel for is if those are "good" numbers to be producing.

I can infer from the fact that my DPS rarely pulls aggro and has not complained about being threat capped, that I'm doing good on the threat front.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Slow Weekend

My WoW weekend was fairly uneventful. Friday night, our progression Tempest Keep was cancelled. We had enough people online, just not our “core” people, so instead of risking a wipefest, the raid leaders simply called the raid.

I didn’t log on Saturday night at all.

Over the weekend, we had a new Tankadin apply to Mal Katai. When he applied, I went and pulled him up on the Armory. Basically, this guy had been Ret for leveling and didn’t have much tanking gear at all. His gear was still primarily Ret. His spec was a Holy/Port Hybrid. He was both crittable and crushable.

All throughout his application, he talked about wanting to progress and tank. I had to level with the guy, he just wasn’t ready to tank, well anything.

What was in my heart of hearts was to help him. Apparently, my honest appraisal came off a little harsh. So I offered to help him in anyway I could. I linked him to Tankadin 101 and to the MainTankadin boards.

One nice result of the discussion I had with him on the boards, was that I got a really nice compliment from our Raid Leader.

“Honors takes tanking down to the 0.000001 % which is why he is such a good tank...knows his [stuff] imo:P”

He has since joined the guild and made strides in his tanking gear and spec. I actually ran into him outside SSC. He was getting an Heroic UB run going. We had had trouble all night with Horde at the stone so I came out of SSC in my PVP (Healing) gear. I quickly switched to my tanking suit once the stone was clear. But yeah, the uber Tankadin, and the first time he sees me, I'm dressed as a Healbot.

We did manage to finally put a Raid together on Sunday night, although the final 6 or 7 spots were very difficult to fill.

We went back to the “farm” bosses in SSC. We took the opposite approach from Friday night and filled the raid.

Hydross was going well until my Judgment got resisted on a phase change. I tried to shield toss him, but it was too late. I had lost him and he was over the line. Our second attempt was doomed when I got killed just as we were making the transition. I got a Battlerez, but it was so close to the next transition, I didn’t really have time to pick him up.

It took about 3 attempts to get this “farm” boss down. The “I gotta go” chorus started up and we began to swap people in and out.

We cleared trash to Lurker and setup for him. I have limited visibility during the fight. I can basically only see what’s happening on my island and the add that I have to tank. Unlike our previous Lurker attempts, I never lost aggro on my add which I was quite pleased with. It looked like we were losing people to his Spout, how I’m not sure.

Basically, people were just not paying attention. Our final attempt we had two people afk. We wiped twice on Lurker and our GM called it.

We had a heated talk about the need to recruit Raiders. We don’t have enough in Mal Katai. We can’t kick people from Raids for repeated mistakes, and we can’t take a team of dedicated Raiders. Why? It’s simply because we lack the people.

I really enjoy gaming with the guys in Mal Katai, but I’m seriously starting to question if this is the guild I need to be in. I just feel like I take raiding much more seriously than most of my guild. Although to be fair, there is a group within MK who take it seriously as well.

I know Mal Katai is a “casual” guild. I have no problem with that. To me, that is a measure or expression of how much time you raid. Mal Katai shoots for 3 nights a week. That’s fairly “casual”. You can be casual and still be serious inside your raids. You don’t have to have your raids to be boot camps, but at least requiring everyone to be on vent is not too much to ask.

BRK summed it up well “Fun is fun and Work is work. Raids are both. Treat it as such.”

I know some of the people who read my blog are in my guild. I'm not trying to make this sound like a threat. I'd love nothing more than for things to improve dramatically this upcoming week. No canceled raids, farm bosses down in 1 attempt. New bosses attempted.

I really don't want to leave my guild, I'm just not sure what to do.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything

Last night saw another Raid night come and go with no Raid. We had rescheduled our SSC run for the bosses we have down (Hydross/Lurker/Tidewalker) from Tuesday to Thursday.

I logged on about 8:15pm, half expecting the raid invite window to be up on my screen before I fully rendered into the game. It didn’t come. So I flew over to Skettis to pick up a quick 12g from the bombing run there.

Our GM said we were a little light on heals, so I whispered my old friend from Heroes Inc, DarkDescent. Double D, as I call him, runs some of the best premade BG groups on the server. I was fortunate that he had a spot open for me so I ran a couple of Warsong Gulch games with him and a bunch of my old buddies from Heroes.

We won a couple of game fairly easily. DD really runs a tight group. If he had a passion for PVE instead of PVP, he’d make an awesome Raid Leader. As it is, he’s an incredible PVP team leader.

After that, he needed to give my spot to one of his guildies. I totally understood that, thanked them for the group and went on my way.

I saw in guild chat that Regolos and Celoria were looking for an Honor Hold reputation run for their alts. Regolos’ alt is a Priest named Tidwell. Celoria came on her Shadow Priest, Superlative.

Tidwell needed the rep for the Honor Hold head enchant. We use Tidwell as a healer in our 25 man raids, so I’m all about helping him gear up. Both Rego and Celoria are super nice and generous people so it was good to have an opportunity to repay some their kindness to me. Problem being they said they already had a tank and a healer. That pretty much covers the ways in which I can contribute to a group. I offered my assistance and even offered to spec Ret for the run. Lanorah, who was going to tank for the run as Fury, said he’d much rather just DPS and let me tank.

Let the fun begin.

We chose to do a Normal Shattered Halls run. The hardest part of the whole run was trying to figure out my gear. My Dungeon Set 3 was in the bank and I didn’t have time to go grab it. That probably would have been the best stuff to wear. As it was, I went with a block value set but made sure I had the 2 piece Tier 4 set bonus.

We did all kinds of crazy stuff in that instance, pulling 2 or 3 groups at a time. When a Warrior overgears an instance he either removes his leg armor (takes his pants off, lol) or tanks with a two hander; when a Paladin over gears an instance, the group simply increases the size of the pulls.

We finished the run and Tidwell got to Revered with Honor Hold. Gratz!

As the run was finishing up, I got a whisper to run ZA. I dig ZA. The group was put together by Luminati, one of our Holy Priests. Celoria was on the run as well on her Druid.

The Tanks were myself and Bandarno, an awesome Feral Druid. We did Eagle Boss first. Our strat for the trash was for me to tank the two Elites up front AND all the birds while Bandarno worked with our Hunter, Lococrazy, to handle the mobs from the rear. I was a little nervous about tanking all the birds plus the two Elites but I was willing to give it a go.

I was able to tank the two Elites, plus all the little birdies with very little issue.

We got up to the platform. Initially, we were going to have me Tank the Eagle so Bandarno could add to our DPS. I shot that down and said he should Tank Eagle and I should backup heal. We were already melee heavy with a Rogue, and a Fury Warrior in addition to Bandarno being Feral. With me tanking, that’s 4 in melee. With Band, it’s only 3. When the Eagle Boss does his Static Charge, it jumps to nearby players, increasing in damage each jump. That’s a good deal of burst for the healers to have to cope with.

We eventually went with my plan. We had a couple of close calls, but Bandarno was able to live through each one. We also had very good execution for storms. The only bad one one we had was when a certain Tank turned Healer didn't move in far enough.

At 7% to go, we lost our main healer, Luminati. I switched from raid healing to Main Tank healing. At 1% we lost Bandarno, but we were able to finish him off before he wiped us out.

He drops the Amani Punisher again. That’s the third time I’ve seen that thing drop. I think it went to Celoria for her Boomkin set, but I could be mistaken.

We beat the timer on Eagle for the first time. The Bear timer guy is a Troll, so I figured all the timer prisoners would be Trolls, but this one is a Dwarf, a Dwarf who decided to pack Cloth gear in his secret stash. I didn’t look at the item past seeing it was Cloth.

We pulled on down to Bear, and had a couple of wipes on Trash. When the Bear Riders enrage the healers can’t come off their assigned tanks, it’s just too much burst damage to deal with.

We cleaned up our mistakes and got ready to pull Bear Boss. By some miracle, I didn’t get a single taunt resisted the entire fight. He dropped some really nice Mail shoulders that went to our hunter.

At that point we had to call it as a couple people were out of time.

I don’t consider myself to be a jerk, but the entire time I was in there, I kept fighting the temptation to drop little comments here and there about how much easier it would have been if I had a better shield. I never gave into the temptation, as it would have been a really stupid thing to say. It still bothers me that those thoughts came to mind.

With ZA done, Lumi went off to do his 5v5s. I stayed on Vent just to listen in. About halfway through, they found themselves down a guy so I offered to help them finish. I think I went 1-4 with them, but now I’ve gotten my Arenas in for the week, not that I have a clue what I'm going to do with the points, but that's another post for another day.

I did a little bit of everything in one night, except 25 man Raid, of course.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Raid Tuesday

We didn’t raid Tuesday night. I’m not sure exactly why but I think it was because our Raid Leader was ill. So we didn’t get another kill on Hydross/Lurker.

So instead of raiding, I was doing Dailies, fishing, and playing my alts.

I got my Hunter up to level 62. Ganking in Hellfire Peninsula is an order of magnitude worse than when I leveled Honorshammer, and it’s especially bad around the little Cenarion Camp in western Hellfire.

I play on a PVP server, so I understand that ganking comes with the territory. I had one run in with a Horde hunter that was particularly bad.

We must have had all the same quests because I ran into him killing Void Walkers. He engaged and killed me. No big deal, PVP server. I came back, drank and bandaged up and attacked him. I had every advantage I could think of: he was engaged with a mob and I got the drop on him. He killed me anyway. Okay, time to find another quest to do. I go halfway across the zone and start working on another quest. He must have had that one too because a couple of minutes later he comes by and kills me.

At this point, all I wanted to do was to quest a bit on my Hunter. I really didn’t want to engage in PVP anymore. I rezed one more time, looked for yet another questing area, this time closer to the Alliance quest hub at the Temple of Telhamat. Guess who else had a quest over there?

Okay, enough was enough. This guy had killed me four times and basically was making it impossible to play my Hunter. Well, it’s a PVP server. I have options.

IT’S HAMMER TIME!!!

I grabbed Honorshammer, flew over to Hellfire and found him. Swooped down and started attacking him. He kited me almost all the way back to the Horde quest hub of Falcon Watch. I’m a Protection spec Paladin, killing things quickly is not in the resume.

Pro Tip: It’s hard to kite a Paladin with an Epic Flying Helicopter.

I hovered over his inert dead body for a few minutes but decided not to camp him.

Strangest thing was after that, not another Horde in the zone engaged me. Blood Elf Hunter and I did the ‘care bear stare’ for a couple of seconds. A Blood Elf Paladin slipped by me to go kill some mobs. I left them both alone, as that is all I wanted from the Horde at that time.

My Hunter’s name is Honorshummer, my Paladin is Honorshammer. It wouldn’t take a Mensa student to figure out what happened. I wonder if he warned the other Horde in the area.

It’s also very difficult to get groups for the group quests or the instances. When I was leveling Honorshammer, there were plentiful groups for everything and as a tank, I was always in demand.

My Hunter mainly exists to give my Paladin a miner, since I dropped mining for Engineering and still have Jewelcrafting. I know of the 10 million WoW players, about 9 million are Hunters, but I really enjoy the class, and I think it will be fun to level him up to 70. Anyway, I’m going to need a miner for the xpac to skill up Honorshammer’s Jewelcrafting and Engineering.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Long Night With Gruul

Monday night, Mal Katai put together a raid to go to Gruul’s Lair.

Despite our success on Friday with Tidewalker, we really struggled in Gruul’s. This should have been a quick farming run, but once again, we had new people, and alts.

The raid had zero Rogues in it, so we struggled stopping Blindeye from healing. We actually wiped on the first try, but we got him on the second.

Then we went to Gruul. Our Warrior Tank was Lanorah. Within a few moments of the start of the fight, I could tell there was a problem. Lan just wasn’t putting out much threat. He was around 400 TPS the entire time. I really had to hold back to keep from passing him. This held back our melee dps as well as they had to stay below me and I had to stay below Lan.

We had people dying to Shatters. After two attempts, Lan left the raid and Devona joined. Devona was able to put out much better threat. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get over 80% of his threat and was constantly chugging mana pots. That opened it up for our melee to go to town.

What was happening was that Dev or I would get a couple of people around us during a Shatter. We’d be low and then Grull would come after us and kill either myself or Dev before the healers could catch up.

Each time we’ve had a wipefest on Gruul it’s been stated by the officers that we wouldn’t be bringing alts and new people, yet here we were again.

It took about 6 attempts; we actually managed to get him down. He finally drops the tanking shield. I had just spent all my MKP on Friday picking up the Ring of Sundered Souls off of Tidewalker. I was thrilled to get the Ring.

Devona had 5 MKP, because we award MKP to the player and not the toon. The only shot I had at it, was if Devona chose to pass. For raids, Devona normally plays his Holy Paladin, Cellestia.

He chose not to pass, as was his right under our loot system, and he received the Shield.

I was bitterly disappointed. None of the officers asked him to pass, and it wasn’t until AFTER the loot had been distributed that one of them mentioned that it would have been better for the Shield to have gone to me.

When I look at loot, I try to take a raid wide view. I’ve passed on T4 Legs and Chest every time they’ve dropped because they would be situational pieces for me, but a main piece for someone else. Devona/Cellestia didn’t do that. He chose his own personal desires over the greater good of the Raid and the Guild, and he hurt the raid on a couple of different levels.

One, I don’t have the shield to tank SSC, and two, he spent all his MKP so he doesn’t have any to try to upgrade his Paladin.

I know I shouldn’t get so upset and cause loot drama. We’ve been killing Gruul for months and this was the first time it ever dropped.

I think the reason we struggle so much with Gruul’s is that people don’t want to do it anymore. If it wasn’t for the Shield, I’m not sure I would want to do it anymore.

There is a possible side grade to Gruul’s shield dropped by the DragonHawk boss in ZA. I know Brindall is after that Shield as well.

Should the officers have overridden our loot system to give a major upgrade to one of their SSC tanks? That would have caused as much, if not more drama.

Should our loot system be changed so that MKP goes to the toon and not the player? Should we put a “Mains over alts” rule in? I can certainly suggest that, but it may be viewed simply as “sour grapes” on my part.

I can’t deny that I’m upset, but I’m not sure what, if anything, I should really do about it.

I really enjoy raiding. It’s my favorite part of the game. The way loot works sometimes can be really frustrating. I guess I could have farmed my butt off this weekend to try to get back to 5 before the raid on Monday, but I really wasn’t thinking about it. I didn’t know we were going to do Gruul, or that the shield would drop. Getting 5 MKP would take giving the equivalent of 1000g to the Guild bank. I don’t have a gathering skill, so it would take some time to get that much gold up.
I might get another shot at the Shield again or I might not.
Ultimately, what really matters to me is finishing SSC and TK and getting to Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. I want to see all these cool fights before Wrath of the Lich King comes out and none does them.

Sunder My Soul

One little tidbit I failed to mention in my Tidewalker post were the drops. I honestly don’t remember them except for the Ring of Sundered Souls. When I saw that drop, I almost sqeed.

Many Tankadins consider Sundered Souls to be one of the best Tank rings currently in the game, better even than the ring that drops in Black Temple. It's a solid combination of Stamina, Defense, and Dodge. It’s paired with the Mount Hyjal repututation ring as the #1 combination for Protection Paladins in MT Gear Progression guild on MainTankadin.

I pulled up the loot master and typed the whisper for my MKP bid. You ever notice how long it takes the loot master to get around to a piece of loot you really want.

None of the Druids bid, which I thought was odd, but I know very little about Feral Tank itemization. One of the Warriors, Lanorah, bid. Lan is one of our tanks for SSC and Main Tanked our Guild first Gruul kill.

We had both bid 5. I knew I had 6 MKP, so it was up to me whether to increase my bid or let it go to a “fair roll” between Lan and myself. Whoever won the roll would get the Ring and lose their 5 MKP, or I could bid 6 and guarantee I get the ring and lose my 5 MKP.

That’s exactly that I did.

So now I have the Ring. I lose about 233 armor and 5 defense from the Shermanar Great Ring, but I pick up 9 stamina and 25 dodge.

I finally get my name under one of those first kill screenshots.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tidewalker

Friday night Mal Katai managed to get the raid together and launched attacks at Morogrim Tidewalker. The strategy we were using had me front and center in handling the Murlocs. I would have Valdrin, a Warlock, Life tapping as the Murlocs spawned, and start casting Holy Light on him, until I had the Murlocs on me.

Our first attempt, the Murlocs simply ignored me. This was despite the fact that I landed nearly 10k in healing on Valdrin. They streamed right to Akivarr, a Shadow Priest.

The next attempt, at the beginning of the fight, I judged Light on Morogrim, and then whacked him a couple of times to make sure he knew I was there. This time I was able to get the Murlocs to aggro to me. The first Holy Light didn’t do it, the second Holy Light didn’t do it, but when the third one landed, you could see them change their path and head for me.

I chose to tank the Murlocs in-between the melee and the ranged. While this did mean I was in range for Watery Grave, it also meant that the AoEers didn’t have to move as far to AoE the Murlocs and I was right in the middle of things if something went wrong with the pickup.

Once there I would Consecrate, Holy Shield and then activate Seal of Righteousness. I found after an attempt or two that Seal of Wisdom was better because I was getting Mana starved.

I started the fight in my “Block Value” gear. This gear has over 600 BV on it. Since I was constantly hurting for mana, I switched some gear around. I went with my T4 gloves for the 2 piece bonus, and threw on the Triptych Shield of the Ancients instead of my Shield of Impenetrable Darkness. This increased my bonus healing without a huge loss in survivability. All of the Kara Shields have roughly the same armor on them.

It seemed like I was starting to get the hang of getting the Murlocs. Then someone healed Valdrin, so more of my heal was overheal, which doesn’t generate any threat.

I made a comment asking for people to not heal Valdrin which lead to a longer than necessary discussion in vent between myself and one of our Rogues. He thought I was instructing the healers to not heal the DPS after the quake, when I was only asking them to not heal Valdrin. It was a simple misunderstanding but I think we got it resolved.

We went with a Druid to tank Morogrim himself. We had had issues in our previous attempts with keeping our Warrior tank alive. Morogrim blows through a Warrior’s Shield Block pretty quick opening them up to Crushing Blows. Druids are built to take Crushing Blows because they lack the mechanics to push them off the combat table.

There was tremendous pressure on Celoria, our Tree Druid, as she was trying to cover the Watery Graves and help with general raid heals. She couldn’t be in range to do both at the same time.

We made several good attempts, but we lost time with people having to leave and getting replacements.

We had already gone about 30 minutes past our scheduled end time, but we decided we’d make “one more attempt”

This time everything came together. The Healers were able to keep our Druid up on all fours. I was able (for the most part) to get the Murlocs under control.

At 25%, Morogrim stops with Graves but summons Water Globules, which tend to blow up when they reach your raid. We had the whole raid move up and get really close to Tidewalker. This was the first time we’d ever gotten him that low.

What I didn’t realize was that this would put me much closer to the north spawning group of Murlocs. They started hitting me before I could get my third heal off, which made picking up the southern group very difficult. I asked for the Fury Warriors and other Druids to help me out, and they brought the Murlocs in my Consecration spam.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Mal Katai 3/6 SSC

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Punisher

Thursday night, our intrepid team of adventures once again faced the perils that awaited them inside the troll city of Zul'Aman.

The night started out inauspiciously when our Feral Druid disconnected pulling trash to Bear boss. We were able to compensate, and he was able to get back online. We still managed to beat the Bear boss timer, but it was close.

Then we dashed over the Eagle boss. The attempt went very well. A couple of times one person wouldn't collapse in quite far enough. This was without exception a healer (including me) who was trying to get off one last healing spell before the timer was up. Everyone reacted quickly and we didn't lose anyone, although one of our Holy Paladins had to bubble to keep from dying. We missed the timer on him by about 1 minute. We were disappointed, but we have greater confidence we can get him next time.

And speaking of next time, this time was the next time he would drop the Amani Punisher. I had lost the mace previously to one of our Shadow Priests and there was a different Shadow Priest in the raid this time. He chose not roll against me, in fact, no one rolled against on the mace.

So here I am the proud owner of the Amani Punisher.
It's an increase in both health and mana for a loss of a little bit of spell damage. I'm almost not sure what to make of the spell hit, but I'm really wishing that Blizzard had not changed our taunt to rely on melee hit instead of spell hit.

After Eagle we made our way to Lynx. With 2 Holy Paladins in the raid, I didn't have to as concerned about Flame Shock as I did last time when we didn't have any Paladins but me. I still managed to due some cleansing, but I could focus on the pickup of the Spirit Lynx. Each pickup went well and he never got loose, although we had a couple of close call where he just about took a bite out of our Tree Druid, Celoria. When it comes to my Druid, I'm a tree hugger. No body touches my tree.
Next up on the docket was Dragonhawk. This time we brought 3 mages whereas last time we only had one. After one of our wipes our mages communicated that they really didn't know when it was safe to AoE. So I made a macro that spammed a Raid Warning that said AoE NOW!

We had to figure out a way to have most of the eggs hatched before the boss enraged but not risk a hatcher being alive if we got teleported. We would need the healers to be able to give their full attention to Brindall, our Warrior tank. Dragonhawk Boss speeds up his attack speed and damage once he enrages, so Brindall would take some Crushes. Having all the eggs down meant that our healers could concentrate on keeping him alive.

Finally, everything came together. We AoE'ed down the birds and kept Brindall up through the Enrage and for the first time saw the boss die.

He dropped the Healing Shield and not the Tank Shield that Brindall and I have been wanting. Sevenn, our Holy and sometimes Ret Paladin, has a nice new shield. I hope we keep killing him because I know both Brindall and I need the tanking shield.
With all 4 Animal Bosses down, we went and took a look at HexLord's trash. His trash didn't seem too bad, the Beserkers hit like trucks when they enrage. I haven't read up on HexLord yet, but he looks like a Moroes/HKM/Fathom Lord type fight.

MK is now 4/6 in Zul'Aman.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Hosted" Raids or Ninja Targets

Tuesday night Mal Katai went back into SSC and killed our farm bosses, Lurker and Hydross. Hydross was a normal one shot. Lurker would have joined him but he despawned coming to the surface at 1%. We pulled again and killed him.

I got myself killed about halfway through the second attempt, but one of the Feral Druids was able to pick up my add flawlessly.

Unfortunately, that was all we had time for. In fact had we not gotten him down that attempt, we would have started losing people.

It was a fairly typical Mal Katai raid. Start time was 8pm, first pull was after 9pm. It took that long to fill the raid.

We had a healer who went emo and left the raid (mid pull) after losing out on loot. We use a customized DKP system which we call MKP. He had less MKP than one of the other Holy Paladins, so the other Paladin got the loot.

I can understand being disappointed when you loose out on loot, but you know the system going in. Our DKP heavily favors people who farm mats for our raids. We also get all of our Pots, Elixirs, and Flasks provided to us. I endorse a system that rewards those who farm their butts off for the rest of us.

Leaving a raid mid pull could be grounds for a gkick or at the very least not getting invited back next raid, but we really need healers.

A couple of people in my guild got worried when I put an application in on Bloodsky’s site. Bloodsky is the most progressed guild on our server. They currently host SSC and TK raids with some of their undergeared people. I contacted a buddy of mine, Paymon. Paymon and me go back to our Heroes days, and we were both in Heroes first Attumen kill. I asked him who I should talk to about getting in their TK raid. Mal Katai isn’t planning on doing TK this week, so it wouldn’t harm them in anyway. We’ve had Saturday raids cancelled twice in the last three weeks, so I figured my Saturday might be free.

Paymon told me to put an app on their website, which I did. My app has been locked and no one contacted me so I concluded that they are not interested. I was clear to them that I could not make their start times since they start raids at 5pm Saturday, which is way too early for me.

It was suggested to me by one of my guildmates that this “hosting” of raids is little more than a way for Bloddsky to ninja geared and skilled players from other guilds. If that what it is, I was naive enough not to see it. I wasn’t looking to join their guild.

I do have concerns about Mal Katai. It seems groups and raids in particular are getting harder to put together. I’m not sure how many more “Raids Cancelled” nights I can deal with.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Skin a Cat

Sunday night, and again, no 25 man, but we got our main group together for ZA. We again beat the Bear Boss timer, and we were looking good on the Eagle boss when our tank died.

We had 3 melee dps along with our tank (Fury Warrior, Feral Druid, Rogue), so when one of them got hit with the static charge from Akil’zon it really hurt. We are fortunate in that our Tank for Akil’zon is our Nature Tank for Hydross so he can wear some of that gear. For this fight I throw on my healer gear and help heal the real dpsers.

Akil’zon is almost always casting something, and most of his damage is magical in nature. Those factors make it more of a Warrior or Druid tank fight. Plus, there is high amount of collateral damage to the raid so my extra healing is seen as more valuable than our Warrior Tanks extra dps would be.

He dropped this amazing Plate DPS chest. Our Fury Warrior said no thank you, so it up to me to and Brindall (our Warrior Tank). I decided to pass and let Brindall take it. I can work on potentially 3 different sets: Tanking, Healing and DPS. He can work on 2 sets, Tanking and DPS. I would roll against him on anything for my Primary set (Tank). He would never roll against me on my secondary set (Healing), so I extended the courtesy of passing on an item for his secondary set.

I consider my DPS set to be a 3rd set as far as priority only because it requires a full respect for me to slip into that role. I can heal decently as full Prot so I can use any healing gear I get, and I’m more app to use my Healing gear in a raid or group. I tried to get a group or two while I was Ret this weekend, but it wasn’t coming together. They needed me to tank.

I’m really wishing respect costs were about half of what they were. It’d be great to go to a group and be able to fufill any role without a 50g bill, but I’m sure Priests, Warriors and Rogues would like a bit more flexibility sometimes, so I guess it’s a tradeoff.

After Eagle, we went to Lynx. I really like Lynx trash. It consists of 1 big guy and 4 or 5 small Lynxes. More than 3, you need me! At one point we actually pulled two groups, plus some crocs. This was what you call a target rich environment. I started Consecrate and Holy Shield and was able to hold the group quite well. We actually didn’t wipe.

Then we get to the Boss himself.

His first trick is Saber Lash. Brindall and I stood there and ate it for about 9k a piece. I went with my stamina gear for this fight (double stamina trinkets, stamina boots over dodge boots, etc). Fully buffed, I had 20.2 hit points.

Our trouble came with the Spirit Lynx. Every 25%, he spawns a Spirit Lynx which I was to pickup. Most of the time, I picked it up just fine, but once per attempt, the thing would run straight thru my Consecration, ignore my Judgment of Justice and chew on our Dwarf Priest (Dora). Not cool. I honestly don’t know what happened. Next time we fight him, I’m going to log it so I can tell what in the world is going on.

I was able to successfully cleanse the Flame Shock while tanking the Spirit Lynx.

The fight was intense and there are many things you have to keep track of at the same time.

It took us 3 tries but we got him down. He dropped some healing plate shoulders. I was the only Paladin in the raid so I took them. I wasn’t sure at the time if they were better than my Merciless, but Sevenn, one of our Holy Paladins said they were. I would have hated to see them disenchanted and then realize I need them.

Along with the helm, I’m starting to look pretty ridiculous in that gear.
Monday night, we went back in with the idea of getting Dragonhawk. This guy has got to have the worse trash in the entire instance. It consists of one non elite who runs and beats on a drum to summon a group of elites. Even after a wipe you have to stay together and make sure not to aggro them until you are ready. These scouts respawn after each wipe.
We were able to make some really solid attempts on the boss. My job is to tank the eggs. It looks really easy at first. There is a bridge the birds must cross in order to get out, so I laid a Consecrate there and thought it would pick them up. That worked well for the most part. The boss also teleports back to himself (like the Voidwalker guy in Shadow Labs or the Aran in Kara). If he teleported while I was gathering up the birds it could be a problem. Then he puts bombs all over the ground and you have to find a safe spot. Sounds easy enough but with everything going on and birds all over your screen they can be hard to see.

Then as if that wasn't enough, he enrages and starts to hit really fast. He would blow through Brindalls Shield Block in no time, and burst him down. The fight is very mana intensive for the healers.
I think our best attempt was around 10% or so. Maybe we'll get him next time.

Wasted Weekend

The weekend was something of a bust. Friday night, our SSC raid was cancelled due to lack of people online, and our attempts to reschedule on Saturday proved no better. We couldn’t even get a Zul’Aman group going. I understand we are a “casual guild that raids”, but it’s frustrating seeing Raids get cancelled.

I spent some time grinding Consortium rep and farming for Primals. I even worked on my Fishing (all the way up to 150).When you are in a Raid group, you can’t do Daily’s and you can’t quest at all. My favorite place to grind Consortium rep is The Heap south of Netherstorm. I can pull a group of 6-8 and take them down with Consecrate, Holy Shield and my Petrified Lichen Guard. I could take larger groups but I play on a PVP server and there always seem to be some friendly Undead Rogue or Tauren Shaman ready to help those pesky Ethereals.

I also got my Hunter, Honorshummer, to level 60 so I grabbed a couple of guys to go into Zul’Gurub to tame one of the tigers there. The tiger skin in Zul’Gurub is one of the best looking for a cat in the game in my eyes. I should have picked up the skin around level 35 in Stranglethorn, but I didn’t. My options were convince a couple of guildies to run ZG far enough to tame one there or level a pet up from level 35 to 60. I’m actually considering doing that for Humar the Pridelord, which I think is THE best looking skin for a cat, but I just can’t put myself through that. It would take too much time to camp his spawn point, tame him and then level him up all the way to 60 or 70.

What’s becoming concerning to me is that we basically wasted last week. We only raided for an hour on Tuesday night downed 2 Bosses and called it a night. Then our attempts at putting together a raid failed completely on the weekend. Unless we get a 25 together Sunday or Monday, we essentially didn’t raid at all this week.

We seem to get caught in-between two extremes. We can’t go late during the week because people have work or school. We have trouble getting people online during the weekend because people want to have a social life. I can’t blame people in either case, but it does make it difficult for getting a raid together.

Friday 1/25 – Hydross down (Tankadin connection Issues)
Saturday 1/26 – Raid Called
Monday 1/28 – Lurker Wipes
Tuesday 1/29 – 1 Shot Hydross, Progression Kill Lurker
Saturday 2/2 – Morogrim Wipes
Monday 2/4 – Gruul Farming, Morogrim Wipes
Tuesday 2/5 – 1 Shot Hydross, 1 shot Lurker and Stop after an hour of raiding.
Friday 2/8 – Raid Called
Saturday 2/9 – Raid Called

3 Raids called in the past 2 weeks. That really makes me a sad panda, and it makes me question if what I want to get out of the game is the same thing as what the guild wants.

This isn’t a “loot” thing. Blizzard just announced that Teir 6 level Badge Of Justice rewards are going to be added in with the next patch, so I can get T6 level loot. They also announced that they are removing the attunement requirements for Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. This means that presuming we can find 25 people who want to raid, MK will see those instances (at least partially). It also means that very few guilds will bother learning Kael’Thalas or Lady Vashj anymore.

I’m an explorer at heart. I want to see the zones, see the fights, hear the soundtracks, and battle with these awesome characters I came to love or hate playing WarCraft 3 and its expansion. Sunwell is supposed to conclude the Tempest Keep storyline, but I'm only halfway through the Tempest Keep storyline! I've missed half the story.

I really like the guys in MK, but I put too much time and effort into my character to be fishing and alting on Raid nights. I guess I’m just frustrated.

I’ll just have to wait and see how next week goes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bearly Made It

My ZA group dove into the instance last night. Our goal was to beat the timer on the Bear Boss. The group had done it previously, but I personally had never beaten the timer on the Bear Boss. We started pulling like mad. Our Warrior Tank for the night was Brindall.

I really have to give major kudos out to Mowbray (Holy Paladin), Celoria (Tree Druid) and Doraeallin (Holy Priest) as they did a great job. I have never felt so safe tanking the Bear Rider trash. I never got anywhere close to in danger.

Then we come to the Bear Boss himself. It's going to be close on the time. First transition comes up, and I taunt, and nothing happens. The Bear is just happily banging away at Brindall. My taunt is on cooldown. Mel, a Fury Warrior steps in and taunts (of crits 3 times in a row I'm not sure, it had the same effect). So Bear Boss decides to go gnaw on him long enough for my cooldown to come back around. I taunt and get him on me for a few seconds before changing forms again. I don't think I've ever done Bear where my taunt didn't get resisted at least once.

We were fortunate enough to get him down. Healing Leather dropped from the timer chest.

We decided to give Eagle a go afterwords. We almost got him in the timer as well but we had a couple of people new to the fight so we wiped once. He didn't drop the Mace again, , maybe next time.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

PVE in a PVP World

As you may or may not know (as if you didn’t, you will now), I play on PVP server called Altar of Storms. My experience with PVE servers has been somewhat limited.

I originally rolled my Paladin on Rexxar, a PVE server, and if it had been my choice I probably would have stayed PVE.

But Aoesrus, the real life friend who got me involved in the game, wanted to be on a PVP server called Dark Iron, so we rerolled there. My Paladin on Rexxar was all of 16 or 17, and questing in Redridge. I really should go back and play him sometime. I would eventually transfer off of Dark Iron and come to Altar of Storms.

There are times when I really like the fact that I play on a PVP server and times when I don’t.

The biggest pain of a PVP server is that pretty much from around level 20 on you are permaflaged for PVP. This means that in addition to fighting and questing your way through the levels you always have to be on the constant lookout for Horde.

There are different types of Horde you encounter as you level up.

The most annoying is the The Ganker who is a level 70 and just running around a lowbie zone one shotting people. My personal favorites are the Gankers who choose zones where even the guards are no threat to them. These types usually run at the first sign of anything that can remotely give them a challenge. They are annoying, but simply part of the leveling up process on a PVP server. I generally tried to find another zone or go PVP in a battleground for a bit. If that’s how they choose to spend their playtime, well it's their 15 smackers. I tried it once and it wasn’t very much fun. I usually try to /peon, /cry, or /lol at them as they kill me. At least on my Paladin, I could annoy them for a few seconds.

One thing you learn quickly on a PVP server is to rez behind a tree or in a bush, anywhere that might conceal you long enough to eat, drink, and buff up.

Then you have the Challengers. These are at or near your level and engage you in PVP. You continue to engage challengers even at the level cap.

These are some of the most memorable, and exciting fights I have had. I had a fantastic battle with a Tauren Resto Shaman at the Darkmoon Faire just a couple of months ago when it was in Mulgore. They will force you to learn every skill and talent you have and how to use it. I always learned something from these fights win (rare) or lose (common). You learn to identify things that give away a persons spec and you formulate strategies for how to fight each class/spec combination. You know some are almost guaranteed wins and some are almost assuredly losses.

My personal favorite type of Horde is the CareBear. They just want to quest and are not really interested in PVPing. I encountered an Orc Hunter of this type while leveling up in Desolace and we actually helped each other complete a quest.

One thing I learned was never attack Horde in an area where you want to quest, especially if you have one of those Kill X of Y and get Z drops from them type quests. People whom you defeat in PVP have this uncanny way of finding you and trying to settle the odds. Then of course, you retaliate and the next thing you know, it's an hour later, you've got 4 Honor Kills and made no progress on your quest.

The next huge pain of a PVP server is that we have several extra World PVP Objectives that don’t exist on PVE Servers. These are referred to as Summoning Stones. Getting a summon to a Raid or Instance on a PVP Server is far from a sure thing. It can make getting replacements for people who have to leave midraid a huge chore. You zone out (always 4 to 5, never send just 2) and hope that some Horde guild isn’t holding the stone. You do get to recognize the names after a while. AoS is a medium population server so there are not many guilds capable of doing SSC and TK.

“Whose at the stone?”

“HordeUnderOneNation”

“Oh gosh, they're awful, we can take it.”

“Hold up, I see some Cynosure.”

“*explictive*. You guys better jump on the bird and walk. No Summons tonight.”

In addition to fighting over the stone, you also have to run through Horde to get to your instance portal. You should see the entrance to Karazhan most nights; the entire area is just littered with bones. This is an older picture but you get the idea.


Then there is that awkward moment in Shattrah City where you see one of the Horde you were fighting.

Surprisingly enough, I find Horde tend to leave you alone in Ogril'la and Netherwing. Most people just want to get their quests done and get on to PVPing or Raiding.

Then you have those moments which are referred to as the CareBear Stare. You come up on a Horde, and you look at him, and he looks at you. Both his hand and your hover over your weapons, and the words of incantations spring to your mind. You wait for the tiniest indication he will attack.

I don't know how it is on PVE Servers, but guildies and even random people in the zone seem to be quick to respond to calls for help in General Chat. Especially when its a group of Horde ganging up on a single Alliance.


Playing on PVP server can be a pain sometimes, but those unplanned, and often unwanted 1v1 battles in the middle of nowhere are some of the most exciting times you have in game. You get to explore your character deeply, and be prepared for battle at any moment. I'd go to a PVE server if I had to, but I'm pretty happy where I am on a PVP server.

Banana Shoulders pwns Us

So I did a post on Tanking as Holy. I thought I did a pretty good job and I'm sure it was helpful.

I was reading Banana Shoulders and read his post today on Holy Tanking. The advantage he has is that he is actually a Holy Paladin, who has done some Tanking in Holy spec. It is always good to hear it from someone who has actually done it, in addition to the perspective of one who can theorize about it.

If you are Holy, and want/need to do a little Tanking, give it a read.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

1 Shot Times Two

With the reset on Tuesday, we ventured back into Serpentshrine Cavern.

We managed to 1 shot Hydross, and then go 1 shot Lurker.

Even though we've one shot Hyrdoss two weeks in a row, it still gets the blood pumping every transition.

This was only our 2nd Lurker kill. He went from Progression to Farm in one week. We still lost some people to Lurker but despite our losses we were able to get him down. We were concerned when he dived at 1%. If any of the Guardian's got loose we could still wipe. Luckily that did not happen, however because we were short on DPS I was still tanking the Ambusher when Lurker resurfaced and started spouting. I was preparing jump into the water and heal tank the Ambusher but Lurker died before Spout got to my location.

After the Raid, I got on my Hunter for a bit and managed to level him to 60 questing in Hellfire. While I was questing I got rolled by a group of level 59-61 Horde. Rogue, Feral Druid, Warlock, and Hunter.

I ran back to my body and logged out, and log into Honorshammer. These guys had messed with the wrong Paladin. I got on the epic Copter and flew out to Hellfire, only to find these 4 killing a group of Alliance. Mage, Paladin, Druid. Bad idea.

I was still Raid buffed from SSC, so in I go with nearly 17k health. I would have love to have known what the Rogue was thinking as I am pretty sure I was completely blocking his attacks. Rogue dies, Kitty Druid dies, Warlock dies. I chased the hunter towards a small Horde camp and aggroed about 6 guards. I dragged them about halfway back to Honor Hold. The Hunter who had fled into the camp had come with them trying to get some pot shots on me. After the gaurds leashed, he died too.

I'm not sure what happened but something inside me just snapped. I'm usually a very nice guy both in game and out.

On Honors, I never engage Horde who are much lower level than me, and certainly don't engage Horde who are near my level. Most Horde don't want to fight me, but not because they are worried I might defeat them. No, they just seem to think it would take too long to kill me.

Maybe it was the PVPing I had done while Ret, maybe it was the adreneline from the Raid, I don't know. I wouldn't say it was fun, but it was satifying.

The Way You Spec The Way You

(Please note, this post is outdated. I'll be doing an updated version when I get closer to level 80)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to be respcing again.

I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how I want to spec my Paladin now and I'd thought I'd share my thoughts.

Remember, I am a Protection Paladin who spends the majority of my playtime in T4 and T5 raids. Decisions I make regarding my spec reflect that.

First off are the essential, spec defining talents. These are a must have and non negotiable.

They are Improved Righteous Fury, Holy Shield and Improved Holy Shield. I just can't call myself a Tankadin without those.

Next up we have the really powerful talents. These are also must haves, but if someone made a really strong case to me, I'd consider it, but it would really take a good argument.

First up, you have the two Stamina talents. We lack base stamina compared to Warriors, so we need to get the talents to bring us up to their levels. These two are Sacred Duty, and Combat Expertise. The Expertise you get on Combat Expertise in addition to the stamina is like cherry frosting on your chocolate cake.

Next I want to talk about the silent sentinel of your Talent Tree, Ardent Defender. You will never see this thing at work, but it will save your life. But how often are you under 35% health, and can you survive that? I run around 19-20k life buffed in a Raid which means AD kicks in at 6650 health. I don’t find myself that low often, but when I do the extra mitigation can save my life. I could take an 8k normal hit and live. If it averts even one death, it’s worth it.

Next in my mind are the tank talents. Shield Specialization, Toughness, Anticipation, and Deflection from the Ret tree. Depending on where you at and what your tanking these 3 move around in order of importance.

If Resist fights are not in your future and you have over 490 Defense from gear, you could consider putting less points in Anticipation. For me tanking Hydross every week in Frost Resist gear, Anticipation is really key talent.

Armor (from Toughness) is probably the stat I most undervalued as a new player. It’s basically what separates you from a Mage in the squishiness department.

Shield Spec is another talent that sometimes gets undervalued. If you get hit 100 times in a fight 10 Block Value is better than 50 stamina. Think about that.

Until you get to late Teir 5 or early Teir 6, you are going to need the points in Deflection to reach Uncrushable. Even after that, I like the Pure Avoidance you get from Parry, so I’ll likely keep it. Like Anticipation, this will depend on your gear.

You could probably cherry pick a point or two from here without it being too noticable, but I take all 4 to the max.

Then you have a couple of talents that are prerequisites. You can't have one of the key talents you need unless you take them. The first of these is Blessing of Sanctuary. It is required in order to get Holy Shield. The only time I actually use Blessing of Sanctuary is if we have 6 Paladins in our Raid (it has happened a couple of times). Don’t' give this to DPS or Healers as it will cause them to generate threat when they are hit and that is generally a bad thing.

Another of these is Redoubt, which is required to get Shield Specialization. I love Shield Specialization and feel its worth the 8 points you end up spending on it because Redoubt is about useless. Once you reach Uncrushable, the extra Block Rating that Redoubt gives you falls off the table and does nothing for you. Also as you gear up and being to reach 50% Avoidance (Dodge, Parry, Miss from Defense), it procs less and less.

The last prerequisite is Benediction from the Ret Tree. While not a true prerequisite in that it is not tied to Deflection, you have to take something at tier 1 Ret. Benediction is a much stronger choice over Improved Might.

Then you have your Threat talents. The value of Precision depends on what you are tanking. Starting with Karazhan and certainly anything above, you will see an increase in threat by having Precision. Remember too that your Taunt works off of melee hit, and RESIST after you taunt is the last thing you want to see. In some situations (I’m looking at YOU, Bear Boss) it can wipe your raid. That is generally considered a Bad Thing.

One Hand Specialization is a really strong Threat talent. Remember is ALL your damage when you have a 1 hand weapon equipped (that is ALL the time if your Prot). It’s a straight 5% increase to threat.

Then you have what I call the Final 5. The last 5 points in Prot are pretty close as to what you want to go with.

My personal choice is Kings, Spell Warding and Improved Judgment.

So let me talk about the ones I don't take first. Pursuit of Justice I can get "close enough" from a Boar's Speed boot enchant.

After 2.3 came out, I wanted to play around with some of the new talents Paladins had been given, specifically, the new Improved Judgement of the Crusader, which gives everyone in the raid 3% more crit that they can't see because it increases the Mob chance to be Crit rather than their chance to crit. They can't open their character sheet and see that when I debuff the Boss they go from 21% crit to 24% crit, and they certainly can't see whether their own Crit rating or the % I added caused them to crit. I did some testing and it was inconclusive if this talent was really helping, so I’m not taking it for now. I put my findings on Maintankadin, perhaps I will get some help there.

Reckoning: This is the one where I wish I had even a single talent point left over. It’s a decent threat boost and wonderful while soloing or AoE tanking. It suffers from being a proc that can only occur on damage taken so as you start to gear up and reach over 50% avoidance it will proc less and less. If you decided to take Reck, I certainly wouldn’t argue it. Once I’m in level up mode again, I’ll have Reck in my build.

I took Kings because it is a very nice buff, and there are times (especially in 5 or 10 man content) where you will be the only Paladin. In a single Blessing you get more Dodge, Hit Points, and Mana. Plus, as a Paladin other players expect you to have it. I’d rather just have it than explain that it is actually a talent and not a base spell.

Improved Judgment is another Threat talent. Faster cooldown means more Judgments which of course if more threat. Some Paladins find that it really messes up their threat rotation. They don’t Judge as fast as the cooldown would allow so as not to get caught in a Global Cooldown when they need to refresh Holy Shield. I personally have not found it to be an issue with the way I play my Paladin, and I find it very useful for situations where you breaking CC’s one by one. Maybe I’m just impatient or I’ve had the talent too long but 9 or 10 seconds on Judgment feels like a lifetime to me.

Finally, we have Spell Warding. I know 4% does not seem like a lot, but as Tanks, we want to reduce incoming damage everyway we can. Probably a flavor choice and a case could be made for several other talents.

The three talents remaining are all PVP centric and really have no place in a PVE Tank build. You might be able to make a case for Improved Hammer of Justice for stopping runners are shutting down a trash mob for a couple of seconds, but I think it is really meant for PVP or Seal of Command Ret Paladins.

Stoicism percentage chance is too low to be counted on. When I’m tanking, I don’t want to be thinking “Man, I hope this procs or that procs”. I want skills and abilities I can control completely. It would really only be reliable when you have stuns being spammed on you (like in PVP).

Improved Concentration Aura is interesting in that silences are generally a pain for Tankadins to deal with so anything to reduce their duration is a good thing, but you will likely want Devotion Aura or Retribution Aura up anytime you are tanking. Again, this is a PVP talent, especially attractive to our Holy spec brethren.

So here is my “final” spec.

Improved Crusader?

After my experiment with Ret, I respec to Prot for our SSC attempts last night. This time I left Improved Crusader out of my build.

I recorded both attempts in WWS, so now I can do some comparison. I'm going to use Hydross because it was a fight where I was able to keep Improved Crusader up the entire time and both attempts were one shots. The sample size may be too small, but let's see what the data reveals.

Remember that Improved Crusader gives 3% crit to the entire Raid.

First I'm going to look at one of our Hunters, Araxe. I know from my dealings with him that he is a skilled player and knows his hunter well.

In the attempt where I had Improved Crusader, his crit was 23%. In the attempt where I didn’t have it, his crit was 30%. He actually crit more when I didn’t have Improved Crusader.

Well, maybe he made changes to his own spec, or he got a new piece of gear. There are a lot of variables, so let’s keep digging. Looking at Lococrazy, another hunter, his Crit with Improved Crusader was 33%, but only 18% without.

One Hunter crit more with Improved Crusader, and one Hunter crit less. I love good conclusive evidence /sarcasm.

The Mages don’t help much more. 2 of our 3 Mages crit less the attempt where I had it, and the variance in both the case of the Hunters and the Mages is larger than 3%.

Then we get to melee. The two melee DPS (1 Warrior and 1 Rogue) who were in both attempts both saw more Crit on the attempt where I had Improved Crusader and the variance was almost exactly 3%, the very amount added by Improved Crusader. This would leave me to think that Improved Crusader is only affecting the melee, but our Feral Druid crit more when I didn’t have it by about 6%.

What I didn’t do that I should have was to note what group each person was in so I could see what other buffs, if any may have affected their crit like a Feral Druid who gives his group crit as well.

Raid DPS was higher when I didn’t have it by out 150DPS.

There are just too many variables for me to say conclusively if Improved Crusader was a good idea to drop or not.

The two WWS reports are http://wowwebstats.com/tewcmbzdit3dw?s=1054-1602&a=5 and http://wowwebstats.com/xj6oxotuc3uzy?s=849-1392.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Get In The Ring!

So last night as the raid was winding down, one of our Shadow Priests, Barasi, asked if anyone could join his 3v3 to finish out the games he needed to qualify for points this week.



It's been several weeks since I've had time to Arena so I offered my services. The team was me (Prot Paladin), Luminati (Holy Priest) and Barasi (Shadow Priest). We had some inkling that this matrix may not give us the best opportunity for success.



So I grabbed a portal to Ironforge, laid down my 20g, and insta-presto-chango, Ret Paladin!



I swung by my bank to pick up all the Ret gear that has been gathering dust and strapped it on.

So we queued up.

Now I haven't played Ret since probably my mid 50s. If you look at the screenshot closely, you'll see I dont even have Repentance on my hotbar. I r noob!

Our first match was in the Blades Edge Arena (the one with the bridge) against a Hunter, Rogue, Rogue team. Barasi is a very good PVPer and called targets. He sent me after the Hunter. I've fought Hunters before and never done very well.

Well, I ran up to the hunter, ignorning his pet, and threw everything I had at him. Seal of Command, Hammer of Justice, Judgement, Crusader Strike, everything, and to my great surprise, he died. I don't know what Barasi hit him with but he went down. I managed to bubble Lumi which frustated the Rogues to no end I'm sure. We manage to finish off both Rogues and win the match.

Next, we faced a Shaman, Warrior, Warrior team, again in Blade's Edge. I went after the Shaman and managed to kill him, they got Lumi but Barasi and I finished off the other two Warriors. A well geared Shadow Priest protected from melee by a Blessing of Protection is a scary thing.

Our next match was also Blades Edge. This time it was against Paladin, Warrior, Rogue. First they tried to Focus Fire me, but I bubbled. Barasi had me stay on the Paladin until he bubbled, the Barasi would mass dispell. The problem being that while I killed the Paladin, the Rogue and Warrior turned Barasi into fillet o Dreanai. Then they burst down Lumi and finished me off.

The final match of the night was against Priest, Warrior, Rogue. I managed to kill the Priest while Barasi and Lumi kited the Rogue and the Warrior around.

For the night we went 3-1. I got up to 30% and Lumi and Barasi got over 10 so everyone gets points.

The scariest thing about the night was it was really fun. I've been tanking for almost a year now and it was nice to do something different for a little while. It's been a long long time since I've felt like much more than a free HK in PVP.

Something about wielding a big ole sword, and Despair is freaking huge, is just plain fun.

I've got my Epic Flyer so there isn't a huge drain on my finances so respecing once in a while won't hurt anything. I'll be Prot again tonight for Raiding, but I plan on revisiting Ret again at some point soon.

Subtle Clues

There are subtle clues, hints per se that the game gives you.

What you have here is a subtle hint that we may have run Karazhan one too many times.

This is a screenshot of Raistilan, Raid Leader and Mage Extrodinare. He's been every spec of mage you can think of and some that you can't. What you see him weilding is none other than a King's Defender.

Tidewalker

Mal Katai went into Serpentshrine Cavern this weekend with one thought on our collective minds, Morogrim Tidewalker.

Tidewalker is a fight that I've been wanting to do since i first saw Lore's video on MainTankadin many months ago. The fight involves a pack of rabid Murlocs who much be controled and AoE'ed down. There are 12 murlocs in all, 6 from the north and 6 from the south.

I felt pretty good about my chances to round up 6, but then I had read about a strat where I could pick up all 12.

The strat called for me to heal a Warlock. Warlocks have a self buff called Fel Armor which increases healing taken. With that and Blessing of Light, the idea was that I could get healing aggro on the Warlocks, thereby controlling them rather easily.

On a couple of attempts this worked well. Other times it did not. The southern pack seemed to be no issue getting a hold of, but the northern pack was much harder to wrangle. I don't know if it was a line of sight issue or what but only 1 or 2 attempts did I get all 12 on me. I think I'm going to need the Warlocks to lifetap so I can get more healing aggro on the Murlocs.

A couple of times, I got Watery Tombed right as the Murlocs were spawning which made a pickup difficult.

We eventually went with the idea of having a Druid and Warrior help gather up the north pack.
Our main problem seems to be keeping up our Tank. We tried 2 different Warriors, and a Druid.
We couldn't keep any of them upright for any length of time. There is something to the way Tidewalker attacks that eats through a Warrior's Shield Block and opens him up for Crushing Blows.
We plan to go back tonight and kill Hydross and Lurker and see if we have time for Tidewalker again.
We are in the difficult stage for this fight, but we feel confident that we will get it figured out. Our best attempt was 59% and that was with one of our healers disconnecting mid attempt.