Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bosses Have Long Corpse Runs

High King Maulgar finally finished his corpse run Tuesday. So of course, we can't let him live. I'm really starting to understand what I need to do on Blindeye. I don't think I'll have a problem again. What is a problem are things like Improved Concusive Shot, Blackout and other "proc" stuns. I have to get him into position ASAP, and I can't do that with him stunned.
He dropped the Hammer of Naaru AGAIN. This time I rolled on it, I lost to Sevenn, but I'm actually glad. He will probably get more use out of it. Brindall got his Teir 4 shoulders, that rocks. Brindall is one of the Main Tanks of Mal Katai, but usually plays his Warlock, Valdrin, for Gruul.
A couple of people had to go after we did HKM. If my opinion, if you can't stay for the whole raid, give up for your spot to someone who can.
We were going to make a go at Gruul when we realized we only had 5 healers on, so we put Gruul off until the weekend. Once the raid was called, someone (no, I don't know who), decided to pull Gruul. Let's just say I was happy my Bubble and Hearthstone were not on cooldown.
I found out during the raid that the Rogue who got the T4 Helm on my last Prince kill has very spotty activity. This irked me a bit. You know, I used to HATE how tanks got gear basically defaulted to them, and maybe I'm being selfish, but dag gum the raid leader should have said something. I'm on every night, and I tank all the time, the better my gear is the better job I can do. Ugh. Of course, the Rogue plays too, and he deserves the gear just as much as anyone, but that T4 helm isn't going to do the guild a bit of good if he isn't logged in. Not to mention there was another Rogue and 3 Holy Paladins in the raid (yeah for half the raid needing the same token).
One of the best moments of the night was getting a compliment on my offtanking of Gruul from Tralic. Tralic is an AMAZING Feral Druid (Heroes readers, think Origami amazing kind of amazing). To have him compliment me was a big step. He's a very influencial person in the guild. This bodes well for my future tanking endevors in SSC and TK. I can't express how exicited it makes me that I'm even talking about realilisticly being able to tank there in the very near future.
I did make what may have been a mistake last night. After we called the Gruul's attempt, Lumi's group started to form up for Kara. It was already late, so I turned them down. I figured I'd run with Group 1 later in the week. Then I see that that Dora (raid leader and part of Group 1) is in their raid. I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm going to try to get a group together for Thursday.
The irony of what's left for me in Kara is that it's all "lower" Kara drops. Attumen's Bracers. Moroes Trinket. Maiden's Neck. Curator's Legs. Nightbane's Shield & Chest.
I could use Illhoof's cloak, but I'm not sure if I'd wear it over the Devilshark. Of course, I could use my T4 hat, but once I get the mats for Engineering, I'll be able to make Tankatronic.
My concern is that I may not be able to get a group going for Thursday or everyone will already be saved and have done the bosses I need, but I can't keep staying up so late with Lumi's group.
Instead of Kara, I was gathering mats for Engineering. I'm in this awful stage where I need 300+ thorium and 500+ fel iron. Ouch. Thank goodness for Crusader's Aura. If you see me flying around Hellfire or booking through Winterspring, give me a wave.

Facts of Life

Then this morning, I'm going through my normal routine on 1st break, which means catching up on my blog reading.

Raydz over at the Repair Bill had a very interesting analysis of the night I main tanked Gruul. The intent of his post was to examine HIMSELF. He was only using me because, lo and behold, I'm a guild tank. He wasn't happy with where he saw himself in the analysis. I'm not thrilled with where I saw myself.

I am what you'd call an Effective Health nut. I love stamina, armor, stamina, block value, and oh did I mention Stamina. Fully Raid buffed, I'm sporting 17.5k hp (can't wait for 2.3, baby).

What Raydz saw was that I get hit much more than our other tanks (who are better geared than me).

Next we’ll look at Gruul, out of 75 swings at me from Gruul, He missed 36 (missed 48% of his swings). When I first looked at this I thought that was pretty good, but again comparing to the other warriors it’s not so great.

He missed Brindle an amazing 57.2% of his attacks, Gruul missed 91 attacks out of 159! Lanorah also is right up there with 54.9%,Gruul missed 128 attacks out of 233.

These guys were missed more than hit! What is to be taken into consideration with this is that both of these tanks are avoidance tanks. Meaning they Gem their gear for parry and dodge, whereas I have been going for mostly stamina. At the moment I can’t decide which is the better route to go yet, Stamina or avoidance, from looking at these numbers I think an avoidance tank is pretty damn convincing.

Honors pointed me at a good article found here, it makes the argument that stamina is better than avoidance. Honors is going the health route and in a 25 man raid runs at around 17.5k health, but he also gets hit a lot more than the avoidance tanks, Gruul missed him only 40% of the time,but because he has more hit points he gives the healers more breathing room and less surprises. Still looking at Brindle and Lanorah’s numbers it’s hard to decide. Here is Honors explanation for the difference between an avoidance tank vs. effective health tank (that’s a stamina tank) which I found to be a good explanation. Avoidance tries to make the worst case scenario less probable, effective health tries to make the worst case scenario survivable.

I'm getting hit almost 20% more often than the better geared tanks in the guild. This is disturbing. It's also a bit disturbing that even though my buffed Dodge rate is 20%, I only actually dodged 15% of the attacks. Parry was much closer. My parry rate is 16% and I parried 15% of the attacks.

So I decided to look at not just the one long attempt that Raydz considered, but all 5 of my attempts on Gruul.

Looking at all my attempts changed the picture very little. Over the whole night my Dodge rate was 18% but Parry was only 12%. That's just the same as 15 & 15. I was only missed 40.8% of the time and mitigated 6.1% of the attacks.

I'm a firm believer in Effective Health, but one of the attributes I like about myself is that I'm not 'dogmatic', but instead, I'm 'coachable'. Show me a better way to do something, and I will do it that way. So I have to evaluate the situation being presented to me.

At any given point, there is a chance that your tank will be hit 3 times in a row. No matter how much (realistic) avoidance he has, this will happen. The difference between a stam tank and an avoidance tank is that the stam tank has a way to survive it.

Avoidance is great when you get a streak where you aren't touched. However, hit streaks will also occur and you need to be able to survive them. Also, despite spamming Shield Block, even on the slower hitting bosses a few crushes always sneak in due to parries or whatnot.

When (not if) you get a hit string, possibly with a crushing blow involved, will you live or die? The best way to survive these cases is by maximizing your effective health. You don't want to take it to an extreme and gimp all your other stats but it should be the priority for progression content.

The tank's job isn't to reduce their healing required (though that's helpful) the key task of a tank is to stay alive and hold aggro.

The key question in this analysis is this: Do our tanks have enough health to live when they DON'T avoid the hit. If they have enough hit points to survive the worst case scenario, then it makes sense to stack avoidance because you've met what's known as the Effective Health minimum for the fight. The boss can't kill you before you get healed up, even if you don't avoid a single attack.

One issue working against Mal Katai is that our healers and DPS change quite a bit from Raid to Raid. Both your healers and your DPS contribute to what the Effective Health minimum is for the fight.

What is very telling to me, is that in our kill, our Priest had about 40% overheal. That tells that the worse case scenario was avoided. The counterpoint to that being that each attempt Gruul was getting into the low teens at a minimum. Had our high dps created an Effective Health threshhold that the Tank had met, or did we merely get lucky?

As I analyze the logs of my attempts as MT, what I see was I was often been killed by lack of healing or hateful + hits (+ cave in). When I was a healer, I hated how the tanks always blamed us for wipes. I hope I'm not doing the same thing here.

This indicates to me that I haven't met the Effective Health minimum for that night. On 2 of those attempts we lost dps from the face we were 24 manning it. Also, of all the attempts I've logged on Gruul, the night that Raydz and I tried to MT were the lowest DPS attempts. Low DPS effectively raised the Effective Health minimum for the fight.

So what? So what am I going to do with the information presented to me. I'm dang well going to remember how low the DPS was in the attempts with me and Raydz compared to Lan. For better or worse, Main Tank is something akin to starting quarterback. You too much blame when you lose and too much credit when you win.

The one action item I have is I'm going to change my Jade Skull Breastplate out for my Vindicator's Hauerbek. I will lose a bit of health, but pick up almost 1% dodge. The other action I'm going to take is that I'm going to continue to upgrade my gear as much as I can. Brindall and Lanorah both outgear me, and moreso now that they have their T4 shoulders and Lan has his T4 Legs.

Having two well geared Warriors is a Good Thing, by the way. That will only help both myself and others to get my gear upgraded in the future.

Planning

Goals:

RAID!!! (Gruul's, Mag's, SSC, TK)

Run Gruul's for upgrades (ALD, T4 Pants)

Run Karazhan for upgrades (Huntsman's Bracers, Maiden's Neck, Moroe's Trinket, Curator's Legs, Nightbane's Chest, Nightbane's Shield)

Run Heroics (Farm as many badges as possible before 2.3 for upgrades)

Run Battleground's (Farm as much honor as possible to get the S1 healer gear or S1 Ret Gear).

Do Arena's (Try to work towards 5k points)

Farm Gold for my Epic Mount (about halfway there).

Gather all the material I need to power level Engineering to 350. (Need Thorium, Fel Iron, Adamanite and Khorium)

Rested (Get all my alts to fully rested for 2.3, and as busy as I'll be doing the above, it's not like I'll have time to play them anyway).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Honorshammer's Gear Compendium

The goal of this post is to explain the methodology I will use to rank the gear.

The strategy and tactic that I choose will be to build a mathmatical model to assign a score to each piece of equipment. I will call this score HammerPoints.

Stat on the equipment will be weighed the same way they are in the Blizzard item formula. For example each point of stamina will be worth .67 points in the formula. By taking this approach, what essentially you are getting is a score of how well the item points are used on the item for what you want them used for. New pieces can be quickly added, and changed pieces updated and recalculated quickly.

For the moment we will assume 1 Expertise point cost 1 item point.

The first aspect of tanking gear are the mitigation stats. These are Armor, Defense, Block Rating, Parry, Dodge, Block Value, and Expertise.

Therefore:

Mitigation = (Armor * .10) + Defense + Block Rating + Parry + Dodge + (Block Value*0.65) + Expertise

This will give us a Mitigation score (M).

The next aspect is Health. The only Health stat is Stamina.

Stamina = Stamina * 0.67

The final aspect to look at is Threat. Whereas the first two are very similar to Warrior concerns, threat is radically different for Paladins.

Threat = Spell Damage * 0.85

This will give us 3 scores. Combining all 3 scores gives an item score. I'm also going to look at the contribution each score makes to the final score and I will note when a piece is ranked where it is due to Threat.

There is also the question of sockets and how to use those in the evaulation. For my evaluation, I have assumed all sockets are filled with Solid Stars of Elune and ignored the socket bonus.

So know that you understand how I ranked the gear, let's see the results. I applied the formula to just under 500 pieces of gear. You can see the results here:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pxRKUgjn9TRowZbavdGzEZA

Reflections on Gruul

Progression kills are like oxygen to raiding guilds. If you don't get some from to time to time you die. You could almost feel a palatal change in Mal Katai last night when Gruul went down. Everyone was buddy buddy, everybody was happy, all was right and well with the world.

I am very appreciative of the opportunity I got last night to be one of the two tanks on Gruul. I owe a big thanks to Trey (Tralic) and to Drew (Brindall/Valdrin). Either of them has the pull within the guild to take over either of those tanking spots without an issue. So to a certain extent, they along with Dora (our GM and Raid Leader), let me be the Hurtful tank.

Most guilds that I have talked two have about 4 solid tanks (2 Warriors, a Feral Druid, and a Prot Paladin). I think last night went a long way in establishing myself as one of the core tanks of this guild.

I think my purchase of the Merciless Gladiator's Gavel was key to being able to do the job well. Prior to the purchase, I had to swap in a bunch of spell damage gear to reach 350 spell damage. Last night I was in full tanking gear (uncritable, uncrushable) and reached 404 spell damage. This allowed me to have more avoidance (parry, dodge) and more hitpoints and armor to be able to take the hits. Speaking of my hit points, Raid buffed I was sitting at 17.5k hit points. Not bad. 2.3 can't get here fast enough with the new stamina talent.

I didn't manage to get any loot from Gruul, but honestly I didn't care. There will be other nights for that. I just hope our guild doesn't fall into the trap of thinking that since we got him down last night, now he's easy. It will in all likelihood be a different group of characters next time we face him so the results could be good or could be bad. We don't have an established group of raiders (or if we do, I don't know about it, lol).

After the raid last night, I got a tell from one of the guys who had been in the raid with me. No, this wasn't from the healer who I've had the issue with. He wasn't in the raid last night for whatever reason. It came from someone else.




That tell was better than any epic I couldn't have gotten off of Gruul last night. People's eyes are being opened.
It seems there is a movement in the guild to go to Void Reaver next. I wonder though, if we shouldn't do Magtheridon. Mag is something of a Raid Coordination check, and we'll need that kind of coordination if we hope to make headway in Serpentshrine and Tempest Keep. It could also highlight some of the issues of the lack of a steady raid roster. Also, since everyone thinks he's "easy", they might not be as prepared as they should be.
I'm still sitting around 2500g for my epic mount. Halfway there.
I'm even more sure of my decision to go Engineering with everything I learn about the next patch. Blizzard is really making it a nice profession. My buddy Raist has been super helpful in gathering mats. I've got most of the stone I need, just need a bit of dense. I've got all the Mithril. Now comes the rough part, Thorium, Fel Iron, and Adamantite.
I'm going to have to clean house on my bank to get some more space to hold all this stuff.
Lastly, thank you to everyone who voted in my alt poll. You people are just as undecided as I am. Ironically, Origami from Heroes Inc made almost the exact same post in his blog today.

Mal Katai Versus Gruul

Dateline Blade's Edge Mountains.


After losing High King Maulgar and his Council, Gruul set out to deal with the interlopers from Azeroth himself.


What he met was a force the likes of which he had not seen before.


Gruul's main target would be the leader and organizer of Mal Katai, the Priest Doraeallin. But standing in his way, tall and powerful ,was a Warrior, Lanorah and the Holy Knight of the Silver Hand, Honorshammer. With them, but hidden in the shadows were Sneakyfeet, Deil and a mighy panther, Trelic. Spread out behind them were the workers of powerful elemental magics, Raistlan, Aerlion, Pulse, Badoman, and weavers of shadow like Lissy, Maxpayne, Valdrin, Splinterrdc, Getdempurps, and the Priests Faeye, and Grimaltus, along with rangers like Crunkbaby, Araxe, and Stdbakerhwk, with powerful beast from both Outland and Azeroth at their side. The entire force under the watchful eye of Dora, with the guardians of Nature, Lamashtu and Celoria, and the blessing of Silver Hand, Sevenn, Reddrick, and Mowbray.


Both forces let loose with a terrifying battle roar as they engaged. As you can see in this exclusive video, Lanorah and Honorshammer charged in first, with the rest of the melee firepower close at hand.


Gruul reached up with one of his mighty hands and dug a huge gash in the ceiling of his cave starting a cave in that the heroes had to dive away from. Powerful magics of all schools and deadly projectiles pelted the Gronn Lord. Every moment that went by Gruul grew larger and more powerful.


Gruul lifted both of his fists high above his head and slammed the ground sending gnomes, dwarves, humans, and elves flying in all directions. As he had done to countless dragons before them, he began to slowly close his fist and each hero started to move slower and slower and slower untl finally they were frozen in place. He clapped his monstrous hand together shattering the frozen heroes.


Wounded, but not deterred, the heroes continued their attack. Lanorah was pushing aside Gruul's blows when he noticed her partner, Honorshammer, he reared back and unleashed a Hurtful Strike on the Paladin. Honors was winded but stayed on his feet.


Gruul had one last trick up his sleeve. He let out a deafining, terrible roar. The sound of it bounced and echoed and reverberated throughout his circle room. The heroes clasped at their ears in vain as the prayers of healing and blessing fell silent.


And still Lanorah stood.


The battle raged on and on for minutes that seemed like hours. Time and again Gruul tried every trick and power which had lead him to victory over dragon after dragon, but not against this band of heroes.


The bitter copper taste of defeat began to seep into his consciousness, then everything went dark.


The cheers of Mal Katai echoed through his chambers as the Gronn Lord fell. The deaths of hundreads of black dragons had been avenged.


Found in his lair were two Leggings of the Fallen Defender, and a pair of Bracers of Martial Perfection. Lamashtu removed his Eye and kept it as a trinket.





With Gruul dead, where will Dora lead her band of heroes next? Whereever there is evil to be crushed and wrongs to be avenged.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Full Weekend Part 2: Karazhan

Saturday night we did not raid. I don't know what happened, but I know a couple of people were vocally upset in guild chat.

With no Gruul, my Kara group formed up and went in to take on the Library and Shade of Aran.

It took us two attempt to get Shade down, but we got him. We had about half the raid dead. I was in healing as usual for the fight.

After Shade, we worked our way up to Chess. I got to play the Water Elemental. A King's Defender dropped. Our DPS Warrior was very excited about it, but he was out rolled by a Holy Paladin. I should have said something sooner, but I just assumed it would go to the Arms Warrior and was getting ready for the next bit of trash.

I whispered the Arms Warrior and the Holy Paladin to talk things over. It turns out it was a misunderstanding. The Paladin thought the Warrior had better so didn't mind rolling. The Warrior didn't see the Paladin roll, and assumed it was his.

Minor crisis avoided I think.

We made several attempts at Prince but were not able to down him.

We came back the next night. MissDime had a similar connection issue to the one she ran into in Gruul's, so we ended up trying to 9 man him. We actually got him down to 23% before we lost all the DPS. I do decent DPS as a tank, but it wasn't going to take Prince down anytime soon.

We regroup and get ready to go again. The fight gets going I see one of our DPS Warriors, Devona, move to the front of Prince right beside me. All I'm thinking at this point is that Devona's attacks are going to be Parried, speed up Prince's swing timer and get me one shot. So I yelled into vent for him to get behind the mob. He did and got owned by an infernal.

Okay, I should not have yelled. It was late, and likely our last attempt. That doesn't excuse what I did.

We ended up with a kill on that attempt.

The Paladin, Rogue token dropped. We only had 3 Paladins, and 2 Rogues in the raid. I lost the roll to one of the Rogues. I was disappointed but I'm sure Hearth is happy to have his Teir 4. I felt a little of the disappointment fade away when he revealed that the Helm will complete his 2 piece set bonus.

As soon as the loots were taken care of, I sought out Dev to apologize. He was not real happy with me (can't blame him). Apparently, I've been doing some things to really annoy him when he plays his Holy Paladin, Cellestia. Biggest complaint is calling for heals. Honestly, I didn't even realize I was doing it. I'm not exactly sure how we left it. I told him I wouldn't do it again. That's basically all I can do at this point.

So now I've got 2 guild healers who are less than completely happy with me. Joy!

That leaves only Nightbane and Netherspite left alive in our Kara.

Between repairs and reagents and dailies, my money supply hasn't moved much. I'm still sitting around 2500g toward my epic riding skill.

Full Weekend Part 1: Centerstage

Friday night, Mal Katai attacked Gruul's Lair. You can see the entire night in all its statistical wonder here.

First up was good ole High King Maulgar. Once again, we had some new people in the raid, and one of these new people was a Hunter who was assigned to tank Kiggler the Crazed.

Most guilds find having a core group of Raiders who know the fights and strats allows you to move faster and get more done. I'm kind of torn because I was very recently a new person in the guild. I certainly wanted to be in the runs, to be taught, and to be given a chance to show I could contribute to the team. It has been my observation that we have many new people each week. Perhaps this is a "perception thing", whereby I'm seeing more new people than there actually are.

I'm speculating here because I couldn't see everything going on. I kept hearing the raid leader over vent telling people to get Kiggler and Olm under control. At some point Kiggler gets loose and kills some healers and the run out order is given. Also heard over vent that our Mage Tank got a resist on Spell Steal on Krosh's Shield.

So the entire attempt was kind of a mess.

We switch the new hunter to range DPS and put an experienced hunter on Kiggler, and get ready to pull again.

I was on Blindeye. Tohitoplay did a perfect Misdirection and he came running straight at me. I smack him with Judgement of Righteous to establish my ill intentions and begin to move him into position. Then Blindeye stops moving. I'm not sure who stunned him, but now I had to stop, run back up to him, and wait for the stun to wear off. I start moving him again and he's stunned again. I don't typically do a whole lot of threat as I'm moving my target. I wait until he's in position and go to town. Well in my moving in and out trying to position him, I lost aggro to an Arms Warrior.

I was able to taunt a couple of times and try to get Blindeye in position. I got him there enough and we got him good and killed. Next I moved over to help pickup FelHunters on Olm.

Once all the adds were down, we moved to my least favorite part of the fight. Basically it's my job to stand with the raid and wait for High King to do whatever he does to get loose of Brindall's death grip on aggro. Then the tanks taunt him and bring him back to Brindall. Invariably, what happens is all the tanks hit their taunts at the same time, and the last tank to do so brings him back to Brindall. So I wait, taunt, hold him for a half second when one of the other tanks taunts hit him.

We get High King down. I whisper the Arms Warrior and ask for him to give me just a little more time to establish aggro. He apologies. No harm, no foul, boss died.

Then comes a moment I honestly didn't think would come in my WoW carrer. They put me on Gruul. Main Tank.

I was excited, and I was nervous.

The first attempt at me tanking him was a little rough. I had never main tanked him before. I got him into position and started working my threat rotation. Everything was good until the first Shatter. When I got thrown in the air, I lost my bearings. My total concentration was to get on him and make sure he didn't one shot anybody. I didn't realize I needed to move him back to the tanking spot. Our Raid Leader points out that I'm in the wrong spot, and out of range. I manage to get him back to where I'm supposed to be, but then the healers got silenced. I having a serious lack of HoTs and down I go.

Our second attempt with me MainTanking was the only attempt of the night that I could really blame on Class: Paladin. Everything is moving right along when the second or third silence hits. I needed to refresh my Holy Shield, but I was silenced. I start banging away at the keyboard but to no avail. Crush. Dead. Wipe.

Third time's the charm right? I honestly, can't tell you the whole story on this one. Basically, what I saw from point of view was Offtank dies, no one in melee, regular hit, Hurtful Strike. Dead Dwarf.

At this point my Arms Warrior buddy from HKM has something of a connection issue, and does AFK right as I pull. It wasn't working with 25 guys, it wasn't working with 24.

4 attempts and Gruul is still very much alive.

About this time, my healer buddy from the previous nights Kara starts questioning in open Raid chat if a Paladin can Main Tank the fight.

Even on my best day, I'd be hard pressed to argue (as of WoW 2.2) against an optimum configuration for Gruul being Warrior as Main Tank, Druid as Off Tank. But to say that a Paladin can't do it. I had to answer this in open Raid chat. I'm not going to have my Class/Spec questioned without a fight.

So here we go. All of a sudden, Lisa (our GM and RL) and Rob (Mage, Officer) start telling this guy that Paladin's have been main tanking the fight for months. In fact, Everlight just Main Tanked his guild alliance's first ever Gruul kill. It was really good to see I had some support from our officers. Basically they told him to shut it. I guess this guy had been questioning the entire strategy (not just their tank selection) and they were a bit tired of it. You can check Rob's blog for his view of things.

Missdime is still in the instance, rather dead. We tried to get a replacement, but he kept getting an instance full message. So people started getting impatient, so we tried to 24 man. I mean it worked so well the first time right. Shatter owns healers, healers die. We wipe.

We are finally able to eject Missdime and get a replacement. At this point, our Raid Leader decides to switch tanks. I go to Offtank and Raydz (Warrior) goes from Offtank to Main Tank. We try it again. Raydz goes down to a silence and lack of HoTs or lack of healers, I'm not sure which. You have to be very focused as a tank, so I loose some of the situation around me.

We call the raid at that point. Everybody is pretty upset. Pre-BC, I'd hear about guilds busting up over a road block in progression. A lack of success (winning) leads to questioning the leadership and eventually some decide new leadership or a new guild is needed. I hope I don't see that happen here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

TankPoints 101

TankPoints is a mod that I use to do quick Crush Immunity calculations. It can also be used to compare gear. My issue with the way it compares gear, is that the algorithm is written from a very Warrior centric point of view. This makes perfect sense when you consider 80 to 90% of tanks are probably Warriors.

You can get the latest version of TankPoints here.

Once you get it installed, bring up your command interface in WoW and type "/tp calc"
This will bring up the TankPoints Calculator and it will look something like this.
What I use the Mod for is the Combat Table section. If you look at my combat table right now, you will see that I show a 15% chance for a hit to be a Crushing Blow.
You should also be able to see my buff bar mod. I do have Gift of the Wild (which helps your uncrushability) but I don't have Kings. This is usually the exact opposite of how I test myself. I usually test myself with Kings up but no Gift/Mark of the Wild because I can control whether or not I have Kings, but I can't control whether or not I'll have a Druid for Gift/Mark of the Wild.
If I was to be attacked by a Boss with the Combat Table in this configuration, you can see that there is a 15% chance that the hit would be a Crushing Blow, and that is a Bad Thing.
"But Honors, why do you tell everyone you are Uncrushable?"
Because I am.
Lets add my self buff of Holy Shield. Mikey likes this table mucho more. Not only has Crushing Blow gone to 0 percent, but so has Normal Hit. So if a Boss attacked me with the Combat Table in this configuration the Worse Case Scenario is a Blocked hit which would be a Normal Hit minus my Block Value. I'd still take damage, but I can't be Crushed, I can't be Crit, and I can't be Normal Hit. I'm Uncrushable with Holy Shield up.
Warriors work much the same way. They need their self buff of Shield Block up to be Uncrushable.
Shield Block and Holy Shield both work on Charges. Shield Block provides more Block (75% to 30%), but Holy Shield provides more Charges (8 over 10 seconds versus 2 over 5 seconds).
If all of the charges are consumed, the buff is lost and the table will revert to its non buffed configuration where the tank will be crushed.
Warriors have an easier time reaching uncrushable. Warriors need 27.5% mitigation (Miss, Parry, Dodge, Block) Uncrittable defense (490) alone provides almost one third of that. The Paladin has to come up with 67.5% mitigation.
Paladins are more reliably uncrushable. It is far more likely to receive 3 attacks in 5 seconds than it is to receive 9 attacks in 10 seconds. Some bosses even have mechanics that basically guarantee you will get attacked at least 3 times every 5 seconds (Prince Phase 2 is an example).

Fight For Your Rights

Last night I logged back into WoW and was really happy to find out that the Kara group I was running with had left Curator alive on my off night.

While we were waiting for the group to get together, I went off to Shadowmoon to try to farm up some Aldor rep pieces. I'm about 1/3 of the way to being Exalted.

It was during this time, that I had a discussion with one of the raid members about our group. Apparently, he wanted to know if I'd bring my healing gear. (I ALWAYS bring my healing gear, btw).

I was understandably inquisitive. Apparently, his idea was to bring an extra dpser and only two healers. I would swing into the 3rd healer role for boss fights. I was less than totally excited about this idea.

What ensued was a long conversation of tells back on forth on the tanking hierarchy and how he used to do things in his old guild.

Looking back on it now, I may have overreacted. One of the bonuses of Paladin tanks is our ability to switch roles and provide healing when its needed. I know there will be fights in later 25 mans where I'll be needed to heal (not that I may ever see those fights, more on that later).

The reason I reacted the way I did, is that tanking is something I've had to fight for, to work at. If Mal Katai is going to base its tanking assignments simply on Class: Warrior versus Class: Paladin, I'm doomed. Sooner or later, I'll be asked to respec Holy.

So I was bit charged up as we zoned in. We killed the robots and moved onto some of my least favorite trash, the Syphoners. They had me out of mana so freaking fast.

We manage to get through the trash and Raydz, our Prot Warrior asks if I'll be tanking Curator. Apparently, the raid member with whom I had the discussion had not filled him on the master plan.

I know how much of a pain it is to chase flares, so I offered to let Raydz Main Tank and for me to take the flares. But he told me to tank it up, so I did.

The attempt was going well until the enrage. I popped an Ironshield, but I got burst down. I looked at my combat log and saw that I went 3 seconds without a heal. We were using two healers, a Paladin and Druid. I could see only the Paladin was healing me. I know the longest heal Paladin's have is 2.5 seconds, so I whispered him to ask what had happened. I figured he must have had a heal qued up and got interrupted by Flare damage.

Apparently, he took this as me questioning his healing. Ugh. That the last thing I was trying to do. For the rest of the night, the guy was questioning himself and his gear to the point that after a couple more unsuccessful attempts, he switched himself out for one of his friend's Paladins.

After another wipe, Raydz suggested he Main Tank and I chase flares, but help heal at the end. I kept wondering why our Priest, on his Hunter alt, didn't go back to his main. Maybe his main has everything he needs from Kara, but I had gotten enough people ticked at me for one night to question it.

We try it with Raydz tanking but he got burst down before the first evo. I checked the log and saw he took 3 Crushing Blows. Ouch. He asked me about being Crushing Blow immune and I told him about TankPoints. Unfortunately, I wasn't recording my combat log so I can't do an in depth analysis of why he got crushed.

It was at this point that our Holy Paladin switched himself out. I felt really bad for him. We went back to me Main Tanking, and Raydz offtanking. We kept Raydz on Curator as well because we seemed to have plenty of DPS, and that way Raydz could tank the last few percent if I got burst down.

Never happened. We were able to get through the enrage with no problem. Need I mention, the Legs I need from Curator did not drop. I have never even seen them drop, not one time.

After taking several shots to get Curator down, we called the Raid. I've hit all the major bosses I need for upgrades this week (Moroes, Maiden, Curator) except for Nightbane, so I'll have to wait until next week for upgrades.

Tonight, our guild is supposed to do Gruul's Lair.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking Leave Of My Senses

Okay, this is probably a crazy idea, but here goes. I was on the PTR the other day and I saw one of the new Engineering Flying Mounts. Wow, they look soooooo cool. I was an Engineer pre BC, but I dropped it to level up Jewelcrafting. Jewelcrafting has done very nice for me and my guildies (both current and former).

I've noticed that I don't hardly mine much anymore. Most of my playtime is spent in an instance, or Ogril'la or Ruins of Karabor.

So I've started saving mats to grind up Engineering. The BoP helm is a nice bonus, but I'm doing it mostly for the mount. I really missed the Teleporters. The cooldown was a bit excessive though. Now comes word that the Potion Injectors can used by non Engineers so maybe there is some hope for the profession.

So far I've got most of the mats for the early levels. I know the rough part will be all the thorium, fel iron and adamantite I need. I'm going to farm up as much of it as I can before I drop Mining.

In other news, one of the responses I got to my alt conundrum was to make a new alt Mage. I have said many times, I don't like being a clothie. Well Face says that as long as I spec Frost to level I won't be "that" squishy.

So I tried it. I made a Gnome Mage and named him ZeroKelvin. I did the first 6 levels on him and I must say he's pretty fun. It's amazing to me to watch a same level mob die before it can even reach my little Gnome. Gnome is the only race Alliance side that I haven't played much. So ZeroKelvin is definitely in the running. Unfortunately I can't revise the poll so I'll just see how that plays out.

Too Good To Last

It's been hard to get groups for Heroics, so I spent much of the weekend doing dailies and farming a bit on the Demon Hunter Supplicants in Shadowmoon Valley. My epic mount money fund is up to 2300 gold. I'm almost halfway there.

Mal Katai did not run Gruul's last night. I've been really surprised by how little we actually raid. When I came to Mal Katai, it was with the understanding they were a Raid guild, but they only run 25 mans maybe once or twice a week. I can't image we are going to get very far at that pace. Maybe I misunderstood what kind of guild Mal Katai was when I left Bloodsky to join them. I figured if Sevenn and Faceeraser were happy with the progression then they must be moving pretty good. I'm not ready to go guild shopping again and to be honest there isn't much on this server, but I can tell I'm not thrilled with where things are right now.

The other issue I've been having the last couple of weeks is the Kara group I'm running with starts really late and goes even later. I was going to try to run with Group 1 this week, but they started before I could get on last night. I did get an invite to join them but they had already cleared through Maiden.

I went with Group 2 because I was concerned that if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to get a Kara group this week at all or the groups would already be past the early bosses that I need.

We finally got going about 11pm or so. One of the highlights of the evening for me was the 5 pull right before Midnight. I guess Cellesita (Holy Paladin) was getting a little bored, so he challenged me to tank the entire pull with no CC. I think Cellestia would really like to be a Tankadin one day if we ever get enough regular healers in Mal Katai, and wanted to see what I could do.

Sure, no problem. I open up with Avenging Wrath, Shield Toss and go to town. We killed the entire group. I never lost a single one of the mobs and the healers were able to keep me upright. Fresh off this success, I tried double tanking Midnight and Attumen. I missed the pickup when Attumen spawned and he managed to one shot somebody before I got him. Luckily we had Padamay (Balance Druid), so he was able to Battle Rez. Once I got Attumen under control, I was able to tank both Attumen and Midnight.

We gave Moroes a try with 3 hunters and no Priests but we wiped when MissDime (Arms Warrior with good Pre-Kara tank gear) was killed and Moroes got loose after the next gouge.

We had Lumi switch from his Hunter to his Priest and we killed Moroes.

We went onto Maiden. This was only my second time actually tanking her. We had two Paladins in the Raid (Cellestia and Brwndude), so I wasn't needed to cleanse or heal. Her silence was still annoying to deal with, however she went down in one shot. I wonder if she's any relation to Ironya from Uldaman.

At this point, it was really getting late. I was having trouble staying focused on tanking so we called it. I asked everyone in the Raid to please leave Curator for Thursday. Last week, they killed Curator on my off night, so I really hope they leave him standing until Thursday.

We are supposed to do High King and Gruul on Friday. I really hope we do.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Want My P.T.R

I copied Honorshammer over to the PTR this weekend to check out the new changes in 2.3.
(all the graphics below are taken directly from screenshots and have not been altered)
The first thing I wanted to try out was the new Combat Expertise Talent that I was so very excited about.

When I copied Hammer over he had 12007 unbuffed hit points, and 866 stamina. This is in my Raid/Uncrushable kit. You have your talent points reset when you first copy over to the PTR so the first thing I did was put 2 points back into Sacred Duty.
That took me to 12.5k hit points and 917 stamina with no buffs.
Then I start putting points into the new Combat Expertise.
1 point.
2 points.
3 points. Hello 13k Hitpoints. Nice to see you.
4 points.
5 points. So I went from 12517 to 13437, a net increase of 920 hit points.
Now I was getting pretty excited. I went and found a friendly Druid and a Priest and got some buffs.
With just those buffs, I was sitting at nearly 16k hit points.
On live, fully raid buffed with food, flask, shout and everything, I'm sitting at 17.6k hit points. This change will easily put me over 18k in that scenario. This is an awesome change for Paladin tanks. Each point in stamina is made more valuable by this talent, and as our hit points go up, so does the Ardent Defender threshold. At 12k hit points, Ardent Defender kicks in as soon as I go below 4200 hit points. At 16k, Ardent Defender kicks in at 5600 hit points. Ardent Defender reduces damage taken by 30%.

Of course, I would still have more hit points if I was a Warrior. I'd have my Range slot to get the Stamina gun, and I wouldn't have to work so hard to be uncrushable. I could equip my Shermanar Great Ring with its 36 stamina instead of my Andormu's Tear. But I need the Dodge, Defense and Shield Block Rating from the Tear to stay Uncrushable.



One other really nice change that I noticed on the PTR is that quest givers show up on your mini map. Not just ones whom you've completed a quest for, but ones that HAVE a quest as well. This is an awesome change and no one (that I have seen) has said anything about it.

ALTernate Reality

I've added a Poll to ask "Which Alt should I level up".

The goal for this alt is to be first and foremost a DPS character. I've done healing and tanking with Honorshammer (main, Paladin), now I'd like a DPS character. I do not like being a "clothie", and the whole Demon pet Warlock thing just freaks me out.

My options are:

Raijin, the Shaman. He's pretty cool. The Totems are bit annoying in that you have to wait to make sure they don't aggro anything after you drop them. Making a DPS Shaman is another "offspec" so I could run into some of the same issues I run into with Hammer. I'd also have to battle a bit for him to be true DPS and not a healer, although I may find that what I didn't like was the way Paladin's healed, not the whole Healer thing.

Hummer, the Hunter. He's a lot of fun, but the problem is my current guild seems to have dozens of Hunters. I helped Lumi's alt Hunter get through Durnholde and our other DPSer was a Hunter, too.

Rabbit, the Warrior. He's fun too, lol. My concern on him is range dps seems to be better than melee dps, and I already have a "tank" character with Honors.

Claw, the Druid. Druids are fun because they are so versatall. It's like playing a Rogue, a Warrior, and Priest. The long cooldown on their Rez is really annoying, and Cat Druids are again melee DPS.

Warlocks just freak me out with the whole pet Demon thing. With apologies to Rego, Sam and Max, but you guys are scary.

I tried out a Rogue, but I didn't enjoy him. Mages and Priests are too squishy.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sleep, Rest, Earned It I Have

Last night was interesting. It started out with me grouping up with some members of Mal Katai to do the new Headless Horseman boss in Scarlet Monastery.

The fight is very, very easy. The Headless Horseman is a level 70 Elite, not even level 72. We were able to 4 man him at one point. Every time we killed him, he dropped the same epic Attack Power ring, which I now have for my Retribution set.

He also drops a nice DPS plate helm. He will be up for another 2 weeks so hopefully, I can get the helm at some point.

What Headless Horseman showed me was what Zul'Aman was going to be like. Scarlet Monastery, like Zul'Aman is in Horde Territory. There were many many Horde there waiting to greet us as we entered the Monastery. Fortunately, the instance was only a short distance away. With Zul'Aman, there will be a long miserable run from the portal to Ghostlands all the way to the instance.

Soon after my Kara group was forming up. I was disappointed to learn that they ran the previous night (Wednesday) when I couldn't be on and did Curator. I can only imagine how disappointed I would have been if he had dropped the Wyrnn Dynasty Greaves, but he didn't.

I would see that disappointment spill over to Thursday when we had 3 Hunters that wanted to go. The one who got left out was very upset. Guild drama ensued. One of the Hunters /gquit, but was eventually coaxed back to the guild.

At Kara, I ran into a group from my old guild Heroes Inc. It was great seeing those guys again, I really miss hanging out with them.

We cleared a ton of trash, and got up to Aran. After some raid juggling to get some Warlocks, we were able to get him down after 3 unsuccessful tries.

He dropped the tanking ring. I was fortunate that my co-Tank, Raydz, and one of the Druids already had it, so it was just me and another druid. Contrary to what usually happens, I actually won it.
I was all excited, until I put it on, and it put me into Crushable. Andormu's Tear is just that good for Passive Uncrushability, that it beats this ring out on that account. This means I'm going to have to spend some time in Shat with all the banked gear I have and find the combination of gear that makes me uncrushable with the most possible Hit Points.
We went ahead and did Chess. Cellestia, Holy Paladin, got the healing Shield. I think it was the last, or next to last upgrade he needs from Kara.
After Chess, we cleared on up to Prince. At this point, it was getting late, and I was getting tired. We made several attempts, but I was clearly off my game. I was getting my lefts and rights mixed up and moving the wrong way. On what I thought was our best attempt, we were actually getting him but I moved right into an Infernal.
I knew I wasn't playing up to my ability, so I gave way and let Raydz tank him, but Raydz would get burst down during Phase 2. A warrior tank is almost certain to take a Crush during Phase 2, and during Phase 2.5 (40% to 30%) that Crush is really going to hurt. I was just too tired to play my character correctly. I don't know about playing a DPSer, but as a Tank or a Healer, if you are slow with your reactions or not thinking clearly, its going to show, and possibly lead to wipes.
Hopefully, we can try him again tonight. One of the Hunters has possibly come up with a 'safe' spot to tank him where we don't have to move much, if at all. I'll be really excited if that works. Prince and Nightbane are two bosses I'd really like to get some loot from.
Speaking of loot, Blogging is a really interesting hobby. One of the benefits is being able to look back at what you wrote previously. On October 8th, I was taking a "I don't care about loot" anymore attitude, because the drops I needed didn't' drop. By the 10th, I was starting to count the days since my last upgrade. Since I made that post, bemoaning how I wasn't getting upgrades, I've gotten 4 upgrades to my set. The very next time I went into Kara, I got Moroes Belt. Then I bought my Mace. Then my T4 Shoulder token dropped, and now the Ring.
My little Shammy, Raijin, hit level 20 and got his Water quest, so it's off to Gankenvale for him.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tankadin PVP

Tankadins are drawn to PVP, and to the Arena specifically for the Merciless Gladiator's Gavel.

What I'll share here are some of the lessons I learned about Prot PVP during my grind. Like anything else, PVP takes time and practice to learn to be effective. Learn what classes you do well against (Enhance Shaman, Rogues, Fury Warriors, Cat Druids), and what classes give you trouble (Casters). Learn the "tells" that give away a spec. A Warrior dual wielding is Prot or Fury. A mage with an Ice Shield is Frost, and won't be able to POM/Pyro you. A Paladin with a 2her is Ret, a Warrior with a 2her is Arms. Hunter's and Pets that go all big and red are Beast Mastery. Dual Wielding or 2her wearing Shaman is Enhancement.

I went the route of being a PVP Healer. It was easier to gear up for two roles (PVE Tank / PVP Healer) as I already was building a Healer set for those times when I wouldn't be tanking.

I played a 5v5 team and a 3v3 team. The 5v5 team was a 3 dps/2 healer matrix. The 3v3 was a 2 healer / 1 dps matrix.

In both cases the other healer was a Resto Druid who would start each match out in Cat Form and stealthed. The idea was for the other team to target me as the healer of the group, then my Druid could heal fairly unmolested. My main job was to keep our healer alive, and the healer would keep the rest of the team going.

Talents

One of the first questions you have to answer for yourself when you consider Prot PVP is are you willing to sacrifice some talent points to make it easier to PVP. The single talent that makes the most difference in PVP is Spiritual Focus, followed by Improved Concentration Aura. What you want to achieve is 90 to 100% uninterruptable healing. 4/5 in Spiritual Focus, and 3/3 in Improved Concentration Aura gives you this.

The other option open to you is respecing each week. It will cost about 200g to go from Prot to Holy and back to Prot (50g each respec, plus the gold in training the talented spells like Holy Shock, Holy Shield, etc.) On a moderate team, you should be getting about 300 points a week, which makes this a 10 to 12 week grind. Would you have paid 2000g to 3000g for the Mace outright?

Blessings

Blessing of Freedom on your Warrior, especially if the other team has a Hunter or Frost Mage. Blessing of Sacrifice on the other healer, or one of your DPSers. Just make sure it's somebody who will be taking damage. Sacrifice will break many CC effects on your. If the other team is being diligent in purging off Sacrifice from your target, you can try to "hide" it on a pet. Blessing of Wisdom on yourself, and Blessing of Light on anybody you will be healing. Kings for anyone else, but I found Light is better than Kings over the course of the match.

If you have a Druid on your team, call for an innervate at 40% mana.

If they put a pet on you, seal and judge Light, Seal Wisdom and start whacking on it. If they put a pet on your other healer or on a squishy DPSer, taunt it off. Taunt is not specifically considered CC, so it works even on big red pets. Some hunters are pretty good at redirecting their pet to the primary target but even they do that, they've lost precious DPS time while the pet runs towads you and then gets redirected to the target.

If the other healer or a squishy dps is being focused fired, hit them with Blessing of Protection.

Gear

You wouldn't walk into Karazhan in Greens or SSC in Blues and expect to do well would you? Don't walk into Arenas undergeared with delusions of grandeur either. But don't let that stop you from doing Arenas. It's going to take some time to get enough points for the Gavel, the sooner you start earning points, the sooner you can pick it up. If you don't have a team, you need to get one today. Do your 10 games and get some points this week.

You need stamina, Resilience, healing, and mana per 5. Resilience is analogous to defense. It helps reduce the damage you take in PVP. One of the first items you are going to want to get is the Insignia of the Alliance. Then get it upgraded quick to the Medallion of the Alliance. Crowd Control is everything in PVP, you need these to get you out of crowd control and back into the fight. In order to get this you will have to do Battlegrounds.

Battlegrounds also give you PVP epics for your Rings, Back, Belts, Boots, and Bracers.

Also consider spending Arena points on your Arena Gloves and Shoulders. That's the quickest way to get the 2 piece bonus of 35 Resilience. As of 2.3, Season 1 gear will also be available from Battlegrounds. You could build quite a nice PVP set just from Battlegrounds.

There are couple of resilience drops in PVE dungeons like the Mithril Bark Cloak from Laj in Botanica. You are going to be killing him many times for your Righteous Shoulders, so pick this up.

BGS

Protection Paladins can be very useful in most Battlegrounds.

In Warsong Gulch, put on your Heroic (high Stam) gear and run flags. You can provide your own Blessing of Freedom, Cleanse yourself, have high hit points, high armor, and Ardent Defender. In 2.3, you can also pick up the new Pursuit of Justice which will be very nice for running flags.

In Arathi Basin, there are few things as powerful as a Protection Paladin guarding a Flag. If you bubble is up, that guarantees the other faction isn't capping for at least 12 seconds. If you get feared away from the flag, Avenger's Shield can stop up to 3 people from capping.

I made a macro for when I'm defending.

/bg Incoming attackers at Mine, Send help if you want to hold the point

Replace Mine with whatever point you are holding.

I use a very similar strategy in Eye of the Storm, guarding points and calling for help.

Alterac Valley will probably be the easiest Battleground for a Tankadin as there are actually mobs in there with aggro tables. If you PVE gear is good you can tank multiple Warmasters, and our fast threat allows DPS go to all out on Drek / Van.

Shouldn't We Have More Health Than Warriors?

There seem to be a large number of Warriors who are very concerned with the new Combat Expertise talent Paladins are receiving in Patch 2.3.

Now the first approach I take to a conflict like this is try to put myself into the other man's shoes. So if I was a Prot Warrior, instead of a Prot Paladin, what would I be feeling and why would I be reacting with such passionate distress over this change.

I think everyone who has played a Tankadin knows what the prot warriors are going through - uncertainty and worry - and for the first time having to ask themselves the question Paladins ask ourselves from time to time: "Am I a viable tank?"

I understand their seige mentality. They went from the only tank, able to spec whatever they wanted to to tank (Pre-BC), with 2x their class based allotment in raids, to: One of three, soon to be one of four tanks, that had to spec protection to be a good tank, and that is abit weak when tanking in 5 mans. Unable to tank as Fury/Arms and constantly threat capped when dps specced. Uncomfortable to say the least.

Now is the time for us to share in our tanking cousins pain, to encourage and support them just like they have supported us.

But beyond all that, it seems logical to me for Paladins to have more hit points than Warriors. As Warriors have shown time and again, Paladins take more damage than Warriors do. Their Defensive Stance is better than Improved Righteous Fury (10% versus 6%), and Improved Defensive Stance is better against spells than Improved Righteous Fury and Spell Warding (16% versus 10%). So since Paladins take more damage, it seems a logical conclusion that we have more hit points.

Feral Druids take the most damage of any tanking class because they can't Block, or Parry. Their only pure Avoidance stat is Dodge and Miss. They also can not eliminate Crushing Blows.

And they have more Hit Points than any other tanking class.

Paladins come next in damage taken, and with Warriors taking the least amount of damage. So shouldn't hit points scale the same way. Druids most, then Paladins, then Warriors.

Druids = High Hit Points, High incoming Damage
Paladins = Medium Hit Points, Medium Incoming Damage
Warriors = Low Hit Points, Low Incoming Damage.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tankadin Basics, Strengths and Struggles

Taken nearly verbatim from An Officers Guide to the Paladin Tank. I'm basically saving this here in the event something happens to the Maintankadin forums.

Basics:

Paladin threat is generated almost exclusively through Holy Damage. Consequently a Tankadins gear will require intellect and spell damage. Strength is very insignificant to a Paladin; rather, he will use a "caster" weapon in most situations. Three Points in Righteous Fury increases all threat from Holy damage by 90%.

All of the following tanking abilities are increased by the Paladins spell damage, though coeffecients do apply.
  • Avenger's Shield (a pulling tool) does 494 to 602 and jumps, hitting up to three targets total. It also will daze those targets.
  • A target that has Judgement of the Crusader on it will have its Holy damage taken increased by up to 190.
  • Seal of Righteousness adds Holy damage to each swing of the Paladin's weapon.
  • Judgement of Righteousness does 208 to 228 Holy Damage.
  • Holy Shield, when activated, does 155 Holy Damage per block.
  • Consecration is a 10-yd AOE doing 512 Holy Damage per target over 8 seconds.
  • Retribution Aura does 26 when struck and Blessing of Sanctuary does 46 upon a block.
  • Avenging Wrath is available every 3 minutes and increases all damage done by the Tankadin by 30% for 20 seconds.

Tankadin Struggles:
  • Silence. Any long lasting silence will shut down a Paladins ability to cast causing threat to slow or even stop. Additionally, if Holy Shield falls off, the Paladin will become susceptible to crushing blows.
  • Stamina. With current (2.1) itemization and base HP, most Paladins have lower HP than similarly geared Druids and Warriors. This is being addressed with the new Combat Expertise talent coming in 2.3
  • Fear. This is a bit more of a problem for Blood Elves as Horde currently does not have Fear Ward. However, this obstruction can be overcome. On multiple occasions Paladins can and have successfully MT'd bosses that fear. Paladins have 2 bubbles that can be used to overcome this and of course the PVP trinket. Fear is an inconvenience, not a game breaker for a prepared Paladin.
  • Mana Burn. Mana Burn can seriously hurt the Paladins threat generation capacity, especially initial front-loading, as well as increase the damage they take uniquely among the tanking classes. (credit: Joanadark)
  • Mana Dependency. A Paladin without mana is a Paladin without threat and susceptible to crushing blows; however, a Paladin recieves mana back from heals recieved. Due to a change in mid '07 mana is no longer recieved from over-healing. For this reason Paladins often struggle in OT'ing roles as these often are accompanied by decreased damage taken. An over-geared Paladin could have similar mana problems but should simply downgrade his gear. Additionally, Holy Shield provides a significant part of the Paladins threat but obviously does not proc when the Paladin is not being struck.

Tankadin Strengths:

  • AOE tanking. Paladins have a strong ability to AOE tank, particularly against melee heavy mob groups. Consecration, Retribution Aura, Holy Shield and Blessing of Sanctuary produce large amounts of threat against an unlimited number of mobs.
  • Crush "Immune". Properly geared Tankadins can be uncrushable before even entering Karazhan. In fact, overall they are more dependably uncrushable than Warriors as Improved Holy Shield grants 8 charges over 10 seconds.
  • Fast Threat. Due to the way many of the mechanics work and the fact that Paladins start with a full mana bar, Tankadins can frontload threat very quickly. This allows DPS to open up against the target sooner. Additionally, the daze effect of Avenger's Shield will make sheep easier to place away from the Raid. (credit: HonorsHammer)
  • Long-range Taunt. While the Righteous Defense taunt is on a 15-second cooldown, it has a 40 yard range and will also taunt 3 targets off the teammate receiving Righteous Defense. As an alternative, Avenger's Shield can be used at 30 yards, easily giving over 1000 threat on up to 3 targets. (credit: HonorsHammer)
  • High Threat. When main tanking a mob or boss, particularly one which does a frequent number of melee strikes, Paladin threat will build very high over the course of the fight. This increased threat ceiling allows for DPS to push themselves more and more without fear of pulling aggro.
  • CCers Protection. The many ranged threat abilities Paladins enjoy, along with the long-duration static-placement AOE spell Consecration, allow a Paladin to excell in situations where trash or boss adds are being CC'ed. The Paladin can act as protection of the vulnerable CCers by gaining initial aggro on mobs to be CC'ed from long range and providing insurance against accidental CC break or death of the player responsible for crowd control. (credit: Joanadark)
  • Group Composition. While a peripheral benefit, it is still notable that in most cases a tank group will include a Paladin for their auras, regardless of the spec of the Paladin. If a Paladin Tank is employed, they will be bestowing the same auras on the other tanks in the tank group, while freeing up an additional spot in the tank group for including another utility raid member, such as a Shaman for Windfury Totem or a Druid for their Tree of Life healing increase aura, while still having the same number of total tanks. (credit: Joanadark)

Changing Gears

I logged in last night and almost immediately got an invite to Karazhan. I had to run to the bank and grab all my stuff.

We zone in and start clearing Attumen's trash. We are about to pull Midnight when our Guild Leader announces we are going to Gruul's Lair. There was some discussion in the Raid was to whether or not we should continue to go to Gruul's.

I suggest that since we haven't killed a boss yet, and none of us are saved we go to Gruul's and try Kara later, but the group really wants to do Mignight. Hey, why not. Another shot at the Bracers which never drop.

We kill Attumen and zone out. No bracers, thank you very much. There was a bit of "drama" as one of the group wanted to do Kara instead of Gruul's. We had just enough people online for a Gruul's attempt, so we had to go. The guy got so upset he /gquit. I hope he comes back or finds a good guild to land with.

The raid gets organized and goes after High King. We had a little trouble with the Fel Hounds. While tanking Blindeye, I also managed to get a Fel Hound on me. I guess he got caught in a Consecrate tick, because I wasn't trying to pick him up. Oh well, better he chews on my sorry dwarf behind than a healer.

Despite that little bit of drama we manage to 1 shot High King for the first time as a guild.
He dropped another Hammer of the Naaru, and the Hero and Champion tokens. I didn't roll on the Hammer again. If he keeps dropping it like this, I'll get it eventually.

What interested me most was the Champion token. For once, I was happy to see zero Shamans in our raid. It was me, Cellestia (Holy), and Deil (Rogue). Inexplicably, Deil didn't roll. Brindall, the Main Tank of Mal Katai, and Dora, our Guild Leader both state they think I should get the token.

This was really nice to hear. The fact they want to see me gear up means they think I'm at least a competent tank. I lose the roll the Cellestia, but he passes, so the token is mine.

This is a really nice upgrade from my D3 Spaulders of the Righteous. I was really, really excited to get them. This leaves me with just 6 more upgrades needed to be "epic'ed out". Moroes Trinket, Curator's Legs, Maiden's Neck, Nightbane's Chest, Illhoof's Back, Shade's Ring. In addition, I need my Teir 4 Helm to replace the Eternium, and Nightbane's Shield to replace my Crest of the Sha'tar.

After destroying HKM, we made two attempts at Gruul. Our first attempt was going very very well when our Main Tank got instagib. It looks like a Parry from one of our tanks attacks, plus another parry from a pet sped up Gruul's swing time so he attacked 4 times in 5 seconds. Shield Block can only cover 2 attacks per 5 seconds.

Our next attempt did not go as well. A couple people seemed to die right off the bat.

From my perspective, I'm finding this fight a bit discouraging. You only need two tanks. 1 on Gruul, and 1 for the Hurtfuls. Druids just make so much sense on the Hurtfuls. They have huge hit point pools, and the Hurtful can't crit or crush. I lose threat from Holy Shield and I lose threat when I can't use my powers during a Silence.

Gruul himself was designed for a Warrior. Could I tank him? I know other Paladins have successfully tanked Gruul and my gear is getting better, but if the healers eat a bad silence, I'm not going to have Shield Wall or Last Stand to help me survive. On the other hand, I do get almost twice the Shield Blocks charges (8 over 10 seconds, against 2 over 5 seconds) as a Warrior, which means it should be tougher to crush me. But he Gruul caught me with a silence when I need to refresh Holy Shield, Id be toast.

What I'm doing right now for the fight is keeping up Judgement of Light, and throwing some heals right after the Ground Slam / Shatter. Because the combat log attributes the Judgement of Light's healing to the player being healed (Brindal's Seal of Light heals Brindall for 93), it doesn't show as my healing in any meter. But taking my WWS log, I can see that my keeping up Seal of Light was responsible for 71k healing over the course of the fight. That was just a bit less than the 86k that Improved Leader of the Pack was responsible for, and that buff is constant. My Judgement would fall off each time I ran out for a Ground Slam. That was in addtion to the the 46k direct healing I did, and the 60k damage I added.

After Gruul, we reassembled our Kara team and attacked Moroes, Maiden, and Opera before I had to call it a night. The group set up Friday night as the night we will finish it up. My buddy Raydz scored himself a nice pair of gloves off of Maiden. I still haven't gotten the neck I want off of her, but I've been getting upgrades steady now, so it'll drop one of these weeks.
Gruul is going to go down, it's just a matter of which night. Now I need to start preparing for Magtheridon.

Tonight is my "off" night, so tomorrow I'll be blogging on Protection Spec PVP.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gruul is Merciless

After debating with myself for a couple days I decided to go ahead and purchase my Gavel, despite the face that the 2nd boss in Zul Aman drops a similar Mace.
I can use the Gavel now, and the Zul'Aman mace is a drop, which Shadow Priest, Elemental Shamans, and Balance Druids would also want to roll for. So it would have to drop and I'd have to win it.

I was a little short on Large Prismatic Shards, so I had to buy a couple off the AH. Man are those suckers expensive, 19g a piece. I bought the shards and had my ole buddy, Regolos slap a +40 spell damage enchant on it.
Faceeraser and Haust started to put together a Heroic Slave Pens run. We were just missing a healer, and about to go to the LFG channel when Dora announced we were headed for Gruul's. It took the better part of an hour to get the raid group together, and ready to go.

I wanted to see what my new mace could do. So on the first pull, I let fly with Avenger's Shield, hitting my mob and one of the other offtanks mobs. Tralic taunted him off, but as soon as the taunt debuff wore off, his mob was back to hating me. Unfortunately with two big ole Ogres using me a punching bag I couldn't manage to stay upright despite the best efforts of my healers. Fortunately, it was not a wipe. I didn't use Avenger's Shield on a trash mob pack again.

But I did manage to put out some really nice TPS. At one point, I broke 4 digit TPS, one a regular Mob (no exorcism). I was rather happy with myself.
We get to the big guy. Tralic (Feral Druid) was going to be offtanking, Lanorah (Warrior) would be Main Tank. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't going to be on one of the Tank positions, but I've got to know that I won't be tanking every time out. We have a tank corps and all of us need time and experience tanking different encounters. This is not only to build our own skill set, but also to have the DPS and Healers build confidence with every tank in the Corps.
By having a strong Tank Corps we will help to combat burnout of any of the tanks, and we are much more flexible in our raids. We don't have to call the raid is Player X can't come. Still, Tanking is what I doing most in the game, especially Raid Tanking.
I was really excited to see my buffed Hit Points over 17k. The Grull fight just seems to require things like Shield Wall and Last Stand. Hopefully, I'll get my turn tanking him at some point, even though, he's a rough fight for a Paladin. He's plays to our weaknesses, and not our strengths.

We made several attempts at Gruul. I made sure to keep up Judgement of Light, even though Crusader would have helped my threat more. In 2.3, I'll be able to get the 3% Raid Crit added to my Crusader, so it will be a better Judgement for everyone. I put up Light to act as a baby HoT for our Tanks and Melee, then I just did as much DPS as I could and tried to get as much threat as I could.
As a dedicated offtank, I always had the mana for my threat rotation, but as a 3rd tank/dps, I wasn't taking enough damage to keep my mana up. In addition, I was running out of the Ground Slams, instead of staying in, so I lost major time building threat. Also, when I would get back to Grull, I had to rejudge Light.

Our best attempt, we got him down to 4%. It was heartbreaking and exciting all at the same time. On more than one attempt, our Main Tank died, and our OT stepped up to fill the MT role. That meant I needed to ramp up quickly to the OT role. Usually that took long.
As I looked over the WWS Log, it seems that the Reverberation Silence effect is usually what killed our tanks. Our healers would get silenced, and then Gruul would be 2 or even 3 hits on the tank. The tank would only have HoTs on him.
I was in full tank this time, instead of my Offtank set. With my new mace, I had even more spell damage in this set than I had in my Offtank set previously, and I'd be more survivable. (Please disregard the PVP trinket shown in this picture, I had it equipped to deal with the trash fear and wasn't wearing it for Gruul).
Maybe what we should do is have the tank can blow Shield Wall for the first Reverb, then have the Paladins set up a bubble rotation. Each can bubble out of Reverb and help heal the tank until the other healers can heal again.
Depending on where they decide to use me, I'm going to do everything I can to be higher on threat. Staying in during the Ground Slams and running Crusader instead of Light. The other problem I was having was Seal of Vengeance. Its really nice for threat, but sometimes, getting that thing to land the DoT was just painful. I'll probably go back to Seal of Righteousness.

Litany of the Disgruntled Warrior

Joanadark (Level 70 Warrior, Spirestone server) has written the Litany of the Disgruntled Warrior in response to the Warrior's complaints about the buff to the Combat Expertise talent currently on the 2.3 PTR. It was too good not to share on my blog.

If I want DPS buffs, it's because I'm a hybrid.
If I want to tank, its because I'm the only PURE tanking class.
If I DPS badly, it's because I am broken.
If I tank badly, it's because my itemization sucks.
If I die, it's because of my healers.
If I live, it's because I have Shield Wall and you don't.
If I fail at PvP, it's because I am gear dependant.
If a 2 hander drops, Arms is an amazing PvE spec.
If my current 2 hander is better, Arms is good only for PvP.
The devs hate us, except when they don't.

Friday, October 12, 2007

3 Boomkins Walk Into Karazhan

Last night I was trying to get a Karazhan group started when someone (maybe Maxpayne) told me that Luminati was starting one when he logged one. Turns out Lumi logs on pretty late, and it was 11:30pm or so when the group started forming.

I really should have gone to bed, but I didn't. I went with the group. Starbucks is very happy that I did.
Something else I enjoy to going into instances with really odd groups. You could say that our group last was odd. Me (Prot Paladin) and Devona (Hybrid Warrior) were tanking. Helios (Shaman), Lumi (Priest) and Brwndude (Paladin) were healing. Then you had our DPS team. Haust (Moonkin), Knj (Moonkin) and Padamay (Moonkin), Amandate (Rogue, name mispelled), and Bandarno (Feral Druid).

The group had already killed Attumen, so Moroes was up first. The Rogue, who was a former member of Mal Katai, but had moved on asked who was tanking, the reply was "Honorshammer. He's a leetsauce tank." I don't recognize voices yet on Vent, but man, I can't tell you how good that made me feel. I knew the group trusted me to tank.

We start clearing trash, and I notice immediately that this group is very good. The mobs provided less resistance the Detroit Lions defense.

We got to Moroes. The adds are Holy Priest, Ret Paladin, Prot Warrior, and MS Warrior. The shackle the MS Warrior. Our Rogue (really sorry I'm blanked on his name), stunlocked tanked the Holy Priest while Bandarno tanked the Ret Paladin. Devona tanked the Prot Warrior and I was Moroes.

He went down very easily.

And then he dropped this little beauty:

I tried it on and I'm still uncrushable with it. One of the Moonkins happened to have a Solid Star on them, and gave it to me. I still need to get another Solid Star to put in the other slot.

The group was literally amazed to learn that I had only 8 of my 20 slots filled with Epic gear, the rest being blues. One of them inspected me to be sure. As you can see from my armory, I'm now sitting at 9/20 slots epic. They couldn't believe I tank as well as I do with such relatively poor gear. Big props to the guys on Maintankadin for helping me make Skill more important than Gear.

We went onto Maiden. I had Devona tank her and helped keep the Rogue and Bandaro up. Maiden didn't drop her Neck, but she did drop some Plate healing bracers. Brwndude already had them so I picked them up.

They are very similar to my Veteran's Ornamented Bracers from PVP.

Two epics in as many bosses. I'm going to start giving Raydz a run for his money for the title of loot hore.

After Maiden we cleared up to Opera. We got Wizard of Oz. No Hunters, no mages, no warlocks. I tanked Roar. Devona tanked Tinman. Bandaro tanked Strawman. Toto was "tanked" by Haust in Moonkin form. We burned down Dorothee, then Toto, then Strawman, then Roar, then Tinman. Finally we took the Crone. The Eternium Greathelm dropped. Since I was wearing it, it went to Devona who was still using the Greathelm of the Unbreakable (blue). I was really happy for him. Some 2 handed Axe also dropped. Attack Power, mana per 5 and maybe agility, I don't remember. Looked like Hunter loot, but now its 2 Void Crystals on their way to the bank.
We moved onto Curator when my night took a turn for the worse. We had just downed the last track pack when I get disconnected. I tried power cycling my modem, rebooting, everything. Finally I call my ISP, Knology. After being on hold for 30 minutes, I get a tech who informs me that their main router went down and they are working on it. By now, the group has either already killed Curator or called it as it was really late (after 2am EST). I was pretty upset, but these things happen. I had gotten more epics this run with just 3 bosses than I have with entire clears, so who am I to complain.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dancing In The Streets

One of the persistent problems with Paladin tanks is that we lack Stamina compared to our Warrior brethren. Warriors have a 1200hp advantage.
Now comes the 2.3 PTR and this little gem showed up in the notes:
Weapon Expertise (Protection) renamed Combat Expertise, now increases expertise by 1/2/3/4/5 and total Stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Source: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=2288042225&sid=1
OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!
Ok, I'm done...
Wait. OOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!
Ok, NOW I'm done.
In my best gear right now, I have 866 stamina. 10% of that is 87, which means I'll pickup about 870hp right there. Not quite the 1200, but wow that lowers the gap. My unbuffed HP in my Uncrushable set will go to 12.8k hp. My stamina set will be over 13.5k. Wow, just wow. The best part, I'm still in mostly blues. When I finally get the upgrades I need, I'll have even more hp!

Buy Now or Save? (Arena Points)

(Cross posted from my guild forums)

Situation is as follows:

I've been saving up for the Merciless Gladiator's Gavel. This is the 2nd best Tankadin Weapon in the game. It's got more spell damage on it than I have in my entire gearset.

I have been waiting for Season 3, so I can get it at a reduced price. I'm currently sitting on 4300 Arena points. I get about 300 a week, which means that in 2-3 weeks I will have more points than I can carry over. You can only carry over 5000 points.

So should I go ahead and purchase the mace now and pay the higher price? I'm going to "lose" the points I'd save anyway because I don't think we are just 2-3 weeks from Season 3. Even if 2.3 comes out in that time frame they need to do the end of Season 2 finals before they can begin Season 3.

Wednesdays and Shamans

I have, in my completely unbiased opinion, the greatest wife in the entire world. She puts up with my WoW, my Football, and all my little quirks, but the most awesome thing about my wife is she loves my geekiness. The one trait that I was always a bit embarrassed by, she loves. See, I know she can find someone cuter than me. I know she can find someone funnier. She can definitely find someone richer. But I can geek with the best of them.

After a little talk last night, my wife and I agreed that Wednesday night is HER night. No WoW. No Football. Nothing but pure quality time with HER, which last night consisted of watching a 2 hour Mythbusters special.

So to my WoW friends reading this, don't look for me on Wednesday nights, and expect all the tanky stuff to drop on Wednesdays as well, lol.

Now, I have something to ask of you, my readers. Since Thursdays I won't be writing about my adventures in WoW, I'd like some ideas for things you'd like to see posts about. Talents, gear, bosses, etc. You'll find an email address to your left, or feel free to use the comments.

Also, I'm looking for a good Shaman blog. With the changes to leveling coming in patch 2.3, I'm considering leveling up my Shaman. Wichita makes Elemental look wicked fun. We don't have a single active shaman in our raids right now, so I thought I'd give the class a try.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Odd Happenings in the Lair

Last night Mal Katai went back into Gruul's Lair.

First up was good ole High King Maulgar. Last time we faced down the High King and his Council, I was Blindeye the Seer. This time however, I was teamed up with Raydz to tank Olm the Summoner.

Raydz was going to get Olm misdirected to him, and I would taunt off Raydz when he got feared or got the debuff that Olm does up to 2 stacks.

We pull. The pull is everything in this fight. Olm immediately fear Raydz and aggro onto Brindall our Main Tank. I taunt. Righteous Defense is a wonderful taunt, it really is. It taunts up to 3 attackers of your target onto you. And wouldn't you know it, Brindall has aggro on High King Maulgar, so when I taunted, I got him as well. It's a bonus!

Olm melee + High King melee + Arcing Smash.

Sometimes you're windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

The next attempt he was to be misdirected to me. Something went wrong and the misdirect never happened. We did manage to get Olm under control, but somewhere between Blindeye going down and Olm going down, Brindal was killed.

We determined we needed more healing and rearranged the raid a bit.

We pull again, and Raydz and I were able to get Olm under control. Man is he completely annoying to try to tank. He spams death coil and fear constantly. So I spent much of the fight running around like the proverbial chicken with its proverbial head proverbially cut off. But this time we get him down. He drops two Defender tokens and a Mail DPS helm. (If you'd like to read a blog about a tank who actually gets drops, I highly recommend Raydz blog. My last upgrade was early September.)

We take a good 20 minutes to sort out the loot. Luckily, Faceeraser brought beer so I got Honorshammer completely smashed.

We moved onto to the big guy himself, Gruul. Our first attempt was thwarted by our healers getting silenced at just the wrong moment and Brindal getting flattened.

Someone, I'm not going to mention any names (Nakedfighter), but someone pulled when no one was ready and Raistlan (mage) and 2 healers (Sevenn, Dora) were at half mana. As if that wasn't bad enough, Raist tried to blink and manage to blink through the gate and locked out for the attempt. We still managed to get him to 50% before the healers were OOM and we died.

Our 3rd attempt was going well. I had managed to eat every Hurtful Strike except one at the begining when Snowson (Feral Druid) landed a couple of early crits and passed me. Luckily, it was early so it didn't kill him.

This attempt ended when this odd sequence of events happened:

04:32'52.671 Gruul the Dragonkiller's Melee parried by Brindall
04:32'53.562 Honorshammer's Melee hits Gruul the Dragonkiller for 62 (glancing)
04:32'53.796 Honorshammer's Holy Vengeance dots Gruul the Dragonkiller for 113 Holy damage (38 resisted)
04:32'54.125 Gruul the Dragonkiller's Hurtful Strike hits Brindall for 11948 (586 blocked)
04:32'55.140 Gruul the Dragonkiller's Melee hits Brindall for 6939 (586 blocked)
04:32'55.721 Brindall dies
04:32'56.953 Honorshammer's Judgement of Vengeance hits Gruul the Dragonkiller for 612 Holy damage


At 4:32'52 Gruul was aggroed to Brindall. At 53, you can see I'm in melee range. The next second Brindall takes the Hurtful, yet he takes Gruul's next melee. I'm in range to Judge at 56.

After doing some research on Tankspot and Maintankadin, I've come up with two possible theories.

Possible Theory #1. I momentarily passed Brindall on threat, so he became #2, but I had not gotten to 110% threat at which point I would have pulled. This would be akin to getting Prince to enfebble the tank by getting to 101% threat but not being at 110% where you would get his melee.

Possible Theory #2. I was somehow out of melee range. Apparently, Hurtful Strikes have a short range than normal melee attacks because the rather large size of Gruul's model. I know Blizzard has had range issue with him specifically in regards to Consecration not hitting him, and they've had issues with the catform melee range.

Then the guys over at Tankspot, offered that Gruul is not supposed to do a Hurtful Strike when no one is in melee range except the tank. This makes sense. Apparently, sometimes he bugs out and does it anyway. This is not comforting.

One person posted "chances are, no other melee was in range when the hurtful strike went off so it hit the MT while he still had agro. Its not supposed to do that, but it did."

Another posted felt it was a bug.

It is a bug and bizzard is aware of it however there is no fix. Basically you have about a 95% change to get correct hateful strike mechanics but about once or twice a fight it will do something ODD.

That's makes me feel a little better.

I've got so much to keep track of in this fight. My threat, Brindal's threat, melee dps threat (some of which can't be bothered to install a damage meter), Cave Ins, Shatters, my mana bar. Now I've got to be cognisant that I'm always in melee range and its not like Gruul is a stationary target.

Days Since Last upgrade: 26
Justicar Handguards 9/14/2007