Monday, July 14, 2008

A Smattering Of Weekend Thoughts

This Is Why Tanks Don't PuG

I logged in Friday night and got ready to do some 2v2 with a buddy who has a Shadowstep Rogue alt.
While I was waiting I see a group asking for a tank for Heroic Magister's Terrace, and they are at the 3rd boss. The 3rd boss drops this super sexy tanking trinket called the Commendation of Kael'thalas. I figure, I'd join the group, and finish the instance. I'd be ready to Arena in a half hour.
Oh silly, silly, little dwarf. The group is me (Prot Paladin), a Rogue, two Shamans (Resto, Enhance), and a Mage. I'm assigned to tank the Rogue Add. Good call. I go after the Rogue after the Mage Add is sapped. I dash in and go to judge, but the Priestess has purged off my Seal so I have noting to judge. I reseal and judge the Rogue Add to get him on me. He promptly gouges me and starts tearing up our Shaman.
We wiped several times. The Rogue, who was leading the group kicks the Mage and brings in a Warrior who had been tanking for the group earlier in the run. We wipe a couple of more times. Then the Resto Shaman goes AFK. The Rogue kicks him and brings in a Druid. Ah, but the Shaman is still in the instance so the Druid can't zone in. The Shaman then invites a couple of friends into a new group and suddenly we've got 7 people saved to our Heroic. Half of their group and half of ours.
Why, oh why, did I join a PuG? I wasn't going to wait around while the Rogue and Shaman fought over the instance ID. I dropped group and hearthed out. I didn't support either removal from the group. The Rogue got what he asked for.

Just Here For The Gear

I apologized to my Rogue friend, who had been patiently waiting for me, and changed to a Ret spec (5/0/56) and we formed up the team, "Just Here For The Gear", shortened to "Here For The Gear".
It was really an odd experience. For the first time in a long time, I was the slug. I was what was holding my group back. My Ret gear is actually pretty decent.....for PVE. In the Arena, I was very squishy and I blew through my mana like it was water. Once I was OOM, I was not able to inflict any real pain on the other team. One of our matches came down to me versus a Rogue. I was out of mana and the Rogue did his Stealth and bandage thing, then stunlocked me into oblivion.
We started out quite poorly as my friend and I got used to playing with each other. He was upset at the lack of Clothie opponents we seemed to draw. The good news was the matches were quick. We had none of the marathon matches my friend usually faces on his Druid main. We started out 0-5. We felt like we let a couple of matches get away from us. They were winnable but we missed key moments, like not stunning a heal. Then we went 3-3 over our next 6 matches to finish up at 3-8, and around 1420 Rating. We weren't sure if the teams got easier or we started to improve. My friend was quite surprised that two of our wins came against a Hunter/Paladin matrix.
I was happy that he said he'd be up for doing Arenas again next weekend. You never really know how that first date went until you ask her out again.

The Other Side

Saturday night, I was trying to log in for our TK farm run. If the group was good, we would be taking a shot at Kael. Killing Kael is the chief goal I have for Honors right now. I was bummed when my Raid Leader told me the Verdant Sphere would be a free roll. I would love the neck reward, but more than that, what I truly want is to see A'dal shout MY NAME to all of Shattrah. Honorshammer and his friends have defeated Kael'thalas. That would be cooler than any epic I could loot from him.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't even see my Paladin Saturday night. Altar of Storms was down when I tried to log in. Even though it showed as "Online" in the Realm Status page, all I got was "Unable to retrieve Character List".
So I logged into Mannoroth and visited with Tivonicus, a level 30 something Feral Druid I had been leveling up when my friend, Aoesrus was playing on his Troll Rogue.
I had him questing in Desolace. Man, was it deserted. I didn't see another toon, Horde or Alliance all night. The Druid was a lot of fun. Travel Form is a blast. Stealth is cool. 5 point Ferocious Bite is fun. I don't have time for a 4th alt (Warrior (54), Hunter (67), Honors Ret, Druid(36)) along with my Main. I truly don't.

Getting In The Welfare Line

The lesson that I took away from my Arena matches on Friday was I needed some PVP gear. I have 1800 AP unbuffed in my Ret gear, but my 46 resilience just wasn't going to cut it. The other thing I noticed after looking at Heroes Inc resident Ret Paladin (Sevenn) was that he ran with about 3k more mana than I had. Oddly enough, the best way to get PVP gear is to PVP in the Battlegrounds. I was very fortunate to get an invite to a Heroes Inc premade. We ran Warsong Gulch, Eye of the Storm, and Arathi Basin. It was victory after victory. One of my favorite matches came in Warsong against another Premade. The battle was fierce. I was the 'muscle' with 2 healers and our Feral Druid flag carrier, while the other 6 went after the flag. We managed to hold off the Horde offense at least twice before our own offense was successful in recapturing the flag. After that cap, the Horde gave up, and offered little resistance the rest of the match. We also got into one of those 2000 to 1900 Arathi Basins which was more fun than all of our 5 caps put together.
The great thing about the Battlegrounds was I was doing a lot more damage. I was actually able to kill stuff one on one. Of course, I did have this very embarrassing moment of getting killed by a Disc/Holy Priest (no shadowform, but had Blackout). He mana burned me and once I was dry, I couldn't really hurt him. But overall, I was doing more damage and not near as squishy. One Eye of the Storm I finished 4th on damage. (Forgot to screenshot it).
Time on target is really important to Total Damage done in a BG.
I'm currently sitting on 24k honor. I'm not sure if I should wait and buy the Season 2 Mace (currently using Hammer of the Naaru) or get the Season 3 Bracers (using Amber Bands of the Aggressor), Season 3 Belt (though I have the mats for a Red Belt of Battle), or the Season 3 Boots (using Warboots of Obliteration). I guess it's time to break out the ole spreadsheets again.
I had more fun doing PVP as Ret than I did doing PVP as Prot or Holy. I actually felt a little guilty when I instructed the team to ignore a Blood Elf Paladin after he used his Avenger's Shield on me.
I've actually given pretty serious thought to leveling as Ret in Wrath or maybe even getting in on some farm content with either Heroes or Dominion as Ret. I'm not going near a Dominion Raid as Ret until I'm confident I can post very respectable damage. I get the impression they don't feel Ret does good DPS. I'm not going to put myself in a position to reinforce that idea.
I honestly have no idea what I'm going to level when Wrath hits. My first choice would be my Paladin. He has an embarrassing number of days played on him. I really don't want to change classes in Wrath. Will my guild will put up with whatever shortcomings there may be, and profit from the good?

Hello Johnny

Over at Blessing of Kings, Rohan wrote a piece called "No Room For Johnny". It's about the various player archetypes in the game Magic:The Gathering. There are 3 basic types Timmy, Spike and Johnny. I'll let you read the article so you can get an idea of each of these players.
Go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back.
Okay, good. My main reaction to his article was one of sadness. I see myself as something of a 'Johnny', and I think it's part of what drew me to Tankadin in the first place. It's what drew me to the rather uniqe One Handed Retribution Leveling build. I always loved those 5 man runs with Heroes Inc when we had all the wrong class makeup, but we made it work, by using the tools we had available to us. This was back when 5 mans were actually challenging, before everyone was decked out in their shiny PVP epics.
Rohan is right in that there isn't much room in WoW for a Johnny's, especially at the high end of raiding.

Looking Back

A year ago today, I was in Heroes Inc, and we were stuck on Moroes.
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