Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thwarted

It was an odd night on Altar of Storms. My guilds attempts on Archimonde were ruined by a server hiccup. I'd say a server crash, but the server never actually went down.
I had almost gotten an invite to the raid. I was basically on standby while the Raid Leader examined what she had to work with. I remember the days back in Heroes Inc when I was putting raids together. It was a crummy job to be the one to say who got invites and who didn't, and that was just with a 10 man raid.
It was disappointing to not be raiding, but part of me was glad I didn't get an invite. The entire night seemed to be spent fighting through the technical difficulties of an instance server on the blink .
The raid got stuck in the instance. Some of the players were falling through the world, others were unable to rez. Archimonde was halfway through the world at one point. People were rezzing on top of him causing him to Finger Of Death the entire raid. GMs were called up and were porting people to Stormwind. One poor soul wound up in Westfall of all places.
The Raid Leader was doing everything she could to keep morale up, and keep the team focused on their task. To their credit, Dominion's team stayed with it, and eventually got some attempts in, but it was hard to get any momentum going.
I logged out near midnight, Archimonde was still standing. Eventually, it's going to click for Dominion and Archimonde will be defeated. Everyone is looking forward to getting this guy down so we can get into some different content. At some point our focus must move to Black Temple. There are no more easy bosses or loot piƱatas left for Dominion, just a line of difficult bosses on route to the big guy himself, Illidan.
I had tried to do a couple of battlegrounds with Honors. I'm still about 9,000 honor away from being able to buy the Season 2 mace for my Ret set. If things work out the way I hope, I'll be leveling Honorshammer up to 80, most likely as Ret, so I've been quietly gathering some gear.
My night wasn't going much better. I would que up, then zone into the battleground, where we would sit and wait for the gates to open, but they never did. I had to leave the battleground. My consolation prize was a nice 15 minute deserter debuff.
So I decided to log onto my Warrior. He's now up to level 53. I'm questing for the first time in WoW career in the Searing Gorge. Somehow on both Honors and Hummer, I managed to level past this zone. This time I skipped Un'goro, which I have done many times. I really wish I had done the zone with Honors. It starts to setup the events for the old level 60 endgame and the Dark Iron dwarves were a constant nememsis to Honors as he leveled up.
My Warrior is something of an ironic alt. I made him as an insurance policy against the possibility that Blizzard really messes up Paladins in Wrath of the Lich King. I hear people talk about how much more they die on their Warriors than their other characters, but I just haven't found that to be the case. My Warrior seems to be pretty resilient, and I always feel like I have a tool for whatever situation I find myself in. I do get the feeling Blizzard has a better handle on Warriors than they do on other classes.
I desperately want Honorshammer to remain my main in Wrath. If I try to follow the cycles of buff and nerf, I'll be a Paladin one week, and a Warrior the next, and that won't get me anywhere. At the same time, I'm not going to be satisfied playing a 2nd rate tank. Whichever one I decide, I'm sure I'll think I should have leveled the other one.
The way hybrids work with DPS is that you have the hybrid be able to do a little less DPS than a 'pure' class but they make up for it with some sort of utility in the form of a group buff or a debuff that can applied to the boss.
Tanking just doesn't work like that. While doing 90% of the DPS of a 'pure' dps class is fine when you bring something else to the table, being 90% of a tank just won't work. In addition, all 3 tank classes are hybrids, and with varying numbers of tanks needed in encounters, they need to be hybrids. All 4 healing classes are also hybrids. Actually the only 'pure' classes in the game at this point are Mages, Hunters, Rogues, and Warlocks.
While some people still consider Warriors to be 'the pure tank', all 3 tank classes are capable. Every boss in the game has been progression tanked by each class, and using one tank class in place of another will not adversely affect the outcome of an encounter.
It's like Lore says, "The fact of the matter is (and I say this as a raid leader, tank officer, and Paladin Tank for a top 100 guild), it all comes down to player skill. A good Prot Paladin can function equally as well as a good Prot Warrior in all but one phase of one encounter in Black Temple." - Lore of Eredar
I've always believed it's more the player behind the pixels that determines your raids success.
"In raids, the reality is that most of a player's contribution comes from how well that player plays that character, regardless of the class." ~Kalgan, Blizzard Lead Developer.
Even in Dominion, our tank choices are driven more because of social factors (seniority, experience, etc) than wanting to pick a Warrior over a Paladin or a Druid.
I could just forget all this tank stuff and just level up my Hunter to be a DPS. I know I love tanking and being right in the middle of the action. My Hunter is a great toon to go relax on, but I have trouble seeing him become a main.
I haven't commented much in the blog on the 'leaked' information from Wrath. Blizzard wants that information under wraps for a while, and I have decided to respect their wishes. I know there are threads on Maintankadin and Tankspot talking about various aspects of the Alpha. I want to be ready for Wrath, but my focus right now is on trying to get to Illidan before Wrath is released.
I look at where Paladins were when Burning Crusade was released and where they are today, and I have to admit, Blizzard has improved them every step of the way. There is still room for improvement, but I'd wager every single class feels that way. I am cautiously optimistic about Wrath.
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