Monday, March 31, 2008

Burning Ring of Fire


Sunday night, we took another crack at Al'ar, but first we went and one-shot Solarian. I still seem to have trouble holding the adds off the AoE, specifically a very well geared Warlock named Lontra. We can't afford to wait for consecrate to tick much because we need to get DPS onto the Priests. My consecrate hits for about 120 in my threat gear. I've heard of other Protection Paladins getting that number over 200. I wonder if you need some pieces of Teir 5 to pull that off.
The Boots of the Resilient dropped but I let them go to Lanorah (Warrior). I have Sabatons of the Righteous Defender which are very comparable to the Boots of the Resilient. In my opinion, the Righteous Defender are better for a Paladin. I'm not sure which set I'd use the Resilient in, maybe an all out Stamina set.
With Solarian taken care of, we went to Al'ar. We were using 5 tanks this time. 2 on adds and 3 on Al'ar himself.
We were flying through Phase 1 with no problems and no deaths for the most part.  Then came Phase 2. Our biggest problem in Phase 2 seems to be the Flame Patches that appear on the ground. I don't know if it's a bug or a change, but our Warriors could no longer spell reflect the patches to make them go away.
What's the number one rule of Raiding?
DON'T STAND IN THE FIRE.
What'd we do?
We stand in the fire. Our first two attempts were doomed by losing people to the fire patches. I don't know how hard or how fast they tick, but we had 2 or 3 people die in one.
Our best attempt turned out to be the 2nd to last one. Everything was going perfect. Blankz (Feral Druid) and I were picking up adds and they were getting DPSed down.
Then right after a Meteor, Al'ar decides he's had enough of me roughing up his kids. He charges me and decides I'm a tasty dwarf and proceeds to kill me. I was wearing threat gear for this fight and I'm not Uncrushable in that gear. At this point, Al'ar is at 9% and we have 3 adds up. Kill the adds and its over.
We kill one add with a Hunter tanking it. Al'ars at 3%. Another Add goes down. Al'ar doesn't die! (Each add is SUPPOSED to take 3% off his health. My guess is that the mods kind of guess at what he's at. He was probably more like 4%). He goes up and Meteor's landing right on our few remaining players. 1%!!! He does his AoE. Wipe.
QQ.
DPS had been complaining during all 4 attempts about how the adds were spread out. We did this partially so Blankz and I didn't blow each other up but the reality was that we picked up our mobs and pulled them out of the raid as quickly as possible. I wasn't really concerned as to where I was pulling them. It seemed like as soon as my add died (we killed Blankz's first) the next set was coming.
I did the best I could.
After the raid, someone comments again about how the adds were spread out. I lost it. It was late, I was tired, it had been a frustrating night where we were robbed of the kill. I went off on the guy.
I was assured by the officers and raid leaders that the add placement was not an issue.
Kael's little bird will die. Oh yes, he will die.

First Impressions: Magister's Terrace


Over the weekend, I got my first chance to run Magister's Terrace.

First of all, the Magister's Terrace instance is really beautiful. I was stuck immediately by the similarities between this place and the Blood Elf city of Silvermoon which I've explored on my Blood Elf alt (Level 21 Paladin on Mannoroth).

The run had two significant "Wow" moments. These are the kind of moments when you really fall in love with the game.

It's the kind of feeling you get the first time you walk into Stormwind and you look at those imposing statues and the music filters through your speakers, or the first time you see a Ancient Protector near Darnassus and your whole screen shakes as it walks calmly by. It's the first time you ride out of the tunnel in AV with 39 other mounted heroes with you. It's the first time you tank.

The first of these moment's in Magister's came shortly after we killed the 2nd boss (which I'll talk about more in a minute). You walk up to this orb and click on it and you get a cutscene. I loved the cutscenes in Blizzard's other games (Warcraft, Startcraft, etc), and it was really cool to have one in the middle of a 5 man. I hope they continue with this idea. I think a cut scene in Wrath would be wicked cool.

The next moment came after we killed the Final Trash Pull From Hell. I'm mousing over the different targets. Okay, there's an Astromancer, there's a Blood Knight, and Kael'thalas Sunstrider. KAEL'THALAS!! (You can see him from the final trash pull).

Since I installed tBC over a year ago, I've been waiting to cross maces with this guy. I've followed him from his days as a Hero Unit in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, to shutting down his Mana Forges in Netherstorm, and done battle with his Phoenix in Tempest Keep (more on THAT later too).

I had read with interest on World of Matticus that Magister's was the first anti Paladin Tank instance in the game. I really wanted to see what he was talking about for myself.

The best way I could sum it up would be to imagine Shattered Halls (and all my warrior tank friends probably say 'No thanks'). Now make all the mobs Casters instead of melee. That's Magister's Terrace.

My group consisted of our raiding Arcane Mage (Raistalin), our incredible Resto Druid (Celoria), our GM on her Rogue Alt (Dora on Darhla), on of our raiding Rogues on his Hunter Alt (Nightwin on Duskwin), and a Protection spec Paladin (your humble author).

As you can see we had a couple of alts, and Nightwin was even leveling a new pet.

We weren't paying much attention and pretty much just goofing around. This is a normal 5 man which we completely overgeared.

First boss was cake. He has the same dynamic as the last boss of Steam Vaults. He runs over to a crystal to POWER UP! I think he did two crystals before we killed him.

Second boss gave us a little trouble. He's basically the Curator fight all over again. In fact, it came down to me to and him. I had about 200hp, he was at 1%. I bubbled, threw a Hammer of Wrath, a quick heal and a Shield toss to finish him off.

We had some trouble with the trash. I tried to AoE tank some of it, but it just wasn't working. I couldn't hold the mobs as they rarely ever melee. The Warlock mobs puts an Immolate on you that ticks for about 1k. The weird thing is I'd look at my combat log and not see any big hits, but I was going down.

The 3rd boss is actually pretty fun. It's like a 5v5 arena. The boss has no threat table or resets it often, I'm not sure which. I feared the Demon in the pull. I really like that Blizzard allowed Paladins to fear Demons as well as Undead. It makes sense to me. Honors is the embodiment of the power of the Holy Light. THAT should be pretty scary to all the minions of Shadow.

We continued to work through the instance. We were pretty sloppy and had a couple of wipes to people aggroing 2 groups at once.

Then we get to the Final Trash Pull From Hell.

The last pull before Kael is really tough (or at least it was for us). Eventually we had our GM switch over to her Priest and went with a 2 healer/2 DPS/1 Tank matrix. Raist put on his Mage Tank gear and tanked the Consortium guy. I feared the Succubus and got on the Blood Knight. We had a pet tank the Warlock after a I two shot the Imp, and Dora and Cel did an awesome job keeping us all up.

Then we got to Kael himself. I know the speech will get old after I've run the place a bunch, but man, it was cool the first time around.

Kael himself was not too bad. Gravity Lapse took some getting used to, but we defeated him.

Nothing dropped that anyone was interested in except a resilence cape that I probably should have rolled on but didn't.

When I do this on Heroic, I'm going to need a solid group, and we are really going to have to be on our game.

New AV

Over the weekend, I got a chance to run the "new" AV.

At first this new AV was looking a lot like the old AV. I went with a large group of Alliance and stopped at Galv. We killed Galv with little problem. We mounted up and rode on up to the relief hut with only small horde interference.

We get in, wait for Tower Point to cap and then I pull Drek, plus the dogs and I think a Warmaster or two.

Everything is going fine when all of a sudden the room if filled with 10+ horde. They wipe us.

For the next 20 minutes, we fought a battle against the horde. It really felt like a real battle with each and every inch of Alterac snow fought over and being turned red with blood.

The Horde were behind on reinforcements, and we finally retook the Relief Hut and pulled Drek again. This time there would be no stopping us. We managed to break the Horde turtle and kill Drek. The Horde had less than 10 reinforcements when Drek fell.

It seems the new AV is longer than the old one, and there is definitely more PVP going on the in the battleground than before. I was a little saddened by the change in the new AV. This is one battleground where I can go in as Prot spec and really feel like I am effective. There are mobs with actual threat tables there and my tanking gear serves me well.

In this new AV, it seems I can best heal as we take ground then do a quick switcheroo and try to tank once we reach the Horde base.

In the end, this new AV was a lot of fun. The feeling of being part of an epic battle between the Horde and the Alliance was captured very well, and of course, it didn't hurt that we won.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Watch the Birdie

Mal Katai took another shot at Al'ar last night.
Al'ar seems to be the most complex fight I've seen thus far, especially as it relates to tanks.
We seem to have gotten Phase 1 about down. 2 of our wipes were caused when Al'ar tanks got quilled as they were trying to pick him up. It looks like there is a specific path or place the tanks must go in order to get back to Al'ar to prevent Flame Buffet but not get killed by Quill.
The other major problem in Phase 1 was that we still didn't completely understand where on the lower ring Quill hits. On one attempt, I was tanking the Ember and when he died, the explosion threw me, and I died. When I checked the combat log, I saw that I had received damage from Quill after the Ember died. My theory is that I got thrown into the Quill area.
I feel like I have a really tough job in this fight. I have to wait until the first add spawn, then wait while either a Hunter misdirects it onto me, or a healer pulls aggro and brings it down.
Then I need to pick it up and move it to a safe place to tank it away from the raid and any Quill area. All while I'm moving I have to keep generating good threat so DPS can kill the Ember. What seemed to be happening was that DPS couldn't kill the Embers fast enough at least in part because I couldn't get my aggro generation into full gear until I had it positioned. We lost so much time waiting for the Ember to come down and get positioned that the next one was usually up before the first one was down.
But after a couple of attempts we were consistently getting through Phase 1.
Our problem in Phase 2 was taunts. Al'ar puts a nasty debuff on the tank that basically requires that you exchange him between two tanks every minute. If one of those tanks gets his taunt resisted, Al'ar puts out massive (and almost certainly unhealable) damage to the other tank.
Our best attempt of the night was 15% to go in Phase 2, but both of Lanorah's (Warrior) taunts were resisted and Al'ar cooked our other tank, Brindall.
Meanwhile he's spawning two adds at a time. It was a real struggle to grab both adds, generating good threat on one and keep them positioned properly while avoiding the Flame Patches on the ground. It also appears that Warriors can no long Spell Reflect a Flame Patch to put it out.
Our final attempt of the night showed us a possible new way of us doing this fight.
I died near the end of Phase 1 to an Ember blowing me into a Quill.
What happened was 2 of our DPS Warriors picked up one add each. This worked great until DPS got split and blew up both adds within a couple seconds of each other.
So next time, what I'm going to suggest is to have the DPS Warriors, or Feral Druids (if we have any) pick up the Embers in Phase 2 and use me as a backup in case a taunt gets resisted. Also, if one of the other tanks gets a taunt resist while I'm tanking Al'ar, I can Divine Shield which should cause Al'ar to look for another target. I wonder if I can also clear the Melt Armor debuff with my "flash" Divine Shield macro (Divine Shield and then immediately click it off).
We are making some really strong progress on Al'ar. I think we would have had him in the 15% attempt if not for the taunt resist. We'll definately have him next time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thinking Back

I have recently started a Paladin (blood knight, level 16 now). Which brings me to how I ran into your blog and postings at blogspot. I don't have a lot of time to play, so it's important that my play be as effective as possible towards leveling. I did a search on paladins and came to your blog.
The reason I'm trying to level a paladin is my guild (which is a leveling guild at the moment since we don't have any players in the 70s) doesn't have a main tank anywhere to be found. However we do have a few priests that will be endgame healers. So I decided to take it upon myself to create this paladin to become a tank for the guild. I want to level quickly, but I also would like to tank instances at the proper levels as I go up to get as much practice as possible so when we do get to the outlands instances and raids I'll be in full control of what I need to be doing and effectively do my job. So now that I've explained the situation I'm in, I was hoping for some guidance from you as you seem to be the most knowledgeable paladin roller I've come across.
How should I use my talent points as I level so that I can still be effective at leveling, but maintaining the ability to tank the instances that come up as I level. This has become my biggest question.
I have 4 talent points unspent because I don't know where to put them. I didn't want to roll a warrior or druid because at heart I'm really a mage, and paladin seemed like the most fun to play as it most resembles a caster but with killer armor and really cool playability.
I just need to make sure that I can level as well as tank without having to spend a bunch of money on respeccing because I screwed it up to begin with.
Think back to when you first rolled your paladin, what advice do you wish you would have had to make it easier for you to level and become the tankadin you are today? Thank you for your time.
Most of my advice on leveling I put in my leveling guide (see sidebar on right).
I am an advocate of going into Retribution until at least 35. The points you would get in Protection would make a smaller contribution to your tanking ability than the same points in Ret would make towards your leveling ability.
Another option you have is asking higher level guild mates to help you run instances. They can clear the instances much faster which will help your leveling.
The truth of the matter is, Paladin Tanks were extremely rare until Burning Crusade. When the level cap was 60, I was Holy. It was pretty much the only option unless you were PVP all the time. I tried the PVP route but it got kind of old getting rolled by people in gear in Tier 2 while I was sporting Tier 0 or Tier 0.5.
I didn't tank an instance until I had already been 60. It was Dire Maul run (North if I remember correctly). This was pre 2.0. No Righteous Defense, no Spiritual Attunement, no Avenger's Shield. It didn't go well. The Warrior took over and I went back to Healing.
Tanking a little different from 60 to 70 than it is from 1-60. I admire you wanting to tank all the way up. You should have little trouble finding groups, and you can AoE when you are questing. But I'd give Ret strong consideration if you are going to solo much at all. Levels 20 to 60 go pretty quick these days.
What are some of the things I wish I had known back when I was leveling?
I wish I had bigger bags. (Actually I STILL wish I had bigger bags). I wish I had known more about the Auction House and made more gold leveling up. I wish I had known about WoWHead and gotten a coordinates mod to help me find stuff. I wish I had understood better the difference between a Normal server and a PVP server. I wish I had gotten my Verigan's Fist a level or two earlier than a I did. I wish I had spent more time questing in Duskwood. I wish I had known to avoid Stranglethorn Vale at all costs. I wish someone had told me not to put points in Holy at level 10.
I wish I had taken more screenshots. WoW is like going on vacation. You spend a bunch of money and have little to show for it when you are done. Take lots of pictures. I love going back through my screenshots and remembering what gear I had and what quests I was doing.
Enjoy the climb. I hope you find your Paladin as much fun as I did.

Gentlemen, We Have A Taunt

"It's your Father's Lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon from a more civilized age." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Righteous Defense is The Paladin "taunt". Up until now, every Tankadin I know has used a macro to make the bloody thing work. Those days are at an end.

Righteous Defense (RD) is true taunt now, the weapon of a tank. Not as clumsy or random as it used to be. An elegant taunt from a more compassionate Blizzard.

I tested it extensively last night on the Isle of Quel'Danas.

RD just works.

Imagine a couple of scenarios.

Two Mobs, call them Big and Scary , and a player, call him Quishy, and a Tankadin, call him, oh I don't know, call him Honorshammer.

Honorshammer targets Big, and hits RD. Big now targets Honorshammer.

Target the mob, RD. Mob on you.

Honorshammer targets Big. Big is targeting Quishy. Scary is also targeting Quishy. RD. Big AND Scary target Honorshammer.

Target the mob, and RD. If there was another mob targeting the same player, you get both mobs.

Honorshammer targets Quishy. Big is also targeting Quishy. RD. Big targets Honorshammer.

It still works the "old" way.

I did find it incredibly easy for someone to pull an RD'ed mob back off me. I'm not sure if it's a true aggro transfer like other taunts or just a "You must attack him". I'm not sure what if any duration the "You must attack him" debuff has.

I firmly believe this change was DIRECTLY because one of the CMs (Drysc, I believe) plays a Tankadin. One of the comments he made on the boards was how clunky and unintuitive RD was in it's original form. The very next patch, we have this new RD, and a lovely thing it is.

We now have someone close to the Developer's playing our class. I can't see anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Know Thyself

Last night I logged in and found out we were doing a Gruul and Mag run. I did the best I could to get my UI and Addons working.
I got summoned into Gruul's Lair and we started working on trash. We get to HKM and I am told by our Raid Leader that I will be tanking HKM himself. It turns out our regular HKM Tank (Warrior) was already in the new 5 man, and really wanted to finish it. No worries, this is farm.
Now on my first run with Mal Katai, I was on Blindeye, then they moved me to Olm and now I get a shot at HKM himself.
So we pull. HKM goes running off and takes out a healer before I can get a Judgement on him. The pull is a mess and we wipe.
If I Shield Toss, I'll hit Blindeye and Olm and put a daze effect on Blindeye. All of those would be bad things.
Next pull, I start running as our Mage Tank gets the countdown to 2. I grab HKM flawlessly and begin walking him over to the tank spot. His Mighty Blow hits really hard. I went down like a sack of potatoes.
This happens two more times. I've got 18k armor and over 20k Health. I KNOW I can handle this.
Grim Reaper wasn't working. Eavesdrop wasn't working. I start scrolling through the new combat log which zoomed about 70 events past my window in about a half second.
Once it calmed down, I noticed that I was taking Crushing Blows. WTH? I've been Uncrushable for months and I KNOW he's not burning through 8 Holy Shield charges in 10 seconds.
I pull up Tankpoints and go through the calculator. Sure enough, I'm 4% Crushable. I start looking at my gear. Everything looked okay. Wait a minute, WHY is my Consecration Libram EQUIPPED?!?!
Somehow my Itemrack icons were messed up. I told it to put me in my Boss set and I got my Heroic set (very similar except for Trinkets and Rings). I tried my Solo set and it tried to put me in my Ret set. I hit PVP Healer and got PVE Healer gear.
I kept clicking through my 9 gear sets until I got the right gear for Boss tanking. Itemrack had it under Heroic set.
We pull again. This time my healers had no trouble keeping me up, and HKM went down.
You know what was really good. 250g and 2 Badges. That worked out to 10g per raider.
We move on to Mr. Gruul himself.
The Raid Leader opted to have Trelic, our incredible Feral Druid Main Tank Gruul while I offtanked the Hurtful Strike.
I have never successfully Main Tank Gruul. I always seem to catch a bad silence RIGHT when I need to refresh Holy Shield, and I take a Crush at the same time my healers are silenced. That is generally a bad combination. Throw in a Cave In and it can be wipe city.
As an added bonus, the new Omen wasn't working. I could only see my threat and no one else's.
We pull Gruul. Our DPS is just sick. Once upon a time, we used to be really concerned if he wasn't at 50% life when he hit Growth 8. Last night, he was dead at Growth 9. Another 10g and 3 more Badges, thank you very much.
I lost the roll on my T4 pants. There are a couple of fights (Void Reaver and Solarian, I'm looking at you) where I'd really love to have my 4 piece Tier 4 bonus working. I'd prefer the chest off Mag, but I couldn't be guaranteed it would drop. Oh well, there's always next week.
After Gruul, we decided to check out the new Magtheridon. He's definitely been nerfed.
So just what exactly have they done to ole Mag?
First of all, the Channelers spawn less infernals and you have an additional class (Paladins) who can CC them. Paladins can now fear Demons as well as Undead. There were several points where I was looking around for a loose Infernal only to find none were up.
The other big change is that the debuff you get from cube clicking has been reduced in duration. What this means is that you only need 1 set of Cube Clickers. Basically those 5 people can dedicate themselves to Cube Clicking. Sure, autoshoot or throw a Frostbolt, but your JOB for that fight is to click cubes, and it's the most important job in the whole raid.
I main tanked him again. With Doreaellian (Priest), Celoria (Druid), and Mowbray (Paladin) healing, it was literally impossible for Mag to kill me.
Mag dropped on our second attempt. Our first was doomed when one of the Cube Clickers got confused and went to the wrong cube.
This is part of what I love about MK. The person wasn't yelled at, threatened, or penalized in any way (50 DKP MINUS!). The general attitude was more a "Please don't make that mistake again." The person who had made the mistake was harder on himself than anyone else in the raid.
Mistakes happen, people learn.
This contrasts with a guild on our server who gkicked a hunter for pulling aggro on a boss during an Illidan progression attempt.
We killed Mag on our next attempt.
What a loot piƱata he was. 3 chest tokens. Another 10g and 3 badges. 3 Epic gems, 2 Rare. And a 20 slot bag.
We begin to divy up the loot when everyone in the raid disconnects. It turns out the instance server died. Our GM, Dora, is trying to get the loot back so we can give it out. If not we'll be back again next week to kill his sorry butt again.
I couldn't log into Honors the rest of the night. Eventually a GM will have to move him to Shat or IF or something.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Interference

Welcome to Honors Code. Today's post will lack any mention of the P word or any reference to the number 2 in close relation to the number 4. There will be plenty of blogs today that have 2s and 4s strewn all through them.
Last night was kind of a strange night for Mal Katai. I logged on at my normal time, and found that nothing was really going on. I immediately got asked to tank a Heroic Mechanar. I was pretty excited about this. It's hard to write a guide to Heroics when you aren't running them much.
That first room is also a little tough to get pulls down right, but once we got going we did pretty good. Our PuG Mage disconnected just as we got upstairs but Akivarr, one of MK's Shadow Priest came to rescue to help us finish the instance.
I picked up an Abacus of Violent Odds for my Ret set. One day I might actually take it out of my bank.
As we were finishing up our Heroic Mech, I find out we are going to try DoomWalker. DoomWalker is a outdoor World Boss. We've downed him once or twice, I can't remember.
The problem with the way we do DoomWalker is that we aren't real stealthy about it. On a PVP Server you have to keep your World Boss attempts as quiet as possible. It only takes a couple of Horde to really screw up your attempt.
When I got to DoomWalker, one Horde was already there. Ideally, you don't want the Horde to know you are trying DoomWalker until you pull him.
My job on DoomWalker is pretty simple. I build threat and wait for the Overrun. Then I taunt him and bring him back to Trelic (Feral Druid) who was our Main Tank for him.
I think I'm doing something wrong. Just as DoomWalker does his Overrun, I get tossed all over the place and then he's out of range for me to taunt. I wonder if I shouldn't hang back with the range and wait there for him to charge.
We lost Trelic at some point so I taunted him and started tanking him. He hit the 20% Enrage mark and someone said "Bye Bye Honors". At 20% DoomWalker enrages and hits twice as hard. I was getting hit for 14-16k. Luckily for me, I had 20k buffed HP. My healers were fantastic, and got me topped off after each hit. I tanked him from 20% to 12% before I ran our Priests OOM. I was pretty happy with myself for being able to take some hits from that big ole pile of scrap metal.
He bounced around and eventually wiped us.
By now more Horde had gathered. Right before our next attempt, a Horde Paladin trained Doomwalker onto our raid. Several people took to the sky while others engaged DoomWalker and the rest engaged the Horde. We recovered enough to at least make an attempt, though we lost about 4 people in the chaos. Then a Horde Priest got into the act and started fearing the tanks. He would be killed, then rez, fear the tanks again and be killed again.
I think it would be kind of cool for a dome to form over the area where you fight Doomwalker when you engage him that prevented anyone from the opposing faction from entering. But I play on a PVP server, so no such luck there.
We again got him into the single digits before wiping. At this point we had to call the raid as too many Horde had joined the fun.
The ironic thing for me was just a week or so ago I had seen the very guild that was wiping trying DoomWalker themselves. I choose not to interfer with their attempt. I try to treat people how I would want to be treated if our positions were reversed.
It's a mistake I don't intend to repeat. Next Horde guild I see doing DoomWalker or Kazzak is going to have a little HAMMERTIME!
After the raid, I kind of blew up in Officer Chat. I was tired and frustrated by the Horde interference. I have sense made my apologies. I really thought I had gotten my temper under control. I guess I was wrong. I didn't like the person I was last night, it's not who I am or want to be. It's funny how sometimes you think you've got something licked only to have it come bite you in your Dwarven derriere when you least expect it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

That's What I'm Talking About, Baby!

Sunday night Mal Katai put together our Gruul farm raid. For the first time in a long time, I didn't really NEED anything from a 25 man raid. All my upgrades lie with Bosses in TK and SSC now. But I enjoy raiding almost as much as I enjoy hanging out with the MK guys in vent.
We've developed over these past few months a culture in our guild. There are little sayings or phases like "The Wand of the West", "Deil's Mom", "I'm so excited!", or "Plix!". To a new person they make no sense at all but to a seasoned MK raider they bring a smile to your face. It's really a cool thing to be a part of.
We formed up our raid. It was a mix of veteran MK, fresh MK, and the "AM guys". The AM guys referring to group of players that have transferred together from Alterac Mountains to Altar of Storms.
One of the AM guys is a very well geared Retribution Paladin. It took me a little bit to figure out how to best work with him. I wanted him in my group for the Sanctity Aura but I couldn't ask to take him out of the melee group which was just stacked for Melee DPS (shaman, warrior, Feral Druid).
I kept assigning him to Blessing of Light and kept doing Blessing of Might. He had to remind me that Ret get's a talent that boosts their Might. So I had to figure out a way to let him Might the AP classes by have one of the Holy Paladins use their Improved Wisdom for the Mana users.
Enter PallyPower. Since all the Paladins in the raid were using the Addon (thank you, guys!) I could see what each Paladin had queued up. As a Raid Assistant, I had the power ("I have the power!!") to change everyone's assignment. Basically I had the Holy Paladin Wisdom the mana users and Light the AP users, while I had the Ret Paladin Might the AP users and Light the Mana users. Except Hunters, who got both Might and Wisdom (both improved) but lived without Light.
sarcasm....They were just crushed to not get Light, let me tell you.....sarcasm off
We had some trouble on the pull of HKM. We had some new people, in some new rolls and it took a try or two to get the pull down right.
I've been transitioned from BlindEye to Olm. I stand near the Krosh Mage Tank, and run in when he pulls. All the mobs run off in their respective directions except for Olm, who calmly stands there casting something while I wind up an Avenger's Shield for a little SHIELD TO DA FACE!! action. Then I spend the next several minutes running around being death coiled from Gruul's Lair to the edge of Zangarmarsh.
Once the pull was executed, HKM went down pretty easy.
Oh and Mr. Ret Paladin, yeah, #4 on the Meters and clocking 800+ dps. Did he have an enhance Shaman, why yes, yes he did.
Then it was on to Gruul. We had absolutely no problems at all with Gruul. 5 minutes and 9 seconds after we pulled him, he was dead.
With momentum and excitement, we moved on to SSC. Hydross and Lurker were both proper one shots for the first time in over a month. This was with at least one of the healers having never done either boss, and none of the AM having any experience with Hydross.
It's taken some time, but I feel like we've recovered from the losses we sustained. The AM guys have injected the guild with new energy and excitement. Each of the players who has transferred over has proven to be a competent player. Even more important, all of them seem to fit well into the general culture and feel of MK.
Al'ar, Leo, Fathom Lord, your days are numbered. MK is BACK!

To Each His Own

Saturday night, our ZA group did not reform due to some real life issues going on around the Easter Holiday. Happy Easter!
So I wasn't doing much, a little fishing, a little farming. I got my Hunter about halfway towards 65.
About that time, Agamegnome, a former guildy of mine from Heroes Inc asked me if I was saved to Kara. I wasn't. He invited me to go with a group forming up from Dominion. I agreed.
He asked how I felt about the possibility of healing instead of tanking if he would pay for the respec. I was honest in my answer that I'd much prefer to tank. I also made it clear that if he was asking me to heal because someone in his group had an issue with the viability of Paladin tanks, I would not be joining the group.
I get the invite and was assured by Aga that I had a tanking spot. There were only other 4 other people in the party when I joined. One of them, a Hunter, made a strong request to not be given Salvation. Now generally the way I work when I'm the only Paladin in a group is I'll give a DPS whatever Blessing they want, up and until such time as they pull aggro. Then I give 'em Salv.
Aga told me that 3 more members were logging on but he was still looking for the last two. I took the portal to Ironforge to begin to make my way to Darkshire.
About this time, I get a tell from Wichita of Heroes Inc. Seems like Heroes was also doing Kara and he wanted to know if I'd like to run with them. They had a full group at the stone and were ready to zone in.
So I equivocated. I told Aga's group that something had come up with MK, and that I would have to drop group. I join Wichita's group and get summoned to Kara. I probably torqued off Aga pretty good, and for that I am sorry. I saw him and his group forming up near the stone.
That night, it was like I had gone back in time 6 months as familiar names filled my raid frames. Zadorr, Origami, Darolynn, Baconstrip, Wichita, Ferth, Sameth, and Danath.
We start blasting through Kara. I lost aggro on Midnight when I forgot to Salv the Ferals, but they recovered nicely and averted what would have been an embarrassing wipe.
Is there something special you have to do to get Attumen to drop the Engineering recipe. Maybe /dance before you pull or something.
It was just like being in Group 1 in Mal Katai. Pull ---> Dead Mob ---> Pull--> Dead Boss --> DE Loot.
It was weird seeing the loot box come up for Greens. In MK, they just go to the Guild bank for Enchanting mats.
As we tore through the place, I got talking to Wichita and the others about how Heroes did Dragonhawk trash. I explained how we Pyro, POM, Pyro the scouts, but get caught between the hut spawned scout and the one that comes up behind you. Ferth made a comment about Arcane mages and I replied that quite a few Mages in MK were arcane. That led to us talking about how people in Heroes and MK spec. Almost all of Heroes Priests are Discipline, almost all of MK's are Holy or Shadow. Nearly every Warrior Heroes has is either MS or Prot, most of MK's are either Prot or some sort of Arms/Fury hybrid. People in MK respec constantly between PVP and PVE specs. Heroes toons tend to stick with one spec.
I might have given the wrong impression about MK. We are really quite casual. People generally don't come to raids in PVP specs. Well sometimes they come to farm Raids in PVP spec. It's just that if we are doing progression or a recent boss kill people want to come in the spec that helps them in PVE. We often have people waiting to know if they get invites so they can go respec from their Arena build to their Raid build.
Do we "enforce" specs? Certainly not the degree that other guilds on our server have. I remember well reading about Different Strokes. They told you point for point how to spec your toon. Do we take people in PVP specs? Not generally. Does this make us Hard Core? I don't know.
In MK, that's just how we roll.
Heroes does things their own way, that's how they roll. Just like us as individual toons, each Guild must choose it's path and how it will choose to walk it.
After about 3 hours, everything in Karazhan was dead except Netherspite. We had not one wipe and really didn't even have a close call after my goof on Midnight. We had done Illhoof with no AoE classes to speak of. We had no mages and no Warlocks in the raid. We did Aran without Rogues.
It was really cool running with those guys again. I forgot how much I missed hanging with those dudes on vent. I definately jump at the chance to roll with those guys again.
The run brought my Badge of Justice count up to 135. I'll be able to buy the 2.4 Legs as soon as we open up the Vendor and start replaceing my +12 stam gems with +15 stamina gems.

High King Hex Lord Moroes

Friday night we didn't have any 25 man raids happening, so the officers grabbed a group and headed into Zul'Aman. We had a new person in the raid, a Holy Priest named Dulue, so we opted to try Bear first because it's a less technically challenging fight. I got a nice streak of parries and dodges on the first Furious Roar the Bear Riders did and hardly took any damage from them.
Bear Boss is one of the fights where I really enjoy having the Hit Rating on the Aldori Legacy Defender. Now, I'm not sure if it was because I had ALD or because I was waiting until I saw the animation of the Bear actually attacking Brindall (Warrior Tank) to taunt, but I never got a taunt resist or a failed taunt the entire fight. Usually, at least once on a Bear boss attempt, I'd taunt and nothing would happen. Sometimes, I'd get a Resist message across my screen, but sometimes, I would not receive any message. I'd taunt, and the Bear would just keep smacking away at Brindall.
We grabbed our loots and the first chest and headed over to Eagle. We explained the fight to Dulue. The way our group handles Eagle is to move the edge of the square where he is tanked when the Storm warning gets close and then haven everybody run to the spot where the storm spawns. We lost Dulue on the first storm, but got him back up with a Battlerez.
2 bosses, 2 timed chests. Eagle dropped a nice Plate DPS chest which Brindall already had so I picked it up for a Ret set.
We moved onto Lynx.
Lynx trash isn't too bad. I grab the little lynx while Brindall grabs the Handler. I kept trying to taunt Crunkbaby 's pet. His pet had the exact same skin as the Lynxs in Zul'Aman. Of course whenever Crunkles died, Raistlan (Mage and Skinner) would try to skin him. We got through the trash with no problems, but we only had 3 minutes left on the timer. I don't see at the moment how we could have done the trash much faster. I guess getting our 3rd timed chest is going to take some gear. I wager that at some point we will be able to run ZA with only 2 healers which would open up a spot for an additional DPS.
We moved onto Dragonhawk. I have decided that Dragonhawk trash is the worse trash in the entire game, a distinction previously held by the Arcane blobs right before Curator. I've heard the Suppression Room was rough, but I never got to do BWL at level 60.
What makes Dragonhawk's trash so annoying is the constantly spawning scouts that run at warp speed to the nearest drum and summon a whole zerg of trolls. Of course while you are fighting this huge zerg ANOTHER scout spawns to go summon even more trolls. The scouts can aggro from several time zones away, and continue to spawn until you kill the Dragonhawk.
Did I mention we had a new person in the raid? I did, good. Dragonhawk is not too bad of fight. Brindall has an uncanny knack for finding a "safe spot" amongst the firebombs, so I tend to just camp wherever he is standing. Plus if I get blown up there, I know he got blown up too. If we have trouble on Dragonhawk its usually because of a teleport with a Hatcher up, in which case I'm running around trying to aggro the hatched Hawks while dodging firebombs.
We were doing fine until he hit enrage and the rest of the bird all spawned at once. I don't know how my healers kept me up. At points I was literally at 3 digit hit points. But they did keep me up. We AoE'ed down the birds and went to work on Dragonhawk himself.
With 4 bosses down, the path was paved towards a new boss, Hex Lord Malacrass. Hex Lord is a fight just like Moroes or High King Maulgar. The boss comes with 4 adds that have to Crowd Controlled or killed. We got the Snake, a Blood Elf Priest, some sort of Frankenstein looking undead and a Marsh Shambler Elemental.
We sheeped the snake and healer, shackled the undead and offtanked the Elemental. Brindall actually put me on Hex Lord and had himself offtanking the adds. The Elemental put a nasty disease on one of our party that ticked for some decent nature damage. Our mage who was sheeping the healer had gotten too close on the pull and got 1 shot by Hex Lord before I could grab him. The healer broke out of the sheep, but we got to him pretty quickly after the Elemental went down.
Our problem was Hex Lord kept Soul Stealing our Priests and healing himself. After a while our healers mana was depleted and we wiped. It was our first pull of him, so that's expected. Unfortuneately, it was getting late so we had to call the Raid at that point.
We feel like it shouldn't take too long to learn Hex Lord and then it will be on to Zul'jin himself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Firebird

Tuesday night, we returned to the fortress of Kael'thalas to do battle with his pet, the Phoenix Lord, Al'ar. This was going to be a much more serious attempt on Al'ar. Sunday, we were just kind of messing around with him since no one had really studied up on the fight.
This time, we were studied and prepared.
My job in the Al'ar fight is the tank the Embers of Al'ar that spawn throughout the fight. What we decided to do this time was have a Fury Warrior (Cyrak) up on the platform where Al'ar was being tanked. He would grab the ember and bring it down to me where we would kill it with the help of an Enhancement Shaman (Bonus).
Then he would go get the next one. Sometimes, I would have 2 on me at a time but it didn't seem to be a big problem.
One of our Phase 1 wipes was contributed to by your humble author getting himself killed by Quill, while on the ground. My understanding was that Quill only hits the upper deck, yet there I was on the floor, and clearly saw in my combat log that a Quill killed me.
It took a couple of attempts, but I think we got Phase 1 down. Phase 2 was another story. Picking up the first two Embers went okay, but that's when things got crazy.
I'm there trying to hold aggro on these two embers while the Fury Warrior and Enhancement shaman rip into them, when two more spawn. I can't go running all over the place to try to grab them, but they headed for our Shadow Priest or Resto Shaman. Flame patches were all over the ground and Meteors were falling. Our best attempt ended when I died due to one of the healers going to Battle Rez a fallen player. She blamed herself but it wasn't really her fault. We had lost too many healers at that point and it was too much to ask her to run across the room, battle rez and then get back to me. Even at that she said she only missed healing me by abut 1 second.
The fight is intense, complicated, and chaotic. It was a lot of fun and definitely the most challenging fight I've tried to tank thus far. It really stresses on one of my weaker points, situational awareness. I need to keep my threat rotation going while watching for new adds, and keeping an eye on the health of the current add.
We recleared Al'ar's trash but decided to go to Void Reaver instead. We had some new people in the raid who had not been there previously and our mages were still spec'ed frost from the Al'ar attempts.
We wiped a couple of times as people got used to the Orbs. Then in our final attempt before trash respawned, we had him down to 1% when we got a huge lag spike. Everyone in the raid reported their screens kind of froze up. When the game caught  back up the tanks were dead and Void Reaver was happily wiping us.
It was a rough night, and somewhat frustrating.
After a night like this I expected to feel very upset and question a hundred things our guild is doing, but I didn't. We made some very solid progress on Al'ar and we are integrating the Alterac Mountains people into our core. As crazy as this sounds, ever since I got ALD, I haven't felt really frustrated to the degree I had been feeling before. I really think some of my frustration with the game and raiding was coming from losing out on that loot. Now that I've got it, I've calmed down some.
A week ago, I was ready to throw in the towel on my guild and start shopping. Man, how things have turned around. The raid was formed up and ready to go as soon as I logged in and people seem generally excited about progression. That, probably more so than getting ALD, has contributed to my renewed enjoyment despite the wipes on VR.
As I look at the people who have left our guild, I would say most have regretted their decision. I am glad I was patient enough to see it through.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh What A Night

*...late December back in 63...*

I logged in at my usual time last night and found the raid formed up. There had been some discussion among the officers about which raid we would do Lurker in SSC or Gruul.

I wanted to run Gruul for another shot at Aldori Legacy Defender. Brindall wanted to run Lurker for the Mallet of the Tides. I joked that regardless of what we ran, neither item would drop.

They had opted for Gruul and some people were already inside and discussing buff assignments. I asked in Officer Chat if there was a spot available for me, and as it turned out, there was.

We have changed Gruul from a "farm" raid to a "preparation" raid. A "farm" raid would mean bringing our Core people and slamming through Gruul's to farm the bosses for drops like T4 tokens.

Most of our raid has everything they need from Gruul, so instead what we are doing is taking our "next generation" raiders. These are either alts, or rerolls, or fresh 70s. There are also several Core people in the Raid who may still need a drop from Gruul (such as your humble author), or who fulfill a Role that the raid may need (like Mage tank).

Everyone gets buffed up and ready. Raistilan, who is our Mage Tank, gives the countdown to the pull. Lanorah (Warrior) was on High King, I was assigned to Olm the Summoner.

Almost immediately, Lanorah was killed. This happened two pulls in a row. So our GM (Doraeallin) and Priest Class leader jumped into the raid. But Lan got one shot again.

Basically what was happening was Lanorah was taking a Crush, then an Arcing Smash and a normal hit. At first, we thought all those hits were coming from Maulgar. As it turned out, that wasn't the case.

This raid was unusual for Mal Katai in that we only had 2 hunters. Both of them were assigned to Kiggler. That meant no misdirects for any of the other tanks. What was happening was that Lan would be Death Coiled from Olm, or hit by Blindeye as the tanks moved into pick their targets. The hits from Olm or Blindeye would eat up Lan's Shield Block charges leaving him open to Crushes.

Lan is an Avoidance tank, and runs with over 30% dodge. Unfortunately, he got an "unlucky" streak and didn't dodge any of the attacks.

It took me a while to figure this out. In the raid, people were asking him all sorts of very embarrassing questions like "Did you have Defense Stance on?" or "Are you in farming gear?". This raised his ire a little bit. Lan fancies himself a good tank, and he does an awesome job, so I can understand him getting upset as people (who were not any type of tank class) questioned him.

I tried to offer some explanations (attacks from the rear, lag causing the game to think he wasn't where he thought he was, etc). I thought I was being helpful on and "on his side", but he was full defense mode, and couldn't see it so I just stopped commenting.

The tanking team conferred amongst ourselves in whispers to be get faster on the pickups. Saisuke, who was tanking Olm with me would intercept and I would toss my Avenger's Shield once the other adds moved away.

We finally got the pull down and we were able to kill him. One of our Core mages, Arugula, got his T4 shoulders. He was still using some blue drop from Black Morass.

After HKM, we went and got ready for Gruul.

Right after the first Ground Slam, I pulled aggro from Lanorah, who was main tanking. I think part of the reason I pulled was that I use Seal of Vengeance on this fight. Vengeance is very mana efficient once I get the stack up, and Vengeance is also a DoT. So while we are chilling out stoned, it is quietly ticking away and still doing threat.

Omen did not show me as having passed Lanorah, but Gruul was looking at me and not in a good way. With him hitting me, my threat generation increased, so I went to town and thought maybe I will finally main tank this guy.

He was down around 15% when we caught a perfect storm of bad circumstances. A Cave In spawned right on top of the tanking and melee group, so I started to move out of it. We were at Growth 11 or 12 at this point. Then we got a silence. The combination of a Cave In and silenced healers turned out to be more than I could handle. I may have eaten a Crush as I tried to move out of the Cave In, but I'm not sure.

Lan picked him back up and one of our DPS Warriors, Saisuke, swapped to a sword and board and defensive stance. They were able to finish him off.

So after 3 shotting HKM, we 1 shot Gruul.

And IT dropped. My Precious. Aldori Legacy Defender.

I check the MKP status. (MKP is what we call DKP). As far as tanks go, I'm second to Lanorah. He had me by about 3 points. It might as well have been 30.

I asked him if there was any way I could convince him not to outbid me.

He tells me that if I won't outbid him on first Boots of the Resilient drop, he won't outbid me for ALD. Boots of the Resilient are the tanking boots that drop from High Astromancer Solarian.

We had an accord.

He says in raid chat, "Rofl at Aldori Legacy Defender, that thing is awful."

Then he tells me he didn't want the shield anyway. That's okay. I've got Sabatons of the Righteous Defender. I didn't want the boots.

I received the Aldori Legacy Defender.

/cheer /dance /faint

I cut a Falling Star (+18 Jewelcrafter only gem) for the blue slot. Yeah for the farmers, we had a stack of 7 Stars of Elune in the bank!

Here is ALD compared to my previous two shields.

First to the Shield of Impenetrable Darkness.

Next to the Merciless Gladiator Shield Wall.

And here is Honors, standing in Shattrah with his new shield. It just looks so RIGHT on him.

And I broke the 16k hit point barrier. Unbuffed.

After Gruul, we put together our Core group for Lurker in SSC. Our first attempt, we lost some people due to Spout. They reported the graphic was off from the actual location so you'd pop back up out of the water after it passed over you and then get hit by it. Then Brindall, who was tanking Lurker went down.

The adds were acting really weird. Normally what I do to pick up my Guardian, is lay a Consecrate right were he will spawn on the inner island. Then I que up Seal of Righteousness and bang away on my judgement key until he becomes targetable.

The first time Lurker submerged, my Guardian despawned almost as soon as he got on the island. He reappeared halfway across the map and owned one of our Priests. I got him back and dragged him back to the island where we killed him.

Next round of adds, Raistilan pulled aggro and the Guardian ported out to the island. I quickly taunted him back.

After this, the first thing I did when the Guardian spawned was to stun them with Hammer of Justice. At least then, they would stay put for more than two seconds.

With Lurker at 2 or 3% life, he did his spout. I had gotten distracted by something, though at the moment I can't remember what, and didn't see the raid warning for Spout. I popped Divine Shield. Raistilan waved at me as I flew over his island. I was confused. I got hit by Spout even though I was in the Bubble.

Fortunately, I didn't die but Lurker did.

He dropped the tanking mace again. Brindall had been wanting that mace almost as much as I had been wanting the ALD. He got beat out on MKP by Lanorah on our very first Lurker kill. No one bid against him this time.

Somehow both of us managed to get our upgrades in one night.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Finish What You Started

Sunday night we returned to The Eye to finish our little engagement with Solarian.

The raid formed up pretty quick and we were in and pulling by 8:30. We blew through Al'ar's trash without a single wipe. That was the first time we managed to pull that off. You knew it was going to be a good night we were didn't pull the patrol while working on that first room.

Solarian's trash is actually quite enjoyable to me as a Protection Paladin. I love taking the Squire packs and locking them down. Sometimes my Mages and Warlocks would get a little impatient and start opening up before I got all the mobs under control and before I called for AoE. This generally led to a quick and painful death for them.

It seemed the Warlocks were pulling more so than the Mages. What I started doing was tabbing through targets looking for someone who was targeting a squishy and taunt. By the final pull, I don't think our AoE was taking any damage at all, although I was probably waiting longer than necessary to call for AoE.

So we get Solarian's room clear, get buffed up and get ready to pull.

As a offtank, my main job happens during the splits, when Solarian spawns her adds. So in between, I've got plenty of time to watch for the debuff and call it out over vent. Friday, we had a couple of people who didn't move away from the raid fast enough. Some of these very same people were again made the Bomb, but this time they moved away from the raid.

We had a dicey moment when one of our rogues was turned into the bomb. We were finishing off the Priests that Solarian spawns. The rogue started running away, but was running straight for another group. Somehow the guy changed directions again and got out of range before we exploded. It was an excellent job on his part.

We handled the Bomb flawlessly. Not a single person blew up on the raid. That's a remarkable improvement from our first night.

I picked up the Squires as fast as I could but we have to get the adds down really fast so the AoE can't wait for me to establish a threat lead. I did the same thing here I did on the trash, tab target through and taunt if one of them wasn't aggored to me. That seemed to work well and we didn't lose any of our AoE during the splits.

We hit the 20% mark and Solarian turned into a huge Voidwalker. At this point, it was a basic "tank and spank". Brindall (Warrior) had her threat locked down so I threw some heals on him to help out our regular healers.

We finished what we started Friday and downed her.

Mal Katai is now 3/6 2/4. We are exactly halfway through the T5 bosses!

With Solarian dead, we decided to go take a look at Al'ar. No one had really studied up on the fight. We didn't think we'd get done with trash and Solarian so fast.

Al'ar looks like a very challenging fight. My job is grab the Embers of Al'ar that spawn when Al'ar himself moves from platform to platform. I had done some research on the fight, and it looked like I could wait at the bottom on the ramp to grab the embers as they came down. But that's not what happened. The Embers would spawn and start heading for the ramp, then they would turn around and go after our Feral Druid (Trelic). Trelic wasn't sure why they were aggroing to him. Then from Trelic they would aggro to Brindall who was tanking Al'ar. I spent most of my time running around chasing Embers and trying to get them under control. By the time I got one add under control, another would spawn. They certainly weren't coming down the ramp in a nice assembly line fashion for me to deal with.

We wiped with Al'ar at about 60% in Phase 1.

We buff up and get ready to pull again, but the respawn timer on Al'ar's trash was up. We pulled anyway. This would not have been a problem except for my favorite pat. Yes, the one that always wipes us in the first room. Well they pat all the way into Al'ar's room. When they came into the room, we moved away from the door but they aggroed to one of our healers and that was basically it.

Instead of reclearing trash to Al'ar, our Raid Leaders, Doraeallian and Raistlan called for us to boogie our way to SSC. It was deemed better to go farm a boss we could down than reclear trash to a brand new boss.

I was really proud of the way the raid moved from one instance to the next with the tanks dropping by their respective banks to grab resist gear.

We zoned into SSC and buffed up and handled the Hydross trash. I got a little snippy in chat when people started killing the Hydross adds. This put me in combat which meant I couldn't change into my resist gear.

The night was already a success, and everything now was just gravy. I felt bad later on for being so uptight.

We wiped on our first pull of Hydross when we lost our Nature tank, Brindall. There had been a miscommunication among the healing team that we got sorted out.

So we regrouped to pull again. This time the attempt went well and we got him down with nearly 2 mintues to go on the enrage timer. Unfortunately, we had run out of time so no Lurker.

After the raid, Trelic was forming up a premade AB so I joined up. I was assigned to node defense. Basically even my measly little 41 white hit can stop someone trying to cap a flag. In full tank gear, I had nearly 20k hp. Since most PVPers assume everyone is loaded to the hilt with Resilience they are gearing for AP or spell power over Crit. In my tanking gear I have about 36 resilience from my shield and mace. Unless the Horde zerged hard, I was going to last a while.

Best example of this was in our 2nd game when I was defending the mine. A Warrior comes riding down and then a Rogue unstealths next to me. I calmly (at least I hope it was calmly) call for reinforcements. The Rogue and the Warrior start banging away on me. I trinket out of the Warrior's fear and stoneform the Rogue's poison. So long as I draw breath, they aren't capping my flag. I was down to around 30% life when Crunkbaby (Hunter) and Cyrak (Warrior) come riding to my rescue.

We rolled, as in 5 capped, 3 games in a row. Brindall was chuckling that the que time was taking longer than the actual games. It was getting late, so I had to call it a night at this point. It was a fun night and another brand new boss down, plus we tried a brand new boss as well which was exciting.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Solarian

Thursday night, Mal Katai returned to the Eye. With Void Reaver a steaming pile of used parts, we set our sites on Solarian.

Of course, Al'ar was still flapping around so we had to kill his trash, again. That meant dealing with that stupid patrol in the first room. I guess it's going to be a little like the elevator in SSC, we are just going to wipe on that pull.

After the Al'ar trash we get to the Solarian trash. Her trash is a lot of fun. It's group after group of 2 major elites, which my co-tanks, Brindall and Lanorah, picked up along with 8 or so smaller elites that I pick up.

I went into my standard AoE tank rotation. I toss my shield, lay down a consecrate and pop Holy Shield. Warlocks and mages squee with glee and the trash goes away.

During the clearing of Solarian's trash, we get not one but two Seventh Ring of the Tirisfalen to drop. All 3 of our "main" tanks now have them. I say "main" in quotations because we don't have a Main Tank in the traditional sense of the word. We have 3 or 4 guys who usually or mainly tank.

So we get to the boss herself.

Hey, hey good looking, what epics you got cookin?

Solarian is not an overly complicated fight. She starts by firing off Arcane Missiles at what appears to be random people in your raid. Then she debuffs one person with Wrath. In a very Baron Geddonesque way, that person will blow up after a short amount of time. When you blow up you damage everyone around you and throw them and yourself way, way, way up in the air.

If you are the one who was the bomb, you don't fall damage. That's a good thing. If you blow someone up, they DO take fall damage. Mine was usually on the order of 18k. Plenty enough to kill most players, I'd wager.

Then she changes phases and summons a bunch of adds which have to be AoE'ed down. Lots of adds to AoE, IT'S HAMMER TIME!!!

I had everyone stand near me and layed down a Consecrate. One or two always seemed to get loose onto one of our mages. I'm not sure, other than having the mages wait a little longer to start AoE how can I can hold them any better.

We had a couple of very frustrating wipes, but none was worse for me personally, than the one where I got DC'ed as we pulled. Everyone just started running in place.

There is a 4% that I would get the Bomb debuff while I was dc'ed, and I did, twice. I should go buy a lottery ticket or something.

Our final attempt of the night was looking really good until someone blew up the raid when she was at 25%.

So Solarian is still very much alive, but we feel confident that we have the players to kill her, it's just a matter of execution.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Many Birds With One Stone

I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with the idea and I probably won't be the last.

Giving Paladins a Block Value to spell damage conversion would grant several positive benefits at once.

First of all, Paladins would have a synergistic stat for Threat and Mitigation. Currently, Paladins are the only tank that does not have a stat that gives both Threat and Mitigation. It would also have the side benefit of being the exact same synergistic stat as the other plate wearing tank, the Warrior. So now both plate wearing tank classes would receive mitigation and threat from Block Value.

This would allow the developers to further their goal of having one set of gear that appealed to many different specs. You would basically need 1 set of Plate Tank gear that would be used by both Paladin and Warrior tanks.

Any flavor difference could be addressed in Tier gear, such as the Paladin's need for a very small amount of Intellect or Spell hit.

Furthermore, it would have the side effect of allowing Paladins to use the existing Tanking weapons already in game. There would be no need for a specific Paladin tank weapon as some have asked for. Paladin's use their weapon slot to gain the lion share of spell damage they have on their gear. With that spell damage now coming from Block Value, they wouldn't need to use Caster weapons.

It would allow the Paladin's threat to scale better than it does now.

Another consideration, is that it would allow for a much smoother transition through the leveling curve and into the end game. Currently, spell damage plate doesn't really exist in the game until you reach Outland, making it a difficult transition for Paladin tanks. They have to tank one way leveling up then completely change their approach once they reach Outland. With the Block Value to Spell Damage conversion, they would simply use the Warrior gear all the way up and continue gearing that way in the end game. The spell damage they need would come naturally from their gear.

I haven't seen any potential negative side effects of making this change, so I hope the developers will consider it for either a future patch or perhaps for the Expansion.

Fishing In The Dark

Tuesday night, we went back to The Eye and killed Void Reaver again. For some reason it was harder the second night than the first, although we did get hit with some bad luck (first wipe at 3%, second wipe at 1%). Just 1 DPS staying alive would have turned either wipe into a kill.
We were typically looking really good against the enrage timer early on, then as we lose more and more DPS, we get closer and closer to hitting the enrage timer.
He dropped a Plate DPS helm, and another Hero token and a Defender. I'm pretty sure Brindall, one of our tanks, got the T5 token. MKP bids were still really high, with people spending 80-90% of their MKP on the tokens.
We lost too much time getting started and wiping to get any attempts in at Solarion, but now he's fair game for Thursday. Nothing I really want from him although our Rogues and DPS Warriors were salivating in vent just at the mention of doing him. His tank drop is a set of boots, but my Sabatons of the Righteous Defender are comparable.
I've heard from others that Solarian's trash can be a good source of patterns, so here's hoping for a Belt of the Guardian to drop and for there to be a Blacksmith in the raid with Vortexes.
After the Raid, I went to do my Artisan Fishing quest.
It took literally two casts to catch the Feralas Ahi this time.
After I had him, I flew up to Desolace for the Sarenthis Striker. He was very easy to catch. Then I flew to Ratchet and caught the boat over to Booty Bay. Then I rode up to the Savage Coast and reeled in a Savage Coast Sailfin.
Next it was another flight, this time up to to Netherguard Keep. A short ride later, I was in the Swamp of Sorrows.
After the Ahi, all the fish were pretty easy to catch.
But whoever designed this quest must have played Horde.
The Ferals fishing spot is about half a zone away from the Alliance flghtpoint, and you have to catch a boat from the Alliance town, which is on a little island over to the mainland. It's about a 2 minute ride from the Horde town in the zone.
The fishing spot in Desolace is literally right outside the Horde village. The one in Stranglethorn Vale is within spitting distance of Grom'gol. And the one in Swamp of Sorrows (where the Alliance doesn't even have a flightpoint)? It's just a short ride from the Horde village.
With 4 spots, you would think that two would be convenient to Alliance and two would be convenient to Horde, but this was not the case.
Aside from that minor quibble, the quest was pretty cool. Good thing I was a level 70 though, because the Horde tended to ignore me, as I ignored them.
Up until recently, I've never thought much about fishing. I never saw the use in wasting the time to level it up.
A couple of things changed my mind.
The first was Galo. He makes money hand over fist and one of his main tools is his trusty Fishing pole.
The other is my need to make money. There are some things I can farm well as a Prot Paladin (Demon Hunter Supplicants, Etherels south of A52) but for the most part, I'm not a strong farming class. Fishing gives me a way to farm up some gold.
Also, I can fish up my own stamina food, and other foods that I can send to the bank for MKP contributions.
Finally, fishing is kind of a relaxing activity in game. Just kick back, click on the bobber, loot.
Now I just need to buy a pair of overalls and a nice fishing hat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Limited Quantity

I've reached the point of my raiding career that I realize that I have to start picking and choosing the upgrades I go for. Everything is on a DKP basis now. I need to save my DKP for the things I really need and not use it on things I really don't.

What follows will be a slot by slot analysis of my current gear and the upgrades available to me from the Bosses we are killing. Then I will make a list of the stuff I should spend my hard earned DKP on.

Head: Tankatronic Goggles

Available: Hard Khorium Goggles (Engy) Crystalforged Faceguard (Vashj), Faceplate of the Endless Watch (Doomwalker), Battleworn Tuskguard (ZA)

Comment: Tankatronics should last me until I can get the recipie for Hard Khorium so I don't plan on spending much DKP on the T5 helm which I'm sure will go for max bids.

Neck: Barbed Choker of Discipline

Available: The Darkener's Grasp (Kael), Frayed Tether of the Drowned (Fathom Lord)

Comment: Both of these options are nice. We will only kill Kael a couple of times, if ever, so I will really need to save up my DKP for the neck.

Shoulders: Justicar Shoulderguards

Available: Crystalforge Shoulderguards (VR) Pauldrons of Stone Resolve (ZA)

Comment: Both would be nice, but Stone Resolve wouldn't cost me anything.

Cloak: Slikk's Cloak of Placation

Available: Pheonix Wing

Comment: I dig the Hit on Pheonix Wing, but it's not going to be a high priority.

Wrist: Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx

Available: Wristguards of Determination (VR)

Comment: I like the Wrirstuguards but again, I can't see spending much DKP on them.

Gloves: Iron Guantlets of the Maiden / Justicar Handguards

Available: Crystalforge Handguards (Leo), Royal Guantlets of Silvermoon (Kael)

Comment: Just like the necks, both of these are amazing upgrades.

Waist: Girdle of the Protector

Available: Belt of the Guardian (BoE Crafted)

Comment: All I need is for the pattern to drop and get the Vortexes for my favorite Blacksmith.

Legs: Unwavering Legguards

Available: Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor (100 Badges), Crystalforge Legguards (Fathom Lord)

Comment: Badge ones are better than the Teir 5, so hopefully the other tanks blow some major DKP on their T5 legs.

Feet: Sabatons of the Righteous Defender

Available: Solarian's boots

Comment: Not a real big need as Righteous Defender server me well.

Ring: Ring of Sundered Souls / Seventh Ring of Tirisfalen

Available: Ring of the Stalwart Defender (60 Badges)

Comment: Just takes Badges, so I'm set here.

Main Hand: Amani Punisher

Avaiable: Fang of the Levithan (Leo)

Comment: Punisher is good enough, I'll leave this for my mages and Warlocks.

Shield: Merciless Gladiator's Shield Wall

Avaialble: Aldori Legacy Defender, Bulwark of the Amani Empire

Comment: Really could use either one of these shields.

Trinkets: Darkmoon Card Vengenance, Moroe's Lucky Pocketwatch

Available: Battlemaster's Audacity (30k Honor), Commendation of Kae'thas (Heroic Magister's Terrace)

 

MKP Targets:

Royal Guantlets of Silvermoon (Hands - Kael'thalas)

Darkener's Grasp (Neck - Kael'thalas)

Crystalforge Handguards (Hands - Leotheras)

Frayed Tether of the Drowned (Neck - Fathom Lord)

Crystalforge Shoulderguards (Shoudler - VR)

Aldori Legacy Defender (Shield - Gruul)

 

Low bid targets:

Phoenix Wing Cloak (Back - Al'lar)

Wristguards of Determination (Wrist - VR)

 

So this is good. I can stockpile for DKP for a Neck, T5 Shoulder and Gloves and Gruul's shield. Meanwhile ZA provides a couple of upgrades.

 

Did I miss anything obvious?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Consumables

Ataris on Masochist Paladin asked at the end his post "What should I bring to a raid?" So I thought I'd offer what I personally bring to a raid from a consumables standpoint.


Consumables


Mana Potion Injector (or Super Mana Pots)


Health Potion Injector (or Super Health Pots)


Ironshield Potions


Charged Crystal Focus (from Ogril'la)


Dense Stone Statues (JC only, we really need a level 70 version)


Food


Spicy Crawdad (or any other 30 stamina food)


Blackend Basilsik (spell damage and staima, and quite yummy)


Buffs


Superior Wizard Oil (Gimme some aggro)


Elixir of Major Fortitude AND Adepts Elixir OR Flask of Fortification OR Flask of Blinding Light


Rather Be Fishing? Not Really.

I almost didn’t log into the game last night, but I decided to anyway just to see what everyone was doing, check my auctions, and maybe farm a little bit.

Then I remembered the current bane of my existence, Feralas Ahi. I’ve been trying to catch one from the Verdenatis River in Feralas for my Fishing Quest. When you hit 225 Fishing, you have to go see Nat Pagel, who gives you a quest to catch 4 fish from all over Azeroth. Nat was in Dustwallow Marsh, and Feralas was the closest point to where he was so I thought I’d start there.

I’ve been through 2 of the 10 minute fishing lures, but to no avail.

That’s when my little fishing expedition was cut short by a whisper I got from my GM, Doraeallin.

“Would you be up for a little TK?” TK = Tempest Keep, the 25 man raid in Netherstorm.

My mind went through the complex algorithm that is my decision making matrix, and essentially the result was

Raiding >>>> Fishing.

I had no delusions that our ragtag band of fighters could actually do much in TK, but Raiding is the most fun activity in the game, so even though I knew multiple wipes were ahead of me, I signed up. There just wasn’t much to tank in that river in Feralas.

It took a little bit to assemble the raid, and we needed to do a little arm twisting to fill the last two spots. A couple of guys logged on a little late and told us they would have been on earlier if they knew we were raiding.

Call me crazy, but I think people being upset they didn’t get into the raid is a Good Thing.

What this meant was that when the “I gotta go” started up we had people basically right outside the instance ready to come and replace them. We lost almost no time to change people out.

We zone in and buff up and start working on Al’ar’s trash. I messed up one of the bird packs when I got silenced just as I was going to drop my Consecrate.

As we cleared, we had a trash epic drop, The Seventh Ring of the Tirisfalen. This is an AoE tanking ring. Look at that Block Rating and Block Value.

I was really torn on whether or not to bid. The last time I bid on a ring, I got it, but then I lacked the MKP to bid on a shield that dropped.

So I bid 5. Under our system, 5 MKP buys you 1 die to roll. If everyone who wants an item only bid 5, it’s just a fair roll between the bidders. If someone really wants an item, they can bid more than 5. When that happens it goes into an open auction, and the item goes to the highest bidder.

All 3 tanks Lanorah, Brindall and I bid the minimum of 5, so it went to a roll between us.

The Tankadin won the roll. Hello Seventh Ring, goodbye MKP.

We continued on through Al’lar’s trash. We had a bad pull on the big birds (the ones that mana burn, oh joy!).

We continued clearing trash towards Void Reaver. The only pack we had significant trouble with was the first Saw Blade Demons/Big Mechanical/Humaniod pack in Void Reaver’s room.

What would happen was our sheeping mage would be knocked into one of the other groups, causing us to pull them and wipe.

We wiped 3 times on that pull. We decided to pull them back into the hallway just before Void Reaver’s room. We still got knocked around but at least we didn’t get an additional mobs.

When we finally got the pack down, they dropped an epic. It was the Hunter bracers, and one of our hunters picked it up.

There stood Void Reaver. I switched my Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden for my Justicar Handguards, munched a Blackened Basilisk, and quaffed a Flask of Blinding Light. Fully buffed I was just short of 500 spell damage, and I got the 2 piece Justicar set bonus.

We also brought our Retribution Paladin, Sevenn so I would get Crusader as well as Wisdom up on the mob.

We used 3 tanks on Void Reaver, Brindall (Warrior), Lanorah (Warrior) and I. Brindall went in first, with Lanorah and myself right on his heels.

Our first attempt did not go well. We lost people early on to Arcane Orbs. Our players were trying to watch the graphic of the Orb to know when to move. Those graphics are off. It was especially tough on our healers because their attention is focused on the tanks or the raid that is taking damage. Now they also had to pay attention to the Orbs as well.

Our second try went much better. Our Range and Healers learned and moved. You’ll have to ask Raist or Dora what actually happened because I was focused on threat generation.

Once I got Wisdom up, I built a 5 stack of Vengeance. Void Reaver is a fairly stationary fight, and one where you can constantly swing your weapon at him, so getting a 5 stack up and maintaining was not difficult. After that I popped my wings, slammed his metal body with my shield and went to town with Judgments and Consecration. I held him for 2 or 3 consecutive knockbacks.

At around 30%, we lost Brindall. Now it was just me and Lan. We briefly lost him to the range DPS. We called for everyone to use their aggro dumps and we got him back under control.

We had him down to 10%. Our healers and our DPSers were about dry. We had about 2 minutes until he enraged. Most of our melee DPS was dead from Poundings.

Lanorah had him but was about dead. This was going to be close.

“1% / We got this / Come on / Get all the DoTs on him you can / Moonfire is not a DoT.”

And then he died. Much celebration was had in vent.

He dropped the tanking bracers, Wristguards of Determination. Since I had gotten the ring, I chose not to bid on the Bracers. We’re a tanking team and those other tanks need some loot, too. Lanorah ended up getting the Bracers in a minimum 5 bid roll with Brindall.

Lan has really stepped up his farming for contribution MKP, so I’m going to have to as well to keep up. Under our system, you can purchase MKP at the rate of 2 points a day. 1 point costs the equivalent of 200g of mats for the guild bank.

He also dropped the T5 Paladin Shoulder Token. I was really expecting double Defenders.

The token went to auction bids, and was won for 18 MKP (a very high bid under our system). I didn’t have anywhere near that much MKP. If HKM is any indication, we’ll have plenty of Shoulder tokens to hand out.

The T5 token went to Mowbray, one of our really good Holy Paladins.

I was genuinely happy for both Lanorah, and Mowbray, and for the whole MK team really.

Best of all, last night was really fun, the kind of fun I haven’t had in game in a while.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sig Worthy

"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

Here's the thread where it was said.

http://www.failsafedesign.com/maintankadin/viewtopic.php?t=7079&start=105

Regression

I think everyone in my guild has accepted the fact that we've regressed. The weekend came and went and we had to call the Tempest Keep Raid because we couldn't get enough people on line to fill the raid.

Sunday night, we managed to put together a Gruul's run. HKM took two attempts, and Gruul took four, if I remember correctly.

The time has come for me to make a decision about my future with Mal Katai.

Why would I want to go?

The bottom line for me is that I'm not having fun. Raiding for me is the most enjoyable part of the game, but the constant wiping and struggling with Bosses that were so simple just a few weeks ago is really starting to get to me.

We start late (often an hour or more after the scheduled start time). We end early. Players take frequent afks. In fact, one of our wipes on Gruul last night was because a Warrior went afk. Not only was the Warrior allowed to stay in the raid (because we needed warm bodies) but he ended up getting loot when we finally did kill Gruul.

We have people who can't or won't pay attention and listen to the raid leaders.

I'm running out of time. Every week we draw closer to an announcement on the projected date for Wrath of the Lich King, and the closer Lich King gets the less Raiding that will happen. It happened with tBC drew close, most guilds just stopped raiding and started getting ready for tBC. My opportunity to see the rest of tBC will be gone.

So why wouldn't I leave?

The ray of hope I have is Alterac Mountains. My officers tell me that we have 10-12 incoming transfers from that server in 2-3 weeks. That many transfers would effectively solve the attendance issues and might allow us to start progressing again.

The decision that faces me is whether to wait another 2 to 3 weeks to see how the transfers pan out or to go ahead and start looking for a new home.

The options for me on AoS are pretty limited, so in all likelihood is that it will mean another server transfer, and that would stink. I've made a lot of friends on AoS. I'd sure miss those guys.

Of course, I could end up going from from a bad situation to an even worse one.

It's a very different thing to go looking for a new guild as a Protection Paladin. In my current guild, I am treated just like any other tank. I am used as a tank in nearly every fight, and I have even been allowed to tank some Bosses for our progression kills.

It's not like that in all guilds. Some guilds view Protection Paladins as only situational tanks and only want them when those situations arise. Some guilds are still stuck in the Warrior is Main Tank mindset that dominated the game pre Burning Crusade.

Some Protection Paladins find themselves as merely a "hired gun" for Mt. Hyjal trash.

The the question I have to answer for myself is, do I stick it out, or do I jump ship.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Father, Husband, Raider

World of Matticus did something really cool on his blog. He lived blogged one of his guilds Raids. So I decided to do the same thing last night with one of our raids.
I threw in a little twist though. See, Honorshammer is a Raider, but he's also a Husband and a Father. How do you work in all three in one night.


5:30pm Pick up Lil Hammer from school.
6:00pm Get home, help Mrs. Hammer in the kitchen (dishes/groceries/preparing dinner), help Lil Hammer with her homework.
7:00pm Dinner
7:30pm Playtime with Lil Hammer. Her favorite game at the moment is Westminster Dog Show. Somehow her dogs always win first prize. Mine do not fair as well.
8:00pm Lil Hammer's Bedtime. Log into WoW.
8:08 Raid Invites start for our 8 o'clock raid.
8:15 Our 8 o'clock raid is 16 people strong. Only 9 more to go. Horde at the stone though.
8:30 Our 8 o'clock raid is now 20 people strong. Only need 5 more! People are having to run to the instance twice as the Horde decide to camp the entrance to SSC.
8:45 We're just two people short now. Horde still hold the stone.
9:00 We're full!! Just have to get the people through the mass of horde and get buffed up and start pulling.
9:07 We start on the trash
9:35 Trash is done and we start fishing up Lurker
9:43 Wipe on Lurker. Our DPS on both Lurker and the Guardians was way way low. Raid Leader determines we are too tank heavy and healer light and switches a tank, who was trying to dps, out for a Holy Paladin.
9:57 Start our 2nd attempt
10:05 Wipe again. We are losing our CCers to Spout. They claim on vent to have gotten in the water, but think they might have lagged. I don't know.
10:09 Start our 3rd attempt
10:17 Wipe again. Melee DPS got destroyed by a combination of Whirl and Geyser, which left too little DPS on the Guardians.
10:20 Start one more time
10:32 Lurker Down.
10:43 Raid Called. Our Druid Main Tank for Tidewalker was not online.
I'd love to tell you that this was an atypical night for us, but it wasn't. Our first pull was an hour after our scheduled start time of 8 o'clock and we called the raid 45 minutes before our scheduled end time. Instead of an easy 1 shot, we wipe multiple times.
After the Raid, I took care of a couple of things and ran an AB for the Daily with a combination of Mal Katai and Heroes Inc.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Look

So I did some looking around at other blogs and decided I needed to spruce up the place a little bit. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Best Laid Plans

You know you've been blogging too long when you have to go back through your old posts and make sure you haven't used the same title before.
Last night was SSC night for Mal Katai. 1 shot our Farm Bosses (Hydross, Lurker) and maybe get Tidewalker down for the 2nd time.
Well, that's how it was supposed to go.
Add control was a constant issue. We were using 4 tanks. Brindall (Warrior)on Nature, your humble author on Frost, Blankz (Feral) and Lanorah (Warrior) on adds. I'm not sure if Blankz had been an add tank previously or not. He was trying to use Demo roar to pick up his adds, but it wasn't working. After some discussion, we got that worked out. He would Mangle one, taunt one, and swipe spam.
Our first attempt was foiled when the adds went and destroyed our healers.
Our second attempt wiped when one of the mages (who wasn't on vent) pulled aggro on a transition. This mage uses a Mac which apparently Vent doesn't like. Our Raid Leader was spamming a Raid Warning of STOP DPS! yet there flew the arcane missiles to Hydross as we transitioned him.
I wonder how other guilds handle Mac users. My opinion was that he should not have been in the raid, if he couldn't have been on vent.
Also our Raid seems to be very dependant on Dora (our incredible Raid Leader) verbally telling people when to stop refreshing their DoTs and to stop all DPS.
Our third attempt we seem to get the add control down, but I could see we are behind the enrage timer. We haven't had an issue with the enrage timer since our first kill.
As the fight progressed, I could tell we weren't going to beat the enrage timer. My hope was that we'd at least be in Nature (Brindall's) phase when the Enrage hit so he could Last Stand and Shield Wall. No such luck.
Hydross hit enrage at Mark#2 in Frost form with 8% life left. Dora called for spam heals on me. At Mark #4, I popped my Scarab of Displacement to try to increase my parry and dodge, and kept one finger hovering over my Lay On Hands button.
The seconds seemed to take minutes as Hydross health slowly, slowly ticked away, and my health yo-yo'ed between full and nigh dead.
34s into the Enrage timer Hydross went down. I got a couple of "nice tanking" comments, but what they should have said was "wow, incredible healing."
It's been over a month since we did a proper 1 shot of our "farm" bosses. Is it possible for a boss to come off "farm' status? Sure seems like it.
We have gotten 2 Progression Kills in the past month, Tidewalker, and DoomWalker, but last nights performance gives me great concern over our planned TK raids this weekend.
I've started gathering some mats for a new Frost Resist set and to sort of pay Mal Katai back for the Frost Resist gear they've given me. I wonder if I wouldn't be better to pick up the Adds in a mix Nature/Frost set with Consecration, Judgement and Avengers Shield. Plus, if one add gets loose, I can Righteous Defense and pull it back in without have to chase it too much.

Don't Nerf the Trees!!!

Celoria, Bacon, Lakini, this is for you! I fully support Leafshine and his efforts to undo the lifebloom nerf. The irony of the nerf is that it won't help where it should (reducing PVP/Arena), but will it where it shouldn't (PVE healing).
The nerf reduces the ticks of the lifebloom, but increases the Bloom. Well guess what, in PVP, your opponent does all kinds of things to trigger the Bloom (dispell, purge, etc). When do Druids not let Lifebloom, bloom? In PVE Raiding.

Rest In Peace and Thank You

I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of Gary Gygax.

For those of you who may not know the name, he was the co-creator of the Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing Game.

I spent many an evening playing D&D through my early teens and into my late 20s. D&D's popularity spawned several other RPGs in both tabletop and computer games. Who could forget Traveller, or Paladium, or RIFTS, or Omega Code.

I remember playing Pools of Radiance for hours and hours on my 486DX in college, or the Baldur's Gate series just a couple of years ago.

In fact, you could even say that WoW is a further extension of that line.

I was already a Star Wars fan when I was introduced to D&D, and I was hooked almost immediately. My journey to the Geekside was complete.

Thank you for your creation, Mr. Gygax. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DoomWalker

Mal Katai set our sites on the sentinel of the Black Temple, DoomWalker.

Our first go at him was Sunday night. We actually had a full 40 man all Mal Katai Raid. I never thought I'd see that happen. Here we are all floating around waiting for the raid to get started.
I play on a PVP server, so secrecy about your World Boss attempts is of the utmost importance. We didn't do a real good job of that on Sunday night. People were naturally curious and would fly over to him and aggro him
When that happens, he yells to the entire zone:
"Someone is trying to kill me, please come see if they are your opposite faction so you can come kill them."
This was actually not my first time confronting DoomWalker as he was one of the few bosses I was allowed do to in my brief stint with Bloodsky. Only this time, I was on tanking duty, with my healing gear safely in my backpack.
We got in one attempt Sunday night before the Horde arrived. During our second attempt the Horde went after our healers, and we wiped. We called the raid at that point and several of my guildmates went on a Horde killing spree.
We returned Monday night, and managed not to aggro him. We got buffed up and ready. Trelic, our incredible Feral Druid would be the Main Tank with Lanorah and myself on Overrun duty.
We lost a couple of people early on to Overrun. My taunt targets the player and not the mob, so I would get "Out of Range" errors sometimes when I tried to taunt.
After he gets below 20%, DoomWalker enrages and hits twice as hard. At this point, we had Lanorah take him and Shield Wall. We caught a break in that we put him under 20% just as he was starting and earthquake. So he stood there pounding away at the ground while our DPS worked him over. He didn't actually enrage until 18%. Lan put up Shield Wall.
Once Shield Wall was used up, we taunted him between Trelic, Lanorah, and myself.
Doomwalker hits really hard, around 6k damage normal hit. Then he has a chain lighting which gets bigger every time it jumps. I took one chain lightning for 12k
Our healers were amazing, and our DPS rocked the house.
One Dead Doomwalker.
I had forgotten, but after you kill Doomwalker, you get attacked by Illidari.
He dropped the Faceguard of the Endless Watch and a Talon of the Tempest.
I compared to the Faceguard to my Tankatronics and the Tankatronics win, hands down. The Faceguard actually ended up to going to our "new" Tankadin, LastPally. This was the guy I had shredded on the forums when he apped.
The Talon went for a 11 MKP (a very high bid under our system) to Aerlion, one of our mages.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Why Are You Doing This

Before our DoomWalker raid on Sunday, I spent some time working on the Medalion of Korabor quest chain. This is part of the chain that gets you attuned to Black Temple.

As I was doing one of the group quests in the chain, one of the PuG hunters asked if I knew that the Black Temple attunement was being lifted next patch. I replied that I did.

His obvious question to me was, then why was I bothering with the attunement chain.

Why are you doing this?

The Medallion of Korabor quest chain is one of the few chances you have in the game where you can interact with characters from Warcraft 3 and it's expansion The Frozen Throne. Most of your other opportunities come in Raid instances or major cities.

Part of the reason I so enjoyed the "Missing Diplomat" chain was because you got to interact with Jainia Proudmoore. I absolutely loved the quests in WPL dealing with Uther's Tomb and the new quest they put in with Burning Crusade where you see Uther's ghost is probably my favorite quest.

I play RPGs, even MMORPGs for the story, the lore. I'm totally excited about the rumors of a Titan themed instance in the expansion. Uldaman was one of my favorite instances leveling up because it explored the origins of the Dwarves.

I'm well aware that there are better story based RPGs out there. I was a big fan of the Baldur's Gate series and the Knights of the Old Republic series. Those games drew me into a world and a story and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

The problem with WoW is that to continue the story, you have to keep going deeper and deeper into the Raid game. The villains of Warcraft 3 await, Archimonde and even Illidan himself.

So why are you doing this?