Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Drama Major

I knew I was going to be late last night due to an iRL conflict. I sent an email off to my Guild Master (Dora) and Raid Leader (Raist) letting them know.

I logged on about 8:40 or so. The raid was mostly formed except for Dora and Brindall who themselves were running late.

Raist had posted that we would be trying High Warlord Naj'entus. If you remember, about two and half weeks ago, we went in to explore the Black Temple, and somewhat stumbled our way into High Warlord Naj'entus. The thought our Leaders had was that if we brought the "Core" group, we could actually kill him since we got him to 60% with fresh 70s and non Core people.

Dora and Brindall logged in and we got started. We killed the patrolling nature elementals and setup for the first pull.

2 Generals, 2 Soothsayers, a Harpooner and his Turtle. We knew from our previous experience that the Generals could dispel just about every CC known to man (or gnome, or dwarf, or elf), but that their dispel had a range.

The plan was for me and Devona (Warrior) to tank these guys away from the rest of the raid. We tried charging him and and letting the CC'ers pull their mobs away. We tried having the Generals misdirected to the tanks and doing a Sheep Pull.

Nothing seemed to work. The Generals are dual wielders and hit hard (4k main hand and 2k offhand), and I kept dying. I feel like my gear is adequate to tank these guys. Granted I didn't have an Imp for the stamina buff but I was still at about 19k or so, if I remember correctly.

I know one time when I charged into the fray, I went out of range for my healers. We had stated pretty clearly over vent that we were moving in, I would have thought that the healers would have moved in with us, maybe they did. After Monday night, I was leery of laying blame at any one's feet other than my own.

After our 3rd wipe on this pull, the drama started. Some members of the raid began to question the Leadership on why we were trying this as they felt the wipes showed we weren't ready.

Our leaders reminded them of the success previously, but the argument continued. Part of the issue was the people questioning the choice of instance were the "AM Transfers". A group of players who recently joined the guild after transferring from Alterac Mountains.

They have done wonders for us. They push our DPS and often were tops in the damage meters.

Trelic has been somewhat absentee during this school semester, so they aren't familiar with him. He led raids for Mal Katai before the semester started and in pre-BC as well. The guy knows his stuff, only the AM guys don't know that.

Trey attempted to regain order, and establish himself as the raid lead. It was basically something along of the lines of "We are going to TK. If you can't follow me without (fussing) leave the raid now.

(He didn't really say fussing, but you get the idea).

Most of the AM guys left the raid. A couple of them left the guild shortly thereafter.

The raid was called.

Dora logged on just after the raid was called and I believe she got a run down from Trelic and Raist about what happened.

I was told later by a former guildy (someone who had left long before this night), that this had been building for a while. The AM guys were not thrilled with the way we run raids, and had many of the same complaints I had myself (just not being serious in raid time, frequent AFKS, people not being prepared, etc.) They are legit concerns. Of course these were the same guys who blew us off one night so they could do their Arenas.

Our Guild Master (Dora) gets it from all sides and I've seen signs lately that the stress of leading a large guild has taken it's toll on her. I bet she sometimes longs for the days we were wiping in Kara. It was fun back then. All the fussing, and out of game work makes it unfun.

There is no doubt this is going to set us back. The AM guys brought our guild to a new level and instantly became some of our best players the day they joined. We can't assume any boss we've killed since they've joined is still 'farm', and we should be prepared for some rough nights.

I was on the brink of leaving Mal Katai before the AM guys joined. Now I'm not sure what to do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

They Can't Resist Me

Since I posted about the Hydross fight, and the fact that I'm our Frost Main Tank, I've gotten questions about the kind of gear I wear for the fight. So I'd thought I'd share how I tackle that overgrown water balloon.

I use all 3 pieces of the Iceguard set (Helm, Legs, Chest). Then I use the epic Frost Resist ring, and the blue Frost Resist neck. Both pieces are made with Jewelcrafting which I conveniently have at max skill level.

I use my Justicar Shoulders and Gloves. What I'm after here is the 2 piece set bonus. I need good threat on the Hydross fight, especially as the Frost tank. The time from the pull to the first transition is "free" dps. I don't want my DPS team holding back due to threat issues.

I use the Merciless Gladiador Gavel and the Merciless Gladiator's Shield Wall. The benefit here is to get Resilience. The Resilience on these "pvp" pieces helps make up for the lack of defense I have in this gear. I think it's around 463 defense, and 43 Resilience.

The rest of my gear is filled in with pretty "standard" tanking gear. I try to get pieces with Defense, so I use Crimson Girlde of the Indomitable over the Girdle of the Protector or Belt of the Guardian, and the Scrab of Displacement over Moroes Pocketwatch.

I use the Wristguards of Determination because of their high avoidance.

The only gear I enchant for resist is gear that is only used in this set like Iceguard stuff. The rest of the gear gets standard tanking enchants.

Finish Up The Week

Before I went raiding on Monday night, I flew by the Isle of Quel'Danas and visited Smith Hautthua. He had used the Naga ore I brought him to craft me a new ring(comparision made to the Voilet Signet of the Great Protector (left) and the Ring of Sundered Souls (right)) and a new set of pants
(comparision made to the Unwavering Legguards).
At first I was a bit dismayed because when I changed out the gear, I was sitting at 487 defense. This will never do. So I swapped a Solid Star of Elune out for an Enduring Talasite in my Justicar Shoulders. It was only a net loss of 2 stamina because I picked up the socket bonus. Honestly, I should have done it sooner.
My new unbuffed hit points sit at 16,157. My dodge is up over 25%.
Fully buffed up in Mag's later on, I was able to hit 22k hit points, 51% pure avoidance (dodge + parry + miss), 18k armor, and 500 spell damage. I'm very happy with where my little dwarf is at gear wise.
Monday night, we did our normal Gruul and Mag farm night. We had 2 Prot Warriors in the Raid so I found myself a bit extraneous in Gruul's. I gave our Main Tank Warrior (whom I've passed on nearly every Gruul kill) some time to build threat, meanwhile our 2nd Prot Warrior was building as well. Our 2nd Prot Warrior started taking Hurtful and without incoming damage I found myself dry in a hurry.
We did end up setting a new record for a Gruul kill. He was dead in under 5 minutes.
After Gruul, we went over to Mag.
Our first go at Mag was going well. The Channelers were dying swiftly. I moved into position to pick up Mag. I got him into position when BAM! I was dead.
I took a quick look at the combat log and saw a couple of lifebloom and renew ticks. I was asked by the Druid (Trelic) who was running the raid what happened. I told him it looked like I only had HoTs rolling. The healers strongly disagreed. I saw what I thought was a bug. It look like I had gotten cleaved twice in one second.
I really miss having Grim Reaper or Recount Death Monitor available. Both stopped working in 2.4.
Later on, I REALLY missed having him. After the Raid, I put together the WWS, and found out it wasn't two cleaves. It was a Cleave and a Crush. Now the hard part is what to do. The raid is over and whatever happened, happened. Am I better off just letting the night go or should I apologize to the healers tonight when we start raiding.
It took 2 more tries but we got Mag down. He didn't drop a Champion token, which I was sort of disappointed about. I don't NEED my Tier 4 Chest, but I'm 4/5 and I'd really like to have it.
The plan was to go to Al'ar afterwards, but we lost about a quarter of the raid because they wanted to go finish their Kara.
Yes, Kara.
I was absolutely stunned that people would rather go do Kara than do a 25 man like Tempest Keep. I did a couple of dailies and called it a night.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't Knock It 'til You Try It

I'm tried it, I'm knocking it.

We didn't have much going on this weekend. I saw one of our raiding mages looking for a 2s partner for his MS Warrior alt. I offered to respec Holy and give it try. He was somewhat surprised at the offer but took me up on it nevertheless.

We thought Warrior/Paladin, we've got 1600 easy street.

We thought wrong.

Admittedly, I haven't been Holy since level 60, so I wasn't as familiar with all the tools as I could have been. Spells like Divine Illumination were new concepts to me.

I thought my gear was respectable. I had about 215 resilience along with 9k health and 10k mana.

I was generally the target of the opposing team, and it seemed my blue bar was much more the target than the green. It seemed like every class had someone to drain or burn my mana, and once my mana was gone I had no way to regenerate it quickly.

We wound up going 5-8 on the night, and going from 1500 to around 1450. We played 13 matches. Would you believe we got the Nagrand arena 13 times.

We fought a Disc Priest/MS Warrior team where the Priest literally did nothing but make laps around a pillar and through HoTs on the Warrior. I would have to stand still to cast to heal, so my Warrior team mate either had to stop chasing the Priest or go out of line of sight for heals. On top of that, the Priest was burning my mana.

We fought an SL/SL Lock / Resto Druid team that was very frustrating. We couldn't kill either one.

We got destroyed by a MM Hunter / Ice Mage team.

We fought a Resto Shaman / Fire Mage team that completely left me alone. I simply couldn't outheal their damage output.

We did well against Rogue/Rogue (no mana drain there), and BM Hunter/Fire Mage.

We beat a Warlock / Druid team. The Druid tried to do the whole Druid lock down thing with Feral Charges, and Cyclones. My Warrior was able to take down the Warlock while the Druid kept me locked down.

At the end of the night, we were more frustrated than anything else. It seemed like I was weakest class a healer in 2v2 Arena. Every class seemed to have an answer for all my tricks, while I didn't have an answer for any of theirs. I felt like my Warrior would have been better off with a Druid or a Disc. Priest. Strangely enough all of those guys had teams already (1600+ teams as well).

I've suggested to my partner that next time we try it with me as Ret. We will just try to burn teams down and out damage their healing. We might not do much better, but we should give it try.

If Ret goes better, I'll keep the Holy gear for Battlegrounds when I don't want to respec, and for PVE healing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Suspect: Healbot

So I was reading a post over at Big Red Kitty called "You Know We Are At War". Buried in the comments was this little jewel:

"When you download your addon (and these are almost entirely from addons) take a moment before installing them to examine them.

What, you use an autoinstaller? No, or at least not any more unless you’re willing and able to do the checks in the addons folders before running. (yes, I love Aces autoinstaller. I do manual checking.)

Anyway, examine them before you load WoW if not before you install. Safe files are those that end in nothing, toc, lua, and txt. Unfortunately all the addons have to have an xml as well so regretfully we have to allow that too. Now anything else is to be treated with caution - but not automatic rejection. For example Auctioneer has an mp3 file, and cycircled (along with most other addons that do visual changes) uses tga files.

If it’s an exe, com, bat, jpg, scr, html, or any other ‘executable’ file extension, stop. Delete."

So I ran a check on my system and sure enough the Healbot addon has both a jpg and an html. FreeMoney.html and myshop_WoW. jpg.

I opened the html and looked at the code. I didn't see anything suspious. There is not javascript in the file at all. I don't have the skills to check the jpg for exploits. I've run Healbot since my reformat, so the thought that this Addon could be the culprit scares and sickens me at the same time.

I'm searching for a tool or something/someone who can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to myshop_WoW.jpg.

If you use Healbot, I recommend you check your Addon folder for the html and jpg and delete just to be safe.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sloppy

We were doing SSC Thursday night, but our Nature Tank (Brindall - Warrior) was running late. I've been there. Real life happens.
So we clear to Lurker. Raistilan is great at putting raids together but he's not as comfortable doling out assignments. I know how he feels. I'm not always comfortable giving out healing assignments. I sort of took over, assigning tanking targets and making pulls. I originally had myself on the first target, a Coilfang Shatterer. The Shatterers put up a spell reflect shield which reflects my judgements back at me (wouldn't you LOVE something that reflected judgements in real life?) I also couldn't Consecrate because of the sheeps going on, so my threat was really low. I lost threat to our melee dps and a couple of them died. I changed myself to the 3rd mob to be killed and put Vini (Warrior) on the first mob. I still wanted a Warrior on the Honor Guard (2nd target) because sometimes he fears and I like to have a stance dancing Warrior there. This mob still seems to change targets after he fears.
We get down to Lurker and Brindall finally makes it in. We get set up and pull. After the 2nd or 3rd submerge we lose Brindall. I taunt. It get's resisted (joy!). Tankadin puts a raid warning that my taunt was resisted. That was cool (the warning, not the resist). Lan taunts and we get things back under control. When he submerges we were a tank short. I was out of range to taunt one of the other mobs, and I was concerned about losing threat on my own Guardian if I start running around. I have to trust the rest of the raid. I maintain my target. My Guardian and Island is cleared but too much damage was done to the rest of the raid. We wiped. On Lurker.
We regroup and pull again. It was a bit sloppy but we got the big fishy down. He dropped the plate healing chest. I compared to the Mail one I had gotten from either him or Hydross, and it seemed very close except for the armor. I opted not to spend any MKP on it and let it be DE'ed. I've got to save my MKP for when we get some Tier 5 tokens or if we go to Black Temple and kill Najentus.
We went back to Hydross. First transition one of our new Priest's fears the adds. We have to stay in the Phase too long because adds are all over the place, and we wipe. On Hydross.
We regroup and pull again, and get a nice kill.
We certainly had the DPS, and the tanking and the healing, but we were having a very sloppy night. We decide to take a vote on whether to do Leo or Tidewalker. I was not in favor of taking a vote. In my opinion, the Raid Leader should call the target and we should go kill it. But that's how he wanted to run the raid, no big deal.
We start clearing towards Leo, and our night went from bad to worse. We wiped on trash a couple of times. CC's were slow going off, tanks were slow picking up targets, or we'd accidentally pull a 2nd group into the fight. I don't know if it was just that we were getting tired or not paying attention or what.
We finally get up to Leo and try him. We try him two or three times, but our best attempt was about 25%.
Our problems were many, but the main ones were:
Melee not running out - I watched as the Raid Leader called for melee to get out of range for whirlwind, one of our Warriors standing there smacking away at him.
DPS dying to Demons - We made sure to assign healers to the people fighting their demons. One of our hunters explained that he couldn't kill his demon because Whirlwind had killed his pet. We have one Affliction Lock, who is a nice person, but dies every time she get's tagged for an inner demon. My Prot Warrior co-Tank had problems with his demon as well. I can sort of understand the Prot Warrior, but I've got to think that Blizzard design the fight with the idea that a Prot Warrior might have to kill his Demon. The thing about Inner Demons is no one can help you. It's just you against your demon, can you kill it in time?
Losing Threat - I don't know if I mistimed my Shield toss, or what, but a couple of times I'd nail him with my Shield and he'd run off for a healer or a DPS and kill them. I'm not sure what the dynamic is there, but I need to figure it out.
Lock Tank Dying - A couple of times, we'd lose the Lock's pet and then the Lock himself not long there after. I can't really comment on this much. I supply his Fire Resist aura, and I was usually in range of him. I don't know why he is dying.
Lock Tank not getting threat - A couple of times, people would DPS before the Lock Tank had aggro. This generally lead to the their demise.
Enrage Timer - I consider this more of a consequence of one or all of the above. We just didn't get enough DPS on him in enough time to kill him.
The Raid Leader made a comment about not being able to tell everyone what to do ('gee does THAT sound familiar'). I whispered something to that effect to him, but he didn't see the correlation, so maybe I misunderstood him.
Leo is kicking our butt. Our Raid Leaders remain upbeat and feel we can get him.
I think some of what I'm going through is post wipe angst, but it is funny to me when the Raid Leaders comment that people aren't on their 'A' game or things were sloppy.
I asked one of the Raid Leaders is this was a 'Core' group to which he responded it was except for about 5 people. That's an 80% Core group wiping to farm bosses and being sloppy. That is not what we want.
The Leader creates the atmosphere of the Raid. If things are sloppy, or people aren't on their 'A' game, LEAD. Call them out, correct them, establish the tone and get it back in line.
I know some will think : "Lol, Raids are serious business." You know what, I take them seriously. That's why I've learned all I can about my class, my role, my gear and the encounters we are doing. My time is too valuable to not take them seriously.
I'm not saying you have to run your raids with military precision to be successful, or that you can't have fun. Raiding is most fun thing I can do in the game.
I have a responsibility to the other 24 people who have chosen to invest their free time with us in our raids, to make it as fun as enjoyable as possible. I hold up my end of the bargain. I'm prepared, and I do my job.
I feel like you need to set the expectation of excellence. This is Raid Time. It's time to be serious. It's time to be focused. It's time to be on your 'A' game.
It seems like we get 1 good raid a week, and it's usually on Tuesday. Then we fumble and bumble through the rest of the week's Raids. Our Raids are wildy inconsistent. One week we one shot everything, next week we wipe all over the place.
Sometimes I feel like a HardCore Raider trapped in a Casual's schedule.

Starting Over

(If you get this in a reader, sorry about the early / aborted post)

Wednesday night I went ahead and wiped the hard drive on my computer, and reinstalled Windows and WoW along with my security software. I never successfully identified the Malware that gave my account information. That worries me greatly because I don't have any corrective action steps to identify and take that would prevent this from happening again.

There are other possibilities, like my friend AoesRus' machine being the one with Malware. They could have logged into his account, found him relatively low on funds and materials and decided to move along to a more lucrative prize like Honorshammer.

Other possibilities that have been suggested to me are too disturbing to think about very long like the idea that someone at my ISP is "listening in" on my connection. Even more troubling was the idea that perhaps the gold sellers have someone "on the inside" at Blizzard with access to account information. The pockets of the gold sellers are deep, and people have been known to betray even their country for the right price.

Of course, there is absolutely zero anyone could do about it. I generally take the attitude that I can't worry about those things that are clearly beyond my control. My Mom taught me a saying as she was battling addiction in her life

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

The other thing that has me nervous is WoW Web Stats. It run a small program on my machien to parse and upload the WWS. Could it be the culprit?

Then I read a comment from Jonathan on the "Hacked" blog entry.

"I'd be interested to know if you also have the Curse client, and what addons you use? That's the only thing I can think of."

That sent a cold chill down my spine. A week or two before I got hacked, I installed the Curse client. This is purely coincidental and circumstantial, but I'd be very wary of Curse right now. I wonder what is in that Client software of theirs. All the virus scans and Malware detectors work on some sort of signiture database to identify Malware. If the Curse Client has something in it, the user base might not be big enough for it to find it's way into the signiture databases. Most WoW gamers will probably not have the patience to wait through a HiJackThis log (could take up to 10 days). They will do what I did, reformat and move on.

I used my work computer to download only the most essential mods I needed.

  • Fubar (DurabilityFu, LocationFu)
  • ItemRack
  • OneBag (OneBank)
  • Omen
  • Grid
  • Xperl
  • Healbot
  • Deadly Boss Mods
  • Tankpoints
  • Tankadin
  • MobInfo
  • Natur Enemy CastBar
  • Pally Power

I got everything installed and downloaded all the patches for WoW. It was time to put this incident behind me and get back to some semblance of normalcy. The Mods that I really missed were Elkano BuffMods, Prat, and Scrolling Combat Text. I tried using Blizzard's SCT but everything was too jumbled up. I don't like the amount of screen real estat Elkano's needs, but I really like the way it makes it easy to see Debuffs.

With my mods up and Ventrillo running I was back in action.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Restoration

I was all set to nuke my hard drive and reinstall everything. Just one little, small, itsy bitsy problem. I had loaned my Windows disk to a buddy of mine who was having some computer problems and needed to start from CD. So instead I logged into WoW last night against my better judgement.

When I logged in I found my mailbox full of mail from Blizzard Support. In the mail was everything I had had on Honorshammer. All my wonderful epic tanking loot. All my Hydross gear. My Hammer of Judgement. The last mail was the best, as it had all my gold in it.

They still have not been able to restore anything I had on my bank mule which means I lost hundreds of gold worth of food, pots, elixirs and flasks. My guild is being very generous in resupplying me.

The whole experience of being hacked has taken some of the fun out of the game for me, but getting my gear back did help some. Dora (my Guild Leader) talked to me about not letting this get me down. The best thing I could do was go out and tank something.

The guild wasn't sure what if anything they were going to run Tuesday night if I hadn't been on. They didn't want to do SSC having to clear Hydross trash twice (couldn't do Hydross without their Frost Resist tank). We haven't gone in to relearn the new Void Reaver and they felt like they needed me for Al'ar or Solarian. They didn't even want to think about Hyjal without me.

But with my gear back, we got together a group and headed for Mount Hyjal.

We've done Hyjal a couple of times. We usually start having trouble around the 6th wave. We would get behind and not be ready for 7 and wipe between 7 and 8.

Last night we had our "core" group, our best players. If we could just get this group on more consistently, we'd be golden.

Wave 6 hits and the Aboms come cresting over the hill. I drop my Consecrate in the road to gather up the Ghouls and wait for the invetiable pounding from the Aboms.

It never comes. The rest of the tanking corps did a tremendous job pulling the Aboms off me. I tank the Ghouls and DPS kill the Aboms single target style.

We actually had a few seconds after Wave 6 to get ready for Wave 7. When Wave 7 was down, we grabbed Wave 8 which was easier to me than 6 or 7. We had lost only 1 person and we were ready to face Rage Winterchill.

I ran up and and toss my Shield at him and started tanking him. Our healers were doing a great job keeping up with the Frostbolt damage. Then all of sudden we lose like half the raid. People weren't moving out of Death and Decay. We end up wiping at around 38%.

This encounter was a tough one for me to tank. Rage is constantly casting, and doesn't melee very hard for a Tier 6 Boss. I was getting next to 0 Holy Shield threat and wasn't taking enough damage to keep my mana up. So I asked one of the Warriors to tank him.

We get ready to pull again and go through all the waves. We get to Winterchill again, and AGAIN we lose people to Death and Decay.

Someone asked over vent for us to call out Death and Decay and where it was. I countered that people should be able to watch where it is, watch for the debuff, watch their DBM (Deadly Boss Mod) timers (You DO have Deadly Boss Mods right?), etc.

I was asked by one of the other officers to lay off.

I was stunned. We are in a Tier 6 Instance. We can not keep thinking for, and basically hand holding our raiders. This was a Core group night, these people have to be able to see a debuff and move! We've just wiped twice to a Boss that should be (and is for most guilds) an easy one shot. How can we expect to improve in the game if we don't set an expectation of excellence from our Raiders.

We try again. Our Raid Leader has to ping the map where Death and Decay is. People actually moved out of the Death and Decay. We lost a couple of people to Frostbolts. I was quite pleased when I saw one Hunter in particular survive a tick of the Frostbolt with 400 life after I hit him with an 800 Flash of Light.

The NPCs get involved and we keep banging away him. Then it's over. Rage Winterchill falls to the might and magic and Mal Katai! All that remained was a dark black orb.



The loot got our Hunters and Resto Druid very happy.

Now, everyone will think, 'See, it's okay, we still got him'. Our defeating Rage after 3 attempts does not change the core fact that we need to expect more from our Raiders, and we need to point out where we are lacking even if that means going to someone personally. It's just a question of how to do that and not be a jerk about it. Ultimately, you want to help people get better at the game in their role and class.

I've Never Done It, But Trust Me, I'm An Expert

Thanks for taking the time to write a very informative blog. I am just a tad behind you with my paladin as far as gear and progression but I learn lots from reading your blog.
I am sorry to hear that you got hacked and lost all of your stuff. This is one of my biggest fears and I think that if this happened to me, I don't know what I would do.
As far as my progression we are 2/6 in SSC and 2/4 in TK but only 3/6 in ZA (stupid dragonhawk boss has been owning us) I guess that my raids have been having a problem with AoE'ing stuff down. Any advice on how to keep the adds on me (or at least 2 or 3 on me) with the hydross fight?
Again hang in there and thank you for a wonderful, informative site. (one that isn't blocked from work) :) - Altair from scilla

I'll do my best, even though I've never actually had to do this.
I don't tank adds in the Hydross fight for Mal Katai. I'm our Frost Resist tank and main tank Hydross while he is in the Frost form.
Edit 4/25: Look in the comments. Coristad (someone who has actually done this, has some great advice.
If I were to do it, this is the approach I'd take:
Basically the adds spawn in a square formation around Hydross. Flip your camera to where you are basically looking down on Hydross from above. Either run a little infront or a little behind and watch for the adds to spawn. Have Seal of Righteousness up. Drop a Consecrate right on top of one of the adds as it spawns and immediately tab target to the other one (make sure you didn't tab target to Hydross). Judgement. That should get two fo them on you. Now target a 3rd add and let fly with Avenger's Shield. It's going to take a couple of seconds to get off because the other two adds are banging on you. That should get three or even 4 adds on you. Don't worry with Holy Shield, it's useless in this fight. You are going to have to hold aggro through Consecration and Seals and Judgements. What I typically do in a situation like that, is change targets every Judgement cooldown. So I whack on one mob til Judgement comes up and Judge, then switch and whack on another mob til Judgement come up, and continue switching until the mobs are dead. If one of your mobs gets loose and runs off, use Righteous Defense to get him back.
I'd love to use Seal of Vengeance (switching Mobs each time it procs to build multiple stacks on multiple mobs), and basically tab through all the mobs putting a DoT on them, but I feel like in the Hydross Add situation you need to really burst the threat so I like Righteousness.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Plan Of Action

I've run just about everything I can at my computer. I've tried several free or time limited Virus Scanners, Trojan Removers, Ad scanners, Spyware Scanners. They all found nothing that would point to a culprit.

I've even put a HiJackThis log on BleepingComputer.com.

They take at least a week for their volunteers to get back to you.

I can't wait that long.

So what to do?

I'm going to reformat my hard drive and reinstall Windows and Warcraft. I've backed up everything I could think of (documents, pictures, music, etc).

Since I was running McAfee at the time I was hacked, I lost a bit of confidence in them. I realize it might not have been their fault, but I run their software to protect me from stuff like this, and I wasn't protected. I'm not sure if I'll go with something like a Norton or go a la carte and get a combination of AVG or Avast, ZoneAlarm, and Adware/Spybot. I don't mind spending some real money to get real protection.

I'm going to get Firefox with the No Script addon. I'm debating making a partition for Ubuntu and using Ubuntu when I'm doing web stuff and Windows for Gaming. That might mean I would have to dual boot the machine, which is not something I really want to do. I still need the computer to be usable by my non techy wife and daughter.

I STILL don't know how I got hacked. Was it a Mod, or a Website, or something else.

Speaking of Mods, I'm going to have to be really careful where I get my mods. I've heard both Curse and WoW Ace are not safe. I'm going to try to go with as few mods as possible. Omen, Deadly Boss Mods, Enemy CastBar, Xperl, Grid, OneBag/OneBank, ItemRack, and some sort of Damage Meter. I would love to get Auctioneer too.

I'm not sure what else I can do to keep myself safe. I don't have the cash to run out and buy a Mac, plus our vent doesn't work well with Macs anyway.

I just know I never want to go through this again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

HACKED!

I got quite a shock when I logged into my account last night to find my bank mule, Maersk no longer on my account. Also missing in action, was my Druid alt, Honorsclaw.

I logged into Honorshammer. He was just outside of the Shadow Labs in some weird assortment of gear. ZA DPS Plate Chest, Season 2 Gloves, Teir 4 Helm and Shoulders, 2.3 Badge Pants and Boots.

He had 16g to his name. In his bags were his Epic Engineering Helicopter, a Hearthstone, and 2 Super Mana Pots. I hearthed him back to Shattrah, and found an empty bank. Well not completely empty. Whoever had been in my account had left his some Obisidan Warbeads, Oshu'gun Crystal Powder, his Holy Mightstone, all of his PVP tokens (WSG, AV, AB, EotS), the Singed Page I kept from the first time I main tanked Prince into the ground, and all 201 Badges of Justice that I had been saving up. They had also abandoned everyone of Honorshammer's quests.

My Hunter was out of gold, he had all his regular gear on. His bags were emptied. Some of my lower level alts were basically untouched. Why they chose to delete my poor 23 Druid, but left my 65 Hunter alone is beyond me. And what in blue blazes were they doing with me in Shadow Labs?

Somehow, someway, someone had gotten into my account. I was very upset.

I logged into the Account Management screen and changed my password. Then I changed it again about an hour later. Then right before I went to bed I changed it again using the onscreen keyboard that comes with Windows.

I started scanning my hard drive with everything I could think of. I tried McAfee Virus Scan, Lavasoft's AdAware and Safer Networking's Spybot Search and Destroy. All these wonderful tools could find were some ordinary tracking cookies. I've been told that the keylogger may have deleted itself once it delivered its sensitive payload. If it's still there it's hiding itself well.

I contacted a GM and they are beginning an investigation.

My guild has been really cool. Several people in my guild have offered gems and gold to help get ole Honorshammer back on his feet. We can remake the Frost Gear for Hydross. Whether or not I get my gear back is up to Blizzard. I know I can make the gold back eventually, I'm not worried about it.

The hardest part of last night was reading GChat as they struggled with a Gruul's/Mag run. If I had had my stuff, I know I could have helped them. But there I sat in Shattrah.

Crittable. Crushable. Useless.

I felt like Popeye without his spinach, Superman without his cape, Batman without his gizmos, Spidey without his webs.

Everything was right as rain 1am on Sunday Morning, after I logged out following our Mt Hyjal trash party. By 8pm Sunday night, not even 24 hours later,the deed was done.

I'm left with the very perplexing question of how these crooks got my account information.

I consider myself pretty computer savvy. Most people in my circle of friends would come to me in a time like this, but here I am without any ideas. My computer is not safe anymore. That's a very uncomfortable feeling.

One person on this earth knew my password, my buddy, AoesRus. I trust him implicitly. I would have given him anything on that account, and I have access to his account as well. It's possible the thieves got my information off his computer, but his own character was untouched, so that kind of downgrades that as a possible explanation in my mind.

Others have pointed to Wowhead.com, a site that I use quite a bit as a possible culprit. I'm not sure how a website could get my log in credentials.

I've been advised by other players to use a copy/paste method of inputting my password, but I've been told by others that the keyloggers can figure that out.

What I have to do is find out how they got me so I can stop it from happening again. Right now, I don't have any good ideas. Otherwise it won't matter if Blizzard restores my epics or not, it'll just be a matter of time before they hit me again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gratz to Heroes Inc!

I'd also like to give a shout out to my old friend in the guild Heroes Inc. This was my first guild on Altar of Storms, which I left last September.

I was approached by a 25 man Raid Guild on my server about taking a spot. The kicker was they were specifically looking for a Tankadin. I don't know how many of you were around back then, but Tankadin's were much more rare than they are today. A T5 guild actively recruiting one was even more rare.

At the time I was leading raids for Heroes but the officer's weren't sure if they would ever do 25 man content. I talked things over with a couple of the officers and we decided it was 50/50 if Heroes would progress any further.

So I said my good byes and left for greener pastures.

I lasted all of a week with that guild. I thought I could make their schedule but my real life prevented it. I found myself between a rock and a hard place. I was very fortunate to land on my feet with Mal Katai.

I've maintained connections with a number of my old friends in Heroes.

In the past few months, Heroes has made the leap to 25 mans downing HKM and Gruul. Their latest victim is none other than Lurker Below and they are starting to work on Hydross gear for their tanks.

Last night, they even beat out Mal Katai as they did a full ZA clear. Zul'jin down! (MK is currently on Hex Lord).

I'm really happy and excited for my old friends in Heroes Inc.

Gratz guys! Keep up the good work!

I also hear they are in need of some good healers, so if you know any healers who are looking for a casual adult guild that raids, look up Heroes Inc! (You'll find a link on the right side of this page).

I give them my highest recommendation.

Progress Is Progress

Mal Katai has a little unfinished business with one Fathom Lord Karathress. We were all a little torqued by the 1% wipe that ended our last attempt on Tuesday. We formed up Thursday night and headed back to face him down.
Tanking assignments got handed out. Druid on the Shaman. 2 Warriors on the Hunter, 1 Warrior on the Priest. Paladin on Karathress himself.
That Paladin would be your humble author.
I pull Karathress to his tanking spot. I've really got to work on my movement skills. In order to move quickly I try to "strafe" like I would in a first person shooter. This is faster than walking but still allows me to block, parry and dodge. Unfortunately, I got it wrong and ended up eating a crush as I moved him into position. Luckily our healers were on the ball and I never went down.
Our initial problem was losing healers, mainly to the Spitfire Totem. We had to emphasize to DPS that the totem must go down.
We regrouped and pulled again.
Our healers communicated really well. One of them couldn't heal me and he asked one of the other healers to help out. It was really cool to watch.
The most dangerous part of the fight to me is after the Priest dies. Karathress gains the AoE Ice Block power of the Priest. While Ice Blocked, I couldn't parry, or dodge or block. I also couldn't refresh Holy Shield. There is no warning for when he will do this, and I'm already banging away at my Holy Shield key well before the cooldown is up.
The good news is that by this point in the fight, we have a couple of extra healers to keep me up, so eating a crush isn't the death sentence it might otherwise be.
We managed to defeat him on our 2nd attempt. 1 of each token dropped along with a Mace called World Breaker that made our Retribution Paladin warm and fuzzy.
The tokens went for max bids, and I stayed out of the bidding. I was one of the last to get my Tier 4 Pants, I'll be one of the last to get my Tier 5. I have both Unwavering Legguards and the Badges saved up for Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor. My Realm is only 30% away from the Badge vendor.
I'm saving my MKP for Shoulders and Gloves.
Then it was on to Leotheras, where I once again found myself in the Main Tank seat. Being a Main Tank (the guy on the Boss himself) is a blast, but I think sometimes the position is overrated. Every single person in my 25 man is crucial to the raids success.
Yes, if I die, we pretty much wipe. But I can only stay alive as long as my healers do. Without my healers, I'm a dead duck. Without our sick DPS, the fights would stretch out too long and would exhaust our healers mana.
I got a sense that one of our Prot Warriors was feeling a bit useless, as he was complaining about not adding much to the fight. We lost him to his inner demon nearly every time he got picked. He seem to take some perverse joy in being mind controlled. "Oh look out, hit you for 125! Fear bomb, wooo!"
We still lost a couple of people to Inner Demons. Again, it seemed our Hunters and Warlocks struggle the most. I honestly don't know what Blizzard expected an Affliction Lock to do their Inner Demon. The Inner Demons are resistant to Shadow and Fire and Affliction is not really build around burst damage.
My biggest when I get picked is targeting the Inner Demon.
I downloaded a new version of Deadly Boss Mods and lo and behold, it had my Whirlwind counter. I had some near flawless pickups. But I had some troublesome ones as well. I'd hit him with Avenger's Shield, then Judgement, then he'd run off for a Fire mage or Hunter. There is no way I should have lost aggro that quickly!
We also had trouble keeping our Lock tank up. I'm not sure what the exact issue is. I expressed my concern over our strategy of having me responsible for the Lock Tank's Fire Resist Aura. I chase Leo around all over the place during Human, and then I have to find the Lock and get into range so he gets my Aura. One of the Holy Paladins with the Aura Range extender talent would be a better choice.
We worked on Leo the rest of the night.
In what turned out to be our last attempt of the night, we actually got him to the split. We would have had him, but we had lost too much time and hit the enrage timer with Leo at 11%. He hit for an 18k normal main hand attack. Ouch. We just need a little more DPS on him and we've got this. Unfortunately, it got too late.
We lost a ton of time in the raid to people going AFK. I know too many cooks spoils the meal, but I may need to take a stronger place in leading the raids and getting us and keeping us pulling. I think if we keep the pulls coming fast and furious people will be less likely to go AFK. In order to do that, I'm going to have to learn the pulls better. With Drew or Lisa or Rob leading, I kind of just take my target and own its threat table.
It's analogous to driving somewhere as a passenger then trying to navigate there driving yourself. You just don't notice as many things riding shotgun as you do when you are driving.
We didn't kill Leo but we made progress nonetheless. His days are surely numbered.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Badge Rewards Pick Order

F.Y.I: All the stats on these pieces of gear are changing in 3.0. I will need to revisit this post soon.

I see the "What Should I Buy First" question come up all the time on Maintankdin. Then I saw this excellent blog from Tanking Tips listing the Badge Purchase Order for Warrior tanks. It's a great read, but as a Tankadin I look at gear a bit differently than my Warrior brethren.


So here is the Honors Hammer Badge Purchase Order. Questions, Comments and Concerns are always welcomed.


Don't follow this list blindly. If you are really weak in one particular area buy that first. For instance if you have been running Kara and have most all the epics there but Nightbane just won't drop the Panzar'thar Breastplate, the Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian moves way up the list for you.


The Top 10


#1 Libram of Repentance - At just 15 Badges, its a quick and relatively painless piece to get. Uncrushable is a major milestone goal for every Tankadin. It's simply a tougher goal to achieve as a Paladin than as a Warrior. As you gear up getting Uncrushable becomes easier, and this Libram will help you swap out gear, staying uncrushable and increasing your stamina, and avoidance.


#2 Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor - These are new in 2.4, and they rival a drop from Black Temple (Praetorians). That puts them way up on my shopping list. When I looked at these on the PTR, I was amazed at how well Blizzard had itemized them for Paladins. 100 Badges is a steep price, but these pants are hot and worth every last one. Also worth mentioning here are the 2.3 Badge Legs, the Unwavering Legguards. Unwavering Legguards are itemized for AoE tanking and you should consider them if you don't have Tier 5. However, the Inscribed Legplates will do a decent job as AoE pants until you get T5 or Unwavering, and still be superior to either on bosses.


#3 Ring of the Stalwart Protector - Armor, Stamina, Dodge. That's an incredible triumvirate of stats on one item making this is an excellent tanking ring. Unless you have both the Ring of Sundered Souls from Morogrim and the Band of the Eternal Defender, it's probably better than one of your rings right now. Eternal Defender requires Exalted Reputation ring from Scale of Sands in Mount Hyjal. Not only do you have to be Exalted but you have to have killed Kael and Vashj. No, you don't need them for attunement, but the ring is a reward from turning in the Vials quest.


#4 Slikk's Cloak of Placation - Just like with the Inscribed Legplates, Slikk's ranks right up with some of the best tanking cloaks available like Pepe's and Pheonix Wing. All 3 cloaks have their uses and ultimately, you'll want all 3. It's a relatively inexpensive purchase, and provides good bang for your Badge buck.


#5 Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian - Next up, is the 2.3 Paladin chest. It is well itemized and is roughly equivalent to the Tier 5 Chest that drops from Kael'thalas. 2.4 introduced a new Chest, the Shattrath Protectorate Chestplate. I still find the 2.3 chest superior. Stoic Guardian has Dodge instead of Spell Hit, and you can gem the Stoic Guardian to have just as much or even more stamina than Protectorate since it has 2 additional gems slots. The 2.4 Chest works well in a Threat set, but 100 badges is a ton to spend for such a situational piece.


#6 Sabatons of the Righteous Defender - These are roughly equivalent to a Tier 5 boss drop. I won't replace them until I get the Tide Stomper's Greaves off of High Warlord Naj'entus in Black Temple. Even after that, the boots will have a home in my Block Value or AoE set. The new 2.4 boots, Blue's Greaves of Righteous Guardian are worth mentioning here. With their high block rating, they are fantastic boots for Uncrushability. You may be struggling to reach Uncrushable now, but as you progress you won't be. You'll want to trade some of your excess Block Rating for other stats like Dodge and Block Value. 75 or 100 badges is no small investment. You want that investment to last a long time, and you will simply get more wear out of Righteous Defender than you will Righteous Guardian.

#7 Libram of Divine Purpose - Believe it or not, there are times when you don't need to worry about being Uncrushable. This includes nearly all trash, Heroics, and 5 mans. (The Trash mobs in Magtheridon's Lair can crush). During those times, the extra threat from this Libram will go a long way. You still want Repentance for AoE tanking as the extra block rating helps once you blow through your 8 Holy Shield charges. This is also a great Libram to have while you are soloing.


#8 Empyrean Sapphire, Seaspray Emerald, Shadowsong Amethyst, Crimson Spinel - These won't be available until you realm has completed the Alchemy Lab addon on in Phase 4. Much like the Anvil was an add on after you took back the Armory, the Alchemy Lab is an add on you build after you take back the Harbor. Each Gem will cost 10 Badges of Justice. At the same time Shaani starts selling the gems, she also will be selling the patterns to cut them. The main one you are after is Empyrean Sapphire which will cut into Solid Empyrean Sapphire, the big brother of the Solid Star of Elune. The uncut gem are also available as drops from Magtheridon, and can be cut by any Jewelcrafter with the appropriate amount of Reputation with Scale of Sands (Mt. Hyjal).


#9 Battlemaster's Audacity - Spell Damage with an on use health increase. This is like a mini Last Stand. It's a very nice trinket. It's only low on the list because you have an alternative way of getting it. It can be purchased with Honor Points from Battlegrounds. I know from personal experience that PVP as Prot is rough. But Battlegrounds are an order of magnitude easier on you than Arenas. Run Flags, and Guard Points. You are a Protection Spec Paladin. You take not dying to an artform! Icon of the Silver Crescent is another good Threat piece. It has an 'On Use' ability that will really kick your burst threat into high gear.


#10 Expertise and Hit pieces


Expertise is not quite as powerful for Paladins as it is for Warriors, but we shouldn't over look it's benefits. If we miss the mob or Boss, our Seal won't proc and we'll lose a bit of threat. It has been demonstrated that 1 expertise is rougly equal to 1 spell damage once you hit around 825 TPS.


Expertise also helps us avoid the infamous 'parry gib' where the Boss parries your attack, and then attacks faster, causing you to take a sudden burst of damage that your healers might not be able to react to fast enough


The place where Hit Rating really helps you out is with Taunt. Our Taunt is based on the melee hit table, which means that Hit Rating will reduce the chance of a taunt resist.

There are some fights (like Bear Avatar in ZA) where a taunt resist can be a killer (litterally).


Your Expertise and Hit items include: Girdle of the Fearless, Bracer's of the Ancient Phalanx, Brooch of Deftness and the Bonefist Guantlets. These are a purely situational pieces but very powerful for those situations.


Also I recommend not buying a Badge Belt until you have gotten a Belt of the Guardian made. Either spend the 30 Badges for the two Nether Vortexes or buy the Vortexes off the Auction House or your local Tier 5 guild.


Didn't Make The Top 10 But Consider It:


Girdle of the Protector, Gnomergran AutoBlocker, Shattrath Protectorate Chestplate, Blue's Greaves of Righteous Guardian, Chestplate of Stoicism, Sunguard Legplates, Faceguard of Determination


Leave It On the Rack:


Iron Tusk Girdle, Farstriders Defender Cloak, Ring of Unyielding Force, Azure-Shield of the Coldarra, Necklace of the Juggernaught

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

3 Up and 3 Down

Reset day and the merry band of Mal Katai got our hip boots ready to slog through SSC. Real life had me running a little behind so when I got summoned we were already at Hydross. I was surprised to see some of the guys who had blown us off for Arena the night before in the Raid. I guess they worked their stuff out with our GM.
We burned Hydross down pretty quick, and moved onto Lurker. We only had one mage, so we had to adjust our strategy just a little bit. We used traps, fears and burned down more adds than usual.
Something really strange happened during the Lurker fight. I got hit by spout, under the water. It only happened once, but it isn't supposed to happen at all. Fortunately, I was able to survive. We were double fortunate that Devona was in the Raid and not assigned to tank anything. He flawlessly picked up my Guardian and saved the raid. I picked up the Libram off Lurker which is really nice since it lowers the cost of Holy Light and going OOM while healing is one of my biggest issues.
Then we get ready to start pulling towards Tidewalker. 1 Mage on Tidewalker trash is not the easiest thing to do. We also needed our Druid Tank for Tidewalker himself. Unfortunately, this led to about a 30 minute delay as we switched people around. We had to ask a couple of people to leave the raid to fit in the new people.
Now, I wasn't the raid leader, but I would think it would have been easier to form a raid capable of the 3 (or 4) bosses we wanted to attempt that night, rather than have to change out in the middle and lose all that time. Maybe we didn't have the people online at Raid start time that we needed. I wouldn't know as I was running late myself last night.
The trash from Lurker to Tidewalker seems to be the longest stretch in SSC. Twice we accidentally pulled 2 groups of Murlocs at a time. I moved as far away from the sheeps as I could and laid down a Consecrate. I was in my Trash (Crushable Threat) set, and not in my AoE (Block Value) set, so I wasn't really ready for AoE tanking. My healers were just amazing. Our Raid Leader (Ryken - Holy and sometimes Ret Paladin), marked a Skull and kept the mark moving from target to target and we managed to down each group. It was fairly chaotic.
We got into position for Tidewalker. My Warlock partner (Lontra) was all set to Life tap. We really have gotten very used to working with each other, and I know I can count on him to his part. He has developed a trust in me. We've got Murloc pick up down to a science.
The hard part is when we move Tidewalker up into the tunnel to Fathom Lord's room. I have about a half second to pickup the murlocs before they start destroying our healers. We lost a couple of healers and AoEers but we managed to kill Tidewalker in one pull.
Technically it was two pulls. See there is a pat in the hallway between Tidewalker's and Fathom Lord's room. If you pull Tidewalker, this pat despawns. I don't know why. So we have one person get all streaky (no clothes), and pull Tide. He resets and the pat despawns.
Even though we were short on time, we decided to go give Fathom Lord a try.
I was given the task of tanking Fathom Lord himself. I've now done every main tank role in that fight except the Priestess.
The first pull I got put in some sort of whirlwind, tornado thing (looked like the thing that Crone does in the Opera event in Karazhan). Fathom Lord ignores me even though I nailed him with a judgement and had a Misdirect. Instead, he tees off on our Holy Priest (Doreaellin). She dies and then Blanks (Feral Druid) gets burst down by the Shaman.
We regroup and pull again. The pull goes off nicely this time. The adds start going down, but we lose some DPS to the Spitfire Totem. We DPS him as hard as we can. My threat was very high especially with the lead time I had.
Fathom Lord hit enrage at 1%, put me into an ice block thing (can't block, parry, dodge). I get nailed and died, and Fathom Lord finishes off our raid at 1%. UGH! I hate 1% wipes. If even 1 more DPS had stayed alive we would have had him no problem.
It was too late to pull again. Losing that half hour reinventing the raid cost us anymore attempts. The good news is that there is very little trash before FLK, so it should be a quick pull to him next time up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Priorities

Only Leotharas the Blind and Lady Vashj remained alive as we prepared for our Raid into SSC last night.

I've been talking to the Officer's pretty much since our first SSC raid about how I should be the tank for Leo's Human phase. I had read every strat I could find, and watched every movie I could find on the Leo fight. I grabbed every consumable that I could think of for the fight.

Our Guild Leader was having some real life issues going on which was causing the raid to start a little late. That's when 5 of our Raiders decided to go Arena instead of Raiding. Most (maybe all of them) don't really NEED anything from Raiding as they have access to the Season 3 PVP gear which is superior to any drop from SSC. But this night was to be about more than gear, this was a Progression Night, a chance to kill a new boss and put another notch on Mal Katai's belt.

Our Guild Leader made it on and we started to fill the raid. We had over 40 Level 70 Characters online, yet people were not wanting to come to the Raid. There were people doing Kara on an Alt. There were people running Magister's Terrace (maybe Heroic).

So instead of our Core or Progression Group, we had to take any warm body that would come.

We were short on CC. I tried tanking two mobs but it took a pull or two to figure out how to pull them. Eventually our Warlock Tank had to log into his Mage.

We struggled through but got all the trash down. The only new trick we had to learn was the Elemental Shambler looking things could spawn these mushrooms that put a nasty nature DoT on you.

We finally got to Leo himself. He starts out banished, kind of like Magtheridon. The three channelers do a Mind Blast that hits for around 2k damage. I was on the first channeler, and once he dropped, I moved into position to pick up Leo.

I tanked Leo's human form until he started the Whirlwind. Then as Blackheart the Inciter would say, it was TIME FOR FUN!

I don't think all of the people in the raid were familiar with the dynamic of the aggro drop which made picking him up very difficult. I was also expecting to see a timer from DBM on the Whirlwind so I would know when to time up my Shield. Absent that I waited until the Whirlwind was over to toss my shield, which cost me a few seconds.

Our main problem on the early attempts seemed to be Inner Demons. We lost about 3 people per Inner Demon phase. The crazy thing to me was that we were not only losing Healers, but also DPS. I can understand a Healer failing to kill their Inner Demon. DPS is a very different mindset than healing. But the DPSers? Killing stuff fast is their thing, you would think they'd have the Demons down no problem. Both times I got chosen for Inner Demon I was able to kill him, but the first time, it was close, mainly because I wasn't sure if I was targeting the right thing.

We got better as the night wore on, but we still lost at least one person to their Inner Demon each time. Our best attempt of the night was our final one. We managed to get all the way to the Enrage Timer, but only had him at about 40%. We had lost too many DPS early on.

Picking Leo up after the Whirlwinds was no picnic. We did use Searing Totems which were remarkable effective. Leo really hates those things.

Now SSC has reset and our shot at Leo will have to wait until another week.

I keep hearing "we'd kill this boss or that boss with our progression group". I'd love to the last time we had the Progression Group actually online together. I guess I'm just discouraged after a long night of wipes, but what was even more discouraging to me, was the people who decided they rather do other things.

Now, I realize it's just a game, people can do whatever they want. But you've joined a Raiding Guild. We Raid, that's kind of our thing. If you want to PVP, there are FANTASTIC guilds out there that do that as seriously as any Raid Guild raids. You want to gear up an alt, we have nights set aside for that.

The thing is I know we are capable, but we need our people to actually be in the raid.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hammer Time!



Saturday night we went for another Mt. Hyjal farming run. We are continuing to fine tune our strategy for the trash waves. It seems the wave of 6 Ghouls and 6 Aboms are still where we get behind. It's not so much that we are getting killed, it's just that our DPS can't kill the wave fast enough.

Must like Black Morass, once you get behind in Mt. Hyjal it's hard to catch up.
We were about to call it, when I asked for one more run. I was just 50 rep short of being Honored. Honored with Scale of Sands opened up a whole new set of Jewelcrafting recipies. Once the Badge vendor selling BT gems opens up, I'm going to park myself on the Isle of Quel'Danas and sell cuts for 10g a piece.

Also during this final run, this little beauty dropped from trash: The Hammer of Judgement. I immediately rolled on it, out bidding the Shadow Priest who was interested.
I've been hoping to see this ever sense we stepped foot in Mt. Hyjal. I immediately start getting teased a bit over it's looks, but I could care less. I love the thing.
Now it's really HAMMERTIME!!

With the Hammer of Judgement, I set a new record for buffed HP. 21,600 (about 16.1k unbuffed)
Doraeallin suggested we go take a look at BT trash. Hey, why not. I've never set foot in the Black Temple. Eventually, we want to try Bosses there so we might as well go see what the trash is like.

The first problem was most of us didn't know where it was. See there is this little hole in the wall in the Black Temple you have to sneak in.

The first pack contains these mobs called Generals. They have the nifty ability to dispel every king of CC known to man (or gnome or dwarf or elf). It took us a couple of attempts but we figured out the trash and got it down. The Generals dual weild and I went SPLAT! a couple of times.

One of the next trash mobs is called an Aquatious Lord. He looks a bit like Hydross the Unstable. Great, a Tier 5 Raid Boss is a trash mob in here. I end up being picked to tank him.

My goodness this guy hits HARD, like 5k hard. I couldn't block him so I worked Avenger's Shield into the mix.

We kept pulling, more exploring than anything else. After a little while (I lost track of time), we were face to face with none other than High Warlord Naj'entus, the first Boss of the Black Temple.

This guy looks like he belongs among the crew of The Flying Dutchman from Disney's Pirate's of the Caribean movies.

I offer to slip into my healing gear, because Naj'entus is a one tank fight. Instead, Dora puts me as the one tank. I was going to Main Tank our first ever pull of a Tier 6 Raid Boss.

We tried him three times. Our best attempt was about 65%. We just didn't have enough Raid health and coordination of when to break the shield and when not to.

See periodically, Najentus will bubble. You have to look these spikes he's been shooting at the raid and shoot them back at him to break his shield. When you do, everybody in the raid take 8.5k to their HP. That'll almost kill a good chunk of our raid.

The exciting part for me was I could handle him. I could take his hits and I didn't die until my healers were dead.

It was quite an exciting night. I can't wait to get back.

I know some people weren't happy about the lifting of attunements, but man, I'm glad Blizzard did lift them. These instances are really really fun.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tanking the Shaman

After our marathon session on Tuesday to get Hydross/Lurker/Tidewalker down, the way was clear for attempts on Fathom Lord. I studied up and made a macro for picking up the pet that the Hunter add calls in.

Only I wouldn't be tanking the Hunter this night. Our Feral Druid (Blankz) was no where to be seen so your humble author was asked to take on Tidevallas, the Shaman. We had a DPS Warrior (Shadwick) picking up the pet and bringing it to Lanorah (Warrior) who was tanking the Hunter. Another DPS Warrior (Cryak) was tanking the Priest with Revor (Rogue) and Hetrix (Enhance Shaman) for interrupts. Goldielocks (Warrior) would be on Fathom Lord himself.

The Shaman is capable of some really crazy spike damage. He has almost all the attack spells a player Shaman would have, and his Windfury seems to proc nearly every hit.

I had two healers assigned to me: Our best Holy Priest (Dora) and a well geared Holy Paladin (Ryken).

The plan was to kill the Hunter first, then the Shaman, the the Priest and finally Fathom Lord himself.

The initial pull was a little messy but everyone got their mobs under control.

The pet pick up was going well, but we lost the Revor to the AoE freeze thing the Priest does. Then we lost Cryak. The Priestess comes over and decides to acquaint herself with yours truly. I guess there's something about the beard that drives the Naga girls crazy.

So now I'm tanking the Shaman and the Priestess. We kill the Hunter. *sarcasm* Everything going completely according to plan *end sarcasm*.

The Priestess does her AoE thing to me, freezing me in place and I die to a Windfury burst from the Shaman. Not good.

Lanorah picks up the Shaman, and Shadwick takes the Priest. I inspect the cold floor of Karathress' room.

Hmm.

A bit damp.

We get the Shaman down and move to the Priest. That's when I notice the little fireballs flying through the air. They are coming from a Totem near Karathress. I watch helplessly as the totem shoots fireballs at our healers followed up with a Cataclysm Bolt from Karathress. Our healing support buckles, Golide dies and we wipe.

We make a slight alteration to our strategy. Our new plan is for Ranged DPS to switch to Karathress once the Shaman dies and for melee to finish off the Priest.

Then we have a long delay between pulls while our sole Warlock and a Rogue run outside to farm some Soul Shards.

Now I don't know the first thing about playing a Warlock. I've never even rolled one. Wouldn't you bring more Shards to the raid for whatever spells they are a reagent for?

We did have the Warlock summon several people to the instance as the Raid got started late waiting for the requisite number of Healers to log in. I do know our Warlock is constantly talking about his Shard supply. (Edit: I was told by one of my guildies he had some real life stuff going on (work and stuff) that prevented him from farming as many shards as he would have liked to have had for the raid.)

So there we sit, buffs running, Flasks ticking. 23 of us ready to rock. Finally,the Warlock has the shards he needs and we get ready to pull again.

3 seconds into the pull, I'm back examining a new spot in Karathress' room. With the Shaman running loose, our raid quickly wipes.

Dora had told me of a friend of hers who nearly gave up on tanking after trying Tidevalis. The way he can just burst you down makes you feel like a terrible tank. Fully Raid buffed, I have 18k armor, 20k hitpoints, and about 48% avoidance. I don't think any tank in the Raid could have survived that burst.

Dora and I start discussing options for how I can stay alive. Dora asks if its okay to Power Word: Shield me before the pull. Apparently, some Warriors do not like her to do this. I tell her its fine.

Ryken suggests he use Lay on Hands right before the pull. He has a talent that gives it an armor boost. I told Ryken I didn't think that would be a good use of Lay On Hands and I wasn't sure how long the armor buff lasted. Then I got thinking. Armor buff....lasts longer......IRONSHIELDS! I rummage through my backpack and sure enough I have 5 Ironshield Potions. They take my armor up over 20k.

It's been a while since I've needed to Ironshield on a pull, I almost forgot I had them.

We pull again. Tidevallas lets into me with all his might. It felt like I was at Phase 2 Prince back in all blues. My health bar was jumping around like an 8 year old on Red Bull. I activated my Moroes Pocketwatch. and burned my healthstone with one finger hovering over my Nightmare seed button the whole time.

But this time I lived! I looked up around my screen to try to get my bearings. The Hunter and the Shaman were both dead. Revor was dead again.

I run up to Karathress and judge him with Wisdom and start whacking away. Once my mana bar is refueled I run out and start throwing a couple of heals. I quickly go out of mana and run back in. The Priestess dies and Karathress now has the AoE freeze thing. I notice a couple of healers throwing me heals.

"Heal Goldie, I'll get myself" I tell them.

I check Karathress' health against the Enrage timer. We are dropping him fast enough to beat the timer. I decide to move out of the AoE.

And Fathom Lord Karathress goes down! MK is 4/6 in SSC!!

He drops 2 Heroes and a Defender. I wasn't really interested in bidding even if he had dropped Champion. The Badge vendor will be up very soon and I'm really looking forward to the new 100 badge pants.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rough Start, Epic Finish

This ever happened to you: You read a blog post or forum post, not giving it much thought, and then something happens, and you remember reading it, but just vaguely. Then you go back and (hopefully) find it and read it again. Now, it makes more sense because you've just experienced the very subject matter for yourself.
Well this happened to me last night. Weeks ago, I was reading World of Matticus. He had a post called "Dealing With Raid Hangover". I read it over, thought it was a well written piece (as most all of Matt's writing is), but didn't give it much more thought.
Until last night.
We were to start the night with good ole Bagtheridon. I call him Bagtheridon because Mag drops 2 bags now, a bag of gems and a 20 slot bag. Mag has been farm content for us even before 2.4 and with the nerfs to the encounter, he was even more of a loot piƱata.
Last night we wiped repeated on the big ole lizard. We had one wipe due to a clicker getting disconnected from WoW in mid click. We all saw him over there but no beam was coming from his cube. By the time someone did get over there, it was too late. We had another wipe when a clicker was killed mid click by a cave in. It was just crazy stuff, and at least with the first wipe, just bad luck.
Instead of continuing on Mag, we moved the raid to SSC. We really wanted to get some progression shots at Fathom Lord. He's seems very killable for our raid.
A new problem surfaced for Mal Katai as we reformed the raid for SSC. We have officially solved the attendance issues.  In fact, last night, we had too many raiders who wanted to raid. We had 47 people online as the raid invites started. Now in my mind, this is a good problem to have. However, our Raid Leader overinvited and left out some people. Worse, she had to remove a couple of people when she realized that we didn't have enough healers in the raid.
She was getting about a million whispers and people who didn't get invites were upset. I can't imagine what she must have been dealing with. I remember running some raids back in Heroes and having to make those "you go, you don't" decisions. If you've never been there, let me tell you, it's a horrible feeling for a raid leader, especially when Toon A, B, C are all really cool people and good players. I believe she is going to have to come up with some sort of system of who goes and who doesn't. We got the basis for that system with MK Core (Core gets invites before non Core), but I'm not sure how many we've got in the Core.
I don't envy the job Dora has. She catches everyone's flak (including my own), and loves us nonetheless.
We got our raid formed up and went to Hydross. We wiped twice on Hydross before getting him down. One wipe I caused because of a random disconnect just as we needed to transition him to my element. I ran a full complement of diagnostics on my modem and connection. My ping was always good and my upload and download speeds were in the normal range. I can't nail down if it's a Blizzard server thing or a my ISP.
We managed to kill Hydross. I was taking some heavy damage early on. Luckily for me, Brindall (Nature MT) noticed I didn't have my Frost Aura up. That was easily fixed.
From there we went on to Lurker. I could really do with about 1 or 2 less platforms of trash groups before him. It's the exact same trash group over and over again for 6 platforms. I've moved from tanking the Vashj Honor Guard to tanking a Shatterer. I have a Warrior on the Honor Guard because they like to Intimidating Shout from time to time, and I'd rather have a Warrior there to stance dance it.
We did pull off a 1 shot of Lurker. Something happened on Lurker that surprised me and scared me a little. We were all under water for his breath weapon attack. I look at my raid frames and see Celoria, our incredible Resto at sub 50% and going down. I land a couple of Flash of Light heals on her, but she is still low and losing life. So I que up my biggest heal (Holy Light Rank 11 I believe) , it lands and I que another. I literally felt my arm muscles tense up as if I was physically pulling her up and away from certain death. The strange or scary part to me was that it felt really good. I was like "Oh, yeah! Pulled you from the brink of death! Oh yeah! /flex" (I said this in my head and not over vent).
This brought a real and frightening realization to me. I enjoyed healing, but 40 mans Flash of Light spam burned me out. I should ask Banana Shoulders or Shadow and Light if Paladin healing is still a Flash of Light "Walking HoT" kind of thing in 25 mans.
So I'm going to do two things. First, I'm definitely going to work on my Resto Druid when I get the chance (he's about 21 I think). Out of the 3 other healing classes, Druid appeals to me the most because of its versatility, and ease of leveling. I tried a Priest but never really enjoyed it. I tried a Shaman and it was fun (much more enjoyable to me than the Priest), but I preferred Feral to Enhancement, so I'm going Druid.
Second, next time I respec for PVP, I'll try it Holy.
Lurker was dead, but it was starting to get late. Undaunted, we decided to go try Tidewalker. It would much easier on Thursday to get some solid attempts on Fathom Lord if Morogrim was dead.
Our Main Tank healers were a little shy during the Murlocs so we lost Blankz (Feral Druid Main Tank on Tidewalker). We try again when someone healed my Warlock. I tried to heal others in the raid but I didn't get the Murlocs under control until it was too late.
Our 'last attempt' of the night we actually got him to around 10% or so before we wiped. At 20% we move Tidewalker up into the hallway so get away from the gobules he summons. I have much less time to pick up the Murlocs at this point. We lost Blankz, but managed with Rogues evasion tanking for several percent before one of the Warriors picked him, but got crushed.
It was very, very late at this point but we decided to give one more try.
When I get healing aggro on the Warlocks, it takes 3 Holy Lights cast on my Warlock. With our new position at sub 20%, I can get off 1 maybe 2 before the Murlocs are on me. So this time at 20%, instead of trying to get healing aggro, the Raid Leader had all the healers pile up on me and I laid down my Consecrate. This was working well when I heard that CHUNKED sound that windows makes when it hits an error. My WoW locked up and I got a message box on my screen.
"Error in WoW.exe. Pure Virtual Fuction Call."
I'm a programmer in real life, but haven't the first clue what a Pure Virtual Function Call is. I listen helplessly on vent as one by one my Mages and Warlocks die. Tidewalker was at 1% but it was just down to our Paladins, Priests, and Warriors. Then just our DPS Warriors and 1 Shadow Priest were alive.
Then we wiped. But Morogrim fell! I haven't done the WWS stats yet, but our Shadow Priest reported he killed him with a Shadow Word Death.
It was an evening with a rough start, but an epic finish.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mt. Hyjal

Saturday night, MK gathered up a group of players to go take a look at Mt. Hyjal. Saturday is typically not a raid night for us and most of our Core people we off doing their own thing that night. We ended up PUGing about 1/4 of the raid. This was really cool because I got to invite a couple of my old friends from Heroes Inc including Wichita.

Our main goal for the night was just to have fun. We just wanted to see what Mt. Hyjal was all about. We didn't have any aspirations to kill any bosses.

We were a little light on tanks. After having done Mt. Hyjal now, I'd really like to go with 5 tanks (2 must be Feral Druids or DPS Warrior who can DPS on bosses).

Hyjal seems like an upgraded version of Black Morass. The trash comes at you in waves, cresting over a small hill before coming pouring into your base. It was like I was playing Warcraft 3, only this time, I was the Hero unit. There Knights, Riflemen, Footmen, and Priests fighting against Ghouls and Crypt Fiends and Abominations. We felt like we were part of this really big battle going on.

I got see Jainia Proudmoore again. The last time we crossed paths was in Dustwallow Marsh as part of the Missing Diplomat quest chain. This time, however, we were fighting side by side. Blizzard even gave her the exact same Brilliance Aura she had in Warcraft 3.

I ended up AoE tanking the first two waves. The first wave was all Ghouls. After a couple of seconds in my Consecrate, the Mages and the one Warlock we had started bombing away. The second wave the plan was for the Warrior Tanks to each pull out 1 Crypt Fiend while I played with the Ghouls. I usually ended up tanking 1 of the Crypt Fiends as well.
(I'm in there somewhere, I promise)
We actually did quite well until we got to Wave 5 or 6. This wave had 6 Abominations. These I could not AoE tank. I found (after a couple of wipes) that 2 was about the most I could handle. We eventually figured out to shackle them.

DPS had a rough time because we couldn't mark anything until we saw the whites of their eyes. Generally I would mark my target and DPS would tank it down.

Looting was also a big problem. When we wiped, everything (even unlooted mobs) would despawn when Jainia died. We ended up having to put it on Group Loot and just Need/Greed everything. We had two Epics drop. Both were the same Neckpiece with loads of Fire damage. One went to a Mage and the other to a Lock (yes, he is Destro spec.), much to the chagrin of the other Mages.

We were consistently able to get to Wave 5 and 6. One time we even got a "Boss Incoming!" message from DBM just as our last raider died.

I don't know if I can adequately communicate just how much fun this night was. For this night, I was playing the game again. It wasn't about loot (though that would have been nice), or rep (though I did get some) or anything else. It was about a group of heroes banding together to fight an enemy bent on their total annihilation.

I wound up getting to Friendly with Scale of Sands and buying the Gem Cuts for a bunch of Yellow, Red and Blue gems. I can now cut the +15 stamina gem and it cost me WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY less than the +12 pattern did.

I know alot of people were upset that the attunements were lifted from Mt. Hyjal and Black Temple. I might feel the same way were I in their shoes. All I know is I had a BLAST in Mt. Hyjal and I am very thankful Blizzard opened it up for us.

Friday, April 4, 2008

How Much Is That Sporebat In the Window

Our focus in MK has shifted to SSC. Last night we crossed paths with Morogrim Tidewalker.
Morogrim is a boss we've killed once or twice. Not exactly what you'd call a farm boss, but in that funny transition period from Progression to Farm.
Most of our issues last night were what I refer to as "meta-game" issues. That is things that occur around the game and outside of the game had a real negative impact on our performance.
The first being Omen. We had everyone install the EXACT same version of Omen. We STILL had people not able to see the tanks or the DPS on their Omen readout.
That issue was rather small, a mere annoyance really compared to the other two.
Our Druid Main Tank for Tidewalker (Blankz) got an "Invalid Target" error every time he tried to use one of his Bear abilities. It was the same error message you'd get if you tried to sheep an undead. He was left with only white hits to try to hold aggro with DPS flying blind because of the Omen issue.
He figured out the problem was due to Lacerate. He didn't go into details, but he got the problem fixed.
The final issue we dealt with was my old nemesis, Knology. Now, I've got to give these guys credit. After the debacle I had with them in late February and early March, they have been working hard and my connection speed has been 5k+ plus every night. Everything has been as smooth as butter on a bald monkey.
Last night, though the random disconnect monster reared his ugly head. I had no problems on trash, or any indication as we pulled. No it waited until I had cast my first or second heal on Lontra (our Lifetapping Warlock) to disconnect me. Joy! Wipeage ensues.
This happens not once, but twice. Double the pleasure, double the fun!
We had been at Tidewalker for a while and still didn't feel like we had gotten any solid attempts. I logged off of WoW, restarted my modem, router, and computer. I think I power cycled my cable TV just for good measure.
I logged back in and we go at him one more time. This time everything comes together. I grab a big ole bunch of Murloc lovin' and the AoE guys start blowing them up.
From my corner of the world the fight usually goes like this.
Wait for the earthquake. Start spamming heals. Drop my Consecrate, and hit Holy Shield. Let 4 seconds go on the Consecrate and call for AoE. Keep Holy Shield and Consecrate going and Stoneform the bleed as soon as it stacks up to 5. When all the Murlocs are dead look up at the Raid Grid and see if we lost anyone.
Tidewalker dropped like a rock. He really wasn't that hard as long as I stayed connected to WoW and Blankz could actually use threat moves on him. I feel a 1 shot of him is imminent.
We still had a little time. The officers had discussed what to do next before the Raid and had decided on Leotheras. So Raistaln (Mage) left the raid to get his Fire Resist Warlock (Dotslover).
Our normal Boss Tank (Brindall) was playing his Paladin (Ryken) because we were short on healers. One of the Alterac Mountains transfer guys (Goldielocks - Warrior) was tanking along with me and Blankz.
None of use had been past Tidewalker before so we just started pullling. There was a 5 pull followed by a bunch of Underog Collosus. Isn't it funny how Quagmarrian is a Boss in a 5 man, but he's just a trash mob in Raids.
Only problem was were pulling the WRONG trash. We were pulling Fathom Lord's trash, not Leo's. I start to get ready to mark another group when I notice the name on one of the mobs Fathom Lord Karathress.
"Umm, I think that's a boss over there."
Doraeallin pulls up Atlas and sure enough we went the wrong way. There are at least 10 more groups between us and Leo, but here we are at Fathom Lord. Ryken and Dora go read a strat real quick and watch a video, but there is only so much you can learn from film study and the playbook. At some point, you gotta lace 'em up and pull the boss.
We had Cryak (Fury Warrior) on the Priest (Caribdis). Blankz (Feral Druid) on the Shaman (Tidevalis). I was to aquaint myself with the Hunter (Sharkis) while our new Warrior, Goldielocks, would handle Fathom Lord himself.
I was really happy for Goldie. I could tell just from our initial conversations that this was a guy who shared the same passion for Tanking as I did. I was really glad he was getting a shot at tanking the Boss.
I had read over and over about how Paladins rock for picking up the Sharkis and his pet. We make the encounter much easier because we can hold aggro on both with little trouble.
Don't believe everything you read.
When the Sharkkis spawned his pet, it immediately ran OUT of my Consecration and started looking for a squishy or a healer to play with. Eventually, I got it Misdirected back to me by our Hunters.
We were able to get the Sharkkis down, but by that point SpitFire totem had taken out a few people and a wipe was imminent. Now, no one expected to 1 shot the guy on our first pull, but to get 1 mob down we thought was pretty good. Our first pull of HKM didn't see Blindeye go down.
We rez up and get ready to pull again. It was getting really late at this point.
This time instead of a lumbering Elemental, the Sharkkis summons a lightning fast Sporebat. The Sporebat zooms away at Mach 5 towards our healers. I switched from Sharkkis to the Pet to build some aggro after I taunted, only to lose the Sharkkis to our own Hunters. Sharkkis also was getting heals from Caribdis which was keeping him up and slowing down our attempt. Eventually I went down to the Enraged Sharkkis and his little Sporebat friend.
We called it a night after that wipe.
The good news was we developed some confidence that we could handle the encounter. Healing on Blankz was manageable. Our DPS was rocking the charts. There were obvious areas we needed to improve on (Pet pickup, DPS on Spitfire and interrupts on heals), but we understood what those were and knew how to fix them.
I can't see this guy lasting long, especially with the way clear for a full night of attempts on him either Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

PackRat

I've run into a problem and I wonder if other Protection Paladins run into it as well.

90 Bag slots. Full. 124 bank slots. Full. BankMule with 58 bag slots. Full. BankMule with 95 Bank slots. Full.

Once piece of advice I got leveling up my Tankadin from 60 to 70 was keep everything. You never know when you are going to need to a piece with a particular set of stats on it.

It used to be that I needed only a couple of Tanking sets. Max Stamina for Heroics, Uncrushable for Kara, and Righteous for 5 mans.

Now it almost seems like every boss I do needs it's own set.

I need

  • AoE set (Block Value)- Used for:Dragonhawk, Tidewalker, Solarian, Solarian Trash, Eventually MH trash
  • Uncrushable Survival (Stamina, Armor)- Prince, Nightbane, Lynx, Magtheridon, Doomwalker
  • Crushable Survival (Same as above, but different Libram)- Bear Avatar, "Hard" Heroics (Magister's Terrace, Shadow Labs, Arcatraz)
  • Uncrushable Threat (Spell Damage, Int, Stamina)- Karazhan (except Nightbane and Prince), AV, Void Reaver, HKM
  • Crushable Threat (Spell Damage, Avoidance)- "Easy" Heroics (Mech, Slave Pens, etc), Most all trash
  • Uncrushable Avoidance - ?
  • Frost Resist Set - Hydross
  • Solo Set (Spell Damage)- Dailys, Grinding rep
  • Retribution Set (Str/AP, Crit)- For a respec
  • PVE Healing (+heal, mp5, Int)- Maiden, Shade of Aran, Eagle
  • PVP Healing (Resilence, Int, +heal)- Arenas, WSG, EotS, AB

So what to do?

I went into ItemRack and setup each Set to see what gear I was actually using. Then I went and vendored a bunch of blues like Andormu's Tear, Sha'tari Vindicator's Waistguard, and Sha'tari Wrought Armguards. I haven't needed those items in months, so I think I can safely get rid of them. I even vendored my Eternium Greathelm and my Bracers of the Green Fortress.

Basically the only blue items I kept were some of my healing gear, some of my Ret gear and all of my trinkets. I also kept any item that had any kind of resist on it.

I decided to keep my 4/5 Righteous because I like to keep stuff like that. I still keep 1 piece of Soulforge and 1 piece of Freethinkers in my bank along with my Verigan's Fist.

I logged into Maersk (Bank/AH Mule) and sent everything that he was holding for my alts (Hunter, Druid, Priest) back to my alts. Maersk now holds stuff for Honorshammer. I'll still send him my stuff to auction from my alts, but that's it.

That opened up some space on him.

The next step I took was to take everything in Honorshammer's bank that was not soulbound and send it to Maersk. This included the mats I've been gathering to try to have a Nightfall made, enchanting mats, engineering mats, and my raid consumables.

Then I organized a mail from Maersk to Honorshammer with all his Raid consumables in it. So when it's time to raid, I go to my mailbox and grab all the consumables I need.

I banked my PVP Healing, Retribution, and Frost Resist sets. If I'm going to PVP, I should be able to hit my bank and grab my PVP Healing gear or my Ret gear.I only need the Frost gear when we are doing Hydross.

Now all I carry is Solo, PVE Heal and all the tank sets and I have an empty 18 slot (which gets filled with Raid Consumables on raid nights).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Old MacDonald Had A Farm

Tuesday night was reset night and after our epic weeklong battle with Al'ar it was time for some farm bosses.
I think farm bosses play an important role for a raiding guild. We struggled and fought and stressed over all the Al'ar attempts that led to our progression kill. Last night we relaxed, and completely owned every instance we zoned into. We went from being the bug to being the windshield, and it felt good. We reminded ourselves that we can kick some serious butt, but most of all we got to relax. Nobody stressed, even when we wiped. The fights weren't struggles and stressful. They were beat downs, relaxing and fun (well maybe not for the raid bosses, lol).
We started off our night with Gruul's Lair. We were breaking in a new mage tank so we were prepared for some issues. I was back on BlindEye as I was running late and the tank assignments were dished out. Also, Brindall was there on his Warrior, and as co-Guild Leader and Raid Leader he gets his pick of targets.
I start moving BlindEye into position when he gets hit with either an intercept or charge (I really need to study up on Warrior abilities). This stuns him. While I'm waiting for the stun to wear off, Olm deathcoiled me and BlindEye runs off. A wipe ensues.
We had stated over vent that no stuns were to be used on BlindEye. I drag him back to the entrance and DPS can lay into him all they want.
I talk to TrailWarrior (name changed to protect the innocent and the guilty) who I had seen intercept him. Basically he felt if BlindEye stood still for 5 seconds it was good for him to start DPS. I explained to him that I was to call for DPS once I had him in position. I don't care if he stood still for 5 minutes, wait for the call.
He pretty much blew me off. So I tried to explain to him the gravity of the situation.
Me: "Dude, you realize you wiped us, right?"
TrialWarrior: "I don't *^^%ing care if I wiped you"
I asked the Raid Leader to have him removed from the raid. I don't care if it was Farm night, that attitude is unacceptable.
He saved me the trouble.
TrialWarrior leaves the Raid Group. TrialWarrior leaves the guild.
Even on Farm night, you gotta follow the directions of your Raid Leader.
We replaced him with a Rogue and pulled again. This time we lost our Mage tank. I ran over and taunted. With the Spell Shield up,we couldn't DPS hard and I went down pretty quick.
What I should have done was taunt him, and stayed out of melee (and Blast Wave) range. If I have to pickup either Krosh or the Shaman again, I'll try to remember to do so with Righteous Defense and Avenger's Shield, from range.
3rd time was the charm as everything came together and we killed him.
He dropped a Hammer of the Naaru which I picked up for 1 MKP. I went to try it out after the raid only to realize my two handed Mace skill was sub 300.
We moved onto Gruul. Without a working threat meter, Gruul is a little dicey, especially with some very geared and skilled melee DPS we have.
At about 50%, we lost Brindall. It looks like what happened was I passed Brindall in threat (you can see Gruul melee me in the log), Brindall took a Hurtful Strike, then Brindall passed me back and took a normal.
I took over Main Tanking. Whenever this has happened in the past, the end result is usually not good for ole Hammer. Trelic (Feral Druid) went Bear form and started taking Hurtfuls. This time I was able to stay up long enough for our DPS to kill him.
I picked up my T4 Leggings off Gruul. I've been wanting to finish my 4 piece bonus and with Mag being stingy with Champion's, I rolled on the legs.
Next up was Magtheridon. This is one of my favorite fights we do right now because I get to Main Tank it. I don't need to Main Tank every fight to feel like I'm worth my raid invite, but I really enjoy it when I get the chance. I'm sure Brindall and the other tanks feel the same way. Main Tanking is fun!
Everything was going great on Mag until we got close to the cave in. We waited too long to call for DPS to hold up and he started the Cave In before everyone was topped. I went down. Somehow Trelic (Feral Druid) picked him up, but he died as well. Then Devona (Warrior) was able to pick him up after the melee were wiped out. We were able to finish him off. No Champion again, but I did pick up an Ephereum Saffire which I will be able to cut into a +15 stamina gem once I get my rep up with Shattered Sun. That is now my #1 priority outside of raid times.
Our merry little band trouped over to SSC where we engaged Hydross and Lurker. We wiped once on Hydross when right after a Phase switch, Hydross repositioned himself. We're not sure why but he must have been right on the "line" where he changes because he went Nature to Frost to Nature in about 2 seconds. The second time we killed him in under 6 minutes.
We wrapped up the night by having a little fish fry courtesy of Lurker Below.
In one night we wiped the floor with all our 'farm' bosses, leaving the rest of the week open for newly killed bosses and possibly even a progression attempt. Leo, and FLK are the only two we haven't killed in SSC before the Big 2 of Kael and Vashj.
There has also been talk of farming Mt. Hyjal and Black Temple for trash. As long as we are clearing trash to them, we might as well try a boss or two. Who knows, we might even kill one.