Monday, June 30, 2008

Battleground

I opted to stay Holy over the weekend. I ran around to many of the fires around Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and payed a visit to Lorderon to steal their flame. For the most part the Horde left me alone and I was able to make a little cash.

I also spent some time doing a little PVP.

I've decided to start working a bit on my Retribution gear. I'd like to have the option to level to 80 as either Ret or Prot depending on how the zones are and how AoE friendly they might be. I leveled from 60 to 70 as Prot, and I've been Prot for my entire Burning Crusade career. The thought of a change is appealing to me. I don't know what it is, but I seem to be drawn to 'unpopular' specs. I don't really need to convince the entire WoW community that Prot or Ret Paladins can work. I just have to find 9 or 24 other people and convince them.

In addition, there isn't much I can do to improve my Tank gear outside of raiding. However there are goals I can work towards with my Ret gear. That is exciting for me.

I was amazed as I started to do some research just how good my current Ret gear was and how easy it would be to upgrade it. A little farming, a little PVP, some Badges and I'd have a decent set. Then I just need to get into a Kara or two with either Dominion, Heroes or Mal Katai and learn how to actually play the spec.

One of the areas that really could use an upgrade is my weapon, and one of the most direct ways to upgrade it is to farm up the honor for the Season 2 Mace.

I was fortunate to find a Dominion premade being formed up Sunday night. We ran Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Eye of the Storm. I think the whole night we might have lost two total battlegrounds. It was infinitely easier healing as Holy in PVP than it is healing as Prot. Not only do I not run out of mana nearly as fast but my heals have a bit more Ooomph to them. I find PVP Healing far more enjoyable than PVE Healing. I'm not sure if it's the pace or the chaos or what the difference is. I feel like a part of the battle as a Healer in PVP much moreso than I do in PVE.

Maybe that's because I'm a target in PVP. Something about a little dwarf winding up a big heal seems to draw the attention of every Horde in the Battleground. I relish the thought of the team's players thinking "We've got to shut down that Paladin!" I won't land a single killing blow, but they know I'm a huge threat.

It was a good time and I think I wound up with like 2000 honor or so. I only need about 11,000 more honor to get the mace then I can start doing some Battlegrounds as Ret. Even as little as I PVP, I would think I can get it within a couple of weeks.

While I was doing the battlegrounds, my good friend, Aoesrus came online and asked if I had time to do Arenas. Our team is me (Paladin), Aoes (Mage) and our mutal friend Nate aka Trayne (Warrior). I'm the best geared of the 3, and Trayne the worst as he's a relatively new 70.

Most of our matches do not end well. Aoes and Trayne simply can't burn down a well geared opponent before the other team can burn me down. Alternatively, they go after Aoes and I can't heal him fast enough through all the damage he's taking. I love the guy, but he's kind of squishy.

Of course, Season 4 just hit so everyone is back at the 1500s. They might have been 2200 rating last week, but you wouldn't know it. I wish I was better at identifying gear. Some guys can just look at you and know "He's Season 1" or "Wow full Season 3 and the Season 3 Sword."

We played our required 10 games for the week. By some strange confluence of luck of the draw, our own increasing skill and building teamwork, we actually managed to win 2 games out of the 10. That was about 2 more games than I thought we would win. We managed to stay above 1400 rating. I don't have any delusions that we will be an 1800+ team anytime soon, but as we keep working on our gear and get more comfortable running with each other we can continue to improve. Each week the teams will get more settled in their ratings.

I went ahead and bought the Season 4 Brutal Gladiator Scaled Gauntlets (Ret Gloves). They have no rating requirement and are the best Ret gloves for both PVP and PVE.

I also put a bit of time in on the Warrior. He's made it to level 50. I don't think I'll have any problem having him close to or at 70 by the Expansion. Worse case would have been for him to be around 55 when all the new Death Knights hit but that shouldn't be an issue now. I plan to have 3 70s when Wrath hits. My Hunter, my Warrior and my Paladin.

Check the blog tomorrow because tonight Dominion is throwing our might at Archimonde. I don't know if he will die, but I think we are close. I have no intention of using my DKP on Tempest of Chaos. While it is an incredible weapon for a Paladin tank, my Hammer of Judgement is sufficient to hold aggro and I know some of our Warlocks have been waiting for a chance at it. Maybe after a couple have dropped, I'll roll on one, but not at first.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dancing With the Devil

Last night started with me getting a whisper from my GM about going to Archimonde. I would have to spec Holy and heal because Archimonde is a one tank fight and Kee, our talented and well geared Warrior, would be that one tank.

My GM was kind enough to pay for a +88 Healing Enchant to my healing mace. The mats for enchants on the Auction House on Altar of Storms have just been ridiculous lately.
I went and laid out my 50g to respec, and eclipsed 1800 +healing with my full Holy spec. My gear is still in need of some work.
So I get the invite and I'm just about ready to head to Caverns of Time when my internet connection goes out. I text my GM and let her know what's going on. I called my ISP and "gently" complained about my service going out. Didn't they know it was raid night? It turned out to be an area wide outage and they didn't have an E.T.A on a fix.
I kept trying my connection every 15 minutes, and within about a half hour I was back up and running. I've got to give Knology (my ISP) some praise. Every ISP is going to have problems from time to time. They got it fixed very quickly and I generally have a really solid low ping connection with them.
The Raid had already started of course. I logged in and apologized. Then I started talking to some old friends in Heroes about running Heroic Magisters Terrace. We were starting to get the group together (and I on my way back to Ironforge to respec back to good ole Prot) when my GM whispered that one of our Holy Paladins had basically flipped out and ninja logged (logged with little or no warning).
Put me in coach, I'm ready to play, today.

The first test for me at Archimonde was to use my tears. I messed up the first two times. Lucky for me, Thunderbolt noticed that I wasn't jumping off far enough and hitting the mounting. I was supposed to jump mounted. I nailed it the next two times (no fall damage) and we started getting ready.
If you've never seen Archimonde, he looks something like a taller version of Prince.
The fight really tests your raid awareness. You have to make sure you are spread out because he does a targeted AoE called Air Burst that throws you up in the air. You have to use your Tears of the Goddess to slow your fall. Timing is everything when you use your Tears. He randomly targets someone for Grip of the Legion which is like Curse of Agony on steroids. Each group has a decurser (mage or druid) assigned to it to remove Grip.
Okay, so far so good.
The major problem is called Doomfire. It's a trail of fire that spawns near Archimonde and snakes out towards a random player. It doesn't target them, so you have no idea who it's headed for. If it's headed in your general direction, you have to run from it. Get caught by the fire, and you'll be the proud owner of a nice fire DoT.
Archimonde also does a zone wide fear. You can get feared right into a Fire.
Rule #1 of WoW Raiding, "Don't stand in the fire!"
"A precise hit will start a chain reaction which will destroy the station. Only a precise hit will start the chain reaction." - General Dodonna
A good attempt on Archimonde can go bad real fast. If someone dies, Archimonde gains a Soul Charge. When he uses it, he deals 4000 damage to everyone in the raid and knocks you down. Not a good thing to have happen when you are running from Fire. (Fire is bad, mmmkay?)
Guess what, this damage might kill someone, thereby granting him another Soul Charge.
At first we weren't even DPSing him, just trying to stay alive. Some of our attempts ended in literally 30 seconds. He hits really hard on the tank and the healers are running around all over the place, trying to stay alive and keep the tank up.
Keeping our Main Tank alive seemed to be one of our primary obstacles. I was assigned to heal my group from any Grip, Doomfire or fall damage. Easy enough. I was also to throw heals on the Main Tank if my group was okay. The problem I had was most of the heals I gave to the Main Tank ended up being overheal.
Once we were living for over 2 minutes, our GM authorized the DPS to start up on sebsequent attempts. Archimonde is kind of squishy to be honest.

Our best attempt of the night, we lived for about 5 minutes, and got him down to around 51%. It was our 2nd to last pull. It was a great morale boost to see that kind of progress. Our GM wants to bring as many of the same people as she can for Monday. I'm not sure if I'll spec back to Prot over the weekend or just play my Hunter and Warrior alts. I've got to get some dailies done because I'm really starting to get low on gold.
I was a little surprised when I found out that our GM had stayed Prot instead of respecing to Fury as she said she would for this fight. One of our Druids was healing as Feral. I probably could have just stayed Prot in my Holy gear, I don't think anyone would have known the difference. As it was, I kept the points in Improved Righteous Fury. Since it was a survival fight, I figured the 6% damage reduction from Improved Righteous Fury would help. If I could pull threat from just from healing, we've got bigger issues.
Since we made such good progress, the GM did say she would respec for the Monday night attempts.
I'll be really glad when we get back to doing more in Black Temple. Basically, I should be needed as a tank for pretty much every new boss we do between now and Illidan. Bloodboil needs 3 tanks, and Requilary Phase 3 is one of the few fights were Paladins have a distinct advantage. I just hope our GM decides to use that advantage for our Guild.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Them Down!

Last night, I was raiding again, back in good ole Mount Hyjal. I'll never forget the feeling of excitement and awe I had the first few times I went to Mount Hyjal. It saddens me some that that feeling has lessened with each week I venture in there.

Email

I got an email asking me about Kaz'Rogal's trash:
well my first time in Hyjal and we one shot first two bosses!
I think its a proud day for me. especially since the event was started by someone with 3 people out of the instance and half the raid unbuffed. During the first phase, 3rd wave our MT died and I was on point and picked up the adds and tanked the rest of the waves. I got whisper on how well I was doing in picking up adds. I was trinketing out of the frost attack with lighting speed, for which I got another comment on vent saying, "see you know what to do". I accredit this to your blog and also the Ardent Defender blog for showing the true meaning of being prepared and dedicated prot pally. During the second set of waves I was able to ease the burden of the main tank and grab the Aboms with ease. Second boss I was put in charge of picking up the infernals and bringing them to the infernal tank, which I did without fail. Heading to 3rd boss was full of issues. The guild hasn't really gotten this part down pact. There is still confusion on best way to handle gargoyles it seems. Do you have any suggestions? Once again thanks for all your information and replies to my emails.

Seik

Gargolyes show up in Wave 2, Wave 4 and Wave 6. We handle 2 and 4 pretty much the same way.
Wave 2 consists of 10 Gargolyes, and 4 Ghouls.
"Hey maan, da Gargoyles spawn at da back of da Horde camp near us Headhunters."
Send the entire raid, except your Protection Paladin and 2 healers to the back of the Horde camp near the Headhunters.
What you will find back there is a teepee looking tent. Your main goal must be to get the Gargoyles on the ground where they can be killed. The basic idea is for your Ranged DPS and Healers to get aggro on a Gargoyle. Once aggro is obtained the person with aggro must immediately run into the little teepee. Running into the teepee will break line of sight and force the Gargoyle to fly down into the waiting arms and claws of your melee DPS.
Meanwhile the Protection Paladin is kiting the Ghouls from the front to the back teepee. Come around to the side of the teepee first, then try to plant yourself in the middle of the Gargoyles on the ground. Call for your AoE to blast the combined Gargoyle and Ghoul threat. If any Gargoyle is still flying around when you get there, you've got to help get it on the ground. The Range taunt can get the Gargoyle on you, and Exorcism works well as a follow up. Once you have aggro, get under the tent to bring the Gargoyle down.
When the timer on the next wave starts running low drag whatever is still up back with you to the front and get ready for Wave 3, which is pretty easy.
As Wave 3 is succumbing to the Seed spam, your raid heads back to the little teepee once more. It's basically a repeat of Wave 2, but your job, oh Protection Paladin is a little tougher. Instead of friendly melee type Ghouls, you have to kite (and maintain aggro) and Crypt Fiends, who would much rather stay at range. Don't panic if one of the Horde NPCs pulls aggro, they can generally kill it. Just keep kiting the mobs back to the teepee.
Waves 2 and 4 were basically practice for the main event, Wave 6!
This time, you get Gargoyles, but they bring big mama along to in the form of a Frost Wyrm. The first time I saw the Frost Wyrm I was in awe. It was a terrifying unit in Warcraft 3, it's even more intimidating in WoW.
The Wyrm will be tanked by a Warlock most likely, leading to some interesting vent chatter.
"Early bird gets the Worm!" "The Worm is on _______" "Get the Worm off me!"
Whoever is tanking the Wyrm needs some room around him as the Wyrm does an AoE attack on that person.
Meanwhile, we've got a flock of Gargoyles surrounding the raid. What you need to find is a little tower looking thing near the front of the camp. Use it just like you used the teepee in the back. People get aggro on the Gargoyles and run under the tower to get them on the ground. AoE as you can but mostly help get those Gargoyles down.
It takes some practice but eventually you'll get it down. Then you'll get to see my least favorite boss fight in all of Mount Hyjal, Kaz'Rogal.

A Failure to Communicate

We just weren't on our game last night and despite having only two new people, it took two attempts to down Antheron and we wiped on Azgalor's trash during the last Infernal wave.
It was stated we would be going back Wednesday night to kill Azgalor and start working on Archimonde again. Vlad reminded us she would need to make substitutions after Azgolar was dead. I reminded the raid that I wouldn't be on.
I had informed Dominion during my initial interview about Wednesdays. I simply can't raid those nights. After the raid, Vlad and I discussed it. It turns out that she and the officers had thought it was a temporary thing, due to the daughter's dance class. I had to explain to them, that dance was the reason I was tardy sometimes on Tuesday nights, and that yes, it was in fact over with, but that wouldn't change my lack of availability on Wednesdays. Wednesday is dedicated to my family and things we do on those nights.
I'm not sure how that went over. Nothing much more was really said.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Man's Moccasins

Another Monday night found Dominion not in need of my shield. They were working on Archimonde. I had read a couple of guides for playinga Holy Paladin, and waited dutifully by in Shattrah to see if I would need to go to Stormwind and respec.

Ultimately, Dominion chose to take another healer, and my night was left open for the most part.

I was told that the Officers didn't want me to have to respec Monday to heal, then repsec back to tank for Tuesday's clear of the first four bosses and then spec back to heal again on Thursday if Archimonde still wasn't dead. It was also brought up that they wanted to keep the raid as consistant as possible and I wouldn't be able to raid Wednesday night (which was true, and something they knew when they recruited me.)

So I jumped on the Warrior for a little bit and listened into vent as Dominion threw their might at Archimonde. The plan was to not even DPS at first, just to stay alive for 3 minutes. They must have spent a good 20 minutes just practicing jumping with their Tears. Vlad wanted everyone to get it right before they pulled Archimonde.

The fight sounds absolutely crazy on vent.

While I was on the Warrior, I saw a group asking for a DPS to help finish a Karazhan run. It's Monday night, most everyone was already saved from their Badge run.

I decided to send them a tell as a Ret Paladin. I guess beggars can't be choosy because I got an invite. I changed to the PuGs vent server since I was online with Honorshammer.

I respec Ret, knocked the considerable dust off my Ret gear had been gathering in the bank, grabbed some Roasted Clefthoof from the AH and went back to Kara.

I was at about 1700 Attack Power, and the only Hit I had was from Precision.

We started on the trash leading to Chess. My very first swing of Crusader Strike and I see "You skill in Two Handed Maces has increased to 236." Would now be a good time to tell the PuG that I didn't have my 2 handed mace skill maxxed out? I decided they really didn't NEED to know that right then.

After the first couple of trash pulls I was pulling a whopping 300 dps, yet somehow I was 3rd on Damage done to people with higher DPS.

My biggest problem at first was trying to figure out what to attack once Skull went down. I decided to attack what the Tank was attacking but I lost valuable time switching targets.

The only boss I got to try was Prince. He's not very friendly to melee DPS as I was having to run out everytime he was about to Enfebble. As Baelor taught me, the first rule of melee DPS is to STAY ALIVE. It's pretty easy to calculate your DPS when you are dead.

We managed to kill Prince in 2 tries. I tried to stay behind him so I wouldn't parry gib the tank.

I had switched to Judgement of Wisdom and Seal of Command Rank 1 when I got low on mana. Prince was still about 30% at that point.

I managed 459 DPS on the 2nd attempt, good enough for 4th place on the meters. Our 2 mages must have died early or something. The shaman was dropping Agi for the tank. I know that is pretty low DPS, but despite my gear being all epic, it's mostly left overs nobody wanted, green gemed and and not enchanted.

DPSing was different, but not as much fun as Tanking.

After I left the group, I went back to Dominion's vent. They were still working on staying alive for 3 minutes. Just once person dies and it can cause a chain reaction which will wipe the raid. That must have been a rough night for them.

I dinged 48 on my Warrior, and called it a night.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crossroads For The Warrior

Sunday was interesting. I was in my usual spot Sunday morning at Church.

I don't talk about my faith much (at all) in the blog. I've made veiled references to it from time to time, and I've included some links in my sidebar, but I've never really talked about it much.

I've always been told not to discuss religon or politics because of how volitile those subjects can be.


I'm also concerned because I don't always live out my faith the way it's supposed to be lived out. In any number of ways, I've made a jerk of myself to people.


If I've ever shown you kindness, compassion, and generosity, attribute that to my faith. If I've ever shown you malice, selfishness, pettyness (is that a word?), attribute that to my own self. I'm on a journey, and I haven't mastered everything my faith is trying to teach me.


Wow, did I get off on a tangent or what?


My faith and World of Warcraft don't usually cross paths very often (read never). That changed Sunday.


The Pastor was teaching on us being relevent to our culture. He asked for a show of hands of people who played World of Warcraft.


I saw two people who I've known for a couple of years through Church raise their hands. Somehow WoW is not a topic that comes up much Sunday mornings. I went over and talked to them after service. They had no idea that I played, and I had no idea they played.


It turns out they both have low 60s characters who they play very casually on the realm Kalecgos (PVP). They asked if I wanted to roll or transfer one of my toons over there.


I immediately started thinking about my Warrior. Of course, if I moved him, he would lose his money supply from my Hunter and Honors. I also wouldn't have a 70 to go grab if I got into PVP trouble while leveling him up.


This comes at an interesting time for my Warrior. I'm debating on if I should level up his Blacksmithing or switch him to Enchanting. He's currently sitting at level 46 with 230 something mining and 215ish Blacksmithing.


It would take a little while for me to catch him up to my church friends, especially since he's just an alt. Kalecgos seems like a healthier server than AoS from the standpoint that it has multiple Alliance guilds that have cleared BT versus just one for AoS. I've heard the one AoS guild doesn't raid as much anymore.


I haven't decided if I'm going to move him or not, but I think that will factor in my decision to keep him Blacksmithing or go Enchanting. I'm keeping Mining on him regardless.

Attuned!

After we killed Rage Winterchill on Thursday, I was able to loot my Time Lost Phylactery. I took it to Akama in the sewers near the Black Temple. He sent me back to Ad'al who sent me to Xiri. There I fought alongside Akama and Maiev Shadowsong, two of the heroes from Warcraft 3.

It was one of those moments I truly relish in game. As is my nature, I charged in with the combined Scryer and Aldor forces. I love being In medias res, (Latin for "into the middle of things"). I quickly found myself killed by aggroing a dozen demons or so. Xiri rezzed and basically said, stand back and watch.

Unfortunately, he has to yell to WHOLE zone what he's doing. Sure enough, here come the Horde. I really wish I had rolled on a PVE server sometimes. The biggest reason I rolled PVP was for Aoes who was on a PVP server at the time.

So now I'm watching the battle unfold while trying to keep 3 Horde from killing me. Exciting stuff, let me tell you.

I managed to stay alive long enough to finish the quest and loot the Medalion of Korabor. I'm a Kael'Thalas kill away from my Hand of A'dal title. There is nothing I want to do in game more right now than kill Kael. I know it's going to be a week or two before Dominion goes back to get him, but man am I excited about it. I just hope they don't kill him on a Wednesday night again. I really need to be there for a kill.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Figure Prints Options

In Full Teir 4


















Pose 1Pose 2



Pose 3Pose 4




Pose 5



2 pc Tier 5








Pose 1Pose 2






Pose 3

Friday, June 20, 2008

OMG! Figureprint!

I don't know if you've ever seen Figureprints. Basically, they can make a small statue or figure of your character in that looks just like your in game character right down to the equipment you are wearing.


The real draw and appeal to me about a Figureprint is that years from now, when WoW is only a pleasant memory and we are playing WoW 2 or whatever, I'll have my Figureprint. It's sort of like WoW is a vacation. I've heard people complain about the time we put into tBC being wasted once Wrath comes out, or all the money we spend on WoW being wasted when Blizzard moves onto the next MMO.


I don't see it that way. The fun, the entertainment was in the moment. We paid for hours and hours and entertainment


When I took my family on vacation to Disney, I spent more on that week than I have on my entire WoW career, and do I have anything to 'show for it'? I have pictures (screenshots), and I have mementos / souvenirs. That's what this Figureprint would be. Most of all, I have the memories.


Figureprints has many more orders than they can process, so they put you into a lottery, and each month there is a drawing. If you've put you name in, you get an email stating whether or not your name was drawn.


I started entering in March.


Usually what I got from them the day of the drawing was this:


Thank you for entering the May 23, 2008 FigurePrints drawing


Unfortunately your account was not selected to order a FigurePrint at this time. We are ramping up our production capacity as quickly as possible and will be taking more orders every month. Your account has automatically been entered into the next drawing. If you do not wish to be entered into this or future drawings...


Every month for the last 3 months, the same boilerplate message.


But today, I received this email:


Congratulations!
You have been selected to create your very own FigurePrint!


Your account has been enabled to allow you to place an order any time before midnight Jul. 07, 2008 PST. To be clear, being selected only grants you the opportunity to purchase a FigurePrint and this email is not meant as a free or discounted product.


/dance


/cheer


Here is a picture of a Figureprint of another Tankadin.

So the question is how to dress up my little Tankadin.

Gruul's Shield and Hammer of Judgement are a must. Tankatronics for the head. I have full Tier 4, and the Gloves and Shoulders from Tier 5 and Gloves from Tier 6.


So I could dress Honors in Full Tier 4 for his Figureprint, or I could use T5 Gloves and Shoulder with the Tanktronics and the Belt of the Guardian.


I think I'll wear Pepe's instead of Slikk's for the back.


The big problems are my Boots and my Chest. I have Sabatons of the Righteous Defender and Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian. Both are fantastic pieces and I use them in just about every set, but I don't like how they look. I have a T4 Chest and a Panzar'thar in the bank. I guess I'm just going to have to play around with my inventory to find a good set of equipment that looks like Honors. I could try to get my Tier 5 Legs and Chest before I have to put in the order, but I would want to make sure the Chest is very much in line with the Stoic Guardian. I don't want to grab a chest over one of our Holy Paladins just to wear in a Figureprint.


You receive loot [Figureprint : Honorshammer]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So Kael'thalas

Tuesday night was interesting. We were going back to Tempest Keep to continue working on Kael'thalas.
I figured we would want to kill Al'ar to reduce the amount of trash we needed to kill if we got respawns during our attempts on Kael. Since I needed Al'ar for the Ruse of the Ashtongue quest (part of the BT attunement chain), I explained the situation and I asked if I could go.
We actually took a couple who needed the quest, and made our way to Tempest Keep. We were told that the raid would be subbing after Al'ar, and I figured that would mean me.
I had done Al'ar with Mal Katai, but I didn't know how Dominion did it.
Basically it was the same idea. I was gathering adds, and holding them. One of our Holy Paladins was healing with Righteous Fury on and Salv off so he would be the healer the adds wanted. He positioned himself close to me and we kept moving in a circle around Al'ar's room. A DPS Warrior would taunt one off and it would be killed. At one point I had up to 6 adds on me. It was pretty intense.
Our attempt was ended because some of our raiders just couldn't help but stand in the flame patches. That caused Vlad (GM and RL) to say "Fire is bad, mmkay?"
Our next try was ended when Al'ar targeted one of our Holy Paladins for Meteor just as she disconnected from the game. He bugged out and our attempt was ruined.
Our third try we got him down.
At some point when we were clearing Al'ar's trash, Vlad told me I was 'in' for Kael. I don't know what had happened, but I was very excited.
I screwed up one of the trash pulls on the way to Kael, and wiped the raid. I had asked in vent if there was anything I needed to know about tanking this mage, and I got no response, so I figured it was a standard run in and generate as much threat as possible. What I was supposed to do was pull the mage really far away from the raid so he wouldn't AoE.
It's stuff like this that makes me worry I'm seen as a really bad player by my guild.
We clear out Kael's room. There he stands surrounded by his most trusted advisors. Names I had read and heard about where right there in front of me. Telonicus, Thaladred, Capernium, Sanguinar.
The fight is really cool.
The first part, he introduces the Advisors and sends them at your one at a time.
The first Thaladred but be kited. He picks a random person for aggro and walks slowly towards that person. You keep running around the room while Range DPS kills him. Pretty easy phase.
The next guy to come up was Sanguinar. He was Misdirected onto our Warrior Main Tank (Kee) and killed.
Then Kael trots out Capernium, who is Warlocked tanked by two Warlocks similar to how Kiggler is tanked by two Hunters.
As he was being killed, my healer and I were getting into position for Telonicus. Telonicus is an Engineer. He puts a debuff on you called Remote Controlled Toy that basically stuns you so you can't move. I had to get aggro on him, and then run him off the stag. Then get him positioned with my back to a wall.
The first time I tried it, I did a lousy job of getting him into position. I had read about it, seen it in a video, but I didn't quite pull it off. Luckily the damage was minimal and we were on to Phase 2.
Phase 2 is where you tank Weapons. I had always imagined them as floating disembodied weapons fighting you, and that's exactly what it is.
My assignment was the Shield. It was not DPSed directly but I was to drag it through the AoE that was happening. You have a certain amount of time to kill the weapons before Phase 3 starts.
In Phase 3 the Advisors are resurrected. I ran over and grabbed Telonicus, even though I still had the Shield beating on me. We didn't have the fight under control and we wiped.
The next attempt, I was flawless in my positioning of Telonicus. This made me feel really good. I know I make mistakes, especially learning a fight. I try my best to not repeat a mistake.
However, I made a pretty big gaff as the advisors got resurrected. I had gotten turned around and lost my bearing for a moment and I missed the pick up on Telonicus. He ran off and killed a couple before I got him back under control.
I was pretty upset with myself.
On our next attempt, I made sure I was going to be ready to pick him up, and I did without an issue. The main problem we seemed to be having was not having enough weapons/Advisors down before Phase 4 started. Once Kael came up, it was usually lights out for the raid.
It was really really cool to see the Kael fight. You get a taste in Magisters Terrace but the 25 man is so much more intense. Phase 2 and 3 are very chaotic. There is so much going on and everyone must be on their game.
Dominion managed to kill Kael the next night. I was at my daughter's dance recital and could not be online. I am really happy for those guys. I would have loved to have been there.
We'll be going back to Kael at some point. I'd really need him to get my ring from Scale of Sands, and I'd love a shot at his neck piece.

Get A Job! (Professions)

I apologize for bothering you but I religiously read your blog and since you are the main reason I leveled a tanking pally I am looking to you for some guidance.  I am really stuck between which professions to choose to best benefit me as a tank.  Making money does not matter to me in the least since I have plenty of gathering and crafting alts for that.  I have pretty much narrowed my choices down to 3 but i can still not decide what 2 are the best.  Engineering, Enchanting, and Jewelcrafting.

I have enough money right now to powerlevel whichever 2 I choose and since I am not looking at being a high end raider but more of a heroic, Kara, and Gruul kind of tank I am thinking that engineering is an easy choice for the head piece but I am really stuck on the other 2.  The ring enchants look good but on the other hand so do the 2 jewelcrafting BoP piece's (the defense one and the spell damage with stamina on it I was thinking would be good for threat boost)

Any assistance you could provide would be very appreciated.

Keep up the great blog.

Durik

Let me start off by saying, you are never bothering me when you send me an email. Part of why I do my blog (mostly) every day is to help the community. It's why I actively post on Maintankadin, and Tankspot. I like to help people. So don't hesitate to send me an email, I read and respond to each one, though sometimes my response will be in a Blog post.

So let's talk about Professions for a Tankadin. I'm going to go over several choices.

Mining/Skinning

This would actually be my first choice for a new Tankadin. Now if you have 2 or 3 (or more!) level 70 alts with gathering professions, ignore this. The one constant in this game is gold. You need it regardless of what class, spec, role or level you may choose. Gold gives you options. There is no better way to make tons of gold than by going dual gathering. Mining because no less than 3 professions use materials from mining (Engineering, Blacksmithing, and Jewelcrafting), and Skinning because it doesn't interfer with mining. You don't need two different tracking modules going.

The other reason I would choose Mining/Skinning is that you can stockpile gold to buy mats to power level a crafting profession at a later point. As I write this, Wrath of the Lich King is in Alpha. We simply don't know what is in store for profession in the Expansion. By having a nice stockpile of gold, you will be ready to power level whatever profession suits your needs.

I am not Mining/Skinning on Honorshammer because I am Mining/Skinning on my hunter, Honorshummer.

Jewelcrafting/Enchanting

So if you have a gathering alt, my next choice would be Jewlecrafting and Enchanting. The reality of the game is that people are always trying to improve their gear. The crafting professions generally net you some saleable items, and a couple of really nice BoP epics that can only be worn by the crafter who makes them. Eventually, you hit a point in the life cycle of the game where the gear available surpasses the crafted item. It happened in vanilla WoW and it's happened in Wrath. Basically, unless Blizzard wants to basically require people to take a certain profession, there will always have to be alterante ways to get gear comparable to what a crafter can make.

But regardless of how people get the gear or how good the gear is, they want two things: Gems and Enchants. I will tell you that right now there are a glut of Jewelcrafters out there, and it's rough to be a Jewelcrafter without a mining alt to supply the raw gems, but it's generally cheaper to buy the uncut raw gem and then cut it yourself, and it's definitely cheaper to get enchants when you can make the mats yourself by disenchanting stuff.

Both professions also provide perks to the crafter like the BoP trinkets from Jewelcrafting and the Ring enchants from Enchanting.

Herbalism/Alchemy

Any endgame raider is familiar with the costs associated with the Consumables we need for raiding, especially when it comes to Flask, Elixirs and Potions. As a Tankadin, I find I use both Mana Pots, as well as Health Pots and Ironshields.

Blizzard did add some ways to get Flasks without having a pay an Alchemist, but it's no guarantee that this model will carry over to Wrath.

Engineering

Engineering is good choice. Most people are going to pursue it for the Epic Helm. If you have the gold to get the Sunwell Plateau pattern (Hard Khorium Goggles), you will be set and overpowered for a long time. It might even last you until the late 70s in Wrath. It's that good. You also get a trainer taught pattern which will last you until you get your T6 helm. It's as good (if not better) than the T5 helm.

In addition to that one item, you get a quasi gathering skill in that you can farm Primals with your Mote Extractor. Honors has trouble effeciently killing Elementals so to be able to fly around on an Epic Mount with Crusader Aura harvesting Primals is a nice perk. I generally trade my Air or Water for Fire as Fire and Life are only two Primals I can't farm this way.

You also get a teleporter which you can use to get either Toshley Station or Area 52. Both are useful and time savers.

The clincher for me was the Gyrocopter. I love the thing. Blizzard's sound and animation team put a ton of work on it and it's really cool.

Mining makes a great choice to go along with Engineering.

 

Whatever you choose, keep an eye on news for the Expansion. My gut tells me that the BoP crafting professions (Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring, etc) will be quite strong when Wrath first comes out. As it ages though the enhancement professions (Jewelcrafting, Enchanting) will become stronger. Of course they could add enhancements to other professions like they did in tBC with the Leatherworking patches and the Tailoring thread.

After an honest evaulation, it looks like Professions are fairly well balanced. I think you could make any choice work for you and your toons.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bench Warmer

This is the part of your day where you come to my humble little blog to read about whatever exciting adventures I had the previous night in WoW. Only I didn't have any exciting adventures last night.

I came back from my mini WoW vacation all ready to go, and excited to be able to raid with my guild. I logged on earlier than usual to make sure I had everything I would need.

During my vacation, the guild had started working on Kael'thalas. That is pretty cool. I was hoping to get an invite, but it wasn't to be. Instead, a trial Feral Druid was taken along with our usual MT and OT.

At least I had the presence of mind not to make a jerk of myself. I simply whispered the Raid Leader to tell her I was available so I would get sub credit on DKP.

I can understand wanting to keep the group the same from the previous evenings attempts on Kael, however, by my count, there were at least 3 or 4 new people in the raid.

The raid leader preference was for Feral druids because they could do the tanking necessary in Kitty gear and then become melee DPS. DPS is something I just can't provide as a Prot Paladin, not even at Prot Warrior levels.

So I sat the benched, and listened in Vent to try to learn what I could from hearing the fight and watched a couple of videos. After the raid, I sent my Guild Leader / Raid Leader a simple email. It asked if there was anything I could do or change to help me get an invite next time around.

If there is, great, I'll get to doing it. If there isn't, well, then at least I know there isn't anything I can do to change the situation.

I did dailies to try to work on my Shattered Sun rep while I looked for heroic Magister's Terrace group. I checked with my old buddies in MK and Heroes to see if they needed any help, but everyone had their night well in hand.

So I jumped on the Warrior and leveled him up a bit. Blizzard added some new quests to Theramore and a new area called Mudsproket in Dustwallow Marsh. One of the new Theramore quest lines has you face off with a Lurker Below wannabe.

I'm sitting there as the mob approaches, and I'm thinking, man, that looks like Lurker. I wonder if he...yes, there goes a water spit. It was pretty cool and a nice little event.

Afterwords, I got invited to a Uldaman PuG. I was really struggling with the mage. Before the invite, he asked me if I was a good tank and if I could hold threat. He then proceeded to pull most group with Fireball and AoE constantly, but never sheep. He asked for meters to be posted after nearly every pull. He was fortunate that he was over level for the instance (he was 45) or he would have died more than he did.

Somehow, probably because I was a little over leveled as well, we never wiped. The Priest healer did some really pro healing as everyone was taking damage, not just the tank (me).

I went with a simple mantra I use when Pugging.

If the healer dies, that's my fault.

If I die, that's the healer's fault.

If the DPS dies, that's their own dang fault.

My healer never died, even though he was a little under level for the instance.

What amazed me, what that even as a full Fury Warrior and not even level 50 yet, I could spike my threat up to 150-200 TPS. I was the only one running Omen in the group.

Both the Priest and the Mage found their way onto my friends list. I love the ability to add comments to your friend list now. One will certainly have no trouble getting my Warrior to tank for them again, the other may find me a bit less ... receptive.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Top 10 WoW Moments

It seems quite a few guys on the Tankspot boards were doing this 'shared topic' so I thought I'd throw my list out there.

  • 10. The first time I walked into Stormwind.
    • I had been playing the game for about a week, questing around Northshire Abby and around Goldshire when I got a quest to go to Stormwind. It was amazing. I was just in awesome as the music came up and I saw the statues of the Heroes, and the guard on his horse. Then I rounded the bend and suddenly there were people everywhere of every level, race and class. It was amazing.
  • 9. Ding 70.
    • I was soling Banthazar in Nagrand. I had taken special pride in the ability of Honorshammer to solo same level elites during his leveling time. So when I was close to 70, I went out to Nagrand and found Banthazar, the elite Clefthoof. I soloed him down for the ding.
  • 8. My first time through the Dark Portal
    • This was it. A new Expansion, a new World. I remember being spellbound for a good minute or so and just looking at the sky. It was so different, and so beautiful.
  • 7. My first Karazhan
    • It was one year ago, today, that I went with my friends from Heroes Inc to Karazhan. I had read and heard so much about it, and now I was finally going in myself. I was going to be raiding. This was it. I tanked Attumen then tanked them as they formed up, for our first ever Raid Boss kill on our first night in Karazhan. I was in all blues, except for a green ring and no epics.
  • 6. Mount Hyjal
    • I was a huge fan of WarCraft 3 and The Frozen Throne. Now, here I was fighting along side Jainia Proudmoore, and the Footmen and the Dwarven Riflemen. I wish Blizzard had included a Mortar Team ("Mortar Kombat!!") or a Siege Engine.
  • 5. My first tanking experience
    • It was Maraudoun, and I was Ret spec at the time. I didn't even know what tanking meant. I will forever be indebted to the Gnome Warrior on Dark Iron whose name I forgot who taught me what to do and gave me a shot at tanking. This was months before the Burning Crusade or patch 2.0 (where we got our taunt, Shield toss, and damage reduction on Righteous Fury).
  • 4. The epic PVP battle for my Darkmoon Card Vengeance
    • If you haven't read the story, you really should. I had a 10 minute pvp battle with a Resto Shaman because the Darkmoon Faire was in Mulgore. I won, but the dang cow Ankhed and killed me.
  • 3. The night Adam (aka Aoesrus) and I started playing the game.
      He was a Human Warrior and I was Human Paladin on the Rexxar (PVE) server.
  • 2. Hurtful Strike Tanking Gruul
    • This was the night I proved to many in Mal Katai that Paladin Tanks could work. It was night I proved my doubters and naysayers wrong. It was a night the officers of Mal Katai came to my defense. When Gruul finally fell, I knew I had been vindicated.
  • 1. Main Tanking Magtheridon. Pre Nerf.
    • This was the best night of my tanking career. I was called upon to Main Tank Magtheridon. When Drew was questioned about why it would be me instead of a Warrior, the response was "Well, Mag hits really hard and Honors has a crapton of hit points." I was prepared with every consumable you could think of. I had read every strat and watched more movies than Siskel and Ebert. We wiped on him all night, and made 18 attempts. Our "last try" everything fell into place and we killed that overgrown lizard. I stood over his corpse knowing that I didn't kill him, but he died because of me.

There are many more moments that I left off this list like

  • The night I got my Pocketwatch. That made every single piece of gear I had epic.
  • The night I hit uncrushable
  • The night I crafted my Turbo Charged Flying Machine,
  • The night I Main Tanked Upper Black Rock Spire (at 60)
  • The night I Main Tank Zul'Gurub (at 63)
  • The seemingly endless nights of farming Scholo for Deathbone plate
  • The night I main tanked Hydross (Frost)
  • Killing Lady Vashj
  • Getting my first piece of Tier 6 gear
  • Main Tanking Leo
  • Getting an officership in Mal Katai

There have been many many moments over the past year or two that have been amazing. In the end, that's why you play the game, to have those amazing moments and hopefully to make some friends along the way. The next expansion pack can come, and the one after that, but I will never lose the memories and feelings that I have had thus far.

On Guard!

"Maybe you just weren't meant to be a Paladin, Gerald."

The two men sat on a cold stone bench in the courtyard of a great library. The speaker was older, his face was hard. The younger man looked up at him, his black hair just beginning to show hints of gray at its edges.

"Do you really believe that, Tarsen?" The younger man asked.

"It's your temper, Gerald. If you don't learn to control it, it will lead you to the path of the Shadow."

"Something is not right here." Gerald began, "That group of refugees..."

"were infected by the Plague," Tarsen cut him off, "or would you have given the Undead shelter behind our very walls!?!"

"Individuals are to be quarantined for 30 days to see if they show signs of the plague!", Gerald rebutted.

"Don't quote the Code to me, Squire Gerald! I taught you the Code, I taught you everything you know! You were given and order. An order that came down from the Highlord himself, or do you fancy you can discern the living from the dead better than the High Inquisitor herself?"

"I don't think the High Inquisitor and the Highlord are completely stable."

Tarsen's voice got very quite. "You speak dangerous words, my young apprentice." Then he raised his voice. "You were given an order, and you disobeyed it."

Gerald could feel the rage begin to burn inside him as he looked at Tarsen. "I will not strike down an innocent man, who did nothing more than come to our gates asking for food and shelter!"

"You were given an order, Squire, and you disobeyed it. Now I have been given an order." Tarsen stood and drew his sword from its scabbard.

"Tarsen?"

Tarsen's voice became almost mechanical. "Squire Gerald Trueblade, you have been found guilty of dereliction of duty, insubordination and treason against the Crusade. You are guilty of being a Undead sympathizer. The punishment for your crimes is DEATH!"

Gerald reached for his own sword. Tarsen took one step towards him and then stopped. Suddenly, he features began to deform, and a moment later. Gerald was staring at a sheep.

A Draenai phased into view. "Aoes?" Gerald asked.

"You were expecting someone else?" Aoes replied. "Look, I can keep him like that for a very long time, but you've got to get out of here."

Aoes handed Gerald a small sack. "Here, it's an entire set of Scarlet Chain, well, minus the boots. It's even got a tabard."

"Thank you, Aoes. I don't know how I could ever repay the kindness you've shown me today."

The Draenai put his large hand on Gerald's shoulder. "You are a good man, Gerald. There was a time when a Dwarf, and Paladin at that, did a similar kindness for me."

Aoes began an incantation and a few seconds later a portal appeared. Inside Gerald could see Dwarves walking around.

"Ironforge?" Gerald asked.

"Yes, talk to Griffon Master, he can give you a Griffon that will take you to Southshore. There, look for a man named Raleigh." Aoes turned as the sound of metal boots on the hard stone floor filtered into the courtyard. "He can help you, but you've got to go now!"

Gerald stepped through the portal and immediately the smell of soot and smoke assaulted him. He found his way to the Griffon Master, and took the flight to Southshore.

He found Raleigh upstairs in the end and relayed his story.

"That's quite a tale, Gerald. I once served the Scarlet Crusade with honor, loyalty and pride. I believed their cause to be a noble one: to rid Azeroth of the undead. But as I spent time at the Monastery I realized that their grasp on reality was slipping. They now think everyone is plagued who doesn't wear the tabard of the Crusade. Innocent men and women were tortured because they were supposedly plagued. The Scarlet Crusade must be crushed in the name of the Light. You must help destroy the deranged regime.

"Raleigh, I'm not so sure that the path of the Paladin is the one I wish to follow. First Arthas, now Tarsen and the Crusade. The power of the Light is too much for some men to bear."

Raleigh looked over Gerald for a moment.

"Perhaps you are right, Gerald. I sense you are a good man with a deep sense of honor and a capable fighter. I want you to go to Northshire Abby, near Stormwind. The Crusade wouldn't look for you there, but nevertheless, you might want to come up with an alias to help hide your identity. Speak to a man named Llane Beshere. I think he can help you find your path."

Gerald went back to Ironforge and took the Tram to Stormwind. From there he walked north to Northshire Abby. There he found Llane Beshere.

"Bah, you're no Warrior. Look, I don't know why Raleigh sent you to me, but if you want to make yourself useful, take that sword and shield of yours and go see Deputy Willem."

Gerald walked outside and found the Deputy just a few steps from the Abby.

"You Deputy Willem?"

"I am"

"They call me Honorsguard, and I'm reporting for duty."

"Honorsguard, eh?", Deputy Willem paused for moment, "Well, I guess we can't be too choosy these days, and  I doubt you'll survive long enough for it to matter. I hope you strapped your belt on tight, Honorsguard, because there is work to do here in Northshire, and I don't mean farming. The Stormwind guards are hard pressed to keep the peace here, with so many of us in distant lands and so many threats pressing close. And so we're enlisting the aid of anyone willing to defend their home. And their alliance. If you're here to answer the call, then speak with my superior, Marshal McBride. He's inside the abbey behind me."

Friday, June 13, 2008

CC Doesn't Always Mean Continuous Consecration

Greetings I was hoping you might be able to shed some insight onto where I may have gone wrong or what I need to do to be success full in heroics, and lead my guild into Kara.

Here is my gear:

(armory link)

499 Def.
12k Armor
10k Health
57% Avoidance (w/o Holy Shield up)

Seemed that I was meeting all the minimum requirements to head into KZ.  However last night did a Heroic Slave Pens run, and found it almost impossible for me to take 3 mobs at a time.  With a lack of CC running 2 shammy's in the group, we had ALOT of wipes, an almost 2 hour run to the end.

I never felt so under geared, but I just don't see where I can up in gear without running heroics.  Is there something I have missed along the way?

Thanks for your time,

Zertlek of Khaz'goroth

Those are about the stats that I started Heroics with. I can tell you, I couldn't handle 3 guys beating on me back them either. Not only do the mobs in Heroic Slave Pens hit relatively hard for a new tank, but they also have debuffs which lower your armor. That can be deadly at your gear level.

But you made it through the instance. That's something you should really feel good about. Here's how my first Heroic Slave Pens run went.

The one piece of advice I'll give you looking at your Warcrafter. Gems. Gem for Stamina. When you are starting out there is no other gem in the game other than Solid Star of Elune. Forget the socket bonuses. Don't gem for Defense, or Avoidance (AGI). Gem for Stamina.

The second point I'll make is that the Keepers of Time offer the Timewarden's Leggings. I find them superior to the Felsteel Leggings in every regard.

When you are starting to do Heroics, you are going to need Crowd Control, I don't care what your class. Some of the late pulls in Heroic Slave Pens involve mobs that Fear you, or mobs that Mind Control. You want those suckers Mind Control.

When you come back in a month or so and are more geared you can just AoE everything in site, but until then get friendly with Mages, Warlocks, Hunters, and other Crowd Control classes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Doomed To Off Tank?

I got a question for you. It seems I am going to have to settle for being Off Tank for a bit as I just transferred servers. Are Pally Tanks doomed to OT? What can I do to my gear,enchants and gems to be the best add tanking, threat generating Off Tank I can be? Seik of Bleeding Hollow

The reality of your situation and one that I didn't recognize quickly enough is that the guild you joined was likely a successful one which means they likely have some really good tanks. Wait for your opportunities, and be the very best tank and Raider you can. Try to run some 5 or 10 mans with your guild and be excellent in those environments as well.

Paladins are not 'doomed' to Off Tanking. That said, Paladins are really well suited for tanking multiple mobs and for generating fast threat. That makes us an ideal choice for many Off Tanking situations.

But do not think for a moment that Paladins can't Main Tank. Paladins (and Druids for that matter) have progression Main Tanked every encounter in the game. Also many encounters don't have just one Main Tank sitting there getting pounded on the entire time. Many encounters (most really) encourage and require the use of multiple tanks. What class those tanks are is up to your guild, and will depend on many factors including gear, player skill, and seniority.

If you look at the guild I was in, Mal Katai, I was one of the best geared and most senior tanks available, so I was given the privilege to Main Tanked many of our raids. When we got to Najentus, I was the one Main Tanking the boss.

To contrast that, you can look at my new guild, Dominion. Dominion has two senior and well geared tanks who happen to be Warriors. So far, every Boss attempt has been Main Tanked by them. In those fights that don't require multiple tanks, I have done my very best to use the full array of Paladin abilities to help my guild down the boss.

No one may notice the small heal that kept a Mage alive long enough for a big heal from one of the raid healers to land. No one may notice the Blessing of Protection on the Warlock who pulled aggro. No one may notice the cleanse of a DoT ticking on your Rogue. No one may notice the Lay On Hands when the tank had 1% life.

You won't rock any chart (Damage or Healing), but hopefully your raid leader and raid members will notice that things go smoothly when you are around.

As far gearing for Off Tanking, study the encounter, and expected your role in it, but also study the other tank roles, and possibly healer roles. You want to be ready if your Raid Leader decides to change roles up from what you were expecting.

If the Off Tank involves the Boss switching tanks like Void Reaver or Bloodboil, then make sure you maintain Uncrushable and a minimum of 490 Defense.

If its just Add tanking like Lurker or Akama, then don't worry about Uncrushable and only maintain 485 Defense. Try to boost your Spell Damage as much as you can and a little larger mana pool might be in order as Adds typical don't hit anywhere near as hard as the Boss.

Try to get your spell damage as high as you can. The Tier pieces are good choices to use, as well as  some of the Badge Gear (Sabatons of the Righteous Defender, Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor). Trinkets are another great place for Threat pieces like Battlemaster's Audacity, Crimson Serpent, Eye of Magtheridon, or the Tome of Firey Redemption.

If you don't need to worry about Uncrushable, then swap in the Libram of Divine Purpose or the Libram of Eternal Rest.

 

Looking Back

A year ago today, I attempted my first Heroic Dungeon on Honorshammer. It was Heroic Slave Pens. I had 10.5k health, 12k armor, and 489 defense. The run was hardly flawless (I died on the first pull trying to AoE tank the Bogstroks), and we wiped multiple times on Quag, but we got him down. I got an Ace of Furies off of him which saved me some major gold as I was trying to build the Furies deck.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Quiet

There will not be many updates this week. I've got some exciting stuff going on in my other (some call it 'Real') life this week that is going to keep me away from the computer most nights. Basically, I won't be getting home most nights until at least 10pm. Assuming I went straight to computer, most raids and groups will have been formed and well under way.

Blogging is great because you can look back a year later and see what you were doing. A year ago today, I was making my 7th run in Steam Vaults for my Devilshark Cape. I think it finally dropped on run 11 or 12. I still use that Cloak even today for Mt. Hyjal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Keeping My Word

I resolved that when I was handed my Tier 6 gloves, I'd bust my beard to make sure everyone else who wanted T6 got theirs.
Last night was the beginning of making good on that.
We blast through Mount Hyjal, one shotting all 4 bosses. He dropped 3 Rogue tokens.
I decided to try the 2 piece Tier 5 bonus with my Shoulders and Gloves, but I died on the first pull. I went back to my Tier 4 shoulders, but I kept my Tier 5 gloves.
So you think you want to be a Paladin tank? Here's what my game typically looks like when I'm AoE tanking in Hyjal. I promise there's a dwarf in there somewhere.
I was flawless on the pickups of the Doomguards on Azgalor. I would stand directly on top of the person with Doom and drop a Consecrate a couple of seconds before they died. The Doomguard would spawn, eat a tick of Consecrate and I had them. Then Vlad would taunt him off me. After my issues the week before I'm thinking she was spamming taunt to try to grab it as soon as it came up.
I had a small problem moving the Doomguard off the dead player so he could soulstone since the Doomguard would Warstomp and stun me. But I felt much better about my performance.
After the raid, we went and took a look at Archimonde. We were all curious about the area and exploring a bit. Everyone got their tears and practiced jumping off. Someone managed to get too close to him and engaged him. My whole screen went red and suddenly BAM. I was hit with Finger of Death for over 900,000 damage. No, you didn't read that wrong. After a couple of pulls like that we called it.
It was very cool to see the Night Elf camp and to check out Archimonde.
I've already been told I will be sitting for him for the first few kills.
Archimonde is a one tank fight. I have offered to spec Holy again, however due to the need to decurse and the power of Archimonde's Fear, we will be bringing mostly Druids, Priests, and Shamans. I'm glad fear will not be a large dynamic in the expansion. A Blizzard CM said that in the months leading up to Burning Crusade. I must el oh el now.
After we have killed him a couple of times, I can get a spot healing the Ranged DPS, and hopefully get my T6 hat.
Of course, it's more the fun of doing the fight than the loot. The loot is just the stuff you need to get to the next fight. Of course, I could get lucky and Bloodsky (the only Alliance guild on my server) could have a rash of Tank Engineering Patterns (Hard Khorium Goggles) drop in Sunwell, and sell me one. Thereby removing the need for my T6 hat.
I was disappointed when a comment was made to our Raid Leader / Guild Master following the raid. I never saw the comment (so it had to be in a private channel or whisper) but I heard Vlad respond by basically repeating the question.
Basically someone was upset that I wasn't wearing the gear that had been defaulted to me (Tier 6 Gloves, Tier 5 shoulders). I guess people are still not comfortable with the Gear The Tanks First idea.
I explained that I was in my Block Value set for Hyjal trash and that I even had a few blues in that set. Different gear sets for different jobs is something most tanks have. I wasn't going to wear gear simply to make someone else happy when I knew the best gear to wear for the specific job I was doing.
I spend a good bit of time and effort researching how to be the best Paladin tank I can be. I have yet to have anyone communicate that they are unhappy with my performance.
I never asked to have one thing defaulted to me. It's just the loot system that Dominion uses. I readily accept that I'm third in line for most tanking upgrades (Kaz's shield for example).
In later fights like Bloodboil, Reliquary, and Council, I'll need an be wearing the gear that has been given to me, and hopefully more. I could use the Paladin Tanking Boots from Naj'entus (Tide Stompers), the Bracers from Shade of Akama (Seeker's Wristguards) and the Belt off Bloodboil (Girdle of Mighty Resolve). Supremus has a pair of tanking shoulders but I'd have to wait until both Kee and Vlad have them first. They are better than my T5 but inferior to my T6. Supremus also has a nice ring but I actually prefer the combination of Sunder Souls (off of Morogrim Tidewalker) and Stalwart Protector (Badges). I would take it for a max hit set, but again I'll wait until the other tanks have it.
Honestly, it's getting a bit wearing on me that people seem so interested in my gear.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Maybe This Time He'll Stay Dead

My Tankadin returned to Black Temple last night. We were much faster clearing trash. Gorefiend has the easiest trash we've seen thus far in BT. The trash produced about 4 epics, an epic Leatherworking pattern, and 5 or 6 Hearts of Darkness. We are building up our Hearts supply to make Shadow Resist gear that is needed to defeat Mother Sharaz.
We spent much of the night wiping on Terron Gorefiend as various people in our raid figured out keybindings, bar mods, and how to control your ghost.
I was only a ghost one time, and it was for a very brief as we were wiping. I can tell you from even that short experience, it's harder than it sounds. Of course part of my problem was that we were basically wiping and there were Constructs everywhere, however; the largest issue I had was simply not being familiar with controling the ghosts. I had no muscle memory of where the nukes, and slows were. I was trying to figure out how to control my character while at the same time figuring out what I needed him to do. That is not a recipe for quick reactions.
We had a couple of very close calls. We had him sub 5% on at least 3 occasions, and 1% wipe was the most painful. We simply had lost all our DPS.
My main job was dispelling an Incinerate DoT that he places on a random person. He seems to do then at random times. I would try to throw a heal, but sometimes I have to cancel the heal and try to dispell the Incinerate really fast. A couple of times, I got caught in a global cool down, and nearly lost the person I was trying to cleanse. If a person wasn't pretty much full, the first tick of the DoT would kill them. I figured out that Incinerate had some sort of cool down so I could throw a Flash of Light or two right after he did it.
But I was frustrated because I was sitting there with a full mana bar. That was a resource the raid had that was not being fully used.
So I went maverick. Well, not really, but I expanded my role without really asking or getting permission. I stationed myself behind Terron Gorefiend (I didn't want to parry gib Kee who was Main Tanking). I judged him with Wisdom which activated my auto attack. Trust me I know my 41.5 DPS weapon wasn't going to to wow anyone, but this is a DPS. I didn't want another 1% wipe.
Immediately after the first Incinerate, I would cleanse, and Flash of Light the Incinerate target. Then I would do my normal rotation of Consecrate, Judge, and Seal of Vengeance. The cool thing about Vengeance is that it is a DoT. So while I was sitting there cleansing and healing, the DoT was slowing ticking on him.
It was past our designated end time, but no one in the raid wanted to leave him standing with reset day facing us. We decided to give it 'one more try'. I don't know what it is about a "Last Try" that brings out the best in people. On that attempt, the ghosts were handled well up until the very end when the raid got very chaotic. We had survived long enough, and gotten enough DPS on him. The last 1% slowly ticked away, and after a very long night we found ourselves victorious!


In our final pull of the night, I wound up doing 1/2% of damage to Gorefiend while Cleansing 11 of 14 debuffs, healing 15 times, and returning over 56,000 mana to the raid with Judgement of Wisdom. I've become the role player whose contributions don't really show up in the 'box score' the next morning.
I thought Dominion was 4/5 4/9 when I joined them, but I was wrong. We've corrected that small oversight now.
It makes my blood boil just thinking about our next target!

Now And Then

Long time readers of my blog may remember a post I did about a Gruul's Lair back in October. After the run, I ran into Stonegrad, who was a Protection Paladin in the most progressed guild on our server. At the time he had just obtained a Fang of the Leviathan off of Leotharas the Blind. I'm the dwarf standing next to him with my D3 shoulders (that I thought I'd never see drop) and my Eternium Greathelm off Opera.


At the time I said "Maybe one day, I'll look like that, maybe not."

Last night, I logged in and grabbed my T5 Shoulders from the vendor.


I guess one day is today.

I decided to go with hybrid gems (Parry/Stamina, and Dodge/Stamina) to get the stamina socket bonus.

Here is the comparison of the T5 Shoulders to the T4 which I have been wearing for a very long time.

It looks like the T5 is superior everywhere except for Block Value.

Now this brings me to an interesting question. What do I wear for Mount Hyjal trash?

I could wear my T5 gloves and Shoulders to get the Tier 5 2 piece set bonus, or I could go with the block value on the Tier 4 shoulders and Tier 5 gloves.

The other complication that has nothing to do with the actual stats is how visible they are. When I switched into my trash gear for BT last night (which is 4/5 T4), I got an immediate tell asking me where the T5 shoulders were. So I put the T5 shoulders on. The 2 piece bonus on T4 is the superior one for the jobs I am asked to do in BT right now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

VR Is Bugging Me

Sunday night was our DSS (Desperately Seeking Shoulders) run to Void Reaver. He is still 'bugged' in that Deadly Boss Mods will not announce where the Orbs are going. We discovered another bug with him. During two of our attempts he randomly went around killing a couple of people and chucking Orbs. The strange part was that he had no target (as shown in Target of Target).
We had discovered last week that taunt sort of worked on him. It gave you aggro but didn't change his target. I had postulated that it was a bug in Omen. We tried the same thing Sunday with the Warriors taunting whenever the cool down was up. I threw my Righteous Defense (Paladin Taunt) in there as well, but every time I did, I saw an 'Immune' message come up. Omen didn't seem to give Righteous Defense the same aggro gains as it did Taunt. But we noticed some additional strange behavior on Sunday.
He would change to a different tank than the one on top of the aggro list, or he would go after a DPSer who was 10k to 20k below the tank.
We got into this big discussion on vent. Was VR bugged? Was Omen bugged? After two wipes, we decided to try one more time. DPS would stay frosty (not go all out) and the tanks would not taunt. Everyone was to aggro wipe (Vanish, Feign Death, Invisibility, Soul Shatter, etc) every time their cool down was up.
Our Warrior tank (Kee) held him for about the first 3 minutes, then I took over. I ate at least two knock backs (my toon would get thrown away from VR) and VR was still on me. It alternated between Kee and myself for the whole fight. We had plenty of DPS, and he went down without much of an issue. As a Tank, I really have it easy on this fight. Run in and generate as much TPS as possible. The DPS and Healers are running around, dodging Arcane Orbs and trying to stay under the tanks in threat. I don't envy their jobs.
He dropped 2 Hero tokens and a Champion. I put in my bid for the Champion token and wait to see if I had the most DKP to get it. Then Fly (Dominion's former MT, who was on his Shaman, Icifire) mentions that the token should be defaulted to me. Vlad (GM/RL) agreed and I was given the token.
I felt a little uncomfortable getting more loot defaulted to me, but this is the loot system Dominion uses. I only hope it doesn't cause additional drama.
Since we had a little extra time, we decide to go try to kill Solarian. As we work though the trash, the healers got into some discussion about the various healing classes, and which one was best, or which one would top the meters. I thought this kind of epeening meters talk was reserved for DPS. One of our Resto Druids got very upset when someone pointed out that he was beaten out by other classes on Void Reaver. He started pointing out everything about the Void Reaver encounter that made it difficult for him and how he was at a disadvantage due to his healing target.
Vlad shut the discussion down explaining she was just picking on him and it wasn't serious.
Somehow from that discussion, Paladins came up and Protection Paladins in general. I don't recognize voices yet, but my ears piqued when one of my fellow Paladins started saying "The only thing Prot Paladins are good for is..."
At which point I cut him off.
"I suggest you choose your next words very carefully"
I have no desire to cause drama in my guild, but there is no way I'm going to let anyone talk trash about my chosen Spec without a fight. He claimed he was Prot at times too so he could talk about it which brought a little friendly laughter from the raid. He never finished his thought and I let it go without another comment.
Such is the life of a Protection Paladin, constantly doubted by most of the players around you, and sometimes, doubted even by yourself.
We pull Solarian's trash, which is quite fun for a Tankadin with several AoE pulls. I'm still waiting too long to call for AoE, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Even as it is, I still have trouble with the Seed spamming Locks pulling off me.
Vlad explains the "Dominon" way of doing Solarian. Most guilds adapt strategies to fit their own strengths, weaknesses and past experiences. I'm going to say the positioning on where I was supposed to stand wasn't clear because I didn't go to the right spot. Vlad was trying to get me into position when one of the healers missed that they had the Wrath debuff and blew up the raid.
I hit my positioning perfectly the next attempt and we downed her. Did I make a mistake that contributed to a wipe? Yup. Did I make it again? Nope.
I hearthed out, but it was late so I didn't end up grabbing my shoulders.

For Narnia!!!

[Please note that this post has nothing at all to do with WoW, Paladins, Tanking, or Epic Loot]


I went and saw Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian with a group of friends over the weekend.

I'm a huge fan of C.S. Lewis' writings, both fiction and non-fiction. In fact my #1 favorite book is a non fiction book written by C.S. Lewis, and I really enjoyed Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when it was released.

So you can imagine I was really looking forward to see the movie.

There were some changes made to Prince Caspian from the book to adapt it for the movie, but the essence of the story was the same. How easy it was to fall in love again with Reepicheep, the valiant mouse. Some of the lines they gave him were priceless.

We first meet him when he saves Prince Caspian

Reepicheep: Choose your last words carefully, Telmarine. (Telmarines are the bad guys)
Prince Caspian: You are a mouse.
Reepicheep: I was hoping for something a little more original.

Then later in a battle with the Telmarines.

Telmarine Soldier Killed by Reepicheep: You're a mouse.
Reepicheep: You people have no imagination!

Everyone in my little group of friends that went enjoyed it thoroughly. It was fun. I give it my highest recommendation.

I really only have a couple of criteria for a movie.

A) Did it leave me wanting more? Basically do I want to go back to that world again, travel with these characters again, and experience new stories.

B) Would I go on that ride again? Basically do I want to see the movie again?

On both counts Prince Caspian receives a resounding YES! I'd love to see it again, and I can't wait for the next Chronicles of Narnia movie! Someone in my circle commented they'd love to live in Narnia, and I have to agree, for a fantasy world, I wouldn't mind making my home there.

I may have to make a macro for my Paladin and my Warrior that yells "FOR NARNIA!" as he charges into battle.

3 Timed Chests

Come, come dear reader to the next episode in the life and times of a Paladin tank.
Friday Night, I logged on and immediately got asked to tank a trash run of Black Temple to help farm up Hearts of Darkness. The guild has determined we need 150 Hearts of Darkness to make Shadow Resist gear for when we get to the Mother Sharaz fight. We have about 75 Hearts in the bank right now.
I had previously committed to run Zul'Aman with some buddies from Heroes Inc. Friday is usually an off night for us, so I had anticipated being able to run with them.
I explained that I had already made plans and went with my friends into Zul'Aman. We started off with Eagle. Despite the fact that I had failed in tanking him the week before Wichita put me as main tank on him again. This time it was flawless. We one shot him, activated the chest but didn't open it. Then we hauled freight to Bear Boss. Bear Boss was also one shot. I didn't have a single taunt resisted. Again, we activated the chest but didn't waste time opening it. This would prove to be a very wise decision.
Two chests down and the timer running. We op for Dragonhawk next.
I hate Dragonhawk's trash.
We got a bad pull on a scout and he managed to hit the drum one time. Once! That of course spawned more trolls which kept us out in the open long enough for another scout to spawn. I started Consecrating to pick up the newly spawned Trolls and we narrowly avoided wiping, but we had lost valuable time.
We pull Dragonhawk with our Feral Druid (Origami) tanking him. We knew we were tight on time, so we opened nearly a whole side on the first hatch. Now it's up to me to gather the adds, and find a safe place among fireballs when he launches them.
I have to give major props to Dlow, who was healing me and cleansing off the debuff that the hatchlings put on you that makes you take more fire damage. We finished off that side the next hatch, and then took another chunk out of the opposite side. I will be working on my Fire Resist set soon in hopes of getting a spot as a Flame tank on Illidan (I can't believe I'm even writing that). Maybe I should use some Fire Resist on Dragonhawk's adds?
We put him into Enrage and he let the remaining eggs go. I gathered them up and we AoE'ed them down.
We didn't have much time left on the timer. He was at 10% but the timer was already at 1 minute. We killed him with literally seconds to go, and got the 3rd chest!
He dropped the same caster dagger he's dropped the last 3 or 4 times I've killed him. Random loot is random.
Here was our group:
Honors
Origami
Blackhaus
Bluetide
Dlow
Wichita
Jagdelf
Ferth
Desirabela
Bandaidez
I was the only person in the raid not from Heroes. Feel free to Armory them, but the only T5 bosses they have killed are Lurker and Void Reaver. Yet they (we) were able to get 3 timed chests, and that's with a bad pull on the Dragonhawk trash, plus we lost our Mage during the first bomb sequence. If we could get clean through Dragonhawk's trash, and keep the Mage up for quicker kill, we could have 3 chests with a little time to spare. Think about all the AoE pulls between Dragonhawk and Lynx.
Everyone is convinced you've got to have full T6 to get the Bear mount. I think Heroes may have other ideas.
We went ahead and killed Lynx and moved on to the Hex Lord.
This was the first time I had put any significant time into Hex Lord even though Heroes has downed him before. My biggest problem was that with all the CC going on, I couldn't Consecrate for threat. Wichita (Enhance) had to hold back at points so as not to pull. The priest who was in charge in Shackling was getting some resists. He was struggling with wearing PVP gear (for stamina to survive the AoE Shadow Bolts), or PVE gear (for Hit for his Shackles). Origami was having to shift to caster to sleep the Snake add and then shift back to Kitty for DPS. I was dragging Hex Lord all over the place to get away from traps, Consecrate, and Totems.
Blizzard really did a nice job making a complicated, challenging 10 man encounter. It gives me great hope for the Expansion.
We had a couple of less than 5% wipes. His AoE Shadow Bolt attack hits harder the longer the fight goes and eventually our healers mana was spent. It was getting late so we had to call it, but it had been a great night.