Friday, August 29, 2008

Theme Song

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but this was a Blog Azeroth shared topic.

"What would be the theme song for your toon? "

I thought about it, and while I had a couple of ideas ultimately, I went with "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. (

I think this comes out of the time when I was still struggling with tanking, and felt the need to prove myself to every Druid, Warrior, and Boss going. It was a time when few believed in Paladin tanks and comments like "Paladins can't tank 25 man raids" were common.

Ultimately, I didn't listen to them.

Here's a short except of some of the lyrics.

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again.
"Boy you'll never win!""You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I would like to suggest Holy by Nicole Nordeman ( ) for Shia at Banana Shoulders. I think it fits.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Dangerous, Really I Am

I was fortunate enough to be selected to join the Raid to Black Temple last night.

Our night started out with the Horde in control of the stone. As I hovered over them in my Gyrocopter, I was thinking how cool it would be if Blizzard let Engineers drop bombs from their flying mount. But those thoughts soon gave way to fighting for the stone.

After we zoned in, it wasn't long before I started noticing a problem, and it's name was Omen. I simply wasn't producing the same kind of threat numbers that I'm used to seeing. I checked all the usual suspects. Righteous Fury was on, Blessing of Salvation was off. I don't know what has happened to all our Paladins because we only ran two last night so it was Kings and Salv across the board.

One issue I had was some small four legged creatures known only as Sheep. These Sheep make it difficult for me to use Consecration. Apparently, Sheep have a problem with Holy ground and break. Broken Sheep makes my Raid Leader very grumpy.

The next issue was tanking the Elementals. I was really excited when Vlad (Raid Leader) assigned me to tank one of the large Elementals that guards the entrance to Najentus' lair. I'm usually on the spawns. Elemental attacks are unblockable, so on those mobs I lose some Holy Shield threat.

But what I was looking at last night was producing numbers far lower than I'm used to producing. Something was definitely off.

I think the core issue might have been a degradation of performance. My framerate dropped into the single digits at points. The only significant change I've made to my system is adding Decursive. So next time, unless we are specifically fighting Terron Gorefiend, I'm going to leave Decursive off.

The other action step is to update Omen. Is it just me or does that mod update every hour on the hour!

I'm also going to update the drivers on my Video Card. That should cover almost all my bases.

I will say this, the difference between 0/49/12 and 0/40/21 is very noticeable. Threat is much better in 0/40/21, but survivability is much better in 0/49/12. You can feel it, and you can see it on Omen. If we could just get a Ret Paladin, I could get the benefit of 0/40/21 with the survivability of 0/49/12, because the Ret Paladin could provide me with Sanctity Aura.

It is up to the Raid Leader to make the raid she feels has the best chance of success. We have a Paladin in our Raid who really wants to raid as Ret. I would think that, even if his DPS was a little low, we should let him raid as Ret. I think it would make him a happier raider.

The basic question I need to answer for the Raid Leader is will the Raid DPS be higher with DPS Warrior/Rogue/Rogue/Feral Druid/Enhance Shaman, or DPS Warrior/Rogue/Feral Druid/Enhance Shaman/Ret Paladin.

As our DPS has geared up, all of our tanks have started to run into threat issues. There are a couple of well geared Hunters and Warlocks who can pull over any tank we throw at the Bosses, myself included. These guys could easily make up for any lost DPS from a Ret Paladin.

As for the Raid itself, I'll say Dominion is getting really good at adapting to new faces in the raid and outside of them dying on Najentus due to low stamina, we didn't miss a beat.

Of course, the one time our Hunters didn't get the Misdirect up to get Supremus back on the tank, he had just punted me so I was no where close to him, and he squished one of our Warlocks.

Najentus still hates me, by the way, and steadfastly refuses to give up the Tide Stompers Greaves when I'm around. I think all the mobs gather around and hide all the Illidari Runeshields when I zone in as well. They only seem to drop on my off nights.

I did see a Syphon of the Nathrezim drop off of Supremus, but one of our Rogues needed it. I'd like pick up either the Syphon or Rising Tide (off Najentus) for my new tank weapon once patch 3.0 hits. Another option would be a Breaching Comet off of Kael in Heroic Magisters Terrace.

Hopefully, the steps I'm taking will eliminate the threat issues I had and everything will be right as rain come Monday night.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back At It

Our break ended last night and Dominion threw ourselves into Mount Hyjal.

We had little trouble with Rage and her flunkies.

I had decided to use Anetheron's Infernals to test out my Fire Resist gear. The gear works great. I resisted most of the damage from the Infernal, but I also ran into a threat problem. My Fire Resist set is lower on spell damage than any of my other sets and producing good threat was a problem. I was also having to position the Inferal before I could really open up on them.

I would pull them with Exorcism and lead them away from the Raid so they wouldn't take damage from the Fire Aura.

Twice a Hunter pulled aggro on the Infernal and another time a Mage managed to pull. I'm not overly concerned about it for the Anetheron fight, but I am greatly concerned how this will translate in the Illidan fight. The Flames of Azzinoth are considered Demons, so I can use Exorcism every time it's off cooldown to help. I've got to be constantly moving the Flames as well. It's a concern but one that I can't really do anything about until we reach Illidan anyway, but I've got to come up with a strategy to generate more threat.

Right after Anetheron, I had a something come up that required a rather long AFK, and I came back as quickly as I could, but I felt bad that the other 24 guys and gals had to wait for me. There really wasn't anything I could do about it, so I apologized for my absence and we continued.

I didn't really have my head in the game and the first few pulls of Kaz'rogal trash did not go smoothly, but the Raid recovered and we downed Kaz'rogal. I managed to stay alive through the whole fight and even had enough mana to drop a Consecrate or two.

I've been purposely trying to limit myself to 1 mana pot per combat ever since I learned that would be the rule in the Expansion. I figured I might as well get used to it now.

With my brain back in gear, Azgalor's trash went smoother. We did lose one of our tanks in the inital pull, but I grabbed his target until he could be battle rezzed and he taunted it off me when he was ready.

The greatest challenge I faced in picking up Doomguards on Azgalor was watching for the silence. Getting silenced just as you need to pick them up can make for some interesting moments to say the least. But I wasn't alone out there and my team really backed me up well.

One Doomguard was initially picked up by one of our Resto Shaman who resisted the silence. She was able to frost shock kite the Doomguard long enough for the silence to wear off and for me to pick it up.

We still had enough time to at least try Archimonde. I had anticipated that I would replaced, but it turned out I was going to stay in and heal as Prot spec.

This time I was in the melee group, standing near Archimonde's foot. I did my best to shadow the movements of the Phatkiller (Resto Shaman) who the group leader. More than once I was saved by her Tremor totem. I thought you didn't get much warning on Fires in Group 5. You basically get no warning at all in melee. The Fires spawn behind you, and you have to rely on your teammates in the other groups to draw them away. I caught on fire more in this position than any other. In fact, on our kill, I spent considerable time out of melee and cut off by fire.

I wound up pretty low on the healing meters. Some would attribute that to the fact I was healing in Prot spec, but I believe most of the problem was that most of my healing was overheal. Our Main Tank was topped off pretty good most often my Flash of Light would be completely overheal.

It was a tough fight, but on our 'last pull' we managed to down him. I was really hoping for a Cataclysm Edge to drop. One of our Holy Paladins has been drooling over the possibility of getting that sword for his Ret set. So I was pulling for it to drop for him, but no cigar.

I didn't loot any thing aside from Badges. I pretty much have everything I want from Hyjal as far as loot goes. I'm not even sure I'd roll on a Tempest of Chaos at this point. With the changes to Protection Paladins, moving us to a more melee type weapon, I'm not sure I need it.

I haven't talked much about the Expansion in my blog, but I am keeping up with the changes as best I can. Maintankadin has a dedicated sub forum that is a great source for information.

Part of this is simply because much of the information can and likley will change.

There are many decisions that need to made like what Professions I'll use in Lich King, and I'm also trying to decide if I should spend badges on some of the Warrior-centric gear (I'm looking at you, Chestplate of Stoicism).

My major problem at the moment is my bags are bulging. I have less than 5 open spots most nights. Keeping 2 different healing sets (Crit set for Holy, mp5 set for Prot), 2 different Ret set (more hit for PVE, more resilience for PVP), several different tank sets (threat, survivability, thrash, etc) really takes a toll on the bag space. I'm still hanging onto my Frost Resist gear in case it's needed for a farm/alt SSC run.

Then you add in all the pets, tabbards and mementos (full Dungeon Set 3, Verigan's Fist, etc) and I'm out of space in a hurry.

But the overriding reason is that for me, and for my guild, the Expansion is still over the horizon. We still have goals we want to accomplish before everyone heads off to the Frozen North.

My focus right now if finishing Burning Crusade.

I don't want Dominion to be 'that' guild. You know the one you hear saying things like "Well, we almost got to C'thun, but the Expansion got us". I doubt very seriously we will get as far as Kil'Jaden, and that doesn't bother me.

At this point, I'd be happy with getting Illidan in time. He was the guy taunting us in the cinematic open of Burning Crusade. He is the 'Lord of Outland' we have come to dethrone.

But I know our time is running out, maybe faster than any of us want to acknowledge.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aoesrus Versus Shadow Lab

Heroic Shadow Lab, the story of a mage

whose gone to the dogs.

My good friend, Aoesrus, sent me this screen shot of him in Heroic Shadow Labs last night. I don't know I think it's an improvement on his looks.

No Raid

I logged in last night knowing that we were taking the night off of Raiding.

My first goal for the night was to get the mats to have a guidmate make me a Relentless Earthstorm Diamond. After today's maintenance, I can purchase the Vengeful Gladiator's Scaled Helm and I will need the Diamond for the meta slot.

After I got that out of the way, I took a quick flight through Nagrand, doing the Shattered Sun Daily and looking for Mote Clouds.

I checked around with Dominion, Heroes Inc and Mal Katai, but no PVP groups were going, so I decided to dive in solo. I was about 4k honor short of being able to get the Season 2 Two Handed Mace. Somehow I managed to lose 4 straight Alterac Valley matches.

About this time, I received a tell from Sevenn, an old friend in Heroes Inc. He was trying to put together a Heroic Mana Tombs run to complete a quest he had gotten, and was looking for a tank. He managed to find a Priest, who was the alt of a Hunter from Mal Katai, and a DPS from Dominion. An unguilded Rogue filled out the party. The Rogue made it on my friend's list. I love the ability to add comments to friends.

So here I was in a PuG with Heroes Inc, the first guild on AoS I ditched, and Mal Katai, the second guild on AoS I ditched, and Dominion, my current guild. I was a little nervous as we made our way to the instance. No one said anything negative to me, in fact, everyone was super cool. You won't find nicer people than those in Mal Katai and Heroes Inc.

I had expected an experience like my Heroic Slave Pens run. Run in, drop a Consecrate, Holy Shield and shred the place. That's not exactly how it went down.

Mana Tombs is filled with casters, and it seemed like the Healer had a little bit of a challenge keeping my dwarf body vertical. He seemed to be using Greater Heal and Prayer of Mending. Other priests I've run with seem to use more Flash Heal. I don't know the first thing about playing a Priest, so I don't know which way is better.

We had a couple of wipes, mostly from overpulling, but we managed to down all the Bosses in one shot. The last boss was a very close call. Our Priest was out of mana, and had used his Shadow Fiend and a Potion, but the boss was still at 20%. I left my finger over my Lay On Hands button, but I didn't need it. We managed to kill the boss with me at 10% life.

After we killed Prince, we were able to do the quest for Sevenn. This involved summoning a two headed dog named Yor.
Yor is pretty much a tank and spank . Periodically, he will do a fire breath attack. Once I saw it, I turned him away from the group. He was pretty much a tank and spank and felt pretty easy compared to the epic battle we had just won against Prince.

I wouldn't say I'm just dying to run the place again. However, I did manage to hit Exalted with Consortium. I need to fly up to Netherstorm and buy the recipe for Renlentless Earthstorm Diamond. I'd like to try to get Exalted with a couple of more factions before Lich King hits.

We should get the Raid train rolling again tonight, and I am really looking forward to it.

Clothes That Make The Man Part II

Back in September of last year I listed out my various gear sets and what makes them up. I had intended to update that post much sooner, but today you have the next update.

What you see here is not actually how these suits look today. I felt like showing my sets in this state would be helpful to a larger audience. This is my 'Main Tank the Boss' set. Uncrushable, and maximizing on effective health, and avoidance. Survival above all else. Going to be fighting a Boss, so uncrushability must be maintainted but for whatever reason, threat is more important. I would use this in a fight that's a DPS race or I need to be second on threat. Gruul and Void Reaver are both situations where I might pull this suit out. I also use this anytime I am not tanking the boss, but I feel there is a chance the Main Tank might go down so I would need to try to grab the boss before too much damage is done to the raid.This is the set I would use for easy Heroics and 5 mans. This also became my 'Trash' set.This was my Block Value set. It saw great action on Morogrim's murlocs, Solarian's adds, and our early Mount Hyjal trash farming. I have since moved to a move dodge heavy set for Hyjal trash. Invariably, some of the mobs in those packs get behind you and you can't block them. I would also use this set (with a Figuring of the Colossus) for farming the Demon Hunter Supplicants up by Black Temple.This set pretty much saw action only on Hydross the Unstable where I was the Frost Main Tank. I still keep it in my bank in case I ever need it. This is the gear I would use when I wasn't grouped for Dailies, farming, and questing.
This was my 'I want to PVP but not repsec' suit. I found that as long as I was healing, no one in the Battlegrounds really cared if I was Prot or Holy.

I'll update this again with my current gear soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Break Time

I apologize for the lack of updates this week. All my free time has been devoted to preparing for this weekend when my Fantasy Football League will be holding it’s annual draft.
Yes, I play WoW and Fantasy Football. There should be a support group or something.

I watched the trailer for Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard’s art department has some amazingly talented folks in it. It was a really cool introduction. I still hold out hope that in the end the players actions in the battle at Ice Crown Citadel against the Lich King (who is a being of a fused spirit of Arthas and Ner’zhul) will ultimately redeem Arthas, and severe his bond to the Lich King. Much like the player character Death Knights, he will become free and ultimately help the players destroy Ner’zhul and the Frozen Throne.

Dominion has decided to take last night and Monday off of raiding. Several of the officers are feeling fatigue from the push we’ve made recently. Every top guild on Altar of Storms has eventually blown up going all the way to the heady days of Mindtrip. It is my hope that this break will help inoculate Dominion from a similar fate.

I had downloaded and installed Decursive in anticipation of the next meeting with Gorefiend. This little mod was once the bane of my existence, and I had thought it long dead.

What I refer to is my days as a Holy Paladin at level 60. I leveled up pretty late in game. Guilds were busily working on AQ40 when I finally dinged sporting more greens than a house salad. I was on the server Dark Iron at the time, and found a guild raiding Molten Core and Zul’Gurub.

My main job, as a woefully undergeared healer, was as a dispeller. There were mobs in ZG that fired an AoE poison that needed to be removed. Various mobs in Molten Core would put fire debuffs on the raid, and there was one boss who would constantly be putting debuffs on the raid. My main job on that boss was to keep the raid clean.

The first couple of nights it was pretty exciting. I had 40 name plates on my UI and I had to find the afflicted players and Cleanse them. Then I was told (not asked, told) to install Decursive. In that incarnation, it was a one button operation. By spamming my Decursive button, the mod would select the afflicted person and cast cleanse. It made the job of cleansing much easier, but it made my raiding time much less challenging, and therefore less interesting.

In one of the patches right before Burning Crusade, Blizzard removed the ability for the mod to select targets. Decursive had died what I thought was a noble death.

After my comments on Gorefiend, several people suggested I look into the mod, on which some kind Priest had apparently cast Resurrection.

Since the raid wasn’t going to happen, I needed some way to test it out. That presented itself when one of our Holy Paladins asked if I would tank a Heroic Slave Pens for him to get the last 3 Badges he needed for the Inscribed Legplates of the Aldor. I agreed.

It was amazing being back in Heroic Slave Pens. I remember my first few times attacking this dungeon, creeping around every corner, figuring out how to CC the various mobs, and how we would either kite or double tank the two Guardians pulls.

Last night it was simply run into a pack of mobs, Consecrate, Holy Shield and watch my mana. Not my health bar, my mana. Going OOM was about the only concern I had.

We ran through the whole place in 41 minutes. With an AoE class or two, it would have gone even faster. Our party was Prot Paladin, Feral Druid, Holy Paladin, Warrior of unknown spec, and Shadow Priest.

I did get to test out Decursive a couple of times when either myself or members of my party would get a debuff. I have to say I really like this current incarnation of Decursive, although the first time I heard the ‘bong’ sound effect, my stomach turned a little. They still use the same sound effect from the level 60 version.

The players frame lights up on the Decursive UI. I click on the UI and BAM, just like that they are Cleansed. I’m really looking forward to being able to use this on Gorefiend.

After Slave Pens, I was able to grab my 2v2 partner and get our games in. For this first time in our partnership, we finished above .500. We went 6-4, and had to call it early. Nevertheless, we raised our rating nearly 30 points.

I know that the 1400 bracket isn’t anything special, but I’ve never made any claims to great PVP skill. We are both alts. I consider Prot Honors to be my main and Ret Honors to be more of an alt.

We are continuing to improve our play each week. ). I’m learning a ton about the various classes, and how to fight each one, though I need to improve, especially against Mages and Hunters.

But the most important thing to me is that my partner and I are having fun (at least I am, I hope he is, too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Man On Fire

Last night Dominion was back in Black Temple. We were working on Terron Gorefiend.

I have not had the opportunity to tank Gorefiend yet, so my contribution is usually dispel duty. This frees up a ‘real’ healer to help heal the raid. The past couple of times my Raid Leader has been asking me to improve the speed of my dispel so less ticks of the Incinerate get off.

My set up right now is using the Addon GRID. I place Grid near the center of my screen and hover my mouse over it. As soon as I see the debuff in Grid, I click on the square (which targets the person) and spam my 9 key (bound to Cleanse).

I don't know anyway I can do it any faster. My reaction speed is pretty good. We have two dedicated dispellers and I beat the other guy to the punch about half the time.

I am dedicated to dispelling. I don’t throw any heals except immediately after the dispel. Incinerate must have some sort of cooldown, so I can generally throw on or two heals without a problem.

It especially gets rough later in the encounter. The Raid damage has increased from the Blooms or a possible loose Construct, and just a single tick of Incinerate can be enough to kill someone.

I'm going to put up a post on Maintankadin and see if anyone there has some suggestions. I'd also love to hear if anyone reading has any tricks or suggestions that would help me get the dispells off faster than I am now.

My Fire Resist gear for Illidan is just about all set. I have a set that puts me at 368 Fire Resist and uncrittable, but I put in a bid on a ring that has 1 more Fire Resist and about 10 more stamina. Having that one extra Fire Resist on the ring would allow me to change a Void Sphere out for a stamina gem.
The seller did not put a buy out on the ring, so I sent him an in game mail to see if he would sell it to me for twice as much as he was asking, but I haven't heard back from him yet, and the Ring auction was cancelled.
Once I have my suit all decided on, I’ll post it up for anyone who might be trying to come up with their Fire Resist suit as well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Glove Enchant Question

One of the most difficult decisions to make as a Protection Paladin comes in the area of Glove Enchants. There are two enchants that appear to be strong choices for adding threat: 20 spell damage, and 2% more threat.

So which one is superior for a Paladin tank?

Luckily, those fine folks over at Maintankadin have the skinny on this question. Check out the entire thread here:

The thread actually examines every possible enchant you could put on your gloves.

For the cliff notes version : 2% threat will grant you more aggro than +20 spell damage as long as you are generating more than 500 TPS.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

If It's In The Game, It's Not On the PC

(This post has nothing to do with WoW.)

When I'm not running around Outland and Azeroth righting wrongs and slaying evil doers, and Horde, I consider myself a pretty big professional (American) football fan. One of the annual events I look forward to is the release of the new Madden game to play during season.

Somewhere in their infinite wisdom the knuckleheads who run EA sports have decided to not make a version of Madden 2009 for the PC.
I think EA has made a very poor decisions, but I'm basically powerless to change it. No one from EA will ever read my blog and they had to know they would upset thousands of PC Gamers with this decision and decided it was 'just good business' to do it anyway. EA has said in so many words, 'We don't care about our former PC Gamer customers.'
Basically I am disappointed, and mad and I can't do a thing about it.

So putting aside what I can not control, I must concentrate on those things I can control.
Which leaves me with something of a conundrum.

Option A: I could buy a cheap PS2 and buy the new Madden. EA wins, and gets my money, plus I'm out the cost of the console.

Option B: I could buy an expensive XBox 360 or PS3 and buy the new Madden. EA wins, and gets my money, and I'm out even more money, but I have a nice new console (I am currently without console). Getting Mrs. Hammer to sign off on this would take some serious negotiation.

Option C: I could update my Madden 07 to Madden 08, and try to update the rosters to the new season. EA still wins, and gets my money.

Option D: I just play Madden 07 and don't worry about the rosters. EA doesn't get any more of my money, but I don't get as much enjoyment from the game. I really like having very up to date rosters, but I don't have the time to catch up the rosters.

Option E: Forget Madden exists and level up a new alt.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Once More Into The Battle

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred

Dominion has been back at it again this week.

Even with a couple of new faces in the raid, we did another fantastic one night clear of Mount Hyjal. I picked up the plate bracers off of Rage Winterchill for my Ret set. All of the Warriors in the raid already had them.

We had another Hard Heart drop off of Kaz’rogal. It went to one of our Holy Paladins. I think that's about our the fifth for the guild. May Illidan be as gracious with Shields when we reach him.

Azgalor was more interesting than usual when I got picked for Doom. We use the phrase “pick so and so up” to tell Druids to Battlerez. Well, when I got doomed, the Raid Leader told our Feral to pick me up. Actually, she said pick up the Doomguard I would spawn, but in the chaos of vent, that’s what he heard. Of course, halfway through his Rebirth cast, I used my Soulstone.

Despite the confusion, none of the Doomguards made it to our healers, and we still were able to one shot the boss. The trash waves that once made us cringe are now handled with relative ease.

I stepped out for Archimonde once again. The raid was so light on dispels we needed to bring the Raid Leaders newly leveled Mage to help out. I didn’t want to respect Holy since I was going to raid as Prot the next night.

Because of some real life stuff that I won’t go into, I wasn’t going to be able to raid Thursday, so I got online Wednesday instead.

We pulled to Najentus when something most unexpected happened. My Raid Leader had the tanks roll to see who got to tank Najentus. I lost the roll, but the tank that won deferred to me. So I was going to get another chance against Najentus.

From a tanking perspective, Najentus isn’t a difficult fight. It’s basically a stand there and keep your threat rotations going.

It took two times to kill Najentus because I died on the first attempt. I checked my combat log and I hadn’t let a crush through, in fact I had dodged the last two attacks.

It was a combination of the frost AoE plus the shield break, plus a normal melee that got me. I felt terrible for dying. I know it's a team effort between me and the healers, but I feel like I let them down when I died.

Then I got a whisper from one of the officers complimenting me on my tanking. Man, that felt good.

We pulled again. What was crazy to me is that the second time around, I was having a much harder time keeping threat. First, a Hunter had to Feign Death, then a Mage had to use Invisibility, and finally a Rogue had to Vanish. I didn’t have that much trouble on the first attempt. I know I did basically the same thing both attempts.

I check the report tool at This is a site takes a WWS report and spits out your TPS. The first attempt I did 797 TPS. The second attempt I did 634 TPS. Either WWS bugged out or I forgot to consecrate during the second attempt. I have a hard time believing I didn’t Consecrate at all that attempt, but it’s hard to dispute the WWS and it would explain the threat problems. Consecrate accounts for a good chunk of my threat. I simply can’t believe I didn’t use it.

We one shot Supremus, and then went to Reliquary of Souls. I was again on tap for Phase 3, and it went off without a hitch. I waited until the first Soul Scream to pop all my trinkets, so it was touch and go on threat at first, but once I let my cooldowns and trinkets go, I was set on threat.

We one shot RoS, and it’s only our second kill. It’s amazing how a boss can go from difficult to one shot that quickly.

We finished our evening with Shade of Akama.

The night was very fun, and everyone in our raid is doing an amazing job.

I do have a quick favor to ask. If any of the more progressed Tankadins read the blog, could you comment on whether or not Spell Warding effects the damage from the Flames on Illidan?

New Tankadin and Arena

I was talking with a friend last night who has recently leveled a Protection spec Paladin to 70 (Gratz, btw!!)

He really enjoys the play style and is having a blast. He was asking about doing PVP on his Protection Paladin, and specifically what would make a good Arena partner for 2s.

The problems you will run into as a Protection spec Paladin are:

Running out of Mana
Spell Pushback

Even in Holy PVP gear, you won’t have the starting mana pool of a Holy Paladin, however, the larger issue is that you don’t have the staying power. Without Illumination, you burn through your mana much faster as a Protection spec Paladin than a Holy Paladin does, and because your heals lack the power provided by the Holy talents, you have to cast more heals to get the same throughput. You can’t pot in Arenas, so you are in a situation of hoping your teammate can kill one before you are completely out of mana.

The other major problem is spell pushback. Without the Holy talents, anything hitting you can dramatically reduce your healing throughput. You are especially subject to Hunter pets.

In addition, you are battling all the other issues that plague Paladins in general in the 2s bracket. Our inability to cast on the run which makes it difficult to put distance between yourself and an attacker. The long cast times which leave you vulnerable to pummels, kicks, and counterspells, and with a Protection Paladin’s smaller mana pool, we are especially vulnerable to mana draining.

The advantage you have as a Protection Paladin in 2s is the preponderance of Rogue teams. Rogues have a very tough time with Protection Paladins. They are attacking high armor, and getting damaged for every attack they make against us with Holy Shield, Ret Aura and Blessing of Sanctuary. Protection Paladins are similarly effective when being attacked by Enhancement Shamans, Fury Warriors, and Feral Druids.

I did find my Protection Paladin did better in the larger team brackets, especially as a second Healer in a 5s team with a Druid. The Druid would start out in stealth, and I would run out with the team, so the other team would identify as the healer. Then the Druid would come out of stealth and be mostly unmolested. My primary concern was keeping Blessing of Freedom up on the Warrior and keeping our Druid alive.

Protection Paladins also offer quite a bit in a Battleground situation. Here, you can pot, and drink in between fights which mitigates some of the issues in Arenas.

In addition to healing, Protection Paladins make excellent flag runners and point defenders, and their tanking can be a major advantage in Alterac Valley. I enjoy charging into Drek’s room. “Don’t worry about the Towers, get a couple of healers on me and I’ll tank the whole room.” If you can get a Fear Ward on you for Drek’s fears, you are golden.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Momma Mia!

We had already passed out the Mother gear, and Black Temple was going to reset the next day, and we had a little time left, so we figured we would go ahead and see what Mother’s trash looked like.

This time the door was well and truly open.
Our first issue was the Sisters of Pleasure and Pain. These are mobs that come together. On every pull we would lose at least one if not two tanks on these mobs. Is there some trick we didn’t know about to not get killed fighting them?

The whole Mother area is reminiscent of Maiden of Virtue’s area in Karazhan with similar Succubus type mobs.

Mother’s trash contains several AoE type pulls. The challenge is nearly every mob in these pulls has a stun. I would pick them up with Consecrate, and use Retribution Aura and Holy Shield to try to hang on to them, and then have to get the refresh of my abilities off in-between the stuns.

There was a scary moment when I went into pick up the group, but they got a stun off before I could get my Consecrate out.

“Honors, put your Consecrate down”, our new Holy Paladin (Welcome to Dominion!) said.
“I’m working on it!” was my calm and measured reply.

Yeah, a couple of mobs got loose on that pull. I might need to drop some gold on some Free Action potions.

My favorite trash mob had to be the mini Mothers. They look just like the four arm demons that walk around Blackheart’s room in Shadow Labs. What they do is put a debuff on your that has a chance of making you do 10% more damage and healing, and making your grow.

Huge Tree is huge.

I guess Fares wants Mother to pick on someone her own size.

It was funny to see our teammates suddenly the size of Boss mobs. It was nice break to the tension and pretty fun. Well done to whatever designer thought of that dynamic.

Finally we were ready to face down Mother Sharaz herself. A poster on the MainTankadin boards explained that Mother is a 2 Phase fight. The first Phase is gathering up literally hundreds of Hearts of Darkness to make resist gear for the entire raid. Phase 2 is actually fighting her. He felt Phase 1 was the more difficult phase to get through.

My job was to help offtank Mother by soaking Saber Lash. If you’ve ever done Lynx Avatar in Zul’Aman, you’ve seen Saber Lash, because he has the exact same move. Whereas Lynx’s Saber Lash is split over 2 tanks, Mother’s hits up to 3.

In between Saber Lashes, I would throw a Flash of Light or two.

Mother has a Chromatic Aura which gives here less damage from one school, for example Frost, while giving her more damage from another school, for example Fire. I would wait until she was taking extra damage from Holy, then I would drop my Consecrate, and hit her with Exorcism provided I wasn’t silenced.

Yes, every now and again she does an annoying Silence to everyone within 30 yards of her.

But that’s not her worst trick. From time to time she ports three people together, and they start doing Shadow damage to each other until they are far apart from each other.

We had everyone install a mod that would put symbols over their heads. What was described over vent was that arrows would appear to show you what way to run. That wasn’t entirely accurate. One person would get a skull over their heads. A skill is white and white means run west. Another would get a square. Square meant run south. The third person would get an X which would mean run east.

Of course everyone forgot what the different symbols meant and ran the same way, sometimes even towards the tanks.

We tried a couple of times, but ended up losing either the Main Tank or one of the offtanks.

Each time we improved. We went from 80% on the first pull to 30% on the second pull. It was getting late and our Raid Leader was concerned about pushing the raid, but we really wanted another shot at her.

So we pulled ‘one last time’.

The attempt was going well. I used every trick in my book. Moroe’s Lucky Pocket Watch, my Healthstone, and my Health pot were all on cooldown. At 20%, Vlad (Warrior offtank) switched stances and popped Recklessness. I made her my primary Flash of Light target. I kept Consecrate going as much as I could between silences. The damage from Saber Lash kept my mana pool nice and full.

And Mother Sharaz fell. 7/9 Black Temple.
Amazingly, we had gotten two progression kills in one night!

We checked the loots: 2 Conquerors and 1 Vanquisher. I felt really bad for my coTanks (both Warriors), however, I was really excited because I was about to get a Conqueror token.
Our loot system gives priority to our Main Tanks and Main Healers on Tier tokens. It means Vlad and I defer nearly every tanking upgrade to Kee, but at the same time we get our Tier tokens. The whole idea behind the system is to make future kills smoother so everyone gets any piece of gear they want.
I remember the drama caused when I received my Tier 6 gloves, but now we can't hardly give the token away.

As soon as the raid was over, I took the port to Shattrah and headed to Lower City and took the port to Caverns of Time. I grabbed two Empyrean Sapphires from the bank and cut them to +15 stam.

Compared to my Tier 5 Shoulders, it’s a nice increase in both Health and Armor, with a little added Spell Damage. I give up miniscule amounts of mana and spell crit from slightly less intellect. I lose less than a point of defense. The change in avoidance is from the gemming. I had Dodge and Stamina gems in my Tier 5 because of the Stamina socket bonus, but I went with pure Stamina in Tier 6 because I don’t care about a +3 dodge rating socket bonus.
So here is the new look Honorshammer.
Now it’s time for me to start reading up on Illidari Council!! I can't believe how close we are to the ultimate goal, Illidan Stormrage!

Soul'd Out

I was running a little late last night. When I logged in, I found the raid already formed. After a couple of nervous minutes wondering if I was going to raid, I received my invite.

We were going for a progression kill on Reliquary of Souls, and I would be front and center as the Main Tank for Phase 3. What mattered most was threat generation so we could kill Essence of Anger before it killed us.

I’m rather annoyed that all the Essences you fight in Reliquary of Souls are uncategorized mobs. If they were Demon/Undead, I could use Exorcism on them which would be an added nuke for more threat. But that is out of my control. It was time to worry about those things that were within my control.

I had my Destruction Potions ready, and I had gone for Threat with both my food, Blackened Basilisk, as well as my Flask, Flask of Blinding Light. (I’d like to say a big thank you to Lakini of Heroes Inc for making my Flask for me).

This raid, instead of sporting my usual 0/49/12 spec, I went with the Worldli Threat Special, 0/40/21. This spec sacrifices Avenger’s Shield and Ardent Defender in favor of Sanctity Aura.

Using multiple Auras is an important part of defeating Reliquary of Souls. During the trash gauntlet, I have Retribution Aura on for AoE threat. Then I switch to Devotion Aura in Phase 1 and Phase 2 to reduce damage to the tanks. I waited until we were moving into Phase 3 to unveil Sanctity Aura.

All through Phase 2, I was mentally going over my rotations, and how I would handle the first few crucial moments of Phase 3.

As we moved from Phase 2 to Phase 3, I got into position and made sure I already had Holy Shield and Seal of Righteousness going.

I judged Essence of Anger and dropped my Consecrate. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for my Judgment cooldown to come back around. I hit my Destruction potion and popped my wings.

I never hit the stupid high burst I had gotten with Avenger’s Shield, but my sustained threat was much better.

Because of where I had picked up EoA, I was actually behind the little box where they come out. I'm under there somewhere I promise!

I don't know how well you will be able to read the threat meter. At that particular moment, I'm producing 1600 TPS, and I'm 16k above the closest DPSer. It was only after the kill that I noticed I forgot to pop my Crimson Serpent (it's not on cooldown) during the fight. So I know I can produce even more threat that I did.

I was totally locked into the Boss, my rotation and the threat meter. I could hear the vent chatter but it seemed like it was a million miles away. Everything faded into background as I watched my mana, health, and cooldowns. It was awesome, and a bit nerve wracking as well.

By the time I looked up, EoA was already at 10%. I slammed a Health pot, and my Healthstone. Half the raid was dead. I got the low hit point warning from Xpearl, so I used my Lay On Hands.

And then it was over. Reliquary of Souls was dead. On our 3rd pull of the night, we had defeated the 6th boss in the Black Temple. I breathed a deep sigh of relief.But our night was far from over. We had had an ongoing debate on whether or not the door to Mother Sharaz would open when we killed Reliquary and Bloodboil, or if we would need to kill Terron as well.

We went down and saw the door was open, so we took a break and distributed the Shadow Resist gear we had been holding for what felt like months.

Unfortunately, the door we found was NOT the door the Mother. Her door was rather stubbornly closed.

So we pulled to Terron Gorefiend.

For the first time in Dominion’s history, Terron was a one shot. Kee was able to get the Gloves of Enforcement off of him. They are an excellent threat piece for Warriors.

If you don't have your Tier 6 gloves from Azgalor, they would likely be an upgrade for Paladin's as well due to the Expertise and Block Value. However, if you are killing Terron, I have to think that your guild is also killing Azgalor or close to it. The Tier 6 gloves for Paladins are excellent, and I would save your DKP for them instead.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Friday night rolled around and I went to my bank.

He’s a mild mannered Tankadin during the week, crazy PVP Ret Paladin on the weekend.

I turned down a couple of people who asked me to tank for them. It takes me a couple of BGs to get out of tank mode and into PVP mode, and I like to be ready when my partner logs in. I checked my mailbox, and had the new Olympic tabard, but alas, no Gold Medallion yet.

This week went much like last week for us. We got off to a fast start and crested in the mid to high 1400s. Then we ran into some rough combinations, and slid down under 1400. We spent the rest of the night fighting our way back up to our original rating.

We ended up playing 24 games and finishing 2 points below where we started.

There were a couple of games where our team really gelled and you could see it working, but other games where we just didn’t get it together.

I really feel like there is promise to this team. What I can’t understand are the people who talk like 1600 is just a walk in the park. Maybe I’m just that bad at PVP, but right now, 1500 seems like a pretty good goal at this time.

The big difference I see on the weekend is doing my Daily quests. Almost all of them are more enjoyable as Ret. For instance, when you are doing The Battle Must Continue, one of the demons you fights is a winged demon who Warstomps and AoEs. When I’m prot, I get a stack of Vengeance going on him and drop a consecrate, and move out of the AoE. He stands there AoEing his little heart out, taking damage from the Consecrate. When I’m Ret, he’s dead before he even gets a chance to Warstomp.

I’ve pushed my rep over 19k with Shattered Sun. With any luck, I’ll be exalted in a day or so.

Blood Boiled Again

I took Wednesday off as is my custom, though I did log on briefly to do some dailies on the Isle of Quel’Danas and to make some Health and Mana potion injectors for the raid.

Thursday, I was on the wait list as Dominion killed Archimonde once again. I’ve killed the guy twice and anything I would loot from him would be offspec stuff. It’s not a fight I enjoy a great deal since I don’t have an active tanking role in it. To be honest, I was glad to be doing dailies rather than fighting Archimonde.

After Archimonde, Dominion was going after Bloodboil. They had killed Najentus, Supremus and Shade of Akama already. I whispered my raid leader, asking for a spot against Bloodboil. I know we have great team of tanks including Warriors, Druids, and Paladins in Dominion. Any combination of our tanks is more than capable of killing Bloodboil. I asked to come because the fight is fun for me, and there is a bit a loot I’d like to see him drop (yes, I’m talking about you, Girlde of Mighty Resolve).

It took a couple of tries to get the Bloodboil rotation down again. We ran this time with only 8 heals. Our first kill had included 10 healers.

Those 8 guys did a tremendous job. If I was a healer, I would either hate or relish the Bloodboil fight. I would relish it from the perspective that it is a healing intensive fight, and I would hate it for the same said reason.

The problem that I’m running into on Gurtogg is getting burst down on a switch. I don’t keep Holy Shield running at all times, so usually that first or second hit from Bloodboil will be a nasty crush. On more than one attempt, I spent about half the attempt inspecting the cold, wet floor of Bloodboil’s room.

(I really don't want to know why Bloodboil's floor is wet. I'm just going to assume it's unnaturally damp in the place.)

Just like our first kill, it was another 1% nail biter.

The healing belt dropped, which I won after all 8 healers passed on it, but when I got back to Shattrah I couldn’t find it in my bags anywhere. We had forgotten to set Master Loot, so I had ‘Needed’ it. I thought it would go into my Bags, but something went wrong and it didn’t. A GM offered to restore it for me, but it would have cost me a limited restoration, so I opted against it.

I have no idea what happened.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My 10 List

image from
Auz writes an incredible blog over at Chick GM on Raid Leading and Guild Leadership recently did a post called her 10 List, where she writes about the top ten reasons she loves being a GM.
I am not a GM, but I play one on TV.
Thank you very much, I'll be here all week, enjoy the veal, and don't forget to tip your waitresses.
Anyway, I'm not a GM, so my 10 List is the top 10 reasons I love being a Tankadin. The quote at the top of my blog from Alixander of Durotan is "You shouldn't become a pally tank unless you really love it, but if you do really love it, there's nothing greater in the world."
So without further ado, here is my Top 10 Reasons I Love Being A Tankadin.
#10 Defensive Attack.
What I mean by this is sometimes called the porcupine nature of the tankadin. We hurt people by them attacking us. To me, its the ultimate expression of an old Star Wars quote. "A Jedi uses the forces for knowledge and defense, never for attack." Well a Paladin uses the Light for knowledge and defesne, never for attack. We redirect the attack back at the aggressor.
#9 Gear Game.
I'm a planner when it comes to my gear. I really enjoy the time searching through the loot tables and figuring out what pieces I need (and then seeing them not drop for weeks on end). I love balancing my gear again and again to find that perfect balance between threat and survivability.
#8 Versatility.
I love being able to switch roles and be someone completely different on the weekends. While Paladin healing doesn't excite me, there are moments when it can be fun. Being able to switch from Tank to DPS to Heal really helps to keep the game fresh and interesting. It's almost like playing 3 toons in one.
#7 The Underdog.
Sure, you can't go five feet in Shattrah without tripping over 5 new Tankadins, but when I first started playing my Tankadin, it wasn't like that. There were many in the game world who weren't sure what a Tankadin could do. Even today some still doubt. It was awesome getting the tells like 'I never thought a Paladin could tank that.' Some of my favorite 5 mans were the no CC Heroics I did in all blues. We never should have been able to do it, but we did. I love to go in and prove the 'general consensus' wrong.
#6 Spotlight.
I have to admit that being in the spotlight can be a lot of fun. You know the entire group depends on you staying alive. All the work you've done preparing your gear, researching the fight, and practicing your skills all comes together as you face down an enemy who would destroy your comrades in a single blow. Yet, you take that blow, and with the help of some truly awesome healers, you shrug it off and get ready for the next.
#5 Laughing At Mobs.
I know some guys are really into seeing really big numbers on their screen, and I admit it's fun when I'm Ret spec to see a nice big ole crit. But nothing beats watching a mob attack me and DODGE, MISS, MISS, PARRY, MISS filling up my screen. I just sit there laughing at the poor mobs trying to kill me. Silly, silly mob.
#4 The Holy Warrior.
While Blizzard hasn't yet fully realized the vision of the Paladin as a Holy Warrior, the aspects have been realized really draw me to the class. I love the fact that my skills contain words like 'Devotion', 'Divine', 'Light', 'Righteousness', 'Consecrate', 'Holy', 'Justice', and 'Blessing'. This idea of a Warrior empowered by his Higher Power and sacrificing himself on the battlefield for friends, family and country, is an ideal that I can really get into, identify with, and strive for. Oh yeah baby, let's go!
#3 Being Hard To Kill. BRK calls Paladins cockroaches because we are hard to kill. Well if a Paladin is a cockroach, then a Tankadin is an armor plated cockroach. That's not to say I'm invincible as many a Warlock or Mage will attest, but I don't go down easily. I may not kill quite as fast, but I take not dying to an artform.
#2 Unique. I'm probably the only active Tankadin on my server with a Hardened Heart, and running around with a Hammer of Judgement. Sure, lots of Paladins have a Hammer of Judgement, but you run around Shattrah in your normal gear and that's a healing mace or big ole two hander for most Paladins. I am unique on the server. No one else really looks like me or plays like me.
And the #1 reason I love being a Tankadin:
Round Them Up and Consecrate. It's a blast rounding up a whole bunch of mobs to AoE down, and its very satisfying looking at a mound of bodies and being the only one left standing.

Bye Bye Bloodsky

Bloodsky, the most progressed raiding guild on Altar of Storms has shut down. Longtime readers will no doubt recall my brief 1 week stay as a member of Bloodsky.

There was a post made on our Realm Forum and much drama has ensued. It appears to have been a combination of events that led to the leadership of Bloodsky deciding to call it quits.

Summer had taken its toll on Bloodsky and several of their key members were decreasing their playtime either due to a growing lack of interest in the game or real life matters coming to the forefront.

Bloodsky also mentioned the difficulty of recruiting on our server. Altar of Storms is listed as a medium population server. Despite a large number of Kara guilds, we have very few raid guilds. Bloodsky was the only Sunwell guild, Alliance side, on our server. Dominion, my guild, was the only Tier 6 guild, along with Manus Domini. Manus Domini, and Mal Katai (my former guild) is making the transition from Tier 5 to Tier 6. Bloodsky was going to need transfers, or they would have had to start poaching players from those guilds. Para Bellum was a new guild, but I’m not sure where and what they are raiding. Bloodsky officer’s simply got tired of the near constant process of recruiting, gearing people up, and teaching them the fights.

While this does put Dominion as the most progressed guild, Alliance side, on our server, there was no celebrating last night. It is always sad to see another guild pull the plug on their raiding operations. Whatever you might have thought about Bloodsky, ultimately, they were just players, passionate about the same game we are.

We had a guild meeting to discuss Bloodsky’s end and how it was going to affect Dominion. Some of Bloodsky’s players are looking to transfer off, while others will invariably come knocking on the door of Dominion, Mal Katai, and Manus Domini.

There is a natural concern that these more progressed and better geared players will displace some of our current raiders. Let’s face facts, they were in Bloodsky because they enjoyed raiding and because they were at the Sunwell level, they outgear most of us.

Our Raid Leader tried her best to quell the concerns that people had. In truth, we are all dealing in the hypothetical because no one from Bloodsky has joined Dominion.

My biggest concern was that there might be a move to change our raid times. The biggest reason I left Bloodsky was that I couldn’t get on early enough to make their raids. I addressed the concern to the officers of Dominion and there is no plan to change our raid schedule. Whew!

How I feel, and what I said during our guild meeting is that it comes down to trusting our officers. Whatever disagreements I may have had with Vlad during my initial time in Dominion, I am convinced she will make the decisions based on what is best for the raid. She has brought us this far, and done an excellent job, giving of her time to help us get organized and keep us on track.

We simply have to trust her to try to do what is best for the raid. We have to trust that she will do the right thing. She likes every person in the raid and truly wants to do what is best for them. Some nights, she will have more raiders than slots, but other nights, like Monday, she might have more slots than Raiders. It’s a tough gig she’s got.

My biggest concern as I voiced my opinion was that people would think I was just trying to curry favor (suck up, kiss butt) from Vlad and the officers. That wasn’t the case. What I said was truly how I felt. Either we trust Vlad to make decisions that are best for all of us, or we don’t.

After the meeting we formed up our raid for Mount Hyjal. We were starting late so a full clear wasn’t going to be possible, but we did manage to one shot the first four bosses. We finally, after I don’t know how many weeks and weeks of kills got an Unbreakable Will to drop. I was really happy for Kee, our Main Tank Warrior.

The mood in the raid was fairly light and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The One That Got Away

Monday night, Dominion went back into Black Temple to continue our assault on the Reliquary of the Lost, better known as RoS, or Reliquary of Souls.

I was really excited when I saw my good friend; Aoesrus had managed to snag an invite to the raid. I never would have thought, all those many months ago when Aoes and I started playing WoW that we would be raiding Black Temple together.

I had made up my mind to do everything I could to increase my threat, starting with my gear.

I swapped in the Figurine Crimson Serpent for the Pocketwatch, and the Seal of Danzalar for one of my rings. I used the Seeker’s Wristguards over my Bracer’s of the Ancient Phalanx.

Then I changed my consumable to a Flask of Blinding Light, Blackened Basilisk and Superior Wizard Oil.

All told, I went into the fight with over 700 spell damage. Once Judgment of the Crusader was up, I would have an effective spell damage of over 900, and I had one more little trick up my sleeve. Aoesrus had found an old Heroes buddy who could make a Destruction Potion. I dropped about 200g on the AH for mats and had a stack made.

Now when it came time to burst threat in Phase 3, I would have Avenging Wrath, Figurine Crimson Serpent, and the Destruction Potion to use.

We practiced our Phase 1 transitions. Sometimes, they would go really smooth and sometimes, they would be a complete disaster. The phase seemed to hinge on if our Rogues tanking the Enrage would survive, but for the most part we were getting Phase 1 down.

Phase 2 seemed to hinge on the Kicks. If our Main Tank Warrior got Spirit Shock, he would wonder around like he had been Shattered Shot and Essence of Desire was free to rampage through the raid.

We were really tight on the DPS, and needed everything trick we had to get Essence of Desire down before the raid was completely out of mana.

On two attempts, we actually made it to show time! Phase 3. The first time we made it in, I messed up by Sealing Vengeance instead of Righteousness. Vengeance is a great seal, but it’s not best for the burst I needed. With everything popped I topped out at about 2400 TPS briefly. Despite that, I still had a Warlock chasing my tail after a couple of seconds. We made it to about 60% before Essence of Anger wiped out my healers and we wiped.

The second time we made it into Phase 3, Phase 1 and 2 had been really smooth. I popped everything and threw all I had at Essence of Anger. The only part I could have done better was turning him around faster. I was getting through my initial rotation then turning him, but I should have been turning him as I went through the rotation. I was a little concerned about giving him my back, but I dived through him.

Everything was looking good; the healers were doing an awesome job keeping me up. With everything popped I hit a spike over 3000tps at one point. I had to time everything carefully so I hit all my abilities in the window between mana burns.

Eventually we were just down to tanks and healers. All the DPS was dead and Essence of Anger was at 5%. I used my Lay On Hands. Then I had a decision to make. If I bubbled, I would have 12 seconds to DPS him, but I had very little mana. I could have banged a mana pot though. However, if I did bubble, he would be free to go run around and destroy the rest of the raid. I chose to lay off the bubble. We ended up wiping with EoA at 4%.

We were never able to replicate that attempt, but man we knew we had it.

Ret Weekend

I managed to get in some Arena this weekend with my Shadowstep Rogue partner. When he logged on, I was in this marathon game of WSG. We had a druid carrying the flag who seemed to have this strange aversion to actually capping the flag. At least twice, we got our flag back from the Horde, only to have him be killed in the middle of the field, seemingly oblivious to the fact he needed to run into the base and cap. By some miracle (and some very squishy Horde Priests and Shamans) we were actually able to claim a victory in a PuG Warsong Gulch.

So fresh off my victory, I started queuing up with my Rogue partner. We had both done some research on Arenas, and our particular matrix. I found a great post by Cathmor over at Eye For Eye.

Following his advice, I carefully wrote down each matrix we faced, and what happened. That went really well for about the first dozen matches, then I ran out of space on my paper and we started queuing much quicker.

There were a couple of matches we felt like we gave away. A trinket here or bubble there or Cloak of Shadows might have turned the match. One match we nearly had won, but I didn’t trinket out of a Frost trap fast enough to finish off the hunter before his Resto Druid teammate got the heal in.

The really nice aspect of the night was that we seemed to be fighting teams around our same gear level and skill level. Most all of the matches were competitive. Only once or twice did we get absolutely destroyed.

One memorable match was against a duo Mage team. I ran under the bridge to try to break line of sight, but I was too late and hate two instant Pyroblasts. Ouch.

3 times we faced an undergeared Resto Druid / Warlock combination. We could tell we outgeared them, but the Resto played very well, always moving and changing from Bear to Cheetah to Caster. We lost 2 out of 3 against them. The first we lost because we started in on the Warlock before we saw how undergeared the Druid was. We won the next then lost our last match against them because the Druid outplayed us.

We had two ‘mirror’ matches against another Ret Paladin/Rogue team. I was outgeared by both of the Ret Paladins I faced. They had Season 2 Shoulders and I think it was the Season 3 sword, although I’m not all familiar with the way they look, so it might have been the Season 2 Sword.

My favorite match might have been the Druid/Druid match with a 41 point Balance Druid (he used Trees) who did not go into Moonkin form and the Feral druid who never went Bear.

We crested in the high 1400s, maybe 1470, then slumped down to about 1370 and ended up at 1412, which is 1 point higher than we started the night.

I think my favorite thing about ‘Here for the Gear’ is that we play Arena to have fun. We don’t stop after we’ve gotten our ’10 games’. Arena is a fun part of the game, and we were having fun playing it. We would both love to have a nice 1600 or so rating and be ‘leet’, but that is going to take some time and some gear. We played 24 games this week and I feel like we are getting better and starting to mesh a bit.

On the subject of gear, I have the Season 4 Gloves, Season 3 Chest, Season 3 Legs, and the Season 1 Shoulders. I am still using my Engineering goggles for my headpiece. So my next Arena purchase will likely be the Season 3 Helm.

I’m really torn about what to do with my Honor points. I can get the Season 4 Belt (current: Girdle of the Lightbearer), Season 3 Neck (current: Pendant of the Perilous), Season 3 Bracers (current: Deadly Cuffs), Season 2 Shoulders (current: Season 1 Shoulder, Bloodstained Pauldrons, Pauldrons of the Wardancer), or the Season 2 Weapon. (current: Hammer of the Naaru). I’d appreciate any advice to the Inbox or in the Comments.

I have to tell one other story from my ‘Ret’ weekend.

I did some dailies to make my respec gold, and wow, is it a different animal doing dailies as Ret rather than Prot.

Anyway, I ran into another Paladin on the Isle of Quel’Danas (which should be renamed Isle de Horde on my server). He was Holy and we did a couple of dailies together. He lamented over how much he missed being Ret. When I challenged him, he said his guild would not let him be Ret. ‘Let him’, what a crazy thing to say. I encouraged him to find a guild that would 'let him' play the way he wanted to. The craziest thing, at least to me, was when I checked his guild tag.

He’s in a Guild called “The Casuals”. Somehow enforced specs and ‘Casual’ don’t seem to go together in my brain.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Soul Train

Last night, instead of taking on Gurtogg Bloodboil or Teron Gorefiend, Dominion went straight to Requilary of Souls. I was nervous as our Raid Leader went over the tank assignments.
My role would be to take a turn at Phase 1 and let Essence of Suffering smack me around a bit then back out. My role in Phase 2 would be keeping Judgement of Wisdom up and helping out with whatever DPS I could do in tank gear. My role in Phase 3 would be to Main Tank Essence of Anger.
I had been reading on this fight for quite some time, and I understood the basics. But there is only so much you can learn from a video or strat guide. Eventually you have to put in the time and wipes and learn.
We did the gauntlet trash without too much of a problem.
It took me several attempts to get the transitions in Phase 1 down. I would be standing directly under Essence of Suffering, but the boss would basically ignore me and start running off for a Hunter.
When I did get him, the damage didn't seem too bad. I activated Holy Shield and blocked nearly every one of his attacks. I did get very low on a couple of attempts. There is absolutely no healing in Phase 1. Bandages, Pots, even good ole Judgement of Light will not heal you.
After 1 attempt, we were getting Phase 1 down without too much trouble.
Then we started working on Phase 2 which is considered the hardest phase of the fight by many. Our main problem was our raid was going OOM before we could kill it.
In Phase 2 Essence of Desire puts a debuff on you throughout the fight that takes away your max mana. Towards the end you can down a Mana Pot and it will only give you 20 mana, because that has become your max mana at that point. Eventually you are sitting there with 0 mana, and no regen.
We asked the DPS for more DPS. The issue seemed to be threat. A Warlock or Hunter would pull threat. We were running only two Paladins so most classes had only Kings and Salvation.
Our team needed to come together and help out. So we put a Shaman in the tank group for Windfury, and chained misdirects. Our Main Tank Warrior also switched around some gear to get more threat. That seemed to help as he was able to open up a decent lead on the DPS.
Our Rogues did a fantastic job with Kicks and interrupts. The Essence of Desire has a couple of attacks that should be interrupted and one ability that must not be interrupted but Spell Reflected. This ability is called Deadened. It increased the damage done to the victim. By Spell Reflecting it, you up the damage your raid can do to Essence of Desire. Guilds that don't overgear the content basically need Deadened to kill Essence of Desire in time.
On our best attempt we actually got Essense of Desire down. Between each attempt, you have little ghosts that come out and give you back full health and mana.
As the intermission was winding down, my heart began to pump. I prepared to picked up Essence of Anger.
I cast a couple of Holy Lights on myself and activated Righteous Fury a couple of times. My goal was to burn off a little mana so the first Soul Scream didn't hurt too bad. Soul Scream is an attack that burns your Rage/Mana, and does damage based on how much Rage or Mana you have.
Phase 3 is a DPS race. Essence of Anger Aura deals Shadow damage, and that damage increases every 2 seconds, but it also increases damage down by 5% every 2 seconds.
Some guilds use Seethe which is a Debuff that increases threat and is triggered by a change in targets. Basically you have 1 tank go in, and then a 2nd tank taunts triggering Seethe. That allows the 2nd tank to build threat with a 200% bonus. The problem is DPS has to hold off for at least 8-10 seconds while the transition is made and Seethe is up.
The advantage a Tankadin brings is that we shouldn't need Seethe. Our threat is 90% composed by pure damage, thus scaling with the % damage increase aura better than druids and warriors which have baseline aggro in their skill
I got into position to pull her and popped the Wings. I had my Seal of Righteousness and Holy Shield already cooking. I judged Righeousness, hit Consecration. Then I slammed my Crimson Serpent.
It was just like I had read in the forums. I had just enough mana coming back from heals to Judge, Seal, Consecreat and Holy Shield. It was beautiful. I check the threat meter briefly and I didn't see anyone close, but my attention was more on the boss, and my cooldowns to make sure I hit them as soon as they were up.
Everything was going great. We had the Boss down to 60% and we really felt like it might happen.
When I died.
I've been studying the WWS parse trying to figure out why I died. The biggest Soul Scream I ever took was 4k, which was likely the initial one. Essence of Anger's melee is nothing to sneeze at. He regularly hits in the 6k range.
It looks like I took a Crush right before I died, but he had hit me for bigger regular hits than that Crush. Not only that I have no idea how I could have taken a crush.
21:26'39.421 Honorshammer gains Holy Shield of Essence of Anger
21:26'41.390 Essence of Anger's Swing hits Honorshammer for 6337 Physical damage (crushing)
Holy Shield had been up for at least 2 seconds and that was the first hit from EoA. I have no idea what happened there. I don't think the Crushing made much of a difference. He had already hit me harder than that on a normal hit.
21:26'39.343 Essence of Anger's Swing hits Honorshammer for 7508 Physical damage (310 blocked)
I have no clue why I died. It was so sudden that I never had time to go for my emergency buttons. Some of the Soul Screams hit me for less than 500 damage.
I died at 21:26'42. EoA's first attack was at 21:25'55, so we had only been in Phase 3 for 47 seconds, and EoA was at around 60% life.
Threatwise, I felt like I was doing good, but one of our Rogues said he had to stop DPS because of threat. He thought he couldn't vanish, which he confused from Phase 1. You can't use any kind of Vanish, Ice Block, Divine Shield, Fiegn Death in Phase 1 as the Fixate target or Essence of Suffering reverts to a normal aggro table. This is generally a bad thing.
I don't remember seeing any yellow (Rogue) approaching me on my Omen.
I wonder if I would be better off with a static spell damage trinket like the Battlemaster Audacity or the Icon of the Silver Cresent. Both give a static spell damage increase. The advantage I saw the the Crimson Serpent was the on use for threat and it had a nice chuck of stamina on it. Neither the Silver Cresent or the Battlemaster has stamina. The Battlemaster has a survivability on use, and not a threat on use.
The Raid Leader decided we would try the Seethe technique on the next attempt.
We made another attempt after that one, but we didn't make it to Phase 3 again. Several people had to leave early so the raid got called. I was actually among them as my wife became suddenly ill, and I had to bail. I wound up have to take my wife to a doctor. (She's fine now, thank you.)
Later, I sent my raid leader an ingame mail, stating that I didn't feel we needed to go to the Seethe strategy right away. We only gave the non Seethe strategy one attempt, and it was the first time we got into Phase 3. No one ever pulled threat from me and we were getting Essence of Anger down. If I had stayed alive, I firmly believe we would have gotten the kill. In a DPS race, starting DPS from the get go instead of waiting 8 to 10 seconds seems like a good idea to me.
I was really excited to tank Essence of Anger. It was very cool and played out much like I had read.