Friday, December 25, 2009
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
As Linus finishes he turns, walks back to the wings and calmly asserts,
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
My sympathy if you are stuck at work today. You'll get through it.
1. What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I had a max level alt. I got the Hunter to 70 shortly before the end of the Burning Crusade but outside of Gruul's Lair I never really got to do much with him. In Wrath, I've raided up to Lady Deathwhisper on the Hunter.
And though it's not some I've NEVER done, in 2009, I voluntarily healed again for the first time since Vanilla. Honors is now Tank/Heal with the Hunter for my DPS needs. I'm literally the swiss army knife I thought my Druid might be. Whatever you need for a group, I'm there. I'm also terribly rusty and I'll regale you with an account of my first time healing soon.
2. What was your favorite new place that you visited?
I think Ice Crown is actually too new, so I'm going with Ulduar. The instance was huge, and it was beautiful. The fights were varied, and there was plenty of different tanking roles and responsibilities. Our Yogg kill was a special night I won't forget. It ranks right up there with Magtheridon, Archimonde and Illidan.
3. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A Mekineer's Chopper. I know most people who want one have one, but I don't yet. The Auction House bores me to tears, so I basically only sell stuff that I collect flying to and from Raids. I send my greens to my buddies Mage to DE and we split the proceeds.
I'd really like to get enough cash to buy one. My other problem is that I'm fanatical about having the best gems and enchants on my toons so I often spend big money at the AH on enchanting mats, raw gems, and leg patches.
On top of that, I can't decide if I want to give it to my Paladin or my Hunter. I really like the Charger on the Paladin for a land mount so I'm not sure how much I'd use it if I gave it to him. But the Hunter is an alt. Do I really want to spend that kind of cash on an alt?
4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I'd have to say it was Yogg. At the time of the kill, it put Unusual Suspects at 30th in the US for 10 man strict guilds. We've since lost our 10 man strict status after putting our groups together to knock out TotC25. I kept hearing "Another one spawned Honors!" for days after our kill.
5. What was your biggest failure?
I'd have to say Heroic Anub'arak. We can so so so close, but we just missed getting him. I can still hear Thorim taunting us "FAILURE!" "WEAKLINGS" for not killing Anub.
6. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Most of what I got really, really, really excited about in 2009 didn't have to do with Warcraft, but with other things going on.
But as far as Warcraft goes, I had a blast appearing on the Twisted Nether. Both times I've been invited on were fantastic. I really enjoy talking with those guys and giving them a Protection Paladin point of view.
I was also most excited for the Paladin Tanking buffs we received in Patch 3.2. They finally fixed Ardent Defender. I always said I'd know when Paladins were finally the equal of Warrior tanks, it would be when they started calling us OP. We are finally there.
7. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Dealt with Guild drama.
First it was the breakup of Mal Katai, then the excruciating decision between Heroes and Salvation. All of those moves left hurt feelings. Unlike my moves in Burning Crusade, none of these move was initiated by me. I could handle it better if I was the causing it. I would be paying the consequences of my decisions, but this time I was paying the consequences of others decisions.
There was also the Heroes split, but I'll talk about that in a minute.
8. What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?
The Twisted Nether is my favorite podcast hands down.
As far as blogs, there are some great blogs out there. Here's my Top 10 in no particular order:
JMTC is why I even have the meager amount of gold I have.
I'd also like to give a shout out to my blogging guild mates (and I consider Bacon kind of an honorable guid mate since he was with us for a couple of weeks before going back to Heroes, and I enjoy his Blog):
9. Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.
It's good to find a home. 2009 was the year that I really found an ingame home in Unusual Suspects. These guys are more than just avatars to me now, I consider them friends. I look forward to raiding with them or just running some 5 mans.
I know our split with Heroes caused some drama and hurt feelings and I wish in my heart that could have been avoided. I still miss people who I got to know that are still on Alliance. People think I'm crazy but I only do Wintergrasp with an alt that doesn't have the Honors_____ name so that if I see an old friend at least they don't know it was me that killed them. They just see some random Orc.
But I think ultimately the split was good for both guilds. Suspects has been everything I ever wanted in a guild and Boston has been a fantastic guild leader. I'm really lucky to be tanking for this group of guys.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
My guild's Warlock put together this video of my guild defeating Deathbringer Saurfang. Nice work! If you are Alliance, you can see the interaction between Saurfang and Saurfang the Younger.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The first week we went in there with a really good mix. We had a Boomkin, Survival Hunter, Destro Lock, Arcane Mage, Mutilate Rogue and Arms Warrior. The second week we were a bit melee heavy. The only Ranged we had was our Mage and the two Healers.
Deathbringer Saurfang was formerly known as Saurfang the Younger before he was killed by Arthas at the Wrath Gate. When you arrive at this area either via the Orgrims Hammer of the Teleporter, he's actually not there. There is a group of Kor'kron and High Overlord Saurfang. Once you talk to Saurfang the encounter will begin and Deathbringer Saurfang will come running out.
Before you talk to Saurfang have your Raid work out positioning. Have someone 'stand in' for Deathbringer and make sure everyone knows where to stand. Then collapse back on the start and talk to High Overlord Saurfang. I wonder how the Alliance start the encounter as I don't expect that that Saurfang is there for them.
The Father and Son will go through their dialog which is actually pretty cool the first time you see it. For my Alliance friends, Daddy Saurfang lets Deathbringer know that his son died at the Wrath Gate. He goes on to tell him about how he was named and why he was left in Nagrand.
What's not cool is that the entire dialog is repeated if you wipe.
I usually use the time the two Orcs are talking to move into position before Deathbringer at the top of the stairs. As the dialog is ending, I lay down a Consecrate and get ready to Judge. Once Deathbringer is active, I Judge and start my rotation.
The fight isn't too bad from a Tanking standpoint. His melee is not all that threatening. He places a debuff on you that will increase his Blood Points so your co-Tank needs to taunt when that happens.
The fight is all about his Blood Points. It's his resource mechanic and it's sort of like Rage. They stack to 100 and when they do, he puts a debuff on one of your Raid members called Mark of the Fallen Champion. They will take steady damage and heal Saurfang every time he attacks.
The fastest way he gets Blood Points is from his Blood Beasts. Everytime they land a melee attack, Deathbringer gets points. The first night we fought him, we assigned the Ranged DPS in pairs. TWo would kill the right Beast and the other two had the left Beast. One team had the Boomkin for his knockback and the other team had the Hunter for his Frost Trap.
The biggest mistake we made that first night was to call for DPS to ignore the Adds when Deathbringer was at 9% and just burn him. The Blood Beasts ran wild. There was too much healing going into Saurfang and we actually ended up wiping. Regardless of Saurfang's health, kill the Blood Beasts.
The second night, we knew we were going to have to change up our strategy. What we decided to do was have our melee switch to the Adds. The idea was we would kill the Adds so quickly that they wouldn't provide many Blood Points to Deathbringer. That worked out pretty well. He got two Marks off and we ended up losing some DPS, but we managed to get him down without a wipe.
He dropped a pair of Tanking Pants which I outrolled Boston for. Those made the second iLevel 251 item I had gotten that night. After Deathwhisper, our team had hit Friendly and everyone was able to pick up their Rings. There is still no word on my Shield other than that the ticket has been 'escalated.' I'm hoping for the best. They know there were problems with the Gunship event because they just hotfixed it the other day.
I know Hard Mode 25 man raiders have had access to iLevel 258 gear for a while, but that really doesn't matter to me. The stuff that is dropping in an upgrade for me. I couldn't care less what someone in a Hard Mode 25 man guild is wearing.
We knocked the first four Bosses in a little over an hour with narry a wipe. That'll be good for when we have the rest of instance to go, but it leaves the rest of the raid week a little bare right now.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Read on at your own risk.
Monday, December 14, 2009
My job was to repel boarders that came from the Alliance ship. I was actually glad that Boston hadn’t asked me to be on the Boarding Party. I really didn’t want to tank Muradin Bronzebeard. Muradin was one of my favorite characters in Warcraft and I really didn’t want to fight him. I don’t have as much of a connection to Saurfang as I do to Muradin. My inner dwarf was quite conflicted.
Friday, December 11, 2009
My first article is up on the site now. It's an analaysis of the new weapons that came out in 3.3.
I'll still be writing on my blog as well, so think of it as more of me to love.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I discovered fairly quickly that most, if not everything I enjoy in WoW requires and instance server. Oh I knocked out some dailies on Honorshammer and my Hunter while I was waiting to see if the instances would come back up.
Wednesday is my night off so I won't see IceCrown until Thursday at the earliest and that is looking sketchy due to the lack of sign ups. Of course, the patch is brand new and Ice Crown will last all the way to Cataclysm so there's no rush. I'm sure we'll get to the new Raid and 5 mans and see it all.
But it was a very frustrating night.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Honorshammer: Not with my powers alone. *Breaks stone* But with the power of those that come before. The power of all my fallen comrades. The power of all those whose lives you ruined. You who claim to be King of the Grave WILL taste death today. On the Light I swear it.
My thanks to Maintankadin poster, Erendis for coming up with that.
Today is Patch day. I am really excited to join my team as we dive into the first wing of Ice Crown Citadel. Of course it being Patch Day, be prepared for Extended Maintenance. Also be prepared for servers to be unstable and Addons to break. As I told a guildmate last night, it's a pessimistic view, but you're much less likely to be disappointed.
(Icecrown Citadel drawn by Peter Lee.)
As for the Patch itself, the New LFG tool looks absolutely fantastic. It should make finding groups easier even for my Hunter. I'll be running it as often as I can on both toons to maximize my Emblems of Frost income.
Speaking of Emblems of Frost, it looks like the Weekly Raid quest will be taking us to some old haunts to grab some additional Emblems.
As far as Tankadin changes this patch, we've lost one of our emergency buttons. Lay on Hands will place Forbearance on the paladin if used on his or herself. It will not place Forbearance on others. By giving us the debuff Forbearance, it will lock out Divine Protection (Paladin's Shield Wall) for 2 minutes. If you want to use both Lay on Hands and Divine Protection, put DP up first, then Lay on Hands. I usually saved Lay on Hands for right after my Ardent Defender proced. I won't be able to do that anymore. Lay on Hands will be an absolute last resort now. If I'm completely out of tricks, I'll pop it, otherwise, I won't be able to use it.
This should put the final coffin in the Aura Mastery/Improved Lay on Hands spec. The Crusade (0/53/18) looks to be the spec to go with in Ice Crown.
It annoys me that Paladin's lost a tool for PVE Tanking because the developers couldn't find a way to balance it properly when used in PVP. This isn't the first time Tankadins have been negatively affected by the PVE/PVP Balance. I have a feeling it won't be the last.
Tankadins did receive a minor utility buff with the changes to Divine Sacrifice and Divine Guardian. Divine Guardian is now a 20% damage reduction for the entire raid, and we no long have to use Divine Shield with it. We should be healable when using Divine Guardian.
With the propensity of AoE effects in Ice Crown Citadel, I can Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian being a strong utility for Protection Paladins. I would suggest that your three 'flavor' points are best spent in these talents.
I can't wait to start trying out some new bosses, and start working towards some new gear. Tankadin T10 4 piece bonus is rather lackluster so I'm looking at some offset gear this Tier. There is one fight, Deathbringer Saurfang, that looks like the set bonus might be useful for. He has a stacking debuff that can be dodged, and parried. Since he is early in the instance, virtually no one will even have the option of using the 4 piece on him, so we will have to wait and see if the 4 piece will be important on later bosses. With our 4 piece being so unique, I doubt it will be important, and if it is, expect the other tanks to say something about it.
Friday, December 4, 2009
The posts were so well done they prompted a response from Veneretio of Tanking Tips. Vene’s post underscored that the ratios were not the issue, but the design of fights was. He went on to give some examples of what he felt like were well designed fights and poorly designed fights. What was interesting to me was that every example he gave of a fight where he felt Blizzard got it right was a Burning Crusade fight.
Both come to the conclusion that Tanks really just want to Tank. Sure, we can put on DPS gear and switch to a DPS spec for fights that only need one tank, and contribute to the raid, but we aren’t playing our toon in the way we really want to.
They both also realize that the core issue is one of encounter design. If Encounters were more consistent in their need for Tanks, they would be more Tanking positions for Tanks to fill. It does not appear their design philosophy has apparently not changed in Ice Crown. Let’s look at 5 of the fights that were tested on the PTR. I’m using the Tankspot write ups to determine the number of Tanks each fight needs.
Lord Marrowgar – 3 Tanks
Gunship – 2 Tanks
Deathbringer Saurfang – 2 to 3 Tanks
Lady Deathwhisper –3, one for each Adherent
Festergut – 1 Tank, strict enrage timer
Rotface – 2 Tanks
These are for the 25 man versions of the fight. I’m assuming the 3 Tank fights will become 2 Tank fights in the 10 man. But what you can see here is the vacillations between 1, 2 and 3 tanks.
What ends up happening is you create a glass ceiling for Tanks.
A new Tank attacks his uphill climb, and survives a couple of PuGs to start gearing up. He continues to work and work but the deeper he gets into the endgame, the less opportunities he finds to Tank. The closer you get to guilds running current content, the less you see openings for Tanks. The few Tank spots in those guilds are held down by established Tanks who may have been in those guilds for months and sometimes years. And even when those guids have one of their tanks stop playing or stop tanking there are usually several tank capable DPS ready to take the spot.
This new Tank is basically all dressed up with no where to go. So our new tank becomes discouraged and goes to either DPS or PVP. Then suddenly the PuGs are decrying the lack of Tanks available for runs.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009