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Showing posts from November, 2007

Tanking Hierarchy

I was reading Kaziel's thoughts on my (mis?)adventures in MMOs this morning. This post started as a comment on his blog but it started to get a little long and I felt it more deserving of its own post here. If you don't read Kaziel, you really should. He seems to have a real understanding of the entire genre of MMORPGs. I find reading his blog has given me a better understanding of WoW and some of the decisions that go into making an MMO. This morning he was writing about a comment Tigole made about Death Knights. Kaz is debating on what he wants for his tank character in the expansion. He has a Warrior, and a Paladin. Tigole's exact words were: " We made some really good strides in The Burning Crusade to improve the feral druid as a hybrid tank/dps class. That will be the general direction we'll be looking to go with the death knight. Obviously, the protection warrior is in a good place in terms of dungeon and raid tanking. And the protection paladin is hands-

Group 1 + Kara + 4 Hours = 19 Badges

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Last night I had the distinct pleasure of running with Group 1 through Karazhan. I logged on a bit late and I was worried they would have started without me, which they had. I asked if I could get subbed in for Moroes because I really really want his trinket. Not only did I get a spot for Moroes but I was able to stay for the entire run. This was my first time as an Offtank on Moroes and not Main Tank. I pulled the mob I was going to be tanking and then feared him, and started working on Moroes. As soon as I started working on him he would blind me. It's really tough to get your mob under control and still get 2nd threat on Moroes when you are constantly being blinded. Normally I'd Stoneform out but I wanted to save it for if I got Garrotee, which I did. And of course, Moroes kept his Pocketwatch firmly in his pants pocket. Instead he dropped a Mail healing belt which goes into my Healing Kit. Group 1 moves fast. Very fast. I barely had a moment to drin

Slight Malfunction

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Engineering is very fun to have as a Profession on your toon. I love the Goggles. the Mote Extractor (see rant below) and the Flying Mount. One of the nice perks is the Teleporters. Since I chose Gnomish Engineering, I can teleport to Gadgetzgan and Toshley's Station. Gadgetzgan is great for Caverns of Time. That is also where I can buy my Head Enchant so it's rather handy to be able to just port over there when I need it. The Toshley transport puts me close to my Daily quests, Gruul's and Netherstorm. Of course as with all things Engineering, sometimes they don't work *exactly* as planned. Sometimes when I use the Gadget Transport, instead of materializing on the platform, I materialize an unsafe distance in the air near Gadget. This meant I learned that Bubble makes a great Parachute long before anyone started doing Daily Quests and getting dismounted by Flak Cannons or Monstrous Kalari. The Toshley Transporter seems to have a different malfunction. Instead of a sl

What Lurks Below

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Mal Katai tried our hand at SSC and the Lurker Below. I was given the privilege of doing some main tanking for trash. The pull consisted of a Tamer with two pets and two Screamers. I was supposed to pull the Tamer and tank the two pets. I don't think my shield his both pets on any of the packs. This was the first instance I'd done since the patch and it's where I started to notice some odd behavior in my threat. I also got to tank the Bog Lords who break into little Bog Lords. This was really simple as the Consecrate that I was already using was gathering up the little guys. You have to clear Hydross' trash to get to Lurker. We cleared Lurker's trash which caused the fish to despawn but made the water boiling hot (hit for about 500 a tick). Not near as bad as the lava in BRD that you would swim through doing MC attunement runs. Lurker has to be fished out of his little watering hole. This adds a bit of tension as you never know which cast is g

Next Steps

My next Badge purchase is going to be the Legs, followed by the Cloak. The Legs cost 75 Badges, and I am currently sitting on 58. So I need 17 more. Once I get those the only "blue" left in my kit will be my Trinket. For that I need Moroes or the new mini Last Stand PVP trinkets. 30000 Honor and 40 AV marks. I'm currently sitting on 10k Honor. PuGing 20k Honor, that's going to be rough. I guess I could do it all in AV. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with my Honor points. Gruul and Nightbane continue to mock me by holding onto the Shield of Impenetrable Darkness and the Aldori Legacy Defender. I have enough points for the Season 2 Shield. I'm tempted to get the Spell Damage Shield. More threat is always good. Of course, I could go also go with the Shield Wall which would boost my stamina even more. Goals: 30000 Honor & 40 AV tokens (10k Honor / 41 tokens) Pick an Arena Shield Get Exalted with Aldor (9k/21k) Get Exalted with Consortium (2k

How To: Offtank Gruul the Dragonkiller

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The reason Paladins work well as the offtank on Gruul is mana lasts longer than rage. The offtank role is one big hit, then nothing for a while. So you take that one big hit, get your mana back from being healed and unleash your threat. Also mana pots do more for a Paladin than Rage pots do for a Warrior. The first part of offtanking Gruul is your prefight preparation. You want to boost your spell damage as much as you can for this fight. If you have trust that your main tank won't go down, you can even sacrifice Uncrushability for more spell damage. However, our Main Tank dies quite often on our attempts, so I go with a fully uncrushable kit for this fight. The two piece bonus of your Dungeon 3 set and your Tier 4 set are really helpful, but not necessary. For buffs, you want Unstable Flask of the Sorcerer, Blackened Basilisk and Superior Wizard Oil. Basically, on Gruul, I open up with a Judgement of Righteousness. I have to be careful because if it crits, I

Something Is Not Right

Something is off with Paladin Threat generation. Threat is not a value reported anywhere in the GUI. We all have addons to measure Threat, but they don't read the mobs Threat table. Instead they do their own calculation which we hope mimics the Blizzard one closely. I make that statement to say I don't have any empirical evidence of a bug with Righteous Fury and the amount of Threat it's adding. I have circumstantial evidence of losing threat even when the Addons do not show the party member with enough threat to gain the mobs aggro. I have further circumstantial evidence of losing threat in situations where I did not lose threat prior to 2.3. I have the coincidental evidence of Righteous Fury being bugged in other ways (Mana Cost, Counted twice for Dispell). I have corroboratory evidence of other Paladins both on the MainTankadin boards and the Official WoW Boards reporting that they are producing less threat this patch than before. I have conjecture that the changes made

He's baaaaaack!

Has it really been a whole week since I posted? Eh gads!! Not much happened last night. Due to real life complications, I didn't log on until almost 8:30pm. The "alt" group was already chugging through Karazhan and Group 2 was waiting to get going. I tried getting a spot in Group 2, but they were full. That's probably for the best as they tend to run a bit later than I like. There are still a couple of drops from Karazhan that interest me, but mainly I want Kara for Badges, Badges and more Badges. So in my never ending quest for Badges, I started to put together a Heroic Slave Pens run last right. Slave Pens was the Heroic Daily quest which means you get an extra two Badges for completing it. Uber cool. Putting a group together with one Kara going and another getting ready to go proved challenging. I was able to get Lococrazy (Hunter), Aerlion (Mage), and Regolos (Warlock). I was really happy to have Regolos in my group. He was in Heroes Inc with me. I'm

I Think I'm In Love

Last night, we did a farming run in Karazhan. I'm still trying to get Curator's Legs and Moroes Trinket. I can't tell you how much I want that Trinket. Most of our 'core' group has everything they want from Kara, so we took a bunch of alts. Dora (Our GM Priest) on her Hunter. Brindall (MT Warrior) on his Holy Paladin. Sevenn, who is just an incredible Holy Paladin decided he would spec Retribution for the run. I thought that Arbethon who was the offtank was still Arms, but it turns out he was speced Prot. I taunted off him a couple times on the way to Attumen. After I realized my mistake, I apologized. He was totally cool. It's so nice to have reached that place where if I mess up, I'm not worried Dora is going to port me to Ironforge with orders to spec Holy. When we killed Maiden, some Healing gear dropped. When I suggested rolling on it, Dora's response was "You're a tank, hon." Brindall's Holy Paladin got it. He really cleaned

1 Shot!

Last night, Mal Katai went into Gruul's Lair. When invites went out, I was in a group with some old buddies from Heroes doing dalilies. I told MK what I was doing. I guess they misunderstood and thought I had saved myself to Heroes raid. I got that cleared. We got organized and zone in. We one shot the High King. We plowed on through the trash and got ready to pull Grrul himself. I was again in my now familiar offtank role. The fight was going really well to about 50%. Then I got caught in a Cave In. I moved. I was either still in the Cave In or in another one. I moved again. I litterally felt like I was running in a circle around Gruul. My cooldown management went out the window. At one point I slipped out of melee range and Raydz took a Hurtful. We recovered from that, but I was hurting for mana. I threw everything I could at Gruul. Tralic had all melee including Raydz back out and I got back into 2nd place. Then Lanorah goes down. I heard Dora call for healing on me but

It's Not About You

One of the most common questions Tanks of all classes ask is "Is my gear ready for _____". I completely understand the question, especially as an offspec tank. Tanking is a very visible part of any encounter. In many encounters, when the tank dies, it's game over. Tanking is in many ways about confidence. Is your group confident in you? Are you confident in yourself? Most tanks fight a fear that if they go into an encounter undergeared, they will wipe the raid and lose their opportunity to tank. You've got to realize, it's not about you. Just get a group together and start killing trash. Try the boss, see where you and your team needs to improve. If you are dying and the healers have mana, you need more Stamina, Armor, Block Value. If you and dying because your healers ran out of mana, more dodge and parry would be a good thing. Remember too, it's not about you. If you have the DPS to take Gruul down in 9 growths, you can tank him in very different gear

Shoulder Question

Pauldrons of Stone Resolve versus the Justicar Shoulderguards. Armor: Stone Resolve +73 Stamina: Stone Resolve +6 Defense: Stone Resolve +5 Shield Block: Stone Resolve +11 Block Value: Stone Resolve +3 Intellect: Justicar +14 Spell Damage: Justicar +26 Is 14 INT and 26 Spell Damage worth 73 Armor, 6 Stamina, 5 Defense, 11 Shield Block Rating and 3 Block Value. Ultimately, I think I'd like to have these shoulders, but if they provide a significant upgrade for the other tank in my group, I think I would pass ont them.

Swing!! ....And a Miss

What I'm going to share in this blog posts is some data on my spec. I'm using the Raid Boss Void Reaver. With the excitement over Zul'Aman and 2.3, Void Reaver is the only boss I've done in both specs for a comparison. I've got one parse (3 attempts) in my old spec and 1 parse (6 attempts) in my new spec. If I look over the entire parse, the first night of attempts had many more trash mob fights than the 2nd night. The 2nd night we cleared trash much faster. To try to get as accurate a picture as possible, I'm going to have to strip out all the Trash Mobs and just look at VR. With my old spec I had 3/3 Precision and 0/5 of the old Weapon Expertise. My new spec has 2/3 Precision and 5/5 of the new Combat Expertise. As I looked over the data, I found that my "miss" rate increased by 1%. In my old spec, I missed about 5% of the time. In my new spec, I missed 6%. The difference between 2/3 Precision and 3/3 Precision is 1%. This wo

Return to Reaver

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Last night Mal Katai took another stab at Tempest Keep : The Eye. I was running around like made trying to get my new chest and helm enchanted and gemmed up in time for the Raid. I got everything done except getting the Earthstorm Diamond made. Expensive Primal Waters are FTL. (Big Thank you to the two generous people who donated the Primal Waters for my Diamond). I was really glad to be back in TK. Last time I forgot to get a screenshot of Al'lar. I can't wait til we can engage this guy. I think Rob and Lisa are being really smart in keeping us focused on one boss at a time, but I keep wondering why we've skipped Magtheridon completely. Anywho. We burned through the trash pulls much faster this time. We were assigning roles for healers, tanks, etc.There was that awkward silence on the first pull where we had 3 tanks and 2 targets that need to be tanked. I assigned myself to one target and Lan to other. I told Raydz I'd have him OT on the

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

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Last night was the culmination of much of my effort leading up to and immediately following the 2.3 patch. First off, I got Engineering up to 350. This allowed me to build my new mount, The Gyrocopter. Some people dismissed it as fluff and not much a buff for Engineering. I love the thing. It does make it very easy to know how many Engineers are around. Was this the sole reason I picked up Engineering? No. Was it a large consideration, yep. Is it "silly" to use a Profession slot on a mount. Probably. Are there other cool things I get with Engineering like Teleporters, Mote Extractors, Potion Injectors, Repair Bots, etc. Aye, Cap'n. The next item on my agenda was my repspec. I started out at 12.6k unbuffed Health. So off to the trainer I got to unlearn all my talents. I went with the "cherry picking" strategy where I dump Reckoning and pickup Improved Crusader by giving up 1 point in Anticipation, 1 point in Spell Warding, and 1 point in Precision. I'm

Spec Quest

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Patch 2.3 brings in 3 new talents for Paladins that look very attractive. I consider this a "must have" talent, not so much for the Expertise (which is nice), but for the 10% Stamina. This is a really nice talent. More crit would be more DPS and bosses dying faster. And finally, we have: This is basically like have a 3% chance to Dodge a spell. My current build is a standard 0/49/12. These talents represent 11 new points. I don't feel like I had much fluff or nonessential talents in my 2.2 build. The first choice is rather simple. Goodbye Reckoning, Hello Combat Expertise! After that it gets much more complicated. For the moment, I'm going to decide to forgo Pursuit of Justice. 3% is a very low percentage and it's essentially a proc and therefore unreliable. I'd probably have the boss miss me when I'm at full health and not miss when I'm at 5% and need about a half second more before the big heal lands. Improved Crusader is the rub. I

Zul'Aman!

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2.3 is here and I got my first taste of Zul'Aman. The zone is very nice looking, very reminiscent of Zul'Farrak, and Zul'Gurub. Mal Katai sent 2 groups in Zul'Aman. I was given the privilege to run with the old Kara Group#1. It was Brindall (Prot Warrior), Me (Prot Paladin), Tralic (Feral Druid), Raistalian (Fire Mage), Getdempurps (Warlock), Stdbkrhawk (Hunter), Sneakyfeet (Rogue), Celoria (Resto Druid), Doraellian (Priest), and Mowbray (Holy Paladin). We moved through the early trash pretty well until we got to the Bear Riders. They do a move called Demoralizing Roar which increases the damage you take by 50%. There are two of them, and the debuff can stack if they are not tanked away from each other. Those bears destroyed me like nothing else has recently. 5k Cleave, 5k normals. I'd try to pop the Dawnstone Crab whenever I got shrunk. I didn't feel too bad as Tralic and Brindall were getting owned pretty hard as well. The last pulls before t

Monday Night Raiding

Last night was a really fun night. I started off working on my Engineering, when I got an invite to Gruul's Lair. We made 3 or 4 attempts on him. I was again in the Hurtful Strike Tank role. The challenge of the role is trying to ride the Main Tanks threat without going over the Main Tank, but stay ahead of the melee DPS and the backup Tank. We use 3 tanks on Gruul. The Main Tank who is usually Lanorah, myself as an Offtank, and then Raydz as a third tank in case one of the first two goes down, which is exactly what happened on each attempt. The struggle I was having was when to start building my threat. I go too early and I pass our MT, too late and I can't get enough incoming damage to keep my threat up. This is just what happened on our final attempt of the night. We pulled, Lan started attacking and I hit Gruul with a Judgement of Righteousness. Now maybe it crit. I can't see it, the number usually shows up off my screen, but I immediately pulled aggro off La

The Weekend

This weekend was something of a blur. Friday night, we headed back to Gruul's Lair. High King went down after 3 tries. I think we've had different Kiggler tanks each time I've gone. I really feel like I'm getting my job on Blindeye down really well. My healer can basically throw me a couple of HoTs and then get on to healing other tanks. I know exactly what I'm doing, where I'm pulling him to, when to call for DPS, etc. The one thing I wish I had was a single target pull so I could free up a Misdirect for Brindall or Lanorah. More people in our guild got their T4 Shoulders. This is a good thing! We tried Gruul. We made several good attempts but I feel like our DPS was lacking. In our Gruul kill, he was chilling out with the Spirit Healer moments after he hit Growth 12. Our best attempt ended when our tanks died at Growth 16. Afterwords, someone commented that they thought Tralic was offtanking for the kill. This was probably in response to my statement in

First Time in The Eye

Last night my guild, Mal Katai, zoned into Tempest Keep : The Eye. We had a little trouble getting a full complement of 25 players, and what we lacked at first were healers. You would think in a guild with over 100 Level 70 toons, that getting 25 online at the same time wouldn't be a problem. One of the first things I learned was Mal Katai is working on a looting system. It won't be DKP, it'll be completely unique to Mal Katai, because as Dora put it "that's how we roll." The trash in Tempest Keep is more what I'd call intense rather than hard. There are pulls with as many as 6 mobs, so Crowd Control is important, but just to keep things interesting there are anti CC mobs in there as well who can remove CC from the more dangerous mobs. We ended up taking 5 tanks, which I thought might be too many, but we were struggling to get 25 on at first so we took who we took. What really bothered me was that the entire night, I was not assigned to actually tan

And the Winner Is

And now we bring you the next episode in the continuing saga of the alt. I've got it pretty much narrowed down to the Hunter or the Mage. I really think I'd dig a Warlock, but I just can't get past the whole evil Demon guy thing. I like to play good guys, and we are supposed to be fighting against the Demons in the story, not making friends with them. Plus, I'm never sure who is controlling who with a Warlock and its pet. I decided to knock out any class with a healing spell. I've fought that battle on Honors. If I roll a class with Healing spell, I'll roll it with the intention of being a Healer. Most likely choice for this would be a Druid. That leaves Rogue, Warrior, Mage, and Hunter. Honors being a melee character, I'd prefer to go range on the alt. I've played both a Mage and a Hunter to the 30s, and the bottom line is I like the Hunter. The biggest deterrent to leveling the Hunter is that it seems many many people dig Hunters. Hunters are the

No Soup For You

I logged on very briefly last night in order to attempt Curator. We had a really good group. Most of them were already Kara geared. He dropped on the first try. It was almost, dare I say, easy? He didn't drop the Wrynn Dynasty Greaves. I never even seen them, or Vambracers of Courage in all my Kara runs. I've seen Moroes Pocketwatch once, and I passed it to a Warrior. It was my first week with the new guild and at the time I didn't' think it was that great for a Paladin. Boy was I wrong. That trinket is amazing and there is nothing else like it in game. It's really strange to be getting to the point where I don't need much from Kara anymore. Of course, I still want to run it after 2.3 goes live for those beautiful Badges of Justice. I need over 200 to get all the gear I want. I currently have 72. Fortunately, Badges will come easier in the next patch, dropping from Zul'Aman, and Kara as well as a daily Heroic Quest. Speaking of Zul'Aman and it

A Disciplined Tank

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I was able to get another Karazhan group going this weekend. This time we had a Shadow Priest and a Holy Priest. My offtank for the run was Lamashtu. He's a Feral Druid who has gone resto for runs before. I also had a DPS Warrior in the raid so I could get Commanding Shout on the tougher bosses. We killed lower Kara (Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera, Curator). Out of all the bosses, the one that gave us the most trouble was Opera. We got Big Bad Wolf. This is usually considered an "easy" encounter. We were having two problems. 1. People not running away fast enough or running the wrong way. We eventually corrected this by having everyone stand across from where we were tanking him instead of diagonally. This way people knew the direction he'd be coming so we could run the other way. 2. Threat. Between him chasing Little Red Riding Hood and fearing constantly, I was having a tough time building threat. We had Lam go Bear and build threat with me. Lam was

Its Guaranteed

Thursday night, I ended up running Heroic Mech with what has become my "normal" group. Me (Prot Paladin), Celoria (Resto Druid), Spinterrdc (Warlock), Maxpayne (Warlock), and Raistilian (Mage). The lower part of the instance is getting pretty easy. We do the initial boss on the left hand side, scoot past the group at the top of those stairs and kill the two robots that come after. Then, to borrow a line from Blackheart the Inciter, it's TIME FOR FUN. We enslave two of the grenade chucking demons and have them kill the other two grenade throwers. Then we have then run to the next group. We sheep any humanoids and banish the big demons, while our little bomb throwers go to town. Cel heals one enslaved demon and I heal the other in what I call my "offtank" gear (spell damage mostly). We drag the first "real" boss to the stairs and shut him down. Last night the Warlocks wanted to see if they could duo the 2nd key frag boss. I started running befo

Population Demographics

Okoloth over at Armory Musings has refreshed all his data since 2.2 went live. He analyzed 4.5 million characters (roughly half the players base), of which 1.8 million are level 70s. Level 70 Total Druid 173,480 (9.65%) 409,369 (8.97%) Hunter 214,648 (11.94%) 599,507 (13.14%) Mage 244,271 (13.59%) 576,165 (12.63%) Paladin 164,780 (9.16%) 455,118 (9.97%) Priest 211,001 (11.74%) 493,627 (10.82%) Rogue 206,794 (11.5%) 553,357 (12.13%) Shaman 126,444 (7.03%) 359,585 (7.88%) Warlock 197,785 (11%) 500,308 (10.96%) Warrior 258,757 (14.39%) 616,166 (13.5%) Most Popular class: Warrior, followed by Mage. These two classes are considered the "optimum" for their particular roles in PVE, and they make visible and important contributions to PVP. Hunters have fallen into the area with the rest of the DPS classes: Rogues, Warlocks, and Priests. All 4 around the same percentage. My conjecture is that Priests are in that area because of the viability and desire for Shadow Priests. Then you ha