Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Void Reaver

With the Holiday weekend coming not much was going on. I was playing on my Warrior when I got a tell from Aga asking me to go to Tempest Keep. At first I thought we were going to do Al'ar, but instead we tried Void Reaver.
It didn't takes up long to figure out that our mods were not calling out incoming Arcane Orbs. We wiped on Void Reaver at about 50%. Vlad changed the location of the melee groups healers, and we went at him again.
The great thing about Void Reaver is that your TPS determines whose tanking him. He does a periodic knockback on the current tank, reducing his threat by 25%, and then proceeds to the person on his aggro list if that knocked the current tank out of first place. The idea is to have another tank be #2 so he goes from tank to tank.
I did very well on generating threat and soon found myself as the center of Void Reaver's attention. I was having to nearly chain chug mana potions as the gear I need to have on to be uncrushable is a little too heavy on armor, and avoidance. There were a couple of moments where Void Reaver would switch targets (usually to me) and I'd get quite low before the healers switched over. Vlad had been calling out the changes, and I had waited for her to do so, but she was also watching the rest of the raid, so a couple of times I called it out. I hate talking over people in vent (especially a Raid Leader), but she never said anything to me, so I guess it was okay.
We had a Warlock pull aggro and lost nearly the entire melee group to an orb Void Reaver lobbed at them as he went after the lock. We continued fighting him, but we had lost too much DPS to beat his enrage timer. We wiped at 1%.
Now we knew we could do it. We got back and pulled again. Vlad made a little discovery during this attempt. She was going to hit Revenge, but misclicked on Taunt. Suddenly Omen reported her aggro right up there with the Tank at the time. She then called for each tank to taunt everytime the cooldown was up, and called for DPS to open up full bore.
I've got to think that this is either a bug in Omen, or in Void Reaver. He doesn't change targets when you taunt him, but you get the aggro boost just the same. I'm leaning to the explanation that there is a bug in Omen.
On our 3rd try we got him down. He dropped 2 Hero Tokens and Champion Token. I went for the Champion token, but a Shaman, who apparently had been waiting a while for shoulders had more DKP than I did. I am the FNG, and trying to build my DKP up. Plus, this guy had been waiting a while. You could sense the raid wanted to see him rewarded. I was disappointed because I wanted my shoulders too, but I was happy for him. I'll get them next time (I hope).

3 Hour Kara

After Void Reaver, I got an invite to run Kara with a group of raiders, alts, and some friends from another guild. At first, I declined. Kara just doesn't get the blood pumping the way it once did. Eventually Vlad asked me to tank the group after they asked her. I relented and got the invite. I kept thinking about Ciderhelm's Speed and Efficiency speech. It might have cost me a repair bill but I was going to keep pulling until someone yelled at me. If this is a culture I want to adapt in the guild, or even in my own guild one day, then I need to start practicing it.
There was a Prot Warrior also on the run (Bmann). We each tanked different bosses on the night. I was talking to him about tanking Nightbane, when the Raid Leader (Thunder) put me on him. I healed for Curator, Maiden, and Shade. We shared the tanking duty on Netherspite.
Everything was going along really well when we got to Prince. In our only wipe of the night, a PVP spec Shadow Priest pulled aggro, and got me enfeebled. This got me killed which ended our attempt. We cleaned that up and killed him the next pull. Again, the ire of the group was directly at the Shadow Priest and not the tank.
Just over 3 hours later, every living (and undead) thing in Kara was gone. Thunderbolt commented that it was the fastest he'd ever seen Kara run.

The Problem With Healing

It was during this Kara run that I had a revelation about why I don't like healing. I had always thought it was because Paladin healing is not that interactive. We have only 2 heal spells. Holy Light is a 'big' heal and it great for throughput, but no so good for longevity. We also have a 'small' heal, Flash of Light. It doesn't have the raw power of Holy Light, but it is fantastic for mana conservation over long fights. Mostly Paladin healing is throwing Flash of Light after Flash of Light, with the occasional Holy Light thrown in to cover a bust.
I looked around as Bmann tanked Curator and our DPS destroyed flares. The fight was happening 'over there' with Bmann and the melee dps and Curator. I was over near the wall, healing. I felt very disconnected from the actual fight. Yes, I was involved and I had a relatively important contribution to make. It's not hard to figure out how DPS a DPS class is doing when they are dead. But despite that, I felt disconnected from the combat. Healers are the only ones who have no contact with the boss. We are connected to the tanks and the DPS.
I know healing is important, and absolutely necessary, but for me, it just doesn't feel like we are part of the battle, even though we are. So it's not Paladin healing, but healing in general that I don't like.
I love the lore and the idea behind the Paladin, but I find the pure healer aspect that the majority of Paladins play a bit incongruous from that lore and idea.

Mount Hyjal

We finished up the weekend by doing a clear of farm bosses in Mount Hyjal. This was my first time in Mount Hyjal with Dominion without their original Tankadin, Taypion.
Rage's trash went pretty well. It's the set I've done the most often, and I'm most familiar with it. I did mess up the transition from Wave 7 to Wave 8 which led to a somewhat sloppy boss kill.
Antheron's trash didn't pose too many problems. I'm still learning it though. Sometimes, I'd get too focused and forget to call for AoE. I'll get it down with a little more practice.
We got to Antheron himself. My job was to pick up the Infernals that dropped and drag them over to Vlad who was in Fire Resist gear. The hardest part was finding the person who was targeted, and picking up the Infernal before it aggroed to a DPS, Healer or NPC. I waited until he was casting and chose his target, but I don't know the raid well enough to know without thinking where everyone is going to be. Again not the cleanest kill, but still a one shot.
Kaz'Rogal is not my favorite boss. His mana drain makes me less than useless, it makes me a hazard to my melee group. After the 8th and final wave of trash was down, I slipped into my healing gear, mostly for maximum mana. I had nearly 11k mana when the fight started. I judged the boss with Wisdom, and sealed up Wisdom and started hacking away. My main goal was to keep Judgement of Wisdom up. Over the course of the fight, my judgement returned over 36,000 mana to the raid. Hunters were the biggest benefactors of it.
I kept a close eye on my mana throughout the fight. As soon as I hit 4k, I was going to get out of there. I was able to stay in nearly the entire fight, even making Vlad a little nervous. I was ready to bubble out of his stun (he does something like a Warstomp). Finally, I couldn't keep my mana up any longer and I had to get out of there. BUT! He was dead before I died. I actually managed to live through Kaz'Rogal! I was quite pleased.
He dropped the Hardened Heart shield. I knew I was way down on DKP from the other tanks. I was glad it dropped because that is one less person that needs it next time. By my rough calculations, I won't have a decent shot until the 3rd one drops.
I want that shield, but I have to be patient.

The Warrior

Most of the weekend I spent leveling up my new Warrior. I have to say the guy is a lot of fun. I managed to get him up to about level 20. The really cool thing was my buddy Aoesrus made a Shaman so we were able to quest together. He used his mage to port my Warrior over to Exodar so I'm leveling him there.
It reminded me that this was why we had gotten started in WoW in the first place. Aoes moved away about 7 years ago, and we've only seen each other a couple of times in the intervening years. WoW is one way we hang out, have fun and stay in touch. Unfortunately, he's on West Coast time so we don't get to raid much together, which is a bummer.
I had a 34 Warrior before my account got hacked and he was deleted. I made this Warrior human, while my old Warrior was Draenai. I am finding my understanding of the differences between Warriors and Paladins to be very helpful as a level him.
For example, I had to kill a same level named mob (Deathclaw) for a quest. I charged in and made sure to get Thunderclap and Demo Shout up as quickly as I could.
Based on some research I did at Tankspot, I'm going to level him Dual Wield Fury. They found that DW Fury is just as good (if not a little better) than either Two Handed Fury or Two Handed Arms. If you are interested in the article itself, you can find it here.

Retribution is at hand

Cathmor has put down his shield and picked up a big ole Hammer of Pain for the Burning Legion. Check out his new blog: Eye For An Eye

One Year Ago

I created this blog to chronicle my thoughts and experiences as a player in Blizzard's wildly popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft.
This blog will follow my main, Honorshammer, a level 70 Dwarf Paladin on Altar of Storms. It will also include thoughts on my other characters, Honorshummer, a level 30ish Draenai Hunter, also on Altar of Storms.
I don't know if many, or frankly anyone will read this blog, but here it is.
That was one year and 347 posts ago. Today, my Blog gets roughly 300-500 hits per day. My Draenai Hunter is level 66, but has been currently shelved while I work on my Warrior.


Chris said...

After more than a year I'm losing interest in Kara too. The 22 easy badges are nice, but don't really get me fired up. I'm enjoying ZA a lot but I kind of wish there were a couple more bosses in there.

Grats on your Blog leveling up!

Rob said...

I don't think the taunt semantics is a bug...but rather a hidden change. I've witnessed the same behavior on multiple bosses (most notably HS tank on Gruul.)

Cynra said...

Void Reaver's been an on-again-off-again problem for my priest's raid. To be honest, that has always been one of my favorite fights, despite the fact that as the melee healer I spend all of my time under its feet and casting either Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending. I like the challenge of trying to remain mana efficient enough to continue healing without requiring an Innervate. The changes in 2.4 that created a Spirit-based mana regeneration system made it to easy in that regard.

It's sad that you feel that disconnect as a healer. Or, well, as someone who has raided as a Restoration shaman, a Holy paladin, and a bevvy of priests, I find it sad. I feel intimately connected with my group/raid/partner as a healer because I play such an integral role. I contribute in a way that you can't directly see most of the time, but if I failed for some reason it would become readily apparent to everyone.

Have you ever tried healing in a PvP situation, specifically in the Battlegrounds? That's where I feel the greatest rush, knowing that I'm contributing in a game-changing way. I may not get many killing blows, but, dammit, I'm stealing kills from my enemies and enjoying every moment of it!

Congratulations on the one year anniversary!

Honors Code said...


It would only be fair to comment that my biggest thrill as a healer comes when I get that heal off that pulls someone from the brink of death. I can litterally feel the muscles in my arm clench as if I'm reaching out to grasp them and pull them back.

It may also have had to something with the fight as I didn't feel that disconnect when I healed on the Vashj encounter.