Monday, December 13, 2010

What a crazy week it has been..

I don't have too much time this week for a long blog post and believe me there are lots of things to talk about. The scramble to 85, the dungeons, the heroics, the gear, the Tol Borad raid, gear, reforging, stats, alchemy, engineering, YIKES!

I did go through some guild changes as well, probably more on this later, but right now I want to focus on getting Shenanigans Inc. up and running. Quite literally any information you could want to know can be found at our website - here. If you are a Protection Warrior or Hunter and you enjoy raiding and having fun and all that other cliche stuff that sells a guild, get a hold of me in game or on the website.

More to come..once things calm the heck down.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Pre-Cataclysm game plan

Time to chat about a game plan for Cataclysm, starting with preparations for the leveling rush on December 7!
  • Clear the work schedule.
    I have a bunch of vacation days that I should probably use anyways before the end of the year. Sure they carry over, but accumulating 10 a year, I could spare a few to get a head start on leveling! Just told the boss I was taking a few days off for my birthday, a kind of stay-cation. =]

  • Clear bags of anything I don't think I'll need while leveling.
    I typically carry around a bunch of extra gear including several different sets for PvP, Feral Cat, Feral Tank, and special items for specific tanking encounters (armor/survival compared to threat/avoidance). Most of this stuff can find a place in my bank, which leads to my next point...

  • Clean up my bank and make some room!
    Really my bank is a large extension from my bags because of my robot butler pal, so I don't mind not having every single item I might need sometime between 80-85 in my bank. I can also move most WotLK crafting materials, mats, non-soul bound items to my bank alt.

  • Consumables.
    I'll have a few stacks of Well Fed food as well as my Alchemy flask, it's nice to have that extra bit of oomph!

  • Leveling Spec.
    Since I'll be leveling with dual feral builds I'll have one specifically tailored for tanking (my current spec) and one tailored for kitty leveling.

    I'll add points into Natural Shapeshifter/Master Shapeshifter, and then grab Perseverance as I level.

    Not sure if I'll for sure go with these particular glyphs, but I'll be able to switch them on the fly so it doesn't much matter. As far as points while leveling, I'll probably end up filling in Natural Shapeshifter/Master Shapeshifter and then Fury Swipes and then it won't matter much.

  • Full quest log.
    It's a great way to grab a quick little boost of experience the second you log in to start leveling. Think dailies!

    Wowhead does a great job of filtering dailies and experience gained (based on level): Sorted by reward, filtered to only WotLK and Daily

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tauren ARE the master race!

I could talk about the changes cataclysm is bringing and has already brought. I could talk about the completely broken AoE threat problems that bears are facing until level 81. I could even talk about the fun I'm having leveling a new Warrior alt while waiting for December 7th. All of them would be more informative and useful than something that is far and away more important and demanding of everyone's time.

Are people seriously rolling/race changing to Troll Druids? Let me break this down real nice and easy...I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I actually like Trolls, well most of em..

Troll Warrior, Mage, Priest, Hunter, Rogue and Shaman (and Death Knight) I get. I'm okay with it. However I'm really not okay with Troll Druids. The thing is, I actually think the new Troll Druid forms look neat and it's probably nice having a semi-useful racial ability in a raid (Berserking > War Stomp for min-max purposes). I can even look past the inherent lore problems..aka worst explanation for a race/class combination yet!

The one thing that I can not and will not come to terms with if you are horde-side is.."If you have the option to play a Tauren and want to roll a Druid, why on Azeroth would you choose a Troll?". Tauren are the master race. Why might you ask? Let's look at the clear and non-biased evidence shall we:

  • Tauren are the biggest (playable) race in World of Warcraft - this should automatically convince you. You look cooler on mounts, your armor and weapons look cooler..the reasons related to size go on and on. In this case - bigger is definitely better.
  • Tauren have an amazingly awesome dance. Period.
  • Tauren have(had) the coolest Leader.
  • Some consider Tauren to be the most peaceful race in WoW. This is heavily debated, but trust me I've done hours and hours of non-biased research.
  • Tauren have the most unique and coolest major city.
  • Tauren have mastered all of the coolest classes. The only one they are working on is Mage, and don't worry it'll happen (Shoo Rogues/Warlocks).
  • Tauren are involved in one of the oldest and well known racist jokes in WoW history (lol Cow lol).
  • Tauren tend to have the greatest community members - ALAMO!
  • Too many things to list.....
Maybe some screenshots will convince you:

Notice how awesome I look here.

The only pollution that is tolerable by a Tauren/Druid...

You're convinced, right?

Master Race.

Seriously, MASTER Race.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Elemental Invasion - Part 4

So Mal'Ganis is a great server. It's got loads of PvE potential if your a good player and really hits home the Massive in MMO. The other good things about an enormous horde population are just as obvious. But then you have the bad things. The crazy things...

The best part was when a GM showed up and announced that anyone standing on top of NPCs was violating the ToS and could be banned. Made those Goons think twice!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick thoughts on 25m vs. 10m in Cataclysm

As the Cataclysm (and "The Shattering") draw closer and people prepare themselves for what ever type of leveling they plan on doing, more and more attention is being brought to the idea of 25 man versus 10 man raiding. And for good reason..

It's a fair assumption that most 25 man guilds are anxious to see how the first tier of Cataclysm pans out. The decision needs to be made:
  • Continue to organize a 25 man raid
  • Reform/Break apart/whatever into 10 man raiding
The topic has been discussed, endlessly might I add, since Blizzard announced the changes. Which if you don't know (seriously?) here is the important parts:
"The first of the refinements being made is that we're combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn't apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm."
Rather than talk about what to do or what I think might happen or even what I want to do (which I'm not sure yet) I want to talk about something that is of a different type of concern.

For a social game all about interactions with other people and creating bonds with people you've never met face-to-face (sometimes stronger bonds than in real life), why is everyone SO concerned about logistics and efficiency? Basically the argument against 25m raiding in Cataclysm is always a rehash of the same basic thought process - Why put the time and effort into organizing and dealing with a 25 man raid if we reap the same rewards from a 10 man raid?

Does anyone find this as troubling as I do? For example, how about 25 man raiding guilds that started up in Vanilla BC, 40 man raiding it took real talent to organize that type of raiding, even 25 mans in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King can cause any seasoned Raid Leader/Organizer headaches. Some of these guilds follow this line of though:
"We've been raiding together in a large group like this since pre-BC, and we'll likely continue to do so in Cataclysm, we have no intention's in splitting up into smaller raid groups, not at least until we see exactly what benefits 25 man raiding have over 10 man."
So even people that have enjoyed each others company and don't even WANT to switch to 10 man are considering it simply because it's more efficient and awards the same benefits? If World of Warcraft is anything, it's a game that's suppose to be incredibly fun with other people, especially other people that you've come to know, sometimes better than any person you've encountered in real life. Is it worth giving that all up? Does it really matter that 10 mans are easier to organize? Guilds and Raid Leaders that struggle to organize 25 mans might look at the Cataclysm raiding scene as a blessing, but is it, even for them?

10 people can have an extremely fun time playing this game together, it's close knit, it's a family. There is no denying that 10 mans will forever be easier to organize than 25 mans. That's now my point though. Think about the 25 man guilds and their players that are legitimately torn between easier/faster rewards and continuing to raid with the people they enjoy.

What does it say about social gaming in an MMO? A player is more likely to break off into a 10 man raid because above all else there is more success to be had individually. Everything is groovy in 25 mans until the benefit is taken out.

So instead of posing the question - "Why raid 25 mans when 10 mans will have the same rewards"? I pose a different question, maybe a better question, and one that concerns me a bit more - "If you enjoy raiding with 24 other people, are you really considering 10 man raiding because it's easier and more rewarding?"

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You'd think Blizzard learned a lesson...

So, as I'm sure most everyone that logged in yesterday can tell, the "Elemental Invasion" has started. Basically Blizzard flipped the switch and now not only are elementals spawning across all of World of Warcraft's continents (including Outlands...which can I just say makes no sense) the "doomsayers" are also making their presence known.

There are a couple of things to do already and the Invasion has just begun. First there is a time consuming Feat of Strength (FoS), Tripping the Rifts, that requires you to be present at a Fire, Wind, Earth and Water "elemental rift" when they spawn. You complete the Feat of Strength by being close to the rift when it "dies". The only way to destroy a rift is to take out the elementals that spawn from it. As an added bonus to getting the FoS, if you destroy a rift in an level appropriate zone you can pick up a daily (Hammering It Out). Pretty simple. The annoying part is finding the darn rifts! I spent a little over an hour last night and ended up with 2 of the 4 buffs. Believe it or not that's not what the title of this post is about. I can deal with wasting large amounts of time as "filler" content before an expansion..I get it, it's a Feat of Strength no one is holding a gun to my head.

The other half of the fun starts in Orgrimmar (Stormwind for Alliance) with a quest called Prophecies Of Doom. It's a medium sized quest chain that has you run around the city and it's outskirts and the basic idea is, you learn what the doomsayers are all about, you pretend to be a doomsayer to get information, you get the information and use it against the doomsayers and then you go tell on the doomsayers to Garrosh. Here's the problem..

On a server like Mal'Ganis there are literally hundreds and hundreds of people doing this chain of quests at the same time. I wish I had taken some screen shots, but I was too busy zooming into first person view trying to click on a tiny little scroll. There are three scrolls you have to pick up for this first quest and they are situated close to the ground on little "tables" besides doomsayers. Two of the three scrolls were fine, but the third chance. At least 30-40 people on mammoth mounts, and dancing, and using spell effects and whatever else you can use to obscure the view are all standing on top of the scroll. There is actually a guild on Mal'Ganis, Goon Squad (they would probably enjoy that I'm naming them specifically), that purposefully blocked access to the scroll.

The only solution, and the only way to finish the quest was to purchase/create an Lesser/Invisibility Potion which thankfully makes every player disappear similar to when a Mage uses Invisibility. Some people even took the harassment a step further and bought out the entire Invisibility potion market on the AH and started re-posting each potion for 100g each. I quickly bough the mats to create the Lesser version of the potion which no one had touched yet for 5g and crafted two (one for me and one for Kaate [my significant other]). Just the worst of the worst kind of people trying to ruin peoples night. But honestly..while I blame them entirely for displaying that type of behavior, I have to wonder why Blizzard didn't account for it.

Two examples, real quick, of similar harassment that Blizzard had to take action for.

The first was actually recent and dealt with mail boxes. Once the Mammoth mounts, Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C, were introduced to the game people would block mailboxes in major cities by standing on top of them so people couldn't right-click them. So Blizzard added more mailboxes. That was a reasonable solution there probably should have been more in the cities anyway.

Second example was during the release of Sunwell and the Sunwell dailies. All the quest givers had to be raised up onto platforms so people could quickly and easily interact with them without having to hunt through countless other players and their mounts. It was a reasonable and thoughtful solution. Put the NPCs up on platforms that are impossible to stand on as players and no more harassment.

Should have tossed that in a best practices handbook for the thinks.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Heroic LK 25m Phase One (Add Tanking)

My intention last night during my guilds 25m heroic Lich King attempts was to record a video to illustrate how I handle add tanking in Phase One, the first transition, and what I do in Phase 2. But I think I received a sign from the WoW gods or the blogosphere gods (your pick) that convinced me maybe recording our attempt(s) wasn't such a great idea.

Running Fraps on my computer is hit or miss first of all, sometimes when I boot it up and start recording in game it's extremely choppy and unplayable, especially in a 25 man raid. Last night though it was running really smoothly, I did a couple test recordings right before our first serious attempt and I didn't have any sort of lag. So step 1 of my plan - check!

So the very first attempt (maybe it was second, admittedly I might have forgotten to hit record for the very first), I hit my Fraps record button (F9 if you were wondering, I don't have the function keys bound to opening my bags for this very reason) and the fight progressed like normal. I've broken it down into a sort of time line and I'll comment on anything I think is important. I'll get to why this wasn't such a great demonstration later, but if you watch the uploaded video before you read further, you'll figure it out on your own! /splat

0:05 - I always wait until about 5 seconds before the pull to pop into Bear form so I have 10 rage (from Furor) to start as soon as I hit Lich King. It's important to start building up your rage because you'll need to use Swipe as soon as LK summons his adds and it's also useful, if you can, to get a 3-stack of Lacerate going so you can Pulverize right before you Swipe the adds and move into position.

0:10 - Hello Clearcast procs...hehe, I'm a lucky Bear.

0:20 - Pulverize, removes 3-stack of Lacerate and gives me 9% extra crit to help pick up the ghouls. A couple of seconds later I Swipe, I managed to hit two of the ghouls and LK, good enough and you'll see how I handle the third ghoul a couple seconds later. (Future post about my Power Auras set-up, showing Lacerate and Pulverize)

0:25 - You have time before the Shambling Horror spawns, so I use that time to whack the ghouls that I miss with swipe.

0:30 - The first Horror spawns, and I lose threat on one of the ghouls, it makes a beeline for a Boomkin (hmm..I wonder why, *cough cough* Starfall), I target the ghoul, taunt it, and then switch my attention to the Horror. A quick 9k mangle and then I make the move for the middle ground between the ranged group and the melee group.

0:37 - I always over compensate a bit when pulling the adds to the middle. Doing this ensures you have the Shambling Horror lined up in the middle with you and they aren't facing sideways towards the ranged or melee. So when the person with Necrotic Plague runs over to be dispelled then don't get murdered by a cleave.

0:55 - One of the worst things happens that you need to be able to handle in Phase 1 as the add tank. First a Shadow Trap targets me, so I need to move back (North on the radar, away from the throne) and at the same time, and what makes this a bad situation, LK just finished spawning 3 fresh ghouls! So they are further away from me than normal.

1:05 - Luckily we have a rogue using Fan of Knives with a Tricks of the Trade so the adds start heading my way, on top of that I target them one by one and use Faerie Fire for some extra threat. Most important thing to note at this point of Phase 1 is to be extra careful with when and how you use your taunt, Growl. Right now it's okay to use them on the Ghouls, because as you can see on the right side of the screen I still have a solid 15+ seconds until the second Shambling Horror spawns.

1:10 - Rocket Bear exclusive moment right here. I actually move fairly close to the melee group/LK to sneak in a quick swipe! It's almost like cheating and possibly too risky especially if you have a ranged that is trying to reach you for a Necrotic Plague dispel, but...hey...I'm the Rocket Bear! Just make sure to move back to the center as quickly as possible.

1:15 - Try and keep up Pulverize amid the chaos.

1:30 - Ghouls spawn, I manage another swipe mixed in with a Faerie Fire, and then Shambling Horror number two spawns. Target it, 5.1k Faerie Fire (yay, Vengeance). Once the Horror is in range I toss out another Swipe.

1:51 - Make sure you keep up Demoralizing Roar on both of the Horrors and make sure you hit them both with a Maul or Mangle to keep Infected Wounds up.

2:00 - Ghouls spawn, single target them to grab their attention, awesome 6.2k Faerie Fire! (Vengeance is really ramping up from the damage I'm taking now)


And there's MY sign. I didn't even bother recording any other attempts where we actually did get into Phase 2. I figured "Hey, if I'm going to be taking hits for 138992 (before Absorb and Overkill) I might want to keep the rest of these attempts to myself and bury them deep within my proverbial Combat log and never speak of them again.

Shoulda and Coulda had Barkskin/Enrage/Survival Instincts going...but didn't.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vengeance is fun!

Firstly if you haven't been keeping up with Bears (and tanking in general), Blizzard introduced a new mechanic to help tanks steadily build up threat throughout a fight. The intention of said ability, Vengeance, was to help make sure DPS didn't start to creep up on you as the fight progressed. It's not really intended to help too much with snap/initial aggro, but of course since it's a buff that increases every time you take damage and diminishes when you don't take damage it is possible to have some amount of vengeance increased AP when a new mob spawns or you pull the next pack.

Ahh, the power of vengeance:
White Bear, FTW!
I snapped this in Phase 2 of the heroic 25m LK fight, the attempt was leading to a wipe but previous to this I popped Frenzied Regeneration (puts me around 128k HP), so as you can see I was sitting around 20,000 Attack Power. /drool

It's interesting the kind of numbers you see from your abilities when your Attack Power gets to this level. Mangles start hitting for well over 20,000! It adds a whole new element of fun to tanking, and with this new range of damage and the other changes for bears it's been an amusing pre-expansion patch.

Also like I mentioned above, vengeance can be used for more than just keeping your lead late in an encounter on the main target, it's also useful if you need to pick up new adds. A great example of this (and one I hope to illustrate by either picture or a short video later) is with Faerie Fire(Feral). I've been designated as "add" tank for Phase 1 of the fight and nothing snaps ghoul aggro from cleaving DPS like a 6.5k FFF.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm still here..

..tying up some loose ends before Cataclysm and the world explodes, raiding and getting use to the new (and improved) Bear.

An update in the form of achievements:

October 22nd, 2010 - Hero of the Zandalar Tribe

This was mandatory for obvious reasons.

October 22nd, 2010 - World Explorer

Why did I wait so long to run around Azeroth for a couple of hours? I'll never be able to give a non BS answer to that question..seems silly now that I'm done and have all of those yummy chieve points.

October 23rd, 2010 - Champion of Ulduar

For the longest time all I needed was to kill Mimiron without a death. A group of guildies went in and made quick work of the place. Flawless run...except a over ambitious and probably a tad nervous Boomkin pulling threat from our Paladin tank on General Vezax and going SPLAT. A couple of people in the group didn't get the achievement so we'll be going back soon to finish it up.

October 23rd, 2010 - 3000 Quests Completed

Pretty nice title, but I had my eyes on a much more specific prize.

October 25th, 2010 - The Loremaster

It was a good thing I leveled heavily in Kalimdor and before heirlooms were introduced. When I started to consider doing this achievement I was already half-way done, just from questing. So I started off slow, testing the waters if you will to see if I could hack it, and then plunged head first into Kalimdor. Slowly but surely Easter Kingdoms followed.

My biggest advice for fellow wowies looking to complete this time consuming achievement. Download these three addons:
  1. Light Headed - Enables a panel that extends from the in-game quest log that shows comments and some general information from WowHead. This addon is priceless.
  2. Every Quest - Adds a small button to the in-game quest log, that has every quest in the game, listed by zone and organized to show the ones you've completed, are on, abandoned, and still need to do! It's probably the most useful tool for Loremaster.
  3. Tom Tom - This addon pairs amazing well with Light Headed. Basically it allows you to click any coordinates that show up in-game (addons, chat, etc) and it will show a GPS type arrow to guide you to that coordinate. (This addon is also incredibly useful for "discovery points" while doing the World Explorer achievement. People on Wowhead have taken the time to create macros that will add a waypoint for every discovery point in a zone, then it's just a simple matter of following the arrow until the zone is complete.)
October 25th, 2010 - The Horseman's Reins

While I'm rushing through Loremaster to finish as many quests as I can before I start to lose steam, my significant other forces me to do the Headless Horseman, just in case the mount drops. Much to my surprise I get the mount, nice little bonus as I work through the last 75 quests in Easter Kingdom.

October 26th, 2010 - Classic Dungeonmaster

I had some really random dungeons to clean up. Gnomeregan, Uldaman, Stratholme to name a few.

October 26th, 2010 - The Argent Dawn/The Argent Champion

A product of finishing Loremaster of Eastern Kingdom.

Still no Heroic Lich King, not in 10 and certainly not in 25. I'm hoping this changes in the next month.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bear Max TPS rotation Now and in the future


With all of the changes coming down the pipeline in regards to cataclysm, and my last post about Bear AoE tanking, I thought it'd be a good idea to lay down what I use as my Bear tanking rotation currently, and hopefully within the next couple of months we'll be able to confidently say, Bear tanking (in terms of what abilities you are hitting) has changed to at least be a little more interesting.

So currently on live here's a detailed run-down of a max threat Bear rotation, it assumes you have the rage (of course you do), you are main tanking, and you have respectable amounts of hit/expertise and you have 0/0 points in Improved Mangle.

Normally you want to start with a Faerie Fire (Feral) or a mangle.

Once you are at five stacks of lacerate your rotation changes slightly, but then is the same until the boss dies or your lacerate stack falls off for whatever reason.

It should look like this from the pull until the boss dies:

[Pre-five stack of Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>S

[Lacerate is stacked to five] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>L>Repeat

The only thing I did not include above is Demoralizing Roar and Maul. Demoralizing Roar because it extends the above rotation by a couple of iterations and is pretty much redundant. So just be sure (if someone else isn't already putting up an attack power debuff) to replace one of your swipes (not lacerate) with Demoralizing Roar. Maul should be queued up all the time via macro or if you are like me, old school key bind.

The rotation above (again as long as you don't have Improved Mangle) never changes and it's restricted by GCDs. You'll quickly start to notice that after your second Swipe or Lacerate if you are refreshing, FFF will have just come off the GCD the same time it's cooldown is up. And once you FFF, Mangle will come off cooldown the same time it's off the GCD. A simplified way of looking at the rotation is, you have two GCDs to do whatever you want between using FFF and Mangle on cooldown.

One other small thing to mention with the Bear rotation. If you are having trouble keeping Lacerate from falling off, change the "Lacerate is stacked to 5" rotation above just a little bit. Instead of waiting until the last second to Lacerate, Lacerate on the first GCD and then Swipe on the second. You'll end up overwriting Lacerate a bit earlier and it won't get the last tick, but it will keep you from having it drop off and stacking it back up.

[Cautious about Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>L>S>Repeat

This is all drastically changing in Cataclysm.
  1. Maul is no longer "On next attack", so it's going to have to be incorporated when it makes the most sense, which is possibly high rage, when you know the rage wouldn't be put to use doing something more important.
  2. Lacerate stacks can be "eaten" by Pulverize, which will increase threat, but at the same time require lacerate to be applied more often.
  3. Swipe is getting at least a 6 second cooldown.
  4. Thrash makes it's debut, may be used in conjunction with Swipe for AoE tanking as well as rotated in to the single target rotation.
  5. Faerie Fire Feral no longer has a cooldown, now stacks, and (I believe) costs rage.
With all of the changes, it's hard to tell exactly what a rotation is going to look like so I'm not going to bother guessing; however, it's definitely going to be interesting seeing how all of these changes mold the new Bear rotation!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changing everthing we've ever known of Bear AoE tanking one tooltip at a time..

Sooo, six second cooldown on Swipe. Why do I feel like this has happened before? What is it...something is like clawing at the back of my brain saying, "Remember when this happened and like everyone was formulating their 'sky is falling' theories?"

Ah hah! Sunwell! AoE healing spells changed in a very similar fashion.. Here is pretty much the way people felt about it when it was announced (first link on google when I typed in "when did circle of healing get a cooldown"

Let me quote the first post just incase you are being lazy and don't want to clicky.
Bunnypuncher says:
Circle of healing is very great for fights that introduce continuous raid-wide AOE damage.

Circle of healing is good for healing the entire raid granted they are close enough to each other to warrant AOE heals.

How is introducing a 6 second cooldown on the spell going to solve the issue of priests only using one ability? All this will do is make the continuous raid wide AOE damage impossible to heal. It will not affect other fights where constant AOE damage is not being taken.

Think of it this way. If I am healing 5 people taking constant damage (like on Bloodboil), circle of healing is immensely powerful. But as soon as that damage stops, it's virtually useless, and I should focus on other heals. Adding a cooldown to CoH will just make Bloodboil unnecessarily harder while not affecting the off-period where there is no AOE damage. We generally don't spam COH 3-4 times in a row when that AOE damage is not coming at us, so why make those fights THAT much harder.

Of course this is all assuming you keep fights like Bloodboil, Malacrass, Void Reaver etc. in WOTLK. But if you are doing away with the nasty raid wide AOES, then why bother making the change at all?

My two cents.
This is exactly what's brewing for this swipe change. Poor feral druids all around the world are stretching their paws out and slowly waking up to see this bomb dropped!

I'm not worried though. Nope not even one bit!

I actually almost welcome this change. Currently on live if you are a bear and you are assigned to tank some type of group you have but one option: Spam swipe and maul on everything and don't even think about using a GCD to demoralizing roar or mangle for that matter.

What this change does is essentially free us up. Blizzard's going to make sure we can AoE tank well enough that we don't go back to pre-360 degree 3 mobs only swipe days. So it's pointless to get all worked up about that. I really think they are making a determined effort to do two things.
  1. Not everything is going to be about AoE tanking, they really want CC back and I say bring it on.
  2. Bears are really boring, especially AoE tanking, and they want to change that
Possibly look for something closer to: Toss a thrash out, followed by a swipe, get demoralizing roar up and look to brush up your tab targeting skills.

Right now on Beta

Swipe is really weak. I think it's hitting for about a quarter of what it does on live for me..maybe a bit more than that. I don't know if that's intended or if it's just scaling poorly due to the lack of talents existing anymore to boost it's damage. Regardless, the bear scene is changing quite a bit as is all of the classes/specs.

I hate to admit that I haven't really been ON the beta that much recently. Between raiding and logging into live to do a couple of things before raid, I don't have much WoW time to actually hop on the beta and tinker around. I'm going to really make an effort to get in there and tank an instance or two and then I can gauge a bit better how things are and possibly where things are going.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Incoming Cataclysm Beta thoughts!

Really just a quick update. Got some great news from the folks over at Blizzard last night!
Oh yes! It's true:

I copied my druid over last night and can't wait to get the client installed so I can start messing around with things tonight!

I'll have much more to come about the current tanking situation in the beta, as well as anything else that is worthy of a post dealing with druids. I'm going to try and avoid putting up general beta information since MMO-Champ is much better at that anyways. Stay tuned! And if anyone not lucky enough (yet) to be in the Beta wants to test something out let me know and I'll see if I can help.

Thanks Blizzard! =D

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thoughts on Armor Specializations, Picture time!

A new beta build was deployed today and while there aren't a huge number of unexpected changes to the feral talent tree, they did release information about armor specializations.

Essentially armor specializations are Blizzard's way of rewarding players for wearing the correct type of armor (cloth, leather, mail, plate). Basically if you wear the correct armor type in all of your item slots you get a percent "bonus" to one of your primary stats. Does anyone else think this is really lame...?

As a feral druid this basically means NOTHING. If you wear all leather, and why wouldn't you, you get 5% additional agility in cat, 5% additional stamina in bear, and possibly 5% agility overall? Well first of that's a bit confusing, does that mean all druids just randomly get 5% extra agility for wearing all leather, even non ferals? Not that it matters much which is actually my point.

It's not any different than having a random talent deep in each section of the druid trees that reads: "Increases your (agility, stamina) by 1/2/3/4/5%". It's not interesting or unique at all, it's just a zero-thought attempt at making sure each class/spec wears the correct armor type. Honestly I'd much rather them just restrict armor types better based on class/level. If you are a leather wearing class, you only get to wear leather, there are enough drops in the game, or should be, to handle that type of requirement.

Here are the specializations for druids:

Leather Specialization - Increases your Agility by 5% while wearing only Leather armor.
Wild Leather Specialization - Increases your Stamina in Bear Form by 5% while wearing only Leather armor.
Wild Leather Specialization - Increases your Agility in Cat Form by 5% while wearing only Leather armor.
Astra Leather Specialization - Increases your Intellect by 5% while wearing only Leather armor.

So it's a baked in 5% agility and for all feral druids and then an extra 5% agility for Cats and 5% stamina for Bears. I think the real reason this rubs me the wrong way has to do with the new mastery system. Everything that isn't directly a talent just increases something by X amount or X%. There are so many class specific/spec specific "modifiers" nowadays.

The 5% stamina increase for tanks could not possibly be missed if it's never introduced, so why even bother. I can't possibly view the specializations as a reward for wearing the correct gear. Max level gear restrictions aren't impossible to implement, they should have gone that route.

Anyways this is a silly argument, it doesn't much matter so rather than worry about it - I present to you some awesome screen shots from yesterday, as well as my signature that a guild member created for me.

Signature created by Relmesh, he's actually made quite a few for GCR members. Here is mine and some more of his recent work can be found here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How To: Glory of the Icecrown Raider (10 player)

Blizzard has been pretty consistent over the expansion to include a meta achievement, normally involving you doing bosses in the current tier's main raid a special way, to reward everyone that participates a unique 310% flying mount. Icecrown was no exception to this. In actuality it's probably one of the more approachable metas that has been released. It's clear the achievements are centered around having no Icecrown buff, so with the buff things are much more manageable.

So here is the achievement: Glory of the Icecrown Raider (10 player)

The reward (pictured above): Reins of the Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher

I had originally intended to break this up into multiple posts, but honestly some of the requirements for the meta really don't require that much explanation.

Notes before starting:

This meta will probably take you at least 2 weeks to complete. The main reason for this is the first four requirements of the meta require you to kill every boss in ICC (save the Lich King) on heroic. It's much much easier to do the other parts of the meta on regular than try and complete them while doing heroic at the same time. If your raid can handle be my quest, but I did warn you. =]

A standard group that would normally clear heroic 10 man ICC (11/12) should easily be able to handle the logistical requirements for the achievements. So bring your normal A-game and you'll be flying around Northrend in style before you know it.

Heroic - Storming the Citadel/The Plagueworks/The Crimson Hall/The Frostwing Halls: (4/16)

There is no easy way around this, you just need to do each boss on heroic. There are plenty of resources available on reputable sites. For a quick run down of the abilities, Wowhead works great, if you want a strategy with pretty pictures - check out, and if you need to see it to get it, check out WarcraftMovies.Com,, and of course YouTube.

If anyone requests, I'll do individual strategies for heroic encounters (10 or 25) from a bear perspective. Also as I go down the list of other requirements, I'll note where it makes sense to actually go ahead and try it out on heroic and kill two birds with one stone.

Boned: (5/16)

This achievement is relatively easy. All you need are quick switching DPS to break people out of the Bone Spikes throughout the fight. It gets a bit hairy when Marrowgar is bonestorming, but honestly the spikes don't have much health and you have 8 seconds, which should be plenty of time for even just the burstier DPS to take care of them.

Easy to do on heroic, but be wary, if you fail this one and kill the boss, you'll have to wait till next week.

Full House: (6/16)

Go ahead and switch this one over to regular. The key thing to remember for this fight is you need to have 5 of any UNIQUE mobs out.

Try and get the following three adds, once they are alive put a mark on them and handle them appropriately for the remainder of the fight (tank, kited, cc, ignore).

Deformed Fanatic - (Kited by a hunter or other ranged kiting class)
Reanimated Fanatic - Apparently you can CC them; the OT (me in the case of our kill), just tanked it.
Reanimated Adherent - Tanked by OT, it's not the end of the world if this mob is focused on someone else. The damage should be healable.

Once you have those three adds alive, kill remaining unmarked adds, burn the boss to 1-3% mana. When the new adds spawn, burn the boss to push her over and then mark two of the three unmarked adds (Leaving you with 5 unique adds). Kill the remaining add.

You should then havea Cult Fanatic and Cult Adherent joining the other 3 unique adds listed above. When this is true, it's just a matter of burning the boss down as quickly as possible. It might be wise to just use one tank on the boss, if most of the DPS have aggro dropping abilities. Using tricks and misdirect on cooldown should help the main tank build enough threat to last most of the fight even once they have the 5 stacks and aren't generating threat anymore. Also if you do have a paladin tank, they can MT and once they hit 5 stacks then can Divine Sacrifice the debuff off and as long as they do it quickly they can get the boss back no them with a taunt.

This is one of the harder achievements for the meta, it might take a few attempts to do it. It just takes a strong understanding of the boss mechanics, patience, and a bit of good luck.

I'm on a Boat: (7/16)

This is easy, and can probably be done on heroic as long as the two people using the guns (cannons) are quick to get in and start doing damage. You should have 4 mages which means 2 trips for 4 unique people.

Essentially split the group into two. The healers don't really need to jump over being that they can heal the tank that does jump over from the boat they are already on. The tank jumping over just needs to make sure they tank the boss close to the edge so they are in range.

Easy group has: 1 tank, 3 DPS. The first group jumps over twice, while the second group stays on the ship and either handles the adds or gets ready to jump in the guns as soon as they are unfrozen. Once each group has done it's thing twice, they simply switch roles. The second group jumps over twice, while the first group handles adds/guns. Simple as that.

If you do this on heroic, be aware that it will be really close for the last 5-10%. It will almost seem like the mage is about to freeze the guns and ruin your chance of getting the other boat down, just have the gunners burn and you should be fine.

I've gone and Made a Mess: (8/16)

Essentially just doing this boss the way you are supposed to should net you the achievement. Just do everything you normally would to ensure Saurfang does not get any (much) blood power. You can probably do it on heroic as well. Quick taunts between the tanks and solid DPS/control of the adds, just like a normal kill.

Dances with Oozes: (9/16)

This one is relatively straight forward for a heroic ICC group. I wouldn't suggest doing the fight on heroic, as Vile Gas may make it a bit tougher, and you want the boss to go down quickly.

Essentially the way we did it was the first two oozes were combined as usual and than picked up and kited by the OT (me) using Faerie Fire/Growl if needed. Once the third ooze spawned, it was held until a fourth spawned. These two were merged and then again kited by the OT (me). Switching between the two large adds with Faerie Fire is normally sufficient. The remaining oozes that spawned were merged with one of the big oozes, and by this time the boss had already died so there was no concern over the big ooze getting too many stacks and exploded.

This achievement is really simple, but I still suggest doing in on regular only because the boss will probably die around the 5th-6th ooze.

Flu Shot Shortage: (10/16)

Really simple achievement. Can probably be done on heroic, but again, you want the boss to die fast just like Rotface and not dealing with maleable goo is nice as well.

The first two people that get the spore run out of the raid away from everyone and each other and have the spore explode on just them.

The second two people that get the spore, do the fight as normal, one ranged and one melee spore. Everyone EXCEPT the first two people that got the first round of spores stacks up and gets their first spore. The first two people run out ensuring that one the second round of spores explodes they still only have one stack of Inoculated. The last round of spores, everyone gets, so basically just do the spores completely like normal. One ranged and one melee, and everyone gets it.

Everyone should have two stacks of Innoculated by the time Festergut casts Pungent Blight, and everyone should be able to live through it with two stacks. By this time the boss will probably be near close to dead, so finish him off and congrats, only 6 more achievements to go!

Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion...: (11/16)

Probably a wise idea not to do this on heroic. Basically whoever controls the Abomination in phase one and two, can't slow the slimes down. Simple as that. Orange is a bit tougher to deal with being that it moves relatively quickly, but everyone just being aware and burning the add down quickly should make this achievement very manageable. Make sure you have clean transitions between Phase One and Two, and Two and Three.

The Orb Whisperer: (12/16)

The thing to remember about this achievement is there are very few things in the encounter that hit for 23,000+ damage.

The two big ones are Empowered Shadow Lance and Empowered Flame. The first of these should already be inherently handled by the tank on Keleseth. For our kill I was tanking Keleseth and pretty much always have 4+ orbs on me when Keleseth is empowered so there is never really any threat of getting hit for 23,000 damage in one hit.

The other ability to worry about and really the only one, is Empowered Flame. You need to ensure people are running along with the Empowered Flame to weaken it before it reaches it's intended target. This is exactly what should be happening anyways especially on heroic so there really aren't any changes to this fight.

We did this on heroic because the abilities that count should be handled appropriately or they will kill you and/or fail the achievement regardless if they are the heroic or non-heroic version. The only difference here being the boss has more health on heroic leaving more time for a mistake, so consider regular just to make it that much easier.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: 13/16>

Really simple, and will take at least two weeks. The key for this one is to ensure you have enough people that still get bit every week to kill the boss. Should not really pose too many issues and most people are half way done with this achievement by the time you are working on the meta anyways.

Doing it on regular definitely helps, it drops her health by something close to 4 million, which cuts down the fight length considerably.

Portal Jockey: (14/16)

You need three healers for this achievement. One to stay outside and heal the raid per usual. Two that take two of the portals. And then you'll need one DPS to also take a portal. The fight is per usual, just make sure you call adds out to make sure you don't fall behind, being partially down one DPS, and communicate which portal you are taking if you are taking one.

The first week we actually failed this achievement because we pushed the boss to 100% at the exact same time portals spawned and since no one had a chance to get into those portals, we missed the achievement. So be aware of that.

Also I suggest doing this on regular for the achievement, it's not particularly harder, but it just makes adds more manageable being down a DPS.

All You Can Eat: (15/16)

This is definitely a bit harder than most of the other achievements for the meta.

I wouldn't suggest doing this one on heroic. The key here is in phase three. Everyone must clear their stacks every ice block. The biggest cause of concern is your tanks and their debuff stack. The best way we found was to use the first block that got put down for both the tanks at the start.

Essentially the first block is dropped and the OT clears his stack. Once he has no stacks he taunts Sindragosa and the MT uses the same ice block to clear his stacks. Then the first block is burned down quickly. This helps deal with the fact that pretty much all through phase three your tanks are going to be right around 4-5 stacks by the time they clear. So a Blistering Cold or misstep when trying to clear could fail the achievement and require you to wipe.

We did use the strat of flipping her 180 degrees for each tank taunt which keeps the blocks separate. The tanks should still have enough time to get behind the block to clear. This fight is really just about flawless execution on the tanks part. We got it on our second attempt and I think the main reason was staggering the first block to help both tanks get on even ground at the start.

Been Waiting a Long Time for This: (16/16)

A relatively easy achievement and obvious one you'll be doing on regular. The plague that Lich King casts on people throughout phase one is the key to this achievement. Every time the plague jumps to a new target by either killing it or dealing damage needs to stack to 30 before you transition to phase two.

A couple of things to be aware of and/or make this achievement easy..

The first plague that is cast should be run out of the raid and dispelled away from everything (including the ghouls/shambling horror). The reason for doing this is so when the plague is stacked really high and one shots anything it does tick on, the OT won't run out of ghouls before it reaches 30. This becomes important close to the 22+ mark. If the OT runs out of mobs and gets the stack, you can still do the achievement if you have a DPS stand next to the tank and bounce the plague between them. This will only work for one or two ticks though because every time the plague is dispelled it loses a stack, and you will be digging yourself into a ditch. Because of the second point.

Every time the plague jumps or deals damage it gives the Lich king a stack of his buff, which increases his damage significantly. Right around the time you hit 30 stacks is where the Lich king will have 30+ stacks. The damage will be just barely healable by then on the MT, so it's really important to have the Lich King really close to 70% so, as soon as you are around 28+ stacks you can have your DPS push the Lich King to phase two. The remain adds should get the plague to 30 and now it's just a matter of killing the Lick King like normal.


Congrats on your drake, be glad you don't have to kill Lick King on heroic to get it. Now go take some pretty pictures!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why I'll always be a druid. (Part 2: Maybe I can't tank)

Part 1 here if you missed it.

I vividly remember when I first zoned into ramparts as a tank. After buffing up, I remember popping into bear form and seeing the number 10,000. A one with 4 zeros after it in my own character portrait. Just a moment of awe. It's just a fun memory, a happy memory. I might even have a screenshot buried somewhere if I dig around. I wish I could say I remember much more about the run, frankly I don't, it was probably smooth sailing I'm guessing or else I'd remember, or possibly it was so bad that I've just blocked it out of my memory.

I wish I had recorded more of my experiences leveling as a feral druid. I remember it being fun, the most fun I'd ever had leveling. You just feel so incredibly versatile as a druid leveling. For me leveling as feral was one of those experiences where I was amazed with each passing level with how much I could accomplish, and let me remind you this was pre-heirloom!

It was a difficult thing switching my main when WotLK was first released. I didn't want to give up on my mage, I really felt like I was giving up on the class and it felt shameful, but I simply couldn't help myself. I loved my druid leveling up, I loved the very little tanking I got to do at 70 and even the arenas that I ended up doing as Resto. The class just appealed to me, it was a fresh look at the game and I made the decision to level my druid first as my new main, I still leveled my mage to 80, but I've never looked back.

I had a great leveling experience in WotLK, and it's probably attributed to leveling with my significant other. She was a long time paladin, trying her hand at being a mage, and I was a long time mage trying out a druid, it was quite literally a brand new game for the both of us. It was clear once we hit 80 that she was going back to her paladin, but for me I had one more test to determine if I was cut out for this whole druid thing.

Our very first heroic. We spent some time getting together gear and prepping ourselves for the first of many new WotLK heroics. At first it wasn't immediately clear where we should start, unfortunately for me (and my tank ego), we foolishly chose Azjol-Nerub. Logically it made sense to try this first. It was one of the easier regular 5 mans leveling up - incredibly quick, and very little trash. Not so much on heroic. If you get a chance go read some of the older posts on Wowhead. You will find much of the same in terms of people surprised how much different regular was compared to the heroic version.

Well we never killed the first boss. We never even got to attempt the first boss. We wiped, and wiped, and wiped some more on the three "scripted" pulls right before the first boss. Never got pass. Why? Here's what I remember.

I was taking an enormous amount of damage, it was the squishy I've ever felt as a druid. I also couldn't manage to keep aggro on anything, especially those dreaded Skirmishers. It was new to everyone being relatively early to the release of the expansion and we simply couldn't do it. What a terrible feeling. I felt completely defeated.

I really started to second guess myself and my choice to switch my main. I had been so comfortable with my mage and I all of a sudden felt very lost. Obviously I didn't give up though, I stuck it out and after a few days of laying low and refusing to tank anything we tried out a few different heroics with completely different outcomes, and it was most certainly a relief.

In terms of wow experiences, does anything come close to accomplishing something you weren't really sure you could? It's something that's true in real life as well. A little uncertainty in yourself is just part of human nature, not everyone is 100% sure of themselves all the time, right?

There have been so many different triumphs going forward as a tank and more specifically as a druid since my first WotLK tank experience.

Time for some descriptive writing..this should be interesting...=P

I'm standing there in thick reinforced leather - tufts of fur, two horns, and hoofs are all that's visible underneath the heavy armor. The weapon slung across my back weighs three times as much as the rogue standing beside me. My blood-thirsty comrades desire to inflict pain on the enormous dragon a couple hundred yards away grows to the breaking point. The dragon is patient and ominous; incredibly confident, it's many times larger than any of the approaching raid team. It's seen so many groups come and go, none of them worthy opponents. It's wings rise up and spread out doubling it's height and casting a shadow over the whole party.

As I look at my friends, I call upon my strong ties to nature to empower those around me - marking them with the strength of wild unstoppable nature. I look down at my own armor and enchant myself with natures barbed wire, thorns protrude from my armor. The dragon looks on with subtle curiosity.

I get a signal from the raid leader, just a simple nod of his head, it's time.It only takes the blink of an eye, but the sensation is indescribable. It starts deep in my heart, a transformation like no other. Thicker and stronger, heavier beats, way more blood. It spreads so fast, everything following in a similar manner. Physical reinforcements, ferocity, and a deep deep connection to nature overwhelm me. Quicker than it started it's complete. I'm standing on four heavily padded and incredibly sharply clawed paws! My breathing is heavier, but efficient. My desire to attack becomes overwhelming and rage starts to slowly raise. I'm an animal now, I've retained all of my previous battle experience and abilities but have taken on a whole new set as well. It feels so natural, I take one last glance around then fix my eyes back on the dragon.

It's eyes lock with mine. This is certainly different it thinks to itself. No more heavy armor or giant staff, and this is laughable, where's that fools shield. This is going to be fun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

on Talent Trees, Patience, and Being a Robot

First order of business is the flood of class information released yesterday. Yes I looked over the feral and resto trees, yes I tried a couple different preliminary specs, yes I have a few concerns, no I'm not going to bother worrying about it just yet or lose any sleep.

I will say there are some things missing from the feral tree that just can't go away, namely Improved Leader of the Pack! If it's going to be an ability learned from the trainer to "upgrade" regular LotP once you get to it in the talent tree that's fine, but I just don't want to see it disappear completely. Good bye soloing old content (and new content for that matter, haha).

A couple other things not there but I'm not as worried about either because it was mentioned that it would be included (even if not directly) in the talent tree or because it's clearly obvious Blizzard is going to make quite a few passes before we have something resembling finalized talents:

Omen of Clarity - Already mentioned that Blizzard was well aware this is useful to all druids and will show up somehow.

Primal Fury - No more kitty love..? I do like to DPS occasionally, and getting one combo point regardless of critical hits is going to be incredibly awkward and possibly completely requiring of a new kitty "priority", which I'm not trying to say that's a good or bad will just be very very different.

Blessing of the Grove/Perseverance - They just don't feel right. Maybe Blessing of the Grove should include something for bears, or maybe furor should come over to the feral tree! (where it belongs) The idea for a bear build is to probably get down to Perseverance and this is especially true if Protector of the Pack is gone for good or we don't get some baked in spell damage reduction in bear form.

Nothing more to say about it right I said no reason to get all choked up. Yet!!!??! =P

Second order of business! For the love of Soggoth Blizzard, can I please haz a BETA invite? I promise I'll submit feedback and test things out how they are and are not intended to be tested! Fear not, even though it may seem like it, my patience is not wearing thin just yet, I haven't lost all hope. Make this happen.

And finally, something rather important to me, and something I'm proud to announce! I'm officially a robot.

I love this guild.I've been trialing the past couple of weeks, and I must have done something right because I was promoted to raider rank last night right before pulling heroic Marrowgar.

It really feels good to be back into a legit progression progression guild. I'm looking forward to the rest of this expansion now and hopefully killing Heroic 25 Lich King. As far as plans for Cataclysm, I'm sticking around with this guild, hopefully the core group feels like the benefits of raiding in a 25 man guild outweigh the ease of splitting off to 10 man raids. Time will tell..

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why I'll always be a druid. (Part 1: Before my druid)

Everyone, even the altaholics, have that one class that just does it for them. Everyone has a reason they play their main and why their main is exactly that. For me it's the druid class, there are just so many amazing things about druids that keep me interested and possibly even more importantly immersed in the game. When I was finally coming to the realization that I wanted my druid to be my main, I stumbled across a very simple and short video that summed up my feelings towards the class and what they meant, and for the most part it still holds true today. I did not create this video, but I applaud the person that did - they definitely get it.

I suggest viewing it at the max resolution, even though it's still not great, and to have the volume on.

We Will Run

Also here is the link to WarcraftMovies, no stream for it anymore, but definitely nice support comments and the authors original intent.

Anyways hopefully that video gives you a better idea of where I'd like to go with these posts.

Before my druid things where much more magical

I haven't always played a druid. When I first started to play WoW I immediately went for the mage class. I didn't even sit at the character creation screen long, I just knew, knew that I wanted to play a big damage magical class, and my brief glance at the character description made Mages (Magi?) seemingly fit the bill quite nicely.

A high school friend of mine introduced me to the game (some friend..). We had been playing counter-strike together for a year or two by this point and we were sick of the cheating and overall just wanted something different I suppose. At first I was strongly opposed to WoW, I knew about the game from people that played CS and everyone knew that those non-FPS gamers weren't 'real' gamers anyways! It's funny how that opinion develops in a game like CS, but not the point of this post..

My friend had started a bit before me with the game before convincing me to give it a try so the first 15 levels or so I was pretty much on my own (like I said - some friend right?). I loved my undead mage, I didn't know what I was doing or how I was doing it, but I seriously loved the class and the spells and the graphics (lol). Coming from Counter-strike 1.6, WoW is actually an upgrade in the graphics department.

Anyways, we started on a random server and then a few friends from work (we both worked at BestBuy at the time) told us about the server they played on, Drak'thul, and so we decided to join them.

I was so sad that I had to start over - I even considered transferring because I thought I had put so much work into my mage already. This just shows how little I knew about the game, I was level 17 or 18 when we started fresh on another server, silly me..

I was almost 60, I think I was around 52-54 when Burning Crusade was released, and by that time I was really starting to get into the game. I played too much, which hasn't changed from now in case you were wondering, and I had no intentions of slowing down. I really enjoyed the Burning Crusade leveling experience, and it felt like the game I was just getting to know just got so much better and more polished. It was exciting times.

I don't want to ramble on much more about my mage raiding history, but suffice to say that I ended up raiding with one of the only guilds on the server to get into Sunwell pre-nerf. Around the same time that we started Sunwell was the time I became incredibly bored with my mage, to the point where I would stand around and spam sheep my target rather than help kill that awful trash in the beginning of the instance. What I at one time absolutely loved was no longer that interesting and sort-of lost it's charm. I had accomplished many things on my mage and didn't know if I wanted to pick another class come WotLK, but that all changed when I finally hit 70 on my druid that I'd been slowly leveling for months.

It wasn't even a sudden change, but my druid just started to grow on me. I tried out healing and actually enjoyed it quite a bit in arenas and the odd dungeon here or there, but my real interests were in tanking, it was like a forbidden thing for my druid, it was so late in the expansion and veteran tanks were so tuned gear wise and experience wise. It wasn't something I really got to experience on my druid in Burning Crusade, but I started out small in Kara and waited until the time was right!

In the next post I'll talk about my first memorable tanking experience in BC and WotLK and how becoming a tank reignited my interest and enjoyment in WoW. And then after that, why I can't just play any tank, why it's a druid that will be my class until I no longer play MMO/RPGs.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Apparently we complained enough..

I want to personally thank everyone that posted on the realm forums and/or out in the blogosphere about their dislike for the new Real ID forum feature of attaching a real name to anyone posting on the official WoW forums.

It's been canceled.


Heroic Halion 25m Quick Tips

I'm going to debut my awesome paint skills in this post - you've been warned.

Last night marks our second night of hard mode Halion attempts. For a couple of reasons we didn't actually score a kill, but here are a few things that helped me and I'd like to think helped the whole guild while we learned the first two phases of the encounter.

Remember your mileage may vary - this is what worked for us learning the encounter and we have really clean Phase one.

P1 (Physical Realm - 100% to 75%)
  1. Have a Holy Paladin put RF up - it makes the add tanks job (me) much much much easier in P1
  2. DPS the Living Inferno (Big add: 1 spawns every meteor strike) first, allowing the add tank to get respectable aggro on the Living Embers (Small adds: 10 spawn every meteor strike).
  3. All of the raid stack on one side of Halion and once meteor strike is cast, you have 5-6 seconds to run through the middle section of Halion to the other side. This ensures all of the little adds move through the boss as well and group up at or near the Holy paladin spamming heals with RF up.
  4. Tank the Living Inferno close to the front of Halion (3rd tanks job), and the little adds close to the back of Halion (parallel to the hind leg).
  5. Ensure that you have a squeaky clean transition to Phase Two. When the boss is around 77-78% (remember mileage may vary, we have exceptional on demand DPS potential in GCR) stop completely on the boss, burn down both the Living Inferno and the Living Embers, and then push the boss to 75%.
  6. All adds should be dead in Phase One before everyone moves into the twilight realm for Phase Two.
  7. Allow the MT a few seconds to get into the shadow realm, then follow, and group up similar to Phase One on the left side of Halion.
P2 (Twilight Realm - 75% to 50%)
  1. Use Blood Lust/Heroism early (once the MT gives the go ahead), the goal is to get out of this phase as quickly as possible to minimize deaths to the cutters and bad placement of Soul Consumption dispels.
  2. Stay still unless you need to run out Soul Consumption until a few seconds before the cutters are about to start.
  3. Keep the boss dead center in the room at all times.
  4. Right before cutters go off
  5. A few seconds before the cutters start the MT should strafe so he is in one quadrant (Q4 in example below) and the raid is in the one adjacent (Q3 in example below).
  6.      Cutters now!
  7. Always dispel the Shadow Consumptions on the border of the circle.
  8. At 50%, give the Physical realm MT time to take the portal, then follow, and position similar to Phase One.
Phase 3 on heroic is exactly the same as normal, except Halion uses all of the heroic abilities in the realms.

The fight is actually really manageable and we had no real issues getting into Phase Two and even a few attempts saw us in Phase Three, but people getting use to the Twilight Cutters and orienting themselves so they don't kill gibbed while this healing/dispelling/DPSing with just take some practice. I fully expect a early heroic kill next week, as we ran into issues with composition for the rest of the raiding week, so downed in on regular instead.

Okay - now for the real reason I made a post!!!

Decided it was about time to craft one of these suckers, also note my girlfriend debuting as the perfect side car companion!

          Wednesday, July 7, 2010

          Remind me to never do that again..

          So I admittedly had nothing to post about yesterday and when I went to MMO Champion and saw the news about the Real ID changes being made on the official forums I immediately wanted to post my opinion on the changes.

          Well so did pretty much every other blog I have in my reader and so the news part at the very least was pretty redundant. Is that a bad thing? Personally I don't mind going to other blogs and seeing what others opinions are about a given news maybe it's not that bad..anyone else feel differently?

          As for today - I quite enjoyed filling out this survey originally posted on sorry caps and brought to my attention by Jasyla on Cannot be Tamed so I figured I'd post my answers here.

          1. Raider, farmer, PvPer, or altoholic?
          Raider that dabbles with alts on occasion, far from a farmer.

          2. Favorite raid or dungeon?
          Karazhan - one of the best designed raids. It was unique because it was strictly 10 man, and I think Blizzard really has a knack for 10 man raid design. To further prove my point - my second favorite dungeon: Zul'Aman

          3. Number one choice for a new playable race?

          I love Tauren too much to want to play anything else.

          4. Class you suck the most at?

          I guess I would have to say Warrior or warlock only because any time I try to level one I can never make it out of the 20s, not sure why but it's probably because I suck at them.

          5. Original UI or modded UI?

          Modded. Grid/Bartender/X-perl/SexyMap/TinyTip are standard for any character I play.

          6. Profession you’ve never leveled past 200?

          Inscription and jewel crafting. Should probably switch my druids alchemy to jewel crafting though eventually.

          7. Favorite flying mount?

          Alar, which I have seen drop at least 4 times but do no have on my druid. =[

          8. Nozdormu — friend or foe, you figure?

          Foe for sure and probably a good place to mention that I absolutely hate grinding reputations, especially vanilla reputations.

          9. Useless item you have in your bank that you’ll never get rid of?

          No comment. Really it's quite pathetic.

          10. Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

          This. Not really a big gold spender. Thinking about buying a hog soon though.

          11. Favorite starting area?

          Honestly I don't have one because I hate the 1-10 experience right now, from what I've seen this will probably change in Cataclysm. If I had to pick though I would say the Blood elf zone is nice because it's much more like BC questing, very cut and dry and efficient questing.

          12. Inane goal you worked hardest to achieve?

          I guess farming rep for The Mag'har. Like I said not a huge fan of farming reputations or gathering achievements.

          13. Darion Mograine VS Tirion Fordring, gloves off — winner is?

          Tirion, not really sure why.

          14. Game music or your own playlist?

          Own playlist always. With the exception of my first LK kill for the cinematic at the end.

          15. Particular option or setting that you always toggle on a new alt/server?

          Too many to count/list because I have to set my UI up fully before I seriously level an alt.

          16. Highest amount of levels gained in one play session?

          If you count from level 1 up probably like 12 to 15. Especially with full heirloom gear.  It's just so easy now..

          17. Thing you’d most like to experience or see in-game?

          Even though the guild I am in right now is quite good and relatively far progression wise - I'd love to raid even if for just one night with a top 3 guild it would be an awesome experience.

          18. Worst PuG moment?

          When I first hit 80 on my druid in Cataclysm my girlfriend and I started to ease into heroics, and not knowing which ones were easier than others we started with Azjol-Nerub which in fresh WotLK leveling gear is quite difficult to tank for the first time. It was a miserable experience and I started to second guess if switching from my mage was a mistake in Wrath.

          19. Best dungeon/raid moment?

          Recently tanking Heroic 25m Sindragosa and popping cooldowns and battle rezzing the other tank, I love being a hybrid and I especially love being a druid.

          20. Worst quest ever that you totally hate doing?

          I've only done it once and it was actually quite recently doing the 140 quest achievement in Icecrown, but I solo'd everything except this one quest because you need at least two people because of a silly cooldown on the item need.

          21. First thing you do when you hit 80?

          Beg people to carry me through heroics? Oh no wait I know...completely stop playing that character and start leveling a new alt or come crawling back to my druid.

          22. Character (of yours) you would RP as if you had to?

          Druid, no question and no explanation needed.

          23. Keyboard, mouse, or both for using abilities?


          24. Thottbot or WoWhead?

          When I first started playing WoW I for some reason hated WoWhead and refused to use anything beside Thottbot, now it's completely the opposite.

          25. Acronym you’ve seen in chat but don’t understand?

          For a while I had no idea what QFT meant. Which is silly since Google knows all.

          26. Plot point you’d like to see resolved someday?

          Meh..I've got nothing.

          27. Biggest thing you’re looking forward to in Cataclysm?

          Any and all things feral druid. Especially feral tanking and the changes being made to make it a bit less dull.

          28. Guild event you’d like to see?

          Guild ToGC 25 with 50 attempts (we are really close to this), and a Ulduar Mimiron head run.

          29. Level range you hate being in?

          70-80. I have multiple toons stuck at this level range..not because I hate leveling, I actually quite like it, but it's difficult making the transition from BC/new-vanilla questing to regular speed questing.

          30. Favorite map to quest in?
          Nagrand. I love the map design/art, look and feel, the sky, and the efficiency of quests.

          Tuesday, July 6, 2010

          How personal is your real name anyways?

          Recently posted on MMO-Champion if you haven't already refreshed the page since I know everyone is sitting at their computer with a browser open just tapping F5 hungry for Beta information...right..oh only me...okay nevermind.

          The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic forums, will remain unchanged.
          Blizzard wants to reduce the number of trolls on their official forums, and if you haven't been there for a while (or ever) go ahead and take a peek, probably close to 99.99% of the posts on the forums are complainers and trolls. So they no doubt have their work cut out for them. There first solution, if you post on the official World of Warcraft forums you post with your real name - no exceptions.

          Honestly though what does this do?

          People that troll others because of gear, experience (or lack thereof) and things of that nature may think twice before posting something rude and insignificant.

          Why though? And realize I'm basing this off a really large assumption. Assuming that someone can search or easily view all characters that are attached to your real name on the forums, it's reasonable to assume the troll will be exposed to have the very same "weaknesses" they are flaming someone else for on one of their characters. Often times people post inappropriate and rude things on level 1 alt characters and hide behind these characters for everything they post on the official forums.

          If your real name is only ever search-able by posts on the official forums then the only posts that are going to come up are from that same level 1 character that's been doing your dirty work since you started posting. Without actually seeing how the system is going to work it's difficult to tell how binding your real name is. It all depends on if you can search for people's post by their name, regardless of characters, which is pretty likely considering everyone is going to be required to post by name so the character becomes an after thought rather than search criteria.

          If someone is going to flame someone aren't they just going to do it regardless? What's the consequence if someone knows your real name? This might cut down on the people with a "reputation" so to speak - who knows how many top end guilds have trolls that love hoping on the forums and belittling people - they'll have to stop now if they don't want their guilds to take action against them assuming they would even care.

          Basically what it comes down to is this. If someone wants to be a troll on the forums they can. They probably don't use their name anywhere else on the internet so people aren't going to track them down and mess something else for them up.

          For example: Someone that runs a very successful blog that doesn't include the names of their characters or they server they play on could easily be a troll on the forums and not worry about being traced to their respected blog because they probably also don't mention their real name anywhere on the blog. So what's the difference?

          So it doesn't really seem that real names on the official forums will be that helpful. Sure it will probably cut down on the trolls a bit, but is the side effects worth it?

          Two reasons it's not a good idea for honest/reasonable people:
          1. Some people just aren't comfortable with their real name on the internet out there in the open for everyone to see. Which is reasonable, but this means they may not post anything and maybe they had something really useful to say.
          2. What about the people that legitimately have their accounts hacked? The level 80 key-log spammers at some point were normal people now they are going to be real named identifiable people spamming key-loggers. Probably not a good thing..
          Any opinions?

          Friday, July 2, 2010

          Blood Draining vs. Mongoose vs. ???

          So many options...

          There is (was) a pretty good discussion about Blood Draining and Mongoose in the Feral Tanking thread on EJ a couple days ago, and I'm kind of on the fence now about switching from Mongoose to Blood Draining.

          If you don't know here's the tooltip from each weapon enchant:

          Blood Draining

          The main difference is one gives you avoidance, a small amount of mitigation and a decent amount of threat while the other gives you survivability when you need it most.

          To the new to tanking Mongoose may seem like a no brainer - why wouldn't you take extra agility, some armor and a small threat boost over a bit of health when you dip low. And honestly if you are new to tanking you probably aren't jumping right into heroic 25 man ICC. So in that case (and I'm speaking strictly for the bears) I'd say Mongoose is the way to go.

          I think to accurately figure out how "good" blood draining is you have to consider how hard a boss hits you on average compared to how much health you have at 35%. Let's do this with something easy like Sindragosa.

          Edit: I say edit because I added this little edit after I did the sad excuse for math below but before I published this post, and I'm beginning to doubt my assumptions about how good Blood Draining is, hopefully someone can point out my flaws in logic, but after writing up this post, Blood Draining seems kind of lackluster, or at the very least not THAT much better than mongoose given the avoidance/threat/mitigation that mongoose does offer.

           World of Logs - Heroic Sindragosa

          Firstly, let's assume from the data and otherwise:
          • Average melee hit = 25,939
          • Blood Reserve is at 5 in each scenario
          • The Blood Draining proc heals for 2,000 - mid way between the amount possible at 5 stacks (1800-2200) in each scenario
          • My buffed health when tanking is 85,500 (which is actually right around what it is, not sure of exact number)
          • Let's ignore Frost Breaths because:
            • They hit for roughly a bit less than a melee hit so they can even be considered the next melee hit
            • I'm bad at math

          Health at 35% = Total Health * 0.35
          29925 = 85,500 * 0.35

          Scenario #1 (aka the least effective use of Blood Draining):
          I take enough damage to take me a little below the amount required for Blood Draining to proc. Meaning I get hit and it's to the effect that after the hit I am left with 34.9% of my total health. Meaning Blood Draining procs and the heal is negligible.

          Health at 34.9% = Total Health * 0.349
          29840 = 85500 * 0.349

          Blood Draining would proc (remember assume 5 stack and average heal)
          29840 + 2000 = 31840

          The next hit coming in
          31840 - 25939 = 5901

          So as a recap - I have 55,779hp get hit for 25939hp, Blood Draining procs, I have 31840hp health, then another melee hit hits me for 25939hp leaving me with 5,901hp, then I receive a heal that takes me out of risk of dieing. Without the Blood Draining heal I would be left with the following:

          29840 - 25939 = 3901

          Remember this is the worst possible scenario for Blood Draining. A hit that barely takes me below 35%, still leaves me comfortably above 0hp, noticeable at 5901 which is plenty even if Frost Aura ticked for it's average amount of 3166.

          Scenario #2 (aka Blood Draining prevents tank death):
          I start with enough health that I get hit, blood draining procs, I get hit again and live with 1hp of close to it.

          Starting HP - Avg. Melee Hit + 2000 = HP after first hit
          49879 - 25939 + 2000 = 25940

          Next hit before an incoming heal leaves me at 1hp
          25940 - 25939 = 1

          Margin for Blood Draining:
          In terms of effectiveness the worst case for Blood Draining is a starting HP of 55,779 and the best case is 49878. That's a health range of 5901hp between the best Blood Draining has to offer and the worst it has to offer.

          Including an unfortunate tick from Frost Aura (3166 damage) any health range from 49879 to 53045 is a great scenario for Blood Draining. What are the chances at any given time during the fight would I be in that range and not receive a heal for roughly 2 - 2.5 seconds. I'm assuming the chances aren't that high and practically any heal I would get would be more than 2,000 which would limit the usefulness of Blood Draining by quite a bit more. Even LotP heals for more than 2,000, quite a bit more actually.

          Sadly my math skills dwindle greatly from here. I'm not sure how to even start approaching figuring out my average health during a given fight and comparing that to Mongoose's effect.

          Someone rescue me..?