Tag Archives: Druid

MoP Rep Gear – Bears & DKs

25 Aug

So when writing my gear lists last week, I stumbled across something unexpected. It turns out that there are 4 factions who have rep gear, purchasable with VP, that is 489 ilvl epics. Of course, these are probably going to be gear pieces you would be interested in, but which factions have the best pieces for you? Which factions should you focus on, or ignore?

It’s worth noting that each of these factions ALSO have ilvl 450 blue gear, that is purchasable with JP at honored. It’s possible that you may run across honored without even trying, so these may be an early, good way to boost your ilvl getting ready for heroics as well. I will mention each faction, and what they offer to both DKs and bears, much in a similar way that my other lists were formatted, except they will be by faction instead of by gear slot.

Golden Lotus - In addition to some nice gear, the Golden Lotus also have mounts purchasable at exalted. Win!

Guardian Druids – Bears *really* clean up with the Golden Lotus. The 489 shoulders and chestpiece are about as nice as you can find outside of raiding (and would probably only be replaced by tier pieces. I haven’t honestly looked at tier itemization yet). Also, feel free to pick up the ring. Haste may be garbage, but jewelry has always been one of those hard to find, harder to replace pieces.

Surehand Grips – 450 gloves. Crit/Mastery, no socket.

Amulet of Swirling Mists - 450 neck. Haste/Mastery, no socket.

Mogu Rune of Paralysis – 450 trinket. 751 mastery, stun use.

Imperion Spaulders – 489 shoulders. Hit/Crit, yellow socket (60 agi)

Softfoot Silentwrap – 489 chest. Hit/Expertise, blue/yellow socket (120 agi)

Anji’s Keepsake – 489 ring. Hit/Haste, no socket.

Blood DKs – The weird itemization we saw in heroic blues continues on here for DKs. Why they have strength as a socket bonus on a clearly-tank item is beyond me. Perhaps they changed the Str-to-Parry conversion rate to make it far more attractive… I dunno. Anyway, Either 489 chest will work out for you, just depending on which you prefer to have more of. It probably would be worthwhile to pick up both and swap them out according to what feels better to you.

Serrated Forearm Guards – 450 wrist. Expertise/Mastery, no socket.

Gorget of Usurped Kings – 450 neck. Dodge/Hit, no socket.

Mogu Rune of Paralysis - 450 trinket. 751 mastery, stun use.

Cuirass of the Twin Monoliths – 489 chest. Dodge/Expetise, blue/yellow socket (120 str)

Dawnblade’s Chestguard – 489 chest. Hit/Expertise, blue/yellow socket (120 str)

Shoulders of Autumnlight – 489 shoulders. Dodge/Expertise, yellow socket (90 stam)

Alani’s Inflexible Ring – 489 ring. Dodge/Parry, no socket.

Shado-Pan – The Shado-Pan also have some mounts purchasable at exalted. The cloaks alone make these guys worth working on until revered, at the very least… besides, their mounts look effing SWEET.

Guardians – I know the “Hawkmaster’s Talon” has a kind of bunk on-use ability, but that much agi is hard for anybody to pass up, and it would be well worth a pick up on fights where you spend a lot of time DPS-bear’ing instead of actively tanking.

Tough Mushanhide Leggings – 450 legs. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Mark of the Dancing Crane – 450 ring. Crit/Haste, no socket.

Red Smoke Bandana – 489 head. Hit/Mastery, meta/blue socket (180 agi)

Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage - 489 trinket. 1619 stam, 15s mastery use.

Hawkmaster’s Talon – 489 trinket. 1079 agi, 15s haste use.

Blackguard Cape – 489 cloak. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Blood DKs – Nothing special here really. I’m surprised to see such a big stam socket bonus on the helmet, but I expect that’ll be corrected sooner or later. Again, this is still beta.

Thunderstone Ring – 450 ring. Parry/Hit, no socket.

Yi’s Least Favorite Helmet – 489 head. Dodge/Mastery, mega/blue socket (270 stam)

Lao-Chin’s Liquid Courage - 489 trinket. 1619 stam, 15s mastery use.

Yi’s Cloak of Courage – 489 cloak. Parry/Mastery, no trinket.

The August Celestials - More awesome (flying!) mounts that kinda remind me of Mushu. These guys have your “stepping stone” blue cloaks before picking up the 489′s from the Shado-Pan.

Guardians – Nothing particularly noteworthy here. It would figure that somewhere along the line we would have a VP purchase with haste on it… Arginfriggin boots.

Bladesong Cloak – 450 cloak. Crit/Haste, no socket.

Refurbished Zandalari Vestment – 450 chest. Haste/Expertise, no socket.

Fingers of the Lonliest Monk – 489 gloves. Expertise/Mastery, no socket.

Quilpaw Family Bracers – 489 gloves. Hit/Crit, no socket.

Tukka-Tuk’s Hairy Boots – 489 boots. Hit/Haste, no socket.

Blood DKs – Standard valor point gear here. Nothing spectacular to see.

Cloak of the Silent Mountain – 450 cloak. Parry/Expertise, no socket.

Leggings of Ponderous Advance – 450 legs. Crit/Mastery, no socket.

Battle Shadow Bracers – 489 wrist. Parry/Hit, no socket.

Gloves of Overwhelming Swarm – 489 gloves. Parry/Mastery, no socket.

Yu’lon Guardian Boots – 489 boots. Dodge/Parry, no socket.

The Klaxxi - This appears to be one of the few factions that has level 90 weapons for sale with rep, and the only place that the Alliance can get a scorpion mount. They do have the 489 necklaces for sale as well, so they’re definitely worth sinking time into.

Guardians – The belt is weird, with a crit rating socket bonus, but whatever. Drop whatever kinda gem you like in there.

Cruel Mercy Bracers – 450 wrist. Crit/Mastery

Choker of the Klaxxi’va – 489 neck. Hit/Crit, no socket.

Dreadsworn Slayer Legs – 489 legs. Crit/Mastery, red socket (60 agi)

Klaxxi Lash of the Borrower – 489 belt. Crit/Mastery, blue socket (60 crit)

Blood DKs – The Klaxxi are weird, in the direction of tanks. They have mastery on two pieces of plate that are clearly meant for DPS. Take your pick, I suppose.

Chestplate of the Stone Lion – 450 chest. Hit/Mastery, no socket.

Klaxxi Lash of the Consumer – 489 waist. Parry/Hit, blue socket (60 parry).

Kovok’s Riven Legguards – 489 legs. Dodge/Expertise, red socket (60 str).

Paragon’s Pale Pendant – 489 neck. Parry/Hit, no socket.

In general, this is your basic, JP/VP gear list, with the added oddity of needing rep to buy these items as well. In addition  to that, the JP pieces are lower ilvl than what you get from heroic dungeons… VERY weird if you ask me, but whatever I suppose. I’m not sure how it’ll work out, by and large, but I assume either people will buy these items or they won’t. I suppose it doesn’t much matter anyway, because when the second full content patch of MoP comes out, we’ll be largely ignoring these items anyway.

Mists of Pandaria – Pre-raid gear for bears.

18 Aug

In keeping with tradition (I did it pre Cata, and when Firelands came out), I am setting up a shopping list for you Guardian types out there. This will consist of Heroic 5-man gear, and crafted epics only. I’m not including Raid Finder gear because well… it’s still raiding, isn’t it? ;D  Blue heroic gear is 463, raid finder non-tier gear appears to be 476, where as LFR tier sits at 483, and normal tier sits at 496. This list is as inclusive as I can make it, but there’s a good chance I will miss something, or get something wrong, because I have very little information on some items.

In case you’re wondering why i’m doing it in such an odd order, it’s the order wowhead has their filters set up. This way I don’t get myself mixed up (cause it’ll happen). When possible, I will also include where the item can be acquired.

Chestpieces -

Nimbletoe Chestguard – Crit/Haste, blue socket (60 agi). Drops from Ook-Ook in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Korloff’s Raiment – Hit/Crit, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Delicate Chestguard of the Golden Lotus - Crit/Mastery, no socket. Unknown drop location at this time. (A dungeon quest maybe?)

Greyshadow Chestguard – 476 Epic. Crit/Mastery, 2 yellow sockets (120 agi). Leatherworking.

Chestguard of Nemeses – 496 Epic. Crit/Mastery, Red & Blue socket (120 mast). Leatherworking.

The obvious winner is going to be the Chestguard of Nemeses just for sheer ilvl/stats, but it will probably be scary expensive to craft for some time. The Greyshadow Chestguard is a much more reasonable (and STILL quite good) alternative, even if you’re losing out on quite a bit of stats. As far as the 463s go, I would pick “Korloff’s Raiment” above the others for the time being. Crit is turning out to be one of our most desired stats for rage generation, to keep Savage Defense uptime high, and Hit is… well… Hit. I can’t imagine we’ll be drowning in it through our first tier of raiding (we NEVER are), so that’s the option I would go with, dropping an agi/crit or agi/dodge gem into the socket. If you DO pick up the 496, then go with one straight agi red gem, and one agi/stam, agi/hit, or agi/exp for the blue socket.

Boots -

Boots of Plummeting Death - Haste/Expertise, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Dashing Strike Treads – Crit/Mastery, yellow socket (60 agi). Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Haste is still a stat we don’t have much need for, although the expertise is nice. I would still shoot for the boots from Whitemane.

Gloves -

Hound Trainer’s Gloves – Expertise/Mastery, no sockets. Drops from Houndmaster Braun in H-Scarlet Halls.

Tombstone Gauntlets – Hit/Haste, no sockets. Drops from Darkmaster Gandling(?) in H-Scholomance.

Greyshadow Gloves – 476 epic. Crit/Mastery, red socket (60 crit). Leatherworking.

Murderer’s Gloves – 496 epic. Crit/Mastery, blue socket (60 agi). Leatherworking.

Mastery > Haste, so go for the gloves in Scarlet Monastary if you’re shopping for blues. Otherwise, naturally, the 496 > 476 > blues.

Helm -

Windblast Helm – Haste/Mastery, meta/red socket (180 agi). Drops from Wing Leader Ner’onok in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Soulburner Crown – Hit/Crit, meta/yellow socket (180 agi). Drops from Lillian Voss in H-Scholomance.

Agile Retinal Armor – 476 epic. Meta/2 cogwheels (180 agi). Engineering *only*.

If you’re an engineer, the choice is clear (hey that rhymes). If you’re NOT an engineer… well the choice is still pretty clear. Soulburner Crown wins out this battle of the blues.

Legs -

Wall-Breaker Legguards – Expertise/Mastery, red socket (60 mastery). Drops from Raigonn in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Ghostwoven Legguards – Crit/Haste, yellow socket (60 haste). Drops from Jandice Barov(?) in H-Scholomance.

As usual, leave all that haste to the rogues, kitties, and maybe monks. Go for the Wall-breakers.

Shoulders -

Fizzy Spaulders – Crit/Haste, red socket (60 haste). Drops from Yan-Zhu the Uncasked in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Doubtridden Shoulderguards – Hit/Expertise, red socket (60 expertise). Drops from Sha of Doubt in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Seeing an item with expertise as a socket bonus is… weird to me. Nevertheless, those are the ones you want to pick up. Pure threat stats, with a threat socket bonus… weird.

Belt -

Belt of Brazen Inebriation – Hit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Hoptallus in H-Stormstout Brewery.

Icewrath Belt – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Instructor Chillheart in H-Scholomance.

There’s really no wrong answer with these belts. If you want the pure threat stats, or if you want the mitigation stats… just flip a coin.

Bracers -

Saboteur’s Stabilizing Bracers – Haste/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Saboteur Kip’talak in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Lightblade Bracer – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Armsmaster Harlan in H-Scarlet Halls.

I think by now you can probably figure it out. Haste is bad, mmkay? ;D

Cloaks -

Wind-Soaked Drape – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Wise Mari in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Aerial Bombardment Cloak – Hit/Crit, no socket. Drops from General Pa’valak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

This is pretty well a tossup, depending more on how comfortable you are with your hit rating than anything else.

Necklace -

Engraved Amber Pendant – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Vizier Jin’bak in H-Siege of Niuzao Temple.

Scorched Scarlet Key – Hit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Flameweaver Koegler in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Another winning piece with only hit/expertise on it. No complaints here, because the lower tiers always seemed to be lacking hit and expertise in general anyway.

Rings -

Signet of Dancing Jade – Crit/Expertise, no socket. Drops from Liu Flameheart in H-Temple of the Jade Serpent.

Seal of Hateful Meditation – Hit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Taran Zhu in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Pulled Grenade Pin – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Saboteur Kip’tilak in H-Gate of the Setting Sun.

Seal of Ghoulish Glee – 470 epic. Hit/Crit, no socket. Drops from the Headless Horseman (Halloween event ONLY)

Perculia’s Peculiar Signet – 476 epic. Hit/Haste, no socket. World drop, i’m assuming? BoE so you’ll see it on the AH at some point.

Even though haste is “bad”, the extra agi/stam outweighs it, so if you can pick up the two epics without too much trouble (financial or otherwise) then by all means, use them. Otherwise, Dancing Jade, or Grenade Pin are the blue rings of choice here.

Trinkets – (It’s worth noting that these may be a little harder to quantify, and will most likely rely more on your personal tastes as a tank as to which ones you want)

Windswept Pages – 847 Agi. 20 second haste proc.

Searing Words – 847 Crit rating. 25 second agi proc. Drops from Darkmaster Gandling in H-Scholomance.

Flashing Steel Talisman – 847 Hit rating. 15 second agi use. Drops from High Inquisitor Whitemane in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Heart of Fire – 847 Mastery rating. 20 second dodge use. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Iron Protector Talisman – 1270 Stamina. Dodge proc. Drops from Gekkan in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Brawler’s Statue – 470 epic. 904 Dodge rating. 20 second dodge use. Drops from Coren Direbrew (Brewfest event ONLY)

Bubbliest Brightbrew / Bitterest Balebrew Charms – 1356 Stamina. Pointless use abilities. Drops from Coren Direbrew (Brewfest event ONLY)

Relic of Xuen – 476 epic. 956 Agi. 15 second agility proc. Darkmoon Tiger deck.

Relic of Nuzao - 476 epic. 12 second dodge use. Darkmoon Ox deck.

As I mentioned, a lot of these are going to vary based on personal preference, experience, or your group’s needs. That having been said, I would stay away from Relic of Nuzao unless you can get it EXCEEDINGLY cheap. For the 2nd expansion in a row, the tank-specific DMC is flat out disappointing (WotLK didn’t even *have* one)… and THIS one doesn’t even have anything to reforge out of that you could find useful. Save your money. Xuen, on the other hand, could be VERY good for agility-heavy bears. I tend to favor one stam, one avoidance/mitigation trinket. So for me, something like Iron-Protector Talisman and Heart of Fire would be the perfect combination. Mix and match to your tastes.

Weapons -

Ghostheart – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Xin the Weaponmaster in H-Mogu’shan Palace.

Amber Spear of Klaxxi’vess – Hit/Haste, no socket. Requires The Klaxxi – Exalted.

Spear of Xuen – Crit/Mastery, no socket. Archaeology.

Snowdrift’s Bladed Staff – Expertise/Mastery, no socket. Drops from Master Snowdrift in H-Shado-Pan Monastery.

Firestorm Greatstaff – Crit/Haste, no socket. Drops from Brother Korloff in H-Scarlet Monastery.

Inscribed Tiger Staff – 476 epic. Crit/Mastery, no socket. Inscription (bind to bnet account)

If you have a scribe, for sure, go for the Inscribed Tiger Staff. If you don’t, then the Spear of Xuen or Snowdrift’s Bladed Staff are probably your best bet. As it is, you have plenty of options between staves and polearms, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a solid weapon… just those are the BEST ones for bears.

As a side note, this entire list could, more than likely, be applied to Brewmaster Monks just as easily, but I didn’t specify them because I’m not anywhere near as familiar with their stat priorities. Do they like haste? Do they prefer more mastery and less crit? I honestly don’t know…  I haven’t much kept up.

One other thing to note is that NONE of these items are bought by JP. When I first wrote this gear list, I didn’t see any JP items for sale in the list, and only recently did I discover why. JP items are actually lower level than heroic 5-man drops. They are ilvl 450, and they ALSO all require rep. I won’t include the list here (because this post is long enough), but you can find the complete listing of JP/Rep 450 gear here. Also, as of the last beta build (it may have changed, but I don’t know for sure) the requirement for level 90 heroics was ilvl 440, and LFR requires 463.

Soloing Things Part Deuce

15 Aug

The other day, I wrote a post about soloing old raid content, and covered pretty much all of the raids that were in Burning Crusade. Today, i’m going to move up to Wrath’s raids, and show you what i’ve been able to solo, and give a few tips on doing them as well. Keep in mind, I have done all of this on my two well-geared tanks, unless otherwise noted.

Naxxramas - A couple bosses in here are problematic to solo. Gluth has a ridiculously high DPS requirement, Razuvious requires lots of good RNG avoidance streaks, and Thaddius… well you can’t get to him until you kill Gluth, as far as I know. But even if you could, killing both of his guardians before the tesla coil revives them would be a pain, at best. But lets look at the other bosses.

Without a doubt the plague quarter is the EASIEST to solo. Noth the Plaguebringer hits like a wet napkin, he’s just time consuming because of the blasted “teleporting away” mechanic. Unless your DPS is obscenely high, expect to get 2 teleport phases before you kill him.

Heigan the Unclean is another one who hits like a wet noodle. Keep him up on the platform until he begins channelling, and then do the dance. It’s brutally simple, and you won’t even die right off if you accidently overshoot.

Loathieb, I initially expected to be an issue because of the healing aura, but really he isn’t. Plus, you get a HUGE crit buff from killing the spores, so just take one out every now and again, and you’ll drop him quicker than you think. (It’s especially funny to solo this guy on the druid and have over 100% crit chance. LOL BIG NUMBERS FOREVER).

Spider Wing is second easiest, but Anub’rekhan *can* be an issue if you’re not careful. He knocks you up into the air, and while it’s not a LOT, you *do* take some fall damage, and it can add up over time. The big problem comes with when he does his locust swarm and you’re completely unable to act. Druids can shift into cat form and outpace the locust swarm pretty easily, but if you don’t have any sort of movement speed increasing abilities, you’re going to be pacified at least for a FEW seconds (DKs can stave it off some with AMS). It’ll hurt a bit, but it’s completely recoverable. The crypt guards should die as quickly as possible, because their stacking poison dot can be pretty painful if you let it go unchecked.

Grand Widow Faerlina is as simple as the entire plague wing. Don’t feel like you need to save the adds for dispelling enrages, because even enraged, she doesn’t hit particularly hard against our large health pool. You might have to move out of the rain of fire, you might not. Just watch your own health and do what you feel is necessary.

Maexxna is also quite simple. The poison dot she puts on you is really quite tame, and the spiderling adds she summons are barely noticeable. Take them out with cleave damage (spread diseases, thunderclapped rends, etc) and just keep hacking away at the big lady. She web-wraps you on occasion, but never sticks you to the wall since you’re solo, so it’s pretty tank-and-spank.

Construct wing i’ve already briefly touched on (with Gluth and Thaddius being ridiculously hard to solo), but to go into more detail, Patchwork *can* be difficult, depending on your gear. I had issues with him on my DK at first, but she was significantly lower geared than my Druid… and I was also *really* rusty at rune-gaming. I still have to be more careful about how I approach him on my DK, but on my druid it’s pretty much a lolercise at this point. When he enrages (sub 10% i think?) be prepared to use some of your cooldowns if you feel you need to. Patchwerk want to play.

Grobbulus, on the other hand, is a simpleton. Move him back out of clouds (there’s no mutating injection if you go solo, so he just farts clouds behind him) and cleave damage the slimes that occasionally spawn, and he’s dead pretty quickly.

Military quarter can be an issue. Instructor Razuvious is a pain in the ass. Unbalancing Strike will still hit you for about 30-40k, and he does it roughly every 10 seconds or so. You need to be EXTREMELY lucky and have large streaks of dodge/parry to be able to survive it. If you’re a druid, you can stealth past him and head to Gothik (which I did. I was unable to take him down on my DK)

The Harvester calls, and he’s most likely calling on one of those fisher price telephones. The first 3 minutes or so, prepare to be bored to tears. Seriously. The only thing remotely exciting to happen during the add phase is when the dead side all rushes over at once… and even then it’s not very exciting. When Gothik comes down for himself, just go apeshit on him. He doesn’t hit hard, and his only “redeeming” quality as a boss at this point is his stacking debuff, reducing all your stats by 10%. I think I only got 3-4 stacks by the time I killed him. He’s a joke.

Four Horsemen wrap up the military wing. Initially, I wouldn’t have imagined this encounter to be soloable, but it definitely is… and it’s not terribly hard (but hard in comparison to most of the other naxx bosses). When you aggro the bosses, you want to start at the front of the room, starting off with Zeliek, burning him as quickly as possible before Korth’azz reaches you. Kill Zeliek first, then drag Baron and Korth’azz back to Bleameaux (back right-hand side) and use your big DPS cooldowns to kill the men first. Finish Bleameaux off last, avoiding the void zones on the ground, and you’re golden.

Moving on to upper-Naxxramas, Sapphiron is time consuming, but not terrible. Circle strafe to stay out of his blizzard, and outdamage his drain-life. It’s pretty simple really. There will be several air phases, but they’re not to worry about since you’re the only one around to get ice blocked. Long fight simply because Saph has a good bit of health, and heals a little bit of it, but still mostly tank-and-spank.

Kel’thuzad can be a bit more tricky. Generally, I stay in the middle during the first phase, and let the mobs come to me. Skeletons are easy to deal with of course, and the aboms barely hit you at all. The banshees can be pretty obnoxious though. I’ve found that you can generally run in and get one good hit on them before they send you flying, so make it a hit that counts. I also like to drop a D&D in front and outbreak them (on my DK) after they’ve moved ahead of the pack. That’s a significant bit of damage and makes dealing with them a LOT easier, but you’ll still have a few left when KT finally attacks. They’re your first priority. Don’t worry, KT doesn’t ice block you when soloing, but you do still need to worry about the purple void zones that spawn… they’ll take somewhere around half your health if you’re not careful. Once all the banshees are down, KT is easy. Avoid the void zones, interrupt frostbolts as you can, and chip away. When the guardians come out and attack you, they tend to block your view of the ground, so be sure you’re watching carefully for the purple beams.

Vault of Archavon - Fire and Ice, i’ve never actually managed to kill. I’ve come *so* close to killing Koralon (fire) on my DK, that I know it CAN be done, I just haven’t managed it yet. I haven’t attempted on my druid yet, but I think I can manage it on him better because of the increased DPS (ETA – no i can’t). Toravon , i’m not even going to try at 85 because his ice damage just ramps up too fast.

Emalon the Storm Watcher is pretty simple. The lightning novas are very little to worry about, and the chain lightning will hurt some, but nothing you can’t overcome with regular tanky-heals. When he overcharges the add, you still want to bring him down fast, because it will do a good bit of damage, but it’s not an insta-gibb like it used to be. Pretty easy fight to overcome, all things considered.

Archavon the Stone Watcher is as simple as it gets. Tank and spank. Avoid the earth shards (if you want), dps him down. The only thing i’ve noticed… you’ll probably want to stay away from the edges of the room. I’ve had him accidently throw me into one of the stone pillars, and i got stuck there for just a second. He started to reset and gained about half of his health back, so it was probably a one in a million fluke, but still something to be on the lookout for.

Ulduar - This was fun… and started completely on for a laugh, out of boredom. I honestly didn’t think I would get past the first boss, but I did.

Flame Leviathan was actually easier than I expected. It helps that your machines’ power and health scales with your gear. I took a siege engine and just steamrolled my way to the room where FL is, but didn’t engage the two giants in front of his gate. Sit there and wait for everything to start gathering upon you and just clear it out, healing as you need to (60s cooldown on the heal is definitely doable). Also, take out the two towers right in front of the boss’s room. Now then… kill the trash in front of Flame Levi’s wall, and at this point you’ll have to engage FL on your demo and let him kill you. Just… trust me on this. Now then. Run back in and take the teleporter right there, and hop in a demo. The key is all in hitting the right buttons, and stacking your pyrite so it lasts as long as possible. It’s a race, in every sense of the word. Do NOT spam pyrite barrels. Throw one pyrite barrel, and then two boulders, one pyrite barrel, two boulders. That’s all. When he gets close to you, switch one of the boulders for one ram. So, Pyrite, Ram, Boulder. He should die right around the same time as your vehicle does, which leaves YOU still alive to loot him and move on.

Ignis the Furnace Master isn’t terribly difficult, but the damage will steadily ramp up as your fight lasts longer and longer. The idea is to stand right in the edge of the water, so when he casts his scorch, you can run out of it and it’ll despawn after just a few seconds, letting you run right back in. He continually summons guardians to join at his side, but they have nearly as much health as he does, so don’t even worry about them. Focus all your damage on Ignis, and he’ll eventually drop.

Razorscale is a pain in the ass fight. You’re going to take a lot of damage through the air phases because of the targeted fireball casts. The little adds barely hit for anything, and they have next to nothing for health, so just take them down with cleave damage when you harpoon her to the ground. Deal as much damage as possible when she’s harpooned, because you want as few air phases as you can get. Once she’s down on the ground, she really doesn’t hit that hard. Keep slowly kiting her around the room and moving her out of the fire. Eventually your armor will get fused together and you’ll be unable to act. If you’re EXTREMELY unlucky, this will happen right before she breathes fire on the ground at you… hope this doesn’t happen, but if it does… blow your cooldowns and heal up as fast as you can, as soon as you’re able. It takes a little time, but you’ll be able to bring her down. Definitely one of the more difficult fights to solo. I couldn’t quite manage it on my druid, but i got REALLY close. The self-healing the DK gives really makes a difference in this fight.

XT is pretty easy. Kill the trash on each heap and then run to the middle to fight XT. Keeping him on the stairs is what my raids have always done, so that’s what I did when soloing him. He will put Light Bombs on you, but there will not be any Gravity Bombs, so no extra damage for you to worry about. When his heart spawns, unleash as much damage as you can WITHOUT killing the heart (which brings him back to full health). He will eat an occasional repair bot, but you should be able to outpace the healing with your damage relatively easily. I think I got 3 heart phases on my DK when I killed him. Definitely a lot easier than the first 3.

Kologarn is extremely simple. He will not grip you with his right hand if you’re soloing, so focus all your damage on the body (AND DON’T CHARGE HIM FOR THE LOVE OF GOD). Strafe back and forth to avoid eyebeams, and he will drop like a stone (heh. get it?) soon enough.

Auriaya isn’t terribly difficult, but make sure you dont’ make the same mistake I did and engage her while you’re still fighting the stone guardians.. >.> You can’t handle damage of that magnitude. Either way, the crazy cat lady is simple enough. Take out her guardians as soon as possible (because they’ll put the REAL hurting on you), and then focus on beating her down quickly. Try to stay somewhere safe that you don’t get feared too far away from the boss. I had way less trouble with her on my DK thank my Druid. Again, self-healing makes a big difference here. I never had to kill the respawning defender on the DK, but I had to on my druid. The shadow barrage can be pretty painful (she starts casting it when she fears you), but if you can hit her before the cast goes off you save yourself a good chunk of damage (20-30% per tick maybe?)

Hodir was the only one of the keepers I gave attempt to, and I was unsuccessful in killing him. The fight wasn’t terribly difficult as long as you keep moving as much as you can to keep the stacking dot from getting too high, and stand on the piles of ice to keep from getting flash frozen. My issue came with my damage output. Sadly, I didn’t have the numbers to beat him down before his enrage timer expired, and he smashed me into a blue stain upon his floor. Still, quite a bit of fun to try, as I may go in again at some point and try to get more DPS out of myself (and avoid more flash freezes >.>) (ETA) I went in with my druid and gave him 3 honest shots. Freeing the person on the far right is a huge help, as she will cast Hand of Freedom on you when you get frost nova’d in place. I still didn’t quite have the DPS for this (my best attempt was just sub 1-million), but it’s one of those “OH MY GOD I’LL GET YOU YET” moments

I tried Iron Council only on my druid, but not the DK. I’m not sure I have it in me to solo them either. The fusion punch from Steelbreaker just hits too hard, and druid’s dont have enough self healing to come back from it. I’ll have to give it a shot on my DK though to see how that turns out.

I’m not sure I could’ve managed Thorim (because of the whole arena bit), and killing Mimiron would’ve been… interesting, to say the least, so this brought an end go my Ulduar run. It really was a *lot* of fun, and I feel like i’m a better tank as a whole because of doing what I needed to do to survive, without simply thinking “Oh the healers will get me”… It’s all about pressing your buttons at the right time, and making every last cooldown matter.

Expect to see some videos of these encounters on my youtube sometime over the next couple weeks.

Soloing things!

12 Aug

Those of you who are curious… No, I *still* haven’t decided whether i’m going to Druid or DK for Mists. And as such, I haven’t decided whether i’m going to race change my DK or not. These things are important okay? Seriously folks, i’ve tried the “pros and cons” list, i’ve tried the “close your eyes and imagine the first class you’re playing sort of thing, i’ve tried pretty much everything I can think of and all I can come up with is a big fat goose egg.

In the meantime, i’ve been slowly chipping away at my Loremaster (3 zones left on the Fuzzy one!), and in between that, still soloing old raid content. Last week, I got a wild hair to try and solo Ulduar. Why? Because I was bored mostly and it was like 2am haha. I realized that there’s a LOT of good money in soloing these old raids for the time being, but it’s also a great way to put your tanking skills to the test. It helps you hone your survivability like normal raiding or even 5-mans just aren’t on par with. I realize i’ve talked about this briefly before, a couple weeks ago, but I want to get into more details on which bosses you can solo, and which ones will give you more problems than others. Keep in mind, that i’m soloing these as my tank spec, and both toons are pretty well normal Dragon Soul geared (DK is 386, Druid is 397).

Burning Crusade raids -

Karazhan – All of these bosses can be soloed, no problem. Hell you could do them in your DPS spec without issue. The Chess event takes a *lot* more thought than it would with 2-3 people, but i’ve found the most reliable way is to move the pawns in front of the King and the King-side Bishop (priest) forward one square, and take control of the bishop for most of the event. Move him and the king forward out of fire when Echo of Medivh cheats, and keep healing everyone around you as much as you can. It’s time consuming, but overall, not terribly difficult.

Magtheridon – This can be a little tricky, especially if you’re undergeared, because it’s VERY difficult to kill the channelers on your own. Mainly because when one hits around 25%, the other 4 get into the “I need to heal him” mode, and you can sometimes get lucky and catch him before they go off, but usually not. So it’s a couple minutes of stasis – attacking mobs that you really can’t kill very quickly (as a tank, mind you. As a DPS you’d have a much easier time with this I’m sure), and then Magtheridon comes to attack. Now the boss is pretty much a wimp. He doesn’t hit very hard, and you *can’t* interrupt the flame nova solo, but it’s pretty tame these days.

Gruul’s Lair – Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it past the High King fight to actually *fight* Gruul. I’m sure there’s something I am missing in that fight, but it’s rather difficult when you’re being consistently CC’ed, and one of them is constantly healing the others. I’m sure the trick is to kill the healer first, but it probably requires a good bit of luck. I’m not giving up on this one, so i’ll keep you posted.

Serpentshrine Cavern - Lady Vashj, to my knowledge, is unsoloable. I haven’t actually *tried* it, but i’m pretty sure that’s just the mechanics of it.

Hydross The Unstable had me stymied at first, but that’s mostly because I was unfamiliar with the mechanics. You simply cannot just tank and spank him, because the debuff will get too high, and you’ll take far more damage than you can overcome. Move him out of the beams at 50-100% of the debuff (depending on how comfortable you are), kill the adds when they spawn and you’ll have him down in no time.

The Lurker Below can be an absolute pain in the ass to solo, mostly because of the whole knockback. Simply put yourself right in front of the giant pillar and it’s usually not an issue, but where the BIG problem comes into play is when he submerges and spawns the adds. Chances are, you won’t be able to kill them all before he resurfaces, and the first thing he does is the giant water beam of knockbacky annoyance. Make sure you’re near the big pillar when that happens so he doesn’t send you screaming off into nowheresville to be eaten by those damnable frenzy fish.

Leotheras the Blind can be tricky. His whirlwind isn’t particularly painful, but his stacking fire debuff will hurt…  a LOT. The trick is to time your cooldowns carefully. DKs can really help with AMS to keep the buff from stacking too high, but druids just kinda have to eat it up. The trick is, don’t drop him below 500k until that debuff is COMPLETELY fallen off of you, or the last few percent will be enough to make you grind your teeth.

Fathom-Lord Karathress is pretty easy, all things considered. None of his 3 minions hit very hard, but one of them will juggle you up into the air pretty often. Kill the healer first, then kill the others in whichever order you prefer, saving Karathress for last. You’ll occasionally get frozen, but it’s not a terribly big deal. Nothing really hurts very badly on this fight, but the juggling can be kind of annoying. Just make sure you’ve cleared the room first.

Morogrim Tidewalker is also easy, but he has a big health pool, and he will occasionally cast a slowing debuff that lowers your swing-speed (thus rage generation for bears/warriors) and haste (thus rune regeneration for DKs) pretty significantly. I don’t believe this debuff can be avoided by AMS, but I could be mistaken (or my timing could’ve been off). The murlocs he summons are no big deal. When he drops below 25%, keep kiting him around the room to keep the bubbles from freezing you and just slowly chip away at him. He’ll go down soon enough.

Tempest Keep - I haven’t actually tried soloing Kael’Thas, because i simply haven’t felt like it. I know it is possible for some classes who can wield the dagger (i think?) that prevents you from getting Mind Controlled, but all things considered, it’s easier to just come at him with a group.

A’lar is *annoying*, but pretty simple. Be prepared to do lots of running around the room to catch up with this fucking bird. The second half of the fight (after she dies and is reborn), is a lot easier because you can keep her on the ground level. Simply move out of the way of where her bomb falls and keep chipping away at her. She goes down for good eventually, and you’re 250g richer (plus drops!).

Void Reaver has long since been known as the Loot Reaver, and soloing it at 85 is absolutely no different. Simple tank and spank. He silences you pretty regularly if you’re in melee range, so depending on your class, that can be problematic or completely ignorable.

High Astromancer Solarian is even *more* annoying than A’lar. Not because he’s difficult, but because every 10 seconds you get rocketed up into the air. Thankfully, you don’t take any fall damage, but it makes the fight run about 3 times longer than it should. Whenever adds spawn, kill them because they DO cast heals on Solarian, but they’re dropped pretty quickly if you can keep your feet on the ground.

I didn’t go into Sunwell Plateau, because I have it on pretty good authority that Kalecgos is impossible to solo, and Brutallus is pretty impossible to solo as well. I’d like to try Brutallus on my DK, but i’m not sure if I can get past Kalec to get there.

This post ended up a *lot* wordier than I had originally expected, so I will break this into two parts, and deal with Wrath raids in a few days. I may even put some videos up on my youtube to show exactly how I did it. Keep an eye out!

The Battle Rages On

30 Jul

Fair warning ahead of time… this post will probably be pretty disjointed, and I think i’m going to end up talking about 3 or 4 different things in here. Consider this making up for not posting for 2 weeks.

I still don’t know what the hell i’m going to play come MoP. Right now, it’s a tossup between my druid and my dk. I decided to dust off my DK a few days ago and work on tanking with her again. It has been… a while since I gave DK tanking an honest shot, and man I had forgotten just how much fun it really was. So I poked Kia and asked if she wanted to run some dungeons with me. (For the record, her response was “/blinkblink…are you feeling alright?”).

So, I ran several dungeons, and absolutely NOTHING dropped for me. Go figure. So, LFR, I thought. “I’ve had no luck in dungeons, that must mean my luck in LFR will be better, right?” Well… I was half right. I picked up two upgrades in the first 4 bosses, and nothing in the last 4, but it still went pretty well overall… and I had a ton of fun. Also, I had a good reminder of just how damn powerful their defensive cooldowns are (HELLO ANTI-MAGIC SHELL!) when used at the right times. I also realized that I was pretty damn rusty at proper rune-gaming for Blood DKs, but thanks to a brief conversation with Rades I have that figured out pretty well also. (It takes work to do it “perfectly”, but it’s definitely much more effective than what I was doing.)

Well, after going and getting my DK some tanking gear, I decided that I wanted to transmog  her tank gear to look like an actual “blood” set (and this is the gear you see in her armory picture). This is a big part of what got me into the “OH MY GOD WHICH CLASS DO I WANT TO PLAY” conundrum I find myself faced with. Both the druid and the DK have some great bonuses, and some drawbacks. (One of the drawbacks of the druid is that I can’t see his mogged gear very much…  Go figure)

Also, over the last few days, i’ve spent a significant amount of time soloing old raid content. Partly, because it’s pretty damn good money (seriously, i made 5k in a day and a half on the DK), and partly to see if I could, and partly because raid bosses are having their gold amounts nerfed into oblivion adjusted to depend on the size of the party. I figured I might as well “get while the gettin’s good”… or something.

Man, it just felt wrong to type that, but I digress.

Soloing old raid content is a lot harder than I had expected. Well… some of it was anyway. I took my DK (who is considerably lesser geared than my Druid) into SSC, TK, and Naxx to see how I would fair. All told, I did alright, but I had to work a *lot* harder at it because of the gear disparity. Also, my druid puts out some *beastly* DPS for a tank, and my DK, who isn’t terrible by ANY means, just doesn’t compare right now. Taking the DK into older raids, however, DID give me the chance to see things that my druid might not have survived, and see things that my druid probably would have excelled at comparatively. It gave me more of a chance to see the variations between bear and blood rotations, and how they handle different problems. Also, it helped me realize that my DK needs a fuck ton more hit/expertise overall… sigh.

Sidebar on that topic: My druid is currently *bleeding* expertise to the point where it’s reforged off from every piece that has it, and i’m STILL over the soft cap. On top of that, he also has a modest amount of hit rating. My DK on the other hand is a draenei, so she has the built in 1% hit, and as a blood DK comes with 6 expertise or something like that, baked into the spec. My druid has 31 expertise, and about 3% hit, whereas the DK has 10 expertise and 1.48% hit. What the shit. Anyway.

Soloing old content is a lot of fun, but the money from bosses (like 130-180 from naxx 10, and 250 from BC 25 man raids) is about to go away, and that is sad. It’ll still be a good moneymaker if you can pull it off, between trash drops and gear being sold, plus you get a lot of practice at learning how to stay alive. All told, that in and of itself is very good exercise for a tank who wants to improve his game. Go solo Naxx or SSC or something. I would be willing to bet that you’ll find SOME way to get better. Hell, even if you don’t? You made a good chunk of change for your efforts. Win-Win situation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take my druid into the Battle for Mt Hyjal and see how that goes.

Will the REAL Fuzzbutt, please stand up?

10 May

If you’ve been following me on twitter or my blog for a while, you may’ve noticed that I am somewhat impulsive. I tend to make rash decisions based on very little, empirical data… mostly relying on hearsay or VERY minor anecdotal evidence. I’ve spent a lot of talking about monks lately, and a tiny bit of time talking about DKs, but i’ve not spent a lot of time talking about druid-type things, because well… I wasn’t overly impressed with where they were taking the class for MoP previously. Since playing the monk so much, I figured it would be good to have a basis for comparison when it comes to tanking, so I dusted off my copied-over druid and shoved him into a few dungeons.

Keep in mind, first off, that this druid is considerably better geared than my monk is… he is at a 398 ilvl whereas premade toons start with a 378 ilvl, so that’s a relatively significant difference. Even with that in mind, holy shit on a cracker, what a difference there is in how the two tank. Right now, the monk’s rotation is panicky and spastic, and requires on a 100% uptime of one ability to even THINK about surviving (shuffle via BoK). When I took my druid into Temple of the Jade Serpent, it was like slipping on an old glove again. Bears on the beta feel smooth, and powerful and…

Wait, what the fuck is this? Lacerate is on a cooldown? Pulverize is gone? Swipe is (situationally) back in our single-target rotation? Wat the hell?

And what are these two new buttons i have? (Well.. actually only one is a new button, but Frenzied Regen has taken a SIGNIFICANT redesign from what it currently is on live.) Holy shit does that say 45% dodge? HOLY SHIT DID THAT JUST HEAL ME FOR 80K? /drool.

As you may have guessed, i’m starting to feel comfortable with the druid again (as it were). I may have been pretty rash in my earlier write-off of the class for Mists. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not writing off monks either, but right now they have a lot of work to do, and maybe I would do better sticking to what I know and simply adjusting… I mean it is kind of the druid way really. Take what we’re given, and make it work awesome.

So, let me take a brief minute and discuss what’s going on with bears in the beta.

Glyphs are in a decently fun place. There’s lots of actual CHOICE involved here, instead of “OH MY GOD YOU MUST TAKE THESE OTHERWISE YOU’RE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD”

Except of course the Glyph of Rebirth. Seriously… I don’t care what role you are, you *have* to have this glyph. My other major glyphs are Maul (an old standby, and probably one that most bears WILL take), and Survival Instincts. SI glyph provides an interesting form of choice here. Reduce the cooldown & reduce the duration via glyph? It’s worth testing, at the very least. Of course, there are plenty of other glyphs that are worth considering. I won’t go into each and every one, but feel free to check out the list and decide for yourself what may work for you.

Talents, at the moment, are a bit less ambiguous for bears, in my opinion. The level 90 talents have been under EXTREME amounts of discussion, dissection, and dissertation on the beta forums, and there is probably an entire blog post I could devote to just those talents… but I will leave those discussions to people far more eloquent and well-versed in theorycrafting than myself. With the exception of the level 60 talents, the ones that I picked are pretty much no-brainers for bears. I picked “Incarnation” because it’s basically a second berserk, without the added gigglefits of hitting 3 targets, but that’s neither here nor there. Force of Nature is pretty amusing… it’s basically a bear’s “Army of the Dead”. Drop treants, watch them run around taunting everything in combat, profit. Soul of the Forest is a hard talent to skip over, but it’s also hard for me to give it a place right now, as well, simply because mangle giving me rage in GENERAL is bloody fantastic… I haven’t felt myself overly starved for rage when in any 5-mans, so I don’t predict raids to be much different.

OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIENow, I fully expect this is going to change in the future, but hitting Incarnation and then having Kiril proc (making me DOUBLY HUGE) is worthy of mass amounts of giggling. I had to screenshot it while it was still a thing.

NO HE'S NOT OVERCOMPENSATING THANK YOU VERY MUCHIn other news, i’m considering making my druid back into a night elf. You may remember that I race changed him the very day that Cataclysm dropped, and i’ve been modestly happy with that decision. (Oh darkflight, you made Atramedes *POSSIBLE*) But as i’ve gone on through Cataclysm, i’ve noticed that capes and helmets all look like absolute shit on worgen. Night elves, on the other hand, look 84 kinds of awesome with both of them on. If I were to go out with no transmogged gear (except for the weapon, because Kiril is an ugly son of a polearm), this is what I would look like, on the left over here. Damn… that’s kinda hawt. Maybe i’ll race change him back to his original elven self.

Symbiosis is really a parasite.

14 Apr

So, last night/early this morning, MMO-champ released the early listing of spells that druids are giving and receiving for the Symbiosis spell that’s been so controversial.

I’ll be honest. I knew when I first read it that it would be a balancing nightmare, but the more I see, the more I think Blizz should just scrap it and give druids another spell while leveling, because this is just NOT going to end well. So, first off, let’s take a look at what druids will be getting. I’ll mostly focus on the bear and kitty specs, since those are the ones I currently play, but if there’s a particularly horrid offender in boomkin or resto, I may touch on it. As with all beta information, all of this is subject to change at any minute in time, so take it with a grain of salt, as I have.

So here is what druids are getting from:

Death Knights – Guardians get “Bone Shield”, Feral gets “Death Coil”.

Another defensive cooldown for bears definitely couldn’t hurt anything, but it seems like taking the easy way out. Feral getting Death Coil is ridiculous since their rotation (currently) is already pretty GCD locked, and energy starved. Admittedly, I haven’t played it on the beta, but I have yet to see anything that would change that enough to justify another 40 energy-costing ability.

Hunters – Guardians get “Ice Trap”, Feral gets “Play Dead”.

Bears with Ice Trap makes absolutely no sense to me. If you’re like me and get Ice Trap and Freezing Trap mixed up all the time, Ice Trap is the one that creates the patch of slowing shit on the ground… so why on earth would tanks need an aoe slow like this? Maybe there are some mechanics in some boss fights? Maybe? I don’t know, but it seems silly. Kitties getting “play dead” (druidic version of feign death) makes sense, as kitties tend to be high on the threat scale, and cower really only drops like 10% threat or something. Play dead could definitely come in handy in some circumstances.

Mages – Guardians get “Mage Ward”, Feral gets “Frost Nova”.

Mage Ward is what used to be Frost Armor. I could see this being useful in pve on some rare situations, and making bears REALLY annoying flag runners in pvp. Frost nova for ferals… oh god, I can just hear the pvp QQ right now. Holy crap that’ll be absurd.

Monks – The spells received from monks have yet to be implemented.

Paladin – Guardians get “Consecration”, Feral gets “Divine Shield”.

Bears with consecrate… because clearly, our aoe threat is a problem at this point, amirite? Kitties getting Divine Shield will be another one that will make kitties powerful in pvp. 50% damage reduction on an already difficult to kill, FAST class? Woof.

Priest – Guardians get “Fear Ward”, Feral gets “Dispersion”.

This symbiosis makes the most sense to me. Fear Ward is a *fantastic* idea that’s not overpowered, and will see legit use in both pve and pvp. Dispersion for kitties is right in the same lines. THIS is what symbiosis should be for druids.

Rogue – Guardians get “Feint”, Feral gets “Redirect”.

I like the idea of bears having an AOE damage reduction. It may only see some modest usage at best, but it’s still a good trade. Kitties getting redirect, and all of a sudden every kitty on the planet loves their friendly neighborhood rogue. Combo points have been the major downfall of kitties in pretty much every target-switching boss fight, and this is a fantastic way to combat that.

Shaman – Guardians get “Lightning shield”, Feral gets “Feral Spirit”.

Initially, I /headtilt’ed at bears with lightning shield, but it’s a fun idea that could augment thorns, and also see legitimate usage. Kitties with spirit wolves (or spirit kitties maybe?) are an interesting idea, but with Treants being given to all specs, i’m really curious about this choice.

Warlock – Guardians get “Life Tap”, Feral gets “Soul Swap”.

A tank, willingly taking some (20% in this case) of his health for some rage may seem like a questionable choice, but I think this would see a lot of use in 5-mans, between pulls when Enrage is on cooldown. Not terrible, but not great. Kitties getting soul swap is a great way to combat the lack of opener burst that they’ve suffered from. Minor target swap fights (like Spine or Blackhorn) would see kitties ABSOLUTELY LOVING this ability.

Warrior – Guardians get “Spell Reflection”, Feral gets “Shattering Blow”.

Spell reflect will be an AMAZING ability for bears, when they already kind of suffer on magic damage fights. Ferals getting “shattering blow” is yet another one where I can see massive amounts of pvp tears. Pally bubble shattered by a kitty? what is this I don’t even

Now then… What does everybody get in return from druids?

DKs: Blood recieves “Might of Ursoc”, Frost and Unholy recieve “Wild Mushroom: Plague”.

Blood DKs get another defensive cooldown (increases health by 15% for 20 seconds)… again with taking the easy way out. Wild Mushroom: Plague is just another disease spreading ability. Simply put, it drops a mushroom for 30 seconds, and everything in it’s area get the diseases pulsed onto them every 3 seconds. It’s a cool idea, but between the level 15 talents, DKs don’t need ANOTHER way to apply diseases… and the cooldown (3 minutes) is pretty extreme for this.

Hunters (regardless of spec): Dash

This will definitely see use, but seems like it would be used more for the root/snare breaking than the movement speed increase. It doesn’t seem terrible, all things considered.

Mages (regardless of spec): Healing Touch

Mages get a heal. They’ll definitely find some use for this, but again… meh.

Monks: Brewmaster receives “Survival Instincts”, Windwalker receives “Savage Defense”, Mistweaver receives “Cyclone”.

Tanks getting a defensive cooldown, yadda yadda. Windwalker getting a large dodge cooldown… That seems like a weird choice. Mistweaver getting cyclone seems like it makes the most sense for this class, to be honest. It’ll probably see the most usage in pvp though.

Paladin: Holy gets “Rebirth”, Ret hasn’t been implemented yet, Prot gets “Barkskin”.

Spreading around the battle rezes. This really isn’t a bad idea at all. Tanks with another defensive cd, second verse same as the first.

Priest: Disc and Holy get “Entangling Roots”, Shadow gets “Tranquility”.

I *really* like the idea of Shadow having a massive aoe heal in tranq. It will definitely see some pretty good pve usage in big aoe fights. Disc and Holy getting a root will most likely be used in pvp more than anything else.

Rogue (all specs): Growl.

….rogue tank for the win? Idfk. At least they give them a big armor increase for this. It could definitely be the difference between a wipe and a kill if the tank goes down.

Shaman: Ele and Enhance get “Solar Beam”, Resto gets “Prowl”.

I have always loved “solar beam”, because packs of casters can be really nasty, in both pve and pvp. Prowl for resto shaman… I am not entirely sure the thoughts behind this, but way back in the day when I first started playing, I remember thinking that ghost wolf form WAS a stealth form, so this is probably a bit of fanservice for all of us who used to think that.

Warlocks (all specs): Rejuvenation.

DPS with a heal. yawn.

Warrior: Arms/Fury get “Stampeding Shout”, Prot gets “Frenzied Regeneration”.

This one i’m really confused about. I don’t think there will be a lot of times where you’ll need to use Stampeding Shout/Roar in quick succession, so having it on two people in the raid is a bit… strange. Although, I suppose it depends on the raid group and the encounter so who knows. I understand a tank getting a defensive CD, but Frenzied Regen for prot, when they already have Enraged Regeneration seems pretty redundant…. idk, maybe it’s just me.

Now then.. as you can see, some of these are pretty good, some of these are REALLY good, and some of these are just full of what the fuck. My evaluations may not be 100% spot-on, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of these are significantly stronger than others, and some will see a lot of one-sided usage over others. I’m not quite sure how these things are going to get balanced out. I just don’t quite know what Blizzard’s intention was for making a spell like this where druids are going to be SO FOUGHT OVER for this one bloody spell. This is yet another reason that I don’t see myself continuing on with my druid for MoP, but that is another story for another day.

MoP-up on Aisle 3

22 Oct

Yeah yeah, i know it’s really “Clean Up on Aisle 3″, but I decided to change it. Why? Because your face, that’s why.

Hmm.. I don’t know why, but i’m feeling feisty this morning.

So… Mists of Pandaria was announced at Blizzcon yesterday. I’m a little surprised that Blizz ACTUALLY went through with it, but there it is. While I could debate the price of tea in China (or Pandaria, as it were) all day long, i’m actually gonna skip right past the black and white fluffers for now and move on to a much more meaty topic. Yesterday, the powers that be released a (VERY) preliminary peak at an extremely large talent overhaul they have planned for the new expansion.

The long and short of it, as I understand it, is this… Talent trees are going to be gone. Permanently. Instead, you pick your spec upon reaching level 10, and they give you abilities that you need along the way. For you druids out there, they FINALLY went ahead and split feral into two specs, so while all the other classes have 3 different specs to choose from, druids have 4. I feel like Bear would play out something like this:

Level 10: Mangle

Level 20: Swipe

Level 30: Lacerate

Level 40: Maul

Again… that’s just speculation. Blizz listed the abilities in 10 level increments in their example, so I did as well. I still feel like we’ll be getting new abilities somewhere in the median for a few levels too, because trying to lowbie tank instances with only one or two buttons? Do *not* fucking want.

The other new (and very cool, imo) idea that Blizzard threw at us from deep left field is that every 15 levels, we get to make a choice. There are 3 different “talents”, for lack of a better term, that we get to choose from, that can augment our abilities or give us new ones altogether. We only get to pick 1 per 15 levels, and we can’t go back at our next choice and pick one we passed up. We can, however, change up these abilities, almost at will. (I believe they said it would be as easy as changing out a glyph). I can’t explain it nearly as eloquently as the panelists did, so instead i’ll dive right into the druid options that were unveiled, and how they relate to bears. Keep in mind that this is extremely preliminary, and is subject to being changed, or removed completely.

(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Level 15: Feline Swiftness – Displacer Beast – Timeless Pursuit

I think this is a pretty simple choice to make if you’re a bear, seeing as the latter two abilities automatically shift you into cat form. That being said, Feline Swiftness giving bear form a base speed increase is damn nice. No more movement speed boot enchants necessary!

Level 30: Nature’s Swiftness – Renewal – Cenarion Ward

I think a fair argument could be made for taking Nature’s Swiftness, especially since it allows those spells to be case in any form, but 3 minutes is a long cooldown for one spell, even with increased healing and duration attached. As far as PvE bearing goes, the obvious choice would be Renewal, with Cenarion Ward coming in a modest second, depending on how well and with what stat the barrier scales. (Place it on your other tank in high damage situations? Random add from a pack got loose? High AoE damage moment before everyone is topped off? Bam)

Level 45: Faerie Swarm – Mass Entanglement – Typhoon

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT TYPHOON OH HOLY SHIT.

/throat clear. Anyway. All of these could be good situational options. Typhoon may be a bit better for some PvPing, but the idea of a bear casting a typhoon just… I almost squeed when I saw that… seriously. Faerie Swarm apperas to be the same as the current iteration of Faerie Fire, with all 3 stacks landing at once, with the addition of a movement slow. If Faerie Fire remains in the game, then this could easily be overlooked. Mass Entanglement (a la Staghelm before you first pull Alysrazor), while a cool idea, is definitely not for tanking as you have to shift out of form to cast it. BEAR-PHOON HO!

Level 60 – Wild Charge – Incarnation – Force of Nature

Wild charge seems like a pretty fun talent, and could be pretty interesting, especially if Feral Charge will still exist in game. Double bear bomb? Sure why not. Incarnation could also be pretty interesting if they have an option specifically for bears (as it’s not listed atm, I honestly don’t know). Force of Nature could be fun too, but again it’s dependent upon what it would DO for us bearbutts. This will be an interesting level to see how it plays out, and is very dependent on many things.

Level 75 – Demoralizing Roar – Ursol’s Vortex – Bear Hug

Disorienting enemies really doesn’t have a whole lot of pve usage, if you ask me, so this iteration of Demo Roar could easily be overlooked. Ursol’s Vortex, however… Oh dear god give it to me NOW. /want. Bear hug could be an interesting choice, but the fact that it leaves you unable to do anything else, or even move, makes it seem less than useful in PvE content.

Level 90 – Heart of the Wild – Master Shapeshifter – Disentanglement

I’m not entirely sure what it is Blizzard was going for with this tier of options. I could see Disentanglement being situationally useful (in taunt-swap fights or something of that nature), but by and large it seems like Heart of the Wild would be the clear way to go here… 95% additional armor? Yikes. We’re already the far and away reigning kings of armor value, and that just seems like… just… wow. But as it stands, it’s still a pretty meh option for bears.

Overall, I think this new talent system will open up some pretty damn cool options, and it’ll be interesting to see what everyone favors for their preferred class and spec. It’ll also be fun to see this style develop and evolve, as well as the balancing of things, as Mists of Pandaria inches towards us from miles away.

Thoughts on tanking in Firelands

18 Jul

So, my guild has gone 2 for 7 in the Firelands now. First week, we killed Shannox, and this past raid week we killed Baleroc. I’ve gotta give Blizz some real credit, cause it seems to me they’re trying out a lot of new mechanics for the FL raid bosses. They make things interesting, that’s for sure. First there’s Shannox and his goddamn dogs. Ugh. Although he’s relatively easy to tank, you really have to keep your eyes open. Stepping on an Immo trap as a tank is gonna cause you to take a SHIT ton of damage, and possibly even die. Stepping on a crystal trap is pretty much instant-wipe. If you’ve taken a look at our kill video for Shannox (in my youtube channel) then may noticed that I strafe along the outside of the cleared area to avoid stepping in the traps. It also helps keep the traps in a predictable area so my melee DPS avoid stepping on them as well. The downside is that placement of crystal traps aren’t always in the best of spots for catching Riplimb when your tanks need to drop their stacks of Jagged Tear. In my video (it was our guild’s first kill, so it was VERY messy), you may notice that both the Riplimb tank and myself reached pretty high stack counts a couple times during the fight.

 

Baleroc is a fight that makes me happy in the pants. Since, as a tank, I can’t measure my epeen the same way DPS do, THAT fight continues to increase my health pool the longer it goes on. I saw myself pop over 2 million when I hit Frenzied Regeneration, and there’s absolutely no chance at all that I was cackling like a mad scientist. Nope… Not at all. >.>

Anyway… In spite of the mind-boggling health pool, this fight is absurdly stressful. The healers, the DPS, and the tank (we decided to one-tank it, because we’re cool like that) all have a LOT of communication to make with each other. Decimation Blades is one of those abilities, that just… every time I see it pop up it makes me cringe a bit. Luckily, as a bear, i’ve got an insanely high dodge chance, so only 3 out of the 9 Decimating Strikes actually hit me. Looking back through the combat log, I actually dodged over 50% of ALL of his attacks, so in the grand scheme of things, I could have taken *WAY* more damage, but i’m not sure I could’ve survived it. There were a couple times where I was so close to dying, i’m pretty sure I flailed at my keys looking for a cooldown to hit (and luckily, I always had at least one up, except near the very end).

Now, i’m not going to go into full on strategies or anything, but Baleroc is an intense encounter. If you’re not careful, there can be a LOT of confusion going on. We actually had to take the healer team and myself into another vent channel so the DPS could coordinate their crystal rotation without interfering with the healer’s stack/proc rotation (which was, admittedly, less rotation and more “Okay, my buff is ending.”, “Okay, i’ll take it”). The only reason I went into the healer channel as well was to call out the Decimation Blade, so they weren’t caught offguard with “OMFG HE’S GONNA DIE” health. I also definitely didn’t laugh quite a bit when I dodged an entire round of Decimating Strikes. >.>

Either way it goes, i’m pretty proud of my raiders overall. We had to come back and say “okay maybe later” to Alysrazor and Rhyolith, because there’s just something that’s not clicking for us just yet… who knows, we may find it by the time we kill Beth’tilac. By and large though, i’m pretty pleased with this raid tier. Yeah, some guilds are blowing through it at breakneck pace, but that’s not us, and it probably won’t ever be us.. Honestly, we don’t want that. Too much stress, for me personally.

Circle of Tanking!

12 Jul

This idea sprung up from a sort of “survey” that’s being spread amongst numerous WoW bloggers called the “Circle of Healing”. so Orvilius, over at D/E the Tank! decided that tanks deserve to have our voices heard as well, and so: The Circle of Tanking was born!

 

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Vaerron – Druid, 0/32/9

2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I’ve been the “main tank” and standing raid leader for Stands in Bad for almost a year.

3. What is your favorite cooldown for your class and why?
Survival Instincts – no doubt. It’s simple. Druids are far more about avoidance than mitigation. Fully raid buffed, my druid is sitting somewhere around 44% dodge, and reducing the damage i DO take by 50% for a long period, on top of my big avoidance, I really take almost no damage for the duration.

4. What tanking CD do you use least for your class and why?
Survival Instincts – Even though it’s my favorite, it’s harder to time this than Frenzied Regeneration (which increases my healing taken, and my max health for a period of time). If I use it when i’m way low on health, I might die anyway, and generally, the “predictable” damage streaks are much better uses for Barkskin. If I hit SI, it’s generally an OMFG SHIT moment, and I don’t like those.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
Highest base avoidance, and highest base damage reduction. My DK tank, in full 359 gear had ~30k armor and 27-28% dodge/parry. My Druid in full 359 gear had ~46k armor, and just under 40% dodge/parry.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Spell defense. We have the greatest passive spell defense through the resto talent Perseverence (6%), but aside from that, we’re generally gonna get hit harder by spells since we can’t dodge them, and armor doesn’t mitigate them.

7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Since the swipe change, and the formulaic changes to our damaging abilities, our AOE threat is almost unmatched these days. Swipe/maul, Thrash, Swipe/maul in 3 consecutive GCDs put out ABSURD large amounts of threat.

8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
I don’t really prefer tanking with one class over another, but i’m most comfortable tanking with a pally, because our main OT is a pally, and we’ve become pretty in tune with each other.

9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
Warriors. I don’t dislike the class, I just have the least experience with them over the other 3 classes, so i’m not as familiar with how they operate.

10. What is your worst habit as a tank?
I have the worst habit of not using my cooldowns as much as I should. There’s almost no reason I shouldn’t be using barkskin on cooldown, but my uptime on it is *horrible* and that irks me.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
I’m kind of a control freak (raid leader AND tank? yeah i’m sure you guessed) so picking my biggest pet peeve is pretty hard. I think my biggest one would be DPS who don’t know how to /assist or don’t know how to watch their threat, and just go apeshit right from the start. Generally, this doesn’t happen in my raids, cause my DPSers know better… it’s mostly 5-man pugs that I have this issue with.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for tanking?
Absolutely. The highest physical resistance with the lowest magical resistance seems like a fair trade off. The highest avoidance with (arguably) the weakest mastery also seem like a fair trade. I think druids are in a good place overall.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
I keep one eye on omen a good portion of the time, cause if i’m not putting enough threat out, then my DPS is being throttled. I look back through World of Logs often to see where i’ve made mistakes, and where I took bigger damage spikes, trying to figure out why.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?
“Bears are the high health pool tanks.” That may’ve been true in BC, and even in late Wrath, but it just isn’t anymore. Our health pool is pretty equivalent with pallies, DKs and warriors in equal gear. (Truth be told, I think my druid’s health is actually a bit lower than my DK’s health.)

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
It’s hard for me to say. I learned to bear in Wrath, when bears were basically a 3-button class (swipe, mangle, lacerate. Maul was bound to EVERYTHING FOREVER), so I didn’t LEARN the class from the ground up when 4.0 changed everything, I just had to make a few adaptations to add in pulverize, and throw maul on it’s (very short) cooldown.

16. So, how about that whole vengeance mechanic, eh?
I think it works perfectly. Maybe even a bit too well, because threat (generally) still isn’t all that important more than a minute into a boss fight.

17. Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?
Damage reduction, without a doubt. My job as a tank is to stay alive, and to do so without having my healers curse my very existance. If I wanted, I could easily have a 200k health pool, but that just seems like a waste. I would make me take WAY more damage by missing out on that dodge, and it would also hurt my threat generation, since agility gives us AP and dodge. What’s the point of a 200k health pool, if my healers are having to refill it from 60k every GCD?

18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Warriors. I’ve levelled a warrior from 85, but she’s pretty much parked and retired since then. I’ve never done any heroics with her, and i’ve only run a raid one time with a warrior tanking with me.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
I use ElvUI, which has a great number of things I use for tanking. It comes with it’s own threat plates (so I can easily see when someone’s pulling threat in a group of mobs). On top of that I also have the basics like recount (to show things like interrupts, damage taken, etc), and omen so I can see if someone’s creeping up on threat. Another one I really like is Tauntmaster, which makes taunting mobs out of a group much easier than manually targetting the mob and hitting my taunt button.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Avoidance. Agility is pretty much teh sex for bears right now, and we’re not anywhere near the dodge diminishing returns as far as I know, so the more avoidance, the better as far as I can tell.

So! It’s my turn to tag somebody, so i’m gonna tag @Riftmaker and @Reesify at The Inconspicuous Bear.

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