Tag Archives: Raiding

Anybody out there? (Out there? (Out there?))

18 Apr

/peeks in

/coughs at the dust

Wow. Okay, so see, I didn’t *intentionally* mean to leave this blog hanging for four months guys. Honestly I didn’t. I just kind of ran out of things to write about, but I didn’t want to fully close the blog… I figured I would come back to it sometime and pick up the writing again, and I think that today might be “sometime” finally. I may try to revitalize this website and redesign it sometime in the near future, but for now I’m just going to try and get back in the habit of kicking out a post every week or so. I hope enough of you guys are still around to appreciate what i’ve got to say.

First off – Tier 14. It was a little disappointing to me, not because the fights were bad or anything like that, but because of how we performed, and I feel directly responsible for that as raid leader. My guild really struggled with Heart of Fear. We had some pretty heavy attrition issues, and a lot of things were just… problematic. I think the biggest issue came in the fact that there are some fights where you’re penalized for your latency and twitch gameplay more than you are for understanding the mechanics of the fight. Let me tell you, i’ve done Blade Lord Ta’yak a thousand times, but I *still* get picked up by a tornado that I was nowhere fucking near sometimes, all because latency makes me look like i’m in a different place than I really am. The weird thing about it is? Once we got past Blade Lord Ta’yak, we really didn’t struggle *TOO* much with the fights. At least, not more than I feel like we should have. Garalon took us a couple weeks, but we brought him down straightaway after 5.2 launched. Wind Lord Mel’jarak we actually managed to kill un-nerfed even if it WAS post-nerf (because that first week they had bugged out the debuff on Ta’yak and Mel’jarak). Amber Shaper took a couple weeks of work (but I don’t feel like it would have taken much longer without the debuff), and Empress was roughly the same. So, on March 28th, we finally cleared Heart of Fear.

After all the trouble we had in Heart of Fear, Terrace of Endless Spring barely felt like a raid at all. We walked in, 1-shot Protectors, 2-shot Tsulong, 3-shot Lei Shi and had 2 pulls on Sha before our raid week was up (after clearing Heart of Fear again that week). The next week (April 11th) we cleared HoF in like 90 minutes wednesday. Owned Protectors, Tsulong and Lei Shi, and even went on to kill Jin’rokh in Throne of Thunder (something we had been doing for weeks anyway). This gave us a full 3 hours to work on Sha on thursday. So of course, we 1-shot Sha as well. And thus ended Tier 14, for all intents and purposes, for Stands In Bad.

I feel like we’re rebounding pretty well into Throne of Thunder, in spite of our rather late start and catchup time while they tuned down 10m normals. From what I hear, pretty much the only people that were progressing past Horridon in 10s were people that already had heroic gear from t14, so I think they needed to be brought down. Speaking of, we managed to kill Horridon last week, and made some pretty solid progress on Council of Elders as well. I think that, for the most part, we could be back on track with t15 pretty soon.

I guess that’s all I have for now. I planned on talking about Death Knights some more, but maybe in a future post. I don’t feel the need to overload you guys so much on my first post in 4 months. For those of you who’ve kept me on your feeds and kept checking in from time to time, I thank you greatly. It’s been really nice seeing the discussions brought about by my blog in the past, and I think I am in a bit of a better place to be able to bring that back.

Mogu’shan Vaults gear for Blood DKs

19 Oct

Now that Mogu’shan Vaults has been live for a couple weeks, and everything is out on LFR, I figured now was as good a time as any to put together the next gear list for t14 raiding. I’ll make a new gear list for Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear in the near future (probably around the times that those hit LFR as well).

As always, I prioritize hit/exp and mastery on all my gear. Dodge and parry are still good stats, but mastery is the top of the food chain for DKs at the moment, and it doesn’t get any worse the better your gear gets like dodge/parry do (diminishing returns are a bitch).

I’m going to change it up a wee bit and go down the line boss by boss instead of by gear slot.

The Stone Guard:

Beads of the Mogu’shi – This one is pretty much the exact counter to the VP necklace, so if you find yourself needing more dodge or expertise, go with the drop. If you find yourself needing more parry or hit, go with the valor buy.

Jasper Clawfeet – These are clearly meant to be DPS boots, but the mastery still makes them desirable for us. Only take them if you’ve had absolute shit luck for boot drops, and you’re not taking them from a plate DPS who could put them to better use. The socket, and baseline mastery make them better than the Sha of Anger’s quest boots, but still… don’t take them from a DPS.

Star-Stealer Waistguard – This belt is just plain sexy. Two sockets (plus a third from the belt buckle) mean MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF MASTERY. Also, it comes with mastery on it. There’s no reason to bypass this belt. Roll on it and pray for lucky dice.

Feng the Accursed:

Bracers of the Six Oxen – These are about equivalent to the VP bracers, with the exception of the hit. If you need more hit, go with the VP buys, if not, go with the drop.

Gara’jal the Spiritbinder:

Sollerets of Spirit Splitting – If you’ve made it this far, these boots are worth waiting for, and definitely better than the Jasper Clawfeet off of Stone Guard.

The Spirit Kings:

Breastplate of the Kings’ Guard – This is another item, clearly meant for DPS (haste what ew), but is still pretty good for us, since it has buckets of mastery. There’s also a BIG number of haste to reforge into something more beneficial (296 rating to turn into dodge/parry/hit/expertise)

Shoulderguards of the Unflanked – Red sockets weird me out on tank pieces, but even still this is a good shoulder piece. No mastery in it though, which is a shame really.

Elegon:

Band of Bursting Novas – A pretty solid ring, which seems to be another slot that we are going to have trouble filling in this first raid. Better than nothing, I suppose.

Vial of Dragon’s Blood – This trinket is *awesome*. Seriously, loads of mastery, and a huge dodge proc, and nothing to use manually? *sexy*. I would burn multiple coins on this trinket if I could. Very amazing.

Starshatter – This being the only two-handed strength weapon puts us in an awkward place, because all the DPS warriors, ret pallies, and dps DKs will all be fighting over this weapon. Stand your ground though, because it is BiS for all of you (until Terrace and Heart are released anyway).

Will of the Emperor -

Chestguard of Eternal Vigilance – The only real tank drop off the final boss of Mogu’shan Vaults. At least it’s a pretty good one, but the red and blue sockets are still weird as hell to me.

 

Itemization continues to be a weird-as-hell thing coming into the first raid of this expansion. I did discover, arbitrarily, that about 90% of our strength is converted into parry rating, however. That would explain a lot of the “Strength” socket bonuses on tank gear i’m seeing lately, but it’s still just… REALLY weird I don’t even know. It seems like they’re trying to have something for everybody, and while that’s GOOD, it tends to make itemization weird for us DKs who prioritize mastery above the rest of the planet, compared to, say Prot Pallies who have a *really* weird stat priority system. (Apparently they like haste now? I don’t even know). Anyway, Terrace of Endless Spring and Heart of Fear are released in a couple weeks, so expect to see follow-up posts regarding those two raids in the near future!

The Big Book of Blood DKs

6 Sep

With 5.0.4’s recent release, and random spigots of incorrect or simply mistaken information, I thought that I would go and give a full on “How to Blood DK” guide for 5.0.4 and beyond (barring any weird changes that may be patched in). I shall warn you now… this may be a VERY wordy post. Also, this is geared to level 85s

“Wat buttan does I hit?”

Blood DKs abilities have changed very little from before-to-after 5.0, but the way you weave them into battle may be different than what you’re used to. Let’s start with our “rotational” priorities.

1st – Diseases (Frost Fever/Blood Plauge). These can be applied by either using Outbreak (1m cooldown), or Icy Touch and Plague Strike respectively. To be honest, you shouldn’t ACTUALLY be hitting Icy Touch/Plague Strike very often (more on that later). Any time you are facing any enemy, these diseases should be on them. Strive for as high of an uptime as you can possibly manage.

2nd – Death Strike (Blood Shield). Death strike’s purpose is two-fold. It heals back a percentage of damage we received over the last 5 seconds, (minimum of 7% of your max health), and creates an absorption shield equaling a percentage of the amount healed. (This absorption shield is made bigger by your Mastery stat, more on that later). Also, if you’re not actively tanking, the more death strikes you do, the bigger shield you have built up for when you have to take the boss back.

3rd – Free Blood Boils or Death and Decay – This is going to be a personal choice here. If your diseases have a long duration remaining, and Death and Decay is off cooldown, it is a dps gain to use it. If the diseases have less than half of their duration (under 15s), use Blood Boil to refresh them. The idea here is that free buttons are free damage, and free damage is never bad, except when it interfere  with your survivability (thus Death Strike ahead of BB/D&D).

4th – Rune Strike – Depending on which level 75 talent you picked, Rune Strike is always going to be what triggers it. More rune strikes means more regenerated runes, meaning more death strikes, meaning bigger shields and/or more healing.

5th – Heart Strike/spent Blood Boil – Heart strike is going to be where the majority of your actual blood runes go on single target fights. That said, because of Crimson Scourge, there is nothing wrong with using Blood Boil to refresh your diseases in between Outbreak cooldowns. Up to three targets at once, you’ll still want to use your blood runes on Heart Strike. More than 3 targets, and you can use them on Blood Boil.

6th (or whenever you have downtime) Horn of Winter – This gives you 10 runic power when you use it, and ensures that you’re always hitting buttons, as well as keeping the buff up (if you’re the one responsible for it… if you’re not, it’s still good for the free runic power).

Diseases > DS > Free BB/D&D > RS > HS/BB > HoW. Diseases are the most important to your survival because they apply the Weakened Blows debuff to any enemy, and reducing their damage output right from out of the gate is the single best thing you can do for mitigation. Death Strike is unique in it’s both reactive and proactive abilities. It heals you up, as well as gives you a shield (which only applies to physical damage, but it’s still very important). Blood Boil is simply a way to make sure your diseases are constantly rolling. Rune Strike is how you make sure you have as many runes returned through your regeneration gambits as possible. Heart Strike is purely a DPS button really. Horn of Winter keeps a buff up on your raid, and provides you a minor amount of RP, so you can rune strike more.

“OMG How I not die?!”

Death Knights have *absurd* amounts of defensive cooldowns at their disposal, and are easily one of the most survivable classes, both independently, and in a group situation. A well-played blood DK can keep a group going long enough on an unexpected healer death for that battle rez to fire off, whereas other tanks might simply melt away going “OMG HEAL ME NUB?!”

Icebound Fortitude – Reduces ALL damage taken by 50%, lasts 12 (3 glyphed) seconds. 3 minute (90 seconds glyphed) cooldown.

Anti-Magic Shell – Absorbs 75% (100% glyphed) of magic damage done, up to 50% of the DK’s health. Absorbed damage generates Runic Power. Lasts 5 seconds, 45 second cooldown. (Note: the tooltip says 50% of the DK’s health, and I assume it means 50% of the DK’s *maximum* health. I am looking in to it to be certain though).

Dancing Rune Weapon – Mirrors the DK’s attacks for 12s, and grants an extra 20% parry chance for the duration. 90 second cooldown.

Vampiric Blood – Temporarily increases max health by 15%, increases healing recieved by 25% (or, simply increases healing recieved by 40% glyphed) for 10 seconds. 1 minute cooldown.

Bone Shield – Reduces ALL damage taken by 20%, lasts 5 minutes or until 6 charges are depleted. 1 minute cooldown. (It’s worth noting that this no longer costs an unholy rune. It’s arguably worthwhile to just use this on cooldown, as it lasts a pretty solid amount of time)

Rune Tap – Converts 1 Blood (or death) rune into 10% of your health. 30 second cooldown.

Army of the Dead – Summons an army of ghouls over 4 seconds. While channeling, the DK takes % less damage equal to his dodge + parry chance. (so if you’re at 15% dodge, 15% parry, you take 30% less damage for those 4 seconds). 10 minute cooldown.

Empower Rune Weapon – Empower your rune weapon, immediately restoring all runes from cooldown, and giving 25 runic power. 5 minute cooldown.

No other tank, to my knowledge, has THIS MANY DIFFERENT BUTTONS you can hit when you’re in trouble, or when you know there’s trouble coming, or to recover from OH DEAR GOD SHITSHITSHIT moments. I included “Empower rune Weapon” in this list, because one of my favorite past-times (especially when soloing things) is to wait till i’m in trouble, hit Vampiric Blood, death strike twice, ERW, and death strike two more times. That will fill your health bar more than enough to let the healers stop hyperventilating.

“Wat gear does I wear?”

One of the things that 5.0 changed, dramatically, for death knights is the importance of hit/expertise. Previously, even if Death Strike was dodged, parried, or missed, we would still lose our runes and receive the healing/shield from it. Currently, that’s not the case, but to help combat this, Death Strike can now only be dodged, not parried. What this means to us, is that Expertise is important up to the parry cap. A lot of websites will show you some bizarro stat priority that is something along the lines of:

Mastery >= Stamina > Dodge/Parry > 7.5% Hit/7.5% Expertise.

I don’t entirely buy this line of thinking, and i’ll tell you why. If Mastery (blood shield) is our most important stat (and it is), then why do we place such a de-emphasis on hit and expertise. In very low gear levels at 90, it’s VERY possible that a death knight is going to find himself with absolute shit for hit and expertise. And this means that our mastery is useless because we’re going to get our death strikes missed and dodged all over the place, which DIRECTLY translates into our best survivability tool. So, why are we forsaking hit and expertise again?  Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying we should completely forsake dodge and parry to reach hit cap either, but the trick is to find a balance. I recommend shooting for between 4-5% hit and expertise before loading up on the dodge and parry. Especially now at 85, our gear levels can readily sacrifice some dodge/parry for hit/exp without giving up survivability. For me, the more “realistic” stat priority is probably closer to this:

Mastery > 4% Hit/4% Expertise > Dodge/Parry >= Stamina > 7.5% Hit/7.5% Expertise.

You’ll also notice that I moved stamina down from being 2nd in priority. As it is, DKs already get a MUCH bigger stam bonus than other tanks do, so prioritizing it so high (in gems and enchants) strikes me a quite a bit wonky. I would put it roughly on par with dodge/parry, possibly even a bit below it. That may be more personal preference than the rest of the stats.

Blurring the line between DPS gear and Tank gear

When you’re looking for gear pieces, you always want to pick something that has either mastery, dodge, or parry. Occasionally, you’ll see pieces with Mastery/Hit, or Mastery/Expertise on them. Y’know what? I would pick those pieces up too. Mastery is STILL your highest valued stat, and ignoring that is just plain silly. Besides, I already gave you my opinion on hit and expertise over dodge/parry ;D. That said, your biggest tell might come from socket bonuses. If something has a red socket, with a strength socket bonus, it’s most likely meant to be a DPS piece (but not always! Stand up for yourself in your knowledge that YOU KNOW your stat priorities). I can show you several pieces right now (coming out in Mists) that have dodge or parry on them, but still have a strength socket bonus. Why? Who the hell knows, but there it is. Anyway, ignoring socket bonuses is a time honored tradition for tanks anyway, so feel free to roll need on that Exp/Mast gear, and load it up with the Fractured gem of your choice. All of that having been said, it is going to be up to your raid leader/loot council/whatever to decide if you need it more as a tank, or if the dps needs it more. Arguments can clearly be made in either direction here.

“How does I glyph?”

Glyphs are funny things these days. By and large, they are mostly a preference choice, or situational glyphs. So lets take a look at them starting with the major glyphs:

Anti-Magic Shell – this is pretty much the only one I would say is “mandatory” for tanks. Why take 25% of the magic damage, when you can take 0% of the magic damage? This is a no-brainer.

Dancing Rune Weapon – If you are having trouble generating threat, this one is a necessary glyph, but honestly unless you’re a fresh 85 running against DPS in full dragon soul gear, you SHOULDN’T have issues generating threat. The problem with this glyph is that it takes a couple globals to reach the 60 runic power needed for DRW, and you can’t rune strike while you’re banking that much. Since Rune Strike is our highest threat generating ability, this seems a bit… counter-intuitive. Situational at best.

Death Grip – An extra 5 yards of gripping range can be nice for you, but it’s hardly necessary. Preferential thing.

Icebound Fortitude – This is an interesting glyph choice, and can DEFINITELY be nice to have for situational boss fights. High damage in short bursts occurring regularly make this a nice glyph to keep in your book, along with some dust handy to throw in or remove depending on the fight.

Mind Freeze – We’ve spent all of Cataclysm with a 10 second interrupt cooldown, so 15 seconds probably feels weird as shit to us. This is a way to help combat that, some (reduces to 13s). I personally would *never* use this glyph because I am of the opinion that RP should be used for rune strikes. This will be another personal preference choice.

Outbreak – This is just a terrible choice for a glyph, if you ask me. Since Crimson Scourge was baked into a baseline talent ability, you should almost NEVER need this more often than every 60 seconds. Free blood boils that refresh diseases are one of the best things to happen to blood DKs in 5.0.4, and 40 RP is just way too high of a price to pay, for me, for having an ability i almost never hit after the start of a fight anyway.

Pestilence – This glyph has carried forward ever since the release of the DK class in Wrath, and ever since then, I have felt very hit or miss about this glyph. Is 5 extra yards useful? It can be, sure. Can it potentially get you into trouble as well? Sure. This glyph always has, and will always continue, to scream “personal preference”.

Shifting Presences – Another one of the nice, relatively unnoticed changes of 5.0 for DKs is that rune strike works the same way for blood spec, regardless of which presence you’re in. Now, of course, you lose stam and crit-immunity by shifting into frost or unholy presence, but you ALSO are far less likely to rip threat off your co-tank at inopportune times. This may be a worthwhile glyph to have for tank swap fights, but again, it’s all kinds of personal preference.

Unholy Command – This is a glyph I have grown to love the shit out of. Everytime your manage to get a killing blow, your death grip’s cooldown is reset. Chances are, you can strike one killing blow per trash pack, at least, so this glyph is SO awesome for 5-man groups.

Vampiric Blood – This is another glyph that has seen a great debate. A little bonus health, or some extra bonus healing? Guess what. This is a personal preference too. It always has been. Some people like having that 15% extra health as a buffer, some others like seeing the bigger green numbers over their head. It’s definitely something that’s worth keeping in your glyph list, just in case you wish to swap it out.

Are you seeing a recurring theme up there for the major glyphs? A lot of them are “Personal preference” or “Situational”. Hell *all* of them are, except for Anti-Magic Shell. This was Blizzard’s goal for overhauling glyphs, and I think it works beautifully for us. Now, let’s move on to the minors.

Actually, there’s only one minor glyph I really want to mention, because the rest are purely flavor glyphs (hooray for CORPSE EXPLOSION!)

Army of the Dead – I am of the opinion that every death knight in the history of ever should have this glyph in an active slot 100% of the time. Why? Well Army already doesn’t taunt raid bosses, so it’s not going to save THAT wipe. All it does is piss off the tank in 5-mans, and at worst, can cause you to play SPIN THE DRAGON, which leads to unnecessary breath damage and/or tail swipes. Get it, Glyph it, Love it.

“How does I talent?!”

I’ve already done several posts on the new talent tree, so I will try to keep this part somewhat brief. A lot of this is going to be (even more!) personal preference, or situational. Currently at level 85, this is the talent spec I am using. Generally, for progression, I will switch out Anti-Magic Zone for Lichborne to give myself *yet another* self-healing cooldown, but AMZ is generally more useful raid-wide on the fights in Dragon Soul.

For Level 15, on single target encounters, “technically” Plague Leech is the talent of choice, because it will let you rune tap on demand, and outbreak can drop diseases back on the target in a hurry. I stick with Rolling Blood, because right now, I just find it more useful. Also, it’s *amazing* to do some real AOE dps for once.

For Level 30, you probably want to avoid Purgatory until you have a *long* discussion with your healing team. In heavy profession I will switch out between AMZ and Lichborne. It depends on whether there’s more call for raid-magic damage, or tank painful ouchy damage. Personal choice here.

For Level 45, this is another personal choice, but I feel that Death’s Advance will, by and large, be your best bet the majority of the time. Asphyxiate is clearly meant as a pvp talent (and probably to stoke a bit of nerdgasms about force choking), so it’s usefulness is limited. Chillblains is situational at best, but there are other classes that are much better suited to kiting than a tank.

For Level 60, Death Pact is the clear winner. It’s a 2 minute cooldown (which lines up with your Summon Ghoul cooldown) and restores 50% of your health in one go. If you have 2 globals to pull it off, or you KNOW there’s a big hit coming that you can prepare for, this can be an absolute wipe saver. It really comes down to knowing the encounter. Death Siphon is wonky because it uses a death rune, and those are almost ALWAYS better used for Death Strike, and Conversion is just…. I don’t even know.

For Level 75, the debate rages on. I have become a big proponent of Blood Tap. I loves it. It feels so smooth in our rotation, and it’s a *smart* button, that you can macro into EVERYTHING. By “smart button” I mean that if there’s not a rune for it to regenerate, if you hit the button, it won’t waste those 5 charges. However, if you’re used to the rune-gaming that Runic Empowerment brings along, feel free to take that. There’s nothing wrong with either choice. RE has the *ability* to gain more runes than Blood Tap, but it also has the ability to gain less… this is part of the problem when dealing with RNG systems, and why I like Blood Tap so much. Your mileage may vary, of course.

“Wat is dis runeforge thing?”

Runeforging has never been a very complicated thing for DKs. There’s always been one choice for DPS, and one of two choices for Tanks, depending on several factors. This hasn’t changed any with 5.x. In spite of some reports to the contrary, Rune of Swordshattering still does not suffer from diminishing returns, and is a pure 4% parry chance. Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle is the rune that provides better effective health via stamina and armor. Both of them are perfectly legitimate options for tanks of all gear levels, and both of them continue to scale well with gear (although SSG might have a bit of a sharper curve. It starts off weaker at low gear levels, and improves much more strongly as your stamina and armor improve). There’s really not any wrong choice between the two, and you can pick either without looking like a nub. Don’t put Rune of the Nerubian Carapace on though… because I *will* point and laugh.

Now then. 3 thousand words on blood DKs, with changes more than likely to come at some point or another, and updates and yadda yadda. I felt like I had to put this all for several reasons.

A – Seriously, most of you people come here for Blood DK stuff, and end up looking at my posts that are several months old with outdated beta info.

B – I’ve been to several different “theory-heavy” sites, and not all of them say the correct things. Hell, not even all of them say the SAME incorrect things. I felt compelled to set the record straight on some things (BONE SHIELD DOESN’T COST A FUCKING RUNE ANYMORE PEOPLE. HOW DID NO ONE ELSE NOTICE THAT?), and give my own PERSONAL experience with others, instead of going with what the sims and theorycrafters have only pitted and postulated about. Empirical evidence. Or something, I dunno. (gimme a break, i’m running out of words here)

C – Navimie took a comment out of context, and now picks on me that I don’t care about my readers. Clearly this is not the case because I’M DOING THIS FOR ALL OF YOU AS MUCH AS MYSELF. In spite of this, she’s actually a VERY nice person… more on this at a later date.

D – I will admit to getting pretty excited when I see large amounts of blog hits, which I have been getting lately. I don’t write BECAUSE I WANT BLOG HITS OMG, but the traffic is a wonderful side effect, and it makes me feel good to know that people are giving a solid shit about what I have to say. Plus, I feel like my point of view, while not necessarily unique, has it’s own unique voice to lend to certain situations.

Suffer well, or something like that. In case you couldn’t figure it out, i’ve decided on my main for Mists :D

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.

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!

Max Level PvP

8 Jul

I’ve written several posts in the past about lowbie pvp and twinking and things like that. There’s been a big discussion on twitter this morning about max-level pvp, and I mentioned that none of my max-level toons have any pvp gear. This seemed a bit strange to me, considering my recent spazzmoid of lowbie pvp posts lately, so I sat for a bit and thought about *why* i didn’t get into capped pvp.

I actually tried to get into pvp on my druid back in Wrath. It was the end of the expansion, and while we were still actively raiding, we had ICC on farm and were mostly going back for achievements like Ulduar drakes and things of that nature. So, in my downtime between raids, I decided to go into BGs to see what that was like. Sure, I didn’t have any pvp gear, but i was a damn good geared tank, and I felt like I could be pretty survivable like that, meanwhile going into kitty and doing some pretty good damage (because agility conversions for ferals are win). And I did okay. I wasn’t spectacular, and I *definitely* wasn’t topping charts for KBs/HKs/Damage or anything of that nature, but I did… modestly well. I also found out that I absolutely LOVE Strand of the Ancients… but that’s beside the point.

To me, the problem with getting into max level pvp has always been the gating system. You need pvp gear to perform well in pvp. You *could* argue that the same is true for pve (whether it be heroics or raiding or whatever), and you would be right, but the gating system is a lot more severe into pvp than it is to pve. Let me put this another way. When you first ding 85 on your toon, if you want to go the PvE path, you’ve already got a bit of JP saved up (most likely) from doing 5 man randoms, and probably some halfway-decent dungeon gear. You may or may not be able to get into level 85 heroics as soon as you ding, but if you CAN’T, then it’s a pretty easy fix. Run a couple more regulars hoping for good drops, or go buy some BoEs off of the auction house. You then run heroics for Valor points and heroic drops, working your way into LFR level, which you run for LFR-raid drops, and take THOSE into normal raids (some people can bypass the LFR altogether, if their raid team isn’t overly picky. It just depends I suppose).

So that progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Normal 5-mans > Heroics 5-mans > LFR (optional) > Raiding

Now, let’s take this SAME fresh 85, and decide we want to pvp with him instead. Naturally, your first instinct is to just queue into BGs and run them until your head falls off. Or you get enough Honor/Conquest for some good gear, whichever comes first (to me, they’re almost parallel). You may be able to buy some BoEs off of the AH for some blue 372 (i think?) ilvl crafted pvp gear, and you may convert some of your saved up JP from running dungeons to honor (AT A LOSS mind you) to buy a piece or two of gear. Hell, you may even have some honor saved up from just doing BGs at the lower level queues, so you might be able to get yourself a good 3-4 pieces between honor, jp converted to honor, and boe crafted shit on the AH. So you step into your first BG with your horridly mismatched gear.

Now here’s where the roads start to pull apart, pretty heavily. See, the pve person knows what he’s getting into. He’s facing a normal/heroic 5-man boss, which is attuned to right around his gear level. The pvp person, on the other hand, has NO CLUE what he would be getting into when he steps into that bg. He may run across a couple other people who are similarly geared, but at the same time he may run into a raid-boss equivalent DK with full Cataclysmic Gladiator gear, and the top weapon from Dragon Soul raid, who will basically laugh at your attempts to stab/shoot/cast him, and blow you up like an old M-80. So your pvp toon needs to deal with all difficulties, gear levels, and all kinds of shit running the gamut from other fresh 85s to arena masters, and in doing so, scraping up enough honor for himself in between massive amounts of dying to buy himself some pvp gear and eventually stepping into arenas or rated BGs.

So the pvp progression looks something like: Ding 85 > Run BGs > Run moar BGs > Arenas = Rated BGs.

Are you starting to see the discrepancy here? Your pve 85 can’t step into Dragon Soul and expect to meaningfully contribute, but you also won’t be seeing Ultraxion when you queue up for Heroic SFK either. Conversely, your pvp 85 can’t step into any BGs and expect to meaningfully contribute, but there’s a VERY real chance that you WILL see an arena-geared individual… or several. Hell, if you’re really unlucky, you’ll step in and face a full on premade and at this point you might as well just expect to get blown up a lot and hope you can take a few of them down for some honor until they decide to win.

Blizzard has tried, and probably will continue to try, to make gating into PvP less and less painful, and to a point i’m sure they WILL succeed, but it’s always going to be the same way, because there is no logical “pre-heroic” step. The best way to get pvp gear is to just jump in and pvp, and get kicked around a lot until you can scrape together enough points to buy stuff that make you effective. It’s kind of a flawed system, and honestly I don’t have any legitimate way to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that just any shmuck should be able to dive right into BGs at level cap and be able to own face the minute they hit 85, but I do feel like there should be another step *somewhere* in there, that doesn’t require saving up 4k honor, and 4k jp (to convert to MORE honor) before you ding 85. It’s a punishing system, and that’s mainly why I don’t get into pvp at max level.

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