Tag Archives: I talk too much

Death Knight MoP Talents

11 Nov

A few weeks back, I decided to take a look at the potential talent setup for Druids in Mists of Pandaria. Today, i’m gonna take a stab at the DK talent tree, and do a quick breakdown of the choices as they relate to both tanks AND DPS death nuggets.

(Image courtesy of MMO-Champion)

Level 15: Rolling Blood – Corpse Explosion – Outbreak

As cool as it is to see Corpse Explosion back in the game, i’m saddened by the fact that it’s in the same tier as Outbreak. Rolling Blood is a decent secondary choice, in terms of trash packs, or heavy AOE phases, but by and large, Outbreak is the far and away winner for both DPS and tanks. Two global cooldowns, and 1 rune spent to apply both diseases to every nearby target (outbreak & pestilence) is ALWAYS going to win out over 3 GCDs and 3 runes spent. Kind of sad, but there’s really almost no choice here.

Level 30:  Lichborne – Anti-Magic Zone – Bone Shield

It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than this, role wise. Lichborne is almost certainly a pvp-centered ability, AMZ is great utility for dps, and Bone Shield is a solid, minor defensive cooldown for tanks. Depending on the fight, it could benefit tanks to take AMZ, but I can’t see many situations where DPS would pick up Bone Shield.

Level 45: Death’s Advance – Chillblains – Asphyxiate

Death’s Advance and Chillblains are currently rolled into the unholy and frost trees (respectively), and bring a bit of utility depending on circumstance. Asphyxiate, replacing Strangulate, is some interesting flavor… and seriously, who DIDN’T see the Black Knight do this in ToC 5-man, and think “DAMN why can’t my DK do that?”, but honestly it’s going to be more pvp centered. The missing wording (for until cancelled) makes it sound to me like the ability will be channeled, which is pretty much going to be useless in pve content. Death’s Advance could be *somewhat* useful, but situational at best, and Chillblains would have far more uses in pve, but even still is situational. Pick your flavor, I suppose.

Level 60: Death Pact – Death Siphon – Vampiric Blood

The change to Death Pact is pretty damn cool, in that it doesn’t insta-kill your pet anymore. This could definitely come in handy as an “oh shit” button, but more so for DPS I think, in higher aoe-damage situations. Death Siphon rings very similar to the warlock’s (pilfered) version of Death Coil, but i’m not seeing a cooldown for it. May not be a high damage situation, but if you could spam it 6 times (depending on your spec, and availability of death runes), I think it could be very powerful in pvp, or pve. Vampiric Blood is pretty much the same iteration that currently exists in game, and will be a strong cooldown for tanks. DPS have a couple options, but tanks, again, seem to be pretty clear-cut.

Level 75: Blood Tap – Runic Empowerment – Runic Corruption

I don’t like this version of Blood Tap. a 1 minute cooldown, on something that you have to “build up” into? I don’t like it. I much prefer the current version of  it.I realize that there’s not many situations where you wouldn’t have 3 charges to burn, as DKs use death coil, rune strike, or frost strike rotationally… so why make it a requirement? Runic Empowerment is currently a baseline ability for death knights of all specs, and unholy flavored ones spec into Runic Corruption, so that will make the choice more of a “pick your flavor”. The more I look at the specific wording (which is something that will probably change in the future), it seems like Runic Corruption has a 100% chance to proc when you use the corresponding ability. This could make rotations interesting, in order to maximize RC uptime instead of worrying about RNG to give you a rune back with RE. Probably the most difficult choice thus far.

Level 90: Gorefiend’s Grasp – Remorseless Winter – Desecrated Ground

Ah here we go. This is where the true awesome comes in… Gorefiend’s Grasp would be most useful to tanks, but it doesn’t mention anything about a targetting-focus (as is baked into Death Grip), so it could be useful to DPS as well, as a gap closer, or to bring casters in. It deals damage too! Awesome! Remorseless Winter *should* sound familiar to you, and again could be useful to tanks for the aoe damage/threat (rune free, it would seem!). The stun would only be effective on minor enemies, of course, but it seems like a pretty powerful ability overall, most likely taken by frost DKs to benefit from their mastery. Desecrated Ground has a bit of a pvp utility cooked in with the CC-immunity, but the damage component seems like a secondary Death & Decay, again useful for aoe damage or threat. GG or DG would be more appropriate for unholy DKs to take over RW as it will benefit from their mastery.

By and large, i’m a little bit let down by the illusion of choice offered to the Death Knights in the first 4 tiers. Again, there’s a lot of change that could happen between now and the next expansion, so this is all to be taken with a grain of salt, and a lot of patience. It just seems to me that there are so many “choices” (bone shield, vampiric blood) that are very specific to certain specs, or (outbreak) one that literally outpaces the other options without even a second thought.

The level 75 and 90 selections are by far the most interesting, but level 90 will probably again be culled to spec choice between the DPSers, at any rate (mastery-boosted damage). One way to fix that, I think, would be to have all three abilities deal shadowfrost damage, so that they benefit from both frost and unholy’s masteries, allowing for choice to REALLY be offered based on personal flavor It’s really a minor gripe, all things considered though. 75 has the opportunity to provide one of the most interesting playstyle differences. Runic Corruption could bring a more controlled, but difficult rotation that some people will really enjoy, whereas Runic Empowerment will be the “old standby”, if you will… a lower risk rotation that will be easier to pull off properly, but may offer a bit of downtime if RNG decides to dislike you.

I must have lost my mind…

29 Oct

So… See anything specific about that particular set of achievements? Yeah… I have joined the ranks of the few, and the loony, who’ve decided to go after Loremaster. Admittedly a much easier task now (since the quest reshuffling) than it was before 4.0, but still a long, arduous task. I have lots of quests to go through. I think I have 10 zones finished, and that only takes up about the bottom 1/3 of Eastern Kingdoms. I also managed to finish up Loremaster of Cataclysm without too terrible much effort, mostly because I had done most of that while leveling somehow.

I’ve also gone a little bit farther in my (newly-renewed) quest for a purple drake i’ll never use, and free 310% flying. Of course, I made the rather foolish mistake of not playing during Brewfest, so… If I hit every holiday between now and next Midsummer Fest (which was the first one I grabbed), i’ll STILL have to wait until next Sept/Oct to get the meta achievement.

Also, Blizz needs to give us a bank for holiday-specific items. I swear, my shit is overflowing with wands and masks and midsummer gear and OH MY GOD MAKE IT GO AWAY. And I swear, if I get another sinister squashling or hallowed helm, I just might lose my mind. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

 One thing I really enjoyed about the Hallow’s Eve achievement was getting the G.N.E.R.D Rage achievement. As you probably know, i’ve never been much of a big-time pvper, but in this particular circumstance I couldn’t help but grin when I saw the Warsong Gulch loading screen pop up. My experience in basically levelling through WSG on my warlock for 40 levels really came in handy. Although, to be fair, I would be willing to say that 90% of the people in there were going in there the same reason I was. Funnily enough, I got my achievement within 5 minutes of battleground start and decided I would just stick it out because I hadn’t even died yet.

I was kind of scared of getting my ass handed to me repeatedly, especially since I had a huge flaming telltale sign that I was a definite PvE’er, but as you can see I fared quite well. Of course, at the time it never crossed my mind just how many people would be queueing for a BG solely for the achievement, like I did… but it still made me grin seeing my name at the top of all that stuff anyway.

Am I tooting my own horn? Maybe a little bit, but this is my blog, and i’m entitled to do that on occasion. Toot motherfucking toot.

By the way… do you happen to have stumbled upon this blog, and are new to WoW? Do yourself a favor and read this.  Hell, read it even if you’re not new. You will laugh a lot in the realization that “we’ve ALL been there”.

A break is a good thing…

15 Oct

If you hadn’t removed me from your readers by now, then you might be surprised to see me making a post right now. Honestly, I am a little bit surprised myself. If you’ve been following me on twitter than you know that I had been taking a general break from WoW, only logging on to raid. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was burned out. Our guild is relatively small, and my GM had a much busier real life schedule than I have had, so a brunt of the responsibility of running the guild from day-to-day, and keeping the sheep in line fell to me. Even with a small guild, if one person is shouldering the majority of the administrative duties, and being the general “face” of the guild, then it can wear on them after a while.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Amber definitely wasn’t TRYING to make me a workhorse, I certainly don’t blame her for ANY of it, and to be quite honest, I didn’t even realize it was happening. Amber and I have become pretty close friends over the last year, so it just kind of came to me being her right-hand man, so when she couldn’t be on to handle things (especially last month when she got married, and the couple weeks prior when she was preparing for it) it was kind of understood for me to do so.

So, what have I been doing in my couple months mostly away from the game? Well i’ve been playing Rift. It’s a surprisingly fun game, with a lot of little bitty things that I would like to see in WoW. It was refreshing to take a break from wow, and still get that… social aspect that I have always loved about WoW. I’m not going to go into a lot of details about it, but i’m sure that if Blizz took a look at Trion, they could happily take a few things that really wouldn’t alter the course of the game much, but could be just little… quality of life things that would feel big, when all added up.

Truth be told, though, I don’t know if I will be sticking with Rift full time. It did awaken something unexpected within me though. You see, in Rift… I am a healer. (cue gasping from any of you who really know me now) I know, it shocked me too. I didn’t even plan on becoming a healer. Fact is, it happened purely as a spur of the moment thing. There was a pug going out for one of the lower raids, and they were looking for cleric healers. Well, I REALLY wanted to see this content, and I fit the gear requirements (somehow), so I bought myself a respec and threw my talent points kinda haphazardly into a talent tree that seemed like it would work, and went a-raiding with this pug. Holy shit, was it fun. After that I started actually researching healing specs and learning some of the in’s and out’s of the spec I had decided on, and really threw myself into it full boar.

But anyway… this is a warcraft blog, not a rift blog, or even a general mmo/general gaming blog, so back on topic. A few shakeups have happened in SiB over the last month or so. Amber has stepped down as GM, and passed it along to Jen (who CLEARLY needs to blog more). Jen is a great person, and one of our shaman healers, and she’s kind of changing things around to relieve a bunch of the stress and burden of responsibility from me… especially because I hadn’t been in game much for a while. It wasn’t fair of me to do that to the guild, and just kinda up and vanish in-between raid times, but there it is. I was burned out from the burden of responsibility, and didn’t even realize it. Actually, it never even dawned on me that that’s what was happening, until I was talking to Jen yesterday, and was telling her how much more I had been enjoying the game since the shit has been spread around more.

I had been planning on quitting WoW sometime in the next few months, and searching for a replacement raid leader for the guild, but now that I’m not responsible for *everything*, I am starting to rethink that decision. I’m far more uncertain about my future than I used to be. I very well COULD be sticking around with WoW for a while now instead of stepping down. I guess only the future will tell.

And then there was one…

16 Aug

I’d been mulling this title over in my head for a while, but with the sudden and DRAMATIC change in what my subject matter is going to be, it doesn’t fit so much anymore… But I don’t care. You can sit and wonder just what the fuck I mean by that while I talk about something completely unrelated.

So… Ghostcrawler basically told the world that threat wasn’t going to matter anymore as of a soon-released hotfix. I believe his exact words were “…we’ve gotten over the concept that threat needs to be a major part of PvE gameplay….” I’m still a bit conflicted with what I think about it, so bear with me while I consider some of the finer points of what this means.

Pros:
DKs and Warriors with no threat drops won’t be splattering themselves nearly as often. (Seriously, retaliation/bladestorm on trash packs is just retarded, and our warrior pretty much dies every single time he does it. Of course, he does so giggling like a madman so, whatever I suppose.)
Lower geared tanks won’t have to worry about throttling raid-geared impatient fucks nearly as much. It’ll still happen some, i’m sure, but not to the degree it’s happening right now.

Cons:
Taunt-swaps suck for tanks as it is. “FFS, stop attacking so I can generate a bit of aggro!” is something I hear pretty regularly. I’m not a fan of just auto-attacking any more than DPS is, but I suppose it’s less of a big deal for me than it is for them. Just a kind of minor annoyance. In this same manner, i’m not sure how the proposed vengeance change will affect this. Maybe 1/3 damage-dealt-as-vengeance will be enough for this to be somewhat of a non-issue… It remains to be seen I suppose.
Whether blizz wants it to or not, there will come a point where DPS will outgear up and coming tanks so much that they’re going to have to throttle themselves, or become a blood-stained smear on the floor. That’s just the way it’s going to be. I have a story regarding that when I first started tanking that i’ll give later.*
I’m also unsure of this “more active role for tank’s survivability” stuff GC is talking about. This is less of an actual “con” than it is “cautious uncertainty”, but there’s not really a slot in a pros and cons list for that, so I guess it goes here for now.

Overall, the more I think about it, the more the change really doesn’t bother me. It’ll certainly be much easier for new tanks breaking into the scene, especially as it gets later and later into the expansion. I guess I am more indifferent than anything else about the change, because I play a tank who very rarely has to worry about threat being stolen from me. That’s not to say that i’m the end-all be-all of tanking, but it’s more that I overgear 95% of the pugs I run with, or I run with guildies who know how I tank, and know when they can open up full throttle on a mob safely. Now, as to that story I mentioned earlier.

*I first started tanking, SERIOUSLY tanking, in late Wrath, well after ICC had been implemented. Even after the Arthas fight had been out for a while. One of my first times tanking on my druid (probably in the first 5-10 heroics I queued as a tank for), I zoned into Drak’theron Keep. A quick glance at the pugs I was running with showed 2 “…of the Ashen Verdict”, and 1 “Kingslayer”… Of course, they were the DPSers. My first thoughts? “……..fuck.” Luckily, they were REALLY cool about it. I just told them ahead of time that I was pretty undergeared compared to them, so I hope they didn’t mind going easy on me. I think they *did* try to go easy on me, but they outgeared me by so much that it just really didn’t matter. I did everything I could to keep up with them (and did a pretty good job of it, in my opinion), but I just couldn’t NOT lose threat sometimes… okay, a lot of times. I was usually pretty quick with my taunt button though, and I don’t recall anybody dying, so it turned out well. At the end of the run I thanked them and went along my merry way, palms sweating and knees shaking at the trauma that they had just inflicted upon my green tanky self. BUT, I think this made me a better tank, overall. I had to react quicker, target switch more, and OMFG TAUNT YOU SONOFABITCH AUGH a lot more than I had at that point, and honestly, it was STILL one of the most difficult runs i’ve ever had to keep threat off of everyone.

Fast forward a few months to the time that I found myself in a newly formed SiB. A few guildies were talking about running a heroic, and I was like “sure, i’ll tank it for you guys”. Now… something about my volunteering sent a cold chill down my spine as a few of the guildies instantly started going into plotting how best to make my tanking for them “more fun”. Let me set the stage: Paladin healer, Druid tank (me), Boomkin, Destro warlock, and a rogue of some kind that we pugged in. I don’t remember if we were on vent at the time, but I do remember we were in Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom… and I also remember the boomkin splattering himself against the mobs repeatedly. “DOT EVERYTHING. STARFALL! THUNDERSTORM!!!” I also remember my healer crying “NO! PANZERKIN IS NOT FOR TANK! BAD BOOMIE!”. It was a lot less stressful because I knew these guys, but it was still a pretty difficult run, because I was still relatively new to the tank game.

What’s my point in telling these stories? I dunno. In hindsight they’re pretty damn funny, but they also helped shape what kind of a tank I have become, I think. Anyway, sorry about the nost having posted for a couple weeks. I have been absolutely ADDICTED to my warlock lately. He has been stealing the souls of many hordies, and NPCs alike, and is currently level 73. I gave up the initial quest for him to be levelled solely as pvp after a heartbreaking few hours where we lost something like 20 BGs in a row (half of them I had zoned into with 30 seconds or less left before final defeat). Somewhere around the 45 landmark I said “yeah, that’s enough of that” and blitzed my way into Northrend. He is sitting somewhere around the 8000 honorable kills mark, which is honestly more than any of my other toons… go figure, huh?

Gear optimization – at your own risk

24 Jul

Don’t get me wrong. Programs like Rawr, AskMrRobot, Reforgenator, and the like can be wonderful helpers if you need some guidance, but I want to strongly urge caution to people who use those. They are not the be-all, end-all for everything. Use your own common sense and decide on what your particular needs are, as well as your groups needs before blindly taking the advice of one of these optimizers.

 

We will take my own character as a reference point. Just a few days ago I decided to plug my character into AskMrRobot (AMR), and see what it came up with. Not because I was unhappy with my performance, but I always believe there’s room for improvement. If you look at my socketed items, you’ll see that I have a lot of pure agility gems in my gear, whereas before, all of those used to be agi/stam gems. There is a big part of me that still believes stamina is important as a tank, but I DO know better than to stack Stam to the exclusion of all else. When the optimizer suggested I replace those 6 hybrid gems with pure agi gems, I was a little caught offguard at first… then I thought about it for a while. Is it worth getting an extra 120 agility, at the loss of 180 stamina? As a bear, agility is our highest rated stat, because it affects both our survival via avoidance, as well as our threat generation via attack power. I kind of agonized over this for a while, but when I boiled it down, 180 stam equals out to ~3500 health in bear form. Maybe closer to 4500 with raid buffs. In the grand scheme of things? 4500 health really isn’t all that much. I can’t honestly think of a fight i’ve been in where 4500 health would’ve made the difference between life and death… or to perhaps phrase it better, if I was down to 4500 health, I was dead anyway. So, I said “why the hell not” and decided to regem. When we raid this coming week, i’ll let you guys know if I felt any difference, and whether or not I decide to keep these gems. I’m not expecting any mad desire to change back, so unless things go HORRIBLY awry, i’ll probably stick with this for a while.

 

After feeling pretty good about my re-gemming decision, I decided to look through some of their other suggestions to optimize my gear. It suggested that I replace some enchants (it wanted me to switch out agility to cloak for armor to cloak, for instance), or reforge a couple pieces differently (since Mastery is our 2nd highest rated “green stat”, it suggests I go with the lower stat-amount items to reforge. It would have only made me lose about 30 dodge rating… MAYBE .1% dodge, so meh… nothing i’ll lose any sleep over). One thing that really got me was it’s BiS list. Or maybe not so much the actual BiS listed items, but the items this program specifies as direct upgrades over what I have. I’ll give you an example.

I was lucky enough to pick up the first Ranseur of Hatred trash drop to upgrade from my 359 weapon. That’s a damn nice polearm… even if haste is pretty ugly for bears, the extra agility and stam on it make it so much of an upgrade, that green stats really aren’t that important. It’s an upgrade just for the base stats alone. Now then… AMR suggested that the Witch-Hunter’s Harvester is a direct upgrade over my current weapon.

Wait… what?

I’m sorry Mr Robot, I must strongly disagree. I think I would rather suffer the 252 worthless haste on the Ranseur than lose the 47 agi, and 70 stam. Not to mention skipping the plethora of ANNOYING ASS crafting materials i’d need to gather to make that bloody polearm. Why does it say the Harvester is better? Because mastery is rated higher than haste. Haste is worthless for bears, and mastery is our 2nd best green stat (behind dodge, which doesn’t come baseline on ANY of our gear, we just have to reforge into it). BUT… let’s look at it this way.

If I reforge the haste out of the Ranseur (which I did), it gives me 100 dodge rating. If I reforge the crit out of the Harvester, it gives me 96 dodge rating. I also get more dodge from the 47 agi on the Ranseur, so my overall dodge is STILL going to be higher, even if my mastery is a decent chunk lower. Is 241 mastery really worth 47 agi and 4 dodge rating? Not to me. You might disagree with me. I can definitely see, to a point, where it COULD be considered an upgrade. My whole point of this post is to take these gear optimizers under advisement, but DON’T just blindly trust everything they have to say.

After all… They put 130 agi on my weapon over Windwalk. /boggle.

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.

Decisions, Decisions

25 Jun

I’m in a bit of a dilemma, with 4.2 right around the damn corner. I enjoy DK tanking, and I enjoy Druid tanking. They both have benefits, and they both have drawbacks. I’ve pretty much done everything, even write a damn list of pros and cons, over the two tanks (they’re equally geared too, BTW) trying to come to a decision. Here’s what i’ve come up with.

DK Pros – Self healing is amazing. Best tanking cooldowns, period. Much better snap threat. Base-line expertise (probably contributes to the higher threat gen). Lower variety of stats that are *absolute garbage* on tanking gear. Great AOE threat, even without an AOE taunt. C’mon, face it… Death grip is *awesome*. “Defender of the Shattered World” title on this toon. Army of the Dead is *amazing* dps cooldown.

DK Cons – Much more unforgiving rotation. Making blood shield work to it’s highest potential is *very* difficult. 2pt12 bonus is crap. Runes are on cooldown at the worst times. Runic empowerment is far too RNG for my tastes.  DK’s take more damage than any other tank, and have to perform much better to be equal with other tanks (by Blizz’s own admission).

Druid Pros – Much higher armor. Much higher avoidance. More DPS output. An interrupt that’s also a gap-closer, if you need it. Another gap closer in feral charge. A ranged pull that generates respectable threat (FFF). 2pt12 bonus is relatively solid. T12 gear, in general, is much better itemized for us than T11 was (and by “us” I mean bears, not just ferals). AOE Taunt. Much easier/forgiving rotation. Berserk is *amazing* for aoe-threat, as well as a DPS cooldown. Flamking kitten staff 😀

Druid Cons – Sometimes I still find myself rage starved. Snap threat is lower (probably because of a lack of hit/expertise on my current gear). Lack of real magic damage reduction. Tanking trinkets are…. strange… for druids. Much more chance of “acceptable” gear, with strange itemization for bears (wtf haste). Much lower amount of threat stats (hit/exp… although Firelands looks to be fixing that some). AOE threat is still… questionable. Savage Defense could be better. Still have issues with rage at times, (mainly cause of low hit/exp). Everytime I have a Mangle miss/dodge/parry it makes me cry a little inside, ESPECIALLY when I’m using Berserk.

 

So there it is… There may or may not be an equal number of points between pros and cons, but they weigh in at about the same to me, so it’s really hard for me to decide. Also, I don’t wanna be one of those guys who keeps changing mains around, because it’s not fair to my raiders to do so. Whichever toon I stick with, i’ll probably end up sticking with till the end of the expansion. Honestly, I could see myself raiding with either one until the end of Cata, and doing so pretty successfully. My healing team has told me they’ve noticed little difference between actually healing either toon, but i’ll be perfectly honest… I’m not liking with what is going on with DKs at the moment. I really enjoyed the class (and actually, I still do), but the farther I get progressed, and the more I play the toon, the more I actually FEEL the issues with her.

 

I’ll give a for-instance… We put some attempts on Heroic Halfus for the first time this week. 2 DK tanks and a Pally tank. We only worked for maybe an hour, because we’re definitely NOT a hardcore guild, but I was the tank that lead off on Halfus, and I just felt like i was getting absolutely crushed. One of the healers was telling me that he was going OOM by the time the 3rd tank just picked up Halfus for the first time. Now admittedly, there were a lot of other issues going on, but it just seemed like, I literally COULD NOT Death Strike enough to offset the “Extra damage” that DKs take… Yeah, that’s another issue I have. There shouldn’t be a tanking class that takes noticably more damage than others, even if it’s more offset by rotational self-healing, because that rotational self-healing is SO EASY TO FUCK UP. Death strike’s healing is tied to the amount of damage you’ve taken a couple seconds prior. Well guess what, heroic bosses hit like a fucking mack truck, so if you’ve used 2 death strikes on big spikes, and all your runes are on CD, then there’s another big spike JUST AROUND THE CORNER that you can’t heal up through. And guess what else… Blood shield is wiped away with one hit. You almost have no chance of getting it to stack up a big number, because of all the damn hits your taking. Oh yeah! Fun times! /grump.

 

Not that Savage Defense is a perfect mastery, but it *is* better off than Blood Shield. Smaller absorbs, more often, proccing regularly enough to make a difference, but y’know what? Druids also have a MUCH lower damage intake. For comparison… My DK, in full 359 gear, and blood presence, unbuffed, is sitting just shy of 30k armor. My bear? Also in full 359 gear, in bear form, unbuffed, is sitting at 44k armor. On top of that, the druid is sitting at around 37% dodge, whereas the DK has about 30% dodge/parry and a metric TON of more mastery. Also? 4% of max health every 6 seconds via Leader of the Pack? It’s still a DAMN respectable amount of self healing, even if it doesn’t equal up to what a blood DK will do. My point is this… DKs are in a worse position right now than Druids, but damn if I don’t really enjoy playing both classes. I forsee yet another big overhaul of DKs coming before the end of this expansion. Their current model just won’t hold out as it is, for 3 more tiers of content, in my opinion. And if it DOES manage till the end of Cata, i would place money on the fact that they’ll be reworked before the next expac.

 

/fistpump

19 Jun

So, this week, our guild went ahead and decided that we had had enough of Nefarian.

Oh, did I mention that this was just our 2nd night of attempts…. EVER? Yeah… Last boss of the expansion, and we basically get him down in 5 hours worth of work, and about 1/4 of the wipes we put on Al’akir or Cho’gall (if not less?). Man… We kick *ass*.

Honestly though, idk what it was, but it didn’t seem like he was nearly as hard as some of the other bosses. The thing about Nef… There’s a lot less actually going on, but the things that ARE going on have to be done with absolute precision, otherwise it’s a wipe. Now that can be a  head full of stress on any raider (let alone the raid leader), but sometimes thems the breaks. You really see who’s awful at interrupts. You’ll find out if your off tank will notice the lightning in time to turn. You’ll see if your healers can really deal with every getting ~100k damage every 30 seconds. You’ll figure out who knows how to JUMP ON A GODDAMN PILLAR FROM THE WATER (lol). Mechanically, I think Nef is probably the most unforgiving fight in the tier. But overall, it REALLY isn’t that hard. Or maybe my raiders were just REALLY on fire to get him down before the nerf happens next week…

Oh wait… That’s not happening either. But I didn’t feel like telling my raiders that the patch HAD been pushed back another week, just in case that WAS what was happening. Insert trollface here? Maybe a little bit, but i’ll be goddamned if it didn’t work.

I would type out a tanking strategy for Nef, but honestly there’s not much to tanking this fight other than “PRAY THAT YOUR HEALERS LOVE YOU”. Positioning Ony/Nef on opposite sides of the room isn’t even slightly difficult, and those 5 seconds or so while you’re moving Nef, yeah he hits fast… but it’s not so bad. It seemed like I got some decent avoidance strings during that time period to counteract it every time.

Seriously though, this is a big deal for me, both as a raider, and a raid leader, as well as a big deal for the guild. This is the first time the guild has been around for an entire tier of content, and we cleared the bitch while it was still relevant and not nerfed. Hell, when we formed, ICC was already at it’s 30% buff mark, and Ruby Sanctum isn’t really a “tier of content”… it’s 3 mini-bosses, and one major boss. Don’t get me wrong, I really LIKED the Halion fight, but it hardly counts in that respect, but anyway. It’s hard for me to not develop a bit of an ego over this. Most of my raiders have told me that they’ve never cleared a tier of content before it was nerfed, or before the next tier was released either, so that makes me pretty damn proud.

Anyway, have a killshot. Someone stabbed Nef in the eye with one of our banners… talk about adding insult to injury.

What makes a guild work?

14 Jun

It takes all fucking types people.

 

I’m gonna rant a bit. If you need your NSFW warning for language or something, well here it is. Oh wait, I already cussed in the first line. Oh well.

 

My guild has been in existence for almost a year. Today, shit just got *real* over some of the dumbest shit imaginable. I think it’s the first time anyone’s had to lock a thread because people couldn’t play nice. Now, yes it’s good that we’ve gone this long without having to do that, it doesn’t make the let down from actually HAVING to do it any lesser. As it turns out, i’m still pretty goddamn annoyed that two grown men couldn’t step away from the keyboard for a few minutes after I said “OK, just drop it now.”

 

I’m not naming names, but I know one of them reads my blog. Hell, he’ll probably comment in here saying it was him, cause he’s just weird like that. That’s okay though.

 

But honestly folks. We’ve been raiding for 6 months straight, plus for 4 or 5 months back in Wrath, and while all the individuals may not get always get along, we’ve really not had any BIG issues that have made me question whether it’s worth the headache. Now, don’t get me wrong, i’m not quitting my guild, or retiring from raid leading or anything like that. But the fact that I had to weigh it all out in my head at all is kind of a red flag. I joined this guild because of a couple people, ultimately. BUT, i’ve stayed here for so long because I generally enjoy EVERYONE’S company. Now there’s times I want to strangle a person, but I think that comes from the fact that i’m an officer and raid leader. Or it could just be human nature that every now and again we wanna knock someone’s head against another person’s…. idk. Either way though, our guild has been pretty successful in what it was set out to do, and I feel largely responsible for that, as an officer, a raid leader, AND as a member of the guild.

 

Later on, one of the parties involved did apologize to the other for his part in the issue, and I was glad to see that, but even still. Last time I checked, pretty much everyone in the guild is an adult. Hell, everyone in the guild is over 21, as far as I know. We’re not a bunch of whiny little high schoolers with high school drama and all the fun little namecalling associated with it. (Except when the name calling is done in fun. Amber is a cuntcanoe, because that phrase makes me laugh, and she won’t mind me saying that about her <3)

 

Anyway, back to the title of today’s post… What makes a guild work? Is it everybody getting along with everybody? No… that’s not it. People have different personalities, so there will occasionally be problems. Is it everyone working towards a common goal? No, because there will be varying opinions on how to ACHIEVE those goals. Is it a ruler with an iron fist? Pfft please. Amber’s as big of a non-confrontational person as I am. What makes a guild work? I can’t answer that, because every guild is going to work differently, and I think that’s a big part of why SiB works at large. We are all a VERY different bunch of people. We don’t always get along. I can name people who flat out DISLIKE each other, but they’ve agreed to generally leave that by the wayside in order to make the guild work.

 

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t expect everything to be fluffy bunnies all the time. Since some people don’t like each other, I fully expect that sometimes tempers might flare up and cause shit to happen. I guess I was just caught off guard with it today, and felt like sharing it with all 7 of you that read my shit.

Day 4 – Best WoW Memory

23 May

Man… this is kind of a hard question to answer. A lot of my best memories have come with raiding. The first time my guild SiB killed Arthas is definitely in the top 3, I think. More recently, the first time we killed Cho’gall is another top memory. The first raid I ever did (Karazhan) with my first guild (the now defunct Kings of Azeroth on Ner’zhul – Alliance), etc. Man… it’s really hard to say.

I think I have to go with the thing that got me back into raiding. Y’see, I initially raided on my mage in BC, and early wrath. I did some naxx with my first guild, then moved to another guild (Calamitous Intent) after a failed merger kind of shattered KoA. In CI we raided Naxx for a bit more, then continued on to Ulduar, ending up going something like 8 bosses down by the time ToC came out… but by that time I was ridiculously burned out on raiding. I don’t know what it was… I don’t want to call any of them out, but our raid was rather… disorganized. Our raid leader was kinda apathetic about things, most of the raiders were severely underperforming, and it was just frustrating to go in and wipe on bosses that we had killed week after week after week. So… I had had enough. I rolled another toon on Wyrmrest Accord, to dip my feet into RPing. RP was kinda fun, but it wasn’t something to keep me playing the game. One day I rolled a hunter, and *man* I had fun levelling him. I was level 80 before I knew it, and then next thing I knew… I was running heroics on him and getting his entire t9 set in a matter of around a week. Then I saw it one day in trade chat. “LF DPS for ICC 10″… I couldn’t resist, in I went. The guy who ran that raid was *really* cool, and even though half of us had never set foot in there, we went 6 bosses (at the… 10% buff?) down without too much trouble.

I was bitten… I had the raid bug again. ICC was such a great atmosphere, and it was so much fun that I decided to go around searching for a raiding guild. It was around this point in time that I had found a tiny bit of the wow blogging community, and twitter community, and so I put myself out there and well… the rest of my story is pretty much on here!