Tank like a girl
Apr 07 2011

Call to Fail

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This morning, as I was skimming through my Twitter timeline, I stumbled over Spinks posting about Blizzard’s new plan to get more tanks to use LFD: Call to Arms.

What a terrible idea. My immediate reaction to this on Twitter was the following summary: a terrible idea that won’t fix anything, aggravates healer and DPS players, and will breed terribad tanks.

I think we all agree that there’s a dearth of tanks using the LFD tool. I haven’t used it since WotLK, at least not on Kadomi. The reasons for this are manifold. I believe there are generally less tanks available than any other role, because it’s not as popular. The general consensus in most groups seems to be that tanks have to know every single pull, take responsibility for the run, and lead the group. Not everyone enjoys this, so there are less tanks. Add to this that LFD in WotLK created a new breed of player, who want to rush through instances at their own fast pace, and who are quick to point fingers at tank or healer after every wipe. Cataclysm heroics take practice, time and patience, and that’s all not factors you usually find in a PUG. In short, tanking can be extremely stressful.

If other tanks are like me, they did guild groups until they had sufficient raid gear, and just do the daily with guild groups. That’s my comfort zone. I know people won’t be stupid, will let me mark at my own pace, pull off CC flawlessly, are a blast to play with.

In comes Call to Arms, and the temptation of some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. Well, let me be pissed off for everyone else. Healers have an equally unthankful job, but there’s more of them than tanks. DPS are numerous, and are punished with long queue times. So in order to get a shorter queue, everyone has to watch tanks get rewards like that? Aggravating.

Also, that is assuming that tanks want gold, gems (dirt cheap on my server for the most part), flasks and pets/mounts. Well, I am sorry, if I want those mounts, I’ll just as well solo-farm them, getting lots of gold out of it for less time spent in a dungeon. For me, the biggest deal-breaker is that you have to solo-queue to qualify. I am sorry, but I like my pocket-healers, and I play WoW to have fun with friends. I do partial PUGs, but all the rewards above are zero incentive for me to queue. Why do something that will give me heart palpitations and will make me swear at my screen, and piss off the other group members when I get my goodie bag?

As further consequence, the people who are bad players, who already making LFD such a painful experience, they’ll only make it worse now. People have already mentioned it, but prepare to end up in groups with retribution paladins and dps warriors with a shield, frost deathknights in blood presence, balance druids in bear form, queuing as tanks to get a shot at the shiny, and just making it frustrating and impossible for everyone else.

I think the only way you could encourage tanks to queue up more often would be to give a Valor Point bonus. Change it so that you can do partial pugs, 2 or 3 random people, and offer additional points. And I still don’t know if that would fix it, but it’d be more incentive than dumping shiny things in the lap of a small group of players, and the majority gets nothing for their efforts.

Filed under : ramblings | 27 Comments »
Apr 06 2011

The road goes ever on and on

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When I started my WoW blog in 2008, it was at the height of my passion for this game of ours. The Burning Crusade was my holy grail (and still is), and I was passionate about playing and tanking. Over the years this has mellowed down considerably. My blog changed. From merely writing about my weekend raid adventures and personal progress, I tried to be a protection warrior resource, a guide. In some parts this was successful, my combat ratings and my gear lists were exceptionally popular. In some parts, it was not successful, because I felt pressured to churn out high quality content, when all I was was a widdle prot warrior raider who just wanted to gab about WoW.

In January 2011 I got my first real troll, but his message of me knowing jackshit and merely stealing/copying from Tankspot hit home. I didn’t feel like I knew my game anymore, and you know what? I realized that’s fine. The WoW theorycrafting world does not need me, and I don’t need to write guides anymore. Tanking hasn’t changed enough to dissect it in further posts. There are other warrior bloggers, e.g. Tank Hard who post boss strategies, Tankspot has videos, and EJ and MMO-C have the basic class guides.

What does this mean for Tank like a Girl? I might go back to my roots, and just post about whatever’s going on for me in WoW, which seriously is not much. I raid once or twice a week, and that’s pretty much it. When the next content patch comes out, I will release my new best pre-raid gear list, as I do every patch. It’s about as much for me as it is for the rest of the world. I am not dead, I still enjoy tanking, I just no longer have any pretensions that you guys out there need any of my knowledge to do your job. All the info below, as for how prot warriors actually tank, it’s still all true. The info is there. Take it, use it, and have fun slamming your shield into faces. I know I do.

But something is going to change. I am starting a new blog. When I created the blog, I wanted the name to be in the same spirit as Tank like a girl (though maybe without the flak I got for using my gender as part of the title). The new blog is going to be all about my pursuits in my free time. I love books, especially SF&F. I have discovered that it’s possible to love other MMOs and be interested in the bigger picture. Bioware owns my soul, I play all their games almost religiously. My spouse loves boardgames, and I really want to play more of them. I am a proud nerd. I Live like a Nerd. I would be very happy to welcome you in my new blog, where I will post about all that. I am so thrilled, because I will be able to write about things that I am passionate about again, just like back in the day when I was excited to start this blog you are currently reading. And that’s a great thing.

Filed under : ramblings | 10 Comments »
Jan 11 2011

The revised top 10

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One of my more popular posts is 10 things all prot warriors should know about. Basically a quick cheat sheet of stuff you should know about this class, aiming at fresh warrior tanks. This is the version updated for 4.0.3. Enjoy! Experienced warriors, if you have a tip to add to this list, please comment!

  1. Build threat based on priorities – Do not make the mistake of using a set rotation. For ideal TPS, choose your next ability based on its priority: Shield Slam > Revenge > Shockwave > Concussion Blow > Rend > Devastate for single-target situations, Rend > Thunderclap > Shockwave > Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate for AoE. On single targets and with no other warrior or feral druid in the group, try to get your 3 Sunders in asap. Pay attention to Sword&Board procs.
  2. Use your selfheal – In tricky situations when your health dips low, use your selfheal. What heal? Enraged Regeneration. Before you use it, make sure that you also use all health increasing effects first: Commanding Shout, trinkets like any of the Battlemaster ones, e.g. Heart of Thunder, Last Stand. The higher your max-health, the more health will be returned. If you need numbers, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration will restore 39% of your health in 10 seconds. Here’s the macro that I use:

    /cast Berserker Rage
    /cast Last Stand
    /cast Enraged Regeneration
  3. Stamina is still our best stat – It’s not the end all be all that it was in WotLK, but it’s still pretty darn useful.
  4. Dodge is our weakest avoidance stat – It will become more important as we get into higher tiers of content, but at the moment both Mastery and Parry provide better avoidance. However, you want to keep your avoidance stats balanced, so keep Dodge fairly close to your Parry.
  5. Mastery is our best avoidance stat – The magic avoidance number to head seems to be 75% Parry-Dodge-Block, and Mastery is the big stat of the day at the moment. Having large amounts of mastery will smoothen the damage you take and will make it easier to heal us as well.
  6. Intervene for fun and profit – With the advent of Warbringer, there are many fun options for this overlooked ability. There are multiple encounters where you can ensure your survivability by using Intervene on a ranged party member. As example, Asaad in Vortex Pinnacle and Erudax in Grim Batol is an encounter where you are supposed to stand in a safe zone. You can continue building threat on Asaad as he casts and Intervene on your party members before the cast lands.
  7. Devastate is for support – The role of Devastate fluctuates a lot and moves up and down our priority list a lot. While it is going to receive a little boost in an upcoming patch, right now it is the ability to use when you have nothing else to use, to proc Sword&Board. Also, do remember to debuff bosses with 3 stacks of Sunder Armor at the start of the fight, to support physical DPS.
  8. The slower the weapon, the better – In a complete overturn of the WotLK world of tanks, slower weapons are now much better. As Heroic Strike now has a cooldown, you will now prefer a slow, 2.6 speed weapon. It will pack a lot more punch to all your abilities based on weapon damage. Don’t try tanking with a fast weapon anymore!
  9. The pull matters – Be smart about pulling. You don’t need to blindly charge or leap into every group, even if you can. Use Heroic Throw to pull casters. Use of line of sight is still appropriate. Cluster your groups. Bring all ranged mobs into your melee range using your various abilities. Do not Shockwave until you have a cluster all nicely lined up. Don’t be shy with Crowd Control. It will make your healer’s life a lot easier if you do not try to take on all six mobs of a pull. Assign crowd control, mark mobs consistently (Simple Raid Target Icons works awesome for quick marking) and learn how to tank without breaking controlled mobs nearby.
  10. Do not leave the house without glyphs – Apply glyphs based on what content you run. Heroics are trash-heavy, so you would use other glyphs than a raider does. Learn all glyphs that a protection warrior has any use for, find a scribe to make you some Dust of Disappearance or buy it for 10 gold each, and be prepared to swap major glyphs based on the encounter. Our prime glyphs are pretty self-explanatory, but we have a lot of room with our majors.
Filed under : basics, warriors | 37 Comments »
Jan 10 2011

Slowly getting there

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Happy new year! I know, it’s late, but it’s time for my first post of the year. :) Here’s a quick run-down of what I have been up to since Cataclysm dropped.

  • Leveled to 85. A no-brainer. Didn’t take anywhere as long as I feel it should have. As I actually enjoy the hell out of leveling, I really felt it just didn’t take long enough. I would have been with requiring all five new zones to get to 85, but it took me 3.5 zones to make it. Hyjal, Deepholm, Uldum, and some Twilight Highlands. Quests are polished and fun. I leveled as fury, and at no point ever felt really challenged by mobs. All deaths that happened were entirely based on me going afk in bad spots. I would have been fine with progress being tougher. Due to Victory Rush I didn’t have to sit and eat much at all.
  • Enjoying the storytelling. I actually really enjoyed the stories of all zones. I didn’t mind the Harrison Jones stuff in Uldum, though I know there’s a big ‘love it or hate it’ camp for those. If I have one complaint about Uldum, it is that I found the use of cut scenes excessive. Sometimes I just sat there and felt that I would prefer playing over watching yet another cut scene. I thought the finale of Hyjal was fantastic. The quests about the Maw of Madness in the Twilight Highlands were excellent. Above all, I enjoyed the character continuity. Especially the Earthen Ring shamans, but also the old Zul’Aman crew, have recurring roles. I was especially fond of that tiny, angry woman, Stormcaller Mylra. I really need to level my dwarf shaman. :)
  • Diving into heroic content. I will frankly say that I love the new heroics. I love the challenge, the difficulty, the CC requirements, the time investment. I love having to chain cooldowns and bringing my a-game. It brings a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment to me when I can complete one of those new heroics. I haven’t done all instances yet. So far I have completed Blackrock Caverns, Vortex Pinnacle, Deadmines, Halls of Origination and Grim Batol on heroic. I found Deadmines and Grim Batol the most challenging, for sure. The toughest individual bosses for me were Altairus, Admiral Ripsnarl and Erudax. Go DIAF, Erudax. *rages* Grim Batol was the first ever heroic I extended the lock for, so that we could go finish Erudax off the next day. However, the time requirement is biting me a bit in the ass. During the week, I just don’t have the time to run heroics, or my timezone prevents my usual crew from being around. But it’s all good.
  • Working on my gear. I have three pieces of 333 gear left that I hope to upgrade asap. The bracers will be replaced with the Ramkahen rep ones, the gloves just need to drop, and the legs will either be bought with JP or Neptulon will be kind to me. My biggest hurdle right now is expertise. I actually switched to a DPS axe from H Deadmines, because it gives me tasty, delicious racial bonus expertise. Reforging is awesome, yo. I am close to my expertise goal of 26, after that I will have to check my gear for balance before we start raiding in February.
  • Leveling my shaman. The shaman is 75% through 84 and will be my 2nd level 85 character very soon. I have been a brave healer and have done some pugged instances, mostly Stonecore. What I noticed is that I feel more confident about shaman healing again. So far I am not running into mana issues, but it’s definitely not the endless mana pool that we got used to in WotLK. I also noticed that not a single tank is ever using any forms of CC in those instances. I am not sure what’s up with that. My personal theory is that it makes their epeens shrivel and wilt away, I have no other explanation for it. Can I heal this without CC? Sure. Would it be easier for everyone with CC? You betcha. Will every tank in the world pull all three groups of Devout Followers in the Stonecore because ‘lol, zerg’? My magic 8-ball says yes. My magic 8-ball also says that I will likely not continue pug-healing when I get to heroics.
  • Not blogging. Should have been obvious. I really want to remedy this, because I started this instance guide and then kinda lost steam. Now that I am running those instances as heroics, I will probably focus the guides on tactics for both regular and heroic versions.

What’s been up with you guys? Busy raiding again? Doing heroics? Just leveling up? Hope you are having a good time. Happy WoW year. :)

Filed under : ramblings | 21 Comments »
Dec 21 2010

Shopping List: Cataclysm pre-raid gear for prot warriors

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It is time for the first edition of my shopping list for this expansion, tried and true since TBC days. :) As always, I will list at least 3 items per slot, in order of desirability. For those who do not have loot luck I will include at least one item per slot that you can obtain without relying on pure RNG. If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment. I <3 comments. :)

I would like to note that pretty much all ilevel 346 items are VERY similar, with slight tweaks of the stats. It's hard to pinpoint which piece comes out as superior in general. Use your own stats as guideline, fill in your weaknesses, and remember you can always reforge. I generally favor parry and mastery in this expansion, for Critical Block and Hold the Line!

Head:

  • Helm of the Proud – 2,200 Justice Points. A steep price for a nice helm, offering pure avoidance stats, plus the obligatory meta and normal gem socket.
  • Helm of Setesh – Setesh, H Halls of Origination. Very similar to the helm below, but with more strength. If you want more oomph, nice, but it’s pretty much a sidegrade from the rep helm.
  • Grinning Fang Helm/Crown of Wings – Revered with Dragonmaw/Wildhammer Clan. Nothing to sneeze at. I find the rep is easy to come by if you do the dailies, and I was just into Honored after finishing Highland quests, so it won’t be a long grind at all.

Neck:

  • Elementium Guardian – Jewelcrafting BoE. This has a socket, so it will end up being the highest stamina necklace outside of raids for a while. Unfortunately, it’s not on my server’s horde AH yet, so I will have to coerce my guild’s JCers to buy this, or maybe level the jewelcrafting of my DK.
  • Carrier Wave Pendant – Ascendant Lord Obsidius, H Blackrock Caverns. Parry and Mastery, my current favorite combo.
  • The Lustrous Eye – 1,250 Justice Points. Mastery, want.
  • Mountain’s Mouth – Honored with Guardians of Hyjal. The cheapest, nicest tanking necklace you’ll ever get. Available at level 83. If you have quested in Hyjal, you will actually end up all the way to Revered with those guys, so pick this necklace up at 83 and wear it until you replace it in heroics.

Shoulders:

  • Pauldrons of Edward the Odd – BoE World Drop. These will very likely cost a pretty penny if you see them up in the AH. But they are quite sweet indeed. If you are very rich or very lucky, the way to go.
  • Earthshape Pauldrons – Drahga Shadowburner, H Grim Batol. Solid stats and a precious blue gem socket.
  • Sunburnt Pauldrons – 1,650 Justice Points. Not a fan of the hit, not while I am still struggling to get expertise capped, for example. But that’s what reforging is for!
  • Earthshape Pauldrons – Drahga Shadowburner, Grim Batol. No gem socket, and less stat budget, but definitely the best choice before you venture into heroics.
  • Pharaoh’s Burial Spaulders – Quest reward for Harrison Jones and the Temple of Uldum. For all you unlucky fellas, just complete the lengthy Uldum quest chain and choose the shoulders as reward.

Back:

  • Wrap of the Great Turtle – Exalted with Guardians of Hyjal. I loved that turtle, I really did. Beautiful cloak too.
  • Zom’s Electrostatic Cloak – BoE World Drop. Haven’t seen this one around yet, but it’s definitely a shiny cloak. Not quite as shiny as the turtle’s though, so I would probably save my money.
  • Twilight Dragonscale Cloak – Leatherworking BoE. It comes with a socket, so it’s a very attractive gear choice if you can find a crafter for it.
  • Billowing Cape – Asaad, H Vortex Pinnacle. Attractive stats, and supposedly the easiest heroic out there.
  • Cloak of War – Leatherworking BoE. Some leatherworkers seem to craft this to get to 525, so you might get this a lot cheaper than the above cloak. It’s an excellent choice pre-heroic and currently mine, thanks to a donation from a guild crafter. Thanks, Tondo! :)

Chest:

  • Hardened Elementium Bulwark – Blacksmithing BoE. If only you had sockets, oh shiny hauberk. Mat costs are steep, but I shall definitely craft one of those pre-raid, once I can get my hands on Chaos Orbs.
  • Beauty’s Plate – Beauty, H Blackrock Caverns. Very attractive stats plus two sockets. If you don’t want to save up for the crafted piece, a nice choice to farm instead.
  • Chestplate of the Steadfast – 2,200 Justice Points. Not cheap by any means, that’s a few heroics to run.
  • Breastplate of the Witness – Quest reward for Closing a Dark Chapter, Grim Batol. Best pre-heroic choice. Complete Grim Batol on normal and you’ll be the owner of the shiny new chestpiece if you remembered to pick up the quests.

Wrist:

  • Sandguard Bracers – Exalted with Ramkahen. Shiny epic bracers obtainable per rep. Just what the doctor ordered. Too bad there’s only one daily for the camel people.
  • Shackles of Undeath – Lord Godfrey, H Shadowfang Keep. The new final boss of SFK, I am looking forward to going there, though I hear it’s definitely not that easy. Excitement.
  • Armguards of Earthly Light – Isiset, H Halls of Origination. Again, not a fan of the hit this early in content, but I would grab them if they dropped for me.
  • Armguards of Earthly Light – Isiset, Halls of Origination. The non-heroic version are the best choice pre-heroic, so good luck. I love the instance, so it’s all good to me.

Hands:

  • Fingers of Light – Rajh, H Halls of Origination. Excellent stats, my favorite gloves.
  • Numbing Handguards – 1,650 Justice Points. Are they too tight, or why are they numbing? Replacing parry with dodge, they’re almost as good as the above, not a bad purchase at all.
  • Gloves of the Greymane Wall – Baron Ashbury, H Shadowfang Keep. See my comments above. A little bit different stat budget. Weaker for lack of mastery, but not bad by any means.
  • Fingers of Light – Rajh, Halls of Origination. The best pre-heroic choice.

Waist:

  • Hardened Elementium Girdle – Blacksmithing BoE. Definitely crafting this one.
  • Belt of the Ferocious Wolf – Exalted with Guardians of Hyjal. This belt is obviously tailored towards DPS, with crit on it, but reforging the crit to an avoidance stat might make this fairly attractive. Especially as this belt has a gem socket.
  • Girdle of the Mountains – 1,650 Justice Points. All avoidance, all the time.
  • Sand Dune Belt – Augh, H Lost City of the Tol’vir.
  • Belt of Guardianship – World Drop. This would be the best pre-heroic choice, and it shares exactly the same stats as the non-heroic Sand Dune Belt. Which obviously drops off Augh in regular Lost City of the Tol’vir.

Legs:

  • Triton Legplates – Neptulon’s Cache, H Throne of the Tides.
  • Greaves of Splendor – 2,200 Justice Points
  • Stone-Wrapped Greaves – Honored with Earthen Ring. Best pre-heroic pants, and you can get them at level 83. A steal. My biggest hurdle was actually finding their quartermaster, as I hadn’t quested in Vash’jr.

Feet:

Rings:

  • Elementium Moebius Band – Jewelcrafting BoE. Solid ring with a gem socket, so find yourself a Jewelcrafter!
  • Ring of Three Lights – Siamat, H Lost City of the Tol’vir.
  • Felsen’s Ring of Resolve – Revered with Therazane. Felsen means rock in German, and that ring will help you be a rock for your groups. One of the easier rep grinds, so Revered is easy to obtain if you have quested in Deepholm.
  • Red Rock Band – Revered with Ramkahen. A ring that can be used both by DPS and prot warriors, as all can use the stats on them. If you can’t get your hands on one of the above, not a bad choice.
  • Temple Band – Zone Drop BoE, Halls of Origination. I have seen this ring sold on the AH for 500 to 650 gold. Certainly an option if you don’t feel like rep grinding or running regular instances.

Trinkets:

  • Leaden Despair – High Priestess Azil, H Stonecore. Nummy stamina, and an effect that might save your bacon when the going gets tough. Not bad at all!
  • Za’brok’s Lucky Tooth – Quest reward for Four Heads are better than none, Twilight Highlands. The number 2 choice for stamina fans, and it’s a quest reward!
  • Porcelain Crab – Mindbender Ghur’sha, H Throne of the Tides.
  • Impetuous Query – Zone Drop BoE, Lost City of the Tol’vir. Snag it up in the AH if you see it. Not only are the stats quite nice, the on-use will also make it seem that you are Bladestorming all over the place. I love it. :)

Weapons:

  • Elementium Fang – High Priestess Azil, H Stonecore. The most attractive pre-raid weapon is a sword. I am a disappointed orc, I tell ya. Stop catering to humans! *waves her campaigning signs around*
  • Mace of Transformed Bone – Erudax, H Grim Batol.
  • Axe of the Eclipse – Altairus, H Vortex Pinnacle. The lines are blurry between tank and DPS gear these days, and this axe might serve a dual-wielding DK as well as a prot warrior, especially if you reforge the hit for missing expertise or avoidance.
  • Mace of the Gullet/Dragonscorn Mace – Quest reward for Fury Unbound/Narkrall, the Drake Tamer, Twilight Highlands. Best pre-heroic weapon, a very nice quest reward.

Shield:

  • Blockade’s Lost Shield – World Drop BoE. Named after Blockade, a player with a collection of shields. What an honor to have a shield named after you. I think I would pee myself if there was ever a Kadomi item. Not that that’s gonna happen, but a girl can dream! Anyway, extremely excellent stats on this one, so good luck with the drop. It’s gonna be pricey on the AH.
  • Elementium Earthguard – Blacksmithing BoE. That’s a fine looking shield and the mats aren’t too bad at all, requiring only one Chaos Orb.
  • Shield of the Four Grey Towers – 950 Justice Points.
  • Shield of the Iron Maiden – Rom’ogg Bonecrusher, H Blackrock Caverns. The two shields are nearly identical, so I would probably save the Justice Points for something else.
  • Twilight Mirrorshield/Truthbreaker Shield – Quest reward for Traitor’s Bait/A Villain Unmasked, Twilight Highlands (turns in in Orgrimmar/Stormwind). Best pre-heroic option, and of course also easiest to obtain.

Ranged:

  • Thundercall – Asaad, H Vortex Pinnacle. Blizzard has heard our QQ and finally added this weapon to the actual loot tables in-game. It’s been floating around all game databases for a while, and now with 4.0.6 we can finally yank it out of Asaad’s hands. Hopefully. Good luck!
  • Muffled Blunderbuss/Silenced Blunderbuss – Quest reward for Dark Assassins in Twilight Highlands. The best and only option for the ranged slot for prot warriors. Where are the shiny engineering guns or anything else for that slot? :o

And I am done. That’s a long list. Consider this Kadomi’s Christmas present for tanks if you didn’t already sort out gear for yourself. :)

Filed under : Gear | 36 Comments »
Dec 13 2010

Cataclysm Dungeons: Blackrock Caverns

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This is part 1 of my series of ‘How to’ for the new Cataclysm dungeons. This will be about the normal versions only. I might post an updated version once we get to Heroic, depending on different things are. I hope they will be!

Instance: Blackrock Caverns, level 80-81, average ilevel required 226.

How to get there: Breadcrumb quest from Mount Hyjal, at 43, 28. Quest giver is Finkle Einhorn, and he gets you a ride on a mole machine. Otherwise, travel to Searing Gorge or Burning Steppes, head towards the meeting stone and run downwards to discover the instance entrance.

Notable trash:
Mobs here do not hit that hard, so BRC is actually a very gentle introduction to Cataclysm pulls. Crowd Control can make pulls a lot easier, so it’s a great opportunity to actually get used to CC again. Most useful will be forms of humanoid CC, and in the latter parts of the instance a warlock’s Banish can be very useful. Most trash pulls contain casters, so make sure to utilize Heroic Throw, Spell Reflect and even line of sight pulls to cluster the mobs towards you.

Bosses:

Rom'ogg Bonecrusher
Rom’ogg Bonecrusher – This ogre is a quite fun start towards seeing interesting boss mechanics in Cataclysm.

Abilities:

  • Quake, an AoE ability that will cause damage to everyone in the party. To avoid it, move out of the dust cloud underneath your feet immediately.
  • Wounding Strike, a Mortal Strike ability that will reduce healing on the tank
  • The Skullcracker, which he will cast after he has done a magnetic pull of all group members, and chained them in Chains of Woe. The chains can and must be targeted immediately and burst down before the cast finishes. Run out and live! If you don’t manage to kill the chains, it is a wipe.

When pulling him, make sure you have pulled back all of the trash groups in the front half of the room. There are a couple patrolling mobs that wander from group to group. As soon as you pull the boss, he will call for help, and any trash left alive to hear the call will add to the fight.

Notable tank loot:
Shield of the Iron Maiden – Oh yeah. Let the mastery items roll in. I like the shield model too.

Corla, Herald of Twilight – Netherspite mechanics strike back! Oh golden memories of Karazhan.

Abilities:

  • Dark Command, a fear effect. If this hits someone who is standing in one of the beams, make sure that someone else blocks the beam in their turn.
  • Death Grip, same thing applies as above. Apparently she pulls people randomly with it.
  • Drain Essence. This is the main mechanic of this fight and involves blocking beams. I am getting pleasant Netherspite flashbacks.

Corla will cast two beams, and there will be two cultists alive who want to stand in the beam to get the Evolution debuff. After 100 stacks, the person in the beam will turn into an Evolved Twilight Zealot, a nasty drakonoid that packs quite a punch. The key to this fight is to control the evolution. As tank, pick up Corla and pull her to one of two beams. The other beam will be blocked by ranged DPS or a healer. As the stacks pile up fast, people will need to take turns. They simply need to stand in the beam. As soon as someone moves out, someone else moves in. People must make sure they do not get 100 stacks either, as that will mean they will be mind-controlled for the rest of the fight. It won’t take long until the non-blocked beam turns the cultist into a zealot, which you then immediately pick up to tank. The zealot gets killed first. After the zealot is down, head to the other beam, have it unblocked, kill the second zealot after he has evolved. Kill Corla. Win! What also works is that you block both beams and simply kill Corla without zealots, but that won’t be an option on heroic, so you can already practice the proper strategy in this normal dungeon.

Notable tank loot:
absolutely nothing to see here. Boo!

Karsh Steelbender – Here’s where you control if this is a wipe or success!

Abilities:

  • Quicksilver Armor. Reduces all damage by 99%. If this stays on, this could be a loooong fight.
  • Superheated Quicksilver Armor. Stacks, increasing damage on him by 5% per stack. Melee attacks on him cause fire damage.
  • Cleave. Your average Cleave, do not want anyone but the tank in front of him.

First, you have to pull the two Conflagrations back to the ramp, one by one. If Quicksilver mobs add, pick them up as well. The Conflagrations are no joke and deal a lot of party damage. Once the Conflagrations are down, you can move onto the bad boy. Make sure people are aware to not stand on the circular grate ever, because everytime Karsh gets the Quicksilver Armor buff again, a Wall of Fire will go up. Now, as soon as you Charge in, you have to pull Karsh into the pillar of flame at the center of the room. Every second he stands in that pillar, he gets a stack of Superheated Quicksilver Armor and you can actually do damage to him. However, with every stack, he will cause increasing AoE fire damage to the whole group that cannot be avoided. You will not be able to stand in the pillar indefinitely. I found that 3-5 stacks are ideal, so please do not linger too long in the pillar. Pull him out, and as soon as Superheated Quicksilver Armor runs out, you pull him back in. Rinse and repeat. I will have to admit that we wiped quite a bit here the first time as I had to learn how long is too long. 3-5 seconds are not a long time at all, I tell ya.

Notable tank loot:
nothing in particular, though there are two good upgrades for plate DPS. But for tanking specifically, nada.

Beauty – Not the puppies! They are making me kill puppies! :o

Abilities:

  • Berserker Charge. This angry dog momma will charge a random player and deal a good chunk of damage with it.
  • Flamebreak. Causing fire damage to everyone within 10 yards. Means all ranged should be a good distance away. Does a knockback.
  • Magmaspit. Fire debuff on a random target, with a DoT effect. Do not dispel, it’ll make them explode!
  • Terrifying Roar. Your average fear effect.

Beauty is a corehound momma with four puppies. Three of them are in the front of the room, the last one is far behind her, with the name Runty. If you kill Runty, she will enrage, so we can leave one soon to be orphaned puppy alive. :(. The other puppies can be pulled individually to the entrance of the room. Tank them against a wall, strafe out of the magma puddles. No one but the tank should be in front of the little ones. Once the three front puppies are dead, you can pull her. As Beauty does a knockback, you will want to have your back against something solid. There’s a rock on the left side of the room that I use for that. As warrior, use Berserker Rage to break the fear, and move back to your regular position. Mostly tank and spank.

Notable tank loot:
Beauty’s Plate – A tanking chest with parry and mastery. As Spinks noticed as well, parry is very predominant on early Cataclysm tank drops. Not a bad chest!

Ascendant Lord Obsidius – a boss that requires kiting. Do people remember what that is?

Abilities:

  • Stone Blow. 150% melee damage and a knockdown. I hate knockdowns.
  • Thunderclap. Around 12k damage to people around him, slows movement speed. Why does my Thunderclap not hurt like that?
  • Twilight Corruption. Magic debuff, a dot that does 4k per tick. Dispel!

The major mechanic of this fight are the two Shadows of Obsidius that hang about. You can compare them to the Dark Nuclei in the Blood Prince Council fight of ICC. They have no real aggro table, they will aggro on whoever hit them last. If they are in the vicinity of Obsidius, they will reduce healing on their current target. Worst case: tank pulls Obsidius, Thunderclaps, no one ever touches the Shadows, and eventually the tank dies to the healing debuff. So what should happen is that you assign one DPS, ideally a hunter, to simply tag both Shadows and lead them on a merry chase. Obsidius will randomly switch places with one of the shadows and reset aggro, so when that happens, you as tank need to be fast to pick him up, and the kiter needs to be fast to pick up the Shadow again.

Notable tank loot:
Carrier Wave Pendant – a parry/mastery tanking necklace.

Notable Quest Rewards:
Raz’s Breastplate – for the final quest of killing Ascendant Lord Obsidius. Didn’t replace my Cataclysmic Chestguard, but if you had any other WotLK chest, it just might!

Hope you enjoyed! If you have any other special strategies I forgot to share, as always please comment. :)

Dec 09 2010

Cataclysm: First Impressions

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Cataclysm is here, and like millions of people I have set out to level to 85. Current progress: level 82, questing in Deepholm. I started in Mt. Hyjal on day 1, to my frustration. The masses, the camping, the named mobs beleaguered by 30+ people, it just wasn’t any fun. Day 2 was highly improved, people had moved on to other zones. I briefly want to mention that I thought Mt. Hyjal was an absolutely fantastic zone. The final event almost beat Battle of Undercity for me, it was just that awesome. I feel bad for everyone who gets ushered in when it’s almost over. Freaking win.

Weird Shield fashionI have my frustrations with professions. I feel like I won’t be able to level my blacksmithing along as I go. I am in Deepholm now, and there’s only Elementium there. But I need Obsidium. This is sub-optimal. Farming the ore is full of frustration at this point. I should do that today, because the crafted gear is quite awesome. Despite having weird things like the Hardened Obsidium Shield that is worn in new and different ways. >.>

I played around with archaeology for a bit, but felt that it was just a tad bit tedious to level. I will work on it later, for sure, but right now other things are more exciting. Like throwing bear cubs at trampolines. ADORABLE. Nothing can go wrong with this plan.

I am actually leveling as fury, which is something I haven’t done since TBC. Most of the quest rewards are actually for DPS classes. There is very little to no tanking plate as quest rewards, and what is there is inferior to what I already have. The DPS gear is something else entirely though. Within five quests I had replaced both my 2H-weapons from ICC-10. At 82, I have replaced nine of my mostly 245-251 DPS epics. On the tanking front, I have replaced my shield with the above mentioned Hardened Obsidium Shield, and won a tanking necklace in Blackrock Caverns. Two pieces replaced, and my health went from 47.8k unbuffed to 62.6k. Holy crap!

I have only run one instance so far, Blackrock Caverns, and totally loved the hell out of it. I thought the bosses were all using very interesting mechanics. They will be kickass on heroic, I hope they make us weep and wipe us over and over. Only with challenge can I get satisfaction. Please, don’t let them nerf stuff! We used CC, mostly Polymorph on a caster, and later an additional Banish on fire elementals. I felt very good about my threat. It was a guild run, everyone was very good about holding DPS until I had gotten some threat moves in. It was great fun. I haven’t had fun like this in an instance for a long time. All my threat doubts, they are gone. For now.

Watch for my little Blackrock Caverns guide and gear list soon. I will write short guides once I have run an instance, for the latecomers.

What have your impressions been? Have I been the only one who loved the hell out of Hyjal? Most of my guild went to Vash’jr instead. Would love to hear how Cataclysm’s been treating everyone. :)

Dec 05 2010

Cataclysm faction rewards for prot warriors

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Cataclysm’s almost here now, mere hours away, and a lot of you are probably itching to be on their way to 85. But even if you are not a power leveler and want to take your time, you might like some info about Cataclysm factions, and their rewards. I checked out which factions might be the most interesting ones for us at 85, so that you know what rep to focus on, if you want to get your gear in order quickly.

Some basic information: Cataclysm rep epics have item level 359, and the rare gear has 346. I am assuming that to get into heroics, you will need at least full 346 gear. The rep vendors also have lower item level gear (333, level 83), so I will mention them as well for completion’s sake.

Neutral factions:

Earthen Ring:

Guardians of Hyjal:

Ramkahen:

Cat people in Uldum, whee. Can I just say that I am so freaking excited about Uldum and hope it matches the awesomeness of all other things Titan-related?

  • Sandguard Bracers – Hooray, bracers you can get for rep. Bracers got no love in WotLK, so seeing those makes me happy. :) Available at Exalted.
  • Red Rock Band – not necessarily a tank item, as the stats will also be nice for DPS. If you are pressed for expertise, worth a look! Available at Revered.

Therazane:

As lovely as Princess Theradras in Maraudon, we get to deal with the mother matriarch of Earth in Deepholm. Of course it’s understandable why we all start reputation with that faction at Hated, after all we have killed one of her relatives time and again. Therazane is comparable to Sons of Hodir, you need to unlock the reputation by doing a quest chain, and they reward you with shoulder enchants, and rings.

Faction-specific:

There are two faction-specific groups on each side. They have identical rewards, just renamed, so nothing new here. I will list horde and alliance items both.

Dragonmaw Clan/Wildhammer Clan

Hellscream’s Reach/Baradin’s Wardens

  • Mirror of Broken Images/Mirror of Broken Images – These two Tol Barad factions have five different trinkets at Exalted. Four of them provide you with 321 mastery as equip bonus, and an on-use. The trinket I listed offers resistance against magic schools, which might be necessary for magic-heavy fights.
  • Unsolvable Riddle/Unsolvable Riddle – alternatively we could hype up our agility, along with the 321 mastery. Like Mongoose on crack, I suppose.

So there ya go, your list of gear you can obtain through reputation. My personal order of reputation grinding: Therazane quests as early as possible, Earthen Ring for the head enchant and the legs while leveling, Guardians of Hyjal for the leveling necklace, and then all the others, in the order of what gear I need to replace the most. Your mileage may vary. Hellscream’s Reach probably last. I don’t PvP, and the trinkets don’t knock me off my socks.

Also, I really really badly want a camel mount from the Ramkahen. CAMEL!

Filed under : Gear | 9 Comments »
Nov 03 2010

This week in warrior land

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First off, thanks for all the positive responses to the warrior blog list! I hope to see it thriving and continuing to grow!

As next step, I will now do a regular Wednesday post about any additions to the blog list, and compiled links to great blog posts around the warrior blogosphere. Hopefully, that way you guys can discover great blogs and topics once a week.

Someone brought up the question if warriors have something comparable to Maintankadin. Can’t say we do! If there was any interest, I might set up forums, but it really all depends on how much interest there is.

New blog additions:

  • Furious Blows – Pippet just started posting about fury warriors, and gives compelling reasons why warrior is THE class.
  • Jinxed Thoughts – Zinn’s blog screams ALTOHOLIC all over the place, but there’s some current prot warrior info there

Around the blogs:

  • Linedan from Achtung Panzercow was invited to the WowPhiles Podcast. Prot warriors, represent!
  • Everblue looks at the latest round of announced tanking changes. Blizzard are still tweaking numbers a lot on the mastery and block end. Should be interesting to see how that pans out.
  • Zellviren is also having a look at the shield block changes, providing yet another perspective.
  • Ktok managed to notice that the devs stealth-changed our expertise softcap. Time to go reforging again!
  • Zinn came up with a very nice guide for lowbie warrior tanking. As our abilities have been moved around a whole lot (what the hell, Battle Shout at 20, Demoralizing Shout at 52??!?), and we have received signature abilities at level 10, the leveling game is very different from my day, I daresay.
  • In a similar vein, Cynwise who enjoys twinking has provided an overview of what all has changed in the world of lowbie tanking.

And that’s it for this week. As always, if I have missed a new blog, or a cool warrior-related post, leave a comment!

Filed under : blog, links, warriors | 9 Comments »
Nov 02 2010

Button mashing in 4.0.1 (or not)

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I actually managed to raid on Kadomi this last weekend, rawr, so now I feel confident in making some observations about warrior tanking in 4.0.1.

Throughout WotLK, our basic TPS priority got moved around quite a bit. You basically used the highest TPS abilities as they were available and kept mashing Cleave on multi-mob pulls and Heroic Strike on single-target mobs. Now what those abilities were changed from patch to patch, as abilities were changed.

But now it’s 4.0.1 and we have new threat values. Porcell over at Tankspot sorted it out with Satrina’s threat addon, so this is the gist of it:

(Note: All values verified build 4.0.1 (13164))
*Battle Shout _______________ 20 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Blood Craze _________________ 0.50*Healing
Cleave ______________________ damage + 30 (split)
*Commanding Shout ___________ 68 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Concussion Blow _____________ 2.00 * damage
Demoralising Shout __________ 41.6 (split)
Devastate ___________________ damage + 315 + 5% of AP
Enrage (Bastion of Defense) 1
Heroic Strike _______________ damage + 28
Heroic Throw ________________ 1.50 x damage
Rage Gain ___________________ 5 per rage (stance modifier is not applied)
Rend ________________________ damage only
Revenge _____________________ damage + 7
Shield Bash _________________ 60
Shield Slam _________________ 1.30*damage + 231
Shockwave ___________________ damage only
Slam ________________________ damage + 100
Spell Reflect _______________ damage only (only for spells aimed at you)
Social Aggro ________________ 0
Sunder Armour _______________ 395 + 5% AP
Thunder Clap ________________ damage only

Numbers. Crunchy numbers. Math is hard, so what does this mean in practice? That nothing much changed for us at all.

> Heroic Throw

Well, doesn’t that look almost exactly like the priority we had back when Wrath was released? Ayup! Only change appears to be that it’s now worth weaving Heroic Throw into the mix for TPS instead of simply for pulling. If you use Glyph of Heroic Throw, you even apply a Sunder stack with it!

Devastate doesn’t do that much damage at the moment, so it falls back to the bottom of our priority list. It’s the basic filler if other abilities are not available, as long as you keep your full stack of Sunders up for debuffing. The change from 5 stacks to now 3 completely went past me, but it’ll definitely help getting those 3 stacks up fast and then focus on our big abilities.

Not included in the priority are two abilities: Heroic Strike and Rend. First, HS. This ability is not tied to the Global Cooldown, so should be used in any situation where you are sitting above 50-60 rage. Which is surprisingly often. But it has a shared cooldown with Cleave now, so gone are the days where we always button mashed something. Now you will have moments where none of your abilities might be available. I am finding that it’s just as hard to untrain yourself from button mashing (or in my case mousewheel rolling) than to learn how to button mash in the first place. Overall I approve though, because button mashing is never good design.

I did not include Rend either. As orc having a talent called Blood&Thunder seemed incredibly appealing, but ultimately, it falls short. It’s an AoE talent that is currently not well-designed. In AoE situations in Generation WotLK, you do not have the time and leisure to charge, Rend, Thunderclap and Shockwave. In that time you will already lose the first mobs, unless your group is extremely patient. On top of that, Rend ticks for so little, and has no innate threat. My non-crits are 300ish, crits are 700ish, and that just doesn’t pan out that well. So I waved bye-bye and went with Incite, and in our Halion raid boggled at delicious 12k Heroic Strike crits. Yeah, I think I got the better end of the deal. I might spec back into it for tanking while leveling, but at the moment I shall repeat my sounds of MEH all over the place. General consensus seems to be that Rend doesn’t quite work for us at the moment. It will be interesting to watch what happens to this talent or ability.

As final remark, I actually had a blast raid tanking, and did not feel that warrior threat was weak at all. On single tank mini-bosses I had to stop using my priority and stick to debuffs or my threat was going up fast. On Halion himself (I was Twilight tank), I was pleasantly surprised that no one was close to me threat-wise. When we were working on LK pre-patch, I had a harder time with threat than I had on Halion, where Vengeance gave me such a solid threat lead. I am not unhappy in that respect at all.

So how do you guys like the ‘new’ non-button mashing warrior? I am still befuddled by the overall lack of change to the class, am I the only one?

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