Tank like a girl
Nov 27 2008

WotLK Instances: The Nexus

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Happy Turkey-Day, American readers, and happy Thursday to everyone else. :)

The NexusThe Nexus is the second Northrend instance, located in the Coldarra in Borean Tundra. To get there, get the dragon flight point at Amber Ledge. This instance is supposed to be for the range 71-73, and offers four very fun boss fights, good rewards, and is definitely a step up from Utgarde Keep. I highly recommend doing all quest chains in the Coldarra to receive all quests, because the whole story behind the final encounter is superb, if tragic.

Quest rewards for tanks:

  • Tundra Pauldrons are the reward for Have they no shame? and that’s what I want to say about those shoulders too. Have they no shame to make me replace my awesome Pauldrons of Stone Resolve so early in the expansion? ;)
  • Postponing the Inevitable has one pre-req quest and rewards you with Gauntlets of the Disturbed Giant, which are also very nice.
  • If you’re looking for nice boots and never got anything better than the Boots of Elusion, make sure to pick up the quest Quickening after you did the pre-req quest, as the reward is Boots of the Unbowed Protector.

Trash:

Each boss has some trash associated with them, so you will fight various mobs. You can go see the bosses in any order. I have usually started with the right hallway, but you can also go left first. In the hallways you will find one lone dragonkin pat, either a female caster or a male melee dragonkin. Nothing to worry about whatsoever.

Ormorok-trash: The halls leading to Ormorok are filled with lots of annoying little flowers. Round them up, burn them down, and then make sure that your healer in particular doesn’t hang around where the flowers died. They leave a pod behind that will pop after one minute and then the flower will be back, to harass your healer and ranged DPS. The rest of the trash are either pathing groups of Crystalline Tenders and their tree buddies, or static Crystalline Protectors. When fighting the pat, make sure to interrupt the Tranquility the tenders cast and take them out first. CC shouldn’t be necessary, but if it makes you feel safer, you can use a warlock’s Banish or a hunter’s trap here. Try to keep moving, to avoid the flower repops.

Ormorok the Tree-Shaper: Standing on a pedestal surrounded by pods is Ormorok. The moment he’s dead, the flowers finally stop respawning, which should be enough to make anyone happy at this point. However, the pods on the pedestal are false alarm, there are no flower adds up there. Ormorok is the most tank-and-spank fight in the Nexus that you’ll find, but be on your toes. Much like Lord Ahune from mid-summer, he will cast spikes that will throw you in the air and cause extra fall damage if you don’t avoid them. Strafe away if they start popping in your area, watch the ground. It’s pretty easy to avoid them. He enrages, so save your survival abilities like Shield Wall for it.

As loot, he drops Chiseled Stalagmite Pauldrons, which are pretty nice DPS shoulders.

Anomalus-trash: Take a turn in the middle of the hallway leading to Ormorok, which will lead you to dragonkin trying to fight Mana Wraiths coming from Chaotic rifts. The dragonkin groups are usually two melee, one caster. Make sure to interrupt the heals of the casters. When you attack a rift, make sure that the DPS is all on the rift and not wasting time on wraiths. Those will spawn endlessly as long as the rift is open. Tank the wraiths, and interrupt their casts as you can. Once you’re getting closer to Anomalus, there will be voidwalker-type mobs. Again, try to interrupt them when they try to mana-burn a mana-class in your party.

Anomalus: Anorexic voidwalkers make their comeback in this very pale version. This fight is a DPS race. Frequently, Anomalus will open a chaos rift, and until the rift is done for, he’s immune to all damage. As tank this means that as soon as he goes immune, you start picking up mana wraiths instead, until your DPS has closed the rift, then you go back to Anomalus. Rinse and repeat. If your DPS is quick with switching targets, this shouldn’t take too long. Again, it’s important that no one wastes time on wraiths when they should be attacking the rifts. I have seen the case that several rifts were open at the same time, not sure what’s up with that.

He drops nothing of interest to any prot warrior. Or any other tanking class, at that.

Grand Magus Telestra trash: Once you’ve cleared up the ramp and dealt with some more dragonkin/rift trash, you end up in Grand Magus Telestra’s area of the instance. There are several mage hunter pats here, so you might end up getting adds. One pat comes right to the end of Anomalus’ area, the other pat patrols up to where you go to Telestra’s room. The mage hunters come with doggies that silence. All other trash is humanoid, so if you want to use CC, you know your options. Mage Hunter Ascendants have a huge array of annoying mage skills. Spell reflect and interrupts are your friend here. The Initiates use Renew, but Shield Slam should take care of that. As long as you can keep the pull bunched up to use AoE tanking on them, you shouldn’t have a problem. I recommend killing Ascendants first.

Grand Magus Telestra: In this fun fight you get to deal with one annoying mage, and three copies. Good times! When you go in, make sure that all ranged DPS and the healer stay away, as she will use a spell called Firebomb that will damage all in her vicinity. She will also cast a spell called Gravity Lapse that picks everyone up with like tentacles and flings them about. Once everyone is dumped on the ground, charge back to her and hopefully all ranged people are back at range as soon as they can. At 50% Telestra disappears, as she splits into three copies: arcane, frost and fire mage. Neat trick. All three copies can be tanked and have normal aggro tables. The kill order largely depends on your group make-up. If you have a mage, sheep the frost mage, kill arcane and fire, then frost. No mage, but someone who can dispel magic? Kill the frost mage, then arcane, then fire. No dispeller? Arcane, frost, fire. Once the copies are down, Telestra comes back, and you finish her off.

Again, no tank loot here.

The Alliance/Horde Hallway: As you head back to the instance entrance for Keristrasza’s chamber, you will find a hallway with 2-3 frozen mobs in groups. If you’re horde, they will be alliance, if you’re alliance, they will be horde mobs. The abilities and unit names are all the same. Rangers are hunters and they will always try to get away from you to shoot at you. The berserkers probably pose the highest risk, as they have a knockback attack that can throw you into the next frozen group. Make sure you’re never standing with your back towards the next group. The commanders are your average whirlwinding warrior. Kill the clerics first, then the berserkers, and either commanders or rangers next. If you didn’t kill one of the the mage hunter pats as mentioned earlier, it might add here as it paths through this hallway.

Keristrasza: As you approach her chamber, make sure that all dragonkin pats in the area are dead. She is surrounded by three orbs, one for each boss you downed. Position yourself facing her, while everyone else lines up by her side, but never behind her. Have someone else use the three orbs and voila, welcome to the fight where mobility is everything. Keristrasza applies a debuff called Intense Cold. It stacks, is a DoT effect and slows down. If people don’t respond to it by moving, they’re dead faster than they can say ‘Huh, what?’ The debuff is removed by moving. Either strafing or jumping in place. This is of course tricky for all casters. Whatever your DPS and healer are doing, make sure they don’t move in front of her or behind her, to avoid both her breath attack and the tail-swipe. The tricky part here really is the moving. As tank, you got it easy, so do it like I did, giggle while you jump like a maniac.

Again, nothing for tanks as drop, but that’s alright.

I highly recommend running the Nexus at least once, I thought the instance was beautiful and full of fun encounters.

For more instance guides (though I will continue writing my own as well), check out not coding’s blog. :)

Filed under : instances, wotlk | 3 Comments »
Nov 25 2008

Crafting for fun and profit

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One of my readers recently said that it’ll be interesting to see how the blacksmithing plans compare to faction rewards. Or to tanking gear in general, I say! This is part 2 of my WotLK pre-raid and pre-heroics gear guides. Part 3 will look at gear from normal level 80 instances and the last part will be me looking, comparing and posting a gear guide similar to my old pre-Kara guide. Please note that Tankspot already has extensive gear guides out there. Me, I just love planning ahead. I always loved the gear planning, so I am having a lot of fun with this. :)

But today, crafted gear! I am looking at three professions in particular to see what they can do for us: blacksmithing, engineering and jewelcrafting. I am especially curious about blacksmithing, to see if it’s less disappointing than in TBC. I am currently at blacksmithing 400 myself, just got the ability to socket my gloves and bracers, and the state of blacksmithing finds me pretty happy so far!

Head:

What can I say, engineers win the head-piece game again. The goggles are very nice and offer a meta socket plus expertise. Are they good enough to be an engineer just for the goggles? I don’t think so. In the long term blacksmithing just offers more at the moment. But they are fine goggles. The Tempered Saronite gear is insteresting as you get most of this while still in your mid-70s. This provides a great headstart in the defense game.

Neck:

That’s a pretty lovely necklace that jewelcrafters can make if they have purchased the design from Tiffany Cartier. I don’t know about the mats yet, I have no idea if Frozen Orbs will be excessively expensive on servers, but the mats don’t seem that bad at all.

Shoulders:

As with all the Tempered Saronite pieces, I really only have one complaint: that there had been room in the item budget for anything else than defense.

Chest:

Wrist:

Gloves:

Waist:

Legs:

Boots:

Rings:

More Jewelcrafting goodness. The blue ring is probably a lot better for druid tanks, but might serve in a pinch. The steep def cap might necessitate the need for def on both rings though. The epic ring is most certainly very nice.

Trinkets:

A bunny is the stamina trinket this go-around, which makes me giggle like a girl. Oh wait, I am one. ;) It’s a lot of stamina, but the on-use effect makes me blink a bit. I guess you could use it for extra mobility. The sockets are nice of course. All in all not that strong for a profession BoP.

Edit: Aha! Thanks to Veneretio I found that there’s a second trinket that’s more tanking oriented. It definitely makes more sense than the bunny. Love the crab. :)

Second edit: The biggest stamina trinket out there is BoE and made by engineers. 81 stamina is a lot, and the proc sounds very interesting. That would be a solid bunch of threat, on fights where health > avoidance. Very nice! Thanks for the tip, Krushchev!
Shield:

My favorite blacksmithing addition so far has been the ability to make shields. And not only shields per se, but shields that kick ass stat-wise. Nummy!

Ranged Weapon:

This nice gun will make engineers rich, despite us getting Heroic Throw. The stats are too good on this baby.

Summary:

The ideal tank in my world is an engineer who has close friends that do blacksmithing and jewelcrafting. You can supply all mats for all the great BoE gear that the other two professions can make, and still enjoy your OP goggles until you start raiding. However, blacksmiths got really boosted, and the ability to socket gear is really sweet. The crafted gear will be quickly replaced once you get into heroics and raids, but they will see you ready to tackle those without endless instance runs waiting for specific drops.

I am confused though that there are no specific BoP pieces for weapon- and armorsmiths, did they ditch this? Also, why can we not make at least one tanking weapon? Puzzling.

See also:

Filed under : Gear, professions | 21 Comments »
Nov 24 2008

The week in Kadomi-land

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How’s Northrend been treating you? I still have a jolly good time, and I am not anywhere near the level cap myself. I am leveling my main Kadomi and my shaman Garande mostly side-by-side, so I am sitting at 75.5 with Kadomi and 73 with my shaman.

Mammoths!During the week I mostly played my shaman, who is currently in the Borean Tundra. I did HF with Kadomi, so I wanted the change of scenery. While I hated the first couple quests around Warsong Hold, I really have to agree with the achievement, Nothing Boring about Borean. I really loved the D.E.H.T.A quests in all their diversity. Who wouldn’t want to stomp on things with a mammoth? And seriously, who wouldn’t want to free baby murlocs?

Queen Urggggle-MrrrgggleSeriously, the D.E.H.T.A quests in the murloc village really made me laugh so much, it was awesome. From the cuteness of the babbling babies, to the hilarity of the murloc suit. If you haven’t done any quests in the Borean Tundra, do those two, and don’t forget to /dance and jump around a lot while wearing the costume. I moved my shaman to Taunka’le village now, and am still about 20 quests away from the quest achievement for the zone.

Taunka chieftain meets evil Nerubian overlordLater in the week I started playing Kadomi more seriously, investing more time. Let me just tell you how much I dig the Dragonblight. I thought the whole zone was done fabulously well, and even the more mundane tasks lead you to quests that make you feel epic. The phasing is so gentle it’s hard to notice, but it’s there. Once you’ve sworn the Taunka into the Horde, you will notice more and more of them show up at Agmar’s Hammer, ready to fight. Then you go to Icemist Village, and free the Taunka Chieftain from the Nerubians. A mini-boss shows up and even though the Taunka chief and the taunka he summons do most of the work, it feels really epic. Afterwards, you get to Agmar’s Hammer, and he’s there, and you get him to declare himself for the Horde. That’s the whole thread throughout the zone. You do great things. I really enjoyed the whole Scarlet Onslaught quest chain. Reading Abbendis’ diary was pretty creepy. I can’t wait to met Barean Westwind again. I enjoyed traveling to all the Dragonshrines and fighting along with bitchy Future Me. The machinations of the Blue Dragonflight were everywhere, and it’s cool.

I won’t say much about Wrathgate. The prequests were great and when you finally get out there, to Wrathgate, I think most people won’t be disappointed. It’s too good for me to say much about it. I love Saurfang, he really is as cool as all the myths about him. Also, Thrall kicks ass and from a lore-standpoint I don’t think Alliance has any leader comparable to him. I have forgiven him all his crimes of noobdom from Old Hillsbrad, he just kicks ass.

Queen AlexstraszaIf I have one quibble with Dragonblight, it’s Alexstrasza. Was it really necessary to turn her non-dragon form into a female bloodelf in a bikini and thigh-highs, with horns? Really, Blizzard, really? I am sure you picked out the most regal slutwear for her, I am sure. Bah. Male designers, catering to the masses. I pretty much prefer her dragonform. She’s got bling, the lady!

I had hoped to hit both Azjol-Nerub and Ahn’kahet this weekend, but I only got in a couple Azjol-Nerub runs. If you are arachnophobiac like me, Azjol-Nerub is not exactly the place to be, especially not the second boss in there. The passage down through the spiderwebs to the hole in the ground is fantastically beautiful. It reminded me a bit of Maraudon on crack. The jump down the hole is really amazing, you zoom past so many beautiful sights. I didn’t even know you can die while jumping, so I am pretty happy no one in my groups died. I would call the place short but not sweet, and it’s a lot of fun running it. I really can’t wait for Ahn’kahet though. It’s supposed to be enormous, beautiful and have the best end-boss fight ever.

Grom'thar the ThunderbringerLeveling as prot continues to be amazing. I really love the AoE grinding, and my new pastime is testing my limits with soloing group quests. It doesn’t always work out anymore, the elites in Dragonblight are a bit more taxing. The two closest calls were Rattlebore in Really Big Worm and Grom’thar the Thunderbringer from Wanton Warlord. I had to blow all cooldowns for Rattlebore, and almost all of them for Grom’thar. Enraged Regeneration is <3. By the way, thank you, group of four alliance guys who stood there and watched when I fought Rattlebore, without lifting a finger when it got really close for me. Thank you so much. Thankfully most of the other alliance people I ran into when trying to solo elites were a lot more helpful than that. Your admiring BUR when I survived only made me want to KEK at you.

Gear upgrades have slowed down to a crawl. I have made my Saronite Defender and switched to Expelling Gauntlets as quest reward from Azjol-Nerub. I am also loving on my new Medallion of Heroism for grinding. I highly recommend Veneretio’s macros for grinding, though I dig the Retaliation one a lot more than the Recklessness one. But they both work and I am having fun finding out the best uses for them.

Nov 21 2008

Addon corner: Buffalo

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In this week’s addon corner, I am taking a look at buff displays. When I rebuilt my UI, I wanted something that offers me a lot of screen estate. Most buff displays use bars, which I have used for a long time, but I wanted something more minimal. That’s how I ended up with Buffalo.

Buffalo configurationAt first glance, Buffalo looks exactly like the default buff frame, with the important difference that you can move buff, debuff and weapon buff frames whereever you want them. I use three horizontal lines as display, right underneath my Fortress Data Broker blocks. All you get is an icon for the buff/debuff, and the time underneath it. Buffs that run out you can set to flash as a warning. Buffalo can be skinned using ButtonFacade, if you like eye candy.

My only request would be to have a more visual cue when a buff completely falls off, I keep running around without a weapon buff on my shaman way too often, but I am using TellMeWhen now, which btw is totally awesome as buff/debuff/proc reminder.

If highly flexible buff bars are more your thing, I still wholeheartedly recommend Elkano’s BuffBars. Caulle over at Tankspot has done a video tutorial how to set it up if you don’t like bars and including filters and the whitelist system, pretty nice.

Filed under : addons | 4 Comments »
Nov 20 2008

Neutral Faction Rewards for Prot Warriors

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Welcome to my 100th blog post! As always, thanks for reading, and for this great occasion, I’ve done some extra legwork. :)

WotLK has brought us many factions, offering rewards. I’ll try to take a look at rewards to help me decide what reputation to grind first, and hopefully that’ll help you readers too. I can’t really make any weighted decision yet as I don’t know what else is available per crafting and drops yet, so take this as what it is: an overview of faction rewards.

Update:

Horde Expedition/Alliance Vanguard:

I neglected to post the rewards in my first version, so here we go, added!

The faction reputation has a bit of a twist to it. You have four different factions per side, and every quest you do for one of the four factions scores you half the rep towards Horde Expedition or Alliance Vanguard. You poison some stuff for the Hand of Vengeance for 250 rep, and your reputation with the Horde Expedition rises by 125. Interesting mechanism.

Anyway, what does that all gain us as tank?

Bulwark of the Warchief / Shield of the Lion-hearted

Same stats, different name, and a lazy model alliance-side. Horde clearly wins again. ;) For this shield you need to be Revered, which should be easily attainable just from questing. I really like the expertise of the shield.

Argent Crusade:

The Argent Crusade has its quartermaster at the Argent Vanguard in Icecrown. Once you’re friendly with them, you can pick up their tabard to start the reputation grind via championing in level 80 instances.

  • Special Issue Legplates – Available at Honored. Very solid piece with boatloads of def and hit. Reaching the new defcap of 540 won’t be quite that easy, so this will help.
  • Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector – Available at Revered. This is going to be the head enchant of choice to get us capped, methinks.

And that’s it, so our target goal for Argent Crusade is a minimum of Revered.

Frenzyheart Tribe vs The Oracles:

This is WotLK’s version of Aldor and Scryers, on a smaller scale, I guess. Both factions live in Sholazar Basin, either you side with the wolvar or the gorlocs. If you go with cuddly widdle wolvar, Frenzyheart rewards is what you’re looking for.

  • Giant-Sized Gauntlets – available at Revered. Dodge and hit, so avoidance and threat stats, but no defense. Still, not a bad choice.
  • Stolen Vrykul Harpoon – available at Revered. While we get Heroic Throw at 80, it’ll still have a cooldown, and besides we need nice stats to fill that slot for us anyway. This thrown weapon seems to be catering to rogues primarily, but I also wouldn’t say no to it.

What do the toothy gorlocs of the Oracles have to offer, in comparison?

Absolutely nothing. None of the faction rewards does anything for protection warriors.

The Kalu’ak:

Our roly-poly Tuskarr friends are mostly known for their fishing pole of OP-ness and their penguin pet, but do they also have tanky goodness?

  • Ivory-Reinforced Chestguard – available at Honored. This is available at level 76, so this might give you a jumpstart when it comes to the def-race. Not bad at all, and very easy to get.

Kirin Tor:

Does this faction of mages have anything to offer for us? Their quartermaster is Archmage Alvareaux in Dalaran.

  • Fireproven Gauntlets – Pretty nice stuff. Worth the grind to Exalted? I can’t tell you for sure yet.

And that’s it, so don’t expect too much from guys in purple dresses.

Knights of the Ebon Blade:

Renegade death knights with a hold in Icecrown sounds a bit more promising than guys in purple dresses, so let’s see.

  • Toxin-Tempered Sabatons – available at Honored. Promising start, very nice boots, I dig. (Update: not sure why I made a booboo here and typed shoulders. It’s because I have this weird thing about shoulders. Thanks Adraxis and Pyroshen for pointing me towards it!)

However, that’s all that’s notable for me as protection warrior, which is a bit of a let-down.

The Sons of Hodir:

Based in Stormpeaks, this faction of giants looks like it’s going to be everyone’s ticket to shoulder enchants.

Again, that’s it, aside from two mammoth mounts. I want a mammoth.

Wyrmrest Accord:

And that’s it for the neutral factions. I personally will go for Wyrmrest Accord first, followed by Argent Crusade and chasing it with Sons of Hodir.

See also:

Filed under : Gear, wotlk | 13 Comments »
Nov 19 2008

WotLK Instances: Utgarde Keep

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As I am leveling, I will write short guides about all the leveling instances in Northrend, with particular focus on tanking tips for trash and bosses alike. At the moment this is all about normal instances, but once I hit 80, I will update to include changes for heroic mode. These guides are not intended for experienced people, but for those who maybe just started tanking and are looking for some advice.

Utgarde Keep

Utgarde KeepUtgarde Keep is a level 70-72 instance located in Howling Fjord. It’s low in difficulty, very linear, and easy to clear. Inside you will find three boss encounters, with three quests for the Horde and two quests for Alliance players.

 

Quest rewards for tanks:

Alliance: Woven Steel Necklace from the quest Disarmament, you obtain this quest in Wyrmskull Village
Horde: Tiled-Stone Pendant from the quest Disarmament, you obtain this quest inside the instance

None of the other two quests offer tank rewards, though the plate bracers from the Horde quest ‘A Score to Settle‘ are good for DPS sets.

Trash pulls:

Most pulls are groups of 3 Vrykuls, mostly 2 melee, one caster. Near the exit to the outer area you will have a couple four-pulls. If you want to use CC, try having the Runecasters, Spiritualists or Heartsplitters CC’d. Note that the Runecasters can be pulled without using LoS. Some Vrykul have worg companions which die very easily.

The second pull in the instance can get messy due to a pathing mob between the groups on the sides, and runners. I had no real trouble tanking two groups here at all, but if you’re not pimped out in TBC epics, be careful with pulling here.

You will encounter a few proto-drakes, those need to be tanked not facing the group because of their flamebreath, and don’t have your back to the next group as they do a knockback. Unless you like knockback pulling, which could be fun. The proto-drakes are the highest exp mob in the instance, so I would advise killing all of them.

Inbetween the first and second boss encounters you have a section where undead are digging a tunnel. Usually an elite Overseer will be with them. Have people stand close by to avoid their Charge and remind people to hold the AoE until you’ve gotten a solid Shockwave/Consecrate/Swipe in first.

Bosses:

Prince Keleseth:
Once you have engaged him, build solid threat on him. His spells cannot be interrupted nor reflected (that I noticed), which is sadmaking. Keep an eye on the doorway, not long after the fight starts, four skeletons will come running in, going straight for your healer. Pick them up, have DPS burn them in place and go back to tanking Keleseth. If people are on the ball and kill skeletons and Ice Tombs quickly, it’s an easy tank and spank fight.

Dalronn & Skarvald:
Skarvald is a melee mob, whereas Dalronn is a caster. Dalronn will randomly drop aggro and cast shadow bolts at party members, which makes this a very heal-intense fight. Skarvald has a charge, so people should stand as close to the tank as they can to avoid that. You have three options here.

1. Bring one of the bosses to 10%, then kill the other and burn the other one quickly.
2. Kill Dalron first, switch to Skarvald, have the healer heal through the damage the ghost of Dalronn causes until Skarvald is dead.
3. Kill Skarvald first, switch to Dalronn, pick the ghost of Skarvald up via taunt and keep him on you.

My recommendation would be either 1 or 3.

Ingvar the Plunderer:
Ingvar is the end-boss and stands on a platform chatting with a couple drake-riders. Don’t worry, they’re just there for flavor (which is a great touch), you only fight Ingvar by himself.

This is a two phase fight, in which he has roughly the same abilities, but they’re just a bit nastier in phase 2. All ranged DPS needs to be at max range to avoid the silence effect of his Roar. When he starts casting Smash, strafe to the left or right as tank to avoid the damage spike, then afterwards run back to him. Once you have killed him, he will be resurrected as undead servant of the Lich King. Same rules apply, but it will be incredibly useful to have a mage or druid for decursing the Woe Strike, so your healer won’t take shadow damage. As tank, it’s your job to run out of the Dark Smash, which is even worse burst damage than the Smash from phase 1. As always, minimize damage as much as you can, reapply Demoralizing Shout and Thunderclap whenever they have run out, and this fight is probably the only good time for using Shield Wall in UK.

Loot:

No specific tank drops in there. If you want to mess around as Arms or Fury warrior, Ingvar’s Monolithic Cleaver certainly deserves the name, and has lots of strength and hit.

Next up: The Nexus!

Filed under : instances | 12 Comments »
Nov 17 2008

Northrend Week 1

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What happens when a WoW expansion is released after 1.5 years since the last one? As blog author you lose all your readers and you stop blogging. ;) No worries, I am still alive and kicking, but just like everyone else I am busier playing than usual.

While powerguilds like the new TwentyfifthNovember have already cleared all WotLK content, I am enjoying my sweet and slow ride. I am actually leveling three characters at the same time. My main is Kadomi, she’s 73 now. My shaman is 71, to do instance runs with the other half who did indeed switch to her feral druid as new main. Tagging behind I will level my rogue, simply because I need her to pick herbs so my shaman can use them for alchemy and inscription.

Vengeance LandingKadomi started out in the Howling Fjord, as I had hoped it would be less crowded. I wouldn’t say it was deserted, but it was totally manageable, at least in my prime playing time, which is well ahead of server time. Vengeance Landing is a very cool starting place, and the Forsaken of the Hand of Vengeance are all…interesting fellows. And so I did questionable things like working on plagues and dropping plague bombs on alliance ships. Good times. The quest rewards in the starting area weren’t that exciting for me, until I did my first Utgarde Keep run.

A bath in Utgarde KeepUtgarde Keep itself is breathtakingly gorgeous from the outside, and insanely dull on the inside. The design is very intricate, the level of detail is great, but that doesn’t change that it’s dark, dull and probably the most linear instance I have ever run. You cannot even take a wrong turn. The pulls are all incredibly easy. I think my favorite part of the instance is the series of jumps you take from the top to the exit once you’re done. ;) All negativity aside, the bosses are interesting, and it’s a fast run for good exp.

The quest rewards are pretty nice. Vambraces of the Vengeance Bringer are now my new DPS bracers, and Tiled Stone Pendant finally replaces my Maiden necklace. Note, horde necklace reward > alliance reward IMHO, huzzah. :)

 
Flying above Howling FjordThe scenery in Howling Fjord is incredibly pretty. The amount of detail is pretty amazing, there are just so many fine touches, like the Shoveltusk stags fighting with each other, but once you run in, one of them runs off, e.g. The quests are all pretty fun. Few drop quests, interesting touches with hints at the Titans, and I loved having my own pet tauren in Skorn or a pet giant at Giant’s Run. Soloing as a protection warrior is a dream. I find myself having absolutely zero downtime. I don’t have to eat, I rarely ever have to use a bandage, I find myself having to pull larger mob groups for some rougher action. So far I have done all group quests on my own, the only one that wasn’t quite so easy was the March of Giants, as the giants have a nasty DoT. Still, with spell reflect it’s possible to survive those guys too. Northrend elites are such pushovers.

Angry yetiI love the new models on most mobs, even though I heard that people hate the new wolves. I think they look cool. The new yetis are the best though, they look really pissed. Speaking of yetis and wolves, I really enjoyed the quests with them. Running around as a worg was tons of fun. That’s just it, most quests are pretty much just pure fun. Notable exception: the buggy Twisted Glade and its spores of permanent Evade bugs. That was the only quest I gave up in frustration and went back the next day when it was deserted there.

On Saturday, I then ran the Nexus for the first time, and thought it was a huge step up from Utgarde Keep. Not in terms of difficulty, but the whole design of the place. It’s easy to get lost because you can pick the order of the bosses however you please. I heard it described too much like Botanica, but I don’t agree at all. Sure, there are angry flowers, but we’ve had those as far back as Dire Maul East or Maraudon. All four bosses are incredibly fun, from tentacle lady to icicle guy, and the end boss must be an homage to every non-stop jumping nightelf rogue you’ve ever seen. Jump to stay alive, how cool. ;)

 
Northrend gearAlso pretty cool, wait, scratch that, make that amazing, are the quest rewards. I was flabbergasted to replace -three- pieces of purple gear with the Nexus quest rewards. I really expected my Pauldrons of Stone Resolve to last me longer than they did, but I replaced them with Tundra Pauldrons. I am pretty happy that they look wicked at least, very orcish if you ask me. My Bonefist Gauntlets also went bye-bye to be replaced by Gauntlets of the Disturbed Giant. As a sidegrade I picked up Boots of the Unbowed Protector. I have no idea if I’ll need avoidance gear anytime soon, but if yes, they are most certainly better than my Boots of Elusion.

Hopefully I can get a replacement for my chicken head soon, because without all the other Zul’Aman style gear, it just looks silly now.

DragonblightI just started the quests in Dragonblight yesterday, hit 73 there, and think I fell in love with the zone even harder than with Howling Fjord. My shaman is doing Borean Tundra, so I am skipping that with Kadomi. Lore-wise, it just feels great playing horde now, Warsong Hold and Agmar’s Hammer are really giving you the feeling that the Horde is serious about this war business. As a nice touch that I really appreciated, my shaman got a really rough greeting from Garrosh Hellscream, formerly known as emo-boy of Nagrand, but when I showed up in Warsong Hold with Kadomi to get to the Nexus, he was just a little bit friendlier, telling her he remembered her deeds from Nagrand. Yay recognition! After all it was me who brought Thrall to Nagrand, or he would still be standing moping by the campfire in Garadar.

I am looking forward to the two instances in Dragonblight, but it might be until the weekend until I actually get around to them, due to stupid work schedule this week. Azjol-Nerub is bound to be fun!

And that’s it! Blog-wise, I will do my best to actually keep a schedule now: Monday is story-time, Wednesday I’ll try to write instance guides, starting with UK, and Friday will be addon-time. Sounds good, let’s see if I can make it happen. :)

Nov 13 2008

Hah!

Posted by

I am famous, I am. Blizzard can claim otherwise, but there is no doubt now. Check out the new level 80 female orc warrior avatar of the official forums:

Female Orc Warrior

Remind you of anyone? You betcha!

Now back to your regular WoW while I sit restlessly at work, eager to get home to plaaaaaay.

Filed under : ramblings | 3 Comments »
Nov 11 2008

My favorite BC moments

Posted by

I am sentimental today, like many other bloggers. I just got an e-mail informing me that WotLK was shipped, so tomorrow I should have it. Time to look back and remember those grand moments of BC, from the perspective of a casual tank.

First time tanking a BC instance: I was fury/arms until 60. When I hit Outland I decided to try a hybrid build, going 0/40/21, sacrificing Rampage for Concussion Blow. My first instance was Ramparts, and it felt really epic surviving the Nazan and Vazruden fight. I was hooked for good.

Admitting defeat: My turning point as warrior was when my guild group (a core of 5 people who had hit 70 first) was unable to get past Vorpil in SL and got slaughtered repeatedly in Mechanar. Time to buckle up, create a gear plan and go full protection.

Turning point:Ready to face Murmur Our first look at Murmur. Standing in that hallway and seeing him for the first time was super-impressive. It felt awesome. And then he dropped the Shoulderguards of the Bold and I was in tank-heaven. I wore those forever.

Keyed and ready: The other half and I and our pockethealer Yasura pugged our way to the Karazhan key. I clearly remember her having her turning point in another failed Black Morass run, and she went holy from shadow. It would be another 5 months until we actually set foot into Karazhan.

The first heroic: It was Slave Pens, and it was a three hour wipefest. We had no epics whatsoever, so the first couple badges felt like incredible achievements.

The amazing sword: The Sun EaterOnce I got a handle on heroics, I started pugging Mechanar almost daily, for the sacred grail of my tanking career, The Sun Eater. When it finally dropped, I squealed like a little girl and scared my cats to hide under the bed. I still use it on avoidance fights and will keep it forever.

First visit to Karazhan: Five months I fought with myself, was ready to quit, was ready to transfer off to a more Euro friendly guild, just to set foot into Karazhan. I never thought we’d be able to go, but we finally had 10 people, the right balance, the right minimum gear. Exactly one year ago, we first set foot into Karazhan. Our first raid night ended at Big Bad Wolf, and a day after we ended at Curator. We got our first raid epics, and it felt awesome!

Karazhan cleared: Prince downIt was the Christmas week, we scheduled 3 raid days instead of two, and that was the first week we killed all bosses but for Nightbane. In total, this was only our sixth raid ID, and I was so freaking proud of my girls. Nightbane was killed the next raid ID when the stalwart three Yasura, me and the other half had acquired urns for summoning him.

Champion of the Naaru: At first a hare-brained idea that I thought I’d never be able to pull off. First the obstacle of the most challenging heroics at the time. Then the two 25-man raid bosses. I suffered from setbacks when our allied guild decided to stop T4 raids and went T5, but then I made a dedicated push, set up my own raids and did it. An awesome moment.

Who needs a paladin tank? I think my proudest tanking moment was when we successfully downed Jan’alai in Zul’Aman. We were stuck on the first 3 animal bosses for the longest time because we just couldn’t do Jan’alai. Everywhere you looked they suggested a paladin tank for the dragonhawk adds. I got a Furies Deck, a Sporeggar shield with shield spike, and we finally did it. Several times even. Pre-patch and pre-nerf that was a real achievement as prot warrior.

So what were your biggest, your greatest moment? Name me your one most memorable event. Let’s all wax nostalgic before we move on to higher goals.

Filed under : ramblings, tbc | 20 Comments »
Nov 10 2008

Achievement and almost all goals met

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A while back I posted about my pre-expansion goals. Now, with mere days until the expansion, I am perfectly satisfied with having completed most of those goals.

  • finish leveling my shaman to 70. Done!
  • power-level alchemy on my shaman as my warlock won’t be leveled for a while. Fizzled out at alchemy 355, but the last 20 points aren’t far away. As second profession I power-leveled Inscription on her, sitting at 336.
  • grind out the last 17 points of engineering on my rogue. Almost. She’s at 373, two repairbots away from the final destination, but it’ll be easier to just do new WotLK schematics to continue.
  • build the roflcopter, because I wantssss it. Done!
  • grab my bestest girls and tank H OHB and H M-T to complete my heroic experience. Done and done and did Crypts as well, completing my Outland Heroic Dungeonmaster achievement. Crypts was annoying, but scored me the possibly most disgusting weapon ever, Claw of the Watcher. It twitches, blinks and drools!
  • lead another Gruul/Mags raid and this time won’t pass the T4 shoulder token to another warrior. Done! Though technically I didn’t pass the shoulders, I actually lost the roll, mwah.
  • clear ZA. Done! 1.5 hour clears, all chests, the nerfed ZA is a pushover.
Outland Dungeon Hero

 
On Friday, we had our monthly PvP day in the guild, but BGs were so unfun and wackily out of balance for us casual girls in non-PvP gear that a bunch of us decided to go back to what we’re decent at, PvE. In a strange turn of events, we decided we wanted to feel like we did when we first hit 70, were undergeared and struggled through 3.5 hours Shadow Labs runs. We ran it almost naked! The rule was to just keep your pants/skirt on and wear your normal weapons/shield. So there I went, down to under 10k health, 10k armor, just like back in the day.

 
The run itself was tons of fun, but even almost naked we were so OP. Even with pulling carefully we blazed through. Blackheart didn’t have much time for fun, Vorpil didn’t port at all and Murmur did one Sonic Boom before he disintegrated. Still, it was really cool to do this with really low health and casters drinking every pull, just like back in the day. :)

I’ve been running tons of heroics. Possibly the greatest fun in post-patch world until Thursday. Very fast-paced, full of prot warrior awesomeness. Our holy paladin went retribution because I asked her, she wanted the chest off Kael’thas in H MgT, so we got that for her. From running all those heroics, I went from having 10 badges to 103 badges in like no time. As my final shopping tour for badges I got me the Sunguard Legplates after all. They have a lot more def than my previous pants, so I was finally able to ditch the Adamantine Figurine as defense trinket. Or so I thought.

On Saturday we did a ZA clear, and the shield of my dreams again never showed up, but Zul’jin decided to drop Cleaver of the Unforgiving. I wouldn’t be an orc if that axe didn’t make me drool. Recipe for success: enchant the weapon you’ve had forever with an expensive enchant like Executioner, and for sure an upgrade will drop within days. Good for me that all those heroics already saw me with more shards in the bank to have the axe enchanted as well. Also, the price for shards in general has gone rock-bottom on Bronzebeard, which is very nice.

Bye bye King’s Defender, you served me well! The axe should carry me to whatever upgrade I will get for it in WotLK. I had to gem for defense so that I was able to be capped for our Sunday ZA clear without going back to using a def trinket, but it worked out. The Sunday ZA was strange because most of the bosses dropped exactly the same items they had dropped on Saturday, including the axe. Again, no shield, but that’s alright. I am a blacksmith, so at blacksmithing 390, I am going to make myself a Saronite Defender. Not too shabby!

My worries that I would get a late start to WotLK seem unfounded. I had to order my US version at Okaysoft who specialize on imports and they informed that the shipping date for US WotLK is Nov 11. I should have my copy early, go figure! I can sit in front of my computer, hugging the box, waiting for the servers to become ready. I will be there, live, for any Northrend world server crash, huzzah.

I am sort of anal-retentive when it comes to WoW, so I’ve contemplated all last week which starting zone I will level in. I think I’ll be going with Howling Fjord, just so I can hop into Utgarde Keep as quickly as possible. I am so ready for WotLK. :)

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