Tank like a girl
Mar 30 2009

Honest Scrap, eh?

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Honest ScrapI just got tagged for the latest round of blogger me-me, by both Kestrel and Tarsus. I was especially flattered by the kind words of Tarsus. Believe it or not, I often struggle with coming up with content, because there are tons more hardcore tanking bloggers out there that fill the tanking niche a lot better than I always could. It’s people like Tarsus, Veneretio and all of my commenters that keep me going. Thank you.

But now on to the me-me part, the Honest Scrap Award!

The rules of this award are as follows:

  1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
  2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. (Where the heck am I going to find seven untagged bloggers that I frequently read?)
  3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Alright, let’s start with the easy part:

10 things about Kadomi that you never dared asking about!

  1. I am a married woman, all bells and whistles, to another woman. To further inspire nerd fantasies, we are both tanks in WoW and she was the tank for our Kel’thuzad firstkill.
  2. We incidentally met on a fantasy-themed MU*, so we’re both RP nerds. We met 10 years ago in fall.
  3. I have traveled all over the world, but the country I’ve been to the most is the US. My next visit will be visit number 10.
  4. I work in company tech support for an American company and have crappy work hours to cover American business days. Lame.
  5. I have played all classes in WoW to at least level 40. Of all classes, I would never level a hunter to max level, because I find their leveling game too trivial. I do adore end-game hunters with skill though.
  6. I have three cats: Merlin, Luigi and Jenny. I wanted to name Merlin Murloc but the missus outruled it. Bummer.
  7. I am deathly afraid of spiders. The spider wing in Naxxramas creeps me out. My scariest moment ever in WoW was the post-Zul’Drak horde quest where you get to kill the giant spider crawling out of the lake. So seriously squicks me out.
  8. I like playing underdogs, hence my two mains being female orcs. My Alliance character on the German realm Forscherliga is a female dwarf paladin. Yay for underdogs!
  9. What I regret most about playing WoW is that it’s seriously reduced my reading time. I used to read a lot more, I should pick that up again. My favorite author is Tad Williams, I have read Memory, Sorrow and Thorn a million times.
  10. I could kill for excellent Indian and Thai food. Best food ever. A nice Chicken Makhani or Tikka Masala makes my day. I cook a very nice Thai red chicken curry too

Now for the more difficult task, to find bloggers that haven’t been tagged yet:

  • Naissa from Naissa’s Rage. She and I are so on the same wavelength, it’s scary! But her screenshots are a lot nicer than mine.
  • Durnic from Orly Factor. Part of my ongoing campaign to make him post more, because he is brilliant when he posts.
  • Talldar from Warrior Tanking. Another fabulous tanking blog that I always enjoy reading.
  • Drug from Shields Up! Not only is he one of the few shaman bloggers, but he is an addon freak like me, and he speaks German. Big winner.
  • Yasura from Heals, Smites and Prayers. She’s one of my guildies, a fantastic healer, and I adore her.
  • Anexxia from Bible of Dreams. Another guildie, she’s restored my faith in shadow priests, because I had never raided with a truly excellent one before.
  • Jagerbombz from Hoof’n’Healz, another rare gem from the resto shaman scene. His guides are extremely helpful for young and struggling resto shamans (like me). :)

I will also take the opportunity to say farewell to two of the blogging giants that are quitting: Phaelia from Resto4Life and BRK from BigRedKitty. Both were important to me as bloggers. Phaelia was the first person who ever linked to my blog and has really worked wonders for the druid community, and BRK showed me that you can be entertaining, talk about your personal game experience, and toss in some theorycrafting while you’re at it. Both will be missed.

Filed under : ramblings | 16 Comments »
Mar 27 2009

Heroics killer in the making?

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As I have posted before, 5-man content is probably my favorite content. Give me a good guild group, and heroics are the most awesome fun that you can have. Hell, even Suckulus was fun, if really frustrating. WotLK did a lot of great things with 5-mans. The length is ideal, they’re fast-paced, they’re diverse. Good job. On the other hand, I personally find it too easy to get into heroics, people diving on the first day at 80 is common, and for a casual player it takes away some of my personal sense of progression. The latter might just be me.

The reward ratio for running heroics is great. You get Emblems of Heroism, and the gear drops are clearly superior to normal instances, and sometimes on-par with 10-man raid drops. The emblem gear offers a relatively small selection of great items to gear up with, including T7 tokens for the perpetually unlucky or those who’d rather not count on RNG to get their bonuses. I personally was never concerned about the low number of things you could buy for your emblems, I reckoned the emblem vendors would receive fresh gear sometime. It’s here where I was completely wrong apparently.

In 3.1, Blizzard is introducing the Emblem of Conquest. Said emblems will drop in the new 25-mans, that is Ulduar and whoever that new Wintergrasp boss is going to be eventually. People who run Ulduar-10 will get Emblems of Valor off every boss, the currency that’s currently used in all existing 25-mans. Ulduar-10 raiders are supposed to gear up with the Valor reward gear that current 25-man raiders are already wearing. There will be no gear on either the Valor and the Heroism vendors.

What does this mean for the crowd that likes to run heroics? It means that you will sit on a large pile of emblems that you can only use to buy heirloom items for twinks, blue gems (which will likely go worthless when epic gems are released), or frozen orbs. I’m already at a point where I have spent emblems on everything that I wanted and am now only pondering offspec gear. I understand the reason, I do. It’s to fight the battle of complaints from the raiding hardcore, how casuals were able to get gear on par with T5 without ever setting foot into SSC or Tempest Keep. Badge-farming in Kara was hip back then, easy content rushed through for badges. I mean, when WotLK hit I was wearing all the Sunwell badge gear, some pretty great pieces of gear. I am not crying because I want uber-awesome epics for my heroics fun-time. I just want something more, something new for people who primarily run heroics. Fun-toys, non-combat pets, something.

The emblem change has already taken the wind out of my sails in regards to running heroics. I just got the Northrend Dungeon Hero achievement. I could try the heroic achievements for the proto-drake, but that’s about it. I won’t be the only one feeling like that. The raiders certainly won’t want to run heroics at all, why bother? For me it makes heroics pointless, until they add more 5-mans, if that’s in the books at all.

Will you continue to run heroics when 3.1 hits the live realms?

Mar 26 2009

Heroic Suckulus

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That’s my name for it, and I am sticking to it. Not too long ago, Blizzard asked for feedback on heroics and ran a poll on which one’s the toughest. The Oculus came out on top by a large margin. Now, I needed one more instance run for the Northrend Dungeon Hero achievement, and we finally decided to try this with a guild group. It was with some of my favorite people, great DPS, awesome heals, and yet, it turned out to be the most sucktastic instance I have run for a very long time. Really, it makes all other heroics look fantabulous.

Let me count the ways. First, you have those extremely annoying whelp pulls that are nightmarish to tank. They’re all ranged, and spell reflect does only so much. Just annoying. Then you have the element of flying around on drakes that don’t have the abilities of the final encounter, so if you’re reckless, you can’t even get healed. Get separated? Too bad. Then you have Mage-Lord Urom, one of the most melee-punishing bosses I have seen for a long time. We’re usually melee-heavy, so it’s suckage. But ultimately, you end up with Ley-Guard Eregos, in the only encounter of the game that you can never outgear. We wiped on him for three hours. Three hours of my life I’ll never get back. And of all the wipes, just about most of them were 2% wipes. A couple 50ish% wipes, and then 2% wipes for the rest of the instance. Inbetween we had to reclear whelps to get new drakes. Then wipe some more. It was almost 4 am my time when we finally got him down, and, well, let’s say I got a unique perspective to his death, as I fell to my own when he had 11k health left. Yes, nekkid Kadomi action, how ’bout dat?

Suckulus

 
We all vowed to never go back. I know there’s people who read this blog who have all the Oculus drake achievements, and I have to say, kudos to you. I have no idea how you did it. We tried 2 ruby, two emerald, one amber. 1 ruby, 3 emerald, 1 amber. Back to 2/2/1, and that was how we killed him.

Dungeon Hero is done, but I doubt I could ever get the proto-drake, simply because of Oculus. Ugh.

Filed under : instances | 21 Comments »
Mar 24 2009

Addon corner: Kadomi’s UI as video

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As I mentioned I dabbled with my first video. The quality could be lots better, but I wanted to try the performance of my computer while capturing in lower resolution first. Went great, so I am ready to actually try high resolution very soon. For best quality, click in the HQ button. I have added annotations, but if you have any questions, please let me know!

 
Per request, some static screenshots as well:

 

UI in combat

 
UI out of combat

 

Visible addons in the video:

Filed under : addons, videos | 29 Comments »
Mar 24 2009

Naxxramas cleared

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This weekend, we had our third raid ID for Naxxramas, and as the title suggests, it was very successful. We cleared 3 wings on the first day, and I actually had fun making a couple videos of boss fights. No Tankspot quality, but I might post them here for general amusement sometime, once I recover from the embarassment of my Commanding Shout upkeep fail on Anub’rekhan and such. I guess videos are very educational, you blatantly see all your mistakes. Noob, don’t run into the wall when kiting Anub’rekhan, it gets you six stacks of Locust Swarm. We one-shot everything but Anub’rekhan, due to kiting failure the first try.

The second day, I did not tank but heal instead. I don’t heal as much as I used to in early WotLK, so I was really really nervous. I am an overachiever and was pretty darn nervous. Overall I guess I did well, but our resto druid just creams everyone on healing anyway. There were points where I felt I was completely unnecessary as third healer, as she covered MT and raid heals, and my Chain Heals ended up being dramatic overheals. We one-shot everything but Grobbulus and Sapphiron, those needed two tries. I was complete and utter failure on Thaddius, where I was the only person who actually got confused about our running direction on polarity shifts and died. Time to drink from the humble cup, I tell ya.

Then it was time to work on Kel’thuzad. I have to say, I hate the RNG elements of this fight. At least three times our adds tank got iceblocked, insta-death, and then the crypt guardians ate the raid. In our fifth attempt, it happened again, but our feral druid picked up both adds, and we healed her through to the bitter end. It was pretty spiky and scary, but we made it. Our very first Naxx-clear, in only three IDs. I think we have every reason to be proud. :)

Kel'thuzad firstkill

 

Gear-wise, I got one upgrade for Kadomi, Minion Bracers, which makes me happy, because I was still wearing the ones from the Occulus quest. My shaman got new shoulders, a healing cloak and a cloak heavy on haste for her haste/elemental set.

I fell into the pug world of raids as well, off-tanking VoA-10 and healing VoA-25. VoA is so ridiculously short and easy that I have no problem pugging that.

We are adding an extra raid day now to change our raid schedule from every second weekend to every weekend. We have been steadily growing and have gotten an insane amount of high-level transfers lately. I think two 10-man groups might be on the horizon, but I don’t think we have the numbers for 25-mans anytime soon. That’s fine in my book, I vastly prefer 10-mans.

Because of me not being there as tank for KT, I don’t have the Naxx achievement yet, on either of my characters. I clearly have to switch up days next time, somehow.

So what’s in store for me now? I definitely want my Champion title, so I have KT, Malygos and H Occ left for that. H Occ is scheduled for Wednesday. I also finally got Stormchops from the Shattrath cooking quest, so once I hit cooking 450 and do the BGs for the feasts, Chef will be mine. I want to work more on videos, and will actually showcase my first one that I made for this blog very soon, likely tomorrow.

So what’s up with you guys? :)

Filed under : ramblings | 15 Comments »
Mar 20 2009

G13 re-visited

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A little over a month ago I first mentioned that I was the proud owner of a G13 now. It’s been a little over a month now and I thought I’d share my impressions of it.

First off: relearning muscle memory is hard. I never thought it’d be so hard. When I ran my first instance with the G13, we wiped several times until I rebound everything and went back to the old way. Then I ran H HoL with it, and again, it was pretty painful. But I kept at it, trying to learn. My basic layout is to have the center row as 1-7, with the thumb buttons bound to Shift and Alt. This allows me to use modifiers for the center row, so that’s 21 buttons right away. The top row is 8-0, Tab-Target, ß (which is next to 0 on German keyboards), my health pot and healthstone keybinds. All abilities that are staples are bound to easily accessible keys. Devastate on 3, Revenge macro on 4, SS on 5. These abilities are hit by ring-finger, middle-finger, index-finger respectively, which is very comfy. Taunt is on 2, Charge on 1, both hit by the pinky.

G13 Keyboard Profile

Now, the big lesson I learned is that muscle memory lets you know where you have all the abilities you don’t use that often, but which are still important. I was in trouble. I had trouble remembering where Taunt was. Getting used to the thumbstick made Shockwave positioning not so great. Challenging Shout, where art thou? Ouch, where’s Shield Bash in a pinch? My friend Kaylexanna definitely confirmed that my AoE threat was down the toilet, so I did what I had to do and went back to the regular keyboard. However, I know that won’t be forever. I use the G13 for solo play all the time. It’s just me working on muscle memory now.

On alts, like the retribution pally I recently leveled to Outland level, it’s super-awesome. If you start with a fresh character, the G13 will come naturally. Also, a wonderful side benefit for a keyboard player like me: you stop being a keyboard turner. Completely. It just breaks that habit real quick. If you look back to when I started my blog, it was something I struggled with, but now, I mouse turn, all the time. It’s faster, and I really feel it makes me a better tank. Especially on such encounters as Loken, Anub’rekhan, Heigan, turning with the mouse is a huge advantage.

As for the display, I find it helpful. I don’t use the RSS feature, though I guess I could add WoW bloggers to make it more exciting than my current news feed. ;) The WoW display is kinda pointless, I have other tools to see my durability and character stats. Same with the whisper alerts. The Ventrilo app is pure win though, I can finally see who speaks on Vent, when people join, my ping, good stuff!

My final verdict is that the G13 is a great piece of hardware. If you are a dedicated keyboard player, it’s definitely worth it. If you are currently a clicker, the learning curve might be a bit much, and it might not be enough to break the habit. Keyboard turners who are looking to change their ways, the G13 is gold.

As next investment, I will likely go for a 5-button mouse, because that will add even more flexibility to an already powerful combo.

Filed under : geekery | 9 Comments »
Mar 19 2009

The triumphant return

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The hiatus is over, I am back, hope ya missed me! No Internet for a week was gruesome, and excessively boring. In my free time I leveled a warrior in TitanQuest, but it doesn’t really compare to WoW. But now I am back, hopefully for good. My hatred for T-Com, the German monopolist for all things communication-wise, knows no bounds.

I will be trying to fall back into a regular post pattern, so look for updates on Mon/Tue and Thu/Fri. Tomorrow I will start posting again, talking a bit about how I feel about the G13 keyboard a month after I got it. Cheers. :)

Filed under : ramblings | 12 Comments »
Mar 11 2009

Short hiatus

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I am currently facing ISP issues and will likely not have net access for a week or a little more. QQ. I will be back to regular posting once I am back online.

Filed under : Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
Mar 09 2009

Naxxramas continued

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Today is Monday story time, and a lot of gushing, as I had an awesome WoW weekend. It was time to re-visit Naxxramas and step it up for some progress. The first raid weekend we had cleared Arachnid and Plague quarters, plus Instructor Razuvious, and I was hoping to push past that.

I had not tanked the Arachnid Quarter before, so there were a few flubs. On Anub’rekhan I really sucked at running from the Locust Swarm. Ciderhelm makes it so easy in his video. I ran around the inner edge of the slime instead of the outer edge that Cider used in his video, and at his end spot, Locust Swarm still had 5 seconds on it. Gah! That was a wipe. The second try I ran past where Cider had stopped, well past the door and towards the other side. Still, four stacks on me, not good. Am I doing something wrong or is it normal to run that far? I will actually go practice running around the outer edge sometime today, to see if that helps. In any case, he went down in the second try.

Grand Widow Faerlina went down in 3 Frenzies, easy peasy. On Maexxna I got owned in the enrage the first try, and the second try also went down, but the raid killed her right after I died. Whew. From there we moved on to the Plague Wing, to the really boring Noth fight. Heigan was a huge improvement this time, we got him in 5 minutes, with only one death and a lot of excellent dancing. On to Loatheb, who went down easily again. I did lower personal DPS this time, only 1415, and did not reach the goal I had set me: to outnumber white swings with Heroic Strikes on static tank and spank encounters. Disappointing. However, what was not disappointing was that the Protector token dropped, and I won the roll. Woot, no more spikey shoulders! I love the model of Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons. Loatheb further showed me some love by dropping Legplates of Inescapable Death, which will be very sexy for the SBV set I am trying to build.

We were still within our time limit of 3 hours raid time, so we went and killed Instructor Razuvious in two tries. Stupid understudies breaking at inopportune times. That’s where we called it, which meant that we had cleared all seven bosses that we’d already downed on the first day, leaving lots of time for progression on Sunday.

Gothik the Harvester firstkillHere’s where the fun begins. Yay for killing new bosses. We started with Gothik the Harvester, who promptly totally bugged for us. I was tank on the dead side, having an okay time, until mobs from the live side started joining us. For no reason whatsoever the live side mobs would run through the wall towards our healers. I ran around like a headless chicken trying to pick up all those crazy mobs, it was nuts. Clearly buggy. Despite that curveball, we got Gothik down from his balcony, and from there it was smooth sailing.

Four Horsemen ChestWe moved to Four Horsemen from there, with one wipe as my healer and I got separated and she died to a meteor. We learned our lesson and the second time it was just fine. I actually felt it was really easy. We used the swap riders in the middle and drag back to corner method, which worked without any hitches. I thought it was a fun encounter, but it’s not the epitome of perfect execution that my oldschool raider co-worker told me about from Naxx-40.

Patchwerk firstkillMilitary Quarter done, on to Construct! I was excited about trying Patchwerk, because I really wanted to improve on my Heroic Strike execution on this tank and spank fight. The healers did a fantastic job on this fight and neither my bear companion OT soaking Hateful Strikes nor me had any scary moments on him. I broke a personal DPS record on him, doing 1554 DPS, which made me pretty happy. I also finally reached my goal of doing more Heroic Strikes than white swings. 77 Heroic Strikes, only 45 auto-attack swings. I want to shift that in favor of even more Heroic Strikes, which actually were 23% of my total damage, along with Shield Slam. If I look at my numbers I also get very happy about my Deep Wounds spec, 8-10% of total damage with a passive skill is pretty hot stuff. So, another one-shot kill, hooray. We even only had one casualty on the Frogger boss that came next!

Grobbulus firstkillGrobbulus came next. I didn’t much care for that fight, because walking backwards endlessly got old pretty quickly. We had one or two raid deaths, but all in all it was a pretty nice one-shot job. Before the pull we decided that this guy is the creepiest boss in Naxxramas. Just look at that needle on him. Yuck yuck yuck. To make the nastiness of the fight easier on me, he dropped The Skull of Ruin which is a very fine shield indeed.

Gluth firstkillGluth was next, after a short interlude where a certain MT and raid leader fell off the pipe to be squished to bits in the room underneath. Ahem. I got to do the Frogger boss again and managed to not fall off the second time. Down the pipe into Gluth’s room, where I drove our ret pally crazy by making her kite the zombie chow. She did a fine job, and we got another one-shot kill. An irritating part of the fight was that my taunts somehow got resisted a lot, when the OT and I were trading off to let the debuff expire. Dead puppy anyway!

Thaddius firstkillOnly one boss left in the Construct Quarter and Naxx decided to toss another bug our way. On the first magnetic pull of the mini-bosses, I got swapped with our ret paladin, and then Stalagg squished the DPS and healers on that side and came to join us confused tanks on the other platform. Fail. The second try, everything went according to plan, they died together, we jumped (or rather levitated) over to Thaddius, and then we killed him without a hitch. Construct quarter cleared!

Sapphiron firstkillDid we want to have a look at Sapphiron? You betcha! Watching him form is as cool as I thought it’d be. The first two tries weren’t so great, as we would always have the blizzard right above the iceblocks people were hiding behind, or we had a person hiding behind a block turn into a block, screwing things up for everyone else. Bad luck, for the most part. Our third try, we finally did it, and got yet another boss down!

All good things have to come to an end, and we had only 25 minutes left for tries on Kel’thuzad. Our first try was pretty bad. We didn’t have time to look at the mechanics of the fight much beforehand, I wasn’t really prepared, and so it was over once KT joined the fray. The second try we did went a lot better, we had him at 25% when a) two of the healers were down, and b) I lost focus and died to a voidzone. Bad Kadomi, no biscuit.

Regardless of that, I would call this an amazing success. Two raids in, we are 14/15, which is probably a testament to how easy Naxxramas is, and yet, it feels like an accomplishment. Who ever says girls can’t play, doesn’t have a freaking clue. I am pretty sure that next ID we’ll clear the place. I won the key to Eye of Eternity and would love to eventually get a foot in that door.

Mar 06 2009

Addon corner: AuctionLite

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Today’s addon corner will present an addon that has nothing to do whatsoever with tanking or general UI stuff. Nevertheless, it’s one of my favorite addons and I hope it will take off just as its towering competitor Auctioneer did when it was first introduced. As always, click on the images for full-size versions.

If you’re an Auctioneer user, you might have noticed that since the Classic version was kissed goodbye, you are now using an unwieldy giant of an addon, with a feature richness that is quickly overwhelming when you’re not very math-inclined. To change any of the settings requires going through extensive menus that are not very intuitive at all. If you think that’s all a bit much, maybe you’re looking for something that’s more simple to use. Meet AuctionLite.

When installed, you will gain two new tabs, Auction-Lite Buy and Sell. The latter is the core of the addon. AuctionLite wants to help you sell your stuff by undercutting your competition. Open the sell tab, Alt-Right click on what you want to sell, and AuctionLite will scan the AH for the item, show all competitors and offers pricing, undercutting the cheapest seller. That too cheap? Click on the item listing you want to undercut and the price gets adjusted. AuctionLite will store historical price values after scanning and the estimated profit you can make via AH selling will be displayed in the tooltip. Nice and simple.

 
If you’re in for finding great deals on the AH, click on the Full Scan button on the Buy tab. AuctionLite will do a very fast scan (about a minute) of everything that’s on the AH, and if it finds something that’s sold way underneath historical value, will be offered as deal. Alternatively, you can supply that you want to buy 20 Saronite Ore, as example. It will then check the AH for the cheapest way to get those 20 ore, even if this means buying out several smaller auctions and reselling the extra ore.

AuctionLite buy tab


 
AuctionLite buy tab

 
AuctionLite will use about 20 MB addon memory, or rather, that’s what it’s running on my system right now. I will often turn it off on my non-banker characters because I can do without the tooltip with price values. But for reselling and buying, it’s incredibly useful, and a million times easier to use than Auctioneer. I greatly endorse this. If you’re into the AH game at all, give it a shot. For reference, I have four characters with epic flyers and am currently running around with 9k gold total. Playing the AH works. ;)

At popular request, I will give a complete overview of my UI next week, so I am hoping to take a couple nice UI screenshots in Naxxramas this weekend. Stay tuned! :)

Filed under : addons | 10 Comments »
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