Archive for April, 2009»
It’s been ages since I last posted about what I am actually up to in game. Time to remedy that, before ARA starts hunting me down for more story-time posts!
Raiding: After our full Naxx-clear in our third raid ID, things unfortunately didn’t continue in that vein. The following Naxxramas weekend I briefly mentioned in one of my last posts, as being full of frustrations. We basically spent over an hour just hanging around while people had connection issues. Had to swap out the second tank because of net issues. Had to swap in another healer because the other healer just never made it back online. Eventually 9-manned Gluth because one of our mages disconnected as well. It was frustrating as hell. On top of that, we were just not on top of our game in parts, and so we left Naxx with three bosses up.
Because of Easter there was no raid the following weekend. Then this last weekend, our current raiding officer scheduled Sartharion + 1 drake. Despite some pep talk from Veneretio, it just didn’t happen. I was tanking Tenebron, our feral druid tanked Sartharion, and we had an out of guild DK tanking adds. All in all, we just didn’t have the DPS to pull off killing Tenebron quickly enough before the adds became an issue. Our best attempt had her at 40%. It’s a DPS race, and we didn’t deliver. A strange graphics bug that all of us had did not help with our tries. What the hell is going on there? The flame wall will start rolling, then disappear, then show up again, disappear, etc. This made positioning extremely difficult as it was next to impossible to know if you were safe or not, in an already chaotic fight. Tensions were running a bit high. After 8 tries we killed Tenebron, killed Sarth, rolled over to Naxx and tore through the spider wing, to at least get more gear and badges for people. Maexxna kindly dropped Cloak of Armed Strife for me, which I then had enchanted with +22 agility. I am now in the market for a Durable Nerubhide Cape for my avoidance set.
The following day we did the other 3 wings, but unfortunately we did not manage to clear all of Naxx within our 3 hours of allotted raid time. On Four Horsemen one of our healers had net issues again, so I swapped in my shaman and my partner brought her druid. I had already gotten both Amulet of Autopsy and Medallion of the Disgraced, and am now so set for necklaces. There are very few pieces of Naxxramas gear left for me to upgrade to. Boots, headpiece, Slayer of the Lifeless. Maybe not even the latter, as I am eyeing that new axe that you get at the Argent Tournament: Axe of the Sen’jin Protector. It’s not Ulduar level, but it might well take this orc to Ulduar.
My shaman has only Gothik unkilled in Naxxramas now, and Kadomi still needs Kel’thuzad. It’s time we get another clear. Next weekend, I will be unable to raid, as we’re heading to Berlin for a short vacation. Vacation times > boss kills. I am still trying to figure out what would be good minimum requirements for Ulduar 10, considering a raid fully geared in nothing but 10-man gear. Would appreciate feedback.
Non-raiding: I have been busily achievement hunting. I will likely set up a Glory of the Hero group with friends soon, and am really excited about this. Dual-specs offer amazing utility for some of the achievements. My partner is now both tank and boomkin, so in encounters where a second tank will make a difference, we’ll have that capability. It’s pretty awesome. Same with healing. My paladin friend is now retribution and holy. It’s going to kick ass.
In pre-3.1 boredom I went a bit grind-crazy. One of my long-term dreams was to have a kodo for Kadomi. They’re just so cute in the mini-versions in orc-size. I started the Thunder Bluff grind maybe two weeks before we got WotLK, when I was at Friendly with Thunder Bluff. Eventually I hit a roadblock, couldn’t find any more quests and was just into Revered, which is when I gave up. Characters who originally leveled in vanilla WoW have such a huge disadvantage when it comes to old faction reputation, it’s ridiculous. Then came the Lunar Festival and it’s abundance of Elders. I got all 75 of them, and magically was halfway through Revered with Thunder Bluff. That’s when I started Stratholme runs which also scored me the Baron mount.
To cut a long story short, one Saturday morning I did five consecutive deadside Stratholme runs, got me a Piccolo of the Flaming Fire and managed to finish every Stratholme quest I skipped back then.
This in turn provided me with enough runecloth for my mini-kodo. I then eyed my reputation list and noticed that I was short about 18k rep for Undercity. I decided to go completionist and on Sunday morning did all quests in Tirisfal Glades, Silverpine Forest, the few I hadn’t done in Hillsbrad Foothills, and one final quest for Nathanos Blightcaller in EPL. While I was enroute to the pestlands, I also finally remembered to kill Araj the Summoner, for yet another achievement.
I half-heartedly started working on Cenarion Circle reputation to complete that title, hit Honored and got tired of killing cultists. Off I went to fish for coins in Dalaran. Funny how coins are considered fish. I am about 6 coins short of the complete achievement, so that will likely take forever. It made me hit fishing 450 however. I make such a fetching fisher girl.
I have started playing the shaman a bit more, because she can still use emblems to gear up. Not sure if I like the changes in the restoration tree, I feel weaker as 5-man healer now. I will have to start using Healing Wave, meh. Not quite sure what to think of Overhealing Stream Totem. 343 per tick isn’t half-bad. Strangely enough putting down that totem actually procs the Egg of Mortal Essence.
My secret project that fills me with quiet glee yet makes me feel dirty at the same time is leveling my DK. So much fun. Someone help me. >.>
Dual specs have arrived, though the implementation is still a bit buggy. My primary talent tree, my DW build, claims that I have only spent 50 points in prot, and did not pick up Devastate. Funny how I still have Shockwave and Devastate both in my spellbook. I am sure this will be fixed very soon (maybe a bugfix patch next Tuesday).
But what are our options at the moment? This pretty much depends on if you are planning on being main tank for new content or if you happen to have an offtank role most of the time.
As MT, three options are currently floating around:
- A threat spec: 15/5/51 This is pretty much cookie cutter as it gets. You spend points in arms to get to Deep Wounds, which allows easy AoE threat, as Damage Shield will crit and put Deep Wounds DoTs on most of the mobs whacking on you. On average, this ability does 7-10% of my total damage on bosses. This is a great spec for heroics, trash tanking and farmable bosses.
- Survivability: as example I will use the one I chose for myself: 5/10/56 Important parts here are full points in Improved Demoralizing Shout, Improved Disciplines and the Shield Wall glyph. I might pick up the Last Stand glyph as well, ensuring that you can use both Shield Wall and Last Stand multiple times on long boss fights, for more survivability. This build depends a bit on the new glyphs becoming available soon, but we’ll see.
- DPS: what Deep Wounds was for 3.0, the exciting new threat spec, the new UA spec might become for 3.1. It’s a highly situational tanking spec with more points in Arms than Protection, and is built around Unrelenting Assault in the Arms tree. Your basic attack will be Revenge, which causes a lot more damage and should be available most of the time. The spec was first tested by the venerable Veneretio, and now Ciderhelm has posted one of his video guides about it. If you are a 25-man MT, this sounds very unusual and interesting. The DPS mentioned sounds fantastic. However, as my personal focus is 10-mans, I will likely never ever spec into it. We just don’t have the possibilities to supply all necessary debuffs to a boss in such a small group setting for raids. But nevertheless, it sounds like a very interesting spec choice, and shows the full power and flexibility warriors now have thanks to dual specs.
As offtank, you will probably want to use the second spec a bit differently. There will always be fights that are one-tank encounters. I don’t know about Ulduar, but Naxxramas-10 has a few encounters where a second protection warrior is a bit of dead weight. Heigan and Loatheb come to mind, as well as Sapphiron, Thaddius after the two other mobs are dead, etc. As offtank, it just is handier to spec into a DPS spec as second spec. Ideally, one that allows you to provide utility, like the Trauma debuff, Imp Demo Shout, Commanding Presence, etc. Of the four level 80 warriors we have in my guild, I know two will be choosing Arms as their second spec (which was pretty buffed with the patch). I know very little about warrior DPS trees at this point, but a) I am trying to wrangle a guest post out of my friend Shaeldre who plays Arms and b) I am working on a completely new leveling guide and will level as Arms and test Fury as well. Watch this space.
Got any other tanking specs you are trying? Got some crazy ideas? Let me know. Now is the time to try new specs!
It’s going live today, how exciting. All raiders are probably chomping at their bits to set foot into Ulduar. Casuals will flood the Argent Tournament. Dual-specs will turn out exciting for most everyone, I assume. 3.1 is the biggest patch to date, Blizzard says.
But what’s in it for protection warriors? Let’s have a closer look. I will be listing all the stuff that seems relevant to me as a prot warrior.
- Defensive Stance: Now reduces damage caused by the warrior by 5% (previously 10%). That’s a flat increase in DPS and threat for us, so that’s a pretty awesome change.
- Soloing fury warriors get a buff, as berserker stance makes you take 5% more damage instead of 10%. Everyone in battle stance gets 10% armor penetration now. As there are more changes to armor penetration, it really seems that Blizzard is trying to make this actually useful.
- Last Stand: Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This is pretty awesome again, because it means we can fully macro Last Stand+Enraged Regeneration now and really save our butts every 3 minutes. With the Glyph of Last Stand you can push that cooldown to 2 minutes, which will probably a huge lifesaver in progression fights in Ulduar.
- Warbringer: Now also allows Intervene and Intercept to be used in any stance. Can you see us zipping around non-stop? I can. That’s some insane mobility.
- Mobility is the name of the game for Arms warriors as well now: New Talent: Juggernaut: Grants the warrior the ability to Charge while in combat. Critical strike chance of next Slam or Mortal Strike increased by 100% following Charge.
- All flasks now last 1 hour. To compensate, all flask recipes will provide 2 flasks for the same material cost. This is actually great for me as casual raider. We raid for 3 hours per raid day, which means I am no longer wasting away an hour of flask time while fishing.
- Increased the health granted by the Flask of Stoneblood. I still think it’s a terrible flask compared to the TBC tank flask. An avoidance or threat stat along with the health wouldn’t have hurt.
- Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded. Those blacksmithing plans are pretty amazing, item level 226, and as they only drop in Ulduar 25, prices on the AH will be astronomical, once raiding guilds have handed them out to all guild blacksmiths.
- A new recipe has been added to cooking trainers for making Black Jelly, using several Borean Man ‘O War as ingredients. While it looks disgusting, it restores more health and mana than the highest level food. Less time spent eating means more time to do stuff, so I approve. It does prove that fishing and cooking always go together. *flexes her new fishing 450*
- New glyphs for tanks:
- Glyph of Barbaric Insults: Increases threat on Mocking Blow by 100%.
- Glyph of Enraged Regeneration: Your Enraged Regeneration ability heals for an additional 10% of your health over its duration.
- Glyph of Last Stand: Now reduces the cooldown of Last Stand by 60 seconds. The penalty on maximum health gained has been removed.
- Glyph of Shield Wall: Reduces the cooldown on Shield Wall by 3 min, but Shield Wall now only reduces damage taken by 40%.
- Glyph of Shockwave: Reduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 seconds.
- Glyph of Spell Reflection: Reduces the cooldown on Spell Reflection by 1 second.
- Glyph of Vigilance: Your Vigilance ability transfers an additional 5% of your target’s threat to you.
The best of the new glyphs all enhance our survival abilities and will certainly be worth a consideration for progression tanks.
- Damage Shield: Fixed a bug which caused this ability to benefit from Recklessness. Aw, dang.
- Improved Revenge: This talent will now increase the damage done by Revenge by the proper amount. I am hoping this means it will do more damage now, not that it did too much in the past. Anyone know?
- Last but not least, the two most amazing and useful changes ever: Loot from clams now stacks correctly! Changed the icon for Succulent Clam Meat so it doesn’t look quite as disgusting. Now 100% more succulent! Thank you Blizzard, clam lovers across the world bow to you. >.>
And now a quick look at my dual specs. I am a dedicated tank, and while DPS possibilities are huge for warriors now, I will be going with two different tank specs. My first spec is going to be my current Deep Wounds build. I love the TPS I can do with this build. As possible second spec I am contemplating this build. It goes down to Commanding Presence in the fury tree, for more health with CS. Also picks up Piercing Howl which should be a boost for add tanks. I’d also pick up Imp Demo Shout and Imp Spell Reflect, and go with the survival glyph, to be optimal for boss fights.
How about you? Now’s the perfect time to share warrior builds!
I got lots of nice comments about my first UI video, so I made an even longer one! Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Most of the questions I received about the UI were about how to set up Power Auras, and questions if I could share my setup. Yes, we can. Power Auras settings. All you need to do with those is to copy them paragraph by paragraph. In-game, open the PA settings by typing /powa, click on Import, then paste in your current paragraph. Voilà, you have a copy of the settings as seen in the video. Speaking of video, here you are. As always, choose HQ for a much nicer version.
If you have any questions at all, don’t be shy, I could talk about UI stuff aaaaaall day long. I am taking this moment to recommend two blogs for the addon-philes: Shields Up! is really a shaman blog during the day (in phases with new content), but UI goodness at night. And then there’s the brandnew NoStockUI by Matticus and co, which is off to a very promising start as dedicated WoW UI blog.
This is information for patch 3.1 and not completely accurate anymore. I am currently in the process of updating this for 4.0.1
It’s day 2 of the 31DBBB challenge, and today’s task is to write a list post. I am going all out here and think big, so I shall try to come up with 10 things all protection warriors should know, if you ask me. Most items are old hats and just recycle known concepts, but my goal is to deliver concise information in one list. Credit goes to the many posters at Tankspot, Veneretio, Durnic, and commenters over in this little blog.
- 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 > Concussion Blow > Shockwave > Devastate. However, keep in mind you want 5 sunders on bosses. Confused? This flowchart hopefully makes more sense.
- 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 Repelling Charge, 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. Hot!
- Defense is our best avoidance stat – If you are building an avoidance set, don’t be shy with going well beyond 540.
- Parry is our weakest avoidance stat – Don’t bother with gemming for it. Parry will come naturally with gear, but dodge and defense are superior.
- Expertise is our strongest threat stat – If you are building a threat set, expertise will provide you with more threat than hit in most cases, plus it will add additional survivability once you have reached the parry cap.
- Intervene for fun and profit – With the advent of Warbringer, there are many fun options for this overlooked ability.
- Devastate is for support – The old role of Devastate was to be used as main ability of any protection warrior. Devastate spam was the preferred method of prot warrior DPS (if you can call it that). In WotLK Devastate threat is inferior to most of our abilities, plus it does subpar damage. Use it to provide a full sunder debuff for your physical DPS and once that is up only to get S&B procs.
- Faster weapons are better for tanking than slow ones – Faster weapons allow for more Heroic Strikes, which in high-rage situations should be used every swing. More Heroic Strikes = more DPS you contribute + additional threat. Slower weapons have higher Devastate damage, but that is insignificant compared to our other stronger abilities (Concussion Blow, Shockwave, etc.)
- The pull matters – Be smart about pulling. You don’t need to blindly charge 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. A good place to test basic clustering involving large pulls is dead-side Stratholme. Heroic Throw one Guardian, charge the other, Shield Bash, move towards the other. Clustered? Shockwave. Excellent for practice.
- 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. Inform yourself about what glyphs are relevant, e.g. here or here. In case of the latter post, make sure to read the comments for different perspectives, and a perfect proof that you should base your glyphs on the content you run, and not generalize. I learn from mistakes.
I am a mindless zombie who follows the WoW-blogging masses blindly. Braiiiiiins.
Okay, not really a zombie, but like a lot of WoW bloggers (e.g. Matticus, Kestrel, Nibuca, Anna and Saresa) I have joined the ‘31 Days to Build a Better Blog‘ challenge. Today was actually a momentous day, because I actually noticed that I broke 150,000 views. That’s a lot of people who stopped by, more than I ever thought possible. I owe it to you all but also to myself to make your visit worthwhile, and to keep you coming for more.
The first challenge is the Elevator Pitch.
An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).
To pitch my blog, I have to look back at what originally made me want to start blogging about WoW. I’ve had a personal blog since 2002. I don’t post a whole lot in it, but I found myself regularly posting about WoW. In fact, every Monday I would write this lengthy diatribe about my weekend endeavors, pretty similar to what I still post most Mondays. But not all of my friends who read my personal blog play WoW. Some even detest it. The thought occurred to move WoW stuff away from there.
At the same time, I really got more and more into playing my protection warrior in TBC. I posted a class guide for my guild. Gear lists. Starting giving gem advice (even back then I hated parry gems). Admired Veneretio’s blogging style (which I still do). Discovered tons of WoW blogs, but very little protection warrior content out there. As a member of a casual guild, I know that not everyone’s into reading Elitist Jerks and the mad number crunching going on over there. I wanted to be a resource for my guildies, to find consolidated information. And I wanted to be that girl that shows the boys that girls do tank, even if there are less female tanks than there are ranged DPS players or healers who happen to be female IRL. The name is a bit misleading though. I am hardly a feminist, nor does my gender really matter. I love to tank stuff, the rest is irrelevant. But it’s a catchy name, right?
That was the wordy explanation, now comes the short version of the pitch:
Tank like a Girl – a casual look at protection warriors in WoW
That’s the really short version. A longer pitch could be:
Meet a casual protection warrior, with focus on 10-man and heroic content. Reference guides, player journal, UI reviews, with the occasional rant but the drive to stay positive.
Aye, that’s it. That’s what I am bringing to the table. Hope you will continue to enjoy that.
This morning, at 6:45 am, when I blearily walked towards my office building, a thought occurred to me. How do you measure progress as a tank once you’ve hit end-game?
Back in the day, in October 2008, I cried about the death of the threat mini-game, but of course it came back. It came back in the form of AoE insanity and all you can do is try to stem the tide of losing all your mobs to that warlock/moonkin/mage/insert any AoE class. Once you hit 80, first goal of the day is to hit the magic 540 to be raid-ready, or 535 to do heroics. Then you work on gear, and have to learn and live the skill to make it through instances like H Halls of Stone, H Utgarde Pinnacle and the H CoS timed run. It all requires quick reflexes, snap aggro (as much as you have that as prot warrior) and the will to best all your AoErs on threat. Pity the warriors and druids who don’t have it anywhere as easy as paladins and DKs. I like the ‘Bring the player, not the class’ theme, so it’s always been a personal challenge, to learn and improve. If everything works right, I can even one or two-shot the Brann event, though the frequent rage starvation and cooldowns makes it very obvious that we do not have any kind of snap aggro.
Once you get into your first raids, and I am merely talking Naxxramas-10 from my personal experience, trash groups shouldn’t really be a problem. Two tanks can hold against the AoE for the most part. Adds? kk, no problem. In a way, I miss trash pulls like the Ushers in Karazhan, which had such high requirements for tanks. Two tanks competing for threat, and a shackle to bind the second usher. If you had no shackle, you had to be creative with the tanking, but it was entirely possible. That part is missing. I haven’t found any Naxxramas trash that is quite that interesting. Gargoyles are annoying, and kiting oozes isn’t that amazing.
How do you really measure progress in your own technical skill as a tank from that point on? I try to thank healers when I can for great saves, but there aren’t really any times that someone tells me ‘Wow, Kadomi, your threat is amazing!’ I am vain enough to think that I am an excellent tank performing quite well. But I am never satisfied. I want to be better. My current measuring method is to look at WWS and personal DPS on bosses. Thanks to protection warrior changes, personal DPS really reflects on your TPS. Of importance to me is the benchmark boss, because he really isn’t anything else: Patchwerk. A benchmark for the tanks how much damage they can take; for healers how much healing they can do before going out of mana; for DPS how much damage they can do when there’s a boss that just stands there and doesn’t require any movement whatsoever.
I have tanked this fight twice now, which isn’t often at all (I healed once), but it’s got to do as a benchmark. My first time, I did around 1500 DPS, which I thought was great. Yesterday I did 1693 DPS, which was even better. 82 Heroic Strikes, 39 white swings. My best ratio yet. Of course, that’s nothing compared to Zhyk from the guild Showdown on EU-Vekni’lash who just ran Naxx-10 in 59 minutes. That’s 85 Heroic Strikes, 0 white swings. Is tanking progress really measured at how often I can hammer down on my HS key? I know a lot of tank bloggers actually have it on their mousewheel. I don’t. Instead I will wait for Blizzard to fix this really awful mechanic, because spamming one button inbetween using your regular priority rotation is really…silly. I would like a more clever way to dump excess rage. And yet, I shall continue to strive to push myself with Heroic Strikes. My Glyph of Cleaving is going the way of the dodo, because HS does do pretty impressive damage. I like being competitive DPS. Now, I do not like that I was only 30k damage below our lowest DPS, but I want to contribute with the highest DPS I can offer, while sustaining survivability.
How about you guys?
As a note, I don’t have any of my weekend stories this week. I had a very disappointing raid weekend, and so neither of my characters has gotten the full Naxxramas achievement yet. It was a raid weekend full of afks, waiting, standing around, and disconnect hell. But people got upgrades, people fought bosses they had never seen before, and next time we’ll get Thaddius, Sapphiron and KT again. Then hopefully I won’t grind my teeth while asleep. My jaw hurts. Peace.