Archive for December, 2009»
So now you’re a fresh 80, ready to jump into heroic content to get all the things from my shopping list.
First, the good thing: as tank you’ll get groups just about the moment you queue up. We’re still the least played role, even less so than healers, so groups will be all over you.
The bad thing: no one is under as much scrutiny as the tank. There will be times that you join a group and people will start bitching about your health pool, your blue gear, the speed of your pulls.
Here’s Kadomi’s survival tips for fresh tanks using LFD:
- take a deep breath if people complain about your health/gear/skill. Remember that you will be able to find another group the moment you queue up, unlike the possibly bitching healer or DPS. DPS are looking at queue times of 10-30 minutes after all.
- know your stuff. Being a fresh 80 is no excuse for ignorance. Know your rotation. Especially when it comes to building AoE threat. Your DPS will want to lay the smack down and focus fire is often a completely unknown method in PUGs, so AoE threat will be your game.
- learn the pulls. There are no differences in trash pulls between regular and heroics. When in doubt, run them on regular first. Know which mobs are casters, which one are melee, what trash is problematic. Typical examples of trash mobs that you should know on sight and how to handle them: Anub’ar Skirmishers, Stormforged Runeshapers, Dark Rune Theurgist, Twilight Worshippers, etc. Understanding all pulls can make or break a run, especially in an instance like H OK where trash pulls can be somewhat unforgiving.
- be polite. Egomaniac tank divas have a crappy reputation, well within reason. Just because you can get groups more easily than others, you’re not automatically a better player. You are not a special snowflake. You just chose to fill a role others didn’t want to play. Bonus points if you thank your healer for saving your butt on a bad pull. Allison Robert from the wow.com team wrote some choice words for tank divas as well, so I am only re-stating her point.
- don’t rush it. There will be groups that will carry you to success. Overgeared DPS and healers with an endless mana pool make chainpulling easy. But wait a couple pulls into the instance to get a feel for your group. You gain absolutely nothing if you leave behind the fresh healer who’s drinking in the back. Learn to eye mana pools. Being considerate never hurts. As example, I had a newer paladin tank who decided he’d run to the end of the gauntlet in H CoS. Well, he forgot to pick up a couple elites who decided to eat my face off as his healer. He didn’t even notice that I was dead when he called for heals. Pay attention, tanks.
- if you’re a warrior tank, watch the threat meter carefully at the start of an instance, to choose your Vigilance target. Especially if tanking heroics is still new to you, the 10% extra threat from a strong DPSer will be a great boon. Don’t forget to use Vigilance.
- above all, try to have fun. Gearing up and running instances has never been as accessible as it is today. Make the best of it!
Got your own tips for fresh tanks? Please share.
If you’re in battlegroup Cyclone and ever end up in a group with a female orc tank wearing a Red Winter Hat, don’t forget to say hi to me. Happy holidays, all of you!
The addition of the new 5-mans plus the easy availability of Emblems of Triumph call for an update for the gear list for protection warriors who are just hitting 80. If you follow the list, you should be able to hop into the raiding scene in little time. It’s never been easier.
I will list several pieces of gear per slot. The top piece listed is your entry gear into heroics, and the further down on list, the better the piece.
- Tempered Titansteel Helm – buy in AH or bring the mats to a friendly blacksmith.
- Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger – 2nd encounter, H Trial of the Champions. Once you’re comfortable with tanking H ToC, this is what you should pick up next.
- Second Helm of the Executioner – Forgemaster Garfrost, H Pit of Saron
- Headplate of the Honorbound/Faceplate of the Honorbound – 75 Emblems of Triumph. Definitely more attractive than the T9 warrior helmet, with tasty amounts of expertise
- Titanium Earthguard Chain – buy in AH or bring mats to a friendly Jewelcrafter
- Shard of the Crystal Forest – available for 19 Emblems of Conquest, so you will have to downgrade some emblems. Nevertheless, still a very solid piece, if you don’t dare set foot into the Icecrown instances yet.
- Fossilized Ammonite Choker – Arthas encounter, H HoR. A tough instance and encounter, with a great necklace as reward.
- Crusader’s Square Pauldrons – common as dirt BoE drop in CoS (reg or heroic). Should be able to pick this up cheap anywhere.
- Regal Aurous Shoulderplates – Confessor Paletress, H ToC. Lovely shoulders from H ToC with a socket. Grab ‘em!
- Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood – Forgemaster Garfrost, H Pit of Saron. Excellent upgrade, with nice expertise. Too bad it has no socket.
- Shoulderguards of Enduring Order/Shoulderplates of Enduring Order – 45 Emblems of Triumph. Spiky shoulders with a nice red socket for expertise or dodge gems. Again, better than the T9 counterpart.
- Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions – Honored with Wyrmrest Accord, your companion for a long time
- Platinum Mesh Cloak – still a valuable buy at 25 Emblems of Valor
- Eerie Runeblade Polisher – Falric and Marwyn, reg. Halls of Reflection. I have revised my opinion, it’s better than the Platinum Mesh Cloak, due to stats being a touch higher. If you are having bad drop luck though, and spare badges, the PMC is still great.
- Breastplate of the Solemn Council – Revered with Wyrmrest Accord
- Scourgelord’s Frigid Chestplate – Scourgelord Tyrannus, reg. Pit of Saron
- Hellscream’s Breastplate of Conquest/Wrynn’s Breastplate of Conquest – 50 Emblems of Triumph. Absolutely solid chest for warriors, no complaints here.
- Breastplate of the White Knight – crafted by blacksmiths. With the price of Crusader Orbs dropping every day, this is now a most excellent chest alternative superior to the ilevel 232 T9 chest.
- Tempered Saronite Bracers – Starting out with the crafted bracers should be sufficient to get you to…
- Bindings of Dark Will – in H CoS, a fairly common drop off the 2nd boss
- Bracers of the Herald – H OK, the best you can get outside of a raid instance unless you invest gold into…
- Saronite Swordbreakers – crafted by blacksmiths. Mats are pretty reasonable, now that Crusader Orbs are available relatively easily. Strong bracers.
- Mercy’s Hold – fabulous gloves from reg ToC, well worth running this until they drop
- Hellscream’s Handguards of Conquest/Wrynn’s Handguards of Conquest – 30 Emblems of Triumph. Cheap to get and one of the better pieces of 232 T9 for warriors, so the route to success is pretty easy here.
Waist: nothing has changed for this slot at all
- Waistguard of the Risen Knight – common BoE drop in H DTK, should be cheap.
- Ancient Aligned Girdle – a direct upgrade in H A-N
- Shieldwarder Girdle – available for 28 Emblems of Conquest, unless you want to get yourself the crafted…
- Indestructible Plate Girdle – made by a friendly blacksmith, mats should be not too expensive now
- Legguards of Abandoned Fealty – first encounter in reg. ToC
- Legplates of Frozen Granite – Devourer of Souls, reg. Forge of Souls. Lots of hit instead of avoidance, but pretty solidly itemized otherwise
- Hellscream’s Legguards of Conquest/Wrynn’s Legguards of Conquest – 50 Emblems of Triumph. Definitely a threat piece, with all the SBV and all the hit, but the best you can get for that slot.
- Tempered Titansteel Treads – grab a cheap pair of those crafted boots to start tanking heroics.
- Boots of Heartfelt Repentance – Eadric the Pure, reg. ToC. These boots will take you a long way.
- Black Spire Sabatons – Devourer of Souls, H Forge of Souls. Awesome boots, definitely nice to grab.
- Spiked Deathdealers – crafted by blacksmiths, cost a pretty penny, but are most excellent. Two sockets give you an EH edge, so I place them above the Black Spire Sabatons.
If you already have the Spiked Deathdealers, you’re set, if you don’t, save the gold and get the Black Spire Sabatons.
- Titanium Earthguard Ring – fabulous ring, crafted, save up some gold and profit
- Signet of the Accord – BoE drop in Obsidian Sanctum-10, should be up in the AH or…
- Keystone Great-Ring – if you’re still def-capped anyhow, drops in H Drak’tharon Keep
- Alternatively any of the blue tanking rings from heroics. Eventually replace the above with…
- Mark of the Relentless – beautifully itemized ring from H ToC, just no defense on it.
- Clutch of Fortification – 35 Emblems of Triumph. Simply perfect ring. Armor, stamina, avoidance.
- Seal of the Pantheon – regular Halls of Lightning. Should it just not drop, have Dabiri’s Enigma or Adamantine Figurine as standby.
- The Black Heart – the sacred grail of stamina, available in regular ToC
- Glyph of Indomitability – 50 Emblems of Triumph. Clearly a mix of EH (due to the high armor) and avoidance trinket, it’s on use should allow powerful avoidance. For someone who only does heroics pretty useless, but in raids it should rock.
- Wanted: Ragemane’s Flipper – start out with any of the quest rewards as per race and personal taste.
- Axe of the Sen’jin Protector or Teldrassil Protector – if you enjoy the Argent Tournament Dailies, these are available for 25 Champion’s Seals.
- Peacekeeper Blade – 2nd encounter, H ToC. The turkey knife is nicely itemized and has a socket. As there’s no def on the sword, you might have to gem it for defense.
- Lucky Old Son – Bronjahm, reg. Forge of Souls. If a baby rattle is more your style and you like inherent def on weapons, this drop might be for you. Not a huge upgrade, but slightly higher DPS.
- Falric’s Wrist-Chopper – Falric and Marwyn, H Halls of Reflection. This is it for orc tanks. Go figure that Blizzard had to hide it in one of the most difficult dungeon encounters ever. This is best pre-raid for orcs, however if you’re not one of us, you’d rather go for…
- Rimefang’s Claw – Scourgelord Tyrannus, H Pit of Saron. No wasted item budget on block rating, all around solid stuff. Looks pretty nice too.
- Titansteel Shield Wall - crafted by blacksmiths
- Royal Crest of Lordaeron – with a lead on avoidance, this drops from H CoS and is still your best bet outside of raids
- Splintered Door of the Citadel – Falric and Marwyn, reg. Halls of Reflection. Whew, they changed the model, no one wants to carry around a face, trust me.
- Blades of the Sable Cross – makes no sense to buy the engineer gun anymore. Go straight for the thrown weapon for 25 Emblems of Triumph.
To get all Emblem gear listed here, you’d have to spend 25 Emblems of Valor, 47 Emblems of Conquest and 310 Emblems of Triumph. Remember, tanks get instant gratification when queueing up for random heroics, so you can get those emblems faster than any other role. Happy hunting.
So just about a week ago the long anticipated content patch dropped for WoW, supposedly the last one before Cataclysm. Which I can’t quite believe because that would mean either a) Cataclysm is really further along than anyone’s led to believe or b) there is much boredom ahead of us in the WoW.
For someone as burnt out as me, 3.3 is a breath of fresh air, but I do have my concerns. As just about everyone, I have dived into the LFD tool. Since Wednesday, I have been able to buy the 75 emblem Headplate of the Honorbound and the 50 emblem Glyph of Indomitability. Average waiting time in queue for me as tank: about 10 seconds. Regardless of time of day. The time of day thing is of huge importance to me as European on a US server. In the past I was always limited by my timezone and was never able to find groups before 9 pm my time. This is pretty amazing. But I am not fully sold on tanking for full PUGs. Not 100%. Mostly because apparently some people are not happy about my pace. Now, I am a chain puller. I move from group to group as quickly as possible. I will only briefly stop if mana seems low on a healer. But apparently that’s not fast enough for some. One priest actually dropped group at the second boss in Gundrak. The expectations are a bit stressful. But it depends on the group. One run we actually 4-manned, HoL. A rogue was practically afk the whole run, providing a total of 7% to the group’s damage. Just a couple pulls before Loken we finally had enough and voted to kick him.
Really, it’s not been bad at all, but being the PUG tank is more stressful than healing or DPS. Then, I am a funny girl. I got majorly upset by a run that was actually full guild, with some of our newer 80s (though one of them isn’t new). I came out on top damage-wise and that just pisses me off. We missed the CoS timer by a minute. It’s been many months since I last missed the timer, so I was really cranky about that. It wouldn’t have bothered me at all if it was a PUG, but that it was a guild run, that really annoyed me so much.
In the same time that I managed to get all those sweet pieces of tanking gear with emblems, I also managed to run enough instances with my shaman and my DK to buy T9 gloves and shoulders for the shaman and T9 pants for the DK. I really do not ever get to play my DK much at all, and who previously took DKs into a PUG on my server? No one. Now I get groups within 10 minutes and it’s awesome fun. I can go farm stuff and have instances pop up for a break. I love it.
I mentioned concerns up there, and I do have those. First, I am wondering what this will do to a guild like mine. We’re a social bunch, but since 3.3 hit, you look into who’s on and see 8-15 names on in my normal hours, and just about everyone is in a different instance. Very few questions in gchat if people want to group up for instances. Not anymore. Not when it’s so easy to just dive into any heroic. Spinks posted about the changing role of guilds in WoW, and I see her point, but I do worry. As officers we are now setting up one day during the week when it’s all guild runs all the time. We’ll see how that goes.
My second concern is that we’ll all blow through heroics for hours and hours now, but what when you are swimming in Emblems of Triumph? At the end of 3.2 I had 142 Emblems of Conquest on Kadomi, and just about zero desire to tank heroics. Instead, I ran them with my shaman, in order to gear her up. But at the accelerated rate of emblems from the random dungeons, I predict I will be done with Triumph gear in just a couple weeks. And then? It’s not like you can run WotLK heroics for the entertainment factor. Once you’re in any badge gear, all of them are frighteningly trivial. I am leaving out the 3 new ones, I hear Halls of Reflection puts the same terror into people’s heart as Magister’s Terrace did at the time. The rest? I was shocked to see how badly Oculus has been nerfed. You just look at trash sideways and they fall over dead. Everything was ridiculously easy. I have no answer to this, but I expect a sharp drop in heroics popularity soon. Unless everyone and their brother levels yet more alts.
As far as raiding goes, we’re holding out. Despite the allure of ICC, we’re continuing to get more gear on people. Because we focused on clearing Ulduar first (which I am glad we did), our average raider gear-level is more 219, not so much 232. This weekend we had our 3rd TotC clear, and the first one where I felt how easy it is. ToC and Onyxia done in 1.5 hours. We one-shot the Twins easily despite missing the interrupt twice. Nuff said. Icecrown Citadel, we’ll come for you in January 2010. The girls will be rolling in, ready to kick ass and take names. Soon.
So share, what’s up with you guys? How’s your tanking in PUGs been?
3.3 will go live today, which means I have to work on my shopping list for plate tanks very soon. To tide you over in the mean time, let’s look at what tanking goodness expects us in the 3 wings of the new 5-man in Icecrown. Running the wings on normal gets you ilevel 219 loot, on par with Ulduar-10, and running it on heroic gets you ilevel 232 loot, on par with Trial of the Crusader-10.
The Forge of Souls
The first wing offers 2 bosses, Bronjahm, who will clearly be a sex machine, and Devourer of Souls.
- Lucky Old Sun (Bronjahm, normal) – almost identical to Legacy of Thunder from Ulduar-10, with subtle differences (more strength, no expertise, less def and dodge, but parry), same baby rattle model. Not a true upgrade if you already have the Ulduar mace or Peacekeeper Blade, but not bad.
- Sollerets of Suffering (Devourer of Souls, normal) – interesting name, for sure. These boots are for threat, with shield block value on them, so I personally prefer the itemization of Boots of Heartfelt Repentance. Nevertheless, that’s a good amount of stamina and strength on them. Spiked Deathdealers are still the best deal compared to those other two available outside of a raid.
- Legplates of Frozen Granite (Devourer of Souls, normal) – these are pretty strong pants. Socket, oodles of stamina. Very high def and hit which has become a little bit more important for tanks in recent times. Do you know how much a missed taunt sucks? A lot.
- Black Spire Sabatons (Devourer of Souls, heroic) – Now that’s what I am talking about. Those boots are a lot stronger. Still not as good as the Spiked Deathdealers as they have no sockets, but definitely very solid all around aside from that.
Pit of Saron
The second wing has three boss encounters, Forgemaster Garfrost, Krick and Ick and finally Scourgelord Tyrannus.
- Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood (Forgemaster, heroic) – very nicely itemized shoulders, because I love expertise. I keep hovering around the dodge cap, so seeing more expertise on gear makes me happy.
- Ick’s Rotting Thumb (Krick and Ick, heroic) – that’s a disgusting name and with Chill of the Throne in Icecrown, I don’t know that anyone would use this instead of one of the high stamina trinkets. Still, that’s a lot of dodge, and a Last Stand effect for Oh Shit! moments.
- Scourgelord’s Frigid Chestplate (Scourgelord Tyrannus, normal) – another solidly itemized piece of gear. Not as strong as the T9 chest, but a great filler piece until you have enough Emblems of Triumph.
- Rimefang’s Claw (Scourgelord Tyrannus, heroic) – very nice tank sword. Yay for catering to the Alliance masses. QQ for us poor axe-starved orcs, again.
- Icebound Bronze Cuirass (Scourgelord Tyrannus, heroic) – another chestpiece, and probably nice for a hit set. I’ll still go with T9 chest instead, because of the sockets.
Halls of Reflection
The last wing is supposed to be amazing lore-wise. Let’s see how amazing the drops are along with that!
- Splintered Door of the Citadel (Falric and Marwyn, normal) – funny how the doors of the Citadel look exactly like shields from Ulduar. I call mine Harry, btw. But aside from another example of laziness with models, let’s look at the numbers, compared to the Shieldwall of the Breaker. Good news: the first shield available outside of a raid since Culling of Stratholme. Bad news: definitely not as solidly itemized as the Ulduar shield, but good armor, high stamina and defense. For anyone who’s still lugging around the Royal Crest, this shield is fab.
- Eerie Runeblade Polisher (Falric and Marwyn, normal) – Cloaks for tanks are rare as well, so this is a very nice drop. It’s about on par with the Platinum Mesh Cloak, which I still think has a slight edge thanks to the expertise on it, but only a slight edge.
- Falric’s Wrist-Chopper (Falric and Marwyn, heroic) – Well, hello thar. What a mighty fine tanking axe you are. Screw the block rating, I want you. I am an orc, shiny big axes belong in my strong hands. You’re no Ardent Guard, but I love you anyway, because of the expertise. Rar!
- Crystalline Citadel Gauntlets (The Lich King, normal) – That’s a lot of SBV on those gloves, so nice for a threat set. Other than that, not convincing, Mercy’s Hold from ToC or the Conquest badge gloves are stronger.
- Second Helm of the Executioner (The Lich King, heroic) – This is a very fugly model, ew. Blue socket, meta socket, oodles of stamina and high expertise are fabulous. The shield block rating we get dumped on our helmets not so much. But not bad.
- Fossilized Ammonite Choker (The Lich King, heroic) – very strong necklace. No complaints from me.
And that’s it. As summary, there are a lot of great pieces to gear up people and bring them up to speed with current content. Nothing I found is quite as good as any of the Emblem of Triumph gear nor better than any drops in Trial of the Crusader-10. I willl definitely try to get the axe, and maybe pick up some of the SBV stuff for a threat set (that I mostly use in heroics anyway), but I already have pretty decent gear. For everyone else playing catchup, or who never had much luck in Ulduar-10 or ToC-10, there’s some fantastic gear upgrades to get in there.
Good luck with patching, and have fun with the new 5-man! The upgraded shopping list for 3.3 will be published next week, so stay tuned.
I recently had reason to look over my achievements, and it’s really interesting, to kinda read my guild’s raiding story via achievement dates. My guild started raiding in Ulduar in June. Every second weekend we would venture into Ulduar, plodding through. In mid-June we had our first bigger success, clearing both Siege and Antechamber for the first time. We moved on to the Keepers and managed to get Hodir for the first time a month after first clearing Antechamber. Another month later, we got both Thorim and Freya. Yet another month later we got Mimiron, killing all Keepers. Vezax we killed the first day we worked on him, and since then we’ve been working on Yogg-Saron. We extended twice, re-cleared to him, extended again.
On November 29, we killed Yogg-Saron for the first time, earning us the Secrets of Ulduar achievement. Five months after starting. It sounds like a long time, but it doesn’t feel like it took us that long, because that’s 20 weeks, meaning 10 raid IDs or less. We used the extension feature (am very grateful to Blizzard for implementing this) for Mimiron and Yogg-Saron to squeeze in an extra raid day to work on them.
From a tank perspective, I feel Ulduar offers a lot of very interesting fights, and it’s still a fresher raid to me than Naxxramas will ever be. Despite the relative urge of ToC I can only urge all up and coming tanks to try and go see this beautiful raid instance.
My personal favorites:
- Hodir – It’s a very dynamic fight that requires a lot of movement, maneuvering him around to benefit from moonlight, while still busting ass to keep a threat lead and use of cooldowns for Frozen Blows.
- Thorim – The gauntlet is fast-paced good fun and I enjoy tanking in there. I have yet to tank the arena, and that’s alright, I think DKs and paladins are universally more suited to excel there.
- Mimiron – Another exciting fight where as a tank I feel I can shine. Use cooldowns properly for Plasma Blast, run out safely for Shock Blast, tank the head in P3, and then bring it all together in P4. Getting that first kill was exhilarating, and our first one-shot of him felt awesome.
I generally prefer fast paced fights that are not tank and spank, require movement and smart use of cooldowns. Where I have to struggle to stay alive and ahead in threat, without having to switch targets like crazy.
Fights I do not like that much:
- Ignis – This is mostly due to personal failure on Ignis. I suck at tanking adds in this fight. By the time I have gotten one add Brittle, another is already eating healers for breakfast. As we have an OT who easily handles all adds himself, it must be me. I still find Ignis tuned stupidly for his placement in the raid. Thumbs down from me.
- Freya – The whole area kinda blows. A little bit too much trash, and the encounter itself is kinda aggravating. I think I finally figured out assignments to make the elemental wave no issue, but the Elementals usually made or broke that encounter for us.
- Auriaya – The difficulty of an encounter should not be based on ‘Can you pull her safely or not?’ Also, too much standing around waiting if you miss the perfect time for pulling.
Love-Hate relationship: Yogg-Saron
This has been the most complex encounter of my raiding ‘career’ and I can now understand why guilds broke up over Vashj and Kael. It took us 66 pulls to get him down. 65 wipes. A little over 12 hours of tries. Out of those 66 tries, we got to P3 around half a dozen times, around that number, so that should tell you everything you need to know about this fight. P1 can go horribly wrong, but it can also be executed perfectly. But oh boy, did I contribute to some horrible moments. With three guardians up, I couldn’t see the clouds around me and spawned lots more. There were a couple Leroy moments where my boss mod just went wild alerting me of guardian spawns. P2 was by far the hardest to learn. When we killed Yogg-Saron, we had perfect brain and tentacle DPS. It was the first time ever that we actually had downtime without a single tentacle up. There were no tentacles going into P3.
P3 itself had me shaking with sweaty hands and I was unable to spare a second of attention to pushing my Push-To-Talk button. Others had to do the talking, I was too busy tanking, trying to pick up Immortal Guardians before they oneshot someone. Unfortunately I failed and so our ret pally and our tree druid bit the dust, and we still pulled it off, in a 12 minute kill.
I really enjoy the complexity of the encounter. I love that it’s so challenging as solo tank, which is what we did, going in with six DPS. On the other hand, I felt more pressure than usual on me, because if you fail in P1 and someone dies, it’s basically a wipe. If you spawn too many guardians, it’s a wipe. If you don’t watch your sanity in P2 or suck at watching Brain Link, it’s a wipe. In P3 you need to be ready to pick up Immortal Guardians in that tiny window of 10 seconds, establish quick aggro and hold it against the DPS who are trying to get the guardians down quickly.
Yogg-Saron rewarded me for our diligence, I suppose, because I got the Royal Seal of King Llane that kill, which is amazing luck. Not sure if it will replace the Black Heart or the Brewmaiden trinket. Probably the Black Heart.
This is the first time that we have ever been at a point that we have beaten all raid encounters currently in the game. We haven’t done any hardmodes, but we have beaten all the normal fights. That’s a great feeling. I am looking forward to new challenges in Icecrown. Right now I need to figure out where we’re going raid-wise in the meantime. Probably that one-room instance that I don’t enjoy so much. Hate Northrend Beasts so much. Or maybe Ulduar hardmodes.
Here’s to hoping Icecrown will be as satisfying as Ulduar was to me.
Thanks for all the support of you friendly readers, I got some great feedback for Yogg-Saron, and all your encouragement to keep at it and not succumb to burnout. Rock on!