Tank like a girl
Oct 27 2010

The Warrior Blog List Project

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Now that we lost our big blogger Veneretio, I was again inspired to kick it up a notch. Deliver more content, get warriors out there, and collect a list of warrior bloggers that is not as horribly outdated as my blogroll was. I posted a shoutout on Twitter yesterday, and mentioned it in the previous post and here’s my version 1.0.

Warrior Blog List

As you can see at a glance, most warrior bloggers appear to be tanks, activity verges wildly, and there are little to no DPS blogs out there. We need more DPS blogs for Cataclysm. I am not really an expert on my offspec, Fury, but if need be, I will mix in some fury posts as well, as I actually really enjoyed the new fury with its less super-set in stone rotation.

If you know any other blog that should be on the list, please let me know, and if you are a DPS warrior you should jump on the chance to share your knowledge with the world at large. The warriors need you!

Filed under : blog, warriors | 27 Comments »
Oct 26 2010

Farewell, Veneretio

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I’ll let you in on a secret. One of the reasons I started blogging was because I got inspired by another blogger. His name is Veneretio, orc warrior extraordinaire.

It was in late 2007, and I was an orc warrior lady who had just started TBC heroics. I tell you, I miss them. To this day I love TBC heroics fiercely. I had some of my best times running those 5-mans with friends. I had Badges of Justice to burn, but couldn’t figure out what to pick first. So one day I idly googled and ended up right up at Tankingtips.com. I was amazed! Someone who had done all the work, compiled, compared and helped me figure out what upgrades I had to focus on. Even better, he engaged in conversation with people who commented. I was hooked.

Tankingtips was the first blog I ever added to an RSS reader, Bloglines at the time. It basically opened the world of the WoW blogosphere to me. One by one I added more blogs. It was a time when the big name bloggers were BRK and Phaellia. Five months after discovering Tankingtips I started blogging myself. I started very plainly with some guides to the content I was doing, so mostly Karazhan and heroics, and started writing my very first gear list.

The niche I saw for myself was that I would be the blogger for the casual prot warriors, or the beginners, or everyone who was not neck-deep in content in Black Temple or Sunwell.

Throughout TBC and WotLK, Veneretio always delivered. He always came up with emblem pick orders, compared trinkets, exposed the value of expertise for warriors, delivered solid, great content. On top of it, he always engaged with his readers, and always managed to stay positive about warriors as class. No QQ to be found there! I tried to follow in his footsteps, with my gear lists, with some basics, with staying positive, even when it often seemed that other tanks overshadowed us.

Veneretio was the first non-guildie to leave a comment in my blog, and I remember feeling totally awed by this. Sometimes we mailed. Pretty sure he was one of the people who talked Ciderhelm into linking my blog on the front page of Tankspot, which scored me the highest amount of hits in one day ever (October 12, 2009, 5509 hits). He talked me into signing up on Twitter. He was still my warrior hero, who always passionately defended our class.

On October 24, Veneretio announced the end of his time as WoW player, and the end of his blog. While he had mentioned it before on Twitter, I hadn’t quite believed it. But it’s real now.

For me, Veneretio was the pillar of the very small warrior blogging community. An excellent blogger, a great guy, and the inspiration to several other tank bloggers, all rolled into one person. He’s leaving very big shoes to fill, guys. I’ll try my best to keep up blogging in the spirit of Veneretio, but number crunching theorycraft is not my forte. Nevertheless, I will try.

Now is the time to unite as warrior bloggers, so I will start to compile a warrior blog reference page. If you are a warrior blogger not currently in my (outdated) blogroll, please contact me! Hopefully we can inspire other warriors to pick up blogging. If I can only inspire one person the way Veneretio inspired me, I will have done well.

Farewell, Veneretio! Thanks for your outstanding work, and I hope you will still post about your gaming adventures on Twitter. And maybe, just maybe, Cataclysm will lure you back in eventually. Anything is possible. Take care, wishing you all the best! *orc salute to the chest*

Filed under : blog, links, ramblings | 12 Comments »
Oct 19 2010

The week after

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It’s been a week since the patch, so I thought it would be time to talk about my first impressions on the three characters that I have actually spent talent points on.

Protection Warrior:

Kadomi was of course the first character to receive any attention. I chose a 2/2/32 spec, going for Field Dressing in the Arms Tree and Blood Craze in Fury. I then tested the waters in a Zul’Gurub fun run (which got me to Exalted, yay!) and immediately the threat pingpong started. Even the most sensible players in my guild seem to struggle with the concept of having to wait before DPSing, so it’s going to be an interesting ride.

I find that virtually nothing about the playstyle has changed, with the exception that Cleave/HS now have a cooldown. If you knew how to play a protection warrior then, you know it now. The priorities remain the same. SS > Revenge > Devastate. Concussion Blow is back, but I will need to do some research to figure out where it ranks on the priority scale. Spam Thunderclap to get 3 stacks of Thunderfury and deliver whammy Shockwaves. Thunderclap does the AoE threat of a wet noodle now, so in that ZG raid, I had bored priests that smited non-focused mobs and thus drew aggro.

Shield Slam has been boosted by a lot of talents, so it is now more important than ever to not miss any Sword&Board procs. Keep your eyes open for the Blizzard aura thing and hit mobs in the face with your SHIELD. I love Shield Slam.

I ran a couple heroics with guildies and actually went back to marking pulls. If I didn’t mark a skull, things were a bit hairier. But again, if people were waiting just a little bit for the first Shield Slam, then it felt like nothing had changed.

I have been sniping Naithin’s excellent Power Auras setup from his guide, but need to set up an aura for the HS/Cleave cooldown. I find myself having so much rage that it is my reflex to start spamming, and that doesn’t work anymore.

I do know that I am already facing my first respec, because Blood and Thunder sounds fun on paper and in the current game is one of the most pointless abilities ever. As you need to Thunderclap right at the start of a pull and then Shockwave, you can only apply the AoE Rend on the second Thunderclap, and by then, mobs are almost dead already. Rend doesn’t tick for enough that it’s even worth it to keep the talent for a nice Rend refresh via Thunderclap. you can’t feasibly expect any group to wait til you have used that many GCDs to apply that stuff. My horde heart is bleeding with some thunder, but the talent is going away. My points will be much better spent in Incite as you still have plenty of rage to use Heroic Strike regularly. Might as well have it pack a real punch.

While we’re talking about talents that sound good on paper, I skipped Impending Victory completely and have no intention of speccing into it anytime soon. It just doesn’t convince me enough as a talent, despite self-heals being sweet. Has anyone tested and loved this talent? Would be curious to hear.

Short version: the sky is not falling, almost nothing has changed, and we can still put out good threat, if your party is working with you. I do not know how our threat compares to the other tanks, as I have yet to do a raid, but I am not overly worried.

For further insights into the current playstyle of prot warriors, also check out Spinks’ review of how she is playing in protection in 4.0.1 or Baenhoof’s overview of not knowing if she wants 4.0.1.

Resto shaman:

Ah, taste my salty, bitter tears of QQ here. My shaman was always my main alt throughout the expansion, and for a long time it looked like she would be my Kingslayer, not Kadomi. I love my pig-tailed orc girl with the golden chains of healing. But I might have to stow her away in a box for a while, or replace her golden chains with the pew-pew of lightning bolts.

The short of it is that shamans probably aren’t broken, but that I personally cannot handle the changes, or enjoy them. Much like protection warriors, resto shamans didn’t get any really new toys. Sure, I can weave in DPS spells now to boost my healing and regen mana, but I wouldn’t call those breathtaking playstyle changes.

In Wrath of the Lich King, you were predominantly using three healing spells as shaman: Lesser Healing Wave as the ‘flash heal’ style heal, Riptide, and Chain Heal. Healing Wave was in the realms of slow heal that you would use with Nature’s Swiftness or if you had it hasted to top off a tank. But Lesser Healing Wave is gone now, replaced with Healing Surge. Healing Wave is now a medium, slow heal that for me heals piddly amounts of health. 5k health heal in 1.8 seconds unhasted? Piddly. Greater Healing Wave costs almost 4 times the mana, and heals considerably better.

Healing Wave is supposed to be our bread and butter, the spam heal. I only find it sustainable if you can keep it hasted with Tidal Waves, which means you need to keep casting Riptide to keep the buff up. On Saturday, we went to Ulduar, where I 2-healed with a druid. I felt clumsy and useless. I had the druid take care of the tanks for the most part, and tried to play the raid healer, and feel I failed miserably. I tried to heal Cataclysm style, and it didn’t work out. Healing Wave really was not worth my time to top people off. The heal was too small to quickly top them off. I should have used Healing Surge instead, because my mana knew no limits, but instead I tried to conserve mana. After all the new healers are all supposed to do that. In the meantime, the druid rocked it with Rejuvs, Wild Growth, Efflorescence, while I struggled to find the right spell for the right situation. In 10-mans you can’t just spam Chain Heal, and I feel like none of the new tools fit my 10-man hands at all.

Ultimately, the druid did more than 50% of the total healing in the raid, with me at 36%, and that has me all sadface. We are similarly geared, and in the past always came out even, so it’s definitely my issue. The only fight where I shone was Assembly of Iron hard, but only because the druid was focusing on the Steelbreaker tank, and I healed the other tank and the raid.

I am undecided yet what my shaman’s fate will be, but I just know that I had no fun with shaman healing, for the first time since I went resto at level 74 sometime in 2008.

Resto druid:

I originally had not wanted to level the druid. She was my last character to hit 80. I decided to level my discarded TBC druid as resto, when we hit a snag on Sindragosa. At the time our healing corps was mostly shaman, and having no real HoTs on Sindragosa was horrible. So I leveled my druid, enjoyed playing her, and ultimately had her at 10/12 in ICC, 2-healing everything but BQL and Dreamwalker with her. But my shaman was my healing first-love. Then above happened, and I got jealous of all the interesting abilities of resto druids. The change to tree form never bothered me much, I think my cow is extremely cute, and she can still jump around a lot.

So off I went, went resto with her after spending some time over at Restokin and TreeBarkJacket, and then did a couple quick heroics. I had fun! Admittedly, I SUCK at keeping lifebloom rolling. I was a tree in TBC very briefly, and even then I sucked at keeping lifebloom rolling on multiple people. Now I suck at keeping it up on one, but I mostly need practice. :) Besides, a full 3-stack of Lifebloom seems extremely overkill. I was boggling when that bloomed for 23k. Very powerful. I had to experiment with using Nourish to keep it rolling, but mostly, that was not a good strategy, as Nourish was all overheal for the most part. I like the feel of Regrowth as quick emergency heal. I can still cast Rejuv on people and don’t feel punished by the Wild Growth increased cooldown. I had no reason to use Swiftmend, so no shiny Efflorescence just yet, and I also had no reason to use the Tree of Life cooldown, but I can see how that would be amazing fun and super-powerful. Lifebloom and instant Regrowth for everyone! What an amazing burst healing tool. No wonder our druid owned me so much in Ulduar!

As you can tell, I am much more enamored with the new resto druid than the new resto shaman. Then I did Headless Horseman and she got the reins. It might be fate now. I will now grind heroics a bit to pick up all the frost gear I could possibly want, and think this will be my healer for a while.

This week I will actually spec the DPS offspecs of all those characters, so next week you will be able to read my impressions about the DPS specs: fury, elemental and balance.

Oct 12 2010

4.0.1 links for prot warriors

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I have been remiss in my coverage of 4.0.1, simply because I wasn’t ready for the patch myself. But with the LK dead now, and patch day actually upon us, I will at least offer you links of people who are prepared and who have shared their wisdom. It’s not much, but it’s something for those who don’t know where to start looking for information.

Big thanks to Goreblades, Naithin and Windsoar for their work!

  • Prot Warrioring at 80 in 4.0 – this is Naithin’s detailed guide to all things we need to know. Build suggestions, glyphs, stat changes, playstyle. Including a video to show prot warriors live in action.
  • 4.0.1 Warrior | Protection Tree Overview – Goreblades’ guide describes all talents of the new protection tree in detail, including the likeliest talents you are going to pick up from the fury and arms trees once you have spent sufficient points in protection. Attention, please note, it’s not 100% accurate in the description of some talents, as multiple readers have pointed out! Go with Naithin’s guide first and foremost!
  • Cataclysm warrior glyphs – Zellviren takes a look at all warrior glyphs, for a comprehensive overview
  • 4.0.1 Survival (Class) Guides – Windsoar has done all the work and collected guides like the two above for all classes. If you do not know where to go, don’t flail, check out her guide. :)
  • Inscription in 4.0.1 – the new patch means comprehensive glyph changes, and El’s Inscription is detailing all the changes. I found this invaluable. European readers, stock up on glyphs today, post-patch they will require 3-times the mats.
  • Reforge This – TenTonHammer posted a nice and comprehensive guide to reforging, which is another new mechanic we will encounter post-patch.

Those links are all just scratching the surface as our game gets shaken up real good. I will add more interesting links as I find them.

If you have any additional links, please share. Most importantly, remember to breathe! Nothing much changes for us prot warriors playstyle-wise, so the world is not ending. We are moving on to the next exciting stage of this game of ours. Let’s try to enjoy the ride. :)

Filed under : cataclysm, links, patch | 17 Comments »
Oct 11 2010

Kadomi the Kingslayer

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Yesterday, on 10/10/10, my guild Daughters of the Horde killed Lich King-10 for the very first time. We first pulled him on August 1, and yesterday marked our 10th raid day working on him. As we only raid 1-2 days a week, it simply took us that long to get there. 2 months of hard work on him.

Kingslayers are us!

The first couple weeks were marked by the brickwall of Phase 2. At first, we simply could not coordinate getting the valkyrs down fast enough. Practically every pickup meant the person would be dropped. We lacked the coordination to deal with valks and Defile close together. We simply could not keep people alive. It took us until late September to first see phase 3, which promptly meant we wiped right at the start of it.

On Oct 3 we finally had the raid where we got into P3 just about every other try. We still transitioned with 3 Raging Spirits up, but we did not wipe when the first Vile Spirits were summoned. We were getting there.

Yesterday, it happened. We made it. It was a messy kill. I tanked the Raging Spirits in both transitions. Thanks to input from Naithin (psst, start reading his blog right now!), I tweaked my spec to sacrifice Damage Shield and Focused Rage in favor of Deep Wounds and Safeguard. My fellow tank Lashe had the Lich King in P3 while Spirits were up, and Safeguard allowed me to Intervene on her whenever Soul Reaper was cast, to give her a 30% damage reduction. The healers said it really helped them with dealing with the Soul Reaper damaged and allowed us to not taunt off each other in that part of the fight, until Raging Spirits were down.

Once the Spirits were down, I picked up Lich King and Lashe started soaking Vile Spirits instead. But I was sloppy, I did not always use my cooldowns at the right time, and so at around 25% I went down. I got a battle rez from one of our two druids. At 18% I went down again, hit by Soul Reaper. There was no more battle rez available. At first I was shocked, we were so close, should that be it? Our ret pally Kaylexanna who always helps me with leading the raids (and keeping me sane) asked if Pain Suppression was up for the surviving tank, which marked the point where I managed to shake out of staring at my screen in blank horror. From that point on I did countdown, asked the healers to use cooldowns and to keep Lashe up at any cost. Down his health went. At about 16% one of the tree druids died when she was harvested. Two healers left. We kept the raid moving away from the Vile Spirits. Down and down his health went. I was sitting there, shaking, frantically, seeing his health bar slowly going down. Finally he was at 11%, then he used The Fury of Frostmourne and our Vent exploded.

Kingslayers with Arthas' bodyI have no words to describe how happy this kill makes me. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to down the Lich King before 4.0, just like we hadn’t been able to down Zul’jin in the week before 3.0. We have come a long way since then as raid.

I think Ulduar taught us the most raid-wise. I think without the experience of wiping on a complex encounter that we got in our weeks on Yogg-Saron, we wouldn’t have been able to deal with the repeated weeks of defeat on the Lich King. Not when you’re from such a small guild with such a small pool of raiders. Both fights are complex, long, and require perfect execution. In general, I really enjoy execution-based fights, because eventually you get to the point where it clicks, and that’s awesome.

I will say that repeated wipes in Phase 2 of LK are an excruciating way to die over and over again. You have already spent like 5 minutes in the fight, to the point of utter boredom as Phase 1 is very easy, and then you run into a wall. Still, all in all a satisfying experience and worthy of being the final boss of the expansion. I am not really counting Halion, though we will now take the time to peek in on him.

Throughout Wrath of the Lich King, our roster changed a lot, from Naxxramas to Ulduar to Trial of the Crusader to Icecrown Citadel. We had a lot of fluctuation tank- and healer-wise. For quite some time I stopped tanking and healed instead, especially in the early days of Icecrown Citadel, when my tanking burnout was the worst it has ever been. But I rediscovered my love for tanking raids, Kadomi’s still my girl, and I am so happy that I got the Kingslayer title on her.

My big thanks go to everyone in my raid group who suffer through me as their raid leader and tank. I am neither the world’s best leader nor the best tank, and not always easy to deal with, so kudos to everyone for dealing with me. ;) I am particularly grateful to those who stuck around with DotH. I think all of our current raid members are excited to be a part of our guild, and that makes me very happy. Guild perks are awaiting us in Cataclysm, I am really looking forward to them. We will level more slowly than other guilds, but we’ll get there.

I can now take a deep breath and start looking forward to Cataclysm instead of suffering from WoW ennui. That feels good.

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