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 Deliver more content, get warriors out there, and collect a list of warrior bloggers that is not as horribly outdated as my blogroll was.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.

Sep 15 2010

My top 5 WotLK things

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Inspired by Spinks and LarĂ­sa trying to stay positive about WoW, I thought I’d add my voice to theirs. Yes, I have hardly played any WoW recently, and I am as bored as the next person, but we all know that when Cataclysm comes, all the loudest critics will pick it up and play anyhow. I still appreciate this game, even if after 5 years of playing, it bores me at this moment in time.

That said, here’s my list of 5 things I loved in WotLK.

  1. easy accessibility of raids – In TBC we raided Karazhan and Zul’Aman and had a lot of fun with it. Yet there was always the nagging feeling of missing out on so much content. I did Gruul and Magtheridon as well, and 2 bosses in SSC, but 25-man raiding is not my thing. I was ecstatic when they announced 10-mans for all WotLK raids. It’s been great for my guild, as we’re able to see and kill exactly the same raid bosses all raiding guilds have seen, if maybe at (a lot) slower pace than other guilds.
  2. Ulduar – for me this is the highlight of all Wrath raid instances. Large in scope, beautiful in design, with great encounters. Some of the hardmodes have great mechanics, so to this day it’s a great raid for me. As much as I still have nightmares about the Yogg-Saron fight, it’s everything I expect from a final raid boss.
  3. Warrior utility – This is a tricky one. I hate how WotLK has been the Age of AoE. But I love how our warrior toolbox was expanded to give us AoE tanking capabilities. I am not a paladin and I am not a death knight, but Shockwave is awesome in my AoE toolkit. There are fights where our array of stuns and interrupts make us really shine. Assembly of Iron is just awesome as warrior tank. There have also been quite a few val’kyrs in the LK fight that were stunned as a last second save, by my Concussion Blow or Shockwave.
  4. Phasing – This has made a huge difference in questing, because phased content finally gives us a chance to feel the world evolving. Of course it always brings awkward moments too, like invisible folks mining your nodes in Icecrown, or being your lonesome self by the ICC meeting stone, despite all the other dots on the mini-map. I am curious to see where phasing is going in Cataclysm, but I heard that it’s quite involved (if maybe a bit on the buggy side in the beta).
  5. my guild – especially our raid group had its ups and downs, as we had a lot of people cycling in and out. I would say from the days of Naxxramas to today, there were always a few who did not make the transition to the next raid, either leaving for greener pastures or simply quitting wordlessly. Nevertheless, our guild core is a bunch of wonderful people who I love raiding with and who have made this expansion a great 2 years to play in. DotH is a place full of friendly guild members, who are giving and helpful, and I hope we will stay that way for many years to come.

And that’s the goods. I should warn you all, next week you’ll get a list of the things I hated in WotLK, but until then, I’d love to hear what other folks loved. WoW is hardly a positive community, but we can all strive to be a little positive about this hobby of ours, right? :)

Filed under : ramblings, wotlk | 8 Comments »
Sep 14 2010

Tanking in LotRO: the Guardian

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The World of Warcraft is a strange one, because right now it’s hard to get away from the absolute lull between expansions. Unlike the transition from TBC to WotLK, my bucket list is very very short, as I only want to add Kingslayer to my collection of titles and otherwise am done with it. I am done with daily frost emblem farming. I am done with reaching my gold goal of going into Cataclysm with 100k gold. I am not quite done with my Zandalar rep farming, but I am 8% through Revered.

So what’s a girl do when not raiding in WoW? Checking out other games! In not raid-time I currently play Lord of the Rings Online. Back when it launched in 2007 I played the beta for a while. It didn’t hold my attention at all. It was too similar to WoW, and at the time WoW was too exciting, with TBC almost ready to launch, so I never dedicated much time to beta-testing.

Fast forward to summer 2010 and the announcement that LotRO would be going Free to Play in fall. Back then I already planned to revisit the game, and so that’s what I started a couple weeks ago, downloading the client and getting a trial code for LotRO in Europe. I then enjoyed the game so much that I picked up a copy of the game plus the first expansion for a whopping 4.99 Euro and continued playing. Big advantage: I got to say hi in game to Spinks and Arb from Welcome to Spinksville. Yay! I intend to play LotRO casually until Cataclysm comes along, and F2P will be a blessing. Even when my sub runs out (though I have yet to subscribe, but likely will), I will still be able to log on and play.

Naturally, I felt drawn to the tanking classes. First observation: LotRO has no shortage of tanks whatsoever. When you look at their LFF (looking for fellowship) channels, healers are in high demand, specific utility classes are as well, but tank spots are usually filled. I have only run one instance so far, The Great Barrows, and our 6-man group consisted of FOUR tanks plus healer and DPS.

LotRO has two classes specifically designated for tanking, guardians and wardens. Guardians are LotRO’s version of protection warriors, but with a twist. Wardens are a so-called premium-class and require access to the first expansion or that you unlock them for a fee if you are a F2P player, and are…well, don’t know how to describe them. Javelin-and-spear wielding leather-clad woodspeople who use HoTs as their form of mitigation.

My Guardian Kadowyn on US-Brandywine is now level 17, so very far from the level cap. Still, I think I can compare a little bit to warriors in WoW.

Guardians just like warriors have different stances they can fight in. At my level I have 3 different stances: a block stance, a parry stance and Overpower stance which foregoes a shield and adds more melee damage. I tried going the 2H route for solo play, but you don’t really have enough non-tanking skills at my low level to make any effective use of it, as parries are few and far between. I mention parries because guardians have multiple reactive abilities. Kinda like Revenge, but with a twist. They have two lines of abilities, the first called Block and Counter and the second Parry and Retaliate. The first line of abilities get used when you block an attack. Like Revenge you then get to do a Shield Swipe, and once that’s hit you get another powerful attack called Bash. Alternatively, instead of using Shield Swipe, you can use Draw your Breath after blocking to self-heal yourself. When you parry an attack, you unlock Retaliation and that ability in turn unlocks Overwhelm. Instead of using Overwhelm, which is a single target powerful attack, you can use Whirling Retaliation which can hit up to 5 targets and transfers threat of all group members to you. How awesome is that? Screw Vigilance, here’s everyone’s threat!

What I really like is that you get two very distinct sounds that make it possible to immediately identify when you have blocked or parried. Two different kinds of chimes. Using DXE has taught me to respond to different sound queues in game, so I really appreciate that and wish Revenge had a unique sound now.

That’s just the basic tenets of the class, there’s a lot more. It really plays a lot like a warrior. You have a single target taunt, an AoE taunt, big threat attacks, stances. The major difference really is the range of the reactive abilities. Now, my tanking experience on this character is limited. You get a few escort solo instances, and in those I have no problems tanking. I also did a few fellowship quests with friends who started the F2P with me on Brandywine, and though they were 3-4 levels above me, I surprisingly managed to hold mobs on me for the most part. I think at level, this will turn out even better, and I think guardians pack quite a punch threat-wise. Their solo abilities are good too, though it’s all a bit slow. LotRO in general is a lot slower in pace than WoW.

My biggest beef that I have with tanking is that the controls are slow and the way combat animations work. Let’s say I whack a mob, lose aggro and then taunt the mob. In WoW I press Taunt and the mob is mine. In LotRO, I press taunt, my guardian does a taunting animation, and only after the animation has finished the mob turns to me. Some of the combat animations of abilities are loooong, though that’s less of a problem with guardians and more those of a warden. More about those at a later time. It just feels like the controls are not anywhere near as responsive as they are in WoW, and as a tank, that matters.

As I have not tanked instances or skirmishes yet (scaleable encounters in LotRO) on this guardian., I will leave it at that, but might tell you a bit more about Kadowyn another time.

Before anyone asks, no, I am not quitting WoW and this is still predominantly a WoW blog. But it doesn’t hurt to post about other stuff as well, especially as I still tank like a girl. :)

How about you guys, have you tried the tanking classes in other MMOs? Tempted by the F2P releases of LotRO and Everquest 2? Speak up! :)

Filed under : lotro, ramblings | 7 Comments »
Aug 16 2010

The Formspring Edition, Part II

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Here’s the 2nd and for now last part of the Formspring mailbag, but once questions pile up again, I will answer them again. As a reminder, you can go here to ask me any questions, anonymously, or leaving your name, whatever you want. :)

1. If you play(ed) Dungeons and Dragons, what class would you pick? Also, if you have played or still play, which version do you prefer? 3.0,3.5,4.0 etc.

It’s actually been years since I last played D&D. The last version I played was 3.5. As for characters, I’ve always leaned towards playing melee classes, so either ranger, rogue or warrior. Rangers are probably my D&D favorite.

2. How do you generate AOE threat with disparate mobs? I’m thinking about (for example) the waves in HoR. DKs can taunt, DG, and silence to bring in ranged mobs. How do you do it as a warrior?

As a disclaimer, I am not the best HoR tank. I tank it for friends only, and even then I will curse a lot. The waves in the last part get increasingly more difficult to tank as warrior. Heroic Throw has a 1 minute cooldown, so you can use it once in the 2nd wave and once in the last wave and have to figure out other means to handle those mobs in the first place. Definitely spec into Gag Order so that Heroic Throw will silence and then bring the casters to you. You can also Charge/Intercept the casters, but you do risk that the abominations will vomit all over the melee in your group.

Ideally you have people with interrupts. Taunt casters, spell reflect to gain aggro on them, and if you then have someone help you with an interrupt, they should wander over into your Thunderclap/Cleave range. If you do not have interrupts in the party, you will need to head there yourself and Shield Bash a cast, then cluster the mobs together again.

Another example for disparate mobs that I have seen tanks struggling with would be the two large groups of casters in Forge of Souls. As warriors this is actually easy to tank for us, as long as you can grab initial aggro. Charging the Soul Horror in the Center, Thunderclapping and from thereon using Spell Reflect every cooldown will let you tank this fight comfortably. If you lose one of the casters in the back, you can taunt, Intercept, Heroic Throw or head over for Shield Bashing. Mobility is our advantage, so don’t be shy with charging from mob to mob, interrupting as you can and send those shadow bolts right back at them. Yes, unlike HoR I actually love tanking FoS.

For further writing I have done about clustering a pull, see this entry of mine.

3. When someone writes an e-mail to you, do you prefer being addressed as “Kadomi”, or is using your real first name permissible?

I am not hiding my name, it’s mentioned on my About page, but when it comes to WoW I mostly identify with my name as Kadomi. It’s just who I am in WoW. :)

4. I would imagine that you’ve been fluent in English for some time now. Even so, do you ever encounter a piece of English slang that confounds you for a moment when you first hear it?

I pay for my WoW subscription as staff of a bilingual helpdesk, so I am surrounded by all sorts of native speakers who work in my office, mostly Brits. They will regularly use terms that I do not understand, so it’s always an experience here. It doesn’t even need to be slang to confound me. My SO has a huge, extensive vocabulary and in her verbose description she will use terms I have never heard before. So yeah, my English’s definitely not perfect.

5. How easy would you say you are to be friends with?

That’s a can of worms! ;) I would describe myself as an extremely loyal, caring friend, but I do need time to warm up to people. I am blunt and do not have the ability to sugar-coat my words convincingly which has often led to headbutting with people. A diplomat, I am not. If you can deal with all that, it’s definitely not that hard to be friends with me at all.

6. Xtian913 wants to know: Kadomi, I know you said in your blog that your SO stopped playing WoW, but… why? I know everyone needs a little time off from the game, but so many years of enjoying it, why just stop? :(

SnailsWhen I read this question to my SO, she thought I was shitting her and that I set her up, but no, it’s a real question! Her answer remains the same as it did when she quit: ‘I got bored of pressing the right buttons in the right order for hours.’ She says she doesn’t think WoW sucks, but that she is just bored of it. I’ll continue to woo her back for Cataclysm, but chances are really really slim at this point. I think she said only riding snails could bring her back. Hello Blizzard, think you could use those snails models for mounts instead of non-combat pets? I would love you forever!

And that covers all questions for now. Hope you enjoyed.

Aug 12 2010

The Formspring edition, Part I

Posted by

Months ago, I think it was in February, I mentioned in one of my blog posts that I have a Formspring account now and that everyone’s welcome to ask questions. Then I promptly forgot about it. Shame on me!

Yesterday I got an e-mail alerting me that I had gotten a new question, which reminded me that I have this account still. Guess what, I found 13 questions, most of them fairly old. Nevertheless, you deserve your answers, so this is part 1 of a 2-part series of me responding to the questions!

1. What motivates you in WoW? Is it the gear, in-game friends, progression, trying to reach tanking perfection, etc etc., asked by an anonymous reader

I am a very goal oriented WoW player who prefers group content of any kind. Gear is definitely nice, but ultimately a means to an end, to push further in the game. I love progression, but it has to be with my friends, which is why I love the tightly knit 10-man raid environment the most. I am very much a perfectionist and have quit playing characters that I feel I cannot achieve the high standards I set for myself. So, as summary, my top motivation in WoW is to kick some serious ass with my friends and experience all PvE content.

2. Why do you enjoy tanking? What have been your favourite encounters in WotLK?, from another anonymous reader

MimironThat’s a vaaaast question and will be answered in my warrior post for the tanking series I started back in March/April. I still intend to finish it. So I will respond to the encounters part instead. I think my favorite encounter vote goes to *drumrolls* Mimiron! I thought it was a well-thought encounter that was complex to master, made you feel like you were going insane, especially in P4. But so much fun! Definitely a WotLK highlight. I pretty much am a fan of most Ulduar encounters, though Freya can go DIAF. I thought they all had some interesting mechanics, and it helped that the instance was beautiful.

ICC is not quite as inspiring as Ulduar to me. Of the encounters in there so far I would say that I like Putricide most. It has the complexity that I expect as wing endboss, requires good coordination, and then goes crazy in P3. Besides, it offers the offtank a unique role as abomination that is far superior to many other fights. My thoughts on off-tanking in ICC deserve a post of its own.

3. Your posts on gear for new 80′s are great. What do you think about Heroic level talent specs & glyphs for new Warrior tanks, i.e. pre Raid builds? Everyone’s gotta start somewhere :-) , another anonymous question.

I did actually post about builds way back in April 2009, when dual specs were released. In my mind, you either use the threat build including Deep Wounds, or you use a more defensive build for progression raiding. For someone who’s a fresh 80, Deep Wounds all the way. As new tank you’ll probably struggle with AoE threat, so pick up Cleaving, Shockwave and Sunder Armor, and Thunder Clap is a must as minor.

Soon, we’ll have vastly different talent trees, and I am looking forward to finding out what will work best in Cataclysm. :)

4. Are you going to roll a werewolf or a goblin in the expac? asked by Jenny

For the Horde! There’s no question for me, I want to play a goblin, very badly. Ever since I watched Gravity’s goblin DK video, I want me one of those. It doesn’t hurt that all reports I have heard so far indicate that the goblin starting zones are fantastic fun. :) I am actually transferring my level 70 rogue off Bronzebeard, to make room for the future goblin hunter. I really need more character slots.

I will eventually roll a worgen as well, but likely only to play the start zone. I don’t have room on Bronzebeard for a 2nd alliance character, and I do not know any other alliance players US-side. I know a lot of people are very excited about the worgen, but they don’t actually appeal to me that much.

5. On the ‘Bioware spectrum’, when starting a new single-player RPG, do you usually play light side/paragon/good or dark side/renegade/evil?, asked anonymously.

Bioware has been for years the only crack that gets me away from WoW. I have played KotOR, Jade Empire, both Mass Effects and of course Dragon Age. I always go for the paragon side somehow. The glowier the halo, the happier I am. I always peter out when I try to play the dark side. But I owe it to myself to complete Mass Effect 2 as a badass renegade sometime in the near future. I am almost more excited about Mass Effect 3 than Dragon Age 2. :)

6. Now that you have tried both, what’s harder in end game – healing or tanking?

I think every role in WoW is equally hard in end-game. To be a capable tank, healer or DPS, it’s all challenging, to do it right. I know that people tend to say DPS is easily replaced, but I don’t find that’s true at all. Progression falters when DPS is lacking, just as much as it stalls when tanks have low health pools or healers can’t keep people up. I personally am still more intimidated by healing, but I also find it extremely fun, just as much as tanking.

7. There is a lot of discussion on WoW becoming too easy. What are your thoughts? Also, do you think there will be a gap between now and Cataclysm where people are milling around in-game because everyone already has T9/T10 gear?

I firmly believe that dungeon design dumbed down a lot of elements in WotLK. A complete lack of scaling has made heroics laughable since Ulduar, so for almost 1.5 years now. As tank, I miss careful pulls, marking kill order, assigning crowd control options. Even before we all started outgearing heroics, people had lost interest in that, because they had AoE buttons and tanks were suddenly able to keep large groups of mobs on them.

As a 10-man raider, I don’t feel WoW has become too easy. Naxxramas was an easy raid, Ulduar was awesome, ToC is this weird place that takes as long as a TBC 5-man would have taken, and Icecrown Citadel has some great encounters.

This question was actually asked 5 months ago, and it should be pretty obvious that a lot of us are now milling around in game, because almost all content is done. My guild needs LK and Ruby Sanctum still, but after that, there’s only hardmodes left and that’s not really new content. I have no idea what we’ll all do, aside from leveling more and more alts.

And that’s it for today, I will continue this on Tuesday. If you want to add your own questions, please do!

Aug 09 2010

This thing still on?

Posted by

And more importantly, is anyone still reading this? Thank you all for your concerned e-mails, I did appreciate every single one of them.

What happened since the last posts in April? Severe tank burn-out, is what. I basically made a promise to myself when I started blogging that I would take a positive approach to WoW and my chosen class, because there’s already a ton of negativity out there in the so-called WoW community. But back then in April, when the other three guild tanks posted their takes on why they love tanking like a girl, I was not in the correct mindspace to tell you why I love being a warrior tank, because at the time I didn’t love it.

It’s now four months later, and I am back to doing what I love, tanking for my guild. Remember that series of tanking posts? Our druid disappeared into the nether, without so much as a word of goodbye, and thus our tank numbers were down to 3. Our paladin can often not make our raid times, so instead of chain-healing it up, I went back to tanking, and fell in love with it all over again.

I generally have a strong dislike of tanking LFD groups in full pugs, because I have been treated like crap from people who only care about speed and their e-peen. On the other hand, on my healer alts I have met so many arrogant tank douchebags that I can relate to some general contempt people have for tanks. Anything from tanks needing all greens as their ‘fee’ for tanking to guys who will insult their groups, feeling entitled from their 30 second queues. I probably have seen it all.

This only makes me appreciate the good tanks more. The calm tanks who will keep an eye on healer mana, especially lesser geared healers. The ones who will spare a friendly word to the rest of the group and just do their job. People like us, we’re still out there. And so I am back.

I am excited about Cataclysm. I hope that it will bring about some changes to the game, like the return of CC, a reduced pace, an end to the zerg rushes that are all everyone knows at this point in WoW. I am not going to dig into the prot changes yet, because things are so in flux, ever-changing. But I have a good feeling about Cataclysm.


Game-wise, I am now 11/12 in Icecrown Citadel-10. I just spent my first six hours wiping on LK phase 2. So far phase 2 has been the brick wall we throw ourselves against, but our work has only just started. I have tanked every fight in there on my warrior, and healed every fight on my shaman. I have six level 80s now, but I only actively play 3 of them at a time. At this moment it’s my warrior, my shaman and my latest 80, my druid.

I have to finish leveling my paladin to 80, she’s been at 78 for months now. When I was burnt out on tanking, I was also burnt out at the thought of doing the tank gear grind on a second character. But I will, eventually. Cataclysm is still far away, and WotLK’s greatest failure is that there is not enough to do, aside from ‘level to 80 and get the character geared’, over and over. I bet that the number of people with characters in endgame has never been higher than today. A common complaint is that there’s nothing to do aside from raiding, and when you have a guild with only six hours of raiding a week, at most, there’s not much reason to be on inbetween.

So here I am, ready to tell you more stuff about life as a prot warrior, ready to share my bucket list, my general view of tanking in WotLK and whatever else comes to mind. Feels good to be back. I hope a few of you will still be here to read it. :)

Filed under : ramblings | 28 Comments »
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