Tank like a girl
Nov 02 2010

Button mashing in 4.0.1 (or not)

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I actually managed to raid on Kadomi this last weekend, rawr, so now I feel confident in making some observations about warrior tanking in 4.0.1.

Throughout WotLK, our basic TPS priority got moved around quite a bit. You basically used the highest TPS abilities as they were available and kept mashing Cleave on multi-mob pulls and Heroic Strike on single-target mobs. Now what those abilities were changed from patch to patch, as abilities were changed.

But now it’s 4.0.1 and we have new threat values. Porcell over at Tankspot sorted it out with Satrina’s threat addon, so this is the gist of it:

(Note: All values verified build 4.0.1 (13164))
*Battle Shout _______________ 20 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Blood Craze _________________ 0.50*Healing
Cleave ______________________ damage + 30 (split)
*Commanding Shout ___________ 68 (modified) + 5*Rage Gained (not modified) (total split)
Concussion Blow _____________ 2.00 * damage
Demoralising Shout __________ 41.6 (split)
Devastate ___________________ damage + 315 + 5% of AP
Enrage (Bastion of Defense) 1
Heroic Strike _______________ damage + 28
Heroic Throw ________________ 1.50 x damage
Rage Gain ___________________ 5 per rage (stance modifier is not applied)
Rend ________________________ damage only
Revenge _____________________ damage + 7
Shield Bash _________________ 60
Shield Slam _________________ 1.30*damage + 231
Shockwave ___________________ damage only
Slam ________________________ damage + 100
Spell Reflect _______________ damage only (only for spells aimed at you)
Social Aggro ________________ 0
Sunder Armour _______________ 395 + 5% AP
Thunder Clap ________________ damage only

Numbers. Crunchy numbers. Math is hard, so what does this mean in practice? That nothing much changed for us at all.

> Heroic Throw

Well, doesn’t that look almost exactly like the priority we had back when Wrath was released? Ayup! Only change appears to be that it’s now worth weaving Heroic Throw into the mix for TPS instead of simply for pulling. If you use Glyph of Heroic Throw, you even apply a Sunder stack with it!

Devastate doesn’t do that much damage at the moment, so it falls back to the bottom of our priority list. It’s the basic filler if other abilities are not available, as long as you keep your full stack of Sunders up for debuffing. The change from 5 stacks to now 3 completely went past me, but it’ll definitely help getting those 3 stacks up fast and then focus on our big abilities.

Not included in the priority are two abilities: Heroic Strike and Rend. First, HS. This ability is not tied to the Global Cooldown, so should be used in any situation where you are sitting above 50-60 rage. Which is surprisingly often. But it has a shared cooldown with Cleave now, so gone are the days where we always button mashed something. Now you will have moments where none of your abilities might be available. I am finding that it’s just as hard to untrain yourself from button mashing (or in my case mousewheel rolling) than to learn how to button mash in the first place. Overall I approve though, because button mashing is never good design.

I did not include Rend either. As orc having a talent called Blood&Thunder seemed incredibly appealing, but ultimately, it falls short. It’s an AoE talent that is currently not well-designed. In AoE situations in Generation WotLK, you do not have the time and leisure to charge, Rend, Thunderclap and Shockwave. In that time you will already lose the first mobs, unless your group is extremely patient. On top of that, Rend ticks for so little, and has no innate threat. My non-crits are 300ish, crits are 700ish, and that just doesn’t pan out that well. So I waved bye-bye and went with Incite, and in our Halion raid boggled at delicious 12k Heroic Strike crits. Yeah, I think I got the better end of the deal. I might spec back into it for tanking while leveling, but at the moment I shall repeat my sounds of MEH all over the place. General consensus seems to be that Rend doesn’t quite work for us at the moment. It will be interesting to watch what happens to this talent or ability.

As final remark, I actually had a blast raid tanking, and did not feel that warrior threat was weak at all. On single tank mini-bosses I had to stop using my priority and stick to debuffs or my threat was going up fast. On Halion himself (I was Twilight tank), I was pleasantly surprised that no one was close to me threat-wise. When we were working on LK pre-patch, I had a harder time with threat than I had on Halion, where Vengeance gave me such a solid threat lead. I am not unhappy in that respect at all.

So how do you guys like the ‘new’ non-button mashing warrior? I am still befuddled by the overall lack of change to the class, am I the only one?

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 »
Mar 24 2010

3.3.3, now with 100% more Revenge

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Originally, I had wanted to post a rant about protection warriors this week, and how tanking in ICC-10 has been so far, but yesterday’s patch changed my tune. Instead of ranting I am going back to being bubbly and excited about prot warriors.

I didn’t have time to play yesterday and had a lot of issues with the loading screen boss, but I managed to run VoA with my shaman and then test the warrior changes.

As quick summary, here are the changes that affect protection warriors:

  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.
  • Thunderclap: This ability now counts as a ranged attack, granting it double damage on critical strikes instead of 150% and ranged miss chance, and still cannot be dodged or parried.
  • Improved Revenge: This talent can no longer trigger a stun, and instead increases damage done by Revenge by 30/60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
  • Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%. Strength and expertise benefits have not changed.

Now, I don’t love every change. I am still torn about Improved Revenge. It kicked ass in the one heroic I ran yesterday, but this will do absolutely nothing for prot warrior DPS on bosses. Admittedly, the old Imp Revenge didn’t either as 99% of all bosses were immune to the stun. But it would have been nice to get something like that.

So how does this play in action? I queued up for a random with some guildies last night and we got H Halls of Lightning. First thumbs up: I was finally able to break 40k health unbuffed, sitting at 40.8k now. This is a big deal for me as I had been hovering at 39k for weeks now, well behind the other tanks in our guild. Yay!

I lost aggro to the pug warlock on maybe two pulls, the rest was smooth sailing. Damage was definitely up for me, hitting 3-4k most pulls. Revenge hits like a truck, like a huge truck. I think I giggled a little when my crit tracker displayed the delicious line: New Crit Record! Revenge hits Loken for 10383! Yes, you read that correctly, it broke 10k multiple times on that run. Now imagine this with full raid buffs. Muahahaha. The cleave effect of Revenge was also pretty nice, and will definitely help in heroics and AoE tanking. But it’s not enough to make us stop spamming Cleave and Thunderclap.

Last night I felt pretty awesome tanking. Zipping from group to group happily. I love Charge and Warbringer, it’s the ability I miss most on my paladin. Nothing will ever beat Charge.

I am not sure if I’ll tank or heal in ICC-10 this week, but I think the changes will not really affect my raid tanking DPS much at all. I will still be FAIL on Festergut, a fight that I really hate. When it’s not my turn to tank, I am in Battle Stance, lolrending, applying sunders and waiting for my turn. The buff to Revenge won’t do anything for me in that fight because the mechanics won’t allow Revenge procs. We will still be the weakest class to bring in that fight.

We are still struggling on fights in the Plagueworks, often held back by our DPS output, and so every little point of DPS I can add matters.

TL;DR summary: Revenge hits like a truck, Imp Revenge is a lot of AoE goodness, heroics DPS definitely up, so bring back Revenge to your action bars. How this affects raid DPS remains to be seen, but it’s a good change. Let’s go kick some ass now. :)

Filed under : patch, talents | 13 Comments »
Feb 02 2010

Another month, another patch

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Patch 3.3.2 is rolled out on the US realms today, and the EU realms tomorrow. Normally I don’t post about patches much, because there’s tons of sites out there who cover it better than I could, but as there are a couple protection warrior changes coming to us, I need to evaluate how this will impact my playstyle.

  • Concussion Blow: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 50%, but its threat generation will remain approximately the same.
  • Devastate: This ability now deals 120% of weapon damage, up from 100% of weapon damage.
  • Shield Slam: The damage scaling from block value for this ability now diminishes faster and diminishes starting at a lower block value. The difference should be negligible for players in high-end tanking armor. In addition, the threat caused by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.
  • Warbringer: This talent no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares. Intervene remains unaffected.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

1: This will mean CB will likely be pushed out of my rotation and will be relegated to its previously use in TBC: to be used as stun and interrupt on trash or encounters such as Assembly of Iron. I don’t need it to supply threat, I used it for doing damage.

2. Another damage boost to Devastate means that I can pretty much ignore Revenge beyond a certain rage level. Revenge will still deliver the best rage to threat ratio, so at the start of an encounter, in heroics, or in situations where you rage-starved yourself, it’s useful. I am sure people will run threat parses soon, but Devastate spamming sounds more and more attractive.

3. I actually have no idea how this will affect me. It’s not like I have huge amounts of SBV stacked, or ArP in my tanking gear, so I have to test the numbers. At least it will be more threat. Let’s just hope the Devastate buff will compensate overall.

4. This nerf makes me sad, because it cuts into our PvE utility so much. It was incredibly useful in heroics and just felt right to me. Thank you Arena. Not.

As far as other non-warrior changes go, heroics will be simplified across the board, which still makes me long for a heroic heroic switch that must be hidden somewhere in the game. Blizzard, please, if you should ever read my words, remember that there are people out there who don’t mind tough 5-mans. Don’t make me mourn TBC heroics forever and ever.

Furthermore, Toravon will be added to Vault of Archavon and Friends, meaning another opportunity to receive T10 gear without spending hard-earned frost emblems. This means I will have to try to run that every week now, rar.

Oh, and some dude called Lich King will be available as final encounter of Icecrown Citadel. Or so I have heard.

What are your thoughts on the new mini-patch?

Filed under : patch, theorycraft | 18 Comments »
Dec 24 2009

Survival tips for fresh 80s tanks

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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!

Filed under : guide, instances, patch | 12 Comments »
Dec 14 2009

My first week in 3.3

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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? :)

Filed under : patch, ramblings | 26 Comments »
Dec 08 2009

Icecrown 5-mans for tanks

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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. :)

Filed under : Gear, instances, patch | 10 Comments »
Aug 11 2009

The week after

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The first week after a content patch is always one that’s a) busy as people are trying out the new content and b) ripe with frustration at the numerous bugs that need to be hotfixed. With 3.2, both is the case, as my guild has seen record numbers of people being online, while being plagued with bugs in several instances.

Two of the more common bugs appear to be buggy encounters in the new 5-man, but also bugged raid bosses, e.g. Gothik, Thorim and XT. I’ve run into the Trial of the Champion bugs several times. The champions of the first encounters won’t stay down, e.g., or the trash groups before Paletress/Eadric are clumped together.

Speaking of the new 5-man, it follows the tried and trued Magister’s Terrace model: definite step-up in difficulty compared to the other instances, with the same increase in loot quality. I have had beautiful groups of friends in there where we just tear through the instance, or I have had groups where DPS was so abysmal that we had to call it on Paletress. My advice to anyone who wants to do this on heroic is to really find a group that brings it in all three departments: tank, heals and DPS. Don’t drag your groups down when you just can’t break 1.5k DPS, be sensible. Yes, this also includes my guildies.

The new 5-man does of course offer very tasty tank loot and I was able to grab most pieces the many times I have run this place now. I’d first like to proudly declare myself a member of the Black Heart club, along with such ‘famous’ members as Veneretio and Spinks! It took me about 5-6 consecutive runs on normal mode before I finally got it, which was pretty happy-making.

On heroic, I have scored the Mark of the Relentless and Warlord’s Depravity. The latter is a very strong SBV neck, despite the not updated Wowhead tooltip, and the former is a wonderfully itemized ring that is a stamina dream. It has no defense, but I have gotten a lot of defense heavy upgrades that I can actually wear it now. I also broke a personal milestone, I hit 30k health unbuffed. Finally! I wouldn’t mind getting the other two tank drops in there, preferably the helmet, and I am sure I will eventually.

A common argument of the people who don’t like the badge changes is that it provides gear to casuals who don’t need upgrades, but they are forgetting the big part where upgrading your gear just fills great. It’s a sense of personal accomplishment at any level of play. Gear upgrades make people feel happy, and that’s why everyone’s running Trial of the Champion over and over again, and why people run chain heroics. I managed to snag two emblem purchases, Platinum Mesh Cloak and Gauntlets of the Royal Watch, and along with the drops from ToC, it’s a great feeling. Every emblem naysayer should think about that. Let other people have fun too!

I will admit that this first week after the patch was more filled with frustration than I have experienced in a long while, and those of you who follow me on Twitter will likely have seen screams of outrage that are a bit unlike me, at least to this public extent. Stuff just boiled over for me. A big contributor is that most days my guild is only able to field one group into heroics during my playtimes, and yet, no one ever asked me along on the fun. People are running chain heroics, and yet here I am, the guild officer who has to PUG. That was incredibly frustrating. By now, I know I am not the only one who feels left out, and we’ve been able to do runs on our own. I guess it’s an issue in guilds of our size that can’t be helped. It’s still been a hurtful experience.

I have had more personal issues as well, and the only thing I want to say about that is that it’s not polite or nice to whisper other people in your character’s main spec every single drop you’ve been getting. It doesn’t accomplish anything but breed resentment, especially if that’s the only kind of conversation you ever have. This might seem hypocritical seeing as I at times use this blog to tout all the new gear I have acquired. But I think there’s a difference.

In a later post, I will post about my experiences tanking Trial of the Champion, it certainly has a lot to offer on the challenge plate, and I will of course have to talk about our first visit to Thorim in Ulduar, and pick your collective brains for advice.

How’s the first week of 3.2 been treating you?

Aug 04 2009

Happy Patch Day

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Sorry for the long silence, but I moved RL, and have only returned to WoW this weekend.

Today is one of those long dull Tuesdays over here, called Patch Days. They usually mean no playtime til Wednesday, because servers come back so late that it’s bedtime over here. It’s time for 3.2, highly anticipated by many, and strangely enough dreaded by just as many, at least based on the vibe I got from the WoW Twitterati. I am kinda torn on my own feelings about the patch, so here’s my personal look at the patch today.

Pros:

  • Warrior changes: Increased radius for our shouts; 100% buffed damage of Devastate; more attack power via Armored to the Teeth; Shield Specialization now grants 5 rage per block, dodge or parry. It’s not a huge buff, but it’s a buff, and I will enjoy the DPS increase and the availability of more rage in all tanking situations. Premonition’s DPS parses showed a big jump for Devastate, which is awesome. Speaking of Premo, check out Xav’s Tank Tests as well.
  • Shaman changes: totem bar, Call of Fire to put down totems within one GCD. What’s not to love about that? :) Also, increased range for all shocks; increased jump distance for CH plus less heal decrease per jump; 2 minute cooldown for Nature’s Swiftness
  • Death Knight changes: I am no tank, I don’t like Unholy, so I am happy as blood DK and will go back to the same spec I currently have. Big plus for me: fixed RP cost and fixed duration for Dancing Rune Weapon. This means I can now reliably use it every cooldown, instead of waiting for 100 RP.
  • Emblem changes: heroics will find a sudden rise in popularity again, and I get to play the gear game again. This will be a huge help for us in Ulduar and will lessen the gap between my guild’s Naxx raiders and the Ulduar team.
  • Trial of the Champion, a new 5-man. Not so thrilled about the jousting boss, but variety is good. 
  • Raid ID extensions. This could be hugely helpful for us as we’re trying to push deeper into Ulduar and are still running out of time. I think we’ll use this feature to get more attempts in on the Keepers.
  • Nexus instances: drakes scaling with gear. About freaking time. This should make Oculus and EoE phase 3 less painful.
  • Bye bye to some addons, welcome to the general UI: Doublewide, EquipCompare, SellFish
  • Boosts for twinks: earlier mounts, faster mounts, heirloom cold-weather flying, new heirloom chest. Doesn’t really help me specifically as my lowest played character on Bronzebeard is 66, but I can see how many people will find this helpful.

I am sure I forgot something or another, but that’s all the good stuff I got at a glimpse at the patch notes. I am definitely most excited to see what change I’ll see while tanking, but I think other than a DPS increase, I won’t notice much.

Cons:

  • Where’s my fix for Heroic Strike? Since 3.0 the devs mention it, and still, there is no fix. Not even an attempt. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Spam. One. Button
  • A jousting encounter. Did I mention how quickly the novelty of jousting wore off, and that I know maybe one person (hi Rilgon!) who actually enjoys jousting?
  • The tedious Argent Tournament quests got some fixes that make them even more tedious. 3 Boneguard Commanders, really? Specific mobs for the Scourge quests, so that you’ll have camped mobs? I’ll never do that quest anymore, ever. But as I want to see the new quests, I’ll have to continue grinding it out, to hit Exalted and get the Crusader title. Bleh.
  • The Block changes are lame. Diminishing returns on Shield Slam is also not very exciting. 
  • Despite having similar combat ratings to Dodge now, Parry is still weaker, and diminishes more quickly than dodge. What’s the point?
  • I do not like the change to Tidal Waves for shamans. I will miss my super-fast Lesser Healing Waves.
  • Why did Blacksmiths get zippo zilch? Every profession got a boost, blacksmiths get absolutely nothing.
  • I don’t care about the new raid yet, because as long as Ulduar isn’t cleared, I don’t want to set foot in there. Strangely enough I feel a bit rushed now.

All things considered, the cons list is not that bad. It could be a lot worse. So, a very mixed bag, this patch. How about you guys, what are your thoughts on 3.2, what do you like, what do you hate? Would love to hear opinions. :)

Apr 14 2009

3.1 through the eyes of a prot warrior

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It’s going live today, how exciting. All raiders are probably chomping at their bits to set foot into Ulduar. Casuals will flood the Argent Tournament. Dual-specs will turn out exciting for most everyone, I assume. 3.1 is the biggest patch to date, Blizzard says.

But what’s in it for protection warriors? Let’s have a closer look. I will be listing all the stuff that seems relevant to me as a prot warrior.

  • Defensive Stance: Now reduces damage caused by the warrior by 5% (previously 10%). That’s a flat increase in DPS and threat for us, so that’s a pretty awesome change.
  • Soloing fury warriors get a buff, as berserker stance makes you take 5% more damage instead of 10%. Everyone in battle stance gets 10% armor penetration now. As there are more changes to armor penetration, it really seems that Blizzard is trying to make this actually useful.
  • Last Stand: Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. This is pretty awesome again, because it means we can fully macro Last Stand+Enraged Regeneration now and really save our butts every 3 minutes. With the Glyph of Last Stand you can push that cooldown to 2 minutes, which will probably a huge lifesaver in progression fights in Ulduar.
  • Warbringer: Now also allows Intervene and Intercept to be used in any stance. Can you see us zipping around non-stop? I can. That’s some insane mobility.
  • Mobility is the name of the game for Arms warriors as well now: New Talent: Juggernaut: Grants the warrior the ability to Charge while in combat. Critical strike chance of next Slam or Mortal Strike increased by 100% following Charge.
  • All flasks now last 1 hour. To compensate, all flask recipes will provide 2 flasks for the same material cost. This is actually great for me as casual raider. We raid for 3 hours per raid day, which means I am no longer wasting away an hour of flask time while fishing.
  • Increased the health granted by the Flask of Stoneblood. I still think it’s a terrible flask compared to the TBC tank flask. An avoidance or threat stat along with the health wouldn’t have hurt.
  • Added new recipes for epic gear, found rarely on Ulduar bosses. These recipes are unbound and can be traded. Those blacksmithing plans are pretty amazing, item level 226, and as they only drop in Ulduar 25, prices on the AH will be astronomical, once raiding guilds have handed them out to all guild blacksmiths.
  • A new recipe has been added to cooking trainers for making Black Jelly, using several Borean Man ‘O War as ingredients. While it looks disgusting, it restores more health and mana than the highest level food. Less time spent eating means more time to do stuff, so I approve. It does prove that fishing and cooking always go together. *flexes her new fishing 450*
  • New glyphs for tanks:
    • Glyph of Barbaric Insults: Increases threat on Mocking Blow by 100%.
    • Glyph of Enraged Regeneration: Your Enraged Regeneration ability heals for an additional 10% of your health over its duration.
    • Glyph of Last Stand: Now reduces the cooldown of Last Stand by 60 seconds. The penalty on maximum health gained has been removed.
    • Glyph of Shield Wall: Reduces the cooldown on Shield Wall by 3 min, but Shield Wall now only reduces damage taken by 40%.
    • Glyph of Shockwave: Reduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 seconds.
    • Glyph of Spell Reflection: Reduces the cooldown on Spell Reflection by 1 second.
    • Glyph of Vigilance: Your Vigilance ability transfers an additional 5% of your target’s threat to you.

    The best of the new glyphs all enhance our survival abilities and will certainly be worth a consideration for progression tanks.

  • Damage Shield: Fixed a bug which caused this ability to benefit from Recklessness. Aw, dang. :)
  • Improved Revenge: This talent will now increase the damage done by Revenge by the proper amount. I am hoping this means it will do more damage now, not that it did too much in the past. Anyone know?
  • Last but not least, the two most amazing and useful changes ever: Loot from clams now stacks correctly! Changed the icon for Succulent Clam Meat so it doesn’t look quite as disgusting. Now 100% more succulent! Thank you Blizzard, clam lovers across the world bow to you. >.>

And now a quick look at my dual specs. I am a dedicated tank, and while DPS possibilities are huge for warriors now, I will be going with two different tank specs. My first spec is going to be my current Deep Wounds build. I love the TPS I can do with this build. As possible second spec I am contemplating this build. It goes down to Commanding Presence in the fury tree, for more health with CS. Also picks up Piercing Howl which should be a boost for add tanks. I’d also pick up Imp Demo Shout and Imp Spell Reflect, and go with the survival glyph, to be optimal for boss fights.

How about you? Now’s the perfect time to share warrior builds! :)

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