Archive for March, 2010

Raiding update

March 31, 2010

My guild downed the princes on Sunday and we got the Blood Queen down under 50% – hopefully more progress this week.

Blood Queen seemed pretty simple – just keeping the order of the bites down and managing raid damage – pretty easy stuff.


Blizzard’s New Leveling Gear

March 29, 2010

When removing the badges recieved at the end of Battlegrounds, Blizzard inadvertantly made aquiring leveling gear far easier that it formerly was.  Here is how:

1. All PVP items are now able to be purchased with honor alone.

2. You can get rediculous amounts of free honor in a BOA format by just turning in Stonekeeper shards when your faction controls Wintergrasp. And with running loads of heroics for badges on your main, you probably have a huge amount of the shards.

3. Transfer the honor to your alt – One of the items gives 2000 honor – not bad for 30 Stonekeeper shards.

4. Now, prepair to run. Its quite the haul, but get yourself to Ashenvale to the Warsong Gultch Vendor. I linked WowWiki instead of WowHead as for some reason WowHead did not have the items associated with the vendors. You can get your hands on the following items for a little bit of honor – Key items this guy has for a leveling toon: Rings, Trinkets, Wrist – the guy sells other stuff as well, however most of it won’t be needed by a properly BOA’d alt. The wrist slot is especially nice, it gives you an epic gear piece at level 40!

5. Next, head to the Arathi Highlands and talk the the vendor in your factions “town” – I use this loosly for Refuge Point. These items from the Arathi Vendor will enable your alt to pick up Boots/Belt when leveling. And the best part about the boots – they come with the run speed enchant baked in!

And as an FYI – don’t buy the legs/shoulders from those vendors. They are level 60 and you’ll get better stuff doing quest in Hellfire. Not to mention that the Battleground level 60 set is both equally as cheap, and looks far cooler!

On my Dwarf Rogue – Rarity – I picked up all the upgrades in advance – so I wouldn’t have to make the trips back in the future – especially to Ashenvale (I hate the run to that vendor alliance side- it’s in middle of nowhere) Even still it cost very little to get everything I needed from the vendor out there You could probably  do a trip out there with only using 4-5 badges.

Enjoy the upgrades!

Updates and such

March 25, 2010

I haven’t had much time to put together my kung-fu set yet (no armor/health but a bunch of avoidance). I’m not sure how possible this set will be, but I’m willing to give it a go.  It would be nice to get a dodge trinket from ICC…but no luck yet.

Started working on the Three Princes in ICC 25 (If you could somehow kill 1 prince you’d have a Spin Doctors reference…boy am I not current) – got them to around 30% on 3 or 4 tries. Should have them down tonight if people show up.

Need some time to get some heroics down to finish up my 232/245 healing set on my Paladin. Sure, I enjoy priest healing far more, but I’m thinking Holy Light is just too good for a spam situation like Dreamwalker. Figured it would be useful for healer assistance on 25 man mode.

Evil Plan – or how I want to scare those that deserve it.

March 22, 2010

I have a new evil plan for running heroics with random pugs.

I am going to attempt to build a set of gear with the lowest amount of hit points that I can. However, I want the avoidance of a ninja. How am I going to do this? Not sure yet, but I feel like a challenge.

Obviously, I’m going to need to dump my stam trinkets. Probably throw on the dodge trinket from TOC10 and the Ony Trinket – Also, I’m going to start gathering up my old raid gear from the bank and regem it all avoidance.  Unfortunatly that gear all has a nice bit of stam included, so I may need to throw in some blue pieces I’ll craft to get it sufficiently down.  I may need to rely on shield block rating as well, but we’ll see if that is neccesary.

The goal of this set will be to have sufficient survivability while maintaining a low health pool to scare pugs. My normal set has me over 50k raid buffed. I’d like to join pugs sitting around 25k with a huge amount of avoidance.

Chase items

March 18, 2010

Ever have any items that just refuse to drop? At various points in time I have had a few. In kara my chase drop was the Sherminar Great Ring. I never saw it drop in the 9 or so months I ran Kara across 2 toons. I have never seen a tank wear one. I honestly think it was something someone made up and wowhead believed it.

My new chase item is Lavanthor’s Talisman. I know…a 200 level blue. But it is necessary for the block rating gimmick set (look at if you need to know why this is important.)  I no longer am working towards killing herioc Anub where this set would be useful, however I still want the trinket. It is the only piece I need to finish the set. And damn it all, I will go back to heroic Anub when I complete this set.

The thing that kills me about this trinket is that I already had it. You heard right. I got it probably my first run and kept it in my bank for a few months. Never used it and eventually sold it near the end of Naxx. Then 3.2 came and with it the need for an unhittable set. So I began to run Heroic VH when I could. However, Lavanthor never seemed to show up. I kept getting everyone else in there but him. And on the off chance that Lavanthor did show, he’d drop his axe or his boots.  I have fought him at least 6 or seven times I think, and every time its one of those two. And he only has 3 drops!

To add insult to injury, it seems that every scrub tank I run into while playing on my priest has the thing. And I know very well that when they get ANYTHING else, they will replace it.

Someday Lavanthor…someday…

I’m a Ninja!

March 16, 2010

I have several toons I play – a max level paladin, a priest, a mid 70’s hunter I can’t bring myself to level up, and a rogue.

I actually have 2 rogues on my account, both on the same realm. I leveled the first to level 18, and there he sits. I didn’t like him, so I didn’t play him. I liked his name, Slovotsky (a favorite character from a series of novels I used to read), but I didn’t like him. He looked similar to my Paladin. He was a human, who I specced into the combat tree. He sits in the inn in Lakeshire, and probably will until I delete him.

However, I shortly therafter created a new rogue. This one I liked. He is a dwarf. There really are very few dwarf rogues so I named him Rarity. And I like him. I leveled him to 18 as combat, then decided I wanted to feel more “Roguey” so I respecced to a Sublety build. I absolutly love it. I’m level 25 now and find myself playing him more.

Stealth is amazingly fun. I glyphed ambush for increased ranged. I glyphed pick pockets for increased ranged. I specced Dirty Tricks for increased sap range. I’m a freaking ninja and love it.

Paladin Abilities you are not using – Sense Undead

March 13, 2010

Every class has a few abilities that just are not used very much. For example, my hunter alt probably used aspect of the beast maybe twice while leveling on a PVP server. Overall however, in the PVE game, where else would you use this? To raise melee damage?

Paladins have a few of these underutilized abilities. Some are not used at level 80 because they are replaced. Some are not used during the leveling process and forgot about.

One such ability is Sense Undead. This ability was one that paladins recieve at level 20, however, for the longest time, just don’t use, especially if they have a gathering profession, as tracking herbs/ore turns off Sense Undead. All it does is mark any undead nearby on the minimap with a red dot. A minor glyph buffs this ability to grant an additional 1% damage vs. undead. Unglyphed this has limited functionality.

Around level 20, there are not a lot of undead mobs outside of instances.  There are a few, but not an exceptionally large amount. Some in Duskwood, and some most likley in the Blood Elf starting region (never played it, but I’ve been to the zone, I’m sure there are some there). I know that during my leveling experience, the need to know where undead were was not something that came up.

The unglyphed ability is useful primarily for Prot paladins as a tool for pulling, allowing them to know the location of patrols. I have found this especially useful for pulling the dog mini-bosses in ICC. However, if your not a tank, your not supposed to be pulling. Ret gets some use from the glyph for extra dps, but if you level ret (which used to be the primary way to level a pally) once again your not pulling.

I remember using this ability to a limited extent when running Kara at level 70, as a few of the mobs were undead, especially on the lower levels of the instance. Also, this would have been useful for a pally tank at level 60, but there really wern’t pally tanks at level 60. Elsewehere it had little use.

If this ability didn’t have the minor glyph that buffed damage against undead, most paladins still wouldn’t be using it.

ICC tanking and not falling asleep – Part 1!

March 12, 2010

I raid late. It happens. My schedule used to have me up to 4am est and raiding from 11:30pm to 2-230am wasn’t a big deal.  Now I raid then immediatly hop into bed.  So now, with my slightly earlier schedule, it is easier to be really tired by the time the raid is wrapping up.  Fortunatly, for my raid group, the fights in ICC are interesting enough to keep me awake.

I’ve only cleared 6 guys in ICC to this point and attempted 7 (I went on my alt priest as a healer to attempt Valithria Dreamwalker – no success, but a really fun fight.) But the bosses I have done actually make the tank perform.

For example:

Morrowgar – Tanks have to continually reposition and stack not the most difficult of fights, but engaging – Level 2

Lady Deathwisper – Tanks have to gain control of several adds at a time,  sometimes kite adds, and run a taunt rotation on phase 2.  Once again a level 2 fight.

Gunship Battle – One tank jumps over and grabs the enemy commander then jumps back. The other tanks grab adds.  Even with the requirement of using the jetpack this really is a Level 1 tanking fight.  Nothing remotely difficult even for a very new tank.

Deathbringer Saurfang – Tanks have to taunt off each other when one gets a debuff otherwise Saurfang heals. Watch aoe when bloodbeast spawn – That is the whole fight. Due to the importance of the taunting this would be a level 2 fight.

Festergut – Now this guy hits hard! I have been hit by him for over 30k when he has inhaled all of the gas in the room. Definatly a gear check. But also a skill check. When you are getting crushed for huge hits are your cooldowns ready for it? Are you helping out the other tank who is getting crushed for those hits? As a paladin, when the other tank on this fight is tanking the boss after 3 inhales I drop a Hand of Sacrifice on him to lessen the blows, as well as when the raid gets hit with Pungent Blight, I drop Divine Sacrifice to lessen raid damage by 20%, which will keep raid members alive if they missed a spore for any reason.

 He drops a stacking buff on you that increases the damage the tank does by 10% per stack. But at 10 stacks you blow up and basically wipe the raid.  Due to this being a dps race, as the tank, you want 9 stacks so that you can optimize dps.  At 9 stacks the other tank taunts off. What makes this interesting is that once you are taunted off of you need to stop producing threat so you don’t steal aggro – get your 10th debuff – and wipe the raid.  But you want to drop as much dps on the boss as possible. Leaving your tanking “stance” is necessary. Also, a Hand of Salvation can really allow  you to open up right at the onset.  Due to the importance of the tank in this fight, I would rank this a level 3 tanking fight.

Rotface – If your tanking the boss, this is a level 1 fight – stand there – run your rotation. If your kiting the add, this becomes a level 3 fight. You have to be close enough to the large ooze to keep aggro on it, however you need to be far enough away to not get hit for huge amounts of damage.  Also, keeping awareness of the room with the slime pulls keeps you on your toes.

As I try out new bosses, I’ll bring out part 2!

Tank Check – Al’ar

March 11, 2010

Perhaps I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, but in the second part of my series on the fights that take a little more tanking skill we go once again back to BC. This time however we travel to Tempest Keep for the first boss in the zone – Al’ar

To those who never experienced the phoenix boss, He was a two phase boss encounter. The first phase was relatively simple, but involved large amounts of movement for the raid and strong awareness for the tanks.

The room itself is instrumental in the fight. The room is circular with two ramps on the left and right sides of the room that lead up to a second level. On the second level are four platforms. Al’ar is found flying around his room and will not aggro until he is attacked – there is no proximity aggro. He will then fly to the first of the 4 platforms around the room. He has no ranged aggro table at this time, and only those in melee range will experience aggro as normal. After about 30 seconds Al’ar will move to the next platform clockwise and a tank needs to be already there to pick him up. If at any time Al’ar is at a platform he will begin to Flame Buffet which does 2000 damage and drop a stacking buff that increased fire damage by 10%. Also, every time the boss moved, he spawned an add. The adds did physical damage and when the died reduced Al’ar’s health by 2%. However, when they died they blew up for 7k fire damage with a knockback effect.

Every so often, Al’ar would fly to the center of the room and launch Flame Quills – anyone remaining on the upper level received large amounts of fire damage per second and was pretty much unhealable.

Phase 1 ended after Al’ar’s health was brought down to zero. Phase 2 takes place entirely on the ground level, as Al’ar is now grounded. Phase 2 is not an aggro dump, so a tank will need to quickly pick up Al’ar The boss will require 2 tanks as he puts up a debuff called “Melt Armor” which drops the targets armor by 80% for 60 seconds with a 60 second cooldown.

Also, in phase 2, Al’ar will periodically fly up into the air and crash into the ground, it does about 5k and spawns 2 phoenix adds, identical to the ones from the first phase.

Phase 2 also was a “don’t stand in the fire” fight, as occasionally fire would spawn under a random player that would tick for 3k. This was a significant number, remember, this is in a world where most toons had around 10k health.

For a tank, this fight has several things that set it apart as a challenging fight. The first phase was primarily easy, however tanks on the boss had to pay attention to the boss’s rotation and cover the correct platform at the correct time. At the time my guild did not contain membership with the overall skill level that we do today, and have had the misfortune of running this with tanks who for some reason could not understand the tanking rotation. For our first kill, I had to adjust the raid composition to bring 5 tanks in, one for each of the platforms, as I did not have enough tanks with the situational awareness to run the rotation. Realistically, this could be done with two tanks on the main boss, however, in practice on our early kills, I was forced to bring in more.
Also, in the first phase the add tank had to be quick enough to grab the adds as they proceeded down the ramp, although a hunter misdirect rotation often was used to draw the adds to the tank.

The second phase was the true challenge of this fight. Tanks on the boss continually had to trade off tanking the boss every minute due to the powerful debuff Al’ar dropped on them. They also had to continually move as the flame patches would also be applied to them. Following Al’ar crashing into the ground and spawning adds, the tanks also get back into melee range quickly, as Al’ar would use the flame buffet debuff when no-one was in melee range.

The add tanks had the challenge of getting to the spot in the room where the adds were spawned and establishing aggro to allow for the dps to open up on them. Remember, when this content was being run, threat was a real concern for tanks, as dps threat was a lot closer to the tank on threat generation, so snap threat was necessary to gain control of the adds before they decided the Warlock looked tasty.

The primary reason I look back fondly on this fight was the challenge of being the lone add tank for my guild in this encounter. Paladins at this time had the tools to solo tank all of the adds that spawned. Avenger’s shield allowed for ranged snap aggro on multiple targets, which was usually enough to grab both adds during phase 2 right away. Consecration allowed for threat to build on multiple mobs. And if someone grabbed aggro, we had a ranged multi-mob taunt to get it back. I wore the full fire resist set for this fight, which allowed me to take the add explosions without risk of death. (This also allowed me to learn that flame buffet is resistable…lol)

I remember the main difficulties I had were getting to where the mobs spawned quickly, and having enough mana to keep generating aggro. The mobs didn’t hit hard enough to really get a lot back from spiritual attunement, and Blessing of Sanctuary did not have the mana regeneration built into it as it does today. Divine Plea wasn’t even thought of. I primarily just chain mana pots to keep going when they were off cooldown.

This fight was one of the more engaging for a tank at the content level, and even today. It remains in my eyes as one of the premier encounters where a tanks situational awareness, threat generation, and resource allotment allow for successful completion of the fight.

Tank Check – Leothras the Blind

March 11, 2010

One of the fights I considered to be a Level 3 tanking fight was Leothras the Blind in Serpentshrine Caverns back in BC. This encounter was difficult from the tanking perspective for various reasons.

To those unfamiliar with the fight, it starts with a 3 add trash pull (the adds could hit surprisingly hard) which following their deaths Leothras became active.
Leothras is a three phase fight. He starts out in humanoid form where he does a whirlwind which drops a strong bleed dot on anyone it hits. During the whirlwind he randomly chases people around the room. At the end of the whirlwind aggro resets and he goes back to single target attacks.

Heading into Phase 2, aggro resets. Leothras turns into a Demon that drops a fire aoe centered on the main aggro target that stacks a fire debuff. During this adds called “inner demons” spawn on individual members of the raid that they have to deal with by themselves. If they failed they were mind controlled. At the end of this phase Leothras drops aggro and heads back to phase 1. At 15% he splits into both the demon and the humaniod at the same time and the humaniod form needs dpsed down.

This fight relied upon at least 2 tanks. In my guild we used 2. One tank was in full tanking gear for the humanoid phase. We used a warrior for this. The other wore full fire resist and tanked Leothras during demon phase. I tanked this for our guild as a paladin – we had a very hard time getting warlocks with a fire resist set, ours were not inclined to do so- (one had a mix of 70/60 Fire resist stuff – without stam he dropped ridiculously fast.)

There were several reasons this was a difficult tanking encounter first of which was the frequent aggro drop. For newer players, aggro drops mean that you have to hit taunt if the boss gets away from you. Back then taunts did not work on most bosses. If your tank died, chances our most of your dps would too, unless you were packing an off tank with good threat generation. In this fight having dps stop prior to a phase switch was necessary as threat wasn’t as easy to generate as it is now and taunts were ineffective when Leo was running towards the overzealous warlock.

The whirlwinds tended to cause the most havoc for a tank in this fight as the boss moved away from the tanking position and could be in any section of the room when it ended. If you had enough hunters you could set up a misdirect rotation on the tank, however misdirect had a long cooldown, so this could easily be interrupted with hunter death. Another trick was to drop a searing totem in the tanking position, which was effective if the boss did not move further than the totems range. One trick that I used during this fight was to use Seal of Vengeance – back in BC this was a sub-optimal seal as Righteousness put out more threat, and Vengeance was a “chance on hit” seal so there was no guarantee to get quick aggro from it. However in this fight I was not the primary tank during the humanoid phase so that quick aggro didn’t matter to me, My primary goal was to get Vengeance stacked so the boss would run to me after the Whirlwind and the warrior could grab him off of me. Even though I was wearing FR stuff instead of my full tanking kit it was still better for him to beat on my rather than a clothy.
Demon tanking as a non-warlock involved me insuring that I was as far away from the boss as possible and still be in his hit box. If I wasn’t, the melee got hit by the fire aoe and killed them quickly as they had no fire resist.

The humanoid tanks had another difficult task – dealing with their inner demon.
At that time, tanks did not have the dps capabilities that they do now. I never had to deal with one as I was tanking the demon phase, however our warriors had to get a full rage bar and spell reflect the shadow bolts back at them. If they failed, they had to be killed and battle rezzed if available, or it was a wipe. This added a whole additional level of responsibility on the tank.

I really enjoyed this fight as it gave the tanks a good challenge, using threat and position as the primary skill checks.