Sunday, December 6, 2009

Eight days...

So... The guild has been a little weird lately. We went 2-3 weeks without doing more than the daily heroic as a guild because of poor attendance. Raid night would come and we'd have 3-7 people on so we'd bag it. Two weeks ago, we decided to switch raid night to Thursdays because there were fewer conflicts. I also made the decision to fill out with PuGs once if we had at least 6 people on.

So the first Thursday of the new schedule, we had 8 people show up for Naxx. It was a couple of alts and some people who hadn't been out in a while. So at 8:30, I grabbed the first two people who responded to:

"LF2M DPS Naxx 10. Must need gear."

Funny how it only took me 2 minutes to fill the slots. It turns out that the people we got knew what they were doing and didn't _really_ need gear. We started plowing through the instance. Along the way, our idiot tank and our even dumber death knight showed up... Oh. Sorry. We're full. Raid time is at 8 and I even gave you 30 minutes on top of that... But I digress...

We had some people doing new things. We had some alts. Our only mage (who gets played) was on his priest and healing. We had a healer DPSing. A DPS/PvP death knight who has a decent tanking set was doing the off tanking. We had a hunter who had never seen any fights other than Sapphiron and KT... And the two PuGs.

But we rolled the spider wing. So we decided to do the construct wing. And we wiped on Patchwerk but that was two failures of communication. After that, we stomped him. And we had some people leave poison clouds in the middle of the room on Grobbulus but we got through it. Our first timer hunter (my brother... If that matters) was the best candidate for kiting on Gluth and he didn't really get what had to be done the first try. But he clearly "got" it on the second attempt. Mind you, he was one of the first to bite it on Thaddeus.

We lost a DPS after Thaddeus and it was hard to avoid picking up the idiot tank... And we couldn't stop because I'd warned them that if we picked up any PuGs, we would be clearing more than just two wings and that we would go until we started making mistakes. So... We pressed on to the Plague Wing. Rolled Noth (why is he even a boss? There's no danger of screwing that one up... ever. I've even considered doing it with one tank). We only had one death on Heigan (a new guild record) and that was the first time hunter. Then we lost our main healer. So we had a priest and a paladin go to their healing specs to cover for her. But the idiot tank wanted us to fill out with his idiot friend dk. But people were getting twitchy so we decided to run the gauntlet to Loatheb without him. Unfortunately, the mage turned priest dropped a heal about half way through and died in a spot where we couldn't rez him. So we had to run back. People died... We ran back in... The dk showed up... Blech. But we got through the gauntlet and dropped Loatheb.

People were getting punchy... I already had them about 45 minutes later than they like to raid. So we decided to pick it up on Monday.

Over the weekend, the dumb as... Well... I can't think of anything that would be a fair comparison... The idiot dk had his account hacked. Had his gear vendored and large chunks of the guild bank were cleaned out. When I heard we'd been hacked, I could have guessed who got hacked in two... If pressed, I would have gotten it in one. Fortunately, there wasn't anything that we couldn't replace easily in the guild bank and now he didn't have the gear to raid for a while. I decided to call it a win.

On Monday, one of the two warriors was available so we grabbed them and 9 guildies. We had some confusion on Raz. The idiot warrior tank's Understudy just "disappeared". Funny... I've done that fight 20 times and that's never happened to _me_. And he's on at least his 5th time tanking and he _still_ hasn't figured out that he has to dismiss the understudy. He just waits for the channel to end and picks it up again... Which means that he can only be the second tank... But I digress.... Again...

We wiped on Four horsemen because I forgot to mention the void zones in the back to our druid healer and she stood in one. She got it the second time though. We had a flawless attempt on Sapphiron. One shot. Boom. KT was a little more... Exciting.

And then the next day, we had 10 on so we did Vault. It was the first time some of them had ever downed Koralon. And we did it with a tank with just 30k health. No problems. So on Thursday, we decided to try our hands at Ulduar. And we rolled Flame Leviathan... And XT... And Razorscale. So in eight days, we went from taking 3 weeks to clear the entry level raid in WotLK to clearing it in one lockout period and starting on the next one. The next week, we got those three and Kologarn and Ignis... The Ignis fight being very interesting... Both tanks died at less than 1%. We were riding high.

But then the next week, we only had 8 people on and could only do Flame Leviathan. And then people stopped showing up altogether. That was at about the time when 3.2 came out and so now we could get Tier 8 and 9 gear by running heroics. So I ran the daily heroic at least once per day on my druid and if anyone in the guild wanted to go, I had a backup tank. And that was OK. At least people were getting gear. Onyxia came out about a few weeks later so I PuGged that for a while... And now the guild has done that about 3 times on 10 man.

I, on the other hand, decided to take a shot at TotC on the druid while the guild stagnated. I watched videos of all of the fights. I read the strats... And I got myself into a run as a tank in a PuG... And we cleared it. So the next week, I did it on 10 and 25. Last week I actually found myself in a Trial of the Grand Crusader run... That's.. Wow. A lot of fun. Stressful, but fun. We only cleared the first 4 bosses but I learned a lot more about the encounters. And I started gearing my mage. Got lucky in a 25 man Vault run and got two pieces. I parlayed that gear into an Ony 25 run... And I won an iLevel 245 caster dagger. And then I did an Ony 10 and got the helm... One that is identical to the one I wore for about a year on my Alliance mage back in the day... And now my horde mage has cleared TotC 25 as well.

And now that I've seen TotC several times, I figured we could run the guild through it. It seems perfect for us: No trash. Only five fights to learn and you're done in under two hours... But on raid night, we only had one tank. We tried the first fight with an offspec dk tanking... It didn't work out. So we ran Ony again. And then our other two tanks logged on. It was bed time for everyone else but now they were suddenly gung ho to run TotC. Too late... We were done for the night. Raid time is raid time.

I believe that patch 3.3 is coming on Tuesday and hopefully with the changes to the emblems, the entire guild will be able to get gear by running chain heroics... Maybe then we can do the current content. As for me, I have every intention of PuGging Icecrown Citadel as soon as it comes out. I appear to have the gear for it.

Time to move the laundry...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's that time again...

It seems like the only time I update this blog is while I'm doing laundry. I started a few posts but never really thought they were going anywhere so I bagged it.

And there is news to report... The guild _finally_ cleared Naxxramas. I know, right!!! It took us a total of 6 nights across 3 raid lockout periods, but we got it done. The first two nights were pretty much clearing everything but four horsemen. We had the people to do 4 horsemen on the second night but three pulls from the boss(es) we had three people disconnect and they never came back. So it sat for another night. The next time in, we took down the 4 horsemen in one shot. Everyone did their jobs flawlessly.

So we moved on to Sapphiron... And wiped a good solid 4 times. So we called it... And came back another night... And we took him out in one shot. This was due in large part to a change in tactics... Namely, instead of letting our idiot warrior tank it, I tanked it on my dr00d. With 45k health (it's almost up to 50k with full raid buffs these days), it made things go a lot smoother. So we moved on to KT... And wiped a few times.

So we came back on a Monday and we had the "right" people and... Another one shot.

You'd think I'd be happy... And I am... Sort of. But the next night, we tried for OS 10 with one drake up... And we barely even got off the ground. We have people standing in void zones and getting tail swiped and hit by flame waves. After 3 or 4 attempts, I tried healing it... But our idiot warrior tank turned the boss the wrong way and basically the entire raid got tail swiped and stunned and killed by a flame wave. Ironically, when we finally threw in the towel because it was "too hard", he turned the boss the "right" way. I could scream.

And now that Naxx is clear, people are talking about moving on to Ulduar and they're getting pissy when I say "we're not ready". I say this because, we're not. No amount of gear is going to help if people do dumb things. On the Sapphiron wipes, the idiot warrior tank was told "turn the boss slightly to the right". He turned it about 100 degrees... At least he got "right" correct. So I showed him the line I wanted it tanked on... Same thing. We had one healer die three times on the successful Sapphiron kill - every time by not being close enough to an ice block. On KT, we have one paladin who Failbot saw as failing at Void Zones 6 times - 5 on the night of wipes and 1 on the successful kill. Just last night, we pulled 4 packs of mobs that we generally try to leave up. Someone (OK.. A death knight... One dk did it three times and another got the last group) wandered a little to close or backed into them. And, of course, the warrior tank couldn't figure out how to release his understudy on Rasuvious so we wiped on that a good solid 4-5 times before we got lucky and got him to 4% before he killed the other understudy and we were able to kite him around long enough to down him. Did I mention that the other tank has done this 3 or more times already. He spent most of his time not tanking staring at a wall while my bone shield was down. At one point, I took three rotations in a row. But I digress...

I could go on and on with specific examples of how we're not ready. Fortunately, less radical voices in the guild have been saying similar things. We're back to storming through Naxx. I'm back to cringing when they do something incomprehensible. I'm weaning them off the bear because... He just makes things too easy. It will force them to slow down and figure stuff out. I've started telling them that certain mobs have whirlwind abilities (I should mention that we can usually only field one or two ranged DPS out of 10 because the others are all rogues, warriors, dks or ret paladins) and suggesting that they try to interrupt the whirlwinds so they don't all get instagibbed. In Heroic TotC, I've been insisting that the warrior tank pick up ALL of the adds and not just the melee ones (that actually didn't go over well... He informed the party that he was the tank so we were going to do it _his_ way. I let him. It failed miserably. But we got it after about 6 tries. And then on the Black Knight, you're supposed to kite to _avoid_ the desecrations... Not kite for the sake of kiting and CERTAINLY not directly INTO them). I've been pointing out which mobs can be skipped and screaming into the ether when they pull them. I've been running failbot so they can see why they're dying. I've been actually paying attention to Recount and checking that against their specs. We have one death knight who put 66 points into the unholy tree but without a specific plan. He put 2/5 into important things, but 5/5 into something that is clearly a tanking talent. And when you compare that to the battle logs, he put a point into Scourge strike but only used it 48 times in two wings of Naxx... One third of his damage comes from melee and another 25% comes from Death and Decay (which led to a few early deaths when he popped it first... Still doesn't learn though... "causes a large amount of threat"... /sigh). Sometimes I think I may have to try to teach him a dps rotation of some kind... But other times I say "what's the point? He won't learn". I mean... The guy has 4 pieces of tanking gear, two rogue pieces and a spell power enchant on his melee DPS set.

But it's going to be a long road and I don't know that I'm patient enough to make them into better players. We've never been a guild who told people how to play... But if people want to progress, maybe I'll get some traction to let me set up a "raiding" spec for some of them. Take them to a target dummy and show them how their way isn't working... Like in Days of Thunder. Then again, I may just stop running with them and just PuG everything. It's actually a lot less stressful for me.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August Laundry Day Update

Whoa... Been a while... What's happened since I posted last? Let me think:

I finished leveling my shaman. Got a dual spec. Went resto. Let me tell you... If you're a loot whore, roll a caster shaman. I did a couple of heroics and got enough gear to heal Naxx 10. Got enough gear doing that to heal Naxx 25 and Vault 25 the next week. In two runs through Naxx 25, I came away with 4/5 tier 7.5 and the tier 8.5 gloves... And then I got bored with him. I'll do vault every now and then but I pretty much shelved him.

I picked up my first character: an Alliance mage called Gifteye. Man... I've missed playing him. I did a LOT of Wintergrasp and pretty much leveled from 76 to 80 doing Argent Crusade, Ebon Blade, Argent Tournament and Sons of Hodir daily quests. He'll be an exalted champion with all 5 factions in 8 more days, exalted with SoH and Ebon Blade tomorrow and Argent Crusade probably later in the week. He's starting to get to a point where he can two shot most level 80 mobs... But he's on a low pop server that uses the Trade channel to form groups... Which means I have to lurk in cities and do nothing to _maybe_ find a group for something. Not my style... So I don't do instances. I'm considering moving him to a higher population server... Maybe even my Horde server now that we can have toons of opposite factions on the same PvP server.

I've finished Naxx 25 on hiaHoTah... Still wearing a couple of blue pieces in my healing set. The changes to emblems from heroics should remedy that. I'm a couple of days of "doing a few heroics" away from a tier helm token.

Summer came and has pretty much stopped all guild activities. We're lucky if we can get 4 people for a heroic and PuG a fifth. The last two days, our _other_ druid tank and I did a heroic with three PuGs. It's nice to run with DPS that doesn't stand in fires but still... I'd rather run with our crew. Even the new 5 man instance isn't really bringing people back... And it drops epics like crazy - even on regular mode.

The last two times we've raided, we did OS-10 with 8 and we tried Vault 10. We got the Less is More achievement but... Oy. We had two death knights. One of them was _barely_ pulling 1k dps and each death knight got hit by the lava waves at least 14 times. If we go back in there, I'm setting failbot to announce to the guild. Maybe that will shame them into... Well... Being at least half awake. On the Vault run, we had to PuG two DPS and we wiped on Emalon for about an hour and a half. While I respect their grim determination... It was still frustrating. We were right on the edge with DPS so we couldn't bring in another healer but the healing couldn't quite keep up with the death knights getting hit by lightning nova. One slip would cause a wipe.

5 people moved at the end of June. Two of them still don't have internet access yet. One should get access Monday.

2 people have had children... In the last two weeks. This includes our second best healer. This means that I'll end up healing if we ever start raiding again... And our tanks will be someone who means well but... He plays a warrior... And we know how I feel about warriors... And the other can't see ground effects... Like fire. On the plus side, we'll be able to extend raid lockouts... Which means we may actually finish Naxx 10 now.

The 3 toons I play on the horde side now have healing specs and decent healing sets and I spend most of my time healing.

Say what you want... But I stand by my assertion that the horde are much bigger douchebags than the Alliance. I have been ganked (or at least had people try it... I'm pretty slippery) more times in the last week on my mage than happened on my horde druid, paladin and death knight from 70 to 80. There's one huntard who either camps the Sons of Hodir base or keeps the exact same hours I do. Total pussy about it to. Won't attack me if I target him first. Will only shoot me in the back... When I've engaged a mob... DESPITE the fact that I've never ONCE gotten him below half health. And that time I rezzed and mounted... He flew away.

But things are looking up. Summer is ending. My brother is making noise about starting up again. We're gettiong one of our leading voices back. He's excited to have new druid feral forms. The healer's new baby is "ez mode" compared to the twins he had two years ago. If that continues he might be back raiding in another 2-3 months. I'm hoping Patch 3.2 will be very good for us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Bear is Back!!!

One of the nice things about my life is that I have so much vacation time stored that if I don't take, on average, a half day a week off, I'll go over the limit of vacation days that you can accrue. So, I decided that rather than taking "on average" half a day off a week, I'd take exactly half a day off per week. I still have enough time of that if I decide I want to spend a month or two in Europe, I can but it also means that when it's 75 degrees outside and the first truly spectacular afternoon of the year, I'm sitting in the sun instead of sitting at work wishing I was outside.

Now mind you, the day star is so bright that I can really only make out black writing on a white background - meaning that I can't play WoW, but that's a cross I'm willing to bear.... So to speak...

But speaking of speaking about bears... I have REALLY enjoyed having Hiahotah as a bear again. I enjoy Wintergrasp more. I find the abilities far less constricting than death knight tanking. I've missed the feeling of nigh-invincibilty I used to have back in BC. But it's also nice to know that I have a powerhouse healer at the ready with just the click of a few buttons... And I won't have to reset all of my toolbars... That's the big perk for me.

I've also been enjoying being able to take my druid out in public without worrying I'll be ganked by two lowbie rogues working together. I had a plan a few months ago to heal for tanking loot and, for the most part, that plan has worked out. I've gotten any number of instance drops that fell to me because I was the only one who could equip them. I also picked up a TON of emblems of heroism to augment my tanking set.

I've also been enjoying questing in cat form. That's something I've missed. And Wintergrasp is fun again. I can actually participate a little more actively than I could just standing and healing "whoever was close by". The other day, I solo'd a ret paladin when he caught me at 75% health. It felt good (incidentally, they're harder to tank than warriors and rogues. You can still sort of do it but you have to be smart about when you use your stuns and frenzied regeneration).

The one complaint I have is with the improved Mark of the Wild. Two ranks and they not only improve MotW, but they also increase all of your stats by 1% each. Which means, I pretty much _had_ to take it for tanking. No choice really. You really have to take it. More stamina. More dodge. More attack power. More mana. Faster regeneration (even though only nominally). Yes, please.

The problem is that I had to give up either two points in Furor or two points in the feral tree. I opted to give up two in furor in favor of "potentially lowering melee speeds". But now I'm sometimes caught without rage. It's fine if we're stringing together fights, but last night trying to do a timed CoS run, we had to wait a full 2 minutes for Arthas to show up (which ultimately cost us the drake) and all of my rage decayed. So when I couldn't generate threat on the first three mobs in the Town Hall, one of them wtfpwned a consecration happy paladin.

Druids really only have swipe and demoralizing roar for AoE threat generation and they require rage. It's fine once the fight had gotten going, but at the start, it can result in dead dps. I've had to resort to using Enrage... Something I've never really done.

It's not a real problem and the benefits outweigh the costs... It's just something new to adjust to. And maybe I'm not even the one who has to adjust... Maybe I'll just let the dps figure out my rage generation problem on their own.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shaking off the rust...

It's Laundry day.. Again... So this is my first real chance to sit down with "nothing to do" since Patch 3.1 came out. Here are my early impressions:

1) I'm really disappointed with the Argent Tournament. It seems to be a combination of the worst parts of The Oculus (mounted combat) and "just making sure you have an epic flying mount". It really is just a lot of flying around. Fly to Crystalsong Forest. Fly back. Fly to Crystalsong. Fly back. Fly to Crystalsong Forest and then fly to Howling Fjord and then... Wait for it.. Fly back. The early dailies aren't interesting or even challenging. At least when they came out with the Shattered Sun dailies you had a chance at getting a badge of justice every now and then. If nothing else, you got a lot of BoE greens that you could vendor, AH or disenchant. And while the Netherwing dailies seemed... "Grindy", there was a kickass reward at the end of the table. I suppose you could grind for a very long time and get a new flying mount but... Eh. I've got as many flying mounts as I need. I'm hoping it picks up in the future but so far, I'm not optimistic.

2) Mana regen and the lifebloom changes - I'm not loving the mana regen in 3.1. While _some_ people may have had so much regeneration they had seemingly endless mana pools, I did not. I find I run OOM a lot faster... And so does our other resto druid. When we went to Naxx with two resto druid healers who hadn't really done an instance yet, it took us a while to figure things out. It was pretty sloppy to start... And... Well... I'll get into that later. The cost of lifebloom doubling hurts but the number you have stacked on a target affecting the bloom is nice. I saw more than one three stack crit for over 14k. Sadly, you can't really time that when you need it. I found out about halfway through the run that the way to manage mana is to just let the lifebloom stacks bloom and put them up again. It helps but it's not quite enough. I guess next time we'll have to make sure that we have replenishment and a paladin for blessing of wisdom.

3) Dual specs - This is the game changer for me. I play a druid, a paladin and a death knight. I had one healer, one DPS and one tank. Now I have two of each and I can swap them around a little without having to leave the instance. It's not like I oculdn't afford to respec one toon for whatever was needed, but... I hate setting up the buttons all the time. This was 3k gold well spent. Now the druid is a tank and healer. The paladin is primarily a DPSer but can heal if needed. And the death knight can tank or DPS... Sort of...

4) I'm pretty sure they nerfed death knight DPS. Before the patch, I was doing about 1.7 dps with a tanking spec and dps gear. Post patch, I'm only getting up to 1.5k on the training dummies. Maybe that will go up on mobs but I'm not holding my breath.

5) I'm not a big fan of Savage Defense. That combined with the overall druid tanking nerfs has really hurt one of our main tanks. He used to run at about 29k health unbuffed but on Thursday it was around 26k. And he was a lot more fragile. He just didn't have the mitigation he used to. He would take huge spikes in damage... Not good when you have two druids rolling HoTs and not really watching for spikes. We will now...

With #5 in mind, I took Hiahotah out in his new bear spec (it's nice to be able to go out in public without worrying about being ganked by level 72 and 75 rogues working together while you're out fishing... Don't worry... The paladin made them pay for their transgressions...). Cat DPS is low but then again, nothing lssted long enough to really build up to anything. As for tanking, I use the level 81-82 elite Pustulent Horrors (I'll check the spelling later... Maybe) just inside Icecrown (there are 5 on the dam) to check migitation and damage. I went in and killed the first one witout taking more damage than Improved Leader of the Pack could return (so no more than 4% health every 4 second). I was pleased to find that I was on the quest to kill those guys so I did some more. The second and the third were the same story. So I pulled two at once. I took a little damage before the first one was down. But after I got down to just one, I got back to full health... OK... Time for something harder.

I'd planned to pull a pack of 8-10 melee, but I stumbled across the elites in the Bombardment. I pulled 3 level 80 elites. I got down to 15k health (from 29k to start) before the first two were down. I didn't use Berserk or Frenzied regeneration or anything, really. Just made sure I remembered where the swipe button was. So now I'm thinking that our other druids problems are gear related. Time will tell, I guess.

That was last night. This morning I tanked a heroic Violet Hold with a dk I know (from a previous PuG) who could sustain 3k dps. He was a challenge threat-wise because he has no patience and there's one spawn location where the mobs go different directions that is still problematic - particularly when I have no rage. But it worked out. Cleared the instance, nobody died. I'm calling it a win.

And it would seem that I have another 17 minutes before the first load comes out of the dryer... So...

On Thursday, we had 8 level 80's on, but only 1 person who had a tank and one person who had a healer who wouldn't be tanking. So we gathered up some of the newbies to do heroic Gundrak. About halfway there, two of our tanks logged on. OK... Impromptu Naxx... Which was fine because we hadn't gotten a chance to raid on Tuesday because the servers were down and then unstable. But I hadn't healed on my paladin yet, so I stuck with my druid. It was a little sloppy at first while people got used to new specs and subtle changes to old spells but we got rolling eventually. We one shot Razuvious, Anub'Rekhan, Faerline and Noth. Not bad with two first timers, a nerfed bear tank, no paladins, no voice chat (not sure what was wrong there... But we typed what we needed to. We did Karazhan that way towards the end... No biggie), and two nerfed resto druids. I didn't think we had the co-ordination for Maexxna so we opted for Patchwerk.

Patchwerk is both a gear check (even with that crew, we had the gear, thank you very much) and nightmare for resto druids. It goes against everything we're used to. We wiped twice because we couldn't keep the tanks up using "commone sense"... So we assigned tanks. That worked better but it was really, really tough and drained out mana. I think the other druid went OOM at the end because her tank dropped like a stone at 1% during the soft enrage. After the melee went down, our druid tank was eating the hateful strikes too so it was tough to keep him up. He hovered at 0% for what seemed like an eternity. But we downed him finally and had to call it a night. After Patchwerk, a lot of what's left is getting people to move at the right times. I think we can clear all of Naxx if we can just find the time. At least people are getting excited about it again.

Oh. Laundry's done. Gotta run.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Because You're Wearing a Shield...

... That doesn't mean you're a tank.

There. I said it. Somebody had to. We were _all_ thinking it but why is it always me who has to be the one who actually says it. No wonder everyone hates me.

I ran heroic Nexus on my secret death knight alt last night and I should have seen the warning signs right away. The warrior tank couldn't hold aggro to save his life. Lost aggro twice on the first pull... Which consists of one mob. The second pull was... Peculiar. I took a lot of damage from "somewhere". I'm guessing the two dogs that were flanking the humanoid.

The first three pull, however, was the really telling on. He locked onto a mob and never looked at the others. So when they healer did his job, they went straight for him. I was trying to lock down a healing mob when I saw that there was a mob on the healer. When I taunted him, I had _two_ mobs on me. In DPS gear and in blood presence, I dropped pretty quickly. It was enough for us to get through that fight but we wiped on the first boss because of the same issues.

It was shortly after that when I said "screw it" and put on my tanking gear and frost presence. I'm not a tanking spec on that toon but my gear is good enough that I can fake it on trash. I can at least make sure that the healer is OK... But here's the thing:

I ended up tanking everything... ALL of the trash. Even the mob the warrior "tank" was on. I mean... Maybe, you lose a mob here or there. But to not notice that your target isn't attacking _you_? That's too much.

I died on the mage boss during the second split because I was in my DPS gear and had two of the three copies on me... At least two. We wiped on Anomalus because the warrior lost aggro (and I was in my DPS gear/blood presence) and mashed the squishies... Tanking gear back on for attempt two. I ended up tanking him about 40% of the time. But I couldn't do the damage to the rifts so... It was dicey. The rock boss was about the same as the second attempt on Anomalus: Dicey, I tanked about 40% of the fight, but we got through it... Come to think of it... That's how the last fight went... But with a twist. The shaman (who was geared and a good player) had started putting earth shield on me instead of the warrior. He knew what was what.

I was so frustrated that I actually remembered the warrior's name and looked him up this morning. He's fully Fury and Arms. Not a single point in prot. While it is irresponsible to tank a heroic in his gear without a tanking spec... There's more to tanking than just a spec and a shield.

Tanking is an indelicate balance between keeping aggro on all of the mobs while maintaining a lot more threat on the target mob. While a proper spec helps with this, so does reading your tooltips and looking for abilities that "generate additional threat" as opposed to your normal DPS rotation. Yes, damage does generate threat, but Sunder generates more. You should know where your defensive cooldowns are and which to use when. You should know which talents are good for mitigation and which are good for threat generation and you should choose those over talents that generate more damage. Which is to say, you should be familiar with your class.

Tanking means knowing the fights... And I'm not saying "all the fights"... But you should have played enough to know what mobs look like healers and which are ranged because most tanks are made the de facto party leaders for marking purposes. And you should pay attention because most trash mobs are repeated through an instance. Which is to say, you should know the game.

Tanking also requires situational awareness. This is a trap I've seen too many tanks fall into. They lock down one mob while 3 others are allowed to do whatever they want. Not only does this cause wipes, it fosters frustration within the group. You need to be aware of when CC breaks and doesn't get applied. You need to keep an eye out for mobs moving in odd ways. And you should also tab through the targets to make sure that every one of the mobs is looking at you. Which is to say, you should be familiar with your role.

No matter how good your gear is... No matter how cookie cutter your tanking spec is... If you fail in any of those areas, you're going to be a bad tank. And that may be fine if the people you're running with _know_ you're a bad tank because you told them. But if you sign up to tank a heroic with people you don't know, the expectation is that you'll have at least a passing familarity with the instance, with your abilities, with the role of a tank and that you've got at least _some_ points in tanking talents.

This guy from last night... Had none. But he did, however, have a shield.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stop and smell the roses

I was doing the Argent Crusade quest lines on my new Alliance death knight the other day. Now that I'm on my fourth trip through these quest lines and know where everything is and basically what the story line is, I have more time to look around at the stuff that's going on around me... Well that and my last go round is on a PvE server so I don't have to worry about that social misfit... I mean rogue that's lurking around because they can't find a party for anything... Last night, I got to the one where you get ported to moonglade from Icecrown to collect three acorns and then get ported back. With time to smell the roses, I had time to appreciate the portal...

That's exactly the kind of portal a druid would make. All green with ivy creeping up the sides. Then I started thinking (and yes... I know... This is where most of my trouble starts)... Druids have Teleport: Moonglade spell. And I've always been OK with it - until I really examined the portals that were part of that quest line. Now I want Teleport: Moonglade to leave one of those. It's like the first time I learned that you could deep fry a grilled cheese sammich. I'd never thought of it before... But now that I know it can be done... I want it. I want it like a rogue wants a girlfriend and to move out of his parents' basement.

Death Knights get the totally awful Death Gate spell that _they_ can use to port to their base of operations and they leave them EVERYWHERE. I'll be walking around Dalaran, turn a corner and... Blech. Death Gate. But imagine if you were out strolling around the wastes of Icecrown and you came across a portal to Moonglade... Maybe with some flowers around the base for flair. It would brighten your day...

Unless you were on a PvP server. That could just be a precautionary measure put in place by the druid who is about to thrash you. If it goes poorly... He's Moonglade-bound. Yesssss.... We wantss it. Gives it to us. Nasty little Hobbitses.