Monday, August 30, 2010

How to effectively tank the Lich King

I had to explain this to a fellow guildee last night, so I though it would make a good post and great information to any tank coming up on the LK fight.

First, you have to decide what role you're going to fill; Main tank or off tank.  And this decision actually has a lot to do with what class you are, and how good of a player you are.

You want situational awareness.  There a LOT going on during this fight, and you've got to keep track of a lot as one of the tanks.

PHASE 1 (LK 100% HP)
Main tank engages LK and positions him.  LK will spawn wave after wave of ghouls.  It's your job to pick up and hold aggro on these as well as the LK.

Offtank picks up the Shambling Horrors as well as one or two of the Ghouls.

Main mechanic - Necrotic Plague - stacking dot that thins out the ghouls and horrors. The plague jumps targets, and as it does it gains a stack becoming more powerful.  It's up to the raid to manage the stacks and make sure it does not fall off.  It's also the job of the healers to make sure this DOT does not tick on a player as it will kill them instantly (you have only a few seconds to get into the proper position for it to be cleansed off you and it jumps to a new target).


Everyone moves to outer ledge, finish off horrors and ghouls if you have any, and then lose the disease by having a player get out of range of everybody else and cleanse it off.  Here's where it gets tricky for the tanks.  The spirits that start to spawn do a conal silence effect.  This means your tanks are going to be silenced - this also means they cannot taunt.  We chose to bypass this by having the main tank stand off to the side out of the cone and taunt mobs to the off tank.  This allows the main tank to freely engage the LK at the start of phase 2 with no spirits also beating on him.

PHASE 2 (LK 70ish %)

This is the hardes phase, due to the RNG factor of Defile placements and well as valkyr paths.

Main tank engages LK and the entire group moves to the middle.  Off tank must be careful with positioning as you will likely have spirits up still.  Make sure you don't silence your raid.  A Valkyr will spawn and select a target - all dps must move to kill the Valkyr before she drops a fellow raid member off the platform.  Stuns and snares DO work, make sure you apply them. 

During the Valkyr, one raid member will be targeted for Defile, which puts an aoe where ever the player happens to be.  As the main tank has the LK targeted, it's help full to call out who's going to get hit, and hopefully people can move away from them ASAP.

As a tank, the main thing you need to be concerned with during this phase is placement of the LK as close to the center as possible with out getting in defiles, as well as dealing with Soul Reaper.  This deals 50.000 shadow damage to the tank and increases the LK's haste by 100% for five seconds.  If you're not prepared for it, you will more than likely get instagibbed.  Blow what ever cooldown you have to live through this.

Warrior tips:

 I find as a warrior tank that you can take 3 Soul Reapers before you need to worry about having your off tank pickup the LK.  On the first one, blow Shield wall, second pop Last Stand, and on the third pop your corroded skeleton key (4 piece tier 10 bonus works too) and enraged regen.  After which you will be out of cooldowns and should call for the off tank to pick up the LK right after you get the fourth Soul Reaper (you'll take the damage of the debuff, but will not have to worry about surviving the haste buffed LK).

DK Tips:

You are a one man army.  This is all you!  DKs are perhaps the best suited tank to deal with Soul Reapers.  If you're a good little DK and are specc'd into the blood tree, you're golden on this fight.  Dealing with Soul Reapers is cake, because you always have a cool down up and don't have to worry about another tank taunting.  You can chain your Vampiric Blood, Anti Magic Shell, and Icebound Fortitude and have them come off of cooldown in time to continue popping them.  (It's rather OP that the Anti Magic Shell makes you immune to the shadow damage suffered by Soul Reaper)

The off tank in this phase should help kill the Valkyrs after his spirits are dead.


Everybody off the platform again and get into the same setup as on the first transition phase, where one of the tanks taunts spirits to the other one.

PHASE 3 (LK 40 ish %)

Main tank drags LK to the complete edge of one side of the map, and the off tank drags any remaining spirits on the platform and finishes them off with the DPS. 

Main tank waits for vile spirits (Can't miss it, LK stops and raises Frostmourne and spirits come out of the sword.) and then hauls ass to the complete opposite side of the map.  Off tank should run around and try to soak up any of the spirits heading for raid members.  Rinse and repeat until LK is down to 10% at which point he kills all of you, and then you get your free kill after being resurrected by the NPC.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Through the Looking Glass

While I was waiting for LFD last night, I was mentioning to Soul about how similar --yet different-- the questlines are between Alliance and Horde.  I've not done a lot of quests on Tomakan as I've been using the LFD tool a lot, but I have done several quest chains in Ashenvale, and I'm partway through the Shady Rest Inn chain in Dustwallow.  What continues to interest me is how essentially the same chain can be viewed through two different lenses.

Take Felfire Hill for example.  The Draenei simply can't believe that they traveled this far just to have a Legion outpost nearby, and want to eradicate it.  While you're cleaning out the mess of demons, the secret plans for the assault on Forest Song drop, and you are then sent to wipe out the Dreadlords.  You see the quest entitled "Never Again!" and you know how important it is for the Draenei to eliminate the Legion.

Sounds like a perfect fit for the Draenei, but until you see the Horde side, you can't help but think that the quest chain was custom designed for the Alliance.

The Orcs, however, are outraged that this group of demons managed to survive.  They have nothing but disgust and hatred for their former masters, and want to destroy them at all costs.  When the plans drop for the assault on Splintertree Post, the Horde questgiver gives you the quest "Never Again!" with the orders to eliminate the Dreadlords.  The Horde will never be subject to demons again, and you believe it.

Same quest chain, two equally valid --yet different-- viewpoints.

Another comparison is the Shady Rest Inn chain.  For the Alliance, you're given a quest to check up on a relative, and when you arrive in Theramore you discover that there was a fire, and the wife and kid of the relative died.  Your job is to investigate the fire and bring the perps to justice, because the Alliance's laws will be upheld.  Contrast that with the Horde:  You enter Dustwallow Marsh and pass by this burned out husk of an inn, with the owner wandering around dazed.  He's human, but not flagged as an enemy.  Well, you think, what the hell happened here?  You arrive in the Horde outpost in Dustwallow and are pulled aside by a questgiver.  Thrall, the giver explains, has received word about the fire at the Inn and he knows that because it's on the border of the Barrens the Horde is the main suspect.  Thrall is anxious to keep the peace, so your job is to investigate the fire to demonstrate the Horde's good faith in maintaining the truce.  And if it does turn out that Horde people are implicated, show no mercy.

The same questline begins with completely different motivations:  Alliance is personal/legal, Horde is diplomatic.

Now that that's out of the way, I want to drop a big gripe about the LFD tool:  lack of context.  So far as I can tell, there are no quests or common ground for the opposing faction in the Deadmines, Ragefire Chasm, or Stormwind Stockades.  Sure, there's an achievement involved, but with LFD nothing highlights the lack of context quite like those three.  If you're Alliance, the Searing Blade means absolutely nothing to you:  an Orc is an Orc is an Orc.  To the Horde, the Searing Blade is serious bidness:  they want to return to the "glory days" of being Fel Orcs in the Burning Legion, and will stop at nothing to overthrow Thrall and the rest of the current Horde leadership.  Likewise, I had never heard of the Defias Brotherhood until I started leveling an Alliance alt.  "Big whoop," I said.  "A bunch of thieves.  Try the Scarlet Crusade on for size instead."  But for the Alliance, the Defias represents a real threat to the existing order, and have a nasty ol' surprise in store for leveling characters.

Don't get me wrong, I like the LFD tool.  It allows solo artists a chance to check out instances they ordinarily would have a difficult time getting into.  From a lore standpoint, however, I have to wonder about the dungeonmaster achievements gained via the LFD tool.  There's no context for several of the instances, and there never will be.  What I'd like to see is a separate achievement, highlighting all of the quests that touch on an instance, and have a separate achievement for that.  Call it "Contextual Obligations" or something similar, emphasizing that your toon has been involved with the lore leading up to the instance.

(EtA:  Cleaned things up because, you know, I need an editor.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Did Aragorn have these problems at Helm's Deep?

When I was in high school, laser tag was in its infancy.  A few places had opened across the country, and one in my hometown had popped up by my senior year.  That winter, one of the two physics teachers put together an outing to go the laser tag facility, and I found out about it through word of mouth and signed up.

The equipment was heavy, somewhere in the realm of 30 lbs./13.5 kg, and consisted of a jacket, a gun + backpack, and a solid blast helmet worthy of Star Wars.  The were two towers that contained the "flag" that each team was supposed to zap, plywood and carpet obstacles, and a couple of bridge and upper level areas.  Above the entire arena was an observation deck, where you could watch other people when they were playing.

Sounds an awful lot like PVP Battlegrounds, doesn't it?

Well, except for that part about the observation deck.

Unless you have your own observers who act like they're watching Rocky Horror Picture Show or Showgirls.

I was on as Quintalan yesterday for a bit in the afternoon, which was unusual for a Saturday.  I wasn't planning on doing anything much, just some fishing that I'd promised myself I'd do to provide some haste chow and fish feasts for the guild.  (Hey, it's an excuse to fish, what more do you need?)

Well, one of the guildies asked if anyone was up for a battleground.  Since she and I had been in quite a few 5-man runs the past couple of months, I whispered her that if she didn't mind having a creaky wheel tagging along, I'd go.  After all, I have no PVP gear to speak of, and haven't really PVPed in a battleground since Quint was in the mid-40s.  That lack of experience didn't deter her at all, because without another word she popped up the invite and I accepted.

We queued up with another guildie and waited for the BG to pop up.  Knowing my luck, I figured we'd end up with something I knew absolutely nothing about, like Isle of Conquest, but I was surprised and pleased to see Arathi Basin appear in the load screen.  This, I could deal with.

Except for the [expletive deleted] death knight who took his first death at my hands personally, and spent most of the rest of the game sending Armies of the Dead to chew on my group's position.

It was then that the first spectator appeared.

My son wandered over to see what instance I was in, and he said, "this is different."

"Yeah, it's a battleground."

He watched me pursue a shadow priest for a moment.  "Is it like tag?"

"More like having to capture and hold your position."

"Oh!  Like Axis and Allies!  Or Civilization IV!"

"Well, a lot quicker than that."

He watched me some more.  "You died."

"I know."  I sat there, waiting for the rez so I could get back into the fray.

I ended up not lasting that long.  "You died again."

"Thanks.  I noticed."

Arathi Basin over, we queued up again and got Warsong Gulch.  By now, the girls had come by.  "Watcha doing, Dad?"

"He just died," my son said.

I glared at the screen.  "Playing in a battleground.  You see, these people are on my side--"

"You're playing as Quintalan?"


"So they're Horde, right!  Go Horde!"

"Yeah, go Horde.  And we're trying to--"

"Hey!  You've got a flag!  Are you playing capture the flag?"

"Yes, it's like tha--"

"Wow!  I love that game! Hey Steph, Dad's playing Capture the Flag on WoW!"

"When can I play?"

I took my eyes off the screen to shake my head at my youngest.  "You're not old enough yet."

"Dad," my son said, "you died again."

"I know that.  Look, I can't see with your head in the way."

"And again.  You die a lot."

Now I remembered why I don't play WoW very much in the afternoons on the weekends.  And I longed for the days of laser tag, where the spectators were separated from the players.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You want me to WHAT?

"So, do u tank?"

That little question completely changed the tenor of my afternoon.

I'd had kind of a terrible week at work --if you come back from vacation to a boatload of stuff to do, you'll understand-- so when my Dwarf Paladin hit 20 I resolved to queue him up for Ragefire Chasm.  Friday seemed an excellent day to do just that, so I dialed up RFC and selected DPS for ol' Balthan.

Three minutes later, an image of a Searing Blade Cultist greeted me.  Such a short queue was surely a good sign.

While we were buffing, the Gnome Warrior tank asked, "Are there any quests here?"

"I have no idea if there are any for Alliance," I replied.  "For the Horde, there's plenty.  Thrall doesn't like these guys for some reason.  No idea why."

"Oh," he said, and then proceeded to tank the first couple of mobs.

Then he vanished right before the next room.

"You have got to be kidding me," the Night Elf Priest said.

"Yeah, tell me about it," I replied.

Then the Priest dropped his loaded question.

"No, I usually DPS or Heal.  But I guess we could clear this room."


Thankfully, there aren't a lot of tanking tools available at L20 that I didn't already have, so I started pulling one mob at a time.  Did I mention that there weren't a lot of them available at L20?  Well, did I also mention that I never bother to configure those tools on my keys, since I don't tank except in a rare emergency?

Good thing I was at the high end of the level range for RFC, so I didn't have to worry too much about health, even with a bunch of green gear and no heirlooms.  I was kept busy taunting the mobs when they were peeling off me and going after the Warlock, but mercifully nobody died.

Another tank ported in (another Gnome Warrior), and we resumed our regularly scheduled run.

Well, sort of.  This tank wouldn't let anyone drink, but kept running onward.  You know, when three other people in the party are telling you to wait, maybe it's a good idea to do that.  I had the impression that if we'd been past the time limit for the vote kick option that tank would be gone, but we'll never know.

The tank dropped before one last boss, and the Lock joined him.

This left myself, the Priest healer, and a Mage.

The Mage laughed.  "Go on, B.  We'll cover you."

So, once again Balthan the Reluctant Tank took the lead, tanking the last boss.

Honestly, it wasn't that bad.  Of course not having a lot to use helped immensely, but the worst part of the job was yanking back threat from ranged DPS who lay down a boatload of damage.

I filed this under the heading of "extended emergency tank duty", and washed my hands of the affair.  I'm much happier letting another person run the tanking duties while I DPS or heal, but it was definitely an interesting experience.

If you come across this post and you're looking for some basic info on threat and tanks, Lara over at Root and Branch has a great Threat Primer for Beginning Tanks.  For DPS who wonder about how to handle the various tank classes (as of 3.3.5), Souldat has a great post on his opinions about when to hold back and let loose with your DPS in pug 5-mans and raids.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Short Observation

I have several Blood Elves in my stable of toons.  (Just because they're not L80 doesn't mean they don't exist.) 

I'm used to the Farstrider Rangers throughout Eversong and the Ghostlands.

What I'm not used to are the occasional High Elf encampment using the Farstrider name, such as Farstrider Lodge in Loch Modan.  When I found this place on my Dwarf Paladin, I almost immediately turned around before a stray Hordie could thwack me, but when the quest markers popped up I turned back.

Between you and me, the High Elf in charge of the Lodge acts far more like a Blood Elf than the occasional High Elf found around Dalaran.  Her mini-questline has Blood Elf written all over it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Achievements you're most proud of

I've been noticing, as many of the other players have, that Summer is definitely here and attendance is dropping on raids.  Not to the point of not being able to run raids, but challenging none-the-less.

And who can blame them?  It's nice and warm outside, people are taking vacations, and at this point in the expansion, most people have accomplished the majority of the content.  Additionally, there's so much info being released about the expansion, it's putting people in a rut.  Why bother upgrading your gear when it'll be replaced by a level 81 green?  (Not saying that's my philosophy, but I can understand those who feel that way).

However, this is leading to more of an interest in pvp...  for our guild at least.  We've got a 2v2 team going, a 3v3 team and a 5v5.  The twos team is doing pretty well, but this late into the arena season it's tough to compete when you don't have the gear to do so.  It's still fun, however.

You get those moments where everything lines up and your team gets a kill.  It's a rush to win an arena match.  It's also fun to see the various team compositions, and wonder wtf some people were thinking (full pve gear).

This has led to some of my proudest achievements lately though.  And I wanted to brag let everybody know how much fun it was to get them.

I imagine this one is not too difficult to get.  You just have to play smart and have good healers.

This one on the other hand I imagine would be very difficult to accomplish on your own in random battlegrounds.  The two players I like to PVP with who play healers are just awesome...  The credit really belongs to them on this one.  It's a shame the healers don't get recognition for not letting people die.

And finally we have the two arena achievements.  I've only started doing arenas about a month ago, so I'm quite happy with having won 100 of our matches.  And the Hot Streak one... Wow that was a blast.  We knew we were doing good when we won 8 in a row.  Then we won another.  Which at that point my arena teammate told me the night before he and the ret pally on our two's team went 9 and 1 and just barely missed getting the achievement.  No pressure or anything.  And we won!  The achievement was nice on it's own, but the aforementioned ret pally was online when we both got that achievement.  HAHA.  It made it more memorable, because guild chat lit up after that, quite entertaining.

What achievement are you most proud of, and why?

Edit: I should mention I got these achievements on my warrior, not my DK.  <3 my warrior

An Amazing Place

You never know what might happen when you login to WoW.

Monday was supposed to be a non-WoW evening for me, but since I decided I was going to start working the Auction House a bit more seriously, I was on my bank alt in Silvermoon collecting data.  Well, if you count setting Auctioneer to scan and then going and doing some cleaning as "being on WoW", that is.

About a half an hour later I was back in front of the screen, moving a few things around via mail before logging off.  Right about then an L9 Paladin came wandering by, asking where the mailbox was.  The toon next to me started jumping up and down and pointing, then shook his head while the Paladin wandered away.

"Over here," I called, and when I didn't get a response, I started jumping up and down.  "It has a glowing diamond on top."

The Paladin reappeared.  "Thanks," she said.  "I've never used a mailbox before."

I told her she was welcome and went back to the AH to list a few items.

"Actually, I have one more question," she whispered me.  "How do I get a pet out?"

I gave her the instructions on where to find the Pets on her character screen, and I was rewarded with the sounds of the Corehound Pup nearby.

The Paladin didn't sound so impressed with the pup, and began peppering me with questions about pets.  After a few minutes of fielding her queries, I told her to wait a moment at the Bazaar while I went and got Quintalan.  I pulled out a couple of my whelps to show her, and explained how some of these pets are fairly rare and can cost a lot of gold on the Auction House.

"But yours are so pretty, and mine is, well...."

"Come on," I said, giving her some gold.  "There's a place here in Eversong where you can buy a dragonhawk pet."

I led her down to Fairbreeze Village --with a slight detour by the Farstrider encampment by mistake-- and up into the pet vendor there.

The dragonhawk hatchlings lazily flying around the tent was more what the Paladin was looking for, and she bought a pet or two.

Since I played a Paladin, we then worked on her attack rotation.  "I gave up on questing because I couldn't figure out what to do," she confessed.  I explained how the auras, blessings, and seals worked, and then explained about how to use a Judgement.  She practiced on a few dragonhawks and we chatted for a while.

If this sounds a lot like Rhii's entry in I Sheep Things about adopting a newbie, yeah, it's a lot like that.  It was pure serendipity, but it turned out to be a great chance to help someone start off playing the game without any pressure.  I had nothing going on, my wife was fine with me doing a good deed for the evening, and the Paladin was great to chat with.

I was lucky when I started playing WoW, because I had Soul and his wife to help me out.  Hell, I didn't even know how to work Voxli or Vent, much less WoW itself.  But paying it forward like this is not only rewarding, but it also means that this new player won't become discouraged by not being able to figure things out.  We can spend so much of our game time doing the things we like doing --whether it's raiding, questing, working the AH, running instances, doing oddball stuff--  that we forget what it is like to see the game through new eyes.  We like to share our passions with others, and seeing somebody get it with an 'aha!' moment is a wonderful feeling.

At the end of my evening, we ran over to Durotar so she could take the zep to Thunder Bluff.  I helped her set up some flight points and showed her how to work them by zipping back and forth from Org to Thunder Bluff.  I explained that while I like Eversong the best, the view from a windrider flying over Mulgore to Thunder Bluff is simply beautiful.  I was going to wait until she hearthed back to Silvermoon before I left, but she said she was going to wander around Thunder Bluff for a while.

"This place is amazing!" she said.

Ain't it?

(EtA:  I started this post Tuesday, but finished it Wednesday morning.  Corrected the improper date reference.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

For Great Justice

The WoW gods have a sense of humor.

If there was any doubt, this morning's LFD run with Tomakan dispelled it.  I was sitting on just a hair over 51000 XP, and all I had to do was breathe hard at a couple of the easier Nesingwary beasts and I'd make L34, safely out of the grasp of Gnomer.  What was I doing instead?  Working on Engineering, naturally.

The alert that a group has been found appeared, I put away my Engineering gear, and zoned in.


You have got to be kidding me.

"If I'd have known that I'd end up here, I'd have gone and bashed a few monsters to get to L34," I said to the group.

The Night Elf Druid was amused.  She massaged Tomakan's shoulders and gave him a few hugs.

And naturally, the tank dropped.  Ah, Gnomer, the Ahn'kahet of lowbie pugs.

The time spent waiting around in the instance for a replacement tank was longer than the initial queue itself, so the rest of us began to slowly move down the entry ramp, taking it one or two monsters at a time.  By the time we got to the first intersection, a tank ported in and we resumed a regular pace with the tank leading.

Well, sort of.

Seems that our Night Elf Rogue decided that we weren't moving quickly enough, and he started pulling mobs all by himself.  To complicate things, the tank had to go AFK for a few minutes, so the first time the Rogue pulled a mob, we didn't have the tank available.  We got lucky that first time, but the second time the tank went AFK for a moment the Rogue did it again, and luckily for us the tank came back at just the right time to save us from a wipe.

But I was not putting up with this.  I whispered the tank what she wanted to do the next time the Rogue went, well, you know.

"LOL, I don't care if he dies, he pulled it."

"Fine with me," I replied.

Fortunately  --or maybe unfortunately-- the Rogue decided he had to go.  So while we were in the final trash pull right before "Mr. Electric Justice"* he up and says "Bye!" and drops group.  There were upwards of eight in the trash pull, and going one player short was a recipe for disaster.  I was sure that the Rogue timed it so that we would have a wipe, otherwise he'd have left in between pulls.  Too bad for him, the tank handled aggro well, and all I had to focus on was her.  We survived the trash pull, got a replacement Human Rogue, and finished the run.

There were plenty of times when the run could have gone really bad, but we got lucky.  Well, there's also the matter of having players who know their job in your group, and letting the tank do hers.

Contrast that with a couple of runs of Scarlet Monastery yesterday.  Tomakan ported in almost immediately after selecting the LFD tool, and I found out very quickly that the previous healer had left after a tank/healer fight.  "I hate those," I said while buffing people.

This run turned out to be the Library, so I knew what to expect.  However, it seems the tank didn't.

The group had already cleared the Huntsman's area and about 1/3 of the trash leading up to the librarian prior to my porting in, but when we started going forward the tank ran right up the middle rather than trying to clear the wings first.  He started getting overwhelmed, and I was doing my best to keep him upright, but the Hunter and Mage behind me kept pulling aggro away from the tank.  Then in the middle of the pull, the tank ran out the door behind me while I was trying to cast Holy Light on him  (The spell failed because he left LOS.)  This left one DPS to pick up the slack and causing the Scarlet Buddies to aggro on the one person actively casting spells nearby:  me.

As the tank ran out the door, he also went out of healing range.  I tried running back into range and casting Holy Light on the tank, but it's too late.  The tank dropped, and I then focused on trying to a) keep myself upright and b) keep the melee DPS upright.

"WTH happened?" one of the other DPS asked, just as he bit it.

"The whole room got pulled," I said as I watched my last Holy Light come too late.

And naturally, during the runback the tank dropped.  So did another pugger from his server, one of the two that was having aggro issues.  (For the record, they were both from the Thrall server.  Make of that what you will.)

The tank that replaced this one was much better; she knew how to clear the rooms, and when to wait on everyone else.  Once the Library finished up, there wasn't any question in my mind.  She queued the two of us up, and I went on a repeat of the Library with her.  She didn't really need to say much during the run; we just simply worked well together.  When one of the next group of DPS asked if I could handle the Healing, I said sure.  "I've already done before with this tank."  (For the record, the DPS was annoyed that I followed that tank and healed her first before the other DPS during the courtyard run.  Come on, I know the rule:  healer keeps the tank alive and vice versa.  Tank dies, we wipe.  Plain and simple.)

*Just what is it with that boss saying "Electric Justice!" as it attacks?  "Electric Justice" sounds like an 80's Metal band, like a competitor of Spinal Tap or something.

Friday, August 6, 2010

If Two's Company and Three's a Crowd...

You know how I'd mentioned a while back that I rarely see another Ret Pally in pugs when I'm queued with Quint?  Tomakan's Retardin failpug had been so long ago that I'd figured the WoW gods weren't planning on taking any sort of revenge for my post.

How wrong I was.

On last Tuesday after getting some lowbie WoW time in with Soul's wife, I pulled out Tomakan to run a pug or two.  I wasn't exactly surprised to see the Scarlet Monastery in the load window, and truth be told, I was looking forward to it after having been in the other lowbie instances for a while.  We zoned in, and I noticed that we had a Pally tank.

"Who's healer?"  One of the DPS asked.

"I am," I replied.

My response kind of got lost in the scrolling text as we had our hands full with the quick pulls in the torture area of The Graveyard.  Good thing the tank was a Pally, as he dropped a Lay on Hands on himself when he overpulled around the bend where I momentarily couldn't reach him.

Then I realized he hadn't used Lay on Hands.  A Shaman was healing too!

"LOL!" he said.  "I thought I was the healer!"

"Same here!" said another DPS, another Shaman.

"You mean we've got three healers here?" the tank asked.

"Yeah, Tom's healing!"

"Oh sweet, and two of us are Pallys too!  Let's pull the entire Graveyard!"

I did not think this a good idea.  At all.  But at least I knew how to run back in case of a wipe (don't ask), so I figured why not.

The tank began pulling.  And pulling.  I think that it took three waves of pulling to clear the entire open area in the Graveyard, but I was able to keep the tank upright.  Mana was good, and with two other healers around throwing down totems, we didn't lose anybody.  There was a brief moment of concern around the bends getting to the bottom of the sepulcher where the final boss was, but once I got within LOS I was able to keep the tank upright.

"Oh, that was great!" one of the Shamans said as we finished.  "We have to requeue again just so we can do that!"

So we did, and gave the undead in The Graveyard an encore performance.  Two Paladins and three healers can fuel some insane ideas, I suppose, and if there was an undead heavy instance somewhere between Graveyard and, say, Strat or Scholo, I'm sure these puggers would have been game to try it.  Thankfully, for my sanity's sake, there wasn't.

Two mornings later, I figured that instead of doing my dailies under Quint I'd run Tomakan through an instance or two.  Lo and behold, I get The Graveyard again.  Pally tank, but sadly no other healers.  With everyone in the low 30's, the Graveyard is quick enough of an instance, kind of the A-N for lowbies.

We finished the instance, and three of us --the Pally tank, a hunter, and I-- queued up for another run.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

"WTH?" the tank asked.  "It's never been this long before."

"Must be the 5 AM crowd," I said.  "I just hope we don't end up with Gnomer again."

"Me either."

What pops up after a 20 minute wait?  Gnomer.

I start distributing blessings, and I noticed something strange in Pally Power.  Where are all the...

"Hey!" the tank shouted.  "Four pallys!"

Yes.  Not two, not three, but four of us.  I'm pretty sure this is quite a few WoW players' nightmare, but it gave me the chance to see how this was going to work out.

Ironically enough, it wasn't so bad.  Okay, I'll admit that seeing Judgements flying around like they were pigeons in a park was very strange, but it wasn't the aggro hell that it could have been.  We didn't have Retardins in the group, and conversation was more along the lines of when to jump to the lower level.  I kept thinking why I couldn't have had one of these other three in the Razorfen Kraul run rather than the Retardin I did get.

But yes, this sort of grouping can happen, and people can survive this without wanting to claw each others eyes out.  If it can happen with Pallys, I wonder what it would be like with Death Knights....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hai! I can haz tankz?

So... I got woken up this morning by my boyfriend's 22 month old daughter. I'm sicker than hell and she has been sick, but my boyfriend has been up and down all night tending to her, so I got up to let him sleep...

I have her in my lap as I queue up for a random dungeon. Surprisingly, I get an instant queue pop - usually for a healer, its about a 2 or 3 minute wait. I see that I got ToC. "Cool... I haven't done this one in a while..." I thought to myself.

We start the jousting event and everything seems to be going ok... After the jousting BS, we stand there buffing and we notice that the guy who queued as tank is still in his fury gear and fury spec. We ask him, "hey, you know you're tanking, right?" He said, "yeah I know". He charges in (still in fury everything) and I can't keep him alive... Of course, we all die... as we're running back, he swears he has tanked as fury before. We were all like "sure you have..." The pally in the group leaves and we requeue... what does the warrior do? Queues as tank again. WTF. I just stated "Thanks for the facepalm moment... I don't have time to debate whether or not you can tank this as fury because you already failed once. Adios"

Really? C'mon... I know there are some stupid people out there... but seriously... And people are wondering why I may take a WoW break... /facepalm.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Predicting Cataclysm's Release Date

Ok, so I took a few minutes to gather some rough data about how long the previous expansions were in the different stages of release, and I think it's interesting to look at. 

So lets take a look and see if we can't draw some parallels from the context of these charts.  See what I did there?  Oh man I love cheezy jokes.

First up is the Burning Crusade.
From this we can tell the release took about five months of additional development from the release of the Friends and Family closed Alpha build.

Next up is Wrath of the Lich King.
Here again we see the additional development time was roughly 5 months after the closed Alpha began.  This and the Burning Crusade graphs look pretty similar.

And here we are with Cataclysm.  I'm taking a rough guess as to the release time here, seeing as the two previous expansion packs required 5 months of development after the Alpha.

Now, assuming the time until release is correct we notice a sharp incline in that slope.  This could mean a few things...  Blizz is actually getting the Beta tester into content much faster (one month as opposed to the previous where Burning took 3 months, and Wrath took two months), and as a result has a lot of the development done by the time Beta testers are in game.  Which would lead to more of the "oooh, lookie that - Aaaaah lookie that" sorta posts by the blogging community that is in Beta, and thusly generate more discussion / publicity / positive feedback / hype for the upcoming release.

Or, this could mean that Blizz is actually getting the Beta testers in there so they can actually get feedback on things sooner (something tells me this is probably not the case).

The data seems to boil down to this: Cataclysm will more than likely be released after the 5 months of additional development, which happens to coincide with Blizzcon (Surprise!).  They'll use Blizzcon to hype the crap out of the game and release it right afterwards and sales will skyrocket (as usual with Blizzard products).

So here's my prediction: Cataclysm will be released on October 26th.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Working on my Backhand

Puggers will sometimes make a comment that throws you for a loop.

This morning, I was fishing in the Dalaran Pool, having a beer with Marcia Chase, waiting for the LFD tool to do its work.  Dal was about as peaceful as it was going to get, given that it was 5 in the morning; there were only a few shouts here and there from people asking for alchemy work, and I'd turned off Trade Chat a long time ago.  (Yes, Cassandri, I know I'm a bad man for doing that.)

Suddenly the LFD screen spat out that it was ready, about 5 minutes early.  I quickly vendored the flotsam I'd accumulated, reset my Seal of Command and Blessing of Might, cleared my screen of junk, made sure I was out of Crusader Aura, and ported in.

Utgarde Pinnacle was the destination.  I surveyed my puggees, and discovered that three of them were from the same guild from another server.  Sometimes that's good, sometimes not, but I shrugged, dispensed Blessings, and got ready for the fight.  The tank asked if anyone needed any achievements, which I thought was a nice touch.  He still intended to engage all the bosses --he needed Emblems-- but he said that this will be a quick run without any achievements required.

We started down that initial hallway and made it to the outer passage before I realized something was wrong.  The Judgements were simply not showing up.  I grumbled, thinking that I'd missed the Seal of Command, but sure enough it was there.  Then what...

Oh crap.  I was still equipped with a fishing rod.

I corrected that in mid-pull, and apologized to the group.  "That's good to know," the tank replied, "as I was doing more DPS than you.  For a minute there I was thinking we'd picked up a fail DPS."

If a toon could flush, Quint would have done it, but I kept my mouth shut.  It was my mistake, so I deserved the ribbing I got.

The rest of the pug went well enough, and I got my DPS into it's usual mid-3000 range for UP.  The guildies in the group kidded back and forth with each other, so this felt like a comfortable enough run.  Ymrion was dispatched, and the guildies asked if I was interested in a Pit of Saron run.

"Hey, any chance to see if that hilt will drop is fine with me."

"I'm convinced it's a myth," the tank said.

We ported in to PoS, and the run went fairly well --except for the unhappy convergence of two drakes and another group of trash at the same time, that is.  Sometime right before Ick and Crick, the tank said, "You know, Q, you're a pretty decent guy given the server you're from."

I knew our Trade Chat was bad, but I was surprised.  "A-52's supposed rep again?" I asked.

"Oh, it's not supposed.  Just about every pugger from that server has been a dick."  He then described in detail several escapades where A-52 people behaved like complete jerks in pugs.

I realize he meant it as a compliment, especially when after we finished PoS and I had to leave, he had some genuinely nice parting words.  However, the implied sound of "well, at least you're not a dick" bothered me.  Talk about your backhanded compliments.

For all of those people who say "it doesn't matter, you'll never see this person again," as an excuse when you behave badly in a pug, well here's a newsflash:  people remember you.  People remember the server you're from, or the guild you're part of, and they'll associate that bad behavior with everyone else from that server/guild.  Given the number of bad experiences that the tank and his guildmates had with A-52 puggers, it's a miracle I wasn't booted at earliest opportunity.  Why waste time when most of the people you run into from A-52 are jerks?

Now, that said, have you gotten any backhanded compliments in the game?  Been stereotyped in one way or another?  How did you break the mold?  Maybe the question should be 'Did you break the mold?'  Did you do something unexpected?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

=o Its been awhile.

Its been awhile since I last updated. I made my move to Arizona and transferred my priest to Tichondrius.

I haven't done much as far as WoW is concerned and I don't think I'll be doing much - at least for now. I honestly think my WoW days are coming to a close. This isn't for sure... I just feel the game has lost its luster and I'm quite bored with it.

I'll probably eat these words and start really playing again in the near future (aside from the random dungeons/battlegrounds/alts). After all the crap I went through within this game, it might be time to take a bit of a hiatus.

I'm really hoping Cataclysm will be better than WotLK - looking through the Blue Posts/Talent Tree updates, etc some things seem pretty cool... others... well.. not so much. I guess I'll just have to see.

Anyway... I'll try to keep my chin up and hop on WoW and maybe get some raiding in again...