Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spoooooky, but not really, just awesome

Its halloween today!!!! Every year for halloween i always carve a pumpkin, it used to be a thing i did with my mom but as I have gotten older i have moved to just doing it myself. I have done the standard pumpikins: The face, the owl, the haunted house but this year i was hanging out with my friend and i was like we should do some wow pumpkins, i know its nerdy but i think you will agree that it was an awesome idea. So we were sitting there and did not know what to carve and I said that we should carve the horde symbol into one this year, and then i thought that there was no reason that we couldnt do two pumpkins so I got my mom to get me 2 pumpkins while she was out and about (thanks mom) and we carved them on friday.

We decided to do the horde symbol and the alliance symbol. My friend ended up doing the horde one because he is less artistically inclined so i did the alliance one. I felt kind of like i was betraying the horde but once i finished the pumpkin it was so awesome that the feeling immediatly went away. So yes i did do the alliance one and it turned out really good.

It took about 2-2.5 hours to draw the picture onto the pumpkin and carve it out which was longer than i have ever spent on a pumpkin before. I did not use a stencil or anything i just looked at a picture and free-handed it on with a sharpie then carved it with your run of the mill pumpkin carving set that costs like 3$. Oh and if you are ever going to carve a pmpkin dont try and buy carving tools 2 days before halloween because we were driving around for like 2 hours trying to find carving tools. Enough about the pumpkin though, here it is.

Oh and just to cut off anyone saying that i didnt actually carve this pumpkin, I did. I am not going to try and convince you other than simply stating it so just take it at face value.

Have a happy halloween and all those of you with kiddies going out tonight, have fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


So i did actually end up going back and changing my reforging and i think overall it is better. I was originally going for hit then expertise. I am under the impression now that hit cap is still good to get to so go for that. But after you get that hit capped you should move to going for mastery. I have not fully flipped everything over yet but i am thinking that we should turn our haste into mastery after we are hit capped. And on rings and trinkets where you don't have haste, turn some of that dodge into mastery because with the DR's from dodge you are getting higher return by making it into mastery atm. Also those rings and trinkets and necks and capes with armor on them are not as good as they were before the patch so if you get an opportunity to get a jewelry or cape with high stam and agil and no armor you should grab it even though it is meant for dps players because in our present state we are balanced around agility so it is alot better right now than strength because strength doesn't do almost anything for us, if it even has a purpose. Stam still=good though.

Its a short one but i am working on my CC post and right now i am trying to get pictures of all the CC methods which is taking a little time, but the post is 3500 words and not totally finished yet so it is very thorough.

Monday, October 25, 2010


So this is a bit delayed as it happened last Tuesday but it was funny so i thought i would share.

I don't know how many of you have done heroic lich king attempts on either 10 or 25 but we did like 4 attempts on Tuesday just to see what it was like because that was the first chance we had had to try it at all. Well in phase 1 there is a new mechanic added that is called shadow trap. What happens is that LK casts the "summon shadow trap" spell which causes a shadow trap to form under a random raid member which waits 5 seconds to activate and then just sits there until it dissipates. well if everyone gets out within those 5 it just sits there and doesn't do anything, but if after those 5 seconds someone is still inside or for some reason hits it then it does an aoe explosion that hits for quite a lot.

Now you be thinking, "big deal lots of things do aoe dmg" but there is one more thing that happens that guarantees that you die. When the shadow trap explodes it does a knock back for everyone within 10 yards. "Knock back" is pretty inaccurate however since it launches you 2-3 times the distance that the platform is across. It would be like a shaman using a thundershock in AB and doing a knock back that sends you from LM all the way to Mine

Well we are doing our first attempt and i know what the ability does and I'm ready for it and shadow trap gets cast, DBM tells me there is a shadow crash nearby. Well just so you know...shadow crash nearby, and shadow crash on you are not very different. In my infinite wisdom i thought to myself "oh well its just nearby, so i just have to be careful not to move into it." This thought was followed by me and our 2 melee being launched like 400 yards into the middle of nowhere.

Now i would say that i was disappointed but after it happened i thought that was one of the coolest death mechanics i have ever had. The frost orbs in the phase transitions are nothing, its like a baby knock back. I would suggest that everyone should "accidentally" hit a shadow trap just to see what it is like if they have the chance, but i will deny that i ever typed that out and posted it on the Internet. But seriously...don't do it more than once on purpose but if you get the chance just try it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On the Wings of Death

A busy schedule has been kind of reducing my output a little but I am going to try and get this off in between two of my classes.

First off anyone at Blizzcon I hope that you are having fun and I totally wish I was there. A student’s budget does not make for a very whimsical traveler.

So after a little hard work I would just like to report that Jey, Guardian of Cenarius is now the proud owner of a Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher. I can’t post pictures right now because I don’t have any access to wow but I will try and get some up within a few days. Overall I found that the ICC Meta achievement was pretty fun to work towards. Some of the achieves became a lot easier after the patch so I would say to anyone that is looking to get their drake to go for it and not wait till Cata.

Generally we have been doing pretty well but we did have about a month where we were losing to the pre-expansion attendance boss so I would say that about 4 months worth of time to get us our drake doing at most 9 hours a week, usually about 6, was pretty credible. We have finally, within the last 3 or so weeks, gotten 10 people who are reliable and good players *crosses fingers* and if they all stay for Cata I think we should be a force to be reckoned with when 10 and 25 are on par for difficulty.

As for our plans for the rest of the expansion...well if you know what is involved in the Meta achievement then you know what the only thing left is. That’s right, it is time to smash our face against the wall that is Heroic Lich King and hopefully get our “Bane of the Fallen King” titles. And if we do get them, you can bet that I will make a post about it.

One last thing. I am planning on doing a post about crowd control that should pretty long like my basics posts but I have yet to start on it, as well as, if I am quick about it, a general walkthrough of the Meta for 10 man. So stay tuned for those (if there is anyone tuned in anyway).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Week Later...

So it has been about a week since the patch dropped and I feel like I want to make a short post about some things that really hit me after a few more raids.

First off, 4.0.1 is making getting your drakes a lot easier now so if you are working on it you should have good time to get it if you are remotely close. The extra damage from everyone as well as most people being more interested in getting to know their class seems (to me at least) to be making people more eager to do stuff.

I know that healing is higher than it was pre-4.0.1 but it seems like healers are having to get used to things a little more than they are used to so give them a little bit more leeway.

My damage is through the roof. Since the patch i have been doing so much more damage that it is not even funny. Vengeance does not make much difference in a heroic but when the boss is wailing on you in a raid you do a lot more damage than you would otherwise. While not a boss, the blood wing trash was giving me enough Vengeance to hit for about 14k with swipe. I also did about 8.5k dps on one of our heroic blood princes attempts while tanking Valanaar and Taldaram (and was highest on damage) but was only at about 6.5k on the attempt where we killed them.

Some people are talking about how they seem to be doing less relative threat than before and I am sticking with my previous assessment that reforging for Hit and Expertise. Right now your survivability should be at least the same but probably better than before so why change that. As it stands most wipes in our raids are not from tank deaths but from incorrect placements of things, positioning, or just general mess ups by the raid. And at the same time healer throughput is definitely higher than it was before so you shouldn't be having any trouble staying alive. The way I see it was that pre-patch the biggest issue we were having was holding threat off of dps that were scaling way faster than us and after gemming hit and expertise I no longer have to worry about my threat. Granted I probably could turn some of that expertise into mastery to give me some larger SD bubbles but at this time I don't really see the need. This could very well change in Cata when we start leveling but for now I think that this is the way to go. Obviously however if you are finding yourself dying while tanking go for more survivability, but remember that hitting the boss almost every time will give you more SD uptime. One las thing on this is that by no means should you be leaving all that haste on your gear, if you have haste on your gear reforge it into something because right now in T10 you have way too much haste that isn't doing a whole lot.

I find, and this is totally personal, that the bear "rotation" is a lot more fun than it used to be. I think that right now it is in a very good place as far as difficulty. It is not too hard that you lose track of what you are doing, but it is hard enough that you have room to improve. I still need to find a addon that will stick my rage bar somewhere that I like it so that I better know when to maul to bleed off my rage but that will come when everything is updated and I have to get used to using demo roar again so I don't keep forgetting.

If you haven't been able to tell, I definitely think that we are in a good place and I hope that that keeps up into Cata, because even though I will never stop playing my druid, I like how bear tanking is right now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

4.0.1 Tanking Second Impressions

So I raided last night and as promised I am going to share my experience with that.

First off, in my last post I said that I reforged to mass hit and expertise for this patch and I am maintaining that that is the way to go right now because...

Threat and Damage:

My threat in the raid was really high yesterday. I was previously always in a threat race with our destro lock during some fights but yesterday on marrowgar he was at about 50% of my threat. My damage also seems to have increased, I was hitting mangle for like 13k at some points and with the berserk procs I was hitting it quite often. The Berserk mechanic seems very strong right now for aoe and single target. I was finding that I always had enough rage to use my abilities but I may have to put my rage bar in the middle of my screen since it actually matters right now for knowing whether to use maul or FF.

As proof of the increased threat: the instance bugged out last night and the whole raid had to jump off of the boat before saurfang and die so that we could get out of combat so I took off my weapon and jumped off to save some money. Fast-forward to me standing in front of rotface’s room after killing heroic saurfang and the festergut achievement thinking to myself “that’s weird my weapon isn’t displayed in caster form.” So yes I did tank those two fights without a weapon on and did not even notice until 2 bosses later when I thought that my character looked funny.


Maul damage seems rather low but I am still trying to use it on OOC procs since it is instant, does not trigger the global and has such a high rage cost. I think that the net gain is higher using OOC for maul because if you can have maul on CD and still be using it often while having loads of rage it seems like that can only be a dps increase. Like I said before however do not use maul at the wrong time because it is actually possible to run out of rage but the consequences are not as bad for that happening as I think they may become when we level up and start losing our high crit chance and get big reductions in the potency of our stats

Mangle hits like a truck now. If you can use it you should be because the damage and threat is just so high. That’s all I really have to say about mangle right now. It is your top priority so use it every time.

Lacerate is pretty much all front loaded now for threat and is going to be your filler ability just like at the start of wrath. Its threat seems pretty good now and it actually seems to function as a sort of secondary resource for bears. You can consume it to gain a crit buff or let it stand and generate mangles for you. I am beginning to see lacerate as a buff instead of rebuff since the bleed damage is so low but having it has such good return.

Pulverize was an ability that I was not sure as to how it would function but I think with its low damage it is a mock savage roar. Pulverize puts up the crib buff so you want to always lacerate at 3 stacks to get 9% instead of 3% or 6% but you want to always follow it up with a lacerate. I’m thinking that lacerate is better to use after a pulverize than a mangle since lacerate will take a couple seconds to tick and by then you will have been able to use a mangle and will be closer to the next berserk proc w/o missing the first one but we shall see.

Swipe is decent right now. Its threat is actually really high so you should be able to hold threat pretty well in aoe packs if you don’t only rely on it. Its threat is actually higher than lacerate right and having just been told that swipe is still going to be better than lacerate after the buff you should get used to using it in your single target rotation.

Faerie Fire is not the same way as it was before, where you wanted to use it every time it came off CD. Right now it is good as an armour debuff, a ranged pull and as a filler ability to use when you accidently hit maul out of instinct at low rage.

Both our CD’s I have yet to use because healing and survivability is so good right now.


I’m only going to go over the ones that have really impressed me thus far in this patch.

Feral Aggression: so I got into a discussion with kalon over at wowthinktank and now it is time to put my tail between my legs because I love this talent especially with the glyph to increase the range.

Stampede: I have not even noticed the effect of this talent so what does that say? But at the moment there isn’t really much else to take.

Brutal Impact: I haven’t noticed the talent too much but I sure have noticed the 10 second interrupt that I have now.

Endless Carnage: Keeping up the pulverize buff for longer is something that I have noticed will be rather handy if pulverize does not get a big dmg increase.

Berserk: Who cares about the actual ability (I have always thought it to be completely underwhelming) but the proc from lacerate ticks is frigging amazing. I love this change.


Agility is really good right now as it has always been but it may be even better now.

Stam does the same thing as before.

All of our secondary stats seem to be about the same in value as they were before.

I didn’t really check out armour at all.

I have no idea about mastery but Kalon over on is saying that it is quite good so I may reforge some of my haste into mastery instead of expertise just to see but I’m not sure if I want to do that yet.


Prime: Mangle, Berserk, Lacerate

Major: Frenzied Regeneration, *I took Faerie Fire but it is not optimal*, (your pick)

Minor: imo go unburdened rebirth, dash, challenging roar

So that’s all I got for now but if I find that my opinion changes on anything or that i learn something new that makes a difference for me i will do another post. Good luck in 4.0.1 but be positive for right now cause we are looking good so far.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4.0.1 Tanking First Impressions

So patch 4.0.1 went live yesterday and I took some time to play around on my druid and run some heroics so I am going to share my observations with you. Keep in mind that I haven’t done any raiding yet so I don’t have any real idea of how much damage I am taking relative to before but today I should be raiding so I will do a second post to follow up.

First just a little about my character so you know the perspective I have. I have just over a 6k GS. Unbuffed I have about 40% crit chance and 50% dodge with about 5000 attack power. As of yesterday I am hit capped and am about 2.2% off of the expertise hard cap (parry cap).


Fiddling around on the target dummy I had enough rage to do a full rotation so this is pretty accurate. The rotation has moved more towards a priority like the cat system.

You want to try and keep lacerate up (even one stack) so that you can benefit from berserk procs for more mangles. You want to mangle as soon as it comes off CD. You want to use pulverize on a 3 stack of lacerate to maintain the buff but get up lacerate up very soon after so that you can still get the berserk proc. Pulverize is not worth hitting just because. Try and maul when you proc OOC. Use FF when you are low on rage (which should not be very often) and maul when you are high on rage. Hitting maul at the wrong time now actually sucks. Lacerate is now your main filler ability however swipe is a little better so use it if you remember. And one note about lacerate is that the bleed sucks, most of the threat is front end loaded and the bleed is just there to proc berserk. Not looking good for the current manifestation of the T11 set bonuses but that will probably change.

I am noticing that my threat seems to have increased in live.

AoE tanking really sucks right now because they put the CD on swipe w/o giving us thrash and the threat that is on swipe is reported to be half of the threat of live on the beta. I have a feeling that we might see the swipe threat stay the same until cata when we will be able to get thrash to supplement our aoe threat. That being said however, if you just warm up that tab button and throw out 3 lacerates/mangles on your targets in between each swipe it is not that bad, just remember to spread them around. You may choose to let the other tank do the plague wing trash but we are doing fine.


Stam is more important that armor now whereas there used to be a decent trade-off before. In T10 before you had a lot of arm pen which was rather weak as a stat. Now that arm pen is haste which is also weak as a stat. I have been reading some ideas on what to reforge that haste into and it seems like a lot of people are saying crit or mastery are the good choices. I think a little different though. Right now my dodge and the SD bubble are quite high with my dodge being much higher in ICC due to the dodge reduction being removed.

I think that if you are going to be reforging haste you should try and get to the hit cap and then start getting expertise. These two stats are going to give you a lot more rage than crit and are going to cause a lot more threat to keep up with the dps that have recently received a dps buff that is reported to be as large as 30% more in some cases. If I am wrong however I will eat my words and rereforge my haste to be mastery.

That is really all I have to say for now and I will update this as I experiment more and do a little bit of raiding and see what my threat and damage taken are like. My assessment so far...we are in a good spot.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raiding in WotLK

Just a note that I have been really busy lately so that’s why this took so long to get posted

Wrath of the Lich King raiding is too easy. It is a very common statement that you see touted by raiders on the internet. While I was never actually a part of it, I have heard stories of wiping on Neltharion for months, never even seeing the inside of Naxx and the dreaded C’Thun eyebeam. From my understanding of BC, it was much the same where a very select few people saw the very highest content and those that did were raiding 4-6 nights a week. It is usually to these raids that people refer when they talk about raiding in wrath of the lich king being too easy but I would like to deposit another take on that.

I never raided in vanilla or BC so I have a somewhat incomplete view on those raiding environments but I would like to take the stance as a purely WotLK raider and go off of some of the things I have been told about the previous raiding spheres. Blizzard has openly stated that the average raider in WotLK is better than the raiders that were pushing into Naxx and AQ40 in vanilla. Now I am not saying that these vanilla raiders were bad players, simply that the game has evolved so much since then and the average skill level of players has increased so drastically that the fights that were previously extremely difficult would not create the same difficulty among the raidership of wow as they did when they were released.

That being said I think that blizzard has also changed its view somewhat. In vanilla you would wipe simply because the game decided that you were going to and there was nothing you could do to prepare. The Insta-gibbing that happened in vanilla is not really a part of the game anymore except for a select few fights. We no longer have fights that require your entire raid to farm reputation or get absurd amounts of resistance in order to have a chance of living. Tanks are no longer killed because they got a bad string of parries from the boss only to have the boss’ hits get hasted and land a crushing blow on them. To the best of my knowledge there is only one fight in wrath where you cannot taunt the boss whereas there were numerous bosses that were untauntable in vanilla.

I think the main reason for this shift in raiding ease is the plentiful knowledge of how to do bosses. Before a patch or expansion even leaves the PTR there are numerous strat videos out that only need minor revisions. There is far greater knowledge of how the game itself works. In the recent year or two the blue posters have given out far more information as to how the game works. There are actually direct formulas that are known by people as to how to do the most possible damage without human error. Players can easily look up what is the best order for their abilities. There are countless people theorycrafting what is the best stat for you to have on your gear given your gear level and the stats that you already have. There are numerous BiS gear lists out on the internet. If you type “World of Warcraft” into Google you get 77,330,000 hits and if you simply type “raiding” in you will get 6/11 hits on the first page of Google related to WoW. The wealth of information available on the internet for this game now is just astounding. Players today ask a question and it has probably been answered numerous times before or chances are good that there is someone somewhere working on answering it. The days of wondering what to do are gone.

But knowledge alone does not make players better. World of Warcraft is coming up on its 6 year anniversary and it is not slowing down. The group of players that are moving into raiding today are the ones like myself who have grown up with a controller at an arm’s reach. We have gained the ability to raid better because we have grown up playing video games. Trying to teach my dad guitar hero was a painful experience but most people my age can just pick it up and play. And with a game like WoW with such a longstanding tradition of pushing the gaming experience there are more and more talented people drawn in daily.
I can think of one final reason that the game is evolving and causing previous content to not be as hard as the stuff that is being released later. Exceptional players make the group as whole better. Here is a basic example that illustrates my point well. When Tiger Woods started playing golf it was just reaching mainstream society and gaining popularity. However Tiger Woods started playing and he began to win more and more. As he got better people started to get interested in how he was so good and wanted to get better. There started to be a large base of players not content with being average anymore, wanting to do the things that Tiger Woods could do and the skill of the professional golfers started to increase at a much faster rate than previous. Now this is golf but I think it applies to WoW quite directly. When I started playing WoW I was content with being beginner or even average. It was a game I played to pass the time, I didn’t know anything about raiding or even care. Well then I met a guy who was into that “raiding” thing and it sparked my interest. I wanted to become more like that so I started doing my research and gearing up so that I could raid. That was my warlock. Well I got bored and left that server and made my druid and when he hit 80 my friend told me that druids couldn’t tank past Kara. I wanted to prove him wrong and so I immediately started gearing to raid but I was too late and by the time I got close to being geared enough it was too late and WotLK came out. So when I got wrath I made the mad dash for 80, I was the 6th 80 in my guild and before we had 10 people that were ready to raid I was rearing to go. I knew the fights and I was ready to go and I have been going since. Now this has been really long winded but it shows how a couple people who are better than you can cause you to improve drastically really fast. I went from not knowing what a raid was or that there was such thing as a “raid lockout” to raiding 25 mans in WotLK.

But I have getting away from my original point slightly. Is Wrath raiding really too easy? I would say no. I believe that Naxx was almost perfectly tuned for what it was. When WotLK came out Naxx was the first raid you did and it did the job it was supposed to do...Get players hooked. Then Ulduar dropped and brought with it the hardmodes that we have come to enjoy so much. I would say, and I’m sure that many would agree, that Ulduar was the bet raid we had. It felt like it was tuned just right at the beginning and then when you felt you were good enough you could take a shot at the hardmodes. The simple switch on/switch off system we have now wasn’t in the game so when you wanted to do a hardmode you had to earn the right to do it and you had to earn the right every time.

Then ToC came and the raiding difficulty fell apart. Regular ToC with its no trash and relatively easy boss fights felt the longest of all the raids. However when you moved on to ToGC you felt like they really had upped the difficulty and it was refreshing. It was a difficult fight in some cases.

ICC was harder than ToC and you were challenged more than before...but only once you got past the first couple of bosses. The first 4 bosses were considerably easier than they should have been and I think this is where the distinction lies. Many people say that pugs should not be able to do the best raids and I partially agree. I think that if you want to pug you should have to resign yourself to the fact that you will probably never finish the instance unless you pug into a guild run but I think you should still be able to raid the beginning of the instance. But the first 4 bosses are just too easy to be the last bit of content for an expansion, as it stands the first 4 bosses just kinds roll over and die with a half decent group. I think if you are going to pug you should have to work harder and be ready for a couple wipes before you get it down.

So is wrath too easy? No I think that the barrier to entry is not high enough for the last two tiers of raiding. The beginning bosses should have been made harder in order to make it harder for the average player that is not willing to dedicate to get in. Now I may sound slightly elitist but I think my point is valid. At this point in the game we have a large group of people that pug raids but don’t have any patience for wipes and leave after one or two wipes in an instance. By making the first bosses harder you would be able to limit the ability of these people to get gear and make it so they have to work to get groups making them less likely to just drop group at the first sign of trouble. And if someone is not the best player but they work on gearing up, doing a heroic every day, gemming and enchanting their gear correctly and then want into a raid I think they should have that right. but make them work for it a bit more so that they feel some dedication to it. At that point in the patch cycle, if they want to pug, it should be easier but still not a joke. They should feel that wiping numerous times is not uncommon given that they are in a pug with much less diligence and coordination.

Is this possible? I don’t know. I do feel that the later bosses are really quite challenging and that they have good tuning and you really do feel a sense of accomplishment in killing them (yay run-on sentence). I would imagine that the players who have killed HLK aren’t saying that it was too easy and I know that what I have done recently has been challenging enough to not leave me thinking underwhelmed. But we will have to see where raiding goes from here. I definitely think that we are headed in the right direction as far as having it open to everyone who is willing to do a little work.