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Archive for December, 2010

Button’s Cataclysm Pre-Raid Best in Slot Lists

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve never really understood having a single “best in slot” list for tanking (or healing) gear. It makes sense for DPS, since in most cases what you need won’t change by the fight. Sure, you’ll have your occasional caster bosses or fights where you attack from the front, where melee could use more or less expertise; but generally these are fights where the raid is struggling with execution, not with DPS.

Tanks, on the other hand, have a lot to gear around. There are fights where sustained threat matters and fights where sustained threat is a joke; fights where armor and avoidance matter and fights with 100% magical damage (or nearly); fights where the most important thing is to take as few hits as possible, fights where the most important thing is to take as little damage as possible, and fights where the most important thing is to take as small of hits as possible; and of course, fights which call for X, Y or Z type of magic resistance, while gear of that resistance type is useless on most other encounters. To say that a certain gear set is best-in-slot can only really be done with reference to what it’s best at.

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In Which Lost City Brutalizes my Sanity

December 13, 2010 1 comment

For those of you just joining us, I’m going through the normal mode dungeons completely unprepared and without DBM, for the fun of learning the encounters through wiping. Please excuse any idiotic mistakes we made, because we literally don’t know any better.

Dear god they weren’t kidding when they said this was going to be harder.

OK, to be fair. We went in with 4/5 of the group undergeared according to the dungeon finder, and our one raiding DPS also underleveled. I was level 85 and nearing geared-enough-for-heroics, but Blanket (who was healing, as holy) had just dinged 84 and was drinking between most trash pulls as he became accustomed to his spells’ newly inflated costs.

We did OK until we got to High Prophet Barim, after easy kills of the first two bosses. Then we hit a wall of OOM.

First it was “OK I’m standing in Blanket’s good ground stuff WHY ISN”T IT HEALING ME OH GOD IT’S A WIPE.” Then we figured out that Blanket hadn’t been the one to put down the big bright circle, and so we should stay out of it. Next I tanked the big bird and tried to gather up the Soul Fragments too, but they kept disappearing and giving the bird health. OOM again, wipe. So then we tried DPSing the fragments down like on Bronjahm. Sorry, OOM, wipe. Try again. Again. We concluded that DPSing the fragments takes too long; kite them and burn the bird! We finally got to phase 3, but hey, OOM, wipe.

OOM, wipe.

OOM, wipe.

OOM wipe OOM wipe OOM wipe OOM wipe.

And me out of alcohol too. I could have used some. Read more…

A Little Link Love: Mo’ Content, Mo’ Problems

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently, my WoW time has been occupied with… actually playing WoW! So instead of writing a marginally insightful post cribbed from assorted influences, I’ll throw you the influences and let you sort it out.

First up we have an old old old favorite of mine by Reversion of Looking For More: Profiling Tanking and Healing: the ‘Shape’ of the Fight. I’ve been meaning to bring this excellent post up for ages, but Reversion covers it so well that I honestly don’t know what to say on the subject. It deals with the effect that kill orders, CC and doing a pull right has on multitarget fights, which makes it particularly apropos now that we’re in the expansion’s 5-man phase. Go read it! It has pretty graphs.

Speaking of the 5-mans, Pwnwear has two very useful compilations: first, how to find them, and then how to beat them. I personally am keeping to my “Go into every (normal mode) instance fresh and have fun wiping while learning the mechanics” method of instancing, but I know not everyone is crazy. By the way, Death Knights, if you’re not following Pwnwear you definitely should be.

Now, on to the theorycrafting! Rhidach has laid out his preferred (paladin) tanking enchants for the expansion at Righteous Defense. Because paladins can reasonably block cap his priorities and preferences are a little different from mine and many of yours, but nonetheless it’s a solid starting point for any tank. On the warrior side, Lujanera is working out which meta gem we should use – +armor, or +block value? The math is ongoing on this one, so if you’re a mathy kind of person, come weigh in.

Finally, while you wait for me to finally get my act together and post up my pre-raid BiS list, check out Rhidach’s pre-Heroics gear list.

Archaeology is Frustrating

December 7, 2010 2 comments

If there’s one thing that bugs me about leveling in WoW, it’s not having my professions trained to at or above a useful level. Maybe it’s because my main is a warrior, and I quickly learned that not having my First Aid trained up meant not getting heals in battlegrounds. Maybe it’s because that warrior is also an engineer, and the rate of obsolescence on vanilla engineering perks is so high that the coolest recipes stopped being useful as soon as you reached a level at which you could comfortably farm the mats. Whatever the reason, as soon as I heard of Archaeology I knew that my first few days in Cataclysm would be spent not questing, not instancing, but grinding Archaeology up to 450 so that I could level it naturally in the course of questing.

I hadn’t accounted for the fact that gathering now awards non-trivial amounts of XP.

At level 80, I was gaining just over 5000 XP per archaeology gather. This doesn’t sound like much until you consider how many gathers you have to make per skill-up. Each gather yields 2-3 fragments, plus a keystone if you’re lucky; and you need 35-100 fragments per artifact. (A keystone counts as 12 fragments, but you can only use them on certain artifacts, and on non-rare artifacts you can use a maximum of one per solve.) After archaeology level 75 or so, the actual gathers stop giving you skill-ups; you’re limited to skilling up from solves alone. Each solve gives 3-8 skillups, leaning heavily towards the lower side. It takes a rare artifact to give a significant number of skill-ups, and rare artifacts require more fragments anyway. This means that for every point of Archaeology skill at level 80, I was earning about 27,000 XP. And XP from gathering scales with level, so at level 81, I’m now making over 6000 XP per gather.

I’m now level 81 and 16%, up from level 80 and 4%, just from leveling Archaeology. And I’m not even to Outland yet. I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be stepping into the Cataclysm zones at level 84, wearing all Wrath gear. I’m seriously considering turning off XP at this point, because it’s looking like that’s the only way I’ll manage to have an organic leveling experience.

It’s important that you not take this the wrong way, because you will get very frustrated very quickly if you try leveling Archaeology as a way of powering to 85. Archaeology takes a long time to level. I played for 10 hours straight to get my archaeology to 213. You need to fly all around the appropriate continent(s), from digsite to digsite; and when you get to the digsite you need to triangulate the artifact’s location to within a yard via a game of Red Light, Green Light before you can pick it up.

Why this sucks

Did I mention that I’m moderately red-green color-blind?

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ffs Garrosh: Thrall’s Reaction

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Because I demanded it:

ffs Garrosh

Screenshot is from the Ulduar trailer.

Categories: ffs Garrosh Tags: ,

More armor nerfs inc?

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m willing to bet a fair sum of gold that Wrath’s armor trinkets get nerfed to the ground before the end of 2010.

Consider this comparison. The Bedrock Talisman, a valor point reward, pales in comparison to our old friend the Glyph of Indomitability. Sure, its on-use is significantly better than the glyph’s, but compared to the Organ? the Scale? No contest.

At this point I’m strongly considering running with the Glyph as one of my entry-level raiding trinkets – even farming Prof well past 80 to see if the Organ will finally drop for me. (I can tell you in advance that it won’t.) I can only conclude that the devs are waiting patiently for Cataclysm to hit store shelves so that they can re-implement the drastic armor nerfs of 4.0.1 without the tank QQ that accompanied it last time.

…but I’ll still have my heart!

Speccing for Cataclysm Five-Mans

December 3, 2010 2 comments

I strongly believe that one of the worst things that ever happened to leveling tanks was WoWpopular.com. Not just that particular site, of course, but it and all its ilk. Sites that recommend specs, glyphs, talents, even high-profile bloggers who are working on top-tier, hardmode content, and thus provide a cookie-cutter raiding spec with discussion of maybe the one or two talents they consider controversial or interesting.

The problem with this is that these are the results that Google comes up with when the level 10 nub, looking for where to spend his first talent point, searches “Best [class] tank spec.” These are the results that the DPS who doesn’t actually care about tanking finds 5 minutes before he slaps on a shield and queues for randoms with the coveted Tank Queue.

Shortly after the Frozen Throne wing was released I remember seeing a spike in obviously new warrior tanks, tanks who could barely handle H FoS, much less H ICC, maxing out Safeguard at the expense of Focused Rage, following Veneretio’s venerable example, though in most cases probably second- or third-hand. Months later, when my own guild was working on LK 10 30% easymode and I specced Safeguard for the OT utility, I got to see this phenomenon first-hand: not a month later a guildy dusted off an old warrior alt, copied my spec point for point, and complained that he was having a hard time with threat in heroic dungeons.

I was baffled. Apparently, a significant portion of the five-man tanking population completely misses the point. (Not that raid tanks are necessarily any better; just that I don’t see many of them.)

What is the point? The point is that talent trees exist for exactly one reason: customization. If you’re not looking at your talents and thinking, “How will this work when I’m using it?” you’re doing it wrong.

That’s not to say that all the discussion that goes on in the tanking community, on blogs and forums and in private conversations, isn’t valuable. Quite the contrary – do you intend to calculate each talent’s usefulness on your own? Will you catch every implication, crunch every number? Never overlook a potential gain in performance because of your prejudice against the previous version of the talent/ability? Of course not. But ultimately, all of the theorycraft in the world should only inform your choices in talents. To make the best choices, you need to also consider yourself, and the content you’re running. The question should never be, “What are the best talents for tanking class x y or z?” The question should be, “What are the best talents for me in my situation?”

On December 7th, tanks who had formerly been doing nothing but 25-man raiding, concentrating themselves on bosses bosses and more bosses, will have to shift gears all the way back down to 5-man content. Plate DPS who queued as tanks for instant heroics and let the overpowered DPS and healer carry them through instances tuned for 20k health blue-geared tanks will have to step up or stop tanking. And all of the speccing recommendations and principles to live by which we’ve used for raiding will be out the window.

So let’s practice thinking about our new priorities.

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