Friday, July 31, 2009

Inside jokes

When you run with the same group of people long enough, you develop a lot of inside jokes that occasionally befuddle you compatriots. When you add a new guild member to the list, it's even worse. Now add in two server transfers and a handful of name changes - and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Here's a few of my favorite quotes and lines. I'm not going to explain them all - that'd take too long - but at least folks'll get the idea.

BOF BOF BOF! This probably gives Tobias hives. He certainly throws it in my face enough. Just to be silly, I HOF him every time I can now.

Anything from Old Greg. Damn but that episode was dumb. These quotes pop up pretty regularly in our raids.

Angry Mario. Somewhere along the line Toby found this YouToube vidoe of what has to be someone from New York playing Super Mario - but on a really hard level. Invisible block technology?

DIE OF AIDS RAGE!! Oh Fyrre - where are you now. I wonder if he ever learned the hunter jump shot. At least he finally got his Petrified Leaf.

"You just got Warmastered" "Scutter needs fort" Hell, anything from No Dice. Specifically Warmaster was a gnome warrior, and was the son of Scutter (also a warrior). Scutter was famous for trying to DPS tank in leather gear, and getting blown up by adds. Warmaster became famous for getting one shot on pulls. "You just got Warmastered" is analogous to getting Rickrolled.

Epic gquits. Previously I posted what was then the greatest gquit of all times, and probably still is since the other speeches were never used. Hats off to Toby for those.

Hate babies. Disturbed, we're gonna miss you. Mmmm - 5lbs of bacon...

Talo. You're a Tiny Dancer. Of animal fat. Tallow. Kek.


Weakened Soul is actually the Algalon pull timer....

The final S-a-S post

This is the last time that I'm going to post on this subject, so if you have any questions - this is the place to ask them. After this post it's all about focusing on 3.2 and staying on top of the charts.

The Beginning

About a year ago I transferred to The Scryers at the request of a friend who wanted to help out his sister-in-law's guild. I'd pretty much retired/quit WoW, as I couldn't find a raid guild that meet my times and needs, and I was pretty burnt out on the game. I was focusing on triathlons, and wasn't ready for a long term commitment.

It didn't take long for the bug to bite again, but it was a small nibble. I was helping guide some folks through the middle of BC content, at the end of BC, and I was enjoying the relaxed pace. I'd cleared the content already, so it wasn't like I was trying to push the end-game. WotLK was right around the corner, and I was actually enjoying leveling an alt or three. Times were good, and I was looking forward to a relaxed entry into Wrath raiding.

The great misunderstanding

I'm sure that I'm as much to blame for this as anyone else, but somewhere along the line the idea got into folks heads that I was on The Scryers forming a crack 10 man raid group. It may have been one of those "man wouldn't it be great" talks you have over a couple of drinks, but it wasn't my goal or intention. More and more players drifted over from Malygos looking for this 'elite team', but there was nothing to be found.

In truth I was still hiding, still reluctant to pick up the flag and run with it. I'd done my bit for King and Country, and I was tired of the infighting that comes with it. Then one day it happened. Two extraordinary players got together and hatched Sinners and Saints, and I was invited along for the ride.

The Plan

The way I understand it, seeing as I wasn't in on the leadership from the begining, was that S-a-S was formed to be "The Best" raid guild on The Scryers. Small numbers. Lightweight and mobile. No fancy loot rules, no rotating in players, and no compromises. We'd all suffered through "Picked Last" style raiding where we considered it a win to get Gruul down 3 months after TKE and SSC were toppled. We'd always been behind the curve, and this time we were going to lead the charge.

Gearing up was the first step. The group was formed from a mix of Malygos transfers, Veritas members, and folks picked up along the way. We charged headlong into Naxx, and began the long process of getting everyone geared and forming the cohesive mesh that is required for a small guild. Our goals were clearly outlined, and when I saw them, I knew I wanted to be a full member of this team.

Quite simply, the goals were as follows.

1) Lead the charge. We wanted to be clearing all content, and all hard modes, while the content was current. We'd already missed the boat on Naxx, but Ulduar was coming soon and that's where we wanted to shine.

2) No compromises. We'd BTDT with raiding with casual and bad players. We resolved to not be straddled with players that couldn't cut it, just because they were close to another player who was good. Wives that couldn't DPS, boyfriends that couldn't tank, cousins who DC'd when a phone call came in, or friends whe didn't understand the mechanics of the game. These players wouldn't be invited or carried - as you can't have a lot of dead weight in this environment.

3) Go big or go home. The moment we failed to meet these goals, we pull the plug and re-organize.

How it all went down

With 3.2 looming on the horizon, we felt like we 'might' be where we needed to be. Sarth 3D was dead, Malygos and Naxx were farmed, and we had a decent core. We'd lost a few of our best players to Naxx burnout, but we had hopes given our 3D kills. We hit Ulduar head on, and managed to eek out some great server firsts.

But there's where it fell apart.

Many players, including my best friend, had no real interest in continued wipe nights on hard modes. They felt like they had seen the content, and what was the point of pushing further (this isn't why Mini left - btw buddy, how's the little man?) and harder when there was minimal reward? Coordinating for hard modes took a toll on folks. They were insulted or hurt when they were asked to sit so we could optimize DPS/healing on an encounter. Players refused to admit they had connection problems "That wasn't a DC!", and there was a huge disparity between equally geared players and their DPS.

We made some changes to try and keep it together, but they ultimately failed. When we saw ourselves regressing, unable to even fill a raid with the core, we decided enough was enough. We pulled the plug, and we left - with new goals and new direction.

Some folks were left behind. A very, VERY, few players weren't included because we wanted to keep the team right at 10. This meant optimizing the group without sacrificing our requirements of great players. Call it what you want, elitist, whatever - but nobody here is complaining about the change.


Long story short - we had a great run, but didn't get everything we wanted - in 10s or 25s. Our goal was Algalon dead by 3.2, and unless the patch is pushed back at least a week (GG Rage, GG), we won't get it. I'm sure we'll keep banging away at him - but our focus will definately shift to the new encounters.

I sincerely wish the best for those who weren't invited to join us on the ride, and to those who turned down our invitation to pursue their own goals. This is my last main post on the subject, so get your questions in now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A week in review

It's been a week now since the dilution of Sinners and Saints, and after squeezing in three lockouts into two weeks (go go server transfers), I have a few days off from raiding to just sit back and relax. Of course I won't do that (too much), there's still a lot of things to get done before 3.2. I am going to take a moment to reflect on a few things I'm not going to be doing.

1) No more "State of the guild" evaluations. Towards the end it was getting painful to look at our list of raiders, and then realize that the core you depended on wasn't there any more.

2) Glee Glee no more DKP! We implemented a DKP system to try and right the ship - it failed. Back to the old ways of /rolling for loot.

3) No more, Mr. Nice Guy...with a guild of 10 like minded folks, there's nobody to coddle. It was refreshing to hear "Yeah - I messed up on that" the other night. Even if it was a wipe, at least people were taking personal responsibility.

4) No more grinding. Unless I decide I want a mammoth or something for an alt (I hate slow flyers), my days of grinding flasks/food/repairs are over. Our 10 man sells our BoEs and such for cash. It's honestly cheaper to pay someone the 100g for crafting an item - because we're getting 14k for the pattern on the AH.

5) No more recruiting. 10 players, 10 slots. Everyone knows they can be replaced, and everyone knows that if they miss a night we'll PUG instead.

Now to get everyone ready and keep pushing Algalon. We'll be riding high if we can get that guy down.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random application questions

I love filling out applications for guilds. Here's some stock responses to some fairly general questions I've seen on guild applications. My guess is the formatting on this will be broken, so please work with me while I adjust it.

Some standard Q&A

Why did you choose this class? I wanted a class that I could use to fill any role; DPS, Healing, or Tanking. All too often a group or raid fails because of a lack of tanks or healers (DPS seems easier to find), and I wanted a character that could fill both roles. I also enjoy beating faces in from time to time, and while Ret DPS wasn’t amazing when I first rolled this character, it has become a solid contributor in its current state.

• Why did you choose it above all others? When looking at hybrid classes, specifically those that could tank or heal, I had two choices: Druid or Paladin. While I love the versatility that you get from a druid, I also love the looks of my characters. I didn’t want to be confined to looking like every other bear/cat/tree out there. There’s also something about staring at a big bear butt for hours on end as a tank.

I feel that the Paladin gives me the largest number of options as a player, without sacrificing the look and feel of my character. I was also slightly tired of Night Elves, and I wanted the reputation gains from being a human.

• What spec is your character, and why did you choose this spec? What do you feel are its strengths/weaknesses in a raid environment? I currently raid with several different specs, depending on the fight and my role for that fight. Here are my most common builds. I can really talk builds all day, so this is a condensed list.

o 51/0/20 Holy:
I choose this build for the increased crit chance, as well as 2/2 in POJ for the increased movement speed. Many of my roles involve chasing tanks, single healing Yogg’s illusion phase, and of course dodging fire. Until the Illumination nerf (again) in 3.2, Crit is still the number one stat for Holy Paladins – and this spec has that in spades. I glyph for Holy Light (splash healing), Flash of Light crit (more crit = more mana return), and 5% spell cost reduction with Glyph of Seal of Wisdom.
Strengths: High crit rating and increased longevity through Illumination returns.
Weaknesses: Less raid utility due to missing Divine Sacrifice.

o 51/20/0 Holy:
I choose this build for the increased healing throughput (5% increased healing from talents) and the raid mitigation from improved Devotion Aura and Divine Sacrifice. This build is especially useful if there is not tree druid in the raid (rare, but still) since imp Devo Aura also adds increased healing. I glyph the same in this build as my 51/0/20, with the exception of swapping Glyph of Seal of Light out with Glyph of Seal of Wisdom (5% heal increase or 5% mana spell cost reduction). I will occasionally switch out the Glyph of Holy Shock for the Glyph of Holy Light for fights where splash healing is not as important (MT healing on IC Hard Mode for example).
Strengths: High throughput and raid utility with Divine Sacrifice
Weaknesses: Lower crit equates to less mana return. Reduced movement speed due to lack of PoJ

Note: Either of these healing specs is flexible enough to pick up imp concentration aura or imp Wisdom, depending on the needs of the raid.

o 0/53/18:
This is my standard threat build for tanking, the 0/53/18. I chose this build because it provides the increased movement speed from PoJ, increased damage from Crusade, and has points in Divine Sacrifice for fights where absorbing raid damage is helpful (Mimiron phase 2, frozen blows) and it gives my Sacred Shield a little more absorption, thereby increasing my overall effective health. After 3.2 this build will change slightly, probably losing PoJ speed for 2/2 in Conviction, which will give me the AP reduction of Demo Shout. At that time I will probably put Tuskaar’s Vitality on my boots in place of 22 Stamina. I glyph with Hammer of the Righteous for extra AoE threat, Divine Plea for 3% reduced damage, and Seal of Conviction to reach the expertise cap.
Strengths: This is an overall threat build, and I’m not entirely finished playing with it. It has the flexibility to cover all the tanking needs, and still give a high threat output. I believe this will be even more true in 3.2 raids (The Coliseum). Overall the most rounded tank spec.
Weaknesses: With only 1/2 in Spiritual Attunement, there are occasionally some mana issues, but this build is flexible enough that you can spec back into it. If your raid does not have a ret paladin, points can be moved from Benediction to Imp Might and Heart of the Crusader for additional raid utility.

o 0/20/51:
This is a standard raid utility Ret build that incorporates Divine Sacrifice for raid damage reduction, reduced HoJ time for ‘slightly’ faster interrupts, and has all the raid buffing except for 3% haste from Sanctified Retribution.
Strengths: Raid utility and high DPS
Weaknesses: With the loss of 3% speed, you can switch to in a 0/17/53 build if the raid doesn’t already have that buff.
What is your characters hit cap, why is hit cap important? What stats are you looking for on your gear? If you are a healer disregard the hit portion and just focus on the stat question.

• Holy: Until 3.2, stats of choice are Int > Crit > Haste (until 648 soft cap) > Spell power > mp5. Intellect gives the greatest mana returns from Divine Plea, replenishment, and provides additional spell power and crit. Extra crit means extra large heals and more mana return via Illumination. After 3.2 my guess is my stat requirements will be Int > Haste > Spell power > mp5 > Crit, but I won’t know until it goes live. I think this because it will be more important to land a heal quickly when you need it – as opposed to our current state of just bombing heals until the fight ends.

Prot: Prot requires a hit cap of 8% or 264 to avoid specials missing. This cap directly affects threat, and your ability to taunt loose mobs. An expertise rating of 23 (human racial while using swords/maces, 26 otherwise) is required to remove dodges from the table as well. Parries are still possible, however with the removal of crushing blows there is a much reduced worry about being parry gibbed. Stats are Def > Hit > Expertise (until capped for all 3) followed by Stamina > Strength.

Ret: 264 hit cap to avoid specials missing. If you can reach the expertise cap in the process that is all the better, as it means you attack a boss from the front if necessary. Do not stack expertise just for the sake of stacking it however. Key stats are Str > Agil > AP > Crit. Str is always > AP, as it receives the 10% multiplier from BoK.
Detail how you play your character. DPS should list their standard rotations, Healers their general healing style/method, and Tanks their method of threat gain and survivability in bad spots.
• Holy: 3.2 will see a drastic change in Holy play styles, but until then the standard method of healing is to place Sacred Shield on the MT, Beacon of Light on an off tank, and then bomb heals on the MT until the fight is over. Some fights do require you to be more selective in your healing however. Holy Shock/Flash of Light for quick surges, Holy Light bombs for everything else. Fights like “I love the smell of Saronite” require Flash heals only, but that is a very specific fight.

Prot: 9/6/9 is the standard Protection Paladin rotation. It involves using your longer CDs to set up your short (high threat) abilities. The beauty of this rotation is that like the tango, if you tango up, you just tango on. Instead of regurgitating it here, the write-up can be found on this site.

For threat gains, I generally open up with an Avenger’s Shield, then follow up with an exorcism on either the focused target, or a target missed by the shiled on the initial pull. I start my 9/6/9 rotation with a consecrate, followed by a HotR, Holy Shield, SoR, Judgement, HotR, Consecrate – repeat until it’s necessary to change mobs. If I feel threat is an issue, I will thread exorcisms and avenger’s shields in on the ‘9’ portion of the rotation.

For survival situations I have Lay on Hands, Divine Protection (50% damage reduction) and if I glyph for it, I can have 20% reduction if I use Salvation on myself. Obviously this would require a fight where threat is not an issue.

Ret: Ret DPS uses a priority instead of a strict rotation. Crusader Strike, Judgement, Divine Storm, Consecrate, Exocism. Once the initial rotation is done, you simply hit whatever ability is up next, while keeping that priority in mind. This will not change much in 3.2, other than hitting Crusader Strike more often. Time will show if it is worth switching between Seals during a fight for maximum DPS.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Too busy being delicious

Right now there's the usual hate/flame going on at our old realm forums, where everyone is bashing the old guild/leadership/etc. for doing what they did. At the end of the day though, there's only a select few of us that know what actually happened - and we're not telling.

It'd be easy to get on the realm forums, especially under the mask of an anonymous alt, and just bash players for their lack of skills. Personally though, I'd rather just let the trolls die out from lack of food and nerd-rage. Eventually something else will come along, and they'll rant and rave against that.

To quote one of my favorite forum trolls of all time:

"I'd respond, but I'm much too busy being delicious"
Reportmyname - Malygos

Monday, July 27, 2009

Selling your heals (and tanking)

The other night I saw a strange thing in /trade. It's fairly common to see someone offering to pay 40g or some such for a run through Scholo or Dire Maul, the price varies of course - and lots of requests for healing those DKs in the outlands.

This time though I saw someone hawking their skills in the other direction - offering to tank/heal a dungeon for a fixed price. While this makes sense, I had to ponder for a moment and think about the risks involved here.

I'm a huge fan of PUGs, so this isn't a rant about casual vs. hard core, or PUG vs. guild - but rather a reflection on what exactly I'm getting myself into when I step into a PUG. I know that I'll probably die a few times. There's almost always that one DPS who opens up too quick, or that tank who thinks that holding one mob is sufficient. Even worse is the DPS that refuses to CC - as if it was a badge of shame on the tank or DPS.

I just wonder if the 40 or 100g they are looking for covers their time? What do I get for my money? I'm assuming that if I'm paying for your services, that you are therefore excluded from loot (shards, orbs, etc). If not, then why am I paying you over and above the standard loot?

I guess when it's 4am and loltank is the only meatshield around, you take what you can get.

Personally, I went to bed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paladin T9 - Stats and Looks

3.2 is just around the corner (I'm betting on the 4th of Aug) and soon it will be time to say goodbye to my T8 goodness and start building on my T9...whatever it is. I can't say that I'm all that excited about it, but maybe something in the writings will cheer me up.


While we all know that from a min/max standpoint, hard core raiders will dress like clowns with propeller head hats if it means eeking out that next percentage of DPS/Healing/whatever. I remember seeing a comic around the time WotLK was being announced showing a warlock in full T6, and then in clown costume(esque)outfit 10 min after landing in Northrend. We all remember what BC was like. Trading in our hard earned T2 gear for a green quest reward.

My point here is, we want to look good, but we want to be the best we can. If we can't do both, looks gets sacrificed every time. Just look at how many feral Tauren kitties stuck it out (FUGLY is too nice a word for that cat form). recently did a great comparison of the Paladin gear looks on Horde vs. Alliance. I believe they gave the overall victory to the Alliance, but personally, I'm not in agreement. I think the Horde Pally set looks amazing, and is the perfect BEfl gear. It has one major problem though.

The gear doesn't match.

Horde legs are like bloody capris - and with the color difference - how will they make the offset pieces match up? It's bad enough when you're mixing different levels of tier gear (Red chest, white legs ftl), but now we're just going to look all kinds of silly.

Then again, we are paladins. We've been looking silly since day one. Loves me some banana shoulders. I am going to miss the kilt/skirt though. Even tanking in it, I look pretty BA. I can see where the retadins might not like it though.

Set Bonuses

Now to the meat of it.

Tanking Set Bonuses
2pc - 2 sec off hand of reckoning and 5% more damage with Hammer of Righteousness.
4pc - 30 sec reduced CD on Divine Protection and forbearance.

Faster taunts never hurt, especially when dealing with AoE packs you might not have fully under control. In the new arena style instance, I think this might come into play quite a bit. 30sec off our 50% damage reduction is just pure win. It helps bring us in line with those darned OP DKs.

Healing Set Bonuses
2pc - Increases the duration of your judgement by 10 sec.
4pc - Increases the critical strike chance of your Holy Light by 5%.

I'm mixed on this. 10 sec on the judgment is huge, especially in 10 mans where you probably don't have another paladin putting up your judgement. It also gives you more flexibility in your timing. 5% increased crit on HL is nice, but our crit is so hight anyway, this is kind of a wash.

Or is it....

Blizzard has done, at least in my opinion, an amazing job at predicting the style of healing and healing direction of Paladins. Even if it doesn't look like it on the outside (or is an accident). Let's look at our progression so far.

T7 bonuses were a 10% increased crit on Holy Shock and 5% mana reduction for Holy Light. Coupled with the Seal of Wisdom glyph, and a fairly cheap libram, this made our Holy Lights a non-stop cast. Genius. Many paladins, myself included, kept using the 4pc T7 over T8 for this reason alone. It was the perfect setup to carry us into Ulduar and the hardmodes.

T8 changed gears a little, giving us a HOT from our Holy Shock crits. While it didn't scale for beans, if you went with both 2pc bonuses you got an extremely effective 1/2 punch - with a HOT thrown in for good measure. We've all had those pucker moments where the tank suddenly takes a ton of damage we have to get out from under (Fusion punch anyone?), and having a good chance of two instant cast crits is a great "OH NOVOS" tool. The odds are good that if your target took that much damage, SS would be up, and you'd now have an instant HS with high crit, followed by what was probably an instant FoL, and you now have a small HoT ticking while you crank up your HL. Not a bad combo.

As our gear improved, more and more paladins began shifting to the 51/20/0 build, sacrificing what was already a very high crit chance for more healing and stronger shields - especially once they had the 4pc T8 bonus. This build, plus the Glyph of Seal of Light, gives some great quick healing (and relatively cheap) for fights like Vezack where mana is a big issue. It also works well on Hodir 3min kills where your healing is stretched pretty thin.

Now while this doesn't match our current "Spam HL till we win" healing style, it does fit in perfectly with the healing Blizzard wants us doing in 3.2. Longer judgments, FoL HoTs (fairly weak, but still), and less dependence on HL spam. I'm not saying it's going to work, but I am saying that the gear is designed to help us with this. Now, if they would just let us put SS back on more than one target, the 51/20 build with 4pc T8 would be amazing.

I'm really looking forward to some new raids, and the double lockout looks promising. At this stage I'm actually kind of glad that I won't be doing 25s right off. 4 lockouts of Arena, plus Ulduar cleanup...many raids...

Here's to keeping our tradition of excellence in our new home.

20 legendary tears. If only I could roll in them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The ride is over

I'm saddened to say that Sinners and Saints officially died this week. We had a good run while it lasted, but we were unable to get the player type required to meet all our goals - namely all hard modes and all bosses. The talent pool wasn't deep enough for us to recruit from, with many new applicants either failing to fill out a guild app properly, or being in low end dungeon items.

I'm not going to bash the player base though, or turn this into my own personal grind against players who continuously stood in fire.

Instead I salute those that helped make it all possible, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Just don't do them with me.

I've been scouting for a new home, and I'm getting close in my decision. I'll probably keep it quiet and close for a while, change my names, etc. I'm sure that I'll get more than enough flaming on the blog here, I don't need a plethora of in game harrasment as well.

So long Sinners and Saints, and good luck to those who stay. The Scryers was a great place to be for a while - I'm just sorry we couldn't reach our goals together.

Final fragment count: 20

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Random musings - 3.2 and otherwise

First - I think we're looking at 2 more weeks until Patch 3.2 hit's the servers. I base this on a couple of unrelated events, which when taken together, point towards a larger picture.

1) The final bosses are hitting the PTR tonight.
2) Blizzcon is in four weeks - IMO they either want to get it out 2 weeks early, or wait until the week after Blizzcon.
3) Some small last minute tweaks are coming in, and GC will want to address them at Blizzcon.
4) I have a nose for trouble, and this smells like trouble.

I could be off, but I'd be surprised if they wait until Blizzcon to release 3.2. I know Blizzard stands by the "we'll release when it's ready" position, but I'd bet on this.

New races

By all that's holy, please don't put Goblins in the game. I hate gnomes. I especially hate gnome tanks. Goblins would be just as bad. I really hate their animations...ugh. Worgen would be pretty cool I suppose, but you'd have a host of people swarming to reroll worgen on Alliance. I certainly don't think that they will be neutral or have the ability to choose Alliance/Horde at will (or via quests). PvP would be hell if you can't recognize the enemy until they are close enough to see their health bar.

Jazz hands are still a dream of mine though - need to keep running H MGT so I can have them for a few minutes at a time until the Horde/Alliance switch opens up. I'm still torn between male/female though. It's a shame you can't run through all the animations at lvl 1.

Here's hoping for an incredible fragment drop rate tonight.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tanking and threat - and a DPS rant

Mmmm - I loves me some threat. Last night I took three of our heavy hitting DPSers (Hunter, Boomkin, and Retadin) and sauntered into H VH to test some threat generation. In hindsight I probably should have grabbed one of our feral druids that keeps dying due to pulling hate - but I'm fairly convinced that happens just because they are idiots.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant (Dennis Miller, I miss your comedy - come back to us), but watching DPS die from pulling agro pisses me off almost as much as that warlock who refuses to not be hit by Thorim's lightning. I think the only thing that pisses me off more is DKP/Loot babies who bitch about paying for offspec gear. Get over it.

Anyway, I'd consider our guild to be fairly progression oriented. Our 10 man group is doing exceptionally well, with Algalon being our final hurdle in the boss chain. Our 25 man has done a few hard mode attempts, but we're having problems with the execution. Some of it is from stupid deaths, other parts are from stupid players.

Watch your threat dummy

I DPS'd on a warrior long before the reduced threat mechanic was added to Imp Brezerker Stance. I watched Omen like a hawk, and when the kalxon horns started sounding at 100% threat...I stopped DPSing. Yeah, that's right. I let my own numbers slide for a second to give the tank a second to rebuild his agro. I sacrificed my own epeen for the raid, so that I didn't pull the boss and get one shot. Why? Because dead DPS have a theoretical output of ZERO.

Now don't get me wrong. A tank can't just sit back and blame the DPS - as a tank you have to break you back every boss to make sure that your threat is as high as possible. The symbiotic relationship is pretty simple. The more threat the tank generates, the more DPS that can be done, which means the boss dies faster, meaning less healing is needed. It's not rocket science.

Know when to back off

Get lucky and catch a sunbeam, the shaman buff, and 10 stacks of cozy fire 22 seconds into Hodir? Know how fast you can open up the throttle. Sure, your tank should be hit capped for specials, and have enough expertiese to reduce dodges, but really - maybe he got a bad string. Open up like you're racing a Formula 1 car though, and there's a good chance you're going to spend the rest of the fight looking at the floor.

Another instance where you might want to learn some self restraint is Freya's lashers, especially with 1 or more keepers up. These bad boys hit for a lot of damage, and when you kill them in quick succession on top of your priest - well, congratulations on the fratricide.

The fact that these things still happen, not to mention the avoidable environmental damage that gets eaten, are some of the big reasons why we can't get hard modes in our 25s.

Tank Threat

Tannyr has a great thread over at WoW-Pro on the full 9/6/9 Paladin threat rotation, complete with graphs, addon suggestions, and pictures for those of us that don't read so well. It's a great setup, and one worth spending the time on.

What I want to add is that you have to know your raiders. Obviously in the world of AoE heroics, your average PuG isn't going to listen - but your regular guild mates and raiders should. Remind them that just because you pulled with your face, that doesn't mean they can open the can yet. If they can't wait five seconds, tell them to wait until there's at least one tick of consecrate on - or three stacks of SoV. I've yet to see a fight where three seconds of lower DPS in the first 15 will lead to a wipe.

In short - work with your DPS. Let them know how much threat you're putting out, and bust your hump on every pull to make sure it's as high as it can be. Don't forget to pick up Vindication in 3.2 if you don't have a warrior in your group. Knocking off over 500 AP from the boss is no small reduction to incoming damage.

Fragment count - 20. Here's hoping for a good drop reset next week.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Speed Kills

Last night I got to strap on the tank gear again and went toe to toe with Malygos in some six minute kill attempts. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun. I don't think I had any real threat issues, which was a concern of mine. I was probably getting a lot of ToT hits from our resident rogue, but really - isn't that what he's there for?

One of the biggest things I'm having to relearn is the 9/6/9 rotation, and to take a deep breath and wait for things to come off CD. My hotkeys weren't optimally setup either, as I generally use both specs for healing. I kept trying to Holy Shock myself throughout the fight - ah well.

Tonight I'll actually to respect to a proper tank build, though my gear is almost back to being fully gemmed out. With any luck I'll be able to snag a few more pieces from our Uld 25 man runs as well. My trinkets are complete shite (well, yeah - they are) and my rings need upgrading. Since we don't have any other paladins collecting offsets, and only one warrior who doesn't tank at all, I should be able to snag some block stuff.

Since I've gone prot for a few runs, I've gone back and looked over some of the upcoming changes to Protection in 3.2. Tomorrow I'll go over all those changes and see what I can make of them.

Am I wrong for secretly hoping one of our tanks doesn't make it tonight and I have to fill in?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now in 3D

What a big week. First we got our Rust-Colored proto drakes, then we traipsed into OS and kicked over Sarth's egg box with all three drakes up.

We'd tried this a few times, but kept running into issues with whelps. We decided to go with a 3 tank, 2 heal, 5 DPS rotation this time - and just outlast the encounter. We had a few failed attempts where I tried holding whelps in PvP gear with my 51/20 healing spec. When that wasn't working out well, I went to tank gear in the same build. That worked better - except for one small problem.

No manas for my spells.

With the removal of Spirtual Attunement for all Paladins, and no Divine Plea talent - I was OOM in about 2 minutes of casting my judgements and consecrate. I also had no Cpt. America shield, and no HoR. Overall it was an improvement though, and so I heading out and respecc'd to a full prot build (though since I did it on the fly it's got a lot of wasted points).

One of our DPS fell asleep at the keybaord while I was respeccing and getting some gems and glyphs ready. Fortunately we had a hard hitting retadin available, and he knew the fight from having done 3D in 25s. Quick swap, and we were on our way. Two wipes later, and we had a lovely new title. Since we're the only guild with Champions of Ulduar though, I'm going to keep that one for a while.

It's amazing how you can beat your head against an instance or encounter for a while, and then suddenly it all comes together and you wonder why you ever had issue with it. It was nice to tank a little again - glad all that gear I've collected finally got some use.

Shard count - 18.

Friday, July 10, 2009

WD-40 ready

Last night was pretty exciting. We one shot FL+4 (2nd time the group has gotten him), and then spent about a half an hour getting our Razerscale achievement. Fun fact - when she enrages it's not a "burn through" it enrage.

As soon as we got our achievments we ran outside where I dropped a mailbox and we got some screenshots of our new mounts. Holy hell are they fast. Zoom zoom baby. 310% speed mounts with Crusader Aura and Aura Mastery is just ridiculous. Plus it just looks cool.

I wish I could say it was the rarest mount on our server, but I think that distinction goes to the one guy who got the Black Drake from the one 10 man 3D kill on the server.

Ours are still cooler though.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't break my heart

Yeah - it's a shite song, but at least we pushed XT over last night after only two wipes. I'm sad to say this is our first hard mode kill, and it came a month after killing Yogg. We can't even muster the coordination to do FL +1 tower. I swear it's like our raiders hear "hard mode" and they instantly become drooling idiots. I don't know if it's the pressure to do more DPS or what, but that's what it feels like.

It's not just the DPS either.

Recently we cut back to five healers - which isn't much of a cut when you consider that we only have seven raiding healers in the guild to begin with. Our first night of trying this I grab my three trees and our priest, and we start rocking the joint. This is when I learned my first mistake.

Don't trust someone else's judgment.

Don't get me wrong, we have great trees. The problem is that without direction they tend to get scatterbrained and try to heal everyone at once. This tactic worked in Naxx, but that dog won't hunt on hard modes in Ulduar. Of course, I'm not entirely free of blame either. I'll admit that when the tank is topped off I have a burning urge to try and sneak heals out on the raid. This usually results in the tank getting folded.

That problem got sorted fairly quickly though, and we're making progress now. I really have to hand it to our members who have volunteered to sit on some bosses so we can rotate people in. I think they're also learning that my tolerance for missing a sub call is pretty minimal. One call on vent and/guild is all I give. We don't have time to sit around and wait for you. Logging off an alt is one thing - waiting for you to get back from the kitchen is another.

Oh yeah - XT was a stingy POS and failed to drop a fragment, even though we did kill him in hard mode.

I hate the RNG.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Light Left On

I feel bad for Thorim - I really do. His own brother set him up, killed his wife, and then captured him (and his mount) for relocation into Ulduar. After being freed he then ends up crushing Immortal Guardians while scores of raiders tackle Yogg-Saron.

Of course I also love him.

Time after time his hammer crashed down on the Guardians, and after a few wipes - we finally were awarded One Light in the Darkness. I can't even imagine No Lights...what a cluster that has to be. Zerg the boss, heroism, tank CDs after 3 guardinas, all DPS on the boss, and rotating Hand of Sacrifice and Pain Suppression? I don't know.

Fortunately we have Algalon to occupy is as well. We're also just one achievement away from our Rusted Proto-Drakes. Well, technically I'm two away (missed a raid and the Orbituary achievement), so Thursday will be a fun night of wipes on Razerscale as we coax her into frying a bunch of her dwarves.

So with a slew of server firsts under our belts (yes, I know - weeks behind other servers) I noticed today that there is one server first we missed - Sarth 3D 10 man. It seems while we were busy with Ulduar After Dark (our closest competitor in 10 mans) slipped in and nabbed this one. Hats off to them, we certainly had our shots at it. We're going to have to knuckle down for Algalon though - I don't want anyone swooping in behind us and nabbing that server first.

Now if I can just get some hard modes from our 25 man runs....

Current fragment count - 17.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Destroying PvP

I'm not a huge fan of solo PvP when I'm holy - except maybe AV. It seems like nobody knows the art of a peel, and I'm always the last person at a flag because I have to drink. Really? You're going to leave the Holy Paladin alone at the flag? What am I going to do, bore them to death when they get here? At least when I'm ret I can go charging off with the rest of them - nary a care about defense.

This all changed last weekend.

Behold the pre-made - PvE group in PvP. About seven or eight of us formed up for some premade AB/WSG, and holy hell was it fun. Part of it I'm sure was that it was a group of core guys I've raided with for years. The other part was that in their 232 gear, they were destroying anything that wasn't in full PvP gear - and those guys just lasted a second longer.

Of course in PvE gear my own team was a bunch of glass cannons, but with some dedicated healing, we tore up the BGs. I'm fairly certain I made more than one rogue cry when I dropped a HoP on a moonkin, or a clutch HS/FoL crit combo on someone.

Of course the best times of the night were parachuting off the mill to the smith, or down to the mine. My old PvP healer has gone Ret, but the two of us floating in caused more than one laugh. It also saved/stole more than one flag.

Tonight - Algalon and One Light.....TBC

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Faction Change

My only comment on this is that I hope Blizzard allows us to change our character gender at the same time - because the thought of being a male Belfadin just makes me cringe. I don't want jazz hands. I like being John Travolta in plate. Oh the humanity....

When I first heard the news of this, I was more than a little shocked. I suppose it makes sense in a way - but really? Faction changes? Will my rep change over? What about my mounts? Faction pets? How can I be a gnomish engineer if I'm Horde? And thank goodness for guards in the cities. I deleted my Horde toons long ago simply because I couldn't find anything. Undercity is confusing as hell.

One thing I do know - that hunter that keeps bitching about needing a space goat will have to finally gear for that missing hit. I hate him.

Which brings up an interesting point in and of itself. Currently we cannot change races within our own faction, presumably because it would result in an influx of change from the min/max crowd. PvPers might choose Humans for Alliance for the extra trinket slot, raiders might choose Draenai for the racial % to hit. Horde tanks would all become Tauren (though the stam buff isn't as huge as it was in Vanilla), and in general we'd see a lot of flipping every time a racial changed and EJ came up with a new min/max.

The balance will be a bit off though - three races of Alliance Paladins becoming Belfs, and the reverse for shamans. With the addition of axes to the rogue utility belt, you might see more orc rogues (personally I like the concept of Cannibalize) or Troll hunters.

Good or bad - I have a feeling I'll have jazz hands soon.


On Hygiene

This post is definately non-WoW related, but since I don't have a personal blog - and I have to share this story - you get to enjoy it.

I work in a fairly standard office building, filled with engineering and oil-field professionals, as well as a native corporation. Each of the five floors has one set of restrooms, with the mens room having two urinals, a regular stall, and a handicapped sized stall.

Restrooms on the first floor are accessible to the public - and we get more than a few intoxicated folks coming in to see the Native corporation - so I could maybe excuse this behavior if I was there. Our floors however are closed to the public, so in theory anyone you see is either an employee or a client of ours.

Hence my problem.

This morning as I prepared to contemplate the meaning of life, I noticed that the other stall was occupied in the mens room on my floor. Now I'm not a shy pooper, so I proceeded to use the remaining stall (not the handicapped one) and go about my day. During this time I saw my stall-neighbor's shoe, and played the "who's shoe is that game". Oh - if only I hadn't.

As my neighbor finished up, I expected to hear the distict sounds of water running and soap dispensing. You know - basic hygiene. Instead, I hear the bathroom door open, and then close.

Then silence.

That's right. A non-washer. What. The. Fuck. Did I suddenly get transported back to the middle ages where basic sanitation was a mystery? Now too, I can't just use the door, I have to paper towel it open.

I spent the rest of the day looking at shoes.../shudder

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What kind of guild are you?

Everywhere you look in WoW news there is always the word about the casual player, the social player, raiders (we ain't got no life!), etc. How do you define yourself? What kind of guild do you run in? Can you live with something less?

Definitions - my way

My blog, my definitions. If you don't like them, Hello Kitty is that way >>>>>

Casual Guilds

This is your typical guild. There's a little bit of everyone here. Maybe it's the guy who runs some five mans, maybe just logs on every couple of days to do some dailies. Even if they do raid some, it's probably not the guy who theorycrafts and min/maxes all his gear. Usually great for getting PuGs, many of Gevlon's M&S fall into these guilds. Not necessarily 'bad' players, just not cutting edge folks. Great for having a beer with though.

Raid Guilds

The hard core that aren't at the forefront. They raid, and they want to be serious, but they care about the social aspects as well. Do I like my guild-mates. Do I like to just hang out with them and talk. Unfortunately for the progression folks trapped here, there are usually a handful of casuals and M&S who prevent any real progression (Forgotten Fury, I'm looking at you).

Raid guilds will have spouses of the tank in their ranks, even though she sucks, simply because they don't have another MT. The 5k DPS mage has a little brother who heals with Holy Nova - but nobody leads like he does so they adapt.

Progression Guilds

These guys are going for the gold every week - regardless of how many hours they raid. Ensidia and Vodka are obviously the pinnacle of Progression Guilds, but any guild that is pushing the envelope for server firsts and harder content generally falls into this catagory. The raid force may not be the tightest group of friends, but damn it if they aren't effective.

These guilds will often take members who they don't necessarily like, simply because they are good at what they do. The social aspect isn't as important to them as getting to the end-content is - and this is what most raid guilds strive for, or think they are. Unfortunately many progression guilds are just raid guilds with big egos.

So what is S-a-S?

I think S-a-S falls in between progression and raiding. We're pushing the server firsts, but we're not nearly as tough as we could be. We don't replace the druid who'd rather eat a land mine than learn how to avoid them, or the warlock who eats every lightning bolt on Thorim. We still cave to the 'but he's a nice guy' move - even if they aren't the best at their role.

We're coming along though, and hopefully our progression will continue into 3.2 - even if I do have half the guild on /ignore and muted during non-raid times.