Archive for May, 2008

28
May
08

Alt report: Pressure of being a tank

I know that this has been written about before by other people. I got to experience it first hand this weekend.

My main, of course, is a rogue. He lives a very carefree existence, standing behind things and stabbing them. I have fun playing him 100% of the time. If there was enough to do to keep him busy, I would never play any alts. Running instances on a rogue is an absolutely great time. I am almost completely in control of my own fate and performance.

  • If I don’t pull aggro I won’t die, unless there is a full wipe.
  • If I do mess up and die, there are still two other people doing dps so we probably won’t wipe.
  • VANISH!
  • There are no instances that I cannot run. Yes, if I am undergeared then I will not do enough dps to pull my own weight. However, if there are other dps classes there they can pick up my slack and I can still do the run. I could walk into Hyjal today in my Kara gear and 2-piece T4 and, while I won’t be even close to top dps, I also won’t doom the raid to failure just by being there.

This weekend I ran Old Hillsbrad on my tankadin alt, who had just dinged 67. We did complete the instance with a few bumps along the way. However, it was not nearly as much carefree fun tanking as it is doing dps.

  • As a tank, on any given pull if I make an error it can result in a wipe. The pressure is significant to do everything right all of the time.
  • If I mess up and die, its almost certainly a wipe unless there is an off-tank who can step in. (That did happen to us on the last boss. Feral druids ftw!)
  • I am not always in control of my own success. I can pull perfectly, but if the healer messes up I die, or if the dps doesn’t take the mobs down fast enough I can die. Or if the CC is broken I can die. My performance as a tank is intricately tied to the performance of everyone else in the group. That’s sometimes frustrating.
  • There are instances that I simply cannot run. If I don’t have the gear to take the hits, then I cannot tank and I cannot do the run.

On my rogue, there have been times when I have done three instance runs back-to-back-to-back. This weekend, after finishing Old Hillsbrad on the tankadin I was asked to tank another instance. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. After one run I needed a break.

I am so close to level 70 on this toon… but I have been hesitant of late. With the ever-present tank shortage, I fear that once I have a 70 tank character it will become more valued than my rogue. I wonder how often I will be politely asked if I could switch from my rogue to my paladin to tank an instance. I also wonder how much of a jerk I will seem if I refuse.

27
May
08

To run, or not to run?

It was a holiday weekend. That means, of course, that raids everywhere came up short as people went to visit family, had barbecues, etc…

So did you run or not run?

Our regularly scheduled Friday night Gruul came up short of the 25 we need. We decided to go ahead anyway with a… less than ideal group. We pulled in a few who had never done the raid, and even a couple who still hadn’t done Kara more than once or twice. The results? Predictable.

We did manage to get HKM down after six or seven tries, but we didn’t have the DPS for Gruul. A lot of wipes, high repair bills… all for two Badges and three pieces of loot. Worth it?

I still had fun. I am new enough to 25-man raiding that this is still a novelty to me. But some others were very frustrated.

Some in the raid think we should never even have tried that night. I think that getting everyone more practice and experience in the fight was a good thing, even if it didn’t go well. I am not easily frustrated, and I have fun trying to do my personal best even if the raid is not successful.

Also, I am sure that the three players who got T4 pieces from HKM felt that it was worth it. That brings up a much bigger issue – altruism.

altriusm (n) – the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others

We had 25 people, all of whom ended up with 20g+ repair bills and who used a significant amount of consumables in our attempts. The benefits were that three people got loot, everyone got two badges, and several new people got to learn a bit about the fights. From a guild perspective, that’s not a bad thing – more gear and more experience means that we have more flexibility in personnel in later raids. But many people would claim that it was a waste of time. Is that selfish? Should it be OK for a run to be a little frustrating if it improves the guild as a whole?  What is the cutoff for that?  Would three wipes have been OK, but seven was not?

I’m just thinking out loud here.  There is no answer for this.  Everyone has different personal feeling on this.  In my raid group, I am at one extreme – I feel that any raid is a good raid even if there are wipes and it is not a brilliant success.  One person in our raid group is one the complete opposite extreme – he doesn’t want to raid unless every single person is not only well-geared but even overgeared and that we are assured of success.  There is a happy medium, and every guild needs to find that.

23
May
08

Busy

Sorry about the lack of posts this week.

Its the end of the semester, and I am busy writing exams, grading papers, and finalizing grades. Its the busiest two weeks of my year. I’ve had very limited time to play or even think about WoW. Things should calm down next week.

20
May
08

Planning my Upgrades

I’m accumulating Badges of Justice (up to 97 now), running Karazhan and Gruul’s Lair regularly, and hoping to get to Magtheridon soon. We don’t do full clears of Kara because we don’t always have someone in the raid who can summon Nightbane, and we have enough trouble with Netherspite that we leave him until last “if we have time”, and then run out of time. I am getting somewhere around 20-25 Badges a week even without running any heroics. Time to think about upgrades…

Main Hand weapon:

  • Currently using Emerald Ripper
  • Next upgrade: Blade of Serration. This is what I have been saving my Badges of Justice for. I should have the 105 Badges for it sometime next week. Of all the badge rewards I can get, I think this gives me the largest immediate increase in my damage output.

Off-Hand Weapon:

  • Currently using Swift Blade of Uncertainty
  • Next upgrade: None on the horizon. While the Edge of Oppression from heroic MgT may be a small upgrade due to its 1.3 speed and haste rating, and despite its lower dps, I don’t have any real drive to get it.

Head:

  • Currently wearing Mask of the Deceiver
  • Next upgrade: Netherblade Facemask. This is not much of an upgrade, but I need a 2nd piece of the T4 armor to get the 2-piece set bonus. The gloves from Curator are inferior to what I have, and there is a lot of competition in a 25 man raid for the T4 leggings from Gruul. In Karazhan there is not as much competition for drops, so I expect to get this the next time it drops from Prince.  Edit:  I got the Netherblade Facemask last night.  As soon as I get the Glyph for it I’ll equip it.

Neck:

Shoulders:

  • Currently wearing Bladed Shoulderpads of the Merciless
  • Next upgrade: Netherblade Shoulderpads, which are already sitting in my bank. Straight up this is not really an upgrade, but once I have a second piece of the T4 set the set bonus will help a lot. Also, I have been saving up gold so if I ever see the Swiftstrike Shoulders LW pattern on the AH I will be able to buy it, and switch this out for a different T4 piece.  Edit:  I got the T4 helm last night, so as soon as I get the proper glyphs on them I will be equipping my two T4 pieces for the set bonus.

Chest:

  • Currently wearing Primalstrike Vest
  • Next upgrade: None on the horizon. The Badge gear is too small an upgrade to justify spending 100 Badges. A strongly doubt I will see the Sunwell BoE LW pattern on the AH anytime soon.

Wrists:

Hands:

  • Currently wearing Gloves of Dextrous Manipulation
  • Next upgrade: Is Trickster’s Stickyfingers enough of an upgrade to be worth 60 Badges? If I get some other haste rating gear I would get these to stack haste. Otherwise… only if I have enough Badges after new dagger, pants, and a ring…

Waist:

Legs:

  • Currently wearing Fel Leather Leggings, and I have been wearing these !^$%# things since level 69, for crying out loud. These are nice pants, but also my most glaring need for an upgrade, I think.
  • Next upgrade: While it would be good to get the Netherblade Breeches from Gruul, I think that I will likely not have the DKP to get them from the other two rogues in our raid group. I hope to get the Skulker’s Greaves from Netherspite. Another option is some Badge gear. The Trousers of the Scryer’s Retainer (100 Badges of Justice) or the Shallow-Grave Trousers (75 Badges) would both be nice upgrades. Unfortunately, buying either of those now would prevent me from getting my new main-hand weapon (see above). I think the Blade of Serration will have a bigger impact on my dps, so I’m going to hope for the Greaves to drop. Badge pants rank third after the dagger and ring, so that would be a ways off. I should get a drop by then.

Feet:

  • Currently wearing Edgewalker Longboots
  • Next upgrade: There are pretty good Badge boots available, but there is no way I’ll get enough Badges for a dagger, pants, ring, and boots before WotLK. So my only upgrade option right now is the Sunrage Treads from normal MgT, and that’s not much of an upgrade.

Rings:

Trinkets:

  • Currently using Hourglass of the Unraveller and Darkmoon Card: Crusade
  • Next upgrades: Ideally – the Dragonspine Trophy. However, I think that all of the rogues and hunters in my raid group are hoarding their DKP for this, so I don’t expect to get it anytime soon. I may have to suck it up and go into the wipefest that is heroic MgT for the Shard of Contempt. I expect it will cost me 70g or more in repair bills, but its a nice trinket.

The Plan…

  1. 105 Badges for Blade of Serration
  2. Skulker’s Greaves from Netherspite (hopefully soon)
  3. T4 helm from Prince combined with T4 shoulders that I already have in the bank Done!
  4. 60 Badges for Angelista’s Revenge
  5. Maybe try MgT for Sunrage Treads and/or heroic MgT for Shard of Contempt
  6. Keep an eye open for Swiftstrike LW patterns on the AH
17
May
08

Where to now?

Last night we were able to down High King again (on a few tries) and once again one-shot Gruul.  Its amazing how much easier Gruul is than HKM.  He’s just a dps race, while HKM requires some coordination and strategy.

After the raid we discussed what our next step will be.  Nothing was decided, but its food for thought.  Keeping in mind our time constraints:

(1) We spend Friday on 25-man content

(2) We spend Saturday and Sunday clearing Karazhan for Badges.  There are still a lot of our players who need gear from there.  I suppose that at some point Kara will become a one night event.  But right now that is not the case.

So the obvious next step is to try Magtheridon.  That is also a short instance, and something we could do on the same night as Gruul once we have learned both runs.

However, we have two players in our guild that have been in bigger raiding guilds in the past.  They strongly recommended that we go straight to Void Reaver, and then the first bosses in SSC.  I don’t really know their reasons, other than the better loot drops.  They seemed to think that the drops from Mag aren’t worth the time it takes to learn the fight.

My personal preference would be Magtheridon just for the sake of progression and achievement.  Loot aside,I am an explorer and its a part of the game I’d like to see.  I suspect that a lot of others will want to jump to Void Reaver for the lure of T5 gear…

Also, I get the feeling that as a whole we aren’t geared well enough for T5 content.  We are still dragging a few players along in Gruul’s Lair that are underperforming, but we have enough good players in the raid to overcome that.  I don’t know that we could do that in TK.

15
May
08

Guild Alliance: A little stress

I really enjoy our guild alliance. The people in the other guild are nice. They have fun playing the game, which helps me have fun playing the game.

But there are little things… little differences in the way we play the game…

Example: We did two joint Kara runs this weekend. Both raids were made up of about half from each guild. The raid I was in went smoothly. Not without wipes, but nicely run.

The other raid was somewhat different. There were disagreements. They wiped. They made little progress. These things happen. We all have bad runs. As word has trickled back, though, it sounds like some of them are laying the blame for the lack of success on players from my guild.

I know the players from my guild who were in that raid. There is one who was new, and he probably made some mistakes. But the more I hear about the run, the more it sounds like a disconnecting healer, poor decisions and bad judgment played a big factor.

This is bound to happen. Placing blame is human nature. The major thing is to be proactive, discuss it and not let any molehills become mountains. I’ve already gone through this with their officers, and hopefully it is all worked out.

Another problem is more of a philosophical one. When my guild did Kara before our blow-up, we were always happy to bring in an undergeared player or two and get them geared up. We would often have a run where one Kara-rookie would walk out with 3 or 4 new epic items. That’s fun. Sure, we would wipe a few times due to mistakes made out of inexperience. And we had to explain every boss fight to the new people. But that was a good experience for everyone.

Our partner guild is not quite so into that. They seem to want Kara to be a speed run, no wipes, just about getting Badges quickly. Some of them are fairly intolerant of wipes, as they consider Kara to be on farm and they should not wipe on farm content. I have heard that sometimes there is unpleasant criticism following a wipe, although it has not happened in my runs. Because of this, some of them don’t want to bring marginally geared players on a run because it slows down the raid and causes repair bills.

I don’t think there is a good way to rectify this. Differences in philosophy don’t change easily. Our approach now is to get enough of our alts Kara-ready so that we can do alt runs with the Kara newbies and get them the gear and experience that they need without rocking the boat.

14
May
08

Got my Pauldrons – thanks GM

I wonder what goes into being a GM?

Last Friday I won the Pauldrons of the Fallen Champion from High King Maulgar.  Unfortunately, our loot got bugged.  We thought it was because the master looter had died and released, but that turned out not to be the case.

So our whole raid opened tickets explaining that three people had been unable to get their loot.  We heard from a GM a few hours later, and the ticket was “escalated” the following day.  I received an email telling me that it might take a few days.

Last night at about 7 PM I got the Pauldrons in the mail.  That’s my first piece of T4, and my first piece of raid Tier gear ever (not counting dungeon set items).  I’m not going to wear it until I get a second piece for the 2-piece SnD bonus, but its still a big personal accomplishment.

What went on during those four days between opening a ticket and getting the loot?  Obviously, the GMs have to work through a backlog of similar cases.  But what do they do?  Someone suggested that they go through game logs to see what happened, but I seriously doubt that is the case.  Maybe they have a player history so they can check and see if I have made similar requests before.

It turns out that the loot problem was caused by an add-on.  Odd that it would suddenly bug like that, and not on a patch day.

Unfortunately, we had the same problem the next day in Karazhan.  We had the same master looter with the same add-on (this was before we figured out the problem) and I was unable to loot my Steelhawk Crossbow from Attumen.  Now if I open another ticket I’m sure I will look like a liar or a cheat, having asked for items twice in one week, so I haven’t done so.  I can live without the crossbow, I guess.

P.S. – Hey Valenna, I finally got the Drape of the Dark Reavers




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
May 2008
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