Archive for June, 2008

25
Jun
08

Noob Tank

So my pally has been level 70 for a few days. I have dumped a lot of gold into him to get him geared to tank, replacing al most every piece of gear I had when I was 69. By yesterday, my defense was up to 480 and total avoidance (with Holy Shield) was about 85%. About 11.5k health and 11.5k armor, unbuffed. I’m not ready for the big stuff yet, but I’m close.

However, I have done very little actual tanking. I have only tanked 2 or 3 instance runs in Outland.

Surprise! Yesterday my guild wanted to do the first couple of bosses in lower Karazhan, and they invited me to come tank. It was a mix of a bunch of alts with a few of our regular raiders.

Results: mixed

We did get Attumen and Moroes down. However, we were too slow getting to Attumen due to a wipe on the way (my fault) and my overly conservative strategy since I was figuring out my own capabilities. So we had to wait out the respawns and reclear.

Things I need to figure out…

  1. The big difference I have to get used to… is aggro range. As a rogue I am in stealth between fights. I can wander around anywhere, often peeking around corners to find pats and such. As the pally tank, I tried to get into position to mark targets and here they come running at me, unmarked. Before anyone shouts NOOB! you should try playing a rogue. Aggro is a complete non-issue when you are always in stealth. It took me a while to figure out the aggro range on the Kara mobs.
  2. I am still learning my abilities. I generally use my Avenger’s Shield to pull for the high initial threat, but sometimes that grabs too many adds (which happened in Moroes’ room – 2nd wipe that was my fault). Someone whispered me and asked why I wasn’t pulling with Exorcism. Duh! Undead! /headslap
  3. When double tanking Moroes, I would get gouged and he switched to the druid off-tank, as planned. When gouge wore off, I had trouble getting aggro back again. He’s immune to taunt, of course. So the druid basically became the main tank while I tried to catch up to her threat.

The personal issue I have was rating my own performance. As a DPS, I have the damage meter to tell me if I did well or poorly. Not that I have to be #1 on the meter, but I can compare my numbers to past runs and see if I improved. As a tank I have… nothing, really. Yes, I caused a couple of wipes. But when I was tanking, was I generating enough threat? Should I take the blame for every death? I don’t know. I have no feel for it. How do I know if it was a “good” run?

P.S. – I did get the Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable… that put me over the magic 490 defense.

24
Jun
08

A Sticky Situation

Our guild alliance had been ticking along smoothly until recently. Now circumstances from the other guild have made for some rough going.

For those who don’t know, several months ago my guild was in its death throes and lost members to the point that we couldn’t field a Kara team.  We allied with another guild in order to run Kara, and together we successfully moved onto Gruul’s Lair.  Lately we had been working toward either Magtheridon or Void Reaver.

Since then, my guild has flourished.  Some who left in our original drama came back, and brought friends.  We are now fielding our own Kara team with people on standby.  We have enough 70 alts to mix and match classes as the team needs.

Unfortunately, our partner guild has gone through some issues.  We have not been able to field a 25 man raid in several weeks.  While I was out of town they had some kind of blowup.  Their officers have not been online in over a week, and three or four of their top raiders have quit.

If it continues like this, then we will clearly be the stronger guild of the two.  Here’s the sticky situation… since we are healthy and they are not, several of their members have inquired about jumping to my guild.  In all cases I have replied with an emphatic NO.  The last thing I want is to seem like we are stealing their members.

But at the same time, if they don’t jump to my guild they may just skip to another guild elsewhere.  Is it better to grab them and keep them “within the alliance” and risk our good guild relations, or just let them go elsewhere for their raiding?

23
Jun
08

Personal Achievements

This was a weekend of personal firsts for me.

In addition to getting my 2nd max-level toon, my rogue main hit some new heights.  I was in on a Nightbane kill for the first time ever.  And my guild took down Netherspite for our first time in an all-guild run.

I find the Netherspite fight to be annoying.  Its not that it is terribly hard.  I think the beams and the little dance among them is a neat idea by Blizzard so its not just the same old strategy.  I just hate all of the running back and forth.  Run to the window, run back to the dragon, run to the window, etc…  Maybe there is a better way.

On Saturday night we went into Zul’Aman.  My guild had tried it once while I was out of town, but it was a first for me.  We one-shotted the first boss and easily took out the second boss.  I was worried that I would be rusty after almost two weeks away, but I easily led the damage meters.  I did die repeatedly on the pulls of the stealthed lion groups on the way to the third boss.

We did try to do the lynx boss, and got him below 50% on our best try.  I’ve heard that he is a T5 level fight, and it did seem pretty hard on our healers.  We’ll keep trying.

23
Jun
08

Back to Azeroth

I was out of town for nearly two weeks.  I had internet, but the firewall where I was staying  blocked WoW.

This is normally where someone might say that the enforced vacation from WoW was a refreshing change, or that it recharged them or something.  Naw.  I thought about Warcraft the whole time.  When I left, my pally was at level 69.  Sixty nine!  So close!

So while I was gone I read web sites that theorycrafted about tankadins.  I came back prepared.  I came back focused.  <cue “Eye of the Tiger” here>

I logged in and we hit Netherstorm because the quests are tightly clustered there, and because they have some great quest rewards for tanks.  I picked up Dabiri’s Enigma from a quest line and I’m only the instance runs away from the Sha’tari Vindicator’s Waistguard. During the intense questing I hit 70.  Woot!  My 2nd level 70!

As a bonus, I grabbed the Depleted Sword for cheap on the Auction House, and my main was able to get the shards necessary to convert it to the Crystalforged Sword.

I bought the Delicate Eternium Ring, and I have all of the mats for the Bracers of the Green Fortress.

On top of all that, I dropped blacksmithing and picked up engineering.  It cost a few hundred gold, but I leveled it from one to 290 in the first day.  I hope to have the Tankatronic Goggles within a couple more days.

Right away I had an opportunity to tank Shadow Lab.  With my new gear, sitting at 11k health and 10k armor unbuffed, we went in.  One wipe on Vorpil when our mages died, and two wipes on Murmur when our healer died.  Other than that, it was a smooth run.  Even on bad pulls the multi-target tanking of the paladin was able to hold it together.  I won’t say that it was fun, but it was nice to get the experience.

Thanks to Maintankadin for the guidelines on tanking and gear.

Its nice to be back in Azeroth!

11
Jun
08

On vacation

I will be out of town for about 10 days.  I expected to have internet access during that time, but now I think that won’t happen.  I am completely cut off from WoW!!!

More posts at the end of next week.

09
Jun
08

Alt report: almost there…

I got my pally alt up to 69 this weekend.  I still enjoy grinding mobs when my wife is on her frost mage.  I get a little thrill every time we get a quest that has us “kill 10 wombats” or something similar.  Ten wombats?  That’s two pulls.  I have much more fun with that than I do tanking an instance.

I hit 69 while still only partway through the Blade’s Edge quests.  I imagine that I might reach 70 before even seeing Netherstorm or Shadowmoon Valley.  That’s nice, because I can still do the massive questlines there for Aldor and Consortium rep, and they will also be a good source of gold in addition to the dailies.

I tanked Old Hillsbrad with him.  I’ll tell you, the Thrall escort gauntlet is nice with a pally tank.  Thrall runs into the group, the pally runs in and consecrates and grabs the bunch.  I also did dispel duty on the polymorphs.

I did learn that its a problem to be overgeared as a pally tank.  In the Old Hillsbrad run there were a number of times when I was tanking only one or two mobs and didn’t take a lot of damage.  Without a lot of damage, I didn’t need much healing, and I used up my mana very quickly.  I had to drink after almost every pull for much of the instance.

I’ve been trying to accumulate gear for him to use when he hits 70.   I have the Crystalforged Sword in the bank. I’m working on getting some Felsteel armor pieces crafted.  I have the Shield of the Wayward Footman already.  I have a small supply of Solid Star of Elune in my mailbox for when I get gear with sockets.  I have been trying to accumulate cards for the Furies deck.  Its been hard.  In the past I have assembled both the Lunacy deck and the Blessings deck.  I never had trouble finding the cards on the AH, it was just a matter of waiting for a good price.  With the Furies cards I have 2-6 but I have not seen 7 or 8 at all, and I’ve been looking regularly for a month.  I saw the Ace only once and it was outrageously overpriced.

Next step:  grind some KoT rep to get their Glyph when I hit 70, and do some Netherstorm quests to get some nice tankadin rewards.  My goal is to be uncrushable within a week or so of hitting 70 so that I can step in and tank if needed.  I’m using the Maintankadin site as a guide.

05
Jun
08

Pomp and Circumstance

When I am not in Azeroth, I am a high school teacher.

Yesterday my school had its graduation ceremony. It’s a huge event, held in a large indoor arena (where the Orlando Magic play). We had over 500 students graduate and nearly 8000 guests in the seats watching. The ceremony begins by the playing of the well-known song Pomp and Circumstance. The faculty, dressed in graduation robes, files into the arena and makes two parallel rows. This provides a path for the students to enter, walking between the two rows of teachers. Its a great photo opportunity, and it is very exciting for the students to walk proudly past all of the teachers that they have had for the previous four years.

For many of the students, high school graduation is the biggest moment thus far in their lives. Its nice to go to lengths to make it special for them.

What the students don’t know is that a portion of the teachers don’t want to be there. A whole bunch would rather do anything that sit through the two hour ceremony. A few years ago the rows of teachers were so obviously small that it drew negative comments. After that, the principal made it mandatory. Still, several teachers spend they days before graduation trying to find ways to get out of it. Some feign illness, while others show up, make sure they are seen, and then duck out a back door when the ceremony begins and no one will notice their absence.

Yes, the ceremony is a time when the teachers are not accomplishing anything. They sit in a chair for two hours and gain nothing from the time spent. But their presence makes the event memorable for the students. Isn’t that worth it? Is it such a problem to spend some time for the benefit someone other than yourself?

There is a life lesson there, and it applies in WoW as well.

You are online farming in your fully epic-geared raiding toon, and a newly dinged 70 in your guild asks to put together a Shadow Lab run. Do you stop your farming to go, even though there is nothing for you to gain from Shadow Lab? Do you spend the time explaining the fights, perhaps using consumables, and paying a repair bill even though you personally stand to gain nothing?

Or do you feign afk? Maybe claim that you were just getting ready to log off, then quickly switch over to a toon that is not in the guild so no one knows you are still playing? Perhaps say that your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/mother is coming over and you don’t have time for a run?

For many players, dinging 70 is the most important moment in their WoW lives thus far. It opens up a whole new aspect of the game. There are a slew of new instances that are only for 70s, lots of gear, flying mounts, etc… that might eventually lead to raiding. The path to 70 is long and arduous and when a player gets there it would be nice if it were special. But in order to make it special it takes help from others.

A guild is not just there to help YOU. It is there for the benefit of all involved. The most important contribution you can give to a guild is not your gear or your skills. Give your time. Make the game fun for others beside yourself.




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)
June 2008
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