Archive for June, 2008


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Rogue vs Terestian Illhoof

I just remembered that I never finished this series of posts on Karazhan…


Terestian Illhoof is an optional boss in Karazhan, easily reached when you are clearing past Curator toward Shade of Aran or Chess. This is a very chaotic fight with lots of mobs running around. Rogues need to be able to maximize their burst dps, and also learn not to use tab-targeting.

This is not meant to be a complete raid strategy guide for Illhoof. For such a guide, see WoWWiki, BossKillers, or MMO-Champion, just to name a few. This post is just to help rogues maximize their utility in this fight.

Threat should not be an issue in this fight since you are switching targets while the tank builds up aggro on the boss. For paladin buffs you can get Might rather than Salvation. Since Illhoof and Kil’rek are both demons, an Elixir of Demonslaying (or two, since they only last 5 minutes) might be helpful here as well.

As the fight starts you will see Kil’rek and Illhoof standing behind a green circle on the ground. When Kil’rek dies, Illhoof gets a debuff that causes him to take additional damage. Thus, your first job in this fight is to kill Kil’rek. He is pretty squishy and goes down fast. He does melee and fire damage. If you have an off-tank holding aggro on him then you can just go crazy on dps. If not, then a rogue with some Kara gear can tank him as long as he gets some heals. Kil’rek is stunnable, so you can use that to your advantage. (Note that if your raid has a lot of AoE dps you might just ignore Kil’rek and let the AoE take him out. Listen to your raid leader!)

While the fight is going on, you will be surrounded by constantly spawning imps. In most strategies, melee dps can ignore them. Leave them to the warlocks and mages. If you don’t have any warlocks and mages… head upstairs to Shade of Aran. 🙂

When Kil’rek dies you will target Illhoof. Stay behind him and use your regular attack rotations. Illhoof’s health should go down relatively quickly. Ask your tank to keep him near the green circle. Kil’rek will respawn a couple of times during the fight, and you will leave Illhoof when that happens. Take down Kil’rek again and get that debuff back on Illhoof.

Kil’rek is your first responsibility, but not your most important one. Try not to stray too far from the green circle. Several times during the fight Illhoof wiill sacrifice someone. That person will be placed in the center of the green circle surrounded by Demon Chains. The sacrificed person is going to take damage quickly. The damage can be healed through, but its a big drain on your healer’s mana AND Illhoof heals himself while the chains are up. Your job, rogue, is to take out the demon chains ASAP. Burst dps!

The hard part here is targeting the chains with all the things around. If you tab-target you will lose precious seconds trying to find the chains among all of the imps. The all-but-necessary way to do this is to make a simple macro that just says /target Demon Chains or just /tar demon. Place a button for that macro on your button bar somewhere accessible. When someone is sacrificed, hit the macro, turn toward the chains and go all-out. You are going for maximum burst here. SnD should hopefully be up from your regular dps rotation, so get a couple of SS in and Eviscerate and hope for a nice crit. (note: I have heard that the chains have a “back”, but I have not spent time running around trying to find it, so I have never tried to Backstab them. If anyone knows where their “back” is please say so in the comments.)

If you get Sacrificed, there is nothing you can do. Cloak of Shadows does not break it, nor do pvp trinkets. You have to sit there and hope that the healers can keep you up and the other dps can take out the chains quickly.

Illhoof is not immune to poisons. Wound Poison will reduce the amount that he heals when someone is being sacrificed. If you are having trouble killing the chains quickly, you might consider using that to take the edge off of his healing.

So the complexity of this fight is that you are switching between three targets. You kill Kil’rek, you dps Illhoof, and you burst down the chains. Kil’rek respawns, and the cycle repeats. The chains are always priority #1. If you are good at macro construction, you might consider writing a macro that cycles between those three targets. I don’t use that, personally.

If you are successful, Illhoof has a couple of fairly nice rogue drops, but nothing amazing. The Xavian Stiletto is a good thrown weapon for rogues looking for more crit rating. Fool’s Bane is pretty nice for a mace spec. Most of his loot is coveted by other classes (we have all seen druids with the way cool Stranglestaff).

Good luck!


DKP quirks

When we formed our guild alliance, we adopted the other guild’s DKP system. It is a very simple system, where we accumulate DKP for boss kills and time spent raiding. Drops have a fixed DKP cost, so there is no bidding. Among those who want the drop, the highest DKP total gets the item and the cost is deducted from their total. We did a DKP reset and started a separate “guild alliance” DKP table for our joint runs.

Unfortunately, the system as it was implemented turned out to work in my guild’s favor. When they did Kara runs that were strictly made up of people from their own guild, they accumulated DKP on their old pre-alliance table. When we did combined guild runs and raids, their DKP added to the guild alliance table.

This didn’t work out well. For many of the people in their guild, their DKP was being split between two tables, while for my guild our DKP was all going on the guild alliance table.

Didja follow that?

When the time came to use DKP for raid drops, my guild members always seemed to have higher totals.
That’s how I wound up with the T4 legs, even though I had picked up the T4 helm and a couple of other items just within the past few weeks.

Also, the way the system was set up you earned MUCH more DKP for Karazhan than in Gruul’s Lair, since there are so many bosses. That made it so you had to raid Karazhan weekly, even if you didn’t need any items from it. If you skipped Karazhan, you would be left in the dust DKP-wise.

The decision was that we would no longer award DKP for Karazhan, since the whole place (except the two dragons) is essentially on farm status anyway.

Now I foresee another problem. If we are only awarding DKP for 25-man content, and we only do Gruul’s Lair right now, DKP totals are not going to go up quickly. Two bosses and one hour of raiding = 7 DKP. The fixed cost for a drop from a raid boss is 30 DKP. So you would have to raid for four weeks to almost make up the DKP you spend on one drop. Is that too much?

Should we increase the DKP awards for 25-man raid bosses? Reduce the DKP cost of the drops? Maybe continue to give DKP for Karazhan but at a reduced rate?

I’d suggest that we go to a completely different system, but they seem attached to the one that they have. It just seems to me that you can’t cut the weekly DKP award to 1/4 of what it was without making some other adjustment to the system.


A Good Weekend

I had a very good weekend of WoW.

Thursday: Did a quick heroic Mech run to get the last couple of badges I needed for the Blade of Serration. According to the well-known DPS Spreadsheet, this is the best PvE main hand dagger I can get without doing BT or Sunwell. So after getting it enchanted I am set there, probably until the expansion.

Friday: Ran Gruul’s Lair with our partner guild. We are getting much better at that nasty High King pull. We are still not perfect, but its a lot less frustrating. And Gruul himself is a piece of cake. Gruul dropped the Champion T4 Leggings. I threw my name in the hat for them, along with the other rogues and paladins. Surprise! I won them. (I’ll post about our quirky DKP system later) That took care of my glaring need for a leg item upgrade.  Slapped a Nethercobra Leg Armor on it and I was happy. That allowed me to switch out my T4 shoulders (which are mediocre) for the slightly better Bladed Shoulderpads of the Merciless without losing the T4 set bonus.

Saturday-Sunday: Our partner guild had some internal issues, so there was no cooperative Kara run this week. To our surprise, we actually had enough people online to do our own run! We did need two players to respec, but they didn’t seem to mind. We had enough time to do Kara through Curator and get some players some nice gear upgrades.

Partway through the run, during a break between bosses, I was flipping through my gear lists and I realized that there is nothing that I need from Karazhan anymore. The only items that drop there which would be upgrades are the Steelhawk Crossbow or Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix, and those are going to go to hunters before I get a shot. Other than that, I’ll be running Kara just for badges and to gear up other guildies.

That was a big moment for me.  Before Burning Crusade I had never raided anything beyond UBRS, and even that I only did once or twice.  I had never owned any raid tier armor pieces before, either.  Now I have done a raid instance (only a 10-man, but still…) and gotten every item I can use from it.  I have 3 T4 pieces and could have a fourth except I didn’t want it.  I’ve come a long way.  🙂

The flip side – from this point the gear upgrades I need (without doing pvp) are in raid instances that I am not currently doing.  Time to light a fire under someone!  Lets do Void Reaver!


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
June 2008
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