Archive for March, 2011


A little venting to start my week

My guild has had a bit of a setback.  Maybe I’m opening myself to abuse here, but we’ve found ourselves wiping on Magmaw quite a lot.  Not even on heroic mode.  I mean Normal-mode, 10-man Magmaw.

I know that its a fight that its easy to screw up.  It only takes one person standing in the wrong place to wipe the raid.

Whenever a raid wipes, the first thing every raider should do is ask himself what he could have done better.  Reflect on how you could have positioned yourself better, or how you could have maximized your throughput better, or how you could have used cooldowns better.  We all try to analyze how we contributed to the wipe.  Here’s what is frustrating for me about Magmaw… and its not something I ever said during the raid.

Its an easy fight for melee dps, so the wipes are never my fault.

There – I admitted it, and I sound like a jerk.  I don’t want that statement to come off as me claiming that I am better than the other players.  Quite the contrary.  I feel like that fight is unusually demanding on ranged players and especially on healers while being exceptionally easy on melee dps.

All I have to do as melee dps is an uninterrupted rotation, then jump on his back and chain him, then dps the head.  Repeat.  Its almost impossible for me to make a mistake.  In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that there was nothing I could have done better on any of our attempts that would have improved the outcome.

So when we wipe once or twice, I shrug it off as “it happens”.  When we wipe 5-6 times I start to get frustrated.  Its annoying because those wipes are not of my doing.  There is no way I could have done anything to improve my performance or prevent the wipe.  After the wipe, I try not to say anything in chat or in vent because I don’t want them to think I am being critical, when their role is harder then mine.

I much prefer a fight where my role is as demanding as everyone else’s.  Then I can share in the difficulties and also in the triumphs.  Then I can use my skill to have a real effect on the outcome.  I hate it when an entire fight hinges on one person or on a single moment of error.

I’d be happy if I never saw Magmaw again.  Its an easy fight for me, but I dislike the fact that it gets me frustrated with my guild, which I love dearly.


Going through a rough patch

I’ve been flailing about in game for things to keep me busy.

Raiding has basically stopped in my guild.  Due to attrition and an inability to field a consistent group from week to week, we haven’t had a 25-man get off the ground in weeks.  As a solution, we’re going to transition to 10-man raiding and try to get two teams going.  In the meantime we have few raids going on which leaves me with nothing to do on my main.  So my time has been spent elsewhere.

I finished leveling my priest up to level 85.  I’ve been playing him strictly as shadow for leveling and instances, put I plan to give Discipline healing a try at some point.  He’s fun, but I have always found ranged dps to be a little dull.  Too much standing around.

I’ve spent hours fishing to try and catch the Bloated fish for the Oceanographer and Limnologist achievements.  I caught one, only to find that its being removed in the next patch.  =/  Wasted time…

Next on my agenda is powerleveling a Dwarf Rogue for the guild’s Stay Classy achievement.  I got him four heirloom pieces with XP boosts, plus the guild achievement Fast Track.  I played for an afternoon and went from level 1-25.  Not bad.  I’m leveling as Subtlety for the fun of big Ambush numbers.

I’ve also finally gotten around to playing the introductory zones for Worgen and Goblins.  I think that the Worgen zone was interesting and had a coherent storyline with a satisfying end.  The Goblin zone was fun, but clearly not to be taken seriously.  I found it less appealing, as it seemed to not fit in with the theme of the game.

These next couple of weeks are going to be critical for the guild.  If we can get 10-man raiding off the ground without excluding too many people, then things have a shot at continuing.  If it doesn’t happen then I can picture guildies logging on less and less (as is happening everywhere in the game).

With all of this, I don’t feel like I have a lot of blog-worthy material.  I am not planning to write about my hours of fishing, or my experiences leveling a shadow priest.  I have some thoughts on the dwarf subtlety rogue and the general ennui in WoW, so those posts will come soon.


How Many Random Epic Drops Have You Seen?

A lot of us are going on 6+ years in the game now.  That’s a lot of hours spent online, a lot of mobs killed, a lot of leveling done.

In all that time, I recall seeing three random world epic drops.

My first one was in the Stonetalon Mountains.  I was leveling with my wife.  We had killed a mob – a Fey Dragon perhaps (it was a long time ago) and a purple item dropped.  At our level (mid 30’s maybe) I had never seen anyone with an epic item.  It was a caster neck (gone from the game now) so my wife got it.  She was quite excited.

My second one was in Burning Crusade.  I was killing Twlight Serpents in Nagrand to farm Cobra Scales.  Surprise!  A Blade of Wizardry drops.  I sold that on the auction house for 5000 gold, which, at that time, was the most gold I had ever had.

I didn’t see a random epic drop through all of Wrath that I can remember.

In Cataclysm, my wife and I were doing a daily quest in Twilight Highlands, and a random owl drops Ritssyn’s Ruinous Drape. Well, wasn’t my wife just the happiest resto druid.  She gets all the good stuff.  =)

How many random world epics have you found?  Trash epics in raids don’t count – there is a higher drop rate for raid epics.  I mean random, drop-from-some-random-thing-in-the-middle-of-nowhere epics.



Sen’jin (US) – an interesting place

I play on the Sen’jin (US) server.  How did I end up there?  When I logged into the game the first time it was the suggested realm.  Even though its on U.S. Central Time and I’m Eastern Time (an hour different) its been a nice place for me to play and raid with awesome people.

A couple of years ago, Premonition moved to my server.  If you don’t know who that is, they are the top U.S. PvE guild.  With them on my server, all the other guilds are playing for 2nd place.  No one can touch them when it comes to progression.

Also on my server is Stoneybaby.  He’s a well-known shaman who writes for WoW Insider, formerly ran the Big Hit Box web site, and now runs the Big Crits guild / reality web show.

Who knew that this would become such a popular place?  I suppose that its like growing up in a small town, only to find later that all the yuppies want to move in and the property values go up and suddenly there is a Starbucks on every corner.  Wasn’t there an episode of South Park like that?

It makes you think – what else goes on on your server that you have no idea about.  What celebrities (RL or WoW) are there?  What amazing things go on that you have no idea about?  Wouldn’t it be nice if each realm had a newsletter that let you know what was happening?



raid tank?

My protection paladin so rarely gets called into service.  I keep him in reserve in case the guild needs a tank for a raid, but I don’t try to make him a primary tank.

Why?  Laziness, I suppose.  I learn all the fights from a dps perspective on my rogue.  Its completely different from a tank perspective – especially if you have to mark targets and determine a kill order as a part of tanking.  Its not that I can’t do that.  I just have a long-time habit of focusing on the dps side of things.

Still, my tank toon has managed a few accomplishments.  I tanked a significant portion of Ulduar back in the day when that was current.  I tanked Arthas in our first ever Lich King kill.  In Wrath tanking was easy.  Gear flowed like water and threat was a non-issue.  It was easy to gear up with badges and farm content.

Not so in Cataclysm.  Gear does not fall into your lap as rapidly.  Due to my aversion to tanking heroics  I have not accumulated enough Valor or Justice points to be of use.  And yet, I need this character to be ready in a pinch if the guild is short on tanks.

So I geared through the Auction House.  Ring, both trinkets, gloves, epic boots, epic belt, relic, cloak, sword, and neck were all BoE items purchased from the AH.  My last few pieces were filled in by quest items, and I made my helm with engineering.  That investment (about 25k or so gold) got me to a 340-ish item level… good enough to start raiding.

Admittedly, I am a bit squishy for a raid tank.  My raid-buffed health is 152k – good, but not great.  I’m not so concerned about that.  What concerns me is that I have not tanked a whole bunch since Cataclysm started, so the abilities have yet to become second nature.

This week we brought a new raid group into Bastion of Twilight.  One of our tanks bailed, so I stepped in on Derence.  I got the job of tanking the drakes (Nether Scion and Slate Dragon), along with tank swaps on Halfus due to the stacking Malevolent Strikes debuff.  (Its not the first time I have tanked this raid, but this time was harder due to the drake combination)

Despite my relative lack of practice, everything just clicked for me.  I managed to use every cooldown in the paladin’s toolkit to stay alive.  The timing was great.  Every time my health dropped to 15% or less, I had a damage-reduction ability that was available just in the nick of time.  I even threw out Lay on Hands on a dps when the raid damage was making things dicey.

My healers probably don’t feel as good about it as I do, since they had the job of propping up my yo-yoing health bar.  Still, I’m really happy with the results.  Tanking in Cataclysm is more challenging than it was in Wrath, and it was an enjoyable experience.  My cooldowns were not a luxury, but were a necessary part of survival, so it was important that I knew when and how to use them.  (answer:  whenever they are available!)

Most importantly, I got to help the guild by filling that important role.  If I hadn’t been willing to step up to the plate, the raid would have been canceled and a whole group would have lost the change for their first raid boss kill.

And the best part is that I didn’t have to slog through heroics to get there.  It makes me glad that I pulled in all that profit on inscription back in the good old days.

At my gear level there are limits to how far I can go as an emergency tank.  I could certainly hold my own through Magmaw and Omnitron, but I don’t know if I could get much farther than that without some more gear upgrades.  And without tanking raids my gear upgrades are limited.  Time to check the auction house again…


Do you volunteer for responsibility?

…and by “responsibility” I mean the jobs that a single person has to handle in a run or raid that require you to do more than dps.  Often these jobs don’t show up on meters.  In fact, they usually detract from your damage totals in varying amounts.

There are a lot of fights where a person is given a very important responsibility – the kind of thing where you have to do it right or you wipe.  This goes way, way back throughout WoW.  Think of hunters kiting Drakkisath in UBRS, everyone controlling the adds on Moroes, or anyone clicking the cubes on Magtheridon.  Interrupting General Vezax in Ulduar. Controlling one of Razuvious’ Understudies in Naxx.  Stopping Arcanotron’s Arcane Annihilator in BWD.  The list goes on and on.

We all know that a lot of people will try and avoid this kind of responsibility.  Usually it is due to a lack of confidence.  If you’re assigned to interrupt something and you know that EVERYONE IS COUNTING ON YOU then the pressure can be intimidating.  It might seem easier to just feign ignorance and let someone else handle the dirty work.  To those people I say, “Give it a shot!”  Make sure that the raid leader knows that you’re doing it for the first time but that you know what to do.

On the other hand, there are people who won’t volunteer because they are afraid of losing their leet spot on the damage charts.  Every second spent interrupting is a second where you’re not pwning the boss.  This approach is saddening, because it means that you’re putting your personal perception of glory ahead of the success of the raid.  To those people I say, “Get a clue!”  If you are a regular raider then everyone knows your damage output.  You don’t need to re-prove it on every fight.  When raids succeed in killing bosses, it makes a better impression than if you put up nice damage totals in a wipe.  No one remembers the wipes.

I can’t say strongly enough how important these jobs are, not only to the success of the raid, but your personal value on the raid team.  DPS is, frankly, easy to come by.  If you want to make an impression on your raid leader and secure your spot on a raid team, make sure that you are the first in line to take these jobs.  Rogues have good utility, so look for ways that you can help.

Personally, my raid spot is not in danger, so I’m not the ideal example of this.  However, I am a very reliable interrupter, if I can say so about myself.  I’ve had my Kick, Blind, and stuns keybound to the same places for three expansions now so it requires no thinking at all for me to hit an interrupt when I see a cast bar.  I am always the person that our raid leader looks to when there is an ability that needs to be interrupted.  I take more pride in that than I do in my damage totals.

If you’re looking for a raid spot as a rogue, don’t just rely on your damage.  That can be replaced by any of the other dps classes.  Make sure that you volunteer for the less glamorous jobs.  If you do them well, then your value to the team has been increased and you’re more likely to get future invites.

(caveat: that is assuming your raid leader is smart enough to look past damage meters at other contributions…  if he just looks at damage totals and complains about yours without recognizing that you were doing other important roles, then he is to stupid to have an opinion and you should find a better raid group)


A Rogue in Cataclysm – Omnotron Defense System

This post describes rogue tactics for a boss fight in Blackwing Descent. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

This is not meant to be a full raid strategy guide. It are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Raid Boss Strategies or WoWWiki.


The Omnotron Defense System is a council-style fight located in the beginning of Blackwing Descent.  Raids can choose to do this fight first or Magmaw first.  There are four golems and they have a shared health pool.  This is a very busy fight with a lot going on.  Mostly, the fight is about avoiding damage.

There are two out of the four golems active at once.  Whenever a new boss activates, one of the alread-active bosses gets a shield, and another one deactivates.  You should always move to attack the unshielded active golem.

Here are the four bosses:


  • drops a cloud that does AoE damage and also increases the damage taken by anyone in it by 100%.  Stay out of the cloud.  If the tank manages to position Toxitron in the cloud, then he, too, would take double damage so that’s a good time to pop a dps cooldown.
  • summons slime adds that fixate on someone and chase them.  Do not melee them.  When they die, they explode Be careful meleeing them.  If they reach their fixated target, they explode and will surely kill you if you are close.  If you get fixated, kite them while ranged dps kills them.  If they fixate on someone else, hit them a bit, but make sure you are not near them when they explode.  Also, if they fixate on you do not Vanish.  If you do, they will switch to another target that will be caught unaware.
  • his shield puts a stacking DoT on anyone who attacks him.  Since we attack fast, that would stack up very quickly.  Don’t attack him when his shield is up.  If you do, accidentally, you could probably Cloak off the debuff, but don’t.


  • does a pulsing fire AoE.  It doesn’t hit that hard, and you can Feint it to make it even less to worry about.  Do not Cloak to avoid it.
  • casts Aquiring Target.  He targets someone and aims a red beam at them.  This beam will follow the person.  After four seconds he will send a fire blast along the beam.  It will hit whoever was targeted, along with anyone else along that line.  If you are targeted, you can either Cloak or Vanish and the targeting is canceled without hitting anyone.  Save your cloak or vanish for this. If someone else is targeted, make sure you are not in line with that person.  (Vanish used to work to avoid this, but no longer does.  Use Cloak)
  • His shield absorbs damage and will explode to wipe the raid.  By all means, do not attack his shield.


  • Targets someone and charges them, making them do damage to everyone around them.  You can cloak this off, but its better to save your cloak for the Acquiring Target.  Just make sure that you aren’t near anyone for the duration of this.
  • Does a chain lightning that, as usual, increases damage with each jump.  Try not to be in a big group when that is cast.
  • His shield does damage when you attack it.  Don’t.


  • create as blue circle zone on the ground that buffs the damage of anyone in it.  The tank will drag the golem out of it.  Try to stand in it yourself if you can.
  • cast Arcane Annihilator, which is a very large single target attack that can hit anyone in the raid.  Can and must be interrupted.  He casts it every 5-6 seconds, so it will take two people to keep it interrupted.
  • his shield turns incoming damage into a buff for himself.  That buff can be spellstolen, however you should avoid hitting him when the shield is active.

If you are on interrupt duty, then you will stay on Arcanotron even when his shield is up, because he continues to cast the Arcane Annihilator.  So you will just stand next to him, doing nothing, until your turn to interrupt comes up.  The problem is that when you Kick it will restart your autoattacks, and you’ll be hitting his shield.  I use a macro that says

/cast Kick

so that it does the kick without buffing him.


Here’s the way the fight goes:  First golem is up at the start.  You’ll focus on him for the first part of the fight.  It might be worth it to burn some dps cooldowns here since its one of the only times in the fight you will have uninterrupted dps.

When his energy bar gets down to 50, he will put up his shield, and a new golem will activate.  You’ll switch to the new golem (unless you were Arcanotron and you have to stay there for interrupts).

You’ll fight that golem until his energy bar hits 50, and then switch again.  And so on, and so on.

All the while you are using Feint for every AoE attack (poison cloud, fire pulses, lightning aura) and saving your Cloak or Vanish in case you get targeted by the Acquiring Target from Magmatron.  If the slime adds fixate you then you need to run and kite them until ranged kills them.

The trick is to be aware of which two bosses are up at any time, since you can be hit with abilities by either one.  It helps to have a good raid leader that calls things out when golems activate or deactivate.

Sound hectic?  It is.  But its a lot of fun.  And it has some sweet rogue loot.  You could get the Organic Lifeform Inverter, which is the best available dagger for rogues who aren’t doing heroic modes.  Also there is the Poison Protocal Pauldrons, which are similarly the top shoulder item short of heroic modes.  Finally there is the Lightning Conductor Band which is a very nice epic ring.


Dinaer - 100 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 92 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 91 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 100 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 100 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
March 2011
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