Friday, May 30, 2008

Nifty abilities that I lack...

  • The ability to link items to and have them pop up on mouse-over.
    • I've tried. I've had it explained to me. I've done what was recommended. And yet I still fail. I've even gone and looked at the source-code on a few pages that actually use the pop-up things and done what it looked like they had there. I still failed. Epic failure.
  • The ability to do a 'click here to read more' link.
    • Again, one of those things that I look around on my 'posting' page and I look at source code and I try to figure out how to do it and just simply cannot figure it out. i r dum.
  • The ability to make a blog banner.
    • Everyone has one but me. I feel lonely. I've found a few links to how to make one using photoshop, so maybe this weekend I can add this to the short 'nifty ability that I can do' list.
  • The ability to write an informative blog that doesn't degenerate into K-babble.
    • I've tried. The one time I tried, it came out too dry and boring. Not at all like the posts that Bremm writes about or that I'm finding more and more frequently on blogs that I discover.
  • The ability to theorycraft.
    • I tried once! I did. I really did. But nothing like what SuraBear has the ability to do. I'm limited to reading what others have theorized and going from there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing... it means I have more time to be lazy and write badly written posts. :)

I don't know if that makes me a bad person or a bad blogger. Oh well. I shall continue to blog simply because it gives me something to do at work and a place to write my ventings about the people I run across in the world. :)

On an aside, I've updated my bloglist, removed a few that I no longer read and added a few that I'm starting to read more of. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reputation: It isn't just for factions!

We all know the reputation grind, we do it for various items and rewards, to get into heroics and recipes, patterns, enchants, etc.

Now, what I always find rather ironic and amusing (if not done to me, but irritating if done to me!) is the thought that while reputation grinding, some people are in fact ruining their reputation by sheer asshattery.

Kill stealing, node ninjaing, watching someone die when you can save them... all these things go into making your own personal reputation... which by the way, includes not only your name, but the name that's listed under yours. (aka Your Guild)

You can argue ... all I need is one more skill point, mob, item, point of experience, etc. But it doesn't change the simple fact that all of the above is just plain rude. It's somewhat something that as a society we are moving more towards. You can see it in the way people drive, buy, walk...

But I digress slightly. You never know what the person you steal from, be it you think it's a deserved 'steal' or not, is. Are they a guild master to a small guild, yet know a lot of people? Will your name make the rounds as someone to not party with? Will your guild now be ostrasized because of your actions? Or maybe that person is a member of a bigger guild, and says 'Asshat just stole from me' in guild... suddenly, there are a lot of people who know your name and it isn't in a nice way.

I will admit, in the thrill of the hunt while you're chasing down mob after mob looking for something, especially in the field of mote farming (damn you engineers, damn you!), kill stealing goes on. In my own world, I wait and see. I'll play fair and if you play fair, I will continue to play fair. I won't take ten mobs at a single time just because I can if I see that someone else is farming the mobs. I won't take a mob that I can see you're obviously running towards. And if you get into trouble... I will help.

I ask before I skin or herbalize a giant. I ask before I mine. Sure, you may lose out on the node or skin or herb... but how do you feel when someone does it to you? If your argument is that you do it because other people do it to you... maybe they do it to you because someone once did it to them. Maybe you're part of the vicious cycle and by asking... you help break it and make the game a nicer place for everyone. Maybe not, but does it hurt to ask?

Do you regularly say rude things in general or trade? Do you curse? Do you portray yourself and your guild in a negative light? My guild has and will actively deguild people who portray us in a bad light. We don't want you if that's how little you care about your, and our, reputation.

Do you pull 'tricks' in BGs? They aren't funny to anyone but you and other asshats if you do. The /afk trick, the portal trick, the getting new people to accidentally go through the instance exit. None of them are funny and all of them brand you as a stupid fish if you do them. The person who got tricked (both myself and Boon have been tricked out of battlegrounds before, back before we knew about the tricks) doesn't thank you for it. They 1: lost out on a battleground that may or may not have won, but they lost honor regardless, 2: now have deserter status and can't BG until it's gone and 3: are probably contacting a GM or if you are from a guild on their server, your guild master about what you just did. I don't care if the tricked person is a nub for falling for the trick. I'm not stupid. I am however, naive. If you say 'click this portal to XYZ', I will try to be helpful. I fell for this, by the way, when I was an ignorant newbie to battlegrounds. I was also tricked into leaving a battleground by chasing a hordie who ran into the instance exit in AB. I didn't know what it was. I figured if the horde was going into it and nothing was happening, why should something happen to me?

The same goes for instancing and pugging. How do you carry yourself? How do you handle loot distribution if you're group leader, or how much loot do you try to take if you're a group member? Are you fair? Or do you give things to your friends and give a big middle finger to people you don't know?

Are you a terrible CC breaker as a DPS? Can you never manage to resheep or otherwise control your target? Do you pretend to know everything? (unlike me, I do in fact know everything) Can you do your job? Are you the warlock being out DPSed by the protection warrior? Are you the retribution paladin who constantly pulls aggro from the tank? Do you know your job? Do you laugh as you fail in your job and say 'lolzwut?' when people say 'wtf are you doing?'

I read a WoW Insider Article the other day about how to PuG a tank, and in it, a hunter was mentioned as being very rude and nasty to his party members. And in the end, that hunter had such a name for himself that it turned around and bit him in the ass. Likewise, I read another article about a warlock that took an epic tank>PvP trinket from the tank to use as a PvP trinket. The story made it to the official forums and WoW Insider. What do you think his reputation is like now? Was the trinket worth it?

There are guilds on my server that when I see them in my group, inwardly I groan and cringe. If I'm looking for a member, I'll take a member that's in an unknown guild rather than in one of THOSE guilds. Can that person be a perfectly nice person? Can they be well played in their abilities? Yes. But I've had experience with someone else in their guild that reflected so badly on the person that it carried over to the guild and stuck with me! Maybe it wasn't even from PuGging with them, but from them doing something else?

Consider how many people I PuG with? (a lot) Consider how many names I've encountered and how many guilds? If you stand out as someone I want to party with again, that's good. If you stand out as someone or a guild that I can't stand to party with ever again?... that's kind of bad.

My last thought about reputation is personal. My personal reputation is that I am a good player. I know my job. I pull aggro. I do OMGWTF DPS as Kikidas. I win every roll that I roll on. I'm bossy. I know instances. I know quests.

I would like to think that I AM a good general player. I have a lot of alts and I try to learn about them before I go running my mouth. I generally preface any statements with 'I think' or 'Maybe', because I'm not 100% certain!

I do know my job and I do my job. If I'm a hunter. I'm CCing while maintaining steady DPS. If I'm a warlock, I'm seducing or banishing while maintaining DPS. If I'm a .. you get the point. Do I pretend I know how to play a holy paladin or a tanking paladin? No. I don't have one of those. I do play with them though and if you aren't doing what they're doing, I'm going to try to figure out why and (usually) correct bad behavior! (If you aren't doing it the way Owaru and Boon are doing it, sorry, you're doing it wrong! :) (I may be a bit biased.) (then again, probably not. :)

I do NOT pull aggro unless it's deliberate! I actually DO watch my aggro when I'm not the tank and I do my best to stay below it, even if it means my DPS drops as a result. I'll stop casting. I'll life-tap or darkpact. I'll bandage myself. I'll do something to drop my threat, be it feint, vanish, ice block, soulshatter, feign death... but yet, I still have the reputation of bring an aggro-hound. Probably my enjoyment of the K-Game has something to do with that reputation. Maybe? I also build aggro a lot faster and more uncontrollably than any other of my DPS characters. I dot things. Only one of them I can remove if I'm starting to get high up there, the others have to wear out on their own. This means that if soulshatter doesn't work or I've already used it, I just have to stand there and pray. And seriously... if I wanted to pull aggro deliberately, I wouldn't have respecced my shaman to restoration! C'mon, give a girl some credit here.

As Kikidas, I used to do OMGWTF DPS, especially in comparison to others of my then aquaintence. I'm scared now to bring Kikidas to anything anymore though, simply because of the expectation that exists.

If I'm lower than someone else on DPS, I'm not going to become a prissy prima donna and refuse to party with people better than me, but because people say 'OMG! I out DPSed Kikidas! Wow! Look what I did! OMG!' and it makes me feel bad. Stupid, no?

Here I am, the (almost) ultimate in OP DPS, an affliction (not UA) based warlock (UA, to my knowledge, is still considered the best in DPS for warlock specs, on an over time basis) and I'm being out damaged. Some of this is that Kikidas hit a ceiling in terms of what gear she was getting and I've been playing other characters and not farming for badges for upgrades and running Mags and Gruuls and ZA and SSC and TK... and so people of my aquaintence now have better gear than I do, and a great part of my ability to DPS was simply my gear.

So I have this irrational fear that if I bring Kikidas to something with Absitively or BigPoppi again.. I'm going to fail utterly in holding up the expectation that Kikidas is the ultimate in warlock technology. Reputation can be a two edged blade and the downward spiral can be quick! Well... if I'm no longer the best DPS friendship can buy... maybe I'm not that good a player... maybe they lose their patience with my somewhat overbearing at times personality and suddenly... suddenly I'm alone.

(anyone have a hanky? I'm tearing up over here.)

I do not win every roll that I roll on. I never have. I never will. I have as equal a chance as everyone else to win a random /roll. Yet again all I hear is 'Oh is K rolling? We stand no chance.', then 'I beat K in a roll! WOW!' *sigh* Some of this is in fun. Whenever Boon wins a roll he says that he had me type the command and hit enter for him. And usually I don't mind it. Sometimes though, especially if I'm wanting to win the roll and I lose it.. it's like rubbing salt in the wound.

As to the charge that I'm bossy.... you got me there. I am specced 5/5 in Bossy. This gives me the ability to 75% of the time talk over someone else when they are talking, with a 20% chance of being completely wrong. Chance on chatter to be insulting or rude unwittingly.

I'm bossy because I know what I'm doing and I've been in too many situations where it's obvious the 'leader' doesn't. So I start to take over in the name of efficiency and a low repair bill. And now it's habit, where even when the leader knows what he's doing, or she's doing, I start to take over.

I also know instances and quests ... have you seen my list of characters? I'm Boon's very own personal leveling/instance/quest guide. I level fast and I level easy. And it's delicious. :) Of course.. the downside is that the few times where I forget something or ask someone ELSE for something, it's 'Mark this on the calender! It's a holiday now!'. Oy.

So, reputation isn't just for factions. You have your reputation as a general player, the associated reputation of your guild and then personal reputation amongst your friends. Everything you do has positive and negative effects on your standings within the population of this social game that we play.

Completing quests for the K-Brigade will lower your reputation with the Asshats.
K-Brigade (+250)
Asshats (-275)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hellfire Ramparts: Omor the Unscarred

I have been running my druid into Heroic Hellfire Ramparts to try to get the Tree-Mender's Belt out of the chest at the very end.

(By the way, Cartographer sucks in comparison to AtlasLoot for everything except node points. At least IMNSHO.)

So, yesterday while my husband was napping, I tried to get a group together. I drag Absitively into the group with me. Our makeup to begin with was druid tank (me), warlock, rogue, druid healer and a retribution paladin (because the group didn't want to take a sub-geared mage that may miss a sheep or two! Makes much more sense to bring a class that can't CC for longer than 12 seconds per fight and a class that can only sap when there aren't dogs around but not the mage who may miss a sheep or two due to resists... We wouldn't want to have to corpse-run.)

I had a bad pull at the start, and that was my fault. After that, we didn't have any true wipes until Omor the Unscarred. The druid healer stood inside of a group of dogs and died due to aggro that way once, but again, that isn't really my fault if he was standing on top of me. Oh sure, I could have moved, except that I wasn't aware that he had walked up to me when I pulled. So... right. Moving on!

I've gotten the strategy for heroic hellfire ramparts down and engraved into my head. I could recite to you exactly, pull for pull, how to do that instance. Right now. Without seeing a map. Without seeing the instance.

Yes, I'm nuts. I know.

So, despite the fact that I'm basically typing out what to mark, I'm not given leader. Whatever, fine. I have to keep changing the marks, because the leader kept trying to leave the MS Destroyers as not sapped or not killed first. And yeah, because I want that hitting me all fight long! No thanks.

I have to keep telling the retribution paladin to let me hit the mobs first, because I'll pull them in and as they're coming TO me, he starts in on them. And then I have to burn my growl, and then.. oy!

But we muddle on through to Omor the Unscarred, whom you can see if you follow that link, has two completely separate strategies for tanking him in heroic. There's the tank and spank and then there's the range-tank. I explain about the curse (which in heroic is nondispellable) to everyone, stress that our role as melee DPS is to pick up the felhounds and to NOT PULL AGGRO.

We go in. Everything is fine until the retadin pulls aggro off of the warlock. Wipe.

We go in. Everything is fine until the retadin kills us with the Bane, then pulls aggro off of the warlock. Wipe.

We go in. The retadin kills us with Bane. Wipe.

We say, okay, let's try tank and spank. Stop killing us with Bane of Treachery!

We go in. The retadin kills us with Bane. Wipe.

Are you seeing a pattern here? I can't quite figure out what's going wrong!

So the group leader (again, not me) kicks the retadin. Luckily the retadin doesn't do a stand-in on us and he does leave. Then the group leader, I kid you not, says 'Kathe, do you have DPS gear? I'm going to invite a paladin tank.', despite my saying 'I can get a nicely geared rogue in here', as my husband had woken up.

I kid you not. Granted, I was doing as much DPS as the retadin was, but still!

So, range-tank attempt. Fail. Tankadin kills us with Bane. Wipe.

Tank and Spank attempt. Tank gets mana burned and we can't get the felhounds off of him due to consecrate. Fail.

Tank and Spank attempt, sans consecrate. Fail due to the healer getting Bane and felhounds!

So we (okay, I) say 'Let's skip him for now and just kill Nazan!'.

We get to Nazan and I've been DPSing in my tank gear, because frankly, I'm just suspicious. Sure enough, the tankadin dies on Nazan. So I bear form it, pick up the dragon and live. Because I am just that awesome. Rawr. And my belt doesn't drop. F.U. Ramparts!

Then we go back and they want to do a tank and spank again, with me DPSing. Ok. Whatever.

I die to someone's Bane, can't remember who now. But we finally kill Omor.

It was just about the most hideous horrible slog that has ever taken place in Ramparts.

As near as I can tell, after reading the strats on Omor, we should have been fine, except for the Bane and people pulling aggro off of the warlock when attempting the range tank fight. Now, the other druid said that they had buffed Omor in Heroic Ramparts in the last mini-patch. I don't know how true that is, except that I don't think I've ever had that much trouble with Omor, ever. Granted, I'm usually in there with two ranged DPS and one melee DPS, but not always. And I've never had that much trouble range-tanking him. Someone would get over the warlock on threat (not me, I usually ravage once, rip once, then do nothing but kill dogs.) and Omor would become unhinged and go stomping off!

I wanted to cry. I kept apologizing to poor Absitively who turned down an OT position in Karazhan as his warrior to come with me into Ramparts. If my belt had dropped, I'd have been philosophical about the whole thing. But I got nothing out of it. Nothing. (a VC, that's it) It was a horrible horrible run in every single sense of the word!

In terms of learning something though.. I learned that day to watch my mana if I'm NElf pulling with moonfire or hurricane! I once had to keep running away while innervate ticked off enough mana to bear form! That was embarassing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Arcane Mage, Retribution Paladin and Restoration Shaman

What can I say? I like going for the outlying spec.

After a bit of thought, I decided I was going to go Arcane Mage. Specifically, Arcane-Fire. Now, my mage is only 36 (or was when I respecced), so I'm not as nifty as a level 70 arcane-fire mage. And I do plan on going arcane down to slow, and fire down to improved scorch. From my research, that spec is suitable for solo play, PvE 5 and 10 man raiding. Which is what I do. (It's also good for PvP, but we all know where I stand on that!)

(preferably far away)

I thought to myself as I respecced that maybe I should have leveled frost and respecced when I hit higher levels, simply for survivability. Yet I discovered that I'm just as survivable as this as I was as frost.

Frost mages are well known for the mobs to not reach them, due to slowing effect and freeze effects, that by the time the mob reached them, it was so dead a fire blast or a cone or something would kill it. With my frost mage, this usually included a blink a time or two, frost nova, multiple frost-bolts and lots of running around to stay away from the slow moving mob.

My arcane mage has roughly the same effect. In the fact that by the time it reaches me, a fire blast is usually enough to kill it, only without the moving about bit.

I was about to type a very boring account of how I kill things. But you don't care about that! Suffice to say, I'm content. The only time I've died thus far is when I'm playing at work and I get distracted by something at work. Which since work > game, is appropriate.

As for my retribution paladin, I've quasi-figured out what keeps pulling mobs to me. Apparently when I judge something, since I have improved judgement, I get back mana. Just like anything else, this gets me aggro. Otherwise, I'm still kicking ass and taking names! Boon's admitted he's been kind of heavy on me with the ret paladin, since he didn't think it was a viable spec, but I'm changing his mind with my awesome abilities! And he admits that as a pure DPS spec, he still doesn't think it's a good idea, but he does say (and to this I agree, read previous post!) that the way I play, more as a party support role while doing decent DPS, makes me viable. The worst is when you have a retribution paladin that doesn't toss any heals, or protect the healer, or do anything and the group dies with the ret pally having an almost full mana bar! That ain't me.

My restoration shaman is boring as hell to solo, but I don't seem to be able to be killed. :P I'm going to wait for Diathim (Boon's enhancement shaman) to hit outlands to quest. Because ... it's boring as hell. I've begun doing crazy things trying to see if I could be killed... like solo Bogslayer and the Drillmaster at 61, fight four or five mobs at once (the ravager mobs can kill me, fast attack + stun = dead shaman), fight multiple healing casters at once, etc. Does anyone have a suggestion of a situation to stick her in to see if I can survive it? (nothing silly, like solo-instancing (though I may see if I can kill an instance elite by myself) or going and attacking a level 66 or something.)

And... 38, 62, 61 respectively.

On an aside, I had this wierd dream the other night. My druid Kathe was imprisoned in a new Alliance jail in Tanaris for the unlikely crime of murder (she killed a Scarlet Crusade fanatic that was killing the tame moonsaber's in Darnassus, and it was self-defense, since he started to call her a demon and tried to kill her when she stopped him!). The method of them keeping a druid in prison is to keep her too mana drained to shapeshift. Boon the paladin was a common visitor and he would regularly bring her gifts from her sisters. Kiya, the alchemist/cook, made her some pastries which had the side effect of mana regeneration. This gave her enough mana to innervate herself, so she shapeshifted and escaped! And to keep Boon from being implicated, she did this by first shapeshifting into a bear and bashing him to stun him, then shifting to a bird, flying away (which you can't do that in Azeroth, but meh.) and escaping into the water's around Tanaris. A hunter brought in at the scene (Teppou), made joyful fun of the jail by asking them how they expected him to track a druid through the air or the water!

The Alliance Police then go to her family members to question them about her escape and what role they may have played in it!

Kiya the hunter, with Bumper the cat, live in Darnassus and denied any knowledge about the escape. The police had a nasty moment when in defense of her sister, Kiya defended the act of Kathe stopping the cat-killer, and the police said 'it was a cat versus a person', and Bumper got very upset.

Kava the rogue and Kiljara the priest live in Stormwind, and they both denied any knowledge, though Kava out and out admitted that she's glad her sister escaped and even if she knew where she was, she'd hardly tell the police! Kiljara simply admitted she knew nothing about it and was very calm and soothing to Kava's somewhat hyper rhetoric.

Keyami the warrior lives in Ironforge and my dream hasn't progressed that much.

But Kikidas made an appearance (not that she's a night elf), by appearing talking to Kava and Kiljara about clothing (all three are tailors), then later on helping the two sisters summon Kathe to Stormwind (after the police left!). Ruptik was also there, being his usual charming self. And no, I have no idea why Kathe would want to go to Stormwind!

Dhark made an appearance last night (yes, same dream story two nights in a row) by stealthing into the office of the head of the Alliance Police who is trying to catch Kathe and nearly killing him. (He didn't kill him all the way because that would be bad. He merely beat him up severely as a lesson that you don't mess with Night Elves.)

In the office of the Police, the police head was talking to his aide who said that on the negative side, all the druids, some of the shaman and a high percentage of night elf citizens of the alliance didn't like the fact that Kathe was being made an example of by the newly founded Alliance Police, on the positive side, Fanghelm (the druid head in Darnassus, this was his dream name, not sure if it's his real name!) was also on Kathe's side and if anyone could turn a positive into a negative, it was him! Also brought up was how hard it would be to track a druid that didn't want to be found and that the likelyhood of them catching Kathe now that she was escaped was slim to none. That's when Dhark made his appearance.

Maybe I play too much WoW?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Retribution Paladin: Group Support

As you may all know, I've been leveling a retribution paladin. Mainly because I'm contrary, but also because it's fun to stretch.

Everyone, everywhere, says that until you can really get the gear, your retribution paladin is going to do less damage than Sleepy Willy. Because of this, you may have a hard time getting a group unless you 1: form it yourself or 2: run with friends.

So I'm going to pick option #2! My Paladin, Kvasira (I particularly like the part about Beet Juice) hit 60 the other day and I cajoled Owaru and Boon into doing the epic paladin quest with me. So 60, epic charger, and outlands! Time for fun!

I'm duo-ing/quartet-ing with Fyzzgig(Warrior:Boon)/Teppou(Hunter:Owaru) and Zeshura(Priest:Neshura). And then we decided to hit Hellfire Ramparts. Everyone (except Tep, who was 58/59) was 60 (I was 61). Our first run we picked up a rogue that was 62. And we only had one quasi-wipe where for a reason I still don't understand (though, I think it was a hunter pet!) we pulled two groups instead of one.

And through trial and error and just sheer intuition (and let's face it, it's me. I always know what to do!) I figured out what my job is. I'm catch-all lady!

I don't know why the hunter's trap kept pulling off of him and coming to me (and no, I was not using consecrate!) but it did when I wasn't doing anything to it (nor was I healing!). So I still need how to figure out how to not pull the hunter trap off of the hunter by merely breathing. :P And I only Hammer of Justice'd it when it was hitting me a lot. I'm not a tank, I can't take that type of damage! I blame the hunter. Thankfully, my blame translated into the game deciding to teach him a lesson and he died a few times. (Blizzard loves me.)

But Hammer of Justice and Repentence (Cast out your corrupt thoughts!) lets me keep a non-tanked/non-CC'd mob out of the way for roughly 12 seconds. Long enough for myself and a second DPS to burn down either the non-elite dogs or one of the elite casters. And even if it doesn't, at least that mob is coming to hit me instead of bee-lining for the healer! Plate > Cloth. Plate DPS > Plate Healer.

Now, Fyzzgig claims that I should let him tank more mobs. And to a certain extent, he's right. But on the other hand, if you have what amounts to as a tank and an offtank, why not use your offtank? There are plenty of times where I'm marking and I'll stick the DPS warrior on something that is easily killed and doesn't hit very hard on plate to burn it down, so the real tank can concentrate on the things that need to stay tanked.

My role also includes offhealing when the priest is otherwise busy (she's being killed by something: macro! /target healer /cast Blessing of Protection), keeping the healer alive (see previous comment regarding macro!), tossing out the occasional heal when the priest has to spam-heal the tank, healing the priest so she takes less healing aggro for healing herself, keeping party buffs up on people (and after reading RetLoL a bit more, I'm going to go for Blessing of Kings down the prot tree), stunning/temporary CC and swift death to non-tanked/non-elite mobs and as a raid wipe protector (Divine Intervention! I'm just itching to use this. I haven't had the chance to, yet.). (Though.. I just got a great idea! Heehee.)

So, maybe I'm third DPS on the DPS meter. But someone has to be! It may as well be someone who is also a group support member! This way, I can claim that my DPS isn't the highest because I'm so busy doing other things! :P It's a lie... but at least I can say it. With a swing timer in place, I can usually heal and other things while all my cooldowns are readying and while my weapon is in mid-swing. Or, I should say, I try to do it at those times. Sometimes though, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Now, at higher levels this may change a little bit, because I'll have beautiful gear and I'll be outDPSing Illidan.. but until then, I've resigned myself to trying to just do my best and not shame retribution paladins everywhere!

On a plus side: Seal of Crusader now gives Crusader Strike a 40% damage increase. Nummy.

And, polling people for a response here. Which is more important? Judgement of Justice on a mob that has the potential to run into another group, or keep up Judgement of the Crusader for use on Judgement of Command? I'm talking your average mob, average instance, average location and average time til death?

Fyzz says Justice. I say Crusader. His rational is: My DPS is less important than a potential party wipe. My rational is: If I'm going to get Justice off in time, considering how fast most mobs die, I don't think I'm going to be able to judge Crusader at all and my DPS is already so dependent on gear and spells, that it'll make me less useful in a group than a Dragonhawk around Crowd Control. That and also because by the time they're ready to run, they're so dead that a Hammer of Wrath will almost kill them (if not kill them outright), and if the DPS is doing their jobs (ie: following the kill order until said mob is dead, the only person who should be jumping the kill order is the tank!), it won't get more than two staggering steps, anyway!

Chime in and let me know what you think! People who have paladins or who have run with retribution paladins, love to hear from you especially!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DISCOVERY! K has discovered Groups of Words!

This is one of the beautiful thing about blogs and reading other people's blogs. Occasionally, you find something great.

Or at least involving hot engineer sex (and truly, that's what made me go read! Who could pass up hot engineer sex?... though I must ask, is it hot sex (as in the room is a sauna) or hot sex (as in romance novel quality shagging) with an engineer, a hot engineer (as in cute) or a hot engineer (as in, his (or her!) internal thermostat is set at 100 degrees) sex? So many permutations of that phrase!)

Yet again, I find myself wishing I could write blogs the way that Bremm or Groups of Words do. More put together rather than my rather rambly method.

At least I can enjoy reading them.

Anyway, Groups of Words recently posted a few things dear to my heart. Namely damage meter spam, group roles and end content raiding.

Let's start! It's Tuesday - I have tons of time to spare. (housework? What's that?)

Given that this is technically a warlock-blog, damage dealing is what I do. And I'm pretty decent at it. I'm also bad at screen shotting and the ability to host and link pictures, so I have no proof other than what other people report in writing on my blog (do you hear that, Owaru and Boon, tell these lovely people that I'm a good dps'er!).

I will admit (oh so embarassedly! (that's a new word)) that in the beginning days of my getting good gear and raiding, I was an avid viewer of my damage meter. I'd usually only spam it if the other DPSers in the group and I were having a contest. Given that I usually ran with friends, this was frequently. In fact, this past-time gave rise to the K Game. (I just posted a link that goes to my own blog! I am teh aw3s0m3!!1!) How much damage can I put out without pulling threat from the tank? This served two purposes.

1: I started to evaluate my own cast rotation, spells, etc. I became a better player.
2: The tanks I ran with had to up their own abilities at holding aggro and pushing to their limits to enable the DPS to play the game.
3: (I lied about there being only two purposes) I learned a lot about tanking against people like myself.

However, I've stopped using the damage meter as a point of pride and I've started to use it to make sure I'm doing my job. Based on what my damage meter reads, I know if I'm slacking, or if I'm kicking ass. It enables me to evaluate changes in my gear or cast rotation.

Our guild, Knights of Utopia (and Groups of Words posted about guild names too... to be fair, I didn't name the guild!) doesn't care as much about damage meters as anything but a raid utility. We use it to evaluate if our newer 70's (or even established 70's!) are ready to hit Karazhan with us. When someone says 'post the damage meters!' we reply 'get your own' and 'no public posting'. Now, on officer channel, we're posting and comparing and saying 'Wow, given his gear, he should be doing MUCH better!'. But that's the perogative of officers. :)

Enough Damage Meters! Onto group roles! As you can see, I've got a bad case of altisms disease. But what this means is that I can typically fill whatever role my group is needing. This makes it very handy for me to be able to do whatever I want. Now, granted, if I want to get a DPS item out of an instance and they need a tank, it doesn't always work quite like I planned, but at least I can get to go.

What's even nicer, is that several of my friends that I group with on a regular basis also have a slight case of altisms and between the four of us, can put together any group we need, so that I can get that DPS trinket one time, or put together a group so someone else can go after that same DPS trinket.

K: DPS, Tank or Healer
Owaru: DPS, Tank or Healer
Boon: DPS or Healer
Absitively: DPS or Tank

I think you can easily see how given the four of us on at any given time (or even just one or two of us), making a group becomes a lot easier.

(Eventually, Neshura will join that list, but right now, she's DPS, DPS or DPS.)

I didn't make a healer though, or a tank, because I felt it was a role that needed to be filled. I did it because I have altisms. Hello, aren't you paying attention?

However, a lot of people do make an alt to fill a percieved role. This is all well and good, unless said person isn't very good at that role and it frustrates them. Now, every role has a learning curve and WoW, of almost any game I've played, does an awesome job with letting you learn as you advance in levels. (and this is mainly one of my chief problems with purchased accounts, other than it being against the EULA. If you BUY your end-game protection warrior and have never been a warrior before... you're going to suck. And it's false advertising to be walking around in your T5 or whatever armor when you suck that badly.)

Now, I do admit I have a few biases. DPS classes that can't Crowd Control are one of them. I don't like them and I'll try to avoid having them in my groups as much as possible. My perception is changing slightly, given that I'm going to be doing a DPS Paladin in here soon, and uh... yeah. Anyway.

DPS Warriors, Enh/Ele Shaman, DPS Paladin and in most instances, DPS Druids.

Now, considering that they do have the abilities and the talent trees that lets them be DPS, have at it. But they need to understand that sometimes, they will be looked over for a class with more consistent crowd control abilities. Especially in Heroics, where sometimes appropriate Crowd Control is the difference between a wipe fest and a successful run. One non-CC DPS in a group is probably doable, but if the entire group is made up of a tank, a healer, a warrior, a paladin and a shaman... uh, I hope the paladin and the warrior are okay with offtanking, because that's the only form of CC that they have! (And I still maintain that OT is a form of CC. Sometimes harder to do than other times, but still a form of it.)

But I digress, as I often do.

Last but not least... end game raiding. As Groups of Words stated, there are various levels of end game raiding. KoU is in EndGameA. I'm guilty of guild-hopping with Kikidas. I will, however, say in my defense that when I guild-hopped with Kikidas, I was way ahead of the curve of the guild and I didn't leave as they were trying NEW content, I left as they were wiping on OLD content that they should have been able to mop the floor with. After that, I didn't guild-hop as much as simply keep trying to find a new guild that wasn't on it's way out! I think, as long as Resolve stays around, that I'm there to stay. I like the people and I'm content with the raiding that I'm able to do with them.

With the new management of KoU, we've managed to mop the floor with Karazhan. In fact, we managed to do it when 8 of our "core-raiders" left the guild. What does that tell you? Tells me that it wasn't an issue of we couldn't do it, but for whatever reason, wouldn't do it. Anyway...

KoU, at it's heart, is a social casual raiding guild that is casual about all things, but raiding. When we raid, we're serious, we have the gear, the know how, etc. The difference is that we raid once or twice a week instead of 4-5 times a week.

Additionally, being in Resolve has opened up a new avenue for a few of our KoU members. Based on what Resolve needs, I can get our better geared and able KoU members into their raids, letting them see some new content without needing to leave. Now, granted, I'm not talking SSC, BT or MH, I'm talking Gruuls and Mags. More than KoU could ever manage on its own, given that we have probably 13-15 able 70's that are never able to be on at the same time! :)

Where was I? This is what I mean by my inability to write a blog that is anything but rambling!

Oh yes, end game raiding. We have Kara on quasi-farm status now, though we're still having to pug one or two people per raid. And I hope that KoU's next step is to see about venturing into Zul'Aman.

We shall see. Thank you, Groups of Words, for a few blog ideas. Maybe I should blog about each thing separately? But what fun is that?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rawr! Kathe eats the big boys of Karazhan!

As I mentioned previously, my druid tank, Kathe, was tapped to be the second tank in Karazhan.

I got her up to snuff, I got her a set of healing gear for when she'd be tapped to offheal.

And she ate her way through Karazhan.

We had a few sloppy pulls in the beginning, mainly due to one of our members, a pugged healer, not being on ventrilo and standing where he'd get aggro. But we didn't wipe because Kathe is a BEAR! In more ways than literally.

Owaru, our main tank, did his usual awesome job.

Surprisingly, or not as you may see it, I tanked Maiden while Owaru offhealed (the whole dispel magic thing, likely!), we had BBW for Opera and I tanked him. We had a hairy moment when I wasn't top of his aggro meter two seconds into the fight, and he Red Riding Hooded me. You know.. when I'm standing next to him. But due to awesome healing and me running like the little girl I am, I lived.

We wiped on Curator due to our pug healadin not having any mana pots... Curator was at 4%.

We tried Illhoof, but with the healadin still refusing to get on ventrilo, took to long to get across to him who was being sacrificed and we lost too many people. So we skipped Illhoof.

On Shade, I put on my healing gear and was quasi-tank-dps-topping off heals. Thank god for druid HoT's, because we wound up having to survive a pyroblast. Not sure if druids are immune to Shade's poly or not, but I forgot to try to switch, as by the time the poly came, it was myself and the healadin, two hunters and a rogue still alive. I was too busy healing. Slapped a HoT on one of the hunters who was hurt, got poly'd and was like, woot, everyone will survive the pyroblast because I am just that awesome.

Chess went fine, though our rogue got teleported out of the chess event, and when we tried to tell the healadin to not kill Warchief until he got back, he did anyway. Then we said 'don't open the chest until he gets back, maybe he can still get it', he did anyway. And of course, a rogue piece dropped that our rogue couldn't get. Hopefully multiple tickets from the raid leader and raid members will get him his belt.

I then helped heal through Prince. And I got the T4 helm. The pretty pretty T4 helm. I have antlers. *dance*

Anyway, here's a few tips if you're the pug member of a raid.
1: even if you normally use TS, have ventrilo if that's what the raid is using.
2: don't go AFK every 10 minutes. (this fellow seriously went AFK about 17 times during the entire run)
3: don't plan on eating half way through the raid (gtg for 10 min, dinner)
4: come with flasks, pots, etc. When the tank dies in Curator because you didn't heal her, your words shouldn't be 'I have no pots', but 'I potted about three times in there! Sorry you died'.
5: if you really can't get vent or TS to work, make sure you pay attention to your raid chat, since that's the only way you can get directions. The raid leader shouldn't have to type something three times before you see it.

Something I learned about Karazhan... Karazhan thinks the only druid is a resto druid. I got more resto gear in one night...

And, on another note, Kiljara healed through Gruul's/Mags. In fact, in Gruul, she was one of the only healers left alive!

<3 myself :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Countdown to Karazhan

Kathe has been tapped for my guild's Saturday Karazhan run, so I've worked overtime the last few days to get her ready for it.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a few heroic drops that I've wanted, but I did get Slikk's badge cloak, then updated it with dodge. Got some 'chants and just a few gems, but I hit what's known as the 'minimum' for a druid tank in Karazhan.

415 defense (42o)
30% dodge (30.7%, 40% with trinket use)
12k health (11974 health, self buffed. I'm sure fort will pop me over.)
20k armor (21900 someodd armor, self buffed.)

I plan on eating warp burgers, drinking major agility and major fortitude elixirs and hopefully not needing to use my very pathetic healing gear for much!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

On Huntards...

When my shaman hit the Outlands, I decided to respect restoration. I leveled enhancement, which was a blast, but figured that I already had melee DPS in the form of Kava the rogue and Kvasira the paladin (shaddup with the snickering, it’s a viable spec now!), I already had casty DPS in the form of Kikidas the warlock and Karitei the mage, but I only had one healer in the form of Kiljara the priest. (The fact that DPS shaman have no aggro dump besides death or doing nothing but standing there, and no form of CC also leads me to devalue them as DPS and appreciate them more as healers)

Leveling a restoration shaman is easy… and boring as hell. You self-buff with Earth Shield. You lay down your searing totem and your mana totem. You pick your spot. You click auto-attack.

Then go ahead and make a sandwich. Come back and refresh buffs, maybe heal yourself once. Oops, you forgot a soda. Hey, doesn’t a rootbeer float sound good about now? Come back and refresh buffs, maybe heal yourself and drop more totems. Maybe it’s dead by now…

I’ve heard it’s rather like leveling a holy or protection paladin.

Holy priest leveling is more fun, because you can use Holy Fire, Smite, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Pain and lots and lots of wanding. If you step away from your computer, it’s time to die. It’s mana intensive, but quite the brag right. I leveled as a HOLY priest!

So I have plenty of time, while leveling, to read the Hellfire Penninsula general chat.

While there, I saw someone asking for a tank for Ramparts. I saw a hunter (67, presumably BM) say that they could come tank it with their pet. I saw another hunter (65, presumably not BM) say that was impossible, that he had seen 70 hunters fail at tanking Ramparts with their pets! The response was, “Must have been luck the last three times I did it, then, huh?” (paraphrased and reworded!)

The conversation devolved from there. Let me get the salient points though…
1. Tanks are worthless, because they can’t hold threat against a DPS class.

2. Aggro is generated solely by damage done. This is why tanks are worthless.

3. Feign Death is not an aggro dump ability to enable a DPS to stay below a tank. It’s only an ‘oh shit’ ability for when you get aggro.

4. DPS is the best form of CC.

5. Hunters shouldn’t be expected to trap, because it takes too long for the trap reset to go through, and by the time it’s up, you’d have been better off placing an immolation or exploding trap as you should have done in the first place.

6. Pets can’t tank because a: they’d need an AoE taunt that will get the attention of nearby non-aggro’d mobs, b: they’d require CC to be effective as tanks, c: they chase running mobs and thereby get more aggro, d: they sometimes don’t path straight, so they can get more aggro by pathing oddly.

7. Given all the above being true, a tank should be able to tank multiple mobs, keep them all on him, off the DPS and off the healer. If he can’t, then he isn’t a very good tank.

Now, to give the rest of the population in Hellfire their due, most of them disagreed with these statements. Let’s dissect each argument, shall we?

1. Any tank, anywhere, cannot hold aggro against a DPS class that is paying no attention to their own threat. Any tank, anywhere, needs a certain amount of time to generate a beginning amount of threat before a DPS can begin. How much depends on the tank in question, the DPS in question and the fight in question. For example: Owaru is a great tank. Kikidas does a lot of damage. On trash pulls, Owaru doesn’t need much time to build threat against Kikidas, but he does need some to start. By the time Kikidas overtakes him on aggro, the mob is dead. How quickly she overtakes him depends on how sassy she is feeling and how quickly she knows the mob will die. If she knows she can take a hit IF the mob lives long enough to get to her, she’ll probably open up strong. If it’s Kara trash, she’ll open more conservatively. On a boss, Owaru needs more time to build more threat, as Kikidas will be steadily gaining on him the entire fight, which is going to be longer than your average trash mob. When Kikidas pulls aggro from Owaru, it doesn’t mean Owaru is a bad tank, it means Kikidas isn’t paying attention. Can you have a situation where the DPS spend so long waiting for the tank to build aggro that you can say ‘That’s a bad tank!’, yes. You can. But any DPS worth their salt can pull aggro off of any tank, no matter how good they are as a tank. This is why most DPS classes have aggro dumping abilities. I’ll go into that more in a minute.

2. Aggro is indeed generated by damage done, but there are also abilities that generate a high threat while being relatively low damage. For instance, take your threat meter and compare it to your damage meter. Will your high DPS people be high on the threat meter? Yes. So will your tanks if they’re good. Compare your damage meter and damage done, your tanks are hideously low on that list, if your DPS is good. I’m talking 10-15% (on average) will be your tank’s damage output. But 90-95% of the time (hopefully more!), your tank will be holding aggro. Since those numbers do not match up, it’s obvious that there’s more to threat generation than merely damage.

3. With the notable exception of shaman, paladins, warriors and druids, all DPS classes have an aggro dump. Feign Death, Feint, Fade, Vanish, Soulshatter, Invisibility and Ice Block. These are sometimes used as ‘oh shit’ buttons, like Vanish in the case of a rogue. However, if you have a good DPS, they will use them appropriately. Feign Death is probably the BEST aggro dump out there, other than True Death, because it drops the hunter to 0 aggro and has a short cooldown. Soulshatter is on a 5 minute cooldown, costs a soulshard and only drops threat by 50%. I don’t know about Ice Block and Invisibility. Vanish is on a longish cooldown (though Preparation can make that a quick cooldown if needed), Fade is on a shortish cooldown, but is temporary. To NOT use FD except as an oh shit button seems a trifle foolish, especially if you do have threat meters. You should be hitting it before you pull aggro. This is because if the mob is not hitting your tank, chances are your tank is losing aggro instead of gaining it, making it that much harder for the tank to keep aggro on it against other DPS or the healer. Paladins and Warriors, though they do not have an aggro dump, are plate wearers and can usually withstand a hit or two. Druids have the ability to turn into giant bears at a moment’s notice, and again, can stand a hit or two if they need to. Shamans wear mail, but otherwise… sorry kids, spec resto. (I kid!)

4. DPS as a form of CC… I’ve seen it work, where the mob in question has low armor/hit point and can easily be killed by a DPS class by him or herself. I’ve also seen it where an AoE tank (Paladins, you know that warlocks love you, right?) doesn’t need any CC at all. (And no, I’m not saying that warrior tanks and druid tanks can’t AoE tank, it just takes a bit more running around to do that. We can’t AoE tank quite the same way that a paladin can, but I’ve run instances on both my warrior and my druid where I didn’t require much/any CC.) However, we are not talking about my awesome playability, we’re talking about your average person’s playability. Your average tank, average DPS, average healer… will require CC. Why is it, otherwise, that almost every DPS class has some sort of CC ability, be it short, middle or long term? I will discuss why CC is a bit more important than DPS in a minute.

5. What you are saying is that it’s more DPS effective to run into melee range (thereby not shooting your weapon), place a trap (and not shooting your weapon since you’re in melee range) and running back out of melee range (still not shooting your weapon!) than to lay an ice block trap, shoot your target once or twice, back up a step and keep DPSing, maybe move around a little bit so that when your trap breaks, it’ll run into another trap right away? Now, granted, sometimes you have traps break early, or be resisted, or accidentally broken or have the wrong mob run into your trap and your timer is on cooldown still (which a smart hunter will usually have a trap in place and the timer cooling down even before the mob gets to the trap…) and you have to stop DPSing in order to kite a mob. If you’re a BM hunter, you can put your pet on said mob, but otherwise, you’re kiting. If only hunters had some sort of movement impairing melee attack or some type of short-range ranged stun ability… (why yes, you’ve just observed sarcasm at its finest! Wing clip and scatter shot (spec dependent) make the ability of a hunter to kite mobs legendary.)

6. How well your pet can tank depends a little bit on the type of pet you have and a lot of bit on how smart you play your hunter. Any tank (regardless of if it’s a pet or a person!) that runs into a group without paying attention to where the group is (charging in rather than pulling back, for instance), or not paying attention to the mob they’re killing running off (concussive shot, kidney punch, slow, judgement of justice (the paladin movement impairment judgement)… can all stop runners if you have an issue with runners, and there are more that I’m not getting into right now, like hamstring, curse of exhaustion…) or as we mentioned earlier, using CC, is going to have the same problems as a hunter pet would have. I’ve been in instances where my pet had higher armor than the tank I was with! Smart playing will allow a hunter to tank an instance with the understanding that unless it’s Artemis herself, the hunter is going to be substantially higher than the instance they’re tanking or have a ridiculously good pet (if only Al’ar was tamable!).

7. Now we get to the crux of why CC is important. If you have a tank (our proverbial average tank) and your group (proverbially three average DPS and one average healer), and you aren’t using CC, you are going to have a dead healer, a lot. Healing aggro is roughly 1 hit point healed causes 1 point of threat. Most healers have talents that reduce that, but we’ll just use that for now. Healers, unlike DPS classes, are building threat on ALL active mobs at the same time. What this means is that your tank not only has to keep the attention of your main target on him (and if you have DPS going on him, …. Well, see point 1), but the attention of the other targets on him from the healer. Most tanks build threat readily on their main target, and rely on some form of AoE ability to hold the attention of the other targets, consecrate, swipe, cleave, thunderclap, etc, which are usually relatively low threat, but do enough to keep mild attention on the tank. A really good tank will try to get a good solid threat building attack on each mob, like a sunder, lacerate or mangle, or whatever you pallies do besides consecrate and shield pull, but the tank knows they need to spend most of their energy on the main target. Your average tank is going to be taking some crits, some crushes and will need to be healed a lot if they’re being hit by three or four mobs. You’re going to see that the second and third (and fourth and fifth!) mobs will peel off in short order to go say hello to your healer. As the tank goes to get those fellows back, your main target will probably whack your highest DPSer. The healer, now healing not only themselves (more aggro, yay!), now also has to heal your DPSer (and more! Threat is yummy.). I bet you can see how this is going to end up? Like I’ve said, I have seen and done instances where the tank can AoE tank a group and not have the healer die and do well. It can be done! But your AVERAGE tank in your AVERAGE group? Good luck.

Now, you may not agree with everything I’ve said above, but hopefully more so on my side than the huntard’s side. There are obviously a lot of ‘exceptions’ to everything I said above and I’m sure everyone can find something to add. Feel free! The more the merrier!

I hope no one takes offense to me calling the instigator a huntard, but… well, really.

And as promised, a shout out to Bremagorn over at and Neshura, wife of Owaru! Both are hunters of awesome abilities and talents.