Cataclysm is coming to town

It has been very quite here on my personal wow blog for a long time. But with the new expansion looming I think it is time to pick up blogging once again. I am planning to share some of my experiences and thoughts along with my takes on some of the news that rush by each day.
With the expansion it seems right now that a great deal of players are taking a brief pause from the game and get prepared for the next rush to the new max level. I am planning to make this dash with my druid as well and I have changed my offspecc to a feral tanking spec. I assume that it will me a breeze to find groups for the new dungeons as a tank and with the gear that I was able to snag from all those ICC runs I guess I should be set for the first instance runs.

I am thrilled that blizz stated that crowd control will be again important in the instances of the expansion and I am looking forward to marking the mobs again for shakles, sheeps and traps. Granted, I might shake a fist at my screen once and again if a wipe should happen but rushing through the instances and burning down everything with aoe abilities gets boring quite fast in my humble opinion.
I guess that now is the time to make room in the bank and inventory for all the stuff one will need when the expansion starts. From my experience it might be a good thing to stack up on some flasks, elixirs and potions that one can use while questing and doing the new instances. Also right now on my server old materials go for a suprising amount of gold since some players are preparing themselves to level the tradeskills of the new characters they are planning to roll when goblins and worgen join the fray.
I myself am not really sure what kind of goblin I will roll. I will play one through the starting zone for sure. I am a bit torn converning leveling a new character from 1 to 85. One one hand the world will be completely changed and there will be a lot of things to discover. But on the other hand one has to level through everything again and that will take a lot of time even with the heirloom items. And if you make it to 85, getting all the new toys for that character will take a lot of time as well.
Guess that is something I should take a little bit more time to decide …

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Are deathknight tanks broken for raids

My raiding guild went into the trial of the crusader last night and we had some problems getting the first encounter beat. Some of those problems arose when our warrior main tank kept getting disconnects. So we replaced him with a second deathknight tank.

One of our two deathknight tanks is using a dual wield build and the other one uses a twohand build for tanking the raid bosses. I think that both of our tanks know what they are doing but I cannot deny the fact that at some tries both went down, hard. Our dual wield tank at one time went down in the span of 0.4 seconds and checking the logs proved that he gets a lot of parries due to his build. And a lot of parries means, that the boss as a high chance to get what is called parry haste.

So I have to assume that the expertise rating of said tank is not nearly as high as it should be. Since our second tank also went down very quickly at times, that cannot be the only problem. For the healers, it seamed that they have to depend on their luck to keep our tanks alive. For me it seems that tanks with shields hava a far better damage mitigation than deathknights have at the moment. They get a lot of damage too, but it seems to be more manageable for the healers. And since paladins have a mechanic nowadays that saves them from death every two minutes it seems that at this moment they would be better tanks. Sure hope Blizzard looks at this and changes the mechanics so that deathknights make more viable tanks once again.

Trial of the Crusader 25 /Try 1

Yesterday, our raid went into the new 25man raid instance for the first time. There was some talk about the raid beeing too easy but I have to say that the raiders have not seen the instance in the 10man version, the bosses are quite challenging.

We had a little bit of trouble in beating the northend beasts encounter. The first one went smoothly after a few tries but our healers had some trouble in dealing with the damage spikes on our deathknight tanks. Both really went down almost instantly in some cases and it made us wonder if there are some ways to mitigate more damage that we have not thought about yet.

So, after a few tries we changed to a paladin tank and a warrior tank. Suprisingly the damage spikes did not seem to be as high on these tanking classes and so we managed to get through the first and the second phase of the encounter. The snow kobolds and the acid debuffs were still a small problem but our damaged dealers managed to get those little buggers down quickly and also to move out of the green clouds as well.

One small tipp would be to look for the shadow on the ground when one of the kobolds is thown. We were told that one can quickly determin which player will be hit by it this way and judging by the speed at which they were killed, that tip seems to work.

The third part of the beasts encounter really seems to be the most easy one. As long as everyone moves out of the way of the yeti when he charges all should be well. After he has charged he takes considerably more damage and during that time it is very easy to get the raid back to full health.

It is a different story if Icehowl manages to hit a player. If he does that, he enrages and unleashes a world of pain upon the unlucky tank standing in front of him. But gneraly it should be possible to move out of the way in time since the players receive a buff that makes them move faster.

So I would say that once you manage to get into phase three you should not have a problem to get the loot for the fight …

Tanking with PUGs

PUGs are something that almostall players seem to run across at some point. And, if you are not a member of a guild that has at least a moderate amount of active players, a pick up group is something you will have to rely on to get yourself into an instance.

Since my deathknight turned 80 I tried to get through some of the heroic instances to improve my gear. And since I am guildless at this moment I had to get some random players together to get going. Now, it seems like I hade a little bit of luck since most groups that came together really went well but I had my share of wild folks and strangeness. Which is why I thought I might share a few thoughts about how to PUG as a tank.

Fist of all I thing that it really is necessary to know your own limitations while tanking. If there is an instance that is beyond your skill or current gear, do not try to tackle it with a random group. It will only lead to a tremendous repair bill and to frustration on your part and among the other members of the group. For me the Occulus is such an instance at this moment. I really hav no clue how the last boss fight works and before I try tanking that instance I am going to learn how the flying boss fight is going to work.

Before you start an instance make sure that the others have a basic understanding about what you are going to do. For example, if you are marking the targets, let the group know which target is to be hit first and so forth. Also make sure that the damage dealers give you the time you need to safely grab aggro. If things go real smooth with the first groups, then its time to speed things up a little bit but I think that it is important to get a feeling for the group first.

The start of an instance is also a good time to check the loot rules. If you have an enchanter it is important that only the enchanter rolls on the stuff noone needs so that shards can be created. And how or if those shards are devided should also be briefly discussed to avoid some discussions later on.

Also I found it helpful to give some pointers before every bossfight so that the others know what you are going to do and how the fight will be going. Some fights can be won in different ways and knowing which tactic is going to be used mostly helps to get through a fight more easily.

One thing I have made a habit out of is taking screenshots of the group composition if things really went well or if they really really went wrong. Since I am not that good with names I wanted to keep a reminder about which players I had fun grouping with and also about players I wanted to avoid. The friend list ia also a good tool for building a network of players to group with but I really like the screenshots. I also place a summary of the Recount window beside the portraits so I also have some basic information about damage done and dps if I want to check that as well.

I am sure that there are more tipps that should be here but that will have to do for now. So, good pug-ing everyone …

A minty fresh level 80 Death Knight

Alright. I have not written on my blog for some time because I have been busy with some things. Some had nothing to do with the game but one sure had. I have leveled a new death knight up to level 80. Now, naturally I had to think about what I wanted to accomplish with that character.

Since there is still a tank shortage on the realm I am playing on I already was forced to tank almost all instances I wanted to got to while I was leveling up. And because I do not really think that is going to change now that my dk is at the max level, I decided to make him a tank. But now there is that small issue of getting the right gear to be able to go and successfully tank the heroic dungeons. The most important stat obviously is the defence rating. A defence rating of 540 is necessary so that bosses that are three levels above you cannot hit you critically anymore. Now, 540 seems like a high value to reach but with some of the items that can be crafted and with a few runs through normal instances, that should not be a big problem.

In my next post I will go over some of the starting gear and where to get it.

Tanking DK in Azjol Nerub

Recently I was asked to tank Azjol’Nerub with my death knight. At level 76 I have about 20k armor and a defence rating of 477 so, even with my limited tanking experience as a death knight I thought it should not be a problem to get in there and hold aggro.

I am not really sure how the other dk tanks do it but since I am specced frost I tried to pull with my icy touch, leaving the death grip ability open to be used on casters when they do not run to me or if they decide to go after the healer.

Next was scourge strike to apply the second desease and pestilence to spread those two out to the other mobs that are beeing pulled. And now, to build some aggro on all of the mobs I used the howling blast. With frost feaver active I usually see about 2k damage on all of the mobs and usually that is enough of a head start to last me during the fight.

Personally I had a small rune problem with that rotation because I had to wait a bit until I could lay down death and decay since my runes were on cooldown. But what I did wrong here was that I should have layed down death and decay before the pull and that is an easy change that I can keep in mind when going into the next instance as a tank.

One other thing was that I was not really sure about my cooldowns for some of my abilities. Runic weapon, the ghoul, extra armor and the twenty percent damage reduction are all abilities that really can help and if you are aware of their cooldowns, they do not nescessarily have to be spared for the boss fights.

I learned some small things from this tanking encounter.

1. Know the instance

It really helps to know the instance you are tanking. Not only does it speed up the pace you can go through it but when you know when to expect more damage from mobs you can time your own cooldowns properly. And it can not hurt to know when certain mobs to special things.

2. Mark the targets

Even if your group will do a whole lot of aoe damage I found it really helpful to use the marks that the standard ui provides. For example we always mark the target that will be downed with a skull, the second one with the cross and so forth. We also have some symbols assigned for crowd control abilities so that the classes responsible for that know when to sheep, shackle or stun.

3. Talk

For me, it usually helps to ask some questions before the action starts. For example if everyone in the group has a basic understanding of how the instance works. Sometimes, players do have only limited time so making clear how fast you want to go through the instance can be helpful. You might think that this is not the job of the tank per se but keep in mind that the tank usualy sets the pace and that the tank has to react if one of the other players pulls a group because he is in a rush …

Countdown to Cataclysn

Last night our small guild managed to get a ten man raid together and headed to the obsidian sanctum and naxxramas after that. We downed Sartharion on our first try without adds and since this was our first time there we were really wondering that everything went as smoothly. Sure, it was a bit hectic dodging all of the waves and getting the small elementals down. But all in all our tank held the big one without a problem and our druid collected the small adds very well. We had three healers in the raid and on that side there was not much of a problem.

In Naxxramas, things did not go as smooth but still we cleared the spider wing and the plague wing. Heigan with the lava dancing gave us some small problems but even he fell ln the third try. I am not sure if I found Naxxramas too easy. For me as a healer who is not really equipped too well, the challenge was that I had a lack of mana on certain fights. When mana was there, the damage was manageable and with our three different healers we gelled quite well.

I guess it will become more easy with every run since the gear gets better with every boss that falls. The next bosses from the deathknight and abomination wings will be a bit more challenging but I think that we will get them down as well. So, after our next raid we will know a bit better where we stand.


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