Archive for the 'WoW' Category

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 …

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.

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 …

Sartharion 3D Training

Starting last week our raid has been trying to down Sartharion with three adds up. Unfortunately we were not able to get it done and, after a long evening of wiping again and again, settled for downing him with only two adds. This beeing the first time for me that he was downed with two adds, the evening ended with an accomplishement for me.

But still wiping for several hours is something of a strain. Especially if there are stupid mistakes happening again and again. I myself died a few times because I did not manage to get out of the blue circles or did not manage to evade the flame tsunami in time. It can get quite frustrating to continue while not seeing any progression.

But then, with all the discussion about the raid content beeing to easy, I found myself thinking that trying out new challenges and getting better with an encounter is one of the main reasons why I like raiding. Sure, getting better gear is a nice thing but ultimately you are going to replace the gear you have quite fast. Yesterday I read a post at Pugnacious Priest that mentioned that raiders already talk about raiding being pointless because the gear will become obsolete really soon when Ulduar goes live.

So, even though it can get frustrating to wipe a lot while training, overcoming the chalenges and improving myself is what makes raiding fun. So bring on some more wipes …

A run with two deathknights

As I am still leveling my priest to 80 I am doing quite a lot of instance runs at the moment. Some where with pickup groups and some with members of my guild. Yesterday we ran the Halls of Stone with a frost specced Deathknight tank another Deathknight who was unholy spedded as a damage dealer.

I have previously complained a bit about some of the deathknight tanks I have grouped with in the past but the only complaint that I might have this time was that healing this time was … well … a bit boring since there was not that much to do for me.

The tank layed down death and decay and then used her death grip to pull. Sometimes when there was more than one caster in the group the other deathknight also used his death grip to pull that on into the aoe as well. Since he is wearing plate and can interrupt casters, that was no problem as well.

Despite the fact that this was more a guild run I would say the difference to some of the other runs was that our tank knew what she was doing and had taken the time to assemble a decent gearset for tanking. She was not at the 540 defence cap but close enough so that the damage was mitigated very well.

To me, that proves the point that Deathknights can be very good tanks if the player puts in the effort to make it so. And with the armor pieces that can be crafted it is not that hard to get started. Sure, if you want to tank heroics and have to get over the defence cap, that takes more effort but since tanks are still in high demand I would say that it is more than worth it.

Raid Speed

It is only natural that a raid that does Naxx every week gets faster as time goes by. For some time now, we have been able to clear Naxx on one day in the set time and the last few ids we had some time to spare. Now, to get through even faster we decided to take only five healers along and take one more damage dealer instead.

Some boss fights, most notably Patchwork, was a bit more challenging for the healers but for the most part it went really well. We were able to get through the trash pulls a lot faster and the bosses went down noticably faster as well.

For me as a healer this is both good and a little bad as well. Going through the trash mobs I found myself often running low on mana and having some problems keeping up with the tanks. And since there is a more to heal for the individual healer because there is one healer less, situations can become a bit frantic. Fortunately most damage dealers in our raid know to help us a bit by keeping track of their aggro and using a healthstone or a potion when it gets rough.

On the other hand the boss fights do not take as long as they used to which means that the healers do not run out of mana there. And that means that you do not have to conserve mana as much as you had to before. During very long boss fights mana was somewhat of an issue for me even with all the new spiffy ways to regenerate mana that came with the expansion.

But after all, the most important thing is that the raid frees up time for the rest of the week when the whole content can be done in one session. That might lead to the formation of a second group for the twinks or just plainly to some free time outside of the game. So I guess I will ultimately become a fan ot the five healer setup for our Naxx raid.

Dual speccing

Wowinsider reported about some changes with the dual spec feature that is coming with patch 3.1. Apparently players can use it starting at level 40 and there will be no need to have a reagent. In the previous incarnation it was said that you would have to have an item crafted by an inscriber but that seems to have been dropped. Now you only have to cast something which will take about five seconds and after that your talents, glyphs and action bars will have changed. And so you will be able to change your specc in the middle of an instance or raid.

Since I do play a restoration druid as well as a protection paladin, I am excited about this new feature. There are times when I would not fit into a group for a heroic instance because we would have had two healers and soon I will be able to go along as a damage dealer. Sure, I will have to collect some gear and actually have to learn how to do damage as a druid but I will at least have the option. I however doubt that this feature will be the solution to the tank and healer shortage. There are plenty of viable healers and tanks available right now and being able to respec will not raise that number. The problem in my opinion is that some people just do not want to tank for various reasons.

1. Responsibility
As a tank you are the one person in the group who has the most responsibility. You set the pace and you decide which mob to take care of first. If there is crowd crontrol available, the tank usualy decides which mob will be controlled. And if something goes wrong and another group member manages to grab aggro the tank has to react quickly and get the situation back under control. Aside from that, the tank has to know his own class and know how to minimize the incoming damage while generating enough aggro so that the damage dealers can do their job as well. So, generally it is easier to play a damage dealer since you only have to know your class and most of the time are told what target to hit.

2. Equipment
Getting to a point where one can really tank heroics and raid instances takes some time. It is not that easy to hit that magic at which when you become uncrittable. It takes some planning to learn in which instance the next piece of gear dropps or which faction will yield the next gear improvement. Sure, that is basically the same for other classes as well but when I look at most of the people I have grouped with it does not seem like many players really do that.

3. Conflict
When you are the one who is supposed to be the one who is setting the pace and there is a problem within the group most players will look at the tank to be the one solving it. This is something that some player shirk away from.

Undoubtedly, the new feature is a very good one and maybe I am wrong in my accessement. It might very well be that the option to have a tanking spec will lead to people getting interesting in giving tanking a try. If that happens there might be a few new tanks and that really would be a relief.


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