Jul 20, 2009

Warrior Q&A, food for thought

I just read through the posted Warrior Q&A after stumbling over Spinks' thoughts on it over on her blog.

Both the full Q&A session and Spinks response on it gave me a lot to think about and are worth checking out.

I'll just dive right into it!

Vads comments on 3.2 Warrior Q&A:

No warrior discussion in general is complete without the rage mechanic brought up, but what I got from the GC on it is pretty much a "We know you are too gear dependant, but we're not really sure how to fix it." The dev team have my full understanding that in its current form, the rage and gear dependance is a bish to balance. But so far, can't see anything is happening to prevent bad geared ones from sucking balls, to Best in Slot clad ones inducing nerf after nerf.

I have no master solution to offer either but my tip would be to look at how Death Knights runic power is generated, it is more stable and perhaps that mechanic with a minor influence from damage dealt could be a way to go?

Both my Paladin and Warrior are glad the value of shields for tanking was brought up also and that the way their damage reduction is totally unsignificant in "endgame" tanking hasn't slipped off their radar. Even getting a crit block with trinkets and shield block popped wouldn't make the tiniest difference on many of the bosses in Ulduar and this problem will only get bigger unless fixed somehow.

But how to do that while making sure it doesnt turn shield tanks completely invulnerable against weaker hitting mobs or other players? One possible road was mentioned to buff shield block values significantly, but also reduce chance to block by the same amount. Using shield block then would actually be a good tool to survive the damage increase from General in Ulduar, if each of those blocks would shave off 5k+ more.

I have another suggestion to add too, simply change shield block value completely from fixed values, to a percent based mitigation on top of the armour reduction. Add diminishing returns or make the block percent value gained per item so low it will be impossible to stack up "over the top" to keep it balanced, and we're fixed, too. Or yet another possibility, keep block value as is but instead change the armor stat from the shields into the mentioned percent based reduction.

I liked to see the (lack of?) differences between arms and fury is still being looked at, there's for and against having Arms as the PvP spec and I can certainly feel those wishing to tear it up with Fury or Protection in BG/Arena, but I think ultimately we should keep it as it were from the get go..

My vision of how the talent specializations should be:

Arms as THE PvP spec, a versatile spec with powerful debuffs and (hopefully, one day..) resilience, I miss that feeling of being tough to take down in PvP and I wont mind at all trading some outgoing damage for it.

Fury as the raging and reckless dps monster spec, focusing raw damage and little to no defensive tricks. I miss 1H fury too, I somehow feel it fits better with the frenzied berserker style combat I picture fury warriors should do.

Protection.. yeah. Tanking of course but seeing how successful the other tank capable classes can be in bg's and even in arena, why not Warriors too? Overall, Protection Warriors work quite well in their current form and can tank anything, I still hate the spamminess of having to use hs/cleave on every damn 1.6s swing manually in addition to the regular gcd abilities though. But I think I've said more than my piece on that matter in other older posts.

I may do more on this later but that is what I had to offer on 3.2 Q&A for now. Like Spinks, I actually like these Q&A sessions with Ghostcrawler quite a bit, but I will be a bit sceptic about taking anything said by the fellow without a grain of salt.

We are after all reading an interview with the guy that said Juggernaut would never be nerfed, because it would cripple warriors in PvP again. Then mere days later we saw the crit bonus chopped off (used to be 100%)... and then again increased charge cooldown by 5 seconds...

Yay, I got some whine snuck in this time as well, better sign off now!

Jul 19, 2009

Still around

I've had a bit of a break from writing, but I'm still around, on WoW and checking various blogs etc.

Since my last update I've mostly been working on the Paladin, got him ready for raids while getting a steady fix of pvp. Of course I couldn't go into raiding without trying out Protection Paladin tankage, to compare it with my Warrior, but hes main spec is Retribution, mostly cause it was just easier to get up to speed for the raids that way.

First off, anyone saying Rets are all about placing your face on the keyboard need to actually give it a try themselves. Granted its not incredibly complicated, but while dpsing I am juggling a heck of a lot more abilities than most my dps counterparts. That said, I'm not really a fan of the FCFS (first come first serve) cooldown based play style. There's not much thought behind it and you just watch your cooldowns and the damage happens. It'll get looked at for 3.2, but the only real game play change so far seems to be that I'll have to keep a look out for Art of War procs to use Exorsism. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Tanking on my Paladin I have to say has been a lot of fun! In contrast to Warrior tanking, there's no button mashing involved whatsoever and it is in most cases quite relaxing. Paladin AoE tanking is not what it used to be, that is still a stronger point for Warriors, shown in particular on fights like the arena floor at Thorim (or is it Hodir? I always mix those up). Paladins lay down Consecration and hope for the best in most cases not really getting aoe aggro on anything while Warriors have the edge there with decent burst aoe threat from Thunder Clap and Shockwaves.

This weakness aside, I think I contribute a lot more with the Paladin than my old Warrior, having similar survivability and threat output but also bringing a lot of buffs and powerful defensive cooldowns, this goes for Retribution and Protection both of course.

PvP with my Paladin has been a mixed experience so far. I'm all for not being able to insta gib all classes. I do quite well against dps classes, depending on how well they're played. Rogues have been giving me more trouble than I expected, often being forced to bubble before I've been able to do any damage at all, and the really excellent ones will then proceed to wtfpwn me again after its out :)

Going toe to toe against any kind of healer is my biggest problem though. Its just not possible to kill a healer unless I have a dps train with me and kill them in a single stun. A few days ago I revived the old Warrior for the purpose of PvP only, and while he still has his nemesis counterparts, he does a lot better against healers now. Teamed up with a Druid as rusty as I am for some 2v2s and its still a rock solid combo. :)

Anyways! I reckon I've ranted enough for one sitting, I'm parting for now with a screenie from our recent and first 10 man Yogi kill! Go TOG!

Apr 21, 2009

The Gimp is back

Zero points for guessing what the post title references, especially if you peeked at the picture above. :)

I'm still around, mostly busy levelling the paladin trying to get him prepared to rejoin the raid crew at some point. He's just dinged 78 and entered Sholazar Basin and I hope to revisit the jungle mayhem that was Stranglethorn Vale. I've made a point of attacking any and all alliance I see regardless of level and gear and seeing the stuff he can pull off both in instances and in pvp has made me more sure than ever that I've made a good choice in choosing to bench my Warrior for now.

The timing could also not have been better for levelling an alt with the introduction of Dual Speccing, normal instance runs have been dead on my server but being able to switch specs greatly improve the chances of getting something going. More on that in a later post.

I had to mug and rob old Vads to get all the flying training purchased last evening, so it was real nice to see he's found a new occupation in Grizzly Hills, doing something he should be good at, taking punches from Vrykul. :)

In other news, I didn't manage to pay my initial ISP bill on time after I moved and they were surprisingly quick to lower my bandwidth, so I've been levelling in jerkovision playing at 200-500ms since level 73. Its pretty shocking I'm still able to rape almost any alliance I see out in the wild considering its normal these days to have 1-5 sec delays on my abilities, and as mentioned above I do play rather agressively PVP-wise. I got my salary today though so regular latency, here I come. :)

To date I've had three fights I couldn't manage, one was at 72 in Borean Thundra when a 80 Boomkin wanted to play cat and mouse (to my defence I got him to 30% after a res with my bubble on cooldown. Also despite the gross level difference he never attacked me unless I had pulled a mob or three, flying comfortably overhead waiting for me to do something), another was a 80 elemental shaman in naxx25 gear that was called in to help after I ran over a guildmate of his a few times, and finally I had a hard time against a well played frost mage at my own level no less, who knew how to outlast my bursts etc and finally got me down on our third encounter, kudos to him for that.

PVE-wise I'm having fun as well, done a lot of instances both as healer and DPS and I see a lot of potential. At level 71 I started passing a few of the DPS'ers I've had to endure in heroics on my tank and more recently at 77-78 I've started matching and passing a few DPS'ers in level 80 10-mans.

I had forgotten how fun healing can be, also.

While I would love to try raiding in these roles though there is a big possibility I'll be forced into picking up tanking again, I'm hearing on a daily basis from the guild that there is a lack of tanks. Which is somewhat amusing since there really isnt, they're out there. But granted, they're not all 100% ilvl213+ geared. If I see raid after raid failing on the tanking role though I will try to do something about it, I like the guys too much not to. :)

There's a lot more I'd like to cover but it wont all fit into one post, so expect another post a few days covering my take on Dual Specs, 3.1 changes now that we've seen them in action, and other random issues. :)

Peace outside!

Apr 4, 2009

I fart in your general direction.

Now that I have your full attention (see what I did there?), the topic for today's post will be the fine art of taunting, with a solid dash of whine thrown in for good measure.

Taunts then! A vital tool for warrior tanks in all shapes and sizes, choice words of aggravation are constantly thrown at our enemies to make them emo rage on us instead of for example the squishy looking healer they were just chewing into. Some poor mobs have taken so much verbal abuse over the years that they have learned to turn a deaf ear to such insults but for the most part, taunts work well.

In most cases PVE at least, but over the years many a warrior including myself have wished for the ability to have some use in pvp as well besides being able to force pets to switch targets for a second. It has fallen on deaf developer ears though, until the introduction of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Which as we all know made non-Death Knights endangered species in large part I suspect to their awesome spell, Death Grip. Other than the very cool "Come here!" factor, it has a number of uses, first and foremost being the Death Knight taunt ability. It is also by far the most effective tool they can use for getting casters included in the rain of AoE. Or out of if, when used by the less intelligent Death Knights. They can also burn it should a spell need to be interrupted.

All in all its a darn cool ability, but remember the mention of wishing taunt had a PVP use? Death Knights get that too, in fact it has more uses than you can shake a stick at. It is nothing short of incredibly powerful for forcing enemies repositioning. They have a healer in the back? No problem, drag him right into your own group for instant gibbage. Your priest friend getting sodomised by a rogue? No problem, just pull him off. Stuck in a frost nova with the mage loading up a pyroblast? We'll have none of that, force him back in your reach and interrupt that spell of hurt while you're at it.

So, am I angry they have such an awesome ability while warrior Taunt does nothing at all whatsoever in PVP ? Actually, no. While it is a very versatile ability, it has a significantly longer cooldown than our taunts, forcing them to think a bit about when best to use it. And Death Knights don't have Charge, Intercept and Intervene of course, so I understand that they need this to close range quickly on targets in PVP.

All fine and dandy then, at least until recent game patches got Paladins also a taunt ability and God knows they needed one, their old 3 target of friendly target taunt was awkward and awful in use.

So in 3.0.8 I think it was, Paladins got Hand of Reckoning. Now, look at the tooltip on that ability. Notice that puny 1 damage? That is PVP utility, basically taking the good old warrior Taunt, and improving it by adding instant interrupt and caster pushback at a very low mana cost.

Basically, what Warriors have been asking for the last few years. I was so surprised when I was doing AB on my new Paladin alt Vanor and found out I could use that for example to prevent base captures in Arathi Basin. It surely doesnt spell doom, but it does have a PVP use.

The ability also has shorter cooldown than it takes to take a flag in AB or EotS, so there's nothing to stop paladins from plinking someone trying to tag something while they're dealing with other players or healing a bit for as long as they feel like it.

And it pisses me off! First because it is something Warriors have requested for so long, only to be ignored and given to Paladins instead (I am still happy you guys got your regular taunt for PVE though). Second, this is far from the first time something like this has happened and it brings to my mind just how milked dry the Warrior class is. Pretty much all abilities that have some use have been passed around to various classes or their pets.

They even get improved in the process! Hunters get Aimed Shot with MS debuff, except theirs is ranged of course. Paladins got Divine Storm, Whirlwind plus heals. All tank classes have their varieties of Last Stand and Shield Wall, the last tricks Warrior tanks had up their sleeves that gave us an edge in survivability on bosses.

And I'm not against the tanking classes being even in performance, but having given out those Warriors are actually the WORST tanks around. Lets see what we got.

Single target threat? Nope.
Aoe threat? No sir. Thunder Clap and Shockwave may take snap aggro but watch the other tanks peel them off in one tick of their aoe abilities! Gosh they're so neat!
Survivability? Think again, our Druid has max stamina+avoidance on all gear since he is crit immune from spending 3 talent points.
Good tank DPS? Don't be ridiculous!
Raid utility then, I mean come on we have Commanding Shout!? Sorry mate, Fury Warrior handling that since paladins got better buffs than his Battle Shout. Look... just get on the short bus, I think one of our rogues saved you a seat in the back.


On the whole, is there anything at all which is unique to the Warrior class anymore except Commanding Shout and a melee attack that has a cast time(how cool is that!), and having a large amount of our abilities including debuffs of various kinds ?

Someone, cheer me up! :S

Mar 30, 2009

News report live from the dark side

We have cookies! Don't tell me you didn't see that one coming. Unless you were expecting a Darkfail rant, a game I have no intentions of touching.

By dark side, I am referring to my new little alt boytoy that you can see to the left, Vanor. You see, he's a paladin. Most who know me will know that I have a deep loathing for them. I could go on about knowing thine enemy and stuff, but the bottom line is I want to taste that overpoweredness for a change. ;)

So far, my presumptions have been spot on. He is so easy to play, cuts things to shreds before you can say hammer of justice. The scary thing is, I'm enjoying playing this char a lot, he's perfect for winding down after a long evening of raiding, or changing scenery a bit from the regular daily quest grind.

I might just keep levelling this guy for my 2nd 80 project instead of my priest that is currently on hold at 73. We'll see. It might just be that he's in a sweet spot right now, I did a bit of battlegrounds to get him the defiler plate and some other goodies (Bind on account gear, with 10k honor shoulder enchant and crusader).

He is currently level 44 and almost finished in Stranglethorn Vale which has been a blast to revisit, it hasn't changed the slightest. Meaning, if you stand still for just two seconds there is some alliance druid or rogue gnawing at you, or you're feared with dots ticking away. Or some raid decked 80 pops out of nowhere as you quest to impress you with his insta-gibbing skills. Awesome zone!

I have also been to an instance or two and witnessed myself that awful itch to comment (in the spirit of helping of course) when you're suddenly in a completely different role than you're used to and observe other tanks in action. So far I have managed to limit myself to suggesting to a warrior that untalented slam spamming with with a 1.8 speed onehander is probably not your best aggro tool. But it is a struggle ;)

Mar 28, 2009

Tanking tips

Hello again,

After the tanking issues with heroic strike was brought back in the spotlight over at Tobold's blogspot it feels fitting do a writeup on things you can do yourself to relieve your fingers and your poor keyboards, and perhaps also up your performance a bit as well.

The first and most important thing you can do to help keeping up with regular tank moves and continuous heroic strike spam, is to remap your keybinds. There is no golden rule on how exactly it should be done, we all have our preferences but a good start is to keybind as much as possible to the keys around your WASD movement keys (assuming you use those). Cram in as much as you can and think about which abilities you use the most (HS, Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, Thunder Clap and Shockwave for me, for example), you want those in easy and comfortable reach.

Once that is done, consider what more abilities you also use on a regular basis, perhaps Cleave and medium cooldown abilities such as shield block, last stand and such. Often you have short time to react when the need arises for them, so get those keybound as well. It goes much faster than taking your eyes off the battles to mouseclick Shield Wall or Challenging Shout. Shift, Alt and CTRL modifiers are great for these. Once everything is set, practice. For me at least it can take quite some time for my fingers to get used to new binds. :)

The other big thing that can save you a lot of stress, and in some cases free up some key binds is to get sorted with some macros. At the risk of losing cred with the super hardcore tanks out there who shun macros like the devil, here are some that are very useful to me.

Edit: All these macros use #showtooltip, to get ability tooltips when you mouseover the macro icons and to make cooldowns display properly. For this to with you will need to select the first icon available for the macro, the red question mark. When you start using the macro the icon will change to the skill specified and display things proper.

Charge/Intercept + Victory Rush:
#Showtooltip Charge
/cast Charge
/cast Victory Rush
More a general use macro, most of us keep charge and intercept in easy reach, but using this you can combine them and remove victory rush from your bar, freeing a slot up. The beauty of this macro is that despite having two so different abilities macroed together, they will never conflict, either you charge if you are in the appropriate range, or if you're in melee and hit it, it will attempt Victory Rush. Swap Charge in line 1 and 2 with Intercept if you want to set one up for intercept as well. (Edit: Just make sure you have the mob you want to hit targetted for Victory Rush, and not a mob in the next trash group! ;) )

Shield Slam/Devastate/Revenge + Start Attack:
#Showtooltip Shield Slam
/cast Shield Slam
Get rid of that Attack icon finally, if you haven't already. Very simple macro that makes sure your autoattack is on, useful when the mob you had targetted just died and turned your autoattack off and you start on the next one in the pack. If you don't have enough rage to cast shield slam, it will still make sure your white hits are running, getting you rage again. I've set up Shield Slam, Devastate and Revenge all to also do /startattack. Again, to make this work with Devastate and revenge, just swap the skill names in line 1 and 2.

Shield Slam/Devastate/Revenge + Heroic Strike + Start Attack:
#Showtooltip Shield Slam
/cast Shield Slam
/cast Heroic Strike
Same as above, but with heroic strikes thrown in as well. Use this with care please. There are some fights where you are drowning in 100 rage non stop such as Patchwerk in Naxxramas, Malygos and also Sartharion with extra drakes. On those fights, setting yourself up with this macro will save your fingers a lot of strain. In most other cases you will not be swimming in rage and using this macro then will leave your rage at 0. Heroic Strike should only be used when you are sure you can do it in combination with your other regular moves, otherwise you will lose a lot of aggro instead of getting more. On my tank I have those macros ready in the interface for it, and replace my shield slam/devastate/revenge buttons with this modified one for those select boss fights.
 (Obsolete, don't do this in Cataclysm, seriously)

Shield Block + Blood Frenzy:
#showtooltip Shield Block
/cast Shield Block
/cast Blood Frenzy (or other beneficial ability that doesn't trigger GCD)

/use [name of useable trinket here]Before I made that macro I kept forgetting to use Blood Frenzy all the time. Now if its off cooldown, it goes off with the shield block, adding an extra bit of oomph. Same with the last line. (For example, at time of editing this I'm tanking with a mastery trinket that has a /use for 20 sec extra str). I'd never remember to use either of those without some help like this, I know, I'm weak. :)

One more thing that is a popular choice for reducing stress around keeping up heroic strike spamming, is the option to bind /cast heroic strike to your mouse wheel. Roll that thing and it'll cast heroic strike 4-5 times per second, the downside and the reason I don't use this myself is that I can't zoom my view then, using the wheel for that is just too convenient and quite often I have to change the zoom level to keep a clear view of what's going on. (Again, outdated, don't do this)

Added by Raeli, not tested:
Mousewheel down Heroic Strike:
#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomIn(1) end

Mousewheel up Heroic Strike:
#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomOut(1) end

This was what I had to offer for now, as always comments are welcome, in particular if you happen to have other genious tips to offer that I've missed completely. :)

Tank safe!

Mar 27, 2009

Things I wish Blizzard would have considered before shipping WotLK

For anyone new to my blog a quick introduction is in order. I am a WoW player, having WoW as my main and only serious gaming pursuit since it launched. I've found a passion for the Warrior class and have taken my loved orc through clueless trispeccing and tanking in Molten Core with 31 arms spec, being owned (and owning before choice balances were implemented) in PvP, to pursuing the deep reaches of raiding in TBC and WotLK as a tank.

Despite the negative title, this isn't a Blizzard bashing post. Wrath of the Lich King added a lot of fun to the game and despite things I like to heartache about, far as MMO expansions go I have seen them lot worse. DAOC expansions spring to mind, with the exception of Shrouded Isles they were all awful. But I have never had so much fun levelling in new content as I did in Northrend, job well done!

Nevertheless I have some serious concerns and I'll break my bullet list virginity on this blog by pointing out some glaring things I've found or found missing rather, while fooling around on WoW that I wish developers would have noticed and done something about, before they shipped WotLK. Having all that out of the way then, lets get on with my list of concerns.

  1. PVE Progression: Up until 3.0 we always had a ladder to climb before taking on "endgame". Even at level 60 I was doing Dire Maul runs to get those blues that would help in Molten Core. Having some T1 from Molten Core was a requirement for stepping into BlackWing Lair, and you were in for a tough time trying Zul'Gurub if you hadn't spent some time preparing for it. Even if you had a strong guild to carry you, there were attunements to finish before even being allowed inside the raid instances. Today this is all history, you ding 80 and go 25 man malygos for ilvl 213 epics without much hassle. Why did you eliminate the whole concept of progress, Blizzard? I thought you wanted to keep subscriptions running?
  2. Raid content: To clear the raids available once we're done levelling we need a total of 5-6 hours, just a few months after the expansion has been released. To make it worse, the only raid that takes more than 20 minutes to clear is recycle material from level 60. I realize you think you did a great job with Naxxramas at level 60 and want more people to see it, but come on. You did nothing whatsoever to update the instance to make it interesting 2 expansions later besides raising mob levels accordingly and removing some trash. Also, I strongly believe the lore buffs who were actually interested in seeing the glory of Naxxramas had ample opportunity to do so joining retro raids at level 70. How could you think the player base who has an interest in raiding would be satisfied with a 3 hour Naxx rehash and two single encounter raids at level 80 ? All of this being easily puggable ?
  3. Hard mode: You may have been looking down on those playing this game to stand out and be a notch above the rest, but this is ridiculous. Its beyond ridiculous. You're basically having the player core who actually did Naxx at level 60 not only having to do it again at 80, but you try to create game content out of making all kinds of silly conditions to get achievements. If you wish to reply with the "1% of the players saw Naxx at 60", please see point two.
  4. Gear advancement: At level 60 and 70 we had an excellent balance on our self progress. Yes it was a grueling process to reach the end, but we had a clear path to take. Even purely social players were content knowing that before they'd get to do AQ40, they would have to gear up for it. That meant gearing for MC doing 40 (Edit: Went a bit fast indeed, wrote 60 man) mans, doing a bit of farming in MC, ZG and AQ20 for the next tier, collecting some pieces from BWL before taking on AQ40, and finally some gear from that place to be able to carry your weight in Naxxramas (Edit: I'm old and forgot that AQ40 came before Naxx *blush*). We had a similar climb in TBC. By skipping the need for this gear climb, I think you've made a grave mistake by ignoring completely how long this gear grind kept people busy, playing your game. Today you have all content available for players signing up with unenchanted, green gemmed quest rewards. Blizzard, if you have an interest in keeping us playing, bring back the progress grind (yes, I said it).
  5. Dungeon set armor: We've had our dungeon 1, 1.5 and 2 sets and while they were not strictly required to take on the next gaming tier if you had suitable replacement pieces, they were mostly useful, added class flavour and many many players took pride in completing their sets. I think the upgrade quests for the dungeon 1 sets were fantastic and I had lots of fun working to complete it even after I had gotten my fair share of drops from molten core. Why did we lose those ? The old sets had issues where they were not really useful for certain specs, but with a little effort you could easily have implemented a token drop system for 5 mans for dungeon tier armor in WotLK to let players pick dungeon tier armor suited for their specs. For me and many others feeling finished with the game, just working on completing or improving our sets like we could in the past would add a lot of replay value.
Plea to the developers: Listen to the concerns above, you will find each of them are actually helping you in keeping the WoW subscribers staying. While some of my concerns are undoubtedly rant-like, they are meant to be constructive. I will also urge you to reconsider the stance you've taken on the pace new content is added. To quote a blue post:

"Ulduar has a ton of bosses. While I’m sure some players would love for us to deliver an instance with that level of content every month or so (and throw in a 5-player run to boot!), it’s not in the cards, at least not for the next couple of years."

This looked almost like a WoW suicide note to me, if its one thing your game needs, it is more content, and lots of it. Under normal circumstances I would understand you not wishing to over saturate the players, but as it stands WotLK is lacking severely in level 80 content. A large part of it is based on 10 or 25 man Naxxramas, and for more players than I suspect you realize, this is old content already.

Get to work, we know you can do wonderful things and you still have a LOT of unexplored material already present in the WoW realm. Ravenholdt, The timbermaw cave in Aszhara, Uldum in Tanaris, whatever lies beyond the great wall in Silverpine forest.. There is much more that I can vouch for a lot of players wishing to explore further, make use of it first and put your creative idea minds to work on other fresh things further down the road.

In closing, I would like fellow blog readers visiting to voice your thoughts if you made it this far before closing the page, let me know if you think these are valid concerns or if I'm just being a whining troll, anything goes!

Mar 25, 2009

So a Prot Warrior and a Death Knight walk into an arena...

Time for another PVP update!

The Muscleteers 2v2 tank team is still at large, boldly shield slamming away despite impossible odds. Hidden rating, how I loathe thee!

Last week I suffered a bit of big numbers envy, and decided to give Fury PVP a spin. It's not the first time I embark on the ship of fail that is PVP'ing on anything that isn't protection spec, but I figure as my pvp gear has improved to well above average now I can't do that bad no? Well, wrong.

We did a number of games and while I of course didn't expect to live long with a death knight partner instead of a healer, the pure humiliation any kind of setup put me through was just appalling. Being easier to bring down I can live with, but nibbling away like a toothless kitten while one Hiroshima nuke after the other gets dropped on my head.. Well, it didnt go well. I did some practice rounds before our rated games started and after those were done I landed at 4 wins, 5 losses.

What really threw me off was how easily any class in any spec shrugged me off, and even healer classes were rarely stressed despite bringing the fury 50% heal reduction. The only thing I can think of that might have worked would be to go in PVE dps gear, but being a tank in raids, my kit is far from good and seeing how ridiculously fast my 26k hp while sporting 812 resilience gets blown away, I can't imagine surviving even a mean stare in PVE gear. I saw several 6-8k instant cast crits taking solid chunks of hp at a time, while I was returning fire with 800 max white hits, and in rare cases up to 3k crits. With weapons so slow most casters can get a couple spells off between the pushbacks..

I have always liked the Fury play style, but this is just.. meh.

So, today it was back to Protection pvp spec 2v2. It was nothing short of a night and day experience let me tell you, compared to the fury fails last week. We went off on a 5 win streak before running into a Ret Pala+Blood DK comp that gave us trouble. We won the first match where they tried to focus me down but kept running into them and they quickly learned, focusing down my DK partner first and winning the next two encounters, before we finally landed a second win by managing to separate them and chew up our respective targets.

There are few things sweeter than reflecting hammer of justice in a paladin's own face. Except sending a warlock running from his own death coil.. or watching a mage instantly combust from a pyro+fireball reflect. Ok reflecting things get me all giddy quite often.

Bonus tip: If you PVP with a Death Knight, make damned sure they do their best to raise you as a ghoul if a team member dies! We have won a good number of games now where I tanked for as long as possible while nuke teams burn their CD's, only to have me raised as ghoul to quickly dispatch the enemies. As a ghoul, you keep your stat bonuses and if you happen to be a melee, you're looking at 1.7k non crit spam, a heavy finisher and of course the stun finisher.

Mar 24, 2009

Raiding, 3.1 and achievements.

zzz Every now and then I read forums. I visit new blogs. Curious to find news about the game, fresh info about 3.1, whatever, I do it. And more often than not I regret taking the effort lately, as the general gossip and bits of news to be snapped up, have never been so grave from my POV.
Thousands of players are waiting eagerly for the next big content patch for WoW, hoping for months of fresh content to battle against. Ulduar has since it was announced been hailed but perhaps more importantly hyped as the next, harder, tougher, unforgiving raiding tier. The vast majority of the wow population has seen all WOTLK has had to offer so far and are rightfully feeling bored out of their minds. If you wonder why that is, Axiom offers great insights, and although all emo sensors known will overload upon loading his blog, he does have some fair points. He is also one of the causes for my heartache in the first paragraph. Its downright depressing reading, fresh as his lingo might be.
Now, I didn’t start writing here with the intent to bash his blog though, and for what it is, he writes well. What I wanted to vent about is this snippet, snagged from his blog which was in turn taken from mmo-champion apparently.
Raids & Dungeons - Hard Mode
Ulduar has a ton of bosses. While I’m sure some players would love for us to deliver an instance with that level of content every month or so (and throw in a 5-player run to boot!), it’s not in the cards, at least not for the next couple of years.

Instead, what we tried to do with Ulduar is offer a lot of different ways to play the encounters. While the progress-oriented guilds may clear it quickly, we hope that some of the hard modes will offer them a lot to chew on. All of the players who are somewhere between barely being able to clear the instance and the “world first” crowd should be able to find a comfortable difficulty level as well.
Your old model towards end game was a success, it brought you eleven million players.
Most of whom never had a chance to finish a raid. They didn’t get to see some of the best art in the game, hear the unique music or voice over, or in many cases even see the villian at the end of their quest line. From a production POV, instances are very expensive. It seems an odd choice to lavish all that attention on such a tiny percent of the player base.
At the same time, we know there are players who love a challenge and are willing to do almost anything to beat a raid-destroying boss provided they also have a shot at the best loot. They don’t want the instances to be over too soon. They like banging their head against the wall.
And so hard modes were born. We tested the water a little with Obsidian Sanctum. We’re going full bore with Ulduar.
Lets take a moment and review what they are saying here. So.. If I read this right, we get an instance puggable within the first weeks, that will follow the achievement hunter model of Sartharion. Great.. Let me offer my piece on just that.
Ever since I learned and experienced that the new take on raiding at 80 was based on the achievement hunter formula, I’ve found a growing distaste for raiding. It started with looking over the heroic 5 man achievements and the stupid, stupid drive to complete them and peaked with Sartharion 3D. Or so I thought. It seems this has been deemed a great way to provide content for raiders and it is going “full bore”, whatever that means, in Ulduar. I don’t like the sound of it.
Not one bit in fact, and I completely agree with Axiom on the point he makes in another post. It is the same damned instance, 10 and 25 just means we do it twice per reset just with 24 or 9 others. When we clear it, we will go back next week for the same instance again, and when we feel confident about the gear collected from there, guess what, we will go and do the same damned instance again.
Leaving a few raiders out for the sake of 10 achievement points, doing the same bosses with an add or two for another 10 points, neglecting parts of the tactics for the bosses so that they are no longer dumbed down enough for your average PUG for another 10 points..
I want to ask you readers, what is the worth of those achievements, the completely useless score you earn, the slightly recoloured proto-drake you might get instead of one that drops in a 5 man heroic or from the oracles rep? Do you feel the same drive to compete and try to reach for those, compared to the old raid progress formula, where you had raiders working to beat Lady Vasjh, and others were wiping or defeating Illidan or Kil’Jaeden? When we didnt have every single purple hunting player stuck in the same damned instance ?
Is this what we want?

Mar 16, 2009

Under construction

I had a mate make a nice header image for me to use on the blog, thanks a bunch Rhuk it looks great :)

Now then, as you'll see, something looks very off about the title.. I've looked inside out on all the layout options i can find for the blog, but surely there must be some way to have the picture centered, instead of automatically left aligned ?

Preferably without nuking the entire layout for a new one? Halp!

Edit: I r pro html haxor and found it finally!
Edit #2: I r noob. Seems title is centered on IE, but left aligned on Firefox3. Argh!

Edit #3: Lisandra to the rescue! Can't check on Opera/Firefox atm but it looks like its fixed now ?

When you find yourself in times of boredom..

Spice things up a bit!

I came up with an idea for silly evenings of hopefully, fun, that is basically stolen and modified from Diablo 2 Ironman tournaments, where you try to get as far as possible in the game with severe restrictments.

In that game, it meant starting a level 1 character and seeing how far you can get in without any help allowed from higher level chars joining or passing down gear, and also no town visits to repair and buy/sell gear was allowed, what you found as you killed your way was what you could use. This was a quite popular tournament type back then, and I've been toying with the idea of modifying this quite a bit to try with the RUIN raiders and WoW.

I'll give a brief rundown on how to possibly do this here, but please help me if you see any problems that I don't or things that should be added. This is of course totally pointless, but... if the game's getting dull, why not make our own fun ?

So without further ado!

Project Ironman:

As the result of a Guardians strike in the Caverns of Time, things went a bit out of hand, and mysterious forces managed in their attempts to mess with things to turn back time on Azeroth, and great evils long thought defeated and part of history are again all bent on making things unpleasant for your average person living on Azeroth.

As if that was not enough, the powers of the great heroes who in their time vanquished these foes are also revoked, possibly also to prevent death knights from just going back and soloing them again. So what do we do? Well, as the good heroes and heroines we are, we go back and re-school the bads!

Rules for participation:
Any high level (80? 70? 60?) character may join.
Basic gear allowed only, whatever gear your char has currently is assumed to have gone poof. (25g for example start fund, any choice of vendor equipment allowed, no AH)
Start zone: Molten Core or maybe Zul Gurub (depends on signups and how hard it will actually be, havent tested)

Beating the bads of WoW once again, from start to finish, using only what we find on the way.

And thats it pretty much. For this to work I'd guess it needs about 20+ interested. So, my questions are, does this sound like something that could work/be fun? And has anyone tried something similar before? If so, please share your experiences with it!

Mar 12, 2009

I need a hero!

Back with a vengeance and generic update postage! Post title might make more sense further down.

Despite little writing going on here, I've been about and busy as usual, here's the rundown..

PVP: Done a LOT of honor grinding and Wintergrasp, finally kitted with 4xsavage, 1x hateful, rest epic honor rewards including both 80 trinkets, sitting comfortably at 775 resilience now. Been running VoA vigilantly each wednesday but warrior items are mysteriously gone for 4 weeks straight, bleh! Only upgrades left now is the 40 mark pvp helm from wintergrasp, two pieces from VoA and well.. Arena rating requirement gear. Still, what I have now is getting good enough that its worth putting on instead of tanking epics.

Oh and.. Ding 50k lifetime kills :)

The (mis)adventures of arena tanking team, "The Muscleteers" continues and we've actually gotten quite good at teamplay now. Getting even better at decimating 2 dps comps and uh.. still working on the dps+healer setups. Paladins and priests are hard to get down, druids are doable as they tend to get careless and open for burst if it looks like they are winning (hi2u last stand, enrage regen, shield wall, shield block, spell reflect, open can of whooparse), and finally shamans are quite manageable. With Gag Order shield bash, conc blow, shockwave, fear, shield bash, charge stun does a great job locking them down. :)

Interesting thing to notice, despite all the strengths of death knights, my two partners really struggle against both caster and healer teams on the matches they play dual dk when my string of stuns and interrupts isnt there. Talked a bit about it and they will try to time better their 3+3 interrupts, if they get it right I dont see why they shouldnt be winning a lot too. Also and perhaps a teamplay issue, one of the dk's is frost or unholy, the other goes blood spec for our games and we seem by far to have an easier time with the blood spec approach.

PVE: Raid side of things our raid community has made progress too, first by defeating Malygos25 and second, after a bit of wipeage taking down Sarth+2 drakes! On our first Malygos kill the dragon died from dots after enrage just as our last raider fell off his drake, guess it can't get much closer. The next week we managed it with everyone up after a few tries, ended with a super clean kill. :)

Sartharion with two drakes was even worse for us, we had a whole evening cleared for it and it took many, many tries to get it done. I'm proud of my raid companions for not giving up though, its butting our heads against those progress walls that make us stronger and I think everyone there will agree it felt bloody great when it finally worked out. Well done, RUIN! :)

Related to raiding, I've noticed is that our signup pool is slowly shrinking. There's logical reasons for this of course after content has been beaten, many players join for the ride against beating the raids but have little interested in farming the last pieces of epics out of them. I hope we can still field some farm runs to prepare for 3.1 though, I bet I'm not the only one with a big list of upgrades to nab out from Naxx25 still.

Sillies: Tonight I was lured along for retro sillies again, first by a guild run to Sunwell Plateau (bit low attendance but got to Felmyst. Full stop there though... Damn gas breaths).

If that wasn't enough I was also lured along for another nostalgia spree by a couple mates. We did ZG for the mounts (no luck), went to SSC and fished up lurker a few times for the achievements and then for kicks 3 manned Karazhan. Pretty wicked fun aoe tanking big big big groups of trash after it got a bit easier, thunder clap and shockwave on some 25+ mobs will never get old for me I think (room outside 2nd boss, for the occation winamp had picked Bonnie Tayler's I need a hero for me, very fitting!) :) Curator (I pulled 3 trash groups+Curator in one go... godly healing Blackie!),Aran, Illhoof (1 healer, healer sacrificed.. errr..), Netherspite (pala died early, warrior and shaman 2-manning 50% and down, 3 beams, glorious chaos), Chess event (we wiped once!) and of course Prince (I failed at moving out of fire and got retri pala killed in a fire again, d'oh) were all also very entertaining fights :D

In other silly news, to spice up 5 mans which started getting a bit dull now I've also started a little side project.. Time Attack mode! Simple enough, clock starts from fist pull and stops when last boss drops, tracking the best clear times for each heroic run, should be fun :)

Hmm.. Perhaps this could develop into one of those blog fads we love to hate, post best clear times of x instance? For now I have UK clear in 21:01 and Culling of Stratholme full clear with drake boss 21:20, what times can you pull? ;)

Thats all for now, Vads out.

Mar 2, 2009

Tonight's raid canned, we tune in to extreme UI makeover.

I went to work on my outdated interface and here we go, extreme UI makeover, WoW style.

I kept some elements from my old UI that I liked and moved things about a bit, resized here and there, changed some things like buff frames and minimap, formatting for unit frames, tried to hide buttons and bars etc I dont need and tried to make everything blend together as best I could.

I've seen a lot of minimalist UI's but there's no way you're going to get me to ditch my action bars, sorry :) I need my cooldowns visually and I hate using extra cooldown addons, so this is what we'll stick with. I'll trim it down a bit more (I dont really need those craft buttons for example), but for half an hour's work I'm pretty happy with the new look :)

Apart from the action bars which I dont want to do away with, is there anything else I can hide ? Details I've missed, things like that. Figure as I spend a lot of time watching this screen, it might as well be kind to the eye. As long as I'm already trying to tweak it a bit I'd be happy to hear some opinions. :)

Took a raid shot as well to show the extra frames etc. Oh and looking a bit closer at the minimap I reckon the red runes should be toned down a bit, looks a bit intense.

Breaking the habit

No, I'm not going to start singing, you can keep reading.

Tobold wrote today about the focus many WoW players have on the content to come in patches and throws in the idea that we are much more focused on that, than what is the current game.

Guilty as charged, here. I have not copied over to PTR to playtest Ulduar (I'll play it when its done, tyvm), but I am keeping a very close watch on all the class changes and of course especially those that affect warriors. Must.. resist.. sidetracking..!

But yeah, like many I find myself mostly finished with WoW 3.0.8. Still raiding on regular schedule to complete my tank gear, but it doesnt feel like its needed really, and theres nothing new to take on. NO, killing the same bosses on a onewheeler while jumping through flaming hoops to get 10 achievement points is NOT new content.
Still, there's PvP. But I'm not built for hours and hours of endless arena/bg grind, so the time spent there is somewhat limited as well. I farmed around 70k honor total this weekend, including cheating a bit by handing in a bunch of bg tokens for honor, and for me thats nothing short of exceptional. :) Just another... 99200 honor to go for belt and trinket..

So, I might actually follow Tobold's lead and fill some dead time in WoW with trying out some other titles. Well, I already have a bit as some previous posts here show. I got a copy of GTA 4 that has mostly been unused, I installed it and got put off immediately by all the graphic glitches and performance problems. If Rockstar has some fix out for that by now I might give it a try again. I loved the other games in the GTA series :)
There is still that WAR account I can sneak onto. Last time I was on there I had a witch hunter in the making that was actually kinda fun to play, if the account is still alive I may try that out again as well.

Oh and I want to try out Fallout 3! And of course Starcraft II and Diablo III when they're out. Gah, so much funs to be had! Aaanyways. Thats a bit down the road, and despite today's rant edition I still enjoy WoW quite a lot so giving up on it is not an option as of yet. But I think getting some variety in will only help keeping my interest in WoW up.

Feb 26, 2009

Quake Live "open beta"

Quake Live has just launched, which is nothing less than a browser based, free to play online first person shooter, Quake III Arena with extra bells and whistles! I have tried it, being a die hard quaker back in the old days and I got a seriously good feeling about this one. Been long since I held a rocket launcher or a rail gun in my digital hands, but the fragging is still oh so sweet!

About the "open beta" tag, the game is pretty much done. Apparently ID Software werent sure just how they would release the thing like a normal title so they just put that tag on to have their backs covered if something goes awfully wrong. It will still be free to play when it goes out of beta as it is called, but there will be an option to pay for premium giving you server and clan hosting and lots more.

Setting it up is easy, you visit the site and register, download a 3 mb browser plugin, restart your web browser and you are good to go. The site and servers are hard pushed currently though so there may be quite the queue to get in. When I went in this afternoon there was a 22.5k line, this evening it had climbed to 50k. It goes a lot faster than your average wait time on a full WoW server though.

The futuristic rocket launch-em-up style of Quake III may not be everyone's cup of tea, and if you go in expecting Crysis graphics you will be in for a let-down. But for anyone else looking for a good, fast-paced online gibbing time, go!

Queues are down to 1k-5k when I have been on so it takes a minute or two only. Proof of the plagues online FPS's, aim bots have surfaced though and apparently quite many are using it.. Why oh why do people invent these things, thought the point of games are, you know, playing them and not have someone/something do it for you?

Update 2:
Queue times are gone completely, and the game plays very well, no noticeable lag at all even on servers with 150+ latency. Not run into obvious aim bots in a while so I'll assume that's dealt with. Also Player skill ranking seems to be working now, which basically lets you very easily join servers with players on your own skill level, quite neat. :)

Feb 25, 2009

The daring adventures of The Muscleteers!

Start of week two for our spanking tanking 2v2 arena team, and the first points started trickling in. Oh and if you look at the honor tab.. 14 wins 16 losses total and down by 208 points, what's up with that !?

Our rating got destroyed a bit by 7 losses from 10 played in the first week, but having played a bunch of games today the rating has climbed up if just a little. We made some slight changes and the performance difference was plain as day!

We changed from wearing whatever resilience and dps gear we had, to our shiny tanking sets, with just the odd few 80 epic pvp pieces we got thrown in. With all the str and hit/expertise on tanking sets now, the raw difference in dps stats was disturbingly small compared to using gemmed and enchanted dps epics+savage and up pvp gear. Big plus with all that health against caster dps and well, melee dps hate us for obvious reasons.

Last week I went in with a pvp oriented prot spec, with stuff like improved disarm, safeguard, the whole shebang. I respecced last night back to proper tanking spec for Malygos 25 and figured I'd give it a spin in arena as well and surprise surprise.. I didnt notice any difference, at all. So basically your typical raid tanking spec.

Opsidius however changed his spec more dramatically, going from unholy tanking, to blood tanking, and this was the big big difference we noticed, the amount of self healing and whatever it is he does to heal me was just huge!

Everything here is subject to change, remember we're playing at rather low rating atm.

Double DPS teams are easy as pie, really. Using our oh shit cooldowns as they open their burst we just brute force our way through it while Opsi provides moderate but steady healing.

Any team with a mage we kill whatever the other player is first. Mages are a nightmare to get down, no matter what spec they pack. I dread the day we'll run into double mage teams. The good thing is that if we make it through all their cooldown abilities, all they do is kite, which they do well enough mind but they're not really killing us either.

Healer+DPS teams are still as expected the hardest, decent dps as tanks do now it still lacks a bit on really forcing the healer into panic mode and wasting mana or even going oom eventually. However, something that works is having the DK start wearing the DPS down while I glue myself to the healer, this usually made the healer try to kite me and run around corners, and as soon as they do that I join on the dps. We managed a few times to kill the DPS then if he wasnt at full hp before the healer could help him with the DK plus me throwing in the lovely but short burst dps that is Concussion blow+Shield slam+Shockwave+heroic throw. :) Tiny bit of luck on the crits there and we're talking 7-8k damage in a 3 sec or so.

Of the 10 matches I played today we won 8 of them! Tables turned completely from the results we had last week, and I can't wait to go back in for more. Arena tanking might be cheesy, but it is also darn good fun! :D

Feb 22, 2009

On Warrior PvP

Last night (in the late hours of course), I had a rant-session on my guildchat about how I feel warriors are left behind in the stone age compared to all other classes and how they have become less and less viable for PvP.

It should come as no surprise I had just been to a series of disasterous BG's prior to my outburst. I went in first with a pvp tweaked fury build which was total humiliation, then again with a pvp oriented prot build, with no sign of improvement.

Now there's no hiding if you armory me, that I havent done a whole lot of pvp since WotLK launced but before that I used to be quite active, playing weekly on 3 teams in fairly ok teams, so I have a fairly good idea on how to kill other players dead. Being on a rp-pvp server also forces reminder lessons daily. ;)

Anyway! Its a common trait among WoW players to always consider their own class underpowered and I am no exception, but the kind of response I recieved was mildly shocking. I had 4-5 guys playing different classes telling me that prot warriors are so unstoppable and can kill anything, this was just after I had been kited around by a mage in EotS while a druid was healing me for a couple minutes, couldnt touch the bugger at all.

I replied that yes, 1v1 protection warriors are strong against certain classes, funnily enough arms and fury warriors, enhancement shamans, warlocks and priests. I also said that protection dps requires that I take a heavy beating, in group pvp people have to be idiots to feed me rage while there are easier targets to wear down. And some other mumbo jumbo, if you play a warrior as well you will know all the arguments.

But still, they wouldnt budge and were adamant in saying prot warriors are awesome for bg, arena, you name it and that was when I took them on their word, and offered them a chance to do some arena with the awesomeness that is Prots. Two death knights took the bait, which led to the birth of.. The Muscleteers! (2v2) We did some initial rounds last night and ended on 3 win - 7 loss, but there is room for some improvement on teamplay and we're going to play a lot more hopefully. So we now got a fabulous tank team running around on Rampage battlegroup with unholy and blood death knights, and me.

What we noticed right away is that it takes them some time to figure out which of us to go for. I'm obviously prot with my shield out but have limited self healing and deal considerable oomph if focused, and my death knight mates are quite resilient too with self healing and high damage. On most of the matches they went for me, which in double dps teams meant we won the match. We had as expected great trouble with healer teams though, especially with a paladin involved. I have really no idea how to counter the absorb shield, high armor, heavy healing.. Advice welcome.

At any rate, this should mean for some amusing evenings between raids, will post stories of great victories and defeats, possibly or most likely with a dash of whine!

Feb 21, 2009

Browser games

Not related to WOW or MMO's at all, I still have to share with you a wonderful browser game site I found: Armor Games ! Theres like a bajillion flash games there, and the three I've tested so far, Sonny, Sonny 2 and Super Mafia Land are all wonderful! Off to test what looks like a tower defence game next, speaking of wasting time, the hours I spent on TD's on WC3 battlenet... :)

The Sonny games are basically tactical combat games, Final Fantasy style and you get one guess only what kind of game Super Mafia Land is.. Perfect site to waste some time at (server maintenance, downtime at work etc).

Glad I stumled over this site and wanted to share the goodiebag with you all. :)

My friday night

So as I was going home from work last evening I was all excited to relax and have some fun in the game, perhaps do a 10 man with my guild.

I get home, dig out my lame screenshot to post here and log on. I sign up for a Naxx10 set to start at 22.00 and the next thing that happens is a mate asking if I'd be up for tanking the daily heroic, good for warmup!

So we blast through Violet Hold in what turned out to be my mage friend and 3 randoms, still it went ok, no wipes though I felt a bit sorry for my healer, all three dps were in the 1000-1500 range so it was a bit of an endurance test.

We finish there and minutes later a guild group is asking for tank to run some heroics, I'm all over it and we tear up Halls of Lightning and even get the Loken achievement. Awesome, disregarding most of the group got blasted to shreds in the last aoe. Details!

Its now 20:30 and I'm asked to join for another, but I figure I could use a breather between heroicing and diving into Naxxramas, which was understandable. So I get out of the group, do my cooking daily as I'm preparing a pasta for dinner, eat and look at the time, 21:15.

Hm, still some time left before the raid starts, and I notice I'm quite tired, nothing a 15 min power nap wont sort, right ? So I hit the couch, set an alarm just to be sure and close my eyes.

Next thing I know its 07:30 in the morning, d'oh.. Sorry Orphans! Seems I'm just not built for weeks of 11-13 hour work shifts, hope it gets a bit calmer here! And yes, I'm writing this from work too.

Looking forward to the "Minus fifty fucking DKP!" yells next time we're on TS ;) At any rate, I probably deserve that just for the sake of crashing so early on a friday evening, raid or not.

I must be getting old.. Can't blame it on alcohol either, the shame!

Feb 20, 2009

6th Screenie

My hopes of avoiding this screenshot passaround thing entirely failed me, as Yakra over at Mirror Shield tagged me for it. Not one to step down from a challenge I present my incredibly lame contribution! (click the images for full size ones if they're a bit small)

Cant strike gold with every screenshot taken, can we? *blush* So, what I got for you is basically me loitering in Shattrath seeing one of those oversized pets for the first time, and for some reason I found it screeny-worthy. :]

Oh well, guess it can serve to show what my UI has been looking like. This shot is quite old of course but it hasnt changed all that much since then. Added another screeny to show what it looks like now, and indeedy, its mostly the same apart from pitbull frames and minor cosmetics. Oh and feel free to gasp in awe at my incredible AFK-sit a mile up in the sky skills!

Now for the hard part, passing the challenge on. Urgh. Not been around that long so the full list will take a bit. But for now, here are the challenged:


I'll look for a few more to poke, later tonight. :)

Feb 18, 2009

Heroic Strike, the Warrior's worst friend

Edit 19/07/11: This blog entry is horridly outdated and shouldn't be read in any serious manner by anyone. I want to point this out because it has been one of my most read posts even until today. Heroic Strike got "fixed" although not in the way I wanted. I'm not exactly thrilled about it being an extra button push for instant (awful) damage at 50-70 rage either. I'm glad Heroic Strike is an instant attack now which is something warriors needed, but even in freak occurences where it keeps critting, using it with our 0 cost procs, and incite, it remains an afterthought, a trick to push out a couple hundred dps in rage satiated situations.

In the current Firelands tier of content, there are a number of fights where Warriors are fed rage, where the current heroic strike and its counterpart cleave are spammed on their 3 second cooldowns, but I'm not entirely sure I want Warriors DPS based around that. And come on, you know a nerf to heroic strike/cleave is coming just because of these fights, however pitiful rage dumps they are.

Oh, and Warriors whether tanking or dps are still spamming their heroic strike/cleave hotkeys like crazy, even more so in situations where it can be kept up thanks to Inner Rage. Was that the best "fix" Blizzard could think of, really ?

With that out of the way, if you want to read my ancient rant about Heroic Strike with the mechanic it used to have, read on.

What about Heroic Strike, exactly?

For those uninitiated in the "fine art" of protection warrior tanking, it is an essentual tool for keeping up aggro during any raid encounter. It has been in the game since day one and has always been useful while tanking for dumping rage and gaining extra threat, but these days it seen more as a mandatory keypress every 0-0.5 seconds (can think of at least one wws +video to show it, will try to dig it out tomorrow), just to be able to keep aggro and let those dps'ers show their true potential.

There's countless WWS logs out there on single target bossfights where the tank takes lots of damage, where good tanks do 0-5 autoattacks. Over several minutes. Thats a lot of heroic strike hammering. While the warrior tank is doing this, he or she is also spamming his regular short CD abilities, and it all adds up to AT LEAST 3-5 key presses per second if the tank is on the ball, as expected.

There has not only been concern but also obvious evidence that this kind of keyboard mashing is not only expensive as it obviously destroys your keyboards rather fast, but also causes hand and arm motor damage. There have been numerous suggestions as to how to ease the job of putting out acceptable tps and ragedumping, which have largely gone unnoticed.. until now!

This is perhaps the best news I've heard in a long time ( ok that says something about my life in general, I KNOW ), I sincerely desperately hope Blizzard acknowledges this and takes action for a fix before permanent hand and arm nerve injuries join the usual line of counter-effects warriors have to deal with while doing their job, and this is no call for nerf, but being forced to mash our keyboards to stumps doing the same job a DK does pressing 4-5 buttons every 5 seconds (assuming GCD reducing "aura", even less without it), it ain't right.

I am hoping for a heroic strike toggle, instead of manually using it constantly, perhaps even with a lower rage limit for activating it to make sure rage is conserved for the regular GCD's. Here's to hoping... *crosses fingers*

Update: Found the video mentioned above, Patchwerk 25 man 1m54s kill, tank doing average 10.5 keystrokes per second, 3.3k dps. The video spawned a very interesting debate over at tankspot, well worth reading (link includes video and discussion board). High quality download available at filefront, recommend taking 5 mins to download it, its just 105 mb. If the topic isnt of interest it may still be worth a watch if you like raid encounter vids, or angry music! ;)

Feb 17, 2009

Too soon, Executus!

Or about bleeding time, all depends.

Time for an overdue update! Moving and being rather busy in general the blog project has been on forced hold for a while, but it looks like things are getting somewhat normal now. Actually they have been for a few days now but being stuck without an internet connection for 3 weeks, naturally my first priority has been to get some serious gaming done!

On the bright side, seeing how eager I've been to get back in the game showed me I'm not nearly ready to put WoW away, good thing considering the game was starting to feel a bit bland. Really missed the guildies and just goofing around, it is good to be back :)

After I returned to WoW I've been to a Naxx10 which we cleared about half way in 3 hours, joined a followup run in Naxx25 where we cleared our way to Kel'Thuzad, wiping at 5% on him just long enough over our scheduled raid time that we decided to call it rather than going again (he's so going down tomorrow, guild got him on 25man before but not while I've been about to see it). We also had a rather sweet first evening of tries with Sartharion with an extra drake up.

He went down on our third go and seeing how chaotic it all turned with just one drake up, I gotta admit I'm a bit psyched about trying it with more of them! Was good fun.

Finally though and what was perhaps the highlight since I picked up the game again, we had an old school Molten Core and Blackwing Lair raid! I hadn't been to those places in ages and despite the obvious steamrolling, it was really sweet being there again, brought back good memories. To make it all the better, an old friend who has been farming MC for months now trying to get his last Binding of the Windseeker for his Thunderfury sword joined as well, and would you believe it, the damned thing dropped ! Well earned, Zagar :)

We had some other fun drops too, one of our hunters picked up Ancient Petrified Leaf and I'm now purely for nostalgic reasons the happy owner of Ashkandi and The Untamed Blade , two beautiful swords! Good times..

Unrelated, I am searching for some decent wow related plugins to put on the blog, I would be very grateful if visitors could point me in the right direction. Looked at an armory plugin but it didnt really seem to work at all, is there any of the sort out there thats compatible with blogspot pages?

Wrapping it up here for now, as a final note I am very interested in feedback on the blog. Anything goes, constructive or otherwise. ;) Stay tuned!

Jan 25, 2009

Lunar Achievements Aid

Just a quick post, as the Lunar Festival is upon us and if you find yourself feeling lost trying to track all those Elders, look no further than Wowwiki for the big picture. Been a great help to me!

Thanks to Big Bear Butt for the pointer, and good coinhunting. :)

Jan 23, 2009

WotLK, modern day's Bread and Circus?

Starting off, I'd like to talk about something that isnt Warrior specific at all, but something that has gotten a lot of attention with the Lich King expansion.

One of the biggest cries of critisism regarding WOTLK has been how easy it is to beat when taking on what we have so far been offered in terms of endgame raiding. Page up and page down on official forums are filled with topics stating how much this expansion sucks because of The Disney Approach , making everything available for the masses to enjoy. But is it really worse than before or an improvement from the TBC and vanilla days?

On one side, we have the serious raidguilds with a select few achievements to pursue ,for example Obsidian Sanctum with three drakes, when those are done or more likely long before it, boredom sets in and we get the forum topics and blog rants mentioned, and who can blame them for it ? The very reason they exist seem pulled away under their feet.

Dont get me wrong, the achievement mentioned and some others in Naxx 25 are indeed way hard to pull off. But in the end, all they have done at the end of the day is the same instance that a majority of casual raiding guilds manage as well, just in the most stupidly complicated way you can imagine. In a genious but very transparent way Blizzard created means to turn one boss, lets use Obsidian Sanctum again as example, into four different ones. I for one can understand well how they feel a bit cheated.

Now then, not to play the devil's advocate but to keep it objective, lets have a look on the other side of the raiding scene, that of the casuals as we like to call it.

On the flip side of things we have what is probably the majority of WoW players, the casuals who like to raid, but for different reasons can not be cutting edge in raiding progress. Reasons may be RL commitments reducing play time, lacking the amount of dedication needed for it, bring in what is primarily a social guild without a good raid alliance or a combination of it all.

Up until the release of WotLK they have effectively but cut off from a part of the game, the deep raid instances that needed mad skills (blackwing lair, naxxramas, aq40 in the vanilla days), or long and difficult attunement chains (Hyjal, BT before the open for all patches). A large portion of these players, myself included, never as much as killed a trash mob in Naxxramas before it was made the entry level raidinstance in the latest expansion.

They have missed out on a large chunk of cool scripted and game lore related events, isnt it great that they too can enjoy that part of the game too now without it being a requirement to have many hours free each day to hunt reputations, key chains, attunement quests ? They wont be downing OS three drakes on this side of 2009, but they will get to see everything on offer lets say, even if they just join a LFG channel pug for it.

So.. Who is right? Are things better now or worse than before ?

In closing, I will say that while I definately am not cutting the edge on the raiding scene (heck, I havent even finished Naxx25 or done Malygos 10 yet), I am very much in the camp complaining about the dumbing down of PVE. I loved the times when Idling in Orgrimmar I could see players proudly flashing their tier 2-3 armors, Sulfuras and Thunderfuries , the creme de la creme of the server, dreaming that one day I would too be there (and indeed I am the very lucky owner of a vanilla Sulfuras hammer :) ) It kills me to see the guys I used to admire so wear the exact same gear even though they are still much more hardcore on the raiding than me, I miss having those goals to reach for and the oh so sweet satisfaction when you finally reach it!

So dear reader, I am very curious to hear, which base do you belong in and why ?

Jan 17, 2009

About the author

First of all, welcome to my humble blog spot! For anyone happening to stumble by here's a quick introduction.

I am a WoW player, known as Vads, orc warrior residing on EU-Defias Brotherhood since it launched one year after the game launched. Prior to that I had a human mage on Ragnaros which wasnt quite my cuppa (far as pvp servers go it was allright, mind), so I made a human rogue on Argent Dawn by the name of Arja. Never been that content with the base game so when I discovered Roleplaying servers it was a very natural switch. Found myself a rather zany doomsday cult RP guild, and got stuck right with it, right until we had the introduction or RP-PVP servers, at which point me and the bulk of said cultist guild found it a natural move. Since my arrival on RP-PVP Defias Brotherhood I have never looked back!

While I have always personally been very achievement oriented I thrive best in a casual enviroment, therefore I was thrilled when I eventually joined The Orphans Grim , a RP slash PVE oriented guild catered for senior citizens (Read: 25+, in the online realm that counts as senior I reckon). Thats not to say we weren't raid oriented, mind. While not cutting edge we cleared our way to Sunwell before Wrath hit the shelves. And yes, I know pve got nerfed before then, but at least we were IN Black Temple before it. :)

Post Wrath I still play my warrior as my main character, tanking as I have since Arms spec was rave for MC and BWL tanking, so while I didnt have the pleasure unfortunately of tanking AQ40 at 60, and the deepest recluses of Sunwell at 70 I still dare say I have some experience doing what I find the most enjoyable experience of WoW is, namely tanking big bad baddies. I am also very much for world pvp and well, pvp in general, which will be reflected on in future posts.

On the guild management side I also have some expertise. Lead first a pvp guild on Ragnaros, then taking on officership in a roleplay guild, until I took on shared guild leadership in a council of a RP/PVE guild where while I am still a member, I recently stepped down as I realized current work and RL, as well as regular raiding obligations were keeping me far too busy. Dropped the leadership role and is currently quite ok working my ass off, raiding some in the evenings and leaving it at that.

As I am writing this we are still working on on 25 man content of WotLK, raiding 25man 3 evenings per week and mostly being silly the rest of the time.

And that about sums your author here up until now!

Its in the way you look

Working on the layout and feel of the blog still. Getting rather jealous of those real spiffy looking blogs I've been reading for a while, while I am still trying to get a colour theme going that wont cause a migrain to read. Also need to see if I cant get some basic art going here, want to keep a simple look without well, page looking totally plain. We'll see!

Quite busy at work so not had much time to get down to actual blogging, until it calms down a tiny smidge I'll be happy if I can just do some minor stuff here every so often.

If anyone happens to stumble by, I'd be glad if you drop a line about the layout, whether its likeable or no. :)

Jan 16, 2009

The Rage Bar

Greets and welcome to my little web blog. Topics ranted about here will largely be generally related to the digital crack that is World of Warcraft, but also thoughts about my favourite class, the Warrior. Musings about PvP, PvE, PvDeveloper, possibly some very light theorycrafting. No need to reinvent the wheel when we have ElitistJerks already.

As I'm sure can be seen easily, this is a very just-now established blog with not much substance (yet!). As I get settled in here and used to blogging, there will be more!