Thursday, December 31, 2009


I wish I'm wrong, but yesterday had a nasty experience, a semi-fail pug, that has the dangers of becoming more and more usual thanks to the Finder system. Ok, the history starts with my mage Vurnak jumping on the Finder system to get some emblems. After a big waiting I get into a pug that's running ToC. I zone in and the joust is in the last phase, but as I setp into the arena one of the bosses tramples me with the horse and kills me. "You spoiled my grand entrance, rat!" is no longer a Black Knight only line. I get back in, mount on a horse and after charging the first boss I saw he dies and we all get dismounted. Well, one death in exchange of all the boring joust isn't that bad. Then the nightmare begins. DK tank and aplly healer. DK pulls, we start dpsing (a boomkin, a rogue and me) and suddenly the orc warrior jumps in the middle of us and whirlwinds. We wipe. The healer starts yelling at the tank why he brought the warrior into the ranged group. With a very bad english the tank tries to explain he got grabbed and pulled by the warrior and also complains about the lack oh heals. We go in again, rebuff and pull again. This time we manage to kill them but the tank and the healer can't stop yelling each other about how to tank and how to heal. I step in and ask to cut down the chatting and go on, which seems to work. We get Eadric the Pure and then the boomkin sits on the floor and goes AFK. And the fugger remains AFK for the whole fight. Pity we didn't get Confessor Paletress this time, because the fucking asshole deserved to die. Not for going AFK without any notification. The son of a bitch stood up when we looted the chest, selected need for the caster cloak (which I also needed) and went afk again. So I issued a vote kick. The healer asked why and they voted no. To add insult to the injury he won the roll and then announced he was back. Fucking leecher son of a donkey's fart. I'm not upset for losing the cloak. I'm upset because the fucking asshole decided not to move a single finger and let the rest do all the work.
Have you experienced leeching players? Because this may become very common. And he wasn't undergeared at all, like other players trying to get loot by playing with overgeared players. He just decided to stay safe in an easy boss fight while others did the dirty job. I swear the next time I see a fugger going AFK on a pug I'll vote kick as soon as his nameplate turns grey. And if the vote is negative I'll drop the group. I rather prefer to log another player (got plenty of them) than wroking for nothing.

Post soundtrack:  Leech - Incubus

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Can't focus

Thanks to the Christmas holidays I've been again playing a lot again. But the problem when you have 10 alts is the difficulty to focus on just one. Sure, I've been able to get some of them great new shiny loot, but after 5 or 6 random heroics with a char I get bored of it and need to switch to another. But then if I go on a dps char I need to wait several minutes to get a run, so I've been focusing more on my druid and shaman healer. The last one specially got 3 pieces of t9 now (when previously only had ilevel 200 gear) but still I don't feel quite comfortable with it. It's good at throwing small heals, but Chain Heal takes ages to cast. And when checking the available totems from the vendors you see all focus on Chain Heal... bugger. So I'm still using the old Totem of the Plains. Anyway once I got the fourth piece of t9 I'll guess I'll get one.
On the other hand we did some Icecrown Citadel raiding, since everybody wanted to grind some reputation to get the ring. After a pair of cleanings (without any rogue to see the traps that spawn these giant skeletons) we decided to try the first boss, Lord Marrowgar. As usual only two or three guildmates had read about this boss, so we decided to try and what was this about. I must say that we did great on first try, bringing him to 14%. Quite impressive for a bunch of casuals. On second try we had a silly wipe at start and I could only hold his damage for some seconds before I went splat!! on the floor. But at the third we did it and kicked Marrowgar's bony ass. Not only that, he dropped a tanking mace and a pair of pally boots and I got both items (yay!). After some rep grinding I also got the ring, so now I'm very happy with my paladin.
Now, on what char should I focus? Decissions, decissions...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be kind to your healer

First of all I must apologize for publishing this post now. I wrote it before 3.3 hit the streets but a couple of factors made me leave it "in the fridge". Then patch came and non-stop grinding sessions almost made me forget about it. Still what I wrote it's still true, maybe even more now that a lot of people is pugging like mad. Here it is.
Thanks to Miss Medicina's post about the healers I've seen that what ticks me off is very common among healers. I don't consider myself a pure healer, I play all classes (and during old WoW and part of TBC I only played dps specs). So back to the common answer, one of the worst thing for healers is people asking for heals, most of times not in a very polite way. While she thinks usually is caused by a natural reaction I believe it's lack of knowledge. Knowledge of the healer's class, of course. And I say this because in the beginning I was a bit like this. Never yelled for a heal, but it buggered me when I wasn't receiving heals or even worse, I died, specially when I was offtanking some add in Molten Core. And then my thoughts targeted the healer of my group with a "dude, we're my heals?" flashing in bright red.
So, yelling at us demanding heals is one of the worst things you can do. About 90% of the time I'm looking at the raidUI or group healthbars. Unless there's some boss attack that requires my attention so I have to move out of fire or hide behind some wall I'm not checking what's going on. Sometimes I find myself thinking the boss is taking ages to die while other times I feel he bites the dust in a blink. All I see are green bars going up and down and also getting a funky coloration when someone gets a debuff that must be removed asap. I say this so you know I'm VERY AWARE that you're taking damage and your hitpoints are migrating to Tombsville. But you should know that If I'm not healing you is because either someone else needs the heal with more urgency (tank gets top priority always) or there's something preventing me to heal: I'm feared, silenced, running out of fire or I have that funny necrotic aura from Loatheb that prevents all kind of healing.
Of course if yelling for heals is bad, yelling at the healer/s after a wipe is even worse. I think there's no need to go futher that way. If it's my fault I'll apologize and next time I'll try by all means not to fuck it up. And if you're getting healed by somebody new to the healing business give him some credit before opening the can of worms.
Another thing it ticks healers off is players getting damage when they shouldn't, mostly aggro-monkeys who go trigger happy stealing aggro from the tank or fucktards who stand in fire thinking it's our obligation to keep them alive. Sorry mister, I don't care if your dps will be reduced if you have to move, but Blizzard made these attacks powerful enough so trying to overheal that damage is futile. Also this clashes with the healing priority mentioned before. People, specially dps, should carve this in their foreheads with a rusty knife:
Healing Priority
1. Tank
2. Healer
3. Dps
A group or raid can survive if a dps goes down. We can bring you back with a battleress if needed, like bosses with enrage timers, or you can walk back inside the dungeon (like ToC), so in most cases get this very clear: you're the last in line to get our attention. So if you're getting hit and you're not the tank then surely you're doing something wrong (except it's some aoe damage that hits everybody). If you get aggro use your aggro-dropping skills: vanish, iceblock... whatever. And run to the tank so he can snap that pesky mob off you more easily.
If you're standing in fire, gas, poison cloud, blizzard or cyclone area it's simple: MOVE OUT! And quickly. If your dps numbers are lowered then just suck it up and deal with it. Do you prefer a lower dps because you have to move just some steps or do you prefer to die and see your position in Recount plummet? I think the decission is quite simple.
So, after venting some frustration (feeling much better, thank you), just remember that healing usually it's a very stressing role, putting a lot of responsability on you. Adding more stress with bad tempered attitude is the last thing we healers need.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Dungeon Finder and the Human Condition

The Dungeon Finder tool is having comments from all the wow-bloggers. And looks like everyone coincides in several aspects, both in the positive and negative ones:
- Fast group assembly. This is probably the best feature. No more waiting endlessly (specially if you're dps) to get into a dungeon, specially if you only want badges. Thanks to the inter-server assembly now you only wait 5 or 6 minutes maximum (of course it depends on what time do you play, don't expect that at 3:00 am).
- Dehumanized runs. Several of you comment that right now there's almost no talk on the runs, just a fast zerg. Well, there wasn't much talk on old pugs unless you were going with some guildies or there was somethings out of the normal happening (like some epic fail, an unexpected wipe, etc). Maybe i'ts just me, but at least in all the runs I've got everybody says "hi" at start and "thanks for the run" at the end. In some even I've got some funny chatting. At least people seems polite enough to greet and say goodbye.
- Increased dickness. People are too anxious to finish the dungeon in the less time possible to hop into another. Undergeared people or underperforming people are abused and kicked out. Again maybe it's me, but I haven't found more dickheads than before. But since there's more people running dungeons and craving for more, the index of dickness increases also, that's a mathematical fact that can't be avoided: if there's a natural percentage of dickhead players in an always growing community, the bigger the number of that community is playing at the same time, the bigger the dickheads percentage in it. Also the dungeon zerging acts as a multiplicator of this percentage, but as I was saying, this factor hasn't been so big for me.
There are two facts that should be clear for everybody when "aiming guns" against the Dungeon Finder:
1. Dungeon Finder doesn't turn dungeon runs into a collection of retarded actions and behavior. If a player is a stupid asshole, it would be still an asshole without the Finder. I reckon that the Finder may accidentally group several dickheads or someone specially annoying, increasing the sensation of "what a collection of stupid bastards I've been grouped with". Also since more runs are made in less time, more chances to find a stupid asshole. But seems nobody noticed about the Ignore option also working for the Dungeon Finder. Put somebody in your ignore list and you won't be ever grouped with her again (note: I'm not sure if it works with cross-realm players, but it should). Also I know it's difficult you'll ever group with the same char, so this tool isn't that good, but it's better than nothing. Remember there's anything that can't stop dickheads from entering PUGs like antigoldpsam addons eliminating spam messages from the chat window. Would be so great...
2. The Finder is a tool designated mainly to farm. Unless your guild is severely crippled , you play at odd hours when there're few people online or you want a specific dungeon few people wants to play (I can read your mind and I see a big word written in red flashy neon light that says "Oculus"), most of your farming runs will be done along your guildmates. Only if you're badges greedy you'll use this tool (and remember, you can play random dungeons to get extra badges with a full group made entirely of guildmates)
So I don't think the Dungeon Finder will kill "traditional" dungeon runs. If you're not level 80 still and you like the lore bits appearing in the instances you'll surely run the dungeon (normal mode, of course) with friends, guildmates or if you use the Finder, with other not-80 not-overgeared people, so the chances of a silent run full of dickheads are minimal. Also keep in mind the Finder is the new shiny toy and once some weeks pass it won't cause such fuss as today. Sure, dickheads will continue to be dickheads, but I doubt there will be this craving for badges (once everybody is covered in T9 the Emblems of Triumph will lose 90% of its value), so runs can be taken in a more relaxed way, even if talking is kept to a minimum.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Answering Machine post

"Hello, here's Kurnak. I'm sorry but I'm not back to blogging because new patch is keeping me away. Thank you for your patience. Leave a comment after the signal"...

So yes, as you could expect from somebody with ten 80s to maintain, I'm grinding dungeons as much as I can with several of my characters (not all tough, the day only has 24 hours sadly). Several of you already have posted about how great the new instances are (yes, they are), how cool the Dungeon Finder is (yes, it is) and I've also posted comments on your blogs, so I won't go over these themes again. Just some notes:
- New 5man dungeons are greatly designed and bosses finally challenging (at least the first time :D )
- Most of the new gear has horrible names: Braid of Salt and Fire? Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt? Cold Sweat Grips? Minister's Number One Legplates? (to name just a few). Come on guys, stop smoking crack!
- Remember my previous post about Blizzard designing ugly swords? Well, my predictions came true, specially for 2handed swords, with only a few exceptions (and you guessed right, the various Quel'Delar versions). Just take a look at Mourning Malice and try not to puke. A cool evil name wasted on a hideous blade. And what about Ghoulslicer? That thing is 1handed. Yes, you read right. One-handed. And looks bigger than most 2handed swords in the game... seesh! At least the rest of 1handed swords have cool looks
- Reusing old gear with new color patterns. While some items are ok for the reusing, others are ugly, specially with the new color set/texture added. Yes, I'm thinking on gear like Pauldrons of the Devourer. When we had finally got rid of these chunky pauldrons they come back... with a vengeance! Come on! Why not reuse cool looking pvp gear like Savage Gladiator's Dreadplate Shoulders or old gear like Abomination Shoulderblades? Bah!

Well, I'm sorry but I must go back and continue grinding on some alt. What? Oh yes, you're right. I forgot the signal, here it is...

Post soundtrack: Answering Machine - The Replacements

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Are you dead yet?

No, I'm not dead yet. I know I haven't written a single line for several days, yet I've been playing a lot lately thanks to some holidays I got last week. Just I haven't found anything remarkable to create a post (and still I have an unfinished one that's a pain to write). So what's been happening to the *urnaks these days?
Vurnak got exalted with Netherwing after several days of grinding rep. He doesn't have any gatherer professions, so I had fewer quests to get rep (well, one quest less, but it's a nice amount of rep less every day). Anyway he grinded everyday and is now the proud owner of the Azure Netherdrake (I still think the Obsidian looks better, but that's Kurnak's flying mount already). Also yesterday finally did The Oculus, the last dungeon I was missing and now I can create the Wispcloak. And last but not least also got the achievement for completing all heroic daily dungeon quests. Talking about achievements, got several of the Pilgrim fest, thanks to the teleport spell it's not a pain in the ass, but since I don't like much the frenzy people get in during festivals to get all achievements and claim the violet drake I didn't complete them all and won't do any on other characters.
Turnak was invited to ToC25 with our allied guild... as MT healer! (gasp!) An important responsability that I think I managed in a good way (I was only in ToC10 as dps before). Raid took several wipes since it was an alts/non-regular raiders and we didn't manage to kill Anub'arak in the end (damn enrage timer!) and the raid took longer than expected, so as a kind of compensation we went to Onyxia's lair to get some easy loot.
Surnak the warlock dualspecced destruction. Since demonology does such weak dps I wanted to try the only spec I haven't played yet (formerly he was affliction). Destruction spec increases his dps greatly, but it's boring as hell. At least it has a clear rotation to follow. He also got the epic flight skill and crafted the Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, since he's an engineer. I just lack now the rep with Alliance Vanguard to get the Chopper plans. I've been playing Surnak more and more lately and also since he can access the AH in Dalaran he's been selling tons and tons of gems that Turnak prospects. And I've made a ton of gold in a short time. I've almost recovered all the money invested in him (1k for dualspec and 4k for epic flight).
The rest of characters have been mainly inactive. Jurnak still needs to level leatherworking to 450 (he's 433 atm) and then all my characters main professions will be at top level.

Post soundtrack: Are you dead yet? - Children of Bodom

PS: This entry was supposed to be posted through Google Wave, but seems the Blogger plugin is not working correctly yet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Headbanging on a dragon

So yesterday I was with my mage bored in Dalaran, trying to get in a group to do daily heroic when I see someone asking for some dps who had the Vault of Archavon achievements. Since it didn't seem I'd get into apug for that daily hardcore I decided to try going VoA and whispered that guy the Koralon and Emalon achievements and surprisingly got in. The raid wasn't a total pug but a guild run who only needed some spots to fill in. This usually gives more confidence it won't end in an utter disaster, so I was happy to finally found a raid outside my guild's or our "brother" guild that doesn't suck Hodir's Horn (copyright Tamarind again).
The three bosses went down easily since people was good geared and then somebody proposed to do Sartharion 3D (no, not the new Pixar's film in three dimensions). That sounded lovely, since I never did it with any drake on (and the times I tried ended wiping). Checking Recount dps was maybe a bit low, but hey, nobody ever wrote anything about cowards, so we cleared all the adds and then charged the big one.
Oh my...
First attempts were dissapointing, wiping at 20% or so. So some of the players switched chars to increase dps. I was doing around 3,8k dps by then and I needed to improve it (and I was blowing all my cds from start). Then I remembered I was carrying some Potions of Speed. And also remembered that even not being in frost spec I still had Icy Veins. My dps grew from 3,8k to 5k. Mmmm I must make more of these lovely potions, they're a great steampack. Still we couldn't down the bugger, wiping at 3 or 4%. But we were stubborn and kept trying, wiping over a dozen times. From the 20% at first try to 3% it was a big progression and we were happy of such improvement, yet disappointed because everybody knew we could do it and it was just a factor of luck... getting good flame waves so we didn't need to move much, timing the heals when first drake landed... but in the end Sartharion and his drakes won the match yesterday.
Anyway it was great to see such progression, so I'm not complaining. And rest assured, there will be revenge.

Post soundtrack: The Revenge - Russell Allen and Jorn Lande

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Feeling better

Seems the heals and cleanses finally arrived (thanks Tam!) and yesterday was much better, enough to give a hand to the guild and do some Ulduar raiding (also after so many time in bed my back was killing me). Fortunately I could rid of the fever (thursday I was over 38ºC), the headache was almost gone and the choughing reduced to minimum. I've also taken so much paracetamol for the muscular pain that probably I'm still half anesthetized. Still my voice sounds like Darth Vader after smoking half dozen of cuban cigars, so the few times I talked in vent I probably scared someone.
We tried the Golf Caddy (copyright Tamarind) with the 4 beacons up, but there was too many shit going on and people wasn't that experienced and we wiped, so we took down 2 of them and then flatlined the caddy easily. A good start. Next was Razorscale who was also killed on first try granting also the Quick Shave achievement. Things were on a roll. XT-002 also was downed without any problems (no achievement this time, we lacked firepower). But things came to a dead end with Ignis. We tried like 6 times and we couldn't get him down, wiping at 9%. Frustrated we decided to move on because it was getting late and we didn't seem to improve on each try. Kologarn was going smooth until the left arm was destroyed, nobody said anything in vent and I didn't saw the adds on time, so they killed the healers. Darn! Not again with this boss! We rezzed, rebuffed and this time I set the camera so I could see the left arm while kicking the right arm. Luckily the left arm wasn't destroyed this time and the giant fell like a chopped tree. It was getting very late so we had time only for one boss more, the Crazy Cat Lady, that's it, Auriaya (a.k.a. Screaming Bitch). We cleared the sentinels from the right side but thinking we could get her down fast we didn't clear the ones from the left side. Big mistake. And mistakes here are paid with blood. After the Feral Defender was killed and we moved to the other side someone was feared into the sentinels, so a smooth boss kill turned into a chaotic hell. Of course we wiped, even after trying to tank the sentinels at the same time. This time we killed these sentinels and this time the screaming titan went down without any problem (message to Deadly Boss Mods creators: you should get Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden to record his famous cry "Scream for me (city name)!!!", so when she goes down screaming like mad we could hear Bruce "Scream for me Ulduar!!!". That would be truly epic!)
Let's see if tonight we can get enough people again to continue, at least I'd like to see some new bosses like Hodir and Freya.
Btw, Turnak got a new shiny shield from XT-002, the Pulsing Spellshield, much prettier than the Aegis of Damnation and that silly rune it has. Bye bye egyptian look.

Post soundtrack: Gods of War (live) - Bruce Dickinson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

WTB Cleanse

Woke up today feeling sick, seems flu has finally got me (right now doesn't seem swine flu at least). Sore throat, headache, cough, muscular pain...
Next week I'm on holidays, so WTB Cleanse very fast, no matter price, but must be effective, just /w me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Tanking Questionnaire

If some days ago I posted my answers to the Healers Questionnaire created by Miss Medicina, now it's turn for the Tanking Questionnaire created by Beruthiel at Falling leaves and wings (and again thanks to Righteous Orbs, if you are not following this blog you're missing a lot).
Again the character chosen will be Turnak the paladin. As tank he's the best geared and also is the one I enjoy more when standing in the line of scrimmage. So let's go with the meme:

What is your primary tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
Any place. While I used Turnak the most in 5mans, I became the unofficial guild's OT, so I'm also tanking in raids unless some friend comes and then I switch to healer or dps.

What is your favorite tanking spell for your class and why?
Mmm this is tough, protadins have a lot of good tanking spells, but I think I'll be a draw between Avenger's Shield and Hammer of the Righteous. Avenger's Shield is a great pulling spell, while Hammer of the Righteous helps me get aoe aggro fast. I know Consecration affects all mobs inside, but Hammer generates more aggro (or at least it's what I feel). Avenger's Shield gets a plus bonus for that Captain America feeling :)

What tanking spell do you use least for your class and why?
Divine Sacrifice. I think I've never used it. I feel is too dangerous, specially if you're facing a boss that hits hard and affects several players. If healers are already struggling to keep you alive they don't need more work. Also nowadays I don't find much utility inr aids since most of the times you have some healer able to do good aoe healing. The only place I can see this can be useful is 5man runs with a paladin healing where there's a lot of splash damage (like poison debuffs in Azjol'Nerub)

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
The ability to generate a lot of aoe aggro and keep all mobs focused on you so they don't run rampant around. Also pallies have great tricks to solve mobility situations (like Hand of Freedom), protective measures (wearing plate armour and a shield, Sacred Shield spell, bubbling someone, etc)

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?

Before Divine Plea it was keeping enough mana to get your spells going. Right now it's just a matter of keeping Divine Plea always up, so only good timing is needed. Still in some occasions you may run oom, then you better pray that you generated enough aggro before so nobody snaps a mob off you until you regain enough mana to continue your duty.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

Whatever the raidleader assigns me. Thanks to the great aoe aggro I may be better offtanking in fights where you have to pick up several adds, but maintanking the big bad boss is also ok for me.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

Paladin. You can see why in the answers above: great aoe aggro generation, good survivality and also brings utility to the raid with blessings, hands, etc.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

I'd say bear druid, but I'd be lying since my feral druid is specced cat, so I'm just an emergency tank when playing him. The real answer is warrior. I feel I have to struggle a lot to generate good aoe aggro, so when doing 5mans or tanking groups of mobs in raids I always feel I'm going to loose aggro ons ome mobs and they will crush a dps or healer, so I don't like tanking with the warrior. And it's not really a matter of gear (he has very decent tanking gear) or skills, I just feel warriors are best tanking one mob than a group, but nowadays you have to deal with groups of mobs or adds almost everywhere.

What is your worst habit as a tank?

Good question, because I'm not sure I have an answer.This doesn't mean I'm a perfect tank. I just try not ot pull too many mobs at once, try to keepp high aggro on all... maybe I'm too cautious and I could make instances faster by pulling more, but I don't want to wipe for being trigger-happy. Maybe the worst thing I've ever done is forgetting some times to put Righteous Fury up and then wonder why people is getting aggro.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

Aggro monleys. People that doesn't wait for me to even cast Avenger Shield or Exorcism. And then they scream "AGGRRRRROOOO!!!" and run away from me.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks?

In fact i think protadins are better than the rest of classes since they seem to have all the tanking tools needed: good mitigation (including block and parry), good aoe generation tools, a set of "oh shit!" tools (hands, bubbles, heals)... I couldn't ask for more. For example as I mentioned before I feel that warriors lack some better aoe aggro tools (I know they have Demoralizing Shout, Thunderclap and Shockwave). Bears need to stack hitpoints and because they lack mitigation (parry, block) while stacking too much dodge means they will starve rage.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

Basically Omen so I see I have enough aggro and RatingBuster to check new loot and if it's better than my current one. I also have a script that tells me if I need to go for parry or dodge. Not sure if it works only for paladins or also for warriors and death knights, I got it from a paladin blog which name I can't remember right now (shame on me):
/script DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage("If ratio above 1.88 start getting Parry. Currently at: "..string.format("%.2f", (GetDodgeChance()-10)/(GetParryChance()-10)))

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?

Again I'm not sure, nowadays the tank classes aren't so different and they can perform good in simmilar situations. Still there're situations where some classes have some advantage (like Death Knights pulling the sparks in Malygos fight or spores in Loatheb, while paladins excel at tanking the zombies in Gluth)

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

Probably getting the right stats. You have to care for defense, health, parry, dodge, block... too many things to maintain and when you start a tank this can be cumbersome. Then in second position is mastering your spells/skills rotation.

Effective Health or Avoidance and why?

Depends on your gear and skill. For new tanks, health. Once you have decent health and are defense capped, you can start worriying about avoidance. For bears can be more tricky, too much avoidance will ruin their rage generation.

What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Bears. Probably because my druid is cat specced and when he had to tank it was a stressing. Also almost all the abilities have a paw or claw depicted so it's very very easy to confuse them if you don't play a bear on the daily basis.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

Omen, Outfitter (without this we dualspeccers would go insane), RatingBuster and that macro I mentioned before.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

As I said once you're defense capped and got a fair amount of hitpoints it's time to worry about the rest of stats. In the begining I went mainly for hps. Right now I've stopped getting more health and I'm stacking dodge until my macro tells me to get parry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cute pets

While I've never been mad about getting pets and also I'm not prone to spend money on game items (other than the monthly fee), yesterday I couldn't resist and got the two pets you can only buy through the Blizzard Store. Let me introduce you the Pandaren Monk. He bows, practices kung-fu moves and finishes with the world famous "crane stance" from The Karate Kid movie.

And now cower in fear in presence of Lil' K.T., the mini-version of the Archlich. He laughs when your enemies die and also freezes critters to dead and then cackles at their demise. And it's Kel'Thuzad himself who writes the letter in which he comes attached.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vurnak's day

After several days grinding quests endlessly it's done! Vurnak got the Loremaster of Northrend achievement. And not only that. I gathered enough Emblems of Triumph to get the Mantle of Catastrophic Emanation, picked up the recipe for the Deathchill Cloak (which I crafted and enchanted and I'm wearing right now), bought him Artisan Riding and spent some emblems in Band of Channeled Magic. I crafted the Magnificent Flying Carpet plus finally I can use the Bronze Drake that I had in the bank collecting dust. Yeah, he's like Paris Hilton with daddy's credit card on the wild. But he deserved it. The Loremaster achievement was a frigging pain in the ass. Hours and hours of grinding. While Borean Tundra was tedious at least you could skip the group quests. Not with Icecrown. I had about 120/140 done and all I could see were group quests. Oh my... luckily I found two ret paladins who were doing these quests and we all three managed to do them all, included the Battle at Valhalas line (a mini-arena chainquest). Looks like Blizzard's obssesed with arenas... expect 5 or 6 in Cataclysm *roll eyes*

So now I'm wondering who should receive more attentions in the form of Emblems of Triumph (until 3.3 comes and all heroics drop that). I wish to do it with Kurnak to get these sexy Pauldrons of Trembling Rage but I fear he would only be invited as tank when pugging, and I never feel comfortable tanking with him even in guild runs (I always feel I can't grab enough aggro when pulling groups of 3 mobs or more), so no way I'm bringing him to pugs where dps are so trigger-happy. And ticking off the Tank checkbox would reduce his probabilities of getting into a party a lot. Oh well, we'll see...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Loremaster of Northrend

I've decided to get the Loremaster of Northrend achievement for Vurnak so I get the recipe for the Deathchill Cloak. That means doing tons of quests on every Northrend area (save Wintergrasp). I checked the amount pending for all areas and on most of them was only one or three left, so I got these easily (Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Zul'Drak) then came the Fjord (missing like 20) and the hard ones: Scholazar Basin (about 15 done of 75), Borean Tundra (15/130) and Icecrown (75/140). I grinded quests all the sunday and managed to complete the Fjord and Basin and also gave a big thrust to Borean Tundra. Ironic that the achievement is called "Nothing boring about borean", because doing these quests at level 80 is something more than boring. Obviously by the end of the day I was really tired of questing. Luckily I won't do it again with another alt, it's only useful for tailors plus when 3.3 hits the street they will make reputation earning faster and also items like the Sons of Hodir shoulder enchants will be treated as heirlooms, so you can grind rep to exalted on one char and forget about the rest since you can buy the item and mail it. Only head enchants will remain as they're now (not entirely confirmed, need to double-check when definitive patch notes come now).
Although doing quests you've already done before is certainly boring, doing them at level 80 has two advantages: the first one is obvious: you already know the drill and quests are easy to complete. The second one is gold. Tons and tons of gold. In just one day I did about 1000 gold entirely of quest rewards (also since Vurnak is enchanter I got my bags flooded with Infinite Dust and Greater Cosmic Essence). I think I'll purchase Vurnak the artisan flying so he can finally craft and ride the Magnificent Flying Carpet. Right now I have money to buy artisan flight for 3 chars but since normal flying mount speed was enhanced to 150% is not so mandatory anymore. Also I like to keep some gold for any contingence (as in real life) that may happen and I want to have a good amount of cash ready for Cataclysm to purchase all the skills, spells and recipes for all my chars.
Update: yesterday finished the Borean quests. Now I hate the zone with passion.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Healing Questionnaire

As a faithful follower of Righteous Orbs I can't but provide my own version of the Healing Questionaire created by Miss Medicina and linked and answered by Tamarind in his last post.
Since my main healer (well, he's the bets geared) is Turnak I'll hand the keyboard to the blond paladin to answer.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Turnak, holy paladin. For the Light!

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I'm a jack-of-all-trades. I can go anywhere, but I prefer to play him on raids. Certain 5man dungeons are a pain for me (lots of splash damage, group poisoning...), so I prefer bringing the resto druid to 5mans.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Flash of Light. Cheap, short cast time and can pack a good punch... I mean heal!. Combined with Beacon of Light does wonders. And can be cast as an instant after you critically hit with Holy Shock.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Lay of Hands. Most of the time I keep forgeting it exists :) It's a "panic button" but I usually use Holy Shock before. And if shock is on cooldown then it doesn't matter because surely by the time I remember where it's placed in the actionbar we'll be all dead.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Single-target healing. Paladins have a burst heal (as well as a burst damage if specced ret) that can restore a player from almost dead to full health in a split second.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Group/Area healing. We don't have that and places where there's a lot of splash damage are a pain for us. The only simmilar things we have are the glyphed Holy Light and the Beacon of Light. But that means we can heal two targets correctly only, since the effect of the Holy Light is too small.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Tank healer, no matter MT or OT, or any single-healing target like the hateful eaters in Patchwerk.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
Restoration druids. They provide great healing to everyone via hots so our job is very complementary. They also have some nice area healing (Wild Growth) that we lack.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
I don't think there's any. It's not a matter of taste, it's a case of effectivity. Maybe if the other only healing in the raid is a holy paladin then we'll have more pressure when there's area damage, but I can team with any healing class/spec.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
Not caring about my health. I'm so worried that the group may die that I always put myself last in line for heals. And sometimes this has caused problems, so I'm trying to establish a healing priority that doesn't forgets myself. The second bad habit, if that's one, is overhealing. Since mana is usually not a problem I don't care throwing heals at a target that's just at 98% (and is not a tank)

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
People I don't know or who doesn't know me yelling for heals. I see your health bar going down, if you're not getting any heals then surely threre is a good reason (out of range, healing priority, being a dick who needs a lesson for standing on fire...). Healing is very stressing, I don't need extra pressure, thank you.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Healing classes aren't designed to be balanced amongst them, so question seems a bit out of place. Pallys deliver good heal nukes, while druids on the other hand provide excellent heal over time to fill gaps or replenish everyone's health easily. Everyone has a different "heal target". I'm happy with the holy paladin, but I find it lacks some better area healing.
If you wanted to know if I think my class is well designed I say yes, it's neither overpowered nor nerfed.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
None, as long as everybody (or most of the group) is alive when boss is down, it means I've done my job properly. I don't care about overhealing as long as that's not a problem (running oom, stealing aggro).

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
Mmm not sure, but I'd say that people thinks we can survive without healing ourselves just because we're covered in plate (or should be), so they should get a heal always before us in any circumstance.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
First thing, and this affects all healers, is to keep calm, don't panic if someone's health is falling down like a meteorite. Know your UI/keybinds so you don't have to waste time looking for the place of a specific heal spell to click it/press the correct key.
Specifically to the class, although it's not a big problem nowadays specially when you get some good gear, is to be mana conservative. Know the rhythm of the fights (soft enrages, special attacks, etc) so you know when to unleash your healing-fury and when to reserve that special spell or keep mana for later.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
Lots of overhealing, but as long as nobody important dies I don't care :)

Haste or Crit and why?
Depends on the gear you currently have, but as pally I'd say haste. Holy Light takes ages to cast. Also I think relying on random numbers for big heals is very risky.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I've never played Holy Priest, mine is Discipline, but I think I'd get the grip quite fast.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
None healing-specific. I just use X-Perl for the raid UI. Then I just click character and press the corresponding heal key. I'd like to try some like Clique, Healbot or Decursive, but I'm very used to click and press. Oh, I remember now, I have LibHealComm, that let's me see the estimated healing amount a certain target will receive, but doesn't modify my playstyle.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I always try to balance, I feel it's the natural way to go, no matter if at pure numbers it's better to stack a specific stat.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Idle times in Azeroth

Rememeber the old times in vanilla WoW when you had to walk to get to new areas or discover a whole zone? While it was good to see places "on foot" for the first times it quickly got boring since the amount of time you had to invest to reach certain places was too big to be worth the reward (like being sent from Stormwind to Stonetalon Mountains to kill some basilisks and being awarded a simple green object and some silver, or that damn quest in Dustswallow Marsh, Tabitha's request, what a pain!). Yes, we had flight points to ease things, but that ment also investing time in doing nothing but travel. We'll get back to this point later.
As your char progressed you were allowed to buy a mount (level 40 yeehaw!!) that made things a bit easier. Back then the mount alone was expensive as Hell, while skill was very cheap. Again you gained more levels and at level 60 you were able to purchase the swift mount that duplicated your travel speed. Of course only if you got the amount of gold needed for it. And back then wasn't easy to get.

Game evolved and travel was slightly modified. Flying mounts added in TBC (working only there) and prices were changed so the mounts were cheap and the skills expensive. We got also a reduction on prices for normal and fast riding, while the price for fast flying was (and still is) very high (if you have several chars you're screwed). Nothing else was changed. Ships don't really need any change, once you hop in you get transported to the other continent in a pair of minutes. The underground tram and gryphon/wyverns kept their speed. And this is what mostly annoys me nowadays. Yes, in some points the game has turned too easy. But one thing is putting up an epic farm like Trial of the Champion and another is having to waste 15 minutes of your life if you're in Darnassus and want to reach Tanaris. Fifteen damn minutes of doing nothing. It's ok the first two or three times while you gaze at the ground below, seeing new places and monsters, but as they say, time is money (our money every month) and during that time your character can't do anything. At least in Outland and Northrend you can fly with your own mount, a bit faster than the taxi service, and you can stop anytime (if the guild needs you for anything). If you're on a gryphon/wyvern you can't do a single thing, not even creating bandages or combining low leather pieces into higher ones. This wouldn't be so bad if flights took a maximum of 5 minutes, but come on! 15 minutes to cross a continent in a world full of magic? Big fail! come on Blizzard, it's not that hard to implement a teleport service, more expensive than air taxi, that takes you to the destination in almost no time (depending on how long takes your computer to load the new zone).
Thanks to how quest hubs were designed since TBC came out it's now almost impossible to see a quest that sends you to the other continent/Outland and then back to multiple other places just to obtain a stinky green item. I'm not against traveler/exploration quests (in fact the first title I ever got was "the Explorer"), it's good that you're asked to leave the zone you usually stroll around and embark to new places, but reward should be equally satisfying and quest fun to complete, not a "go there, pick X, go the opposite side of the world, do some nonsense quests so you can deliver X, get Y in return, deliver Y where Christ lost his left sandal. Here, take your reward: [Silly Hat of Worldhopping]" absurd questline. And if so, at least make the journey enjoying and profitable. Sitting on a gryphon while twiddling your thumbs is not fun. More realistic than crossing a continent in 2 minutes? sure, but we're not dealing with a real world, it's a fantasy world. And we pay for that fantasy, so at least make our money worth.
Why am I ranting now about the amount of time traveling takes? Because Cataclysm is coming and again we'll have to face a place where getting to places like Feathermoon Isle could mean wasting a lot of time, even if you were already in Feralas. This could be linked to Shintar's entry about questing in Feralas. While he loved Feralas I highly hated that place and it's twisted design: flightpoint in one side already hard to get to if you're Alliance, since you had to jump on a ship, cross the sea, cross the entire Marsh, cross the Barrens, dodge some Horde guards to get into a lifter, cross half Thousand Needles, then cross all Feralas, dodging an entire Horde post in the middle of the road, and finally wait for another slow ship to take you to the isle. Phew! And when you get there you're asked to go half way back and kill some yetis, deal with gnolls... no thanks, I had enough bouncing back and forth. Give me a shout when you install some portals.
Although Azeroth will be revamped in Cataclysm I still fear these situations will still happen. I don't want to lose 15 frigging minutes on a back of a gryphon watching the world passing by under my feet. I already switch windows while flying from Dalaran to Howling Fjord so I can invest that time doing other things. Now imagine the amount of things you could do while going from Darnassus to Tanaris. And I'd prefer to do things in the game. So the solutions are: either implement a fastest way of traveling, no matter if more expensive, attach some rockets to gryphons/wyverns so they fly way faster or allow you to do some useful things while flying, like crafting items or (this would be really great, but irrealistic), accessing the Auction House (gryphons with satellite connection? I'm buying!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy guild raid

The Guild hasn't been raiding lately. Always we lacked enough people to put up a raid and pug the missing spots. Plus people was tired of going always to Naxxramas. So yesterday (friday, the usual raid day) we were 10 or 11 online and someone asked if we were going to raid. As usual my answer was: if we get enough people. That means not only getting 10 players willing to raid but getting the right classes.
After some minutes a raid starts to form and we manage to get 8 guildies plus one tank from Sempher Fi, a friendly guild we've raided with since the times of Molten Core. People is fed up with Naxx and also few items would be useful since all of us are covered in good gear thanks to badges and ToC hc runs, so they want to try Ulduar. Only me, the tank from SF and maybe two other players knows the place or at least have a slight idea of tactics. The only two times we tried an Ulduar run was an utter disaster (epic fail!), with everybody running around scattered and pulling everything that moved, so I was afraid this would end in the same way. At least we had a maintank who could run the place blindfolded and single-handed. Still there's a spot that could be covered by any class since I was willing to tank, heal or dps. Finally our tank friend (an imba tank, with whom I did Trial of the Crusader 10man) brings another tank from another top guild and I switched my pally to healer.

Everybody hops on their vehicles (I choose siege gunner since it's the one I know best) and the run starts. First beacons go down smoothly, big giants are tanked correctly. Wow, this works! There was a moment of panic when we got two mecha tanks firing at us, but we could manage it and headed to the Flame Leviathan (aka Golf Caddy) place. And down it went at first try! People cheered and danced over the Leviathan remains. My confidence grows, but the Leviathan isn't a complicated fight, now is when serious business starts. All to Razorscale, who also was killed at first try without anybody dying for standing on fire (hey! seems we turned pro finally!). Next one was XT-002 Deconstructor, where we got the first "oh shit!" moment of the night, since somebody pulled XT while we were still finishing some trash. Doors closed before people could run out and reset and we wiped. Ok, don't panic, was just a mistake with the trash. We ress everybody, clean the scrapyard and engage the giant robot with Michael Jackson's voice on helium. Maintank mistakenly assigned to clean the trash from one side to our guildleader who was playing his shaman. He didn't check he was enhancement, not elemental. Hello shaman, let me introduce you Mr. Boombot. BOOM! Ouch. This is what I call an explosive salutation. Anyway, XT was downed without much fuss (nobody died due to light and gravity bombs, hooray!) and we headed to Ignis. We had the second wipe with the trash since the flame cyclones decided to play ping-pong with us. Anyway we came back on our feet and engaged Ignis, who was tanked the safe way (maintank in the water) and killed for the joy of the entire raid, who got the Siege of Ulduar achievement.

I was happy things were going so smooth, but happier because people was seeing new content and getting some gear (although several items ended disenchanted!). The next fight was Kologarn. I always liked that fight, it gives you a great feeling of bravery when the colossus goes down. We even got an unexpected achievement, Disarmed, since the left arm (which nobody was dpsing) was also destroyed due to aoe fire when right arm and body were killed at the same time. So deeper we went into the antechamber to face the crazy cat lady, Auriaya, a frantic fight with that damn fear scattering the whole raid and kittens everywhere. Tank explained tactics and the plan was executed in a clockwork style (even nobody got damage from the void explosion) and she died doing what women know to do better than men: screaming.
It was a bit late and maintank announced he had time for only one try at the Assembly of Iron. Again tactics were briefed  and there we went. I wasn't confident enough since this fight can turn very messy if people doesn't pay attention. Brundir's the most dangerous with the Overload and Lighning Whirl attacks, followed by Steelbreaker and his Fusion Punch that must be dispeled asap. Fight started and we had the second "oh shit" moment of the night when a combination of Overload and Fusion Punch left the maintank at 1%. But from the deeps of the chamber a shining flash of light struck the tank restoring his life enough to survive. A brave paladin called Turnak (*wink* *wink*) had saved the fight with his Holy Shock. We kept pressing on and we lost our restoration shaman, putting more pressure on me and the restoration druid, but thank goodness he had reincarnation ready and again joined the fray. One by one the Assembly of Iron went down, awarding us two new achievements. We had cleared the siege and the antechamber and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


We've usually posted about failpugs and how pathetically funny can be, but there's even a highrer level in this particular world: the failraid. If gathering 5 random unknown people can cause anger and shame, imagine now getting 10 or even worse, 25. We jump now to the epic level of retardness, a place only for the bold who don't care about their health.
Failraids introduce a new aspect that in 5man dungeons is usually not present: the leadership, or should I say leaderfailingship. While a 5man has a very simple setup, things escalate in 10man and specially 25man raids. And since this is a pug you never know beforehand who'll come for dinner.
Things a fail-leader usually does:
- Asking for the achievement to join the raid. Excuse me sir, this is a pug. That means random unknown people. It's ok that you want a minimum level for the people, but relying in the achievement system is stupid. I may have a certain achievement just because I was dragged in a raid by guildmembers with better gear and knowledge than I, or joined a pug-raid where my contribution was lame but still the raid succeded. Does that mean I am qualified for the place you want to raid? A big no-no. Also I could have got the achievement one year ago and never stepped back into that place. Again I may have forgotten all the tactics so I'm not qualified for the run. Even more, on the other hand I could have raided that place ad nauseam with other characters and now I'm playing an alt. I may know the tank, heal and dps roles and specific tactics but this char doesn't have the achievement. So in the eyes of the raidleader I'm not qualified for the raid. Great.

- Enlisting people without forming the backbone first. You stand in the middle of Dalaran and yell "going to X 25man, /w me for inv", and then the raid spots fill FIFO mode without any consideration to what class are you bringing. Then when there're 23 people inside you ask "how many tanks and healers do we have?" Then come the cries, laughs and people quitting en masse. Brilliant.

- Not imposing your will. A raid leader must give orders, and the first thing is keeping the raid a calm place so orders reach the people. This means kicking out the annoying players, like the ones who constantly demand for a summon, or water, or a specific buff. If you don't put some order expect people to leave before starting. Make also sure the roles are clearly assigned and every one knows what to do. Put up a MainTank list, marking tanks with raid icons is stupid (plus it annoys a lot bearing a mark upon your head that distracts the player). If anyone does not have a plugin to see the MT list is their problem, not yours.

- Be fair with loot rolls. Ask first for current spec roll, not main spec. If no one is eligible for the loot or nobody rolls (difficult that happens, but hey, this is Sparta! ops, I mean, pugland), ask somebody to disenchant the item and raidroll the shard.

Players are the main source of lameness in fail raids. Aside the typical problems you find in 5man (undergeared, not bringing food buffs and flasks/pots, being an ass) the most usual are:
- Asking for a summon when everybody is inside and after the leader has asked several times who needs a summon. Now people has to run out to the stone or a warlock waste a shard to summon your sorry ass. Mister, you should be kicked out for being stupid. Since anyway the raid will lose time summoning, it's better to get rid of a stupid before the run starts. Raid will runs smoother without you.

- Asking repeatedly for a certain buff, without checking if any other buff is overwriting it. It's ok to ask one time for certain buff, but if nobody casts it on you maybe there's no need to, so don't insist. Instead of yelling "BUFF BOM ON ME NOW!!!1" you could ask why aren't you getting Blessing of Might. Maybe there's a warrior using Battle Shout.

- Leaving without any warning. This is very common and can happen anytime. The first "batch of flees" happens before raid starts. While it's ok to leave if you don't feel confident the raid will take place, at least you could first wait 5 minutes and whisper the leader about this. Same if it's taking too long to start. Keep in mind you're in a pug, things don't happen magically when you snap your finger, even if you're playing a mage. It's specially sensible if you're a tank or healer. The second batch happens after the first problem encountered, usually ending in a wipe. You're in a pug. That means run won't go smooth as oil, so expect problems. If you want a perfect run raid with your guild and quit joining pugs.

- Being an ass. This may seem obvious and was mentioned before, but now you're not annoying four people. You're annoying nine or twentyfour, so the risk of provoking a bunch of quits is higher. Shut. Up. Your. Mouth.

- If you don't know certain tactic don't be afraid to ask. If you think it could end with you being kicked out of the raid whisper someone playing your class. It's better to appear as a noob before someone than ruining a whole raid because you went the wrong way or pulled the wrong target.

- Failbuffing. This is specially for paladins. Leaving Crusader Aura on (or hunters with Aspect of the Pack), buffing warlocks with BoM and rogues with BoW, overwriting other pallies buffs... please coordinate if there're more than one pally, make sure you're giving each class a correct buff. There're addons that will help you with this, like PallyPower or ZOMGBuffs (I really recommend this one).

- Lying on roll results. The peak of stupidity. Unbelieveable? it happens, I've seen it. There're addons that record the roll results, but even without these they appear in the chat frame. How can you be so fucking idiot to lie about a result everybody sees and can scroll up to check? If you think the main looter will be as stupid as you, trusting your dirty lying mouth then you should stop playing. Any kind of game. Same goes for the main looter if he trusts you.

Now that you've got a peek at what you'll find in pug raids, are you brave enough to dare into unknown territory?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thanks for the run

Since the addition of badges to buy gear, pugging has been more common everyday. And since the last big patch (3.2) the amount of pug runs has escalated through the roof and beyond. It's now quite common today to see pugs formed by highly geared characters, who would fit better an Ulduar25 run rather than going to UK hc, and while several of us has got bad experiences with such chars now and then, it's more common that if you find several high-geared chars they know how to play properly. Then you usually get an eerie feeling of underperforming or slacking when you see your dps is way behind (despite playing correctly) or if you're the healer you feel like you could go dps because the tank seems indestructible. On the other hand if you're the tank you're screwed. You better work hard on aggro-grabbing or prepare to see all the mobs heading to the dps. Anyway these badge runs tend to be lightning fast, becoming more like an easy daily quest rather than a harcore dungeon run.
Even being an easy and fast run, it's nice to see that everybody say thanks at the end of the run. Even the über-geared. This also makes a difference between good players and mediocre ones, not only gear or class knowledge. I think it's important in pug runs to say thanks to the rest (we're assuming the run went ok, not ending in an utter disaster). As in the tips displayed in the loading screen, being polite to the rest will get you invited more times. Maybe this is not so true in pug runs, where it's difficult to reunite almost the same players the next day, but if the run goes smooth you'll surely do more after finishing the current one if you're a kind person. The same happens for the rest of the party, seeing an end-game geared character saying thanks demosntrates not all of them are fucktards in high ilevel purples, but rather humble players who don't brag about how leet is their dps or how über they are.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Porky Set

We can now see some of the upcoming Tier 10 armour sets. And again they confirm what I've been suspecting for a long time: Blizzard designers hate warriors. I mean... see this! A frigging boar head on shoulders!! Usually warriors have followed the boring themes of spikes and blades (since skulls have been reserved for death Knights), so when they try to strife out of that what do they come with? A swine with tusks on shoulder. Oink! Oink! The set looks good on Horde, specially orcs and tauren, but for Alliance just looks horrible. The helmet isn't bad and reminds of a yeti, but shoulders are a big design fail. And the rest of the set doesn't have any remarkable features. At least they could have followed the boar motiff on the rest of pieces, like a belt simmilar to the one Sláine used in the comic by Simon Bisley. Would be more 'porky' but at least it would had been more coherent.

I'm too sexy for my gear, too sexy for my gear

The rest of the available sets are ok. Rogues look like geists, death knights follow the skulls-everywhere design, hunters' helmet make them look like Dagoth, the horned demigod from Conan the Destroyer and druids... well, seems somebody drank too much because the set seems more fit for evil warlocks than treehuggers.
See them in motion:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is the end... for now!

Leveling is no more! Jurnak got early today to 80, so now all *urnaks are top level. He still needs to do some questchains (Shadow Vault, Sons of Hodir) but right now priority is to get some decent gear. I still don't know what to do with the spec. I always was Assassination, but I switched to combat to finnish the leveling. Combat has been always the dps raid spec, but with the last changes to Assassination (no more Hunger for Blood stacking before the fight) the dps has come very close to Combat output. Also I've always felt daggers are the best suited weapon for rogues. I could go dual-specced, but being a pure dps class I don't see any advantage in one over the other. And I don't feel like going Sublety, just to bring Honor Amongs Thieves. Also I don't expect to raid much with him.
Anyway, I'll try to level leatherwoking first. I'm still below 440 and some crafter epics would be good for him.

Post soundtrack: 'This is the end' by The Doors

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New level cap (WTF!)

Just take a look at the Looking For Group channel. Haven't you seen lately low level people (1-20) in subchannels like Trial of the Champion (normal and heroic)? Well, i just saw THIS:

Talked to her and asked if she was a GM :D

On the other hand, I just had another example, this time in a ToC hc pug, of a dickhead healer. We got a druid who couldn't stay 2 seconds without jumping around and the tank (a paladin with 30k) was always below 20% health. He didn't cast almost any nourish or regrowth, relying only in lifebloom/renew. Of course we didn't manage to get the Black Knight down and after several fails the group disbanded. What a piece of crap!

The new noobs

As I expressed in some of my comments in Pew Pew Lazers! and Righteous Orbs there's a new kind of player that seems to enjoy ruinning any pug run. Usually called fucktards or dickheads, these aren't poorly geared players or people who just landed in the game. They're usually wearing top tier armour, have ran the dungeons more times than they can remember but yet they FAIL at playing properly. And they do it in an epic way. They think their 'imbaness' puts them above all and they shouldn't follow the group mechanics (don't overaggro, don't overpull, wait for the party to regain mana, etc) but should be the rest (usually players with lower gear or less experience) who must follow their playstyle. And of course, if someone dies it's never their fault, they prefer to blame the tank for not holding aggro ("l2tank noob!" is the typical yell) or the poor healer for not keeping everyone alive. This really burns me out. I can forgive someone who has never been in a certain instance or does a specific boss for the first times. I can forgive having someone lowly geared if the rest can compensate. I can forgive someone who's playing a new class or spec and doesn't have the grip on the mechanics, rotations or skills. But I can't forgive a fucktard who's been playing a character/class/spec for several years and thinks he's above all and everyone just because he has 'imba gear'.

Since Blizzard made so easy to clad somebody in epics in just some days this has been worse. Aside the typical arrogant goons now we have an army of noobs who think they're 'leet' because they're covered in purples. Instead of improving playstyle, identifying how can they improve both boss fights and personal performance they prefer to follow the path of the arrogant goons and brag about how superior are they and blame everybody after a wipe in Utgarde Keep... after they pulled half of the instance in one go. Brilliant, Mr. Dickhead!

How to identify an arrogant dickhead
Most of them will be dps, although each class has its distinctive. As a common trait they will ask for a fast run or to keep speed up at the start. Another trait is the equip they wear. If you see T9 shoulders all around you, start praying, specially if any of them asks for a quick run.
Tanks: the dickhead tank will pull like a machine-gun, grabbing half of the instance in one go. He won't wait for the party (specially the healer) to recover mana. He will also stand in fire and yell the poor healer to spam-heal.
Dps: the most common. Main traits are to be an aggro-monkey and not to follow marks in the pull/kill sequence, targeting mobs randomly, no matter if tank is holding their aggro. Turns the tank's duty into a nightmare since suddenly half of the party is getting hit by mobs he didn't pull. Healer's life becomes hell too, trying to keep everybody alive.
Healers: difficult to find some dickhead playing healer, but still the're ways to turn Mr. Responsible Healer into Mr. Noob Fucktard, like going into an overhealing frenzy and pulling aggro or the worst one: over-confidence in their gear/skills and then not managing to cleanse poison/remove curses/dispel magic.

When you find yourself in a group with one or more dickheads there're three ways of dealing with them:
1. The easy. Just leave the group, telling them to stop being dickheads and learn to play being polite. You'll be flamed but will save your health, both physical and mental. Just ignore them. If they keep insulting you for leaving just report them.
2. The difficult. Just carry on, trying ot overperform their dickness with your skills. Only for the brave.
3. The creative. Only if you have certain control over the group, that's it, if you're the tank or the healer. Set your irony to 'kill' level and just let the fucktard die everytime he's on the wild. Don't taunt mobs off him, don't heal him when he stands in the fire. You'll be flamed, so be sure to have your ironic answers at hand. Don't worry if you get kicked out of the group, there're lots of pugs out there and not all are formed by stupid assholes.

Now that the bile level has gone down after venting my frustration, a brighter note: Vurnak got inside Ulduar for the second time and even he didn't get any loot this time, it was a great and funny experience plus he got a bunch of achievements, killing all the mobs of the Siege and Antechamber. While heading to the Antechamber I whispered the raidleader that I was amazed I was standing solid at third place in dps (above a warlock, woot!!) since I'm still a bit new to arcane spec and my gear is mostly ilevel 200 to which he replied "well, what it amazes me is that we're all alts and nobody died yet!" We had only a pair of wipes but the important was having fun and learning tactics for the new bosses I didn't play the other time (Ignis and Auriaya).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pugging ain't bad sometimes

Pugs aren't always that bad, specially when you know several of the members. And more specially when you know they're good players. Last week I was invited by Sempher Fi (a guild we've been playing with since the times of Molten Core) to play Trial of the Crusader 10man (normal) as dps and brought Kurnak since he's the best geared. Coliseum is serious business, so I didn't want to bring someone who wasn't truly prepared (well, Vurnak could do well but I wanted to bring a char that didn't seem it was slacking as dps). I thought it was a guild run but when I arrived I found people from other guilds. Ops... a pug. But people seemed well geared and the game was already started, with Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxxus already down, so the pug didn't smell like failpug. New content to see and the possibility to get some gear were enough :) so there I headed in my trusty Onyx Nether Drake.
The Faction Champions was a very tricky fight, were a good strategy is needed and everyone has to squeeze the most out of his character. After a pair of wipes we got them down and faced the Twin Val'kyr, another tricky and crazy fight that we also did after a wipe. Then came the Lich King (again the boring Arthas... sometimes I think he's going to appear while I'm grinding mats around Northrend to brag about how powerful he is and how squashable I am) and we faced the last fight: the revamped Anub'arak 2.0 (yes the last boss of Azjol-Nerub is back and on steroids) who was killed on first try. Everybody was happy with the group and agreed to do it again this saturday, hoping to convert this pug in a stable weekly run.
This time the game was a fresh run so I was hoping to get the achievement. And after some wipe here and there... you can call me crusader!
Not only that, I also managed to snatch three items to boost my dps: Girdle of the Impaler, Victor's Call and Legplates of the Silver Hand, so today I'm a happy warrior :) Waiting for more next saturday!
Post soundtack: Crusader by Saxon

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From arcane to arcane: a mage's journey

Vurnak was created when the endgame content was Molten Core, so when deciding which spec to go I discarded the choice of fire because fighting fire with fire didn't look logical here. Back then I wasn't so informed about the game so I just followed my instinct here (later confirmed it was right since most of the mobs inside the Core had high resistance to fire spells). That left me with two choices: frost and arcane. Frost suffered from the same penalties like fire in my oppinion: you rely on a simple elemental source of damage... what if later you should fight in some frozen place? (Northrend wasn't even planned back then). Also fire and frost didn't look very mage-like imho (although one of the star spells of mages in all games is the Fireball) so I decided to go arcane. The name was also very appealing: you are a master of long-kept secrets that unleash astounding powers to strike down your foes. Woah! Sign me in, mister!
The crude reality however proved it wasn't that good. In the old days of classic WoW arcane was a bottomless pit for mana. You could spend all your mana on a single mob. And the routine of kill-drink-kill-drink was boring ad nauseam. Still Vurnak was somewhat sturdy and kept on leveling as arcane. Can't remember exactly when I was totally fed up, around 40-42 I think, but I decided to leave arcane and go for a good leveling spec, which was (and still is) frost. The change was as good as when I moved Kurnak from old arms to fury. More survivality, more cc and less drinking (my kidneys thanked me for stoping processing so much liquid).
The Burning Crusade came and Vurnak reached level 70 and started doing Karazhan. Frost was a good leveling spec, but a poor dps one for raids, so again I went to the trainer to respecc. Arcane was still the ugly sister of the three, so I turned (as all mages doing raids) to fire. And was very enjoyable. Even losing the cc and survivality frost offered, fire compensated it with a big punch, able to take down mobs before they reached you (soloing wasn't a problem anymore while being fire)
Then the news about WotLK started pouring and things didn't look good for fire mages. Seemed fire was being turned into the new pvp spec instead of frost and damage was being notably reduced. Also I had to level again, so I welcomed back frost spec. Everything was good (even using a spec without the defense Ice Barrier gives you) and reached level 80, getting into Naxxramas as frost. Dps wasn't that good despite wearing good gear, but for some time it was ok for me. Until I started growing tired of seeing my name so down in the dps list. It was time for a change. The decission was going back to fire, go frostfire (never really liked it, spell looks really ugly) or try the new and improved arcane spec. I already saw some arcane mages doing tons of damage in raids, so I finally decided to return home and dualspecc arcane. It was a good decission. Arcane is no longer a black hole for mana. Well played, a mage shouldn't use Evocation except in very long fights, and thanks to the changes in mana regeneration and Missile Barrage proc I manage to keep my mana bar in good condition. And not also arcane gives you one button more to push (frost is just Frostbolt all the way), but the fx look very cool (except maybe for Arcane Blast, some more elaborated effects on your character would look great) and makes you look more "magesque", the increase of dps is also very satisfactory.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

That's what Paula Cole sang back in 1997, but to be more precise in this case... where have all the tanks gone? You know, when trying to put up a pug, forming the backbone (tank + healer) is always the hardest part. Not everybody finds joy in being biffed by big meanies or staying in the back trying to keep everybody alive, so when you enter LFG channel it's typical to find lots of dps hoping to get inside a group but very few healers and tanks.
For some mysterious reason the amount of tanks available in LFG on Hellscream server has decreased to almost extintion, while months ago getting a healer in LFG was like finding a gold vein (in real life). So why this change? Nowadays it's easy to see 2 or 3 healers (all of them dualspecced, of course) available for each dungeon, but no trace of tanks. And you guessed it... all the huge load of death knights roaming LFG-land are dps! I know tanking is possibly the less exciting role in the game (unless you get inside a band of happy-trigger dickheads who think aggro holding comes built in all tanks as a passive skill) and requires more skill than most dps classes who only smash one or two buttons (hello mages and hunters!) but seriously, people should try tanking and break away from the I-only-play-dps-chars mentality (something I once did). Not only will give you a better understanding of game mechanics, it may reveal a hidden über-skilled tank in you. So... where's my John Wayne?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lich King soup

There's an expression in spanish, "hasta en la sopa" (even in the soup) that's used when something or someone can be found everywhere and everytime. And this is the feeling I have with the Lich King: you can find him even in the soup. And everytime is the same: grand entrance, threats you with the fist of doom (/threat) and then spares your sorry ass because he sees something in you but you're not yet a challenge for him. As if it this stopped him from slaughtering hundreds before...
Anyway, the first time we saw the Lich King in Northrend we thought it was a real good idea to show you the Last-Boss-of-the-expansion tm without having to level your char and do a painful attunement (no more attunements in WotLK, yay!) and get your face smashed to the ground by every boss until you get to the top of the Frozen Throne (which at present day still doesn't exist) so you can glimpse the Lich King in full glory (before your face is smashed down again and you have to pick up your teeth one by one again). A clever move by Blizzard, who using the phase technology helped us to get into the story much better. But the problem is always balance: either too few of anything or too much. And imho Blizz has gone to the other side with the Lich King. he appears in several places and his reputation of bloody murderer gets smashed to the floor (yeah, like your face) because you're still breathing instead of having joined the "Thriller Zombie Army". Dissapointing. Lich King's personality has been badly wounded. I got into Trial of the Crusader the other day and while his appearance before Anub'arak is cool (won't spoil anything, don't worry), you don't get excited for seeing him around... "oh, Arthas again. Looser!" is the common reaction. Even /ruding or /farting him is not fun anymore and the only emote that still pops from time to time is /bored
The worst, however, has yet to come with the release of Icecrown patch. I expect he'll be there on almost every boss fight. We have another phrase in spanish for these situations: "no quieres caldo? pues toma dos tazas!" (you don't want broth? then take two bowls!). As I said: Lich King even in the soup!

Sword designs: an epic fail

Fact: Blizzard doesn't know how to design swords. Ok, let me get some explanation because the statement is too simple.

I should say the weird design affects almost every object class, specially weapons, but I find the swords the most poignant. Maybe because I love swords, both in game and real life. I find they have some kind of inner beauty despite they're designed to kill. Or at least they were, hard to see people carrying swords nowadays :)
So, take a look at classic WoW designs. Most of them are quite simple but they look good. There're some exceptions, like the Blade of the Titans, that looks like some weird tool to put bread or pizzas in an oven, but the rest of them look very real. We get from european straight-bladed swords to curved blades like katanas and scimitars. Even most high quality swords look simple in design, and this probably was the ignition point where Blizzard decided to go into the land of the wild dreams and start producing the weirdest looking items I wouldn't call "swords" even in my most twisted nightmares.
Starting with The Burning Crusade swords start looking odd and lacking all balance between the handle and the blade. And after practicing 3 years of ken-jutsu with a bad balanced katana I can tell you how important is balance in a sword. If the blade weights too much it costs more to swing and strikes aren't so precise. And if the handle is too short the grapping of the sword becomes a nightmare. Ok, this is a game, so it doesn't need to reflect real world 100%, but at least I'm expecting some simple logic in designs. And another thing it really bugs me out: Blizzard started making all rare/epic swords pointless (as in "no point at the end of the blade"). Take for example Brutal Gladiator's Greatsword. Holy jormungar's tits, Batman! Do you really expect somebody to go around with such monstrosity? And where's the pointy end of the blade? What to you expect? To hack your foe like you're using an axe? Why do they call it a sword then? Just say you're wearing an axe or some kind of short-handled glaive and you'll be closer to what it looks. And WotLK swords are even worse. Uncommon quality ones look sturdy and with a broad blade that looks like made of stone instead of metal. Come on guys! You can make it better. Classic swords looked great. Just add some fancy decoration and you'll get good-looking swords. Take for example Quel'Serrar. Ok, blade is too wide, but it's one of the best looking swords in the game. In the other hand take the Claymore of Ancient Power that drops from the Four Horsemen in Naxx10... ye Olde Gods!! It's awfully heinous! I had this blade (it's still lying in my bank) and it makes you look like some silly jester, not a bloodthirsty destruction machine.
I've seen a lot of comments about the robes designs (all cloth chest items look almost the same, all dark and simmialr since the patterns aren't noticeable) but I think the case of swords is just worse every time. And I fear the worst to come with Cataclysm :_(