Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I've already said my bit over at MainTankadin...

...but god damn they are making it hard for me to not beat a dead horse!

WARNING: This is a rant.

One of the more frequent comments over on MainTankadin is not what we have, but what we don't have compared to warriors. It's driving me fucking mad. Now, I will admit the difference between health is a justified gripe. If you got a paladin and a warrior in equal gear, unbuffed, the paladin would have less health. This is something that should be fixed, but it can't just be fixed by buffing our health, because then you suddenly have super-healers or even worse... ret pallys in PvP with a ridiculous amount of health who can bubble, heal to full and utterly devastate their opponents. The appropriate fix would be a self buff (maybe combine it with Righteous Fury) that increases our health while it decreases our mana (since when we're tanking we don't need a hojillion mana to survive).

But I digress... the folks seem to latch on to some ability a warrior tank has, such as Thunder Clap or Spell Reflect, and point it out as a major failure in our ability to tank, and that we need a paladin version of that ability in order to ever be accepted as anything but a liability. Again, I'm not denying that paladins need buffing, what we don't need is copies of warrior abilities or something so close that it's essentially the paladin version. For example, one of the suggestions in one of Lore's recent posts was a new seal that made you immune to fear and it's judgment lowered mob attack speed. Sound familiar? If not, that's the effect of stance dancing into berserk stance and I believe another ability which makes a warrior immune to fears combined with a paladin version of Thunder Clap.

My feeling is this: If I want an attack-slowing effect, a AP debuff, a spell reflect, a fear immunity, a shield wall, a last stand, and some other abilities I'm unaware of... You know what? I'll go level my warrior up to 70 and tank with him. And beyond just the fact that I want unique abilities on tankadins, let's presume that we had all those abilities, and our health was buffed to equal to that of a warrior's, and everything else was equal, save that we had a mana bar and they had a rage bar. You know what would happen? Warriors would never tank, unless there were no tankadins in the raid. Because we start out with a full mana pool, and warriors start out with an empty rage bar means we can frontload threat and they can't. Changing one classes monopoly of a role for another is not the right answer. That would also be a giant slap in the face to all of those warrior tanks who enjoy tanking.

Another thing that bugs me is that a lot of people are wanting Holy Shield to play double duty. Have it be our crushing blow removing ability and our resistance fight ability (akin to Spell Reflect). Something like:

Increase your chance to block by 30% and increase your resistance to all schools of magic by 50 for 10 seconds. Deals 155 holy damage for each attack blocked or resisted while active. Damage caused by holy shield causes 35% additional threat. Each block and resist expends a charge. 4 charges.
Now, let's ignore the fact that this would be ridiculously unbalanced vs. instacast spell caster mobs/bosses and in PvP. That much is blatently obvious just by looking at it. But one ability that would make you simultaneously uncrushable and increase your spell resistance. That's beyond broken.

Now onto my point with all this: In 2.1 the devs added Improved Holy Shield, a 2 point talent that buffed Holy Shield in a welcome and surprising way. It increased the damage it did per block (minor buff) but it also added 2 charges to Holy Shield per point. So if you went 2/2 into Improved Holy Shield that changed it from 4 blocks over 10 seconds, which was equal to a warrior with Improved Shield Block to it having 8 blocks over 10 seconds, fully double of what a warrior can do.

This addition is, to me, very telling. It's not unknown that we would have a problem generating threat vs. elemental attack mobs and casters. They could have very well added an aspect to Holy Shield or a separate ability that would give a edge vs magic, but they didn't. Instead they chose to increase our ability to fight melee attack mobs, and specifically fast attack melee mobs. Maybe it was just a case of "hey this would be cool", but I prefer to believe that it the first step down a longer road towards us being the premier melee attack enemies.

Also, to add fuel to the fire, as things are now, we will never ever be as good as warriors on tanking caster bosses that melee. Why? 30% is why. Our uncrushable ability, Holy Shield, gives a startlingly low chance to block when compared to Shield Block. With that in mind, on a resist fight where the mob can crush I find it hard to believe that we will be able to reach the type of resist rates needed to survive the caster part while maintaining our uncrushability. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing and any fight which would be considered a resist fight is designed not to have crushing blows, even if the mob does physical melee damage. But if I'm right, we're just not comparable to warriors for those fights.

Now, as a final note the biggest annoyance I've seen is the belief that just because we aren't the ideal tank, that we shouldn't tank. Will things be harder on some fights? Yes. I'm not going to even kid myself about that. The fights where guilds that accept tanking paladins are at (SSC and TK) were designed at a time when the only accepted tanks in raids were warriors and maybe bears. Since the time of design of those raids, there have been what I consider massive changes to our class. We've been reborn, even more so since 2.1 and the Raid & Dungeon devs are only just now going to be catching up. And while we can't do anything but gauge our value based upon current content, I think it's a mistake to judge our flaws when we are fighting things that were made with warriors in mind. Of course we aren't going to be perfect. But at the same time, if you don't have any tanking warriors on hand we can still do a well enough job to come out on top and get some loot so your forward progress doesn't completely stall.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I love my friends, but...

Occasionally I worry that I'm getting too arrogant. As I've mentioned before, I can be arrogant, but recently a hunter friend of mine actually topped anything I've done. We were running one of the TK 5-mans this weekend, and I ask if she reads Big Red Kitty. To this she gave a scoffing reply, that she already knew everything she needed to know about playing a hunter. I was floored. I mean, as I said, I sometimes act arrogantly, but holy gods... no matter what I know there's something out there that I can still learn. Some technique, some strat, some something I can still be taught. When she said this, I didn't bring it up, because not only were we in an instance, but she's a proud one, and that's just not a fight I need to pick. She's good, not perfect, but good, and knows it. She would fight me on it, and even if I did convincer her to check it out she would only do it as much as to meet what I asked, then say it said stuff she already knew. Need to pick your battles, and this just wasn't worth it. But it still just stunned me that anyone could think like that.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Setting daily goals

This weekend I realized probably the best way (at least for me) to work on getting towards my other goals (rep and money) is to set daily goals. Now, when I say daily, I'm using the term loosely... Any day you would log in to play anyway, work on doing these. If you have to choose between going out with family/girl or boyfriend/pay attention to your kid/anything else, those things take priority over a damned video game, but if you're going to be playing anyway, work on your goals. :)

For me, right now my goals are:

Making a minimum of 100g a day.
Earning a minimum of 1000+ rep with Scryers a day.

My long term goal is 5000g and Exalted with Scryers. Looking at it from the perspective of needing 21,000 rep with Scryers to get Exalted, that's pretty damn intimidating. But I'm already at around 8,300 rep, so that's about 12 more days of repping with them. It's not nearly as intimidating in that case. Then after that I'll do something similar with Consortium rep. Once I finish the two non-instanced rep groups, I'll up my daily farmed money to work on getting my epic flyer.

Also, one thing that helps a lot when making money is doing the 5 daily quests for Sha'tari Skyguard and Ogri'la. Once you reach 70 you can get your flying mount and do the prequest for Sha'tari Skyguard (right next to the flight master in Shattrath), and do the quest line that involves killing the Sons of Gruul (5-man). After you do some quests this will free up 5 daily quests and a few others as you get higher in rep. These quests take around an hour to do all 5 and will net you about 60g a day along with various rep rewards! It's a solid deal.

WoW Journal 2007-06-25

Holy gods! AMAZING WEEKEND! Really most of the amazing-ness was on Sunday, but the other days contributed in some way.

Friday: Did an Arcatraz run with some guildies, and got the final non-heroic piece of my pre-Karazhan item list: Elementium Band of the Sentry Woo! Beyond that, not much went down.

Saturday: Again, not much went down. Did my daily farming (will go into more detail about that in a post later today) followed by a Botanica and Mechanar run which netted me over 4,000 Sha'tar rep combined, putting me about 1,500 rep away from Exalted. *glee*

Sunday: Big day! Our first planned raid of Karazhan. But that wasn't until around 8PM. So I started off doing the daily quests for Sha'tari Skyguard and Ogri'la. After that we did a Arcatraz run. Managed to anger one of my good friends by being stupid, but we talked it out and it was all good. Afterwards we did the run and I managed to get enough rep with the Sha'tar to hit Exalted! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Then proceeded to drop about 250~g buying the Crest of the Sha'tar, the Gavel of Pure Light, and the gems and the materials for the enchant for the Crest of the Sha'tar (two Solid Stars of Elune and a Shield Block rating enchant).

Then it was go time for Karazhan. We met up at 7:45 with a planned start time of 8 PM, but since this was our first time for raiding we probably didn't start until around 8:30ish. We did an initial push towards Attumen, and cleared to Midnight. One thing I was taught was that there is such a thing as being too cautious. But I chalk it up to that we were learning a new encounter. Technically speaking we failed our first attempt at Attumen. I don't really count it, because we didn't know that if there are any repops when you engage Midnight, they will aggro you. >.> Surprise! Anyway we promptly were destroyed. So we realized that we needed to clear that entire area before making it to Midnight.

At that point we decided to give Attumen's trash mobs enough time to completely respawn (make sure we don't kill them faster than they respawn), so we did the Servant's Quarters mobs. Again, learned that we need to kill faster. But again, not a huge deal, because we were just learning this portion of the instance. So we took about 45 minutes to kill mobs that respawn in 30-35 minutes. Another wipe, but killing those netted us enough rep to get everyone to Friendly with the Violet Eye, which got those of us who hadn't been here before the Violet Eye ring. In the end I chose the tanking ring because while it may be somewhat lacking in the crush avoidance stats, it is pretty much matchless in the stamina and armor department, at least of what I've seen it is.

Upon re-entering Kara, we saw that all the trash mobs for Attumen were completely respawned, so we powered our way through it this time. Our off tank was a Balance druid in tanking gear. We made it through to Midnight and got all the horses down. I double checked to make sure we had no respawns. Before we engaged Midnight we got our first trash mob BoP epic! I was hoping for Ritssyn's Lost Pendant, so that Omitchi would get an upgrade, but no... it was the Boots of Elusion! OMG! And I was the only tanking plate wearer in the group! The guild leader immediately gave them to me, so I ripped off my old boots ASAP and replaced them with my shiny new purple boots! :D Then we engaged Midnight. The fight was very smooth, IMO. We got him down first real try. Since I don't count our "first attempt" at Attumen, I say we got him down first shot! After we took him down, we checked the loot and got Handwraps of Flowing Thought for Omitchi the warlock and the Harbinger Bands for Meloni the Mage! Awesomesauce! And in a moment of "NURR!" after beating Attumen, I backed into the blacksmith area and aggroed 4 badguys. Go me. No one died (thankfully), but I pretty much screwed that one up.

After that, we called it a night for Karazhan. Then we did a Black Morass run to get Omitchi her last bit of rep towards Revered, netting her a Continuum Blade. Yay! Also got the kilt for Meloni from Temporus and the Legguards of the Righteous for me for tanking 5-mans. That puts me at 5/5 Righteous Armor! Woot!

Then to wrap up this totally awesome weekend, I managed to find an Eight of Furies up on the AH for relatively cheap (300g). That got me the full Furies deck, and now it's just a matter of waiting about 2 weeks until it's time for the Darkmoon Faire to show up, then it's super-trinket time! :D

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The issue with Karazhan as the intro raid in tBC and what should be done in the next expansion

First off, a statement: One of the major complaints to non-raiders prior to tBC was that forty people was too many for most guilds to field. There is a limited pool of players who want to raid per server. Getting fifty raiders (you need five to ten more than a dungeon calls for in your guild so if some people are not available in a given night, you're not fucked) is no small task, and in general there are those who really want to be in hardcore or even one of their server's Bleeding Edge raid guilds which lowers the available pool of potential members even smaller.

Following theory: With tBC reducing the raid sizes from twenty and forty to ten and twenty-five, it would make raids more accessible to the causal player base. Side note: This led to much bitching by the elitist player base.

Reality: While lowering the maximum number of players did make raiding a more viable option to smaller guilds, it had another effect (whether the devs realized this or not). That effect was that there was suddenly much less slack.

Let's say you have a forty man raid. Not counting the (on average) twelve healers and three tanks, you have twenty-five DPSers. Let's say the boss has 1,000,000 health, so each DPSer needs to do approximately 40,000 damage. If one of those players disconnects, or is undergeared, and is only able to do 20,000 damage by the time everyone else does 40,000 damage. The other twenty-four players need only do a little over 800 damage a person to pick up for the slack by this one person.

With less people overall in a raid, there are less people to pick up the slack, so if one person disconnects or is very undergeared everyone else needs to pick up a lot more slack. It's one thing when it's five or so people out of forty. But five people out of twenty-five, especially when ten or so of them are healers? That's a much larger percent. As a result while it's possible for smaller guilds to consider raiding, each raid is now a step up in terms of difficulty.

Then there's Karazhan. Karazhan is, as we know, a ten man raid. The normal composition is usually a main tank, an off tank, three healers, and five DPS. There are some room for leeway in those numbers, like having a paladin or a bear in a tank role and having them be willing to heal if needed, or having a DPS warrior in the off tank position, etc. but that's the basic setup. As a result, if one DPS disconnects, the remaining four people need to put out 20% more effort to pick up the slack. One healer disconnects, and it's probably over, unless one of your DPSers can also heal.

Considering that Karazhan was meant to be the intro raid for tBC this did not give players who were not at least somewhat dedicated to raiding a good first impression. It's my opinion that the first raid instance of any expansion should be a somewhat easy (not too easy) twenty-five man raid that will give people a bit of slack to get geared up and up to snuff, without viciously punishing the smallest bit of bad luck.

If you put a ten man raid in the game, add it as a lateral progression in terms of challenge, but with slightly worse rewards. Also, the devs would need to say that this was their design. The reason you say this is because it's most player's nature to think of things linearly. Like so: 5-mans > Zul'Gurub > Molten Core > Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj > Blackwing Lair > Temple of Ahn'Qiraj > Naxxramas. Now, anyone who raided back in the day knows that you don't need to go to ZG before MC. Obviously you don't because there were tons of players who made their way through MC before ZG ever saw the light of day. But after it was released, it was interpreted as a stepping stone between five-mans and MC. So basically the devs need to be brutally clear that it is a lateral option, not part of a linear progression. This would also involve not having any attunement chains involve getting an item from one of the ten-mans.

Also, as another issue of note with Karazhan as the intro raid: It's only a ten man raid. You start off with small group, and then you hit the later raids, it's something of a shock to suddenly have larger groups, plus it's not good training for new raid leaders. While a disconnect of one person is disastrous to a ten-man raid, it's a lot easier to direct ten people. Once the same leader has reached twenty-five people, that's much harder. Having them start out with twenty-five players then going down to ten would nice and calm, instead of a huge shock.

Finally, it's also not just that the problem is that Karazhan is a ten man, but that ten is not evenly divisible by twenty-five. So what you ask? Let's say that you have twenty-five people for a raiding guild. Perfect world and all that jazz and everyone's always there. Five players of that group are denied the right to go raiding a week, due to pure numbers. In our imperfect world you will need thirty to thirty-five raiders for a full raiding guild, but of those players you can still only do two runs. If you did three runs, you wouldn't be sure you'd be able to replace the right number of people, because when someone else steps into a Karazhan raid they are locked to that raid. Instead, I think the best numbers they could work with would be the "full" raid would be thirty people and the "small" raid would be fifteen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Potential for change...

Just figure I'll post it here, so if I decide to do it, it won't come as a horrible shock to my tankadin readers. In my spare time I'm leveling a warrior to give warrior tanking a try. *gasp* *shock* Oh no! Kaziel's becoming one of The Enemy!

Okay, first off "the why": I like tanking. I've realized I like tanking more than any other of the normal roles in an MMO. While I like tanking as a paladin, what about as a warrior? I don't know. I could end up hating not having mana, and only having 2 shield blocks per 5 seconds as opposed to 8 over 10 seconds. But I don't know. So I want to give it a try. I've made Deis, my (currently) level 7 Draenei warrior. I plan on leveling him up to 70 to try out tanking. Even if I find I prefer tanking as a warrior, the amount of time I've put into gearing and repping up Alixander means I'm going to stick with him until the next expansion.

Also, one thing appeals to me about warrior tanking: Simplicity of gear. I'll be honest... paladin tanking gear has always felt very awkward to me. The stats you need don't feel like they mesh very well. Of all the stats that are needed, only one pulls double duty (block rating for increasing crush avoidance and for increasing threat from Holy Shield and BoSanc). On the other than, warrior tanking gear feels much more sensible. Strength increases block value and DPS (direct threat increase; rage generation which translates to threat generation). Block value (both from gear and from STR) increases mitigation and threat generation (Shield Bash). Agility increases crit (rage generation which translates to threat generation), armor and dodge. Possibily there are a few other stats that do similar effects. While I love the challenge of getting the best gear as a paladin, a lot of it feels very counter-intuitive.

There are also two other reasons that are kinda stupid... First, dual wield. It's just cool! Yeah, I know that it's not something I'm ever going to use as a tank, but I've always loved the concept of dual wielding... Second is Blood Elves. What about Blood Elves? Well, as a paladin, I'm always reminded of wanting to play a Blood Elf as my main. Why don't I play one? Because I enjoy playing with my friends more than I enjoy playing a Blood Elf. So I stick with the Alliance. But being a paladin is a constant reminder that I could be playing a Blood Elf paladin.

What if I do change: Okay, first off, if I decide that I would prefer Deis to Alixander that does not mean that warriors are better tanks. It just means that they are better for me. And also I will be at the forefront of the fight to improve paladin tanking. Even if I change, I still firmly believe paladins should be allowed to be tanks just as validly as bear druids or warriors.

And one final thing: Why not bear druids? I could also roll a feral druid, but I've never wanted to play a druid. It's about the only class I've never had the urge to play. Mind you, I enjoy their company a lot, and three of the 12 raiders in my guild are druids (two balance and a resto), but I don't want to play one.

Attunement cut down.

So... Blizzard decided to remove a major chunk of the attunement process from the raiding game. For those who don't know there were major attunement quest series:

Karazhan: First do two quests outside Karazhan, followed by some fed-ex quests. Then you do Shadow Labs, followed by Steam Vault and the Arcatraz for three key shards. Once the key shards are combined you go do the Black Morass and talk to Medivh after you complete it and that will pretty much get you keyed for Karazhan.

Gruul's Lair & Magtheridon's Lair: No keying needed. Just mentioning it to be complete.

Serpentshrine Cavern: First get Revered with Cenarion Expedition. Next do about half of Heroic Slave Pens to find a slave shortly after the first boss. Talk to him and he'll give the attunement quest. Now, go kill Nightbane in Karazhan and Gruul in Gruul's Lair. They will drop items for you. Go back to the guy in Heroic Slave Pens (still after the first boss), and you can get in.

The Eye (Tempest Keep): First, do this entire questline: which is one of the longest in the game... something like 10-12 steps. It's bad, but worth it if you're not raiding already (some nice rewards at the end). Once you complete that questline, then go to Shattrath, to recieve three quests... now go get revered with Honor Hold/Thrallmar, Lower City, and Sha'tar (should already be revered with CE for SSC) and do Heroic Steam Vault, Shadow Labs, Arcatraz, and Shattered Halls. After that, now go kill Magtheridon.

Battle of Mount Hyjal: Talk to Soridormi in Caverns of Time. Now go kill Vashj and Kael'thas for their Vial Remnant (water from the Well of Eternity). While it's easy in writing you still need to be able to beat both of the two previous raids. But you should be doing that before you go into Hyjal anyway.

Black Temple: First a questline from either the Aldor or the Scryer base in ShadowMoon Valley, that has you investigate the Ashtongue Deathsworn. This ends with you meeting Akama, and going to the Arcatraz to find a corpse there. From there you do a few more quests in SMV. It seems to end there, but it picks up in SSC where you meet Seer Olum after beating Fathom-Lord Karathress, who starts a long questline that has you kill Al'ar (first boss in The Eye) in a Broken costume, followed by beating Rage Winterchill (first boss in Mt. Hyjal). A few more quests and you're in (there are also a few quests after you enter).

Now, they've removed the SSC and TK portions, which I think was a very smart move. While yes, a lot of the rest of the attunements have you doing tons of stuff, those two attunements are the only ones that require doing Heroics, which is where I think Blizzard went wrong. The problem is that that heroic keys require being revered with the matching faction. This means to progress into SSC you need be revered with CE, and beyond that, you need to be revered with HH/Thrallmar, Lower City, and Sha'tar as well. It's just insane. I have no problem doing long questlines or going back and doing a run or two through a 5-man, but forcing the entire raid group to repeatedly do 5-mans for rep just so you can do another even harder 5-man (heroic) is way overboard. I wouldn't mind if they had just changed the SSC and TK attunement questlines to remove the Heroic parts, but this works as well. And they've left the questlines in for those who want to do them.

Addendum to this post: I'm very happy with this change. I had been having nightmares about the portion of attunement that was removed. As I said in a post below, my guildies hate doing PUGs, and to be honest, I know of at least 3 people who are not, and would not without a lot of guild runs (thus a long wait), become revered with the factions needed for SSC and TK raids. Doing a quest chain, even a long one? Fine! Having to go back and do an old 5-man? Fine! Needing to get certain people through Karazhan again for some item? Fine! But requiring people to be revered with all those factions, esp. 35+ people (the minimum you really need to be able to raid a 25 man instance without having people being gone cripple the raid) would have been a logistical nightmare.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Posting Meta...

A post about my blog on my blog. Go go Meta!

It still kinda boggles my mind that anyone but me reads this, even more so that people actually are interested in what I write. I think I keep my self-image low to keep myself from being too arrogant. As it already stands, in areas where I know I know my shit, and I am very self-confident about those subjects, almost arrogantly so. So on stuff like this when I do well (or at least not badly) it just boggles my mind.

Anyway, hello to all you people out there reading this. Helloooo!

WoW Journal 2007-06-18

Gah... I really need to get more sleep. Had two cups of coffee this morning... But that's neither here nor there. z_z

Busy busy busy weekend.

Friday... uh... *scratches head* I don't even remember what I did on Friday. Obviously nothing important. Probably was just out farming. Currently at 7/8 Furies card. Thrice damned Eight of Furies! Why isn't anyone selling you for a reasonable price. The only one I've seen up has been up for something like 700g Buyout. What the fuck? Sorry, but I refuse to pay more for one of the number cards than I do for the Ace.

First on Saturday I got into the end of an Arcatraz run. I joined in, literally, on the last room. We cleared the two Infernals and the two Doomguards, and then the final encounter. Didn't get the ring I wanted, but it's all good, more Sha'tar rep is win.

Next, I did my first Heroic. I hopped into LFG and got invited to a Heroic Slave Pens run. Upside: Now have a better grasp of how a Heroic works. Downside: OW. God damn those trash mobs hit hard. Trashmobs in heroics don't have much more health than in normal (or at least not much more than they would if they were level 70). Trash mobs hitting for 1.5-3k a swing? Fuck me. Thankfully the bosses aren't a lot harder than they were normally (again, if they were all 70-72), but damn those trash mobs hurt. We fought our way to the final boss, but (this is just a guess) the healer wasn't up to snuff for the fight. Or maybe we just didn't have enough healing. Or maybe I'm just not ready for Heroics (need more health?). But either way, we didn't get him down. While I didn't get what I wanted (Purple Judgment Belt), I did get my first two Badges of Justice and a fair amount of CE rep. :)

After that, Mhair, who had been gone all day, got home and we did a Steam Vault and Mechanar run, getting Omi, Mhair, Meloni, and Ari their second Kara shard and the top half of the Arcatraz key.

Sunday was fairly calm by comparison to Saturday. Around 2ish did an Arcatraz run for the key shards for the above listed. Got to show them the wonders of Millhouse Manastorm! Then followed it up with doing a Black Morass run, which was, by far, the smoothest attempt I've ever been in. That got the last four mains in the guild (currently) keyed for Karazhan. This puts the guild at 11 people keyed, which makes us ready to begin running Karazhan. ^^ My net at home is currently down, so I can't post on my guild forums. As soon as they are up, gonna talk to the other officers about how we want to do loot (drama avoidance if possible, please!).

Friday, June 15, 2007

List of Pre-Karazhan healing gear

Pretty much just making a copy of my previous list, only healing specific. And since this is my off-set I'm not going to worry about enchants, at least for now. Maybe once I start hitting up the raid quality gear I'll see about enchants.

Helm of the Steadfast Champion
Meta: Insightful Earthstorm Diamond
Yellow: Luminous Flame Spessarite
Acquired from: 50 Badges of Justice

Necklace of Eternal Hope
Acquired from: 25 Badges of Justice

Justice Bearer's Pauldrons
Acquired from: Omor the Unscarred in Heroic Hellfire Ramparts

Cloak of Whispering Shells
Acquired from: Hydromancer Thespia in Steam Vault

Breastplate of Many Graces
Acquired from: Grandmaster Vorpil in Shadow Labs

Virtue Bearer's Vambraces
Acquired from: Broggok in Heroic Blood Furnace

Life Bearer's Gauntlets
Acquired from: Reinforced Fel Iron Chest in Heroic Hellfire Ramparts

Girdle of Many Blessings
Acquired from: Rokmar the Crakler in Heroic Slave Pens

Consortium Plated Leggings
Red: Royal Shadow Draenite
Yellow: Luminous Flame Spessarite
Blue: Royal Shadow Draenite
Acquired from: Quest already done.

For me:
Cassock of the Loyal
Acquired from: Hungarfen in Heroic Underbog

Boots of the Watchful Heart
Acquired from: Captain Skarloc in Heroic Durnholde

Ring of Convalescence
Acquired from: Revered with Honor Hold

Band of Halos
Acquired from: 25 Badges of Justice

Lower City Prayerbook
Acquired from: Revered with Lower City

Figurine - Talasite Owl
Acquired from: Myself

Gavel of Pure Light
Acquired from: Exalted with the Sha'tar.

Light-Bearer's Faith Shield
Acquired from: 33 Badges of Justice

Blessed Book of Nagrand
Acquired from: Questline in Nagrand

Thursday, June 14, 2007

PUGs! Oh no!

One of the things that always floors me about many my guildies is that they have this almost irrational fear of doing PUGs. Now, it's not I don't understand the annoyance factor that a PUG can bring, nor do I undervalue the appeal of a guild party, but the reality is that we are not a huge guild (currently) so unless you get lucky, you're not likely to find the people for a 5-man in-guild.

As almost anyone who reads this blog knows I'm very goal oriented, and am constantly working towards my goals in one way or another. As a result I realize that I'll need to do PUGs to reach my goals. But if you bring up PUGging to my guildies, only about 4 of the 15 or so who have 70s will react with anything but horror. And it always makes me wonder... am I the odd man out in my willingness to do PUGs or is my guild just filled with people who are just odd in this regard, and I'm more normal than I realize?

WoW Journal 2007-06-14

Oh yeah, forgot to mention a couple days ago (Tuesday I think...) that I got my hands on an Ace of Furies. For those that are unfamiliar with the basic concept, the Darkmoon Faire has scattered cards of various types to the four winds. Cards 2-8 of each deck drop from various mobs of the appropriate levels as global drops. Certain bosses are either the lone droppers of an ace or will drop a range of aces. Originally there were only 4 decks, and with 2.1, Blizz added four new decks of cards for people to find. Once you collect all 8 cards, you combine them into a deck of cards which you can trade in at the Darkmoon Fair for a "Darkmoon Card" which is a trinket.

Well, one deck is called the Furies deck. If you collect all 8 cards, and turn them into the fine folks at the Darkmoon Faire, you get the Darkmoon Card: Vengeance. This trinket, has two effects, first it gives 51 Stamina... Think about that... including the talent that increases my stamina by 6%, means it gives an additional 540~ health! That additional health would be enough on it's own, but there's more! Each time I get hit there's a 10% chance to deal 90-110 holy damage to the enemy that hit me. Rumor has it that said holy damage is affected by Righteous Fury (which would make sense as to why they made it Holy damage). This thing is incredible! I'm currently at 5/8 cards.

In terms of what I've been doing as of late: On Tuesday got a Shattered Halls run which pushed me up to Revered, and got me my Gauntlets of Righteousness. In addition to getting the HFC Heroic Key, I also got the pattern for the Figurine - Dawnstone Crab, which I'm now using. After that I did a few Black Morass runs for guildies, and last night did a Underbog run helping to get Mhairwen her D1 recolor, since prior to Heroics that's the _only_ Balance Druid gear available. Otherwise it's been a fairly calm few nights.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WAR and the problem with hybrids

In the forthcoming game, Warhammer online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), each race will be designed with four classes, each falling into one of these four Archetypes:
  • Tank (Ironbreaker, Black Orc, Knight of the Blazing Sun, and Chosen)
  • Healer (Rune Priest, Goblin Shaman, Warrior Priest, and Zealot)
  • Ranged DPS (Engineer, Goblin Squig Herder, Bright Wizard, and Magus)
  • Melee DPS (Hammerer, Orc Choppa, Witch Hunter, and Marauder)
Each race has it's own variants, but one of the overarching designs is that there will be no pure healer class (and possibly the same for tanks...). There was a video by Paul Barnett that basically said that. I can't see it now, but Vaelin linked it here. Anyway, based on the part that Vaelin quoted, it creates what I consider a potentially serious problem... one that I touched on in my letter to Tobold.

When you have hybrids that mix DPS with another role, like what we appear to have on the horizon for WAR, there is the very likely possibility of people who pick one of the Hybrid classes and plays it as a pure DPS class. So you seek out the hybrid class so that they can do their hybrid thing, but they only do half of it, specifically the DPS half. While I'm not going to complain because the enemies die faster, if I'm tanking and the healing-type guy I've brought along is only smashing faces I'm gonna be pretty pissed, I have to say.

Addition: To elaborate, this goes both ways. By choosing a tanking role, I am accepting the mantle of a guardian. My duty is to protect those who cannot take the hits as well as I can. When people die near me, if there was more I could do, then it is my fault, and they will have every right to be pissed off as hell at me.

Now, obviously if you've done everything you can to protect them or heal them, or whatever, then only fools are pissed. But that's not what I meant. As I said, if they or I am too focused on hitting the target in front of me, and not doing everything I can to help everyone I can, then I've failed. That's the potential fault of having a hybrid DPS/Healer or DPS/Tank.

At the same time, it's really more of a fault of the player than the game itself. In the hands of a smart player, such a class is a great tool to be put to good use for all. In the hands of a moron... well, let me say that the enemies will be happy they won't be going up against a serious threat.

Monday, June 11, 2007

WoW Journal 2007-06-11

Slow weekend, due to having non-game stuff to do for most of Sunday (left home at 8:45 AM and didn't get home until 7:30-8 PM that night). Anyway, did two Shadow Labs runs, no drops. Got the last person who was interested in doing Kara of current guild members her key shard. Also got revered with Consortium. Other than that, not much to report. Still need to work on getting Revered with HH, but little luck finding Shattered Halls runs.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

WoW Journal 2007-06-07

Not much to report. Tuesday I helped some guildies do a Sethekk Halls run. Still no ring recipe, which is the only thing I want from there. Run could have gone better, but I was really just too proud. We had a hunter, a druid, and a rogue along with us and I didn't use any CCs. I thought "Oh I'm 70. I'll be fine." And I kept that mentality the entire time. As the saying goes: Pride goeth before a fall. Now that I've gotten a reality check, I'm ready to start helping people again and quit being a arrogant jerk.

Last night I did 1.2 Shadow labs runs. The second one was a full run. Decent group, save the rogue. He wasn't a bad DPSer. In fact, he was quite good at killing stuff. Unfortunately in most other aspects (pulling, sapping, stealthing) he pretty much blew. Took us a few tries on Vorpil because despite having enough DPS, the hunter (good guy) tried to kill the VWs instead of focusing on Vorpil. On the third try we got him down with little effort. Pulled him south then north, then south, and got him down before the third teleport. ^^-b Took out Murmur first try. Still haven't gotten down the nuances of getting away from the Sonic Boom but I did it one time (the others I didn't notice the boom being cast in time so I just ate it).

The other group we made it to the Fel Overseers before I said "Sorry, but this isn't working out." Party consisted of Warlock, Warlock, Shaman, Warrior and me. Now, before I got invited I asked "Need me to tank?" and I got the reply "Yeah, we can use you." This kinda sent up a yellow flag in my mind, but I just shrugged it off. So I arrive to find a warrior with a shield and
Crystalline Kopesh... First thing he says? "I'm MT." So it goes like this:
Me: So what am I supposed to do?
Warlock1: u can offtank n offheal. (personal note: Shaman was Main healer)
Me: Umm... I can only really do one or the other, and off-tanking isn't really needed here.
Warlock1: oh, then DPS
Me: I... don't DPS. I either heal or tank. (personal note: technically I can DPS, but it's like a holy priest DPSing... it can be done, and they have some cool tricks, but in general it's not worth it...)
So I just struggle along, doing what I can, fighting with the warrior as he almost always trys to grab the mob I'm offtanking.

This goes on until we get to the Fel Overseers. This is like... the one point in this instance where having an offtank can be a real boon instead of just a somewhat helping hand. The offtank stands back out of the way of the fear and taunts when the main tank is feared to keep the Fel Overseer off the squishies. So first I say "I'll taunt on the Fel Overseer, then the MT can pull it off me and I'll back away." Good plan, but... I don't know why but he couldn't seem to pull it off me (no taunt?) even when I stopped auto attacking and turned around. We both get feared, and squishies die.

So the next fight I tell him "Okay, so this time you stay away after I taunt until I get feared. Then you taunt to pull the mob." What does the tank do? The moment he gets unfeared he runs over and starts hitting the mob. Jesus fuck people. So we both get feared... yeah, you guessed it, squishies die.

At this point I'm like "Fuck this shit." After we beat that fel overseer, I rez the dead squishy and tell the group "I'm sorry, but this isn't going to work out." As I leave, I send an angry tell to the leader about telling a person what their role is going to be before they invite someone. Only after I send it do I realize this isn't the person who invited me, but someone who was given the lead to do the marking. I apologize profusely and we chat, with her agreeing that it was a bad move to invite me. So yeah, I got maybe a handful of rep from that run. *grumbles*

All said, I'm currently about 1000~500 rep to revered with Lower City. Since I don't really want much from Shadow Labs (the healing chest piece is all) but I really want the JC fire ring recipe from Sethekk Halls, having the Heroic key for Auchindoun will be a big boon. Tonight gonna go for Revered with Lower City, then start working on Revered with Honor Hold. ^^b

Monday, June 4, 2007

Rant about a FFXI player

His name is Phillipio aka Phi. He plays a Tarutaru and his highest level jobs are Ninja and Black Mage. Just recently he asked the LS to help him out with getting a drop off Byakko, an HNM in Al'tieu aka Sky.

For you WoW players, there are some basic things you need to know: First off, HNMs are "Highly/Hard Notorious Monsters". Basically they are named mobs that drop very good loot, much akin to Doom Lord Kazzak or Doomwalker, they are outdoor bosses that can be fought by anyone. Next bit of info is that LSs are changeable on the fly. They can be equipped just normal gear, so you can be in multiple LSs on a single character, just change them out as needed. This leads to some LSs made to be social LSs, some made to take on HNMs, some to take on specific events like Dynamis (akin to an instance).

So he asked for help fighting Byakko to get a specific drop off it. Problem with this is it would get my LS, which is definitely a social LS, mixed in with all the HNMLS drama, along with many other things.

Some people are using justifications for not helping Phi, my reasons are a bit more longstanding. While I'm all for helping people, I remember about a year back there was some big drama concerning Phi and another group of players inside the LS who were doing Tenemos, a facet of FFXI's endgame. Phi wanted to do one specific portion of Tenemos while everyone else wanted to do something else. He gave his reasons and others countered it. The problem isn't what he said, but the terms he used.

Phi considers himself to be the hero of his game. This is not particularly noteworthy, especially since FFXI's cutscenes (CSs) only show your character even if it's a group endeavor. But the terms he used in his LiveJournal was "our hero, Phi" and described those who didn't agree with him as enemies, as if he's the only one that matters. Now, if Phi was someone who mostly stuck to solo or single party content this mentality would be fine, but he's not. No, he's not. I know he takes part of at least 2 (of 5) aspects of endgame content possibly more, and those events take a minimum of 12 people, and in some cases upwards of 60-75 people. In situations like that you just can't think like that.

So every time I see him suggesting something, even if he says stuff like "I just want X, and anyone else who wants something other than X can have it." my mind again runs back to the phase "our here, Phi" and I just can't stand it. Now, I'm not claiming I'm a saint and always helping out folks who need it, but in the end I consider myself part of a team, even if I'm leading it. It's not "Me and them" but "Us". With Phi I can't help but think he views it as "Me and them" when he's hosting an event with the intent of getting something out of it.

WoW Journal 2007-06-04

Busy weekend? Oh yes!

Friday was pretty quiet. Did some farming, a run in Mechanar, and planned out working on doing Karazhan prep runs for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday we did a Shadow Labs run first. First off had two thrilling "feared into a tiny hole in the wall and fall through the world" experiences when fighting Ambassador Hellmaw. *grumbles* Got to the third boss only to realize that we don't have enough DPS. Party consisted of Prot Pally (me), Boomkin, Priest, Warlock and other pally. I don't mention a spec on the last one, because he doesn't really have one. He's 28/14/19. *sigh* We had him trying to DPS, but in a healing fight like Grandmaster Vorpil, everyone needs to be doing something to contribute, and his lack of a definite spec was, IMO, hurting him a lot. He prefers to be "flexible", but in this case we needed a lot of DPS. He simply did not have good gear to balance out his bad spec, or a good spec to balance out his subpar gear. So tonight or tomorrow I get to send him an in-game mail with a brief explanation.

After that, we did a in-guild run through Black Morass so I could get my Karazhan Key and work on my Keeper of Time faction. We took one of our 68 guildies, and while I love her to death and wouldn't tell her this in person, we pretty much carried her. If it wasn't for bringing one of the guild rogues, we probably wouldn't have made it through. Even then it took three tries (first failure didn't count b/c one of the others was having issues with his mods). Anyway, completing Black Morass and the quest that goes alone with it got me about 1250 rep away from revered.

On Sunday I tried to find a group for Black Morass to no avail, but I did get into a Mechanar run and was able to get Mhairwen in. Almost got Sigel in, but another rogue decided to be greedy and turned him away. In a moment of judicious irony, just before we got to Pathaleon he disconnected and didn't come back allowing Sigel to replace him and get the rogue D3 chestpiece that Pathaleon dropped. Nothing dropped for Mhair though. :(

Later that night we did a Durnholde run for Mhair, Ari, and Meloni so they could gain access to Black Morass for later on. Anyway, easy but fun run. :) Got another 1000~ rep with Keepers of Time... which left me a stone's throw away from revered. *growl* So after we finished up I got into another Black Morass run. This time we used the "Paladin uses rank 1 Consecrate and grabs all the adds" method, and it worked like a champ. Seriously. We shaved 10-15 minutes off the entire run since everyone was focusing on the boss or pulling the adds off me, instead of trying to keep the adds off Medivh. We didn't even need a beacon around Medivh for when we were fighting Temporus. ^^b And I got a Latro's Shifting Sword from Aeonus, b/c we had no other melees than me, and it makes for a great soloing sword. 1.4 speed means tons of Seal/Jugdment of Wisdom/Light procs when soloing and with decent DPS it will be more use than a caster sword when AOE grinding. Woo!

All in all it was a good weekend. I got keyed for Karazhan. I reached revered with Keepers of Time. I got the Continuum Blade. I got the Timekeeper's Leggings. I reached 88.2% crush avoidance with Holy Shield. I got over 10,000 health unbuffed.

That last one is one of the most important in my mind because it represents a point where I've reached that means I'm ready for stuff beyond just normal 5-mans. Heroics and Raids. And I realize that if the only difference between pre and post revered with KoT is about 500-800 health, and if that's the only thing consistently keeping me alive I'm not ready, but it's more of a psychological barrier than an actually gear limitation. Anyway, starting next week I'm going to finish up getting the rep I need with Lower City and Honor Hold to get keyed for the last two heroics and start working on getting the Badges of Justice I need. ^^b Also need to keep an eye out for some shadow resist plate so I can survive taking on Heroic Pandemonius.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Last two days...

Normally on Wednesdays I go out with my friends from the comic store I go to. The last few weeks I've been in a rut and really not been up for doing much socializing IRL, so I've skipped out on it. Well, this week I showed up and went out with them. I stuck around from 9 to 10:30PM before I called it quits. So that amounted to only about an hour or so of farting around in WoW.

Last night was another FFXI night. We are currently doing what's generally considered to be the hardest mission in that mission set (if not the game entirely...) called "One to be Feared" (how appropo...). Basically it's a fight against 7 mobs, over 45 minutes. The first fight is against 5 mammets, which are all hard hitters. With only 6 of us, that means I take on 2, one is kited, one is straight killed, and one is offtanked by Carbuncle (don't google it unless you add some sort of tag to make it look for Final Fantasy related content... x.x). Kill order is Straight Kill > Kited > Offtanked > My first one > My second one. We then move onto Omega. Despite the name, he is not actually the last boss. This guy just really isn't fair. He has a metric butt-ton of HP, hits pretty hard and most of his attacks are either AOEs (thus they devastate the Dragoon we have along) or they have nasty status effects like Stun or Paralyze. Last night we got him down, but by the time we did it we only had 10 minutes left. The upside was that we got to see the final boss, Ultima. Good news: She has much less HP. Bad news: She hits like a ton of bricks. I went down around the 3 minute mark, and with how rez sickness works in FFXI, it was over. But we learned a lot. Won't be meeting next week, since our Summoner has some real life concerns but the week after we're aiming for a win! :D

Afterwards I went and played some WoW, got the last few bars of Felsteel I needed for my Felsteel gloves. Then hit up the AH only to realize the price of a pair of Felsteel Gloves is about 80% cheaper than just selling the amount of Felsteel bars on the AH and buying them. >.> So I did. And sold the bars. ^^/ That makes 7 items gotten, 10 to go! Also the Felsteel Gloves allowed me to finally break 490 defense, so I am normally uncrittable! Go me!

Also, my guild finally broke off from our former multi-guild raiding alliance. This had been coming a long time and a lot of members and officers were not happy with us being in. In fact only one officer voted to stay in. With how it is, we're now going to be putting forth some real effort to go to Karazhan. This means I really need to step up my efforts to upgrade my gear and get rep with certain factions (KoT, Sha'tar, and Scryers). Being realistic, I'm probably not going to get uncrushable before we step into Kara for the first time, but based on what Dreamcrusher said here I feel that if I can reach 10k health unbuffed, I should be good enough to tank. ^^;