Monday, June 29, 2009

Player Liability

First let me say I r a bad blogger. Its been a week since my last post and though I have a list of excuses I'm not going to use any of them. My experiences over the last week, however, have lead me to the topic of Player Liability.

It is no news that there is an increasing amount of raid burnout in the last month or so. In fact I have been feeling a little bit of that myself when it comes to progressing in Ulduar. I've given this a lot of thought over the last week and I think the reason, at least for me, is that raiding relies heavily on good players. "Thank you Captain Obvious." I'm sure you are saying to yourself. In truth though I think we are facing similar events (or so I'm told) as to what happened after the release of Burning Crusade.

It is no secret that during the MC Vanilla WoW age, that you could very very easily carry bad players. I've heard stories of people just going afk on follow while watching a movie or eating dinner. Then the Golden Age of raiding came about in Burning Crusade. Kara didn't require 40 people to raid... it required 10. More then that though it required 10 skilled players. This meant that a lot of guilds had to "trim the fat" of their core raiding team and remove those players who weren't capable.

However, some guilds refused to do this. Over time they gradually lost more and more people because the bad players in the guild, who very well could be the social core of the guild, were still let into the early raids. Frustration ensues when the content became too difficult leading to the downfall of guilds.

Enter Wrath of the Lich King

The beginning of WotLK saw a similar move in player base, but for entirely different reasons. Many guilds lost members due to the content being so easy, that they lost the desire to raid entirely. Many guilds broke up in wake of this, those that didn't though supplemented their groups with new players who had the heart and desire to raid.

These new recruits may very well have been a mixed bag. You get some very good players in with some very bad players but since the difficulty scale in Naxx was much lower, it allowed the lesser skills to raid with the guild fairly successfully. I'm sure most of the officers knew who the lesser skilled players were but since the bosses were still dying, who cares? The fact that there is an achievement for running Naxx 10 with less then 9 players tells you that Naxx had an inherently low difficulty tune.

Then when everyone was comfortable in the guild... 3.1 was released. Ulduar is a fairly well tuned instance. Some bosses are much easier then others, but it is still a step up from Naxx. This especially holds true on 25 man. Here, unfortunately, is the rub. By 3.1 there is a good chance that some of your very dedicated and social members are deeply embedded into your raid group. Chances are if you didn't have strict standards on your 10 and 25 man Naxx raids... some of these are less then stellar players.

Player liability comes about when those raiders start posing a threat to the progress of the guild (or raid group in my situation). The leadership is afraid or unwilling to kick a member who has shown up ready and diligent for months of Naxx despite the fact that their poor performance is not only dragging down the raid, but also causing wipes.

Ala Katmandue

This isn't meant to be a slam against Kat... as a person. As a tank though... where do I begin? Katmandue is a warrior tank that has been with the raid group since well before I ever joined. When I joined they had been farming Naxx 25 for awhile. Kobeck and I showed that we knew what we were doing and were quickly adopted into their core raid group. You could tell during those raids that Katmandue was not the greatest tank. He had issues during more complicated fights and managing cooldowns effectively.

He was, however, geared out the ass by the time Ulduar came out. Ulduar really started to show the quality... or lack thereof... of a player he was. He had issues picking up trash on razorscale, or taunting at the right times leading to our tank dying. On ignis we wiped countless times because one of the adds he was supposed to be tanking decided the healers tasted better. He would taunt other tanks constructs and we had to overcompensate for his lacking by running with 3 offtanks for ignis.

Thankfully XT and Kologarn don't require much in the ways of an offtank, so those fights never gave us an issue. But Auriaya did. He would consistently fail to pick up the adds and generate enough threat so they could be burned quickly. As a result he was put on Auriaya where he never once would use thunderclap or demo shout for the debuff to reduce the damage... or even use cds at all for that matter. When he was placed on the 3rd and 4th kill target for the cats he would then use mocking blow on Auriaya (god knows why) which would cause her to turn just enough to cast her frontal aoe cone killing off one or 2 people in the process.

Burnout was definitely starting to take its turn on me. Even though half the raid was talking about him behind his back... no one would say anything to the leaders. Ok. I'll admit the one night I drank a little and started calling him out on stuff... which ultimately lead us to the events of this past weekend. The silence that was kept has been broken and while Katmandue isn't banned from raiding with us... he now knows without a doubt that he has a lot of work ahead of him. After some fruitless attempts on Hodir 25, a similar warning went out to everyone in the raid.

Concentrate and focus or gtfo.

So do you have any instances of Player Liability in your guild or raid group? One of the hardest things to do is to call someone out or to bring your frustrations to the raid leaders... but this is the most important thing you do. If someone isn't doing their job then you won't be the only one to feel this way. Often times you will lose more people by keeping that one liability in your raid group then sacrificing his feelings and letting him go.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Report

Well my wife went to visit her mother this weekend across the country. So where did that leave me on the weekend? Yep you guessed it. Sitting in front of the computer getting my raid on. Friday night consisted mainly of my normal 25 man raiding team heading into Ulduar.

Funny how my last post was about to heal or not to heal... because, this week due to a few of our normal crew heading on vacation, I was stuck switching to my Resto heal and getting into the chain heal groove. We started with VoA quickly downing Emalon and Archavon which netted me tier 8.5 gloves.... the enhancement version... Ah well being the only shaman in the raid was worth something I guess.

From there we headed into Ulduar and downed FL without issue and moved onto XT.... where for the first time in I don't remember when we wiped. A little regrouping and we killed him to move on to Kologarn. Maybe it was the large number of new pugs that we had but things weren't going as smoothly as usual and we wiped on him once before running across his corpse. We doubled back and took out razorscale to end the night... knowing we just didn't have the right group to go forward.

Saturday saw my baby mages first trip into Naxx and not just Naxx but Naxx 25. So how does a brand spanking new level 80 mage with a few epics and a bunch of blues/greens? Well see for yourself.

Yep 3600 dps. (Ok I rounded up...) Patchwerk being the best choice for measuring DPS I chose him. We downed Spider, Plague, and Patch in construct before too many people had to go. I got a pair of boots and some emblems out of the deal so can't complain too much.

Finished out Saturday by heading back into Ulduar on Saravid. We again had some issues finding healers but at least downed Ignis and Auriya again. Really a slow week in Ulduar 25 which is kind of disappointing. I hope this isn't leading into some form of summer slump. We are headed back in to work on some watchers on 10 man tonight so, if nothing else, I have that.

Sunday was a rather interesting day to say the least. Around mid afternoon I got the itch to work on my DK a bit. So I was in lfg when a group advertised that they needed a dps for Naxx 10. I told them I could hop on my mage and did so. I grabbed the invite and headed to Naxx. The group seemed fairly balanced and geared sufficiently yet I got an ominous feeling when I zoned in and got the message that I would be saved to the instance. The leader hadn't mentioned this to me before hand but I figured my mage needed whatever could drop anyway so I stayed.

I wish I hadn't. Zoned in and got a summon to thaddius room. The guy explaining the fight sounded like he was on a voice modulation or something and it was extremely annoying. We started the fight and the first thing I noticed was the guy tanking Feugen standing right next to the stairs just barely in range to avoid the discharge. I yelled for him to move back on vent and he did so. Then the switch came.... or at least it was supposed too...

Our tank swapped over to the other side... but the tank from that side never arrived over at ours. I believe he got disconnected or something to that effect but Feugen quickly turned to begin killing the dps... including me leading quickly to a wipe. Then one by one people started leaving... and the disconnected tank couldn't log back on. Eventually everyone was gone and I gave up. Saved to an instance for absolutely nothing. Wonderful.

Despite the poor events that just occurred I once again was on my DK in lfg when I saw someone looking for an offtank for Naxx 10. Why not? I said and told them I could come on my paladin. Interestingly enough neither groups did a gear check but I was invited anyway. I've maintanked most of Naxx on my paladin but have yet to finish all of Naxx on her.

Anyway I switched over and got invited into the group. Which at the moment only had 5 people. I flew to dragonblight and was alt tabbed while they were getting people. At one point I looked and they had 8 people. Someone said we should just run with 8 for the achievement. I almost jokingly responded with "Ya we could do it! " and proceeded to alt tab again. Well about 30 seconds later I tabbed back in to not only find that everyone was in agreement... but that everyone was already zoned in but me.

I frantically threw my buffs up on myself and while the druid main tank was chain pulling, got the other blessings where they needed to be.

"This can't work... can it?" I was asking myself.

Everyone knew the fights and was geared appropriately... but no one was decked out in all naxx 25 or uld 25 gear could this really work? On top of that we weren't going to use vent because the leader said it was stupid and we didn't need it.

Well going from wiping on one boss on my mage with a full group to running Naxx with 8 people was quite the stretch. We not only cleared... but demolished Military wing. The highest dps topped out at around 3k with everyone else at around 2500 yet we still managed all the fights with little difficulty. We started working on Plague wing after that and even got the Safety Dance achievement on Heigan. Unfortunately the druid main tank had to go at that point. He gave me 2 stoneblood flasks (even though I had a bunch on me and was using them) and complemented me on what a great job I had done.

Well we were gonna get another dps but figured since Loatheb only took one tank anyway we would just continue on. And we did just that. The druid healer that we had switched to feral spec and dpsed that fight with our holy priest solo healing the 7 of us.

Energized then that we looked at what we had left. Construct needed atleast 2 tanks for Patch and Gluth but Spider only really needed a second tank for Anub. Well once again our priest showed his skill in solo healing Anub with the druid switching to bear form to pick up the add.

Due to only one healer we chose for me to kite the boss during the insect swarm, which I hadn't seen done since the first week in Naxx. This added a new and fun element and have to say worked out pretty darn well. Thus the first boss in spider went down and we moved onto the second. Well there was no way one healer could keep up 2 tanks and the raid for Faerlina. So the druid went back to Resto and we decided to just burn the adds and eat the enrage.

I have to say that was one of the most intense fights I have done in a long time. Using an ironsheild pot in the beginning and rotating CD's as much as possible really made for an intense battle. We proved too powerfull and she gave me her sword since no one else could use or wanted it.

We moved on to Maexxena who's enrage was easily managed by the use of CD's and that point we called it a night.

A lot of people are really against pugging because of the example of what happened to Gandreolf. Yet sometimes you find gems like the group I found with Llina.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To heal or not to heal..

If you have read my blog at all (I know pretty dumb assumption) you will know that when it comes to progression raiding I mainly play on my Elemental shaman. No this isn't a post about whether I want to switch to resto full time or not.

This post is mostly about dps... more specifically hybrid dps. When you are a dps in a raid or what have you, your goal is to do as much damage as humanly possible without pulling aggro or dying. That's it. You aren't there to tank or look pretty or heal.... well that last part can be tricky. As a hunter/warrior/mage/warlock etc. all you can do is dish out damage.

What about hybrids though? Are you an Elemental shaman, Shadow priest, or Balance druid? How bout a ret pally, feral druid or enhancement shaman? Yes, you are there to kill stuff. The thing is... there are these other buttons that like... heal stuff. Am I supposed to be using those to you know... heal?

I find myself in raids a lot pondering these questions. I've been in fights where a well placed heal can save a tank, and in return, save the raid. But then I've also been in fights where there was a 1% wipe against an enrage timer, and a little extra dps would have killed the boss.

So where do you draw the line? When things go sour do you step up and try and heal? Or do you pray your healers can take care of things and focus on blowing stuff up. Personally I don't know the answer to this because it changes. Making the right choice between saving a tank or tossing out that extra lightning bolt is what separates a good hybrid dps from a great one.

I'm plagued with choices like this when I raid on my shaman. On some fights the line is gray for instance on Auriya on the pull the tanks take a TON of damage. They take a ton of damage from the 4 cat adds the faster they die the sooner they start taking less damage. So what do you do? You could heal the tank hoping the other dps can kill the adds fast enough or you yourself dps like crazy and try and burn the adds down and hope a healer doesn't slip.

In that situation there really is no 100% right answer and you have to play on the edge of your seat because often times the best choice is both. Tossing out a chain heal followed by a lava burst then getting that lesser healing wave off... it is intense but that is what raiding is about. Playing to the maximum of you and your classes ability.

Other hard choices occur when the boss is low on health, and half the heals and dps are dead. Do you heal hoping you don't run out of mana before the dps can pull off the kill? Or do you throw as much dps at the boss watching as one by one people fall off?

I'm a very competitive person by nature. I love being at or near the top of the damage meter. Often time sacrificing dps to throw out some heals goes off completely notice and likely you will not see any thanks. Yet knowing that you made the right choice and that choice secured victory is one of the greatest feelings you can have.

What choice do you make?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why do hackers have to ruin all the fun?

Last night I got together with Kobeck, my good friend irl, and some core members of the 25 man raid group, that we have been doing Ulduar with, to run 10 man ulduar. We started in VoA to destroy emalon which gave me the Tier 8 Enhancement Gloves.... too bad my spec is Elemental/Resto, being the only shaman though I got them anyhow. We killed Arch in under a minute and then headed to Ulduar.

We had attempted FL with 2 towers the week before but we had pugs and some bad communication, so this week we just decided to steamroll him. We went straight through XT and Kologarn after that and 2 shotted Auriaya for a 10 man first. We circled back to kill Ignis and Razorscale both of which were 1 shots. We start at 9:30 and it was nearing midnight which is when we usually end, but we decided we would go try and take out Iron council real quick.

After all the pace we had was really good and everyone was in really high spirits. We engage one of the giant thingy mahjigs guarding iron council and something happened.... ok I think it was my totems that were back a bit too far but we aggroed both of the giants and wiped soon after. Came back rebuffed and knocked over the giant (with me keeping an eye on my totems this time). During the fight though Kobeck, who was offtanking that night, got disconnected.

We were on vent waiting for him to get back when he says that his password doesn't seem to be working. As soon as he said that I had flash backs of when my account was hacked and the dread of the invalid password flashing across the screen.

I wheeled around just in time to notice Kobeck's character move ever so slightly. Then he ran left right turned around looking a little confused.... and started hearthing. I was 99% sure at this point that he was being hacked but I asked the fateful words anyway... I asked if he was logged in and he responded with no. "You are being hacked" I told him with a knot in my stomach.

The raid pretty much called it at that point and I quickly switched over to my Lanora my priest and Guild Leader of Shadow of Teldrassil. Kobeck is a really close friend of mine IRL so when left our last guild to start my own he was basically second in command. I quickly opened the guild control tab and demoted him down to the lowest rank that had no guild bank privileges.

Fortunately I managed to demote him before he had gotten to the bank (one of the hunters from raid was tracking his movements through dalaran.) I called him an ass and switched back to my Shaman who I had opened a ticket to a GM the instant I saw him hearthing.

It was really painful watching the hacker switch characters and move from the most valuable to the least from gold to gear to bank to badge items. I was offline when my account was hacked but several guild members at the time were on and I recall them talking about the hacker jumping though all of my characters. We relayed all of the information and movements to Kobeck over vent and you could hear the helplessness in his voice.

The ticket that I and several other raid members had put in said that they were currently experiencing high volume. So we waited. and waited. and waited. Around 1 am the status finally changed to you can expect to be serviced in approx 2 hours....

The other members gradually logged off as they had to work in the morning and what not. I stayed. Kobeck and I stayed on vent talking for the next 2 hours.... which turned into 3 hours... which finally changed the status to "Your ticket will be serviced soon." At this point it was 4 am. I had to be at work in 4 hours but I didn't care. The next hour and half waiting though proved a little too much and since I couldn't get out of work, (I don't think my friends wow account being hacked counts as a family emergency) I headed to bed for 2 hours of restless sleep.

I woke up this morning and Kobeck's DK was still under the control of the hacker. In fact the hacker was farming ore in Sholazar Basin with Kobeck's 450 mining and epic flying mount. I talked to Kobeck while at work through text messages and he did eventually regain control over his account. Hopefully he got rid of whatever he lost his account too.

And that's what worries me.... Kobeck is one of the very few people I know that is more intelligent then I am. He has a higher technical expertise when it comes to computers and he is very careful when it comes to the Internet and security. He thinks he may have picked up a script or something from the WoW official forums... makes me glad I really stay away from there.

Anyway hopefully within the next few days he will have the items and gold he lost fully restored and things can return a little bit back to normal.... but then nothing is really the same after you are hacked. You constantly live in fear regardless of how safe or protective you are.... that somehow everything you worked for can still be taken away.

So how did I spend 5 hours on my shaman while waiting in futility for the GM? (is futility a word? if not it should be) I worked on my fishing leveling from 278 fishing to 330 ish.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Character Spotlight Saravid

Saravid right now I would have to say is as close to a main as I have. Simply because she is who I raid progression content on.
I really don't tend to take a lot of screenshots, though I really want to include more on the blog. Looking through my folder most of the screenshots of my shaman are in raids from behind with the UI up. So I took this one just for the blog :D


Well my shaman was created to play with my best friend who got me into the game in the first place. The objective was for her and I to level together and only together. Which worked out really well up until we hit level 14.... and for the next year she remained at that level.

In October after months of talking about WoW my brother decided he wanted to start playing. So through recruit a friend he began playing and created his first character, a human paladin. With him leveling as protection and me leveling as elemental we soon realized how powerful a combination this was.

We 2 manned a lot of instances on our way to outlands with Refer a Friend giving us a huge boost in leveling speed. Even after the release of WotLK, I played on my shaman whenever opportunity arose. When we finally got to northrend though things began to stall out. My brother was getting bored with questing because of the fact that my shaman was so powerful things would often die before he had a chance to hit them.

So I told him that he should go Retribution and he did. This presented its own problems in that things died so fast it was no longer fun for me either. Also at the same time my Priest had just hit 80 and I really was enjoying playing with her. Stuck between leveling and raiding I told my brother to go ahead and level without me.

Saravid stayed level 73 for about 2 months till I finally got the desire to level with her. Shaking off the rust proved extremely easy and getting Lava Burst at level 75 insured my love for my shaman. I worked on getting my JC up as well and started doing the JC dailies. In fact, I had done so many of them that when the time came to hit 80... I could think of no better place..

That same day my shaman was in heroics pulling 2k dps in H UP. After a few weeks of trying to get into raids as dps with my guild (I had been raiding on my priest as a healer), and them trying to take a hard stance on turning the guild into some sort of hardcore raiding guild, I felt it was time to leave the guild behind.

The fact that a few days before one of my friends got me to join the 25 man group that she had been running with helped in making this decision pretty easily. A few weeks later I formed Shadow of Teldrassil with some close friends and family. The guild isn't raiding quite yet but maybe someday. In the meanwhile I run 25 mans every week on my shaman and bring the elemental pain.

As an aside to this post. Due to the rarity of Shamans, and even more so, elemental shaman blogs I contemplated for a long time creating one just for that. However, I realized that my nature wouldn't allow me to focus on just one character for a very long period of time so a blog of this nature seemed better placed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ding makes 5

So I was talking to one of the mages I raid with in 25 ulduar. We were talking about the lovely buff of focus magic, because he usually gives me the buff unless there are other mages. He has an elemental shaman as well and knows how often we crit and knows he can be guaranteed 100% up time on his end.

I told him I had a mage as well but he was only 78. Well... I got an itch to play him and he hit level 80 last night just before I went to bed. I was doing the quest to gather the fragments of Hodir's horn, as part of unlocking the dailies, and thankfully noticed the amount of XP I needed to level so was able to actually get some good screenshots.

I had a fairly good idea I would be hitting 80 over the weekend so earlier on Saturday I purchased the spellweave gloves for 165G (cheaper then the mats to make it) and bought more spellweave cloth to make the chest myself. Overall I spent around 400g. I also had the Chain of Latent Energies that I had won on my paladin in Naxx.

I've also been working on the Argent Tournament dailies since hitting 77 and reached champion level a few days ago. Today I will have enough tokens to pick up my chainsaw. Have I mentioned how much I love the Tournament? Finally while I was browsing the AH for an Offhand item I noticed that this book is now usable by people who don't have inscription. When I made this on my priest that wasn't the case but now I'm going to have to make one when I get on. The rest of the gear I'm going to have to probably get from running heroics, but considering that I was doing 1800 dps average on the training dummy last night I don't think that will be an issue.

Lastly I was doing this quest last night. I was wondering... if I was controlling him if I could see where he was.

That's when I noticed the epic offhand he was using....

Weekend of Raids

This weekend I did an unusual amount of raiding for myself. Friday was pretty normal with going in to Ulduar 25 man with my regular group. The group I raid with isn't a guild run... or a guild alliance... its just a group of skilled players that raids together on a weekly basis... I have no clue what you would call that. But I digress.

Friday saw our normal clearing of the first few bosses in ulduar FL, Razor, XT, and Kolo. We also usually start with VoA if we have WG and so Emalon also went down. Was about a 2.5 hr raid in total I would say by the time we got everyone together.

This gave us Saturday to work on Auriaya. If you are familiar with Ulduar at all you will know why they say this fight is all about the pull but in case you don't here is why...

That is our DK tank dying in .42 seconds on the pull. In the end we switched to our MT paladin pulling while popping Divine Protection (bubblewall) while our ret pally hit Divine Sacrifice with Divine Shield for a 80% damage reduction. Even with all of that I would start out the figh spamming lesser healing wave on the tanks till the damage stabilized and I could go back to DPS.

We finished the fight by going to Ignis and smacking him down. We had killed him before, a few weeks back, but for some reason he has been giving us a lot of problems. Ok ok... I know the reason... we have a tank who is TERRIBLE at any fight that requires more then one brain cell. Basically he would lose adds to healer threat and not taunt for just long enough to lose 3-4 healers which would end the attempt.

We solved this by having our ret pally switch to protection and having 3 add tanks. Really sucks having to compensate so much for one persons short falls. Especially when that one person wins every. single. freaking. tank gear that drops and still sucks.

So here is the picture of the boss going down.

Because I took the screen shot so quick Recount hadn't refreshed here are the meters for the fight.

I included the healing meter too because I got stuck in the pot a lot and was spamming heals on myself (as anyone who heals should do). Usually I come out ahead of the other shaman in dps but I did over 100k healing during the fight which was time I wasn't dpsing.

Overall it is a fun fight though the flame jets can be very very annoying for casters.

As if that wasn't enough for one night... my friend whispered me and asked if I wanted to run Naxx 25 on my hunter with them. I said sure and switched over to my hunter and headed to Naxx. No sooner had I got there she informed me they already filled the slot even though they told her they would invite me.


Well I was itching to raid more anyway so I dropped myself in LFG for Naxx 10. Figured I could run for a bit and if my friend needed me and the group I was in wasn't going anywhere I could switch. After about 10 minutes I got a whisper and invite for a fresh Naxx 10 group.

Well cool I joined up got on vent and waited a bit for them to find the last healer. The leader of the group mentioned they could find a tank and he could switch to his priest. That's when I offered to switch to my paladin and tank. After all it is easy to find a dps. Well we found a dps before a healer so I switched to my paladin and he hopped on his priest.

We then proceeded to raid for the next 6 hours. We cleared construct first, then military, then plague. At that point I was exhausted and logged for the morning. Had some new people and some weak dps but in all it still went pretty smooth. I'm used to pugs having that slow pace especially when people come and go.

Gluth, 4H were both pretty interesting. We lost our main kiter after the first decimate. I ran to the back and began kiting and thanks to a hunter dropping frost trap was able to effectively do so till the next decimate. At that point I took over on gluth and he went to the back to pick up the adds. This proved enough to bring the big doggie down.

On 4H we lost our offtank healer to a meteor just as Baron went down. The offtank lived long enough for my healer to get there and take over while I went to the back. Only thing was that because the switch had happened not long before that my healer didn't let his stacks drop off and ended up dying when he got to 6. Thane died shortly thereafter and we headed to the back where the last healer was.

At this point I did what I could for healing spamming flash of light till my mana went dry popping divine plea and a mana pot. Just before the last horseman died the priest kicked the bucket leaving me, the other tank, and 2 dps alive. Was sloppy but worked. Guess thats why I love playing hybrids. Often times you can use all of your abilities to pull off a win where you should have wiped. Have any experiences like this?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Character Spotlight: Artorin

Artorin was actually my first character ever created in WoW. His name came from an RP thing that my brother, sister, and wife did around Christmas before I started playing. The character that I had created for that was an older man that had magic abilities but rarely used them. So when creating my Druid I figured that he would follow in a similar fashion. Thus my druid was created with long white hair and an older appearing face.


When I first hit level 10 and discovered talent points, I put my initial points into balance because that was the only thing that seemed useful. Since you start out essentially as a caster reducing the cast time on wrath and stuff seemed like the smartest move. Then I hit level 20 and everything changed. Training cat form and looking down the talents I noticed that there was a talent that increased the run speed in cat form. That was it.

I immediately respeced into feral and leveled to 70 like that. Around the 50's Nikkyo who was my best friends boyfriend at the time joined up with me on his warrior to give me some pointers. His main was a feral druid and actually pointed out that my gear with int and spirit, regardless of being blue quality, was not as good as green armor with agility and stamina. With his advice I headed to outlands and began joining groups as bear tank.

When level 70 came I pretty much had it in mind that I wanted to raid and had spent lots of time on thottbot looking up armor upgrades through questing and what not. Also Polumaka (my friend) and I left our LOLZ guild to join Renevatio. Renevatio was a guild formed by burned out members from a PreBC raiding guild. They were talented, intelligent but burned out on raiding 5 nights a week chasing server firsts. I was about halfway through the attunement (I started at 68 thanks to being a druid w/ flight form) for Kara when I hit 70 and they were working on downing Curator. This was in July so around 5-6 months after BC was released.

At that time Kara was split up into 2 nights where we would clear as many of the early bosses the first and then work on the rest the second day. I started offtanking for them on the early nights till I slowly got geared up. Raiding for the first time was truly fascinating, every pull had to be carefully marked out and executed. CC was required and those trash mobs sure put a beating on you. I learned a lot from this crew of raiders and they instilled on me a lot of good habits that seem to be missing these days.

After we began clearing Kara regularly the leadership started to grow the ranks in hopes of running 25 mans. This is where things started to go down hill. With in short order we were running 2 10 man groups fairly regularly and eventually got enough to take on Gruul. Now there was an epic fight from my perspective. We spent 2 weeks on High King Maul... talk about a fight being dependent on the pull... and another 2 weeks after that to get Gruul. I still remember being the last of 3 tanks alive when the big ass guy finally fell over. Heart pounding, hands shaking, truly the last time I would feel those emotions on a boss kill.

Death of a Guild

A few weeks of farming gruul lead to attendance numbers dropping. Since we were getting ~20 members to show up, we decided to at least work on the trash in SSC and take some shots at lurker. Around this time I had serious questions about how much time I was spending on the game and decided it was best to cut back on raiding maybe entirely. Things had become stressful at home and telling my wife that I had to raid on certain nights so we couldn't do stuff... wasn't going over well.

Did I cause the downfall of the guild? I'll never fully know but after about a week or 2 of my announcement the Guild leader and his wife (really co leads) decided they were going to quit the game entirely and disband the guild. And so a few weeks later the guild bank and gold was distributed, the website and vent shut down, and Renevatio faded away into obscurity.

Before the Ren was completely shut down, one of the rogues nicknamed b2, told me he was starting a new guild and with the release of ZA would be focusing on 10 man. This is where things became problematic with my wife. I really wanted to help b2 and the new guild out and play as their main tank... but I had already told my wife that I was done with raiding.

Bad Choice...

I'm sorry to say that I made the wrong choice that day and chose to put the game and the guild over my wife. Tranquility was created and we began raiding again almost immediately. Zul'aman was a new raid with new challenges to experience and I enjoyed every second of it. We killed the bear boss our first night in and on our second try. The following week we got the eagle boss to around 20% and the week after he went down. The lynx boss.... ouch. He put an end to our good progress and the following week I chose to take a better geared warrior offtank over the lesser geared protection paladin. Turns out that decision would ultimately damn the guild.

The paladin's friend and GF happened to be 2 of our healers. So because I chose the warrior due to commanding shout and better gear over the paladin they quit the raid. Within a few days they all /gquit and progression stopped dead in its tracks. Without enough members to field a 10 man I should have just stopped raiding all together like I had said. But I couldn't...

Raiding was enough of a bug that I chose to, instead, join the guild that Nikkyo had went to after Ren broke up. Thus I joined the ranks of Serendipity, this time as a healer. Healing on my druid was new and exciting. I was also very good at it. Despite my lower gear I consistently began being in the top 2 healers for the 25 man runs. After a good solid month of raiding with them all hell broke loose.

Back but not the same.

On New Years Eve my wife told me she was moving out. I had put the game above my family and everything finally came crashing down. I hadn't noticed the depression she was in and while I noticed her turning to a friend I didn't see how far things were going. So I decided that it was time to quit WoW. Before logging off for the last time (or so I thought) I attended one last raid with the guild. We were going into Tempest Keep and making more attempts on Alar. That night we not only downed Alar for the first time as a guild but also took down Solorian and Void Reaver for guild firsts.

Still 10 months away from the next expansion this would turn out to be my crowning achievement in Burning Crusade with 4 bosses down in SSC and 3/4 in TK. My wife and I went through couples counseling and a few weeks after she moved out, came home. Things were still rocky between us but at least I didn't have any distractions. With a new outlook we overcame a lot of the problems we had and things began looking up. In fact she found out how annoyingly touchy feely I am when I don't have a habit to distract me :P

So around April or so with her permission I reactivated my account. I was still in the same guild and the people were still there but things were different. I was a raider before and getting into groups for heroics and what not was easy. Not anymore. I felt like an outsider and things were wearing on me. Since I wasn't raiding and just pugging everything I got to the point where I was just ready to quit the game. That's when Redd one of the warlock officers announced that she was going to start running Night Owl Kara runs.

Even though I had farmed Kara to death before and didn't need any gear I saw this as my opportunity. I was careful with the time I played and since these runs occurred late at night (starting at 12:30 am) I could raid and not ignore my family at the same time. Thus with my wife's permission I started raiding one night a week clearing kara and started making new friends in the guild. That was until the end of BC...

3.0 and the death of Night Owls

Night Owl runs were totally laid back and fun for everyone involved. This presented a problem though with the other officers. Eventually Redd stepped down as an officer to get away from all the drama but continued to lead raids. Things only worsened when we started to run ZA instead of Kara. The regularly scheduled raids had been having trouble getting enough sign ups while the Night Owl runs were typically overbooked. The officers viewed us as a threat to the guild and Redd, under lots of pressure, left Serendipity to help form a new guild.

In the wake of her leaving 80% of the Night Owl crew followed. I didn't. I had hoped that this all was because of the impending release of WotLK and that things would balance out at 80 with new content. Taking stock of Artorin I had full sets for balance, resto, feral dps, tanking, pvp resto, and pvp balance. All of it was epic and the pvp gear was mostly vengeful/brutal. With the expansion coming and vowing to make everything obsolete I decided that I didn't want Artorin to be my main character in WotLK.

At this point I had 4 level 70's; Artorin, Llina, Arravis, and Lanora. I remembered having the most fun leveling my hunter so in the last few weeks of BC I spent time getting Arravis her epic flyer and getting everything in order for WotLK.

Post WotLK Release

After the expansion Artorin was simply used for skinning and lw but I did this all carefully as to not to level past 70. I ran a bunch of alterac valleys till I was blue in the face but it wasn't until this week that I finally decided I was ready to work on him. So after getting 4 80's and a 78 my first ever character finally hit 71 and I have a feeling he will be getting a lot more attention.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mmm Tears

So in case you missed it, Blizzard announced they are lowering the requirements of mounts. The standard 60% speed mount will be available at lvl 20, the 100% epic mount will be available at lvl 40 and your standard flying mount will be available at level 60. The speed increase for the standard flyer is being increased from 60 to 150%. Epic flying and cold weather flying remain the same but this still has a huge impact on the leveling game.

While being bored at work I decided to assault my brain with some mindless dribble that is comments on posts. I was not disappointed.

Everything from demanding gold back, to blizzard is making the game too easy, to charging that the next step is giving mounts to level 1 characters or simply starting everyone at 80. Mmm drama. So what is my take on all of this? Well as an altaholic I should be thrilled right? Well to an extent I am... but since I only have one character that will fully benefit from these changes (and likely will be at least 30 by the time the change goes through) . Even though I have paid for epic ground training on all but one character, flying on 6 characters, and epic flying on 2, I don't feel slighted in the least.

There has been a lot of talk on blogs about how WoW is in decline and people are quitting WoW because it is too easy or because they don't want to level another alt. Well people don't think about all of the new players coming into the game. WoW's subscription numbers have been rising and you don't honestly think they are all level 80 now do you? I recently got my wife into playing and deleted my 22 warlock to create a druid to play with her. After leveling her to 48 I deleted the druid and remade a warlock.

The reason I mention this is because I noticed there were a lot of low characters running around. What I noticed was that there were a large number of characters in the low level zones. Sure maybe not as many as you would see in icecrown but still a decent amount. Also I'd say about 1/3 of the players we ran into were actually leveling their first characters. Indeed this trend followed into outlands where the instance groups typically only had one or two death knights.

These changes that Blizzard made help not only the new players progress faster but also get people leveling alts more. Ideally this mix will help train new players so that when they get to 80 they aren't entirely useless. Overall though this change doesn't affect the difficulty in the game. This change is purely in decreasing the time it takes to level by reducing travel time. There were a lot of complaints when the mount requirement was reduced from level 40 to 30. This turned out to be an awesome change because it made getting groups for instances like Scarlet monastery for alliance viable.

I remember the long hauls on foot to get all the way to scarlet monastery while the rest of the party sat around in battlegrounds or stormwind, because they didn't even have the flight plan for southshore, and it would take them too long to get there. Lowering the mount requirement made it easier to get people to make the journey to the stone. Now this change may make other instances more viable as well such as wailing caverns or shadowfang keep. Additionally I can relate recently to having to make the barrens run on my baby warlock for the succubus quest. On a mount that run would have taken half the time!

Does that decrease the difficulty of the quest? Because it took less time to run? Was it hard for me to auto run to the barrens for 20 minutes? NO! Having a mount at a lower level doesn't suddenly make the quests easier to actually do. The mobs are the same level, have the same abilities, and the same drop rate. This just makes it easier to get back to turn them in.

The faster new players can level through the content the sooner they will be there to heal/dps or tank for you. This is another reason why when you are in a group with a new player you should take a little time to explain what they are doing wrong in a way that doesn't cause them to quit. You don't want that noob dpsing in a heroic? Well maybe he wouldn't be a noob if you had showed him to use aspect of the hawk instead of aspect of the viper when you were with him on an alt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

5 Tips for those under 1500 DPS (Spec selection)

  1. Can't hit 1500 DPS as a level 80? Blaming this on the world or everyone else? Here are some friendly tips on how not to fail when it comes to Specing your character from a DPS standpoint.

The pic attached to this (if you can't see it clearly) is of my level 70 druid doing 1489 DPS on a target dummy in Darnassus. The fight was 3 minutes long and completely single target (except for the few seconds where my treants ran off to attack another dummy). If my druid at lvl 70 can do 1500 dps then there is no excuse for any class at 80 to not be able to do that.

  1. The 71 Point Frost Mage

    I used the frost mage as an example only because it is the one I have seen the most. This applies to every class in the game however. You will never ever get the most DPS out of a spec by just dumping 71 points into a single tree.
  2. Look for talents that boost your damage in other trees.

    Whether it is the aforementioned Frost Mage putting in enough points into Arcane to pick up Torment the Weak for an extra 12% damage on their primary nuke. Ret paladins pick up Divine Strength, elemental shamans pick up Thundering Strikes and the list goes on. Especially when it comes to pure dps classes (mage, hunter, warlock, rogue) there are many opportunities to pick up extra damage talents from other trees.
  3. Pick up those +hit talents!

    This applies mostly to spell casters (as some melee classes don't have +hit talents) but you have 17% miss as a caster and picking up talents that increase your hit goes a long way to increasing your dps. Early on it can be a struggle to get hit capped and any where you can pick up these talents will save a lot of headache.

    Obviously if you are stuck with gear with so much hit rating that you are way over the hit cap then you may want to take talents out (or rethink your gear). Chances are though if you have this problem you don't need to read this list anyway...
  4. Pick up raid utility when needed.

    Now what do I mean by raid utility you ask? Well I'm glad you asked! (and even if you didn't I'm going to tell you anyway) Raid utility is any ability or talent that you can take that doesn't just enhance yourself... but also the party or raid. Whether it is Replenishment or + Hit buffs or anything that helps increase the group dps or survivability.

    Now the when needed part really depends on if you are in a guild or not and how easily these buffs can be picked up. If you are in a guild you may be asked to spec a certain way to provide the buff for the group especially when it comes to replenishment. Some classes pick this up simply by picking up all of the damage buffs such as shadow priests and Ret paladins. Bottom line if you are in a guild and they ask you to pick it up then do so. If you aren't in a guild then pick it up if it is convenient but don't go out of your way if it means a large drop in your dps.
  5. Don't pick PvP talents over Damage talents

    Sure you may kill things fine in a pvp fight but this here is PvE! You won't be getting attacked or at least you shouldn't be getting attacked... ever! Your job is simply to do as much damage as humanly possible in as little time as possible for as long as possible. Picking up a talent that reduces the duration of stuns on you... isn't going to accomplish this. So as a general rule don't pick up anything that improves your survivability unless you have every single dps talent already picked up and can't do anything else with it.

    Your survivability in a PvE environment depends on how fast you can kill the boss and that is it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Graduation QQ

My sister had her high school graduation today... big grats to her! Of course that means I had to go... but its friday! I have a group that I raid with friday and saturday nights starting at 9:30 PM. Her graduation started at 7 so I figured I should have enough time to go, watch her do her thing, then get home to get my raid on.

Murphy being the optimist he was... it was pouring rain driving to the fairgrounds. The rain had dissipated by the time we arrived but the fact that it had just down poured there for 30 minutes prior to us getting there meant the grass parking lot I had to park in was almost entirely flooded. So yay for walking to the arena in tons of mud! Anyway sitting on a tiny metal bench with my knees in the person in front of me and the person behind me with their knees in my back... really not comfortable at all. Hour and a half later they finally called her name up she got her fake diploma (they hand out the real ones after), and I excused myself to stretch my legs and get some fresh... humid... air. Half an hour later they do the whole pomp and circumstance thing and they all pile out of the arena.

After hunting down my sister and dragging her over to the family so they could do the whole picture thing and I could go home... we are informed there is a party for the family back at my parents house. So I'm home atm long enough to post this and let my feet dry out before I have to go over there and eat cake. Better be some damn good cake. Oh well hopefully I can do some raiding tomorrow.

P.S. On the way back from my parents we came up to an intersection with a turning lane that we turn left on. We get into the lane and are getting ready to make the turn when a black Trans AM puts its left turn signal on and cuts infront of us. Totally not a big deal right? Well... he then proceeds to turn too much and essentially runs over the median ( we were turning onto a devided 4 lane road). With his wheels split on either side of the median he finally jumps the curb.... into the wrong side of the road.

Now he is driving on the wrong side of the road (thank God it was at 12:30 AM) and almost runs into the curb again when the turning lane he was driving in at the time comes to an end. He avoids hitting it though and proceeds to come to the next division in the median where you would make a left hand turn from if you were actually going the right way... so he makes a U turn.... and is now driving straight at us....

My wife was driving so I told her to pull into the next parking lot which happened to be a bank, before this dumbass could kill us in a head on collision. I turn back and what do I see? The black Trans AM of death turning into the bank... fortunately he turned to the right and went around that way, while we flipped around the opposite direction and went through the drive through to get back to the main road.

.... and the best part? This happened right in front of a Police Station...

Quick Update

So... I'm working on a guide to help new players who just hit 80 find their way into pulling their weight in groups. Since its my first guide though I want to take my time on making sure it is presentable and easy to read. I have ideas for other guides including using my 78 mage turning 80 as an example about how to hit 80 and be able to put out enough dps to go right into Naxx.

So my blog may be a little quiet while I work on those. Last night my warrior hit lvl 70 and put on the full set of Cobalt Tanking armor which brought me up to the defense cap and gave me a good boost in effective health (armor+hps). The major thing that I realized after was how much I took for granted the hit rating my old armor had... 5% chance to miss sucks. Anyway heading off to work now have a good day everyone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Who I am and What I play

This is going to be a short and quick post of who I am playing and what class and spec they are. I will go into more detail about why I chose what specs for each and go into more detail of the history of each but to save this from being a 20 page post this will do for now. For the most part I stick to Durotan US realm though have some projects on other servers.

Ardarin - 68 Human Death Knight. Currently Blood DPS

Artorin - 70 Night Elf Druid. Spec undecided

Arravis - 80 Night Elf Hunter. Survival Spec

Gandreolf - 78 Human Mage. Arcane Spec

Jadedfury - 71 Human Rogue. Subtelty Spec

Lanora - 80 Draenei Priest. Discipline Spec

Llina - 80 Human Paladin. Protection Spec

Saravid - 80 Draenei Shaman. Elemental Main / Restoration Secondary

Skillet - 14 Gnome Warlock. Affliction Spec

Skyru - 69 Draenei Warrior. Protection Main / Arms Secondary

What's with the name?

When I first started playing WoW I rolled a druid named Artorin and leveled him to 70 (I started after BC came out). Artorin leveled as Feral and I started my raiding career as a Bear tank. The guild that I was in had just started raiding in Kara around the time I hit 70 and by the time I was geared up enough to off tank they had downed curator for the first time.

This was around August or September I believe and the guild that I was in was a small guild at the time. So we alternated players letting the lesser geared players clear the first half, while the better geared cleared the second half the next day. This worked well till we had enough players to have 2 10 mans. This of course led directly into trying to get enough members for 25 mans. I was part of our guilds first High King and Gruul guild but within a few weeks after that the Guild Leaders (husband and wife) got frustrated with the slow progress and decided to flat out quit the game.

In the wake of my first guild splitting apart I decided that I would try other things then just tanking. So I tried healing a bit. First as a feral spec with healing gear to eventually going full tree. I then became fascinated with being a balance druid and set off on the painful task of gathering spell damage gear since during this time spell damage and healing were entirely different stats. So for the next few months I switched back and forth between different specs whenever it struck my fancy and really enjoyed the variety that playing a hybrid gave me.

My search for knowledge led me to Blogs such as,, and Resto4life who has since given up blogging.

My main was undoubtledly Artorin during all of BC and it was simple to post on blogs going by my Druid's name. But then WotLK came out. I decided that I didn't want to level my druid first so choosing between my other 70's at the time (priest, paladin, hunter), I went with my hunter to level first to 80. Posting on Big Red Kitty and other sites left me questioning what name should I be using? After all Artorin is a druid and I was mainly playing a hunter at the time... but was the hunter my main?

To complicate things further I leveled my priest up shortly after and almost completely stopped playing my hunter. Then my shaman hit 80.... and then my paladin... each time my interest in the one before faded a little. So who am I? What class do I play? What is my main? All these questions drove me to creating this blog as a sanity check and a single identity. Though I play many classes I play them all as a unit. Not one being greater then the next or having alts for the sole purpose of grinding materials.

With my ADD (attention defecit disorder)being what it is I play the class I find interesting at the time. I LOVE maximizing every toons potential and playing to the best of my abilities. My abilities and love though can't be contained in a single class... so I must play them all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Server Restart...

So... 10:30 pm and the server restarts booo.

Oh well got Skyru my Warrior's Blacksmithing and Mining to 350 and proceeded to go to Howling Fjord with the wife and train. Hopefully I'll gather enough mats to make the tanking set for when I hit 70. More then likely though I'll hit 70 and just buy the mats from the AH. I mean Cobalt isn't expensive anymore is it?

Nvm Patch...

Ok so forget playing right now... apparantly my computer didn't DL the patch properly so I have to wait on that.

Oh well gonna grab some food and watch a movie while it is doing its thing.


Well this is my first blog and first blog post ever. I have been reading a lot of blogs from various other World of Warcraft players over the last few years and have finally decided to jump into the blogosphere myself.

I enjoy the expansive world of Azeroth and even more playing the various classes that are currently in the game. As of this posting I have but one class not leveled to atleast 68 and that is a Warlock. Currently I have a Shaman, Paladin, Priest and Hunter at level 80 and between them can Tank/DPS/Heal.

I believe in Maximizing my characters for the role they will be playing. I usually raid atleast once a week on one of my 80's and since I do so with different classes and different perspectives. I'm hoping that readers will enjoy reading my take on different roles and focuses of fights, as well as tips and tricks that I find playing and researching the game.

As my wife will attest too I am not the greatest writer in the world, but hopefully writing this blog on a regular basis will help with that.

Anyway thats all for now I'm done creating this and now want to get some actual play time in. Till we meet again, good hunting.