30.11.09

Old school Onyxia

John: “Alex, do you want to do a little recap of last weeks adventures?”
Alex the GM: “Sure. Last week our heroes made their way from Ashenvale down through the steppes of the Barrens (Mike you had that little incident in the Crossroads...)”
Mike: “Well, the less said about that the better.”
Others laugh and smile.
Alex the GM: “The party made their way into the swamps southeast of the Barrens, heading for the rumored lair of the Broodmother. Last time we left it when you guys had made camp at an abandoned Ogre cave.”
John: “Oh yeah, it really was abandoned then?”
Alex the GM: “Yes, I assume you want to pack up and get going?”
John: (looks at other players) “Shall we?”
The others agree.
Alex the GM: “The party sets out and finds what looks like a dragon’s face jutting out of the rock, it’s teeth forming a fence-like door.”
Dave (the Dwarf): “I bet that’s the door the amulet opens!”
John: “Let’s go! We head for the cave/door.”
Alex the GM: “You encounter no resistance as you walk up, but the teeth don’t move.”
Dave: “I want to try touching them with the amulet.”
Alex the GM: “When you hold the amulet to the teeth, there’s a rumble below and the teeth withdraw into the ground, ahead is a dark cave that seems unnaturally warm.”
Frank: “I need to take a pee break guys, I’ll be right back.” (Frank exits)
Others sigh.
*A few minutes later.*
Frank: “Hey guys I’m back what did I miss?”
Alex the GM: “When you snap out of your meditation, you find the party had already moved into the cave, as you follow, drakonid corpses litter the floor, the cave walls look carved out by fire, generally smooth with the nasty serrated, sharp edges left for decoration.”
Frank: “I hurry to catch up with the others.”
Alex the GM: “You find the party waiting for you on the edge of a giant hollow chamber, it’s extremely hot in there, you can see a giant black female dragon asleep at the back of the room. Off to the sides you see huge quantities of spikey dragon eggs.”
John: “It’s been a long journey, but now the time has come to draw swords. Let us also take a moment to remember William, our proud hunter, who was lost to us when we fought the horde guarding the barrens entrance.”
Dave: “good euphemism for his girlfriend’s a bitch, haha.”
Alex the GM: “The dragon is awakened by your stirring, roll for initiative.”
*A few minutes later.*
John: “Can’t believe we did that!” Awesome!”
Alex the GM: “As you gut the dragon, inside you find pieces a helmet, hardened by the dragon’s stomach, it’s a mail helmet that looks like it would suit a hunter.”
Dave: “Aaah, what? We got out only hunter killed.”
John: “Oh my god, this entire journey and there’s no sword what?”
Frank: “I need to sue the loo again guys, I’ll be right back.”
Others sigh.

25.11.09

What (will) we raid.

Currently my guild raids on 3 evenings. Wednesday we raid Onyxia 25 followed by TotC 25. Thursdays we run several groups for TotC 10. Sundays we run TotC 10 Heroic. TotC 10 Heroic is our progression night. We’ve taken our 25man group into TotC 25 Heroic but that was… painful. In addition if we have lots of time we sometimes take a 25 group to Ulduar to get some time in on Yogg 25, whom we still haven’t killed.

There are also unofficial raid nights, we are running one hard mode group that is doing the hard modes in Ulduar 10. That group is now at the point where more than a few members have completed the meta and we are ready to carry some other guildies to Rusted Proto-Drakes.

Soon we’ll be in Icecrown Citadel. I expect we’ll start off the raiding week with 10man ICC as a good basis for learning the encounters (and likely a less steep learning curve.) If/when we clear the 10 mans, we’ll move onto the 25 and see how we do there. What is now the Ulduar hard mode group will probably move on to try and clear ToC 10 Heroic and try to get some achievements there for doing it with as little wipes as possible.

What concerns me are the Icecrown hard modes. From what I understood the hard modes will work like those in Ulduar, at each boss you either kill it in normal or hard mode. It means that our guilds hard mode group will get locked to ICC 10man and not get to do certain hard modes. If we raid just with the hard mode group we diminish the guilds chances of clearing Icecrown. However if we raid with the guild, we diminish our chances of doing the hard modes… decisions, decisions.

24.11.09

More Drakes and Icecrown

As you know recently a group from my guild (that includes yours truly) managed to plow through the Ulduar 10 hardmode meta achievement and obtained the Rusted Proto-Drake. When we managed to down Yogg with only one keeper the first of us completed the meta and got our drakes. A few members of that raid however, did not get their drakes. Due to attendance they had missed some hardmodes here or there. Last night we set out to complete a few more Glories of the Ulduar Raider.

Of course, there was someone who missed our Flame Leviathan +4 and we started out in the deep end. There’s a lot of random in that fight so it took us 4-5 attempts to get it down, but down it we did. In the end the kill was pretty clean. We moved on to Heartbreaker, which we cleared in one attempt. It also dropped an Aesir’s Edge for our warrior tank’s offspec! Next was Kologarn’s Disarmed achievement, again a single attempt was needed to clear it. We pressed on. Auriaya, Crazy Cat Lady… At this point I was looking at my wife’s screen a bit too much. She respecced her Shamans offspec from Resto to Elemental as her guild needs more ranged DPS. I was looking over her shoulder at the big Lava Burst numbers (which I’ve been enjoying a lot recently on my own Elemental Shaman alt) when my team pulled Auriaya and I got everyone killed by not properly tanking the guardians… oops! We got her the second try though, Auriaya herself down to 50% when the first Feral Defender spawned

We backtracked a bit and downed Assembly of Iron, Steelbreaker last in one go (a fight we usually struggle with) with some hilarity at the end as our warrior tank used the buff to blow up our shaman healer after the fight had finished. Freya was next – not an easy fight by any stretch of the imagination and again we cleared it without a hitch. We lost our warrior tank and with no battle res ready we finished it with 9. We had some time to spare so we headed for Thorim and downed him on hardmode in one shot as well. In all thre people got their drakes, What A Night!

When Icecrown citadel is released I imagine our little hard mode group will start running Trial of the Grand Crusader 10mans for the achievements. The guild will be running the 10man Icecrown citadel as an official raid, and the hardmodes are activated on a per-boss basis (as in Ulduar.) Unfortunately that means we won’t be able to have a separate save for our group as we include some of our best dps, some of our main tanks, a raid leader and a couple top healers. Maybe after we’re comfortably clearing the 25man we’ll have the opportunity to try for some hadmodes there but it’s not likely we’ll be able to run the group in the same way.

17.11.09

Is this Blog where I post a picture of my Rusted Proto-Drake?

Yes it is! Our 10man Hard mode group finished Yogg Saron +1 just now and that means this:Also... We killed Algalon! It was a very... very good night.



2.11.09

Full Circle

Rewind three and a half years. After what seemed like months my Tauren Hunter (yes!) had finally hit 60. As this was the first time I had hit the maximum level in an MMO (not counting hitting 100 in PSO) I was sort of bewildered as to what to do next. Someone said “Gear up for raids!” I didn’t even know that there was a whole end-game prepared, waiting for groups of 40 eager gamers to throw themselves at. So out I went and geared up (I must’ve ran Stratholme 50 times for those double Bone-Slicing hatchets) and we started raiding. I lost interest in WoW for the first time after we finally killed the big dog just before the end of Blackwing Lair, Chromaggus.

All I remember from that fight was the slice of line of sight that I was allowed to stand in and run out of to shoot my tranq shot and a short bit of damage rotation. Hunters had their own (voice- and text) channel to coordinate the tranqs and damage. Looking back at it now, it required perfection. Healers needed to be perfect, in the right place, dps needed to be on the ball, in the right place, delivering their maximum. Look up the abilities for Chromaggus if you want a good laugh.

Fast forward to last night. We killed the Beasts encounter in ToGC on 10man, the heroic mode. Tank switches during Gormok have to be done right, there’s some give, but getting a third stack of the debuff strains the healers. Healers need to be right on it, they have to have the tank healed up, if they get hit by fire and have to move even briefly it can mean tank death and thus a wipe. If they get hit by a Snobold it’s dangerous and dps, who have to deliver their maximums anyway to get the boss down quick already, have to get in there and nuke down the Snobold. Then the worms, they have to be picked up very quick, positioned and moved right and the debuff dispel has to go right in both directions.

What hit me is that it requires almost perfection in the same way. It’s tuned very tightly and requires everyone to perform as good as they can give. Maximum threat, maximum DPS, maximum healing, whilst moving, watching debuffs and not standing in the fire or poison. It really has no right to be this much fun!

27.10.09

Ard’s UI


I’ve long wanted to post something about my UI and last night I grabbed a screenshot so I can finally do so. I’ll get a few basics out of the way first. Recount and Omen, sitting just above the chat on the left and, on the far right, Pally Power, made quite small (a great, almost essential, Paladin addon that I wish would either hide in combat or allow casting in combat.) I use Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text and SexyMap. The tooltip I moved with MoveAnything.

I use AG_uf unitframes, displaying minimal information for myself and a bit more for my target and the target of target. I use Bartender to allow me to place my main action bars where I want them and how I want them. There’s one action bar on the far right, above Pally Power that’s almost entirely see-through so you can’t see it very well.

Next is NeedToKnow. Just above the action bars and to the right of my unit frame you can see three little bars displaying Holy Shield, Increased block (libram proc) and Divine Plea, also the bigger bar tracking Avenging wrath further right. NeedToKnow allows you to specify a buff or debuff that you want to track and displays a little countdown bar for it. You’ll notice all my cooldowns on the right, each one has a bar of it own that appears when I use it.

My buffs and debuffs are organized with Satrina buff Frames. It has lots and lots of options and took me a while to setup but I ended going for something quite simple. The top row of buffs are my own and all auras and totems. The second row are buffs cast on me by others. The third row are debuffs.

Lastly, Grid displays my raid info, who has agro, who has debuffs and the health and mana of each unit.

My UI is something that changes quite a lot, as I thnk of other things I want displayed or hidden and I tend to rearrange things a lot : )

13.10.09

Better late than never

Last week our little hard mode team (put together for Ulduar 10 hard modes) threw themselves at the Vezax hard mode for a couple of hours. We learned a lot but were unable to down the General. Yesterday we were at it again. We warmed up with a speed kill of Ignis which was probably our smoothest ever. I tanked Ignis and our warrior tank took care of the adds.

We moved on to the Descent of Madness, cleared some trash and then started on Vezax. Our first attempt had some problems that cropped up during the Animus phase - when kiting Vezax in the that phase we had some Shadow Crashes hit the melee group (due to kiting) and some ranged (because warnings were not getting through.) Just to clarify, in the hard mode no Saronite Vapors are killed and they coalesce into a Saronite Animus, a mob with 1.6m health that needs to be killed while still dealing with most of Vezax’ normal abilities. Our second attempt went really smoothly, we had Vezax down to less than 20% when the Animus spawned, we finished the Animus with no problems and downed Vezax – another step closer to Rusted Protodrakes.

Next we faced an Old God – Yogg-Saron. Our guild had not managed to kill Yogg on either 10 or 25. We’ve had some attempts on Yogg in the past. I thought we lacked either healing or coordination then but now I think we lacked the melee dps/experience to take out the brain room in the second phase. Experience there really is the key. We probably had more than enough dps all along. Most of our attempts last night were effectively spent learning the portal/brain room – getting that right is what made it possible for us to beat the encounter. Once we got that down (literally the first time we reached phase 3) we downed Yogg-Saron as well.

Three achievements remain – Flame Leviathan with four towers up, Firefighter (Mimiron hard mode) and Yogg-saron with only 1 keeper assisting.

11.10.09

Ard Impersonator Caught Redhanded!

My saturday morning session started out funny and a bit weird at the same time.

As you can see in the screenshot a mage on my server named Waika whispered me and asked if their was an officer online. (I was playing my shaman alt, now level 64 btw ^^)

I can only guess what 'Waika' was thinking, or trying to achieve. He had whispered my friend Fey and asked if there were any officers online.

My first guess as that he had applied to out guild and wanted to talk to someone about it.

When he said 'oh ye ^^ could you invite this char (my alt - Ard)' I didn't really understand what he meant.
Did he mean to say 'his alt' to me, Ard? So I asked and then he claimed to be 'Ard, human pallie.' It's highly unlikely that he would've gotten away with that with any of the other officers but what are the chances he asks ME for a sneaky invite!?

A screenshot to frame in my opinion :D

8.10.09

The Joy

I have times when I really don’t enjoy playing Warcraft. Usually this is sometimes around the end of the summer. It tends to be quiet online, raids are hard to fill up, the auction house looks like a flea market. At those times I log on, stand around in Dalaran for a while, realize I don’t feel like dailies, running dungeons or PvP and just log back out. I felt like this just a few weeks ago.

Well, summer is over and I’m really enjoying Warcraft. I’m leveling a Shaman alt, now 62, which is highly enjoyable as elemental really comes into it’s own in Outland, mainly thanks to gear. Raids are back to full and progressing. Our hard mode team is back in swing and attacking Ulduar 10. Last Monday we cleared Thorim hard mode, which went faster than some of our normal kills, this also got our guy-on-the-Algalon-key-quest the item he needed from Thorim. We Absolutely nuked down Hodir hard mode (yours truly delivering nearly 8k dps… in offspec!) We had to get past Mimiron so no hard mode there but our kill on normal really showed our progress, there were quite a few deaths, it had been a while since we had done Mimiron, yet we cleared the encounter quite comfortably. We also tried some tactics that should help us when we do start trying this on hard, just taunting the bomb bots and eating the damage instead of controlling it and a good tank switch tactic on the Plasma blasts in fase 1.

Then we threw ourselves at General Vezax. We don’t have a lot of experience with Vezax, we’ve only killed 3 or 4 times. This time we tried for the hard mode. We had many attempts but were not able to down him and the Saronite Animus. We did however learn a lot about how people should be positioned, the use of tanking cooldowns, kiting strategy etc. The evening was a display of progress each attempt being better than the last, getting as close as 20% left on both Vezax and the Animus. It’s seeing everyone hard work and effort slowly, but surely, paying off that is so enjoyable.

Last night we cleared Onyxia 25. She was kind enough to drop our first 25 version of Quel’serrar, which went to our warrior tank. Then we headed for ToC 25. On Anub’arak last phase we just let the burrowers go underground. As I was tanking the boss I could see and offtank with 1 burrower move about but it would not burrow. He moved again, still not. Then I hear him on voicechat “Mine doesn’t want to burrow” he sounded so sad. It made me laugh so much, it was worth raiding the entire evening just for that moment. We’ve got our Anub strategy down now, this was our third kill on 25, so I think we can call it farm!

I love this game!

30.9.09

Gearing strategy.

I was going to write something here about gearing strategy for (Paladin) Tanks. Looking back at the rough outline I had written makes me glad I never posted it.

Over the past 6 months I became a tank, gathered gear, stumbled through and learned a thing or two. One of the things that was eluding me was a total overview of gearing strategy. In effect all this time I had one set of gear which served me for all purposes. Then, today, I read this guide on Maintankadin and learned so much. A lot of things are a lot clearer now and I know I’ll be carrying a lot more gear around in the future.

Any tank, of any level of gear or skill, should read this. Many thanks to Wrathy for this excellent piece of writing. Here’s the guide!

29.9.09

Freya Hard Mode!

While other might very well be counting attempts in Heroic ToC, we made a 10 man last night and headed into Ulduar to work on some hardmodes. We raid quite casually (by some standards) so there’s quite a few we’ve never done. We started with Heartbreaker on XT-002 and did it in one go, with lots of breathing room. We sped ahead and took out Kologarn, earning Rubble and Roll. Auriaya was next where we also picked up Nine Lives.

Then the main course, Freya with all three adds. Our raid leader for the hard modes wouldn’t hear anything of trying it with one or two adds. Hard modes or bust. Our first few attempts really showed that this is still just that, a hard mode. A few wipes later we showed some improvement but we still had massive trouble dealing with the Detonating lashers. There’s a lot of (raid) damage flying around. Just the normal waves of adds can be difficult enough on Freya, the added damage and chaos, while still having to take out trees etc. was putting quite a strain on us.

After about an hour things were looking up, we were controlling the adds better and people weren’t randomly dying anymore. We had an attempt where we reached the final phase but with quite a few dead it didn’t work out. The next attempt, it did. We beat it with a minute left on the enrage timer. Another seal closer to Algalon and another achievement closer to a Drake.

25.9.09

ToC 25 clear!

The DPS requirement for Anub’arak is quite tight (at least for my guild.) Last night, after a few attempts we downed the bug-turned-death knight literally as his enrage was kicking in. He turned red and then died. Interestingly we have now cleared ToC 10 and 25, but still haven’t killed Yogg-Saron on either 10 or 25.

Last nights raid the continued on to get the first three bosses in Ulduar 25, we managed ‘Quick Shave’ on Razorscale even though quite a few people switched to alts. Our hard mode team will be playing on Mondays from now on, so hopefully I’ll be able to tell you about some new achievements on Tuesday.

24.9.09

Onyxia and Progress!

Last night raid was a good one, but it also highlighted some problems for us. First we went to check out the new Onyxia 25 man. A guild group had already cleared the 10 man version (I missed out as I logged on slightly too late.) It felt really weird walking down that old, familiar hallway and actually needing the 25 raiders to take down the dragon trash, especially as I’d been soloing this just a few weeks ago. I raided Onyxia when it still required 40 raiders. I played Horde then too, and a Hunter at that.

Of course I’d seen Onyxia from the tank’s perspective when we took her down for old times sake, but never with more than 4-5 people. I must say it was quite an experience to hold this massive black dragon in place while the rest of my raid took her down. It’s not tuned to be very difficult so we only needed the one attempt to bring her down. We didn’t get any achievements but I think we’ll try for those next time.

On we went to Trial of the Crusader. Earlier this week we beat the Faction Champions for the first time so we extended the raid and took down the Twin Valkyries without too much hassle. A very fun fight and especially nice if you’ve played Ikaruga (although /yelling Ikaaaruuugaaa got me some strange looks from guildies.)

The last boss however gave us some trouble, or at least some food for thought. We had a few wipes as the raid learned the mechanics. Our strategy did need some tweaking as the requirements are quite a bit harsher than the 10 man version. We made changes to the offtank/add positioning and we adjusted strategy for dealing with the small adds during underground phase. In the end we just seemed to lack the dps to take everything out before the enrage timer, to which we wiped three times. Perhaps this was due to it being quite late in the evening already, we’ll see that this evening when we go at it fresh. I think we can also just offtank the big adds for longer and let the raid damage the boss more, then take out the adds when he goes underground.

Happy note: I got my second T9.25 piece yesterday and thus the first bonus. I must say the ‘nerf’ to Paladin threat is hardly noticeable, After only 1 or two rotation I was very far ahead of dps, possibly less ahead, but not enough of a difference to be a problem in anyway. For 3.2.2 I tuned my spec slightly to maintain the cooldown I had on Hammer of Justice, due to some changes in cooldown reduction. Also the changes to Touched by the Light seemed to result in me having more spell power rather than less.

22.9.09

Servers down, no Kodo

Well my server had a severe outage yesterday (it was down from 17:00 till nearly 22:00) so we weren’t able to continue our TotGC 25 raid.

As it’s Brewfest (and I’ve not done much of the festivals this year, in fact I’ve only done one,) I have been trying to obtain a Brewfest Kodo. On Sunday we put together a group of 5 and did the fight a total of 8 times, switching in alts. Last night I teamed up with my wife and we did the fight twice together. I summoned it and it was me and her Enhancement Shaman, then she switched to her shadow Priest. No Kodo.

21.9.09

Of the Nightfall and Factions Champions

Recently we’ve had a group from our guild attempt 10man hard modes together. We’ve accomplished quite a few things already. We cleared an Ignis speed kill, we did Iron council, Steelbreaker last and Heartbreaker. Recently we took that group and tried to apply it to Obsidian Sanctum with three drakes up. We had some very serious attempts, one coming as close as 7500 health remaining on Sartharion. That attempt was, I think, at 1 o’clock in the morning so we decided to leave it there. It was clear we could do it and knew we would another day.

Since then, several guilds groups have actually achieved it and some guildies have managed it in pick-up groups. One guild group cleared it again last weekend. I was on my shaman (now level 54 btw) so missed out. Then, on Saturday a Rogue from my guild set about putting a group together. He managed to recruit a few people from a strong guild on my server which gave us quite the edge. We cleared OS + 3, earning the achievement and title for me and 4 or 5 others, one of which my wife, who also took home the black drake. After Chef this was the title I most wanted so I’m hapy to have got it, at last.

Last night we had a normal scheduled guild run. The plan was to make 2 or 3 10man groups for trial of the crusader. However we lacked enough people for three groups and we were quite short on tanks. We decided on 25 man trial instead. The first two bosses were cleared quite quickly, nothing noticeable there, accept maybe for severely overpriced tokens for tier nine gear ;)

The third boss has been our nemesis in trial, as we had thrown ourselves at it a few times without much success. Even in 10man we struggle with this boss as it simply requires a different style of play from everyone. However our first few attempts looked promising so we kept at it. I think in all it took about 6 or 7 attempts but we did do it. Another guild first :D

We had a few goes at the Twins, but I think the 25 version needs a bit of tweaking our tactics to get it done. More tonight!

14.9.09

3.2.2 Threat

Back from holiday, let’s talk upcoming changes in 3.2.2.

Basically, changes to threat. Righteous Fury gets a smaller percentage of threat generated. This lowers the extra threat by 10% (note that this is bonus threat being lowered, a number I’ve seen on a forum suggests this lowers overall treat by about 5%) I’m not really worried about this. Back when I started out tanking raids for my current guild I sometimes had trouble pushing out enough threat to stay ahead of our mages but I can’t remember that happening since I got my first few upgrades.

Touched by the Light currently provides some spell power gain based on stamina. So… what some clever Arena Paladin healers did was stack a truckload of stamina and actually healed using a protection spec. The extra spell power from TbtL was enough to make it worthwhile. TbtL is being changed to provide extra spell power based on Strength instead, which is something not present on healer plate. Quick calculations show that unless you’re a staminamaniac you won’t lose too much spell power and therefore not too much threat either.

Lastly, Hammer of the Righteous (which I now always hear in the voice of the second boss in ToC) is being changed from holy to physical damage but has had its threat raised so it does more or less the same amount of threat.

So threat is being lowered, which to me appears to be correct as threat wasn’t really a problem. If it’s really bad I can always change my glove enchant to the 2% threat one.

In the meantime I’ve also levelled my shammie to 50, pretty good fun.

27.8.09

Chef Ard

The beginning of this year... I’d gotten my Paladin to level 80, I’d collected some mounts, done a bunch of Heroics and was generally looking for something to do. I thought obtaining the Chef title might be a fun thing to do. So I set about leveling my Fishing and Cooking (these two work well together) and started working on some of the Achievements.

One of the tougher Achievements is one to obtain and cook a big variety of Outland cooking recipes. Some of these are quite easy to come by, they can be bought from a vendor. I found a list of all the recipes and sources. I realized there were two very hard to obtain recipes: The Delicious Chocolate Cake and Stormchops. I was sure I hadn’t ever done the Daily Shattrath cooking quest before and so hadn’t obtained either of these. As the list of Outland recipes neared completion (by this time I’d already gotten all the other cooking achievements) I found it was the Cake and the Stormchops that were missing.

Occasionally I would look at my Cooking Achievements and the Outland recipe meta Achievement and the grayed out Cake and Chops. Then, a week or two later of repeatedly doing the daily Cooking quest I struck gold in the Dalaran spice bundle! I found the recipe for the Delicious Chocolate Cake! I quickly gathered the materials and baked the cake. Now all that stood between ‘Ard’ and ‘Chef Ard’ was the missing recipe for Stormchops.

Months went by, the statistics for number of daily Cooking quests done grew steadily. Doubt set in – did I get the recipe and sell it? Would it possible to get it again? How would I know? Finally yesterday, as the counter for number of Cooking dailies done increased to 177 I had to be sure. I opened a Tciket to a GM.

Late last night, after our ToC 25 raid I was invited to a conversation with a GM. Hi Ard, do you have a moment to talk about your ticket concerning the recipe. Sure I do. You appear to already know the recipe...

At this, my heart sank. I quickly opened my Cooking window, and searched for the Stormchops – and there it was. The GM couldn’t tell me when I had learned it, but I assume it was very near the beginning of my Cooking career I probably picked it up and learned it without giving any thought to the Achievement. And then later on assumed I did not have it because it can only come from a daily Cooking quest.

I built a fire and cooked 1 Stormchop. (Yes, I’d been carrying around the ingredients for a month or two). At last they flashed on my screen:

“Outland Gourmet”
“Chef”

I think the hat suits me quite well, thank you.

24.8.09

The opposite opinion.


I got Nerfed.
No, you were too powerful.

I can’t make money.
There’s a reason there’s a limit on the number of daily quests.

WoW Caters to casuals.
Yes, there are more casual than hardcore players so it’s catering to it’s audience. WoW does cater to Hardcores as well. Hardmodes anyone?

WoW is too easy.
Set harder goals.

It was a good weekend for me. My guild put together a few maniacs who wanted to try some hardmodes in Ulduar 10 and we did, with some success! We started by knocking Flame Leviathan out of the way. We started with an attempt at 4min Ignis. We struggled a bit with positioning and it was a lot of healing required so healing was a bit strained but we managed it.
We moved on to XT-002. This is a proper hardmode. First you need to kill the heart during the first heartphase, that’s the trigger, then you clear the fight, he has more Health, does more damage and the bombs have different effects. We managed it surprisingly well.
We also did the silly thing with the 25 dwarves being killed by Razorscales breath. Bit of muddle but we managed that as well.
Kologarn was next and we killed him with both arms up, no problem.
Lastly we tried Assembly on the hardest mode, Steelbreaker last. It was surprisingly easier than I had thought and we got pretty far – Steelbreaker down to about 5%. It was late by then and concentration was lowering. More next week!

I also obtained the middle T9 shoulders this weekend (see picture, above). Working a bit more on Retribution as my offspec is more important in the hardmodes, I need to be able to put out some decent DPS.

14.8.09

3.2.2 Changes

Well, 3.2 is still tingling and patch notes are already released for 3.2.2, including some changes for Paladin.

The changes.

Righteous Fury: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.

This was coming, just how was unknown. It seems harsh but it's 10% off a multiplier. Paladins had the most threat at the moment so this isn't unexpected.

Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin’s strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin’s stamina.

This is a consequence of something that was happening in Arenas with Paladins: "Proly" meaning playing as Protection spec with healing gear. the buff to spellpower from the ton of stamina actually pushed this ahead of Arena healing with a Holy spec. Protection spec also gives some utility, like...

Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.

Again, Arena related, due to Proly being simply too strong. I had this anyway because I had only 1 point in Improved Hammer of Justice. I'll have to shuffle some points.

Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack.

Finally something good about Command! Personally I always thought they should've dumped Command altogether and made Blood/Martyr take the place of this talented Seal instead of getting rid of Blood/Martyr altogether. It's likely this will bring back Seal switching for single (Vengeance/Corruption) vs. Multiple (Command) targets.

3.2.2 will also include a level 80 revamp of Onyxia, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of World of Warcraft. I'm quite looking forward to that, should be fun! The fact that they'll also be releasing Level 80-stat version of the Tier 2 helmets has nothing to do with it. No sir, not me. Not at all. Promise! Ok, maybe a little!

13.8.09

Buffs and nerfs

Warcraft is not a static game. The rules change every few weeks/months. Some classes get stronger, some change, some get weaker. Recently Retribution Paladins got the nerf a bit. Before 3.2 a Retri opening would consist of Crusader Strike (lot of damage) Judgement (lot of damage) Divine Storm (lot of damage) - in PvP this meant that Paladins of this persuasion would literally blow people before they got a chance to do anything. Especially because all of those abilities are interspersed with auto-attack that also procced Seal damage.

It's changed now so that the Seal of choice needs a bit of time to get going and deliver a lot of damage. Crusader Strike now has a lower cooldown and also does less damage. In short the potential for huge bursts has been reduced, but overall the damage is still reasonable.
No matter what the changes are invariably people seem to dislike changes, or at least big changes like this. If something gets changed from 5% to 10% you don't hear anyone, but small tweaks like that are rare. Blizzard like big changes and a lot of them. So do I.

Lots of small changes that would slowly make everything creep towards something resembling balance is just not what Blizzard are after. They want you to have to deal with changing circumstances. Balance is not a realistic goal when some people wear cloth and others wear plate. Big kick-ass two-handers vs. wands.

I think almost every class has had one of those patches where people were declaring that Blizzard 'hated their class' and they were going to quit. Strangely Warcraft is still going strong and I can't think of any class at the moment that is really useless, unless played badly.

I've found that buffs and nerfs come in cycles, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. Blizzard seems to make decisions that make you grab your hair and want to pull it out in big clumps. I think their decisions are almost purposely made that way - again, they want you to deal with changes. The system must be unbalanced so new changes can be made.

11.8.09

Extending the lockout

So this week, thanks to 3.2, we'll be extending our lockout on Ulduar 25 for an extra week. So far we've cleared Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, Ignis, XT-002, Assembly of Iron, Kologarn, Auriaya and Thorim. Would have been more but on at least one night we had less people online at raid time then we had sign ups. So it goes.

With an extra week, we can clear the remaining Keepers and Vezax on one night and spend another learning and hopefully downing Yogg-saron. Then we reset for the next week. In general I think the option to extend is a very good one. without the option doing hardmodes was very diffcult for us. We had only one week to kill as many bosses as possible. Doing a hrd mode is having to learn the encounter again or some more so tends to require a bunch of wipes.
It meant we could clear a lot of content or do hardmodes. Now we can do (/at least try) both.

I've not been running heroics or the daily heroic quest as much as I had anticipated, looks like it will be a while before I start getting my T9.

I also just can't seem to get used to Exorcism having a cast time. Only realised now How often I used it. It was the perfect thing to cast if a mob got away or bounced you some distance, also very useful for pickups in case of mutliple mobs. The new mechanic for Hand of Reckoning seems ok, but it feels I've lost some threat compared to Pre-3.2. That or I'm getting less sleep.

10.8.09

Ard’s average day.

I get home from work around six, which gives me about two hours before raid start time to get some things done. Normally I end my night hearthstoning and logging out in the inn in Dalaran. I pick up the daily cooking quest there and complete that.

Then, I’m off to the Argent tournament. I fly over there and mine any Saronite (and, if very lucky, Titanium) on the way. I’ve not done the new quests a lot yet, but normally I’d go for Threat from Above first (I can solo Chillmaw) then head down, kill 15 scourge then head for the gate, then fly back to the tournament, joust the shizzle out of four Champions, turn in and head back to Dalaran.

I hop through the Shattrath portal and complete the Shattrath cooking daily. I take a Shattrath portal to Stormwind, empty out my inbox (lovely gold!) then check the AH for any bargains. I buy what materials I need to do some crafting, list whatever I need to list, buy reagents, food, flask, potions.

Usually I relog at that point to my Rogue, disenchant stuff, open boxes.

Then I take the boat to Borean Tundra, fly over to Dragonblight and do some fishing (if I need any food) then back up to Dalaran, where I pick up the daily fishing quest, I go and do that, then head over to Storm Peaks and do the daily there for the Blue Ladies (they have a name I’m sure) and hope to get a Polar bear (no luck so far).

Usually that takes me up to about 8 o’clock and it’s raid time! And there you were wondering why I was so quiet ;)

6.8.09

New patch, first impressions

It's always exciting when there's a new patch. Forums run over with excitement, blogs analyse and predict, words like nerf and buff take on whole new meanings. And then, on the first day of a new patch the excitement is palapable, it oozes out of the screen, people asking directions to new places, questions on how to complete new quests, vendors pimping their new and shiny wares. Early adopters showing off their freshly acquired goods.

So, what did I do? I obtained the new Paladin mount from the Argent Crusade. It's not as exciting as I had hoped. It's nice to have a new look but it's not very shiny. In fact it's a grimy, almost rusted version of the Paladins charger. What was I going to do, not get it?

I dumped all of my remaining Emblems of Heroism on 6 epic blue gems and got them cut for stamina, replacing all the current ones in my gear. I'll probably use the emblems I have on my Rogue to obtain some multicoloured ones to replace the others, or just buy them.

I ran the new 5man on normal and marvelled at how easy it was to obtain some epics (we had 4 plate-wearers and a clothie, of course all drops were leather and mail.) I had a go at the heroic version but the group was unable to deal with it so I didn't finish that one. From what I've seen it'll be very doable with a good (guild) group.

Then it was raid time. We'd planned to make 10man groups and have a go at the 10man version first and we were able to put 3 groups together. We manged to get past the first miniboss but were still being killed by the Jormungars when guildgroup 1 cleared the fight. It didn't look to good for us, there was some tension but determination is the stuff we're made of. We kept at it. We managed the fight with a few people dead. Then we went and pummeled Emalon and Archavon in the dust (I'm looking forward to the new boss in VoA as well, I realised he won't be patched in until week 2 to stop people picking up T9 in week 1 of the new patch.)

Our other group cleared VoA as well and we all teamed up for 25man normal. With a bit of experience under our belts it wasn't too much of an adjustement. we had a three tank rotation on the first miniboss, then pretty much an easy time on the Jormungars and a lot of fun on the big Yeti. In the end we only took two attempts to clear it. I got a new shield too :)

All in all it was a cool first day of the new patch. Looking forward to exploring some of the new questlines at the tournament and doing the new dailies. Only 15 champions seals to get a new flying mount!

4.8.09

Jousting.

Mounted combat in the form of jousting was introduced last patch but will become a lot more important in the next patch. The first boss in the new (raid) dungeon will use the jousting mechanic so I’d thought I’d put my technique down on paper. Using my method I can kill the four champions for the daily quest without healing my mount in between.

Jousting uses only 4 abilities in combat. On button 1. Melee attack. Can only be used in melee, does a small amount of damage. 2. Ranged attack. Can only be used at range, throws a spear at opponent, does a bit more damage and removes one shield. 3. Charge. Can only be used at range, makes you charge into your opponent for good damage. Also removes one shield. 4. Shield. Can be used anytime, has a long cooldown, stacks up to three shields on you.

For fighting the champions I do the following. First, stack up three shields. Then start the fight by speaking to them. While I’m talking to the new opponent I’m spamming 1 to get in an immediate Melee attack. Soon as that attack lands I start spamming 3 and Charge in at the earliest opportunity. Now Charge will take you up to and usually quite far past the opponent. That puts you at enough range to use a Ranged attack so use that. Then run back in close and use Melee attack. Run out a little so you can Ranged attack then immediately back in for a Melee attack. Do that a few times: run out, Ranged attack, run back in, Melee attack.

That sequence removes shields on the opponent but keeps yours up because most of the time you’re in melee. If you do lose a shield during this (sometimes opponents will get an occasional Ranged attack or Charge in) immediately get the shield back up to three (just stay in melee range and stack shields, Melee attack while your doing this) then go back to whittling down their shields. When the shields are gone run out and do a Charge, or wait for the opponent to try and get range then spam Charge. Always follow up a charge with a Melee attack.

In short: stay in melee rane as much as possible (opponents can’t take your shields in melee) and only go out to range just long enough to either do the Ranged attack or Charge right back in. When you Charge always follow with a Melee attack, then use the Ranged attack at the far end of the charge, run back in and use the Melee attack again.

As practice for the Argent coliseum there are dailies to do at the Argent Tournament that reward a good amount of gold or rep-tokens for the major cities (exalted with all major cities and champion for all major cities gives the Crusader title.) In addition it rewards champions seals which can be used for buying mounts, including the new Crusader-only Argent Paladin mount. Besides it’ll look good when the coliseum starts and you are an ace jouster!

31.7.09

SoV change update

(Good) news from the PTR! Suicidal Zebra reports changes to Seal of Vengeance. I've not seen any crunched numbers but this looks a lot more promising.

In one of the PTR builds Seal of Vengeance would build dots to a stack of 5 and then start doing 33% weapon dmaage additionally as holy damage. It's changed now to start doing additional damage from dot 1, and goes up as more dots are applied.

30.7.09

3.2 AD Addendum

Thanks to a helpful note from Suicidal Zebra I learned that AD will work slightly differently than I had previously described. It will save your life but the Damage reduction effect will just keep working when it does. You do get a debuff but that only prevents AD saving you again within two minutes.

Thanks Zebra :)

More 3.2: Retribution

Another look at 3.2 today, this time Retribution. Retribution is my offspec so I’m following this with some interest but obviously not as in-depth as Protection. There are three major changes coming up for Ret.

Seals. Up till now retribution paladins have been using only one seal: Seal of Blood. Even in PvP, even in fights where supposedly the damage could kill you, it’s used and to great effect. Retribution is producing very decent damage. So good, in fact, that it’s quite viable for me to build an offspec set of gear and switch to Ret when I’m not needed as tank and do some damage.
This will change quite drastically in 3.2. Seal of Blood will be removed, Seal of Command and Seal of Vengeance changed. This would indicate Command has become the Retri seal again but not so. Due to interaction with other talents, even Seal of Righteousness is better than Seal of Command. Actually the new best Seal is Vengeance. On top of applying a DoT that stacks to 5 times, when that stack is at full Vengeance will deliver additional damage per swing and all that added up makes it the best choice.

At least, it did until the latest change seen on the PTR. Before, the Vengeance DoT was applied by all Paladin attacks. It was changed to only be applied by normal attack swings. Paladins favor slow two-handers making it take very very long before the stack is at full and thus reducing damage quite a lot. It also creates problems when switching targets. Possibly our DPS won’t decrease too much, but it feels like a nerf to a lot of people.

Crusader strike. Damage and cooldown decreased, to 4 seconds. This has been shown to be an increase in damage. Not much consequences, just a button you push more often.

Exorcism. Exorcism’s been on a rollercoaster ride of changes over the last patch. First, it would apply to everyone (as a way to make it work as well in Ulduar as it did in undead-dominated Naxxramas.) This was quickly changed and then it only worked on NPCs again, not on players. Now it’s being changed again. It will get a 1.5s cast time. In Retribution it will interact with the talent Art of War in the same way as flash of light, meaning Exorcism will be instant cast when Art of War is up (which is more or less all the time.) At the very least this adds something to keep in mind while using Exorcism.

It’s known the idea was to bring Retribution burst damage down while retaining a respectable amount of DPS. I think these changes are going to swing towards a nerf overall, though one that we won’t know the full extent of until we get some high-end Retri Paladins in T9 gear and see how it works out. I’m a bit gloomy about this, considering maybe going Holy for my offspec or keeping Ret but not really using it (maybe even going PvP-Prot for my offspec.) I’ve got a decently geared Rogue alt, so we’ll have to see how this one goes.

27.7.09

3.2! Talents and Excitement!

With the background downloader chugging away at hauling in the data for the inevitable patch 3.2 I’m having a glance at things that I’ll be changing in my spec. I’m also getting excited about some of the other new things in the new patch.

I’m at work at the moment, so I can’t link to something actually showing the talent trees, however if you are reading this I’m sure you can find me and my talents.

Divinity. Not sure how I ended up with points in this but I’m getting rid of them. Sure it helps sometimes but I’m confident my healers can handle it also without. (seems to work for warriors & DKs.)

Divine Sacrifice & Divine Guardian. They are not in my spec currently as I’m running a very MT orientated build however they may return if I have the points spare. For XT-002 and a few other places, specially in ulduar the raid-wide damage reduction is very good.

Reckoning. Will still be rubbish in 3.2 for tanks, as it does not scale well with Seal of Vengeance.

Ardent Defender. A talent I would never be without anyway is getting quite a boost and a change. The boost is in the exact mechanic. Right now AD reduces damage taken by a percentage when my health is below 35% of total. In 3.2 it will do the same but if a hit is going to bring me below that 35% the portion of incoming damage below 35% will be reduced right away. In addition AD will now be coupled with a Guardian Spirit type effect, so that if I go to 0% health it’ll save me and reset me to 30% health. However for 2 minutes after that the damage reducing effect won’t work.

Vindication. Will be changed quite a lot, from reducing certain stats to reducing a flat amount of attack power. Testing has shown this will work on everything now so will become a standard tanking talent. Due to changes for Retribution talents it’s unlikely Retribution paladins will be picking this up.

I’m very much looking forward to the new paladin mount (from the Argent Crusade) an upgraded version of the Squire (with a mount of his own!) finally getting my Argent Hippogryph and very much looking forward to the Argent Coliseum, new raids! I’ve got two weeks holiday, the beginning of September, I’m secretly hoping 3.2 will be patched in before that holiday so I can spend some quality time running heroics and building up a vast amount of Conquest badges.

22.7.09

Setting Goals ftw.

Setting goals for raiding is a subject that I've been turning over in my mind for quite a while now. I felt it's best to set goals and work towards them but last night I saw in action why that is.

Tuesday is not an 'official' raidnight in my guild. That means sometimes we raid (if we have a enough people not saved to somewhere.) So we got 10 people and went to Ulduar. We didn't set any goals for what we wanted to achieve. We started by attempting 3-tower hardmode on Flame Leviathan. This didn't work very well, so after a few wipes we lowered it to 2-tower and then one-shot it. we downed Razorscale and moved on to XT-002. At XT again we tried the hardmode but lacked just a tiny bit of dps to get it, so downed him on normal as well. We finished off by taking out Kologarn.

All In all it was a succesful evening, but I feel we could have done better. If we had commited to the hardmode on Flame Leviathan we would have done more attempts and I feel sure we would have got it. If the goal had been to get XT hardmode we wouldve built the raid to fit and very likely also done it.

As it happened the raid got a bit annoyed because we didn't get the 3-tower Flame Leviathan and again when we (practically) wasted time seeing if we could get hardmode on XT.

Setting goals makes it very clear what theraid is trying to do, what it is your playing for. Last night we could have downed either more bosses or gotten a tougher hardmode, instead we got a few more wipes and we didn't kill anything in a mode we hadn't already done before.

That said, I did have fun and we learned a thing or two about XT hardmode activation and got more practise on Flame Leviathan. I was on my Rogue (Paladin was saved) and got him some new items and achievements.

21.7.09

Mimiron...

The darkness is complete. The absence of light is so total I have to bring my hand to my face to check if my eyes are really open. From somewhere far away I hear voices, shouting. It sounds like they are behind a locked door in a padded room, somewhere deep inside me. Muffled. I listen intently...

"Rocket! Rocket incoming! Move!" There are sounds too, of metal scraping on metal, arcane energies discharging, nature's force wrought at some unseen enemy.
"Get behind him! Get behind the middle." I know these voices, I realise. These sounds, I've heard them before, somewhere.

The battle, if that's what is, comes to an end. Joyous shouts echo in the darkness that envelops me.
"Someone resurrect Ard." Ard! That's... me! Something like a hand of light enters the darkness and blinds me mentarily and I'm yanked out of the void and back into my body. Now I realise what's happened. As I look over my comrades shoulder I see great pools of oil and blood, metal filings cling to everything with a static frenzy. The smiles of the people around me tell me what I want to know: Mimiron is dead.

My guild killed our last keeper in Ulduar 25 last night! Just General Vezax and Yogg-Saron left to go. Grats everyone!

20.7.09

Gearing Strategy

I'm at something of a crossroads at the moment. My gear is getting better and better (I now function more or less as the main tank for my guild.) However, I do like to hang out at theorycrafting sites. In general a tank will equip the best items they have resulting in the biggest HP, certain (required) levels of defense, and generally very high dodge and parry.

In practise high-end tanks have several sets of gear they carry around, or at least some switch-out items for specific slots (rings, trinkets usually.) As I said my gear is getting better and now I'm at the point where I might see benefits from constructing seperate sets of gear for different situations.

It's not particularly easy, I must say. Gem and enchant choices for one set may conflict with gem and enchant choices for other sets. For example, I may have a purple gem in a certain item to activate my meta gem, then get a problem if I switch that item out as the replacement may have a yellow gem, for example. Enchants are a problem too, esepcially chest and cloak enchants. For chestpieces the three main enchant choices for a tank are 22 defense, 275 health or +10 all stats. Any one of those may cause a problem, in one set I may have high defense, so actually want health or stats, whereas in another I may actually need the defense to get to the minimum of 540.

Even just maintaining one general purpose set is not so easy. When I get new items they may be upgrades but may require switching several other items to maintain defense minimum, Meta activation, hit rating etc.

In effect I'm turning the problem of getting the gear into a logistical problem of turning the various items into a set of gear. It's not easy being a tank ;)

18.7.09

Thorim (25) down!

A new first kill for my guild on thursday, Thorim went down on 25. We're progressing again in 25s and that feels good!

Check out Fury of Fey (in the bloglist.) It's not easy being Heroic, Fey pulls it off without changing her haircut. Eloquent and adventurous.

16.7.09

Drama, guild and otherwise.

If you've been in a guild, or even in a pick up group,
you've come across this phenomenon: Drama. Something goes
wrong, people get angry. It usually ends in over dramatic
shouting matches or /gquits or groups abandoned at the
worst possible moment.

In some cases it'll just be someone having a bad day,
trying to relax with a bit of adventuring, getting upset
at not even that working out the way they had imagined it.
Sometimes it'll be about loot (as discussed in one of my
other blogs). I've played warcraft for a long time now, I
think two factors are really important.

First there's (relative) anonimity. It is afterall the
internet and you might as well imagine that your fellow
players are just NPC's if one behaves in a way you don't
like you can just lash out with no further consequence.
This becomes really clear when you play with someone you
know, it sheds a different light on actions when you know
what a person is really like.

Secondly there's group dynamics. Imagine an actual group
of adventurers. A warlock, a Paladin, a Mage, a Rogue.
these personalities, these modes of thinking would clash
in a real situation. Especially when lives are on the line
and there's money to be made. There would be group
politics, fear, backstabbing - there would be drama. Think
of Warcraft, then, as a simulation of that real group; of
course there is drama.

Earlier, I was reading ferraro's Paladin blog
(http://ferarro.blogspot.com/) someone who's opinion I
respect. In his/her discussion of the recent Paladin Q&A
theres a section where 'Blizzard' says "In Lich king we've
finally embraced all three [paladin] specs."
Ferraro explaind this as if Blizzard (intentionally or
not) had something against Paladins, as if we were getting
less than others.

I think you can be as grumpy as you like about how
Blizzard run the game, fact remains they were maybe
expecting a million, maybe 2 million subscribers, instead
they got 5 million. Warcraft exploded in their faces, and
it's taken them years to deal with it and get everything
on track. The fact that it's still fun and there are still
so many people actively engaged, blogging, posting on
forums says a lot for the quality of their product and
care they lavish on it.

Sure things could be better, but couldn't they always?
Paladins have never been in a better position, I found it
the wrongest time to swipe at something you suppose people
have done.

15.7.09

Turtles all the way down.

I have cooking and fishing at 450. The reason for this is an achievement, or rather the reward for an achievement: the title Chef. I don't actually have that title but I've been trying real hard.

Why? well, in dutch the word chef means boss and that kind of appeals to me. It also shows I've invested quite a bit of my time in an aspect of the game which is at least a little silly :)

In an effort to speed up levelling cooking I also levelled Fishing, as it provides lots of material for cooking and the 'best' group buff food in the game, the fish feast, obviously requires fish.

What's bugging me is that 1 recipe is holding me back from achieving the chef title. The recipe for Stormchops is the only one I don't have that I need for the only achievement I don't have, which is the Outland Gourmet. The only way to obtain this recipe is by doing the Shattrath and Dalaran daily cooking quest. These quests reward a bag that has a 1% chance of containing the recipe. Well, 150 plus times completing these quests and I still don't have it.

Ah well, fishing for Fish Feasts the other day I caught a Deep sea turtle mount. It's a pretty fun thing, but a bit slow on land ;)

I do hope I get that recipe at some point though.

13.7.09

Useful Tanking addons.

Actually, the title of this blog is a bit misleading. Thinking about it, I don’t use any addons that are intended specifically for tanking. However the ones I use I’ve set up so they help me tank. I’ll talk about each a little bit.

Grid.
Grid is basically an addon that lets you view the members of your party or raid in a small window (it is an actual grid, so in a 25 man raid it looks like a square divided into a 5x5 blocks.) I’ve got it setup so I can see each members health, mana, debuffs, range (in or out of range for spell) and dead-or-alive status. Most importantly I can see at a glance who in the raid agro. I also have a mouse-over macro for Righteous Defense so when someone who isn’t supposed to has agro I hold my mouse over that person on grid and press the button for the macro, redirecting the mobs to me. Grid isn’t easy to set up, I had to view a tutorial video on youtube but when you get it to do what you want it’s awesome.

AG_Unitframes.
AG let’s me change the way I view my own, my targets, and my target’s target health, mana and casting bar. Which information is displayed in the bars, where the debuffs are and where on my screen this is all displayed.

NeedToKnow.
NeedToKnow allows me to track a specific buff or debuff and display on screen whether or not it is active. I track Holy Shield, Divine Plea, and various procs and cooldowns. So I can see at a glance whether my divine protection is going to run out soon.

I also use Pally Power (nothing to do with tanking) I believe that every paladin ever needs to have this. It makes casting your own blessings and coordinating with other paladins very easy. It can also manage Aura-coordination and it can cast Righteous fury and your seal of choice.

Lastly I use a few cosmetic addons, Bartender, SexyMap and MoveAnything.

All in all it doesnt add new information but it does make the information easier to deal with.

9.7.09

The Spoils.

One thing that has come up many, many times in Warcraft, and one that will continue to stir people is the distribution of loot. You need only look at the comments for any weapon (pretty much) on thottbot.com to see what I mean - who gets what? The recent addition of dual spec has not made this any easier. In pick-up groups on my server the most usual thing is to roll on items that are appropriate for your current role. If you are a warrior tank, you get to roll on defensive plate. If a kitty druid, agressive leather.

For, say, 90% of items this works fine. For 90% of players that works fine. Most of the loot debate comes out of the following three situations:
1. An item has stats that are good for more then one type (for example a ring that’s good for cat/bear-druids and rogues).
2. A player insists on rolling on items for both his specs.
3. A player’s opinion about either of the above differs from the person he’s rolling against.

I came across this blog a few days ago: http://hi-voltage.blogspot.com/2009/07/rune-edge-melee-or-hunter-weapon.html
The Rune Edge is a classic example of an item good for multiple classes including hunters, traditionally seen as the class that seems to want everything.

Let’s look at the item. It’s a (relatively) fast two-handed sword with good DPS and high top end damage. It also has 121 Agility and 120 Stamina and provides further bonuses 86 critical strike rating, 160 attack power and 70 armor penetration rating. This makes it attractive to a lot of people: Paladins, Warriors, Death Knights and Hunters. In my guild this would not be a problem, we use a points system so whoever can use it can have a bid.

The offensive stats make it tasty for the melee classes, good damage range, decent speed, lots of crit and some armor penetration. The agility/attack power and armor penetration make it also very good for a hunter, but they (obviously) would make less use of the physical damage of the weapon. It’s a very tough call to make.

Because of the ambiguity of the item I would open it to everyone, sure the hunter won’t use the damage range, but they would improve their stats very well with this equipped. The paladin and warrior would likely be better served with a sword with strength instead of agility so it’s not optimal for them either.

My advice: look at who wants it. Compare relative upgrades. If it’s equal for a melee and a ranged class, roll. Sure it’s random but what else can you do? It’s, ironically almost, the fairest way to settle this. Try not to get upset when you lose either. I always find that when I lose on something like this, a similar or better item tends to come up pretty quick to make things right. Realise as well that the other guy would have felt the same had you won it.

In the end it's not just an upgrade for you alone, it's an upgrade for the raid/guild. You benefit too, if indirectly.

Remember: the things you own end up owning you.

8.7.09

The Maw of Madness

We found ourselves with Ulduar 10 cleared up to Yogg-Saron this week. Normally we don’t raid on Tuesdays but to make the most of this opportunity we scheduled an extra run last night and threw ourselves at him for a few hours.

We learned a lot, mainly that that we need more practice. The first phase is still very much hit and miss. Sometimes it’s completely controlled, other times we get overwhelmed before you can say ‘Old god’.

We reached phase two on quite a few occasions. I didn’t keep count but 5 or 6 times at least. Phase two is even more chaotic than phase one. The tentacles are many and spread out quite a bit across the room. On attempts where we had everyone alive (I think there were only two or three of those) we did pretty well killing them all and keeping the debuffs under control. Our problem seemed to be mostly in getting the right mix of people to go in the portals and getting that part accomplished and everyone out without going insane.

We did learn a lot and towards the end it felt like we did get more of a grip on phase one, at least. Movement needs to improve for the raid during phase one. Phase two we just need to see more often so we can get some experience with it and get to experiment properly with portal-team composition.

It is a really cool fight, I love the look of the boss and all his crazy abilities, I love the Lovecraft/Cthulhu theme of it. It feels like we can get it done with practice. Into the Maw! To arms!

6.7.09

Mimiron

We defeated Mimiron in Ulduar 10 for the second time last night. Like the night when we first killed him it took about 4 attempts to get everything to line up. The ways you can die in that fight... There are many. Let me count the ways.

1. Plasma Blast. Even if you are a tank you need cooldowns to save you.
2. Mines. Walk on one. Die.
3. Shock Blast. Run or Die.
4. That fiery thing he does in Phase 1. Or standing within 5. yards of anyone it lands on.
6. Not moving in the transition to phase 2 (and getting pushed onto the reamining mines)
7. Rockets! It's only 6 million damage.
8. Spinning up! Pew Pew!
9. Boom Bot!
10. Phase 4 - nearly all of the above (well, 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8)

But we killed him. And we lived. Again. We go for Vezax tonight and hopefully we'll get some serious attempts on Yogg-Saron.

3.7.09

Fiction: Last day of WoW

EU - Magtheridon, 22 August 2022

A bleak sun sets over the dusty plain of Durotar on this, the last, day of European World of Warcraft. A motley crew of (level 120) characters from both Alliance and Horde, of course no longer actually at war since the shocking changes in patch 9.5. share this view for the last time.

"We'll carry on on a private server, it's become so much a part of our lives now." One of the players comments. People have grown to maturity since this game was first played over 18 years ago. Almost 9 years after release of the last expansion to this game, and over 4 years since it's last patch, Blizzard has decided to call it a day for WoW and close the last remaining server in Europe.

Then, the event begins. In the distance, through the haze of the dust and sun, comes a processions, heroes and villains, great and small. Legendary and common. As they parade past the revellers several Blizzard gamemasters appear and thank everyone for their presence. they announce that the time has come. 5 server messages will herald the end of this world.

Server shutdown in 15 minutes.

"Memories of past glory, great deeds, heroic adventures, they'll stay with me forever." The sentiment is echoed by a lot of the players present. "I got married around the second expansion" one player said, "had kids when the fourth came out. My parents in law weren't too pleased with a grandson named Thrall." He laughs, as the countdown continues.

3 Minutes. I feel a sadness remembering the greatness that was once the greatest MMO on the planet, so big it skewed every statistic related to MMO's.

As the last minutes count down, players burst into dance, consume flasks and disenchant their legendary weapons.

Then, my screen goes blank and I'm exited to my login screen where a single line of text heralds the true end: "Servers are no longer available."

30.6.09

Descended!

Last night saw we went head to head with General Vezax for
the third time. The first night we had some time on him we
had just killed Freya and Hodir so concentration was low,
but we got to see some of the things he does.

Then last sunday we were ready for some serious attempts.
Our raid was a bit unbalanced, we had three mages, a
warlock, two druids. It left us with many people at range
and it was hard to get it down pat. Our best attempt then
was 28%. Not bad, but not a kill.

Last night we went at it again. We built the raid: I was
tanking (Pally Power!) We had a druid, discipline priest
and a shaman healing. Two mages, a warlock, hunter and a
druid at range and a death knight interrupting. Our first
attempt failed at 70% but it all looked so much smoother,
second attempt was a lolwipe at 90%, people standing in
bad places as ranged tried out its (eventually) succesful
strategy.

We felt it was going to happen. Another attempt saw us hit
the enrage timer as a few times Vezax was healed up (he
was at 15% or so). Now we knew we could do it. Our final
attempt went off excellently, vapors were conveniently
placed, cooldowns for surges went off very well and dps
got their strategy in the sweetspot. Another guild first
kill! 12/14 now in Ulduar 10.

We got a look at yogg-saron but struggled on the first
phase already, so decided to attempt medium-mode Assembly,
but had to settle for a normal kill. We might try for some
more time on yogg-Saron tonight, but we may also leave it
for the next reset.

29.6.09

Zen and teh phat lewt.

In order to achieve enlightenment we must free ourselves of all desire. Sounds a bit buddhism, applies to Warcraft. I got into a conversation with a few people about some of the changes coming up in the 3.2 content patch, the mount changes and the emblem changes especially.

People get really upset about them! I sort of understand when you've gone through a lot of trouble for something (like walking all the way to level 40 back in old Warcraft) and now people get their mount for a fraction of the price at level 20. In the end though... what does it matter? Same with the emblem changes, yeah some people are going to get their hands on gear they would normally not be able to get near. But I don't begrudge them this opportunity. I was there for the longest time, struggling away in non-raiding guilds, /inspecting people and wondering what it must be like to have really end-game gear when it was just new.

So I was wasting some time on my rogue this weekend when I noticed a group for Naxx 25 forming in the LFG channel, Thaddius, Sapphiron and KT left to do. Sounds like fun, I've not done these fights before on my rogue. I hook up, we kill Thaddius with some trouble (I didn't do well, got killed in the +/- phase) and move onto Sapphiron (I don't do well and die to a blizzard I think) and lastly KT. I know I'm going to have to interrupt here and still want to make sure I'm not killing the tank by being in range and still do max damage (GRRRR I don't do well and die to a void zone ... the shame). KT drops Calamity's Grasp... and I'm the only rogue. Nice.

We also had a night of throwing ourselves at General Vezax in Ulduar 10 now that we can get to him but were unable to kill him, more tonight.

25.6.09

Mimiron down!

A short one today. Just wanted to tell the world (the two friends of mine who are reading this) that we managed to finally kill Mimiron on the 10-man version of Ulduar last night. Tonight we carry on this raid, so we should kill Hodir and Freya without too much trouble and move on to General Vezax, the first new boss we've seen in a while.

Keepers of Ulduar down, we begin the Descent of Madness.

24.6.09

3.2 Emblem changes.

A few days ago the (test-realm) patch notes for 3.2 became available. One of the major things that are going to change is the emblem system. At the moment Emblems of Heroism can be obtained by doing 5-man Heroics, and 10-man raids. Emblems of valor from 25-man raids. There are also conquest badges which drop from 25-man Emalon (in VoA) and 25-man Ulduar.
In the next patch Heroism and Valor emblems will disappear and where they dropped there will now be Conquest emblems. A new type of emblem will be introduced called Triumph that will drop in the heroic version of the new dungeon (and, I'm assuming here, the 25-man version of the new boss that will be added to VoA.) In addition the Daily-normal and Daily heroic dungeon quests will be changed to drop 1 and 2 Triumph badges respectively.

Effectively you'll be able to get the badge gear from heroics that was only available to 25-man Ulduar raiders. A lot of people don't like this change. It sort of devalues the efforts made by 25 man groups, because at least a part of the rewards that were theirs exclusively get will now be available to everyone, and by doing easier dungeons than they had to do.

Personally I like it. It'll make it easier to obtain nicer loot, which will enable me to do my job as tank better. (or at least give me a bit more choice in which items to wear).

On the whole, what's available for badges is limited, the majority of the top-end items are only available from doing the raids. This is true for such vital item slots as weapons and trinkets. On top of that raiders will get more of the new Triumph badges (anyone who really wants this new emblem-loot will be doing the dungeon -and- the daily quests for them) and the loot from the new dungeon itself will still only be available to the people running it.

22.6.09

Elitism

Last thursday I participated in an event that gave me some food for thought. A friend whispered me and asked if I had already done the Vault of Archavon 25 for that week. I hadn't and they were looking for a tank so I got an invite. The organiser and leader of this run was a paladin from a notorious guild on my server. I'll spare you the details on how they became notorious but their name is usualy spat instead of spoken. They are also one of the top guilds, always amongst the first to clear new dungeons.

It was made clear from the start that 'anyone who does less damage than the tank won't get to roll on loot.' - Now that is elitism. It's saying: 'if you're not as good as I expect I get to decide over you'. This does not sit well with people, generally. Some left, but most stayed. We killed the boss no problem.

I find it a bit hard to feel one way or another about this. On one hand, we're all paying, we're all playing, who is anyone to tell anyone else what they should be doing. On the other hand, in a dungeon like the Vault you need to be able to rely on the capability of others to complete the task at hand. Though the ability to do a certain amount of damage is not a great measure, it is -a- measure of someones capability.

It's down to expectation that is only measured compared to what you yourself are doing. I play many hours per week, I research gear, talents, abilties and strategy. When another player is benefitting from that, shouldn't they at least be doing the same?

Well, that leads me to saturday evening. A cobbled together group running Naxx 25. One person is clearly underperforming. Yet, because of the collective effort involved no-one seems to mind. Sure he could do more damage, but a few people at the top end are effectively carrying him. Somehow this seems a lot nicer. It wasn't entirely smooth but we did clear the dungeon in the end. then, last night, he was asking for advice on how to improve his DPS, trying to find better talents.

If results are all you're after, being elitist works. If you want to have more fun and encourage people, you can't afford to. In a guild, you strike a balance.

19.6.09

[For Ard.] Farewell Paladins

Look at this, This can't be right. First they nerf the poor paladins already, then they nerf the instant heals, now they nerf their intellect and they their regen!

I wish you all the best Paladins. I'm sort of happy I dont have to witness this. Good luck guys!

PaladinBlessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now also increases stamina by 10%. This effect is not cumulative with Blessing of Kings.
Charger: Can now be learned at level 40.
Exorcism: Now has a 1.5 second cast time, but can once again be used on players.
Hand of Reckoning: Redesigned. Now does damage only when target does not currently have the caster targeted, but damage done increased to 50% of attack power, occurring after the taunt effect is applied.
Judgement of Light: Now heals for 2% of the attacker's maximum health instead of a variable amount based on the spell power and attack power of the judging paladin.
Lay on Hands: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 10/20% instead of increasing the target's armor.
Righteous Fury: No longer has a duration or mana cost, remaining until cancelled or death. Also cancelled when a Paladin activates a different talent specialization.
Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal over time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.
Seal of Blood: This ability has been removed.
Seal of the Martyr: This ability has been removed.
Seal of Vengeance and Seal of Corruption: These seals have been redesigned to deal substantially more damage. Now, once a paladin has 5 copies of the debuff from these seals on his or her target, on each swing the paladin will deal 33% weapon damage as Holy, with critical strikes dealing double damage.
Shield of Righteousness: Now deals 100% of shield block value as damage instead of 130%.
Warhorse: Can now be learned at level 20.

Talents Holy
Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed.
Divine Intellect: This talent now gives 2/4/6/8/10% increased intellect instead of 3/6/9/12/15%.
Illumination: This talent now returns 30% of the mana cost of the spell instead of 60%.
Protection
Ardent Defender: Redesigned. Currently, any damage taken by the paladin while at 35% health or below is reduced. Instead, any attack that would reduce the paladin to 35% health or below has its damage reduced. In addition, once every 2 minutes an attack that would have killed the paladin will fail to kill, and instead set the paladin's health to 10/20/30% of maximum.
Retribution
Art of War: Now only applies to melee critical hits, but will make your next Flash of Light or Exorcism instant.
Crusader Strike: Damage reduced to 75% weapon damage to match the new 4 second cooldown.
Seal of Command: Redesigned. This seal now deals 36% weapon damage on every swing, and deals substantially less judgement damage.
Vindication: Redesigned. Now lowers target attack power, is consistent and does not stack with Demoralizing Shout.

18.6.09

Got some gold for a 'niner?

the 49ers were people left without any means after the goldrush hit America in the century before last. They failed to find gold and were left in the west with nothing.

Here's an interesting bit of info from Blizzard about the next patch. In patch 3.2 epic gems will be introduced. these can be bought with emblems (just like the current 'blue' gems) and they can be prospected from titanium ore by jewelcrafters. Titanium nodes are extremely rare. It's not uncommon on a mining run to come back with 3-4 stacks of saronite ore, a handful of different eternals and only 3-6 titanium ore.

Furthermore, titanium is already in high demand. it's used to make titansteel, a key ingredient to almost all high-end craftable items. Titansteel rings, various items of plate armor and highly desirable titansteel starter weapons for many different classes (most notably the titansteel destroyer which is probably the most respectable entry-level twohanded weapon ever.

Result: on tuesday titanium ore cost maybe 5 gold. Now its more like 25 gold. People will be hogging titanium and selling it off slowly to keep the price high. Time to join the goldrush! there's titanium in them there mountains! I have tomorrow'off and I know that i'll be spending a serious amount of time mining. Also, if you have blue gems stacked up, now is the time to sell them off as the price will drop dramatically when the next patch hits.

Final thought. 3.2 won't actually be released until the end of the current Arena season. I'm guessing 2 months at least. Either way, there's gold to be made, let's get to it.

17.6.09

Real life Vs. WoW

I joined a (casual) raiding guild recently. Now the word
casual, in this context, implies we sorta raid when we've
got some people on and if we're up for it. Actually, if
you were to ask someone who doesn't play wow what they
think casual means they might say 'a few hours per week?'

Reality is we have 4 raidnights per week (wednesday,
thursday, sunday and monday) where we aim to start at
20.00 and play till 23.30. Though our progress has been
good, we've not completed any hard mode fights in Ulduar
yet. In the 10-man version we've still not bested Mimiron
(we got very close last night), and thus also not General
Vazex or Yogg-saron. I'm not going to talk about Algalon
;) On the 25 man version we've cleared Kologarn and
Auriaya and so can (and will this wek) start on the guardians.

Call it what you want, that's a heavy dedication of time
and it's taking it's toll. because I have to get up for
work quite early (half past six-ish) I'm pretty sleepy on
monday, tuesday, thursday and friday. So after next reset
I'm going to take a weeks break from raiding to at least a
week of normal amounts of sleep.

I'll still be playing WoW, of course. Making some extra
gold (really trying to build up a big reserve) on my main
character, crafting stuff and selling it on the AH. I'll
do some pick-up stuff with my rogue. I'll also carry on
levelling my shaman and continue to increase her Herbalism
and Alchemy skills.

In case you're curious, the rogue I started for a few
reasons, at the time I was playing a my paladin as a holy/prot
healer, mostly arena. In PvE however damage dealing is a
lot of fun and, in my opinion a rogue is one of the best
ways to deliver damage. The shaman I started for two
reasons. I've wanted to have a herbalism/alchemy alt for a
long time, provide my own potions. Also I've wanted to
play with a caster-character for a while, however mage or
warlock don't really appeal to me. So I'm playing the only
caster who doesn't wear cloth.

16.6.09

Ard's guide to being better!

Tank Harder, Heal Better, DPS More.

This is a little guide I put together and posted on a forum somewhere. It's a little summary of things I think everyone should do. If you've done everything on this list, you're likely in the top half/top quarter of your guild. It surprises me how little effort it is and how few people make that effort.

First of all. If you haven't already while you were levelling your character, level Cooking and Fishing. Also level First Aid if you have no healing abilities. Food gives great buffs at maximum level (40 stamina + a stat you want). It's essentially free. Fishing makes it easier to level Cooking as most fish you catch can be cooked, whereas meat has to be farmed with (some) risk to yourself.

Look up stuff about your class. Look up stuff about your spec. For every possible spec there are guides out there that tend to cover Talents, Glyphs, abilities (and their use), stat priority, enchants and gems to choose etc. You may learn something, it may tell you to try something you never even thought of. It may just show what that ability is for you thought was useless. Even if you learn nothing, it's a good thing to hear someone elses view on what you want to be doing. Guides also tend to suggest what Professions might be useful to you.

Get some professions. Most professions nowadays have exclusive buffs. Leatherworkers get wrist enchants that are much better than what's normally available. Enchanters get ring enchants. You may even be able to make yourself some starter-epics, that will help get you raid ready.

Gear up. A guide usually tells you what the desirable pieces are and where to get them. If in doubt, look at www.wow-loot.com, it has very comprehensive lists of what equipment drops where and who it's useful for. Each class/spec (far as I've seen) has 4-5 epics to get from Northrend Heroics, some pieces from a profession, the rest of the epics come from raiding. It might be different on your server, but on mine, LFG works. Use it.

Read up on tactics. theres are some excellent sites out there with info on how to tackle most fights. www.wowhead.com, www.wowwiki.com and many more. Knowledge = Power.

Lastly, be prepared. Carry food/drinks, ammo, bandages, potions, elixirs, switch-out gear and reagents if any of your spells need any. Repair your gear before you go anywhere.

I feel a little better already! Have fun.

Determination

There was a plan to continue our 25-man run last night but we just didn't have the numbers, so we decided to split the raid into two 10-man groups.

I was in the saved group that had already killed Leviathan, Razorscale, Ignis, XT-002, Kologarn, Auriaya and Thorim. We decided to go for the Assembly of Iron first. Assembly consists of three bosses. Steelbreaker, steel giant, does an attack called Fusion Punch, hits for a lot and leaves a nasty debuff that must be dispelled. Molgeim, leaves runes of power that buff the other bosses or the raids damage output (you really don't want Steelbreaker to be standing in one when he does fusion punch as it one-shots a tank). Lastly, Brundir, casts chain lightning on random raid member and does a Nova (you don't want him standing in runes either, but he's a caster so sometimes tricky to move.)

I was the tank with more health so I was assigned to tank Steelbreaker, with another paladin picking up the other two. This did not go well, I wasn't able to generate a lot of threat (breaking rotation to dispell the debuff myself) and the attacks from the other two kept killing off one-two raidmembers, inlcuding healers. After a handful of wipes we decided it was best to move on to Hodir.

Hodir started off badly but we downed him in the end. It's a question of dispelling, standing in the right place and making as little mistakes as possible.

We decided to have another go at Assembly, this time switching the tanks, I was taking Molgeim and Brundir. On the first attempt we downed Steelbreaker pretty painlessly so it waslooking good, an unfortunate rune managed to still kill us. I think the key here was using an interrupt on Brundir as a rune of power was cast on him (seeing as I can only do that with Avenger's Shield a Warrior would be better suited). We downed them in the end.

I also won my first piece of tier 8 (10 man legs). all in all we wiped a lot (100+ gold repair costs total for me) but we kept going, kept spirits up and downed them.

15.6.09

The Weekend

Typical monday-morning recap. Levelled my Shaman to 27, so far completed the Draenei starting islands and Darkshore. I had planned to go to Ashenvale but a quest led me to Wetlands where I decided to carry on.

I gained champion status with the Night-elf faction of the Argent Tournament which completed the 5 and now I'm Crusader Ard! I bought myself the Turbostrider for 5 Champions's Seals and some gold to celebrate.

Lastly we ran a 25-man Ulduar last night that went exceedingly well. We killed Ignis on the first try (I was main tanking). Then proceeded to Kologarn, which took us a couple of tries (including where 2 of our 3 kologarn switch tanks got grabbed by the hand, leaving me tanking him alone, got two debuffs and got smashed). We downed the Assembly of Iron in a few attempts (our first 25-man kill) and we downed Auriaya.

Hodir is on for tonight, with Thorim, Freya and the dreaded Mimiron still up.

Last note (sort of to self): don't join a Naxx 10 pickup at twenty past two at night.

12.6.09

Not so good.

We didn't do so well last night. I can't really pin down what it was that went wrong, but sometimes it just won't work.

Our plan was to do OS25 + 3 however the DK that was supposed to tank it wasn't online so we decided to do Malygos. Further inspection showed we didn't even have 25 people so we decided to go for 'Poke in the Eye' and do it with 20. Didn't work very well, I was main tanking it and kept dying to the breath. There were long breaks in between attempts which I think led to a loss of concentration.

More people came online so we changed tack to a 25man attempt, which also failed. Moral was down so we moved along to something we figured we could handle a bit more easily. Wintergrasp was not under Alliance control so we settled on OS25 + 2. We tried, but failed, and again, but failed.

We lowered it to +1 and failed, tried again, and failed. And then we got Os25 + 1 after a whole nights raiding.

Sometimes, it just doesn't work. Ulduar 10 tonight, and the celebration of the 1 year anniversary of my previous guild. hope I have better news next time.

10.6.09

The Times...

They ain't a-changing.
I raid 4 nights a week. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. That means I play until about 23:30 and get to bed about midnight. I get up at 6 so I'm suffering from lack of sleep most days.

My gear has been improving since moving to my new guild. Didn't get to do much 25man raids until I joined my current guild and the difference is noticable. Going into 25mans with 10man gear got me killed... a lot. Now I tend to survive the big double hits. (Kologarns melee + overhead smash comes to mind) It's nice to have 40k+ health as an Ulduar tank.

Coming back to something I've written about before, the block cap. I've got it unbuffed now (not counting holy shield as a buff). However it's divided as 23something% Dodge, 18% parry and 23something% block. Block is good, but not as good as avoidance. On something like Emalon's adds, block is awesome. they hit for about 3000 and blocking more than half of that is obviously a big reduction in damage taken. However when something hits me for 20k, blocking 1.5k isn't making enough of a difference. When I have some time I'm going to dig through my other gear and see if I can't rebalance my avoidance to block ratio while maintaining high stamina and the blockcap.

I've also started a Shaman which I intend to play as elemental. I must say I really like the Bind-On-Account items that are available for Emblems of Heroism. I bought the shoulders (which are mail, but neatly change to leather for my below-40 shaman.) Also the staff and both trinkets. Doing the quest that involves killing a level 20 elite dragon was a bit of a joke being so overpowered.

22.5.09

Good stuff, Ignis and The Future.

Well I had a good day yesterday! Because it was a bank holiday in the Netherlands I was able to get in a very full day.

Started off well by finally getting to Exalted with the Netherwing (and receiving my 55th mount!) Then in the afternoon I managed to throw some people together for an Eye of Eternity ten-man run where I obtained the Barricade of Eternity shield and was able to complete the Key quest and get the Drakescale Collar.

In the evening my guild ran a twentyfive-man Ulduar. We started off with XT-002 which we killed in two attempts. Then we moved onto Ignis. As you may have read earlier we got our first kill this week (before the reset.) We had had some tries on him after the reset (and relatively easy kills of Flame Leviathan and Razorscale) but they weren't succesful. Yesterday we went at him again and this time got him down. Not exactly on farm but getting closer. This is down a lot to the offtank's role of kiting the adds to the right pace and everyone coordinating to get them destroyed. Ignis was kind enough to drop our first shard for Val'anyr.

Future plans.
First I want to get an epic flying mount for my Rogue Alt. Seeing as I have my eyes on the Red drake I'll need to get 5000 gold for the epic flying skill then Exalted with Wyrmrest and another 1600 to buy the mount. When that's done I'll drop skinning and learn mining up to 450 on him. then I'll drop mining on my main and learn Jewelcrafting in it's place. Might be expensive to level but the benefits are great.

19.5.09

Update and some Ulduar

Well, a lot has happened since we last posted. Initiator of this blog has moved house and the week or so away from WoW has led to him not wanting to return. He is on. A. Break.

In the meantime... I changed guilds to a casual(ish) raiding guild on my server. I'd originally talked about joining them as Retribution but they asked me as tank which I was more than happy to do. I'd switched to tanking from retribution because at the time my old guild wasn't raiding yet, but there were plenty of pick up groups... looking for tanks. I'd collected some tanking gear while levelling to 80, crafted some and bought a few rep items from the outland factions (<3 Championing). I found tanking was a lot of fun and now consider it my main spec (to complete the Paladinic trinity).

So last night we hit Ulduar 25. the guild had so far only killed Flame Leviathan and Razorscale and they went down without any problems.Ignis was next and he proved a bit more of a problem. Initially I was tanking Ignis himself, with our (otherwise MT) death knight and a warrior assigned to the adds. After 4 failed attempts we found the problem was mostly add control, the warrio was having trouble positioning the adds (I've done it before on 10man and found it quite tricky myself). We switched and succeeded for a guild first kill.

next time I'll post some stuff on my goals for the future.

2.4.09

As I am quite busy with work (since one of my colleagues is not here) I’m not able to update the blog as much as I would like to. But here is a short list of thing I’m planning to write down:

- Macro’s
- More UI tweaks
- The Holy 3.1 guide
- Ard’s 3.1 Tank guide
- Number crushing about mp5-gear
- And much much more!

‘Till then!