Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not so Blinded by the Light

I was driving in to work yesterday morning, with the 40-odd mile drive taking 90 minutes or there abouts, as usual. Traffic sucks, idiots being idots and all the same crap.

I'm westbound on the I-10 freeway, approaching the 710 freeway, where I want to exit. Like a good little prepared driver, I'm in the right hand lane (exit lane for us Yanks, not the bloody fast lane for you wackos "over yonder" ;) )

Anyhow, I see a tractor-trailer (a big assed lorry) trying to do likewise, being careful and even using his blinkers. I slow up a bit to give him room and flash my lights to let him know it's OK to move.

He does so, and blinks his lights back when he gets over to thank me.

I'm not quite sure why, but this simple, pretty much anonymous exchange, gave me a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

It's a silly, polite thing for both of us to do, and SHOULD be pretty much SOP for "normal" folks. Granted it's kind of rare, but it happens a couple/few times a year, so it's not unheard of.

It wasn't some sort of random act of kindness on either of our parts, it was just two people behaving politely.

I'm not sure if I'm just in a soft mood, or if socially and publicly things have gotten become so rude, brash and unpleasant that even the slightest bit of decorum stands out like a beacon.

I know a part of the good feeling was simply being on the same wavelength as another random person; not really "connecting", but maybe more of a shared nod & small smile of acknowledgement.

It's the same sort of thing you'd get when riding a motorcycle, with another coming towards you in oncoming traffic. Both of you will just lift your hand to each other in acknowledgment.

Yeah, an odd day for me today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rotation will Spin you Right 'Round Baby, Right 'Round

That is a (bad) screen cap of "the business end" of my rotation. It starts at 5, and goes to the right. The spells are in "collision order"/priority order, in that I have:

#5 - Hammer of Wrath (HoW) - note it's only available when enemy health = low
#6 - Crusdader Strike (CS)
#7 - Judgement of Wisdom (Jud)
#8 - Divine Storm (DS)
#9 - Exorcism (Ex)
#0 - Consecration (Con)

What this means is that, assuming all 6 spells are "ready", I go with the one furthest left (HoW) because, by doing so, I will be doing the maximum possible DPS. (please note that these are based on the end of patch 3.2, and I know that different Tier armor pieces can affect the optimal order)

Per the 3.3 patch, it should be:
HoW > Judgement > CS > DS > Consecration > Exorcism

#5 - Hammer of Wrath (HoW)
#6 - Judgement of Wisdom (Jud)
#7 - Crusdader Strike (CS)
#8 - Divine Storm (DS)
#9 - Consecration (Con)
#0 - Exorcism (Ex)

I guess I should be switching a few around. Oops. That happens when you don't read EJ often enough. I have a bit 'o tweaking to do tonight!

SO, in a "perfect" DPS setting, I will be standingbehlind/side of the boss, hitting the left most button that is lit up. (generally though, only 1 will be lit at any one time)

Yes, for the most part, it's a "whack-a-mole" of casting whichever spell is coming off cooldown (CD) If 2 or more happen to cool at the same time, left one "wins". This is the old "First Come First Serve" (FCFS) rotation. Yes, it kinda sucks, but it's what we're stuck with.

Now, the above "perfect" situation does happen once you are into an encounter (boss especially) but isn't always the best (for me).

So, here is how *I* handle a few different situations:

NOTE - please refer to my last post about focus, following the tank, and general buffing info! HERE

Generic Trash Fight, Multiple (3+) mobs

1 - Target the marked mob, or use the /assist to hit the tank's target
2 - let the tank fight for 3-5 seconds BEFORE MOVING
3 - Spam the Judgement attack as I run into melee range.
4 - As I run into the middle of the mobs, drop Consecration
5 - Get placed behind the mobs (ideally facing the rest of the group for good visibility)
6 - Divine Storm (right as the Global Cool Down (GCD) expires

"Drum the keys". I posted this quick video a while back:

This will keep the 4 highest DPS spells humming along without ANY need to keep your eyes glued to the action bars. You WILL need to glance down to see if HoW or the lowest DPS need to be hit - you can't ignore your action bars. But, you don't have to focus on them, just glance over every 2-3 seconds.

Absolute "nth degree min/maxers" (folks that focus to the extreme on maximizing DPS and minimizing inefficiencies) will probably cringe at this. However, I have one HUGE reason to do this:

Situational Awareness.

Because Rets don't have an established, repeatable rotation, it forces you to keep a rather close eye on what spells are coming off CD. Every second you are focused on your action bars is one second you are NOT focusing on the rest of your group.

"But you are losing out on 1%, 2%, 3%, 5%, or more % DPS!"

Big deal.

If you are grouped with comparably geard and comparably skilled "pure" DPS class (mages, warlocks and rogues come to mind) then you are not going to be topping the DPS meters. Worrying about getting to 4,400 DPS instead of 4,000 DPS really doesn't matter; the others probably doing 5,ooo+ anyhow.


Here's where Ret "utility" comes into play. While you're drumming your fingers and looking the whole situation over, YOU can taunt off any baddies that aggro onto the healer, or any overeager casters/etc. YOU can keep a closer eye on your surroundings to make sure you aren't "standing in the bad" or watching for spawns or pats (patrols) that wander in.

No, you can't tank 'em, but you can gather 'em in, and bring them over to the tank to take care of. (you can survive a few seconds of that)

It puts you in a MUCH better position to notice when the "oh shit" moments I mentioned in my last post happen. There's nothing worse than watching your rotation, TRYING to stay out of the bad, only to notice your health bar is about zero, and you are the last party member left standing.

I'm not saying that all (or even MOST) wipes can be avoided, but some can, and looking like (and feeling like) the hero is nice.

One other note about my rotation and start - yes, I start off "out of order", but with multiple 3 or more mobs, DS and Cons will MASSIVELY bump your DPS because of their AoE nature.

Single/Double Trash Mobs - Just kill 'em.


Pre-fight, do any buffs you need/want.

The are only a couple differences here:

1 - Hit sacred Shield as I run in (out of range
2 - Spam Judgement as I get closer
3 - Get into position
4 - Start (and keep) finger drumming/rotation
5 - Occasionaly hit Divine Plea (for mana) and if able, Sacred Shield (or any other "helpful" spells)

Other than that, same as above.

One other (major) thing needs to be looked at, but it's a modifier for all of the above situations:

In An Organized and Trusted Raid Group (with Vent)

A couple things are different here:

1 - You can "let your guard down" a little bit.
2 - Go ahead an pop your wings
3 - Don't drum your keys, WATCH your cooldowns
4 - LISTEN to your raid leader (RL) and rely on THEM to let you know when an "oh shit" is about to happen.
5 - If you don't have vent? Well, maybe you *do* drum the keys for a bit. It's hard to even read raid chat if you're whacking the FCFS mole... but you should be able to trust the group you're with, you can focus on your DPS rotation.

You don't get to totally ignore your surroundings, but you are now in a situation where your primary focus needs to be DPS. (unless you are assigned to "protect the healer", etc) You were brought in your Blessings, Auras, your durability and your DPS.

Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Retpal DPS: Paint it Black, Paint it Dead

As in:





Or anti-healing.

This is all for PvE, just in case you were expecting/hoping something for PvP.

I was reading a post by DeathGoddess, on How to DPS as a Deathknight and it got me to thinking: what's the proper way for a Pally to DPS? After all, one of her posts biggest points is DON'T DIE, and even though Pallies are among the most survivable classes, we often get accused of either facerolling or being a Tard-adin (and then dying). Obviously, I am FAR from a top tier raider, so I expect others may have comments, ideas or corrections.

Fer Starters

You can go to the Elitist Jerks pages to learn all about rotations, gemming, proper enchants and all that, but what it comes down to for all their info is basically this:

-Be hit capped.
-Get as much strength as you can.
-If you can't get strength, then Attack power.
-Crit is better than haste.
-Know your attack rotation.

If you want all the gory details, go here: CLICK

Even more basically, know the basics of your character, and go with some variety of the cookie-cutter specs. EJ has a couple, as does HERE. (or if you're interested, here's mine: CLICK . As an FYI, I have a couple survival/PvP things in mine, that EJ and others may scoff at. But, since I *do* run PvP now-&-again, and I can't triple spec, there ya go - though I am STRONGLY considering putting one more point in Prot, to get Divine Sacrifice)

OK, so that's the basic basics, but ok, now what?

Generic Trash Mob fighting.

This should be easy, right? Overall, it is, BUT, if you are equally/over geared to the tank, and are "doing DPS right" (from a gem, equip, rotation point of view) it's actually kind of easy to die. 99% of the time, it comes down to getting too much aggro, which should be easy to avoid, but some really basic points can get lost on occasion. SO, to avoid this:

zero- Take note of your tank. Is he geared? Is it a Pally, Warrior, DK or Druid? Each one has a different method, so pay attention!

1 - Give the tank a couple seconds to get full control. 3 or 4 or even 5 seconds (or more for Bear tanks & DKs) isn't going to have a big effect on your numbers. (and if you are doing things correctly, your numbers shouldn't matter) and not having to worry about aggro is nice. (and not dying is even nicer)

2- ATTACK THE PROPER (marked) TARGETS!! This of course assumes there's any marking going on. I keep the tank as my focus, and have a macro to target focus, assist focus, so that I can attack the same target, even if he/she didn't mark.

3- Use a threat meter (I use Omen), or at least watch the threat indicator above your target in the stock UI. (it's not automatically on, you have to select it)

4- Make sure you are standing behind the mobs (if possible) This will mitigate some incoming damage and will prevent some of their avoidance (and increase your DPS)

5- REPENTANCE! (and let others know you have stunned one of them) Especially with tougher mobs, being able keep one out of the fight will help the tank and healer.

6- For undead dungeons, turn on "Sense Undead". (assuming you are glyphed) This will give you extra damage.

7- Holy Wrath (again in undead areas) This is an unbreakable 3 second stun AND a good amount of holy damage. USE IT!

8 - Turn Evil. This is another possible crowd control option.

If you start getting aggro:

- Make sure you are using Hand of Salvation when you can
- Slow/stop your attacks. (and face away from the mobs so you don't auto attack)
- Bring the mob(s) over to the tank so he can pick them up.
- If the "fit hits the shan" use Divine Shield.
- Wait

Alas ,we don't have any aggro "oh shit" buttons to instantly drop aggro AND still be able to fight at our max output.

The closest we have is Divine Shield that protects us from all incoming damage and drops our outgoing damage by 50%. It doesn't really drop aggro, other than reduced threat via reduced damage, but you are immune for 12 seconds. (Just make sure you bring your attackers back to the tank, and beware that if the tank hasn't managed to get aggro on them, they will resume attacking you when it wears off)

Divine Protection, on the other hand, maintains our full DPS (and threat) but drops out incoming damage by 50%. (it's nice for tanking, aka the "Pally Shield wall")

Things to keep in mind/consider: (most of these are for PuGs)

- Unless there are other Pallies in your group, use Devotion Aura (some places call for frost, fire or arcane protection, but those are case by case). If there are more Pallies, one use Devotion, another use Retribution.

- Monitor your own health and be ready to save yourself (via bubble or LoH, etc). Some healers (and tanks as well) feel that any trouble a RetPal gets into is their own fault. Also, depending on the gear & skill of the tank & healer, they may not even be able to help you. Bubble, LoH, potion, bandages (or Flash of Light -especially with Art of War) all are great. Run out of the fight for a few seconds if you need to.

- "popping your wings" (Avenging Wrath) is probably not really advisable, especially in tougher mobs, and even moreso with any group you're not familiar with. The forbearance you get will prevent you from bubbling or Laying on Hands, and those are your safety net if things go bad.

- Protect the healer, and if possible, other ranged/casters from loose/spawning adds & mobs. Running over and hitting Divine Storm, and running back over to the tank will get you brownie points with the healer, and is generally a nice thing to do.

- Sacred shield is (in my opinion) somewhat optional for trash. It certainly won't hurt (other than a small mana consumption) and might help if things go south a bit.

- Depending on your gear level, you may or may not want to self buff via food, potions and scrolls.

Boss Fights

All of the above apply. Watch the tank, give him time to get aggro, attack the correct target, watch aggro, etc. A couple things to add:

1 - If you use a focus, change it to the (a) healer.

2 -Unless you WAY overgear your tank, you will want to get completely buffed. The added 30 stregnth, 50 strength and 80 attack power are invaluable. Since most bosses are single target, it should be really hard to pull aggro. (again, assuming a competent, geared tank)

3 - STAND IN THE PROPER PLACE! For regular monsters, stand behind them. (for the reasons listed above) With dragons, stand next to them, just behind the front legs. This avoids the head (breath weapons) and the tail (lashing, knockbacks, etc)

4 - Keep hitting your "assist" spells as often as possible: Sacred Shield, Divine Plea, and any "on use" trinkets.

5- If it is a tougher boss that will take a while to kill, go ahead and pop your wings right off. (Avenging Wrath - "AW") The forbearance/lockout on your other Hands/Divine spells is only 30 seconds, and if a fight goes bad THAT quickly, nothing is gonna save you.

6- As the fight progresses, I would be less & less likely to cast AW. The healer(s) & tank(s) are more likley to be busy/maxxed out, and you will need to be in the "keep yourself alive" mode. By keeping yourself alive, you accomplish 2 things:

- - 1 - if you stay alive, you can keep doing DPS.
- - 2 - by surviving on your own, you remove that much more stress/etc from the tank & healer.

If all goes well, you should be alive at the end of the fight, and reasonably high on the meters.

That being said, things don't always go the way we would like...


In my most humble opinions, there are 2 types of OH SHIT moments:

1 - you're about to die, but the rest of the raid is doing "ok".
2 - the raid is about to wipe.

The actions for each will be very different.

OH SHIT! Type 1:

- 1 My first response to this is to hit [ctrl][`] which is my hot button of lay hands on myself.
- 2 Get out of the bad! (aggro dump, run out of the fire, whatever) This usually means I run like a little girl.
- Cleanse. It might not be a direct attack, or fire that is killing you. The first actions bought you time and got you clear. Now it's time to remove the DoT that is killing you. DO IT!!! DO IT NOW!!!!

The other source of this type of situation is that *somehow* we got a bunch of hungry adds chewing on our face. (SOMEBODY wasn't watching aggro, or where they were standing)

- 1 Bubble - (divine shield) this buys you time
- 2 Run - Towards the tank and hope he can pull the baddies off you
- 3 Cleanse - as you run tothe tank (just in case)
- 4 Self heal (potions, bandages, Holy Light, Flash of Light, whatever)
- 5 (assuming you survived) get back into the fight!

Nothing all that fancy.

OH SHIT! Type 2

This is usually caused by the tank tanking WAY too much damage, or because the healer is about to buy the farm. (the root cause can be something else, like a DPS pulling more adds, and overwhelming the tank, etc)

Tank is taking too much damage.

3 options:

1 - Taunt (Hand of reckoning) and Bubble - (if possible) Some bosses aren't tauntable. If you are doing this MAKE SURE you have aggro before bubbling. If you have time, casting Righteous Fury and consecration pre-bubble would also be nice, and will buy the tank more time.

2 - (and the lesser option, since you or someone else will probably die) Cast Hand of Protection on the tank. The reason this one is a lesser option is that (I believe) this will give the tank zero threat, and the boss will go after # 2 on the threat meters. (usually a DPS, but possibly a healer) A dead DPS is often survivable, so that is preferable to a dead tank. But still, far from optimal.

3 - A third option, but one that isn't currently open to me, is to cast Hand of Sacrifice and then bubble. This causes 30% of all damage being done to the party to be re-directed to you, but with your bubble, it gets absorbed. The best part of this is that it has zero effect on the current threat/aggro tables, and things continue as before. The bad news is that 1) you have to talent for it (I haven't) and 2) ONLY 30% of the damage gets mitigated and ONLY up to YOUR total health. Depending on how bad things are going, that may not be enough mitigation per second OR enough TOTAL mitigation. Again, I don't currently have this talented (I am strongly considering re-speccing to get it) so I have no experience with it.

Healer is taking (too much) damage

This is why I try to always remember to set the healer as my focus during boss fights.

1 - Target the healer (and/or assist them)
2 - Taunt. Use Hand of Reckoning if only 1 mob, or Righteous Defense if more.
3 - Run towards them
4 - Hit Divine Storm
5 - Consecrate

By this time you should have complete aggro.

6 - Bubble with Divine Protection (Not Shield, unless you are about to die or are taking MASSIVE damage from the mobs)
7 - Pull the mobs over to the tank
8 - Hope the tank pulls them off you.

(OK, there's a 3rd "OH SHIT!" moment, and that's just before EVERYONE is about to die. Use Hand of Sacrifice if you feel it's beneficial, or dont)

OK, so that ended up being WAY longer than I hoped, but I think it covers what I think is important for being a decent RetPal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Another Brick in the Wall, Eh?!?!?

I don't deal well with hierarchy.

I like to think I'm an egalitarian type, except when I'm dealing with idiots. ;) I tend to like democracies in action, and as little vertical structure as is possible.


I read a fair number of blogs and forums posts, and one thing never ceases to astound me: the willingess of a LOT of WoW players to submit themselves to rather militaristic, extremely controlling hegemonies, with mostly one way communications: Top -> Down.

If you aren't a leader, your opinion doesn't count, and you'd better keep your effing yap SHUT!


My best guess is this willingness is part & parcel of a more "harcore" raiding attitude, which is something I know I do not possess.

I am NOT passing any sort of judgement (honestly, I'm not!) but I am completely bewildered by it.

To me, the social aspect of WoW is one of the most captivating parts of it. Vent, /g chat, psts and especially the blogs. The interaction, the irreverence, the flow of ideas, emotions and general banter are what make this game enjoyable to me.

Having to sit in my chair, keep quiet, follow orders (that I may or may not agree with) and essentially submit myself to an electronic dictatorship seems as far away from fun as I can imaging. (at least while playing a game)

A part of me understands that, at times, it's nice to simply sit there and put yourself on autopilot and just follow orders. Another part of me understands that beating higher end content requires some serious dedication and , most likley, a fair amount of discipline (the attribute, not the spec ;) ) But to have the entire game revolve around this structure/culture is rather foreign to me.

Am I missing something? If any of you folks out there are a part of a rather martial guild, are NOT part of the leadership of that guild, and still REALLY enjoy it, could you help this n00b out? Because I'm either missing the point by a long shot, or there's a massive subculture in WoW that is REALLY into electronic S&M... lol

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balthazario is... Starting Over

Or at least, an odd, Aussie-enshrined simulacrum of him is.

I've mentioned him a bit, and Gnomeaggedon has hinted about him as well, but yeah, Balth MkII is now officially levelling and running LFG.

As a Tank.

True, a level 18 DPS Pally & a level 18 Tank Pally are very very (very) similar, but in this instance, intent is everything. Did I roll a toon on Aman'Thul with the intent of levelling up? Nope. BUT, Kattastrophe suggested a while back, that an "easier" way to learn tanking would be to roll a new Pally and learn the "proper" way.




And it's an interesting approach, and one that seems to be working for me. Why is that?

For starters, I play a Ret as my main. This means I've spent the last ~9 months learning to run and whack things in the deadliest way possible. All my spells, gear, and (mostly) all my experience is slanted in this way. (the only caveat here is that Katt & I *did* run as a duo for many many months, her doing the healy/DPS role and me doing the tanky/DPS role - which means I like to do LoS, kite, CC, etc)

What this means is that with the "real" Balth, even though I have a fully geared (at least at a basic level) and fully specced tank spec, I really can't play it all that well.

Big Bear Butt did a pretty interesting comparison between a Druid tank and a Pally tank, and what he describes as normal rotationis, well, rather complicated, as he says HERE. True, the class can tank VERY effectively, but trying to pick it up at max level, is a wee bit of a challenge. (for me at least)

The big reasons for this are...

- Basic tanking, at it's most fundamental level, is a completely different animal from DPS. The situational awareness, focus and style is completely different.

- Attack Rotation and abilities are dramatically different. There are a few cross overs, but they are more the exception than the rule.

So far, I am doing OK. There's hardly any spell rotation, and if you're doing things right, (and none else is being an absolute COMPLETE idiot) you should have no problems.

A couple things of note though:

- 1 - Even though you can join LFD at level 15, don't even THINK about Pally tanking at that level. I was cautious and just entered as DPS for our first LFG, and try as I might, I never once was able to even come close to pulling aggro off the level 15 warrior. Why? see #2.

- 2 -Righteous Fury (aggro/threat boost) and Hand of Reckoning (taunt) are learned at level 16. (you get Righteous Defense at 14, but without these other 2, it's just not possible to really tank) On a single target with any normal group composition, I doubt any toon could pull aggro off you. In fights with 3+ mobs (especially if they are ranged and not grouped) you can lose aggro pretty easily, BUT, with your 2 taunts, regaining it shouldn't be TOO hard.

- 3 - I miss Consecration. (and Divine Storm, but as Prot, I'll never have that) On generic trash, I don't have any AoE attack that can help me keep multiple mobs on me. I have to constantly cycle through the mobs. (I get this at level 20) Not horrible, but a pain.

Overall, tanking at this level is pretty darned easy. Since I only have 1 spell (Judgement) I don't have to try to maintain any rotation (and look at the keyboard) so I am able to keep a REALLY good eye on the group, and look for stray mobs. I can only hope that as I level, the 96969 rotation becomes easy enough that I don't NEED to eyeball the keyboard, so I can continue to watch things.

The biggest thing is just learning to keep situational awareness "active". It's a needed skill for DPS and healers, but if they DO lose it, it's rarely wipe inducing. If you zone out as a tank, get ready for a repair bill...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Parachutes? Why Yes...

So last night a guildie & I get together to do our frost run. We both strip down to nearly our skivvies and join the LFG queue. (one note, my stripping down to a GS of ~2,900 has been working really well!)

20 minutes later, we get the loading screen, and? Pit of Saron. Guess the stripping didn't work so well this time.

Anywho, the group has:

Priest - healer
Hunter (my guildie)
Retpal - me.

The tank starts off asking if we want to do a clear (to get try for the hilt) or just skip as much as possible. We all hem & haw around, and I say let's just go for the quicker option, and off we go.

As you're likely aware, most of the trash in PoS is fairly easy. I'm doing 3.5k DPS and I'm in 2nd or 3rd in overall damage & DPS the whole way. Needless to say, things are dropping pretty quickly.

Garfrost drops without much trouble.

We get to Ick & Krick, and they drop pretty easily.

My DPS sucks, but with that damnable poison nova, and all the other anti-melee stuff going on, I kept a distance during a bit of the fight (and I didn't die) but my performance wasless than stellar.

Then again, this is the first time I've run in a PuG (at least that I remember) where I had 2 other quite competant DPSers with me.

ANYHOW... the tank shows us a way to avoid the 2 trash pulls on the ramps. You just mount up (pally crusader aura helps) and just haul ass up the ramps, and if you get to the top before those 2 groups get into place, VIOLA! (no, not voilĂ ) Those tough trash mobs are avoided.

We continue on into and through the tunnel, and all is going well. (the other hunter and the priest are guildmates, and I think also room mates - one of them had a small child that was gettingsick, so there were a couple short "brb" moments) Everyone is doing well, and seems to be having fun.

We fight Tyrranus, and we have a bit of a hiccup and we wipe. On the run back, the priest is SUPER appologetic, saying that whatever was going on, she just couldn't keep up.

I'm not exactly sure of the specifics, but the tank replied that he ended up getting caught in ice, AND stuck in another attack, and was just getting hammered beyond all belief. (now, if I were a better Retpal, I would have noticed and bubbled/freed him, but that's another story...)

Essentially, it was Lady RNG playing bad odds with our group. No harm, no foul and no blame. We aall amde our way back, but had to stop at the ramps. Those pesky mobs we avoided before stood firmly in our way.

Oh, and my guildie was a bit late getting there. What's up?

And there, right in front of us, floating gently down into the group of nasties, was my guildie. The old "Parachute of Death" trick. She had jumped down from the level above and mis-aimed her jump, and her fall put her squarely into the middle of the mobs.

We *almost* made it, but the priest/healer hadn't had a chance to fully mana up, or even "get into the zone" yet, and we wiped again. It tooks us a bit to figure out exactly what happened, but we all got a hell of a laugh out of the new and novel way of wiping.

Sadly, we almost made it through, even with that "oops".

We ran back and finished the instance without much trouble. We did use CC, which was inevtiably broken, but we still managed without much trouble. Everyone was happy to be done, and pretty satisfied with the results, even with an extra wipe or two.

I wish all runs were that enjoyable. :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I can See for Miles & Miles & Milestones

Heya, it's me. I just realized that sometime in the last few days, I broke the 5,000 page view barrier.


Granted, because of the way that works, a significant number of them are me checking up on things and all that, but still, a milestone is a milestone.

And for that, I would like to thank everyone that has been stopping by, checking in, and all that rut.


And, to get away from the blogwhining I've been doing of late, I'm about half way through my next post, which is a how to DPS type thing. If someone is new to Pally DPS, I hope they can learn something, and if someone else knows a lot more than I, then perhaps they can offer advice.

Cheers and auf wiedersehen!

Monday, February 8, 2010

All I see is Disorder; Though not Always a Bad Thang...

Lotsa Nada happened this weekend...

I made another few hundred gold, grabbed a few more Champion Seals, a couple more Dalaran Cooking Awards, and got a few of the Valentine's Achievements.

Actually, I started the Valentine's day ordeal a day early. (I played a while on Saturday night on Aman'Thul - Oceanic - they are 19 hours ahead of me) Aussie-wannabe-Balthazario is less than 5 bars away from level 15 and beginning the low level LFG.

As a tank. Kattastrophe suggested I start a low level pallie and learn to tank from low levels, and my server sojourn seems an appropriate place. Katt & I are still sorta considering each loading up a "home" (Velen) toon with heirloom gear, bags and gold and then do a server transfer.

A Gold Farming Hint for the holiday averse:

Even if you have ZERO intention of actually completing the quest, speak to a local questgiver (one in each main city) and get a Lovely Charm Collector's Kit. Once you do, you will collect Lovely Charms from from many of the mobs that you kill in your daily Frost Runs. (unless you are a healer - you need to be killing stuff) Anyhow, collect 10 of thos charms (which are soulbound) and convert them into Lovely Charm Braclets. These are NOT soulbound, and can fetch 10-40 gold each from the Auction house. So, you run a few PuGs, and collect free gold.

In Other News

My pre-LFG routine seems to be helping. (this is where I unequip a bunch of gear to ensure I get into a low/easy dungeon) Every time I have done this prior to entering the LFG queue, I have gotten a low level (aka "easy") heroic.

Why don't I want to run PoS, HoR and FoS? Because it is not uncommon to wipe on them. I despise doing the LFG, and at this point I am ONLY doing them for the Frost emblems. The Frost Emblems I get from Violet Hold are the exact same as the emblems from Halls of Reflection. (In fact, I get more Triumph running VH, if I recall correctly) Not to mention that I have yet to wipe on VH, which means saving 5-10 gold for each wipe that doesn't happen.

I am kind of enjoying the Valentine's activities. Granted, as a Draenei Paladin, I keep getting showered with petals, but it's better than being turned into a turkey. lol (poor rogues) Also, I kind of like the idea of being able to get a freebie pet.

I *did* try to kill the holiday bosses with extreme wipeage resulting. Once was by having a small party (2), once was due to not really getting the fight, and the third was because all the adds swamped the healer. (and here's an odd thing; I looked up a video for it, and it showed maybe 3 or 4 adds all together. During our last wipe, I saw well over a dozen. - odd) And yes, I was trying to tank the last 2 attempts which did not help things. It also didn't help that I didn't realize there were THAT many adds in the first place. I pulled a couple at the start, along with Mister Pink.

Yes, we used the anti perfume potion thingie. *shrug* Oh, as a group, we did ~ 12,000 DPS before we died.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mad, Mad World of Warcraft

I thought about linking the Gears of War video instead, but live seems to feel better...

Anyhow, as of late, my time in WoW has been a tad melancholy. I dread queueing for the Sanity Tap ® and have gone about my business on many days without even bothering. I'm barely raiding, and overall, any progression I've made has been really slow.

Looking for Dungeon

I'm not sure why, but going into here for my daily heroics stresses the crap out of me. I'm putting my tanking project on hold, so this really only relates to me playing DPS, which I seem to be pretty good at. I'm just terribly leary of people taking things the wrong way, me gaffing something up, or just general asshattedness of the randoms. A couple examples:

- I get put into a group starting Pit of Sauron. Nobody is near the entrance area, and the NPCs are already running. I start moving away when I see a flame hooved horse go running by. I run to follow and seem him/her jump a ravine and stand off to the side. Not knowing wtf is going on, I try to jump over and miss. And fall down into a group of mobs. Or, 3 groups.

Someone drops down to help, and we both die. Someone else yells "real pro". Another asks "WTF happened?"

As I am flying back, I try to explain, and I appologize. I can see from the health bars that some are still in combat and taking LOTS of damage. I applogize and upon entering the instance I appologize again and leave group.

- I'm with a guildie, and we get put into one of the appostrophe'd instances. (Zul 'drak, Gur'ub or whatever the fuck it's called. It's the one with the spiral staircase down in the beginning and lots of snakes) We fight a couple trash mobs, and I end up having to Lay on Hands. It's not that I'm taking a lot of damage fast, it's just that the healer is doing NOTHING. The tank isn't marking and is switching targets, so that I'm pretty much guaranteed to be getting some aggro and taking *some* damage.

Shortly after, we have to wait while the tank says brb and goes afk. (not that long, but a couple minutes)

Then the healer gets pissed off that RankWatch whisped him that one of his spells is low rank. I replied "ok, gimme a minute and I'll shut it off". To do this, I have to log off. Normally this isn't a problem, and I don't drop group. I pop back in and get teleported out f the instance. My guildie informs me that I got vote kicked. She drops group and we go elsewhere. My guildie mentions "That healer wasn't healing AT ALL."

So there are my sad, sad tales of woe and misery in the LFG. Honestly, it wasn't THAT bad... especially when compared to some of the crap other bloggers are dealing with. It's just getting to me. Hell, the very next run, my guildie & I got Oculus with a good group, and we ended up getting both the speed and the Amber Void achievements.

This less than ideal LFG/LFD thing just gets compounded when I think about raiding; which I'm not able to do. even though I have access to my guild and Kattastrophe's guild, the amount of 10 man raiding I've done is approaching an asymptote: Zero.

I can't really blame the guilds. After all, there's nothing forcing me to stay associated with them. That said, it's a tad frustrating that both of them only seem to do raiding at 4 pm server time. (weekdays) I guess my guild did some "real" 10 man content this last week, but I was out of town.

Now, I'm not only carping about it. I am trying to be pro-active and try to organize things my self; I've posted in our guild forums and had a whopping *2* views thus far. (and no replies - posted 3 days ago)

Now, since I'm not running any raids (not even the weekly easy one) and I'm not getting all my weekly 14 LFG frost emblems, this pretty much ensures I'm not able to buy any new gear. This in turn leads to:

I'm not progressing.

As I mentioned in my last post, I *did* get a new set of bracers. And yeah, going from i200 to i213 is an upgrade and all the stats ARE better. How much? According to the melee info, I am getting an extra 2.5 DPS. That's not a typo. That is: "two point five damage points per second". And I think I got an extra 50 health points.


Heck, I still haven't even hit Honored with the Ashen Verdict yet.

The one upgrade that I know for certain that I *can* get are the Rings of Kirin Tor. The first purchase is the only really big one (6,400 gold) and I'm at nearly 5,000 right now. If I do a *little* bit of grinding, plus my dailies, I should have enough in another 4 days or so. Then it's just another 2-3 days for each upgrade over that.

Then if I'm still feeling badly undergeared, I can farm another 10k-15k gold to buy a couple Titansteel razorscale armor bits.

So what then?

I think uch of my time for the forseeable future may be just grinding out some achievements. Big Bear Butt mentioned a grindable pet that would get me a bit closer to the Salt Lick and would occupy my time.

I'm not sure, but I think I have about 60 Champion Seals, so I plan on getting more and using them to buy some Argent pets. (BTW, the Argent Crusader Tabard KICKS ASS! A free teleport for the win!)

I recently got my Eastern Kingdoms explorer achi, and will probably spend time running around Kalimdor to finish everything off.

I think I'll start gathering honor points and marks so I can put together a set of PvP gear. Not that I really care to PvP, but having the gear should certainly make it less painful to do it.

I have about 500 stone keeper shards, so I can also get a bit more Heirloom gear for my alts. I'm not sure I really feel like running them, but getting the gear should at least make things easier.

And, I hope that I get out of this funk, maybe get one or two raids in, and, if all goes south, maybe look for a new guild. Alas, my needs are pretty specific (casual, friendly, active mainly weekdays between 8pm and 11pm server time, familiar with EJ, and related sites enough to know what they're doing, but not so much that they suck the fun out of the game)

Oh, and I need to watch Donnie Darko one of these days.