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Archive for December, 2010

Lightwell from a tank perspective

Today we get into the gritty bits of tanking and healing and specifically, I want to talk about lightwell. Now, I know all of you holy healers got this awesome spell that’s incredibly efficient in terms of mana/healing and that you love us when we click it to heal ourselves. Blizzard even put a tip in the loading screens telling us to use lightwell… must be one awesome spell right?

Well no… or rather not all the time and especially not for a tank. Even if some of you I’ve met in Pugs insist on it I will not as a tank rely on clicking a well to heal myself. It’s not to spite you or because I’m lazy, but because of well tought reasons. So why would clicking a well to heal myself be such a bad idea?

1. Movement

There’s a huge probability that in order to use a lightwell I will have to move to it when I need it. Even if I start out the fight right on top of the lightwell and try to stay there, the realities of a fight will probably require me to move during it. Any tank worth his salt will tell you that you want to minimise movement as much as possible during a fight and that for numerous reasons. Every time you move a boss you lower the overall dps of the group, you risk an AoE boss ability to be badly placed and thus hit people you didn’t want to. You risk being out of LoS or range of the healers. Plus, if you make a mistake while moving you can end up taking a lot more damage or even wiping the fight. Good tanks move only when they have to.

Obviously, this mean that the benifits of moving to have the lightwell versus the risk of moving are not worth it. Risking a group wipe or an enrage timer to save the healer trouble is not a good tradeoff.

2. Being able to click

The second reason is a bit more practical and revolves around my ability to click on a lightwell at the right moment. Because of threat, cooldowns and numerous other little factors its possible I might not be able to spare the 2 seconds needed to click at the right time. 2 seconds can be the difference between life and death in a fight. This all make the Lightwell unreliable when it comes to tank healing simply because I might not be able to click it when needed.

Final thoughts

Ligthwell has been debated to death in previous expansions and it’s been generally agreed upon as being a bad talent, or a situational one at best, it’s unreliable for tanks and often make dps lose a lot of dps. While one might argue about being meter focused, I’ve seen enough dps be pressured to top the meters to understand them not wanting to lose a precious few seconds on very tight rotations.  I haven’t seen significant changes to it so it would stand to reason that the usefulness of the talent has not changed.

However, with the recent changes to healing, priests are desperate for mana and I understand their want for us to use Lightwell wich is very mana efficient. And I will use it.

When the situation allows.

That is the main point I want to get across. If I’m able to I will use lightwell but only if it doesn’t affect negatively my tanking. That means I should not have to move to go reach it and it’s going to be when I have a moment for it.  I am truly sorry for you priests that Blizzard is ramming down your throat such a crappy talent.

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First of all, happy holidays everyone and sorry I wasn’t around the past few days.  The holidays are usually a pretty busy time for me and what free time I have I want to kick back and enjoy being with friends and family as much as possible. Wich is not the greatest for blogging… maybe someday I’ll train myself to pre-write blog posts for when I don’t have much time.

Today, Kaozz told me I had been listed on Massively as a blog to watch out in 2011 as part of their article on the top blogs of 2010. Most of the bloggers on this list are people I greatly admire when it comes to blogging and to be listed among them is quite an honor. But don’t worry, despite the ego boost it should still fit through the doors.  I’m a bit surprised honestly because most of the time I feel more like I’m ranting rather than saying something useful but obviously, I must have my moments of clarity… or you’re all having fun with me as we all go insane. Still trying to figure out wich is wich.

So a big thank you to all you reading this, whether on this site or from your readers, I am deeply grateful to all of you and I hope to be able to keep entertaining you in the following year.

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I may have lost my cool…

I take great pains since the spring disaster of last year to not get emotional about WoW or any game for that matter. I always tell myself it’s a game and that the little frustrations like dumb players are part of the game and that ultimately, it makes for good story telling.

Readers and fellow guildies know that I’ve been trying to make the jump to tanking in heroics and that it’s not been an exactly easy process. My gear is mostly there, I’ve gotten most upgrades I could from dungeons and reputation and it’s now a matter of getting a few heroics drops to put me firmly into Heroic territory.

But the main issue has been mostly my fellow puggers who are most of the time grossly undergeared and scream at me and the healer to cover for their own mistakes. It’s been getting under my skin and slowly building up for the past week.

There I was the other day, in Lost City of the Tol’vir, farming some reputation with the Therazane faction so I could get the rings at Revered when some piece of gear cloth that I didn’t care about dropped. I chose enchant and was proceeding to the next pull when the dps shaman pipes up.

Can I have this so I can raise my gear score and do heroics?

This guy had been a pain all run long, constantly complaining, constantly demeaning the healer who was healing her heart out in her leveling green and blues, never CCing when asked to… a future wiper of heroics.

Not only was this dumbass being a pain in Normal mode he wanted to make the jump to heroic as soon as he could so we could gear him up. I my mind, I saw a not too distant day where I would be queuing for a heroic, stressed out about simply surviving the place and this shaman would be there, fully expecting me to carry his butt through the instance and insulting me and the healer when he would cause a wipe.

I lost it. Big time. Some choice comments I made to him.

…No you cannot have this! In fact you cannot have anything. The longer I prevent you from going to heroic the better the world will be.

…It’s because of dumb f*** like you that groups wipe. I’m impressed that you even know how to breathe, you probably had to watch a video on youtube to even start to lean how. 

…Your mom jokes… that’s original… I got one for you. Ur Mum shuld hav thrwn u off a kliff!!11!!1. Did I spell that right?

And on it went for a good 5 minutes… I must have typed a novel. After I was done, he simply ran into the next group of mob, died alone and left the group. Someone joked about me using some sort of voodoo tank talent to kill off dumb people but I wasn’t paying attention.

Later tough I got a tell from a GM. Basically I was told that making death threats and outright insulting others is not looked kindly upon. However he did look at the entire instance logs and said he did understand however where my frustration came from and I got off with a stern warning.

So yeah… not my best moment… but it did feel incredibly good.

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Walk the Plank, Cataclysmic update

Since it’s been two weeks since Cataclysm release and because I feel like doing a shameless plug for our guild on Silvermoon-US, I figured I could do a quick update on what’s happening with our little crew of casual, but murderous, pirates.

Recruitment, wich has been my main worry for the past few weeks, has picked up a bit thanks to a few bloggers and real life friend who has joined us. I did manage to recruit a few locals from Silvermoon but the retention rate among them is very low for reasons I will touch on later on. Still, I feel we have gained valuable members over the past two-week, people who won’t jump ship for no reason and people we can build an awesome guild upon.

On the guild progress side of things we now have a few 85, enough to field a full 5 man wich hopefully, should allow us to do a few guild heroics in a week or two once people have geared up. With people like Pid (The Meatshield) and a few friends leveling characters at a nice pace, I’m starting to see a day not so far away where we’ll be able to do groups run of heroics without any real problem and even 10 man raids if it’s something that people are interested in, wich they are if I go by what I’m being told.

For the killer question now, wich level is Walk the Plank? Level 2, getting close to 3. I wish I could say I’m surprised but I’m not. Since we have quite a few people leveling up right now, since we are not doing instances runs as guild group on a regular basis yet (read heroics here) and since we’re being true to our casual, no pressure approach, the guild experience suffers as a result.

And this is where our retention problems with local recruits come from. Unlike bloggers, readers and real-life friends, these people don’t know us and for them we are but one in many casual guilds. Even worst, we actually mean it when we say we’re a casual guild and we’re not promising raiding or pvp. When a member asked earlier this week if we would be raiding and how often, I gave him my usual answer that I would try putting a group together once I felt people were geared enough but it would be completely optional and only once a week. He left the guild later in the week.

So does it mean that our casual guild is doomed to disappear? Quite the opposite in fact. It will take us a lot more time to get those levels and all these nice perks but I feel like we have a much more solid foundation, one that is built on great people who understand that WoW is a game and that the point is to have fun. I know that when people log on, it’s because they really want to, not because they feel forced to.

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We, the Tanks

I had this long post about why “us”, tanks don’t want to tank heroics in pugs right now and why the queue for heroics is getting ever longer( upwards of 2 hours now).

Instead of the long post I’m going to leave you all with a simple message to mull over

We, the Tanks, are not born with the infinite knowledge of how to perfectly tank everything and are not born with the gear of the gods. Your constant demeaning, insulting and outright aggression of would be Tanks will not create more or better tanks but only less tanks.

Those of us who will survive this crucible of hatred you are putting us through will emerge as your new Gods and Overlords. And we shall be as cruel as and as merciless as you have made us. You shall kiss our feet, speak only when allowed to and above all, obey our every command to the letter, lest you shall be sent to the voids of the groupless, there to wait for as long as your gods please.

Be warned that unless you change your ways henceforth, the next two-year will be a living hell for you.

Signed Morehnai, Tank of Silvermoon

PS: If this doesn’t apply to you and are one of the few kind and good souls to Tanks then I love you more than you can know.

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Cataclysm dungeons 2.0

If you are one to follows the forums, the blogs and the various news on WoW, wich is likely if you are reading this, you know that the new dungeon experience has left quite an impression on the player base. With these changes come changes in group dynamics too, or for the old timers, a return to the times of yore when CC was king, when you waited for two sunders and where a dps pulling aggro wouldn’t even be looked at by the healer and left to die, mana was too precious to spend on people who played like retards.

And now the forums, the blogs and the web is aflame with players pissed at the changes, pissed that they have to actually pay attention now to what is going around them and not play like retards. Blizzard made numerous statements to the effect that free loot was over, that epics would not be raining down from the skies and that Heroic would mean heroic. But still, the flames and the cries keep coming. It started with the Dps complaining about the healers would could not keep them alive despite their stupidity, then the healers complained that they didn’t have enough mana to spam heals non stop. Then both healers and Dps figured that the real issue was that tanks had been nerfed too much and the tanks joined in. For a sensible look on this from the healer point of view I strongly recommend you check out Reversion post over at Looking4more.

Let me tell you about two of my runs in Grim Batol. Grim Batol is the last five man dungeon you will  do before stepping in the heroics and as such, it can become a lot harder than the other five mans if you don’t pay attention. The trash hit like trucks and CC is required, not optional. During the first run, CC was minimal, people kept breaking it, the dps was hitting different targets everytime and the kill order was never followed. It was long, it was painful and it was a mess.Second run,  the kill order was followed, the CC was applied and respected and the run went like a charm, even felt easy…

What does this tell us? That just like Blizzard promised, we now need to pay attention to what is  going on. That we have to wait for that patrol to pass, to wait for everyone to be ready between pulls, to use CC and most importantly, to use our heads. But best of all is that this mode of playing
does not make the game worst, it makes it immensely better.

For the first time in ages we have to communicate with one another in groups. In the past few days, I’ve seen people be friendly to strangers, congratulate on good pulls and awesome recovers. Pass on loot to help out someone from another server. I had two bad “gogogo” players and both were kicked from the runs. Often by other dps scared to death that the healer or the tank would leave the group.

My wish now is that Blizzard will not cave in to the rushers and the bad players. I want civility back into my game and I think we might be holding the winning ticket. And it looks like Blizzard knows it too. (linking to MMO-champion as we can’t link directly to the WoW posts anymore). Read between the lines and you’ll hear “Learn 2 play”.

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Of guilds and levels

If I was to compare Catclysm with the previous expansions to WoW I can honestly say this is the one I like the most so far. Close to everything in it seems to me very well tought out and in general are  huge improvements for the game. Sure there’s little hick ups like every other time (Hang in there  hunters!) but overall, an awesome job. There is one thing however that I’m really worried about.

The new guild system

What! How can you be against that I hear you say. How can I be against awesome guild perks, guild  achievements, mass resurrection, guild mounts? How can I be against something that by Blizzard own admission, aims at bringing back the Multiplayer in MMO, something that I’ve been wanting for a while now.

For the record I want to say I love the guild perks idea, to give guilds doing stuff together a few  perks to make life easier. Cauldrons, mass resurrection are all awesome ideas that I don’t want to see go away.

What worries me so much is the leveling system and the new barrier it represents.

A view of the future

Let’s bring out the crystal ball and jump ahead a year into the future, where most serious raiding  guilds will have made level 25 and where long-lived and active social guilds will be well on their way to 25 too. Let’s pretend that you want to make a new 10 man raiding guild along with a few people and you need to recruit to fill up the ranks, what do you think will happen?

Think about it for a moment. Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a guild to join.

If I was a prospective recruit looking for a guild wich guild would I choose? The new, unproven guild who has to pug to complete raids and has nothing to offer me or the well established guild who will boost my xp and rep gains, will make me mine more minerals, will shorten my hearthstone, bring cauldrons to raids and has mass rez to offer… Between the two unknown guilds… why the hell would I want to join the new one? Same goes if I want to find a nice, social guild. It would be nice to get the extra xp, rep while leveling yet another alt versus getting nothing.

The new guild system looks new and exciting right now but in a year from now, it will be an incredible obstacle to anyone wanting to start-up a new guild. I fear it will kill the smaller guilds.

I might be wrong, maybe that’s not how it will play out and I’m just being paranoid. But just last weekend, when I was recruiting in the Recruitment channel, the first question I was asked was what level my guild was…

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