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Archive for April, 2011

Over the past few days I’ve had the chance to try, and complete the two redone troll instances Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman. I’m going to say straight away I like them a lot. They offer fun encounters with good mechanics that are not too hard if you play well but will punish groups who try to force their way through the fight. In short, take the time to explain the fight and understand what you need to do and it won’t be that hard.

Of the two, I feel ZG is the one who has changed the most and is the most difficult. ZA is basically the old 10 man scaled down to 5 man and the boss mechanics stay roughly the same. If you knew how to beat the old ZA, you’ll get the new one pretty fast.

ZG however is a different beast. The new bosses are entirely new encounters with a few nods to the old ones and the old bosses have new fights too even if they are based on the old mechanics.  Bloodlord Malakir will still yell Ding! when he one shots you, there’s still a raptor involved but that’s about it. I prefered by far ZG to ZA.

And now in no particular order, my top three bosses from the new instances:

Akilzon, Eagle boss (ZA):  Getting kidnapped by the giant eagle is an endless source of amusement!

Zanzil, cauldron boss (ZG):  Running all over hitting the right cauldron and throwing fire, ice and getting the poison protection just make for a hectic fight. The fun kind of hectic fight.

Bloodlord Mandokir (ZG): It’s a classic fight, he still yells Ding when he kills you and getting hit for 24 million just makes you feel special.

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So I’m stumped…. really I am. I have about five blog posts in progress and none I can finish. I have this great idea, start writing about it and halfway through I stop. Suddenly the idea seems trite, or I feel the tone of the post is condescending or I start thinking it’s not really relevant or…

Damn it!!

Seriously… what do you guys do when you hit that wall?

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Orvillius and Nymphy over on the their new blogs reminded me that I wanted to talk about a proper Eff the Ineffable guild tradition that I initiated one night in raid, the crotch-punch system.

See, Eff the Ineffable has a lot of couple raiding together. In fact, it’s not that uncommon to have 6 out of 10 players in our 10 man raid be in a couple together.

It’s three couple of two people by the way! Not one giant couple of six… perverts…

So, Zelmaru was looking one night for a suitable punishment for her husband standing in bad and I suggested the crotch-punch. Every time Gnoble would stand in the bad Zel would get up and punch him in the nuts. For my lady readers, threatening a man’s private is an excellent way to motivate him to do pretty much anything you want.

Sure it might not work great for single raiders like me or for the reverse scenario where the lady would get punched but so far the system has been working great with improved awareness of all male raid members for fear of getting crotch-punched.

The trick now is to find a suitable alternative for the ladies… any ideas?

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Small secrets to become a great tank

This post has been last updated on July 14th 2011.

So you’re new a this tanking thing and you want to be a great tank? Not just a good tank but one your guild will trust with their lives all the time. When everything goes to hell you are the rock that see things through as if nothing as happened. As long as you are there, nothing can go wrong.

So how do you achieve this? By doing more than just tanking a mob. Everyone can tank a boss and move it around once in a while. That is easy. Tanking a single mob when everything goes to plan and you have the gear is no trouble, it’s when the unexpected happens that a tank truly shines.

1. Tank in pugs and play along!

Tanking in pugs is the best training one can get. Not only will you develop that though skin you need to survive wipes, stupidity and verbal abuse,  but you will also learn to deal with the unexpected. Super aggressive hunter pulls before you? Don’t let him die, try to get the agro back and hold it. Better yet, do that while completing the rest of the pull and allowing the mage to CC. Dps hits multiple mobs? Multi target practice! Healer is asleep? Survival cooldown use training. Every pug is a lesson to be learned. If you can tank successfully in pugs you can pretty much rest assured you can tank in raids.

2. Research the fights!

I’ve said it 10 000 times and I will say it once more. If you tank and don’t know the fight you will wipe the group again and again. It makes me cringe to hear a tank in a raid say he doesn’t know.

3. Help out the dps!

Tanks are expected to help out the healers by taking as little damage as they can but the one thing that separates great from truly awesome tanks are those that try to help out the dps. What about positioning the boss so the dps can hit it in the back? How about training the boss to that debuff pool where he takes more damage? How about using that ability that lowers a boss resistance? How about moving the boss before he does his AoE to help out the dps take less damage? A few good rules of thumb to help out dps:

-Move the boss as little as you can. The less you move the boss, the less your raid has to adjust and movement at the wrong time can spell doom
-When you do move the boss, move it so the dps has room to do their job. For example, if the boss throws down a patch of bad on you, move the boss back enough so that the dps can melee the boss back without standing in the bad.

4. Be a dps and a healer!

So you got the agro, you have the gear and enough hit points so what’s left? Why not try to raise that dps or that self-healing? Don’t stop at being only a tank. If you have cooldowns that boost dps do it. You know that unused cooldown that boost your damage by 200% ? It’s still good even when you’re tanking. Same goes for self heals. If I don’t need to generate aggro because I have a lot of threat, why not use a few more self-healing strikes? Or spend that rage on doing more damage? You’d be surprised at how much dps a tank can do.

And with that said I wish you all happy tanking.

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Monday random thoughts

Wow… nearly been a week since my last post. I need to remedy to that!

The world keeps turning in WoW and Eff is now 5/12 with the current raid content with Saturday kill of Atramedes. I don’t know if we should feel proud to be able to beat up a disabled(blind) dragon but he dropped me some loot so I don’t feel so guilty about it. Over the past two weeks I feel like we’re picking up speed and things are falling better into place and I think we’ll have a nice progression until we hit the last three bosses, Cho’gall, Nefarian and that air dude in Throne of winds.

In other news I’ve been playing quite a few matches of World of Tanks wich I strongly encourage you to try out if you’d like a shooter that rewards smart thinking and not reflexes.

So that’s all for today, I’ll try to get you guys something with a bit more depth once I’ve had a good night of rest.

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 I’ve been giving the new Call to Arms feature a lot of thought before speaking about it. As a tank, I should be happy that I’m going to get rewards simply because I play a class that’s in demand…

The thing is that I don’t feel anymore incentive to Tank than I did before. River has a nice writeup on some of the reasons why I’m not feeling super excited about getting extra for tanking but the issue revolves mainly along the lines of “You can’t pay me enough to take this kind of abuse”. Pugs are insane to tanks (and healers) and they are getting what they deserve as I wrote about  back in december.

Going to pick my crystal ball again and foresee the future. Call to arms will help out at first when there’s new content around as the tank will want the rewards and gear. Then after a really short while (tanks tend to gear up fast with those insta groups), tanks will have all they need and go back to tanking for friends and guilds where they are not abused. I have not tanked a pure random pug since January and have no intention to do so soon.

So no, I won’t come and save the pugs. I will do what I need to do, maybe try picking up a shiny poney if I feel like it in the first few days and then I’ll go back to being a pocket tank for my guild.

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World of tanks coming out today

A few months after the Russia we are finally getting the launch of World of Tanks, Wargaming.net MMO/Shooter hybrid featuring WW2-ish era tanks. I’m saying WW2-ish because some of the tanks are prototypes or were released in the immediate post-war period (T-54).  You probably have seen the ads plastered all over websites, announcing a free to play MMO.

So is it really free to play? No. It’s free to try and someone really crazy and dedicated could go all the way without paying a dime but the game is made so you pay at some point. The game separate tanks in 10 tiers wich you can think of as levels. A free user can get to Tier 4 easily and get an excellent feel for the game, if really dedicated push it to tier 6 or 7 but after the in-game credits you gain as a free user are insufficient to cover the cost of higher tier battles. Still, a lot of player feels the best battle are had at around Tier 4 and will restrain themselves to that range so a free user can have a lot of fun.

Paying users buy gold and have access to Premium accounts(15$ a month) wich double the XP and credit gain making it possible to reach the top tiers like you would in a normal MMO (read grinding levels/battles here) and they can also buy premium tanks wich are special models and variants like British tanks used by the Russians or French captured tanks used by the Germans. These tanks are nice, come fully upgraded but are not game breaking so it’s more a question of personal taste than anything. The one thing gold can get you to give you an edge is premium ammo and consumable but again, it won’t save you from being ambushed.

Is the game good? Yes, surprisingly so if you’re into shooter type games, vehicle simulators and historic games. WoT is a weird crossover between multiple. Sure the germans didn’t fight along the americans and tank battle featured more than just tanks but if you’re into tanks this is probably the only game that does a good job of simulating a tank battle without becoming a hardcore simulator.

Now I just need to find a way to make time for WoW, Starcraft 2, WoT, Spirit tracks, Dead Space, Appolo Justice, Shogun 2, Operation Darkness, Pilotwings, ….

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