Thursday, May 26, 2011

Playing your best!

I've heard that water seeks its own level.

Oh, philosophical me! What I mean by this is that all water finds the place where it belongs. When it comes to this game I believe you play where you best fit due to the human aspect of the game. Yes, a few people go hunting for the very best guilds, some will play with friends IRL that don't have a clue how to raid in a progressed nature but that is still finding your level. In the game of World of Warcraft that is seeking your own level. How does this relate to "Playing Your Best"!

What steps can you take to play your best at this game even if you don't have the so called "hard core" amount of time to do that?

  • Hardly anyone is natural to video games, you have to do it to learn it. So, go do it. The more you do the fight/instance/raid the better you will get at it.
  • Challenge yourself - You need to know your toon, your cooldowns and limitations. Take yourself out of you comfort zone. PVP, duel, solo an elite. Do something you would normally ask to get help with.
  • Pug - Yes I said that! If you are 100% comfortable, pugging can get you into situations that you have to go above and beyond. A bit of patience and understanding go a long way. This doesn't mean play with rude or dumb people but sometimes mistakes happen. Deal with them and you will learn from it.
Prepare -
  • Know the fight before you do it! There is a wealth of info out there for you to have an understanding. I'm not talking about watching Tankspots video and now you are a pro, but read the abilities, watch some videos from the POV of your job.
  • Steps to learn the encounter (source ~ thanks Tank Repo)
    • Gather facts - Wowhead or Wowiki
    • Watch videos - your POV, Tank spot, google search
    • Compare facts with videos
    • Look at logs, recount
  • Is this a lot to prep? Not nearly as much as a night of wiping would be if you go into a fight without knowing. Knowing what you need to do during a phase transition that you have seen on 5 videos is much easier to understand than having a raid leader say it once at the start of a fight.
Min/Max -
Gasp!!!----I used that 'leet verbiage, didn't I? This doesn't mean drop your profession and power level another for a certain fight or race change your toon to get more HP's to tank. No no no...this isn't what I mean at all.
  • Get your professions to max or at the very least to the spot where they benefit you. JC's are allowed to use 3 JC only gem's...put them in there. BS get 2 extra gem slots...etc
  • Get the rep you need for the helm/shoulder enchant or that 359 epic that will work for you.
  • Spend the gold on the proper glyphs, enchants and gems. Gold is easy to come by in Cata.
Getting to know your toon and rotation take extra work. We have training dummy's all over the place now. Running a few minute rotation, including interrupts and CD usage will go a long way. During a time of high stress we go back to the very basics, the basic you are most comfortable with. If you can do your rotation without looking that makes you comfortable with it.

Does all this sound like a lot of work? It shouldn't. Once you get the toon set up you can knock this out in about 20 minutes every couple days. Less than a full heroic.

Now the water finding its level, after you put your time and work into making your toon better and "practicing" your game, you will make the whole group better because you are doing your job to the BEST YOU CAN.  This will allow the DPS to go harder faster, healers to use less mana and bosses to die.

You will soon find out that you level has raised and you need to move on or you like where you are and others play better due to the work you have done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making Progress!

The decision -

The edict was laid down last week, there would be no excuses, for the raiders sake we needed to step it up and move forward. If this didn't happen you could sense that there might be a fall out in the guild, the old way wasn't working.

We logged on last week and did some good progression, sadly all farm stuff and then Zerd (RL) stated that lockouts would be held over while we knock on Cho'galls' door. He then firmly told the better know the fight. Oh and study Throne of Four Winds as well.

Progression? -

We finished last week downing Atremedes and the Monstrosity. It was our 1st Atremedes kill, its not a hard fight, we had about six attempts at it and got it down pat. We then headed to our 1st end of dungeon boss. We had a quick explanation and the word was given to "see the fight" we had about four pulls and got him to phase 2 once. The next night we added a few wrinkles to the Cho fight and spent the whole night wiping but got him to phase 2 five times or so. It was frustrating but progress was being made. The night ended with the knowledge we needed to learn more.

This week we logged on fresh, ready to go and had about a 15 post thread on how we were going to do this guy. I was excited, we were all chatty on vent and you could tell there was a great deal of confidence. Tuesday was going to be the day...

Again, we got him to phase 2 over and over! 2% 5% etc...we were so close but for some reason we couldn't pull the DPS off to push thru the adds and put damage on the boss. We weren't hitting the enrage timer just dying to high corruption and not kill the adds fast enough. Then came the ATTEMPT from hell. I will never forget this fight, ever!

We did our normal routine, the fight went smooth, not flawless thou. We got to P2 got the adds down FAST, could this be the kill? We hit bloodlust, put damage on the boss and were getting close, 6% I died and a DPS went down. "REZ CHASEY" went the call, I accepted and taunted as fury just hit 4% only 2 dead and adds popped up. "GET THE ADDS" 2% I LoH to our shadow priest and we hit 1%, we were losing people...omg so close....we can do it. We have our DK tank, me our SP and healer alive. The SP drops, I spam my 'lock didn't work....dammit. 100k, dots are ticking, 75k the damn healer dies, he is in angle form. Only our tank is up 50k...omg we got this....25k his icon is red but we can do it. What do you call 22,462 Hp's on a boss? A WIPE! We wiped with twenty two thousand hit points, roughly what I had buffed toward the end of TBC.

We had a few more solid shots but this one broke us or at least told us that even a 5 minute breaks is not going to shake off the sick you feel from dying to a boss most DPS hell, even tanking classes can do in one global. It was going worse, mistakes were being made. In my mind thou we were learning, I know I did. Life, my tank partner died due to his healer getting MC'd and taking to much damage. I picked up Cho and he was rez'd. I had 2 stacks of fury on me so he kited the adds and ooops his healer and my healer didn't realize it. Yes, we wiped due to raaaaannnnnnggggggggeeeee, oh fuck! We called it soon after, kinda shaken and hit BH before the night ended. We beat him like a rented boss, we took out frustration him, beating our or at least my record by 40 seconds.

Wednesday I logged on at almost raid time. I was getting grief for this, but people were laughing and having a good time on vent. The mood was light. Zerd (RL) was tipsy and telling jokes. We needed attention, we needed focus. Someone flipped the switch when we killed the adds. See Zerd plays a hunter and well, he is a huntard. He was putting the wrong traps and auto shotting ice blocks last night in "tard style. It was funny and he took the ribbing well.

We pull, DPS is rocking the  adds. This one seems pretty solid for the first fight. No deaths and adds are dying fast. Oh fuck, yells Zerd....the que the pull is going bad, or at least not good. We push to phase 2 and as we kite to the thrown, we have fire everywhere. I died and so was the dps. We kept on and got him to 5%. Not bad for the first attempt.

We rez, buff and sat silent. I was hoping that we weren't getting defeated, I was hoping this wasn't our 22k mood haunting us. I pull, position and bang away at him. He is dying fast. The adds too. The 2nd add pops and dies so fast my internal clock is off, I run to where Cho is being tanked and taunt....of fuck....he casts fury and I now have 2 stack of it on me. It hadn't fallen off....*SIGH* Life says I have adds as 3rd pops, he is dawns on me, I say in vent for my healer to stay with me and for Dread to head with Life. It works. I chain my CD's so fury doesn't eat my healers mana. 4th add pops and dies, we have to hault DPS on Cho so we don't get the ooze and push to phase 2. Corruption is low, placement is good and he doesn't screw us with fire. I look at the second stalks spawn and they are all on me. OH WHAT? I say this in vent and these die fast. OMG we have a chance, no one dies. I look at his healt, cuz at this point Fury on the tank is almost automatic taunt. You just know you have to do it, you don't know why thou. 1% pops up and down he goes....

Yes folks, we 2 shot him after a make or break night, we did it. Everyone executed amazingly, and Zerd didn't yell OH FUCK! The feeling was great, we did it. For me, this has been a long and odd journey, I had my first halfus kill in December and slowly I plugged away to get a complete instance out of the way.

Our shadow priest, who raids on another server is 6/12HM 25 man says (and he very rarely speaks of that)  in vent, "that was pretty great guys, after doing it on 10 man, 25 man is easy mode, nice job". He doesn't say alot in vent, usually just tells people to stop screwing up.

The Throne -

We head over to this gawd awful place and get the low down on how we are going to do Conclave. We pull and our druid DC's, Zerd says, don't wipe see how far we can. We did pretty well on the first pull and downed them on the second pull.

We then went to Al'Akir...omg this fight sucks. I mean could there really be a more RNG based fight ever? It got so bad on our 7 plus wipes we were seeing how fast we could wipe. As the tank,  I have work to do to figure out how not to get blown off the platform, avoiding the ice he put around me and then getting knocked back. Honestly I HATE THIS FIGHT. Maybe after downing him a time or two, I'll change my mind but really after killing Cho, this was a bad way to end the night. This one seems like more luck than skill is needed. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading me brag about progression that is a few months behind but none-the-less its progression. I'm glad for a few things, I'm in a guild that I enjoy being around and they seem to enjoy having me there and one that even if its later than normal, they still want to progress. Oh, and I can still tank pretty well...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eye for an Eye!

Talent builds-

If you look at Wowpopular and other data mining sites around you see that most Prot Paladins use a variation of the 0/31/10 build. We have a tremendous threat talent in that build, making it worth it for us to spec that way. There is are a few other builds (threat heavy) and the (WOG raid build). If you have no idea how to spec please see Thecks thread at My purpose of this blog post isn't about what to do, this is food for thought on a different talent. Allow me to introduce you to [Eye for an Eye].

No one questions the utility of the extra range on judgements but the problem lies if you are not kiting or working on trash this does no extra damage for you. Standing at the bosses toes getting beat on is where Eye for and Eye shines. I did some digging in the last few weeks of logs, on average I get an extra 2% damage per night by only using only 1 point in this talent.

The above picture one night of raiding, this shows 45 procs hitting for 9k and almost 18k on a crit. Just doing my job getting damaged. Here is my spec for that fights above. Below on a night with Cimaeron as the main focus (really a bad night) I did 4% of my damage via Eye for an Eye. (source)

The extra range that costs a talent point maybe nice, but it doesn't add up to the extra damage 1 point talent does. I don't kite enough for there is not enough trash for me to wan the extra 10 yards. That adds up to zero extra damage only increased range. [Eye for an Eye] put out more than enough for it to be worth it. Over the course of the fight, you don't see a ton of procs but that is a lot of extra damage for just being a tank. What would you do to get an extra 2% damage over the course of a night?
How it works-
Note: Eye for an Eye has been proven to proc from direct magic damage and some untargeted spells. Examples are Shadow Nova from Halfus Wyrmbreaker and Scorching Breath from his Proto-Behemoth, Twilight Blast from the Double Dragons, Magma Spit from Magmaw, Arcane Storm from Maloriak, and so on. Passive auras, such as Blood Queen Lana'thel's from Icecrown Citadel, are not eligible for reflection.(source)
In other words any coded magical spell that a boss can cast can proc this. A thread I read stated that even physical attacks that are coded magic can make this proc. It is also based off hit, I missed roughly 5% of the time every night. I do not know if Avenging Wrath or Inquisition increases the damage, I'm sorry I looked and could not find any conclusive evidence on this. I will continue to look and if I find anything I will edit and repost.

What others are saying -

Info is a bit on the scarce side for this talent, as far as prot is concerned anyway. There is a thread or two out there but here are a few quotes that I could dig up. I've even been called a "baddie" for putting a point here, to be honest, I'll be bad if I keep seeing these results and as long as I am not required to kite more.
Eye for an Eye actually has the potential to give you some additional "free" DPS. If you take magic damage, it can possibly pump a portion of it back at its source. This could lead to some free damage with your name on it in the meters. (Source)
Eye for an Eye deserves a special mention here. It seems to proc off of most spell-like attacks, regardless of damage type (even physical). Thus, depending on the boss, it can contribute anywhere from 1%-3% of your DPS completely passively. I personally value the utility of Improved Judgement too much to make that trade, but for those that don't E4E is a perfectly valid way to progress to tier 2 of Ret. (Source)

I don't think you need to be blown away for a passive talent such as this to do what it is doing. You are only skipping a 10 yard extension to a talent you already have to increase damage by 2% for just standing there I think its a no brainer. Give this talent a shot, no boss does just physical damage all the time, this is cheap dps even...if you are the OT on a fight.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this talent and if you have an experience on it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fixing the soft spots!

How do you really improve as a tank, a raider and a player? I think you need to discover your weaknesses as a player and a person. Now, I know that sounds pretty deep when we talk about a game. Until you realize your weakness you won't know what you needs to be fixed.

I think I'm a good tank-
Lets look at what a good tank is for a second. We can loosely say this is subjective but the very basics of a good tank is:

♦Knowing your class (cooldowns, taunts, high threat).
♦Knowing the fights (boss ability, enrage, adds).
♦Knowing the pull (who gets CC'd, who dies 1st).
♦Keeping a decent pace but not out pulling your healers mana.
♦Knowing the limitations of your group/guild. (is threat gear ok vs. pure surv. gear)

As you can see all of these are in one way or another associated with knowledge. That in essence means, you need to tank; to get better, to keep your reaction up, to understand your class and others around you, and to hold threat.

So I just told you want it takes to be at least a competent tank. How do you get better? You have to figure out what you are doing wrong, or at least what you could do better. How? How do we go about that? Listen!

Yes, folks, talk to your tanking partner, healers, DPS...get a feel for what is going on with your pulls, your survivability and your reaction time.

After that is figured out, its time to hit the books or, um, the web. The game of Warcraft changes so fast, you have to get on the web and google it.

Brush up on the basics-

A classic video from Ciderhelm, a good watch and very informative.

The most important rule for any tank in a busy fight is preparation.
If you can answer these questions, you know you are in good shape:
1.) When is the bad thing going to happen?
2.) Who is the bad thing going to happen to?
3.) Where is the bad thing going to happen?

Find what works and make it better-

I don't know where your weakness lies but here is what I have done recently to fix my flaw...

By nature I'm an instinctual guy, I play by feel more than a robotic rhythm in nature. Once I learn a fight or that little light bulb clicks I have it down and rarely do I ever make the same mistake again. I'm not perfect but once I know it, I do it.If I do make a blunder...LOL it is usually EPIC and giggle worthy.

My progression as a tank has gone from keyboard turner (arrow keys) to ASDW key and clicking to all key bound etc...

I've worked on fixing my weaknesses-
♦ Forced myself away from the arrows, to a more comfortable area of the keyboard.
♦ Found a keybind blog and read it, I put my keys like that and talked to my guildies about how they do it. Then I went and praticed doing that forever.
♦ I'm now to the point where I don't keyboard turn in a fight at all, I drive my toon with my mouse and basically type all my spells. Well, wait, I'm a paladin, I don't think there is enough keys on the board to do that so I still click a few things.

Moving it along-

My next biggest area of concern is fight knowledge, sadly it is. If you don't have to raid lead you get complacent and allow the raid leader to do the work for you are the tank, our work is different.

I'll admit, tank spot has a place in my heart and seeing Aliena every now and again isn't the worst thing. That givea you a basic overall just of the fight but it isn't the be all end all of fight knowledge.

So what have I done? I went back to when I had to raid lead our Algalon kill.I spent a lot of time figuring that fight out. Not only did I know his abilities I took into account the limitations of our group going in. Here is an excellent post on what it takes to figure out a fight.

At the minimum you should be-

♦ Watching the fight POV from your class or role in that fight.
♦ Reading Wowwiki or Wowhead and what will happen when the boss casts it.
♦ Watching a video with instruction (Yogscast, Tankspot or Cynicalbrit).

We wear plate-

Thicker skin is the theme here. As a tank, we are the front line of getting our heads kicked in. We need to stop incoming damage and there are other things that get put on us. We are offically the unoffical pace car and scap goat in most situations. Look, I'm not here to talk about pugs, and all that nonsense about who's in charge or whatever. At heart most of us like this responsibility and take some damage at home, behind the key board as well as in a raid/group setting. Its something that just happens.

Not everyone is going to like your tanking, your style or how you pull. There are people that are going to look to call you out as a tank, for various reasons it happens. It could be because they want to tank, want to make you look bad or just don't have a real understanding of the game. You have to move past this and understand, do your job and it will work itself out. Understand you are the pivot person of a raid, with that good or bad you will get attention, wanted or unwanted.

How to counter this-
♦ Understand where its coming from and counter it, is it a warrior or kat that wants to blow all its DPS cool downs on the pull. You could pop a salv. on that player before the pull or if it becomes really overboard, BOP them.
♦ Work on one of the above mentioned areas of concern. Faster movement, fight knowledge...etc.
♦ Communicate with the problem person or people.
♦ Keep doing things the right way and looking to improve, the problem doesn't lie with you.
♦ If you have done all of the above and the problem isn't fixed, Move on....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Introduction of blogs...

I want to take a minute for an introduction of two really great blogs I've recently run across. The people that write these blogs have an depth and understanding of the game most just don't get. They are the reason I don't get on here and ramble about numbers and theroycrafting....for one thing, they have already done it and they do it the correct way. Maybe I should get more into why I do what I do but a solid understanding for why is where these new blogs kick in.

Please take a minuted and enjoy these wonderful tanking blogs from long time members of the maintankadin community.

The Tank Repo(sitory) -  A tremendous look at not only all things tanking but of awareness and raiding as well. Welcome the well versed Paperplate.

Sacred duty - Three of my favorite posters I've ever read.
  • Theck the KING of all things numbers and moments where you wonder if, is this really a
  • Meloree - GM of a top 200 guild and self proclaimed brasher of those who are wrong on the Internet.
  • Anafielle - an amazing writer full of witty and informative responses and probably nailed the best quotes I've seen about pallys ever:
"After all, paladins have had Voluminous And Unnecessary QQ as a baseline talent ever since Burning Crusade."

Welcome to the blogging community, you are putting your touch on a spot in the blogging world that needs help.