Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ooh now I have something to write about.

With Ulduar's release I think you could tell by some of my earlier posts that I was very happy to finally be challenged by the game again. I thought that finally Blizzard realized their mistake with Naxx and was going to give the skilled raiders ( and they don't have to be hardcore ) what they were looking for.

Now I assumed after a bit of time, perhaps 2 months prior to the next raid instance release, they would start making the encounters easier and allow some of the less capable people to raid further into Ulduar.

But alas, this is not the case. As posted in this thread Blizzard will start the nerfing early and apparently often. Why just in my previous blog I was complaining about Auriaya, but in the end I hope you got the impression that it was a challenge I enjoyed and embraced and obviously would be going back for more beatings until we overcame the challenge.

According to this thread http://forums.worldofwarcraft.comthread.html?topicId=16473764809&sid=1 the first five bosses and the one that I'm pretty sure we'll beat this week are still too hard. What? We are by no means a "Hardcore" guild, we raid for nine hours a week. Eighteen hours of learning to beat five bosses, is that hard? We by no means expected to skate on through, saving the world from Yogg-Saron in the matter of two weeks of raiding. What we got was what most of my guild expected, a steady challenge of progression through a difficult raid instance.

Why is Blizzard doing this? Were they losing people from the game because they couldn't get through Ulduar? Hell, I've recently gone into Naxx with my alts and there are still people who can't do the fights there. Naxx is more than enough challenge for that group of raiders.

I don't know what Blizzard is thinking, or if they are thinking. I have already canceled my account, it ends in June. At this point I don't know if I will be reactivating it, I was planning on doing that, but now I'm happy I didn't. If the nerfs continue as hard as they have I know I won't.

Blizzard, please slow down on the nerfs, the really casual players will get there eventually. Most of them still need to figure out Naxx.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ulduar - Auriaya

What a b?*#%h.

This is the way the fight goes, from what I can tell.

Pull her and her posse of panthers.
- On the pull ANYONE in line of sight to the cats get pounced on, I didn't look at the damage, all I know is that I as a plate wearer cannot stand up against all four of her cats at the same time.
- If you gain aggro on the cats from a distance, even if it's not on the pull, they pounce.

Let's assume we do the pull correctly and we get her cats to come to us without pouncing ( we did this by having a hunter MD trap aggro to the main tank who was standing around a corner). Next we have to get the cats divided up among the three add tanks we had for this pull. Now I'm a paladin tank, when I do trash ( which I consider these to be ) I use consecrate. When I did that I got all 4 cats to come take a swipe at me first. THIS HURTS A LOT!!!!

So I started off by avenger shielding along with my bubble-wall, this seemed to work fairly well most of the time. The druid off tank could taunt his extra kitty off me that I hit with my shield.

Let's assume we got the pull down, we have the adds separated out and the tanks are doing well, eventually the 4 adds from the pull die and we have a normal tank and spank, right?


Now we deal with the boss, She has this nice AE fear ability called terrifying screech along with a cone attack called sonic screech that is divided among all the people it hits. Ok, we can deal with this, stand in front of her unless you've been feared.

Next she brings out a helper, the feral defender he has 9 lives and has a stacking buff feral essence, that can be applied for each life he has left. If he's killed he leaves behind a void zone, that hurts a lot. If he's killed all 9 times this is considered the hard mode since there will be nine void zones scattered around your fight area. Ok, so we don't kill him, just tank him right? I agree, just tanking him would be the best solution, only he's not tankable, he drops aggro like a hot potato. So instead of being tanked the feral defender jumps around picking people at random to swipe for 4 to 5k damage.

We didn't win the fight, instead we learned and tried different strategies. I'm thinking we will be defeating Auriaya next week, probably on Sunday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pally tank wishlist from the first 6 bosses in Ulduar:

Here is my current Gear:
Valorous Redemption Faceguard
Boundless Ambition
Valorous Redemption Shoulderguards
Platinum Mesh Cloak
Valorous Redemption Breastplate
Bindings of the Hapless Prey
Valorous Redemption Handguards
Ablative Chitin Girdle
Valorous Redemption Legguards
Sabatons of Endurance
Sand-Worn Band
Signet of the Earthshaker
Essence of Gossamer
Repelling Charge
Last Laugh
Wall of Terror

Here are some of the items that I am looking for out of Ulduar
Flame Leviathan
Mimiron's Inferno Couplings-These are a definite upgrade over what I am currently wearing, my Bindings of the Hapless Prey can be relegated to my block set.
The Leviathan's Coil-is a better tanking ring Signet of the Earthshaker due to the avoidance, again the signet can go into my block set bag.
Titanguard-This is a very minor upgrade, once tanks who have a genuine interest in it have a chance I may consider taking it.

Dragonslayer's Brace-once these drop to me I completely replace Bindings of the Hapless Prey

Ignis the Furnacemaster
Chared Saronite Greaves-Definitely an upgrade, I give up expertise for hit.
Heart of Iron-Yes Please.
Plans: Indestructible Plate Girdle-More avoidance, definitely a win.

Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor Definitely an upgrade and as a plus it moves me one step away from power ranger.
Signet of the Earthshaker-I've already gotten this one, as mentioned earlier it will become a piece of my block set.

Assembly of Iron
Handguards of the Enclave-A block set upgrade and sidegrade for single tanking. If I needed my current gauntlets to keep a T7.5 set bonus I easily would.
Plans: Indestructible Plate Girdle-See my comment above

Kologarn- Cache of Living Stone
Necklace of Unerring Mettle-A sidegrade for single tanking, useful for a block set.
Saronite Plated Legguards-Definitely an upgrade, I think you've caught onto my dislike for block for my main tanking set.

Platinum Band of the Aesir
Cloak of the Makers-The Platinum Mesh Cloak's big brother, easy choice.
Unbreakable Chestguard-Since the Paldin T7.5 Set piece is basically the lower iLvl version of this I would have to consider it.
Plans: Spiked Deathgdealers- A better piece than Chared Saronite Greaves, we get 2 gem slots to make up for 25 stamina ( win! ) and more avoidance instead of the hit.

So that's what I'm looking for in gear. I will probably find a way to keep my 2pc T7.5 set for a while until I get a chance to see some T8. I will be praying for those blacksmith recipes each time I go, I'm betting some will even be a money maker.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A new week in Ulduar.

This time we did Flame Leviathan with the tower of storms up. The tower of storms gives Flame Leviathan an ability called Thorim's Hammer as well as an additional 50% health. It took two tries, but we had a few new people who hadn't seen what the fight is like and the boss had more health so all things considered a nice progression kill for us. He dropped "Mechanist's Bindings","Steamcaller's Totem" and "Freya's Choker of Warding" as well as 2 emblems of conquest.

After Flame Leviathan we paid Razorscale a visit, I was interested in seeing how the changes were going to affect our strats. The mole machine placement ended up making me be a more aggressive tank, this was a bad thing. When we had the trash tanked closer together it made it more difficult on the melee DPS whose first responsiblity was to take down the watchers. After getting the message I corrected what I was doing and the trash seemed to die quicker and safer. Another problem that was caused by the tanks ( probably mostly me ) was the range in which we were kiting Razorscale. Apparently the tank was moving too far and making it difficult on the healers to stay in range and keep the tank alive. Our third attempt went wonderfully well, we got things right and we had everyone alive, which was different from the first kill where we only had a resto shaman left standing. Razorscale dropped "Razorscale Shoulderguards", "Saronite Mesh Legguards" and "Collar of the Wyrmhunter" for us.

Then we move onto the whiny brat that is XT-002. I had shared what info I had on the trash with the raid, we promptly one shotted the trash. This time I was given the opportunity to MT the crybaby. Everything seemed to be going well but then during the tantrum I got pounded a little too hard and failed to put up one of my cooldowns and died. I found out later that one of the new healers wasn't quite prepared to the extra damage and had taken his attention off of me for a second to help heal the raid. The second attempt went a lot better, we got him to skip his second tantrum due to damage. Unfortunately we had an issue with the scrapbots reaching him and lost the pummeler tank which caused a wipe. The pummeler tank was a warrior and said he had problems grabbing them, so we switched him back to tanking XT and me back to picking up pummelers. Third time was a charm and XT died once again. XT-002 dropped "Twisted Visage", "Mantle of Wavering Calm" and "Signet of the Earthshaker" for us, I received the tanking ring.

So in one evening we conquered the same Ulduar bosses that we did all of last week. Unfortunately work has claimed my evening time on Friday so I will not be able to attend the next boss fights, hopefully Que Sera Sera kicks but though.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ulduar as a priest

Ok, I got my first shot at Ulduar on my priest last night with a group of people that have an organized cross-guild raiding group. The group is a lot of people I've run with before and most of them are pretty good. My wife runs with them as well since her guild isn't the 25-man raiding type guild.

For Flame Leviathan I got a chance to ride a motorcycle. It's a pretty basic little vehicle, but fun to zip around. They did this fight on normal mode, so no hard mode experience for me yet.

Since they haven't seen them before they skipped Razorscale and Ignis and went straight for XT-002. One addition to the instance was the trash in his room. On either side of the doors, right in front of the scrap piles are a group of robots. I didn't take good notes, but I believe what we had were two compactorbots, three scavengerbots and two repairbots on both sides.

The Compactorbots were cc-able by root and cyclone. I don't think our hunters tried to trap, I think they were immune to sheep and they were definitely immune to fear. These bots picked someone, apparently at random, and lept on them doing damage then did an AE attack before leaping back to their aggro target. If a clothie got hit by two of these at the same time there was a decent chance they were going to die.

The Repairbots were nasty up close, they did a 23k kick to tanks that tried to tank them. During the fight they hang back and put matrix shields over their friends which reduce damage and healed the target. We found that they were fearable, I'm not sure about other CC so we had the warlocks and priests keep them feared. If one of their shields got put over another bot, just move the bot out of the shield.

The Scavengerbots were nasty in general. Their worst ability is their sawblades. They throw sawblades as random targets, the blades put a stacking dot on the target. Apparently some people saw damage ticking at 5k per second at times. These were our primary kill targets.
We eventually figured out what the mobs did and after that it was easy. As I've said before, it felt great being challenged and overcoming that challenge. Keep it coming Blizzard.

XT-002 on the other hand was not beaten by us tonight. I've seen him get dropped before, but this group hadn't, at least not in 25-man. As a group we made some progress, the problem with the attempts in my opinion was the way the corner adds were handled. The first two tries they put a single DPS for each corner, the mage was able to handle them well with her frost nova and AE them down before they reached the boss, unfortunately we only had one mage. The other corners, especially the close one allowed their scrapbots to reach XT002 and of course it healed the boss.

So an ok night of raiding, I got to see a fight from the healing side of things that I had seen before from the tank side of things. I got to see the trash before people in the guild did, so we can have a little less pain when we see it the first time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fun night last night, 2 progression kills for Que Sera Sera.

Razorscale -
We took a page from Matticus and broke up the raid into 2 teams plus a tank/healer in the middle. Me, pallytank, on the right side, Allucard a DK tank on the left side and our warrior tank Demonhunters in the middle picking up the sentinels and picking up Razorscale when she landed. Melee DPS/interrupters were assigned to take down the caster adds. The two sides worked really well and after one wipe she went down with a single shaman standing. I think the next kill will be even smoother now that everyone has seen the fight all the way through.

XT-002 Deconstructor -
What a strange boss. I'll let you experience it yourself to see what I mean. The strangeness isn't in the mechanics of the fight though, those are pretty standard. The jist is that the boss gets tanked, every 25% his heart falls out to be beaten upon. Shortly after that, his friends show up from the junk piles in the corners of the room. His friends consist of scrap bots, bomb bots and pummelers. Scrap bots heal him if they get too close, bomb bots explode for 20k damage and the pummelers just have to be tanked. Seemingly at random through this he has a tantrum where he pounds the ground in frustration and causes raid wide damage of 120% of the raid's health. Remember that during this you have the main tank and add tank still being hit by what they are tanking. Also added in is the bomb, XT-002 about every 15 seconds ( a guess ) picks someone to be a light bomb or a gravity bomb. When the light bomb goes off it does damage to the people near them, when the gravity bomb ticks for 3500 damage and when it goes off it pulls people near the bomb to them.

My role in this fight was to pick up the pummelers, so I was able to wade into the fight for the first 25% and contribute with my measly prot damage until the heart was on the ground and I had to pick up my adds. The pummelers can spawn from any of the 4 corners and there can be 0, 1 or 2 of them each time the heart drops. There were times that a druid off tank picked one up for me and delivered him because I didn't see him spawn, but I think I got better as I went.

We wiped probably about 10 times, I don't count or take screen shots of each attempt like Karthis :) We tried some different positioning, we tried multiple add tanks, we tried bunching people up to be easier for more healers to get bomb people, we tried spread all around.. it seemed we had an endless number of strats. What ended up working was tanking him in front of his stairs with the raid fanned around him. Certain people were assigned to kill the incoming adds and the dps was advised to stick on the heart a little longer so they could do more damage to the boss, but then had to turn and take down the adds quickly.

I feel pretty good about this past week, three Ulduar progression kills and the new Archavon boss in three raid nights. Finally some challenge and again I think everyone had a lot of fun with the challenge. Hopefully we'll have some more progression this week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Friday night raiding

No Ulduar on Friday, group makeup and internet issues stopped us. But we did get a chance to see the new boss in Vault of Archavon. Here is another hard boss, it's obvious that most of the guild was in need of a challenge.

Emalon the Stormwatcher is a step up from Archavon. He hits hard and hits the raid. This encounter also requires the DPS to be strong and quick. Emalon has 3 abilities: Chain Lightning, Lightning Nova and some empower his minions thing.

The damage you take from Lighning nova is based on your proximity to the boss.

Chain lightning will jump to many targets and the more it hits, the greater the damage.

And when he empowers his minion that is the test for the raid's DPS. The minion will start stacking this buff and once it reaches 10 stacks in 20 seconds it explodes doing 30k damage to the raid, chances are that will kill most, if not all, of the raiders.

So the strat is: DPS Emalon until he empowers a minion at which time all DPS switches to the minion to kill it before the buff stacks high enough to explode. Once the minion dies the add tank then picks up the newly spawned add while the DPS goes back to Emalon. In between that process people need to move away from Emalon when he begins to Lightning nova, this helps the healers some. If you are point blank, right on Emalon, his nova does 15k damage, not too bad if you're a tank with 35k + HP.

Sounds simple right, well there's some positioning involved so that the add tank doesn't take too much damage from the lightning nova but otherwise it's a matter of timely healing and quick reacting DPS. Someone during the raid said that basically we needed 50k DPS on the minion to stop him from exploding including the time it takes to switch targets.

After wiping about 4 times everyone got it down and Emalon joined his element in a puff of smoke. The raid had an excellent time and I know I enjoyed the challenge of learning the new fight, I know there were others that felt the same way as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ulduar: First Look

We only got about 2 hours last night before the instance servers flaked out and we were unable to continue our wipe-fest. The Flame Leviathan.... easy, somewhat interesting. I'm not sure what the hard modes are going to be like but the heroic normal mode was cake.

Following the Leviathan it was decided to take a stab at Razorscale. We wiped each of the 6 times we tried, switching up tank placement and CC assignment as we went. We made progress in my opinion and I liked finally being challenged.

This was my first look at any of the fights in there, a couple of people did some fights in the 10man version on patch night.

Now off to the guild website to discuss our attempts and see what changes we can make.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Whoops.. I stepped away from my blog for a while, actually forgot about it entirely. I'm still trying to get into this "something to say every other day" thing.

Well, Ulduar is out. And with some tentative steps I re-enter the raiding scene. I had taken a much needed break from raiding and a the game as well.

Since we got married a little over 2 years ago we've been making payments on 2 houses, we lived in my house until recently when we moved into my wife's house. So my house was sitting vacant, being kept company by my furniture and dishes and other things we didn't need where we moved to.

We were planning on taking our time and clearing it out in stages, deciding what to do with what and eventually emptying the house and probably renting it. Well along comes an opportunity, a friend of one of the neighbors was interested in renting a house nearby and my neighbor had noticed that we weren't around too much. With the chance to get a renter to defray the costs of owning a second unoccupied house, we decided to become landlords a little early than planned. What this meant is we had to quickly move all of these things we didn't have a place for, so we ended up with a full garage and a living room full of boxes to root through and figure out what was garbage and what deserved some precious space. This has been my 3 weeks away from the game, rapid emptying of a house, doing some required maintenance and categorizing a lot of junk I acquired over the years. There are still boxes there and we're making a point of getting through a few of them a day, but there are other things taking my attention as well.

So hopefully I'll have a report tomorrow, regarding my first night back and tanking in Ulduar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It may seem obvious but...

Listing of obvious tanking tips

1 - In General
  • Keep what you're tanking in front of you, you cannot parry, dodge, block what is not in front of you. ( I've had to teach people this when I'm playing my alts )
  • Get crits off your hit table, this means defense 535 in heroics and 540 in raids.
2 - In a group
  • Make sure your group knows what you're hitting first - I put a skull on my main target
  • Don't pull until your healer is ready, my healer is usually my wife and she's at the point now where her mana regen lets her be always ready
  • Make sure your healer is ready, nothing suck worse than seeing your health go down and down and then die, only to find out your healer when afk to get a drink.
3 - In a raid
  • Communicate with your other tanks, make sure everyone knows who's doing what.
  • Make sure you know your role, if you have a question ask the raid-leader. If you're the raid-leader make sure everyone else knows what they're doing.
  • Use your consumables, usually a tanking flask like Flask of Stoneblood or Flask of Fortification if you're still a little low on defense. Use food, if you're lucky or can make it yourself you can get a Fish Feast.

I'm sure I can come up with more, but these are some of the things on my mind now.