Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And Then Three Heroics Remained...

I like the Wrath heroics a lot. Being able to blow through most of them in less than an hour is nothing short of awesome. Last weekend I set a personal record of doing 5 in a row and in just a few hours. Heroics in WotLK take a lot less toll on me than BC heroics did, mostly because AoE is the new CC. Instead of having to constantly mark the next group of mobs, I can just sit back and have fun charging into each one. I have a tool now to deal with most everything that really annoyed me out of doing most BC heroics:

Stupid caster mobs that won't pull to me
-Heroic Throw (talented to silence)
-Crazy long taunt range
-Improved spell reflection

Severe rage starvation from outgearing everything
-Damage Shield
-Strength mechanics changed to do more damage and threat
-Threat in general much easier to do
-Vigilance on my wildest DPS member for some extra threat
*Not to say there isn't still better gear for trash clearing, but gear is a lot less sensitive to switching between trash and bosses than it used to be

Pesky melee mobs slipping past me running after my healers
-Charge in combat
-Crazy long taunt range
-Mocking blow usable in defensive stance

Dealing with 3+ mobs
-Shockwave (oh, how I love thee)
-Thunderclap limit removal and damage increased

Mobs doing annoying things like fear
-Berserker Rage usable in defensive stance

So I've been having a lot of fun with them. I have also had some pretty good luck with gear and really don't lack a whole lot from heroics except for maybe the sword in UP. I'm hoping to finish the last three heroics I haven't cleared yet. I haven't stepped into HoL or Oculus yet. I made one attempt at HoS and got 2 bosses down easy enough, but our group had a lot of trouble with the Tribunal event. Stupid laser.

I also spent a little bit of time in Naxx, one night on heroic and another in 10-man mode. It definitely has some fun parts to it. I think my favorite is the tank throw Thaddius does. Other than that, I don't really have a regular raiding schedule yet. The guild is doing three nights of 25-man naxx and another 2-3 nights of 10-man groups. I am definitely not doing both. There really isn't any room for me as a tank in 25-man runs anyway right now, so I think I may just try and get into some more 10-man runs. Until then, I'll just keep piling up the emblems.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

What is the Level 80 Warrior Defense Cap?

Here's the tldr version of what defense warriors need to be uncrittable in WotLK at level 80. You can find it lots of places, but I wanted a short quick reference.

Defense skill needed to be uncrittable = 540
Warrior base defense skill at level 80 = 400
Defense skill needed from gear = 140 (689 defense rating)

1 Defense skill = 4.92 defense rating
1 Defense rating = .2033 defense skill

Resilience also contributes to crit reduction, but I've never been a fan of needing PvP gear for PvE content when I can do without it.

While it is often called defense 'cap' it really means defense 'minimum' since you shouldn't just stop at 540, especially due to diminishing returns at level 80 of pure parry/dodge/block stats.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is How Well my First Wrath Heroic Went

In my desperation just to finally get through a heroic, I jumped into a random pug, forgetting how much of a mistake that is, especially this early on when most people just don't have the gear to compensate for lack of skill.

This was the fifth and final try wiping on the FIRST boss in Nexus. Or sixth. I lost count after I realized the DPS in my group were still in all greens. It was taking so long to drop him that the healer just kept going OOM before we could get him down to 30%. That's the last heroic pug I do without having at least one player that I can trust to not suck.

I told my GL to go ahead and start the third 10-man team without me. I'm just not ready to commit to a grinding raid schedule yet. I really want to get through all the heroics first and also get through most of the remaining quests. The guild is making the first 25-man attempt on Naxx next week. I may go along just to see what it's like. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ding! Now What?

I made it! ...and I'm a little unsure what to do with myself. I have been playing WoW since the original open beta in fall 2004, and I was late getting to both level 60 and 70. I never really raided in vanilla WoW, and by the time I started Kara in BC, a lot of people were going through it for their second time on alts. Hitting the end-game this early is bleeding edge for me and just feels a little strange. It also might be that December just gets a little weird in general with all the craziness going on.

As always, there is a ton to do at the level cap, and it's difficult not to be overwhelmed with information and keeping track of everything I want to do. I've actually only done two instances. I've had such a crazy schedule lately, that questing has been all I can do. I want to see all the others, but I'll probably end up skipping to heroic mode on most of them. I've spent the last couple days looking at the WotLK tanking gear guides and working towards the magical 540 defense for immunity from crits. I did manage to hit it without too much trouble by crafting the +def alchemy BoP trinket along with socketing everything with +def gems and buying a few BoE blues off the auction house. Now all I need to do is to get my base defense skill to level up those last 5 points.

I really like the championing system. It looks like the Wyrmrest accord will be best for some quick tanking gear. Not really sure which way I'll go after that. I still have about half of Zul'Drak to quest in, and I literally have not touched Storm Peaks or IceCrown. That's a lot of lore left to check out and also a pretty steady stream of income for awhile.

I have already been approached by the GM of my current guild to tank for our third 10-man team. He's willing to plan it around my schedule, which is pretty awesome. I'm ready to jump in and check it out, but I also want to make sure I balance it well. Consistently raiding three nights a week can realy be somewhat demanding for me, especially when there are still a lot of non-raiding things in the game left to do. It takes time away from doing 5-man content, which I really enjoy. I'm also not sure what my RL friends are wanting to do, either, and most of my fun in raiding comes from them being there with me. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.

Also, yes, I hit level 80 off discovery XP. I always wanted to hit the level cap with that...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tragedy at the Wrath Gate

My love,

By the time you are reading this, you will have heard what happened at the Wrath Gate. You should also have heard that I am alive and well. I hope you were not too distressed for long since you knew that I had been in Dragonblight for the last several days. I cannot write much now, but I have a great deal of news to tell of.

While physically unharmed by the event, I am otherwise shaken. A few days ago, I actually caught up with Bolvar Fordragon while working for the Vanguard. Knowing of my recent work at the Wyrmrest temple, he sent me to Alexstrasza for guidance on dealing with scourge frost wyrms that were keeping his forces away from the gate. After assisting her with removing a scourge leader and stopping the wrym attacks, I returned to Fordragon with the news. Shortly after that, he began the assault on the gate while I was left to guard the alliance camp. From the high hills of Fordragon hold I watched the battle unfold. So much death...but of the loss of Bolvar and the surprise attack by the undead you have already heard.

What you may not yet know is who is actually responsible. Stormwind has been slow to release any more information about it. Blame has been immediately placed on Sylvanas and the horde; even Arthas seemed to think they were behind this. But now I believe I know otherwise. When the battle was over, the few alliance forces that were left at camp with me scattered in terror. I ran down to the gate where Alexstrasza had contained the plague to see if anyone had survived - I found no one. She asked me to return Bolvar's shield to the king and sent me by portal. Once there, he sent me with Jaina Proudmoore to speak with the horde leaders in Orgrimmar.

From Thrall and Sylvanas, we heard a shocking revelation of betrayal. The horde have lost the Undercity! Two leaders in the city defected and took a large amount of undead with them. King Wrynn still seems to hold the horde responsible. I'm not entirely sure what to believe myself. An alliance army has quickly been formed to invade and retake the city, and I have been asked to assist them. I write to you now from a camp just outside of the sewers of the Undercity. We are ready to attack in a couple of hours. I expect there will be great resistance, but with such a powerful force including the king and Jaina herself, I am sure will achieve victory and justice for what happened at the Wrath Gate. I disagree with Wrynn on the city, though; it is certainly nothing worth retaking in its current state. The undead have made it unfit even as historical ruins.

I must go now to prepare for the Battle for the Undercity. From here, I will likely travel on to the Grizzly Hills. I have heard it is quiet there, and I wish to try and ease my mind away from these tragic events. I shall write to you again when I arrive. I hope Darnassus is treating you well, and I still plan on visiting next month.

With love,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WotLK - A Week's First Impressions

In short, I LOVE it. The areas are beautiful. The quests are fresh and interesting without being too gimmicky. Story lines draw me in much better than anything in BC did. Quest giver NPC's actually have personality. The music is perfect, the best I've heard in WoW. Instance runs aren't too difficult and can be done without a 2-3 hour commitment. Like my good druid friend said the other night, "I don't even feel like I'm leveling. I'm just having fun playing a game."

Seriously, Blizzard did this one right. I've been pleasantly surprised and impressed by Wrath. I've had more "Woah...awesome!" moments than I've had with this game in a very long time. The quests have probably been the biggest surprise for me. Blizz really put some focus on giving us better quests than "kill X of these..." or "kill these until you get the item that has a 2% drop rate."

I know a lot of players just made a goal to get to 80 as fast as possible. I think that would be a mistake. There is so much here to enjoy. We'll all be raiding at 80 soon enough.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why I Will be Tanking in Wrath

Yep, I changed my mind, but Blizzard really came through for protection warriors. I expected them to fix a few things for Wrath, but I never expected them to totally revolutionize the way the class was played in such a great way. The protection warrior changes in Wrath are absolutely fantastic. These are the things that made me love tanking again:

Charging in Defensive Stance
- At first, I thought the warbringer talent wasn't that big of a deal and would mostly help warriors while farming in their prot gear. I was wrong. It's completely awesome, it's a great rage generator, and I find myself using it quite often.

AoE Tanking - Shockwave and Unlimited-Target Thunder Clap. Not to mention glyphs like this. It's about time. I can't explain how satisfying it was to run through heroic shattered halls and mount hyjal while trying these out.

Removal of crushing blows/Better tanking rotation - In BC, warriors had the most ridiculous ability rotation of any class in the game, especially for bosses. First, you constantly kept your global cooldown occupied with this: SS->rev->dev->dev all while spamming shield block (not on the GCD) every few seconds to keep from getting crushed. On top of that, there was this list of other stuff to keep up with: renew tclap and possibly demo shout on the boss every minute, renew commanding shout every two minutes, hit trinkets every 2 minutes, drink pots, use healthstones, and watch for the best place to hit last stand and shield wall.

Thankfully, Blizzard recognized this. Crushing blows are history, and shield block is now on a 60 second cooldown and now gives a really nice block value bonus. We also got a new talent that keeps things a little more interesting by creating a random chance for SS to be refreshed and free!

All Content in 10-man form - I was really excited about finding this one out. I have always had a lot more fun in 10-man raids than 25-man ordeals. It's very cool being able to see all the content without having to necessarily jump that hurdle from 10 to 25. I'll still eventually want to check out the 25-man versions, but at least I won't feel like I have to just to see everything.

Dual Specs - When the rumors for dual specs came out, it was too good to be true. But now we've all heard the devs promise this to us, and it sounds nothing short of amazing. Being able to instantly switch over from Fury to Protection wherever I am is revolutionary. If I'm in a raid and there are too many tanks, it's not a problem anymore. It apparently will even remember your glyphs!

Reasonable Threat vs. Avoidance trade-off: Much of the warrior community debated this for years. Many protection warriors (me included) felt that it wasn't fair that they always had to significantly 'downgear' when fighting anything other than the hardest boss they were currently working on, lest they be completely rage starved and the raid get angry at them for not pumping out enough threat. The argument was that DPS classes really didn't have this problem. I think most of us were actually fine with needing several 'threat' type gear pieces, but I always felt that I was having to spend too much time constantly adjusting my gear to find that perfect balance depending on if I was in a heroic, Kara, or SSC. Not finding that balance either resulted in getting squashed too quickly or not getting hit hard enough, which was sometimes a very slim window, especially if running with a weaker healer and insane DPS. Some warriors felt special by having that extra challenge. I thought it got incredibly old.

This problem has essentially been eliminated. The concept of having to maximize threat is pretty much gone since defensive stance gives more base threat and all classes were basically given Blessing of Salavation permenantly. Outgearing content is not really an issue anymore with Damage Shield. Rage starvation is much less of an issue in general, with several glyphs to help out with it. I'm guessing we'll still have our separate avoidance and threat gear to some extent, but the trade-off should be much more reasonable and won't require so much attention, which is fine with me. There's plenty of other more interesting stuff out there to concentrate on.