Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2010

Dear Level 60 DK tank hopefuls:

Please open your talent book. Look at the rightmost talent on the first tier of each spec. (Blade Barrier, Toughness, and Anticipation). Do you have five point in each of these? Good, then you may continue to try to tank.

You don’t, because you’ve put all 51 points into Frost because you’ve heard that’s the tanking tree? Sorry, wrong answer! These talents are absolutely vital to surviving at low levels. Your healer will love you if you have them. If you don’t, then I hope you know how to get back from the GY.

Healers working through these levels, now you know what to look for too. Rightmost talent at the first level of each tree. 5 points. Feel free to tell them they’re doing it wrong if it’s not there.

Read Full Post »

Did a lot of different stuff in WoW this weekend, mostly on my 60 Draeni priest and my 25 Tauren shaman. Healing on both, even though the shaman is supposedly leveling Enhancement. More on her another time, this is about Hellfire and damnation. Or death knights, anyway.

Anyone who’s run dungeons in the low 60s level range know how many dks seem to be lurking there just waiting for you. I needed two levels on Verdandi, the priest, to catch up to Reversion’s warrior gnome so I queued her up and got Hellfire Ramparts. The good news is that you have a pretty fast queue as a healer; all the dks waiting to be healed make things snappy.

This group had two dks, a mage, and a balance druid. DK tank starts out by overpulling and I heal like crazy, then sit and drink (this group was very good about letting me drink and the mage thoughtfully made me water that was better than the stuff my still 59 priest was forced to use). Meanwhile I checked the dk tank… level 59, wearing the starter gear, all the points in frost, in frost presence. I mentioned that if he put a couple points in the other trees he could get really nice talents that would make him a little less fragile. No response.

Another pull and we barely survive, thanks to the druid going bear and growling things off the mage and the dps dk tanking two creatures.  We asked why the tank wasn’t using Death and Decay. “Dont have it”, he said, and I later looked up and saw that you train it at level 60. Which means he was trying to keep aggro with… not much of anything for tools.

The next pull we wipe. We run back in, I rez the dps dk who has been making suggestions to the tank dk. The mage has been complaining about how bad dk tanks are at this level and how you should level a warrior or paladin as a tank first, not switch right from hunter.  It probably annoyed the tank dk but since he said nothing, I don’t know.

We wipe again, and again, and we kick the tank. Sorry, maybe you didn’t have all the tools yet but that’s a good reason not to queue as a tank. The other dk offers to try tanking for a while and we get a rogue. All goes well up to the first boss. We down him – and then the rogue stealths forward and manages to pull three packs of mobs. We wipe, the rogue drops group. Now we get another dk, this one level 64 when the rest of us are barely 60, so we ask him to tank since our tank dk can’t hold threat off him. He launches into a lecture to our dk about not queueing as tank if you’re not willing to tank – we cut him off with agreement but add a “Dude, you have no clue what we’ve been through”. We finish the place off and drop group with relief.

Now Reversion gets on and will tank for me, we get Hellfire again and this time a dps dk of the “Death Grip is leet funz!” type. First four pulls he grips a mob out of the pack to him and stands there and dpses it. Reversion gives him the “You yank it you tank it” warning after pull 1.  The first few times, the other dpsers help him. Then I think they noticed that he wasn’t getting heals and the tank wasn’t taunting it off him, and realized what we were doing. The next time he came close to dying. “I’m not taunting it off you if you Death Grip it over there,” Reversion says, and I add “and I don’t heal anyone who is making the tank’s life harder.”

Oddly, he got the message… and I didn’t even have to let him die. He slipped up once or twice but his health bar going to 30% seemed to keep him on the straight and narrow.

The next three dks we got all knocked our socks off! Every one showed knowledge of when to use DG. They’d pull casters into the melee and let Reversion get them, and one even pulled back a runner that was about to aggro the patrolling boss! We gave each of them kudos. Is there something in the water?

Read Full Post »

Noticed one of the search terms that have apparently sent people to this blog was the phrase I just used in the title. The answer is YES.

Healing is hard if you’ve got a bad group, a tank that can’t hold aggro, dps that are insisting on targeting the wrong mob, really soft party members, low gear.

Tanking is harder if you have a healer who isn’t paying attention, dps that are on the wrong targets, a new instance, gear that is significantly lower than the dps average gear making it hard to hold aggro off them.

Healing gets easier and easier with gear. Tanking does too but not as much because your dpsers are getting better gear too. If I am on my healer and everyone in the party has a gear score of 5500 I know things will die fast and I can probably just spam Wild Growth and be done. If I’m on my tank and the same gear – hoo boy, I’d better watch Omen closely because that mage is going to pull off and so’s the hunter, and probably the healer too…

In 5 mans, I’d vote tanking is harder. In raids I think healers have the harder job. Thoughts?

Read Full Post »

The tank is the leader of the party. The big cheese, the head honcho, el presidente…

Some of you are disagreeing already, assuming more than one person is reading this. To fully explain that statement we should take a glance at the nature of leadership and then put it in the context of WOW. Webster.com defines leadership as something a leader does…  yeah that helps. It defines a leader as someone who leads… hah. But further down it says that it means someone who ‘has commanding authority or influence’. Right, so tanks have authority. Hah! No really, they do. It is just a limited kind. It is limited in EXACTLY the same way all authority everywhere is. You get authority as people give it to you. In politics they sometimes call it a ‘mandate’. Like if the big issue in an election was ‘fix XYZ’ then the person that wins is said to have a broad mandate to do things about that issue.

Now think about a club. Let’s say you are the president of a card playing club. What authority do you have? Well you can decide what day you are going to play cards on. And people will go with that decision unless you pick a bad one. So you get to pick any day that works for the majority…. Ok.

And you can spend the membership dues on new cards. You have total authority there. You can buy ones with the checkered pattern on the back or ones with pictures from a gift shop some place. But you can’t buy a new car with the money. You can also decide who brings the snacks each week. But you can’t order one person to buy pizza every week. Your authority has a narrow river bed it flows down. You can do what you want inside those narrow banks, but if you try to splash your authority out of those narrow banks the other people just laugh and ignore you, or leave the club, or kick you out for embezzling the dues money. It is a voluntary organization and the leadership you wield has only the power to motivate people along lines they have implicitly agreed to in advance. And you have the responsibility to, within those confined channels of authority, make decisions and lead in ways that further what the people signed up for. In the case of a card playing club those things are playing cards on regular schedule and having fun.

Pugs are like this. Tanks have the authority that the other people give them. It comes with the responsibility to help make the run go well. You can give orders and make demands based on things they will think are reasonable. But within those bounds of reasonableness you have full command. If you say ‘I am going to pull this group LOS to this corner here’. That is a 100% reasonable statement. It is also an implied command for everyone to support that action. If some moron messes the pull up you have a mandate to complain to that person. The other members, assuming they are reasonable, and assuming you don’t take it so far you are ‘spoiling their fun’, will support you complaining to that player and telling him to not mess up your LOS pulls. It is this pact of peer pressure that gives the tank the mandate to give instructions that will further the group’s aims (finishing the run, getting loot).

For the good of the group the Tank MUST speak up and communicate if something is going wrong. It is the responsibility that goes with that authority. If a hunter left his pet on growl it is well within the mandate of the tank’s authority to say something about that. To a point. He/she can’t throw a hissyfit over it any more than the members of a card game club would be ok with the president flipping out over bad shuffling. They might be ok with some gentle remedial shuffling instructions or advice, but not with a full blown tantrum.

It is not ok for the leader to let something important slide. If some moron is pulling without you and you don’t say something about it you are failing as a leader. The other guy is making the mistake but it is YOUR duty to speak up and try to fix the problem. That is leadership. If the problem is fixed, everyone wins. But there is a fine line here. If the DPS is all impatient, and you stop the whole run to give them a lecture about impatience you are more likely to get a vote-kick than you are to get a smoother run. One of the things a leader has to do is make the most of the resources at hand. A manager can’t fire everyone who works for them for bad performance. Instead they must assign people to tasks that fit their ability, get them training where they need it, and fire people only as a last resort.

For example if the hunter can’t figure out how to turn off his pet and absolutely insists on picking a target you are not primarying you can point them toward a caster mob, even mark it for them. This is taking a bad situation, an uncooperative DPSer with bad skills, and assigning them to a task they ARE capable of doing. This also saves your sanity as a tank. Plus it helps the other person learn a skill and play style that is useful for groups. If the DK insists on gripping and pulling stuff, you might just let him tank that target. It gives you one less mob to tank and hopefully he takes enough damage to die in shrieking agony. But don’t be passive aggressive about it. If you just drop a mob and don’t say anything everyone assumes you are a bad tank. If you tell the dps ‘you yank it you tank it’ then they know you are making a stand on bad behavior and they can either correct it or tank their own mob. Again, stopping everything and throwing a hissyfit over either of these examples would only piss off the whole group. But even short of that there are active steps that can be taken to either fix or harness the behavior.

The interesting thing about tank leadership is that you don’t have to do anything more than what you do… most of the time. Moving ahead from group to group, picking your targets, marking where needed, checking on the healer’s mana before a boss, throwing your cooldowns when needed, taunting mobs where they need to be, moving the melee tangle out of the fire, all these are what a tank should be doing anyway. But they are also all leading a group.

My dad once told me being a leader was keeping management off the back of his people so that they could get their jobs done. Things like helping them get their payroll problem straightened out with headquarters, or handling the annoying customer so they can get back to the register. Those are things a manager does to enable his or her people to get the real job done. In the case of a tank you are doing exactly the same thing. You are there to do anything you can to let the dpsers kill things. That is it. You goal is to line up packs of creatures for them to kill. Your goal is also to do it at a rate where the healer can keep up. In this way you are warding off the obstacles in that person’s way also. That is your job. But if one of the DPS is doing something that threatens the whole it is also your job to try, within the bounds of your authority mandate, to fix the problem.

If the rogue over behind the boss is standing in the fire then you can tell him to move, or you can shift the boss and force him to move. But you can’t do nothing and then sneer when he dies. That is not leadership and that is not your job. You forced him to have to decide between being in good back stab position and being safe and he chose wrong. Or he just did not notice, but YOU did. If a leader notices his people making a design mistake, or even flipping their burgers wrong, but does nothing about it, then they are all at fault and the group as a whole fails. But the leader is at fault most of all. It is only after the leader has done what he can to help the others fix the problem that the responsibility for the failure moves to solely rest on the ‘underlings’.

There are a lot of bad leaders out there. Most people just want to get along. So they say nothing and the group muddles along, or fails and re-forms. And often no learning happens. There are a lot of variables in a failed group and many people can’t see/admit what they did wrong to cause, or help cause the problem.

Anyway I think I have wondered off tanking and into advice giving in general so I will wrap this post up.

Read Full Post »

An encouragement to anyone out there with alts you’re grinding to 80, wondering if you’ll bother gearing up at top level: it really is easy these days.

With Analogue and Invariant things were hard. I had a list of BiS from each dungeon, then each heroic dungeon, then Analogue ventured into Naxx or OS once in a blue moon and sometimes got a drop.  Analogue was pretty well geared up when Triumph badge gear became readily available; it took her very little time to fill the last few slots and since then she’s slowly but steadily been adding gear improvements from Frost badges, ICC drops, whatever happens her way.

Invariant had about half Triumph gear, half lesser, when I got into a GDKP TOC 25 man run with 8k gold and walked out dripping with epics. For whatever reason, everything that dropped was useful to a mage and nobody else was bidding hardly at all. I got literally a half dozen drops plus a pattern for Bejeweled Wizard Bracers that I used as a license to print money for a while.

So then I get little Divergent up to 80, buy her the made chestpiece and start tanking heroics. Wow. She got drops in the top end heroics pretty fast. I put her away for about two weeks and then the last two days got her out again. Quick rundown:

Patch 3.3.3 dropped, and on our server at least crafting mats dropped too. I picked up the stuff and had the Saronite Swordbreaker wrists (plate tank 245 wrists) made, and bought a Titanium Earthguard Chain for a lot cheaper than I’ve seen it before (actually below the cost of the dragon’s eyes, someone was selling low). I then ran normal HoR once and the shield dropped. Yay! Don’t tell some of the alt tanks in my guild who have been grinding that place for weeks only to lose roles to off-specced dps. And I had enough Triumph badges to buy her pants. So that was four upgrades on Wednesday night.

Thursday we did FoS and PoS on heroic. Got a pair of boots out of FoS, closing out one of my weak spots, Ick’s Rotting Thumb trinket, and finally a weapon to take the place of the Lucky Old Sun. That thing was really ugly and I’m glad to drop it. Spent a few hundred gold on enhancements and bam, all of a sudden she could tank raids. Not ICC, but the rest, sure. I’m hoping to get her into the weekly raid as a tank this week, our server has Patchwerk and it should be easy mode.

So yeah, between badges, made gear, and the new top end heroics, gearing up is easy. If you’re not a tank, buy one for fast queue times and go crazy.

Read Full Post »

WoW and Stereotypes

I’ve read a couple posts over the past few days that brought this to my mind:  Klepsacovic’s I Started Blogging To Meet Women and Would You Pay to Play With a Girl over at Pugnacious Priest, Pink Pigtail Inn’s Musing Over Boobs and a new one I discovered linked from that, Girls Don’t Exist on the Intertubes at a blog called Digital Incorrectness.

What’s sort of funny is how the assumptions being analyzed in these blogs are a bit contradictory. One blog is about guys paying for girls to play with them, another is countering the idea that girls suck at WoW. I assume the girls who are being paid must have some modicum of skill at the game, or it would just be frustrating, and I assume the guys who are paying for their company expect them to be at least competent. Maybe that’s a bad assumption.

Then the contrast between Klep’s post and Larissa’s, where Larissa muses that blogs are about a meeting of minds and therefor she doesn’t notice the sex of the blogger (as much) while Klep wonders if there’s a reason why there’s a disproportionate number of female bloggers.  Klep also brings up the stereotype of “women as healers” and I myself have noticed that all the Resto Druid bloggers I read are women. All of them. All the trees I currently know in game are women; the first one I remember, the one that made me say “Wow, druid healers are COOL” was a guy. A gay guy. (Stereotype affirming or breaking?)

But they’re all dancing around that same issue; men and women are different and those differences carry over into our playstyles. There’s a reason stereotypes exist; they are a distorted exaggeration of a truth. It might not be a truth that is universally applicable but somewhere some collection of observations supported the idea.

Stereotype 1: Women are bad at WoW.

Truth: not everyone who plays WoW is any good at it. People can be stupid and therefore play badly. People can have other reasons for playing besides being good (social reasons). This second group is less likely to give up when they know they are bad at the game because being good at the game is a secondary goal. My parents have played WoW; my dad liked it although he’s gone back to EverQuest, my mom followed him around with her priest, clicked the “heal” buttons when he said to, and picked flowers. She didn’t like the game but she played to spend time with my dad. I got into the game because a few months after we got married my husband wanted to get back to playing WoW and wanted me to come with him. I sucked at first, but I eventually liked the game and got better. If you’d seen my hunter the first month I played you would have classified me as one of those “Women who suck at WoW” players and you would have been right.

The solution is to find a way to convert this type of woman player into an active fan of the game. Once she is motivated she’ll become a better player. Blizzard does a better job of this than anyone else out there, hence their huge female market share. Trolls in trade or party chat calling these women out and saying “lol u suck girls cant play wow” will never improve things. This doesn’t inspire most women to get better. It’s more likely to get them to quit.

Stereotype 2:  Women who can play Wow, play healers

Hard to counter this. I have an arcane mage and a prot pally and I’m good with either one, but Analogue the resto druid is my main. She’s who I raid on, and I feel most in control of the situation with her.

Women tend to be more nurturing than men. Guys tend to be more protective/aggressive than girls. Women tend to work toward the success of the group; men strive for personal achievement. Both sexes are drawn to both goals, of course, but the dominant leanings tend to be as I’ve stated. Avoiding any discussion of whether this is good or bad, these tendencies would explain why there tend to be more female healers out there.

Everyone can think of counter examples; awesome female warlocks or warriors, terrific male resto shaman. But nobody is surprised when the tree starts talking in vent with a girl’s voice.

This is a good thing! Remember how I said about that for a player to be good at WoW, she needs to actually want to get better? Well, if she discovers that healing a party appeals to her, now she has motivation to improve! Healing isn’t easy, and the skills to do it well translate over into general Wow uber-ness. I am a much better mage since I’ve leveled up my druid. (And a better healer after I leveled my tank but that’s another matter)

So yes, I’m suggesting that we counter one stereotype with another. No, I’m not suggesting that you tell the fail hunter girl to go roll a priest. But be supportive of her if she wants to do it. Guys, if your girlfriend who tentatively follows you around in WoW expresses a desire to heal, don’t laugh at her because you know she’ll wipe you. Let her do it. If  you wipe, let her figure out why without yelling at her. You’ll have a lot more fun if you let her convert herself to a WoW fan than if you convince her to never play with you again.

One final note: the blogs I read I think are probably close to 70% female, because I read a lot of resto druid blogs and “Wow Social” blogs like Pugging Pally or Stories of Wow.

Read Full Post »

3-Manning Oculus

This just happened over lunch:

So Reversion and I get on our mains to run a quick instance over lunch. Instaqueue, as usual, and we get the Oculus loading screen. No problem, we actually like Oculus and the extra rewards are just icing on the cake.

As soon as we get there, one guy drops, instantly. We move forward, Reversion re-queueing us, and then realize, halfway through the first fight, that one of the two remaining dps has “dc’d”. Yeah sure. We have to vote kick him. We get two more dps, one of whom instantly drops. Right about then is when I notice that the paladin, the one who has been there this whole time, is doing 400 dps and getting into fights really slowly. He also refuses to select a role, so we can’t get another guy to replace the most recently dropped one.

I ask him to please select a role. Nothing.I check his gear; mostly 200 blues, respectable gear that he should be able to get at least 1k dps out of, and since he’s used all of three abilities in his “rotation”, I am pretty sure he’s slacking. (Also; no Blessings, and no Aura up. After the instance I checked Recount; he used Crusader Strike and Consecration. That was it.) I point out that we could use the extra help  from another person since he’s not contributing much, this after three failed tries to get us re-queued, without him saying why he was declining the role check.

We get no response. Not a “yeah whatever”, not an “Ok”, not even a “Screw you guys”. Nothing. So I go to vote to kick him so that we can maybe get a full party – and it says we can’t remove any more players.

Oops. I guess the dc’d guy was our one kick of the instance. Argh. The mage – who came in after we kicked the dc’d guy – tries, and he can’t either. We continue on. The paladin shows up halfway through the first boss fight and promptly dies. Yes, I was not healing him; I was hoping he’d take a hint and leave. He didn’t. After the fight he released and came in and – did nothing.

No, the three of us got dragons, went on, cleared the instance, and this guy sat there at the dragon platform. He didn’t even get to roll on loot since he was too far away, but he sat there, silently, the whole time.

I don’t know if he got badges – there was no way for me to check. Maybe he did. Either way I thought it was an insanely spiteful waste of time. Guess he disagreed though.

Shoutout to Kazaratfh of Auchindoun, an awesome mage who performed flawless, put out great dps even though he “only” had a gearscore around 4800, didn’t pull off the tank, and stopped frost nova-ing when we asked.

(Quick recap: we had three different dps drop or ‘dc’ as soon as they saw it was Oculus, one guy refused to do anything, and one guy who worked his heart out. I think the Oculus problem is getting worse. Here’s to the half-hour deserter debuff.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.