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Archive for May, 2010

Need comic ideas

Posting filler because I am short on comic ideas.

Anyone have some? Even just a hint. What one ability your character has do you wish you had at at work? Throw me a bone, anything. I can turn something pretty small into a comic if there is even a nugget there.

By the way this is my 70  gnomette prot warrior Consistant.

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Once upon a time – ok, Monday night – a crazed gnome warlock (Invariant) and an even more crazed gnome mage (Profusion) queued up in dungeon finder. Then they went and killed lava spiders for a while. About 900 spiders later, the BRD loading screen popped up. Since they were questing in Searing Gorge, this saved them a whole five minutes of running to the stupid instance, a nice convenience. Which would only make graveyard runs more annoying later. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our gnomish heroes were greeted by a shaman healer and a night elf rogue. “Hi,” they replied back, as Invariant checked the cooldown on her soulstone and told the shaman it’d be ready in ten minutes, only to have the shaman run away from her. Was it her felguard pet? No, it was the heretofore overlooked gnome warrior who had charged the first pack of dwarves he saw and was bashing them with his axe. With a sigh at the impetuousness of plate wearers, our heroes got to work.

Profusion cast Blizzards and Fire Blasts. Invariant – after checking that the healer was solid and had a good mana pool – followed her instincts, ran into combat, and started trying to Hellfire herself to death. Fortunately the healer was better at keeping her alive than she was at killing herself, and things proceeded at a fast pace. The tank seemed to know where he was going. He charged down halls, into packs, around corners, all the way to the Ring of Law, through it, out the other side, over the bridge, jumped down, attacked the Fire Boss, and started heading for the room full of dwarvish crafters and giant statues when something seemed to bother him.

“LOL, [Bracers with Spirit]?” he asked. “noob”.

It took our heroes a moment to realize he was speaking to the rogue. This rogue had been a pleasant companion and kept up very nicely, and he had indeed recently equipped some bracers with spirit as well as stamina on them.

Profusion began to defend the rogue, pointing out that when you are levelling, sometimes you wear inappropriate gear. He didn’t mention all the times his max level characters have worn inappropriate gear, such as the Lovely Dress spotted on his hunter just a few weeks previously, as this was irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

Invariant asked whether the tank had not ever been tempted to equip pally plate. “lol not I’m not a noob” he said. Invariant pointed out that sometimes it’s still an upgrade. The tank said something obnoxious. Meanwhile, the rogue left the party without a word.

“Good l2p noobs shouldn’t play this game” said the tank.

“Yes,” Invariant agreed. “No one should play this game until they have mastered it.”

“The real noobs are the ones who are qq’ing about stats in a level 52 dungeon run,” Profusion said.

At this point, the tank began using truly foul language. Invariant was a bit surprised, as she runs with the profanity filter for a reason, then realized that this person was actually using special characters to get around the filters. After dropping the two most foul words he possibly could, he dropped group in the middle of a fight. Invariant’s loyal minion tanked the rest.

“Good, that saves us from having to kick him,” we agreed, and waited.

After a few rounds of shuffling players, they started off again, lost the healer, finally getting another warrior and a druid to perhaps finish the instance. They went along merrily. At some point, the third tank disappeared. Invariant, being impatient, had her minion try to tank a group only to have everyone go horribly squish.

“Sorry,” the druid said. “I couldn’t click on your pet fast enough.”

“Do you have a healing mod that’s set to show pets?” Invariant asked, her inner healer instincts coming to the fore.

“No, I don’t use mods,” the healer replied.

“Ah, but you should try Vuhdo! It makes healing a lot easier.”

They arrived at the instance again as another tank joined the party and the healer – a truly excellent druid, mod-avoidance-issues notwithstanding – tried to settle the argument with an appeal to authority:

argument from irrelevant authority
Unfortunately Invariant knew to counter the “argument to irrelevant authority” debate tactic by showing it for what it was.

The new tank charged merrily along to the Ring of Law, then stopped in the middle. “We already did that,” they explained. “Come on.” Our heroes went upstairs to go find the statue and gain the key to the city. But the tank did not join them, and suddenly his picture went to the unhappy “disconnected” logo. With a sigh, our heroes waited, then booted him.

Finally a new tank appeared, a white knight in shining armor, wielding the power of virtue and light. This paladin, this paragon of holiness, lead the way courageously through the now largely empty instance as our heroes explained that they really had cleared most of it.

The following conversation was mysteriously retrieved and is displayed for your edification. This is the last we know of what became of our brave adventures.

Into the Fire, Pinky!

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So I’ve joined close to a half dozen GDKP raids now, both ToC and ICC. I’ve gotten really lucky with upgrades for both my mage and my resto druid and think I can speak with a bit of authority on the subject. Since “GDKP” seems to be a search term leading people to this blog, I thought I’d post some tips.

First and most importantly: DO NOT BUY GOLD

If you honestly don’t know why, the short version is that gold sellers are thieves, liars, scammers and hackers. They primarily make their gold by hacking accounts, stealing whatever virtual goods are on them, turning it into gold and sending it to mules. Or they’ll turn hacked characters into botted farmers. Everyone knows someone who has been hacked. My own brother was hacked (he has since admitted that maybe making his WoW login name and his main character’s name the same thing was a bad idea). Friends and guildmates have been hacked. It’s not funny.

Gold selling is not a victimless crime.

If you need gold, go read blogs like Greedy Goblin or JustMy2Copper or Phase3Profit. Spend some time grinding gold. Back in TBC I ran the Sunwell dailies religiously for three weeks to afford epic flight. Since then I’ve learned to use the auction house and my own skills better and can usually show up at a GDKP with about 30k gold for Reversion and me to spend.

Digression over, on with the show.

1. Know How It Works

In general, a GDKP will be a 25 man raid of as much of the top raid as can be reasonably cleared. Whoever organizes it is responsible for raid makeup and must balanced geared players with rich ungeared players. The geared players may be coming for one trinket or just the gold; the ungeared players, for gear and to see content they might not get access to otherwise.

When a boss is downed, the loot master will link the drops in raid chat and then take bids on them using an addon that does the auctioning work for him. The minimum bid may be whatever was agreed upon; 1000 gold is pretty common, with recipes and components perhaps lower. There is also an agreed bid increment, usually 100 gold. You place your bid in raid chat. Whoever has the highest bid, gets the item.

At the end of the raid, the pot is divided equally among the raiders.

There may be variations in these rules, such as penalties for being an idiot, or disobeying orders. There may be rules for what happens if you leave early or are kicked from the raid. Get this in writing; ask the raid leader to type the rules in raid chat before the start, for everyone’s protection. If you have to file a complaint later, having the details in raid chat gives Blizzard a place to start their investigations. If all details are conducted over Vent, it’s just your word against theirs.

2. Know The Organizers

First, you’ll want to be sure the raid is going to get somewhere. It’s no fun being locked to a raid ID that only downs Marrowgar. Look for GDKPs run by the top guilds on your servers. Sure, it’s probably their alts that are going but the alts of top raiders are usually well geared and competent.

Second, make sure you can trust them. If XXArthaaasXX is spamming trade for “TOGC25 GDKP run” and he belongs to “Dæthz Knightz”, be careful. The pots can get really big and you don’t want someone walking away with all the gold. Again, big name guilds usually care about their reputation on server and won’t scam someone without a good reason.

3. Be Prepared

If the guy organizing the raid has been spamming trade all week advertising it and asking you to sign up on the guild’s site or the official realm discussion board, don’t expect to get a slot at the last minute by whispering him. You might get lucky, you might not. Follow the rules, sign up or send an in game message ahead of time. They may ask for armory page, specs, gold you have available to spend – don’t be tempted to lie here. Be upfront. A good GDKP is an ongoing phenomenon and you would probably like to be invited back.

Gather your gold together on the character you want to take to the raid before you go. You don’t want to have to zone out halfway through for more gold.

Act like this is a real raid, because it is. Get your flasks, potions, buff food, gemming, and enchants ready beforehand. Bring gems and enchants for anything you might want to equip right away.

Know the fights. Again this goes with knowing the raid. If you have done the first four ICC fights and that’s as far as the GDKP is going, great. If you’ve done the first four but the GDKP advertises that it regularly downs Putricide, then learn the fights you haven’t seen. Watch a general strategy video and read advice on whatever roles you might be asked to perform. Note: not “what role you normally are”. Sometimes they will ask you to play as your off spec, even if your main is better geared. GDKP runs are about filling holes with bodies, not about letting YOU do what you really want. If you want to run ICC as a resto druid and nothing else, join a guild or pay a guild to take you in that role. If you want to pay money for gear, do what the raid leader asks.

Get Vent, if you don’t have it. Any successful GDKP is going to use a voice server; there’s just no other way to manage 25 people. If you are not at least listening in Vent, you may (and probably should) be kicked. You need to know when the raid leader wants you to move, not just do what you think is best.

Get Deadly Boss Mods, or your equivalent mod of choice. Make sure it’s up to date.

4. Know What You Want

Before the fight, go look at the loot tables for every boss you are expecting to down. Write down a post-it note list of what pieces that boss drops that you want, and how much you want it.

Why not just wait and see what drops? Several reasons. First, you want to make a mental budget. If you know the one item you really really want drops from Marrowgar, then if it drops you can spend as much as you want on it, and if it doesn’t drop, go ahead later and spend money on things you didn’t care as much about. On the other hand, if you really want a Gunship drop, then don’t blow all your money on Marrowgar.

If you have an offset that you are thinking about gearing: again, prioritize. Don’t spend 10k on a drop from Marrowgar if your main set might get three or four drops later. But if a piece is going for a song, bid on it! I picked up Niebulung, a caster staff for my offset the last time I ran ICC for the minimum bid because no one wanted it.

A word about BOEs: some bosses drop loot that is Bind on Equip, not Bind on Pickup. Check these while you’re researching. If they happen to be best in slot for you, be prepared to spend a lot of money because chances are, some capitalist on the run will try to buy it to re-sell on the Auction House. Is that person you? Make sure you know what it’s really worth. Don’t spend 2k on primordial saronite if they usually sell for 1800 gold; don’t spend 12k on Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye if it sells for 6k. And remember that the heroic version of the BOEs are NOT BoE; don’t bid on one if you can’t use it! The raid leader will probably hold you to your bid…

5. Bidding strategy

If you’re like me, the moment you see that one of ‘your’ items dropped, your adrenaline kicks in. Forget about the boss fight, this is the real action! Your heart races, your hands shake, you start messing up as you type – and all of a sudden you just bid 18000 gold instead of 1800. Ooops. Or you mistyped and whispered your bid to your friend. Even more oops.

By having your priority list mentioned above, you should have an idea of how high you are willing to go. Start low, see what competition you have. Prices will pretty quickly get to the range where people who don’t want the item that much drop out. Then you either win, or get into a one on one bidding war.

Don’t go over your budget. Make your highest bid amount mentally and stick to it. Conversely, don’t take yourself out of the game prematurely; if you were willing to spend 5k gold on that hat, bid 5k!

If you see a bidding war forming up, you can try the “money dump” method; bid something like 2/3rds of your ‘high bid’, if that will take the amount a good bit higher than where it currently is. This shows your competitors that you are serious, that you have at least that much gold, and that they’d better be serious if they want to compete with you. Psychology is a weird thing. If you sloooowwwly creep up to, say, 5k, in 100 gold increments, you are much more likely to bid 5100 gold than if the price goes from 2k to 5k instantly.

Don’t be afraid to go for broke. Unless you screw up royally, you are going to come out with 1/25th the pot – that’ll at least be repair costs for you until you can earn a little money back. Again, don’t take more gold than you’re willing to spend. Don’t borrow gold from a friend; that’s a good way to ruin the friendship. Borrow gold from your spouse or partner, yes, if you can’t give that money back then you have more problems than I’m going to talk about ;-D

Final Notes

GDKPs are a lot of fun if they’re well run. I highly recommend them. Remember that the other people on the raid are coming for gear or cash, not just the pleasure of your company, and treat them that way. Be respectful and honest. Don’t waste their time; time = gold on these runs and if you waste time, you may find yourself out in the cold.

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Like the previous Old Kingdom post I will do this completely from memory. Unlike the other post I will not do it ‘pull by pull’. This one will use more of the ‘yeeeehaaaa! Everyone diiiiies!!’ strategy of pulling.

Nexus is actually a bad one for multi pulls. It is bad because there are plenty of groups you can’t really move. I will cover those… a screw-it, no talky, gogogo

Pull 1: I need just enough time to pop thorns , GotW, bearform, enrage, and hopefully by now I am in range of the first pull. This one makes my bear cry. The reason is that there is just ONE target… AND it is far too far from any other group to do as a multi pull. I know, I have tried… it just is not worth it. (healer’s thoughts: oh noez it is one of THOSE tanks!)

Pull 2: With any luck the dog and guy spiral ramp patrol is near the bottom. This makes it easy to drag them into the first of the frozen guys. While you are at it grab a few more. (healer’s thoughts: that was not so bad.. where is he going? Oh ****!)

Pull 3: If you accidentally drop that first few frozen guys before you round up the next you will have to make up for it by pulling the boss with the group before or after or both. This is some of the nastiest multi pulling anywhere. Those archers are shooting multi shots at people; turn them around. The boss is whirlwinding; move him off your clothies. The clerics are healing; interrupt them. You healer is going into cardiac arrest; find your gnomish army knife. (healer thoughts: aaaiiiiieeeeee!!!! *urk*)

Pull 4: Finish off pulling the rest of the frozen guys and the next dog and guy ramp patrol. That is assuming you messed up and left any alive after your last ‘pull’. Now is a good time to check and see if your healer has dropped group. I have lost them about here at least once. If they have not dropped they are probably drinking and chanting ‘I can’t believe we are alive’. Make sure you get to the top of the ramp before he has time to type ‘wait’. (healer thought: waaaaiiit!)

Pull 5 Boss: These packs of 4 are great because they are all melee. Be certain to round up the first pack and then run for the next one. If the ramp patrol was at the top of the ramp you might want to only do that and the first pack. If so hang your head in shame. You can at least pull one pack with the boss and make up for your lameness. If you already got the pat charge for the second pack with the first and then pull the boss with those two packs. This boss is fun because you get to time your AOE hits while getting tossed around the room.  (Healer thought: O.O)

Pull 6: If the pat is at the top of the ramp you might have to do it by itself (/cry). (healer thought: We lived! wow… this is not so bad)

Pull 7: Make up for that lame pull by pulling through first platform and onto the second one. The first one has no rift, making this pull possible. You are probably going to drop the first caster though. Don’t worry too much. That one slow witted DPSer will probably solo it before noticing you are on the next platform fighting 7 guys. (healer thought: surely he can’t do anything too crazy here… where did the tank go?)

Pull 8: Jump off and kill the pack there. These guys are annoying to move around so just single pull them (/pout). But hey, with any luck the hunter’s pet will bring some more when it round around the long way.

Pull 9: You CAN pull this group up to the boss and do both. Having done it I don’t recommend it. Not because it is hard, but it usually slows down the boss fight. Plus you can’t move the rift so that is nasty. If you must you might consider getting the boss and dragging it back to the rift. Because you are insane to still be reading I will assume you did this and go right to the next.

Pull 10: Run though the pack below the platform and run up to the last one with a rift. That one you ran though has casters and so does the next one so this will be slightly tricky.

Pull 11-12: How far can you get before stopping to AOE them down? Those little saplings are annoying and the DPS insist on stumbling into random trees and dryads. With luck you can clear the ankle biter gauntlet with just two distinct fights. (healer thought: I had mana once. It was nice)

Pull 13: Of course you pull the last pack into the big elemental boss. Weeee! Ice makes a fun ride. The last time I did this we had two dps down and it sure was a long fight.

Pull 14: Run up the tunnel, jump down, engage, and drag that pack past the last Ancient. You can avoid him by hugging the wall. It saves a second or two. Make up for that cowardice by pulling a dragon patrol or two.

Pull 15: Naturally you are going to do the final dragon boss and the add near her at the same time (duh). Don’t let your healer’s whining or the out of breath panting of the DPS distract you from jumping up and down. That ice debuff still hurts.

Do all that right and your party will be in awe. Do it wrong and they will be blogging about your epic fail status.

Yes, I have done every one of these pulls. I did most of them yesterday.

Analogue says: please, please, for the love of God and all things holy, don’t listen to him, baby tanks! I think I need to stage an intervention here…

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Survival in an extreme tanking situation is about 3 things, reducing the incoming damage, Mitigating the incoming damage and healing the damage. Of course we all knew that right? So let’s apply them to multi pulls.

Healing

There is nothing the tank can do about the heals, right? You just take what you can get. Wrong. First of all you can do various things to ensure the healer is ready. Check they mana levels before you pull. Confirm their position before moving. Estimate how long it will take them to get into the healing action. Pay attention to how far ahead of them you are and estimate how fast they will be able to get heals on you.

A good tank does all of this on any run. Multi-pull runs are even more intense this way. But you are multi-pulling to save time, right? So get in the habit of checking the healers status so that you don’t have to take extra time for it when you deliberately make things harder.

Do NOT assume the healer can keep you up. In fact you are much safer to assume the heals will be bad. Pay attention on the first few pulls and adjust your pace to match what the healer can do. By a few pulls in you should be able to tell if pulling that one extra pack is going to kill you because the healer is maxed out.

Finally don’t assume good gear means they can keep up. Gear is cheap and easy these days. Also the healer might be distracted, talking on the phone, or feeding a baby, or any number of things. You can’t just say “Oh, nice gear. Time to go full speed.”
That is enough about healing. Our goal is going to be to not need any.

Reducing incoming damage

This means applying a debuffs you have. It also means being vigilant about spell reflecting, stunning, anti-magic shielding, interrupting, and just generally making it hard for the mobs to get you. This is not to be dismissed. A few well timed interrupts or a spell reflect can really cut down on how much damage you take. So can shifting the fight off the time bomb, out of the fire, or ducking around a corner to interrupt a cast. Pull out all the stops and do whatever you can to cut that damage down.

Mitigating damage

This is the big one. This is where the tank can do the most to survive on their own. This is cooldowns. Well mostly cooldowns. First it means doing other things, like being in the most defensive posture you can be and being gemmed, enchanted, and itemized to have the maximum health pool and mitigation stats you can. Unless you have serious threat generation issues you need to drop those attack power gems for some more stam (I saw that but Rev has a few gems that need replaced). Gear your 5 man tank like you are planning to raid and you will be in fair shape for multi pulls.

Cooldowns

But now for the real meat. Cooldowns are where it is at. Being able to reduce, absorb or regenerate incoming damage on demand helps makes a decent tank into an uber tank.
Let’s get straight to examples. If you remember the Profiling post and the Cooldowns post here is where I put it all together.

Here is a basic multi pull. Our bear is doing the two anvils in the hall at the start of UK.

The two packs are in black circles. The patrolling guys are in between. The tank (blue) moves in, throws ‘growl’ to the left and ‘Feral Faerie Fire’ to the right. Then he ‘Swipes’ like crazy and rounds up all agro.

This pull is a short run from where the party started. No long ‘down the hall around the corner’ stuff. This means the heals and DPS get in on the action fast. Lets plot it out.

Here we are. The damage the tank takes per second is in Red. The red line jumps up fast because both packs and the patrollers all get to the tank about the same time and start swinging.

The healing line reacts a little slow and then hits a reasonable sustained healing rate.
All the DPS uses AOEs hard and some the packs all die almost together. It is never exactly together because some of the damage will be single or double target.

Notice that there is a ton of damage that does not get healed. How can we cut that down? In the profiling post I looked at using kill order to cut down on the damage the tank takes. In multi pulls situations this does not make sense.

To explain why not we need to back up a little. For a quick recap here is one group down with single target and with AOE.

The Red line is the damage the tank takes (that does not get healed right away) with using a kill order. And the Blue line is the damage he takes when only AOE is used.

Here we shade the important areas in.

Just the blue area is the difference.
He takes a lot more in an AOE fight assuming the DPS is bad at AOE.
Here is the same fight more realistic, with the AOE taking less time than the single targeting.

The tank still takes a lot of damage when we kill stuff with AOE instead of single targeting down. That happens because the amount of time he is tanking damage from more critters is longer. This means more time taking more damage than the healer is able to heal. The chart shows if you can kill one or two of the pack fast you can get that incoming damage down to something the healer can handle.

Now lets look at two fights.

The bottom red line is one pack of 4 getting killed by following kill order and single targeting them down.

The top red line is TWO packs of 4 being killed in the same way. Just look how much unhealed damage there is. Again, the green line is how much the healer can handle. The space below the red line bug above the green is the damage the tank has to eat. In the fight that is two packs (double the citters) the damage that the tank eats is a lot more than double. Not only that but the time he spends eating more damage then the healer can heal is a long time. Longer than the whole previous fight.

Now we will overlay the AOE version of the two pack fight.

Here the red area is tank damage in single target and the blue is tank damage when AOE is used. Notice that now the blue area is SMALLER than the red area. So as we increased the number of critters and keep healing and AOE damage the same at some point it is better to AOE. What point that is varies depending on how good the healing is. BUT, fight length also comes into play because at some point people will go OOM.

Did that make sense? Let me try it another way. For single pack fights and moderate (not over geared) healing levels it is faster to AOE things down BUT the tank still takes more damage in that shorter period of time. As we add more and more monsters to this equation the amount of time it takes to single target them down gets down right crazy. And the damage the tank takes get unhealable fast. But in the AOE version of the fight while adding more mobs does up the damage the tank takes, it is not as bad as it is in the ‘kill order’ fight. At some point, as we keep adding more creatures to the fight, it starts to get easier to tank by AOE killing them instead of ‘kill order’ killing them.

I am not talking about different fights. I am talking about just one fight were we try the same pack again, in the same way, but there just happens to be one more creature than the time before. Somewhere the numbers balance out and AOE is the better option. How many critters it takes to get to that point depends on many factors but it is almost ways way past that point when you have enough critters for two full ‘packs’ of some average size.

There is another factor that makes longer fights your enemy. Cooldown durations.

Here is a chart where the tank used a bunch of nice big cooldowns to mitigate damage. Now the damage the tank takes in an AOE fight (blue area above the green) does not look all that different from a fight with just one pack. And the fight was the same length. So the healer has the same ability to heal it.

If the fight last longer and the tanks cooldowns wear off the fight gets hard again. When multi pull tanking and using cooldowns time is your enemy. The fights need to be short and brutal and then packs need to die fast.

There is another obvious reason to AOE…. It is easier. There are far to many targets in a multi pull for people to find the one with the X and only hit that. They waste all kinds of time changing to the right target. The rule of thumb for fight length is above 3 targets the fights are faster to use AOE instead of single target. At 3 targets it is about the same and with 4 or more it is faster to AOE. The speed boost starts to level off above 6 targets and somewhere (15+??) it gets slower to AOE. I think… Not sure really. There is a diminishing returns factor. It really does not matter because NO ONE will single target a pack of a bazillion. Someone else can do that math. I don’t care.
Basically over 3 targets, if the tank can take the extra damage, AOE. Over 6 or 7 AOE even if the tank can’t take it (unless you are trying to kill at least one before you wipe) (On a side note, if you are DPS, when you realize you are 100% sure to wipe you should go single target and try to drop at least one).

So let us get back to the basic multi pack pull chart.

The damage drops off, as I said before, because something all ways is taking more damage and dies early no matter how much you AOE.

As before what we care about is the red area.

That red shaded area below the red damage line and above the green heal line si the damage that goes onto the tanks health bar and does not come off until the fight is over (or the red drops below green for a while).

So how do we make that red area smaller? First off we can use our debuffs religiously.

Here we see the dashed line is the reduction of damage that the tank can get using whatever debuff moves his class has.

The effect of those is more or less the same as if the healer just was able to heal a little more. So lets just bump the healing bad up.

Now we are assuming you are using those debuffs… but there is still a big area to deal with.  How else can we fill it in. Here the tank drinks a potion.

Not much eh? The effect of the potion is a drop in a bucket compared to serious incoming damage. (maybe I dezagerated it a bit (of course that is a real word.. stop asking dumbquestions)

So healing pots don’t help much and we can take only one. How about popping a damage mitigation cooldown before the pull starts. Here is a bear using Barkskin.

Nice. we filled in a good big. But notice how some of the ‘virtual heals’ cause by the cool down were wasted off to the left? That is because barkskin only reduces damage as it comes in. To get the most out of it you have to be tanking damage the whole duration. What if we use a damage absorption effect instead? Here we use the Coroded Skeleton key.

This cooldown absorbs a maximum amount of damage in a given amount of time. It does not matter if we pop it early as long as we are sure to take the maximum amount of damage before the time runs out. This sort of cooldown in a very high damage situation wipes out all your incoming damage for a very short time. Much shorter than the ‘duration’ the cooldown claims to have.

As we can see from these two examples, different cooldown types have a different ‘shape’ when compared to damage and heals. It is useful to understand this because we want to get the most out of those ‘shapes’.

here we have a tank popping a large number of cooldowns early on in the fight.

Notice how the the cooldowns were wasted. All that area above the redline was wasted. That was mitigation of damage that did not actually happen.  What if instead of popping all his cooldowns at once the tank had just popped some and then waited and popped the others later.

Here we have a tank spacing cooldowns out and getting great coverage of all that red space. This tank did not take much damage at all.

To better understand overlapping cooldowns lets look closer. Here the tank will wait only a few seconds after popping one to use the second one.

This is good strategy. The tank just used some of his cooldown arsenal and then waited a few seconds to see how well they worked. The tank noticed his health bar was still going down so he popped more cooldowns. Now he could see that his health stabilized almost completely. This lasted until the first cool down wore off.  The second wore off right after that and the tank started taking heavy damage. But this tank had a cool head and saw that the packs he was fighting were more than half dead. He estimated that the amount of health he had left would last until the packs died. Hopefully he also notced that the healer had enough mana to keep going. Either way he decided to not pop more cooldowns. This is being ‘cooldown’ efficeint. To be able to do multipulls one after another you will need enough cooldowns to always have one or more for each fight. Well that is assuming your gear and healer is nto so over powered that you don’t really need cooldowns. But even in that situation it is useful to always have some in reserve.

Cooldowns are like taunts. Getting good at using them when you need to and conserving them when you don’t is part of the path to being more uber as a tank. A tank that is good with them can get get through many fights without any healing at all.

Personally have my cooldowns mapped via Bartender to the F1-F8 keys. In a pinch I can always lift my fingers off the WASD or 1-5 keys and just hammer a few more F-keys. It is not always efficient but it has saved me many times.

Before I wrap this up let me remind you that pacing is critical for a ‘gogogo’ multi pull instance run. Even if you can handle a certain pull under most situations, even if you have done it a dozen times that way, you still need to check that you have your cooldowns off cooldown and that your healer is not 3 rooms back drinking and OOM. Getting carried away is the main killer in multipulls. And remember, if you wipe it is YOUR (the tank’s) fault.

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Money Talks

… or at least gets you raid invites for GDKP.

At more or less the last minute I managed to whisper the raid leader for the guild-run but not guild exclusive GDKP yesterday afternoon. I told him “I have 30k and I still want Trauma” – Reversion and I have been on this run several times and have made good purchases. I bought Althor’s Abacus two months back, and I still love that proc. Trauma would complete the effect and give me the two pieces of loot I’ve been drooling over since I saw them. Stats are cool and all, but healing procs are sexy.

So I got an invite. Reversion didn’t, sadly, but he was very gracious about me getting to go. I was the only resto druid in the raid. I’ve never been the only tree in a 25 man before. At least I didn’t have to worry about stepping on anyone else’s toes.

The GDKP is a pretty well-oiled machine now. They do Gunship on heroic now, which was actually too bad; Ikfurus’s Sack of Wonders or however you spell that chestpiece dropped and if it had been on normal, it would have been BoE and I was going to try to buy it for Reversion.

We had one wipe in the Lower Spire. We came across the weekly quest to kill the rotting giant, and while we downed him with only a half dozen casualties, for some reason the disease didn’t go away. We all stacked up on each other, all got infected, and all died in a terrible orgy of diseases. DBM went nuts telling us all about it. Wish I’d gotten a screen shot.

I kept sneaking looks at the healing meters and was satisfingly in third place most of the time, sometimes fourth. One shaman and one pally were playing tug of war with me for the 2-3-4 ranking. I know I ruled on the overhealing meter though! Nobody can top a druid for overheals!

Festergut is disturbingly easy to heal as a resto druid in 25 man. I asked for an assignment on him – most of the fights we’d been winging it – and then healed my two assigned groups, dropped WG on melee when I could, and waited for him to drop. I like that fight a lot more on ten man. Actually I like all the fights more on ten man. Seems like the price of “epic big raid” feel is that you feel more like just one cog. Being one of two healers is totally different from being 1 of 6.

Then we were on to Rotface, who I’ve only downed a handful of times and the whole time my hands were shaking because I wanted Trauma. Still, I did my job, I didn’t die, and then when he went down I clicked to look at the loot – and there it was.

They wouldn’t auction that first, oh no. First they had to sell the stuff nobody actually wanted. Then Trauma – “2000” I typed, only to be instantly outbid. It was up to over 10k in no time, so I decided to drop my bomb, and bid 20k. That got some comments in Vent. I explained I’d really been wanting it, didn’t really feel like a bidding war, and asked if anyone was going to try outbidding. They didn’t.  I handed over the gold – 2/3rds of all the gold that Reversion and I have between us – and got the mace.

Money talks.

Was it worth it? Well, I had been keeping a running tally in my head of what my share of the GDKP was going to be. It ended up that I got back more than 5k gold, making Trauma effectively a 15k purchase.

The stats, combined with the Shriveled Heart offhand I’ve been keeping around just for this, are actually worse than my Mag’Hari Chieftain staff off of Saurfang-10. I lose a lot of haste. On fights like Saurfang I’ll probably swap back to the staff. I’ve got to redo my gear a bit to add more haste, I might even need to spec back into CF.

But yeah, it’s worth it. First, because this is that piece of loot – the one you see in the loot table when MMO-Champion mines them and say “That’s mine”. The one that represents something – to me, demonstrated that I have gotten further into cutting edge content right now than at any other time in the game, proof that I’ve invested time and love into my primary spec.

And it works. After Rotface we went and did Putricide. My first time on 25 and I hadn’t killed him on 10. We wiped four times, none of which were remotely my fault. One accident, one person not listening, one person who apparently wiped us on purpose and then got kicked with extreme prejudice. One I don’t know. Final try was chaotic. Adds everywhere – an orange one targeted me and I flatter myself I kited it really well, staying out of ooze and letting the dps burn it down. I got hit by the goo a couple times, my fault, but I was alive when the Professor dropped and I got my achievement for the Plague Wing.

I am now at 8/12 ICC. Months behind, perhaps, but progression indeed.

Anyway after the fight I looked at Recount, at my personal healing. 90% was Rejuv, with ~3% WG (I mostly skipped it because we weren’t staying clumped up very well).  The other 7% was procs – the Abacus was about 2.5% and Trauma was 4.5%. That means a huge chunk of my healing was mana free, GCD free.  It just happened, boom. I love that! Yes, it’s random and I can’t count on it to save the person I need to save, but over a long fight those numbers do add up.

This is why I got the gold in the first place, for gear that lets me see more content on my terms. I don’t need a mammoth; I’ll take the shiny useless purple pixels with a cool proc over the shiny useless purple pixels with vendors attached.

I just wish it didn’t look so much like a feather duster when I hold it.

The funny bit came after the raid, though. Remember I said we kicked someone during Putricide? Well, he wiped us, we looked and realized he was doing less damage than the tanks with a T10 four piece and appropriate other gear, and then he stood there dancing during the first part of the next attempt. So boot. He didn’t get any gold, which was the upfront terms; if you get removed from the raid for being an incorrigable idiot, no gold. Well two hours later there he is in chat, spamming “[Guild Name] will cheat you and take your gold – they kicked me from their GDKP after 8 bosses and I lost 4-5k gold”.

The guild gets a lot of flack on the server because they server transferred in about six months ago, so some of the guild folk are really good at playing with trolls. One of them said something like “Thanks for telling everyone how good our GDKP runs are”. Another pointed out that it was boss 7, not 8 (just trying to be helpful). And more confirmed than yes, [Guild] is made up of cheats and liars and nobody should trust us.

Somehow I don’t think he was hurting our reputation as much as he thought.

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There is one in every group

Corporate Raider

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