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Archive for October, 2010

Bee Pit Golden Rule

Murloc Parliament is having a “Bee Pit Bingo” . For my version, I decided on the Golden Rule version – this one, you fill in everything YOU’VE ever done, to see if you deserve a trip to the bee pit.

 

By my count I can get Bingo about 97 ways.

 

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Like my hunter post this will be short and to the point. This is a ‘get you up and running’ post and not a serious attempt at theory crafting. I have only tanked 2 or 3 runs so far with my bear so I don’t know everything there is to know about it. This intended to be a quick start guide to show the basics of how to play a bear in 4.0.1 (and in 4.0.3)

First off your aoe threat will be crap. No really. It will be rather bad. Swipe on a cooldown is fairly painful. Don’t give up the bear yet though. We have other things going on now. For one thing single target threat is insane. Seriously. I was pulling stuff off other tanks without using taunts, without trying to, and when they had a head start on the threat.

So let’s get to it…

Glyph your maul. Yeah you probably already had that but make sure. You will need it.

Spec

For a spec check out Uncrittable or Big Bear Butt. They both have some that are good. Mine is pretty close to those. Don’t bother checking mine. I just slapped some stuff in there.

Rotation

Well it is more of a priority/rotation. Whatever.

You still want to swipe all you can. If you are going to be doing AOE threat you will need to tab target and maul a lot too. If you are doing single target threat it is the same as before, lots of lacerate.

But wait! There is more!

Whereas before we did heavy single target damage with lots of lacerate… and after the first 5 we were wasting it and filling in with FF and maul instead, now we have a new tool. Pulverize! This thing eats your lacerates so you will not waste their dots. And lacerate only goes to 3 stacks. My rotation so far has been this.

Lacerate-lacerate-lacerate-pulverize *repeat*

Filling in with swipes and mauls as needed for multi target threat. This does a metric ton of single target threat and pretty solid tank dps too. There are probably many ways to improve on it so don’t take this as the final word. It is merely a workable first word.

Keep in mind we still have feral fearie fire and growl for grabbing things at range… BUT WAIT!! There is MORE!

At long last, all your caster mobs are belong to me. We finally have a ranged silence… sort of. In the past bears have had no ability to move ranged casters around. It was line-of-sight or nothing. Now we can. It is not much, but we CAN! It is called

What it does is a short range charge (about 8 yards) with no minimum range. So you can use it on things right in your face. It also is an interrupt and short silence. So you can use it to reposition casters. Bears Rejoice!

AOE threat…

AOE threat in 4.0.1 is not as stupid simple as it was. Between the swipe cooldown and the massive ‘thorns’ nerf your easy-peezy aoe threat tools are gone. Now you have to work at it.

You have charge in fast and get your first swipe off as soon as targets are in range. You might need to follow up with a quick ‘demoralizing roar’ if there are targets your swipe did not hit. Expect someone to pull off you right away. Everyone is still AOE happy and you can be almost certain some mage is opening up with blizzard. If a hunter pulls off let them die. Any hunter that can’t figure out how to use misdirect needs to spend some time in the Bee Pit.

To build up AOE threat you are probably going to need to be target swapping and spreading around your maul and some lacerate. With maul hitting two targets and your lacerating a little on everything in a pack you CAN hold aoe agro. It is just not as easy as it was. You might have to get a lot better with your taunts. If you are rage starved you can spread around some FFF too. That still costs no rage so use it as needed. AOE threat is NOT broke. Bears are not broken. Their AOE threat was just over powered before and now it takes actual skill. You have to be reactive and adaptive. If you have to, beg your dps to follow kill order and start marking things. Your single target threat should be sky-high so if you can just get people to shoot your target your agro issues will vanish.

Personally I am happy about the changes. Bear tanking had become for me nothing but spamming one button (swipe macroed to maul) and charging from pack to pack. It was pretty boring really. Now it is challenging and interesting again. Good luck!

Like I said, this is just a quick start guide. If it is not enough keep ‘googling’ and you will find more detailed and in-depth information.

*** edited***

News FLASH!
 Bear tanking got a lot more nerf than the patch notes claimed.

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I figured I was about as ready as anyone, coming up on 4.0.1. I’d read Lissana’s guide, Keeva’s guide, and about a thousand other sources. I knew what gear changes I’d need, what spells to re-map, and of course, what mastery was going to do for me.

What I didn’t know was how things were going to feel. Would I feel like the competent protector-of-health-bars that I did pre-patch? When I went into ICC, would I be contributing or a drag on the other healers?

After the patch I logged in, got my interface working (and was once again thankful for Vuhdo; the patch day update worked flawlessly) and assessed things. Three pieces of cloth gear that needed to go. The belt was easy, the bracers more of a challenge – I’ve had terrible bracer luck – and the hat?  My precious ilvl 277 cloth hat that I’d gotten from a Heroic Gunship on 25? What was I supposed to do there? Well, I’d leave it for later.

The first time I tried to heal anything, I got Reversion to queue up with me. We got Oculus – and I crashed, restarted, crashed again, restarted, crashed  – finally gave up and went away. (Interestingly, Reversion and Karius went on to three man Oculus with some random DPSer. Apparently the healer was not necessary after all. And more interesting, when I logged in the next day, I was awarded Justice points for completing that place. Hmm).

Finally Saturday I got into some heroics. They went fine. I could keep people alive. Then, a guildie was getting a Ruby Sanctum attempt together. Well, I’d never been, so…

Wow, that place hits hard. We wiped a lot, but finally downed the three small bosses, and then died to Halion over and over again. Finally we called it. Right about then I was getting whispers from our raid leader, asking what I was doing that night. Well, nothing, but…

So he was in a regularly-run cross-group 25 man ICC that needed a tree healer. And since our Sunday group had a lockout where we’d cleared to LK, I could go 11/12 with the other group and not worry… probably. Did I want to come?

Well, sure. Let’s give it a try.

So there I was, and there we were. Two trees, two shaman, and a priest. A third resto druid who didn’t read the patch notes was locked out until Rotface. “We’ll five heal this” the raid leader decided. Then “And we’ll take Marrowgar on heroic”.

Gulp. I whisper my guildie, who promises to send me strats for any heroics, and we’re off. For the first trash fights, I’m trying hard to use what I think my “new” rotation should be: LB one tank, WG off cooldown, Swiftmend someone in melee to proc Efflorescence, and spot heal with Regrowth. Problem is, nobody’s staying damaged long enough for Regrowth to actually hit! By the time I’m done casting, someone else has healed. So I start dropping Rejuvs. The instant small heal is usually enough to get them fully up.

I sneak a glance at the meters. Holy cow! The Other Druid is doing 30% of the healing, I’m doing 20. Yeah, so the priest is a disc priest and Recount is bad at seeing shields… and we’re topping the overhealing meters too… but seriously, I’m feeling overpowered. The Other Druid’s rotation is almost entirely Rejuv and WG. I think I’m using Swiftmend more. Recount isn’t giving me any feel for my Efflorescence – it’s just not showing up at all.

So on Marrowgar, I go to the old strategy, Rejuvs everywhere, WG, and this time I use Swiftmend on myself because I’m good at standing in the knot of people, and Efflorescence can do its best.

Well, first time, we wipe.  I stupidly ran into a flame and didn’t get out in time, everyone was sloppy… yeah. We come back and try it again. I pop tree on the second bonestorm and run around, feeling immensely powerful and amazing. Marrowgar dies. Wow.

We proceed to steamroll the place. Well, there are some wipes on some of the heroic modes (We set Lootship, Rotface, BQL and I think Festergut to heroic. This group was not playing around). I’m going to ignore the specificc fights and focus on the details:

Your Old Rotation Still Works

With caveats: Lifebloom on only one person at a time, Regrowth is fast and Nourish is slow. Don’t bother using Nourish, or Healing Touch. Use Swiftmend, but try to use it on tanks/melee. Rejuv-spam is both possible and profitable. Note that this is in ICC, at level 80, with mana pools that don’t twitch. Once we have mana problems, it’s something else

Your New Shinies are New and Shiny

Efflorescence, I love you. You’re tied to my beloved Swiftmend, you are pretty and green and leafy. I just hope the DPS knows the difference between you and Deathwhisper’s DND.

Fast Regrowth, you sure pack a punch. I might miss my old buddy, Slow Keep The Tank Happy Regrowth, but your makeover was pretty nice and I welcome you to a more prominent mouse button.

Tranquility – I’ve always sort of loved you but previously we had to keep our friendship secret so my friends didn’t mock you. Sorry I specced away from the faster cooldown when I started raiding, but you just weren’t what I needed for cutting-edge content. Now that you’ll heal the people who actually need it? I think we’re going to spend a lot more time together.

Tree Form… I miss seeing you all the time. I think what we had was good. I hate this new long-distance relationship, but man, when you do visit, you make up for lost time! I’m sad and frantic and people are about to die and then suddenly it’s – “Oh, hi Tree! Missed you! Ok, while I’m running around like crazy, let’s Wild Growth like, the whole raid, and throw some instant cast Regrowths at the same time. K? K!”  I promise to get the glyph as soon as it’s available – sure, some druids are excited about switching for your bigger and more colorful cousin but my heart belongs to Wilted Broccoli.

I Still Feel Like A Druid

It’s still about the HOTs. I still need Vuhdo to show me all my little hot timers, I still use the same triage system.  “Druids take care of the ranged” is still an instruction I can handle. I love it. I was so worried about my beloved class – and at 85, who knows? But today at least, I still feel right.

 

This has gotten long enough, so I’ll save my “when will Tree Form save your butt” post for another time. Oh, and remember that epic cloth hat I was griping about having to replace at the start of this post? The 25 man I ran with did Rotface on heroic and I got the leather equivalent of that hat – ilvl 277 and just right for a resto druid. So then I grabbed the frost badge belt and a pair of nice pvp bracers, since I have lots of honor lying around, and by Sunday’s Lich King downing I was all leather all the time. 5% extra intellect is nothing to sneeze at.

And the spec I’m rocking is a little weird – I skip Nature’s Swiftness, actually, because I just wasn’t using that at all. When I start leveling I’ll probably go back and do something different again , but right now I wanted as many of the direct increases to healing talents as I could. Still, loving it!


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Oops

 

Corporate Raider

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So last week we were invited to a ten man serious ICC raid by our new guild. A couple of their regulars kindly stepped out to give us a shot at the Lich King. We spent most of Monday evening dying to Defiles.

Last night we got back together and went back. With one major change: Reversion had brought his hunter the week before, but last night, a tank was missing, so he brought in the bear. I’d had a chance to heal the first 11/12 fights the night before on 25 man (the new lockout system is weird but hasn’t screwed me up… yet…) and so I was feeling confident in my druid-y healing power. Incidentally I have a post in the works about that too, but right now…

We got set up and started. First attempt, my face got eaten by a ghost of some sort. Raging Spirit, I guess. I didn’t even see it; my nameplates were buggy. I got Tidy Plates turned back on and that helped a lot.

We started getting cleanly into the second phase, and having bad Defile placement, or a stun not going off on a Valkyr, or just random bad luck. But I could see we were getting better. I was feeling more competent, even if I wasn’t entirely sure what my best healing strategy was.

Then, suddenly, we were transitioning to third phase and I realized I had no idea what to do. We died, I got clarification, we came, we tried again, we failed in second phase, we came again, we got into third phase  – but the raid was torn in two by a defile and we wiped.

Back again. First phase, perfect. Transition, good. Second phase – good! We were careful with defiles. Second transition – clean this time. Nobody died. (I asked us to switch to using Resist aura instead of Ret and it seemed to give a nice edge)

Then suddenly, Reversion gives an exclamation behind me. He just got pulled into the sword. I’m too busy healing to look, but  I hear him say “Oh crap, I pulled off the guy”. I guess you shouldn’t taunt the mob in there! [Correction: Reversion pulled off with straight threat, not a taunt. Sorry, I was healing and heard things wrong!] But he got the thing killed and was back outside. I was in a groove of healing at that point, coldn’t have told you what the Lich King’s health was at – and then suddenly I was dead. But everyone on Vent was screaming – wait, we were ALL dead! We’d done it! I hadn’t even realized it, but we’d done it!

Teranas rezzed us, and I moonfired-spammed the Lich King. Now that was fun.

And then, he was dead.

A big thanks to the guildies. We’re so glad we transferred! Kalyon was the other tank, and the whole team was great.

So where do we go from here? Mostly depends on the guild’s needs. We loved raiding with this particular group, and the schedule worked great for us, and we’d love to stick with them but we know that their needs might not include us. We’ll see. In Cataclysm, we want to raid, and personally I like 10 man size better. There are just fewer headaches.

But at least this expansion, I feel like we “won”. We got Arthas down before Deathwing replaced him as the Big Bad. Months behind, yes, but….

We did it together!

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So my mage, Invariant, is one and a half achievements away from Long Strange Trip. She needs to get transformed with three wands, and get the Sinister Squashling drop. She’s needed those for two years now. Every time I saw the drop, someone else got it. But after last year’s Hallows’ End was when I decided to make the effort to get Long Strange Trip on her. Final, I’m getting close.

And then they announce that the drake won’t give me 310% speed flying, and – the qq in our house, since Reversion’s hunter is *also* one and a half achievements from the meta, the same ones? Oh, it was bad. But I decided not to shell out the gold for the epic-epic flying on those characters until after Hallows’ End had come and gone. The qq would be epic, I reasoned, and for a good reason, and maybe, just maybe, Blizzard would cave. I gave it a 40% chance myself.

Well, they have caved, and Long Strange Trip will reward the upgraded speed (I can’t tell, but it might be for as long as the achievement is in the game, so there will always be a long, slow, cheap way to get the speed upgrade).

Good call Blizzard – it was a stupid thing to overlook when you were redesigning how the super-speed mount stuff worked. Thanks for being the kind of game people who actually listen sometimes when we whine  – and don’t just ignore us because you’ve heard whining before.

Now, I can’t wait for the holiday. Hopefully the stuff will drop… otherwise I might be sad after all..

 

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Upgrades!

Corporate Raider

Sorry for the small size. The new WordPress App is garbage.

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