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Archive for August, 2011

Dear Hordie

Thanks for swooping down and showing me where to stand in order to tame that spirit bird. I was a little miffed when you tried to start taming it yourself. I had, after all, been trying to get it for 15 minutes. Oh, and a word of advice: don’t PVP flag when you are trying to tame a rare pet. Someone who feels you are cutting in line might scatter shot you, frost trap you and then tame your target.
Also I want to thank you for all that /spit. My lovable new pet loves licking it off of my face.
Have a nice day.

PS: Your name was offensive.

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Link achieve or no invite!

20110818-010700.jpg

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Most specs have a set of glpyhs that is optimal. Sometimes you chose between one or more glyphs that are ok. For Resto druids, the proper Prime glyphs are Swiftmend, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom. Glyph of Regrowth is a “gimmick” glyph. Ok every resto druid worth her salt swapped it in for Chimaeron, but mostly I’ve not seen anyone speak well of it.

What it does, is simple. If you have Regrowth active on someone, and that person’s health is below 50%, it refreshes. It keeps refreshing until they go over 50%. It actually sounds pretty good, then you start thinking…. how often are people below 50%? The other healers get them up past that, incidental heals work, how much good does this actually do? According to WowPopular.com, most resto druids don’t use this glpyh.

Actually, in progression fights? Sometimes people take damage and it just sits because the healers are trying to save the tank, or remember what else they’re doing. Sometimes I know a person is really low but I don’t have time to get him all the way up right now. Regrowth ticks are pretty small, but combine it with a Wild Growth and if the victim isn’t standing in bad any more, it can be enough to keep them going.

Regrowth isn’t a great spell to use. I’ll admit that. The heal is small and the mana cost is high. But it is fast, and if I get a Clearcasting proc better believe I’m using it. In a fight with high damage phases followed by low phases, I know that I can blow 30% of my mana on Regrowth spam and still get it back later. And that ups my throughput on the raid. If I were tank healing, the strategy would be really stupid, but usually I’m raid healing.

Just last week we were working hard on Ryolith and taking a lot of raid damage from volcanos. It was hectic as we learned the fight, and over and over I saved someone thanks to my auto-refreshing Regrowth. Cast it on them when they’re at 10% health, cast on someone else, keep going, save them all.

The glyph I gave up, Glpyh of Lifebloom, increases the crit change of Lifebloom. Which I have up all the time. So a crit chance increase is an obvious, definite HPS bump. But, if it’s not Tree Time, Lifebloom mostly stays on a tank. It’s a nice little bit of healing to help out Kerick and power my Clearcasting. But it’s not winning us the fights.

Glyph of Regrowth is unpredictable. If we do our jobs perfectly, then on most fights it doesn’t help much at all. But on progression fights where we haven’t learned not to take damage, and I am just trying to keep the raid alive another thirty seconds so we can get this phase down and have a better shot next time, it can really do wonders.  It’s very much a personal play choice thing.  I still might be fail for using it, but I’ve weighed my options and deliberately chosen this fail.

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The changes to threat

In reference to this Dev Blog

Woah! Did not see that coming.

I love this new change. Right now threat is BOOORING. There were, as of yesterday, only a few areas where I would notice the existence of threat as an issue. I mean I paid attention to it all the time but only in these situations would it affect my game play.

Bosses – Threat was meaningless after the first 30 seconds of any boss fight I have done. Really. After that if you are still having threat problems then you have messed up your build. Now I am not tanking Heroic raid bosses, and I am only 3/7 in Firelands but this has been my experience. So threat was meaningless on boss fights… kinda. If I had a threat problem at the start of a fight I would just blow Berserk on that boss and the problem went away. So I cared about threat, slightly, at the start of a boss fight.

Two tanks – If I was in tank spec and me and another tank were swapping on a boss I would have to throttle my TPS/DPS so as not to pull the boss off my partner at the wrong time. Now this was fine… but vengeance made this sometimes annoying or turned trash packs into a threat tug of war. While those situations might have been amusing they were not really intended game play. Two tanks fighting over a trash pack with taunts so they can get more rage/vengeance was kinda silly. Amusing, but a waste of time and sometimes a deadly distraction.

AOE – Yeah, sometimes people would pull off me in an AOE heavy situation. It was minor. It caused me to be better at taunting mobs back but it was really not that INTERESTING or fun. If Bliz finds this new change makes AOE threat too easy they should nerf tank AOE damage again.

DPS on the wrong target – Yeah, this was the biggest source of issues. But it was still not that big a deal. And I know 5x versus 3x will still not save an undergeared tank from an overgeared person on the wrong target. So this situation might be somewhat easier now but it is not going away.

Shooting things before they reach my melee range – Yeah again. This is still not changing with the new system.

Now all tanks might not have the same experience. I have known some to complain about people pulling off them early in a fight. I don’t complain about that. I see it is a personal failure if I let that happen so I darn sure am not going to whine about it. It is really not that hard to prevent right now. You don’t pull with a taunt, you open up with your best hits, you use DPS cooldowns early, you taunt back fast, and you learn a really well tuned dps/tps rotation. That is it. It works for warriors and bears, which are the only tanks I have played, and the other tanks have more than one taunt anyway.

What does “harder” mean?

Is this going to make tanking easier? Yeah kinda. More forgiving certainly. So? Are there any other roles that will wipe the group if they screw up the first 5 seconds of a fight? No. Really. In my experience the two hardest roles to play are an undergeared healer with an undergeared tank and an undergeared tank with a party of trigger happy morons. Look at it this way; Tanking is too hard. No, I have no issues with it. There is only 1 measure of ‘too hard’. It is not the opinions of elite tanks out there on forums or blogs. The ONLY measure of tanking being hard versus fun is the queue time of DPSers in LFD. Yeah, there are fewer morons out there trying to tank pugs but there are also 45 minute DPS queues.

Look, any hardcore raid tank can tell you the real measure of a tank is doing the fight mechanics and using their mitigation right. Threat is BASIC. Nerfing threat does not nerf the really hard parts of tanking. This is only making it easier for people to START tanking. It is not making it easier for them to get really good at it.

Now these ideas for upcoming changes to the mitigation moves and resource use… very interesting. That could put some nice challenge back the tanking. But it could put it back in a way that does not scare off new tanks too fast. I look forward to seeing what they do with it.

Update (1 ay after)

Last night I ran with a guild alt run in BWD. I can say for certain anyone that thinks threat is being phased out, or that this is some HUGE change in mechanics is wrong. Threat works like it always has. I was on a high dps hunter and outgeared a lot of the other people there. If I picked the ‘wrong’ target and dropped the hammer hard and early I would pull off the tank and they would have a heck of a time getting the target back. (Sry guys, I was doing that For Science!)

Threat dumps, forced attacks, taunts. They all worked the same as before. They all ‘feel’ the same as before. The only thing that changed is now tanks have a roughly 60% easier time picking up and holding threat. That is all. Nothing to see here. Move along!

This is NICE. Now I have the option of, instead of blowing MD on every pull, just counting to three before dropping the hammer. And even doing that I sometimes had to FD. Much less than before though. As Ghostcrawler pointed out being forced to use threat reduction as a part of SOP (standard operating procedure) is not fun game play. If I wanted to blow dps cooldowns on the pull, or open up before a boss was positioned I had to use MD, same as always. This just really isn’t that big a change. It is, if anything, just a step back toward where things were in Wrath.

They did not remove threat. Seriously, they didn’t.

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First off, it’s so nice to finally have a pool of raiders with enough redundancy that I don’t run around in panic when Log has duty weekend. It’s going to be hard making sure that 12 people get enough raid time, but if the alternates aren’t getting enough play time we’ll make some changes. I finally have backup for every role! Now, if we’re missing a healer AND an rdps AND a tank, then we might have issues, but…

So Friday we went to Firelands. We killed our trash like pros. We had three wipes on Shannox and then killed him. Then we had a choice. We could go do Baleroc again, or we could do Beth’tilac and then attempt Ryolith, skipping Baleroc. We’d taken 25 tries the week before to get him down, we had a healer who hadn’t been there…. I was really leaning toward skipping him and going after another new fight.

Reversion pointed out that we need to keep downing fights we know so they can be on farm status for us. If we put off killing Baleroc again for a month we’d have lost all the knowledge we had of how to do the fight. I definitely saw his point… but I so wanted to get another boss down. The picture up top is what I imagine our raid was thinking. Usually we do a better job of blending our raid leading roles.

Anyway so we went to Baleroc. And two shot it. Reversion was definitely right :)

Then we went to Beth’tilac. We’d done four pulls on her about three weeks ago, that was it. We changed things up a bit from our last attempts – Reversion stayed down to tank the drone, Kerick went up to heal the tank, and I stayed down to work my druid awesomeness on the raid. We had a good attempt, but the raid damage was high, so Ado instructed people to be sure to taunt down the adds. Did another attempt, adds were better but still a lot of damage, so we swapped who was going up for dps and kept the mage we’d been sending, downstairs.

Next attempt was really good, so we kept the strategy and pulled again. This time the adds died awesomely and we made it into phase 2 for the first time ever – and next thing I know she’s dead. I just barely got my head out of the “aaahhhh new phase what do I DO?” mode when boom, dead. Nice job raid!

Then we went to Ryolith and spend the next hour, four hours the next night, and two hours Sunday wiping on him. Stupid volcanos. But you will go down, you monstrous…. thing…. you!

And then we get to play with a big bird. I watched a vid. I’m psyched.

I am loving how our raid is gelling. When Rev and I decided to start a raid, it was because we wanted to see new content before it was old content. About all we really hoped for was a solid group that could down things. Instead, I’ve got an awesome group of friends who can surprise me even now with awesomeness. I know some of the raiders better than others, but I consider all of you my friends. Heck I actually have a “real” friend right here in town now because of this raid, and that’s just too awesome to contemplate.

Oh wait. I take that back. Log’s not my friend, he’s my brother. And Reversion probably doesn’t want me to put him in the “friends” zone either :)

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The other main guild raid, usually called ‘Raid 1’, packed it in last night. They had been having some bad luck and frustration and the raid leader had enough. I will not say more on that either to speculate or analyze because it is but not my place and also I don’t have any details anyway. I only mention it at all because we have a lot of guildies that drop by here so it is a relevant news item.

Personally it does make me think of a few things. First off it probably means the guild will lose a few raiders. That is a shame. But if someone wants to raid they have to go where the raiding is. We have a lot of good raiders in this guild and only a few of them are actively in our Fri/Sat run. That brings my thoughts around to a second point. That point is that this guild can still support another raid or two. There was/is also another Friday Saturday run but it has a lot of the same raiders as the Sun/Mon group so I don’t know what the status of it is. No I am not speculating, I just don’t know. But even aside from that group this guild can probably support another raid. We will have to see if anyone steps up to try and run one.

This brings me to another random thought. Maybe we will start a regular alt night raid. Maybe on Sunday or Monday. We actually did run one of those last night… Well we started to and then we realized we had all but one of our people, including the two missing from our Saturday night attempts…. So we went back to Firelands. Heh. However before we went we dropped by TotFW and knocked that out which got Bocat her title :D

My final random thought on raids packing it in is how much can I help out or support other raids in the guild. I was actually in the other run for a while. I kept a whole geared tank alt set aside for several months to either run regularly with them or as a standby. I am sure that was helpful to them. At some point though I decided 4 nights a week was too much and stopped. There is only so much raiding you can do at any one time. So I am left wondering if I/we could have done more to help? Maybe. Without burning out? I don’t know. Probably not… but I do wonder. Also if another raid formed I might try to help… If they needed it… maybe. It would depend on the schedule and how I was feeling. Honestly 8 hours a week is plenty of raiding….. but sometimes I want to just pull out a DPS alt and pew pew. I have no real conclusions there. Just a few of  the thoughts and feelings that float by at a time like this. Alright that is enough random thoughts for a ‘news’ post.

For any Raid 1 folks that leave the guild I want to say good luck in whatever you do and where ever you go. And for any in guild raiders thinking about starting a different run I say go for it… but it is a lot of work and stress so be warned. I can’t promise any help but there are a lot of good raiders in the guild so there is probably room for another raid. I hope so. I don’t think I want us to be the only game in town.

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In Wrath: you joined a raid. There’s a paladin and a druid as heals. You know right away that the paladin is tank healing and the druid is raid healing.

Leading up to Cataclysm: a lot of talk about triage, mana management, tweaking heals… and a general sense that if the paladin wants to raid heal and the druid wants to tank heal, the system is going to support that.

Join a Firelands raid: there’s a paladin and a druid as heals. The paladin is tank healing, the druid is raid healing, and nobody really thinks twice about it.

Maybe that’s simplified but it really does seem the state of things right now. Of course, since I’m a druid healer and the always-there other member of my healer team is a paladin, maybe I’m helping perpetuate that myth. Maybe we could shake things up. But we don’t. She just doesn’t have as many AOE tools as I do. My big heals are wet noodles compared to hers, and there’s nothing I have that’s comparable to Beacon of Light (or Bacon of Light as certain of our raiders keep calling it)

I’m perfectly willing to tank heal. I had very little trouble with Baleroc as far as keeping a tank up went. I was even doing one of the Shannox tanks until our shaman pointed out that this fight was not a good one for her to be raid healing. But again, there was my perception, that shaman are better at raid healing than tank healing, that had me put her on the raid in the first place.

And priests? I have no idea how those weirdoes work at all. We’re talking about having our shaman switch to her priest and that could be…. interesting… but I have a feeling that my default configuration is going to be to keep myself on raid and Kerick on tanks, and the other healer can just fill in wherever.

But it makes sense! Wild Growth is such a cheap, easy little AOE to toss out. I’ve got enough mana that I can toss Rejuvs around like it was Wrath again. And I proc free Regrowths all the time – if the tank ain’t hurting, someone in the raid is.  Depending on the fight, I can’t necessarily keep the whole raid alive but I can come close. And Kerick owns at keeping the tanks up. Sure I’ve got Lifebloom on one of them and I toss a few heals their way when I need to, but I just don’t need to.

So, is it in our class or in ourselves that these stereotypes are set? Maybe I just do better at raid healing because I’m vaguely OCD about healing bars and have to heal everyone right NOW darn it. Maybe Kerick is better at using her cooldowns to fill up a tank right before the next Decimation Blade hits, not because she has better cooldowns but because that’s what she’s practiced.

But – I don’t think that’s the whole of it. I read blogs and I never read about raid-healing paladins. Sometimes about tank healing druids, but mostly in the sense of “I can tank heal, why doesn’t my raid ever let me?” Shaman and priests don’t seem quite so stereotyped. I’m not sure why that is.

Is it really just me? Was I reading too much into things before Cataclysm? I’m not saying I’m disappointed: I’m just saying I want to make sure I’m not doing things wrong!

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