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Archive for the ‘Pug’ Category

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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The PUG Wall?

Sorry, not much content this week. Reversion is out of town on business and I’m preparing to go out when he gets back, so not much blogging around here. Or WoW playing either: I logged on Monday but haven’t felt in the mood to play. When you always play with someone, it’s really quite boring when they’re not around.

Anyway. Last Friday night Rev and I joined a GDKP run with our pally and spare druid pair, both as healers. We didn’t have that much money but enough to make their time worthwhile. If you’ve got undergeared alts you can get some really good deals these days in GDKPs; chances are there are a lot of drops that very few people need, and we bought about seven things (mostly for Rev’s druid) at the minimum 1000 gold bid. When the party was over, we got almost all our money back; well geared, gold rich raiders along for that one trinket or token drop paid 7 or 8k for things and the pot got large.

I saw Blood Princes and the Queen for the second time and got to watch people doing things wrong on the Queen; we wiped twice and I learned some strategies. Funny how sometimes you only see how things are supposed to work when people don’t do them, or do them wrong, because then people explain WHY you were supposed to do it that way (ie, “first bite has to wait til almost the end of the time so that you don’t have to worry about the second bite going out during an air phase”)

And then on to Sindragosa, who I had not seen before. The spider trash was fun, I like waves of mobs coming at me. A lot of people in the raid hadn’t seen the fight so we got a detailed explanation, got started, and wiped. We came back, got all the way to phase two, and wiped. Came back, did better, wiped. Wiped and wiped and wiped. We were getting solidly into phase 3 and people were having trouble with frost tomb placement. Finally, we got to the last 14% – and someone dropped their ice tomb in the raid, froze us, and we wiped.

That person got kicked. I’m pretty sure he’d left a slime in melee during Putricide, and they had someone else begging to come for a chance at Sindragosa, so one more attempt – and this time everything went perfectly and she was down. It felt epic.

But that fight was hard, and really hard to communicate to a pug. I’ve never seen the LK fight but by reputation, it’s an order of magnitude harder to coordinate. Even with now a 30% buff, will a random pug be able to do it?

I don’t know, but I also still don’t think I can commit to a raid guild schedule. So I guess we’ll keep trying pugs. A ten man pug seems more doable.

And I suppose we can always come back at 85 and laugh in Arthas’s face.

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So my shaman is up to about 55 right now. She’s RAF-paired with a druid that Reversion is running. We spent time over the weekend tweaking hardware and right now he’s down to one computer and I’m up to two, so we’re just doing pairs and not quads (his Mac doesn’t run two copies of WoW at a time)

I wanted to get the shaman up a bit more last night so we logged on and Reversion specced feral on the druid. I bought my shaman dual spec last week and she’s got a nice resto offspec to go with her elemental main; the gear is close enough, leveling, to support both.

We queued, me as damage or heals, and got BRD. (This is after an uneventful pair of instances where Rev’s druid was boomkin; we ran into one total jerk of a hunter but otherwise boring.)

Somewhat to my surprise, it slotted me in as damage, so I switched specs, drank a bit, and started merrily dpsing. Fire nova, chain lightning, shock or reapply my shield, and back around – it was seriously fun. There was another shaman along, also elemental, and I encouraged myself to stay ahead of him on the dps meters.

We couldn’t tell if we were supposed to be doing Prison Break or the whole city, so we went and killed the boss who is for Prison Break and – nothing, so we set off further into the city. Partway through the healer says “sorry got to go” and drops. We requeue. Both of us shaman select dps or heals, and I’m selected to heal, so I switch specs. And promptly let Reversion die when things hit harder than they should. Ok, get Earth Shield up, make sure the totems stay down, and Healing Wave for the win!

We run around in the city for a while, and then the other shaman mysteriously drops group. We queue again – and this time I’m back to dps! Heh. I switch again as a wisecracking paladin joins up – he says “if you die it’s because I’m playing Bejeweled”.

Sadly no one in the group has the key to the doors in the place. Blizzard should think about either moving the key quest inside the instance or removing the need for a key entirely. No one ever seems to have the key any more.

We ended up killing everything we could, and then broke up. That was the longest stretch my shaman has done in a party and I’m starting to feel like I have the hang of it, whatever “it” is. She heals very differently from my druid or paladin, but I like her style. And the totems are cool. I’m looking forward to getting her up a bit higher.

One step closer to my four-healing-classes-at-max-level goal. Not sure I’ll be done by Cataclysm but I might… my disc priest is at 71 but stalled out.

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I transferred my prot/holy pally to Argent Dawn to play in SAN Sunday afternoon. I’ve recently gotten her Holy gear at least viable. It was a weird mishmash of ilvl 200 blues and 251 purples for a while but oh well. Anyway SAN went to Naxx and I decided to to raid heal. I’ve done a few heroics but this was my first raid.

I set Vuhdo up (or so I thought) to show Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield and set my mouse click bindings and we were ready to go. Or not; as we started clearing trash I realized that Vuhdo wasn’t showing me what I needed to know. I like having my raid frames set to show class colors and have the bars correspond to health. So as the person takes damage his health bar gets less full, very intuitive. Well it wasn’t doing that; the bars were just sitting there, a dull dirty color. I knew why things were screwy – Vuhdo recently released version 2.0 and I haven’t figured out all the tricks, and since I’d just transferred servers all my settings were off. It took two bosses to figure out what was going on since you can’t change Vuhdo settings while you’re in combat (argh). Anyway I need to find resources for the new version of Vuhdo and link them because some of the changes were not intuitive. (If anyone had the same problem I did, it turned out I needed to select the “Health bar/class color” option on the Panels > Bars page, in one of the dropdowns there.)

That angst over, I settled into healing. I Beaconed the lesser geared tank and spammed heals on the other tank (Reversion’s second druid Consolidate was one of the tanks and a guildy Warrior, Craghammer, the other), just like my paladin research told me to do.

For a while I just spammed Holy Light but I started running out of mana so I had to remember to go Judge Wisdom and take some swings at whoever we were fighting whenever I could. That helped a lot. Then I tried using Flash of Light, since the tanks weren’t taking that much damage, and that worked pretty well too. I kept forgetting about that instant cast heal spell thing. Somehow paladin healing feels like it should just be spamming heals. Instant casts were throwing me off.

It was a lot of fun running old content with the SAN folks. We chatted on Vent and had a good time (and this being a blogging guild, Vent chatter included discussion of Wow demographics, whether women played healers more, as well as just strategy)

I failed at Heigan dancing – I’ll justify myself and say I *thought* I was a step forward of where I was when I stopped to cast a heal. I’m not used to not being able to heal on the run. Then I missed the jump from the platform at Thaddius – twice. Oops. Good thing the raid overgeared the place!

And we wiped spectacularly on the Horsemen, once, as we tried figuring out a strategy. We’d been nine manning it up to then because one of our pugged folks went afk after the first boss and got kicked. After that wipe one of our other puggers disappeared without a word, so we grabbed two more random people and finished the Horsemen off. No problem. Not even an interesting fight.

One of the new folks wanted to tank, so Reversion went heals and Enyss, who had been healing, went boomkin. We went upstairs, killed a dragon, and then took down Kel’Thuzad. Boom! Achievement completed! Actually that was my first Naxx full clear in one session. I didn’t really get into raiding until ToC came out. Even massively overgearing the content, it was an accomplishment. Still, I found the first few fights while I was getting used to paladin healing most interesting than later on. There’s just no sense of danger in Naxx these days, not unless you take off gear and nobody is willing to do that. It’s fun seeing the old fights but – they’re dated, and that’s sort of sad.

Monday night we took Consolidate and Divergent to a TOC pug. The pug took a while to form and they had trouble deciding what they wanted me to do. I ended up healing, along with Consolidate and another paladin, this one far better geared than me, if snotty. This was a full pug, nobody else from SAN along, and on the worms literally half the raid dies, including Consolidate.

Well both tanks are up and so are the paladin healers so I check that I’ve got one tank beaconed and the other pally has the other tank and I start spamming Flash of Light on the rest. The one dps’er and the two tanks. Yeah. We down the worms without too much trouble and in comes Icehowl.

It turns out that as long as the healers don’t run out of mana, Icehowl is kind of easier with only five people because there’s less chance of someone getting trampled. It took us ten minutes to down him but nobody got trampled even once, nobody else died, and I didn’t even run low on mana. I’d used pretty much nothing but Flash of Light and the other paladin commented something about how he was doing most of the healing. I said nothing, but by the end of the run, yes, Other Pally had almost 50% of the heals (versus Consolidate and myself) but was also beating Consolidate on overhealing. Beating a druid at overhealing doesn’t say much. AND he was keeping people way too high on phase 3 Anub… but that didn’t matter. We steamrolled TOC, I picked up some upgrades for Divergent’s healing set, getting her to almost that psychologically important 5k gearscore. She’s definitely ICC viable in both specs now.

Anyway I love the versatility of the paladin. Paladin tanking is a lot of fun in 5 mans, although I find raid tanking boring. You get to set the pace, be the leader, in 5 mans, but in raids you just get hit in the face. I’d rather heal, where it feels like you’re helping out everyone else on the team to get their job done. Kind of like being a cheerleader. Only, you know, useful. And with better outfits.

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A recent post over at Ecclesiastical Discipline got me thinking again about how people react to ‘advice’. I had noticed a few things about it and thought I would share.

How to give ‘helpful advice’ in a way that gets optimum results

Everyone has probably heard the words ‘don’t tell me how to play my class’. If not that then you are sure to have heard some of the many of the other ‘witty’ things people say in response to being told of their failings. Even if you don’t regularly dispense advice you probably saw someone else do it and get rebuffed (not in the good way).

But first off…

Why give advice at all?

Because people really really need it. No you are not being helpful or polite by not saying anything. There MANY aspects to the game that are not instantly obvious. It was originally designed by gamers and fore gamers. Yeah it was easy to get into but certain concepts it was just assumed that you knew or would figure out. You might not believe how many times I have run into hunters with growling pets who did not KNOW how to turn it off. They thought pulling it off the pet bar was turning it off. I have had to explain the little glowing border and how to right click the icon to more than one level 80 hunter. This was something that was obvious to me and I figured out by messing with things somewhere around level 10 or 11 on my first hunter many years ago. It was obvious…. To me. But to huge numbers of people WOW is their first serious computer game. They just don’t know this stuff. Maybe they are 12, maybe they are dumb as a post or maybe they simply have found a play style that works and have not messed around with ever possible button.

It is only going to get worse. The increased need for CC in Cata is going to be ‘interesting’. I have a feeling huge numbers of players out there don’t know what CC skills their character even has to say nothing of being able to use them right.

But if they will not listen anyway? Why do it?

Because so of them WILL listen. And some of those that don’t will remember. I still remember the firs warrior tank that told me to stop tanking with my hunter pet. Did I listen? Hell no! What does a warrior know about huntering? Nothing! But I remembered it. And much later when I rolled a tank the depths of my transgressions were laid out before me by the unfolding of my memory. I wept. Well not really but I did regret being a jerk. Slightly.

I also still remember when a guild officer told me if I could not hold agro 100% of the time no matter what I should just delete. I had a snarky comeback and went away grumbling about his elitist attitude and abrasive personality. And then a bit later I got over it and started challenging myself to do just what he said. Now I try to make zero excuses and push myself harder than ever to hold agro at all times and in all places.

My point is even when you get a hostile reaction you never know what the long term effect might be. Don’t be afraid of adversity. The other person can use your help. Those hundreds of other poor puggers that are going to run with the moron later need your help too.

They have to hear it some day

It is important that people hear a complaint even if they don’t respond well. More than a few times I have gotten the response of ‘NO other tank ever told me to stop doing that BEFORE’. They say it as if that is ironclad disproof of my complaint. It isn’t of course, but if any other tank had bothered to ask them to stop death gripping, or frostnova-ing, or cyclone, or using typhoon, etc, then I might have had an easier time getting them to stop. Since everyone else was being ‘polite’ the player assumed that it was ok behavior.

That is how we find our limits. By pushing them until we get in trouble. If every healer just shut up and chugged potions then how was the tank to know he was setting a pace that was too fast? This is why we have to actually SAY something.

But how?

Giving advice for maximum effect

Prove you know something first

If I am tanking and see someone messing up on the first pull it is hard not to say something. Buuut, If I say something right away I am pretty likely to get a bad response. I know I know way more than them but THEY don’t… yet. If I wait until half way though the run, after I have done some crazy hard stuff and saved the day a time or two then they are much more likely to take a suggestion politely. They know for certain that I can do my job so they are more likely to believe I might also know theirs. They also know that I am not just whining to excuse bad tanking.

If I complain about people pulling off me at the start of a run there is a good chance (in their minds) that I can’t hold agro in a bucket. It is better if I wait and show by my actions that I CAN hold agro and I can even taunt stuff off of them repeatedly. Now they KNOW I am not just whining to cover my failings and they are more likely to tone things down. Even if I worded the ‘advice’ the same way both times, the timing of it and the situation can really change how people take it.

I have had this happen. Where I gave some advice early, got a very hostile reaction, including swearing. Then later in the run, after demonstrating a little of some ‘uber’ to the newish 80 they got aaaallll polite and friendly and even thanked me for advice.

Keep it short

If you halt in the middle of a run to give a dissertation on the meaning of frostnova in dynamic tactical environment chances are you are going to be dismissed as a crank. Keep advice compact.

Be polite

No personal attacks. Telling someone their rotation is suboptimal is not the same as calling them a noob. Yeah, people might blow up at even the most polite advice, but almost no one will responds to insults. Sometimes they do but most people will retaliate instead. It is a reflex action and it inhibits the listening.

Don’t let it hold up the run

Don’t stop the whole thing to give a dissertation. Unless the offense is really grievous then you should keep things going.

Be clear

Don’t get clever, obtuse or overly sarcastic. If the player was subtle and witty they might already have figured the problem out already. If you make your comment to obscure or tangential then you are likely to get a blank stare response.

Focus the advice on what they should DO

Include some of the ‘why’ if you have to, or if they ask. It important to get straight to the point. If you throw out a comment on the nature of ‘threat’ that is not the same is simply telling them ‘only use taunts after something pulls off you’. If you have to back something up to make it clear then do it but don’t start off when a lot of obscure ‘why’ before you get to the point of the ‘what’.

Back up your points with tools as needed

Recount is good when used right. One thing I sometimes do is toss out the recount, point out that someone should be able to get 1000 more dps and then mention checking google for some good blogs or going to ‘elististjerks’. Short, right to the point, backed up by data, and including a path to fix things. No big debate on rotations or a lot of QQ. Something like that is more likely to get a favorable response than just telling them how much they are a noob and should drop.

Don’t argue with idiots

They say don’t argue with idiots or they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience (at being an idiot). Don’t get drawn in. Try to avoid the burning need to have the last word. Get right back to the game and let your actions show you know your stuff.

Channel the Stupidity

You could spend half the run arguing with the DK about his compulsive grip habit… or you could just ask him to use it on the casters in the back. Some people are going to insist on being dumb. Think like Judo. You use the weight of your opponent against them by redirecting it. You don’t try to absorb a punch or a kick, you harness it and redirect its energy. Is the hunter someone who apparently has nothing in the spell book except ‘volley?’ Pull slightly larger groups and make use of that aoe. Mage can’t figure out how sheep is suppose to work? Don’t set your pulls up to need it. Side step the stupidity and either let it harmlessly pass by, or grab it and direct it at something useful.

 This is the difference between banging your head on a wall and looking for the door. Sometimes you can’t knock down the wall so find another way. If you KNOW that moron hunter is not going to stop pulling then use it as taunt timing practice. If the Boomkin has a typhoon fetish, ask if he can use it only when things are at 20% or less. Some people are far more likely to accept advice like that than they are to listen to a rant on while their favorite toy is stupid and evil.

There are probably many other tips out there for dealing with pugs while trying to be constructive. These are just the few I could think of.

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The last couple weeks have been pretty active for us in game. Not that we are playing any more than usual. In fact with the nasty stomach bug we got last week and the house guest over the weekend we have been playing less. But we have gotten into several decent raids and our personal gears and progression has been good.

Friday I got into a mostly guild ICC 10 and we made good progress. Then Saturday we had another go of that lockout and I ended up 10/12. It was only the second time I had seen the blood council and the first for both the queen and frostwyrm.  That 20% buff is pretty killer and makes things a good bit more forgiving. We dropped Saurfang with NO marks up. It was a surprise to me. Nothing like running with (mostly) alts of the number one guild to keep fights nice and tight.. With the buff only going up I am betting from here on out having any marks at all will just prove your group has a lot of fail.

The Friday session of that raid was interesting. It was the first time Analogue and I have been the two tanks in a 10 man. Well it was only her second time raid tanking at all. She did not make it  to the continuation so sadly she is still 8/12. But now that I have seen the next couple there is better chance we can get there in a pug of our own creation. We are still alternating between pugs we built ourselves, mostly guild groups put together by someone else, and other people’s runs we find in /trade.

She still prefers healing but Analogue is not now a very solid tank. It was a ton of fun tanking with the OT being right there in the same room. It made for a very quiet Vent but very smooth tanking. Quite probably the best taunt trading I have experienced on Saurfang (hence no marks). We have done a lot of raids with one or both of us DPSing, tanking and healing in a pair and both of us healing but the dual tanks was a new one.

We got in a 25 man ICC pug monday night and were reminded yet again that gear<skill. They were being sooo carful to only get 5.5k GS people and checking achieves. We knew that was going to backfire pretty early on when we saw one of the tanks was a failtank from a run we were in a few weeks ago. 5.6+ gear and the intellect of a box of hammers. I am sure he had the achievements too. But if you can’t hold aggro on the Deathwhisper packs you fail. Big time. Sadly the rest of the pug was not much better. I was in on my hunter (5.4 GS) and pulling the #3 slot for overall damage. Not that my DPS was #3. But not being slow, and using macroed misdirect means I can get in a lot of extra hits. We gave them a couple wipes on Deathwhisper before we bailed. I can be as patient as any hardcore raider for progression wipes, but the handwriting was on the wall with this one. Oh well, the weekly was Marrowgar and we got all three sets of ‘mains’ in to drop him. Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

Not that anyone cares about any of this but I figured I would post SOMETHING in text before I tossed up another comic :D

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This weekend I set out to do something new: heal as a paladin. I ended up doing two new things, one of which was my intended goal and the other…

Well, so there I was, logged in on Divergent the paladin. I changed her off spec to Holy a week or so back and I’d been collecting random drops for that set for a while now, so I went to the auction house and started looking to fill in holes. Found a bunch of random blues that would be “good enough” for me to get my feet wet. Couldn’t find a weapon or trinkets, so I started researching easily attained versions of both.

At the same time I’m keeping my eye on trade with the vague idea of tanking a weekly raid group – it was Obsidian Sanctum on our server this week, Analogue had single healed it with Reversion as the sole tank earlier in the week and it had stuck in my mind as a set of fights I knew well enough to feel comfortable tanking. Then I saw in chat a name I recognized as someone who had pugged ICC with Analogue a couple weeks back, an Australian shaman with an awesome accent and great skills. Looking for more for ICC10. Well Ana and Reversion had gone the night before, gotten past Saurfang and had people drop out for RL issues, so she couldn’t go. My mage wasn’t saved, and I’d been thinking of getting her into one, but he was saying that the dps so far all had 5.5k GS and Invariant’s is lower than that. I might convince him that was fine but…

So I whispered him and said “4.8k GS prot pally here. Interested?”

A few seconds later I get the invite. I mention to him that my main had pugged with him a few weeks back (after I got in vent he remembered me) and as the raid was forming, I got Reversion’s secondary druid Consolidate in as healer. Con’s GS is about the same as Divergent’s, and the other (also pally) tank was the same; the shaman agreed to go heals, we had a priest to heal the tanks, and all the dps were higher.

So we set off. The other tank hadn’t tank any of the fights either. Both healers were a bit less accustomed to their role (the shaman usually dpsed and Rev, of course, tanks)

We get the trash down fairly easily. The usual random people die, get rezzed, spring traps… but the other paladin and I knew to stack on each other for the giants, kept the casters turned away from the raid mostly, and it went well. This was Divergent’s first time in ICC and I was keeping a keen eye on her rep, just waiting to get friendly so I could get the ring.

We came up to Marrowgar, discussed strategy, and started. It went pretty well. The other tank and I had a little trouble moving together out of the flames, but the first two bonestorms came and went without a hitch. And then, over vent – “Guys, I dc’d!”

That was the other tank.

Bonestorm started again as he worked to log in. I followed the boss around, picked him up when he came out of bonestorm and dragged him over to where the other tank stood motionless. He had dc’d, but not disappeared from the instance and worked just fine to soak up the cleaves! We had to stay and get hit by flames, but the healers worked overtime and kept us up until he logged back in.

Marrowgar dropped and the whole raid congratulated each other.

Deathwhisper was really fun to tank. We each would grab one of the adds that appeared at the side and drag him to the middle add, then kill them all. The raid pounded away on the boss. I was impressed how fast they got her shield down, or was it just the change in perspective? Healing raid fights leaves me breathless, spamming keys, desperately fighting to stay alive. Tanking was… suprisingly easier. The boss’s shield came down, and we had to watch each other; my taunts didn’t always seem to hit and I had to be told to move her back up out of the raid. But we got the hang of it, swapped taunts, stayed alive – and another boss went down. Whew.

Upstairs, charge in and kill trash. As the first group dies, someone lets out a whop – “Quest!” The raid quest to kill the rotting giant appeared. Divergent needs all the frosts she can get!

We cleared toward the giant and then another whoop – a trash mob had dropped a BOE necklace. I hadn’t realized 10 man ICC trash would drop the BoEs, I had thought they only appeared in 25, but there they were. The hunter begged, and we agreed to give it to him; it was a serious upgrade and he equipped it right away. Then it was frost giant time. The other tank and I started tanking in the middle of the hallway, but after the healers complained about us getting knocked back out of range (I thought it was fun!) we stood with our backs to the wall. Not as fun, but effective; the giant died and we got badges. Wheee.

I got the easy job on gunship, just stood in the middle and picked up adds. One of these days I’ll actually jump over to the other ship. I’ll probably fall off. Or get stuck over there at the end. I’ve been to ICC dozens of times now and never once jumped.

Saurfang, the fight I’d been dreading. I pulled all my AOE abilities off my bar, triple-checked that I was using Seal of Vengeance and not Seal of Command, and got ready. I tanked first, then the other tank taunted; I stopped my dps for a minute and breathed a sigh of relief as Saurfang changed his attention. Blood beasts appeared, and went away, and died; I didn’t have to worry about it. My turn to tank again; I taunted, the other tank let me have aggro, and we were in the swing of things. I didn’t have to care about blood power or healing Marked victims or kiting blood beasts.

Why hadn’t anyone ever mentioned how, well, easy raid tanking is?

Saurfang died. He died. Destroyer of pugs, we one shotted him. Bane of newbie tanks, I took him on with a gear score most pug builders would laugh at. It felt incredible. And – just a little boring. Don’t tell anyone I said that.

Halfway through the trash to Festergut I got Friendly with the Ashen Verdict. I went downstairs for my ring and while I was gone, someone got too close to a dog and they wiped. I laughed, we went upstairs, rebuffed, and tried again. And another wipe. Ooops.

More carefully this time, we killed both dogs. Then went to Festergut, planned our strategy, agreed I would tank first. We ready checked, I pulled – and instantly lost aggro to a hunter, who died. We fought him down to 30% before Reversion’s tree got Vile Gas and puked in the melee, wiping us.

Second try. Exact same thing happened. But a lot of people were new to the fight, or to their role, so we went back, tried again – and I held aggro. Swapped with the other tank at the right times, dps burned him down and we made it with over 30 seconds to go on the enrage timer.

Wish I could say we steamrolled the rest of the place that easily, but we didn’t. We made two attempts on Rotface, but then people had to go just as I was getting the hang of slime tanking (hard!)

Later that afternoon I played (utterly useless) third tank in a TOC 25 man raid. And Sunday afternoon, tanked Obsidian Sanctum. In between I set up my healing set and did my first few dungeons as a holy pally! Which I intend to talk about in a seperate post, but I see this one is already too long.

But for all that, I like resto druid healing ICC a lot more than tanking it. It’s just more fun for me. But I’d tank it on my paladin anytime!

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