Archive for November, 2010

What REALLY Happened


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Holy Shock, Batman!

So this weekend we transferred my paladin and Rev’s spare druid over to our new home on Winterhoof. I pulled the paladin out and started figuring things out. We were planning to do an alt raid that night and I needed to get either my tank set or my holy set back up.

I decided to start with the tank set. I grabbed a belt, added some new gems, and queued up for heroics. I’d gone ahead and re-specced her already so I thought I was ready. It had been a while but paladin tanking had always been fun, I’d pulled 3k+ dps while holding aggro like a pro. No problem. Right?

Ouch. After an instance run where I struggled to pull more than 900 dps, couldn’t keep anything on me to save my life and was absolutely lost as to what I was doing, I went and read more details. Ok… so either Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous, but not both. Excorcism Consecration (edit: brain fart. Thanks for the comments) maybe but it’s not as good as it was. And Holy Wrath is better than before. Let’s try again.

Three hours later I was still miserable. Tanking just wasn’t fun any more. With reluctance I switched spec and gear. I stared at my blank talents, going “uh….” and then went over to Blessing of Kings and grabbed a spec and plugged it in to my own talents. Then I replaced my 219 shield with a ilvl 270 pvp shield, queued as healer, and we’re off.

Ok… so. Beacon still works, just not as much. And Holy Shock gives me holy power. And Word of Glory is a nice heal when I’ve got enough HoPo. And heals-with-a-cast-time on my beacon target generate HoPo… hmm. I can do this. No Sacred Shield but that one was always dumb anyway. And Holy Crap I Can Shoot Lasers From My Hands.

Wait… this is FUN! Whoa!

See, I never really like paladin healing before. It felt like a one-note pony: beacon the tank, roll flash of light or holy light. Meh. And in 5 mans I just didn’t have the tools I really needed to keep people alive.

Now I have big heals, little heals, fast heals, slow heals, instant heals, auto-self-heals, auto-Beacon-heals, and an AOE. Seriously? It’s like being a druid! I have choices and have to change my priorities second by second.

One guess what spec I took to that raid! I had a blast there, healing in a team with another pally and a shaman. Way too much fun. I think I’ll keep this holy spec… but I may have to switch from prot to ret.

Or a dual-Holy-build. Some of those other talents look fun.

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Bear Hunter

Running instances the right way with bears and hunters

Approximate: Hey everyone, Approximate the hunter here to weigh in on the ‘follow the tank issue’. I wanted to lay things out from the perspective of a DPS. I brought Reversion along to agree with me.

Reversion: Eh, Approx, I am not sure I like that title. That seems to imply…

Approximate:: Well let’s get right into it. First off people complain a lot about not ‘waiting to buff’. That is a load of nonsense. I mean really. Is there any buff that can’t be cast while moving? No. Well except for food buffs but who uses those in 5 mans these days anyway?

Reversion: Right. Get right to business. If you must type ‘hi’ when you zone it, do it while moving. Hit numlock and type fast. Don’t stop and wait because your tank sure ain’t.

Approximate: Well you do want to check that your tank has zoned in. They might be some slacker with puny ram that has them stuck on a loading screen. So watch for that. Also you need just enough time to set your focus on the tank. This will be important for your misdirect macro.

Reversion: Well yeah I guess. You need to misdirect. Also if you stop to do that it will give your tank a little lead. It is important for the tank to get out ahead of the dps. You want to arrive at the fight well before anyone else so you can get good threat built up.

Reversion: This brings up an important point. If you are getting into a fight early you need to expect no heals. Particularly if your slacker healer is back there eating last week’s mammoth so their emo bar will be all charged. Make sure you use your aoe debuffs and tanking cooldowns. Don’t blow them all at once. You don’t want to have them all drop off you at once. You need to space them out so they last long enough for your healer to load the instance on their ancient PC, buff like a twinking fool, eat their lunch and then complain about your pulling already. All that, and the fact that half your dps is trying to figure how which end of the mouse to hold, means you have to survive the whole fight with that first pack without healing and with low dps.

Approximate: You got that right. As a DPS this means it is critical to not pull off the tank during that first fight. For one thing you are not likely to get heals. Also you don’t know yet if he knows which of his little buttons is a ‘taunt’. Until you are sure he can do that you need to use your MD and not blow your Feign Death too fast. Additionally you want to be just far enough behind the tank that if some emo princess in the party wants to kick the tank for pulling too fast you will not appear to be associated with him.

Reversion: Eh… yeah, whatever. Oh, also as a tank be sure to taunt off of any dps that joins you right away in that fight. Sure they might be trigger happy overachievers, no way to be sure yet, but they are probably going to be doing the bulk of your party’s dps because they are on the ball. If you want a fast run you have to keep them alive.

Approximate: Darn right you do! For one thing it is the tanks JOB so get to it! Also if you let them die they might leave and you will get stuck with some DK that does not know death and decay from effervescence.

Reversion: Heh. Yeah. Now after that first party is down you have a critical opportunity to assess your party. You should be already able to tell who is has joined you and who hasn’t. If most of your party is still near the start you will need to decide if you have enough cooldowns to pull the next pack.

Approximate: Hah! Good one!

Reversion: No really this is important…

Approximate: What is important is to get that next pack pulled right away. You have to set that pace up front and make sure those other dps know it is time to step up and get their butts in gear. Plus if you wait your healer might hit ‘enter’ on that wall of ‘slow down’ tirade that he is typing. If you pull right away he will be forced to press escape and get to work healing.

Reversion: Heh good one! But really you should assess… Well you could do it after the second pull. That will give you more recount data to gauge your party’s dps.

Approximate: Right… whatever. Now what you have to do with this second pull is get save your MD to pull a third group. This is important for showing the tank that you want a nice fast run. Don’t wait. Get things off on the right footing.

Reversion: I would not recommend that as you can’t be sure yet what the tank can handle. And they might not have enough cooldowns up for the next…

Approximate: What do I look like? A badge vendor? It is not my problem if they don’t have enough tanking trinkets yet. MD that next group and find out what your tank is really made of.

Reversion: Well yes. I mean that would tell you up front if the tank can handle multi pulls or not.

Approximate: Right. So just lay into them. Now at some point those groups are going to be almost dead. Then there is just one question to ask yourself. Is there another group in range?

Reversion: And ‘does the healer have mana?’ So two questions.

Approximate: What are you a commie? What business is that of yours? There is just one… well there is another question to ask.

Reversion: The tanks health?

Approximate: Your kidding right? That is what healers are for. The question “is MD or FD off cooldown.”

Reversion: Well it is true that you need to be aware of your threat reduction tools. Everyone should pay attention to their own threat.

Approximate: Why are you spouting all this sissy stuff? You don’t do any of that!

Reversion: Sometimes I do. I often check the healers mana before boss pulls.

Approximate: Yeah when you are not pulling three add packs with the boss.

Reversion: Well maybe not then…

Approximate: Or pulling two bosses at once.

Reversion: I might check their mana before the first boss. And I pay attention if they say their mana is low.

Approximate: Dropping bearform while tanking a boss so you can innervate them does not count as ‘paying attention’.

Reversion: You are getting off the script.

Approximate: Script? What do you mean? I never saw a script.

Reversion: Analogue wanted us to do a post on the right way DPS and Tanks have to work together for the success of the whole run.

Approximate: Ah hah! So that is why you were spouting all that pansy nonsense. Kissing up to get more heals.

Reversion: I don’t need to kiss up. I hardly ever need healing. I can do almost any pull in any heroic with no heals at all.

Approximate: If your dpsers are decent. How often does that happen?

Reversion: Well…

Approximate: And how often do you only pull one pack. I mean honestly. Who are you trying to fool.

Reversion: Hey! Sometimes I pull just one.

Approximate: Room

Reversion: Some rooms are basically one pack.

Approximate: Usually those are rooms with a boss.

Reversion: If they did not mean for you to tank the group with the boss they should not have been them near each other.

Approximate: You mean within charge range?

Reversion: Right. Charge is an excellent way to pull a second group. It minimizes time spent not generating threat.

Approximate: Misdirect is better. That way they come TO the tank. A second pack often gets to the tank before MD’s effect has worn off.

Reversion: Another good way is to use FFF on one pack and charge another. That way you round up even more with minimal down time.

Approximate: I can agro two with the same MD. Select party 1, turn your camera toward party 2. Pop the MD macro, multi shot at the still selected party 1, click or tab to get party 2 up and multi shot again.

Reversion: That seems more risky but should work. Of course they have to both be in range

Approximate: Not if I use my Nitro boosts. I can use the same MD to hit parties in two completely different rooms.


Approximate: Then even if MD is gone you target a third party, fire, disengage, run toward the tank and then FD. Preseto! 3 extra groups.

Reversion: You are horrible, you know that.

Approximate: You are just jealous because I can pull more packs at once than you.

Reversion: Nonsense! I can easily pull that many. You can use FFF in cat form.

Approximate: Yeah?

Reversion: While using ‘dash’.

Approximate: What if you get hit?

Reversion: Many cooldowns like barkskin and tanking trinkets work while you are in cat. I can usually get to the third group before someone back there pulls something off me.

Approximate: Yeah most DPS are bad like that. They can’t stick close enough to the tank to MD agro to him.

Reversion: I thought you liked to run way ahead of the tank.

Approximate: Well yeah. I wish I could get tanks that could keep up. I wish I could put one in the sidecar of my Hog and just drive through the instance rounding everything up. We could pull the whole place.

Reversion: That would be Halo, not WOW.

Approximate: Oh yeah… darn.

Reversion: Besides, we would need to get a mammoth and bring a healer too. Tanking cooldowns will only keep us alive for 2 or 3 packs, not the whole place.

Approximate: Hmm… True. Even without the mount I bet we could pull most of an instance. If you could keep up with me.

Reversion: Hah! More like YOU keep up with ME. I am going to have to account transfer just so I can show you up.

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There’s been some brouhaha in the blogosphere recently about the role of DPS classes in 5 mans. Are they just supposed to obediently follow the tank, should they be given more consideration, does the healer regard them as nothing more than useless mana-sinks? Really it’s the sort of thing I don’t think we’re going to be talking about any more once the expansion hits, at least not for a year or so, because we’re resetting the gear curve and things are going to be hard again.

That’s my theory, see: ease of content is promoting an attitude of “I can do it all myself, what do I need these other four losers for?” even in basically decent players. How many stories have you heard of a tank-and-healer out-dpsing the three dpsers – and laughing at them? Or the hunter who did 12k, pulled the boss off on himself, but got the pet to tank it so it was fine?

In less than a month we’ll be back to the old dance, where everyone had to know his part and follow it. But for now, here’s some thoughts. First, from my uber-geared-healer side: Shut up and follow the tank. That’s what I’m doing. Maybe he’s nuts and pulling three groups at once (Hi Reversion love) or takes forever to pull just one, or is going some really non standard way – I once had a tank go RIGHT in Nexus, can you believe it?

But he is standing between me and nasty big things with teeth and curses and I will let him do that. If you stick near us, you’ll get heals. I throw them at anyone who is in range. If you aren’t? If you’re on your own optimal path, or see some side path you think needs exploring? Don’t expect me with you. This is for your own good.

No, really. See, when you pull more than you can handle, you’ll die. If I’m there, maybe I can keep you alive. Maybe I can’t. Either way the mobs are going to attack me too. Then I die. Then we have a long run back.

However, if you die nicely where you are, maybe the tank and I will come and rez your butt.  Heck, I might even innervate you if you’re a mana using class. I won’t need that spell for myself until Cataclysm.

See, there’s only one of me. Even if I could guaranteed keep you and me alive – what happens to the tank in the meantime? Or the other two dpsers? There’s four of you. Assuming you all come into the instance and run in different directions, I can only be with one of you at a time.

Now, the other side of things. This weekend I ran a Deadmines on my level 20 hunter alt. She’s heirloomed up, she has two different pets to choose from, she kills things so fast it ain’t funny. I get a group: there’s a priest healing and a druid tanking. There’s also a paladin and a shaman.

The druid goes tearing along like you expect. Then he gets to the room with the first boss. Somehow everything gets pulled at once (no it wasn’t me doing it) and he dies. I switch my pet to growling, keep aggro off the healer, the healer keeps us up, we finish, we rez the tank, who says something really dismissive to the healer. And then the tank rolls Need on the cloth gloves that just dropped, that the priest rolled on.

The priest asks the druid not to roll on intellect cloth. The druid says, and I kid you not, “I use mana too”. And then again criticizes the priest’s healing.

I chime in to say that intellect is spellpower, now, and a tank doesn’t need it. I get told to “shut up huntard” and asked whether I know how to druid tank. I refuse to play this epeen-waving game and we continue.

The druid now is in cat form. He stays in cat form the rest of the instance. The paladin throws Righteous Fury up and soaks a lot of aggro, I keep my pet ready to growl things off me if I can. However, I’m doing so much damage that basically every mob runs over and beats on me.

The healer does an amazing job and I don’t die, but my damage is now terrible because, well, I’m a hunter and all these things won’t stay at range. So now the tank starts mocking me. I point out how if he was doing his job I could do mine. “Learn 2 hunter” is his reply.

What exactly should I do? Feign Death? Don’t have it. Freezing trap? Don’t have it. Misdirect? Don’t have it. Disengage? Don’t have it.

At some point we finally get out of combat long enough that the priest is able to initiate a vote kick, reason “ninjaing loot”. I vote yes. The vote fails.

“Stop being loot whores” is what one of the other two dps say. I sigh.  The group continues.

This is the incredible thing to me. The healer is being mocked, when his skills are actually above average. He’s not getting most of his loot. He’s dealing with inconsiderate, jerkish people. Me? I would have sat down and not gone any farther, or let the tank die, or something. But he didn’t.

As a low level dpser, I had two choices: drop group or keep putting up with this crap. I stayed. Maybe I should have dropped  but at that point I was rolling need on spell drops so I could give them to the priest. It felt like I’d be abandoning a comrade in a pit of suck to leave now. So I shut up and followed the tank.

On thinking about it, I am depressed but think it was still the best choice. It was that or leave, and it didn’t really violate my principles enough for me to leave in a snit. What I didn’t do was head off on my own and kill something I’d decided needed killing, because that wasn’t my job and because that would have made it harder for the healer, who at that point was the only person in the instance I thought was innocent of blame. Even though the tank was wrong and he sucked, I could only have made the situation worse by independent action, not better.

But I don’t think I’m going into lowbie dungeons without at least Reversion again. Two of us makes a powerful force against stupidity.

Still, I think all of us need to steal a motto from somewhere else. I’d suggest “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”, but man, that  one gets harder all the time. Maybe “First, Do No Harm” would work?

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Boss Evolution 4

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This weekend, when we weren’t raiding or trying to get caught up on NaNoWriMo (currently I’m about 3000 words behind. My heroine has been thrown into jail, still doesn’t have her memories all back, is considering defecting but doesn’t know where to defect to, and just found out she’s been pregnant for the last 90 years. I love space opera.) Reversion and I worked on our priest-and-warrior pair. They started out a short way into 74. We went and hit Grizzly Hills hard, did the whole Drakuru chain there, ran DTK, and then moved up into Zul’Drak and did the other side of the Drakuru chain. That’s the first time we’ve managed to do that whole chain in order and it was a lot of fun.

I’m leveling my priest as shadow/disc but honestly I haven’t even looked at the disc spec in weeks. I’m a little intimidated by the changes – and I’m adoring the shadow. I can dot things, fear them, Mind Flay, and still cast bubbles or even true heals? Be still my heart. With a prot warrior there to keep mobs off me, we’re practically unkillable. Seriously, I died once yesterday and that was when my scourge disguise failed and SOMEONE then blew up an abom on my head, knocking me back into a horde of zombies. Ahem.

Anyway they’re a good chunk into 75 now. I’d like them to hit 80 before Cataclysm. Another pair will give us versatility. I’ve been enjoying Druid heals more than I feared so I’m not as worried about having a different healer to use, but eh, I like leveling and our guild is so alt friendly I feel bad only having two max level characters right now. Also: my priest is going to be a gnome. Very very soon. I can’t wait. I’ll ditch my ugly elephant for a cute mechanostrider, the hooves for gnomish style, and my long ponytail for a pair of buns. Yay!

Oh, and a friendly reminder to other alt-o-holic types: Pilgrim’s Bounty is the best possible way to level your cooking to 300 or so. Fast, cheap, easy, and available next week.  Do it! But then I’m partial to turkeys. So partial I just bought a chest freezer so that I can buy a half dozen turkeys and have them all year long. Like in July… want a turkey? You’re in luck, I’ve got one on hand! Yay! This week I can buy ’em for 60 cents a pound rather than, oh, $2.40 like they usually are. That makes me very happy.

Ok so I’m easy to please 🙂


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Boss evolution 3

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