Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bosses to love

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Have you ever read the diary of Archavon? It is just outside the raid portal on the floor. You'd have to be a stone not to be affected by that lovely thing. Seriously, Blizzard sure know how to play them heart strings. Every time someone proposes to to kill him I think about that diary. Archavon isn't just a pile of graphics anymore. Obviously he has feelings, I can read about them right there in his "secret" diary! Maybe he's even got a soul...

Archavon isn't the only npc I have special feelings for. Blizzard have gone through alot of work to make us have some feelings for at least most of the bosses in the game. They've got their little speeches and emotes, so that they're not just loot givers but a little more real to us (it doesn't seem to work more than the first time you kill them though). And some bosses are so charming that I'm having a hard time killing them.

One of my favorites is Skum. You know, the thunderlizard standing around in Wailing Caverns? He just stands around, minding his own business, when a party of people barges in and kills him. What has he done to anyone anyway? He even tries to flee which just is so sad. He is in fact one of the few bosses in the game that isn't evil in some way. We don't actually have a good reason to kill him, he just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I always try to avoid killing him, but the rest of my group rarely agrees with me. They just see the blues, and not the thunderlizard behind them.

Other bosses I like include most Abomination Bosses, like Patchwerk, Ramstein and Meathook. Mostly because they, just like Skum, don't really seem to know what the heck is going on. They probably don't know that they're part of some necromancers evil scheme. They just came into existance, thought they were having a great time playing with their toys when suddenly a bunch of people comes and ruins all the fun. Poor guys, I feel for you. Abominations need love too, just look at Frankensteins monster.

Love likes the Eck guy (thing?), also for these reasons. He just comes out of nowhere and probably thinks "what the heck are these guys doing here, ah well I'll try to eat them while I have the chance", and then he gets his ass kicked. But he's not evil either. Yet another guy (thing?) in the wrong place at the wrong time. There's no fun in killing these poor, slightly stupid bosses is there? I just feel kinda sorry for them.

These bosses are special to me in the "I don't want to kill them because they're so cute" kind of way. But then I love other bosses for other reasons of course. Like because they're so cool or fun. Maybe that's for another post.

Are me and Love exceptions, or are these doofus bosses really extra lovable? Do you have any favorite boss, and for what reason?

I'm working all day tomorrow (like seriously all day, 7am sunday until 10 am monday), so won't have time to make a post unfortunately!

A-o-R: Auditor

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Auditor
Category - Money mod
Necessity Level - Low
Class/Role - Any

There are some addons I've used for such a long time I forget what they do. Auditor is such an addon, so I had to ask Love. It's always just been around, sitting in the corner (or on my Chocolate Bar more recently), doing its thing so smoothly I even forgot it was doing it. It's funny when you get so used to some features you think they're actually part of the game and then you freak when you happen to play on some friends computer without addons.

It doesn't really do anything necessary, it's more one of those neat to have addons. Auditor will give you a better overview of your cash flow, showing for instance where your money is coming from and going to. It will also show you how much money you have on alts and how much you've earned or spent this week (or another time frame) and on what. (Image borrowed from Curse.com)

If you're one of them AH-nerds, constantly sitting around trying to make a buck, being able to keep an eagle eye on earnings and outgoings is quite nice. I use it mainly to keep track on how much money I have on alts, but considering I have another addon that does that as well... Well, Auditor does it in a really easy-to-view way and since it doesn't take much space I might as well keep it around, like I have all this time.

Auditor can get really specific, showing you for instance how much money you spent the last week/day/lifetime etc on stuff like repairs, vendors, AH etc. You can choose to look at a specific character, realm or overall. So if you're one of those people who love addons because they help you keep track on everything, then this is definitely for you. There is even an option called "Absurd Detail" and that is really what this addon is all about. There are really no drawbacks about this addon, if you want to know everything about your money flows, this will do it for you. And then of course if you're not so interested in that then there's no need for you to use an addon like this. It won't make you a better player, it might however save you some time when you're trying to buy something expensive on your alt and are unsure about if they can afford it or if you have to send them some money.

It hasn't been updated for quite a while, but still works well for me. I only use it very little though. The creator also tells us that Spicy Meatballs is part of the "new features", can't miss out on that can we!
And you can find it here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

WoW memes

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Since I've been reading alot on KnowYourMeme lately, and since I find the whole occurrence of memes really fascinating, I started thinking about WoW-memes. I've played on several different servers, and some things just seem to come back whether you like them or not. Personally I enjoy most memes, like I said I think the whole thing about memes is kinda cool. You take something, anything and with enough people tagging along you've got a meme. The creative potential hidden in these things is enormous. Imagine if you could have all those people work collectively on something useful? Well you have stuff like Wikipedia, and other open source material/programs. Not to mention all the bloggers, spending hours on their thing for no pay other than some recognition from the readers now and then.

But memes are different. They're awesome because they're not useful. Because they're more like work of art really, and why do people spend so much time with them? Anyone using the internet any amount of time must've seen some kind of meme by now. They're like fashion fads, only with digital work instead. And since anything can turn into a meme it means anyone can work with a meme as well, making anyone a creator and contributor of art.

Memes will come to any digital area for these reasons. Like with "Leeroy Jenkins" that I also mentioned yesterday, they distinguish us from others. By being part of the people who know what Leeroy is all about we mark ourselves. We tell everyone who understand something about us, and we tell everyone who don't understand something about us too. Internet memes are more general, but people who don't know about "Over 9000", "Lolcats", "All your base are belong to us" and other well known memes are seen as bad internet users.

And the same goes for WoW. Even this place has memes, and these memes are very specific. They don't spread outside the WoW-area much, in fact only Leeroy has to some extent (as far as I know), mostly probably because it can be seen without actually playing the game. But there are other memes in WoW that you stumble across constantly. So let's look at some of them.

Dirge
The "Dirge"-meme is about spam-linking the weapon Dirge into a chat, preferrably trade chat since that reaches the most people. I have no idea how this became a meme, my guess would be that Dirge was one of the best weapons in the game at the time and alot of people wanted it crafted. Spam-linking it became a pun or mockery of all the "serious" people spam-linking it to get it crafted. Like mocking a child who wants something and can't stop whining about it. Although mockery always is amusing to some extent, this meme soon got a life of its own and got mainly as spammy as the ones it was supposed to mock, which isn't as amusing. I saw this meme as late as some days ago in trade chat, but it has died down considerably since its glory days and there are usually great intervals between each occurrance.

Anal
A lovely name for a meme, the Anal-meme is about linking the word "anal" with some achievement or skill for a witty combination of words, such as "Anal Hamstring", "Anal Charge" or "Anal Conflagration". This meme was probably created out of a combination of the implementation of being able to link skills in chat windows, and the prepubertal humor of anything that has to do with the rectum. Since the word "anal" is funny in itself, the reasoning goes, it makes any word it is combined with funny too, and people were competing about finding the best combinations. Since prepubertal humor is either hilarious or damn annoying, depending on what kind of person you happen to be, people either loved ot hated this meme. I for one, loved it and even participated in it to some small extent (you may hate me all you like). I'm one of those people who can laugh out loud for almost any "anal"-combination out there, so I am sad to say that this meme has died out pretty much since its prime times. I haven't seen it around for some time now, but I know it reflowers now and then in trade chat when someone is bored. It usually encourages a few followers.

These are the two biggest memes I can think of that are from the WoW-world. There are also other common memes that you can see frequently in trade chat, but they come from the outside, like "over 9000". Not many, so maybe it's time to create another WoW-meme?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WoW and real life

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I love coincidences. Just some days after I had the thought about doing this post, a big swedish news paper writes an article about this very subject. It was about how playing WoW can make people into better leaders. Having worked on McDonalds used to be a good merit, but now apparently having played alot of WoW also counts as one (good for me, because I have played alot). Among some people. And only if you were a guild leader/raid leader.

That's not entirely what I'm after here though. I don't mean how playing a game could be beneficial for you in real life on a big scale, but how playing a game alot could affect your everyday real life doings in any way really. Playing a game could make you aware of totally new things around you. Playing something like Assassin's Creed or Prince of Persia might make you look at walls and the like in a new way. Games can also make you experience things in real life you normally wouldn't.

Any game will do this. I remember after a particularly intensive period of playing Mario Kart 64, I could see that weapon browsing square in the corner of my eye all the time, even when I wasn't playing. Maybe I am crazy, but I am quite sure that anyone has experienced things like this after an intense period of playing some game.

Even WoW does this. After some pvping I reacted to anyone wearing red hed caps outside for example and tried to hide behind trees. My brother who plays a rogue, and always has, has had the urge to use vanish in some situations. After alot of herbing I think I see herbs in every corner. Also when I was picking alot of junxboxes this same thing happened to me. Some things turn into unconscious reflexes, some things are more thought through yet very unrealistic. Like wanting to use a portal instead of having to walk somewhere (damn do I wish I could do that sometimes).

It's interesting though, considering how much time I play WoW, I am not that affected by it when not playing. Of course I spend alot of time thinking about things in WoW, like this blog and what to write and about raids I'm going to do and the like (this qualified as being addicted some years ago). But less on an unconscious level than with many other games I've played. None of which I have spent as much time with as WoW. Maybe some games affect you more than others. Or maybe you're more affected when you're young than old. Or maybe I have played WoW so much it has become a part of me, and I can't even notice the way it affects be outside playing anymore XD.

I do notice it in the way I talk though. I don't go around saying things like "lol" but there are definitely terms I use that come from WoW. Like screaming "Leeeroy!" before doing something stupid. Or saying "kek". Stuff a non-player wouldn't understand at all.

This instance with the red cap people was long ago. I can't remember anything special that has happened to me lately that I feel is due to me playing WoW. Except me dreaming about WoW occasionally of course. Not as often as you'd think however, and then we're back to my theory about WoW being too ordinary. My brain has sorted it under "everyday things, nonimportant" by now probably. I usually dream about things that trouble me, and WoW rarely troubles me. If it did I probably wouldn't play it.

Have you noticed any way that your playing WoW affects you in your everyday life?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Lost Room

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A motel room is ripped from time and space. Everything that was inside it seems to have special properties. The pen will make you explode, the wrist watch can boil eggs, the glass eye can disintegrate flesh, the comb will stop time. And there are about 100 objects scattered throughout the world. Only the key can get you inside the room.

That is the plot of a really cool mini series called The Lost Room that I've just finished watching. You can see it either as three 1,5 hour episodes or six 45 minute episodes (I saw the 1,5 hour ones, they're original cut).

The series starts out with copper Joe Miller getting his hands on The Key. He has no idea what it does at first, but when trying it out he finds that it takes him to a motel room. From this motel room he can access any point on the planet that happens to have a door. Suddenly a bunch of people show up to steal his key and he gets more and more involved into something really weird with the Order and the Legion fighting eachother to gain power over as many objects as possible. Where did the room come from? What happens when you collect all the objects?

My mom, who loves science fiction, tipped me off about this series and it stuck with me at once. The idea and the build up of the story is very well performed and wanting to find out more and more about this twisted room will get you hooked asap. When seeing it I thought that the ending could only be bad since I only wanted to see more about it. In hindsight I do feel the series could've earned some hours more, but this length was ok and the story unfolds in a terrific pace, just enough to keep you interested all the way without blurting it all out in your face at once. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but I can say that it is good enough. Not surprisingly, it's not completely an ending, but also not really a continuation. You really feel like it could either go on, or you could just let it go. You have to see it to understand I think ;)

So if you need something to watch for some rainy days, I definitely recommend this series!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rares and Blues

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I probably shouldn't do this, but as with other things in life that one shouldn't do, I'm gonna go on and do it anyway!
I'm going to give you some tips on rare spawns in Vanilla that have high chances to drop blues and that could earn you some extra cash. All the rares in Outlands and Northrend drop blues, but only very few of the Vanilla ones do. And most of those blues are rather good and will therefore give you some 30-100g on AH. Here are my top three favorite rares in Vanilla.

1. Lo'Grosh
Lo'Grosh is an ogre inside one of the ogre caves in Alterac Mountains. He has a good chance to drop not only one, but two good blue items. Black Ogre Kickers, really nice level 32 mail boots with strength and stamina, and The Pacifier, an awesome level 32 mace (4.00 speed!) with tons of strength and some stamina. Both these items are worth more than 50g at AH. Lo'Grosh himself is level 39, so when you quest in these areas he should be around your level. He isn't elite either but hits rather hard and uses bloodlust which will make him hit even harder.


2. Skhowl

Yet another npc situated in Alterac Mountains. This is nice because you can just run to check if either is up any time you're in the vicinity. Skhowl is a yeti just behind the goblin Bro'kin that sells the Frost Oil recipe. Skhowl is the only black yeti among all the white yetis, so he can't really be missed. He drops a really nice level 31 dagger, Howling Blade, which one can get about 20-40g for depending on server. Skhowl is killed more often than Lo'grosh and therefore the prevalence of other Howling Blades on AH is usually greater than with other boe blues. Skhowl is level 36, also non-elite and really easily killed.


3. Ironeye the Invincible
Ironeye wanders the southern parts of Shimmering Flats, and really stands out in the white sand as he is an all dark greenish basilisk among all the white basilisks. Ironeye isn't easy at all, he is level 37 which is rather high for that area and also elite which makes him quite tough for anyone around that level to kill. He has a high chance to drop Blade of the Basilisk, a really cool level 32 sword which has a chance on hit to increase defense by 50 (!) for 5 seconds. At that level, 50 defense is tons, giving the wielder a big amount of dodge, parry and crit reduction for a short amount of time. Although it gives defense, this weapon is good for rogues and dps warrior as well and you could probably get more than 50g for it at AH. As with any vanilla weapon however, this probably has a low proc chance. The weapon has a really rare skin too which I might talk more about in another post.


Do you know of any other rares that drop good blues?
Good luck hunting!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A-o-R: AuctionLite

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AuctionLite
Category - AH mod
Necessity Level - Medium
Class/Role - Any

This time we'll look at an addon that took me quite some time to get, but once I tried it I immedatiely fell in love.
When leveling a bunch of alts, you'll get alot of junk. Selling this junk will usually get you alot of money, but it also takes alot of time taking care of. Seeing to it that your items get properly priced according to the current market means researching what else is on the AH. My solution to this was to do a simple search for the item I was going to sell, and then manually underprice it with some silver. Easy enough, but when you've got 50 items in your bags to sell, this quickly takes quite a while.So I complained about it to Love and he told me about getting an auction addon. I said I didn't want something bulky that needed to be updated through continuous scans and whatnot, just something that did what I did, but automagically - search for current prices on AH and undercut.

And lucky me, there was just such an addon. Enter AuctionLite!

AuctionLite will do exactly this. When you go to AH it gives you two new tabs. AuctionLiteSell and AuctionLiteBuy. Meaning it won't remove the original AH view in case you want to use them.

AuctionLiteSell will scan the AH for the item you have added (using alt + rightclick) and automatically undercut it by an amount set by you (there is a default amount set that works just fine). If there is no other item like yours on AH, it will automatically set the price to 3 times vendor price. For stuff like gear this works well, but for stuff like consumables (meat, ores etc) this is totally off, since an ore might be worth 1 silver to vendor but way more than 3 silver on AH. This just means you will have to tell it what price you want for these items, and it will use that price the next time this happens.
AuctionLiteSell uses an average of the items on AH to set its price. In case someone has a really really low price, it won't try to undercut that, but rather the prices it sees as within the "normal" price range for the item.

On the picture we can see the grey items representing items that are too cheap to undercut, the yellow items represent my own auctions and the white auctions represent auctions of others that are undercuttable.

AuctionLiteBuy will give you a new "buy items"- interface. This allows you to do something Blizzard should've implemented long ago - buying stuff in bulks. Some people (idiots *cough*) place items like cloth and dusts in single stacks, thus cramming AH with pages up and down of these items. Buying them one and one takes forever as well (and who the heck needs -one- cloth!?) but with AuctionLiteBuy you can select any number and press "buy". Before you do the mistake of your lifetime accidentally buying 100 Abyss Crystals, you'll get an "approve this buy" selection, telling you exactly how much the entire purchase will cost before actually buying anything.


The Buy Stuff Interface will also show you price per item and per stack among other things.

This is a set and forget kind of addon. Just simply download it, put into your addons-folder and it will work. Any time you have to do anything about it is if you want to fine tune it's pricing settings. I haven't done this as I am perfectly happy with default settings, so I can't really tell you how difficult that is. My guess is that it's easy though, like the rest of the addon.

I love the AuctionLiteSell part of this addon. It saves me tons of time, and if you have any regular business with AH at all, I really recommend using this. it does everything I want nearly automatically (I still have to place the items and collect the money). The AuctionLiteBuy part is good too, but not the main reason I use this addon. It's great for when I want to buy bulks, but otherwise I actually still prefer the original setup.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Know Your Meme

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Since I have to get up at 7 am and work until monday, I don't have time to do a long post. Instead I'll give you a small tip to check out the Know Your Meme site.

I'm sure anyone has heard of Lolcats, Hitler Reacts or Over 9000 by now. Memes are a huge part of internet, whether we like them or not (and there are always some memes that are just hilarious). KYM tracks memes, tells you where they came from, shows examples and such so you can understand what the heck a meme is all about. It's perfect for when you're bored and it's marvellous really what people can make a meme off. Anything it seems. And most of them are good. So check it out!.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Analyzing 25LK Healing

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I love to look at graphs. Well actually I hate graphs, but I love them when I am part of them and they show something that I understand and can relate to, like a 25man LK kill.

I joined a guildrun with Love and a friend of mine (not our guild though), and we burned through 25man ICC pretty easily. Considering the 30% buff, that isn't especially difficult anymore, but it is still interesting to see what was done and how. Or at least I think so. So let's look at the graph from that LK kill and see if we can draw some conclusions about the way healing was done and how it should be done.

Healing done

First off, healing done for the fight (not including non-healers). I was a disc priest and the other priest was holy. It shows how well disc works for this kind of fight. Alot of aoe damage everywhere and some nuke healing here and there. Shields are just lovely for that kind of damage and especially for this fight since it takes care of Infest.

This other graph might look cluttered at first. But it tells us alot of things. We've got two spikes (except for my last one before the "death". The first spike shows the two shamans and the druid basically doubling their healing output for a short period of time about 2 minutes into the fights. The spike is for about 30 seconds and I am guessing this might be about when the phase transition comes. The Lich King does alot of AoE then that the shaman/druid are raid healing up. Placing yourself close to the edge as a shaman/paladin might be wise since as you can see, the paladins healing drops instead, probably because he has to move.

Graph

I'm spiking just before that, which might be due to a infest going off on my shields. Just after the spike we all drop down low except for the holy priest that spikes. This might be us running back into the middle, and he uses some on the run healing like renew and CoH.

In the second phase we all heal about as much as the other except for one of the shamans dropping down low. The only reason I can see for that happening is him running around too much, not being able to find a good spot from where to heal.
Just before the second phase transition we see the same thing, the "mobile" healers spike up for the aoe healing (druid and priest) while the paladin drops really low because he's running out. This time we can also see that the one shaman has been able to get to the edge faster than the other and does more healing during the transition. My healing drops somewhat when the druid and other priest healing spikes, mostly probably because they take care of business (I'll explain what I mean about that shortly*).

Just at the beginning of phase three the other priests healing done drops to zero for 10 seconds. The only explanation I can see for this, since he didn't die, is that he was pulled into Frostmourne and lost from the tracker.
The blue bar represents bloodlust, and here we can see something interesting. The druid dies, but what happens with the paladin? Instead of increasing healing done during bloodlust, she dips significantly. It is also interesting to see that none of us healers spike during this. As a disc healer you don't benefit much from Bloodlust, but the shamans and paladins should. Instead, their healing is lower than ever. My guess here would be that the shamans are starting to oom. The paladin is probably stuck behind a defile and had to run most of the Bloodlust duration (this is only guessing though).

The first red stripe during Bloodlust is the death of one of the tanks. See how this coincides perfectly with the paladin heal drop? Not only the paladin, just before we can see the other priests drop and the druid is dwindling down too. The druid dies at the same time, and they both die of Spirit Bursts. These heal drops are surely the reason to why the tank dies (he got a combat res and we made it anyway fortunately).
The second stripe represents the resurrection of the tank (as I just mentioned), and we can see how the paladins healing spikes just after that. 1,5 min later, the paladin dies (Harvest Soul) and every healers healing is slowly going down except mine that spikes again, maybe as a counter act on the other healers healing dropping. 10 minutes into the fight we all die, whichh is part of the event, and the fight is basically over from there.

Now let's look at what heals were cast.

Heals used by me

Here we can see my top 6 healing spells. As expected by a disc priest, Shield, Aegis, and Glyph of Shield are way on the top. One might wonder why Penance and Flash Heal get as low as they do however. This is explained by the fact that disc priests are lousy sniper healers compared to other classes (or maybe that's just me). *With two shamans and a paladin in the raid we can see that my Flash Heals and Penance casts are mostly overheals. Prayer of Mending does its job nicely however, since it "procs" when damage is done to the target, which means it can never really be 100% overheal.

The uptime of Shield and Aegis should preferrably be as low as possible because the lower the uptime, the more likely that it was fully absorbed. About 70% of my healing is just absorbs through Shield and Aegis, and that is what disc priest is all about. Like I have said many times before, absorbtion offers a unique way of healing thorugh damage reduction, and it should really be used to the max. Don't waste mana on Penance and Flash Heals unless you deem it really necessary. Otherwise you must trust your fellow healers to do their job properly and get the sniper healing done.

In a fight like LK where there is aoe damage everywhere and you can expect anyone to take damage at any time basically, there is no reason not to keep shields up on people at all times and also to use a Prayer of Mending as often as you can.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A-o-R: AtlasLoot Enhanced

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AtlasLoot Enhanced
Category - Loot mod
Necessity Level - Medium
Class/Role - Any

AtlasLoot is an addon that does alot of things. Most of them involve being able to look at loot. Loot that drops in instances, is bought by emblems, or is crafted by a profession, to mention a few options. To explain everything it does would take forever, but in short it answers just about any question you might have about loot. Questions like;

- What mats do I need to craft that item?
- Does that boss drop any nice loot?
- How many emblems does that item cost?
- What bonuses was there in that tier set?
- What do I get when I am exalted with that faction?
- How do I look in that item?

There are even some features that I've never used, like being able to display dkp-values for items (as set by your guild) and being able to bind "quick-buttons" to certain items to access them more easily.

The ui for Atlasloot is very user friendly, with a search window that will allow you to use keywords to search for any items and some easy to understand drop down menus to search for things "manually". I simply love this addon. I'm one of those people who check gear drops constantly, like when doing raids or instances, or to check what would be a nice upgrade next. I couldn't imagine playing without this addon, although it's not really necessary per se. It's just a damn nice addon if you want to be able to look at gear. There are several reasons why you should have this addon even if you don't like to look at gear though. If you ever want something crafted, you should know what mats are needed and have them ready. People hate it when you ask them "what mats is it?" and then take forever getting them. I also think that anyone who raids should be aware of what gear he needs and wants before he enters the raid. People hate it when you go "I don't know if this is an upgrade..." and then take forever deciding it (there are other addons that I will talk about that will help you with this issue further).

Loot is one of the major things that WoW revolves around. No matter if you're a loot whore or not, you will be affected by loot (maybe not if you're a hunter), so being able to have a full overview to quickly check whatever you might need to check will most likely be very handy. Unless you play WoW very rarely (and I doubt you do if you read this blog) I strongly recommend this addon.

The only drawback of AtlasLoot is that it takes alot of space. Fortunately it comes in modules, which means you can choose not to be able to look at vanilla/bc/crafting etc loot if you don't want to. AtlasLoot only takes as much room as you need it to and doesn't force information on your that you're not interested in.

I could show you some nice pictures, but they'd be just the same as the ones over at wowinterface.com, so go check them out there!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

10 signs you should leave a raid

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Have you ever been in a PuG raid where everything goes shit and thought "there were signs of this, why didn't I react sooner!".

Yes, there are signs. Signs that scream "this is surely going to fail!" and we always think "naaah, it's probably just an honest mistake, that warrior has gemmed spirit because...". Well there's no excuse for that really. But for some reason we tend to stick with something, unless it really really fails at once.

I'm not trying to promote ditching something as soon as there is a wipe, or someone dies, like some people do. But some things are just too horrible to ignore, and if you want to spare yourself the frustration and ruined evening, you should go with your gut feeling that says... "Get out of here... while you still can".

Here is a list of things to look out for. If you have anything on this list in your raid, you should be very cautious. If you're lucky it's an isolated incident and you can just fix the problem. If you're unlucky and have more than one of these in your raid, you seriously should think about "disconnecting".

1. The hunter says he is a "melee-hunter".

2. Raidleader doesn't know how to turn of caps.

3. Main tank says "mom says it's dinner soon".

4. People try to lose aggro by running away from the tank.

5. The paladins use only minor blessings.

6. The main tank uses BoA-gear.

7. The raid leader says "this is an rp-raid".

8. The tank healer says "I have really bad lags".

9. The raid leader isn't part of a guild.

10. More than half the raid use "Jenkins" title.

And there are tons more, so I'll surely make another list later. Can you think of any more sure signs that a raid is going to fail?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where's the love?

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Seriously, and I've said this before, there isn't enough love in WoW!

We bash eachother as soon as something bad happens, but how often do we praise eachother when we do something great? We don't, because even though we don't expect people to do great, we demand they do. It's like we're supposed to be on the awesome end of the scale, or we're bad people.
bad-------------------average--------------awesome

But most people are at average, that's why it's called average. So when someone does awesome dps, awesome healing or awesome tanking, why don't we just say so? It seems like we think that since he's doing it, it must be easy. But one should really think "would I do this as good?". And if yes one would know how difficult (or not) it might be, and if praised is warranted.

I want to think that I do. I hope I do.
Because I know I take critic rather hard. If someone complains about my tanking I don't tank for days. So how happy do you think I get when I get something like this?

Yeah, he's talking to me!

The guy liked what I was doing and said so. It will keep me happy for at least a month.

Funny thing is, when I tank as good on my other tank that has way better gear, or when Love is tanking who has even better gear than that, we never get recognition like this. I think that since my gear sucks (I have 4100gs right now), people expect me to really stink at what I do. But for heroics my gear is just fine, and I do have some experience in tanking by now. They just get so surprised they have to tell me I'm doing a good job (this isn't the only time it's happened).

And even though it might seem like I'm just blowing my own horn (and yeah, that mainly what I'm trying to do ;) ), my point is that anyone who's doing a nice job deserves to get comments like this. Not just my crap-ass geared tank.

So, more love to the people.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 80 - Glyphs

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As a finisher on yesterdays post let's look at some nice glyphs for tanking raids and instances.

The thing about glyphs are that many of them usually are pretty good, but since you're only able to use 3 major and 3 minor, there are some that have to be discarded because they're simply not good enough.

First out the Majors

Glyph of Devastate vs Sunder Armor
These two glyphs are good examples of a raid vs instance glyph. Glyph of Devastate will apply two sunder armor stacks with one Devastate, which means you'll get faster threat on one target. Glyph of Sunder Armor will apply Sunder Armor on two targets at once, which means you'll get better aggro on several targets at once. It is probably quite obvious which glyph suits which raid setting, but I'll tell you just in case - Glyph Devastate is for raiding, and Glyph of Sunder Armor is for instancing, and I recommend having at least one of these. As with many other things, the raid glyph works better in instances than the instance glyph works well in raids.

Glyph of Shield Wall & Last Stand
Definitely raid glyphs. But wait, Glyph of Shield Wall makes Shield Wall reduce damage by 40% instead of 60%, that can't be good? It will however actually increase your overall damage reduction, since it also reduces cooldown on Shield Wall by half (if you've already got Improved Disciplines), which is more than the damage reduction reduction (sounds weird). And evenso, being able to use Shield Wall twice as often makes it less sensitive to exact timing and therefore easier to use. Just as with Glyph of Shield Wall this glyph will increase your survivability. If you intend to raid I strongly recommend these glyphs. They're not particularly necessary if you don't raid though.

Glyph of Shockwave
The whole thing about Shockwave is that it does aoe damage and also stuns, properties that are less valuable in raids. Therefore this isn't a raid glyph, but definitely very useful for when doing instances.

So Majors for raiding should focus on the damage reduce glyphs - Glyph of Shield Wall and Glyph of Last Stand, and to top it off, a nice threat glyph with Glyph of Devastate.

Majors for Instancing could focus more on the threat and less on the damage reduce skills. Glyph of Shockwave, Glyph of Sunder Armor are a good pair. Final glyph could be anything you like, but I'd probably go with Glyph of Devastate.

Over to the Minors
The minors are more about utility and none is crucial for raiding or instancing. One glyph I think is really nice whether you'll mainly raid or do instances is Glyph of Command. Since Commanding shout gives alot of hp, not having to think about it while fighting (and accidentally forget about it mid fight) is really nice. Other nice minor glyphs are Glyph of Thunder Clap, Glyph of Charge and Glyph of Bloodrage. So go with Command and grab two of the other three and you're set!

That's it about glyphs today, it's a short post partially due to the fact that I'm in the middle of a raid at the moment, and partially since there just isn't much more to say about glyphs :D

But woot, that might actually mean that my project is over, finito, finished. As far as I can remember I've said everything I wanted to say about warrior tanking. Luckily, things always change in WoW, and there will always be something more to say. So don't worry, my warrior tank won't disappear completely. She'll do her instances, hopefully get some nice gear, do raids, and nerdrage over people who can't behave. So thanks for this!

Maybe I'll have to start another project now...

Monday, July 19, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 80 - Talents

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One might not think that there is any difference between tanking instances and raids, beside the mobs hurting more. But because the mobs hit so much harder it makes some talents and glyphs more usable, even necessary to use, compared to when tanking instances. Remember what I said about tanking? It's about being able to take the damage and keep the aggro. As your gear gets better and better, so does your capability to take damage of course. For all heroics currently out there, a gear set of about 4500 gs is enough as long as your healer is alert. For the latest raids however, ICC and RS, you'll most likely have to use something other than just your gear to be able to take the damage. The reason for this is simple, raid bosses often use special skills to do extra much damage, especially designed for you and others in your raid to have to use cooldowns with proper timing. It is what make them tougher than instances.

Some skills are baseline, like Shield Wall, other skills are talented, like Last Stand and Vigilance. Some skills are for taking damage, some skills are for keeping aggro. How necessary each skill is depends on what you want to do. So let's look at the differences between raid tanking and instance tanking.

Instances, meaning heroics, are mostly about being able to keep aoe threat. Not only are most packs in heroics consisting of several mobs, most people will expect you to do fast and smooth pulling. If your gear is decent, taking damage will be less of an issue, and you should therefore focus on talents and glyphs that will help you with threat on several targets.

Raid tanking is mostly about having cooldowns to use when things heat up. Seriously, most of the time you just stand around staring at the boss, what makes raid tanking even slightly difficult is knowing when to use the proper cooldowns (there are always exceptions of course). Therefore you should focus on getting talents and glyphs that will help you with taking more damage. It might sound easy enough, but there are some debatable areas here.

Leave Cleave Alone
One of the biggest debates regarding instance-tanking is whether you should use cleave or not. The idea goes that when using Cleave instead of Heroic Strike, you'll hit three targets at once, thus making three time the threat for the same cost! That's not entirely true of course. Although both Cleave and Heroic Strike are onswing-skills, aka used in the same way, they work rather differently.

If speccing into Puncture, Cleave costs 17 rage (plus the rage you "lose" from using your swing on a special attack, which isn't an issue really if you're tanking). To get the most from those 17 rage you should also spec into the third tree in fury, Improved Cleave which increases damage on Cleave with 120% (there is also Incite, which buffs both Cleave and Heroic Strike). One probably wouldn't spec that far into Fury for any other reason, which means Cleave costs some talentpoints to optimize. Cleave does hit three target at once, which is three times as many as Heroic Strike of course. Cleave has no special modifier for threat however, so it doesn't do extra threat like Heroic Strike does.

Heroic Strike also needs talents to be optimized. Most people spec Improved Heroic Strike if they tank with Heroic Strike, but if rage isn't an issue you don't have to (unlike with Cleave). So if speccing into Puncture, Heroic Strike costs 12 rage, down to 9 rage with Improved Heroic Strike. It only hits one target, but instead it does so with extra threat. So the question is really, does one want low threat on three targets at once, or high threat on one target at a time?

It might be obvious which side I'm on. Personally, I don't think Cleave is worth the hassle. Since Cleave doesn't make alot of threat, it is meant to be used as a fast aoe-mob-gathering-threat. Some people seem to think that using Cleave will save us from having to retargetting constantly. Thing is, we already have such tools that do their job just fine if we know how to use them - Thunder Clap (especially this), Shockwave and Demoralizing Shout. The issue rarely is about keeping aggro from aoe damage, but from point damage on different targets.

Say you're fighting four mobs and the mage does aoe, the rogue nukes target A and the warrior nukes target B and does some aoe. Keeping aoe threat here won't be the big issue, trying to keep aggro from target A and B being nuked will be. Cleave won't help you with that, at all. Heroic Strike on the other hand will (and Shield Slam, Revenge of course). What you have to do in this situation is shield slamming and revenging different targets, while keeping thunder claps and heroic strikes rolling. If you want to avoid having to retarget you've chosen the wrong tank class. One of the charms of warrior tanking is optimizing your rotation based on what you're fighting. So leave Cleave.

Deep Wounds
Some tanks go deep into arms and spec Deep Wounds (pun intended). Yet again the main reason is for getting better threat. Yet again however, I don't think it's worth all those talents. Unless you have really big issues keeping aggro you shouldn't have to spec this. When doing instances mobs die too fast anyway for you to have to use more than what I've already talked about - Thunder Clap, Shockwave and Demo shout. When doing raids you'll hopefully have a bunch of competent threat transferrers aka hunters and rogues to help you with aggro. Also people tend to mind their aggro more if they know they'll be one shot and maybe even wipe the entire raid if they accidentally pull it from the tank. Being able to keep high aggro is more important than it sounds, since whatever threat you're able to push out sets the limit for how much damage (threat) the dps can push out. More aggro = more damage = good. I am sure I have mentioned this before. I don't think that Deep Wounds will make that much of a difference though that it's worth all those talents, since I think having good threat is mostly about using a good rotation, and having a good amount of hit and expertise at that.

Concussion Blow
Some talents are nearly worthless in raids, but more useful in instances, and vice versa. Of course, there is nearly always trash to be dealt with in raids, and situations in instances where you need a talent more often used in raids, but overall it is like I've already said - instance = keeping aggro and raid = taking damage.

One of these talents is Concussion Blow. It is basically useless when fighting raid bosses since they're never stunnable and as far as I know CB doesn't work as an interrupt either. The only reason you'd want it for raiding is to get down to Vigilance, which I know alot of raid tanks don't spec either. I like it however since the 10% threat transfer is pretty great no matter if you're instancing or raiding. So even if Concussion Blow isn't any good for raiding I still think it's worth it to get to Vigilance. For instancing Concussion Blow is a neat tool, and definitely worth one tp.

Iron Will
Iron Will is a talent that, contrary to unpopular beliefs, is more useful for instances than raiding. You'll rarely be stunned or charmed when doing raids, this does however occur rather often when doing instances. Often enough to be necessary? No, I don't think so, but it isn't a totally bad talent. For instancing. So if you're really annoyed with being stunned this might be something for you.

Improved Disciplines
Reducing the cooldown on Shield Wall (because that is what matters here) won't be necessary when tanking instances. You rarely use Shield Wall unless something in your party sucks, whether it is you, your gear, someone else or someone elses gear. Hopefully those issues are transient. When tanking raids however, reducing the cooldown on Shield Wall equals to you being able to take alot more damage. Reducing the cooldown by 1 minute means that it becomes 20% better, which actually is pretty awesome.

Spare Talent Points
Most tanks grab some points in the fury tree for some extra threat. Even if you don't go all the way down to Cleave, you'll have points to spend in Armored to the Teeth, and maybe some points for Cruelty. When having taken all the talents that you actually need, you'll be left with some extra tp's that you can place anywhere. AttT and Cruelty are simply two talents that are pretty worth placing those spare talents points into.

I think I've covered most question marks that might rise when trying to spec for raid tanking and instance tanking. Thing is that even if you're pretty set on instance tanking, chances are high that you'll do some raid tanking as well, like VoA. Therefore, unless you're dead sure you won't do any raid, having some raid talents are worth carrying around. Raid talents in instances are more useful than instance talents in raids after all.

Here is an example of a spec that works well for both raid tanking and instance tanking.
If you never ever gonna raid, you can place the talents in Improved Disciplines into Cruelty and Improved Demoralizing Shout instead.

Next time (which might be tomorrow, maybe another day) I'll get into what glyphs to use depending on tank setting. I had intended to do it today, but as always I write more than I think I will... No more time!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A-o-R: !BugGrabber (& BugSack)

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I'm trying to post these addon posts in alphabetical order, but for some reason my alphabetical list keeps changing. Silly windows. Ah well, it's good enough I suppose.

This time we'll look at a small but significant addon called !BugGrabber which combined with the addon BugSack will help you keep your game free from error messages.

!BugGrabber & BugSack
Category - Gaming Utility
Necessity Level - Depending
Class/Role
- Any

The necessity of these two addons totally depends on how many addons you use. When you use many addons they tend to clash with eachother and the game sooner or later, no matter if you update them frequently. That's just what hobby-made addons do. This results in a whole lot of error messages, especially just after patchdays when alot of addons become outdated. Those error messages usually turn up smack in the middle of the screen. I love it when someone goes "everytime I press this button I get a huge error message in the middle of the screen", while raiding. There is a reason for this of course, an error means there is something wrong and you should know about it so that you can fix it. It might interfer with your gaming.

Woot, I have an error! (It's the little red sack in the top left corner)

Thing is, most errors are very minor and you won't notice them while playing at all. And even if you might want to know about them, you don't want to have them in your face every other second. Ok, you -know- something is wrong, thank you very much.

!BugGrabber does the first part of two things. It simply removes the error messages from the middle of the screen and hide them. If you're happy with that, you don't need anything else. But with an addon like BugSack you get all your errors in one place, that isn't your face. BugSack will do the second thing and place them where you can look at them easily (a little icon around your minimap usually). Therefore these addons combine greatly together to help you manage your error messages (you can't really use BugSack without BugGrabber). BugGrabber will actually allow you to look at your errors by itself through a /command, but BugSack does it in a better way with a proper interface.

So if you use alot of addons this could really help you out to save some of that nerdrage for where it's really needed instead, like for shamans that gear spirit. These addons are still updated continuously (just some weeks ago when writing this) and have never stopped working for me.

And you can find them here; BugGrabber & BugSack.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Retridins make better tanks

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Some people seem to think that being a tank is about having the right kind of gear and having the right kind of spec. That isn't what tanking is about at all. Tanking is about being able to take The Damage and keep The Aggro. As long as you can do that you count as a tank, no matter what gear or spec or class you happen to have. This is the reason some classes that usually never go as tanks can tank on occassion, like hunters, warlocks and shamans.

Of course at endgame taking damage and keeping aggro often equals having a certain spec and gear, which is why people confuse the two. Later on the tank trees will offer a set of damage reduction skills that will be necessary to survive. But until then, you are free to experiment and might in fact find better solutions than if you had gone the conventional way.

One such solution is the Retridin Tank. Here are six good reason why a retridin makes a better tank than the conventional prot-spec.

1. Double the threat
At level 20, retridins can spec into Seal of Command. Since they changed it, it now hits two targets instead of one, effectively making it like a glyphed maul or sunder armor. But it's better since it hits two targets on every swing, and not only when using a certain skill. Awesome to keep aggro on multiple mobs without having to spend all mana on consecration all the time.

2. Never oom
At the same level, 20, you can glyph Seal of Command. That means you will get 8% of your base mana each time you use a judgement, and if you combine that with judgement of wisdom one of the biggest problem of being a lowbie protadin - constantly ooming - has been solved. When tanking as a retridin you'll only have to drink after dying.

3. Less mana breaks = faster instancing
One of the biggest issues of lowbie tanking overall isn't just that you might oom, but that every other caster in your group does. With talents like Judgement of the Wise this will be way less of an issue since everytime you judge you'll replenish everyone in the party, this will also increase your own mana regen even further.

4. Ranged cc
As a protadin you have no cc whatsoever and will have to rely on your party members to take care of it. And we all know rule #1 of tanking is to never rely on anyone to do anything outside the basics. As a prot you'll have one tool only (before level 50) to keep aggro on ranged mobs, Hand of Reckoning. As a retridin you'll also be able to cc ranged mobs when needed. Any tank loves to be able to cc.

5. Instants R us
Speaking of ranged threat, with Art of War you'll be able to use instant exorcisms to get threat on mobs that are too far away, or as a strong pulling tool. Any way you care to use it, you'll love the fact that you have it, since not only does it great threat, it also does great damage. And if things go really wrong you can use your Art of War procs to cast instant heals on yourself. What tank wouldn't love to be able to do that?

6. All the little things
There are several other talents in the ret-tree that are good for tanking, such as Vindication which lowers the attack powers of mobs (and thus the damage you take) and Pursuit of Justice which increases your run speed. Perfect for catching up with whatever it is that you need to catch up with, but as a tank that will be needed more often that you think. Also Divine Storm is about as good as Hammer of Justice since it hits the same amount of targets, but also heals (but deals a little less damage with a onehander). Oh and yeah, Deflection is in the ret-tree. Many of these talents are such that prot-paladins pick once they're done in the protection tree.

So if you intend to level a paladin, I definitely recommend going ret. That means you'll be able to quest in a good pace, and you only have to grab a shield to make a good tank (although preferrably you get other pieces that suit tanking as well, like something with stamina). I'm guessing a ret-tank has no problem tanking instances at all up until level 60, and perhaps not even until level 70, before prot actually gets the upper hand with all the damage reduction talents that will be more and more needed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 80 - Gear

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UPDATE 24/10: Justice Points loot added. T9 replaced with T10 since you'd probably rather get T10 for your JP now. Outdated sections updated to 4.0.

One of the first things to deal with and put some real thought into is "what gear am I going to get when I ding 80?". Reality is that there has never before been as easy to get good gear as it is today. And with good gear I mean "gear as good as those that raid often". Raiders used to have access to gear that the casual gamer could only dream about. Since Vanilla, pvp-gear has also become one of the best gears in the game and although it aint as good as it was during BC, it is still the best way to get really high gearscore (which is most important, right?).

Although it is true that pvp-gear still offers a good option to the pve-gear, even for those that intend to only pve, I won't write much about it. I don't pvp at all and honestly don't know much about it, all I do know is that even for a tank there are some nice items to be had there. This is because pvp-items usually have alot of two stats; stamina and resilience, both of which are really nice for a pve-tank.

So speaking of stats and speaking of the great supply of gear options given to you when dinging 80, the final choices are mostly based on whether you have alot of money or not. Because if you do, there are a big amount of nice craftables to be had. If you don't, you'll have to get most of your gear through grinding emblems instead. But either way you'll end up with a nice gear, and like I said yesterday - to do heroics you really don't need much. The amount of money you have will instead determine how fast you can start doing raids.

But no matter if you're rich or not, you should look for the same kind of upgrades you always have - stamina stamina stamina. Now it will also be important to get the right amount of defense, which is 535 for tanking heroics and 540 for tanking raids. That amount will make you crit immune by any mob in the instance/raid, which is crucial (especially when raiding). UPDATE 24/10: As of patch 4.0 defense no longer exists, so no need to bother about that anymore! So those are the thumb rules;
- You can never have too much stamina
- Get at least 535 defense (and at least 540 if you want to tank a raid)
- Any other stats are secondary to stamina, but it's nice with hit and expertise too of course.
- Even if you gain stamina on an item, it has to be proportionate to any amount of avoidance that you lose.

It's hard to say how much hp avoidance is worth, since it depends on how much hp and avoidance you already have, and what kind of mobs you're going to fight. But remember that hp is a definite way to survive incoming damage attacks while avoidance only gives a chance to survive incoming attacks. People call it "Effective" vs "ineffective health". Avoidance is ineffective because as long as you don't have 100% of it, there is always a chance it won't help you at all. Avoidance also only helps against physical attacks, whereas hp helps against any attacks (though death knights have talents that convert avoidance to magic avoidance I think).

Emblems
There are, like mentioned, alot of different ways to get good gear when you ding 80. Most of it will probably come from emblems, namely emblems of triumph and frost. If you've done nothing but instances since you dinged 68, you'll have a nice bunch of Triumphs to grab some good t9 pieces at level 80. Problem is, you only get 2 Triumphs a day when doing a random normal instance, and if your tank is your main, or you have some other reason to want to level it faster than that, you probably won't have much emblems at 80. Time wasn't an issue for, and I had about 130 emblems when I dinged (that means I did more than 60 instances between 68-80!). Don't worry though, getting emblems is really easy at level 80, especially for a tank! Even with really bad gear you will instantly get groups. And remember that the gear you have is what everyone had before Ulduar, ToC and ICC, so most of the heroics are actually designed around your gear level. With 130 emblems I could take three t9 pieces (30+30+50), which got me off to a nice start.
There are, like mentioned, alot of different ways to get good gear when you ding 80. Most of it will probably come from Justice Points (JP). Getting JP at level 80 is really easy. Even with bad gear you instantly get groups as a tank, and remember that the gear you have is what everyone else had before Ulduar, ToC and ICC so most heroics are actually designed around your level gear.

You can also buy offset pieces with emblems however, and they are in fact of a higher ilevel. Which isn't the same as they being better, since tier has set bonuses which could be good. The offset gear is also alot more expensive than the t9 pieces. The offset gear usually costs the same as t10 pieces.

Setbonuses for t9 warrior protection are 2 sec reduced cooldown on taunt for two pieces and 10 sec reduced cooldown on Shield Block for four pieces. Those are decent bonuses, and I think going for t9 where you can is better than going for offset. Setbonues for t10 warrior protection are 20% more damage with Shield Slam and Shockwave for two pieces and using your Battle Shout or Commanding Shout gives you a protective shield absorbing damage equal to 20% of your maximum health for four pieces. These are really great set bonues and definitely something worth getting.

Craftables
Some craftables are worth getting, some aren't. If you have alot of money I recommend getting both 245 crafteds and both 264 crafteds of course, especially as a started to have an easier time farming heroics for JP. The 245 crafteds are Saronite Swordbreakers (bracers), which cost about 1500g to make, and Breastplate of the White Knight (chest) which costs about 2000g to make. The 264 craftables are Boots of Kingly Upheaval (boots) which cost about 3500g to make and Pillars of Might (legs) which cost about 5500g to make (with the current prices on mats on some different servers that I play on).

There are also less good craftables, that still might be worth the money if you find them cheap on AH. Those are the ilevel 200 craftables; Titansteel Shield Wall (shield, there are nice shields to be had from other places though, so unless you find it really cheap it aint worth it), Tempered Titansteel Treads (boots) and Tempered Titansteel Helm (head) which all cost about 200g to make. They can be a fairly cheap way to boost some bad piece in your gear, and especially give you more hp fast.

Indestructible Plate Girdle (belt) is an ilevel 226 item which costs about 800g to make, and is worth it if you have alot of money. Otherwise there is a nice belt to get from JP with the same ilevel, Shieldwarder Girdle, but rather costly for its ilvl.

Instances
All the old heroics drop epics from the final boss with ilevel 200 gear. However, if you want to find good gear fast, I recommend going for ToC and ICC normals. Even though they are normals they will drop good loot, and best of all, they're grindable. It is a great way to get good loot fast, and ToC normal has for example one of the best tanking trinkets in the game.

So let's make a little list of the items to be on the look for when dinging 80. I'll keep it to epic gear to not make the list overwhelming.

Name (source, ilvl)

Head
- Tempered Saronite Helm (craftable, 200)
- Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger (ToC hc, 219)
- Second Helm of the Executioner (HoR hc, 232)
- Headplate of the Honorbound (935 JP, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Greathelm (t10, 1100 JP, 251)

Neck
- The Warlords Depravity (ToC hc, 219)
- Shard of the Crystal Forest (405 JP, 226)
- Fossilized Ammonite Choker (HoR hc, 232)

Shoulders
- Regal Auros Shoulderplates (ToC hc, 219)
- Shoulderplates of Frozen Blood (PoS hc, 232)
- Shoulderplates of Enduring Order (591 JP, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Pauldrons (t10, 695 JP, 251)

Back
- Durable Nerubhide Cape (craftable, 200)
- Platinum Mesh Cloak (347 JP, 213)
- Eerie Runeblade Polisher (HoR N, 219)
- Sentinel Winter's Cloak (579 JP, 264)

Chest
- Scourgelord's Frigid Chestplate (PoS N, 219)
- Icebane Bronze Cuirass (PoS hc, 232)
- Breastplate of the White Knight (craftable, 245)
- Ymirjar Lord's Breastplate (t10, 1100 JP, 251)
- Cataclysmic Chestguard (1100 JP, 264)

Bracers
- Bracers of the Herald (OK hc, 200)
- Saronite Swordbreakers (craftable, 245)

Gloves
- Horn-Tipped Gauntlets (Gundrak hc, 200)
- Mercy's Hold (ToC N, 200)
- Crystalline Citadel Gauntlets (HoR N, 219)
- Gauntlets of the Royal Watch (487 JP, 226)
- Ymirjar Lord's Handguards (t10, 695 JP, 251)
- Gauntlet's of the Kraken (696 JP, 264)

Belt
- Ancient Aligned Girdle (AN hc, 200)
- Girdle of the Pallid Knight (ToC N, 200)
- Indestructible Plate Girdle (craftable, 226)
- Shieldwarder Girdle (487 JP, 226)
- Verdigris Chain Belt (695 JP, 264)

Legs
- Bolstered Legplates (VH hc, 200)
- Legplates of Abandoned Fealty (ToC N, 200)
- Legplates of Frozen Granite (FoS N, 219)
- Wyrmguard Legplates (770 JP, 226)
- Ymirjar Lord's Legguards (t10, 1100 JP, 251)
- Pillars of Might (craftable, 264)

Boots
- Boots of Heartfelt Repentance (ToC N, 200)
- Tempered Titansteel Treads (craftable, 200)
- Kyzoc's Ground Stompers (417 JP, 213)
- Sollerets of Suffering (FoS N, 219)
- Spiked Deathdealers (craftable, 226)
- Black Spire Sabatons (FoS hc, 232)
- Boots of Kingly Upheaval (craftable, 264)

Shields
- Royal Crest of Lordaeron (CoS hc, 200)
- Titansteel Shield Wall (craftable, 200)
- Splintered Door of the Citadel (HoR N, 219)
UPDATE 19/10 - Wrathful Gladiator's Shield Wall (70 Honor Points, 270) I haven't listed any other pvp-gear, but since this shields honor point cost must be bugged I recommend getting it asap as it is a great tank shield practically free.

Rings
- Keystone Great-Ring (DTK hc, 200)
- Mark of the Relentless (ToC hc, 219)
- Clutch of Fortification (492 JP, 245)

Trinkets
- The Black Heart (ToC N, 200)
- Ick's Rotting Thumb (PoS hc, 232)
- Glyph of Indomitability (591 JP, 245)
- Purified Lunar Dust (695 JP, 264)

Ranged
- Blades of the Sable Cross (295 JP, 245)

Weapon
- Red Sword of Courage (UP hc, 200)
- Lucky Old Sun (FoS N, 219)
- Peacekeeper's Blade (ToC hc, 219)
- Falric's Wrist-Chopper (HoR hc, 232)
- Rimefang's Claw (PoS hc, 232)

Phew, that took a while (thanks wowhead again)! As we can see, some item slots have lots of options, while others only have one. So start collecting, coz that's what I'm going to do. Next time I'll talk about different specs! See yas.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 80 - Instances

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Today I thought I'd go through the final instances. And they aint few. I won't mention gear this time though since I'll make a special post about that instead. For once there is much to say about gear so it deserves some special attention.
We did Halls of Stone and Gundrak last time, so that means we have seven (EDIT: eight) instances to finish off today, to round it all up! Better get started right away.

Culling of Stratholme
Like I mentioned last time, CoS used to be the suckiest instance you could get before they finally got around and changed it. Nowadays it is pretty straightforward and easy, although people still usually don't like it since it's difficult to speed things up in any instance where you have to fight waves of things (like Violet Hold and Halls of Reflection also). But even so you'll get it done fairly fast and it gives a nice amount of emblems (which is nice, if that's what you're after), a max of 5 (plus 2 for the instance).
- If you're badly geared you might want to keep an eye out for the poison debuff that some of the Nerubar mobs do (called Hemotoxin). Although it deals 15% of max health every 2 seconds, and therefore is as dangerous to a well geared tank as a badly geared tank, you'll usually be in more trouble having this on you if you have bad gear because of all the other damage you'll take.
- The only place that might be slightly tricky is probably the gauntlet towards the end. Don't mind the little zombies, anyone (even the healer) can handle those. Using an addon that helps you find the elites among all the non-elites is very good here (something like Tidy Plates, but I'll get into that too in another post).
- There is an extra boss in the end just before the final boss, which you can get to if you make the time limit. With any kind of group that hasn't got sawdust instead of brains, that shouldn't be a problem. It will give you an extra emblem and a flying mount, yay.
- The final boss does a frontal cone effect, so the first thing you should do is make him face away from the rest of the group.

No, this has nothing to do with CoS or Oculus

Oculus

Oculus, oh Oculus. I've already made an entire post on whether or not Oculus sucks really bad, so I probably don't have to tell you again what I feel about it. By reading that post you'll also get a general idea about what to think about, but I'll say it again just in case.
- Rather kill too many dragons than too few! Trying to kill them while dismounted isn't going to be easy as they have alot of hp and are... well up in the air.
- Make sure whoever picks the green dragon know what the heck he is doing. I've been in one group too many where that guy alone made the entire group wipe. "Heal, what is that?"


Halls of Lightning
Although Halls of Lightning is rather long, I still actually enjoy it alot. It has a nice diversity in mobs and offers at least some difficulty when tanking.
- If your gear sucks, try not to get the first boss when he is charged. A good healer could probably still keep you up, but getting him without the charge is easy. And if you like you can skip that boss alltogether actually.
- The Slags just after the first boss just keep respawning so you have to simply run through to the other side. When you've collected all make sure you don't run too far up the stairs, because that will make you pull an extra group (make sure no one else in your party does this mistake either). The Slags explode on death, so if yet again, if you have bad gear you'll probably want to pop some cooldown to survive it.
- In the room with the colonnade of Ymirjars along the wall, you will have to do some advanced pick up tanking (for once). The Ymirjars will release from different directions, and you'll have to use all and any skill you can to make sure they run to you. Taunt one, Heroic Throw another and clap the rest. They fear too, so keep Berserker Rage under your finger.
- The room after the third boss (Ionar) is probably among the trickier in all heroics. If you're careful, the pulls don't have to be a problem. The mobs have some nasty tricks up their sleeves though, so look out for sleeps, whirlwinds, charges and poisons that could overwhelm the healer. Cooldowns could be necessary. And yet again, careful with the pulling.


Forge of Souls
The first of the three ICC instances, it's short and neat. All the ICC instances are more difficult than the "old" heroics, but hopefully the LFG-tool won't throw you into them until your gear is ready for it (although I did get into FoS the other day with less than 3500 gs). The first time you do the ICC instances they have to be done in a special order, starting with FoS. That means you can't get PoS or HoR until you've done FoS at least once. You get a quest by Sylvanas who stands at the entrance of FoS. Take it as it gives some extra frost emblems, and will lead you on to other quests in the other ICC instances.
- The mobs in FoS are nasty! The adepts are ranged, so try to collect the rest of the mob-group by them or bash the adepts into getting to you (or Heroic Throw something in their face). Some groups have several casters which make tanking them rather tricky. Like mentioned, make full use of Bash and Heroic Throw and for the love of the Spagettimonster, don't forget your Spell Reflect. If you charge in and use it immediately, you might even reflect several spells (as they are cast smultaneously by the mobs).
- If the dps in your group sucks, you might need to kite the first boss when he does his Corrupt Soul. If the Corrupt Soul reaches him, he receives 240k health (heroic).
- The final boss, Devourer of Souls, does a Phantom Blast. As a warrior you can both Bash it and Spell Reflect it which means you should be able to avoid all of his casts. And that is good as they do alot of damage (approx 12k damage).

Pit of Saron
The second ICC instance is also the largest ICC instance. One usually goes the right way, but you can do it from any direction. PoS is, just as the other ICC instances, a rather tricky place. Especially when compared to the old heroics. You'll have to look where you go so you don't accidentally pull something, as it is very easily done in this instance.
- Just after the second boss, if you take the normal route (Ick), you will run up a slope with some really nasty mob groups. First out are two packs of undead Ymirjars. Three of five in each group are casters, so yet again you have to make full use of your bashes, spell reflects and heroics throws. And these really hurt, but that's the healers problem, innit ;) After those groups are two groups of skeletons, with two casters in each. Those casters will do a Freezing Circle which you should get out of asap.
- The final boss, Scourgelord Tyrannus, will go into berserker mode for a few seconds every once in a while. If you tank him with your back against an ice patch (not on the ice patch though), he will knock you over it just before going apeshit. When running after you he will have to cross the icepatch and thus be slowed, and allow you to kite him for the short duration needed. This is good since he hits quite hard when he is enraged.

Halls of Reflection
Ah this part is easy since I've already made a post about it!

So that's all the instances we had left (bet I've forgotten about one...). Next time I thought we'd look into what gear to collect as a newly dinged 80!

EDIT (16/7): Hah, I did forget about one! ToC of course.
Trial of the Champion
ToC is nice since just like the raid Trial of the Champion (which is played in the same environment), there are no trash mobs. I think this was an experiment on Blizzards behalf, seeing what we'd like about an instance/raid completely without trash, since trash has been something player have been whining about for years. This is still the only instance without trash however, so whatever results Blizzard got, they weren't all good. It's an interesting idea, but I think making too many instances this way would make WoW feel even more of the loot-piñata that it already is.
- The Jousting part is fairly easy, even if you've never done jousting before (I hadn't the first time I did ToC). Just remember to keep track of your pets hp (whether it be a dog or horse) and switch before it dies. Being dismounted while jousting usually results in death.
- The first three bosses are a random pick of five possible. A hunter, a shaman healer, a mage, a rogue and a warrior. Out of these, the rogue and the warrior are by far the most annoying. I'd even say the shaman healer is the least annoying. People usually prefer to kill him first, because he is a healer, but I like to kill the warrior/rogue first if I've got any of them.
- For the second boss you can either get Eidric (paladin) or Paletress (priest). When killing the mob packs before engaging the boss, don't pull too many. The Argent Priestess mind controls, so if you're engaged in battle to many of them, many in your party might be mc'd. And since rule #1 of tanking is to never assume people in your party know what to do, only take on as many as you think you can interrupt yourself.
- The final boss is mostly a problem for the healer to handle. He summons a ghoul in the first phase which you should tank, and alot of smaller ghouls in the second phase which you can try to tank.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 80

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Ding! I've finally dinged 80 at approximately one weeks playtime and two days short of 6 months real time. This final post probably won't be final at all, and in any case I'm going to make several posts of what to do when turning level 80. What gear to look for, the final instances and how to spec if you prefer to tank instances or raid. And maybe some other stuff if I come to think of it. Unfortunately today, since it deserves more time than I have today.

When I first started out with this project, and like I said it aint all done yet, I was really looking forward to it. And I have to say, it has been a hell of a lot of fun tanking my way from level 1 (well 15 really) to 80. The rewards have generally been greater than the drawbacks (instant instances being among the best things), and I can only recommend anyone seeking something new and interesting to do to try this! The increase in difficulty is very well balanced, just as you think you're about to have some trouble you get some new cool skill to counter any doubts. Trying to get the hang of warrior tanking at a high level is probably discouraging (it was to me anyway), so doing it from scratch is really the best and most fun way (at least I think so) to do it. And you'll definitely be awesome in the end, if you follow my little guide ;)

Once at 80 you'll fall all the way down the suck-bin. Everyone has awesome gear and you'll probably be around 3000 gs, which everyone will laugh at. Trust me they do. But you must also trust me when I say that gear really isn't much of a problem to tank properly. Unless the healer also happens to be really badly geared and/or you do bad pulls (or someone else in the group does of course), there won't be a problem. I have already tanked some heroics in my 3k gs gear and had no trouble at all, even when I've had 6k gs dps in the same group. Sure you'll lose some aggro once in a while, just taunt it back or remember that they're probably as capable to take a blow as you are at the moment.

To find all my other posts in this matter, simply search for "how to" or anything else in the title in the search area. That should work. Or follow the tags.

Warrior tanking is tricky, but extremely rewarding. Thanks to the fact that you get thunder clap so early in the game, and it happens to be about your best tanking tool, you shouldn't have much trouble keeping threat at any level. Just clap clap clap, tab around and throw some punches. I'll talk more about specs, skills and glyphs in another post (probably tomorrow).

Until then, take a look at my handmade and extremely beautiful collage. Maybe I have to start out with a new warrior now...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Halion Down!

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Shy warlock didn't dare get his soul caught on picture

Yeah I know everyone probably has done this already. Or maybe not. Raiding usually gets really slow during the summers. My guild is no exception, and I haven't been able to raid at all for weeks anyway. I hadn't planned to raid yesterday either, but some guildies asked me so nicely that I couldn't say no. And I had a fun time!

I had only watched behind Loves back when he was doing Halion with a pug some weeks ago. He was healing then, as I was yesterday, so I had a general idea as to what to look out for. I also knew my guild had tried Halion on the first night he had been out, and mostly failed on the death beam from hell.

You can read about a general strategy here (thanks wowhead), but I'll give you some other pointers to think about;

- My guild had tried having a general drop area for the Fiery Combustion. Yesterday we just dispelled it as soon as we came to the edge of the fires. It seemed like that tactic worked better, since it's tricky to keep track of a special area in a perfectly round shaped room. Just keep away from others. If you're melee, it's better to just run through the dragon, than back towards range (keep in ranged from healers/dispellers if you can't dispel yourself though). The Combustion does a really big knockback, so be extra careful with it (it's more annoying than Mark of Consumption in Twilight Realm imo).

- Classes that can't dispel themselves from Fiery Combustion are; Death Knights, Warriors and Hunters (Warlocks can only do it with the felhunter). That means that if you're healing you'll have to keep an extra eye out for these classes.

- When switching realms, there is a risk you'll enter in front of Halion (or behind). That means you might be cleaved, or tail swiped first thing inside. If you have 20k+ hp you probably won't die from either, but with extra damage that is inside the Twilight Realm it'll be close. I was cleaved twice (on four tries) yesterday. I never died from it, but some other clothies did. If you can, try to shield everyone with low hp/low armor class just before entering the Twilight Realm. If you can't, just beware that some might really drop in hp.

- The Twilight Cutter (as the death beam is called) will do damage on a slightly bigger area than its graphics show, so keep a good distance. Preferrably at least 10 yards.

- Most people use one healer outside and two healers inside in phase 3. If you're inside, there will be alot of healing everywhere, so don't think you can slack. The tank will take way more damage than any other phase, so the best thing is probably to divide healing amongst yourself. If you're outside, you'll mostly have to think about healing the tank (and dispelling anyone who can't do it themselves). If the dps isn't doing what they should aka keeping the realms at 50% to eachother, there will be -alot- of healing to be done.

If people keep track of their dmg in phase 3, stay out of death beams and have a general awareness (easy to say), this fight isn't that tricky actually. We usually wiped due to people dying from oneshots (and there really only are two, being cleaved and the beam). Good luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some thoughts on RNG

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RNG, random number generation... it seems to haunt me whereever I go. Especially now, when playing Pokémon, I realize how extremely annoying it can be. And yet it seems to be a standard feature of alot of games. Why is that so?

One easy answer would be that RNG is the easiest way to simulate what we usually call "chance" or "accident", depending on whether it's good or bad or actually rather whether it is truly random or based on fixed numbers. I'll get to that. In swedish we call it "slump", it's a good word. But for all you non-swedish speakers out there I will call it "hap".

So it is probably supposed to simulate hap, but there are two major differences between hap and rng. Rng isn't affected by anything around it, while hap is affected by everything around it. Let's see if I can explain it somewhat.

If someone is struck by lightning we say "wow, that's unlucky. Pure chance!". But actually it's not chance at all. All the events that lead up to that person being struck by that lightning are in theory measurable, they're just so damn many we wouldn't be able to collect them all. Ever heard of the "Butterfly Effect"? No not the movie silly, but the idea that everything that happens everywhere sooner or later will have an effect on everything that exists. One says that the fluttering of a butterflies wings on one side of the earth might turn into a tornado on the other side of the earth. Although that is a simplified metaphor, it is a take on trying to make chaos theory a little more understandable. And after people have been struck by lightning a couple of times we can say that "the chance to be struck by lightning is 0.001%" (or whatever it is), although it's really about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. In essence, you can affect hap.

Chance on the other hand, isn't affectable in the same way. We say that people are "lucky", but there is really no way to make yourself more likely to win at a lottery. Lotteries aren't about -pure- chance, since there is a limited amount of tickets. If you buy them all you have a 100% chance to win something of course. This isn't true with real chance, that occurrs in games. In games you can have say 80% chance to acquire an item when killing a certain mob. Since data isn't limited in the way physical objects are, the game could just keep on producing mobs for you to kill. There is no end to them and therefore in theory it is possible for you to never ever get that certain item, and there is really nothing you can do about it. In essence, you can't affect real chance.

If you think about it, it makes sense. People call odd happenings in "the real world" destiny, or someone is having psychic powers or what have you. But you'd hardly call getting that hard to get pet drop "destiny" in a game, unless joking of course. That is because we have a grasp about "destiny", haps in the real world, being affectable in some mysterious way, like I have explained above, but chance isn't. What some dude does in Dalaran will have no affect whatsoever on whether you get that drop or not (game developers have been trying to implement this kind of "Butterfly Effect" system since forever, but they're still far off). You can grind your ass off, but when that drop finally comes it was just luck. Some people do an instance 50 times for an item, some get it at their first try. That isn't destiny or hap, it's really just pure luck.

So where does that leave us? Well, chance can work to our advantage or disadvantage of course. Problem is, although we get happy when we're lucky, we usually get more unhappy when we're unlucky. If we do get that special drop at our first try, we won't be as happy as we're going to be angry about not getting another drop until our tenth try. If something had 50/50 chance of being good or bad, we'd be angrier about it turning out bad, than happy about it turning out good. Chance tends to make people more cranky than happy.

So why is it there? Many introductory books on psychology will offer a good explanation as to why chance is something better than fixed numbers.

An experiment performed on mice was testing in what way chance and fixed results affects our behavior. They had a button supply the mice with treats at different intervalls. If the treat was given to the mice at every button press, the mice only pressed once in a while. Whenever they felt the need for a treat. If the treat was supplied with fixed intervalls, like every tenth press or every 40th press, the mice would press slowly at first and then more intensively whenever they knew they were getting closer to the treat.

But when the treat was given randomly, on chance, intervalls when pressing the button, the mice just kept pressing it over and over. Since they didn't know when they would get the treat, they barely did anything but press that button. For all they new they might have to stand there all day to get a treat, but that didn't discourage them at all. Quite the opposite. Because they new it might take all day, they pressed more frantically than with any other intervall (well I don't think the mice actually -thought- anything about it, but that is how they behaved anyway). Most importantly, the mice pressed for more treats when there only was a chance to get them, than when it was definite. The treats had become more interesting.

This very type of behavior is what Blizzard is using "against" us in WoW too. And most other games around use this chance method to keep us interested in collecting, gathering and grinding. Think about it, if you knew you'd get a gear piece on your first kill, you'd only do that kill when you needed that gear, and then be done with it. That would make the game end way too fast. And even if they made it so that you had to kill the boss ten times before getting your gear (and they do it that way sometimes, by having you collect certain items), it would make it too easy to have the game work like that overall. Nothing will keep people interested long enough like chance. Nothing will make people do tedious grinding for hours like chance. Although they know there is a chance they'll be there for 5 hours without result, they still do it.

Chance has no end and no way to be affected (by us players). It's an eternal system of providing satisfacton.

I wonder if luck makes us happier about getting something than hard work? If we knew we could get someting after 10 hours of hard work, or an unknown amount of time trying to be lucky... which would we prefer? It's really about 10 hours fixed vs 10 hours -average- grind. That means you could get it sooner, but also way later. Considering how popular WoW is, luck seems to be a very motivating factor. It seems like we are very motivated to engage in risk behavior.

And although we get cranky when we're unlucky, maybe it's still worth it in the end. For the joy we feel over being lucky enough to have gotten our hands on that special thing.