Sunday, 29 March 2009


Reworked my UI

Here is the normal version. I have hidden a bar in the centre of my screen with all my "oh shit" buttons on it. I'll enable the bar when I raid to give me easy access to pots/healthstones etc.

I've also reworked my keybinds to hopefully make life easier in moving bosses around.

Also, most excitingly, I have downloaded FRAPS which is a video capture program that should allow me to take hi res videos of my raiding. I have a friend who I might be able to persuade to host them, which would mean I could link to them from here. We'll see...

Friday, 27 March 2009

Return fixture

Had a second try at Malygos last night. No kill this time though. Here are some of my thoughts (post copied from guild forum):

Our problem was not P3. We only made P3 once, and we were very close to the enrage timer so we went with 2 healers (me and [shammy]). Everyone else was dpsing (using 1 and 2 only, with fire shield when focussed).

This worked fine - we lost [pally] pretty early (it was his first attempt on P3), but still had six or seven people up when he enraged. We were at about 20% at the time I think. DPS seemed to slacken off in P3 as it went on, but I'm not sure whether that was the exponential effect of losing people (since you have 2 healers and 1 person shielding themselves from the surge, you only have max seven dpsers at any time, so a loss of the first person is a 14% fall in dps, the loss of the second is a 16% fall, the loss of the third is a 20% fall etc), or whether people were disobeying orders and healing themselves.

We wiped twice in P2 due to incoming raid damage (usually those tossers on the discs all deciding to target one person at the same time). I've specced into improved spell reflection now so that should mitigate that slightly, as well as letting me do about 1,500dps to the floaty devils by just standing there.

Our main problem however was critically that we could not get through P1 reliably. We had two wipes due to overaggroing dpsers (probably due to the sparks). We had two wipes due to sparks getting to the boss and him nuking me down. We had about 5 wipes due to people dying in the vortex. By the end of the night we had the vortex down and weren't losing people in it, by [feral] and [shadowpriest1] helping with hots. I think I need to work a lot harder on boss positioning. We were very melee heavy, which made positioning critical, and I think I can do better there to help the melee get the sparks down more easily and to get the buff. There is however a conflict between the need for me to maximise dps, and the need for me to move about and position the boss properly. I need to work harder here too, but I have some ideas which might help for next time.

Our dps was perhaps a little low - the last time I did Malygos we had [uberlock] and [ubershadowpriest] there putting out over 3k each ([uberlock] was nearly 4k) and [shadowpriest1] I think at 2.8k. Last night we had [shadowpriest1] at 2.8k, then a gap, and everyone else 2k to 2.2k. This is fine for the boss I think, but puts more pressure on a perfect execution and with people learning the fight we didn't have much chance of perfect execution, particularly in P3.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

In the name of the Light!

I hate tanking with paladins!

I have raided a few times with a protection paladin as my tanking partner. Their passive and fire-and-forget AoE abilities generate such a huge amount of threat that it is virtually impossible to keep aggro from them. Most recently, my fellow tank had materially lower EH and avoidance than me and so it would have made sense for me to tank most of the mobs on trash pulls. The way that rage works compared with mana allows paladins to front-load their threat - since effectively they start with a full resource bar and can go all out, whereas I rely on being hit to generate my resource which I then use to generate threat.

The usual way that a pull worked was him using shield throw (or whatever) to build early threat on 3 mobs. These mobs run to him and start hitting him (not gaining me any rage). My heroic throw was generally (it seemed) doing less threat than his shield thingy, so was useless for gaining aggro and I was literally reduced to taunting mobs off him one at a time to get any rage and to spread the incoming damage between us.

The general strategy that I have developed for tanking with a pally is now to find the biggest, ugliest looking mob in the group and to ensure that I'm tanking at least that one by taunting it, while spamming thunderclap whenever it's off cd. This means that I am putting out decent AoE threat, and hopefully reducing the incoming damage on the pally. If the pally dies I should then be ahead of any AoE dpsers on the threat table.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

"At 15.57 it became self aware. In the panic, Skynet try to pull the plug."

I read a few different blogs. This is a recent post from Yakra

In this spirit of this blog, I will report for all to see the reasons why I wiped the raid twice last night. It was my second time tanking 4H in Naxx. I am tanking Rivendare (the chap who starts on the right). We stack all our dps on the other side hoping to zerg the left hand side boss down first. We are a little fuzzy about what will happen when the boss gets to low health but we have three stacks of the debuff up (mistake number 1, or M1) - but it is decided that raidleader will call it as he sees it.

Attempt one - we get the left hand boss down to about 10% before the first switch, raidleader calls for the swap, and so we swap bosses and I take over. Over the next thirty seconds I get the boss down to around 30k health at which point I have four marks on me. No call to swap comes from the raidleader (M2) , so I assume (M3) that the raidleader wants me to keep going and try to take him down without a potentially tricky tank swap. My dps is not great so this takes a while and in the interim the other tank then dies due to having about 5 marks on him, and we wipe. It turns out that the raidleader was assuming we would swap without him having to tell us to.

Attempt two - We are clearer that we will always swap at three marks. On the first tank swap I mess up (due to Rivendare filling the screen) and click on the wrong mob (M4) . I end up retaunting Rivendare off the other tank (d'oh!) and then finish with about 8 marks total on me during the tank swap. The other tank then dies. At this point something bad starts to happen at the back of the room and the raid starts getting that unpleasant shadow cast thing, which means a wipe and partially (?) conceals my error.

Things to learn

1) Don't be an idiot and click on the wrong mob.

2) Make your strategy very clear at the outset.

3) Focus.

4) Be aware of what is happening around you.

5) Prepare yourself mentally for the fight, run through the phases in your mind and pinpoint the times in the fight when you will have to have to make critical decisions. Try to plan these decisions ("If X happens then I will do Y, but if not then I will keep doing Z").

6) Don't be an idiot and click on the wrong mob.

Monday, 23 March 2009


I can't normally attend the guild's 25 man raids because they tend to be scheduled at difficult times for me - either I can't get home from work in time, or it's during the day at the weekend and I can't justify setting aside four hours.

So I was minding my own business in Icecrown yesterday, when I got called into our Sartharion 25 man raid as extra dps since the signups were low - although in reality I helped out on the adds, since my dps is pitiful. My first ever Sartharion raid (I've just never got round to him before) in either 10 or 25 man turned out to be a two drake run, which we completed after one wipe. It's quite a fun and chaotic fight with 2 drakes up, although I can see it would be a little dull with just Sarth to fight alone. I got hit by the lava a few times, which was annoying, but I think I contributed a bit in terms of picking up loose adds.

It was pretty embarrassing to see the "Emblem of Valor" achievement pop up in gchat when I looted the fire drake though...

Karma was restored when two good tanking items dropped, but with zero dkp (we only use dkp for 25 man content) I was unable to bid and had to watch both go to a holy paladin for his offspec set for minimum bids.

Later in the evening I went to Malygos 10 for the first time. As expected, this was fairly easy for two phases (although we had huge dps which helped) - phase 1 is a tank and spank with the only complexity being to position the boss away from the spawning adds, phase 2 is running-between-safe-zones-and-nuking-adds. The damage I was taking from the dragon breath was quite high, but the healers mainly seemed to have it under control - although I did have to blow a couple of cooldowns to survive on occasion. Even on the first attempt where a spark got to the boss and he got the damage buff, I did not go down (last stand > trinket > enraged regen > soil trousers).

Phase 3 took a couple of tries to understand the mechanics, but once we adopted a "group up" strategy and assigned dedicated healers, we took the boss down on the third try.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky...

I have three ilevel 200 epic rings. I always favoured Keystone Great-Ring to rule them all, until one of our guild MTs described it as "poooooo". Chastened, I consigned it to the bank, and used the other two. Recently I have begun to wonder if he was right. Here is my analysis:

Keystone Great-Ring
490 Armour
+32 Strength
+75 Stamina
Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 49 (1.25% @ L80)

Deflection Band
+38 Strength
+75 Stamina
Equip: Increases defense rating by 28 (5.69 @ L80).
Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 36 (0.91% @ L80).
Equip: Improves hit rating by 25 (0.76% @ L80).

Signet of the Accord
+36 Strength
+73 Stamina
Equip: Increases defense rating by 31 (6.3 @ L80)
Equip: Increases your parry rating by 35 (0.71% @ L80)
Equip: Increases your expertise rating by 29 (3.54 @ L80)

Comparing KGR with DB
KGR: +490 armour, +0.1% chance to dodge
DB: +6 strength, +0.23% chance to parry or block, 0.76% chance to hit
Ignoring block chance and amount for now, it comes down to 490 armour versus 0.13% additional avoidance and some hit rating. KGR is better for EH, DB is ahead for avoidance, blocking and hit.

Comparing KGR with SotA
KGR: +490 armour, +22 health (assuming kings), +1% chance to dodge
SotA: +0.96% chance to parry, +0.25% chance to block, +4 strength, plus some expertise
Here, avoidance is broadly equal, so it's armour versus block chance/amount and expertise. I can't remember the exact figures, but I do know that expertise rating is usually twice as good as hit rating below the soft cap.

Ignoring the mean words of the guild MT, I will use KGR as having the higher effective health, and DB for the avoidance and the hit (I am paranoid about taunt resists, which are not governed by expertise). SotA will be useful for when I need to tweak my gear to include more threat.

Return of the King

The raid went ok in the end. On the previous visit they'd only cleared four bosses for some reason that was never adequately explained, so we started with Heigan, cleared the rest of the Plague Wing, then the Construct Wing, then Razuvious, then called it a night.

Highlight - for the first time ever I didn't die to the Heigan dance (the first attempt everyone else died due to a lag spike and he then meleed me down, we got him second time). I was tankng both times, which was fine.

I picked up a few new epics - a 2h mace for my dps set (I think I'll go with an arms pvp/pve spec when dual spec hits, assuming the dps is reasonable), T7 leggings to replace those I got from VH heroic and complete my 2 piece set bonus, and (most excellently) the +defence trinket from Thaddius.

I now only have one non-epic item - the Essence of Gossamer. I have 39 badges - one short of the number I need to be able to afford the Valor Medal of the First War, but I'm not sure I will take it. +122 stamina (with kings) seems better to me than the avoidance benefit provided by the valor medal, particularly with all this magic damage flying around at the moment. In my ilevel 200 epic gear I have just over 28k health unbuffed, which to me does not seem high enough to start swapping out EH for avoidance. I will probably use my badges to buy some epic dps gear, or to get the T7 gloves which inexplicably I do not seem to have.

Oh, and my hand was pretty painful, but with booze and painkillers it seemed to be ok. I guess raiding is back on for me.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


In preparation for tonight's Naxx run I did Gun'drak heroic last night to see how my hand held up.

The instance itself went ok, although a month without playing and my dim recollection of the bosses' abilities (I'd only been there once before) caused a few problems - there was a wipe on the second boss because I'd forgotton that there was a threat wipe at the phase transitions and was slow taunting, my dps was poor all night because I wasn't heroic striking enough, and I couldn't remember whether you were supposed to run away from the rhino boss when he whirlwinds so just stood there and ate it with a cooldown each time.

Otherwise it was fine and we cleared the instance in 40 minutes. My hand was pretty sore afterwards so I think I'll need painkillers tonight, but I should be ok. Fights like Gothik where I have to be mobile and pick up adds will be annoying, but otherwise I should be able to do my job.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Scar tissue

Here is my hand at present - 3.5 weeks after the operation. You'll see the j-shaped scar on the thumb where it was opened up. You can't tell from here but the thumb is badly swollen. I have very limited movement in that area and it's uncertain how much I'll get back.
My console gaming career is therefore over, and the Xbox 360 is on ebay. I'm not too bad at warcraft, since I don't use my left thumb to play. I have signed for a raid on Tuesday, which will probably be my first instance since the accident. Will see how it goes.