Thursday, 25 February 2010

3.3 so far

This was on MMO champion today

Warrior - Protection
Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%. Strength and expertise benefits have not changed.

We also have a +50% damage buff to revenge.

Two nice buffs in the pipeline assuming they make it to live.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


I can't raid at the moment because I can't guarantee that I can be online at any particular time, and when I can get online I have to stop playing every five minutes to change nappies, comfort crying child etc. I've been grinding heroics with my tank and my arcane mage alt instead.

Although heroics are easy these days now we massively overgear them, there are still some places where even a well geared tank can still die if you are not careful. Here's a list of four which occur to me. I've ignored the three new instances because they are definitely not AoE fests. I've also ignored places which impose any difficulty of execution (eg Skadi's gauntlet in UP) - I am only interested in mobs with surprising and dangerous abilities.

Utgarde Keep - The very first room has mobs that sunder armour, which debuff stacks to five. It's tempting to charge in and pull the whole room, but if you have a full whack of sunders up then the mobs can melee you for 5k. If you have four or five mobs beating on you for 5k per swing then even a well geared tank can die very quickly.

Old Kingdom - The Ahn'kahar Spell Flingers have a spell which does damage equal to 80% of the target's maximum health. These guys are also found near the start of the instance before the first boss. The spell can be reflected (woo hoo 50k hits) or interrupted, but again leaving these guys up too long, or pulling two packs (there is one per pack) can often lead to a dead tank.

Azjol Nerub - The Anubar Prime Guards have abilities to reduce the damage they take, increase the damage they do, and cause AoE damage whenever party members are healed. These should not be a problem if dps is awake, but what often happens these days is that the tank will rush ahead of dps and pull the mobs, meaning that the debuffs on the tank stack up several times before dps starts. By the end of the fight the mobs will be hitting quite hard indeed, so you may need a cooldown to survive depending on your gear level and how strong your party is.

Gundrak - The elementals before the Drakkari Colossus drop a mojo puddle which does 1.6k dps on heroic. This should not be too much of a problem, but again since it is normal practice these days to pull the whole room you can have overlapping pools and damage can stack up quickly if you are not aware or if your healer is not up to it.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

New alt

My wife presented me with a second daughter over the weekend - hence the lack of posting action. Raiding is out for the foreseeable future, but when things get back to normal I will get back to posting again.

Thus far my new little alt has trained the Demoralising Shout ability, and therefore appears to be following in her daddy's footsteps.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


This made me laugh. The song is catchy too.

Power Auras

I've found Power Auras to be a really useful addon over the last few weeks, and it has dramatically improved my performance since I added it to my UI.

Basically it adds a large customisable graphic whenever you get a particular buff, and you can add a sound as well. This is brilliant for dps roles which rely on procs - I use it for "Slam!" when I'm playing in my fury offspec, and for "Missile Barrage" and "Hot Streak" procs on my mage alt. Since these procs add a short buff, it's very easy to see if you have an ability proc - without the addon I had to watch the scrolling combat text to see if the proc name came up, or look at my (crowded) buff list. If my attention was diverted (eg I was looking at my rage bar to see if I had enough rage to heroic strike, which I do every three seconds) then I would simply miss the proc and take a dps loss.

With Power Auras, it's obvious straight away if you have a proc active and so you shouldn't miss out on any dps from proc events.

So - great for dpsing. But there's more.

Rotating cooldowns is now a key part of tanking, and Power Auras helps here too. You can assign Shield Wall and Last Stand to the addon (for example), so that you can see clearly when you have each buff active. This means that if you are chaining cooldowns together you don't have to watch the buff timer in your buff list, and there's no possibility of you forgetting to activate the second buff - you can see when Shield Wall has ended and know that it's time to activate Last Stand. It makes fights such as Heroic Northrend Beasts and Festergut much easier (these are particular fights where you need to chain cooldowns).

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


We had a 4% (300k) wipe on Putricide last night.


EDIT - We use the strategy where the boss is tanked next to the green ooze spawn point, and the melee stack there. This means that the melee do not have to run about, and you get much more dps time on the boss, plus splash damage (I was targeting the green add and cleaving, for example, to hit two targets).

About half the time the add will explode in the melee group, but with four of us stacked together it wasn't too bad (10-12k ish). We never lost a dps to the explosion, but occasionally I would have to burn a self heal (lifeblood, enraged regen or last stand). I tended to save shield block for the times when the green ooze was active, so that I would have high mitigation for those periods to take the strain off the two healers.

We got to P3 about 5 times out of 8 tries total. 3 of those times we had a bad transition which lead to a dead dpser. We had 2 really solid attempts - the first was the 300k wipe, the second I got clipped by the green ooze after taking an unblocked melee swing and a dot tick. 400 damage overkill. 13% wipe. Gutted.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Armour again...

Here is a thread from maintankadin. It's been linked elsewhere and is an interesting read.

Aside from the elitist jerks who seem to think the best way to get their point across is by insulting people (and Theckd has the patience of a saint, quite apart from anything else), the most important thing to take away from this is that picking the "best" gear for tanking is not straightforward - there isn't simply a model you can apply to decide what you should pick. The value of armour relative to HP varies depending upon:

1) the amount of unmitigated damage received in the fight as a proportion
2) how hard the boss hits (the harder the boss hits, the more valuable armour is in comparison to stam
3) the amount of heals that you receive between hits

The last one requires a little more explanation - if you are going to die in two hits, and your armour reduces the size of the hits, then your healers need to heal you for less to enable you to survive the second hit.

The thread demonstrates how just because a model can be expressed mathematically by someone who is very clever (and Theckd is indeed very very clever), it does not necessarily mean that it's the right model. It's better to take some time yourself and think carefully about why you die, and whether the mathematical model actually fits that.

This is why tank theorycrafting is so interesting. It's really hard.

From my perspective I've always loved armour as opposed to stamina. Having read this thread it's great that my instinctive preference for armour may actually mesh with reality. I've started by buying the Glyph of Indomitability to replace one of my old stamina trinkets. I have a clear premonition that Putricide will drop a trinket for me this week too...