Archive for September, 2010


Kingslayer!

Booya!

I login Monday night and get a whisper from our raid leader.  “Got time for an LK kill?”  I get all nervous and reply “I can try :)”.  I swap to my disc priest.

I’ve watched videos, read tactics, but haven’t even seen the fight yet.  I zone in and meet up with the group.  A couple of other people haven’t done the fight yet, so we go over positioning and ready check.

The first attempt we lost due to bad defile placement.  The second fight we lost due to a tank error.  The third fight we lost due to really bad timing on valkyrie/defile.  The fourth attempt…we got him.  We make it clean into the last phase prior to the insta-death.  His HP is ticking down and I’m getting more and more nervous.  A voice is screaming in my mind “holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!” and I’m healing my ass off.  We lose one and get a battle rez right away.  The dps shaman goes down and ankh’s.  The raid leader announces “don’t release!” and boom!  We all drop like stones.  Congratulations go out in raid chat and the raid leader announces it over guild chat for the GM to see.  We get rezzed, pew pew and yahtzee!  Achievement spam.  By this time I’m literally shaking I’m so excited.  I watch the cutscene.

I thank my guild profusely.  We get screenshots.  I have a couple whispered congratulations back and forth with various teammates, one of whom I’ve been raiding with since my first guild in WoW ever.

It was one of the best moments I’ve had in this game.  I’m still having difficulty describing it.

My hat is off to Blizzard on this fight.  It was so well put together.  It had so many different mechanics, but without bleeding into the just-plain-annoying range.  This is not a fight that I think you’ll ever be able to overgear.  Yes, it gets easier, but no matter how much HP you have at 85, defile and valkyries will still kill you.  Raging spirits will jack you up.  This is an execution fight, and I think it’s the best one I’ve ever seen.  I know this is late in the expansion and we used the 30% buff, but I don’t care.  I got to kill the endgame boss of the expansion when it was current content.

Epic.

Now of course, I’m pondering my whole “What is my main?” post again.  I feel a rejuvenated connection with my priest.  The “Kingslayer” title may be the only one he ever wears.

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So what’s my main again?

So with the upcoming Cataclysm and corresponding gear reset, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about which of my many toons I want to make my main(s) for the new expansion.

Introductions:

Priest:  This is my current main.  I have more /played on my priest than all my other toons combined.  He is currently specced disc/shadow and is well geared in both.  He was my first toon ever created, but my second to hit 80.

Death Knight:  My “alt” main.  Second most /played time.  He was my first level 80.  He is currently specced frost tank/unholy dps and much better geared as a tank than dps.

Druid:  He is currently specced feral tank/restoration with decent tank gear, and still in boa’s for restoration.

Shaman:  Just hit level 80 last week and is currently specced enhancement/ restoration.

Now although you would think that all of my time investment into my priest would indicate that he should be my main in the future, this isn’t the way I’m currently leaning.  I guess you could say that I have certain emotional attachments to each of these, and corresponding pleasant memories, I am viewing this Cataclysm from a different perspective.

Each of these toons is a tool to be used to fulfill a certain task.  So first of all, I need to know what the task is.  In this case, I’m not planning on rushing to 85 in order to start raiding as soon as possible.  I think that will just lead straight to burnout.  The “task” in this example, is to have fun playing the expansion!  I am not going to look at this as a job, and am going to try to enjoy the process as much as possible.

So here’s my plan:

1.     Level the druid

2.     Level the shaman

3.     Max professions on all four toons

4.     Start raiding on the druid or shaman

5.     Level the priest

6.     Level the death knight

This is of course, completely subject to change at any time.  A certain worgen warrior might fit in here somewhere as well.  I might even alternate leveling the druid and shaman and swap back and forth as I go.

Let me explain my rational.

  • I really enjoy playing my druid.  In fact, if I had rolled a druid to begin with, I might have never even rolled a priest.  Druids have access to all four roles (tank, melee, ranged dps, healer).  With all of the changes that Cataclysm will bring, this flexibility means that I have a very high chance of finding a role that I will really enjoy playing with this toon.
  • My shaman will not be well geared before Cataclysm, so I will be able to experience the transition straight from level 80 quest gear to Cataclysm quest gear.
  • I think that shaman healing may be better balanced at the beginning of Cataclysm than some of the other healing specs out there.  Eventually though, I think this will even out.
  • I enjoy dps’ing as a shaman more than I like dps’ing as a shadow priest.  So when I’m looking at a dps/heal combo, shaman interests me more.
  • I still enjoy playing my priest quite a bit, but since I’ve played him so much, he’s going to be lower on the priority list to make way for the new hotness.
  • The death knight will be last, since he can only fill 2 roles which will be redundant to the druid, and I much prefer bear tanking to death knight tanking in their current states, and don’t expect Cataclysm to change that preference.

Ding!

I’ve spent this past week getting my shaman to level 80.  I’m not going to bother getting him geared up with Cataclysm on the horizon.  So what next?  Hmmm……decisions, decisions.

I’ve been interviewed!

Check it out 🙂

http://www.mmomeltingpot.com/2010/09/trade-chats-interview-with-raven/

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at MMO Melting Pot for this opportunity!

Raven

No this is not a pvp story.  This is a glorious story about my very first Forge of Souls (on heroic no less, haven’t done the normal one) on my bear tank that just hit level 80 the day before.

First of all, I hit level 80 on my bear, equipped a bunch of boe gear and sat at 32k HP self buffed.  So I thought to myself, “self, you should skip the dps’ing in 5-mans and just start tanking”.  So I did.  On my third or fourth heroic on this toon ever, I get heroic forge of souls.  So I zone in, check out the healer, who is very well geared, and figure, what the hell, let’s try it.

I should have examined the dps as well.  You see, we had along with us a 6200gs elemental shammy.  After the first pull, I explained my gear situation (still using the staff from H VH, which I picked up on my first heroic), and asked for a bit of agro time.  No response.

So we keep going.  I barely had time to get my first swipe out before a gigantic lightning bolt straight from Zeus himself lit up the mobs like Christmas trees.

Needless to say, it was absolutely hectic.  I had to fight for agro on every single mob.

Now many of you are probably thinking that this sounds incredibly frustrating.  It was, for about 10 seconds.  Then I realized that this was probably the absolutely best tanking practice I could possibly get.  The rest of the party was so well geared that we weren’t going to wipe.  Meanwhile, I got to practice every agro trick I had available, charging, using my maul macros, taunting, fff on cd on various mobs, the works.  It was insanely awesome.  I was getting agro ripped from me by dps, but I was in a minimal risk situation, and so I could experiment and really get used to my keybinds.  After that run, I made some UI changes, tweaked some macros, and realized that I knew far more after that heroic about bear tanking than I did prior.  Normal mode tanking in boe’s never had that challenge, at any level.

Now if we hadn’t had a very geared healer who could keep the dps-tanks alive, this would have been a very different run.

Also, I am not advocating doing this as an overgeared dps in a pug.  You won’t know if your tank can handle the stress, and we certainly don’t want to overstress and discourage new tanks.

Never-the-less, if you are a new tank and have some helpful, and overpowered guildies, I highly recommend this.  Have your dps go all out and rip agro from you every chance they get.  Practice regaining agro. Learn how to use all your skills and cooldowns.  You’ll be a better tank for it.  Plus, once you’ve done this in a controlled environment, the next time someone gets a nice crit string and rips agro, you won’t even get nervous, you’ll just grab it right back and keep going.

With all the broken things in WoW today, we keep hearing the phrase “Cataclysm will fix it”.  Well frankly, I don’t want Cataclysm to fix everything.  I don’t want it to be perfect.  I don’t want every class to be perfectly balanced with every other class.  I don’t want the leveling rate to be constant regardless of how you choose to play.  I want the bugs, imperfections, and imbalances in the game, because these add to the character of the game.  If I wanted balance and homogeny, I would play checkers.  Yes I want the game to be functional.  I don’t want to be stuck in a zone because the rest of the quests are bugged.  I don’t want my class to be so broken that I can’t even solo single quest mobs at level 80 in ICC25 gear.  But I want the variety, the different paths, and the choices that make this game something worth playing.

Burn out:

As I mentioned earlier, I went through a short period of burn out in WoW, but have returned.  I think one of the reasons why I survived it is because I’ve burnt out before and know what to look for.

My first MMO love was Guild Wars.  I’ve got a level capped toon of every profession, and 15 max titles on my main (a monk, and yes I’m kind of sad that dedicated healers won’t exist in GW2).  After pouring over 1500 hours into GW, I just burnt out.  There wasn’t much left to do to really keep me going.  I’d done metric tons of quests, explored everything, mastered every mission, maxed my rep with multiple factions, and solo farmed numerous bosses.  The economy in GW is somewhat strange for you WoW players, as there’s no auction house.  So in the main cities of each continent you will see hundreds of chat messages scrolling past in trade from buyers and sellers.  So trying to amass a fortune that way involved serious migraines scrolling through all of those damned messages.  The end game equivalents of raid’s just weren’t that much fun in my opinion.  At least, not enough to keep me playing.  And since GW isn’t subscription based, it wasn’t like I would lose money if I stopped before the end of a subscription cycle, and picking it up again is easy and free.

In fact, I have gone back a few times just to tinker around and say hello to my various toons.

Never-the-less, I burnt out on GW, and then started WoW.  I’ve since spent far more time in WoW then GW.  When I started to burn out on WoW, I recognized it.  I took a break, thought about the game, dabbled in various other games, and finally came back to WoW re-energized, but in a far more relaxed state of mind.

For anyone out there that is starting to feel frustrated with a big game like WoW that you have invested tons of time in, do yourself a favor.  Take a break.  Think about the game, specifically what you actually enjoy about it.  Then, when you’re ready, login and try something different.  You might just find a new beginning.

Battle cries:

I find it incredibly entertaining to incorporate battle cries into my adventuring in Azeroth.  Some of them are macroed, others I call out loud at my computer, which amuses my roommates.

Some of them are attributable to this wonderful blogging community.  Yelling “You no take candle!” before running in to heal on my priest (‘cause you know, priests use candles).  Or yelling “surprise buttsecks” when running in to smack something in the ass with my axe.  Or yelling out “You’re father was an orc!” when pulling a boss.  It just never seems to lose its funny.  Of course, DBS doesn’t really respond to the “your father was an orc”, so I gotta follow up with some “your momma was a leper gnome!” lines to sufficiently piss him off.  And just to be clear, I am not anti-gnome.  To the contrary, my gnome rogue is a serious bundle of death.

Even while questing, I’ll sometimes psst to some poor defias shmuck, “your fly’s open” just before I pounce on him.

Why does this entertain me?  Honestly, I have no idea, but it does, so I’m sticking with it 🙂

Healing vs. Tanking vs. DPS’ing

Why I love healing:

It’s all about control.  I keep this steamrolling team of badassery on its feet so that it might smite you badies, ‘cause you know, you deserve it.  While other people are creating sparkles on the boss, I’m creating sparkles on my team.

Why I love tanking:

It’s all about control.  I throw outrageously ill insults at bad guys to piss them off enough to try swinging at me.  Then I move them where I want them to die.

Why I love kicking the ever-loving shit out of bad guys: (‘Cause “dps’ing” just doesn’t capture the awesomeness of the role.)

It’s all about control.  Ever sucker-punch someone?  Remember how much fun that was?  That’s what dps’ing is, except ALL THE TIME!  You get to murder someone in the back/knees/ankles with complete impunity.  Tanks just keep their attention.  Healers just keep us going.  But we get to do the killing.  We get to optimize our gear/rotation/priority for absolutely maximum pwnage.  If we don’t kill that boss, nobody will.  And not only that, but we’re the kings and queens of crowd control!  Tanks don’t get to sheep things.  Healers don’t get to freeze mobs with arrows, hell no.  That’s our bag.

If John Wayne was alive today and playing WoW, I believe he would be a warrior.

Warriors don’t heal, outside of some quick battlefield bandaging.  Warriors don’t hang out in the back with the dress wearers.  Nope, warriors straight up murder you in the FACE! Or the knees.  One of the talent trees for the warrior class is called “fury”.  Now, the first definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for “fury” is “intense, disordered, and often destructive rage”.  What an absolutely fitting definition of a warrior.  These guys are so badass, that even though Tirioni Fordring himself could only wield a single 2-handed weapon at a time, fury warriors wield two.  Warriors are the kind of folks that when they’re after you and they find out you’re holed up in a house somewhere, will show up to your house and just straight up demolish the house while you’re still in it.  These folks do NOT mess around.  They don’t rely on stealth.  They wear big spiky armor, and will get right in your face and beat you to death.  If you’re out at a bar and hitting on some chick and her boyfriend walks up, you better hope to God that he’s not a warrior, ‘cause they don’t stand for that shit.  And if you cut off that woman in traffic and she steps out at the next light with two axes that are bigger than you are, you better just get ready for a corpse run.

These guys are the USMC of Azeroth.  When it absolutely has to be destroyed overnight, send the warriors.

And these folks don’t derive their power from a deity/alien/demon/element.  Nope, they just unleash their inner rage and go to work.

Now, combine all that win with a werewolf…