(Gnome) Tank for Life


Prelude to Cataclysm: Gnomeregan retaken!
February 20, 2010, 15:10
Filed under: cataclysm, gnome, thought

Gnomes rejoice! Freshly posted by Boubouille on MMO-Champion comes the jaw-dropping news all gnomes have been waiting for since the start of World of Warcraft: Gnomeregan.. will…. be.. retaken! FOR GNOMEREGAN!!! Ehmm… so yes, Blizzard has finally been gracious enough to listen to us and by the looks of it, recapturing the Gnome city will be part of a world event similar to the Scourge Invasion, setting the stage for Cataclysm. It seems trolls on the Horde side will have a role to play in the event in or around Durotar, which appears to focus on their moving back to Echo isles lead by Vol’jin.

  • Gnomecoming King – You assisted High Tinker Mekkatorque and the Gnomeregan Exiles in the recapture of Gnomeregan’s surface.
  • Gnomecoming Queen – You assisted High Tinker Mekkatorque and the Gnomeregan Exiles in the recapture of Gnomeregan’s surface.

My guess is that players will have to use Motivate to assemble a gnome army that can push the troggs back and drive them from Gnomeregan’s surface. This implies that after securing the upper areas the recap force will fight for the inner parts and lower levels of the city, perhaps eventually even reaching an end boss with tangible epics. All those poor gnome evacuees that have been continually escaping from Gnomeregan for years will now get to have their revenge. Brilliant Tactics and Gnomeregan Overcloak both appear to be used in the fight for the city, maybe even a covert operation of some sort, while Hydrodynamic Flippers and Frogs Away! could play a part in the retaking of Echo Isles on the troll side of the Event.

High-Tinker Mekkatorque will be receiving a new model with an upgraded weapon and badass glasses, this suggests that he will either be spearheading the recap force or could be involved as a quest giver.

Another possibility is that the lower parts of Gnomeregan will stay controlled by the leper-gnomes and act as an instance inside the capital like Ragefire Chasm in Org. In any case I would assume all those siege vehicles the gnomes have been building for years will come in handy. It is even possible that the surface area of Gnomeregan will become a gateway to the underwater parts of the New Azeroth, an underwater connection to the Maelstrom and the surrounding ocean floor. Remember from Blizzcon 2009, there is a whole new underwater tech system coming with Cataclysm that will allow underwater gameplay as if it were on dry land, only with the ocean surrounding you.

As time moves forward and we inch closer to Cataclysm launch, I reckon we are likely to get more and more additions to the game that steer us gradually back to Azeroth, slowly shifting focus away from Northrend and back to the Old World. At this point it is pure speculation but my guess is that if Blizz put all this teaser info in the PTR files, it won’t be long before we get an official announcement about the pre-Cataclym event that will leave us wanting more.

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WoW Haiku
February 19, 2010, 11:52
Filed under: philosophical, thought

Haiku: a form of Japanese poetry, spread around the world mainly in the last 100 years.

It is impossible to single out any current style, format, or subject matter as definitive. Some of the more common practices in English include:

  • Use of three lines of up to 17 syllables;
  • Use of a season word (kigo);
  • Use of a cut or kire (sometimes indicated by a punctuation mark) to implicitly compare two images.

From Wikipedia

Another not-really-tanking-related post, but at least some of these are on the subject of tanking.
There was a WoW Haiku ‘thread’ started over at the WoW sub-Reddit and going over some of the entries inspired me to look back on a some earlier Wow-related haikus I have read. When we talk about urban-theme Haiku these days (and most other times when people are looking to compose), it is generally accepted to obey a simple 5/7/5 syllable format and to keep the subject of the poem specific, in this case WoW.  I decided to not give credit here because I’m lazy, but my post-thanks go out to the original authors. So without further ado, here are my favourite finds in no particular order:

Tried to PvP
I am so invincible
When they ignore me

Spell Plate keeps dropping
RNG Wants me to heal
I cry for more stam

Female tanks are rare
We tank as well as the boys
Even in high heels

I love you so dear
when you misdirect to me
Threat spikes are so nice

Random Dungeon Time
Look, a death knight tank in greens
This will end poorly

What is a tank, then?
Invulnerable? No, sir!
We bleed just the same

Don’t look so smug, I
know what you’re thinking, But it
was just a set-back!

Rogue appears behind
You cannot do that while stunned
Winds weep soft sorrow

Hard, dark cavern’s damp
A hunted warrior’s shout
Dead, fell the spider.

Juicy Envelope
Your innards I do await
Ah, auction failed

We began Warsong Gulch
with high hopes and a premade
That was yesterday

Snow is pure and white
Winterspring is beautiful
A Yeti killed me

Tauren are not beasts
Forsaken are not undead
Gnomes are not critters

Hit the ground running,
Die at the flightmaster’s feet…
Bloodsail hat worth it?

Five days straight of WoW
Constipated, I still play
Where did my wife go..

Sources:

http://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/awprj/wow_haiku/
http://www.wowhead.com/?blog=81403
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=16904206978&sid=1
http://thottbot.com/v3859772



Poking monsters to death
February 11, 2010, 13:55
Filed under: dps, raid

The “Holy Trinity”: Damage-Dealer, Tank, Healer

It is a widespread belief in WoW that – in a general sense – the job of the tank is the hardest role with the healers’ being either on par in difficulty or in midway between tanking and DPSing. In any case, the role of DPS is regarded as the easiest of the three, with less harsh learning curves, the lack of possible stress which stems from taking responsibility for either letting the tank die or not holding agro well enough or taking a leading position and pulling mobs, all in all any DPS class seems to have an easier time than either the tank or the healer.  After all as a DPS,  I just have to poke the bad monster with my sword, bow or magic until it drops dead.

Nothing could be further from the truth…

AFK-autoshoot anyone?

In 5-mans we all frown at and pity the incompetent random 2k – 1,5k – 0,8k DPS guy (1500 DPS is the absolute threshold according to Gevlon, anyone doing lower in any heroic is unquestionably a moron) and perhaps rejoice at the random pro-rogue, pro-DK or pro-mage who puts out 6k easily on each pull because it speeds things up, but in the end it really doesn’t matter too much because we’ll still complete the run and cash in on our 2 EOF’s – if not in 18 minutes then maybe 20.

Hitting the mark

In raids it’s an entirely different matter. Bosses with enrage timers have existed for a long time, added by Blizzard to make sure that an encounter cannot be prolonged indefinitely, requiring that a guaranteed lower limit of DPS be present alongside the tanks’ health and the healers’ mana.

The problem which at first surfaced on our Festergut-25 tries is now becoming increasingly apparent,  namely that the latter half of ICC requires the same awareness, precision and dedication from the DPS folk as that which is normally only required/expected of tanks and healers.

Suddenly it’s not only us tanks or our healers who are required to perform near-perfection but our DPS as well. Suddenly everything I consider the base-line properties of being a good raid tank since the days of Molten Core – researching your class down to the tiniest details, knowing exactly what does what in your rotation and how will it be optimal to execute in a given moment, knowing how hard I was nerfed in the last minor patch, getting every single gem/enchant/consumable upgrade etc. that will help no matter how small, knowing the encounter inside and out, paying 100% attention from the moment the pull occurs and reacting as if literally my life depended on it, mashing keys like mad so that I waste as few GCDs as possible – all these things would now be required from every single DPS class in the raid.  Suddenly our raids are faced with the challenge of not only beating enrage timers but putting out sufficient DPS and exhibiting sufficient coordination, such as to deal with the interim trash waves on Valithria Dreamwalker.

Overall I don’t think it takes much. One part of a sort of maximalist-type of mentality, an urge inside that tells you to never accept anything less than the best from yourself, and one part dedication – feeling the need to overcome the encounter and knowing that the only way to do it is pumping out the best possible DPS you can. But it’s already clear that a certain minimum standard (Yes I am looking at you, Mr. 125k+ Raid DPS!) will need to be met by the Damage-Dealing department in at least a few key encounters if not every single raid, until then it doesn’t matter how good tanks tank or how well healers heal.

I dearly  hope all our DPS-ers obtain for themselves some form of Frostheim Goggles or find joy in some friendly competition so that our DMG done list will more closely resemble the excellent title header of OutDPS.

Else I might just reroll hunter!



/hug a tree today!
February 3, 2010, 14:03
Filed under: healing, PUG

…and every day! Because it’s good for your spirit and because trees need love and anyway, who wouldn’t love cuddling up to the warm leaves of a druid in Treeform, smelling the fragrant aroma of tingling nature magic around and under the softly pulsing bark… but I’m getting off topic.

Good PUGs are good

Recently I read an interesting topic over at Pink Pigtail Inn (yes I often reference her, Larísa is one of my favourite writers) about why people are usually interested in drama, catastrophies and other negativities but never the opposite, coupled with Shintar’s not-so recent post on how the once naturally close bond between tanks and healers has deteriorated, prompted me to bring up the subject in this post and pair it up with a good PUG experience at the same time.

Queuing up for my daily 2 Frosts yesterday, 10 seconds after pressing ‘Find Group’ in the LFD window I found myself in HOL with a resto-druid in the role of healer, a DK, a pally and another warrior, or in other words a full melee team of DPS with no agro reduction capabilities whatsoever. Immediately I saw that the tree will have her work cut out as she had some 14k-ish mana and an assortment of blues and greens, no heirlooms. Yet, judging by the immediate GOTW and thorns on everybody, the well-fed buff and frostwyrm flask (yes, in a heroic!) I thought to myself “There will be no problems”.

And there weren’t any! I went all out as usual, had vigilance on the highest DPS (the warrior, of course) and even ran the whole thing in full Effective Health gear. Granted I didn’t pull 2 packs of elementals or run the gauntlet in one go like I normally do, poor druid was drinking after every almost second pull (planted the moment we exited combat) but managed to apply HOTs flawlessly, immediately rezzed the pally after dying on Slags and even managed to save one DK from something like 5% health when we got to the nasty Runeshapers with their 360′ AOEs. Needless to say even though we had a minimum of 3 x 2 interrupts in party, I alone was shieldbashing and concussion blowing every lightning-dwarf. To sum it up, the tree healed the instance like a pro and I’m guessing she had another healer somewhere and was leveling the tree as an alt (but still, no heirlooms..). It’s an old habit of mine to emote /hug on every healer at least once during the course of every instance (to reinforce that “I depend on my healer-my healer depends on me” bond Shintar mentioned earlier) but this druid deserved a /hug AND a /pat, AND a /cheer, plus some verbal acknowledgement on the great job she did on healing in her undergeared setup. As I recall, I did a lot, lot worse on my first few heroics when I made my druid a healer. And kindly she accepted, even making a /happy emote at me, perhaps simply out of amusement for the silly gnome jumping around a dead Loken while commending her healing skills.

A good tank is happy when her healer is happy!



With privilige comes responsibility
February 1, 2010, 13:58
Filed under: advice, PUG, thought

The position of tank

And I don’t mean in-game. In today’s PUG environment the tank is expected to know the instance he’s tanking, to keep agro on everything, and to make the run quick. The “gogogo” mentality that I think originates from a big chunk or players only using the LFD tool to get their 2xFrosts quickly, is so prevailant that even Veneratio has posted advice on how best to speed up the pace of pulling. Not one second wasted, no sir.

Now, tanks are in the position to dictate the speed of clearing an instance but does this mean we are free to use the rest of the party like an extension of our arms, doing what we want at will and expecting 4 other players to adept without a word and like it? Although they may not say a word, in each instance we are running with a party of 5, 3 of which have been sitting in queue for possibly 10-20 minutes. Thus they may rightfully expect a fast run but not at the expense of the healer. Now, I’m not saying that every PUG’s wishes should be the tank’s command, but given his position, one of the best traits of a good tank is that he considers the other 4-24 people he’s working with. We expect all DPS and healers to do their job and assist us in doing ours, we should accept no less from ourselves.



Alt Truism
February 1, 2010, 13:33
Filed under: gaming, thought

Alts

Some people love them, some people hate them, some have none, others have more, more still have one toon of almost every class.

Long gone are the days of the World of Warcraft where having one single main meant that you are a dedicated player who is solely focusing his/her attention and game time on making better one character above all and that character alone. Those day in World of Warcraft where healers and tanks were so inapt at doing sufficient DPS to kill even one simple outdoor mob their level in a timely fashion, that each had a hunter farmer just to gather consumables for their mains, or the money to pay for them.

In today’s WoW,  some hardcore guilds will outright require that you have an alt-main, a character comparable in gear to your main, a character you can use to raid limited-attempt bosses so that when the time comes to take your main-main into the instance you will have already learned the fight sufficiently enough to be able to save any wipes, deaths or other inconveniences. Other hardcore guilds just insist on using all your available alts for purposes of saronite gathering for your main’s craftables, whether you like it or not. I was simply doing it out of dedication (and the lack of ~20k gold to buy them) but some folks make this practice mandatory.

Folks at Blizzard  themselves seem to be encouraging alt-play, in a growing number of ways:

  • Hodir enchants/shoulder enchants made BOA
  • Heirlooms and the  +20-25% XP gain
  • Upcoming Cataclysm changes (achievements made global/account-wide)

This really brings up many questions concerning the future, such as:

  • Will they  increase the 10 character/server limit?
  • Will they think of more ways to encourage tanking/healing style of play to remedy the current situation of 1 tank for every 4 healers, 1 healer for every 8 dps?
  • Given that any alt may be brought up to the current tier level of gear,  will there be an incentive to actually stick with one class?
  • And appropriately, assume that 80% of the player base will have a lvl85 of every class there is, where will we go from there?
  • With people running out of new avatars to play will they finally break down the horde-alliance social barrier as some people speculate?

Only time will tell…

Relevant add-on: Altoholic



Motivational Raid Leading
February 1, 2010, 11:53
Filed under: raid

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