(Gnome) Tank for Life


Is WoW & MMO’s one path of auto-evolution? Jane McGonigal@TED
March 17, 2010, 16:03
Filed under: gaming, philosophical, real-life, thought

“…it turns out, that by spending all this time playing games we’re actually changing what we are capable of as human beings, we’re evolving to be a more collaborative and hardy species.”

Celebrating the 1st double-post day with an awesome thought-inspiring talk @ TED, which was posted today on YouTube. The things she talks about are particularly interesting in relation to raiding…



Whiney Post Day: The Login Screen
March 17, 2010, 12:21
Filed under: philosophical, thought

“What is a Whiny Post?
It’s a post about your unjustified, unsupported, stupid complaints.”

Behold, in all it's glory!

In accordance with Klepsacovic’s call for what promises to be a very funny day of Whiney Posts, I intend to whine a little about something that has been troubling me for several years now, and hopefully do a decent job at it (while in reality will probably suck too much to be mistaken for real whining). Anyway, actually this has been a thorn in my side since TBC came out. Even before The Burning Crusade, I knew that someday some stupid expansion will come along and ruin everything. EVERYTHING!

I used to like logging into World of Warcraft. After starting up the game and listening to the classic heroic WoW theme, I used to sit around for minutes on end and enjoy the sheer beauty of the Portal, the ominous statues and the foreboding snake head, imagining the other side of that swirling portal which invited me to Enter the World, to see magical lands, experience adventures and fight epic battles. Maybe even watch the classic Game Intro just because. It was the Login Screen of my life… Then came TBC. My beloved shimmering, inviting portal was replaced with some ugly green goo-like swirls of foul Outlandish fel magic! The old music I enjoyed for years… gone! Just this stupid monstrous Dark Portal with these loosely hanging chain-things (what IS it with Blizzard and chains???) and a dumb-looking dragon head. Funky. Give me back my dangerous, menacing snake! Even the dark statues lost the evil red glow from their eyes, to be replaced with some green neon disco lights.

From then on I hated logging in, preferably not even looking at my screen to click Login, just pressing Enter after my password and hoping that Connecting and Authentication would be done with it as fast as possible. And I despised WoW devs for messing with the sacred Login Screen.

But it was not the end of the torture, the senseless disenfranchisement of the very essence, the very thing that WoW starts with, every day, for everyone. For when the next expansion got released, the already twisted and wicked Login Screen that was only a shadow of its former magnificent self was again replaced by this… blue, white, bright, snowing, ugly.. something. Just compare the dominant colours of the classic Login Screen and this.. abomination – warm, welcoming and friendly colours in contrast to a white, blue, cold and alienating palette.

I understand that WOTLK is played out in Northrend. I understand that Northrend has stuff like Icecrown and snow. And chains, damn them. I understand that the Lich King has a frostwyrm that invades and totally destroys your less-than tranquil Login music every minute with a horrendous BAAARFF sound. I understand that there is no portal in WOTLK that invites you through to the wonderous land of the Warcraft Universe. And wrongly so, if anything there should be a door you step through when logging in. I understand that few if any MMOs has had the original Login Screen through its lifetime and it’s natural for MMO’s to evolve and their Login Screens updated to reflect advancement and time moving on and whatnot. It’s not like I’m just nostalgic for Vanilla WoW. Or that it wouldn’t take Blizzard a huuuuge amount of dedicated developer time to make a small check box that sets your Login Screen to your preferred style.

Bah, I just want my white swirling portal back! Go away, dragon…



3.3.3 Prot buffs recap
March 11, 2010, 13:53
Filed under: buff, prot, tanking

Unless they really shuffle things around, these look like the final changes to hit warriors either next week or the week after that.  Let us gape in awe at the rarely seen combination of  ‘warrior’ and ‘buff’ in one same paragraph of the soon-to-be finalized patch notes.

Abilities

  • Thunderclap: This ability now counts as a ranged attack, granting it double damage on critical strikes instead of 150% and ranged miss chance, and still cannot be dodged or parried.
  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.

Talents

  • Improved Revenge: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 30/60% (up from 10/20%), can no longer trigger a stun, and instead causes Revenge to strike an additional target for 50/100% of Revenge’s damage.
  • Vitality: Now boosts Stamina by 3/6/9%, up from 2/4/6%.

Thunderclap
Bah, soon warriors will be left without a single ability classified as spell! Outrageous!! And to think this skill actually dealt Nature damage back when it started out; TC will never be the same again. What can I say… YES! FINALLY!

This is a badly needed fix that corrects a flaw that’s been plaguing the warrior collective since the days of Vanilla WoW.  This change will:
A
) no longer prevent using TC while silenced (Leveling warriors will absolutely love the ability to Thunderclap in low-level instances with silencing mobs, Maraudon comes to mind)
B) apply 2x damage modification (as melee) to all criticals instead of 1.5x (as a spell) – all the more excuse for us to pull even more packs!
C) allow the game to calculate miss chance based on your Melee +Hit percentage
so if you are hit-capped you shouldn’t ever have to worry about missing targets with TC. This isn’t a huge buff in terms of AOE Threat but it’s a damage —> threat buff nonetheless, especially coupled with the changes in:

Revenge
A staple warrior ability redeemed and revitalized by this straightforward damage boost and talent change, Revenge is an old friend of ours since level 14 and me having always loved it, it’s nice to see Blizzard putting it back to where it belongs: in our rotation! How it will fit in exactly remains to be seen after the patch goes live, but I’m pretty sure that it will be back up top, possibly on par with SS but certainly not below Devastate (ie. off our rotation) like it’s been since its last nerf. According to some EJ calculations, Revenge is looking to beat Devastate for both rage/GCD cost. Add the pretty option to talent into Improved Revenge again for 100% splash damage on a secondary target and it becomes clear that Revenge will shine as bright as a star in both single target/AOE Threat situations and also provide fans of the UA spec something new to play with. I for one am also happy to herald the loss of the random stun component which was more of an inconvenience in heroics and a plain wasted effect in raids. I definately will not miss seeing the Stun effect reported as  >Immune< every time I Revenge a Boss.
Thank you Blizzard for fixing a melee-attack-not-working-as-intended-as-spell-ability-mechanic and 2 formerly half-useless talent points, even if it came 4 years late! Let’s hope WoW:Cat deals with Taunt and demo shout as well!

Vitality
A slight modification to our health multiplier which brings us a little closer and even with DK/Pally health values. Prot warrs with around 3k sta will likely see a ~1000 health increase which is nothing to sneeze at (yay! I always wanted to use this phrase somewhere). More effective health is always good.

Conclusion: 3.3.3 and mainly the changes to Revenge is the best thing to happen to prot warriors since we got rage on avoidance!



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.



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!