Archive for April, 2009

A 10-Man Raider’s Foray Into Ulduar

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Sorry for the delay folks.  Work has been nuts the past two weeks.  I’m back now though, and ready to continue on.

Ulduar.  My 10-man guild, who has cleared Naxx but not Maly, got started a week late in Ulduar.  This past Friday we made our first trek into the raid.  How was Ulduar?  It was pretty awesome.  It’s hard, but not impossible.  I look forward to progressing through this raid.

After being told repeatedly, by someone with experience, that we absolutely WOULD NOT be able to beat Flame Leviathan, we beat him.

Contrary to some folks’ beliefs, Flame Leviathan does not require raiders to have mostly 25-man gear.  My little 10-man guild managed to down him in our mostly 10-man gear.  Sure, a couple of us have a few 25-man pieces, but the majority of us are 10-man geared only, with maybe one 25-man piece in our closet.  (I, for instance, have the valorous plate gloves.  That is my only piece of 25-man quality gear)

We wiped three times on Flame Leviathan before finally dropping him.  Apparently we were trying to do it Hard Mode instead of the easy way.  When we finally shot a couple people on top of him we dropped him pretty easily.

After FL, we decided to go after Razorscale.  Conventional wisdom around the intertubez seems to say that XT-002 Deconstructor is easier than Razorscale, but we had someone in the raid who thought Razorscale would be easier for us.

To this point, we have not yet dropped Razorscale, but we made quality progress on each attempt.  Our first attempt was a clusterbomb of bad.  The adds overran us fairly quickly.  For some reason we had three tanks trying to tank the adds.  This was unwise.  We only needed two and the extra tank just caused confusion.

After we saw where the adds were going to spawn and what they were going to do, we quickly came up with a strategy that, for the most part, trivialized them.  Our Pally is tanking the adds, and I’m standing around waiting to pick up any that get free.

We had a rogue clicking the harpoons when they were available to bring Razorscale down.  If you’ve done Utgarde Pinnacle you’ll recognize this mechanic, except you don’t have to pick harpoons up off the ground to shoot them.  You just need to wait for NPCs to repair the harpoons, then they will be available.

In retrospect, we shouldn’t have had a rogue doing this job.  It completely gimps his dps and he’s a good dpser anyway.  We need him doing real damage bringing down adds.  We will be using a ranged dps class to do this in the future.

When Razorscale lands, she doesn’t need to be tanked until 50%.  Basically all dps switches to her and our pally just handles the adds when she’s on the ground.  We made definite improvement everytime.  Our last wipe occured when our RL called to bring down Razorscale just as adds were popping up.

That will not happen again.

Considering we had one evening of Ulduar this week, due to RL sitiuations, I’m pretty encouraged.  I fully expect to make serious progress & hopefully down Razorscale this weekend, when we’ll have a full three-day raid schedule ahead of us.

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3.1 and My 2 Specs

Posted in General, Warrior, World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

First things first….YAY!  I am so excited about 3.1.  Other than expansion patches, this patch has been the most exciting for me so far, and it’s easy to see why.

  • Dual-Specs!  This is the grandaddy of all the patch information for me.
  • Ulduar!  This is the first time I’ve ever been raiding when a patch came out, so I’m excited.
  • The Argent Tournament!  Two words…White Hippogryph!  It’s actually called the Argent Hippogryph, but it’s SWEET!
  • That’s enough right there, but let’s throw the Arms changes in for fun!

I logged on at 9:00 p.m. last night as soon as I could and the first thing I did was buy dual-spec.  Unfortunately, the Armory seems to be malfunctioning, so I can’t link my armory to show my specs, but I can link them on a talent calculator.

For my primary spec, I stuck with Protection.  I’m good at it, and my guild needs me.  I did change my spec a little since I had a free respec.  We are going into Ulduar, unknown content.  That means I should be concentrating on survivability.  I went with a (5/8/58) spec with has a LOT of survivability options from the Protection tree.  Things I don’t always take, but did this time were Improved Spell Reflect, 5/5 Shield Specialization and Improved Disciplines.

For my secondary spec, I’m thrilled to say I went Arms.  I tried to concentrate on PVE dps, but I did take a few talents that are kind of PVP specific.  HOWEVER, they were in the bottom two tiers of the Arms tree, where pickings are slim in my opinion anyway.  I went with a (56/15/0) spec.

My hardest decision was taking Sword Spec.  I currently have the Titansteel Destroyer AND the Sword of Justice.  Typically you would think the epic Destroyer would beat out the blue Sword of Justice, but I’m not so sure.  The Sword is slower, which is good for Arms and the weapon damage is higher, which is good for Arms.  I lose some Strength and therefore Attack Power by not using the Destroyer, but I gain a ton of Crit.  It was a tough decision, and I hope I chose the correct one.

So there you have it.  A quickie post on what I did last night with my very limited playtime due to the maintenance going FOREVER.

Tank Fights of the Week: Faerlina & Grobbulus

Posted in Raiding, Tank Fight of the Week, Tanking with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

That’s right folks, not one but two Tank Fights this week!  Why would I go absolutely crazy and do two, count them, TWO tank fights this week?  It’s simple really.  1) Grand Widow Faerlina is not the most cerebral of tank fights.  2) Nearly every hit I get off of Google is someone looking for Grobbulus tactics.  Ask and ye shall receive!

Grand Widow Faerlina

Abilities:

  • Poison Bolt Volley: Hits the 3 closest players for 2500 – 3500 damage.  Also applies a dot which can be removed.
  • Rain of Fire: Hits players in the area of effect for around 2,000 damage every 2 seconds for 6 seconds.  Move plz.
  • Frenzy: The enrage we will talk about.

Honestly, this fight is a piece of cake to Main Tank.  Other than your normal routine, you have to remember to blow your cooldowns when she turns into an enormous red witch.

With two tanks, your setup will go a little something like this.  Your higher AOE threat tank will be tanking the four adds that are standing to either side of Faerlina.  The other tank will be tanking Faerlina.

To start, we have our add tank go up and pull everyone, including Faerlina.  Then our boss tank comes up and taunts Faerlina off of the add tank.

I’m not normally going to go into a lot of detail for off tanking duties, but this is not necessarily the off tank but the add tank.  The add tank needs to make sure to keep threat on all 4 of the adds, damaging them to the point where they are close enough to drop as soon as they are focused by the dps, but not enough to accidentally kill them.

Why?  Because Faerlina likes to Frenzy from time to time.  To get her to stop being such a butthole, you have to kill one of her buddies.  You’d think it’d go the other way around, but maybe it scares her.

So the boss tank is standing there holding aggro on Faerlina.  If you have Deadly Boss Mods, which I recommend, you’ll have a nice little warning that tells you when she is about to Frenzy.  This is where you hit your “Oh Crap!” button, just in case your dps can’t drop an add quick enough.  She hits like a truck when enraged, so if you aren’t geared you are gonna pay.  If you don’t have DBM, you’ll know she enrages when she turns red and grows.  Oh, and your life bar will start dropping like a rock.

TL/DR Boss Tank:  Tank and Spank.  When she enrages blow survival cooldowns.

TL/DR Add Tank:  Hold AOE aggro.  Get them low enough to be 1-shot by the dps and stand there with your finger in your nose.

Grobbulus, by popular demand

Oh Grobbulus, how I do hate thee.  Actually, now that I’ve beat you, you aren’t nearly as bad as your puppy Gluth, but you are still a pain in the butt.

Abilities:

  • Poison Cloud:  Every 15 seconds Grobbulus farts.  Fart clouds will deal 2000 damage to people standing inside them, and will last for 75 seconds.  They also expand outwards in size.  To know when he does this, watch his arm that is a needle.  When it glows green, that means he’s farting.
  • Mutating Injection:  Grobbulus will cast these approximately every 20 seconds in the beginning of the fight, and more frequently as time passes. People injected with it will fart a Poison Cloud when the disease is removed or after it expires it will deal about 8500 damage to the person injected and nearby players.  Unless someone is dedicated to watching this disease and removing it at opportune times, just let it expire.
  • Slime Spray: A frontal cone spray that deals 6,300 to 7,700  damage. Every player hit by the Spray will spawn a Fallout Slime.
  • Fallout Slime: Spawned from players hit by Slime Spray, those deal 1,000 damage every 2 seconds to everyone within 10 yards of them.  Hey Off Tank, pick these up, kthx.

So on Grobbulus, as the main tank, you want to keep him out of his farts and allow room behind him for dps/healers/off tank to place farts of their own.  If all goes well, your sole responsibility will be to backwards walk him around the edge of the room stopping from time to time to give your melee dps some quality time.  (see my illustration for a sample path, with sample farts)

grobbulus

As the main tank, you should never be injected and you should never have to worry about fallout slimes, although there will be times when you’ll want to grab one, such as when your off tank is on the other side of the room farting.

Grobbulus does start injecting people faster as his health decreases, so blow cooldowns when he gets low to minimize the fast injection time.  He also enrages after 12 minutes and kills everyone.  Try to kill him before that happens.

Note for all non-main tank personnel.

Here are the rules for Grobbulus, I normally don’t worry about you folks, but people really want to know how to do this fight.

  1. Don’t get in front of Grobbulus.  If he blows his slime and hits more than one person, more than one Fallout Slime spawns.  While this isn’t a deal breaker, it is bad.
  2. When dropping your farts after being injected, a good rule of thumb is to go where Grobbulus WAS a few seconds ago.  The Main Tank should be leaving holes in between Grob’s farts for you to go fart in safety.

Hope this helped.  As always, comments are appreciated.  See you next week for Maexxna!

A Change of Pace

Posted in Death Knight, Raiding, Tanking with tags , , , , , , , on April 10, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Knowing that I am a Tank, most people would probably see the title of this post and assume I’ve switched to a DPS spec or a PVP spec, right?  In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!”

Last night we started our weekly raid an evening early.  Easter weekend is going to complicate things, so we thought we’d spend Thursday and Friday raiding this week.  Some of us thought we’d do Malygos, others thought we’d do Naxx.

Personally, I voted for Malygos.  I had two reasons.  1) We have yet to kill Malygos and I’d like to clear all content (10-man) prior to Ulduar showing up.  2) I didn’t think we’d be able to do a full Naxx clear in two evenings when people had to work the next day.  (My wife works on Saturdays until noon)  MOST of our gear upgrades are going to come from Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad, so if we don’t get a full clear we aren’t going to get a lot in the way of upgrades.

However, the guild voted a 50/50 split on what to do, so we put the decision in the hands of a coin and Naxxramas won.

When we took the vote, I happened to be on my Death Knight, Kered and I happened to be tanking specced.  Here comes the change of pace.  Instead of taking Randul back into Naxx with no hope of an upgrade, I asked if anyone had a problem with Kered off-tanking since Jamason, our other MT was in the raid that evening.  Kered is undergeared, but we are a good group and I am a good player so we decided it was alright.

When it was all said and done we cleared Plague Wing and Military wing in just over 2 hours.  I know that’s probably not a speed run for everyone, and honestly it isn’t even super great for us, but it was above-average.

After six bosses, Kered had 4 new pieces of gear.  Did I mention his only tanking epic prior to this run was the Titansteel Destroyer?  I would normally feel a little bad about getting all this loot, but it was just going to be disenchanted anyway.  The two end bosses for the wings both dropped DK, Rogue, Mage, Druid Tier Tokens.  As we have no druid and the rogue & mage in our raid already had both pieces, I gots me some Tier Tokens.

Kered was originally supposed to be my DPSer, but I certainly don’t mind tanking with him.  I like tanking and I’m good at it.  It’s definitely different though.  Here are my observations:

  • Mad DPS.  Kered, in fairly crappy gear, out-dps’d Randul’s tank dps by about 200-300 dps.  Randul usually hovers between 1000 – 1200.  Kered hovered between 1200-1500.  That makes a pretty big difference.  Trash goes down quicker, bosses go down quicker.
  • Spike damage.  Kered can take some serious damage spikes.  While my dps and aggro was high on Kered, I never felt quite as safe on him as I do on Randul.  I should keep in mind, however, that Kered doesn’t have the gear Randul has.
  • Cooldowns rule.  There were some close calls, especially on 4-Horsemen.  I was getting REALLY low when all of a sudden I’m hitting icebound fortitude and cruising back to full health.  It’s one of those situations where I KNOW I would have died without it.
  • Healer confusion.  Both my wife and the other priest we had in the raid last night commented on how it seemed I didn’t take hits for a LONG time.  Personally, I don’t really understand it, but I’ll take their word for it.  DK’s do concentrate on avoidance, but Kered’s avoidance is still lower than Randul’s.  A lucky string of avoidance I suppose.
  • Don’t be a Deathtard.  For the entire gauntlet after Noth, I was in Blood Presence.  For those keeping track, Frost Presence is the tanking presence because of improved Armor, Health & Threat.  Blood gave me more dps and extra healing.  Huzzah!

What’s in store for tonight and the future of Kered?  For the future, truthfully, I don’t know.  I’m still rolling main spec DPS.  I probably won’t change that for the time being.  That being said, I do have a level 70 Rogue and a level 68 Hunter just waiting to start working to 80.  How many DPS do I honestly need?

The fact of the matter is, our guild has two tanks and our raid has three.  Usually only two can make it on a given night, and I am the most dependable.  For the time being, I’ll be tanking in raids.  Whether or not that is Randul or Kered remains to be seen.  I had no trouble tanking the two easier wings of Naxx on Kered, so he might stick in there for a while just so tanking upgrades aren’t going to waste.

For tonight?  Once again, I don’t know.  Our Pally Tank also has a level 80 DK.  He’s better geared as DPS than I am, but I don’t know about his tank gear.  If he’d like to try to get some gear and tank Naxx tonight, I’d be happy to hop on Randul and let him off tank.  If he isn’t comfortable tanking on a class he’s never tanked on, I’ll probably roll with Kered again.

This is already a long post, so I’m going to wrap up with a quick recap of what pieces of gear Kered obtained last night.

A quick explanation.  I took the DPS Tier Shoulders because as of now, Kered is a DPS character.  He was just filling a tanking role last night.  I chose the Tanking Tier Chest because I had already looted the Chestguard of the Risen Soldier that night, which is a very good DPS chest.  Trying to stay flexible here.

That’s it for now.  Join me next week for Tank Fight of the Week: Grand Widow Faerlina.

Tank Fight of the Week: Anub’Rekhan

Posted in Tank Fight of the Week with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

A special introduction

First things first, I’d like to say that I have been inspired.  I had lost a little inspiration in the last couple weeks, but then I saw a comment from one of my readers and it revived my interest in this blog.

It’s one thing to see that X number of people hit your site.  It’s another thing when they are willing to take the time to comment on your posts.  Thank you!

Having said that, I’m not sure I love the direction this blog has taken.  It has become more of an outlet for me to give a running commentary on my WOW playtime.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t what I envisioned for this website.  I envision this to be a place where like-minded players (insane) of similar classes (Warriors & DKs mostly) can get useful tips and information with some humor thrown in for good measure.

The Tank Fight of the Week

With that line thought in mind, I give you the “Tank Fight of the Week”.  What is this amazing new thing, you ask?  I’m so glad that you asked, that I’ve decided to tell you.  The Tank Fight of the Week is going to be a column I do, in which I give a detailed description of what I do to tank specific encounters.

I’ve done similar things in past posts, but I know these have been too vague.  The up and coming tank might have figured out that they need to run around the edge on Anub, but when should they go?  When should they hit their cooldowns?  Where should they tank him?

With this column, I’ll tell you!

Anub’Rekhan

Let’s start with your responsibilities as the Main Tank.  You will be tanking Anub’Rekhan.  He’s the big guy on the other side of the room when you first walk in.  You should also have an Off Tank to tank the Crypt Guards and Corpse Scarabs that spawn periodically.  The Crypt Guards come out of the curtain behind Anub’Rekhan.  The Corpse Scarabs spawn off of anything that dies.

Anub’Rekhan has 2 major abilities.

  • Impale, which targets a random player and shoots spikes up from the ground in a line from Anub and the player.  These spikes hit anyone in their path for some damage and shoot them up into the air.  They also take falling damage.
  • Locust Swarm, which deals a LOT of nature damage to anyone within it’s range, pacifies players within it’s range, and slows Anub’ by 40%.  Basically, if you are in range of this ability it will hurt and you won’t be able to do anything.

On Anub’Rekhan, positioning is key, and having Deadly Boss Mods is a HUGE asset.  The first thing I do when I start combat is charge Anub’, run through him, turn a 180 with my mouse and use my ‘s’ key to back him to where I want him.

Where do I want him?  Good question!  I want his back to the raid and I want to be standing right next to the end of the slime moat.  Basically, Anub’ should be in front of you, the raid should be behind him and the edge of the slime moat should be to your left.  See my extremely detailed depiction for a graphical representation of the fight!

anub

As I’m backing him to where I want him, I’m also building threat.  Since I’m using my ‘s’ button to back up, I’m actually clicking (something I rarely do) my abilities to establish threat before the rogue (Hi Fandark) pulls threat off of me.  If rogues can Tricks of the Trade you or Hunters can Misdirect you, that helps here.

Typically, my abilities used at the beginning of this fight are Charge, Shield Slam, Shield Block, Revenge & then Thunderclap and Demoralizing Shout.  This builds a lot of threat, provides some extra survivability if the healers aren’t paying attention, and by this point in the rotation I have him positioned correctly.

Now I go into my normal “beginning of the fight” priority system of Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate.  I maintain this priority system until 5 stacks of Sunder Armor (from the Devastates) are up on Anub.  At that point my priority system becomes Shield Slam, Revenge, Shockwave, Concussive Blow & then Devastate.

It is also fairly important to keep your survivability abilities up on Anub, especially when Locust Swarm is getting close.  These are Thunderclap, to slow his attacks down and Demoralizing Shout to reduce his Attack Power.

How to deal with Locust Swarm

In all honesty, Deadly Boss Mods makes this part of the fight trivial.  It warns you when the Locust Swarm is coming so you can react just before it hits.  I’m going to assume you don’t have DBM, however and do it the hard way.

As soon as you see the Locust Swarm castbar come up (You do have show target castbars on, right?) you need to get the hell out of dodge.  Remember how you had that moat of slime to your left?  Now you run for that moat.  On the OUTER edge of the slime is a block pathway.  This is where you want to run.  Do not go INTO the slime.  It hurts and you will probably die.

Once you get most of the way around the slime path, that Locust Swarm is going to wear off.  If you are very quick you will be through the slime and standing on the opposite side of the room waiting for him, facing him preferably.  If you aren’t fast enough, he’s going to be wailing into your backside where you lose your avoidance.

This is a bad thing.  Before I got DBM as soon as Locust Swarm ended I was hitting Shield Block and doing a jump 180.  How do you do this?  You jump and turn to face him.  This is somewhat dangerous because you could jump in the slime, but it also keeps him from hitting you in the back.  If you can do it without going slimy dipping, great.  Do it.  If you can’t, I suggest hitting your “OH CRAP” button.  For me, it’s /use both trinkets and /cast Shield Wall and Last Stand.  A priest shielding at this point is VERY helpful also, but we aren’t talking about healing tactics!  This is a TANK blog, yo!

The bottom line is, if your reaction time is good or you are using DBM to know exactly when to take off, he won’t catch you until you are standing on the other side waiting to say hi.

If your reaction time is poor he will be gnawing on your hind quarters.  That’s when problems develop.

After you have him on the other side of the room, position him so that the slime is now on your RIGHT side.  You want to take off running on the same side of the room you just ran on.  This allows your dps & healers to not have to run around like chickens with their heads chopped off.

You’ve now tanked Anub’Rekhan.  Enjoy your epics.  Next time, Grand Widow Faerlina!

Starting To Get Excited

Posted in Warrior with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Patch 3.1 is coming, and with it…dual-specs!

As you should most definitely know, I am a tank.  I love tanking.  I love being that last wall between the life and death of my entire raid.  It’s a lot of fun and a lot of responsibility, but I dig it.

HOWEVER, I also love Arms!  The Arms tree has fascinated me since I knew there was such at thing as multiple trees.  I imagine the concept of the Arms tree goes something like this.  A warrior using his weapon, with which he has trained for years, with utmost precision to damage his foe.  I will make you BLEED, and then capitalize off of your weakness!

So yeah, my dual-specs are going to be Protection and Arms.  I have two thoughts on the subject really.  I will either go full on PVE dps Arms or a PVE/PVP hybrid Arms.

My PVE Arms spec looks a little something like this.  I opted to go mace spec because I happen to have a Titansteel Destroyer already made.  If I could get that axe from Heroic Halls of Lightning I’d go axe spec for sure.  In all honesty, as far as dps goes this is a better Arms weapon since it’s slower, but the stats on the Destroyer are just beautiful.

My PVE/PVP hybrid spec looks like this.  I’m essentially trading Commanding Presence for Improved Hamstring and Second Wind.  I’m also trading 2 points in Improved Execute for a point in Tactical Mastery and Piercing Howl.  The loss in AP from Commanding can be overcome from other buffs so it’s not a huge issue.  The loss of improved execute, while sucky, just can’t be helped.  Second Wind and Improved Hamstring are just too important for pvp.

I’m already sitting with the 1,000 gold in my bank, so it’s just a matter of the patch coming out and I’m ready to roll.  Next time you see Randul the Dwarf, watch out!  I might be a walking fortress, or I might be a spinning ball of death.  You wanna take the chance?

I hate April Fool’s Day

Posted in General with tags , , , on April 1, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

First, I’d like to say I apologize for the absence.  This week has been crazy at work and I typically don’t blog from home, where I’m usually busy playing and spending time with the wife.

Second, I hate April Fool’s Day.  Veneretio over at TankingTips.com posted this little gem.  I have to admit, I was fooled at first.  I am proud to say that I didn’t go and say anything to anyone, it just hit me all of a sudden that this was too good to be true.  I haven’t seen anything saying it isn’t true, but I’m sure this is an April Fool’s prank.

I have more ideas in my head for upcoming blogs than I’ve ever had, so stuff is coming down the pipe.  I hope to get one out today.

Until then, enjoy your April Fool’s Day, and remain skeptical.