Archive for May, 2009

A Change of Pace

Posted in General, World of Warcraft with tags , , on May 29, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

The wife and I have been leveling our hunters, Calduin and Frona lately.  Calduin (me) is a level 70 Night Elf Beastmaster Hunter and Frona is a level 71 Dwarven Marksmanship Hunter.  Yes folks, the elusive Dwarven female does exist, and the way her pigtails spin when she casts really gets me going.

When we restarted leveling these two, Calduin was 69 and Frona was 70, so we have gained a level and we are both on the verge of leveling again.

My thoughts:

Beastmastery is fun, as long as you enjoy the pet aspect of the class.  If you are looking for more of an archery focus, go to one of the other specs.  From what I’ve been able to gather, the priority system for BM is Serpent Sting > Arcane Shot > Steady shot.  Of course you have the ability to go Big Red (insert animal type here) with Bestial Wrath and Kill Command, but overall, the archery aspect of Beastmastery is not all that intriguing.

What I do enjoy about the spec is, quite honestly, something I never thought I’d enjoy, the pets.  I have two pets right now, a Cat named Hobbes and a Turtle named Sherman.  First things first, yes, I’m a fan of the comic strip and Calduin & Hobbes is REALLY close.  Secondly, Sherman the Turtle is a tank.  Get it?  Sherman Tank?  Yeah, I don’t know how original my names are, but I do put some thought into them.

The reason I didn’t think I’d enjoy the pet aspect all that much stems from my D&D days.  I loved playing Rangers, but I preferred a dual-wielding stalker to an arrow popping animal lover.  Whenever I played rangers, I completely ignored the pet aspect of the class.  In WoW of course, I can’t COMPLETELY ignore the pet aspect nor can I even slightly ignore the archery aspect, unless I want to be a complete Huntard.

My lack of interest in pets and my interest in pvp led me to level from 1 – 62ish as Marksmanship.  Around 62, I decided to try something different.  During the BC era, Survival wasn’t too popular, so BM was the my obvious route.  I spent from 62 – 67 as BM, not really learning much because I never really grouped.

At 67, Wrath came out.  With free respecs I decided to try Survival.  I definitely enjoyed the playstyle of Survival, especially if I’m grouped with a tank.  The downside of Survival for leveling purposes, was that my pet couldn’t hold aggro off of me for anything.  I spent 67 and most of 68 as Survival, then 3.1 came out with another free respec.

That brings me to the here and now.  I’m back as BM and it’s working pretty well for me.  Sherman holds aggro like a pro and I’m killing stuff without TOO much difficulty.  I still have Hobbes for when I group though.

So here I am, sitting one bubble from 71 with Sherman and Hobbes ready for action.  I am a Beastmaster and I have taken the Beastmastery talent, so I’m on the lookout for an exotic pet that interests me.  So far, however, none have.  I am interested in the Spirit Beast, but who knows when I’ll be able to tame him.

At 80, I’m sure the wife will remain Marksman, but what about me?  I think dual-spec is in Calduin’s future.  A Beastmaster spec, because I love seeing a giant red turtle chasing mobs around, and a Survival spec, because I love blowing the crap out of mobs.

Thanks for bearing with me.  No Tank Fight of the Week this week for a couple of reasons.  1) I haven’t progressed farther than Kologarn.  2) There are no interesting tank fights I’ve completed inUlduar that I haven’t covered yet.

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Randul & Kered…NERFED!

Posted in Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will undoubtedly know that I am a huge proponent of the dual-spec system.  The dual-spec system allowed me, on my Warrior Randul, to have a tanking spec (Prot) and a pvp/daily spec (Arms).  It also allowed me, on my Death Knight Kered, to have a tanking spec (Unholy) and a DPS spec (Blood).

The good news:  I can perform the roles of tank and dps/pvp on my Warrior and the roles of tank and dps on my Death Knight.

The bad news:  Half of the roles I play on both of my level 80 characters have been nerfed.  Nerfed pretty hard in my opinion.

According to a post on wow.com (formerly WowInsider) the following nerfs will take effect as of the next patch:

Warrior

  • Juggernaut: This talent now also increases the cooldown on Charge by 5 seconds.

Death Knight

  • Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%.

What does this mean?  It means Randul the Dwarf will have many more opportunities to be kited by pretty much anyone who can kite.  Not only was the critical strike bonus of Mortal Strike and Slam reduced on Juggernaut in the last patch, but now they are increasing the cooldown of Charge.

How about Kered the Death Knight?  Essentially the only way I’m able to raid (as Tank) is being nerfed pretty hard.  A 20% reduction in the armor bonus in Frost Presence is nothing to sneeze at.

Does this kill my characters?  Nope, not really.  My main spec on Randul is Protection and my preferred spec on Kered is DPS.  Does it hurt my playstyle?  Yes.  I do enjoy pvp, and this is going to make it that much harder to PVP on Randul.  As for Kered, while I prefer to DPS on him, our guild’s lack of tanks forces me to spec as a tank in raids on any character I take.  I sure hope he can still hold his own with a 20% reduction in his armor bonus.

Screenshot of the Week

Posted in Screen Shot of the Week with tags , , on May 27, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

I give you, one happy Netherdrake.  Prior to an Ulduar run, I allowed my Netherdrake to … well … we’ll call it, “play with” Fandark’s Proto-Drake.

happydrake

Tank Fight of the Week: Kologarn

Posted in Tank Fight of the Week with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

*EDIT* Tank switching is no longer necessary on Kologarn.  Kologarn has been nerfed so that 2 stacks of the debuff are never on the tank.  We’ve changed our strategy to reflect this nerf.  Jamason, our Paladin tank, tanks Kologarn the entire time.  I dps and when the right arm dies I pick up the adds.  After the adds are down I go back to dpsing.  It has really become a simple fight.  *END EDIT*

Kologarn is the first boss my group encountered after entering the Antechamber of Ulduar.  You’ll have three packs of trash and two optional trash guys between the teleporter and Kologarn.

When you get into Kologarn’s room, he’ll rise up and say hello.  He won’t aggro unless you go too far in, so don’t be alarmed when he pops up.

Things everyone should know about Kologarn!

  1. His right and your right are not the same!  Make sure everyone knows which arm they should be targeting.
  2. The eyebeam hurts.  Run away from it.

Kologarn’s Abilities

  • Kologarn

    1. Focused Eyebeam – Two of those will be cast simultaneously, each inflicting around 3k damage, and following their targets.
    2. Overhead Smash – Inflicts physical damage and applies stacking Crunch Armor, which reduces the target’s armor by 25% for 45 seconds.
    3. One-Armed Overhead Smash – Inflicts less Physical damage than the normal one, but still applying stackable Crunch Armor, which reduces the target’s armor by 25%. Cast if one of Kologarn’s Arms is dead.
    4. Stone Shout – Channeled raid-wide Stone Shout, which inflicts around 1k damage. Cast if both of Kologarn’s Arms are dead.
    5. Petrifying Breath – Inflicts around 15k damage every 1 second, and applies Brittle Skin, which increases damage taken by 20% for 8 seconds. Cast if there are no targets in melee range.  This is where you wipe.
  • Right Arm

    1. Stone Grip – Grabs a target, incapacitating them and inflicting around 4k damage every 1 second, until 100k damage is dealt to the arm.
    2. Death – Killing the Right Arm decreases Kologarn’s health by 15% for 15-30 seconds, until the Arm respawns. It also spawns 4 Rubbles, that cast Stone Nova which inflicts around 8k damage to targets within 10 yards of the caster, increasing damage taken by 5% for 10 sec.  Rubbles are stunnable.
  • Left Arm

    1. Shockwave – Inflicts around 10k damage to the whole raid.
    2. Death – Killing the Right Arm decreases Kologarn’s health by 15% for 15-30 seconds, until the Arm respawns. It also spawns 4 Rubbles, that cast Stone Nova, which inflicts around 8k damage to targets within 10 yards of the caster, increasing damage taken by 5% for 10 sec. Rubbles are stunnable.

kologarn

Tanking Kologarn

First thing’s first, Kologarn hits like a truck.  We’ve spent two nights attempting Kologarn.  The first night we got him to 5% & 1%.  The second night, we came back in and he was killing me within 30 seconds.  We still don’t know what the difference was, but I know how I overcame it.

Veneretio of Tankingtips.com wrote an article about Double Potting.  Check out Are You Double Potting for more information, but that’s basically what helped us down Kologarn.

Before the fight starts, pop an Indestructible Potion.  This will allow to you either pop another Indestructible Potion after two minutes, or use a Heal Potion after one minute.  This will increase your armor by 3500 for two minutes.  The difference was noticeable.

You will also need your cooldowns.  I start the fight with Shield Block active.  I made frequent use of Enraged Regeneration, trinkets, Last Stand & Shield Wall.  Don’t forget to keep Demoralizing Shout, Commanding Shout & Thunderclap active if you are the only warrior.

We start with me (Warrior) on Kologarn to start and everyone else, including the offtank, dpsing Kologarn’s Right arm.  Our strategy was to kill the Right Arm, when it died switch dps to adds then to Kologarn until the Right Arm respawned, at which point dps went back to the Arm.  We completely ignored the Left Arm.

When the Arm dies, adds pop (see illustration).  This is the point at which the offtank (Paladin) and I switched places and I picked up the adds while he kept Kologarn busy.

Our reasoning for this was twofold.  First, if one tank stays on Kologarn too long he gets increasing stacks of Crunch Armor.  Switching at the points we switched actually allowed us to keep two or fewer stacks of the debuff on us.  The second reason for me picking up the adds is Shockwave.  I can stun the adds while they get burnt down.

When the adds are down, I help DPS Kologarn until the right arm comes back up.  At which point I taunt Kologarn, the Paladin goes back to dpsing the arm and everything rinses and repeats.

The hardest part, in my opinion, of the Kologarn fight is that your healers will need to heal proactively, rather than reactively.  They can’t wait for damage, they will have to anticipate damage.

The two tanks will also need to make sure they can switch when one gets two stacks of Crunch Armor.  Most of the time, our timing on our dps allowed us to switch before two stacks had been applied.  However, there was at least one incedence of the Paladin getting two stacks on him before we had the adds down.  I still picked up Kologarn, because I’d rather tank Kologarn and adds with one or no stacks of Crunch Armor than tank him with no adds but two stacks of Crunch.

The thing I might try differently next time is instead of stacking my cooldowns (Both Trinkets, Shield Wall & Last Stand), I might chain them so I have less survivability for a longer amount of time.

Overall, I found this to be a fun fight.  I don’t think we have it down, by any means.  It will take some luck or multiple tries to get him the next time we face him.  We are improving though, and we look forward to seeing the next boss.

Absolutely Amazing Forum Pwnage

Posted in General with tags , , , on May 22, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Zarhym, a Blizzard poster on the offical forums absolutely rofflestomped a troll on the forums.  You HAVE to check this post out.

The Original Poster made a post about how raiding is too easy and Ulduar was beaten too quickly.  Zarhym basically pwned him.  Check it out.

For those that can’t access the WoW forums, I’ll quote the OP’s posts & Zarhym’s post, but if you can’t make it over there go check out the merry making at the OP’s expense.

Shadowlegacy of to death or glory on the Drenden Server said:

“Please, someone make a raid that is challenging and not able to be beat within a week. Take the new raid Ulduar for example. People had killed Yogg’sarron within a week / week 1/2. make something challenging like AQ40 or Naxx40 where it used to take weeks of praticing and trying before you killed c’thun or kel’thuzad. Or at least make a bugged boss so that people couldn’t beat it to slow progression.

Thanks
Piece, Shadowlegacy
Edit: Fixed some spelling/grammer mistakes”

Zarhym, Blizzard Poster said:

“Is it any surprise you have no Ulduar achievements on any character on this account, Shadow? It seems the true challenge you seek is successfully posting a thought of your own on the matter.”

Nice!




Post Coming Friday

Posted in General on May 20, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

I had training at work today and have it again tomorrow, so no blogging.  I’ll be back with Tank Fight of the Week: Kologarn on Friday.  See you then!

A Naxxramas Oddity

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

This weekend, our primary raid team was only going to be able to get together for one of our regularly scheduled raid nights, which meant only one night of Ulduar.  On the scheduled nights that we couldn’t get our Ulduar team together, we journeyed into Naxxramas for an “alt run”.

The Team

These runs weren’t a true alt run, in that some of our members only have one level 80 character so they had to go on their mains.  On our final night, we killed Gothik, 4-Horsemen, Sapph & Kel’Thuzad with the following team.

The mains:

  • Paladin Tank
  • Disc. Priest
  • Holy Priest
  • Rogue (left & was replaced by a shadow priest on KT)
  • Frost DPS Death Knight

The alts/undergeared:

  • Kered, my Death Knight in his tanking offspec
  • Holy Paladin
  • Rogue
  • Warlock
  • Warlock

The Oddity

This was easily our most successful Naxxramas run ever.  Half of this group was either on an undergeared alt or an undergeared main and we owned Naxxramas like we’ve never done with our primary raid group.  We got new records for time on nearly half of the fights.  Two of these folks had never even been through over half of the raid!

To what do I attribute this insanity?

A few of things.

  • Our Ulduar  DPSers more than offsetting our lower dpers. When we were last in Naxxramas with our main group of raiders, all of our DPS were between 2k & 2.5k damage per second.  With this group, while we brought three dps that were lower, our Ulduar raiders were pushing 3k DPS.
  • Kered’s tanking dps versus Randul’s tanking dps. Randul is a strong tank and I love playing him, but Kered consistently puts out two to four hundred more dps than Randul does when tanking.  That adds up.  (I have no intention of sidelining Randul for Kered.  I only tank on him because our guild has a grand total of two players who tank, so when we raid with alts I still have to tank.  Kered is my DPS character, not a tanking character)
  • Familiarity and strong raid leading. Yes, two of our raiders didn’t know most most of the fights, but those that did know the fights knew them backwards and forward.  Our Raid Leader also did a superb job of explaining the fights to the newer folks.

The Lesson

I have to admit, I was shocked at what was happening on this run.  We were knocking out bosses faster than ever before.  We one-shot Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad’s second phase (we had a small hiccup with the add phase) with people who had never been there before.  Not only that, but our two newbies (I mean that affectionately as the folks who were new to the fights) stayed alive through both fights.

The lesson here, in my opinion, is that skill, paying attention and doing your job goes a long way toward balancing lack of gear and experience.  These alts aren’t quite ready for Ulduar yet, but they are getting there and I’m looking forward to taking them.

Congrats to Katrit and Rolanda on their first Naxxramas clear!