Archive for July, 2009

Going down with the ship

Posted in Player vs Player, World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Going down with the ship is supposed to be the Captain’s job, and maybe that’s why I do it.  I consider myself a Captain when I’m in a battleground.  I’m not the most well geared, but I typically have an idea what strategy will work best and I play to win.

What is going down with the ship?  The best example I can think of is when solo-defending a node in Arathi Basin and a group of Horde (or Alliance if you are a bad guy) come to take it from you.

You have two choices at this point.  Run and live.  Stay and die.  My inspiration for this post is a Death Knight who was guarding the Farm the other day.  I was at the Lumber Mill, so I saw the whole scenario unfold.  (On a side note, I’m the one who called the incoming…not him)  He was all by himself and saw about 4 Horde coming at him.  What did he do?

He ran away.  He lived and didn’t suffer the stinging indignity of defeat.  Or did he?  We lost the Farm in fairly short order and it was essentially his fault.  Sure, we might have lost the farm anyway, but could he have held out until reinforcements arrived?  Could he have lived just long enough for someone else to come and occupy the horde until even MORE reinforcements arrived?

That’s what I was planning.  He was going to die.  There is no doubt in my mind.  I couldn’t have reached the farm quick enough to do anything other than interupt their attempt at capping that node.  That’s the point though isn’t it?  If he held them off long enough for me to get there, and then I held them off long enough for someone else to get there, we are still accumulating resources for holding that node.

That’s why I’ll ALWAYS go down with the ship.  I may not get as many kills or do as much damage or have the glory job, but people like me create wins in BGs.  We are the unsung heroes.  We defend.

When one lonely horde comes after me, I defend.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I die, but I die defending.  When two horde come after me, I defend.  When 10 Horde come after me, I defend.  On the occasions where I face overwhelming odds, but defend long enough for my reinforcements arrive and save the day?  The victory is oh so sweet.

So to all of you out there who play in BGs, I have this to say.  Defend the nodes.  Call out when enemies are incoming, and go down with the ship.  If you run, the enemy accomplishes their goal that much faster.

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The quest for a new 2-hander

Posted in Player vs Player, Raiding, Warrior, World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

I’ve been splitting my time about 25/75 in WOW lately.  25% of the time, I raid.  The other 75% of the time, I pvp.  I’ve got what I consider a pretty solid starter set going.  I’m 5-piece Hateful gear, Deadly neck, cape, wrists & boots and Wintergrasp belt and trinket.

The only PVP upgrades I’m missing at this point are rings, one trinket and my weapons.  I say weapons half-heartedly because when I say weapons, I mean my ranged weapon.  Sure, I’d pick up an Arena weapon if I managed to get my rating that high, but for now I’m just itching to get my hands on an Ulduar weapon.

Fortunately, my guild is currently downing three bosses in Ulduar who drop 2-handed weapons for me, two of which are on “farm status”.

Ignis drops Relentless Edge.  Relentless Edge is a polearm, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it lacks the STR of other weapons in favor of pure attack power.  This wouldn’t really matter to me in Arena, as I don’t have a pally partner to give me kings.  This thing comes with a crapton of crit, but the speed is a little fast and the topend damage isn’t nearly as high as others.  Still, this is a solid upgrade over the Destroyer.  This weapon would probably be my last choice of upgrades, if I got to choose.

Flame Leviathan drops Ironsoul.  Ironsoul is the easiest Ulduar weapon to get because you have to get by Flame Leviathan just to have a chance at any of the others.  Ironsoul is also a very solid upgrade to my Titansteel Destroyer, packing Armor Pen and a whopping 131 more topend damage.  It loses some AP from Strength, but it has more Stamina and CRIT, which the Destroyer sorely lacks.    Ironsoul would be my second choice of Ulduar upgrades.

Hodir drops Stormedge.  This would probably be my first choice of upgrades.  For PVP, it’s probably not QUITE as good as Ironsoul, but I’m really itching to switch to Axe spec and get that 5% crit chance & damage.  With Axe spec, this thing moves ahead, as the 5% crit would definitely be more than the crit from Ironsoul.  It’s got STR, Stam, Armor Pen & hit.  Hit is usually not the most heavily weighted stat in PVP, but the fact is I’m a little under the 5% hit cap on Randul, so it can’t hurt.

The good news is, I have access to these weapons.  The not so great news is that I’m second in line to pick them up.  (Third if you count hunters for the polearm)  A guildmate is still using the Collosal Skull-Clad Cleaver and DPS is his main raiding spec, so he’ll get dibs over me.

HOWEVER, once one of these drops for him, I’ll be swooping in and getting the tools to take my Arena team to a new level.  Speaking of my arena team, my partner & I went 9 – 1 last night and broke 1,000 rating.  We stopped while we were still fresh, but we weren’t showing any signs of slowing down.  The one loss we had was truly a fluke.  A hunter disengaged, I charged to get the killing blow and he just happened to disengage on top of the pillar in the Orgrimmar Arena as it was going up.  There’s no possible way he planned that.  RNG strikes and kills.

On a side note, as I said above, DG has killed Hodir.  Thanks for playing, please come again.

Tank Fight of the Week: Auriaya

Posted in Raiding, Tank Fight of the Week, Tanking, World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , on July 22, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Time to come back with a new Tank Fight of the Week.  This week I’m going to talk about Auriaya, as I feel I finally have enough experience with her to give a good walkthrough.

Abilities

Auriaya has:

  • Sonic ScreechA Sonic Shockwave that deals 60125 to 69875 Physical damage to all enemies in its path.  The Shockwave damge is split between all targets in its path.
  • Sentinal BlastA massive blast that inflicts 3500 Shadow damage and increases Shadow damage taken by 100% for 5 sec.
  • Terrifying ScreechThe screech strikes fear into the hearts of all nearby enemies, causing them to flee in horror for 3 sec.
  • Guardian SwarmTargets a player to be assaulted by the Guardian Swarm.

Sanctum Sentries have:

  • Savage PounceA savage pounce that inflicts 2775 to 3225 Physical damage and an additional 2313 to 2687 Physical damage every 1 sec for 5 sec.
  • Strength of the PackThe presence of other members of the pack increases damage done by 30% to all members of the pack within 10 yards.

Feral Defenders have:

  • Feral EssenceEach essence increases the damage dealt by the Feral Defender by 50%.  The Feral Defender can revive itself at the cost of one of its Feral Essences.
  • Feral RushCharges an enemy, dealing Shadow damage and interrupting spell cast for 6 sec.
  • Feral PounceThe Feral Defender pounces the target stunning them for 4 sec and inflicting Shadow damage every 1 sec.
  • Seeping Feral EssenceThe Seeping Essence of the Feral Defender Inflicts 4500 Shadow damage every 1 sec.  (aka, bad stuff you do’nt stand in, occurs on death)

The Pull

First thing’s first, you have to nail the pull.  She’s not like other bosses where you just charge in screaming or use a ranged attack to pull, no sir…not this chick.  Whoever pulls this chick better not be the person who gets hit first or they are gonna die all over the place.

You see, Auriaya has two kittens (Sanctum Sentries).  They are cute and all, but they have some serious leaping and clawing ability.  If you are far enough way from them when they aggro, they pounce and you bite the big one.  The idea is for the puller to either transfer the aggro (via Hunter’s misdirect) or not be in LoS when they pull (via Death Knight”s Death and Decay or Shaman totems).

sampson-1

The pull is easiest with a hunter.  We have everyone stack up on the tank (see my fine art illustration) while the hunter goes out and misdirects to the tank.  The cats and Auriaya come screaming around the corner, but when they see the person they have aggro on they are too close to pounce!  Good news.

auriayapic

As the tank during the pull, my job is to live and get snap aggro.  As they are running towards the corner I am hitting shield wall and blood rage so I can immediately thunderclap and start beating on them with my normal rotation.  My job, once things stabalize is to keep Auriaya on me while the Pally tank holds the kitties.  The DPS kills the kitties one at a time and, for me at least, it becomes more of a tank and spank with a twist.

Other methods we’ve used to pull are the Death Knight dropping Death and Decay to get aggro while the Pally drops concecrate on the group.  The bad guys get aggro on the DK, but when they move into the Concecrate they get aggro on the Pally.  I’ll usually taunt Auriaya while the Pally keeps the kittens.  The craziest method we’ve done is to have the Paladin bubble himself and walk around in plain sight of the cat lady like he’s lost.  They aggro on him, but can’t damage him because he’s bubbled.  So they come looking for someone else to eat, which is supposed to be me.  This works because once they get to him and see they can’t eat him, they look for someone else, but everyone else is too close to pounce.

The Fight

Once things have stabilized and the first two Sanctum Sentries are down, I pull Auriaya out of the corner and put her back to the stairs she just came up to get to us.  At this point in the fight my responsibilities are fivefold.

  1. Don’t die.
  2. Hold threat.
  3. Keep her from standing on/near the Seeping Feral Essence.  (Bad stuff that is black and round and you can’t miss)
  4. When she casts Terrifying Screech use Berserker Rage so she doesn’t fear me.
  5. After using Berserker Rage to not get feared, interrupt her Sentinel Blast.

That’s it folks.  The hardest part of this fight is most definitely the pull.  Once you get the pull down, your job is to not get feared and interrupt her Sentinel Blast.  That’s why I am so awesome for this fight.  I never get feared, thanks to Berserker Rage and I can always interrupt thanks to Shield Bash.

WOW Podcasts

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

For something a little different, I thought I’d talk about some WOW Podcasts I listen to, why I like them & where you can find them.

I drive 45 minutes one way to work.  That means I have about an hour and a half each day to fill.  How do I fill this time?  Podcasts!  I download all of these podcasts from iTunes and listen to them on my iPod in the car.  I think most of these can also be listened to live on the internet, but I never do so.

WOW Radio

I’m going to bunch a few podcasts together under the WOW Radio title since they are all on the WOW Radio website.  You can find Casually Hardcore, Blue Plz! and Octale and Hordak Versus the World on the www.wcradio.com website.

Casually Hardcore

I really love this podcast.  I think it is probably my favorite podcast, although it’s in a tight race with The Instance, which I’ll be talking about later.  What I like most about this podcast is that the hosts are fun and funny.  Gnomewise, Iolite, Gwennora, Grail and sometimes Daksa are a delight to listen to and I really enjoy their commaraderie.

They look at things from a perspective I can relate to, the time challenged WOW player.  They raid 10-man content, which is right up my alley.  The only critique I would have for this crew is that their information is sometimes not accurate.  Granted, no one is right all the time, but they do throw some innacurate stuff out there from time to time.

Casually Hardcore airs live on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. CEST

Blue Plz!

This is a podcast hosted by Total Biscuit.  TB is something of an elitist hardcore raider.  My critique would come in right there, he often looks at folks like me as if they are scrubs when they are really just time-challenged.  (I’m fairly certain that if my guild raided more than 4 – 5 hours a week we’d be a LOT farther into Ulduar right now)  I do agree with much that he says though, especially when he talks about “entitled casuals”.

I find the raiding insight on this podcast to be top notch.  I enjoy how opinionated TB is, even if I don’t always agree with him 100%.  I do tend to agree with him more than I disagree though.

Blue Plz! airs life on Fridays at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Octale and Hordak Versus the World

I’m very sorry to say that I just learned this Podcast has been canceled.  It was a very funny podcast about general gaming and not just WOW.  You can still find archives of this podcast at www.wcradio.com

That’s it for the WOW Radio podcasts I listen to.  I used to listen to WOW Things Considered, which is hosted by Cadwallion and Duncor, but I kind of lost track of it.  I may check it out again since Octale and Hordak have called it quits.

The Instance

This podcast is probably my second favorite.  It is hosted by Scott Johnson and Randy Jordan (AKA Randy Deluxe).  These two guys are very funny and provide some interesting perspective into World of Warcraft.

Scott is what I would call the primary host, but lacks the knowledge that Randy has about WOW.  Together I think they make a great team.  As with Casually Hardcore, these guys do tend to get things wrong on occasion, but it’s not so often that I tune them out or anything.

They also have interesting guests on the show from time to time, such as Felicia Day from The Guild, Veronica Belmont from Tekzilla and Curt Schilling from the Boston Red Sox and 38 Studios.

The Instance airs live, but I’m honestly not sure that they follow a tight schedule.

The WOW Insider Podcast

This podcast is hosted by Mike Schramm, Senior Editor of wow.com and is often co-hosted by Turpster, an English guy who is absolutely hilarious.  They typically have one or two other bloggers from wow.com on the show and present a multitude of opinions and perspectives.  They give incorrect information quite a bit as well, but overall they do a good job.

My primary critique of these guys would be for Mike.  He tries to talk over his co-hosts (especially Turpster) sometimes and to be quite honest Mike, Turpster makes the show.  Turpster could go off on a raunchy tirade for the entire show and I would still listen.  I don’t have a man crush (sorry T) or anything, but the guy is very funny.

Some of the other hosts on this show that I find interesting are Michael Sacco, Matt Rossi and BRK.  Unfortunately, BRK doesn’t do the WOW thing anymore, so he probably won’t be appearing too often.  Sacco and Rossi, however, are always a welcome addition in my book.  BRK does have a non-wow blog that I read over at Brain Needed Space.

The WOW Insider Show airs live on Saturdays at 3:30 on Ustream.tv.

Conclusion

That’s it for the podcasts I listen to.  I’d recommend checking all of these podcasts out at least once.  They also present quite a bit of the spectrum of the WOW playerbase.  Casuals and hardcores alike are represented in my listening collection.

Host Twitters

Gnomewise

Total Biscuit

Scott Johnson

Randy Deluxe

Mike Schramm

Turpster

Screenshot of the Week

Posted in General with tags , , on July 14, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

The SSotW is going to be a little different this week.  In fact, it’s not a screenshot at all.  However, I am a new father and I am taking liberties.

Introducing, my son Evan.

evan

Thoughts and Observations

Posted in World of Warcraft with tags , , , , on July 13, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

My WOW focus has shifted somewhat in the last three weeks.  As I’ve posted before, my wife recently had our first child.  As a result, long raiding sessions aren’t quite as feasable as they were before.  In turn, I’ve shifted my focus to PVP, on both my Warrior and my Death Knight.

I’ve learned a few things.

Death Knights are amazing in Battlegrounds. I’m running as an unholy pvp specced DK.  He can throw a lot of damage around at a lot of people in a hurry.  He’s quite fun to play in most any BG.

Contrary to popular belief, a DK in 2v2 Arena does not equal easy win. I’m running with my admittedly undergeared DK with my wife’s undergeared Disc. Priest.  We both have decent pve gear (her gear is great) but our pvp gear is severely lacking.  We went 1 & 9 starting out yesterday.  There were some fights we should have won, and a couple we lost due to rust, but even our win wasn’t a faceroll.

Wintergrasp is fun.  I’ve been doing WG whenever I see it coming around on my DK and my Warrior.  I’m really enjoying myself.  There are parts that really suck, like Tenacity.  The Horde almost always have around 10 stacks of Tenacity on my server.  I’m not much for the gank mentality, so I often get destroyed by souped up horde that shouldn’t even be scratching me.

PVP Dailies are fun too! At level 70, I did the pvp daily nearly every day on my warrior.  It was a good way to get honor to get my starter gear for Arena.  Turns out this is still true.  Now I’m doing the pvp daily twice each day.  Once on Randul and once on Kered.  It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to it.  I highly recommend anyone who wants to get started in pvp to start doing the pvp daily.

Lastly, I shouldn’t have bought that Black Warstrider. When Wrath was coming near, I was pvping a lot.  I had built up a lot of marks of each BG.  I decided I wanted to spend 30 of each mark to buy myself a mount.  What a waste!  I could be using those marks to turn in the quest to get more honor.  I’m sure I could have at least one more pvp item now if I had done that.

It’s good to be back.  I will definitely be posting on a regular schedule again.  As it turns out, having a baby reduces the amount of blogging time.  Not so much because I didn’t have time to blog, but because I typically blog from work and I’ve been off work for three weeks.

I’m back!

Posted in General on July 6, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Hey folks, I’m back and VERY out of the loop.  I know things are going on.  I know changes are coming, but I have no idea what they are.

I’ll be doing some research today and hopefully have a real post for you tomorrow.  On a side note, my baby boy is home and all is well.  We had a rough first week at the Childrens Hospital, but things are going great now.