Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Snowman: the new shapeshift form. Travel time, BBL :)

Comic: ICC Gunship Strat

Because I really wanted to draw stick figures with jetpacks.

Needs pirate hats, imo. Yarrr.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rocket Bear


Monday, December 21, 2009

U10: Algalon


We use the following raid makeup in our kills
  • 2 tanks
  • 3 healers
  • 2 melee dps
  • 2 ranged dps
  • 1 ranged "star killer" (we typically use a warlock)

The Fight

Once you engage Algalon, you have 1 hour to kill him before he beams up and you have to wait until the next week to try again. As such, make sure you cover all strategy and directions before you first engage him, as you won't have much downtime between attempts to explain things!

Have your first tank engage Algalon and hold him in the center of the room; the ranged should spread out around the room. You will need to switch tanking Algalon every time the MT reaches a stack of 4 Phase Punches, as the 5th punch will send the tank into another dimension (you don't want this to happen).

Star-Killer: there is an excellent guide on StratFu on the messy business of killing stars. Killing stars is a very important role, since they are all dieing together and, when they die, will do massive damage to the raid: for the sake of survival, they must each be dpsed down a bit to time when they go off, to keep them from exploding together.

There are two key things the healers and dps need to watch for:
  • Cosmic Smash: this is a red circle on the ground. As with most red circles, standing in it is a Bad Thing; unlike most red circles, it will hurt people who aren't standing directly in it, too. It will one-shot any non-tank who is in it when it ruptures; move as far away from it as possible, because it will do damage to everyone (even those not standing in it), doing more damage to those closer to it. So move away! If you spot one near somebody else and they aren't moving, call it out. The tank and melee will need to reposition themselves around the room with Algalon to dodge these.
  • Black Holes: this is a dark circle on the ground. It is a teleporter, taking you to another dimension, one with dark ghostie ghoulies (Dark Matter) flying around. In general, you don't want to step in these; watch out for them. They spawn when a collapsing star dies, so you don't want to be near/on a collapsing star when it dies, or you will instantly be ported as its black hole drops! There will be a time when you WANT to go in the black hole, though: to escape Big Bang.
Okay, so that was technically three things with the stars, and 4 if you count big bang, but whatever. Those are the key abilities you want to watch for during this fight.

Big Bang:

This is the one time you WANT to go in the black hole. Anyone caught outside of the dark ghostie-ghoulie dimension within the black holes when Big Bang goes off will be killed instantly, unless they have some sort of damage-reduction shield up (but NOT an immunity effect, as Big Bang will eat through it).

When Big Bang occurs, one person must stay outside of the portals to "eat" the Big Bang, as having the whole raid (those living) inside the portals will cause Algalon to go Berserk and immediate Ascend, killing everyone regardless of dimension. You must use a damage-reduction type cooldown to survive the Big Bang; dieing to the attack will still cause Algalon to Ascend. Your raid must use abilities such as Guardian Spirit or Dispersion to allow the person staying outside to survive the Big Bang; "immunity" effects such as Hand of Protection, Ice Block, and Divine Shield will not work.
  • We had our tank eat each of the big bangs through use of raid cooldowns applied to them, though I hear that shadow priests with dispersion can also eat a big bang. My guild has never attempted the dispersion thing, though.

If you are not the one staying out to eat the Big Bang, go immediately into the nearest black hole when he begins casting the Big Bang, and then move a few yards away from where you entered. Once the Big Bang is cast, everyone inside the black hole dimension will immediately drop back into the real dimension, and if you're standing in a place where a black hole is, you'll be ported right back into the black hole dimension to wait helplessly for 6 seconds (with the Dark Matters munching on you) while the rest of the raid is wondering where you went. Position yourself carefully!

NOTE: the black holes' teleportation acts on a periodic pulse, meaning that sometimes you might get ported the moment you clip the edge of the hole, or you might not get ported after running clear over the hole from one side to the other. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get ported when running to escape a Big Bang!


Resto Druids: you will be responsible for keeping full hots on the current tank and healing the rest of the raid as much as possible. I recommend keeping a rejuv on as much of the raid as possible around keeping your tank with HoTs. The tanks will switch periodically as they get stacked up with Phase Punches (5 stacks will shift them to another dimension). Allow your LB stacks to bloom periodically for the heal-boost and mana return, and reapply the stacks quickly after blooming. Ahead of a tank-switch, get a rejuv and regrowth on the next tank so that they have a head-start on the HoT buffer when they taunt Algalon.

The whole raid will be taking a fair amount of damage. Every time a collapsing star dies, the whole raid will take about 16k damage; this is why you have a specific player assigned to be a star-killer, as the stars are all slowly dieing and you want to control WHEN they die so that they don't all explode at the same time. You will want your star-killer to be very vocal about incoming collapses, warning you ahead of the collapse so that you can make sure the raid is topped off.

If your raid has more ranged players than not, I highly recommend having most of the dps group up and move together to make the most of AoE heals. Trust me, having a full set of ranged dps rather than melee (or a mix of melee and ranged makes) healing this fight a PitA due to trying to heal each person without being able to catch them all, or most of them, with an AoE. Your tanks will be taking an immense amount of damage, so you want to limit how much time you spend healing the dps up to full as much as possible.

When entering the Black Holes to avoid the Big Bangs, make sure you have refreshed your HoTs and heals on the tank, apply any damage-reduction shields to the tank as necessary to ensure that they will survive the Big Bang, and then jump in and move a few yards away from where the black hole was, so that you don't fall back in it when you're ported back to the boss. Heal others who are in your dimension with you, as each second spent in the realm does damage, on top of the Dark Matter ghoulies who will attack you.

You will likely get heal-aggro on the Living Constellations. This can be annoying, as they're huge and will hide things like Cosmic Smash from your view. If you've got aggro on several, try to kite them overtop of the Black Holes; when a constellation hits a black hole, both of them will despawn. Be careful not to close too many black holes, however, as you will need the holes to escape the Big Bang. We opted to have our non-active tank pick these constellations up and do the job of kiting them over the holes, so that the healers could focus on keeping everyone alive.

Phase 2

At 20%, all of the constellations (collapsing and living) will despawn, and 4 black holes will immediately spawn in a square around Algalon (possibly sending some unluckily positioned people temporarily into the other realm). Your raid should hold off on pushing him to 20% until after a big bang, since Big Bangs will still happen on time (and the tanks will still be stacking phase punches, and switching boss aggro when they're off-tanking a dozen adds is tricky business). The Dark Matter ghosts will spawn out of the black holes, making your job healing that much more difficult: the OT should pick them up, but be ready to tank some yourself as more spawn and start overwhelming the raid.

There will still be Cosmic Smashes during this phase, though they will be much harder to spot through the ever-growing mass of ghosties. Keep a sharp eye out for them, and move the ghosts around as a group whenever Cosmic Smash goes out in case any are hidden by the mass.

All DPS should focus on burning down Algalon in this phase, before the adds overwhelm the raid.

Good luck, and have fun!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


My guildie Kuchki has an awesome coworker who, as part of her office Secret Santa, made her this mug:

Kae-doodles on a travel mug! These come from my short "GridLock" comic. Mr. Co-worker, you rock :) This totally made my weekend!

For the record, though, Kado never actually did this to me :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Guild Gifts: Winter Veil White Elephant

Guild White-Elephant Gifts

As part of holiday fun, we are considering doing a white-elephant gift swap in my guild. Unfortunately, wrapped items cannot be stored in the gbank. These are the rules/directions we've come up with thus far:

  • Everyone gets a gift (farmed or purchased) and wraps it (thus limiting it to non-stackable items, so potions and mats are out).
  • All participants then random-roll to determine turn order. Announce before rolls are made whether you'll have #1 go first, or top roll go first.
  • All gifts are given to a moderator with adequate bagspace. This better be someone you can trust not to open the gifts and re-wrap them... or run off with them all ;)
  • The first player trades the moderator for a gift and unwraps it (if you want, you can request a wrapping paper color), linking the item to the guild. They place the unwrapped gift on the "table" (be it in a guild bank tab, or just have it written down as to what it was).
  • The next player may now choose to unwrap a present, or STEAL an opened present from someone who has already had a turn.
    • If they choose to unwrap a fresh gift, then they select a wrapped gift, withdraw it from the bank, and unwrap it, linking to the guild what it is. The next person not to have opened a gift yet now gets their turn.
    • If they choose to steal an already-opened gift, then they now must be marked down as the owner of the other unwrapped gift (or traded it), and the person they stole from now gets a new turn.
  • Each individual gift may only be stolen a maximum of 3 times before it is considered "locked" and no one may steal it from the person who has it last.
  • If no one stole the gift that the first person opened, most groups will allow that first person to then choose to steal any of the gifts (that are not locked), once all of the gifts have been opened.

Trading of opened gifts between people outside of the above rules is only permitted AFTER the end of the game :)

Wrappable WoW gift ideas include:
Only non-stackable, BoE items are wrappable. This eliminates things like potions, leather, uncut gems, and the racer toys and windup gorillas.

  • Pink Mageweave Shirts are always popular!
  • Karandonna in Dalaran's Threads of Fate has lots of expensive shirts
  • Wound Dressing/etc clothing from Dalaran First Aid station
  • Dresses
  • Chameli in Dalaran's Threads of Fate has two expensive hats
  • Overpriced no-stat rings
Griftah in Lower City Shattrath sells a bunch of silly, useless trinkets, like Soap on a Rope and the Polished Pendant of Edible Energy. He also sells the Hula Girl doll needed for crafting the engineering helicopter mounts, which I *believe* is wrappable but haven't tried.

The Intravenous Healing Potion IV-drip-bag is wrappable.

Minipets (especially rare ones, or cross-faction)

Recipes: rare ones that a guildie might need, or opposite-faction cooking recipes. Savory Deviate Delight recipes particularly come to mind.

BoE epics (including crafted)

Cut Gems (I'm fairly sure these are wrappable)

~~Have some more wrappable gift ideas? Please share! :) ~~

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feral Cat vs Mutilate Rogue

Patch 3.3

After mostly healing on my druid through pug-5s, I was given the opportunity last night to dps in cat form through a couple of the ICC instances. Most recently, all of my dps play has been on my rogue, and I was shocked at myself for needing to consciously break my rogue habits in order to get back into the "groove" of cat dps.

I literally had to tell myself, "stop playing like a rogue."

(note: table looks nicer on the blog itself than through a reader. Go CSS.)

Mut RogueFeral Cat
Both can open from stealth or unstealthed.
Opening:Get SnD and HfB upGet Mangle, FF, Rake, SR up
Garrote or Rupture
to start HfB if no one
else puts a bleed up.
Rake and 5-CP Rip
Mangles or Trauma boost these
Threat Redux:ToT misdirect
Ack! Aggro:"Stop it/ Flee it"
Kidney Shot
Cloak of Shadows
"Tank it"
Survival Instincts (if specced)
Bear + Bash, Frenzied Regen
DPS Cycle:Mutilate <-> Envenom
1 min HfB refreshes
Juggle to keep these up:
SR, Mangle, Rip, Rake
Shred around the timers
FB finish if timers look good
5 min FF refresh
Combo Points:lolUse Shred, Mangle, Rake to build to:
5-CP for Rips
3-5 CP for SR
4-5 CP for FB (if you can work it in)
Gouge (incapacitate)
Kidney Shot (stun)
Maim (incapacitate, requires CP)
Bear + Charge
Energy Boost:.... Thistle Tea?30sec: Tiger's Fury!
AoE:FoK, 50 energySwipe, 50 energy
Versatility:er, diff kinds of poison? (heavily nerfs damage, though!)Heals (weak unless geared and dualspecced)
Tank (weak unless geared and specced)
Misc:Love anyone who will put a bleed up
Envenom refreshes SnD
+3%crit to party from poison
No poisons to reapply
No weapon skill to level
Love Arms Warriors (trauma) and Bear Tanks (mangle)
Love moonkin (FF)
+5% physical crit aura to party
4% heal on crit with aura

Is one better than the other? No, not really. Both have their ups and downs, and both can do similar amounts of damage... in fact, they buff each other and synergize well together. However: they do have a different playstyle from each other, currently. With a ruptureless cycle on my rogue, though, I must admit that playing her feels a lot simpler than playing my feral druid!

I enjoy both. I like the free and "easy" mutilate/envenom, with her vanish and ToT; I like the feral DoTs and weaving them together, with bear form to help a tank handle an unexpected circumstance. I just need to remember that they do play differently from each other... and to stop using SR at 1-2 CP when it's just going to run out in 10 seconds, because no, Rip and Shred won't refresh it :D


SnD: Slice and Dice, attack speed buff, refreshes on each Envenom/Eviscerate
HfB: Hunger for Blood, 10% damage buff
ToT/TotT: Tricks of the Trade, a misdirect
FoK: Fan of Knives
Mutilate: CP-generating attack boosted by poison on target
Envenom: finisher attack boosted by Deadly Poison on target; buffs poison applications for a short time
Garrote: bleed opener from stealth
Rupture: bleed finisher; I personally run a ruptureless rotation atm.
Kick: interrupt, requires no cp
Gouge: incapacitate, requires no cp

FF: Faerie Fire, -armor debuff
SR: Savage Roar, 30% damage buff
FB: Ferocious Bite, high-damage finisher
Mangle: attack with debuff that boosts bleed and shred damage
Shred: CP-generating attack, requires being behind the target
Rake: CP-generating bleed DoT
Rip: bleed finisher
Feral Charge: Bear-form provides a short root/interrupt; cat provides a daze
Maim: incapacitate effect that requires CP

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's Your (Resto) GCD?

Patch 3.3

In the "race" to get more haste gear, a common question seems to be "well, what's my GCD right now, with the haste that I have?" After all, with the soft cap being increased relatively high, many are having to juggle their haste with their other stats in an effort to maintain a balanced and flexible playstyle, particularly druids who do more than just raid heal or don't have access to 25-man raid gear.

Remember, you don't want to gimp yourself trying to reach the 1-second cap: it's not THAT important compared to your spellpower and staying-power!

5/5 GotEM, no CF
BuffsRating required for 1 second GCD/Nourish
Nature's Grace proc447.13
Wrath of Air Totem960.32
Improved Ret/Turkey Aura1062.13
WoA + Aura855.41
WoA + Aura + NG proc

Below is a full graph of the haste rating to GCD time comparison, assuming the druid has full 5/5 GotEM. Round your haste to the nearest 50, and follow the lines with the appropriate raid buffs to find your GCD. Remember, 1 second is the minimum possible.

5/5 GotEM with an extra 3% haste from 3/3 Celestial Focus, your haste will look like this:

5/5 GotEM, 3/3 CF
BuffsRating required for 1 second GCD/Nourish
Nature's Grace proc338.61
Wrath of Air Totem855.41
Improved Ret/Turkey Aura935.69
WoA + Aura734.99
WoA + Aura + NG proc

Remember that you will be giving up versatility with other talents if you choose to go the CF route, or stack on the haste rating. Hundredths of a second are just that: hundredths of a second, and indecision or even lag can eat those away from you. Don't gimp yourself and hurt your raid trying to reach the soft haste-cap if you don't need to or don't have the spellpower and mana regen to back it up.

Play smart.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Pugger Rogue Alt's Mutilate Rotation

Patch 3.3

Disclaimer: I don't really do rogue theorycraft. My rogue is not my main. I do, however, like to do semi-decent damage when I play my alt, and have spent some time at the dummies, reading a few guides, and in 5-mans seeing what results in the most DPS.

  1. Open with Garrote. Or maybe just Mutilate. Depends on how fast your tank is pulling; stealth is slow.
  2. Slice N Dice.
  3. HfB if Bleeding. Rupture if not Bleeding, then HfB.
  4. Mutilate.
  5. Envenom.
  6. Mutilate.
  7. Envenom.
  8. Mutilate.
  9. Envenom.
  10. It's not dead yet? Return to step 4.

  • Use Tricks of the Trade whenever it's up; toss it on the tank when entering combat, especially in a PuG. Use it whenever aggro is looking... scary. Your healer will love you for it, and you can freak out the tank by entering combat ahead of him and attacking mobs he hasn't touched, which is good for an evil little roguely giggle. Kae, evil? Nahhhh.
  • Use kick, gouge, kidney shot, and/or arcane torrent to interrupt anything that they cast.
  • Use Feint to lower damage you take from AoE.
  • Use Cloak of Shadows to become temporarily immune to spell effects.
  • Use Vanish if you pull aggro around ToT.
  • Use Evasion if vanish is down; grats, you're a tank.
  • Use Fan of Knives if there are 3-4+ targets. If you feel like it. In a pug, aggro is not guaranteed, so make sure you hit ToT first.
  • Make the warrior or combat rogue sunder; Expose Armor hurts your dps rotation and requires you to actually build Combo Points to use. ;) If it's a boss and neither are available... may as well hit an expose armor early, once your SnD is established. If you remember.
  • Love your dps warriors/feral druids/combat rogues/hunter pets that cast bleeds. They take the Rupture out of your HfB juggle!

I think assassination spec is in for a nerf. My rogue feels OP right now : / I run with Deadly Poison on offhand (which is needed for mut/envenom, and stacks to 5) and Instant Poison on mainhand (insta-damage). The patch introduced a "small" poison change: when I have a full 5-stack of deadly poison on my target (which is pretty much always), it'll proc my instant poison instead when it tries to add to my deadly poison stack, effectively giving me a free insta-poison hit where previously I had no effect. I'm doing huge amounts of damage, all while wearing a blue offhand dagger (due to the 1.3 attack speed). It's frightening.

You go, little rogue alt.

Granted, they did swing out the nerf bat late last week with reducing HfB to a 10% damage increase, down from 15%. The tooltip (last I checked) still says 15%, and I still feel like I'm doing far more damage than I should for my gear level, but hey, it's made my alt fun to play recently :)

(any raiding mutilate-rogue mains that wish to give tips/pointers, of course, are welcome)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12-man Ony25

The next time your pug group freaks out for not having enough players or loosing half the raid to deep breath... tell them it can be 12-manned.

It just takes a while :) 21 minutes and 38 seconds! 2 tanks, 1 melee, 3 healers, and 6 ranged dps! All wearing ten-man gear ;)

TB Caves = Outdoors!

Sooo my fellow horde, a sneaky yet wonderful fix has been added to the caves within Thunderbluff, where all the undead hang out and where you first zone in after taking a portal to the zone:

We can now mount inside the cave. Yay for speediness :) It's a very small thing, but appreciated!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blog Skin Customization

So, I found a bit of free time, and quickly knocked out some projects that have been sitting on the back burner for a while. First, earlier this week, I pounced on the Vortex guild forums skin; we'd been using an uncustomized skin for far too long, and my fellow officer and web admin decided to force my hand by "selecting" a new skin and setting me loose on it.

His exact quote was, "I just changed the default skin on the forums. I'll wait patiently for your head to explode!" I love my guild :)

The past 5 months of learning to customize skins in Drupal (where I'm coordinating 6+ individual css files into a single website skin) paid off in that I felt perfectly at home digging through PhP and CSS and telling it what to look like. I had some fun with it, too... and all my guildies got to watch as my designer-developer humor took over and put various placeholder images around the site pointing out problems and sizes and notes and random doodles. Per the GM's orders, I had to leave one of them up:

Personalized guild forums? I think so. They have my name on them!

For those not viewing my blog through a reader feed, I'm sure you can see the development of my next project: customizing my blog skin :) I'd been using the Scribe template that comes packaged with the Blogger tools, simply slapping in a background screenshot that I liked (Nagrand is pretty!), and customizing here and there to give the sidebar and post titles some way to stand out, but for a long time I've reaaaaaally wanted to make it my own.

So I have. Comparison screenshots:

I still have some things to tweak, obviously, but I'm quite happy with the results thus far. Plus, the background doesn't look weird when stretched to 1600px wide resolution or higher :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

IC10: Lower Citadel for Resto Druids

The first 4 bosses of ICC normal, per my experience.


We used three healers on this fight on the first week, just to "stay safe," though it can be successfully two-healed (EDIT: especially with the nerf to Marrowgar's damage on the tanks). With the need to spread out, many raiders may go out of range of your healing, so coordinate with your co-healer(s) to ensure that your combined healing will blanket the raid, even if you have to raid mark each other! Your biggest concerns in this fight are:
  • Coldflame: A line of blue fire that jets out from Marrowgar in a straight line. Don't line up with other players to get run through together; the less you line up, the less you'll have to move. Don't walk in blue fire, don't stand in blue fire, fire=bad, etc. There will be a lot of moving, regardless, but fortunately that's something we druids excel at in healing.
  • Bone Spike Graveyard: Toss a HoT to whoever is spiked (he only spikes one person at a time in 10-man); the rest of the DPS should break them out shortly. If they take a while to break the spike, you may have to put heavier heals into the spiked player(s). If your co-healer is spiked, you need to heal more heavily to make up for them until they are freed.
  • Saber Lash: don't stand with the tanks. Both tanks will be taking damage, of course, so you will need to be healing both. Keep the HoTs going. In 10-man, this only requires 2 tanks; I hear that in 25-man it will hit 3 targets.
  • Bone Storm: he targets someone and chases after them, whirlwinding. Run away :) His aggro will reset when he stops whirlwinding, so be sure you are decently far away from him when this happens, but close enough that you can keep HoTs rolling on the tanks.

Lady Deathwhisper

A bit more difficult than Marrowgar; I recommend using only 2 healers for this to maximize dps (we wiped when we used three!). She has two phases: in the first phase, there will be adds spawning that the dps/tanks will deal with while you heal everyone and the raid tries to burn down her mana shield (with damage). In the second phase, the tanks grab her while you heal everyone and dodge ghosties.

In phase 1, she will be casting shadowbolts at random players, and there will be adds running all over that must be picked up and tanked (they spawn in waves first from the left side, then the right side of the room, and alternate spawn sides) and they need to be killed by appropriate dps:
  • Adherents by melee
  • Fanatics by casters (prot pally is a good tank for these)
When any add gets empowered, they start dealing aoe damage; as a healer, try to hang in the center of the room so you can keep range on everyone, as there will be a lot of healing to do. You will also need to be cleansing curses.

Death and Decay: don't stand in the giant green runes.

Phase 2 begins the moment she runs OoM and her mana shield falls; there is no threat reset, so make sure you put a tank between yourself and the boss when she's near to transition! Have your DPS interrupt her Frost Bolts, stay out of the death and decay, and be aware that the tanks will be swapping the boss between them because she stacks a threat-reduction debuff on them. If a ghostie starts pursuing you, run away from the group so that its explosion doesn't AoE the whole raid (it'll just despawn if you outrun it long enough). Phase 2 felt much less chaotic than phase 1 to me.

Gunship Battle

Grab a jetpack, even if you aren't on the boarding crew. Why? Because it's fun :D Play with it before the battle begins, bouncing around deck, but don't fall off. Jetpacks will not shift you out of bear/cat form, though having rockets strapped to your rear is a bit awkward. I recommend keybinding your jetpack where you can easily reach it.

One healer will need to cross to the other ship to deal with the enemy captain with a tank and 2-3 DPS. The goal is not to KILL the enemy captain, but to keep him busy while the DPS kill off the spellcasters that are frost-blocking your own ship's cannons: you will have to do this every 25% of the enemy ship's health. While on your own ship, don't stand in rocket-strike patches. EDIT: if the boss is tanked right on the edge of the ship, healers don't need to jet-pack over to be able to reach the tank. This will let you continue healing through the whole of the tank's experience getting smashed in the face, without having to worry about your own jetpack.

Boarding Party:
  • Shortly before boarding, put up full HoTs on the tank.
  • Tank should cross first, with dps and healer jetpacking over on his heels. Using the jetpack WILL shift you out of treeform, but you can continue casting insta-cast spells while flying through the air: make use of your rejuvs, lb's, swiftmend on the tank as necessary while in the air.
  • The tank should pull the enemy captain to the near railing of the ship and tank him there while the DPS starts killing the casters. Keep full hots on the tank (including regrowth) and be ready to spam nourish at a moment's notice: keep him topped off as much as possible. The captain stacks up a battle-fury buff on himself when attacking the tank which limits how long you can hang out over there before he just eats through your tank, so killing the casters quickly is a must. Switching back to your own ship allows time for the enemy captain's buffs to wear off.
  • Once the casters are down, the DPS and healer should rocket back to your main ship, with the tank going last (coordinate it in vent). Again, keep the tank topped off while in the air, using your insta-casts.
Defending Party:
  • The attacking sergeant will whirlwind, so stay out of range of him. It is generally a good idea for your melee to be on the boarding party, and ranged dps on defense.
  • The sergeant will put a healing debuff on the tank (Wounding Strike), reducing your heal effectiveness by 25% for 10 seconds. Just keep pouring the heals on.
  • Heal everyone. Don't stand in fire.
The enemies will all get stronger each 25% of the fight. Let your defending party's dpsers (or yourself, if the other healer will cover incidental damage while you do so) jump in the cannons when they're unfrozen to attack the enemy gunship, and when you damage the gunship down, it will retreat and allow you to dock at the entrance to the citadel, where Saurfang awaits.

Deathbringer Saurfang

This is the most difficult fight of the first wing. I recommend adding the following debuffs to your raid frames, to monitor who has them:
The biggest key to this fight is spreading out, and staying more than 12 yards away from everyone else, because he will target random players with a bomb that will hurt anyone else within 12 yards. You really want to limit how much damage he does to the raid, especially when Blood Link is active (it will speed up how quickly he can mark people).

We arranged ourselves as such:

We assigned two ranged dps (purple here) to kill the adds when they spawned; they stood in the two corners of the room, while healers stood in the center. If you get aggro on an add, don't let it hit you, as each attack will bring Saurfang that much closer to casting another Mark on someone.

Pour healing into the tank. An offtank can be set up to taunt Saurfang off whenever the MT gets a Rune of Blood debuff, because the debuff will heal Saurfang as he attacks the tank; alternatively, you could go as we did and use a pure DPS in place of the OT to just burn through what is healed, and not taunt it off the MT. That tends to result in a longer fight, however, so though we did it The Hard Way, you can set up an offtank and get it done faster ;) EDIT: Saurfang was hotfixed to heal twice the amount he did before when attacking a target he has put Rune of Blood on. I recommend going with a two-tank strat.

As the fight wears on and people get Mark of the Fallen Champion, you will need to heal them nearly as much as you're healing the tank to keep them alive. Avoid letting them die, as each time one of the Marked dies, Saurfang will heal 5% of his health.

3.3 Resto Changes and ICC for 10-man guilds

I'm looking forward to the rest of the instance opening up! I had no problems healing with my old (non-CF, relatively low haste) spec and no glyph of rapid rejuv. I needed to cast nourish a fair amount along with my HoTs; I didn't find I needed to change my healing style from how I played in ToC. There was a fair amount of raid-wide damage as well, making my current glyph choices of WG, Nourish, and Swiftmend still feel the most useful for me as a ten-strict raider, even over the Rapid Rejuv glyph.

I would consider the glyph of Rapid Rejuv useful on the Saurfang fight as a single HoT to handle the Boiling Blood, but not necessary, as Boiling Blood lasts 24 seconds anyway, and the damage can be buffered with other heals (such as LB or your co-healer, or JoL, or totems...). Some may certainly prefer the glyph, but I am not seeing it as a necessity :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Patch 3.3 Running Commentary

I will update over the evening with screenshots and commentary.

Login server is unstable; repeated disconnects while loading the character selection screen. Munching on pasta. Becoming quite friendly with my account authenticator; I've turned remembering the codes into a memory game as I keep logging in and disconnecting.

Giggling that the handful of servers that remained "up" were all low-pop, and have gone to Locked in the past couple minutes. Still munching pasta, and watering my plants in Restaurant City. Nom nom.

Servers have disappeared completely. Hrmm. /calls in the Ghost Wolf search squad. /waits. /goes to watch TV.

*twiddles thumbs* Those who were logged in a couple hours ago are still logged in and running instances... guildies looking for a healer... and the login servers are still dead. Huzzah.

I'm in! yay I got a corehound pet :)

IMPORTANT: Buttonfacade + Bartender are having a clash. Turn off ButtonFacade to use your bartender bars.

Albino Snake and Calico Cat are 40g a piece off of Breanni, at exalted rep. Now to get myself OUT of Dalaran, ASAP! :D Sexymap is popping up some errors with:

Interface\AddOns\SexyMap\General.lua:284: attempt to index global 'InterfaceOptionsObjectivesPanelAdvancedWatchFrame' (a nil value)

May turn it off.

Raid gathering together for a first foray into ICC10. Turned off sexymap :( But most of the rest of my UI seems quite functional. The raid daily is "Flame Leviathan Must Die!"... dunno if we'll get to that tonight, but meh :)

There are a lot of vendors just inside of the ICC instance (located at the top of the stairs leading up from where the Argent Tournament dailies had you joust the mounted minions).

Hmmm where is my Quartz castbar?? O.o broken mod!

There is trash that explodes on death (skellies) and Nerub'ar that webwrap. We found that they will target snake traps to cast web wrap :) Spread out from each other when fighting the Servants, the do a frosty spike attack that lances through the ground at a group of people.

The GIANT Deathbone Wards have a saber-lash ability, so your tanks will need to stand together to tank them. They patrol around and can aggro while you're fighting other trash, so watch out :) They will leash back if you go down the stairs out of their room, though. They also have a disrupting shout.

Marrowgar's room. Pulling trash there... Deathbones from there didn't leash when we pulled them halfway down the stairs. Marrowgar looks pretty cool :)

And... he's pretty easy. We one-shot him. :)

Lady Deathwhisper is visible from the top of Marrowgar's room.

An unfortunate trash wipe from pulling multiple packs resulted in us all getting locked outside the instance with "Transfer Aborted: Instance Not Found." Bleh.

After a Vortex Dance Party outside ICC, instance came back up. I recommend pulling the Deathwhisper room trash to the top of the stairs, using LoS to pull the casters up and killing them there.

Lag and boss confusion, our only "physical" dps in the raid atm is the prot warrior and ret pally, which is... well, not really physical that much :) So we swapped to two healers and had me go kitty, and it went smoothly. 3 total attempts, and Lady Deathwhisper is down.

Stay away from the spirits in P2, they explode when they reach their target. Melee on the Adherents, and a spell-tank and casters on the fanatics.

Elevator up to the air ships! Whee! I'm looking forward to jetpacks. Kill the Heirophant of the trash first, she heals.


Jetpaaaaack! Using the jetpack while in feral forms is.... amusing. Oh, I found my quartz, somehow it got turned off.

Taking a quick break before finishing the last part of the instance, then heading over to work on the 5-mans.

Added mark of the Fallen Champion and Boiling Blood to my Grid Frames. We're taking our time between attempts to get cooldowns back (Lay on Hands). Set up to have the two healers in the middle of the room for Saurfang, and the ranged dps spread out to the sides, while tank and melee stand on platform.

After a lot of work learning how best to split our dps, we killed Saurfang and got "I've Gone and Made a Mess" while we were at it :)

The blacksmith sells flowers.

Macro Changes for 3.3


Patch 3.3 is introducing another space-saving macro shortcut. In place of typing [target=mouseover,help] we can now use [@mouseover,help]. I have a lot of macros to re-write. :) They will still work with the target= syntax, of course, so no rush in changing them all (ie before raid time tonight with the patch rolling out!).

/cast [mod:shift,@mouseover,help] [mod:shift,help] [mod:shift,@player] Lifebloom; [@mouseover,help] [help] [@player] Rejuvenation

Vehicle Macro Syntax:
  • [vehicleui] (if the player has a vehicle UI)
  • [unithasvehicleui] (if the target of the macro has a vehicle UI)
I would imagine adding "no" before each will work as it does with other syntax (ie "novehicleui"). Not sure yet what I would personally use these for, but a few considerations regarding my usual freak-out when someone jumps in a low-health mount and suddenly appears at a sliver of health are twirling around in my head.


/SetTitle command was added. I dunno specifically what it does, but I'd imagine it has something to do with Player Titles.

Hurricane has been fixed when cast from Bear Form, Cat Form, or Dire Bear Form, allowing it to complete the channel after shifting out of form rather than stopping the hurricane. Not sure if they fixed it for treeform, too... but will test it tonight. If it is fixed, then I can swap my hurricane macro back to not having a /cancelform at the start :)

What Raid Size is Right For You?

Whether you choose a guild that runs 25s or a smaller one that focuses only on 10s (or, hey, if you decide even smaller and go with 5-mans!) depends a lot on personal preference, available playtime, and what size of a raiding community you wish to be a part of. I was considering these things on the heels of reading through Charles' insightful posts over at Planet of the Hats, and when thinking of Keeva and her guild's transition back to 25s from the 10s they ran this past patch.

Insomnia grabbed a hold of me this weekend and I started putting together a list of the pros and cons of each of the two raid sizes. There is no right or wrong choice, just what set would fit your tastes better... after all, the raid size does NOT dictate how skilled your raid may be when it tackles the content.


  • Access to highest iLevel gear (makes other content, including 10s, easier)
  • Access to legendaries
  • Larger guild makes more people available for activities outside of scheduled raids
  • Permitted to run all available content (no strict rankings)
  • Each death in the raid hurts less than in a 10 (1/25 vs 1/10)
  • Considered the "standard:" most strats, rankings, and guides are written for 25s
  • Feel like part of something "big"
  • More competition among raiders for loot
  • More likely to have cliques or factions within the guild with opposing goals (drama)
  • Individuals are less able to contribute in vent (strats, etc) due to number of voices
  • "A face in the crowd" feeling
  • Raiders and Leadership are more separated, generally, by size of group
  • Harder to watch everyone else's performance and make sure they're gearing/speccing appropriately
  • Are often expected to run 10s simultaneously for quicker gearing/some itemization, thus often require more overall time commitment each week
  • Guild Leadership has a far tougher job due to the logistics, size, and drama
  • Much more likely to produce player burnout


  • Smaller raid size = fewer "cats" to herd
  • Closer camaraderie among players, including leadership and raiders
  • Less competition for gear drops (loot greed can thus be tabooed)
  • More quickly gear up offspec sets
  • Each individual can more easily speak up and give input on strats
  • Fewer spell effects/actions going on, so better option for those who otherwise crash in 25s
  • More easily watch fellow raiders' performance and give advice/assistance
  • Limited content access allows for a less demanding weekly raiding schedule (personally, Vortex raids 12 hours/week) - time for alts or outside activities
  • Each raider death is felt more intensely due to raid size proportions - each death in a ten is 2.5 deaths in a 25
  • Limited gear access: lower iLevel, no legendaries,
  • Limited itemization options: best trinkets (usually) come from 25s, and certain slot upgrades do not drop except in 25s
  • Small community can make using puggers on off-night activities a necessity
  • Can less support slackers/leeches if attempting for actual "hardcore" progression
  • Smaller pool of potential recruits who are interested in pure 10s
  • Have to defend against a prevailing attitude from 25-raiders that 10's are "casual" or "bad and couldn't get into a 25 man guild" (not all think that way, but many ignorant do)
  • Less known on the server in spite of any accomplishments
  • Can run out of raid-content to do on their main character during the week, unless pugging 25s is permitted

So, patch 3.3 is being released today. If the servers are stable enough to let me on tonight, I will be duplicating the Running Commentary I did for the 3.2 ToC release and posting up comments and screenshots here on Dreambound this evening! I'm looking forward to it, going in with the expectation of lag and broken things... helps keep me in a positive attitude in regards to raiding on the night of a patch release :)

I've been reading up on strats between StratFu and Wowhead, prepping for ICC. I'm most looking forward to Sindragosa from a lore perspective, though she won't be released for a couple weeks yet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

ToC10: Anub'arak

Anubarak is the last boss in the ToC instance. On hardmode, he hits harder, has more HP, spawns two burrowers at a time rather than 1, and has only 6 total frost orbs available.

Raid Makeup:
Vortex prefers to run with:
  • 2x tanks (at least 1 who has an aoe interrupt)
  • 2x healers
  • 1x "frost-killer"
  • 1+ dps interrupt as a backup (shaman usually)
  • mix of ranged and melee dps

Phase 1:

When pulling, we prefer to pull Anub to the back of the room, with the tank against the wall. We drop our first frost patch immediately near the raid, and the offtank pulls the Burrower adds (as they spawn) onto the ice patch. We have 2 dedicated dps on Anub (usually melee), and the rest work on killing the adds.

We arrange ourselves like this, so that the healers will get initial aggro on the Burrowers and pull them towards the OT (who is sitting on the frost patch). Anub himself does not need to be on an ice patch, though if you'd like to tank him on one, that's fine. Some groups like to put Anub on the same ice patch, so that aoe can impact both burrowers and Anub at the same time.

All players on the Burrowers MUST be ready to interrupt Shadow Strike before it is cast, since the attack will one-shot any non-tank it happens to target. The Burrowers will all cast it at the same time, so your OT (and any extra interrupters) will need to coordinate who will interrupt which target (marking them will help).

If you have a warrior or paladin, they can interrupt both by themselves with shockwave, warstomp, or arcane torrent, though may need assistance from the dps if they are on cooldown: your raid will need to figure out what will work best with your makeup. There should never be any Shadow Strike that is not interrupted. This is very important. The Burrowers must also stay on the frozen ice patches, or they will disappear underground (hence "burrower") and re-emerge back up when the next wave of burrowers spawn, possibly overwhelming your interrupt crew or just eating your OT alive.

Anub will cast Penetrating Cold on two raid members at a time, an over-time DoT. In phase 1, this isn't too big a deal, your healers just need to be alert for it and not ignore the raid.

The player assigned to drop frost patches will go around the room and drop 3 frozen spheres. They are in the air, so this should be a player who is able to attack a ranged target (or death grip it down). We like to drop our first three frozen spheres into ice patches as above, in preparation for phase 2.

Phase 2:

At set, timed intervals, Anub will burrow under the ground and target someone to chase. He cannot be tanked or damaged during this phase: this phase is all about surviving until he re-emerges.

As he burrows underground, the whole raid except for the OT (who is still tanking the burrowers) needs to start running down to the south end of the room. Once he selects the target he's going to chase, everyone should clear out of the way and go back to the OT to kill the burrowers (in the north end of the room). Do NOT cross over the spikes: they hurt. Meanwhile, the chased target needs to run down to the south end of the room and put one of the frozen patches between herself and Anub'arak's tunneling spikes.

When the tunneling-Anub hits a frozen ice patch, he will be momentarily ice-blocked and slowed back down. Every moment he is chasing someone, he gets faster and faster, so the two keys to this phase are such:
  • Slow him down by having him run into a frost patch
  • Don't run out of frost patches.
Your raid needs to try to kite him as much as possible BEFORE having him hit an ice patch. This is especially important in hardmode, where you have a limited number of frost patches available. You should be able to handle each P2 phase with only 2-3 frost patches consumed.

IMPORTANT: Anub will switch targets every time he hits an ice patch OR someone (anyone) uses a threat-reduction ability such as fade (even if he's not targeting or chasing them!). The threat-reduction switch is a bug that will wipe the entire raid's threat table, causing Anub to aggro on the top world-threat--usually your healers. Avoid using any threat-reduction abilities in the burrow phase, even if he's not targeting you!

It is recommended to avoid using fade to force him to swap targets over using an ice patch, as it will not slow him down and does crazy things with threat. Doing so is more of a last-ditch effort in what would otherwise be a wipe, as the sped-up spikes will likely kill your aggroed healers.

Once the burrowers are dead, the whole raid needs to continue moving together, putting themselves on the far end of the room from where the current targeted player is going, thus maximizing how far the next targeted player is from Anub when he switches. Meanwhile, they need to all be killing the little white bugs. These are not tanked: they spawn with about 20k threat on a random player, and simply need to be dpsed down while the targeted player kites the bug. Avoid being in melee range of a little white bug that is aggroed on you! They stack an acid DoT on you that does considerable damage.

It is possible to put damage-reduction or immunity effects on the current target, such as a pally bubble, as long as they do not alter threat. This will allow a player to "tank" Anub's spikes for a few seconds while waiting for him to emerge or to reach an ice patch.

Phase 1 (Revisited!)

After a minute and a half, Anub will re-emerge and enter P1 again. Any little bugs that have spawned will still need to be killed, and a fresh set of ice patches need to be dropped. Due to the locations of the floating orbs, our second P1 phase is arranged much like this when he emerges.

The healers will need to be more careful of their positioning in relation to the OT to ensure the adds are picked up in time (ie before they get hit). Depending on taunt cooldowns, the MT or a dps with a taunt (such as a cat going bear briefly) may need to assist in temporarily tanking a loose add.

If you are forced to run another P2 burrow phase before you reach 30%, avoid using all 3 of the frost patches if you are on hardmode, as you will need an ice patch to tank the adds on for P3. Use paladin shields to draw out your kite phase as long as possible to avoid using the last ice patch.

Phase 3:

Avoid pushing Anub's health past 30% before the raid is ready for it, especially if there are lots of people with high stacks of the adds' acid debuff. If we do expect to push him to 30% before he burrows again, though (number of burrow phases will vary depending on your raid's dps), we try to kite him back up to the north side, positioning the adds on the northmost frost patch, and squeeze the healers and dps in the corner above the ice patch. This allows for healing stream totem to reach most of the raid in P3, and gives the OT more time to pick up the adds as they spawn.

Once Anub reaches 30% health, he will enrage and no longer burrow, though burrower adds will continue to spawn. Phase 3 is the point in time where all dps will focus on downing Anub as quickly as possible, blowing bloodlust and cooldowns to do it. Your OT will still need to keep an eye on the adds to make sure shadow strikes are interrupted. If you have a second interrupter, they can use a focus target macro to cast their interrupt without loosing target on the boss, like so:

/cast [target=focus] Wind Shock

Anub will cast Leeching Swarm, which sucks the health from the raid to heal Anub in return. About 250 health per second (hps) will negate this effect on the raid as a whole, enabling the use of passive healing (healing stream totem, judgement of light, etc) to keep most of the raid alive, though overall the raid health will drop when he initially casts the swarm (to around 25-30%). With two healers in 10-man gear, it can still be extremely difficult keeping the
4 primary healing targets alive
  • MT
  • OT
  • 2x Penetrating Cold Targets the healers NEED to focus on healing only these four targets. I recommend assigning each healer to one tank and one Penetrating Cold target: arrange who will get which Pen Cold target by group (and if the targets end up in the same group, arrange by alphabetical first and last). Each healer will thus have two people to focus healing on.

Those that get Penetrating Cold during P3 can also use major frost protection potions to absorb the damage, allowing more heals to be poured on the tanks instead. Shaman NR totems or hunter NR aura can help decrease the damage done by leeching swarm, as well.

Druids should try to keep hots rolling on both tanks (though focusing of course on their assigned tank target), and holy paladins should beacon one tank while healing the other (and pen cold target). Make use of healing stream totem, judgement of light, etc to help keep the raid afloat while burning through Anub's health.

Have fun, and good luck!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who's the MT?

A fun little parody of Who's on First, originally by Abbott and Costello.

Sebastian: Potions!

Dexter: Potions!

Sebastian: Fish Feasts!

Dexter: Fish Feasts!

Sebastian: Get your fish feasts here!

Dexter: -- fish feasts -- will you keep quiet? Sebastian! Sebastian, please! Don't interrupt my questing! Sebastian!

Sebastian: Oh, Mr. Broadhurst, I didn't see the you were questing there.

Dexter: What in the world are you doing? Why interrupt my questing group like this?

Sebastian: Look, Mr. Broadhurst, I mean after all -- if you're in a raid -- they always bring potions and feasts and things like that.

Dexter: I know that, Sebastian, but not in front of -- I -- beg -- your pardon please.

Sebastian: Party group and pets and also the NPCs -- will you excuse us for a minute, please? Thank you.

Dexter: What do you want to do?

Sebastian: Look, Mr. Broadhurst --

Dexter: What are you doing?

Sebastian: I love raiding!

Dexter: Well, we all love raiding.

Sebastian: When we get to Icecrown Citadel, will you tell me the guys' names in the raid so when I go to heal them in that instance I'll be able to know who to heal?

Dexter: Well now... *looks to party* is it all right, group? All right.

Sebastian: Excuse me.

Dexter: All right.

Sebastian: I wanta... I wanta find out the raiders' names.

Dexter: As long as it's okay with the guild.

Sebastian: I'm crazy about raiding.

Dexter: Will you stand still? Pick up your weapon! Go pick up your staff.

Sebastian: Okay.

Dexter: Now look. If I tell you, then you'll go and won't interrupt my questing group anymore?

Sebastian: Yes sir.

Dexter: All right. But you know, strange as it may seem, they give WoW players nowadays very peculiar names.

Sebastian: Funny names?

Dexter: Nicknames. Nicknames.

Sebastian: Not -- not as funny as my name -- Sebastian Dinwiddie.

Dexter: Oh, yes, yes, yes!

Sebastian: Funnier than that?

Dexter: Oh, absolutely. Yes. Now, on the Icecrown raid we have Who's the MT, What's the OT, I don't Know is on interrupts --

Sebastian: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the raiders in the ICC raid.

Dexter: I'm telling you. Who's the MT, What's the OT, I don't Know is the rogue on interrupts --

Sebastian: You know the raiders' names?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: Well, then, who's playin' the main tank?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: I mean the raider's name being MT.

Dexter: Who.

Sebastian: The raider playin' main tank for Icecrown Citadel.

Dexter: Who.

Sebastian: The guy being MT.

Dexter: Who is the MT.

Sebastian: Well, what are you askin' me for?

Dexter: I'm not asking you -- I'm telling you. WHO IS THE MT.

Sebastian: I'm asking you -- who's the MT?

Dexter: That's the man's name!

Sebastian: That's who's name?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: Well, go ahead and tell me!

Dexter: Who.

Sebastian: The guy playing MT.

Dexter: Who.

Sebastian: The main tank.

Dexter: Who is the main tank.

Sebastian: Have you got a main tank?

Dexter: Certainly.

Sebastian: Then who's playing main tank?

Dexter: Absolutely.

Sebastian: When you give tank gear to your main tank, who gets the gear?

Dexter: Every peice of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.

Sebastian: Who is?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: So who gets it?

Dexter: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes he passes, and the master-looter shoves it in his pack anyway.

Sebastian: Who's pack?

Dexter: Yes. After all the man earns it.

Sebastian: Who does?

Dexter: Absolutely.

Sebastian: Well all I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name playing main tank.

Dexter: Oh, no, no, What is the off tank.

Sebastian: I'm not asking you who's the off tank.

Dexter: Who's the main tank.

Sebastian: That's what I'm trying to find out.

Dexter: Well, don't change the raiders around.

Sebastian: I'm not changing nobody.

Dexter: Now, take it easy.

Sebastian: What's the guy's name playing MT?

Dexter: What's the guy's name playing OT.

Sebastian: I'm not askin' ya who's the OT.

Dexter: Who's the MT.

Sebastian: I don't know.

Dexter: He's a rogue. We're not talking about him.

Sebastian: How could I get on rogues?

Dexter: You mentioned his name.

Sebastian: If I mentioned the rogue's name, who did I say is playing a rogue?

Dexter: No, who's the MT.

Sebastian: Stay offa MTs will ya?

Dexter: Well what do you want me to do?

Sebastian: Now what's the guy's name playing main tank?

Dexter: What's the off tank.

Sebastian: I'm not asking ya who's the offtank.

Dexter: Who's the main tank.

Sebastian: I don't know.

Dexter: He's the rogue.

Sebastian: There I go back on rogues again.

Dexter: Well, I can't change their names.

Sebastian: Say, will you please stay on rogues, Mr. Broadhurst.

Dexter: Please. Now what is it you want to know?

Sebastian: What is the fellow's name on interrupts, the rogue?

Dexter: What is the fellow's name playing offtank.

Sebastian: I'm not askin' ya who's the offtank.

Dexter: Who's the maintank.

Sebastian: I don't know.

Dexter and Sebastian: Interrupts!

Sebastian: You got ranged DPS?

Dexter: Oh, sure.

Sebastian: The guild has got a good ranged DPS?

Dexter: Oh, absolutely.

Sebastian: The hunter's name?

Dexter: Why?

Sebastian: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.

Dexter: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.

Sebastian: Then tell me who's playing hunter.

Dexter: Who's playing main tank.

Sebastian: Stay out of the melee.

Dexter: Don't mention any name from the melee.

Sebastian: I want to know what's the fellow's name playing hunter.

Dexter: What is the warrior, offtank.

Sebastian: I'm not asking you who's the offtank.

Dexter: Who's the main tank.

Sebastian: I don't know.

Dexter: Now take it easy, take it easy.

Sebastian: And the hunter's name?

Dexter: Why.

Sebastian: Because.

Dexter: Oh, he's a warlock. Will you pick up your staff please.

Sebastian: Warlock.

Dexter: Pick up your staff. And stop this -- Now look, please.

Sebastian: Mr. Broadhurst.

Dexter: Yes?

Sebastian: Wait a minute. You got a resto druid in the raid?

Dexter: Wouldn't this be a fine raid group without a resto druid.

Sebastian: I don't know. Tell me the tree's name.

Dexter: Tomorrow.

Sebastian: You don't want to tell me today?

Dexter: I'm telling you man.

Sebastian: Then go ahead.

Dexter: Tomorrow.

Sebastian: What time?

Dexter: What time what?

Sebastian: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's the resto druid?

Dexter: Now listen, Who is not a resto druid, Who is the --

Sebastian: I'll break your arm if you say who's the main tank.

Dexter: Then why come up here and ask?

Sebastian: I want to know what's the resto druid's name.

Dexter: What's the offtank.

Sebastian: I don't know.

Sebastian and Dexter: Rogue!

Sebastian: You gotta holy priest?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: The priest's name?

Dexter: Today.

Sebastian: Today. And tomorrow's the resto druid.

Dexter: Now you've got it.

Sebastian: That's all, our guild's got a couple of days in their raid. That's all.

Dexter: Well I can't help that. Alright. What do you want me to do?

Sebastian: Gotta Priest?

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: I'm a good priest too, you know.

Dexter: I know that.

Sebastian: I would like to heal for the ICC raid.

Dexter: Well I might arrange that.

Sebastian: I would like to heal. Now I'm being a good healer, tomorrow's raid-healing, and I'm main-tank healing.

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: Tomorrow puts hots up and the raid engages the boss.

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: Now when he engages -- me being a good healer -- I want to make sure we don't wipe, so I select my spell, and heal who.

Dexter: Now, that's the first thing you've said right.


Dexter: Well, that's all you have to do.

Sebastian: Is to heal the main tank.

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: Now who's got aggro?

Dexter: Naturally.

Sebastian: Who has it?

Dexter: Naturally.

Sebastian: Naturally.

Dexter: Naturally.

Sebastian: O.K.

Dexter: Now you've got it.

Sebastian: I start healing, and I heal Naturally.

Dexter: No you don't, you heal the main tank.

Sebastian: Then who gets the heals?

Dexter: Naturally.

Sebastian: O.K.

Dexter: Alright.

Sebastian: I heal Naturally.

Dexter: You don't. You heal Who.

Sebastian: Naturally.

Dexter: Well, naturally. Say it that way.

Sebastian: That's what I said.

Dexter: You did not.

Sebastian: I said I'd heal Naturally.

Dexter: You don't. You heal Who.

Sebastian: Naturally.

Dexter: Yes.

Sebastian: So I start to heal the main tank and Naturally gets healed.

Dexter: No. You heal the main tank --

Sebastian: Then who gets the heals?

Dexter: Naturally.

Sebastian: That's what I'm saying.

Dexter: You're not saying that.

Sebastian: Excuse me folks.

Dexter: It's alright. I'm sorry folks.

Sebastian: I throw my heals to Naturally.

Dexter: You throw your heals to Who.

Sebastian: Naturally.

Dexter: Naturally. Well say it that way.

Sebastian: That's what I'm saying.

Dexter: Don't get excited. Now don't get excited.

Sebastian: I heal the main tank.

Dexter: Then who gets heals.

Sebastian: The main tank better get the heals.

Dexter: That's it. Alright now don't get excited. Take it easy.

Sebastian: Hmmph.

Dexter: Hmmph.

Sebastian: Now I am throwing heals to the main tank, who-ever it is grabs the aggro, and the adds are picked up by the offtank.

Dexter: Uh-huh.

Sebastian: Who picks up the boss and the adds all go to what. I don't know stands in melee and interrupts the adds' spell casts. They all get healed by tomorrow.

Dexter: Yeah. They could be.

Sebastian: Another add spawns and aggros on the warlock. Why? I don't know. And I don't give a damn.

Dexter: What was that?

Sebastian: I said, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN.

Dexter: Oh, that's our death knight!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ony10: Many Whelps! Handle It!

This is another 10-man achievement that seems to evade many guilds (only 2.5% have it). In order to get it, you must hatch 50 whelps within ten seconds of Ony lifting off from the ground and jumping into the air.... not from the moment she turns from the tank and starts walking to the front of the room!

We had to wipe and reset this several times before figuring out the best way to get all of the whelps hatched in time. What worked for us in the end was thus:

  1. Turn off nameplates (v key) to help reduce lag with the zillion whelps you're going to spawn. Turn down graphics effects to minimum if you are at all prone to disconnects from system overload.
  2. Fight her as normal at the far end of the room, where she begins the fight. Designate FOUR (or more) players to be hatchers.
  3. At 70%, these hatchers run back to the entrance and take up stations: one at the mouth of each side of the cave (where the whelps enter the main room), and two facing opposite directions on the *bridge* leading into Ony's cave from the tunnels that arcs over the middle of the whelp cave.
    (think of the room like a pottery vase with two handles for the whelp cave, though the whelp cave crosses under the bridge and is one giant loop)
  4. At 65%, all hatchers hold position while the rest of the raid follows Ony. A designated raid leader will wait until she lifts off from the ground into the air, then call the GO for the hatchers to enter the caves.
  5. The hatchers run through the caves from all 4 directions, hitting every egg that they can while popping sprint/speed pots/etc. Tanks attempt to pick them all up. Some people disconnect. Some hatchers may get aggro and die in the tunnels.
  6. DPS holds until the whelps are all picked up by the tanks, then the massive aoe begins. Some people may (and probably will) disconnect again.
  7. Those dead in the caves watch and wait until the rest of the raid somehow manages to 8-man the rest of the fight while down their resto druid and hunter, who are laying dead in the whelp caves. (/sigh)
  8. Priest laughs as she resses the dead resto druid from the safety of the wall over the whelp cave. Loot boss.
  9. Very likely shard the hats since no one in the raid can equip them, or they have better.
Hey, if it works, it works :D

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Community Spotlights

...because there have been some truly awesome posts recently, and I don't want others to miss out.
  • Charles at Planet of the Hats had an excellent, depthy post on Gear Pollution. He goes into the history of raid progression and how it has developed into the 10 and 25 tiers of hardmodes we see now, and what the current problems are with this system, from gear gaps on loot tables to a disdain for 10-man guilds as inferior "casuals." Long read, but well worth the time. As he says, "grab a cup of tea (NO YOU CAN’T USE COFFEE INSTEAD), sit back, relax and embrace the wall of text to follow."
  • Offtopic of WoW, I discovered both MLIA and Google Mystery this week. I am much amused, especially by the twilight vs harry potter war. I also laughed at and attempting to follow google's "did you mean:?" when trying to search the word "recursion." Discovering a wikipedia list of all of the crayola colors was fun, too, though saddening as I saw many of the colors I remember from childhood have been retired (Mulberry, Raw Umber, Thistle...)
  • Kyth at StratFu has finished rolling out the new website format, which invites users to submit strategies. She finally got the forums back up, too ;) StratFu is currently hosting probably the most extensive collection of ICC strategies from the PTR. She's asking for some druid guides... I've been slightly tempted to submit some, but seems kinda silly when I have guides written out here on my own blog already :) /shrug.
  • Speaking of ICC guides, Yogscast did a great compilation/commentary preview on the bosses of ICC. Youtube video here.

I'm also going to break down and post a real photo. Of... a resto druid and a feral druid!!!

The tree is casting tranquility. Pretty lights, see? And the feral druid is OBVIOUSLY attempting some crazy cower ability. There's also a teldrassil sproutling on the coffee table, and some priest seems to have misplaced their candle reagents.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Celestial Focus, or No?

Celestial Focus is being tossed around as a possible "resto druid" talent to add 3% additional spell haste in efforts to reach the 3.3 soft haste cap, as the cap for the GCD is being increased with the patch (to 855 haste rating, assuming you have both WoA totem and ret/moonkin aura in your raid. Can check out some buff/haste graphs here).

The problem is: the talent is much deeper in the balance tree than most restos ever go, and to reach it would require giving up deep-tier resto talents. At full 3/3 CF, a druid would have a 18/0/53 spec, which is a far cry heavier balance than healing trees have seen in a long while (being that most have been at most 14/0/57 or 11/0/60 in WotLK, depending on their usage of Nature's Grace).

Four key talents will probably see the most debate on which to drop or keep, and which one(s) each druid chooses should depend on how useful you find them in your situation as a healer in comparison to the 3% haste. As far as I can see it, if you take 3/3 CF by spending 4 talent points to get past the previous 14 spent by restos in the balance tree, you will only have 3 talent points left over to split among these 4 different talents (the link put one point in revitalize just to open the end talents):
  • Empowered Touch: not taking this is a nerf to your NS+HT emergency heal and your nourish. If you don't use either of them very often (read: never), then this may easily be passed by you; if you have to tank heal at all or heal in hardmodes on cutting edge progression, you may not have the luxury of skipping this talent.
  • Living Seed: again, more of a tank-healing talent, as it is a reactive spell that will proc off of crits and heal in reaction to a hit. If you just sit in a big raid casting not but WG and rejuv, then that's not a problem. If you do more than that... perhaps it will be harder to give up this talent.
  • Revitalize: a talent more for the raid-healers than the previous two, as it procs energy to your buddies off of your rejuvs and WG. If you make heavy use of either spell (which is the vast majority of druid healers, even those that do tank heals), it is well worth the investment of talent points, particularly for your energy/rage/runic-power-using comrades. While it does not help the druid as much directly as other mana-giving buffs, it boosts others' dps and threat.
  • Imp Barkskin: if it was taken before, it will probably be the first to go if the druid doesn't pvp heavily. The talent does not impact actual healing, only damage reduction, which is mostly useful in solo, pvp, and cutting-edge hardmode content where the druid needs to use barkskin to absorb damage (examples include XT-002 and Anubarak).
Alternatively, you could loose two points out of Nature's Bounty in favor of keeping Empowered Touch (as with this spec); you will loose 10% crit from nourish and regrowth, but you'll keep your boost to HT and all of your nourishes. Crit rate on Regrowth is far less of a concern now, though you'll want to consider whether or not the crit on nourish is as useful for your healing as other options.

Personally, I doubt I will take CF, as spending 4 talent points on 3% haste seems very unbalanced to me in comparison to spending those points in (as I have now) emp touch, living seed, and revitalize. I am in a 10-man progressive-raiding healing situation that requires more than just "raid healing" from me, so spending 4 talent points to get 3% haste (when GotEM is 4 points for 8% haste plus an additional gcd reduction on LB) just doesn't seem worth it when I compare what else I could spend those points on. I need more versatility. This will probably be my spec (which isn't much different from my current). I'm considering maxxing living seed in trade for 2/3 Nature's Grace, but their relative bonuses and NG's semi-disruptive impact on my healing "rotation" of GCDs are hard to compare against the times I need NG for MT healing. I'm still pondering that :)

I imagine those that will find the most use of taking 3/3 CF are those druids who spend the vast majority of their time raid-healing, at which point I would suggest spending your last 3 points in 3/3 revitalize, out of the above listed talent options.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Link: How to do Top DPS

This is a video that a friend linked on our guild forums yesterday.

It is by a hunter, Kripparrian: "I go over what to and what not to do in terms of global cooldown use, and cooldown stacking in this guide. Most of the info is general and directed at anyone playing WoW, not just hunters." It's a great video on general tips/tricks on casting, latency, cooldowns, mods, keybinds, and overall playing mentality, and can easily apply in many ways to tanking and healing as well.

Healing is a bit more reactionary than dps is, since it is (in most cases) difficult to predict damage incoming on the tank (sans notable boss abilities being cast at them, like Frozen Slash or Meteor Fists), but I think that most druid healers can empathize with a more proactive casting. Boss mods will assist greatly in timing these abilities (which is why I have my DBM bars finish right next to my grid frames). We aren't able to "save" our big heals for when our trinkets happen to proc or a synergistic cooldown is available since the tank can die in that time, but the basic idea is certainly there. We still have to worry about being able to heal (or cast) on the run, watch our cooldowns, spam keys, and have easy-access keybinds (which can include Clique) to cut down time between spell casts.

Tanking is more in-line with DPS in regards to its ability to spam and stack attacks for threat generation, but they will need to also weave in shielding/mitigation cooldowns in accordance with the boss' own timed attacks, healer mana, and overall heals incoming on themselves (especially if healers die). Again, boss mods will assist greatly in timing these larger damage spikes.

FYI, a good macro for combining cooldowns into one key along with a spellcast is such:
/cast Cooldown1
/cast Cooldown2
/cast Spellname

Most cooldowns are able to be chained like this, as they do not proc the GCD by themselves. Replace Cooldown1, Cooldown2, and Spellname with chosen spells. Trinkets can be used in place of cooldowns. If you'd prefer not to write out trinket names, you can instead type /use 13 and /use 14 in place of the /cast Cooldown, where the 13 and 14 refer to the slots on your character window for your trinkets.

You can insert modifier keys to make it more variable, such as:
/cast [mod:shift] [] Cooldown1
/cast [mod:shift] Cooldown2
/cast [mod:shift] Spellname1; Spellname2

...which would cast, if shift is held, both cooldowns and spellname1, or if shift is not held, cast cooldown1 and spellname2.

One thing that he didn't cover, however, was selecting targets during trash pulls. The faster you can select the right target (being the one the tank is building threat on), the faster you can get damage pouring into the mob without pulling aggro. MT frames or, even more quickly, a focus-target assist (where the tank is your focus target) can aid in selecting the correct target; tanks that use raid-marking macros can also speed up your target selection by putting an icon on the mob.

Applause to Kripparrian on a well thought-out video tutorial!