Archive for October, 2009

Tanking Stats – Part 1: Overview

Posted in Tanking Stats with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by Masscis

Over at Achtung Panzercow Linedan asked “Hit Rating: How much is too little?”

The simple answer is, if you have enough threat, you have enough hit. To fully understand this statement, you need to understand tanking stats. Tanking stats boil down into 2 categories; survivability and Threat.

THREAT STATS

  • ATTACK POWER
  • STRENGTH
  • HIT
  • EXPERTISE
  • AGILITY

AVOIDANCE

  • DEFENSE
  • DODGE
  • PARRY
  • AGILITY

EFFECTIVE HEALTH

  • STAMINA
  • ARMOR
  • AGILITY

MITIGATION

  • BLOCK
  • ARMOR
  • AGILITY

First the threat stats: Attack power is not a stat that’s going to show up on tank gear but I threw it on the list because strength gives us so much of it. Strength makes your hits deal more damage. Hit & Expertise go hand in hand as they increase your chance to make contact with a mob.

Survivability is broken into 3 categories; Avoidance, Effective Health and Mitigation. The king of avoidance is defense. Defense grants us 0.4% dodge, parry and miss for each point. Defense does not suffer from Diminishing Returns but the dodge and parry gained from defense do. Notice the miss, miss increases your chance to be missed by a mob and is not effected by DR. I call defense the king of avoidance because defense is the only way to get a mob to miss you and raises all of your avoidance stats simultaneously. This makes stacking defense over dodge or parry better because you are going to get more out of 1 point of defense. You won’t have 1 stat getting demolished by DR while another is neglected.

Most people dont’ understand Effective Health. They think effective health is stamina…you’re health bar. The thinking with an avoidance set is to not take damage. If you’re looking for an effective health set, you need to put as much stock into armor and block as you do stamina because the point of gearing for EH is to survive big hits, to absorb them. Armor and block take the edge off of a big hit. With raid buffs and after popping an armor pot I have over 35k armor. 35k armor on a 30k hit is going to mitigate 10k worth of damage. Instead of that hit taking 60% of my health (assuming 50K buffed HP) it’s only going to hit me for 40% meaning I can take another 30k hit and live.

Notice, Agility is in every category. 1 point of Agility grants a warrior 1 attack power and 2 armor. 73.5 Agi will raise your dodge 1% (minus DR) and 62.5 Agi will grant you 1% crit. Agility is not going give you a ton of stats in any category, it will give you a nice rounded set though. Putting it on you cloak in an avoidance set will give you a bit more threat and a bit more EH. Of course if you’re focusing on Avoidance, you should probably use the defense enchant instead.

This is a quick run down of tanking stats for any that are wondering. I will be following this post up with a break down on each stat / category, talking about consumables and about when to use EH / Avoidance / Threat enchants or gems.

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Week-In Raiding

Posted in Week-in Raiding with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by Masscis

**Week-in Raiding is planned to be a weekly post about raiding. I may chronicle new bosses my guild has cleared and diagnose a certain fight, go over any tank loot that dropped and talk about it a bit or just complain about the state of raiding**

FBI gets 10 man ToGC Achievements

FBI gets 10 man ToGC Achievements

Woot, dead bug! Big post this week, I’ve pretty much gotten a new set of armor the past couple weeks. My luck with drops has been unbelievable. Also, FBI makes another run into Ulduar.

We’ll start with ToGC. We’ve had the first 4 bosses in this place on farm since it came out. The Anub fight isn’t any harder than the rest of the dungeon, it just needs a bit more awareness and raid positioning. It’s a difficult fight but for a final boss in T9…I still think it’s a joke. Of course I’m sure healers will disagree. I know when those health bars drop below 20%, they start twitching and seizing. They can’t help it, throughout their wow careers they’ve been told to keep the health bars up. Now Blizzard being dirty has made a fight where everyone needs to have low health for the kill.

This is how we did it. Tank Anub’arak at the top of the room where he stands. The trick to this fight is that you only have 6 frost patches to work with. That means each player has to kite Anub for around 15 seconds. That means 6 players will be targeted and you hope a pally is one of them because saving 1 of those patches for phase 3 is a must. I would go into detail as to how we were kiting him during the burrow phases but….it didn’t work.

We instead realized that we could burn him down fast enough so that he only burrows once. The key in phase 1, get him to 60%. On most pulls, we got him to around 54%. He then burrows for phase 2, you kite him using as many frost patches as needed. Phase 1 repeats and you burn him to 30% putting him into phase 3.

So far, if you can burn him to 30% in 1 burrow phase, the fight isn’t much different then regular mode. When the Anub’arak tank gets a frost block, he’ll take quite a bit of damage but other than that, it’s an easy 2 phases.

Phase 3, Anub will cast leaching swarm on the raid. It’s a ticking debuff that takes a % of your health and heals Anub’arak. We found it works best with a druid just putting rejuv on everyone and letting their health fall, trying to keep them around 10%. We also had a Pally focused on the tanks and a priest healing through the other debuff that Anub randomly applies.  The big thing is, you must keep both tanks topped off. Phase 3 has some huge spike damage, it sort of lulls your healers to sleep then bam…dead tank.

We burned down the first 2 adds as they came up, then switched dps to Anub’arak. For DPS and tanks this is pretty much a tank and spank. Healers probably want to curl up in a corner sucking their thumbs after this fight but….it’s about time they have to work at a fight. Just make sure if you’re tanking this, keep your cooldowns handy. Shield wall, last stand, armor pots, dodge trinkets…what ever you have. Be ready to pop them if you get below 30%.

That’s about it for the fight, enjoy the kill.

As for gear, I got Breastplate of the White Knight crafted. I passed Chestplate of the Towering Monstrosity to another tank. I had another bang up week for gear getting Legguards of Feverish Dedication, Bulwark of the Royal Guard, Helm of Wrath and a trophy for Wrynn’s Pauldrons of Triumph. I’m pretty much done with gear now. In 2 weeks my gear score went from around 2650 to now 2868. I’m pumped but still looking for a weapon upgrade and a new trinket. Other than that, I’m done with gear until Ice Crown.

Also, we returned to 10 man Ulduar with a couple new healers to attempt to finish up our run for a rusted proto-drake. We cleared up to Mimiron and spent a couple hours on fire fighter to catch up those who haven’t gotten it. I was pleasantly surprised when we got to phase 3 on the second attempt. I don’t think it’s going to be as bad this time around, it’s all about execution now. Check back next week for my guide to the fire fighter achievement.

What’s wrong with Fury?

Posted in General Raiding with tags , , , , on October 26, 2009 by Masscis

I read a post on WOW Insider last week. It talks about problems with Fury and how whirlwind should be a full blown AOE. The article was interesting….I guess. The comments are what got me, they’re absolutely obserd. Now, I’m not a Fury guy…I’m Prot through and through, but come on. The QQ is rediculous. Almost every comment starts off, the fury warrior in my guild…and ends with bottom 5. Did you ever stop to think that your fury warrior just sucks?

If we’re going by experiences, the fury warrior in my guild never finishes out of the top 5. It’s rutine to see him put up 8k on twins, 7k on Anub….it’s all relative to your situation. There’s nothing wrong with Fury, it’s the guy behind the keyboard. I wish I had some screen shots to show but our warrior has been AFK since the insider post was put up.

It’s just crazy how bad players can cause what seems like a huge part of the population to think a class needs buffing or good players can cause the inverse and make people think a class should be nerfed. I mess with my paladin co-tank all the time, telling him he’s OP when he does a good job. I chid him about how pallies need to be nerfed if I die and he’s able to lead the group to killing the boss without me. It’s a joke to us but it’s going to suck when he gets nerfed because of all the QQ.

Is it ever going to stop or is Blizzard just going to let bad players controll the game and the way they do things? How are the fury warriors in your raids? Is mine just gifted or are fury warriors fine?

Drunk Tank: On Strange Illnesses

Posted in The Drunk Tank with tags , , on October 21, 2009 by Masscis

**The Drunk Tank is a regular segment that looks into the life of your host…Mandalus. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…you’ll go WTF?!? at some of my real life moments**

OregonTrailScreenshot

So, my wife has been complaining of a sore throat lately. I say lately…more like 3 days. Finally she goes to the doctor to get checked out. No, she doesn’t have Swine Flu. She calls me to tell me she has….SCARLET FEVER! At this point I actually heard a record scratch….wait, WTF did you just say. SCARLET FEVER…OK I heard it correctly. My wife got has contracted an illness that only exist in video games. Seriously, the last time I’ve heard scarlet fever used, I was sitting in the library back in the elementary school playing Oregon Trail on what ever passed for a computer in the ’80s.

I can still remember it vividly. Got a family, wife and 2 kids, a couple of oxen and a wagon. I head out to Oregon to make a better life for my family and I. We are trucking along when all of a sudden, the 5 pixels that depicked my wife vanished and a little tombstone pops up, follow by the text “Evangaline has contracted Scarlet Fever….Evangaline dies” If this were WOW, it’d go something like “Life crits Evangaline for 50k. Evangaline dies.”

I swear I will never do anything the easy way and if I try, I will only succeed in discovering level of FUBAR once thought impossible by all. Welcome to my life…I hope you enjoy your stay in insanity. -Mandalus

Is WOW too Easy?

Posted in General Raiding with tags , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Masscis

The question was asked on at Pink Pigtail Inn and Casual Hardcore. I figured I could add my 2 cents to this topic. From the sounds of it my guild, FBI, is a just a bit ahead of  Larisa’s guild and a good bit ahead of Kyrilean’s guild in progression. Larisa asked who has yet to kill Yogg in 25 man. My guild hasn’t. Does that mean wow is too hard, not at all.

I believe my guild is a bit above average as far as skill goes. Usually, we’ll take a few attempts to get a boss down but once we get him down, he’s on farm. It took us 50 attempts to kill Mimiron our first time, since that first kill, I can count the number of wipes on 1 hand.

I don’t believe the problem with Wrath content is the difficulty. I think it’s the timing. A lot of guilds had Naxx content “on farm” far too long. FBI saw it, we had many of our core group quit the game or leave the raid team to focus more on PVP. When Ulduar was released it took us a couple weeks to actually get in there. We didn’t have enough raiders geared for it because of all the attrition. So, issue #1, Naxx was the king raid too long.

FBI and a lot of other guilds on Hellscream could easily clear Naxx 25 in 3 to 4 hours. It became our adopted schedule….7 to 11 CST, 3 nights a week. We get into Ulduar and each boss was a challenge to get the first 2 kills, after that each was relegated to farm status. This is where Ulduar’s problem arises. I don’t know a single guild that can clear it in one night. When we hit the 4 hour mark we are just getting to or have just killed the last keeper. That leaves 2 bosses for the next raid, some times we can get the group back together, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Finding PUGs to help with 2 bosses, especially 2 bosses that your guild has never killed, is extremely difficult and really not fair to ask of a PUG to begin with.

Ulduar has a second problem, TOC…It just feels like TOC came out too soon. We were just getting to the point where we were ready to put some solid attempts on Yogg when TOC dropped. Now you post TOC 25 on the calendar and 30 people sign up, try posting Uld 25 on the calendar and you’re lucky if you get 15. We now have Uld 25 on farm, minus Yogg…we can not get enough people into Ulduar to work on Yogg though. Our GM is trying his hardest too, putting Uld before TOC and not allowing those who didn’t go to Uld to run TOC…sounds good but doesn’t work. They still won’t go to Uld and sit and wait for us to be short for TOC then offer to help. I personally want these types kicked from the guild and us to just focus on 10 mans but the GM doesn’t want that. He wants to raid 25s, so we’re stuck at an impasse.

Onto TOC, 25 man TOC is a joke. Hands down, easy. We got beast first night, Jar Jar 1st night, Champions in 2nd week, Twins 1 shot 1st night and Anub down the 1st week. We even got a server 1st on the worms, we weren’t trying for the achievement we just figured that’s the best way to kill them. Then we shift our focus to hard modes, TBH, our 25 man raid team is not good enough for hard modes. We couldn’t get them in Naxx or Ulduar and TOGC is no different. So basically in 25 man all we have to do is kill Yogg and we have nothing else that we’re able to do.

We do focus on hard modes in 10 mans though, atm we are 4/5 in ToGC and 13/14 in Ulduar. We need 1 light, Starcaller, and Anub to finish off our goals in 10 man stuff.

To summarize, I think the only rotten egg in Wrath is TOC. It came out too quickly for most guilds to get Ulduar on farm status and presented no challenge at all. I really believe that Ice Crown will give a lot of guilds a wake up call when it comes to difficulty. Most stam stacking tanks I see have between 45 and 50k HP with raid buffs and I can’t wait to see what the bosses of ICC are going to do to deplete that pool. On the flip side, I hope  ICC takes long enough to come out so I can get my rusted-proto drake before they are removed.

Week-in Raiding

Posted in Week-in Raiding with tags , , , , on October 20, 2009 by Masscis

**Week-in Raiding is planned to be a weekly post about raiding. I may chronicle new bosses my guild has cleared and diagnose a certain fight, go over any tank loot that dropped and talk about it a bit or just complain about the state of raiding**

This week in raiding FBI downed the usual suspects: Ony 10 /25, 5/5 in 10 man TOC, 4/5 10 man ToGC, 5/5 25 man TOC.

Loot drops: Gleaming Quel’Serrar I passed it, just doesn’t seem like it worth it…Last Laugh is what I’m using ATM. Frostforged Greathelm dropped for the 3rd week in a row…grr I’m really looking forward to seeing Helm of Wrath
 
drop in my lifetime. Loop of the Twin Val’kyr Pride of the Eredar and Bulwark of the Royal Guard were dropped from the various TOC/TOGC runs….I got them all. This has got to be the best week for upgrades that I’ve had since I first stepped foot in Naxx.

All in all I was pretty happy about our week of raids up to this point. Then we moved to Ulduar 10 to attempt to finish out our achievements for the rusted drake. This is when the fun started…**be prepared for a huge rant**

First off I need to chronicle FBI’s core hard mode team. We have around 12 members in this group, I feel we are a very solid group. The first week we decided to work on Ulduar 10 hard modes, we 1 shotted the entire dungeon minus Mimiron and Freya. We got Hodir down with fractions of a second left, actually dbm said that the fight lasted 3 minutes 2 seconds but we got the achievement and the extra loot. The next week we downed Hodir with over a minute left. Freya took us a couple tries but we got her down the first night and have 1 or 2 shotted it every week since.

Then comes Mimiron, Firefighter…the hardest fight in the entire dungeon, my favorite fight in all of the wow content that I have cleared so far. Maybe it’s the comradery or the clear progression we made each attempt but this fight, beating this boss justified every dollar I’ve every spent to play this game. It took us 3 weeks of hard work but each pull we progressed, each time we went in we got a little further. Late into our second week of work, we hit the enrage timer and that was a victory. Third week, it happened….with 4-5 people dead and believing we were going to wipe….Mim gave up, achievements flashed and nerd rawrs ensued. Vent exploded, we were all on a high at that point.

After the celebration finally ended we moved on and spent our last hour getting familiar with the freight train Blizzard has named Algalon. Freight train isn’t really a fair comparison though…if a train hit my truck, the truck would be totalled but I’d expect to find pieces lying around, maybe even something that resembled a truck at one time. When Algalon hit me…or my avatar…for the first time, I physically felt it. I swear my screen went black…his punches don’t just hurt, they end all that was once known. I think you get the point, he hit freakn’ harder than any boss I’ve encountered. That being said, we got him to 30% the first week (maybe the second, whiskey and old age fog has set in and I don’t really remember).

I bet you’re thinking, wait I thought you were going to rant…well, not to disappoint, here’s where it all fell apart. First Blizzard releases TOC and quite a few members decided with all the new shinies and sexies dropping there, Ulduar is a waste of time. We end up missing a few weeks work on Ulduar hard modes but when we get back with blow through to General in a few hours and 1 shot his hard mode. We ended up at this point going back to pick up the Razorscale achievement for the rusted proto-drake meta. Then a few attempts at Yogg and Algalon. A couple in the group had never seen Yogg and after our wonderful raid leader talked to the wrong keeper for 1 light, we decided on a straight up Yogg kill and reset the next week.

Next week never happened though, our main healer, a resto druid, has the hard mode fever now. 10 man hard modes aren’t enough. He/gquits and joins a guild working on 25 man hard modes. While we look to replace him, we lose our raid leader/warlock to real life, he decided to quit wow for a while and work on school. Now, we’ve lost a second healer. He’s a military man and got promoted/deployed. While I’m quite angry at the druid for taking the easy way out, instead of building upon our success and recruiting and building up our 25 man roster to be able to do hard modes….he quit, freakn’ quit…whatever, we’ll move on.

Fast forward to this weekend, our 10 man is now 4/5 in ToGC and still looking for 1 light and Algalon. Our 25 man is stale and stagnant after clearing all regular mode content except for Yogg. Nobody wants to go back to Ulduar to finish our business there and Ony and TOC are getting boring with the 1 shots to every boss. We’ve tried 25 ToGC but I don’t think we have the healing talent (or maybe experience) for it.

Anyway, this weekend we get the remnants of our core group back together and start looking to fill in the holes in the roster. We end up with a fairly solid team, even though our priest belly ached the whole time about not wanting to be there but whatever, she was there and did her usual awesome job. We run through, 1 shot XT and Thorim hard modes. We missed Hodir by 4 seconds, somehow…Freya went down in 2 attempts. FL 4 towers in 2 attempts. We got the new members the razorscale, Kologarn and Cat Lady achievements. Now it’s time to move to Mimiron and this is where shit hits the fan so to speak….we have, by estimates, 6 to 8 weeks to get this rusted proto-drake before ICC drops and the mounts are gone forever. The issue is clear, 3 people in the raid need firefighter and all 10 need 1 light. Of course the 7 that only need 1 light, want to work on 1 light. I’m one of those 7….but I don’t think it’s fair to these 3 new guys we’ve asked to help us out, to make them sit here and watch us celebrate our new mounts and achievements while they have unfinished business. Most of the raid wants to work on 1 light and go back for firefighter when we’re done. I say no, we knock out firefighter and then the entire 10 man gets 1 light and celebrates together. It’s only fair, am I right?

IDK, this is the problem with WOW I guess. If we want to see the entire game, we have to group up. Grouping up does nothing for us other than helping us achieve our own personal goals. There is no reward for being in a group, none. If my group downs 1 light in the darkness, I get a new mount. I get an achievement, me. I get it, not my guild. The only way to find out how good a guild is, is to look outside of WOW. You have to look at sites like wow-progess to find that information. In fact if you think about it, being in a guild is detrimental to you because there are others that need loot too. Maybe things will change when Cataclysm hits and the new guild systems are rolled out. We can all hope.

The State of Tier 9

Posted in gear with tags , , , on October 18, 2009 by Masscis

I made a post on our guild forums the other day. The post asked if the way we hand out trophies is the best way. We normally use a DKP system for loot but have taken the trophies out of the DKP system and just /roll on them. Once you have gotten a trophy, you are not eligible for another until everyone that wants one has gotten one. It’s a fair system, I think.

Yesterday, I read a post at World of Matticus which discusses the trophies. It got me thinking and investigating a bit more.

Teir 9 is separated into 3 categories. The bottom T9 is barely better than T8.5 and depending on what you’re gearing for, it maybe worse. Comparing the T9 Helm to the T8.5 Helm you’ll notice “upgrading” to T9 loses you 2 stamina, some block rating, 4 defense and 4 dodge. While you gain 23 strength and 17 armor plus a little block value. it’s a slight upgrade for threat but who gears for threat anyway? It’s a wash for effective health and a downgrade for avoidance. It’s safe to say that blizzard made this version of T9 for people who were unable to run Ulduar 25 for T8.5 gear. This set is meant to get those people into TOC.

For the people who have been raiding Ulduar, we have T9.3 and T9.5. T9.3 trophies drop from the bosses in TOC 25. There’s 5 bosses which means 5 trophies. In a 25 man raid, that means 1/5 of your raid will get an upgrade. If you distribute the trophies as we do…it’ll take 5 weeks to get each of your raiders 1 piece of T9.3…10 weeks to get the 2 piece set bonus for everyone, which isn’t much different from Naxx or Ulduar. Naxx had 5 bosses who dropped T7 and Ulduar had 6 who dropped T8. I like the trophies because there’s none wasted. Somebody is going to need a trophy ever time we kill a boss. We don’t have to worry about our warlock finally getting his Teir head off of KT only to have the warrior/hunter/shaman token drop for the 5th week in a row.

Every week since TOC has been out we have fully cleared every boss available. After looking over my stats on the armory, I’ve noticed we’ve killed Anub 4 times and Beast 8 times. To this point my guild has seen 30 trophies drop, that means each person in the raid has 1 trophy and are working to get their 2nd. I think my problem with the tier gear this go around is two-fold:

#1 TOC is boring, it’s easy, it’s a joke. Yeah, Heroic mode is tough…maybe. It’s not really that tough, there’s nothing really different from the regular versions other than the bosses hit like freight trains. Certainly not any new boss abilities or mechanics like mimiron or vezax.

#2 With Icecrown moving at a rapid pace on the PTR, this is going to be a very short teir cycle. I am expecting to be walking into Icecrown with 2 piece T9.3 and 2 piece T8.5, unless Ony decides to drop a head piece for me or Jaraxxus wants to give me some legs or I can come up with 7k to craft a chest piece. Who knows, maybe now that summer is over, we can get our 25 man back on track and get some bosses in Heroic 25 man down and get some T9.5.