Posts Tagged ‘ gear ’

Neener

It's not pink, it's faded blood.

So I made this fantastic drawing of an excited charr and then Hunter had to go and pooh pooh all over it whining that the fierce felines don’t wear pink.

Well what do you think about THAT?

<—-

Hmmmmmm?

I also have it on good authority that the charr behind the pink one (who is, incidentally, wearing white and pink) is none other than Regina Buenaobra.

Neener neener.

All light-hearted bickering aside, did you see the dye system? Holy CRAP! The best video I know of (if you know of a better one please link it in the comments) is my friend Tasha’s (fellow cohost on Relics and DJ at SI Radio).

You have to skip to the end if you want to see the dye stuff. I recommend watching the whole thing, however. Tasha plays at a bit slower pace than I saw in most of the other videos but I thought that gave us a nice opportunity to actually look around. I also enjoyed how the camera operator zoomed in on the screen, though the auto-focus was a bit slow.

I’m thinking that I might try to unify all my characters with a single color scheme. I don’t think it will involve pink (I’m not a huge fan, my favorite color is actually green), but we’ll just have to wait and see. I see plenty of opportunity for hideous color combinations, but that’s the price of freedom and I’ll take the occasionally gaudy-ugly character over a restrictive dye system any day.

Also, I updated PeltWatch. Enjoy!

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Check Your Buffs, Flasks, Presences, Forms… Gear… SPEC?

Back in the day (/rockingchair) when we had a Death Knight main tank and raid leader, he would, now and again, forget which presence he was in and attempt to tank something in oh… say… Blood Presence. This would invariably result in the best of our DPSers ripping aggro, then dumping aggro, then whatever big bad beastie we happened to be picking on would proceed to chomp the healers and pandemonium would ensue.

We would all be standing at the spirit healer, looking around and wondering ‘What happened?’. Well, our Raid Leader being an honest chap and not wanting raiders to start fretting would sheepishly pipe up that “Oops, I was in the wrong presence…”

We’d all laugh and head back to the boss and then rib him about it when he was getting ready to pull. Hence, the raid leader’s mantra:

Check your Buffls, Flasks, Presences, Auras, Stances, Forms…

That was standard for a good long time.

Then came Dual-Specs, and my Sunday DPS runs.

What’s my Sunday DPS runs got to do with this? Well, on Sunday I slip into my DPS spec, and my DPS gear. I’ve got a button bar that shows which gearset I’m currently wearing so it’s easy to keep an eye on that, but it’s not quite the same for Talent Specialization.

Especially when both specializations are Feral. If my dual-spec were resto or balance it would be quite obvious that something was amiss. (Why is there moonkin/tree of life on my shift bar?)

I’m sure you can all see where this is going.

On Tuesday, as I mentioned before, we split into tens. What I didn’t mention was our spectacular, wonderful, very impressive one-shot of the XT-002 Deconstructor.

No thanks to me.

I nabbed Main Tank duty because the main tank just kinda stands there. Very often in Wrath, MT duty is the less complicated, so, as a raid leader, I like taking these jobs because it allows me an easier time to keep an eye on everyone else.

Back to the story at hand. I was main-tanking XT. Everything was going as planned, then the first heart phase came. I shifted to cat and started letting loose. We popped our Bloodlust at this point and I’ll be damned if we didn’t get XT down to 54% by the end of that phase.

Wow, great job!

Just a few more percentage points and we were on the second add phase. This time we didn’t have a Bloodlust. I was still doing quite a bit of damage, and noticed copious crits that I don’t usually see while tank-specced.

It registered as ‘odd’ but not ‘important’. At this point I was more worried about the double-wave of adds we had incoming. I was yelling for Death and Decay from our two Death Knights and praying our only two ranged DPS were up to keeping the incoming robots under control.

Soon enough we were through the second heart phase and this is when things got interesting.

The healers were starting to get a little stressed, what with our OT holding 3-4 pummelers, tantrums coming, and the occasional Boombot making its way to the melee. I glanced down at my bar and noticed Barkskin wasn’t on Cooldown.

Well, ok, /mangle.

Nothing.

I have Barkskin macro’d into my Bear mangle.

I have Barkskin macro’d into my Bear mangle on my BEAR SKILLSET BAR.

So I manually slam Barkskin, hit ‘N’ after that and see, with a sinking heart, the lower Paw illuminated on my Talents tab.

I was in cat spec.

I was tanking without Thick Hide, without Protector of the Pack, without any of those oh-so-necessary talents that make Bears the wonderful things they are.

I was even CRITTABLE NOT DODGING!

But here we were, by this point just beyond the last add phase. We were so close, the healers were gasping, the DPS going full-tilt trying to mop up the scrapbots as they came in and my health was veering all over the place.

I popped Survival Instincts during a tantrum, Frenzied regeneration soon after that. I used my Defender’s Code and prayed for Essence of Gossamer procs. I was more careful with keeping up Lacerate for the Savage Defense procs than I’d ever been in my tanking career.

Just hold on, just a little farther, I’m sorry, I’m sorry… please don’t let my stupidity be the ruination of what has been such a wonderful thing…

Then the repair bots came in. Our ranged were out of mana, our melee were already giving everything they got and one…. two…. three….

four….

XT hovered between 1 and 2% for what felt like an eternity.

Then all the repair bots were dead, there were no more to come, and the DPS pushed what little they had left

20k health

10k…

5k…

dead.

They’d done it. With my health oscillating wildly, my healer gaspingly out of mana and beginning to question his worth for anything, we had killed the robot.

A One-shot, and no thanks to me, but I am DAMNED proud of the team we had that night.

3 Hours, 2 Bosses, 1 Ecstatic Tiger

Three Two One licketty split!

They told me so, they told me and told me. We won’t get anything done if we’re splitting up our (already meager) 3-day raid week into 10 and 25-man attempts. It just won’t happen. When you’re trying to learn fights and expect to spend whole nights on one or two bosses it’s unreasonable to expect any kind of progress over the course of one or two nights.

That’s why last night, despite having the roster for 25, we once again split into tens.

Ya know what? It actually felt really nice!

First we went to Freya, because two or three of the raiders had seen the fight and would be able to help along the rest of us.

I’m pleased to say we only wiped twice. Once was on Freya herself, but the first time was on one of the guardians. I don’t remember his name but he’s the first one you’re likely to encounter, and he stands to the right when you enter the Conservatory of Life.

We didn’t know what he’d do, but as we fought we noticed two abilities, a ground smash, and something to the effect of crushing stone. He also applied a broken bones debuff to the tanks.

We quickly noticed that the ground smash was a general AoE. We had people just stand there and take it, but in 25-man I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this will be much more deadly.

The ability that wiped us was the Crushing Stone. It pops up a raid warning and tosses the tank back. It doesn’t look like much, but if the tank gets hit after they are tossed back, well, you’ll have a dead tank. So our second attempt on him saw us with itchy taunt fingers and as soon as we saw that raid warning we would taunt off each other. Worked like a charm and in no time flat we had a dead guardian.

The second little surprise of the night was Thorim’s trash. One applies a stacking lightning debuff and the other a stacking physical damage debuff.

The first pack we killed by each tank just standing there and eating it. The second we played ‘catch’ with the mobs. About five stacks in and we’d taunt off each other. Apart from some aggro issues (which can easily be remedied by making sure the DPS knows we’ll be doing this) the pulls went MUCH more smoothly.

While Freya went down relatively easily, Thorim gave us a good deal more trouble. For ten-man, on our successful run, we took myself (Bear tank), a rogue, a hunter, and a resto druid into the tunnel. We’d meant to have one more in there but he had gotten confused the previous two attempts and we noticed we weren’t having any trouble getting through, so for what ended up being our kill shot we left him outside.

Going through the tunnel:

Kill the acolytes first. ABSOLUTE TOP PRIORITY! Then focus down one of the other adds, then focus down the third. When the third was at about 25% or so I would start moving forward towards the next pack.

For the first boss -> Have someone call out to go Left or Right. This is similar to Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle. When you get into the round room stay towards the centers. The walls are not safe.

When the Acolyte and one extra are dead, and the third is getting close, rush in to engage. As soon as he’s engaged he’ll stop casting his rushing-AoE. Tank him in a corner. Every so often he might rush. He didn’t do this often, and it felt like a glitch, but be aware of the possibility.

For the second boss -> This is a gauntlet in the spirit of Zul Aman. The goal is to make it through quickly enough that you don’t get more than one set of adds.

Pull the first group and kill them in the doorway. DO NOT run in to aggro the group. If you do, you’ll aggro the second group and if you have two acolytes it will be next to impossible to kill them both. ONLY ONE ACOLYTE AT A TIME!

Same rules apply to this trash as the last one. You need to be quick and agressive. Once the Acolyte is down and the extra add is close move forward and pull the second group. The DPS should be able to kill the extra add before you get within melee range of the Acolyte, at that point kill the Acolyte then start backing up.

As you back up the DPS will finish off the extra add. By the time you’re 1/2 – 3/4 the way up the ramp you’ll notice more adds coming in from behind you. There will be 1-2 regular mobs and an Acolyte. The Acolyte always comes last but you ABSOLUTELY MUST kill it first. You’ll be tanking the boss at this point too (to prevent further adds from spawning) and you’ll want to finish off the extra adds before working on the boss.

This one casts bombs

If you’re the bomb you won’t be able to move, so call it out in voice chat or pay close attention to your raid warnings because whoever is NOT the bomb needs to boogie to get away from whoever IS.

Picking Fights with Thorim:

After the second boss is dead now it’s time to really rock. Run forward WAIT! DON’T STEP ON THE CIRCLES! Yeah, they may look like innocent architectural details, the likes of which are peppered all throughout Ulduar, but don’t be fooled. They will own your face. If you step in them it will spawn a purple barrier (a-la Malygos) and you’ll be frozen in place for a time.

I don’t know how long you’ll be frozen or if you take any damage while frozen, but you’re loosing precious time. Time during which the rest of your raid is fighting for their lives. The one time we did get frozen it wasn’t very long before the rest of the raid in the arena was dead and Thorim had turned around to finish us off.

So, stick to the edges, and have a druid or rogue spring, or a mage blink, either way, get to thorim as quickly (and safely!) as you possibly can. Once you get to him he’ll do an emote and then jump down into the arena. You should probably follow him.

Now He’s Really Pissed:

Here’s the real fight. He does a debuff to the tanks that reduces their armor by a crazy amount. There’s a raid warning and tanks should keep an eye out for it. Again, itchy taunt fingers are a MUST. You CANNOT tank with this debuff on, trust me, you’ll pancake otherwise.

Ranged and healers need to spread out (within reason, see below). He casts a chain lightning that multiplies in damage every time it chains. Ten yards is fine, range-finders are your friend.

Electric Ant Trails. This is what we dubbed them after a few attempts, and it’s really exactly what they look like. When you see the ant trails (they’re electric and close to the ground) make sure you’re on the opposite side of the boss from them. He’ll send out a shock that covers approximately 1/4 of the room in the direction the ant trails had been headed.

This will one-shot most people, especially if they’re not topped off.

The entire raid needs to stay on their toes. This is a pretty mobile fight but exciting and a LOT of fun when you finally get it right.

At the end of this kill I was breathing heavy, my heartrate was up and I was grinning from ear-to-ear. We spent the majority of the night (close to two hours) working on this boss and when he finally dropped we all felt that sweet sweet exultant taste of rising to and overcoming a challenge that had been so lacking in the Naxxramas raids.

To add the icing on the cake…

THORIM DROPS TIER SHOULDERS! (on normal)

I won them.

Maer might call bullpucky, as I’m on the loot council, and have a thing for shoulder armor, but I can promise that protocol was followed and I was most definitely not abusing the system.

And now, I’ll go take a stroll around Dalaran and allow my new shoulders to have fun mooning people.

The Dedicated Few

Or… The value of Ten.

We’re still fighting the sign-up boss, and this week we found ourselves getting downed by the show-up boss. I’ve made the mistake of assuming that other members are as tenacious, loyal, determined, and thrice-cursed stubborn as myself.

What do I mean? I will raid come hell or high water. If I tell you I’m going to be there I will be there. If there’s even a shadow of suspicion that I might not be there I’ll let you know about it. Every time that’s happened though, I’ve managed to meet my commitments.

Last night we had 25 people firmly rostered, but come raid-time two were missing, and we had no way to fill the gaps, and at our level of gear and performance there’s no way we’d be able to run Ulduar under-manned. And so, we split into tens.

It finally became clear to me that our failings aren’t personal ones. I’m not responsible for these members not showing. I cannot control their actions. Their failure to show, while it affects me (and 22 other people) was not caused by me.

It’s also obvious that to sucessfully raid 25-man dungeons we don’t need 25 people, we need something more in the ballpark of 35. Beyond having a guaranteed minimum of 25 for every raid night, it’s valuable to have the luxury of benching someone who under-performs, or benching someone by way of punishment for unacceptable behavior, or flakiness.

At the moment we don’t have that luxury. We have to squeeze rocks to make them bleed, and bring along every scrap we can find.

No Longer.

Last night we split into 10s. We had some extra, so we asked for volunteers to sit out. Those volunteers will find themselves raiding tonight, and possibly tomorrow night as well.

Last night showed me the value of 10-man raiding. I always knew we would find value in it, but I still rejected the idea. After last night, however, I’m determined to make the best of what seems like a grim situation.

We killed five bosses last night and I believe the second group found similar success. After we took out Auriaya it was 9:15 so we rotated back and took out Razorscale. By that time we had 10-15 minutes left so, instead of going to look at Ignis, we decided to poke our heads into something completely different and ran off to cavort with Hodir’s trash.

We didn’t quite make it to Hodir before raid time and a few people needed to leave so we left it there. Tonight we’re going to start on Freya.

The point is, we saw success. Success for us has been a very fleeting thing in the 25-man arena. My dogged determination to run 25s at whatever the cost has been hampering our progression as well. Now, after one night, we’ve gone as far as we ever have and we’ve got two more nights to raid. Instead of attempting to strong-arm people into doing 25s this week (and taking a further step back in progression), we’re dedicating ourselves to 10s and striving to get as far as we can within a full raid week.

I also noticed a curious side-effect. And no, I’m not talking about people getting to learn the fights and see the encounters. That’s our main goal with rushing through in 10-mans this week.

No, this side-effect is the gearing of off-sets. Almost all of us are fully kitted out in 25-man Naxxramas gear with goodies from Malygos and Sartharion 2D. There’s not a whole lot of upgrades for us in 10-man Ulduar. But for off-spec?

The upgrades are falling like rain.

With the advent of dual spec we now have the opportunity to ask people to run their dual-spec if we need them, and raiders have the opportunity to try out something new if they want.

We’re not shoe-horning anyone into a role they’re not happy with, by any streach of the imagination, but it’s nice to have the option of rotating members to different roles as well as getting them gear within those roles.

Tonight, and tomorrow night I’m goint to see the keepers for the first time. I’m actually excited. Maybe after dedicating this week to 10-mans instead of hoping for 25s we’ll be able to get the sign-ups (and show-ups!) to really sink our teeth into Heroic progression next week.

Leatherworking & Fire-Retardant Fur

So, this weekend I finally took the plunge. With our fearless leader (and dedicated Sarth tank) suffering a massive case of burn-out, someone has to step up to the plate and stare that dragon right in the eye.

Those eyes that are just beyond the long spikey snout filled with sharp jaggey teeth from which spews a VERY painful gout of flame.

Ya know what?

Fur is flammable.

But thanks to Kalon, bears have a resource to consult to help make flaming fur nothing more than a bad dream.

I finally took the time to get my feral goodies in order and construct an actual Stamina/Fire Resist set. It looks very goofy, but I’ll be damned if I’m not rocking 39.7k health unbuffed.

The majority of my weekend was actually spent knocking out quests in Icecrown. See, I needed the Pattern: Fur Lining – Fire Resist, and my drug dealer potion person needed the Recipe: Mighty Fire-Protection Potion. (That I would use in conjucntion with a Nightmare Seed to stay alive) I found that, conveniently, they both dropped from the same mob.

So, priest-man and I grouped up to go out together and farm for this shiz. I was dismayed by the miniscule drop rate listed on WoWHead and had prepared myself to withstand gruelling hours killing mobs over and over, spamming swipe until my face fell off.

We got to the same place and can you guess what we found? Phasing had come and whapped us upside the head. He had completed all of Icecrown. I had barely touched it. That’s right, we couldn’t farm together. So, he bid me adieu and I set out to grinding through (almost) all of Icecrown’s quests. I’m pretty sure that I did over 50 this weekend (and netted myself at least 2k gold in the process)

Now that THAT was out of the way, by this time it was getting late on Sunday and we hunkered down to start farming. Click through and read some of the comments about those Skeletal Runesmiths. The vendor trash was removed, they were only dropping money. What about my pattern? What about the recipe? Were they also removed? None of the comments indicated this, nothing I could find anywhere could tell me one way or another.

So we farmed without knowing if our efforts would ever bear fruit.

Then, about thirty minutes after we’d started a blip of blue popped up in a roll box. It was my fur lining pattern! Hooray hooray oh happy day! I eagerly slammed down a NEED roll and then trained that sucker straight away.

We farmed for maybe 20 minutes more when priest-man called a halt. He’d dug through his alchemy tab and discovered that, whoops, he already had the Mighty Fire Protection Potion. Well, no harm no foul. I had everything I needed!

As of this week, I am ready to tackle that dragon!

Ferlol Progress Report

Sartharion with three dragons still eludes us. We spent all night on it, even re-cleared trash.

Only 3 times did I eat a flame wall, never did I eat a void zone (though on our best attempt I was targeted with them very often) and only once did I die because swipe is so powerful (I picked up a few whelps from bell, d’oh)

Every other attempt I was alive until a wipe was called for.

By the time all was said and done and we finished up with 2D I was so tired and frazzled that I forgot to roll on my DPS Best-In-Slot pants.

DAMMIT!

I have a headache.

Additionally, I’m taking next week off from raiding to work on a resume and my portfolio. I don’t expect I’ll have much to talk about, so there’ll be about a week-long break in blogging too.

It kills me though that we didn’t get 3D down this week. I won’t be there for my guild next week. On the one hand I hope they can do without me and triumph over those damn dragons, but on the other I really want to be there for that first kill.

It’s important to remember though, that life comes first, and my current job sucks. WTB more drawing and less typing, pst.

Whalp, I’m Done, What About You?

Well, perhaps not completely done, but PRETTY darn close to it. I was lucky enough to be awarded my T7.5 shoulders last night, which I promptly took and, spending all the badges I had, bought my T7.5 legs as well, thus finally granting me the 4pc bonus.

Actually, while I really wanted that piece, rolling on it gave me little twinges of guilt. You see, other than the 4pc bonus, the shoulders and the legs weren’t all that much of an upgrade. Once I’d had them fully gemmed and enchanted they really only gave me a few points here and there, and in fact, since I’ve replaced my Valor Medal of the First War with a Defender’s Code, my base dodge% has gone from ~40% down to ~38.5%. (Though I can and will be replacing some of my attack gems with agility and/or dodge gems in an attempt to make up for this)

Related, I switched out the Valor medal instead of my Essence of Gossamer. I’m loath to set down the +111 stamina and the proc-shield for only 2 points of dodge and another ‘oh shit’ button. It’s obvious that the Essence of Gossamer is by far superior when off-tanking, and tanking more than one mob, so right now I’m trying to think weather being the Main Tank for Sarth +D would warrant adding the two dodge trinkets instead of the extra stamina. Stamina is something I can depend on, dodge is random, are there any more experienced tanks that can weigh in on this for me?

I’ve gotten to the point where gear upgrades are so tiny they’re almost laughable. This is the nitty gritty part now, where I need to start critically analyzing every item, every enchant and every gem to find what my optimal set-up is. I’m rather sad right now that I’ll never get the shiny + sign on my Be.Imba profile, but that’s just because my Idol of Terror is a lvl 70 item and there’s nothing better out there right now for bears.

I’m also going to have to get used to rolling on loot, and not getting anything for a long time. I’ve spoke about this before, about how guilty I was feeling about getting so many pieces. I knew this time would come though, where I would hit the ceiling (especially with T7.5 being max tier), and thus my upgrades would stop coming.

Actually, I think it’s a good thing. I was a little sloppy in the past with my gems and enchants, resistant to spending all my money on things that I could very easily be replacing the next week. Now, however, that’s not nearly as much of an issue. The gear I have, being the best (or nearly) that I can obtain right now deserves the very best gems and enchants, and I need to get this stuff pronto. No slacking, no laying about. There’s no excuse for me having 2 pieces of polar gear that are still un-gemmed. /blush.

On Another Note:

Kal posted some very interesting guides on being the ultimate switch-hitter as far as tanking and DPS goes. He calls it the anti-tank. As soon as I get all my bears in a row I intend on reading the three applicable articles more in-depth and trying this out. It sounds like fun 🙂