Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deathwing’s Demise

It took us a couple more weeks than I expected but at the end we worked out a tactic that suited our raid group and the Destroyer has finally been vanquished. The world is saved, at least up until next week when we start out on hard modes *wink*

Many kudos to the gang for coming back week after week and having faith in all of us to defeat the encounter, despite continuing to clear Firelands for our legendary staff and the coming holidays. Here is both a kill video, captured and edited by Rokka our main tank for the fight and a screenshot after the successful fight.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Transmog: Berserker

So here we are with a second finished product. I call it Berserker and it is a transmogrified set that I share between my main- and off-specs, on my main character, Hogi. I am actually still looking at some candidates for a choice of sword and board, since the character is a tank but figured I could just as well share the fury off-spec gear. The only real difference are the weapons and everything else are the same for both specs.


The idea started simply from the old warrior wrathful gladiator set. I loved the look of sharp spikes and rusty feeling. Like as if he was ready to go head-to-head with a giant rabid bear. It is also the only model and set where I also allow my helm to show. Usually I always have it hidden but I really like this one. I think it really brings out the true nature of a warrior, a berserker who will fight until his body simply too broken to continue.

Both the belt and boots come from old tier 10 but the color scheme fits really well with the the pvp sets. Finally the weapons, cloak and tabard finishes the look, giving it a little bit more vibrant looks, letting the set retain the rusty look but makes sure it is still not too dark.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Transmog: Vengeance

I admit it openly, prior to the release of patch 4.3, I was too lazy to look for things to transmogrify. However, now right after the release I got the bug and began looking for interesting pieces for my various characters. The two I am currently focusing on are my warrior and paladin tanks. From the two, I have finally finished my paladin and it is looking pretty good.

I did not want to go for the judgment set, knowing every paladin between earth and sky was probably going for it. Instead I found a re-colored version which I am calling the Vengeance set.


It is a fairly easy set to assemble, as none of the pieces drop from raid bosses. The shield is a craftable (by blacksmiths) item from Wrath of the Lich King and the belt is a quest reward from a chain that begins at Area 52, in Netherstorm. Several of the items also drop from normal 5-man dungeons which means that you can farm them to your heart’s content. The rest come from heroic 5-man dungeons in Burning Crusade, all which are easily soloed by level 85 characters.

The only real frustration is the fact that there are many good looking models for 1-handed weapons but, for some convoluted reason, they are subclassed as either One Hand or Main Hand. The difference is that melee players, such as protection paladins use One Hand weapons, while casters, such as holy paladins use Main Hand weapons, and the two are not compatible for transmogrification. This is really annoying me because the problem persists for both paladin and warrior tanks, and especially for my personal taste, most of the really good looking models are made for casters.

For this paladin set for example, I had picked several good looking models, even farmed them before realizing the issue. E.g. imagine the Northshire Battlemace on this model and tell me it wouldn’t look awesome.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

5 of 7 Hard Modes: Baleroc Down

The march continues and one more boss has fallen down on the dirt road. This is no longer a DPS race however, unlike back in the day when the world first were made, when even on their DPS the guilds had to have fairly elaborate enrage plans to get him down. Now it is primarily a performance fight; master the tormented debuffs and the boss should die easily.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Farewell Steve Jobs

Not in anyway related to World of Warcraft but I felt like it was appropriate to offer my sincere respects to the man who, with his courage and creativity, changed the world we live in today. For those who did not know, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of the Apple company and creator of the Apple computer passed away yesterday on October 5th, 2011. He was 56 years old.



Monday, October 3, 2011

4 of 7 Hard Modes

So, Alysrazor has joined the crowd of dead hard mode bosses in Firelands, however, I find it difficult to maintain any level of excitement because of how easy these bosses are to take down. The nerfbat has hit the Firelands hard and a lot of the players, like me, who enjoy raiding for the challenge of it are losing their interest to the game.

I am actually several days late to posting this because I was honestly considering not publishing it. The pre-nerf Alysrazor would have been an exciting encounter but instead we got to kill a several gimped version of her. It is like someone made her fight with both hands tied behind her back.

But anyway, here she is, dead and we are moving onto the next boss.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Heroic Progression Continues…

So, we started to revive our heroic Firelands progression and got two new bosses. Sadly we were really late to our progression and we are having to kill these bosses post-nerfs. Have to say it has annoyed a lot of the guys in the guild but I will write more of that later. Now I am just to update our progression status and post some pretty screenshots … or shot, as it may.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shannox Heroic

So we finally decided to start our hard mode progress, after farming for normal modes several weeks in a row, just so that we would have better gear when we began. Shannox turned out to be almost identical to the normal mode and kind of a pushover. It is absolutely undoable unless you can communicate well and coordinate the way the dogs are pinned in the crystal traps but after you’ve solved that the fight almost takes care of itself.

On normal mode you can basically ignore resetting the jagged tears debuff stacks on the tanks but on hard mode, it is essential. The dogs are not killed on hard mode, just trapped in crystal traps as often as possible to reset rageface’s feeding frenzy stacks, as well the jagged tear stacks on the tanks. It is made a little bit tricky by the fact that both dogs become immune to crystal traps if they run over immolate traps. Riplimb also runs faster and the jagged tears take longer to reset. The way we solved it was keep Riplimb close to max distance from the boss and a short distance from a crystal trap. When the boss hurls the spear, I would quickly kite the dog the extra distance to the trap and lock him in before he goes back to fetch the spear.

This maximizes the distance Riplimb needs to run and gave us just enough time to reset the stacks. Beyond that, just nuke the boss and rejoice in victory :)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Ragnaros Video

Zafiere has come through for and edited a nice video from our last week’s Ragnaros kill. The only small problem is the contrast, which is a bit dark but the music and timing are all working really well.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ragnaros Down

Took us a bit longer than I expected but after couple of weeks of trying, he is finally dead; Ragnaros is down. It was a properly epic battle, especially for our first kill and hopefully our guild master can managed to put together a video of what he recorded. My own decision to not fraps it was primarily based on the nature of the fight, which is that you will not be able to, really, see a lot from the tank’s perspective.

Now I wish I had though because I was one of the last alive when the boss finally hit 10% and the feeling for that is awesome. Like a lot of guilds, our first kill was fairly messy because we failed to take advantage of the second transition and get extra damage on Ragnaros, thus causing us to suffer a lot of meteors. For those who have experienced it, two meteors in the final phase is something of a goal. Three is not bad but is beginning to be pushing it, and taking up to five or six, like we did, is just insane. I have no idea how we managed to dodge so many of them, for as long as we did, but it made the kill feel appropriately epic.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Movie Time!

Was high time I got around to making some kill videos from Firelands. My original plan was to take a little break between the two tiers, as our hard mode progression in T11 slowed down towards the end. I think a lot of us felt like a need for a break and truthfully, we also had issues just getting the raids together, due to the summer holidays.

When Firelands was released, I figured I would limit the videos for hard mode kills but a lot of things came in the way, like we continued to have problems forming raids and even more so because more people were taking breaks. Even now, we only have one 10-man team, compared to the two teams we had running before the summer, for which we even had several reserve spots. Now we usually only get the ten or eleven per raid, depending on the day and for a period of two to three weeks, we even had to skip raids due to the lack of attendance.

So I decided, once we kicked off progression again, to start making video of the normal modes as well, although I will not be making a video of each encounter. Tonight, I' have uploaded two of them; Lord Rhyolith and Staghelm. I will try to include at least Baleroc next week. Hopefully, we will also get our Ragnaros kill soon, so we can get on with some hard mode encounters. I cannot express how frustrating it is to hear everybody else talk about them and not be able to go and see for yourself. They sound like a blast for sure.

Anyway, I have already posted the two new videos on my blog and hope you enjoy them. As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Majordomo Staghelm Video

Staghelm is one of those fights that I, personally, expected to be pretty tough and complicated but ended up being the easiest fight in the whole dungeon. I think it only took us, maybe two to three wipes, just to see the different phases and figure how many stacks we can take before forcing a shapeshift from the boss, before we just steamrolled it.

For the tank, the fight is pretty simple. We pull him and then tank through the first scorpion phase. It is the phase when he deals the most damage in and a good plan to rotate various cooldowns, especially as his stacks grow higher, is a good idea. The cat phase is primarily just about debuffing both the boss and the add, and dancing around them, to prevent them from getting hits on you from behind.

A fun encounter but, in my opinion, was a little bit undertuned.

I used a very calm and melancholic soundtrack for this video, as Staghelm himself has a very dramatic and sad story, prior to becoming a flame druid and servant of Ragranos. If you have not yet done so, you can experience it by finishing the Legacy of Leyara achievement. The reward from the achievement triggers a quest that tells Staghelm’s story and personally found it really sad and tragic.

Hope I managed to convey that in the video. Enjoy.

Lord Rhyolith Video

This encounter is not as much about being difficult but just being coordinated. We chose to do it with only one tank and the raid, other than those driving Rhyolith, stack close to the entrance, where I also tank all the adds. It worked out really well for us and we have since opted to always solo tank the encounter.

For me, the fight is very unique and a lot of fun. It is certainly very different and something totally new to anything I have seen Blizzard produce so far.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slaying the Fiery Lords

This is a fairly simple achievement to do, but requires some bit of background knowledge, as well a lot of patience. The idea is to slay four different elite mobs on the Sethria’s Roost; Searris, Kelbnar, Andrazor, and Fah Jarakk. The root itself is made out of several platforms, where you also complete the daily quest The Protectors of Hyjal, although most people actually only stick to the first platform and rarely venture on the second and third.

The mobs always spawn in order, starting with Kelbnar, Fah Jarakk, Searris, and finally Andrazor and should only spawn one at a time, although I have witnessed seeing two spawned at the same time. I am unsure if this is currently a bug but watch out for them. They can also spawn in rapid succession or take as long as over half an hour between spawns. When I did these, I saw Fah Jarrakk spawn literally within seconds after Kelbnar had been killed, and again Searris spawn faster than I could travel to him, at max speed, from Fah Jarrakk.

The best way to do these elites is to have a friend with you. If you are a DPS, bring a healer and visa versa. You will not need an actual tank, because as a damage dealer, you can actually solo some of these mobs, albeit being quite difficult. You also need to as quick as possible because you need to tag the mob in order to get the credit for its kill. A lot of people assume they will get credit but this is a fallacy.


Kelbnar looks like an ancient hellhound, like the ones you see on the Molten Front, as well in Firelands. He spawns at the southern end of the first platform, so is the most prone to be tagged very quickly. His main abilities include charging on your allies and leaving behind him a trail of flame. So just stay out of it and you will be ready to face Fah Jarakk.

Fah Jarakk

Fah looks like slightly smaller and greenish version of Fiery Behemoth and spawns at the northern corner of the second platform. The platform itself is rather small and Fah’s biggest problem is that he keeps casting fire nova, just like Fiery Behemoth, except his deals a lot more damage and he casts them a lot more often. On top of that, he will cast high damage meteors from the sky and occasionally enrage, which makes him literally spam fire nova.

You need to absolutely avoid every meteor, because they really take a big chunk of health off you and, when he is not enraging, interrupt fire nova. If he enrages, Fah will grow in size and the best strat is to simply run away from him. The fire nova is uninterruptable, as he casts it so fast and often in this phase. If you can avoid all the above damage, you should be fine, but I would opt to bring help  on this fight. Even with the druid allies from the daily quest, Fah is a real challenge to solo, even in descent gear.


Searris is a fire elemental, like the ones we’re used to seeing from Twilight Highlands, as well as Firelands, except he is bigger. Regardless, he is one of the easier lords and is completely soloable, particularly for warriors because he keeps summoning tiny fire elemental adds and we can easily get a victory rush proc from them. The only troublesome ability he has is a fear and fire dot debuff. The debuff deals pretty good damage so, if you intend to solo him, bring a pvp trinket with you and always make sure you have a VR proc available, as well your finger on your enraged regen button.


Like Fah, Andrazor is difficult to solo. I got some help from other people killing mobs on the area and yet only barely survived by dropping aggro and using every defensive cooldown in my arsenal. Had I been alone, I have no doubt I would have failed. Andrazor uses the same model as Alysrazor, the Firelands boss, and spawns at the farthest corner of the last platform, literally on top of where Seassir spawns.

The exact spawn point is in the air and you need dismount and instant attack him from the air to pull him as soon as possible. If left unattended, Andrazor will simply start flying around the Sethria’s Roost and will so an 8-loop until someone pulls him.

His abilities include a breath and a knockback, so you will need to get some healing and absolutely make sure you are not between him and the edge. You can, and will, be thrown off the edge and that will effectively ruin the pull for you. Same goes for being thrown on enemy mobs. If you’re top aggro holder, point him away from the rest of your allies and just hit him as hard as possible to take him down fast.


At the end, you will be rewarded with a shiny achievement, but, depending on the RNG gods, might take a few tries and just general, boring waiting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Raiding the Firelands

ragnaros_firelands So, we are on our second week into patch 4.2 and the Firelands raid instance. I wanted to write this article sooner but by the end of the first week, we had not yet progressed to the half way point of the dungeon, so I felt it was not quite the time to write up my thoughts. As I am writing this, we are putting some serious attempts on Alysrazor, the 4th boss encounter and I feel more comfortable looking back and summing up the experience so far.

Firelands is definitely easier, than what T11 dungeons, such as Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent were. This is a personal observation ofc and I am not basing this on just how quickly the top guilds in the world cleared the normal modes. I think that kind of comparison is inherently flawed because people forget that those guilds, not only overgeared the content to begin with, by going in in full BiS items from hard modes in T11, but also because they also had months and months of practice for the content back in the PTR. The rest of us are going in with more the type of gear that the instance was balanced for and with very little, if any, information about the encounters themselves.

But still, it is not like I have still not been enjoying the raiding in Firelands. On the contrary, I have enjoyed the encounters immensely because Blizzard did indeed succeed in making designing very unique and interesting mechanics. The Rhyolith encounter is a perfect example of this; where in you cannot actually hurt the boss himself but you apply dps on his legs to steer him around the area and try to get him to walk over small volcanoes. As such, there are no Patchwork type encounters where you just pull, and go pew pew as much as possible to kill the boss before the healers run out of mana. In a way, these are exactly the type of encounters I like because they are execution based, rather than gear based.  Naturally having awesome gear helps a lot but you need to follow a very strict set of strategies of you will still end up wiping horribly.

Another interesting factor is how the trash functions in Firelands. Only a small portion of the instance is actually indoors and otherwise is an open-sky dungeon, with a lot of space and not linear at all. The entire space is literally riddled with trash pack, some patrolling and some remaining stationary. You can choose to remove only the necessary or more for reputation gained, as the dungeon is associated with a new faction, the Avengers of Hyjal and the reputation gained from killing bosses or trash allows you to purchase pretty good pieces of gear from their quartermaster. In this way, it is very similar to the Ashen Verdict, except there is more gear choices available.


The trash was a bit controversial for the first week though because it followed the same respawn timer as normal raid trash. However, Blizzard had to tweak it, so that it only respawned once every four hours. The reasons were that you had to clear quite a lot of the trash before you could actually engage the first boss. Shannox is a natural first choice since he is fought geographically closer to the entrance and he would only spawn after you had cleared that specific area. But the rub was, you only had two hours to practice the encounter before you would have to clear the same, huge bunch of trash again. You could get away with less trash by going to Beth’tilac before Shannox but it still amounted to an hour’s worth of trash, meaning a normal four hour raid night is easily cut short. Luckily, it is now fixed.

So what are the bosses themselves like?


Beth’tilac is a fiery spider and the encounter takes place both on the ground and up high, above her thick webs. I enjoyed it a lot, as you need to split your raid into two groups. A smaller group takes threads of web from adds and climbs to fight Beth’tilac herself, while most of your raid stays below and deals with a lot of add control.

Against tanks, Beth’tilac is bit of challenge to control because even through blocked attacks her physical attacks can deal between 30-40k damage. On itself that is not so bad, but every 4-5 seconds she will also deal around 20k fire damage to everyone above the web. This makes it quite healing intensive and tanks need to rotate cooldowns wisely to help their healer along. The team above needs to also jump down from time to time, to avoid a high damage AoE and then get back up quickly before she wipes the raid below.

The second phase, which is a burn phase, can only be successful if the team above the webs was able to do enough damage to Beth’tilac before the third Smoldering Devastation and it her stacking damage buff acts as a soft enrage timer. Eventually she will deal too much damage for the healers to keep up.

In essence, a fairly simple fight but one I enjoyed.


Shannox is basically a hunter and follows a paradigm similar to the hunter class. He will lay traps, which need to both be avoided and utilized by the players. He also travels with two hell hound pets, which need to be dealt separately. The initial word we got was that tanks Shannox and his first hound, Riplimb but we found it to be unnecessarily cumbersome because both the hound and the boss are immune to taunts.

So we deviced a strategy where Shannox and Riplimb are tanked separately and as far from each other as possible. The distance cannot be too long because it will cause Shannox to enrage but it is still long enough that when Shannox throws his spear near Riplimb, the off-tank will quickly either kite him to a crystal trap or simply as far from it as possible. DPS are then tasked with slowing Riplimb down, so that the distance it takes for him to fetch the spear and return it to Shannox is long enough for the Jagged Tear stacks to fall off both tanks.

It is a simple strategy and much more straight forward to execute than tanks over-aggroing each other on two different targets. From there on, it simple comes down to killing the pets and then finally Shannox, while trying to kite the hounds to as many Immolation Traps as possible to ease the work load of the damage dealers, while avoiding the traps ourselves.

Lord Rhyolith

We originally figured that would need two tanks for this encounter, because while some damage dealers are directing Rhyolith over the volcanoes, by hacking at his feet, there are two types of adds spawning and indeed we did originally complete the encounter in this manner. However, there are several draw backs to this strategy. Firstly, the raid becomes very scattered around the platform, increasing the chance of getting throwbacks from Rhyolith’s stomps and getting caught in lava flows, the later which can easily kill a player from just couple of tics of damage.

Secondly, because we were scattered, getting enough damage on both add types was something of a chore. It worked but it was very cumbersome. On our second week, we changed it around and had our paladin tank switch to retribution and help out on the legs. We did this because, for some reason, turning the boss was a lot harder this time around and required more damage to make him turn in time, as we with only two DPS we kept having him walk into the lava pools and just wipe us.

With more melee on the legs, we stationed rest of the raid on the entrance and had just one tank pick up all the adds. We were skeptical at first but it turned out really well, because this way we had a much easier time of it to dodge the lava stream, as we were only exposed to a small portion of them. Also, the adds died just timely enough so we could transition from one type to the other. The only trick is that you need to kill Sparks before the Fragments spawn, and ofc visa versa.

All and all, I think this is one of my favorite encounters so far. It is very unique and fun to execute. You are fine as long as you keep concentrate and especially as a warrior tank I can really shine on this fight. Our mobility and good AoE threat really makes us a tank of choice for add control.


I would say that, if rest of the encounters in Firelands follow a similar success curve in design, the instance as a whole looks to be a very successful piece of content. The only concern I have, at this time, is that it only has seven boss encounters. Compared to ten or the twelve in T11, it is seems very few and if Blizzard follows their usual release rate, then we will quickly run out of content to play. Or will we? The top progression guilds are ofc going to clear all 7/7 bosses on heroic but looking at a lot of the other “lesser” raiding guilds (that also make up most of the raiding community) they were not able to get 13/13 HMs in T11. Our guild, Pro Finlandia, which can be counted as a relatively skilled and successful raiding guild only got 5/13 HMs in T11. So it might be just that only having seven bosses in this tier is the right amount.

We will just have to wait and see. For now though, the instance looks to be very successful from my point of view.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Warrior’s Journal: Bladestorm

It is probably time I continue this journal, especially since the other day when I thought it was smart to link the earlier entries on mmo-c for new warrior levelers. Great for new readers but also means I cannot continue to slack. So, it has been quite a few levels since my last report and I gotta say, the fun never stopped. In fact, it only increased once I was able to hit Outland and consequently entering Northrend. There are some issues with speccing that I want to address in today’s post, as well talk about AoE’ing as arms warrior.

First things first, speccing issues. Anyone who has leveled an arms warrior in solely pve environment, since Cataclysm, will notice that there are a few hiccups in our talent trees. I’ll demonstrate it with a little bit of show & tell. If you look at the following spec, you’ll notice that we are an impasse, where we only have 27 points spent, we need 30 for [Bladestorm] but we have no more pve talents to pick.


Personally, I found this a bit frustrating when I realized it, soon after entering Outland. The best choice I found was to take [Throwdown] and [Tactical Mastery], since, although limited, they have at least some benefits in pve. The first allows you to stun a target for a few seconds, which is sometimes useful when dealing with really large packs or in dungeons when the tank has problems controlling all the mobs, and Tactical Mastery lets us retain more rage when stance dancing. [Sudden Death] looks very nice but unfortunately warriors will not gain Colossus Smash until level 81. Alternatively you can spend those two points in [Field Dressing] but since levelers run solo I did not see it to be very significant. You can make use of it in dungeons but if you’re like me, a responsible player, then you should not be taking unnecessary damage and what little damage you will take is easily healable without it.

After that ofc, speccing becomes a no-brainer. After bladestorm, you will want to take two points in [Blood and Thunder], which lets you spread rend to nearby targets. In simple terms, bladestorm itself will make AoE’ing mobs really powerful and with B&T, it will be positively overpowered. Outland especially is an area that is designed with a lot of mobs in close proximity to each other, and you can take them by storm (no pun intended).

Something About Rotations

After linking my earlier posts and reading through them, I realized I had almost completely neglected to talk about rotations. I did mention something about it in my first post but in all honesty, the warrior rotation develops quite a lot as you level. At the very start it was simple, charge + rend + heroic strike. Simple enough and mobs literally died by the time of that first heroic strike.

As glyphs, mortal strike and overpower became available, my rotations changed toward more what they are at max level, which is charge + rend + mortal strike + overpower. You can still use heroic strike but I don’t recommend spamming it. If you are high on rage, by all means mix it in, especially after mid levels when mobs no longer die from two hits, and make use of it along side another ability (e.g. mortal strike) since it is off the GCD. Overpower becomes a good addition to the rotation, once you get full points in [Taste For Blood] but does not really have a big impact until level 60 or higher. Up until then, I would get the occasional OP off, especially if mortal strike was on cooldown but only after I entered Outland and Northrend did it really start to shine.

At early levels, your rotation will not be significantly different from your single target rotation, except you will substitute heroic strike with cleave. However, as you progress the same opener morphs into a powerful AoE rotation: charge + rend + thunder clap. After this use both bladestorm and sweeping strikes when cooldowns permit. Just be careful of pulling aggro from the tank and be mindful when you use these abilities. Otherwise follow your normal rotation and just make sure your rend never falls off.

It might seem strange to talk about specific rotations during a leveling process but the player really benefits from paying attention to such details early on. Think about it, once you hit max level, you will that much more ahead when you have done much of the ground work before hand. At that point you can start to fine tune your rotations and adding to it with more advanced techniques like stance dancing, proximity charge, and so forth. The effort will show immediate, particularly when you start doing heroic 5-mans and you will immediately begin to top the meters, while the others are still getting used to their classes.

So where does this leave us? The following is a good level 77 spec that I would strongly recommend. It heavily on AoE damage, since that is really what you should strongly emphasize during level up and will also yield more performance during early dungeon runs.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Magmaw Defeated!

Summer has arrived and people are laying it back on a river boat or the beach, where life is good but still, to my sincerest delight, we still managed to get people together to kill a new boss. Magmaw went down after we got the ranged groups sorted out, although the fight seems really plagued by all kinds of weird problems. I died on during mangle simple because the chains refused to stick on the darn spike. Luckily, our second tank, Trencavel managed to stay alive long enough to tank rest of the bone warriors and the boss until the DPS took him down.

All in all, a fight I really enjoyed. Has a lot to offer to us tanks; boss taunts, add control, movement and cooldown timing, and so forth. A lot of fun :D


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pro Finlandia vs. Nefarian

Was about time I got around to frapsing one of our Nefarian kills. The funny thing is, I expected this one to be difficult edit but it was probably the easiest in a long time. The soundtrack was just so obvious; I had barely managed to get the video tracks up on my Sony Vegas when I thought, “this is ZZ Top… has got to be.” I added the songs and from the first preview new it was a perfect fit.

Strange how some things just work out :D

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chimaeron Defeated!

Another hard mode boss is behind us, as we move on from Chimaeron and onto Maloriak. I confess that I never liked this fight very much and has a lot to do with the fact that it depends a lot on just pure RNG. We wiped several times during the night and although we had some test drives on Maloriak’s hard mode, many of the wipes were simply caused by events that we could do nothing about. The last phase especially, the tanks need to get pretty lucky with their strings of avoided hits or DPS do not have enough time to kill him. In many ways, the entire fight is a gimmick and I’m pleased it done with.

Maloriak sure looks like a lot of fun, with less RNG elements.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pro Finlandia vs. Halfus Heroic

Finally, it is online; our second hard mode kill of Halfus Wyrmbreaker. It is not immediately evident on the video but it took me several days worth of struggling to make edit, compress, and upload to youtube. Had to give it several tries, due to youtube’s convoluted copyright politics.

But anyway, it is now on and with approved music, which is the main thing. Unfortunately it was not as a clean kill as I would have liked, with me personally messing up the use of some cooldowns at the end. I actually considered abandoning the material and wait for this week’s kill, but at the end decided to screw it and just put it online, so I can give you guys another hard mode boss kill, as soon as possible.

So please enjoy and until next time. High Definition version is ofc available.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Return of the Ashbringer II

Anybody who knows me, is aware that I am not a big fan of Machinima and most of the time, even after watching a quite good video, the feeling is, at best, something along the lines “ok, that was kind of cool.” However, I stumbled upon something yesterday that made me rethink, completely the power of creative machinima, when it is brought to bare by talent and creativity.

The project that I am talking about ofc, is titled Return of the Ashbringer II, Raiders of Northrend. It is apparently suppose to be a sequel but no knowledge of the previous story is necessary. It is, by the author’s own words, no about action or combat, although both are pretty good imo, but about characters and drama. Now I was skeptical, to say the least, when I read that in the video description but only few minutes into watching the short version, I had to admit that it was pretty darn good and the director had surely nailed it.

It is actually quite long for a machinima, almost an hour and a half, and took the author over a year to complete, with over a thousand hours of work that he put into it. However, every hour seems worth it to me. I found the story incredibly moving, dramatic and well scripted. The movie has both elements of comedy and tragedy, woven into the storyline and some really good voice acting. In fact, Blizzard entertainment could very well hire some of the same voices to work on their projects, if you ask me. Jesse Cox for example delivers a very good performance in a number of roles in this movie.

The soundtrack is brought together from a many cinematic sources, including World of Warcraft itself, along with the Village, Battlestar Galatica, etc. The music really delivers the mood of each scene, amplifying the drama a hundred fold.

So I definitely recommend, anyone who like machinima and a good story, to have a look at this movie. It is a victory in movie making by any standard. There is a shorter 15 minute long version on youtube, so you don’t feel daunted by the length and you can assertain, a head of time, whether or not to commit for the whole thing.

Full length movie –> Warcraftmovies.com

Heroic: Atramedes

This fight went down pretty easily for us and Atramedes fell only after approx. hour and a half after we entered the instance. It also did not need any major brainstorming for good strategies, as our raid leader had come up with something quite good already and it soon came apparent that it was the best way to do it.

The most important thing on this fight is simply, controlling sound and the most obvious source of sound are the sonic bursts; glowing discs that spawn under the boss and begin sliding across the floor. We stacked all the ranged in one spot and all the melee in one spot, except the tank, which effectively meant that the discs were always choose very predictable routes. The ranged group alternated between two spots, changes every time the discs appeared and the melee simply side stepped and return to their position, at Atramedes’ foot.


The night was young so we actually got in some good tries at Chimaeron’s hard mode, and we still have one full raiding night left this week. So ofc the goal for monday is a dead two headed dragon.

Ohh, and one more thing. A guild mate pointed out that my screenshots are too small, so I added couple of hundred pixels to my standard. So Fury, this one is for you. Let me know what you think :D

I have also installed custom fonts for my achievements, so should look more stylish. I will have them also on my names and titles, by the time of my next screenshot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fall of Halfus Wyrmbreaker

It is better late than never, they say, but we have finally opened out hard mode count and the first to fall was Halfus Wyrmbreaker. The feeling is satisfactory though, in the knowledge that, while we indeed are late, the kill is accompanied by a feeling of accomplishment. Some fights have been nerfed since Cataclysm’s release but most are still the same you can account for most changes as fine-tuning than actual nerfs.

So there we have it, first hard mode kill for our 10-man evening group and hopefully the future still holds a couple more from Blackwing Descent, before we must move on to Firelands.


Go home team! :D

Friday, May 13, 2011

Patch 4.2 PTR: Lord Rhyolith & Beth’tilac

Blizzard has finally opened the first raid bosses in the new Firelands raid instance for PTR testing and so far we have seen two different bosses, drastically dissimilar from each other. I did not have the opportunity to log in myself, and odds are I could not muster the patience to get through all the DC bugs anyway, but I did do some searching and the information has already started to pile in. Wowhead has two amazing amazing articles on the two boss mechanics and overall view of how the fights are current represented.

Youtube has also, naturally, risen to the occasion and there are already some videos of those fights available. On a quick glance, makes me excited as the environments do not just look great but the encounters themselves look interesting. The two bosses I am referring to, are ofc Lord Rhyolith and the spider boss Beth’tilac. Lord Rhyolith is a single tank fight, which consists of phases one and two. In P1, the tank will be on add control, dealing with two different kinds of adds, which spawn individually and in groups. P2 the tank will pick up the boss and he is burned down.

Beth’tilac is very different, although also consisting of two phases. For me, the absolutely coolest part is P1, where she will climb on top of her webs above the raid and a tank & healer pair takes chase. Their responsibility is simply to hold her attention and jump down any time she uses Smoldering Devastation and then get back up. On the ground, the second tank will be dealing with adds, both big and small, all which the raid needs to burn down quickly or they will wipe the group very quickly.

There is ofc a lot more to it than that but all and all, it looks very good and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. For detailed information on the mechanics, look through the linked articles below and also suggest you have a look at the youtube videos even further below.

Wowhead’s Lord Rhyolith article.

Wowhead’s Beth’tilac article.




Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tanking Primer: Racials

Greetings everyone and apologies for the lack of content on the blog recently. I have been a bit busy for a while, dealing with various real-life issues, as well trying to maintain my in-game presence. One these was a pretty bad period of migraines, which I suffer from regularly, and had to, on one occasion, visit the emergency room. Anyway, I should have it mostly under control now, so without further due, lets kick start this day’s topic. I decided on this particular subject, simply because of the overwhelming number of people who are ask about it. I am not kidding when I say that if I had a dime every time somebody, at mmo-c or other discussion boards, asked this I could buy a cool new iphone instead of paying my rent. Another reason for picking this topic is because boards like mmo-c have a problem with people posting, simply for the purpose of boosting their post count, resulting in that the threads are eventually clogged by people saying every race between earth and heaven is a good alternative.

While it certainly holds true that any race fits the description just fine, as racial benefits are not very earth shattering, there are still choices to be made, particularly if you are interested in truly min-max’ing your character, as I assume most people are.

So what are the best races? To me, survivability is the key element to search for and with that in mind, it brings out the three most prominent alternatives; dwarves and elves on the alliance side, and tauren on the horde side. They are the three most viable choices, hands down. Some people argue for all sort of other attributes, like arcane torrent for blood elves and regeneration for trolls but the simple fact is that for tanks, survivability trumps everything else. This actually favors the Alliance side a lot more because we current have the strongest of the available racials.

Elves gain quickness, 2% extra miss chance to their avoidance, allowing them to reach 100% coverage on the attack table a bit quicker. Dwarves, however, have stoneform which not only removes all poison, disease, bleed effects but also grants a 10% damage reduction from all sources, including physical and magic, for 8 seconds. To me, that is easily the best racial you can get for a tank. For the horde, your options are a lot more limited and quite poor for now. Taurens gain endurance, which increases their base health. This was actually quite powerful back in Wrath of the Lich King expansion, where EH was the undisputed master of all attributes, but now in Cataclysm, EH is probably the poorest attribute that you can increase. It can help a little, for those tanks who still opt to stack stamina, but I do not put much stock in that paradigm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patch 4.1: Protection Warriors

undead_warrior Yes, I know, a lot of talk about the patch 4.1 lately. Everyone is posting about it, which is why I only stick to protection warrior’s point of view for now. There is plenty of material out there about the new instances, dungeon finder, etc. Actually, it is surprising just how large the patch was, despite not featuring a new raid instance. A lot of things have changed, been redesigned, and altered to seriously change the way we play the game.

The official patches are can be found in the following link and obviously, you should always check them out yourself and see what is what. But I will try to cover some of the major changes and give a few thoughts on them. I resisted the urge to write about this yesterday, before I had a chance to get a feel for it.


There is also a round of hotfixes that have been implemented, in response to many of the problems that came out with the patch, and suggest everyone will also have a look at that.


Rallying Cry

First, lets go over the new warrior utility, Rallying Cry. Keep in mind; this is actually something all warriors received, regardless of spec, so the dynamics of its usage are rather interesting. It essentially functions like the Paladin’s Divine Guardian ability but instead of 20% less damage taken, RC gives the raid 20% more health for 10 seconds. It shares its CD with Last Stand and what that means is that if a tank uses it, he will not be able to use LS for another 3 minutes. Another warrior using his RC will not affect another warrior’s RC or LS.

The utility of this ability is innumerable and is only limited by the 30 yard range. That means that using it during the Nefarian encounter, phases 1 & 2 you will not grant you a lot of benefits, unless used by a warrior close enough to the main raid. Then again, in phase 3, used by a DPS warrior, it would be awesome for Electrocute. Other examples are in Halfus, Valion & Theralion, Cho’gall, etc. To me, this ability is just great and something the class has needed for quite a long time.

Spell Block

The warrior tank has always been, somewhat, more vulnerable against magic damage. Spell Block is a 5 second buff that gives us 20% reduced damage from magic when we use Shield Block. We need to spec into [Shield Mastery] but this is hardly a concern since it is must-have talent for protection warriors anyway. The important thing is that we finally have a raid-viable ability against magic damage and because it is bound to Shield Block, it makes how you spend that particular ability a bit more a question of time.

For most of the current tier’s encounters you are not going to want to alter your Shield Block routines in anyway, since most of them do not really feature powerful magic attacks. Ofc magic damage is present but it is much more useful to still give your Mirror of Broken Images trinket priority in dealing with them. The reason is simply because Shield Block still also functions as a means to mitigate physical damage and your goal should be to still maximize its effectiveness.

Personally, I would reserve Spell Block primarily against the three end bosses; Ala’kir, Cho’gall, and Nefarian, because those three are the ones that contain the most prominent sources of magic damage that cannot be entirely covered by the trinket. There are few other examples too however, like if you are tanking Ignacious of the Ascendant Council, when he puts up his shield and does a very powerful fire attack on the tank.

A good general rule, for me at least, is that it is not worth delaying Shield Block for more than 10 seconds maximum. The reason for that is because the ability is only on a 30 second CD and if you end up delaying its use by e.g. 20 seconds at a time, you lose a lot of physical mitigation, which is still very important to maintain. Some have made the argument that, well, tanks do not really die from overall damage done over a lengthier period of time, but I would say a bit reason for that is because warrior tanks have so much overall mitigation. So even if we take a few hits without blocking or avoiding them, the next couple will again be mitigated, which lets a healer catch up. If we degrade our ability to produce those heavily mitigated attacks (of which Shield Block is a big part of) we will end up taking more overall damage, making us more vulnerable and harder to maintain.

Spell Resistance

I think the cooldown change on Spell Resistance (changed from 10 seconds to 25 seconds) is two-folded; first relates to pvp, where a skilled warrior could potentially spell reflect crucial attacks by mages, priests, and other spell casters, thus making them unable to keep the warrior at a sufficient distance. Basically though, this is not a big problem in my books. Casters were already gaining a lot of downtime from a warrior by simple kiting and using slows, roots, and stuns that a warrior had to be skilled with SR to even be competitive against them.

However, coupled with the new Spell Block buff to our Shield Block, the change begins to make a whole lot more sense. Remember, both abilities are completely viable for use in pve and pvp. In fact, I have already created a macro for my arms pvp spec, that lets me pop Defensive Stance and Shield Block and I can see a lot more warrior using that now. For pve, in viable environments like 5-man heroic dungeons, we can benefit from both SR and Spell Block by semi-chaining them. Imagine, you can first pop SR for a specific attack and half-way across the CD, you time your Spell Block for another. That totals a lot of damage that you did not take and if SR still had its old 10 second CD, it would be seriously overpowered. You could pop two SRs inside Spell Block’s CD.

There is, of course, also the Glyph of Spell Reflection which now reduces SR’s CD by 5 seconds, instead of the old 1 second reduction.


As protection warriors, we received two changes total to the way our interrupts work. The first and foremost, shared by all classes, capable of interrupting, is that from here on out, any non-damaging interrupt does not require hit cap to successfully hit. Just like taunts, they now hit automatically, which means that tanks can go with their best survival gear even for fights that require us to perform interrupts.

Until now, we’ve had to maintain hit gear and special buffs to be capable of that job, which especially in 10-man environment has been a bane in our existence. Many do not realize just how much in survival stats we lose in total, when we have to spend them on hit rating, a stat that is otherwise completely useless to us.

Another major change has been the removal of Shield Bash, replaced now by Pummel. There was a lot of discontent about this fact, for a good reason, as Shield Bash is probably one of the most iconic abilities that protection warriors have. Unfortunately, it was removed but to me, in the end, the importance of a more viable interrupt makes more sense. Remember, Pummel is on the standard 10 second CD, unlike Shield Bash which was on 12 second CD. Those 2 seconds shed off our interrupt lets us solo interrupt a lot of abilities, like the prototype adds on Nefarian.

There were of course a lot more updates to this patch and again, I urge everyone to check them out for yourself.

Happy gaming.

Patch 4.2: Firelands Preview

As promised, Blizzard will be pushing out the next content patch soon after 4.1 has been released. We are already seeing preview videos on youtube and it does seem promising. Some have pointed out that it looks like Molten Core v2.0 but since I never played in Vanilla, I have no issues with it. Definitely, at least, looks fantastic, watching the scenery, the terrain, lava flows and mobs inside Firelands. The textures are just amazing.

There are currently two previews that I suggest you have a look at; one for the daily quest hub environment, which will probably be very much like Tol Barad, and the second preview is on the Firelands instance itself. I am looking at the video, again, and cannot help but be excited when watching the encounters. The spider hanging from fiery webs, the night elf fire lord that transforms into a scorpion and giant flaming cat… almost wish it was coming out tomorrow.

Nefarian’s End

It was a very pleasant feeling last night, after couple of long raid nights of practicing the fight, to finally see the last of the normal mode bosses, Nefarian go down. We almost called off the raid actually, since the initial attempts were plagued by disconnections as the world server was having a hiccup but we figured that lets try for another 15-20 minutes and if there is a disconnection, then we will call it. Thankfully there wasn’t and after only a couple of tries we managed to kill Nefarian.


Next stop, some hard modes while we still have the time.

Go home team!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Warrior’s Journal: In the Face!

facePunch I believe my new warrior character was at level 31 when I last wrote about his progress. Few days have now passed and he has reached level 48 and so far, I cannot find anything about the Arms spec to complain about. It almost seems like Blizzard intentionally chose to make Arms the early level spec of choice, simply due to the rate of abilities you learn. At 15 you got everything you needed to begin tanking and the progression supports the protection tree. For DPS role, the early progression supports Arms a lot more than Fury. In fact, by the time you get to level 44 you will have learned all but a couple of your core abilities; including slam, rend, overpower, etc. After that point, the next upgrade does not even come until in the next expansion, beyond level 60 and from this point on, you will gain fury abilities.

So if you would prefer to level as fury, do not feel disheartened. Stick to Arms first until you begin gaining those Fury powers and then make the switch. I am fully enjoying my time as an Arms warrior so I will stick with it. Actually, I have so many of my Arms abilities that I cannot find a niche to use them, except with the odd “difficult” quest boss.

But enough of that lets have a look at the spec I am currently playing.


You will notice, from my old spec, I have switched two points from [Second Wind] over to [Drums of War], like I said I would in my previous article. I have also progressed through the 4th tier of talents. You will want to pick them all, trust me. They are all good for you but the difference is in the order you pick them. The reason is, if you check what level you learn Slam, it will not be until level 44, so until then taking [Improved Slam] is just not useful. [Deadly Calm] is an iconic Arms cooldown ability, but also not very useful during normal pve questing. So I started by picking two points in [Blood Frency] and then taking my first point in imp slam at level 43. That way, I would learn Slam at 44 and get my second point immediately after at 45.

Questing Zones

Someone asked me how I am picking the zones that I go quest in, so I figured I would dedicate a paragraph for it. Although, with that said, I do not really have any higher logic to that I pick which way to go. I only have two rules for the selection process and those are 1) somewhere I have not been to yet, 2) once started, do enough quests to complete the loremaster achievement for that particular zone. The simple reason is that I do not think the choice matters a whole lot in the end, not anymore at least, as Cataclysm has improved the zones so much. The loremaster achievement is just so that, if I want to later come back and actually get the titled of Loremaster, I will not have to figure where I left off with the quests but can just move from one zone to another and start them over. Not only that, but Blizzard has done a great job in weaving attractive storylines into each zones and you only truly appreciate it in the end, if you finish all the quests and get to the see the climax.

Ofc, there are some disappointments along the way. Not every zone can be as good, as the previous one. As a human, I naturally started in Elwynn and progressed through Westfall and Redridge Mountains. From there I went south to Duskwood and continued further to Stranglethorn Vale. The problem I ran into was that in Duskwood and especially in STV, the questing became much more scattered, with quest objectives piling in and marked all over the map, so it was much harder to work through them in an organized fashion, like I like to. The Cape of Stranglethorn was a particular bane in my backside because of the bug with the quest lines where you infiltrate the bloodsails. If you follow on my footsteps, make sure that after you start, do not logout before you have finished defending Booty Bay. The reason is that if you logout while you are friendly with the bloodsails, they will be marked hostile again after you come back in. They will not attack you but you cannot return any quests either. The only way I managed to reset it was to visit Kalimdor and come back, and I had to do that twice.

After STV, I figured Thousand Needles would be another fun place to visit, and it definitely was. I fully enjoyed questing in the area, even if some of the quests were rather annoying. The speedbarge was confusing to navigate, at first, and the mobs on the shore that throw alcoholic beverages at you… ohh man. Ever tried to swim when your character is drunk? It does not work. I am also notoriously bad at reading quests and just clicked “whateva” when they pop up. If I had read them better, I would have noticed that I had my own private speed boat at my disposal the whole time and would not have had to swim from A to B, to C, to D, to E, to F … and to P.

A true derp moment…

Warrior Training

The last tip of the day I can give you is to do not fret about visiting your trainer regularly. Always be aware of what you would be gaining and if the ability has no bearing on your current situation, postpone it. You will not find trainers at every corner and flying over to one and back can be rather time consuming. Some good and iconic abilities, ofc, you should go pick up but you can mostly go on for half a dozen levels at a time without any need to train in between.

That is all I have for now. Stay tuned and feel free to e-mail with feedback or leave a comment on the post. I will check regularly to approve them and I really cannot stress enough how much I would prefer to get those comments. That is what the system is there for :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Binary Hard Modes

binary-tunnel I have a lot of topics I have wanted to write about for quite some time and this is definitely one of them. To those who do not know the term; binary hard modes are what is referred to as switching from normal to hard mode encounters, in World of Warcraft raiding. The name derives from binary numbers, as computers understand them, 1s and 0s and the fact that to alternate between the difficulty levels you only need to basically flip a switch.

As a concept itself, we saw a lot of experimentation by Blizzard during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, as hard modes only did their debut in the Ulduar raid dungeon, released 3.1 patch. Until then, in the Naxxramas “reloaded” the difficulty level was only based on raid sizes; 10- and 25-man, with the larger raid size sporting slightly more difficult encounters. Until then, hard modes did not really exist. In TBC everything was, essentially, hard mode. There really was not much distinction for the more casual player and the more hard core, progression raider and everything was the same.

I do not know a lot of people who dislike the separation of normal and hard mode, although a few have come across, who basically think everything should be hard mode, like it was in TBC but that’s, in my opinion, just silly. The very reason to create such a division was to let less skilled players stick to easier content and the really hard stuff is targeted at the more skilled players. It is a great idea actually, but the problem is, as usual, implementation. I have spoken with a lot of people about this and a majority of them agree that the current, binary system is bad.

Why is it bad?

Because it is not just boring but basically forces raiders to complete the dungeons twice. We saw that in Icecrown Citadel, where most raiders were so sick of the system and running the same encounters over, and over again, on whichever difficulty level. Cataclysm narrowed it down a bit by making 10- and 25-man raids equal in difficulty, so there are only two levels of challenge now. However, personally I think the original, Ulduar hard modes were the most interesting. Instead of just a flipping switch, you would issue an encounter by completing a specific mechanic within the fight. For example, on Freya you would not kill any of the three guardian treants before pulling her and thus allow Freya to gain new abilities from the guardians, or on XT-002, you would wait for the heart phase and then DPS the heart to zero hit points to start the hard mode.

To me, they were much more interesting and fun to do, rather just switch between normal and hard outside the instance. The only problem I can foresee about this method is that players might not be fully aware what is a hard mode and what is just an achievement because, lets face it, they mix together quite seamlessly. Then there is also, ofc, the fact that Blizzard would be pressured to come up with these unique mechanics, which while might not sounds difficult at first, but is always one more thing to add to an encounter and Blizzard is having problem coming up with new stuff as it is. I do not mean that as a derogatory remark, but simply an observation that a lot of the encounters recycle ideas. They might be slightly polished or minutely altered, but essentially still the same.

A good example is the “Marrowgar” encounter in Halls of Origination, or the Aegis Shield on the fire boss of Ascendant Council that demonstrates a lot of similarities to the Twin Valkyr encounter in the old ToC raid. However, I still think it would be more interesting to see the Ulduar type of hard modes and more to the point, more variety between hard more and normal mode loot. This is a pretty big issue actually because right now, once you figure out the BiS list for your spec, you can just farm it and then you simply aim for the heroic versions of those items. Once again, Ulduar showed a much more interesting method where as the hard mode loot were completely different to the items that dropped if you did the encounter on normal mode.

To be completely honestly, I think Blizzard has done a mistake in moving away from the Ulduar style dungeon. I love the fact that dungeons are smaller now but many things would be elevated to a higher level if Blizzard brought back the lessons learned in Ulduar. It is still widely held as the most balanced and well designed dungeon thus far in the game or at the very least since WotLK came out, and what is there not to like? It was stunningly beautiful, encounters were amazingly well designed, balanced through as you progressed deeper into the dungeon, and featured many things for the first time; such as a hard mode only boss, Algalon. I never got to kill him and even now, today, I wish to go back and simply experience it.

Now the logic of these type of hard modes is not solely to make them more interesting to play, but to avoid necessary repetition of normal and hard modes. Granted, most players will have to first complete and farm the normal modes for the necessary gear, in order to even have a chance at running hard modes. However, the world top guilds, and I am not just talking about the first ten but the first hundred, or even further than that, did not farm normal modes before moving to the hard modes. Even now in tier 1 of Cataclysm they simply did not have the time as they were racing for world and server firsts at killing those encounters. They have the skill and creativity to actually jump into normal modes with inferior gear, run them through and hop onto hard modes and just gear themselves by doing those, skipping normal modes altogether and bypassing the artificial block.

Think of how much more interesting could be if you could have gone to the Bastion of Twilight, progressed to Cho’gall and instead of killing of farming the first bosses needlessly for a couple of weeks, as you practiced the last boss, and tried your hand at Halfus HM. You could even benefit from killing a first hard mode boss, get gear from that, before moving onto the last boss. At least to me, that would be awesome.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Warrior’s Journal: Charge!

warrior-charge-2 I have been gnawed upon by a problem with my main warrior character for quite sometime now and that is the limitations of dual speccing in World of Warcraft. I can see Blizzard's logic when they explain why they do not want to add options to maintain more than two permanent specs per character, the way that Rift, for example, allows. However, I am currently joggling to keep track of three tanking specs and two fury specs, one for pvp and one for pve. With the new 4.1 changes that are coming around, looks like I am finally forced to switch my pvp spec to arms, adding even more complications.

Some, more politically correct players would tell you that it is already a waste of time to play fury pvp, simply due to how easy it is to counter. But still, I enjoy the fury spec in all its forms, which is why the change is coming with a heavy heart. With that in mind I have decided to separate my pvp and pve into different characters. That way I can devote each character more fully into the task which I am designing it. That is not just good for me but more than fair for my guild and arena partner.

I have already leveled a couple of characters in Cataclysm but none of them were warriors and I figured would be a fun idea to keep something of a journal through the progress. I actually once planned on doing a similar, more mechanical journal for leveling a protection warrior and I might still return that, perhaps depending on my experiences with this journal.

Choosing a Realm

I chose to level my warrior on Neptulon, a pvp realm where I had the most access to heirlooms, and also because I more in my element when playing on a pvp realm. This is an important decision though and you should not adopt for a pvp realm unless you are comfortable with the fact that, from time to time, members of the opposite factions will jump at the chance to kick your parts around the landscape. However, do keep in mind that the legends surrounding pvp realms are largely exaggerated and often blown out of proportion by explosive examples. It is all true ofc; you are as likely to be attacked by those of your level and those above you, for other reason but to kill you for fun of it. Some max level players go hunting for low level players.

But still, it happens a lot less frequently then people are letting on. I remember leveling my main character, a warrior on a pvp realm, as well as other characters, like my mage and hunter. In all cases, I got attacked maybe a handful of times between levels 1 and 80. From those times, it was rarely by anyone who was actually good at pvp and mostly I would just kill them and go on with my questing.

Choosing a Spec

For now, I have reached level 31 inside two days of leveling and my choice of spec is naturally Arms. I am unsure how fury plays at lower levels these days but my previous experiences did demonstrate an alarming lack of rage. I do not want to go through that again so I specced arms and it is working out quite well. Without dual wielding, hitting targets is easy and mostly die within two globals. For the specific talent selection, so far I have distributed my points in the following manner:

War Academy & Blitz: This was an easy choice because both contribute to my damage and the more I can deal, the faster I can move onto the next quest.

Second Wind & Deep Wounds: This was a bit more tricky; [Deep Wounds] was obvious but [Second Wind] is only a placeholder talent for now, until I finally learn pummel. When that happens, I will switch the two points over to [Drums of War]. Second Wind is still a good choice if you do more battlegrounds than I, but is inferior for free interrupts. Not only is the rage you save valuable but at lower level pvp, if you get stunned, you are most likely going to die.

It is just a simple fact. I have been doing a couple of battlegrounds so far and the experience speaks loud and clear; the classes are not well balanced. Even an heirloom geared player can get 2-3 and if the opponent can stun or kite you, it is game over.

Taste For Blood & Impale: So far this has been the hardest tier to choose between my talents and again, if you opt to play more battlegrounds than I, suggest you alternate your choices a little bit. Hamstring is pretty useless for questing, so I left it out, same as [Sweeping Strikes]. That was a painful choice and I might actually still go back to put a sixth point in this tier. Especially once I start hitting more dungeons, Sweeping Strikes will do some good damage. Just for questing however, I figured getting those overpower procs would be more valuable.


I will continue the spec as I gain more levels.


Especially if you have access to a ton of heirlooms and a high level guild, doing dungeons between quests is a perfectly valid way to level up. There are quests at the beginning of every dungeon and most of them are still extensive enough to hold a lot of trash, multiplying the amount of XP you will gain. My first Wailing Caverns run gained me two complete levels, after I had returned the quests. You will also get some gear that helps out with quests in the world, reputation, and just simply bring a change of pace to your routine.

However, be warned. If you have ever experienced bad dungeon runs at max level (which I assume you have if you have ever used the LFD tool before), expect it to be worse at low levels. People have close to no patience, ninja pull at random, and care little whether the tank is ready or the healer has enough mana. Granted, much of the early dungeons like Deadmine do not even need a tank but courtesy should still be paid no matter what. I generally do not grind gear or run a lot of dungeons as I level, but just enough to complete the quests in the dungeons and to get the daily extra XP from random queue.

Getting On With It

There is not a whole lot else that can be said about it. Just get in there and start completing quests. The nice thing about the warrior class is the fact that you get some of the most iconic abilities early on. Both charge and rend, I believe, became available before I had left the starting zone. Soon I also gained overpower and heroic strike, both which I use regularly. My main opener is charge + rend + HS. By that time, most mobs die anyway and I rarely ever drop to zero rage. I have enough to spare for a quick overpower and mortal strike if necessary.

Overpower could very well become more prevalent when I gain three points in the Taste for Blood talent because it lets me proc it from rend. All and all, I cannot find anything wrong with my leveling process so far. Since the Cataclysm revamp, Blizzard obviously made a lot of adjustments to what level and order you gain your abilities and I really cannot complain. The warrior is equally ready to function as a DPS or tank once you hit level 15. Both are viable options.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Classic vs. Modern

cadillac-classic-car I see a lot of posts about this subject; close to every day in fact and decided it was time to write about it. If you are even remotely familiar with what goes on in the official World of Warcraft forums, or have even a passing interest at various different boards, such as mmo-c, then you shouldn’t be a stranger to posts that pine for the return of vanilla WoW, or similarly TBC. An innumerable number of posts have asked Blizzard to establish vanilla and TBC servers, just for those who liked those times of the game.

First of all, to get out of the system, Blizzard has so far refused and I completely agree with their reasoning. The simple fact is that the game has evolved, for the better in many cases (no matter what the critics say) and they prefer to keep the game going forward, instead of maintaining versions of the game that are outdated and outright flawed from their perspective.

Secondly, and this is the part that I feel people should remember, is that when people post stuff like “ohh but things so much better back then, there was an actual challenge to the game…” they are not really being perfectly honest with themselves. It is not actually just a World of Warcraft phenomenon, but human nature to often pine for the return of the old, by the assumption that it was somehow better. I remember when I, once upon a time, did a summer job as a janitor, I got all these old people coming to me (and my boss) to complain how I was doing it wrong and the old guy was much better than I was. I talked with the actual janitors there about it and who simply laughed and told me not to worry about it, that the old guy got the exact same flack I got. Apparently he had not been any better than I was, nor doing anything a whole lot differently. It is simply the human nature to endlessly complain and even make up logic to support their ridiculous argument.

Now I am not saying that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the old expansions had their moments and many people rightfully enjoyed it but lets try to take some of the more valid arguments and consider them from a logical perspective.

#1 The Game was more challenging, as a whole.

I really doubt it actually was. Many things are a bit easier to accomplish in the modern game, like grind the necessary reputation to buy items from faction vendors. Back in vanilla it could possibly take months to just get one item, but that isn’t really challenging and it is the main pitfall of these arguments; that they assume grinding is difficult. It isn’t. It simply takes a lot of time which is just outright boring. The game has lost a lot of the grindiness (probably not a word but I’ll use it anyway) and that is a good thing. It can still take anything from 2-4 weeks to grind a single faction to exalted. I know Baradin Wardens took me a long time and so did the original Sons of Hodir faction in Wrath of the Lich King. Lets remember, a month of doing dailies every day is a long time and, at least in my opinion, anything beyond that is just excessive, particularly when that only pertains to one faction, out of half a dozen in current content.

#2 40-man raids were much more epic

Were they really? The reason why Blizzard changed the raid format down to 10- and 25-man was the simple fact that in most cases, it was not actually 40 people raiding. It was more like 20-25 who were raiding and the rest were just sitting on their hands, and getting carried. Not to mention the whole organizational nightmare of actually getting 40 people to show up on time for regular raids, to gear them up and have them perform optimally. How many guilds nowadays, have a problem with putting together and maintaining 25 skilled players? Most average guilds have to work in 10-man and even then, many still have problems. Now build that up to 40 people and you have a raid leader’s nightmare.

#3 Raid encounters are just a joke these days

No they are not. If you actually look at most of the encounters in vanilla for example, they are not very complex. By comparison, modern raid encounters have a lot more things going on simultaneously; where as vanilla encounters have relatively few. For example, the heroic lich king encounter in Icecrown Citadel has been described (by many world top guilds) as the most complex and difficult encounter thus far, a statement I personally agree. Much of the so called “challenge” actually came from the fact that you were most like utterly under geared for the encounter and that itemization was not ideal, by any stretch, back then. Some mechanics were also just outright broken; like healers down ranking their spells, tanks not truly having much in terms of aoe abilities, etc. Not to mention variety and game balance issues between classes.

#4 No more class specialization

When I heard this, I was just bewildered. The fact that in vanilla you might have had the need to, specifically, bring something like a dwarf priest just to get fear ward and some specs were not viable for raiding at all. So if you wanted to raid, e.g. as a paladin tank in TBC you had just an enormous world of hurt ahead of you because, at the time, and especially during vanilla, you only one viable option. Same goes for the healers. Now, we have four viable tanking specs and five viable healing specs. To me, this is awesome and lets people play the class that truly interests them. Many other things were actually simply broken in the game at the time. Just consider pvp in vanilla, where some classes were just useless and others were close to gods. Warlocks for instance could use detect invisibility to see through stealth. Some go the distance and say that literally half the game was broken, in one way or another.

Really, the whole nostalgia for old content seems to play more to the selfish need of importance to me. Too many are too proud of themselves for the sheer fact that "they started the game back in the day” as if that somehow made them better than others. The comedy of it all becomes obvious when you realize that, while many did started back then, they did not actually clear that much content. But still… they were there so it has to for something right?

Last but not least, by Blizzard’s own words, we know that this is not what the game was suppose to be in the first place. There are countless blues on the forums, trying desperately to make sink into peoples’ consciousness that the game was not supposes to be an effort in pain management. It was not supposed to be masochistic and all the changes the game has had ever since have been working towards the goal of getting away from that. Lets remember that a lot of the Blizzard designers came from old games like Everquest and the whole point of World of Warcraft was to step away from that style of gaming.