Monday, April 27, 2009

Not a flag carrier

So in the interest of becoming a better all-around warrior, I've spec'd arms for the time being, somewhat stacked toward PVP.  Let's get something straight though.  I don't have PVP gear, and I sure am not a master of my class.  So it was amazing to me when I stepped into WSG today that no one else could carry the flag.  There was a tank or two in the group, and plenty of healers to keep them up.  I don't mind running the flag, because that's offense, but once it hits defense mode, it gets boring, and I don't need the glory of a flag cap, so I try to pass it off, but it ended up going like this.

Run to flag room, grab flag
Use ItemRack to throw on prot gear and then pop ER
Switch to def. stance and run back, meeting a healer at the door
Run back to our roof, ask who wants the flag, give it to a pally with about 28k health
Use ItemRack to throw on arms gear
Try to chase down their FC, but on the way our FC gets owned, and they cap.
Since I'm 1/2 way there, I finish the run to the flag room, grab the flag again, switch gear again, pop ER again, meet a healer again, who tells me I should hang onto the flag.
That's fine with me, but I'm sitll going to try to get our flag down.
In the process of trying to get our flag back, I get sidetracked doing things like killing healers, and our flag gets returned twice
Eventually I get owned (healers can only keep you up for so long)
I immediately log.  I had other things I'm supposed to be doing today anyway, rather than be an idiot and contribute to BG losses (yes I realize by leaving I was contributing to the BG loss).

So all of this to say I think I could be a great FC, but as it is, I get too distracted, and end up making an idiot out of myself.  Maybe it's something worth practicing though.  It was kind of cool to have not a scrap of pvp gear and be able to survive just about anything they threw at me.  Of course we did have a lot of healers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

it's been too long

Unfortunately, I don't have much to update.  I haven't been to Ulduar other than to take a quick look around.  I'm still hoping for another 5 man or a troll raid sometime in the distant future, and still plugging away at 10 man naxx for those last couple of drops.  I'm sitll in the process of moving, which is one reason I haven't been able to get into Ulduar, because of lack of free time, but hopefully next month we'll get there and start working our way through.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why I'm a bad warrior tank

So this is something I think all players should do occasionally.  It's kind of like a job review, except without your pay relying on how you do, so you can actually be honest, and really figure out what you need to work on.

I don't have many original tanking ideas

This isn't just for tanking, this encompasses most of WoW.  To some extent it bleeds into other parts of my life, too.  For instance, my post isn't even an original idea.  I have plenty of original thoughts in real life, don't get me wrong.  It's not a problem of creativity, and yet it is.  I have enough experience with programming to at least at the basic level understand that it's a game that doesn't really change.  The bosses aren't intuitive (show me an MMO with intuitive bosses and I'm at least hooked for a little while.  I can't imagine the coding though...ew), and so the strategies don't really change.  I know that changing things up would result in my being a better player, but I tend to let other people do the testing for me, and just take their word for it when they tell me certain things about the game, which brings me to my next point.

I take other people's advice too easily

If I read something that seems to make sense from a trusted source, or, if I really trust the source, even something somewhat far-fetched (April Fools, anyone?) I'll probably believe it, and play accordingly.  Many things that I've been told have been believed by the ones that told me, but they're still wrong, and even then, I don't know they're wrong except someone I trust more has gone back and refuted them.

I'm not exactly a serious player

I say that to say, sometimes in-game I don't really care about giving 100%.  Sometimes I'd rather give 80% and use the other 20% to I dunno, chat in guild or something (hard to keep up a rotation while typing), and then my healer's yelling at me 'cause they had to bubble/shift/whatever it is shaman do because something was smashing their face in (this is primarily on 5 mans.  I love raids, and am generally much more focused on them).\

I'm a noob

Many of the warrior tanks out there have been tanking since the open beta, and most of my improvements have been their habits for years.  This shouldn't be an excuse, though, because I've had some great advice for learning how to tank from some of those very warriors.

So what can I do about it?

I don't think this post would be worth much if I just left it at the above.  While the last thing I mentioned probably won't go away, I need to focus on the others to really get better, which is something I'd like to do.  I would LOVE to out-tank a Pally on trash, or learn to add tank (something I have very little experience with).  Sure, taking the boss hits is fun.  You get to stand there and pound away at the boss while everyone cheers you on (or pushes you to hit harder/faster/better), but the Off-tank usually has so much more going on, and is by comparison looked at as "less important" even though without him the encounter just wouldn't be possible.

So I asked what can I do?  I think the answer is going to end up being, at least for now, PvP.  I have a fairly decent gear set, and knowledge of how my class/spec works, but what do I know about salvaging a bad situation?  What do I know about enemies that adapt to my strategies?  Sure it isn't directly applicable in raids, but learning how important intervene is will help when taunts are on cooldown and the healer just pulled aggro, or in general when a pull goes bad, and I need to try to keep everyone alive.  It will teach me to think of things on my own.  I know I can't think of new abilities, but new ways to use them that don't have to be spelled out for me.  I think learning to think on my feet can't do anything but help me in pve.

Now if only I could find some other pvp noob to suffer the pain that is getting to your appropriate arena level (30 second losses are no fun) so we can learn how to work our way back up the ladder.

Oh, and no, that's not all I can do, it's just the most obvious thing right now.  I'll continue to read warrior blogs and try to really think about what they tell me I should be doing to get better, but this seems like an interesting way to spend my break from raiding.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Break from raiding, though not by choice

This doesn't have to do with gaming, just a brief intro

So this whole "life" thing people keep talking about, well, it's sucking me in too.  Nothing amazing, just moving to a nicer apartment.  One with a dishwasher (/cheer) and in stark contrast to my current apartment, which hasn't been renovated since the 1970s, this one is new construction.  I realize both have their drawbacks, but I think I'll like the new one better than the old.  Anyway, I say this to say I probably won't get my first look at Ulduar until most of you are already hacking your way through it, so I thought I'd give my first impression of it now, before I've even seen any boss fight, or even any trash mob.

On to the good stuff

So from what I've been reading on other sites, blogs, etc., here is my first impression of Ulduar, from a completely third person point of view.  Or maybe more correctly, this is my first impression of other people's impressions of Ulduar.


This is probably the most widespread reaction I've seen.  Most of the hardcore raiders blasted through T7 content, and then got bored.  Others moved a bit slower, still cleared it, and are just now getting bored.  But in any case, people are ready for new content.  I think part of the problem is the introduction of "hard mode" as a way to keep people interested.  Sure, it's something different, and it's actually a pretty interesting solution, and it works to some degree, but if most people are anything like me (a stretch I know), the boss himself is the goal, and how you get there is slightly less important.  Think about the first time you killed a boss you had a hard time with.  Most recent for me and my guild is Grobbulus.  When we finally got him down, and with excellent execution too, it was a great feeling.  The next time was nice, to prove it wasn't a fluke, and now if we wipe on him, I wonder what went wrong.  I haven't tried many "hard mode" bosses, not even Sarth+1, but I can imagine that after clearing Sarth+0 over and over, the satisfaction of killing him again is somewhat diminished, even if it is with a (few) drake(s) up.  Many guilds are still working on Sarth10+3, and most of these are the same people who are bored with current content.  However Blizz has released as much as they did for T4, a big raid, and two little ones.

Oh Noes!

This reaction is more in line with some of my friends, and some more casual bloggers that I read, because to us, T7 wasn't as easy as it was to the hardcore raiders.  We're in guilds that don't boot you from the raid for dropping a poison cloud in the middle of the room, or being on the wrong side of Thaddius, or anything like that.  We're in a guild because we like the people.  Raiding is fun, but only if it's with our friends, and, well, some of our friends might just not get it sometimes.  Ulduar is supposed to be tuned much harder than Naxx, which isn't necessarily bad, but for some of us, it will make it harder to bring along our friend who forgets sometimes to pick up buff food (I've done it before) or the one that can't fly a drake and fight at the same time (that's 1/2 my guild lol), or the one that drops the poison cloud in the middle of the room.  Despite us not being the best raiders, we still want to see new content, so we're all anxious about the new raid.  Will it be too hard?

I don't even raid, why should I care about 3.1?

This is a small group, but I can understand their frustration.  No new 5 mans, no new badge loot, nothing interesting at all for PvE players that just love running heroics.  All they can do is grind out the same old badges, buy BoA items for their alts, and level up more alts, to work on being the most well-rounded 5 man player around.  I'm kind of hoping 3.2, or 3.1.x, comes with a new 5 man, a hard one, that has a "hard mode" on some (or all) bosses that causes them to drop valor emblems.  That might be fun, especially if the "hard mode" includes an ilvl cap, as Klepsacovic has suggested for old raid achievements.  That would prevent people from overgearing and just blasting their way to emblems of valor.  They can do that in Naxx25 or Ulduar10 if they want to be that way.

Well, time to go pack up some more boxes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trial By, make the Trial OF Fire

(Bored at work = new post)

So I decide to respec my mage to Fire/IV.  I accidentally over clicked one of my talents, so I have one misplaced talent, otherwise I think I spec'd pretty well.  I didn't want to pay 45g to fix one talent point though, especially while I'm still leveling.

Anyway, I haven't really done much testing (RL, always getting in the way of my WoW time), because I haven't been able to get any pugs going.  My mage's guild is small, so it's hard to get guild runs that aren't level 80.  With arcane I've been fairly steady at 1k-1200 or so, and it hasn't really changed much while leveling either, due to rarely getting upgrades for my T4/SWbadge gear.  Of course it doesn't help that I'm 76 and questing in Dragonblight.  LFG channel and working on quest achievements tends to put you behind on questing at appropriate level.  Oh well.  I'll have time for upgrades once I hit 80, and work my way through the higher level questing achievements.

Anyway, my initial feelings on fire are kind of lacklustre.  It's not bad, but for soloing, it's not really good either.  I'm hoping that when I get into a 5 man, I'll really get a chance to burn some things.  I know most mages are either FFB/ToTW or full Arc, or for PVP maybe full Frost, but I tend to like the dark horse specs.  I still have a special place in my heart for Arcane mages, because, well, that just seems right to me.  Mages should be masters of the arcane.  I can't ignore the other specs though, and the idea of Fire is fun because, well, let's face it, it's fun to play with fire.

I'll update again once I've had a good chance to play around with fire spec, I just felt like my Mage was getting kind of ignored on here so far, so I thought I'd dedicate a post to him.