Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WoW Goal Setting

So... after four years of playing WoW, I've decided to lay out some goals to see if I can achieve them. Partially this is to give myself some focus. Partially this is because I'm closing in on one of my major unwritten goals - max level character of each class.

So. What do I want in WoW?

1. Max Level character in each class.
  • Complete: Priest, Mage, Paladin; Rogue; Shaman; Warlock; Druid; Warrior; Death Knight; Hunter
  • Incomplete: NONE
2. Complete - Max Level character in every profession.
  • Complete: Mining, Herbalism, Skinning
  • Complete: JC, Blacksmithing, Inscription, Engineering, Tailoring, Alchemy, Enchanting, Leatherworking
  • Incomplete: NONE
3. For crafting professions - acquire all available recipes.
  • Complete: Inscription
  • Incomplete: JC, BS, Engineering, Tailoring, LW, Alchemy
4. At least two characters with raid-worthy (LFR) gear sets.
  • Complete: Helv, Helvog, Helvach, Helvile, Helvar, Helver, Helver@Gnomer, Helvugh
5. All characters with at least Justice Point tier gear.
  • Complete: Helv, Helvog, Helvach, 
  • Incomplete: Helver, Helver@Gnomer, Helvar, Helvile, Helvenheimer, Helvugh, Helveticus, Helvicious, Helvulf
6. Helv to complete all instances.
  • Incomplete: Throne of the Tides, Heroic Stonecore. Heroic Deadmines, Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, Throne of the Four Winds, Firelands, Dragon Soul, Siege of Wyrmrest, Fall of Deathwing.
7. Helv to max all reputations except Ravenholdt, Bloodsail, Shendralar, Magram, Gelkis and Syndicate.
  • Incomplete: Avengers of Hyjal, Frenzyheart Tribe, Ashtongue Deathsworn, Ogri'la, Scale of the Sands, Brood of Nozdormu, Darkmoon Faire, Hydraxian Waterlords, Frostwolf Clan, Defilers, Warsong Outriders, Everlook
8. Helv to complete all quests.
  • Incomplete
9. Helv to obtain all dungeon and raid achievements.
  • Incomplete
10. One character to obtain a legendary.
  • Incomplete
11. Get Helver or Helvar decked out for rated battlegrounds.
  • Incomplete
I think that'll pretty well take care of goals.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Giving up on Tanking

Exhibit 1:

My main is a tank.  ... Was a tank.

Helv's tankiness started when he was level 27.  At that point, he hooked with Derfla (the healer) and Draiven (the mage) and we went bang bang through the woods - killing much things.  This kept up as we worked our way up in the Spelunkers and Helv was the 2nd tank as we worked through Karazhan (late, of course), and Naxx.  Then we went to Lead Farmers, and Helv once again was the #2 tank for Naxx, Ulduar and most of Trial of the Crusader.  Then Lead Farmers fell apart and the three of us went to Ka Tet where Helv was the #4 tank behind Napston, Cannibadude and Bubble-something.  He tanked Marrowgar and LDW which is about as far Ka Tet got on the nights I was there.  Then Ka Tet went belly up and we went to First Order of Hell where I tanked one ToC and one or two 10-man ICCs... and then I stopped logging in.

When Cata came around we formed Adrift and Helv was set to tank again - but we never got the critical mass in place to actually start raiding.  Then we merged with another guild whose name escapes me at the moment and with Odoe, Helv was once again the #2 tank.  That went pretty well until that guild went belly up and merged with Mushroom Stamp.  I changed oceans and timezones and struck out on my own - back to Adrift.  For about 8 months Helv didn't run a single Cata instance.  I gave him a Ret spec two days ago and he's done 10 EoT heroics in the past two days.

Exhibit 2:

I was concerned that I simply didn't know the dungeons well enough to enjoy tanking them.  So when Fayze/Draiven suggested that we join up with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Gnomeragan I went in and rolled a new Prot Paladin - Helver.  He was tank all the way up to 85.  I ran many Vanilla, BC and Wrath instances as a tank.  In the Wrath instances, I felt exceptionally comfortable - I knew what to do and I knew how to do it.

Then the fear set in on my way from 80 to 85.  I did a couple of instances, but I didn't feel like I knew them well enough to tank them and avoid getting harassed.  So rather than tank instances to 85, I quested to 85.  I did tank a couple of instances at 85 - non heroic.  But I still wasn't comfortable enough with the Cataclysm instance mechanics to feel like I could handle tanking them - especially not when Cata had been out for over a year and the expectation was the tanks *KNEW* the instances.

Even in DRS, the couple of times I ran an instance with others from the guild, I wasn't tanking.  In one case, I was there in Prot spec with Rigtheous Fury off...  DPSing as Prot. 

Then about a month ago I gave Helver a Ret spec.  I ran a couple of normal Cata heroics and by then I was able to queue for EoT heroics.  As Ret.  I'm building up a Prot set by rolling for "offspec" pieces when I'm DPSing.

Exhibit 3:

Helver @ Vek is a warrior.  He was born and raise about the same way Helv was - by running with Derfla's mage, Nekorb.  He was an Alliance toon for a long time and then I faction changed him to get the extra help that my Horde toons could provide.  He quested through BC and LK content solo.  I think he ran two instances in LK content as a tank.  I just didn't have a good feel for him tanking - even though I knew the content very well.  But I just plowed on through waiting to get to Cata.

Then he hit 80.  I had to spend a little time questing and mining just to get gear to queue for Randoms.  Then I queued for a couple.  I tanked... hmmm... four; five maybe.  One BRC, two - maybe 3 VP and one Throne of the Tides.  Once I was told I was pulling too fast.  Once the run seemed damn near perfect.  Once I was told I was VERY squishy.  Once I was told I needed to learn the mechanics better.

And, of course, after running 5 DPS from 80 to 85 with lots of dungeon runs, I wanted to avoid Stonecore.  Orzuk intimidated me - especially considering that I had never tanked him.

Exhibit 4:

My DK has a Blood spec.  He hasn't used it since he was questing between levels 62 and 68.  I don't want to be just another sucky DK tank.

As Frost at level 83, he's pulling over 8k dps for a full dungeon run.  Why would I want to change from doing VERY well as DPS to potentially doing poorly as a tank?

Exhibit 5:

My druid has a Feral spec - kitty.  He doesn't use it.  He's Boomkin and I prefer it that way.


Conclusion:

So at this point I've got 7 characters at 85; 2 more at 83; 1 at 72 and 1 at 54.

I've now got 1 main spec tank - Helver @ Vek.  And I just gave him an Arms spec.  Tomorrow I"ll be running him on a couple of instances and try to figure out the Arms rotation.

Helver, Helver @ Gnomer and Helver @ Vek will continue to have Prot specs.  I will use them to level with, quest with and run old instances with - but for level appropriate instances, I'll wait out the queues and do them as a DPS.  Maybe at some point I'll be comfortable enough with the heroics to run them as a tank.  Maybe at some point I'll get into a guild where my experience tanking will become an asset.  Until then, though... It's tankers away.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rated Battlegrounds

So the other day, there I was... straight chilling doing some retro questing in Stonetalon - trying desperately to find some goblin faction quests so I don't have to lose any more of my life trying to hit exalted with the steamwheedle cartel. And then, it happened:

Mermex: RBG?
Me: yes

A fateful exchange. At that point, I was decked out in full Vicious gear - 4060 resilience. I had my 100 Tol Barad victories. 5 arena victories and 0 rated battlegrounds.

That first day, we did a couple of Gilneas and a couple of Twin Peaks. Two wins, two losses. I was the designated flag carrier in Twin Peaks and on the Water Works team in Gilneas. In one Twin Peaks I got to cap the flag 3 times. In another, we got pretty well blowed up. In Gilneas, we won one pretty handily and lost one by the skin of our teeth. I actually complimented once on a healer-kill... I chased down a dwarf shaman, and interrupted him enough to burn him down.

Second day, we tried again. It wasn't exactly the same team. This time, though, the team leader (Demise) made a rather large deal of my PvP spec. "Your spec is broken." "After this, meet me at the paladin trainer and we'll fix your spec." "Helv, you went down really quick - we need to fix your spec."

I readily admit that I'm not thoroughly knowledgeable about Prot Paladin PvP. I only started to PvP at all with Cataclysm's release. Most of that PvP time was spent in Tol Barad with one or two Random Battlegrounds thrown in to get Conquest Points. If someone is willing to pass along some knowledge, I'm willing to accept it and try it out. The problem I had with this particular "advise" was that it boiled down to the Toughness talent. In my PvP spec, I had removed Toughness - based on some advise from some of the (very few) Prot Paladin PvP players:

Taurgrimm: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1965994821
Towellie: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=0AC524F42677CEA8
Tankadin: http://www.tankadin.com/forum/index.php?topic=1519.0

So I changed my spec around, but still wasn't happy with it so I decided I needed to do some research of my own. While I'm sure Demise's suggestions were made with the best of intentions, it sounded to me like he saw that I didn't have Toughnes and then spent 30 seconds trying to find a viable Prot Paladin PvP spec online. I'm not sure that's going to net us anything worthwhile, so I did some digging. I went to the us and eu armories and looked up every prot paladin with a rated battleground rating of over 2000. There were 10. 8 of them looked like they didn't actually PvP in prot, they just had a prot spec. I then did some digging in the Arena rankings. I found a couple of other characters that had what seemed like a PvP Prot Spec with an Arena rating of over 2000. Here are some of them with my comments:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/khazgoroth/Hugglebugz/talent/secondary

This seems like a purely offensive Prot Spec. Mitigation talents seem like mostly an afterthought. The only two offensive (damage increasing) talents not taken are Eye for an Eye and Reckoning.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/arena-tournament-1/Towellie/talent/primary

This spec seems a little bit confused. He's taking an extra 9% haste. Takes one point in toughness and skips Guardian's favor, but takes Divine Guardian. Leaves off Seals of the Pure, Rule of Law and two points in Crusade. Doesn't seem particularly defensive OR offensive.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/darkspear/Kyngwalak/talent/secondary

This spec looks like a very heavily defensive spec. All the reflective damage talents. All mitigation talents. The glyphs show that he's using seal of insight for passive healing. I'd wager this is a strong Flag carrying spec.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/frostmourne/Benni/talent/secondary

I like this spec as a offensive prot paladin spec. We're skipping Toughness, Reckoning and Guardian's Favor completely. The only oddity is the selection of Divine Guardian and the omission of Hallowed Ground. The only other thing you might want to do here is to skip Eye for an Eye and put those points in Crusade.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/zenedar/Dizzy/talent/secondary

Another kind of schizophrenic build. Taking Reckoning, Toughness and Divine Guardian, but leaving off Eye for an Eye and Guardian's Favor. Some offensive; some defensive...

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/ysondre/Lovelye/talent/secondary

Here's another schizo build - Reckoning, Toughness, Eye for an Eye and Divine, but no Guardian's Favor. Also no Improved Hammer of Justice.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/korgath/Luminant/talent/primary
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/lightbringer/Falselight/talent/primary
http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/character/archimonde/Pr%C3%B8t%C3%ABus/talent/primary

So, some interesting builds there. Based on that, I've assembled a couple of potentially viable Prot PvP builds: one for Flag Carrying duty, and one for Face Raping DPS.

FC Duty: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#sZhrGfodkRoufRM:VckdqkczM
Prot DPS: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#sZrrMfRddoMucbG:ks0d0zzMm

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Current Undertakings...

So lots of things going on these days in the WoW... Too many to reliably keep track of, so I'll put some down here mostly as a way to remind myself of what I should be doing.

Helv:
Reputation - Shattered Sun Offensive, Ramkahen, Bilgewater Cartel.
Tol Barad for Mounts and Arcanums. Tol Barad dailies when the interest hits me.
Arena when I get a partner or two or four.
JC dailies in Orgrimmar.
Camel mount in Uldum.
Occasional raiding.

Helvugh:
Reputation - All Cata reps.
Tol Barad for honor for PvP gear.
Heroic runs.

Helvog:
Level to 85.
Mining
Instance runs.
Glyph sets for everyone.
Org cooking dailies.

Helver:
Keep leveling.
Level BS.
Mine.
Practice tanking.
Dalaran cooking dailies.
Higher Learning.

Helvach:
Keep leveling.
Level Tailoring.
Herb.
Dalaran cooking dailies.
Higher Learning.

Helvile:
Level to 75.
Herb.
Dalaran cooking dailies.

Everyone else:
Leveling to 85.
Cooking.
Professions to 525.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tenets of a Successful Tol Barad Battle

In my mind, there should be two hard and fast rules of Tol Barad:

  1. Never walk/ride into a base your team controls.
  2. Never walk/ride out of a base.
There is one caveat to #1. If you're the defending team, you can walk/ride into a base to establish your initial defense. There is one caveat to #2. If you're the attacking team and over half of your team is in one base, then you may leave to attack another base.

Other than that, do not walk into a base your side already controls. Attack one you do not control instead. If you walk into a base you control, one of two things will happen - either you will sit and twiddle your thumbs until the enemy comes, or you will be running headlong into the teeth of an enemy assault and you'll get steamrolled.

And never ride out of a base that your side controls. The enemy *WILL* come to you. And the key to Tol Barad is making it incredibly painful to take bases away from your team. You must make it so that it takes them longer to take a base than it takes your team to take a base. Think of it this way - when you die in a base, you end up that much closer to the next base you should be attacking. Brilliant! You die and, BANG!, you're halfway there.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Play a Prot Paladin

Playing a Prot Paladin in 4.0.X is all about cycling through Holy Power - generating it and using it.

You generate Holy Power using Cruader Strike (CS) and Hammer of the Righteous (HotR). Use CS on single targets (mana savings) and HotR on multiple targets (more chance for Grand Crusader procs). CS and HotR share a 3 second cooldown. You can only use one or the other. But every other GCD, you should use one or the other.

At 3 Holy Power, use either Shield of the Righteous (SotR) or Word of Glory (WoG). WoG is used by Prot Paladins as an instant cast self heal. SotR is an instant cast single-target finishing move. You can talent WoG to sometimes not use Holy Power. The big kicker (and big change introduced in patch 4.1) is that WoG has a 20 second cooldown. What I do is:SotR until things are looking grim, then WoG. Against single targets, if you WoG every time it's off cool down and you've got 3 Holy Power, you can end up with more HP than you started with. If you've got a healer handy and/or you need some extra damage for threat, you can 3HP an Inquisition to give you a 20% damage boost for the next N seconds.

At this point, your "rotation" should look like:

CS / XX / CS / XX / CS / SotR / CS / XX / CS / XX / CS / WoG / ....

Now you fill... First fill should be Judgement. You must Judge or you will run out of mana. You should be able to judge once within each WoG cycle. You'll also want to use Avenger's Shield (AS). It's got a pretty long cooldown, but it procs and make it immediately available. It hits hard at range so you should use it every time it's available. I would delay judging if AS is ready to go.

Now your rotation would look something like:

CS / AS / CS / Judge / CS / SotR / CS / XX / CS / Judge / CS / WoG / ...

That XX will either be AS or Holy Wrath or maybe Consecration.

As far as rotations go - it's pretty straightforward. Good thing, too, because after working through the rotation, you still (as a Prot Paladin) need to mark, pull, position, pick up adds, taunt, etc.

And I haven't even started talking about Hands and Cooldowns...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ret Paladin Spec + Glyphs

Eye for an Eye - 2/2
Crusade - 3/3
Imp Judgement - 2/2
Rule of Law - 3/3
Pursuit of Justice - 2/2
Communion - 1/1
Art of War - 3/3
Long Arm of the Law - 2/2
Divine Storm - 1/1
Rebuke - 1/1
Sanctity of Battle - 1/1
Seals of Command - 1/1
Sanctified Wrath - 3/3
Repentance - 1/1
Divine Purpose - 2/2
Inquiry of Faith - 3/3
Zealotry - 1/1

Seals of the Pure - 2/2

Arbiter of the Light - 2/2
Judgement of the Pure - 3/3
Blazing Light - 2/2

Glyphs:

Templar's Verdict
Seal of Truth
Crusader Strike

Hammer of Wrath
Consecration
Ascetic Crusader

Truth
Blessing of Might
Blessing of Kings