Archive for the “Daily Quests” Category

Sunday evening we entered the Sunwell Plateau!

And thirty minutes later we were done. Err…. blink and you’ll miss it. I think if we’re going to get a chance to actually SEE the raids in Burning Crusade, we’re gonna have to treat them like five person instances. I think we’ll hit Serpentshrine Cavern next Sunday, and then once that place is down we’ll see if there is time after to do Gruul and Magtheridon. Somehow, I bet there will be. Maybe we’ll do Tempest Keep instead!

They’ll all go down like a missed jump on the Aldor Rise lift regardless.

It wasn’t all that long ago I stood on my soapbox and proudly proclaimed that I would NOT do dailies! I would stand resolute, and do whatever I felt like!

Yeah!

So, I was doing my dailies last night, and I have to say I love the Klaxxi more every day.

What? Hey, sue me. I reserve my right to be wrong, make an ass of myself, and otherwise contradict myself whenever I feel like it. I don’t have to make sense, I’m a blogger.

Sidebar, do you ever notice how mainstream established media outlets sneer at something said on blogs or by bloggers? You’d think we were mouthbreathing letter-bombing troglodytes that could barely tie our own shoes, let alone form a cogent, coherent opinion about the shoelace industry. Oh, if only bloggers were as unbiased and trustworthy as traditional media sources!

Pay no attention to the organ grinder, just look at that monkey dance!

Anyway, I do love doing the Klaxxi dailies. The entire design of the faction storyline has been THE highlight of the expansion for me.

Tillers, Pandaren themselves, the beauty and grandeur of the mountains of the Kun-Lai Summit, Pet Battles, these are all good, but they ain’t Klaxxi, man. Amber IS the color of my energy, after all.

As far as scenery, my absolute favorite is the view of the snow-covered mountains, when you’re flying FROM the Shado-Pan Monastery area and the balloon towards the mountain slopes of the southeast. There is a point there where you leave the haze and enter crystal-clear air, and the slopes of the mountains are shimmering and clean and bright… they nailed it. I’ve been in real mountains, on foot and all other ways, and that moment has a powerful reaction from me because yes, they just nailed that transition. Gorgeous.

But for story and playing and fun, the structure of the Klaxxi have been the one element I have enjoyed the most, right from the beginning and stayed with me as the faction has continued to grow.

I like how, as you enter the zone, you get introduced to the Klaxxi. I have enjoyed how you as a player continuously build and expand the faction by seeking out each different Paragon and freeing them.

I love how each Paragon has a different Enhancement or Augmentation they can offer. Every one has a different zone-wide buff, and they are wild!

I love how the faction story does not STOP once you’ve done the initial quests. You continue to serve them with dailies, and after maybe a week (and Revered rep) you are rewarded with more story, more Paragons available to seek out and unlock, and more daily quests from thoseto do.

And above all… I love knowing that, once I reach Exalted, there is another new quest chain that is a capper to the story and to the faction, and it even results in an epic ring upgrade. There is an end… for now. A big reveal. Something beyond loot to reward reaching Exalted.

A feeling that yes, you ARE Exalted, and so you are now trusted with this secret of teh klaxxi. That is what Exalted reputations have always been lacking for me… that feeling of inclusion shown through story, not just loot.

The Klaxxi are a story arc that grows and lasts for the entire reputation grind. There is always something to look forward to, and it’s not just unlocking a new level of loot.

Pure win of design. And a part of that is how cool the Enhancements and Augmentations are, how many there are to play with.

On my Hunter, my favorites of the moment are Raining Blood (damn that blows the bad guys up FAST!) and the Speed King. Super speed panda power JUMP!!!!

The factions that I have seen are well designed for doing dailies, expanding the story of the faction as you go, increasing what is available, etc. It’s all good. Except Nat Pagle, I’ve heard bad things about that dirt little fisherman.

I think (for me) the Klaxxi were implemented better than the others.

I like getting a slew of quests all at once, going to that one geographic area that they all tend to be in, and just hanging out as I go through them. I queue for Heroics as I do them, and pop in and out of the zone at will.

The Golden Lotus, I’m simply not liking. I want to like them, if only to be a contrary pain in the ass, but I don’t. I am doing them so eventually I can have access to epic shoulders from Valor, and to unlock other factions. That’s it. The Golden Lotus could go piss up a rope if they weren’t holding my shoulders and locking Shado-Pan.

The dailies are a perfect way to have busy work while I’m queueing for heroics (or LFR). I love them for that.

I start with the Tillers and knock them out, and then linger lovingly over my insectoid family as I wait through queues. If there is still something I want to queue for when the Klaxxi are done… well, guess I do some of the Golden Lotus. I suppose.

I could Pet Battle, but I burned out on that. I have a lot of pets, and I’ll get back into them someday, but not today. And I do know I should keep doing some of the Golden lotus dailies. Shit ain’t gonna be done if I never get started.

There are drawbacks to the whole system from my point of view.

The reason I don’t like the Golden Lotus is the gating, of course. They give you one hub, and once that is done, you get another hub. Then another. Somehow it just doesn’t do it for me, even though the quests themselves are not only easy, they’re kinda fun.

The Klaxxi on the other hand, I am sick and tired of the Shackles quest, there are simply too few mobs and the drop rate sucks. And the Scorpions for the 3 brains, likewise, but nowhere near as bad.

But…. I still like the Klaxxi better. Maybe because it all feels more cohesive and  well-conceived to me.

I haven’t done any Celestials or Shado-Pan, haven’t done the dragon stuff, haven’t done any Nat Pagle. I’m not saying dailies are all awesome, or that any one faction is better or worse than all the others. 

What I do want to say is, I love how many of the factions in general, and the Klaxxi in particular, have gone beyond “wear a tabard and get rep to buy stuffs”, and become an entire expanding and growing storyline in and of themselves.

The point to the Klaxxi faction is to be a growing part of the story, and I really like that.

My one big worry right now is knowing that new factions, the war factions, are coming in the next patch.

Dailies take time, and while they’re fun to do, it’s all a bit much. Everyone is in a different situation, has more or less time available to play. I have been playing a LOT lately by my standards, and while I’m not exalted with anyone (except Tillers on my Druid), I’m doing my bit.

I just hope that I have time, playing my way and at my pace, to complete some of the current faction storylines before the new factions are released and added on to the current load.

How about you? How are your feelings on the different factions? Change of heart, or still the same as always?

Comments 17 Comments »

I like that blog post title. Almost sounds like an old 70’s movie, right? Like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Or maybe a comic book… but not something from Marvel or DC, more like one of those flash in the pan Chaos! titles from the 90’s, the kind with gratuitous cheesecake on the cover, like Lady Death, something that sold for no other reason than a graphic cover with scantily clad goth chicks.

Of course, I just pulled it from Jules in Pulp Fiction, but we can pretend that I had some loftier source in mind, right?

Oh, and not that there is anything wrong with goth chicks. Nope. All in favor, myself. Anything that breaks people out of the normal everyday is all right in my book.

Mah point, I say mah point, son, is to talk about the furious angah part in that there title. Now pay attention, boy!

(Why oh why hasn’t anyone ever done a live action Foghorn Leghorn movie? That’s what I want to know. A live actor portraying a cartoon rooster portraying a live actor. Recursive loop is recursive. Win!)

I’ve been liking my Warrior quite a bit over the last few days. I shifted to dual wield swords Fury spec, and blew through the last 13 levels. I dinged 61 last night, and there’s gonna be no sleep ’til Brooklyn or Bust, baby.

I’ve been having so MUCH fun, in fact, that I looked ahead to see when I could finally get Titan’s Grip.

Level 69? You can’t get your max Talent Tree ability until 69 now? Gaaah!

So anyway… I’ve got one of the Bloodied Arcanite Reapers, those wonderful two-handed axes, enchanted with Crusader. Okay, to be honest, I’ve got one of every type of Heirloom currently in the game except for the ring, I’m always too busy with that real life thing to be in the Saturday fishing tournament. I’ve even got two of each Trinket, and the old Emblem daggers.

But here’s the thing. With the Titan’s Grip thingie, and the way Orcs get Expertise from axes, does it sound like a good idea to dual wield Heirloom Bloodied Arcanite Reapers?

It’s not that hard to get another one, because I’ve got a character maxed out with the Argent Tournament. Heirlooms for Justice Points is a sucker’s game, the markup is ridonkulous, but for Crusader’s Seals, it’s just right.

You see, a Bloodied Arcanite Reaper costs 95 Crusader’s Seals. That sounds like a lot, right? The thing is, since 4.0 went live, getting a Crusader Seal in your blue bag from some of the dailies is now guaranteed. Something like Threat From Above, which of course my Druid can still solo easily, is now worth 3 Seals all by itself. And when you unlock all of Argent Tournament, there are all those extra dailies that give Crusaders Seals.

Even without running ToC, I’m pulling in 12 Seals a day, easy. I could get more crammed into a day, but why bother? It’s not like I’d be 69 by Friday.

But should I? For those of you with Fury Warriors, does  it sound like something that would be worth doing, for the fun of it as well as the gobs and gobs of DPS? My Hit Rating obviously would be in the tank, so whaddaya think?

Oh, and for those folks that may be mourning their “self heal” Blood spec Death Knight, let me tell you, your Blood spec didn’t go away. It simply moved to Fury Warriors. Between Bloodthirst and Victory Rush, and with the Glyphs that extend Victory Rush’s duration and effectiveness and the Glyph to increase healing from Bloodthirst, I’m never below full unless I’ve got 4 or more mobs on me. I sneer at Elites with scorn. /scorn!

Frankly, what with the haste/attack speed procs, it really does feel quite a bit like an old Blood spec Death Knight while running with Unholy Presence for the haste buff. And that’s a GOOD thing!

So, two points to the post. One, what advice do my Fury Warrior peeps have out there for dual wielding Bloodied Arcanite Reapers specifically, and Titan’s Grip in general, and two, hey, if you’re wanting Heirloom items and are kicking yourself for not buying before Justice points went live, go hit the Argent Tournament up for some cheap Seals.

And no, I’ve not abandoned my Frost Mage. Level 63 and growing!

Have fun, ya’all!

Comments 22 Comments »

Another year has passed, and another opportunity for collecting non-combat pets (or vanity pets, or whatever you’d like to call our little friends) comes around again.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I blew this off the first couple of years on my main. I’m still chasing pets from doing Orphan quests.

This year I was fairly excited to begin the runs. I was determined this time that I’d grit my teeth and persevere through the PvP achievements to complete the overall week as one step closer to “What a Long Strange Trip”, and also, this would be the first time doing it on the Horde side.

Of course, the pets you can get are the same, but I’d never dragged the Orphan around Barrens before.

It didn’t take long to complete both Shattrath and Orgrimmar Orphan quest chains. I ate a bunch of sweets in front of a wanna-be rocking Blood Elf brat, and I even killed a King in front of her.

Not exactly sure what message I’m supposed to be trying to send her by killing a King before her very green eyes. That this too must pass? That no matter how important you are, a dagger between the shoulder blades will really crimp your style? That 5 max level and geared players can kick one person’s butt if you all gang up on him at the same time?

Hmm. Those are all pretty good lessons to learn after all.

Regardless, I turned in the Orphan chains, I completed all the quests, and picked two new pets, leaving only one more left to collect next year, Mr. Wiggles. What can I say, if I get a pet pig, it’ll be bacon a week later. Might as well leave him for last, prolong the pleasure of anticipating a fine lunch.

So, every achievement except the PvP ones are done, every Orphan quest chain except the Oracles turned in. Time to go to Dalaran, right?

I was well prepared for the PvP. Thanks to Cynwise’s outstanding guide to the event, I felt that I had at least a fighting chance to get it all done… IF I started early, of course. And if I went in prepared and determined to kick ass.

All set, ready to rock, queued for Arathi Basin and gonna kick some massive Gnome butt.

47 minutes in queue for AB later, and it pops…

1 minute after I finally decided to turn in the Orgrimmar orphan, and 2 minutes before I would have picked up the Dalaran Orphan chain. Or thought I would have.

Not the most auspicious of beginnings.

Okay, this time I’m going to make damn sure I’ve got my Orphan, and THEN I’ll queue. I just didn’t expect the delayed queue for a BG when PvP was a big part of Children’s Week achievements.

Off to Dalaran, and I talk to the fine lady who provides such a wonderful parenting example, as the Oracle and Wolvar children chase around, trying to kill each other.

She… she doesn’t want to entrust me with an Oracle orphan. /shocked!

I is a sad bear. But… but I can be good to him! Is true! Why wouldn’t you trust me? Look at this huge horny face! How could you not trust these horns!

And I really need that kid, lady, because there is this massive war going on between Horde and Alliance, and I need some little kid following me around, to watch me carve my name into the shattered, broken carcasses of a million little gnome bodies…

Hmmm. The light, it begins to dawn.

Okay, next time, I don’t mention Battlegrounds. And I hide the massive Harpoon I carry around. It needs the blood cleaned off again, anyway, before it rusts. And, umm, the armor. Okay, so it smells. I’ll clean it next time, I know how that Ick stench really does penetrate leather, but hell, after a few weeks of wearing it without a bath, you kinda stop noticing. 

I made some inquiries, and now the word is that it’s just a mistake. That really, the Orphan lady is supposed to be willing to talk to me, but that she might just be confused after the, um, good job I did watching that Wolvar brat last September.

Hopefully, she’ll get the word from on high that, no, really, it’s okay, his clothes were just in for cleaning, that’s why I turned him in naked (hey, he had some fur left! And the burns will fade sooner or later, the little crybaby. Won’t kill steal my ass.) and I already TOLD her he had those bruises when I got him, and oh yeah, it was his fault in the first place, I TOLD him not to stand that close to the edge of Aldor Rise. And by the way, what kind of a kid just runs right off the edge when you’re flying over in flight form?

And sure, so he got a little nibbled when I was fishing up Bull Lion fish for the Kalu’ak, I didn’t expect the kid to just leap in the water and swim after me. And boy, who knew the kid could swim that fast? No matter how far out into the ocean amongst the sharks and icebergs, no matter how fast I turned around, there he was, moving like a little furry torpedo. If he wanted to keep those toes, he should have used the shark repellant.

Ah well. I’m sure she’ll talk to me again. Just as soon as the bribes kick in.

Until then, I’ll be lonely and sad, for there are gnomes to extinguish, and it’s just no fun without an audience!

Comments 29 Comments »

Yeah, you know it. Uh huh, that’s right, you know it.

Just when everyone is choking down actual gameplay teasers being released in a flood, here I come with some non-informative post about a PUG run.

Hey, there’s only so much teaser BS a person can take in one day. You gotta have somewhere to go for a laugh, right?

Last night, I returned to the PUG for a turn or two on my Druid.

My lovely, beefy Tauren piece of awesomeness.

As a sidebar, I’d never really noticed how much I had grown to dislike the appearance of my very first, original female Night Elf character. When I started the game and chose my Druid, the male Night Elf options all looked terrible to me, and the Night Elf females looked pretty nice. I didn’t know about the whole “pole dancing” thing yet.

But the face I chose for the Druid just looked… well, vapid. Stupid. Irritatingly so. She looked like a valley girl, like, ya know?

Is it any wonder you hardly ever saw me in anything other than Bear, Cat or Tree?

But my Tauren… ah, my Tauren.

I love him so much, I want to heal in Tauren form. Screw going into Tree, I can’t see those horns!

Okay, anyway.

Oops! First, let me make clear, there ARE Night Elf females I do like. I think my Nelf Hunter Windstar looks awesome. She looks both sensitive and badass at the same time. It’s not Night Elf females in general, it was the choice I made in face design for my Druid in specific. You can’t change faces in the Barbershop. Doing a faction change, for that alone, is almost worth it.

Okay, anyway, anyway. Again.

(You know I do that with my grammer just to torque Kestrel, right? Shh, don’t tell him. Oh, and now some dots, everyone loves my dots…)

((Love you, Kestrel!))

(((Damnit, I spelled Grammar right above… I better fix that… okay, fixed. Moar dots!)))

I’m in a cheerful mood, so watch out, I don’t know where I’ll be driving this bus next!

Right. Where the heck was I? Oh, yeah, right.

[Queue Keanu voice]: Woah.

So there I was last night, all horny and everything, and wanting to build up my stockpile of Emblems.

I created this Hawt Blood Elf Hunter Chick (Which is kinda like a Sexy Blood Elf Biker Chick, but with a reddish colored cat with great big fangs like this ;-<) and she’s got two Heirloom Trinkets, some sexy Heirloom PvE shoulders and a chestpiece, and this big honking double-barreled PvP Heirloom shotgun.

It’s all good, the cute off the shoulder armor with the little red vest is precious, but the shottie? That’s so, like, Dwarf, you know?

Now, if the Shotgun had some taste and refinement, if it had the finishing touches found in a nice Holland and Holland over/under combo, if it came in a fine handcrafted ebony wood case with a few bottles of Mont Blanc, well…

But no, it’s entirely too plebian. It simply will not do.

But I did see just the thing in the latest Tiffany’s collection catalog, this very well shaped Heirloom Bone Bow,  that looked just the sort of thing for a Blood Elf with an eye towards style and sophistication. Perhaps with the 12 1/4″ shafted arrows with Northrend Shoveltusk ivory inlay, silver chased heads and rare black eagle feather fletching?

Yeah, those cost 65 Emblems, and my charge cards are all maxed out. And you don’t EVEN want to go there, but you know, it was Easter, all the stores had their new Spring collections out, what can you do, you know?

So anyway, that’s totally why I need Emblems right now.

Hey, let’s go on a pug!

I went into the LFD tool as a healer, because I pretty much have decided that I will only tank for friends from now on. I play for fun, or to achieve goals for other characters that are going to be fun, and being a tank for the groups I typically get just isn’t all that spiffy anymore.

I love tanking with friends, but strangers? Yeah, not so much.

On the flip side, I try to never be the person that does to other tanks what people do to drive ME to stop pugging as one. You pass it on, right?

I joined LFD, and right away got an Azjol-Nerub group. That’s a good thing, because AN is about as smooth and straightforward and fast as you can hope for in a pug, when it’s all about return on time invested. 5 Emblems, 15 minutes. Sweet!

You suspect it’s going to be one of those runs, when you don’t even have five in the group yet, and the tank has already pulled the first mobs.

You know it’s going to be one of those groups, when you just rounded the corner trying to catch up to “hopalong tankaday”, and you get a facefull of ignored Skirmisher all up in your roots.

So, yay, I self-heal through that, while tossing my HoTs around and begin getting down to serious healing. This group, tank included, are taking just a massive amount of fast damage.

Wow, what the heck?

I’m running the Gearscore addon these days, NOT to judge people’s worthiness to be in my groups, but for just this type of situation. By looking at each player’s portrait in the party, I quickly see I’ve got a Paladin tank with a 5600 Gearscore, I’ve got two players, Death Knight and Shadow Priest with 3K GS (or under, actually, both were like right on the edge of 3K) who are both in the same guild, and a Warlock at around 4K.

By way of comparison, my healing gear on my Druid is pretty solid from Emblems and Heroic PoS/FoS drops, and it’s gemmed and enchanted properly, and I’m at 4.8K GS. I’ve even got a Frost cloak. So 5600 tells me that’s someone in pretty good raiding gear, and 3K tells me a couple pretty new level 80s in mostly Blues and a few crafted Epics or drops, and 4K tells me the player is working their way up nicely.

Notice I make no judgments on skill at all here. I’m simply making assumptions on current gear level, where it may have come from, and set a few expectations on where they might be in terms of DPS and survivability.

It’s handy, as I said, specifically for situation like this. Because the tank actually says, while on the first boss, “C’mon DPS, wake up, you suck.”

Well, no, actually, considering the comparative levels of their gear, they’re doing pretty damn good. I’m very impressed with what the Shadow Priest is squeezing out of her gear, that’s a player spot on.

But okay, whatever, we’re moving too fast for me to type.

Boom, we get down to the next boss area, we’re flying along, killing, clearing, boss goes down, moving on.

We get to the two large mobs just before the last boss, and one of the players, the Shadow Priest I think, is back a ways. They haven’t caught up to us, and wonder of wonders, the tank didn’t just run ahead and pull without them.

But he DOES take the time to get bitchy in chat.

“Are you coming or what? We don’t have all day, get over here.”

I take the time to reply, “Since we’re sitting here waiting and you’re bored, how about buffing me with Kings, since you never gave anyone Paladin buffs yet?”

Yes, that’s right. A tank too lazy, too rushed or too ‘leet’ to bother buffing the group, not even doing the new standard “I’m too good to give you the buff you want, I’m giving everyone Kings” like you see most of the time these days. 

I get my Kings, and he shuts up.

For now. Oh yes, for now. But there is still one more boss, and this pull will tell me something.

Gear or skill? Care or indifference? Phoning it in or in it to win it?

One pull. We’ll see.

We clear the two mobs, we all line up on the King, and the Paladin runs in to pull.

Here’s the test. How did he pull?

He ran straight forward to the boss and stopped dead right there, boss facing the entrance ramp, and stayed there.

This is the loser way to tank the final boss in Azjol-Nerub.

Whether you want to call it laziness, ignorance, or just-didn’t-give-a-shit, bad tanks run forward on the last boss and stop.

Why?

Pound.

The last boss casts Pound. It has a long cast time, and when it goes off, he casts it in the direction he had originally been facing when he started casting. Well, most of the time. Sometimes he bugs and does whirl around if his main threat target is behind him, as the tank is supposed to be.

Oh, and Pound’s key characteristic is it does a shitload of damage to anyone standing within an area the shape of a cone in front of him. It’s a cone-shaped AoE.

It’s almost enough, sometimes it IS enough, to kill cloth or leather wearing players.

By running forward and stopping right there, the tank is leaving it to everyone else in the party to be aware of the mechanic, and run all the way the long way around the boss to get behind him, and during that time, of course, only instant cast spells and attacks are going off.

And if the other players aren’t aware of the mechanic, then when Pound goes off, guess what? Everyone standing somewhere in front of the damn bug king gets a big facefull of WHAM!

So, the tank ran in. Stood there. Kept the boss facing the ramp.

Not everyone ran around to the sides and back like I did. The Death Knight and Shadow Priest did, the Warlock didn’t.

The Warlock’s health plummeted to about 500, and my existing HoTs quickly pulled him back up.

The Paladin, who had run through the boss to get behind him when Pound started casting, lols in Party chat.

He did it on purpose, the worthless little prick, hoping to kill someone else.

Why? Why would someone do something like that?

The run had been smooth. The enemies all died. Nobody ran crazy. Everyone stayed on target. There was no chaos. My heals prevented sillyness and unnecessary deaths.

So why?

I tell the tank in party chat, “How about pulling the boss to face away from the party.”

He announces that you can’t move the boss after he casts Pound.

Well, he has managed to be technically accurate, while at the same time avoiding the fact I didn’t say shit about moving the boss DURING the Pound, I said move the boss to “face away from the party”.

On the second phase, sure as hell, he does it again, and the Warlock eats it again, and doesn’t die. Again, the “lol noob” rolls off the tanks’ lips.

I’m making sure that if nobody actually gets one shot, nobody dies.

Yes, not even the tank.

Phase three comes around, I’ve whispered the Warlock, and the only person that eats Pound is… the Tank. Who immediately throws a Party chat hissyfit.

Guess what?

He moved through the boss during the Pound cast, and the boss did his sometimes-seen bug and whirled around before it went off, nailing the tank.

Amusingly enough, the Shadow Priest, Warlock and Death Knight had all moved to the side during the cast, and didn’t eat it.

Oh, yeah, I was at the side too. Of course.

What? Hey, of course *I* know about the bug, I blogged about it a year ago. Or something like that. Back when it really hurt to get hit by Pound. Like, in Neolithic times, with the dinosaurs and shit.

The tank is hot. He ran through and got hit by Pound anyway, and that’s not fair.

Now, here is the question I have up to this point.

I’m the only one who has said a word, besides the tank, on the entire run. Not a peep out of anyone else while the tank has acted like an immature child.

Do you think the silence was due to not caring what an idiot thinks, or because they were afraid that if they said anything to show they didn’t appreciate the attitude, the tank would leave and the DPS would have a collapsed run on their hands?

Do YOU adjust your behavior, do you hold your tongue when insulted or ridiculed, so you don’t piss off your tank and maybe have him leave you in a fit of childish rage?

While you think of that, I’ll wrap the run up with a fun moment.

When the boss falls, the tank first rolls the Recount log of Damage done through Party chat, and then says, “God you all suck, I’ve got top DPS and I’m the tank.”

I immediately reply, having been primed for this bit of asshattery since the first boss, “You are a Paladin tank with a 5600 GS. The rest of the DPS has nowhere even close to your gear level, so what is your point?”

At the same time, the Death Knight says, “Well, if I was on my other character my DPS would be a little different, lol.”

The tank replies, “Well, the Warlock has 4K.”

To which I reply, “You are a complete moron. A MORON. Goodbye!”

/leave group.

The Warlock has 4K? This is your answer for being a dick about being a tank with the highest DPS? And a Paladin tank as well?

“Oooh, I only outgear you by 1600 gear score, how come I’m top DPS, you must all suck.”

Damnit, there are days, as I said in guild chat, where I just want to bitchslap the world.

Or, in this case, I’d like every tank with this kind of attitude to line up single file, perform a left face, and I’ll freaking ride down the line on a Harley doing 70 with my hand outstretched, to SLAP THEM ALL!!!

Do you do it? Do you eat your feelings and allow yourself to suffer indignities in silence just for the sake of not bruising a sensitive tanks’ ego, challenging his asshattedness, so that you get your run finished?

I now return you to your informative MMO Champion/Blues Tracker game announcements, still in progress.

Comments 74 Comments »

“Why is it that there is never enough time to communicate a plan, but always enough time to release and run back in?”

I had a nice reader, Trystalia, send in an email that got me thinking once again about roads left untraveled.

She reminded me that I’d meant to do something… and then let myself get distracted.

Oooh, shiny!

What she did was mention an old post I wrote, once upon a time, about Azjul-Nerub, talking about tanking the first mobs and boss.

Particularly, addressing the Skirmisher game mechanic. 

I’ll direct you to the post if you’d like to see it for old times’ sake, but in essence, I was simply talking about the way the Skirmisher mobs respond normally as melee mobs at first, but after a set time delay they abrubtly drop aggro, become untauntable, and dash straight for the player furthest away from them, there to whack them on the head, hey diddle fol-le-roll. 

If left alive long enough, the Skirmishers bear down on clothies like a steam locomotive driving down on a tied-up, helpess maiden lying on the tracks. It’s quite frightening, when it’s you they come after. Briefly frightening, anyway.

These days, with the rapid rise in potential DPS, they are almost extinct as a problem. Most groups I see don’t even seem to realize there is anything different about them at all.

It was nice to be reminded of the post, mostly because Trystalia said knowing what the heck was going on with those idiots really helped her get her tank on in AN. The groups she tanked wasn’t focusing on them, so they’d have some wipes. I love hearing that something I wrote actually helped someone. 

The other thing it really did, as I said, was remind me that I had always meant to write more… about game mechanics and learning to be a tank.

Here’s the thing. And here’s where it might get ugly.

Being a tank has a lot in common with being a raid leader.

For good or bad, with the rise of PUGs, more and more the tank is expected to be the leader, set the pace, make the decisions and lead the group.

When you zone into a Heroic PUG (or PUG Raid) as the tank, you really need to understand what is going to happen in the upcoming fights. If you haven’t seen the fights before, or only seen them in another role with a tank that maintained his silence, then you’re going to need to do some research on your own to prepare.

It’s your responsibility, now. You signed up as tank, and yes, that does mean you are saying you know what you’re doing, not just with your class abilities, but in leading the group as a whole.

If you are not confident, in your own mind, that you know what to expect, then you’re not prepared enough to do the best you can.

You need to understand the mechanics of each encounter, and you also need to understand the basics of all the abilities all the other classes have to draw on. You cannot expect everyone else to know what you expect them to do, and just do it.

Yes, you should be able to trust other players to know how to play their own class, but as the tank, it is up to you to specify that you want the Priest to keep the target you marked with a Moon shackled during the entire pull, and leave him for last. Or that you want the Hunter to use Freezing Arrow to ice trap the Hunter or Mage on each successive wave during Halls of Reflection, to keep the overall ranged damage down during the fights. The other players know they can do it, but in most cases they expect to be told if you want them to or not.

You need to know not only who to pull and how, but also know what the mobs will do that other classes can counter-act, nullify, cleanse and overcome with their abilities. You need to know that a boss or mob can and will Fear the group, and if there is a Shaman in the group, make a point to ask for Tremor Totem to cut down on silly running around.

Did you know Priests used to actually be asked to Fear Ward? No, really.

Above all, you need to be able to communicate, to direct those other players in what is coming so that they are prepared. They need to know exactly what to expect, and you as the tank need to provide clear directions on what you want them to do in special circumstances.

There is one last thing you must do, that is the hardest thing of all, especially with strangers. You really have to be brave enough to ask other people to do something other than mindlessly following along doing DPS or Heals. Expect some to be pissed at slowing down even for a second, but you have to be able to do it. And once you specify what you want someone to do, you have to trust them to do it on their own. You need to lead from the front as the tank, focus on doing your own job to the best of your ability, and trust that everyone will work together as a team and do the things that will make the run work.

That is the ideal. That should be every player’s ultimate goal in group play. To play with knowledge, with skill, and as a fine-tuned team, making every encounter you face seem smooth and effortless. To make the game look easy to any outsider. 

To be a master of the game.

Does that description characterize the runs you go on?

Do you try your best, study the encounters from afar, and stand prepared to Ice Trap or Shackle or Feign Death or Misdirect or use Tricks of the Trade and Fan of Knives? Do you watch your aggro, Misdirect incoming mobs to the tank, know to kill the Skirmishers first and foremost, know what happens when King Dred raises his claws in a threatening manner?

Or do you resent anything that requires you to hit any button that does not directly apply to a DPS rotation? Do you resent it when a healer doesn’t keep you alive while you stand in the green slime, so you are forced to move away, losing precious seconds of your DPS rotation? Do you resent it when you have to Feign Death for a millisecond because you were overtaking the Tank on aggro?

If you intend to play the game in a group environment, you should not be satisfied by ‘phoning it in’ and just mindlessly following a rotation no matter what. That’s fine in solo play, where no one suffers for your lack of skill or poor performance but yourself.

If you have no interest in actually trying to be the best you can be at what you do, why are you even doing it? Go play Hello Kitty Island Adventure and pick out a pretty sparkly wand with a hair bow and leave the rest of us alone, okay? 

What you’ll see in PUG after PUG is a lack of communication, a tendency to brute force everything, and at the first sign of trouble or a wipe, somebody will blame a bad tank for not holding aggro, or a bad healer for not keeping everyone alive, and drop group.

Do you buy into it? Is that really your view on how the game works when you play properly?

One prevalent attitude I’ve noticed is that raids are considered important enough to study, practise and learn about. To prepare for.

Heroic instances? Those are the places you go on your own to get your Emblems, lowering yourself to do content that is beneath your gear score, but what the heck, you’ll demean yourself to get your daily two Emblems of Frost if you have to.

There is no respect for the content, or the players around you. If people stop for two seconds to say something, to communicate, to do anything other than chain pull through a brute force approach, then the pissyness comes out fast.

I’ll be blunt. If you think that having 5500 DPS in Drak’theron Keep makes you shit hot, and that’s all that matters, then I’ve got news for you, sunshine; it doesn’t mean jack shit. It just means you’ve got good gear, not that you know how to play.

Any moron can stand there looking cute and repeat a chain of attack moves as instructed by Elitist Jerks. ANY moron. That many people do not visit Elitist Jerks to aid them in optimizing a DPS rotation just makes those that do think they are truly teh aw3some.

That does not make you a good player. A good player is not someone that can stand still and mash buttons in the right order to pump out DPS up to the potential permitted by gear and spec, while standing still and ignoring Mana or Threat levels.

Sorry, it doesn’t. The good players are the ones that are doing all the little things to keep the group alive and stable while you are playing Lone Ranger for the sake of your DPS meter e-peen. 

A good player is one that knows all those OTHER abilities of their class, and will use them when the situation calls for it, in their best judgment, or when called upon by their teammates, even if that means their DPS drops by a couple hundred on that pull.

A good player is one that knows the mechanics of the encouters they are going up against, is mentally prepared for the fight, and is ready to MOVE THEIR ASS and use class abilities other than DPS when necessary to ensure the success of the team.

That Skirmisher situation mentioned above?

Trystalia was glad to know about the Skirmisher mechanic, because she had problems with most runs, experiencing at least a wipe or two each time as the healer went down, and she was hurt for consistently being blamed for losing aggro.

She was blamed by pissy little snots for losing aggro on the Skirmishers.

Guess what, a good player of a DPS class knows that the Skirmisher needs to go down firstest and fastest, because in a few seconds it’s going to drop aggro from the tank and charge the person furthest away, and whomp them good.

You know, when the Skirmisher runs free, it’s not a failure on the part of the tank, it’s a failure on the part of the DPS. The death of the Skirmisher is a DPS race, pure and simple. If the Skirmisher nails a non-tank, then the DPS failed. Period. Bitch at yourself, not the tank, because you failed.

A smart Healer on those pulls will make sure they’re not the most distant from the tank, so that if/when the Skirmisher runs free, the Healer isn’t the one to go down, and they can heal someone through getting pounded.

Let’s use another example I see all the time, of mindless brute force in an inappropriate situation.

Heroic Halls of Stone, on the last boss, Sjonnir the Ironshaper. Sjonnir has a Lightning Shield, a Lightning Ring, applies Static Charge to a target, and taken all together they do hellacious group AoE damage to people close to him if those people all dogpile on top of him and hang out as a brute force approach.

He also does a Chain Lightning for up to 3 jumps, and stacks a debuff on players that causes you to take even more damage from Nature attacks (like all that Lightning), which stacks up to 20 times.  TWENTY TIMES.

God, I feel like shouting OVER 9 THOUSAND.

There are also adds that come rolling in from each side, and when ignored, inevitably they gain Healer aggro and start interrupting/slowing the Healer’s cast times just when everyone needs heals the most from the Ring of Fire… the Ring of Fire. Er, Lightning. Sorry, flashback.

What do I see? I see people literally all piling on top of Sjonnir, EVEN THE HEALER, getting as close as possible so that everyone can ignore the adds, trusting the tank’s AoE threat to grab them, and try to brute force him down fast. Inevitably, that leaves everyone within melee range and chain bouncing range of every single high damage ability that Sjonnir can do. AND also puts them all within range of the stacking debuff.

This is Halls of Stone, people. This is not a Halls of Reflection run, it’s not even Trial of the Champions.

And still, time after time, I see 5200+ gear score groups die by droves and even wipe on Sjonnir. 

After all, it’s just a Heroic, right? It’s easy mode, noob tank, noob healer, you all suck, /leave group in a huff.

Smart groups take the extra 3 seconds to decide that the tank will hold the boss in the center, the ranged will all spread out to prevent chain hopping lightning, a melee DPS or two (if present) will take the adds and keep them off the healer, and guess what?

The Healer is left to focus on the few players still in melee range of Sjonnir, the adds are never an issue, the Chain Lightning doesn’t jump 3 times, most people don’t get affected by the melee range AoE, and even the Static Charge is only a momentary nuisance on 1 or at most 2 people.

Almost as though the instance was designed to favor the mentally prepared, and those that take 3 seconds to formulate and share a plan.

I cannot count the number of Halls of Stone runs I’ve seen, across all my characters, where everyone just piled on in, even the ranged and healer, and then it’s a race to see if the entire group wipes before the boss dies. 

It’s disgusting, and people who play that way should be bloody well ashamed of themselves. If you’re not going to take the time to learn how to manage game mechanics and play your class in Halls of Stone, when the heck were you intending to start? Ulduar?

ICC?

I am, finally, getting to my point, and my point is this;

If you intend to tank, study the game mechanics of the mobs and bosses in advance, so you know what to expect. You will gain confidence and feel better prepared.

Give the encounters and your teammates the same amount of respect you would in a raid. A group activity is still a group activity, even if it’s with strangers, and it’s fewer people. Every instance is an opportunity to hone your skills and practise for the real serious shit.

Prepare properly. Take notes on what special problems there can be, find out who has abilities that can counter those problems, and use your judgment and experience to decide which game mechanics can be ignored and bulled on through, and which ones deserve your time and attention to nullify.

If you want to tank, even if you’ve seen all the fights as DPS, study them from the point of view of the leader. The organizer. The dungeon guide. You will have to explain them to other people, and that means you need to be able to articulate fast, with minimal typing. The better you understand the problem, the better you will be able to share your ideas and plans.

If you know what to expect, then you will feel much more confident in doing your job. I promise you.

At the very least, you will begin to learn that sometimes, when you might have thought you simply lost aggro from over eager DPS, you actually lost aggro due to built-in game mechanics. Or that the group wiped not because you failed to have aggro, but because the wrong mob was targeted for death first, and he had abilities that hit like a brick shithouse.

It may look from the outside like every pull and every boss in a Heroic is just “grab ‘em and go”, but that’s not the recipe for success.

Tanks, knowledge really is power.

On the first boss in Old Kingdoms, know that the boss becomes invulnerable when the add spawns, and make sure you grab that add. After all, everyone that is DPS should be trying to kill it fast so you can all get back on the boss, right?

On the Etherial boss in Violet Hold, know that standing there and getting nailed by the summoned orbs is a sure prescription for pain, even in Tier 9. Don’t be afraid to move your ass a little.

If you prepare yourself, yes, you will find that a lot of things can be forced, game mechanics can be ignored.

With gear level availability the way it is, though, there is no excuse for you to be found dead in Halls of Stone because you were in Brann’s chamber fighting wave after wave, and you stood in the big golden beams of death and died during Phase 3. When the golden beam hits your ass, MOVE!

Yes, even the Tank.

It’s disheartening, it really is.

Not that people are getting used to using brute force to solve all their problems, no. No, that’s expected and, given the current state of affairs, inevitable.

No, it’s disheartening how often people try and brute force things because they don’t know any better, and then when they fail in a Heroic, they lash out at the tank or healer, dump their anger out on the rest of the party, and then abandon group.

Don’t be like that. Take pride in what you do, even if other people around you don’t.

If you take the time to upgrade your gear, gem it, enchant it, plan your DPS rotations or set up your healing macros, or study how to generate and hold threat, then take it that next step further. Do what you can to learn the fights, the encounters and mechanics, and when you see yourself in that instance, know what mob will do what, and how you can deal with it.

One last thing.

Don’t be shy about communicating.

If you know what’s about to happen, you go ahead and try and offer some suggestions for a smooth encounter. If you’re rebuffed, or ignored, or even ridiculed for it, don’t take it as a sign that you are in the wrong. No, take it as a sign that those people who reacted in that way are poor players, or that they don’t respect you or the game itself. That makes them prime candidates for your ignore list so you don’t see them again in the future. 

When you do meet someone that plays well, knows what they’re doing, and is open to a plan, add them to your friends list. Build a network of people that actually give a shit.

In time, maybe you’ll forget that the other kind of player ever existed.

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