Moroes’ pockets feel a little lighter today

Good morning! Happy Halloween!

Tonight, Big Bear Butt will be away from Azeroth as he sits near the door and prepares to destroy any potential ‘egg’ers. Oh yeah, and hand out candy. I think I’m ready. Candy, check. Shotgun, check. Rock salt, check. Quotes from Samuel Jackson movies, check. Tar, feathers and a rail to ride ’em out on? Check, check, check. Claymores, punji pits and concertina to channel the avenues of approach? Check, check, check.

Azeroth may have to survive without me for one night, but that doesn’t mean that my guilds’ progression in Karazhan will fall behind. Oh, no. Not hardly.

As you might imagine from the post title, we made it at least to Moroes last night. And the experience was quite fun.

This week, I was invited to join our guilds’ Group 1 run. It was explained to me that the guild wanted to take players from each team to try and clear as much as possible early on, so that more of the week would be left to address Netherspite and Nightbane. I could expect some fast runs and rapid pulls.

On my first run with Group 1, a few real differences were apparent early on.

Our Mage Jayboi and Warlock Nawat, who are infamous for competing over who does more damage on the meters, continued to needle each other about it… but Damage Meter results were never posted in Raid Chat. One person not in thier competition was curious where they stood, and Nawat said he could whisper the results to him, but wouldn’t post it over Raid Chat. This made me, so… very happy. 😛

Another difference that I noticed right away, was that I logged in a half hour before start time to verify I was repaired, and to give me time to get consumables if necessary. When I logged in, I was whispered that now that I was on, we were only waiting on two folks, and we could get started right away. And most folks were already racing around capitol cities in the Ironforge or Stormwind areas, clearly taking care of last minute details like me before heading over to the Deadwind Pass area themselves. Everyone was at LEAST on time and ready to go by start, and most people seemed to expect to have to carry their own butts to the raid instead of waiting for summons.

Now, one impression I used to have was that a successful raiding team were all sober, businesslike and rigid hard-hat types. Maybe it’s the Leroy Jenkins parody, but my mental image was of a group of serious, DEADLY serious people with calculator watches, spreadsheets and charted maps of pulls, analyzing boss fights and creating strict playbooks of tactics like a modern football game. Dry, boring, and about as much fun as watching paint dry, without the joy of sniffing the fumes.

Well, whatever I may have expected, Group 1 sure wasn’t boring… or rigid, or dull or whatever. Folks were serious about kicking Kara’s @$$, but everyone definitely was in the ‘this is a game, we are going to have FUN’ frame of mind. Fun as in mocking, cynical, abusive joking, not as in ‘let’s blow up some balloons and have a party with a clown and a PONY!

And yes, the rivalry between the Mage and Warlock was part of the fun. It’s refreshing to play with people that can be competitive and aggressive, without being stupid or endangering the run.

Okay, yeah, right, I know, it was fun, but you guys weren’t there so I need to get a move on.

First step into Karazhan and the objective is Attumen. I will be off-tank, Joppers, the Raid Leader and a prot warrior, main tanked.

We buffed up and ran it. As the trash mobs are on a timer for Attumen, and any respawns come running when you attack Midnight, it’s critical for the raid to be able to handle multi-mob pulls quickly and efficiently on this run. As the off-tank, the experience was completely different. I only had to off-tank one mob the whole run, so early on I realized that if I was going to contribute to this raid, I was going to have to be as flexible as possible. In situations where pulls broke free of Crowd Control or additional mobs were aggroed, I’d have to be ready to tank and rip that aggro away from squishies effectively. But when not actively tanking, I would have to provide melee DPS without pulling aggro from the main tank. I’d also have to be flexible enough to judge when to AOE instead of melee DPS, when spot healing or Innervate was necessary and on whom, and in general actually play my class, instead of just being a silly old bear.

One internal question I had at the time was whether it would be best to switch gear according to the pulls or not. Shold I be in cat gear for max DPS when there was no off-tank target?

In the end, I made the decision to keep my tanking gear on while in kitty form. I knew I would end up doing poor overall DPS, but at least I would be ready for emergency tankage.

Later in the raid, when things were going smoothly, I tried to switch gear as the pull required, but there were a few times we got caught with bad adds, or a suddenly dead main tank, and I went down so fast Bearing in cat gear that it taught me caution. Sum durids is cat, and sum durids is bare, but I decided to stick with only one type of fur :P.

The Attumen fight went fast. We entered at 7PM server time. We cleared trash, I attacked Midnight 11 minutes in, and Attumen went down smooth as silk. I started in Bear tanking Midnight, and when Attumen mounted Midnight I backed off, let the main tank take him, switched to cat (still in bear gear) and at the right moment provided melee DPS. Mostly Feral Faerie Fire, and Mangle followed by Shreds until the Mangle debuff expired. Then reapply Mangle and back to Shreds. I tried various Finishing Moves, but he seemed to be immune to Rip and Pounce. Ferocious Bite worked, but I hated to waste the Energy on that when it took away my Shreds for a long time. I definitely need work on that.

Another thing to note, I need to work on for the next run, is that while armor cannot be switched while in Combat, weapons can. Normally, that’s not necessary, but if I’m going to be off-tanking a lot and staying in bear gear to be ready for tanking emergencies, then I’ll want to be able to do hot swaps of weapons on the fly. Right now I only have full gear swaps between bear and cat, plus movement and fishing gear, etc. I need to add weapon-only swaps to my ItemRack addon so I can swap my weapon in my role a LOT easier.

We killed Attumen, and he failed to drop any gear usable to me. On to Moroes!

We took the stairs up to the Grand Ballroom to reach Moroes. In this situation, the main tank actually left, swapping in another player, and I main tanked all the trash pulls while we worked our way in and cleared the Moroes area. The main tank returned when we were actually ready for the boss fight.

As the main tank for the trash before Moroes, I followed what I’d been doing the last few runs, starting a pull on AOE groups with Moonfire, darting down the stairs out of line of sight, popping Barkskin when they reached me and using Hurricane to provide my own AOE to support the Mages. Practice paid off, and our pulls went very smooth.

With the main tank back, we faced off on Moroes. I off-tanked Moroes, assisting the main tank. I kept my eye on an opportunity to shift out and cast Innervate during a Moroes vanish if necessary, but to be honest the group was so strong that it wasn’t needed. I did come to really enjoy having the timers of Deadly Boss Mods though. Very helpful, and not the info overload I was worried about.

Moroes went down fast, and I believe we had no deaths. On looting, he dropped [Moroes Lucky Pocket Watch], which I gladly took, replacing my [Commanders’ Badge]. So long +45 Stamina, hello +2% passive dodge and +17% dodge for 10 seconds every two minutes.

With Moroes down, we moved on to Maiden. At this point we were a little less than one hour in, and moving fine. We cleared the way to Maiden, again with me ostensibly off-tanking, but spending most of my time in cat form providing DPS. On AOE pulls I kept up the Barkskin/Hurricane pattern, just not being the one doing the pulling.

It was right around here we had our first wipe, when we had one of the corridor pulls get multiple adds from a patrol, and I was caught in kitty gear and as squishie as the rest of the group. I figured I learnt my lesson, and stayed in bear gear for a while after that… but events were to prove I hadn’t learnt my lesson well enough.

On Maiden herself, we took two tries to finish her. My role was to be a HoT healer for the main tank. As the main tank secured aggro and kept Maiden in the middle, it was my job to stand in bear form just inside the AOE range of Holy Ground, and get hit. When Repentance goes off and everyone but the main tank gets stunned, I get hit by the AOE and break stun, step down off platform out of AOE range and shift to caster, getting my heals off on the main tank and helping to keep him alive.

As I said, it took us two tries to beat her, but we did. My only regret was that I didn’t actually have healer gear for the fight, as I haven’t used mine in months. I did cast my heals, but they would have been much more effective with decent stats. And maybe I wouldn’t have run Out of Mana so fast. Note to self… pack the healer gear for the raids next time.

Maiden didn’t drop anything of interest to feral druids, so off we went.

Okay, at this point we’ve downed Attumen and Midnight, Moroes, and Maiden of Virtue. I’m pretty darned happy, it’s been a good run. I look tiredly at the clock, only to see it’s only 8:30. Still plenty of time!

Off we scamper to check out the Opera Event. We clear our way there, making good time, everyone is still focused. We get to the Stage Manager, and the main tank asks us to just stand in another room while he checks which event it is. I specifically ask if we should be ready to run in, since Whirlish pulled that one on us last week. “No,” is the reply, “I’ll die. We just want to find out what event we have.”

Moments later, the main tank yells for us all to run on stage. Damn it!

We have Big Bad Wolf this time, and it’s hella fun. So far I’m liking the Opera events, they’re a hoot. In this one, Grandma is hanging out on stage alone. When we kick off the fight, she transforms into a massive super-giant wolfman, and one member of the raid gets the ‘Red Riding Hood’ debuff. It seems to turn you into a gnome with blond pigtails in a red riding hood cloak. The Wolf starts chasing you around no matter how much aggro the tank has. Your job, if you are Red, is to run like hell for the edge of the stage, and then run like hell following the perimeter of the stage as close as possible to kite the wolf around in big circles. After a bit, the debuff fades and the tank can reestablish aggro.

I got turned into Red twice, and it was sure exciting being chased around with the raid shouting encouragement. I stayed in bear gear the whole fight, but I spent my time, when not getting chased, DPSing the Wolf in cat form. The fight went smooth, and we succeeded first try. Again, the loot is checked, and happy raiders are we.

Now it’s decision time. What to do? “Off to the Curator!” we cry, and head for the back door.

Having done this late last week, the memories are still fresh of the route for clearing trash. We hustle along, and make it to the Curator around 9:15 PM. Good, solid time for taking him down. In this fight, my role specifically will be to DPS the Astral Flares. I create a “/target astral flare” macro, switch to cat gear, and get ready to go chasing little puffballs of light.

During the fight with Curator, my main responsibility is taking down Astral Flares as fast as possible. It takes me a few minutes to get into the swing, but once again Deadly Boss Mods makes a nice difference, since it lets me know exactly when a new one is about to spawn so I’m already ‘checking my six’ for him and hitting my macro to pick him up. In most cases I can intercept him before he reaches the casters.

During Evocation, I make damn sure I’m on top of Curator pounding out the DPS as fast as possible.

That’s it, thats my role in the fight. We took down Curator, and he dropped the Gloves of the Fallen Champion, the Paladin, Rogue, Shaman Tier 4 token, which no one in the raid needed. There was one priest ahead of me on DKP to get the token if it was for my class, but still, it really blows to have Tier 4 drop and no one be able to use it!

At this point, folks were starting to get a little sloppy. We made the decision to push on to Illhoof, and Shade of Aran. It quickly became clear that we were all pretty tired, and in the case of a few, perhaps a little distracted by da beers. We ended up wiping a few times, and in one of these I was once again caught in cat gear during a bad add pull. Finally, I hope I learnt my lesson. “No more cat gear when off-tank, damn it!”

We were so low on durability at this point that some people started making ‘quit for the evening’ noises. And that’s when I whipped out my handy-dandy [Field Repair Bot 74A]. And there was much rejoicing.

We repaired, we sorta pulled it together, and managed to clear the rest of the way to Illhoof. We did okay, but you could REALLY tell we were a bit straggly now. By the time we hit Illhoof, it was around 10:30, and I was pooped.

Before our first try, I had finally done some studying and knew that someone would have to off-tank the Imp, and I figured it’d be me. And I’d need to keep him close to Illhoof so he would get hit by Seed of Corruption. And I’d need to be prepared to attack the Chains to save the sacrifice before he died. Plus I’d need to try to kill the Imp as fast as possible, to get the enhanced damage debuff on Illhoof. Plus when the Imp respawns he almost always goes straight for the casters.

Yeah, so why are we attempting this tired? lol.

Anyway, we try, we struggle, I end up the sacrifice like 5 times, and in the end we wipe with Illhoof at about 6%. And there was much crying, and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

My wife had come downstairs to tell me something, and got to witness this chaotic bloodbath. I have no idea what she thought of it, but it sure was disheartening to lose when Illhoof was so close.

As tired as we were, we knew this was our last shot before calling it a night. And there was no way in heck we were trying Shade of Aran last night.

The theory was raised that I was made the sacrifice so often because I was top of the Imps’ aggro chart. Also, I was the only one DPSing the imp, so it took longer to get Illhoof down. We changed the plan, and had a Mage help me DPS the Imp.

I don’t remember much about the fight. It is a chaotic haze of running, screaming, cursing, attacking chains and Illhoof and the Imp and charging down the Imp respawns and basically praying for the battle to be over.

When the smoke cleared, we had won! Illhoof was down… and had not dropped any feral druid gear. No cloak, no staff. (Granted, the cloak was going to go to the main tank, who has massive DKP, but still… if he didn’t get it, then there is no chance I can get it next time.) Damn him!

A hell of a night. We entered Karazhan at 7:00 PM. Finished at 11:15 PM. Final tally of dead bosses:

  • Attumen and Midnight
  • Moroes
  • Maiden of Virtue
  • Big Bad Wolf
  • The Curator
  • Terestian Illhoof

Tonight, we rest. Thursday, we return, with the entire weekend to face down Shade of Aran, the Chess Event, Prince Malchezaar, Nightbane and Netherspite.

I am tired, but happy. By any standard, we kicked a fair amount of booty last night.

It bears being said, this is a fine example of how a focused, organized and prepared raiding guild can accompish far more in a shorter amount of time than a more disorganized ‘casual’ raiding guild. I come more and more to agree with many of the things Robin Torres said in her Azeroth Interrupted article. In the time it usually took Group 2 to beat Moroes, what with occasional wipes and late starts, Group 1 had already downed the Maiden.

As far as this massive wall of text goes, I hope that some of the things I describe during the fights help out other feral druids in preparing for Karazhan… and I hope other more experienced druids out there offer your advice on what you do during some of these fights.

In the meantime, I’m putting this novel to bed and going and getting some lunch.

Happy Halloween!

Grinding rep to prep for 2.3!

A lot of news keeps rolling out on patch 2.3. And some of it is tasty to us poor downtrodden Engineers.

What has to be, so far, one of my most highly anticipated releases with the patch is the introduction of Engineering crafted flying mounts.

HEY! I said ONE of my most anticipated, not THE most anticipated!

Actually, in order of preference, what I’m most looking forward to are;

Most of those take care of themselves, but what about the Engineering flight mounts? When the patch goes live, is that the time to start thinking about what you’ll need to make one?

Nay, says I! What better time than now to prepare yourself, so you can be one of the ‘first on race day’ to have your very own Engineering flying mount?

I mean come on, these things are choice!

I’ve followed the hard work that the wonderful folks at MMO-Champion and Wowhead have done to document the Engineering Flight Mount info that’s come out of the latest PTR. And thanks to them, we have the preliminary materials lists for making these sweet craft.

For the standard Flying Machine Control, we’re gonna need;

  • 350 Engineering Skill, expert riding skill (225) and level 70
  • Adamantite Frame (2)
  • Fel Iron Bar (30)
  • Handful of Fel Iron Bolts (8)
  • Star Wood (8)
  • [Fel Iron Toolbox]
  • Elemental Seaforium Charge (4)

The actual mats needed to make all of that are;

  • Fel Iron Ore (112)
  • Adamantite Ore (16)
  • Mote of Fire (1)
  • Mote of Earth (22)
  • Star Wood (8)

And breaking that down one last time… Fel Iron Ore, Adamantite Ore, Motes of Fire and Motes of Earth are all commonly acquired Mining materials. Now that you know how much you need, stockpiling them should be no problem.

A little more investigation reveals that Star Wood is easily purchased from most Enchanting Supplies vendors, as it is a reagent used by Enchanters to make Wands. So the next time you are in a large city, ask your local guard where the Enchanter trainer is… very likely you’ll find a Supplier nearby that can sell you 8 Star Wood.

Finally, we come to the Elemental Seaforium Charge. The [Recipe: Elemental Seaforium Charge] to make this is purchased from the Consortium Quartermasters in Netherstorm and Nagrand, at Revered reputation.

I find that I do not HAVE Revered reputation. In fact, I only have Friendly.

Ok, no problem… head off to ‘Ye olde auction house’ and buy some, right? After all, it’s not BOP.

After two weeks, I have yet to see any Elemental Seaforium Charges in the AH on my server. This, to me, means two things.

  • First, if I want my mount it looks like I need to grind my Consortium rep.
  • Second, there is an opportunity to make some serious cash off of any other Engineers that want their mounts, but don’t want to grind the rep.

The mats cost is low, and you can sell them 4 per stack. If I grind to the recipe, I bet I could actually make some nice alt twinking cash from this recipe… for a little while.

As a side note, while checking on prices at the AH on Engineering stuff, I realized I never saw any [Goblin Jumper Cables XL] for sale there. As my Hunter alt is a Goblin Engineer, and my main is Gnomish, I went and farmed some mats and made three. They’ve sold on my server for 45g each, first time. And they are cheap to post, so if they dont sell you’re not out much. Word to the wise, this might be a nice sideline for you as new players take Engineering for the mounts, but take Gnomish spec for the neat toys… and can’t make their own Goblin Jumper Cables XL.

I put off the Consortium reputation grind in order to take a look at what mats I’d need for the upgrade to Turbo-Charged Flying Machine.

For the upgrade, the additional mats you’ll need are;

  • 375 Engineering Skill, Artisan riding skill (300) and level 70
  • Flying Machine Control
  • Khorium Power Core (8)
  • Felsteel Stabilizer (8)
  • [Hula Girl Doll]

The Flying Machine Control is what you create for your standard mount. So that will be taken care of.

The actual mats needed to make the rest of the stuff are;

  • Primal Fire (8)
  • Khorium Ore (48)
  • Fel Iron Ore (96)
  • Eternium Ore (64)

Of course, you will also need a Hula Girl Doll. A what? That’s right, a Hula Girl Doll. And this is one of those wierd items that is sold by Griftah, the scam artist normally found in Lower City. The Hula Girl Doll will be new in patch 2.3, so you can’t buy it in advance. And it will sell for 100g (at the time of this writing). I’m hoping it’s not going to be a limited quantity item.

I set out to acquire the mats for this, and store them away in the bank. I refused to pay AH money for anything I might find while Mining, so it took a while longer, but as of last night, I had farmed my last Mote of Fire from mining Fel Iron, and made my last Khorium Power Core. I have every material to make both machines, except the 4 Elemental Seaforium Charges and the Hula Girl Doll. And I have all the mats to make the charges, I just don’t have the recipe yet.

It’s something to do while not running Karazhan, right?

Last night, all the mats in palce, I started the grind for Consortium reputation. I started following up all those long abandoned Netherstorm Consortium quests that my lazy bear butt never finished, and farming Zaxxis Insignia. I got a lot of farming and questing completed last night, so as far as I can see, I only need 350 more Zaxxis Insignia to reach Revered. That amount will be lower if I can get a group together to finish a few last quests.

It’s funny, the things I’m willing to do to get a new Epic Flying Mount. If only I put forth this kind of effort to get Heroic keys!

Filler post – 4 Things Lists from TJ’s blog

I came to work today to find 3 production lines down with a weekend support shift that apparently was too busy watching youtube videos to do anything about it, and a water line burst in the office area so they are underwater. (And can’t process all of my emergency overnight repair parts purchase orders.)

Since I am scrambling to get some MONEY being made in this damn place, I’m copping out on a WoW related post. (Production math… lines down = no product made, no product made = no product shipped, no product shipped = LAYOFFS!)

TJ got tagged, and I’m claiming tagging so I have an excuse not to use my imagination. Feel free to mock my choices at will. And include your own lists, it’s always fascinating to see how crazy my readers may be.

Four Jobs I Have Had(not including this one):
Movie theater usher
US Marine
Over the road truck driver
Foam carver

Four Movies I Have Watched Again and Again:
Godfather part 2
Vanishing Point
Spaced Invaders
The Yakuza

Four Places I Have Lived:
Miami, FL
Okinawa, Japan
Oceanside, CA
Saint Paul, MN

Four Programs I Love To Watch:
The Unit
Buffy/Angel (damn them!!!!
Hells’ Kitchen
Top Chef

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation:
San Francisco, CA
Pittsburg, PA
Washington, DC
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Four Of My Favorite Foods:
BBQ/Hot Wings
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Teriyaki Sirloin Tips

Four Favorite Drinks:
Mountain Dew (diet)
Mountain Dew (regular)
Captain Morgan Private Stock and Coke

Four Places I would Rather Be Than Here:
Taco Bell
Movie Theater

Do whatever you gots to….

With great good thanks to Dan, I am delighted to link to this….

I don’t care what you have to do to remind yourself….

But for the love of all that is holy, just keep in mind….

I will NOT move when Flame Wreath is cast, or the Raid… Blows… UP!!!

EDIT: Ok, I have watched the vid about 4 times now and can’t stop… I just start giggling each time. WTF, someone give those boys a job in the next Adam Sandler pic or something, genius like that deserves some cold hard cash.

Guild drama x10?

What a wierd bloody evening of gaming.

As a final recap, since it looks like I’m not going to return to Kara before Tuesday resets, we did go in Friday night and clear up to the Chess Event and complete it. We then had just enough time to take on Shade of Aran once before someone had to leave for the night.

A brief recap of the Shade fight, and then a long post about guild drama follows after the break:

Raid Leader tells us how it shall be… Blah blah “when you get sucked in, run to the alcoves or he nukes you dead” blah blah….

When he does… blah blah…. falling asleep…. zzzzZZZZzzzz…..

“PAY ATTENTION NOW! {eek!} When he casts Flame Wreath NO ONE MOVE or every one WIPES!! NO ONE MOVE!! NO ONE MOVE!!!”

We actually start the fight, and I run in to start aggro.

Shade sucks us in, we all run away to alcoves, no one is hurt by nuke…

Raid warning! Flame Wreath in 10 seconds… Raid Leader begins yelling in Teamspeak, “Flame Wreath is coming! No one move! NO ONE MOVE NO ONE MOVE NO ONE MOVE”

Flame Wreath is cast, someone moves instantly, and we all die.

I turn to gaze lovingly upon my wife, who sits beside me during this exciting moment, and say to her, “I told you someone would do it.”


So we went in tonight and ran a Heroic Underbog with some of the kickass folks in mah guild… Jayboi, Clana and Nawat. Pretty much the three heavy hitters of their classes, Mage, Priest and Warlock respectively. Had a Hunter from one of the top raiding guilds on my server along, cause he’s a friend of Jayboi. Guy uses a Scorpid, says that if you crunch the numbers, once you are VERY well geared and into Black Temple and Mount Hyjal a Scorpid is better DPS than a Cat.

I ain’t never gonna see the inside of Black Temple, so I’ll withhold judgment on that one. All I know is, my cats’ purtier. I figured I’d pass that tip along, in case anyone else out there runs a hunter blog and wants to dispute news reports from the front lines by crunching math :).

During the run, I got a piece of news that blew my socks off. We were all in Teamspeak, and someone casually mentioned in passing that a member has deleted her characters. Like, talking about what an idiot she was for doing it. And I had to stop them, since apparently I had missed out on a whole lot of new drama this week.

The way the news seems to break down is, a lady in the guild had gone off on my buddy Jayboi about two weeks ago, for no apparent reason. When I say no apparent reason, I mean that the other people on guild chat at the time had no idea why she went off on him.

Now, I wasn’t present, but I of course heard about it. And while I cannot say for sure what happened because of ‘he said, she said’, I can say that this is the exact same lady that plays the Hunter that I mentioned in a previous post, who had gone off on me from completely out of NOWHERE during the start of a Heroic Old Hillsbrad run.

Let me simply say that it came as no surprise to me to hear someone tell me that she had gone off on a person in a swearing rant, and he had felt as though he had no idea where it came from. I have known that feeling. Personally.

Two weeks have gone by since that moment. In that time, guild officers have told me that she has approached them privately, trying to use her long association with the guild, and her close friendship with the officers, to get them to boot Jayboi out of the guild. I have heard from others that she has sent in-game mails to folks telling them what a terrible person Jayboi is, and asking them for their support in having Jay removed.

As far as I could see during this time, the only action Jayboi had taken was to laugh when told about it, and say that he refused to reply back to that and just make it worse.

I will also say that she did not generate a lot of warm fuzzy feelings in the guild leadership and with the Raid Leader when the [Malchazeen] dropped, and a reliable and strong Rogue was on the run… and she, a Hunter, insisted on bidding DKP for it and won the bid against him. She won zero fans in Kara Group 1 for that move. In fact, it’s been over a week, and every night someone brings it up in wondering disbelief.

Now, before someone takes what I’m saying the wrong way, and thinks I believe she is wholly in the wrong on this… I don’t. I believe that she is one of the founding members of the guild, she is one of the officers certainly, and ever since the altercation I had with her, she has never been anything but very nice to me. She has always greeted me warmly in voice and guild chat, been helpful, and a pleasure to team with. And I know full well that Jayboi has a tendency to unload verbally on friends, and that it can be so brutal at times that a ‘caretaker’ kind of person may believe he is truly being hurtful, and be driven to want to shelter and protect whomever he is screwing with.

Jayboi, after all, is the one that made me believe in Water-mount PVP. The prick.

So yes, I can easily argue that she might have taken offense at something that he was saying to a friend, and that she rose to that persons’ defense by attacking Jay. I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

What with how this has gone, though, and her repeated attempts to win over converts to the ‘boot Jay because we had a fight’ cause, and her actions in kara which some took to be inappropriate looting, or at the very least selfish, I know her fellow officers have been pretty unresponsive to her demands.

So we’ve been dealing with it by not mentioning it. Hey, if my head is in the sand, then nothings’ wrong, right? Right! What problem?

But as bad as this has been, what floored me the most about this was what I heard earlier tonight while running Heroic Underbog.

It seems she logged into Teamspeak earlier in the week, and announced that she had deleted all her characters from the game, and would no longer be playing WoW because of Jayboi. [And I would presume because of the way her friends in the guild did not back her up.] And then she left, and no one has heard from her since.

Now, I just did a search on the Armory for her characters’ name, and it came back with ‘your search found no results’.

This tells me that, at the very least, she did in fact delete her main level 70 Hunter character. A 375 jewelcrafter/375 Miner with a lot of kara gear… including Malchazeer. {Sorry, I know that was a cheap shot… well, it coulda been a Cheap Shot, but she took his dagger… sorry, sorry…. I’m being bad}

Is it just me? Can anyone else understand what would cause a person who had one argument with another person, for whatever reason, to respond like this? She had many very good friends, close friends, in this guild. I know of one person who is simply devastated that she has left forever, highly upset and hurt.

I know that I’ve had a few disagreements with people in the past. I know, I know, I’m such a calm, level headed guy, you just can’t believe that. But it’s true!

Most often, my ignore list gets a new addition.

But I am simply having a hard time understanding why someone would quit the game entirely, when she had so many people who truly enjoyed her company and now miss her. I figure either there was a lot more going on, or she had some serious issues with feelings of abandonment from the other officers.

I can tell you right now, no matter how betrayed I felt, even if I thought the entire server hated my guts, I’d certainly not delete my character. Server transfer, maybe. Well, ok, no, I’d form my own guild and call it ‘Jayboiisadouchebag’ or something. And Jay, don’t. Just don’t. I know what you were thinking there. That’s why I made the name too long. o.O

But whatever. I wouldn’t delete my 2 years of fun and joy because of two weeks of crabbiness.

Whichever the case may be, this whole story just seems like a page taken straight from TJ’s post about girl drama and what to look out for, and it just makes me sad.

On the other hand, I know I heard more than one officer breathe a sigh of relief tha at least it’s over and everyone can move on with their lives.

Raid Song of the Week #4 – Eye of the Storm

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

This weeks’ choice was a very hard one. Not because I didn’t have any choices. Oh no!

Thanks to your great suggestions, I have enough choices of killer songs for different moments in Raiding (from boss kills, to boss wipes, to general trash clearing) to last me a year.

The difficulty is, I knew I wanted to put a Cruxshadows song up tonight, because they have dominated my Raiding all this week. Every boss fight, every trash clear… they’ve been there. But which one to pick?

There are three Cruxshadows songs that I have on my rotation that seem to bring very good luck on my Raids, especially this week… and if silly superstitions to explain success are good enough for multi-million dollar baseball players, I ain’t gonna argue.

In the end, I chose Cruxshadows – Eye of the Storm, from their new Dreamcypher album as this weeks’ choice.

However, if you like this one, then I also strongly recommend Sophia from the same album, and Winter Born, from the Ethernaut album.

Bless Amazon… I don’t get any kickbacks from Amazon if you go there, I linked them because Amazon lets you hear samples of each song from an album… so hopefully you can see for yourself.

That’s it for this weeks’ raid song, and remember, keep those suggestions coming in!

Bonus post day… Okoloth’s Armory Musings for Druids

I know, I know, I already posted twice. I’m addicted to writing for you guys. And what I was just checking out, even though it’s three months out of date, is still just unbelieveably fun.

So, like, totally two posts ago, ya know? I soooo showed how I put those mouseover hotlinks in my posts. Really! I’m serious! And it wasn’t me what done it, it was that awesome uber geek Okoloth!

Ugh, writing like that makes my head hurt. Sorry.

I was perusing the rest of the insane data mining that Okoloth has on his site, where he makes mention of a data mining spider he’s running to troll through Blizzards’ Armory page and collect data on all of us… all the time. Damn, it’s the man! THE MAN!!!

At first, I thought he was just tracking active players, server populations, etc. Turns out he has been tracking FAR more than that.

In particular, he wrote this report that breaks down, as of 30 July 2007, the total amount of active level 70 druids across the entire WoW server base, everywhere. He then analyzed us based on spec, gear breakdown, everything. Did it to hunters in an earlier post, too. How many folks use the Stylin’ Purple Hat? How many are Exalted with Netherdrake rep?

Seriously… do yourself a favor, and go read this. It is just amazing…

For the record… his data shows a total of 5592 active Druids across all WoW Realms as of 30 July 2007… with Balance 10%, Restoration 30.08%, and Feral a whopping 59.92%! Woot! We shall rise and overcome, my Feral brothers and sisters!

Karazhan – Break on through to the other side, yeah

From the title of the post, you might get the idea that my Kara Group had a breakthrough last night.

Yeah, you could say that.

Time for a little raiding progression and recap post, my friends. What have I been doing the last two nights?

Tuesday morning was Karazhan server reset time, so of course as usual all the good little boys and girls came scurrying out in the evening to begin the Karazhan grind once more. And yeah, I do mean grind, because when your Group is unfocused or is constantly changing players, the early fights are a serious challenge, and it can get very, very frustrating trying and trying and never getting past Maiden of Virtue (Boss #3).

It’s the same with every raid, or even hard instance, no matter what your level. If you attempt a run and you either have poor communication, a mix of players that are not used to each other, or a group of players who may not be geared well enough or experienced enough in their current class specialization, then it’s gonna be a steep learning curve no matter what level you’re playing at. I’ve seen folks try and fail repeatedly at Dire Maul wings and full clears of Blackrock Depths just as much as at Karazhan, so it’s not anything new.

Anyone remember timed Undead Stratholme runs? Anyone? When there WERE no levle 70s to bail you out, and you’d run over and over and over, trying to advance in your Dungeon .5 set questlines? [shudder]

As I’ve posted before, my guild has two groups that raid Karazhan. We just barely have enough people to fill two groups.

Group 1, of which I am not a part, was already mostly formed when I joined the guild. They have added other players since then, very good players that can play consistently every raid night without fail

I was approached about possibly joining Group 1 early on, but frankly there is no way that I can meet the time commitments every single week, every raid night to run in Group 1. But I can admire their hard work and determination, and I can cheer on their success. They have cleared all the way up to and including Prince a few times now, and every week they get it down even better.

In contrast, Group 2 generally makes due with players like myself, whose play schedules are a bit uncertain because of family/relationship commitments, work and school. Some folks can only play weekends, others like me simply can NOT play every single night. So every evening it is always a bit of a crap shoot to see if we will get enough attuned players online on time (or close enough to it) to go in.

Last week, there weren’t enough players online most nights to even try. We’d spend two hours hoping more people would log in. Talk about a waste of a good evening.

Last night our guild Raid Leader decided that Group 1 was getting things down well enough that it was time to start spreading the knowledge around. Two members of Group 1, a very experienced Hunter and a solid Paladin, both transferred over to Group 2 to help us coordinate and learn. In exchange, two Group 2 members went to Group 1 to learn by immersion.

Tueday evening start time is 6:30 PM server. As usual, I was on time to the second with consumables on hand. And just as usual, it was past 7:30 before most of the stragglers had shown up. We got charged up, went into Karazhan, I main tanked with a protection warrior as off tank, and we marched our Big Bear Butt down the stables, and took down Attumen and Midnight like a late night snack.

Of course, Group 1 was doing the same thing at the same time… and we each downed Attumen at around the same time. And Group 1 announced that both the [Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation], AND my [Stabilised Eternium scope] recipe dropped! While our loot was caster oriented! Grrr!

We decided to push on to Moroes the front way up the stairs next, so off we went.

Again, as main tank, I was responsible for pulling duty on the stairs, and I performed my function by pulling with Moonfire, running down the stairs out of Line of Sight, and then hitting Barkskin and using Hurricane on the charging mob of non-elites. using Hurricane seems to REALLY get their attention, possibly because I don’t have ANY threat reducing abilities at all. By the time Hurricane has run it’s course and I’ve shifted to bear, it only takes a few Swipes and the group is down at my feet, usually without having gone after anyone else. The only times it’s gotten chaotic is when a second group may get aggro’ed, and my Hurricane isn’t off cooldown yet.

Going in and clearing the room with Moroes, we quickly wipe out the trash and set up for the fight. We have done this part so much that all of us knows very well what to do. Mostly.

We set up, get lined up on Moroes, targeting marks get distributed, kill order is determined, shackles and ice trap rotations are organized, and we’re off.

Again, I’m main tank, and the Prot Warrior is off tank. Moroes is yet another in a long LONG line of bosses and mobs in Karazhan that are utterly unaffected by taunt. You have to establish your threat purely through damage, and if you are letting someone else maintain threat without another tank as backup, then if tank number 1 drops or gets stunned or blinded (as happens frequently on Moroes), global threat producers (can you say the Healers?) get a boss in the face for insta-wipe.

Let me say right now… since acquiring Earthwarden, the Threat Per Second I put out has gone up outrageously. If I am given just 2 or 3 seconds to establish threat on my target, there is just no catching up no matter what the group does. I was consistently maintaining 700+ TPS while in ‘infinite rage’ boss fights or multiple mob pulls. It’s just amazing. I luv that hammer.

Okay, so myself and off tank take on Moroes… battle commences… and a short time later, the bastard is dead. First attempt, and victory! This is cause for celebration!

We do a loot check, and a piece of DPS leather gear drops. There is myself, and a new Rogue in the Karazhan group. The way our DKP system works, the loot order goes in tiers of how much DKP you have in the hundreds. If I have 300 DKP, and another competitor for loot in the run has 250 DKP, 300 gets to decide if they want it first. If he passes, the 250 can decide, and so on into the hundreds, and then the 10s. If you take loot, minimum DKP cost is 50. If two players that want loot are in the same tier, say both in their 300’s, then it’s a bid. I didn’t invent it, it’s just how it is.

Well, so I had 200+ DKP at this time, and the new Rogue had just passed the 50 mark. It was solely my decision. The two problems were that I had never seen the Rogue in any Guild run before, ever. I didn’t know if he would turn out to be a consistent player, or if this was his one visit, or anything. If it was ANY other Rogue, that had been active in the Guild at all, it would be a no brainer. Why was I hesitant? Why didn’t I just say “Heck with it, good for you!” like I have with the [Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation] many times? Because it was [Edgewalker Longboots] that dropped… one of, if not THE absolute best Feral Cat Druid boots in the game… and I do a lot of Karazhan catform work when I’m not the Main Tank. This would not only be an awesome galactic level upgrade to my existing gear, but I would be actively using them in Karazhan with the guild. But they’re also Rogue loot, damnit!

In the end, I asked the Rogue in a whisper if it would be okay if I took them. I was totally prepared to pass if he seemed super excited, but he was nice and really seemed not to care at all, just happy to have been present for a boss kill… this time, anyway :).

So I got the boots, quite shocked at my incredible good fortune. And then we buckled down and moved on to Maiden of Virtue. Who proceeded to kick our butts twice, before we decided to try again the next day.

So by the end of Tuesday night, we had so far matched Group 2’s best historical progression ever. Two bosses in one night. As a Group, Group 2 has NEVER downed Maiden of Virtue. Ever. Despite what some members vaguely claim to remember. Trust me. I’d remember.

Which finally brings me to last night. We started up at 6:30 as usual. And also as usual, it was well after 7:30 before everyone was present and actually ready to go. This time the trash was gone all the way before the corridor leading to Maiden, so it was a fast run up to getting started. Also, unlike the night before, we had Clana the Magnificent to heal us through 🙂

We marched down the hall quickly and set up for Maiden. The Protection Warrior from the night before was standing outside Karazhan on standby, and we had another ranged DPS in our group in his place. Again, I was Main Tank. Now, in this fight, Maiden will periodically pump out a group stun. She also has an area of effect blast with limited range that can knock you OUT of the stun. When she stuns the group, she continues to beat on the poor tank, who is no longer getting heals. This time, our strategy was simple, but awesome; when the group got stunned, I had one Paladin as my designated healer for the stun, stnading at teh first step of the platform in my field of view in front of me. As soon as everyone was stunned, I would pull Maiden just close enough to bump him OUT of stun with her own AOE… and then I’d drag her back to the center of her platform.

Boom boom boom…. Maiden down, first attempt of the evening! I won’t pretend it was a certain victory… my health was getting real low, and everyone was running super low on health and mana, and there was no way I could Innervate anyone. But we did it, and now we know we CAN do it, and we’ll just get more comfortable with it over time.

So we checked loot, and she dropped Protection warrior plate, and Paladin Bracers… neither of which anyone could use. And we had no Enchanter. So we took two epics as vendor loot. CRAP!

Still, rejoicing was done. We had downed Maiden first attempt, and were ecstatic. We had some player substitutions as some floks had to log off, but we managed to keep a group of 10. We decided to at least go and find out which of the Opera events we were going to have for the week, so we’d be ready for Wednesday.

This was our first time past Maiden. We kicked butt through the minor trash, and and reached the Stage Manager. Our experienced Group 1 Hunter told everyone to stand off in a room down the hall out of aggro range, so he could go and activate the event. He’d die, but we would know what we’d face the next day. Then we’d go home.

So we’re milling around chatting in Teamspeak when the Hunter begins yelling, “Everyone run onto stage NOW! Go! Go! Go!

We confusedly run out to the stage, scrambling around, as the hunter is telling us that we have the Oz event and it’s starting any second, and off tank (the Prot Warrior) will be kiting Tinhead around, and I as main tank will be tanking Roar and Toto , and keeping them occupied, and then he went on to spread other info while the event itself activated…and I saw Roar for the first time, but no little damn doggie!

I grabbed Roar and began pounding him down and dragging him off to side, while frantically scanning the stage for a dog. “Where the heck is Toto? Who’s he on?” I call. The Hunter tells me he’ll spawn soon… and not to worry about facing two mobs, he’ll Scare Beast on Roar when Toto comes.

Again with the concern that I will die within seconds of tanking two mobs! I’ll never understand that. Don’t reassure ME you’ll scare away Roar, reassure the healers who are responsible for having enough Mana to keep me healed. I can live for a while with two mobs on me, it just destroys healer mana long term.

Anyway, I don’t get to see a lot of the battle with my Big Bear Butt in the way, but I pound on Roar good, and when Toto spawns I’m all over the poor little wolfie. I snatch him up, and keep them both locked up tight. Soon enough, Dorothee, Straw Man, Roar, Toto, and Tinhead are dead, and then the Crone and the Cyclone appear. I spend a good amount of the rest of the fight in the air, sucked into the cyclone.

Barely a moment or two into the fight, it seems, the Crone is down, and loot is being distributed. [Ruby Slippers] and [Earthsoul Leggings] drop.

Well, okay, so I guess we just went ahead and did the Oz Opera event. And completed it on the first attempt, again. So, are we going to quit now? Heck no! We’re excited now!

“Let’s go get Curator!” We shout, and run off towards the back entrance.

Now, I’m gonna cut this short(er). we cleared through the trash from the back entrance to the start of Curator. We set up for Curator with me as main tank. The off tank had to go offline, as did Clana who started sounding REALLY sick on Teamspeak.. like, botulism bad. But we found two replacements, somehow, and went on in. I had never even researched this fight, cause I certainly didn’t expect to be doing it so soon, so I asked the experienced folks what I should do. All they could tell me was to pin hm down and keep him focused on me. Everyone else had complicated roles concerning the Astral Flares and Evocation, but I didn’t even know what those were. I focused reassuringly on the idea that all I had to do was tank. It seemed wrong, because Maiden sure needed more effort, but the 5th boss is simple? I somehow doubted it.

I pulled Curator and drug him into my designated location. We began and I focused on pumping out as much unlimited threat on him as was bearingly possible. Pretty soon, I had him so far into the threat meter compared to everyone else that I could probably kite him all the way to Stormwind. A few Evocations came and went, and I tried to observe and analyse what little information I could see around my Big Bear Butt. It seemed to me that I was NOT getting hit during the times he went into Evocation. I didn’t know WHAT he was doing, but he wasn’t hitting me… I thought.

All of our casters were going super low on mana, so on the next Evocation I decided to test my theory. As soon as he went into Evocation, I shifted to caster, popped Innervate on our Priest, and shifted back. I didn’t know the precise timing of his Evocation, but I was confident I could shift back to Bear in time. Yes, I could, well in time. Enough that I probably could have popped at least three Lifeblooms or Rejuves off on people before shifting.

The Innervate certainly helped, but in the end we still had all casters go OOM, just as Curator hit 19%. I didn’t get heals, I died, and it was all over after that. If we had stopped his last round of Astral Flares before he hit 20%, we could have had him, but the Flares were still spawning when I went down. Lesson learned… on the first Evocation, I need to pop out and Innervate someone, and pop back in so my 6 minute cooldown has time to expire and I can use it again towards the end of the fight.

We did not take a second try at him, even though we had cleared to him, because some folks had to go. It had just hit 10 PM, we had only been in there 2.5 hours, but it seemed like forever. This week remains the most incredibly successful time our Group 2 has ever had. We progressed in two days all the way up to Curator. I think that is something we can be damn rpoud of.

Some times, all you can do is /cheer.

Blogspot – How to get mouseover item popups

Since I’ve had a few very nice folks whose blogs I love ask me how I put those mouseover wowitem popups in my posts, I thought I’d just post the info here for posterity. This post is 100% about how to add mouseover info popups to your wow item links in Blogspot, so if this does not interest you, you need read no further. I’ll have another post up about the alst two nights’ raiding soon.

Let me say right up front, I did NOT write this code, I didn’t work this all out, all I did was do some web searching to find where the creator of this, Okoloth, could be found when I saw other blogs that had the same thing. There is also a version of wowitem popups that works for WordPress blogs that dan O’Halloran posted about, but the version I’m talking about here is Okoloth’s work intended specifically for Blogger.

The original work was created by Okoloth at the Armory Musings blog…. for questions or the source post please go there, see his write-up and the comments, and post your own comments and thanks for his hard work there.

The nuts and bolts of this is that you will need to edit your blogspot Template to add a section of code. The code you permanently add will recognize your links for a specific item. After that code is inserted permanently into your blog template, whenever you want to insert a wowitem with an active mouseover popup, you can simply get the Allakhazam/Wowhead item numbers, and insert them and the item name into a snippet of pre-written HTML. I keep a word document with every snippet of HTML code I’ve used previously, so I already have a ton of examples.

Let’s go over specifics.


1. Login to your Blogger Dashboard
2. Click the ‘Manage: … Layout’ link
3. Click the ‘Edit HTML’ link
4. Locate a </head> in the Template HTML, and just before it copy & paste the following lines:

<!-- WoW Item Popup v1.3 --> <style type="text/css">
#wowitemfloat { position:absolute; left:200px; top:200px; z-index:100; }
.poor { color:#9d9d9d !important; text-decoration:none; }
.common { color:#ffffff !important; text-decoration:none; }
.uncommon { color:#1eff00 !important; text-decoration:none; }
.rare { color:#0070dd !important; text-decoration:none; }
.epic { color:#a335ee !important; text-decoration:none; }
.legendary { color: #ff8000 !important; text-decoration:none; }
.artifact { color: #e5cc80 !important; text-decoration:none; }
</style> <script type='text/javascript'>
function showWowitem( event, id ) {
var element = document.getElementById('wowitemfloat'); = 'visible'; = event.pageY ? event.pageY + 'px' : (event.clientY + (document.documentElement.scrollTop || document.body.scrollTop)); = event.pageX ? event.pageX + 'px' : (event.clientX + (document.documentElement.scrollLeft || document.body.scrollLeft));
document.getElementById('wowitem').src = '' + id; }
function hideWowitem() {
document.getElementById('wowitemfloat').style.visibility = 'hidden';
document.getElementById('wowitem').src = ''; }
<div id="wowitemfloat" style="visibility:hidden;">

</div> <!-- WoW Item Popup v1.3 -->

5. Now click ‘Save Template’


You’ve now installed the code to enable the item popup. All you need to do is craft a HTML link to trigger it into action.

[Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer]
<a href="" class="epic" onmouseover="showWowitem(event,32756);" onmouseout="hideWowitem();">[Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer]</a>

[Beast Lord Cuirass]
<a href="" class="rare" onmouseover="showWowitem(event,28228);" onmouseout="hideWowitem();">[Beast Lord Cuirass]</a>

Now, that is the entire core of Okoloth’s post. I personally had a lot of trouble in my HTML ignorance finding where in Bloggers’ template the /head was located exactly. In the end, I opened an “Edit… Find (on this page)” window and searched for /head. It popped up instantly. I copied/pasted the above WoW Item Popup V1.3 code into the template right before the /head, and it worked for me the first time. PLEASE, before you try it, do what Blogger suggests and save your template before making changes. If somehow this doesn’t work for you, I’d hate to think I was responsible for taking down a friends’ blog.

What Okoloth’s HTML Template code does is look for a snippet of HTML for the item you are inserting into your post. It will pull the item number you entered from the (event,#####) section of that HTML snippet. That number is what Allakhazam uses as their discrete webpage identifier for the item you want to link to. It adds that number to the end of an inquiry to pull the data on the items’ stats from Allakhazam.

Now, in the snippet of HTML that you modify and insert into your posts yourself, you’ll see a line, That line in the HTML snippet is just a hotlink to where you want someone who clicks on the link to be directed. I do not personally like Allakhazam’s UI for my searching, so I have changed that in what I use to direct to the same item in Wowhead instead, as “Someone” in the comments yesterday so astutely noticed. 🙂

So the snippet of HTML I use for my actual post links are as follows;

[Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer]
<a href="" class="epic" onmouseover="showWowitem(event,32756);" onmouseout="hideWowitem();">[Gyro-balanced Khorium Destroyer]</a>

The snippet of HTML also has one other variable, the class=”xxxx” section. That determines what color the text of your item link is gonna be, and you can choose from the following categories;


  • poor
  • common
  • uncommon
  • rare
  • epic
  • legendary
  • artifact

The reason this has been easy for me to use in my posts, is the wierd fact that both Allakhazam and Wowhead use the exact same item numbers in their webpage links. I had heard that they were now both owned by the same parent company, but this still seems darn strange to me. Whatever the reason, so far for every item I’ve wanted to link to both websites have used the same item number. maybe it is a number that Blizzard iteself uses. I have no idea. Anyway, so I have been going to Wowhead, looking up an item, noting what number they used in the webpage for that item, and then inserted that number in BOTH my link, and in my (event,#####). I haven’t even been verifying the number in Allakhazam much anymore before posting, because when I publish the post, I quickly check every link to see if the data pulled from Allakhazam on mouseover matches the item name I wanted. Every single time, the info pulled from Allakhazam has matched the Wowhead item number. Freaky, huh? But it has. The ONLY time I’ve had a discrepency is when I tried to link the Idol of Terror that Wowhead has up from upcoming patch 2.3. Apparently, Allakhazam has not added that item to their database yet, so my link worked but there was no popup data for the HTML to find.

I hope that my posting this here will help you see what I am doing specifically, and will add another location people will find to direct them to Okoleth’s amazing work.

Heroic and early raiding gear for the Bear Tank

Welcome back to another enthralling episode of ‘I gots my Earthwarden, so NOW WHAT?!?’

There is SO much to do once you reach level 70 in the Outlands, that I think it is a pretty fair assumption that if you are a casual (or dedicated) player of World of Warcraft, that even if you hit 70 within a month of the Burning Crusades’ release date, you still haven’t secured every Heroic instance key, maxed out your professions, gotten to Exalted with Ogri’la and Sha’tari Skyguard AND Netherdrake, and put Kara and Gruul on farm.

Of course, if you have, then you can stick around after this episode and give advice on which pieces to choose to bolster +defense when your gear upgrades remove some of what you already had. 🙂 That’s right, I’ll put your butt to work!

Anyway, if you are a Feral Druid and level 70, then you’ve likely already seen one of the many ‘pre-raiding tanking gear’ posts that are around the internet.
There’s an excellent one at Adventures in Azeroth that I like, and then theres the pre-raiding tanking gear guide that I put together myself a while back.

Those lists are all well and good. Everything there can be attained from either soloing quests, patient stalking of the Auction House, or regular 5 man instance runs. All reasonable expectations for any competent druid, even if you are forced to PUG it.

But what do you do AFTER that? Sure, you’ve got great gear. Compared to a Protection Warrior, you’re already geared up to start tanking Karazhan, at a point where the Warrior is just starting to think about where to find his first good piece.

Today we’re going to talk about where to go for upgrades in Heroics, and in early Karazhan raiding.

The drawback to having such great pre-raiding gear is that there are very few items that are upgrades once we DO start raiding. If you figure that your gear is good enough to start raiding Karazhan, and you’ll pick your upgrades up from there, then I have bad news for you sunshine; there’s not that much to find in Karazhan for a feral bear tank. Our gear upgrades are a bit harder to track down than that. Nope, even if you’re technically ready for Karazhan, you are going to need to look elsewhere for the bulk of your upgrades. That’s right; Heroics.

And now, we’re getting back to the point that started this post… maybe you JUST hit 70. Or maybe you hit 70 months ago, but you wanted to grind Kurenai reputation to get a Talbuk Mount, and farm money to get your epic flying skill, and then pound out Sha’tari Skyguard and Netherdrake rep for your wriggly sky worm and dragon mounts. [Not that I know anyone that did that :)]

Maybe you’ve already been tanking Karazhan, and you’re guild is rarely getting past Maiden, and NEVER getting to Illhoof, and you’re sick of seeing the same three boss drops over and over and over. Sure, the rep is getting you fantastic Tanking Ring upgrades, but you are getting burned out and miss that excitement at knowing that your tanking just got better. You know that the time has come to finally look at getting keyed for Heroics. But which one to choose first?

Well, there are two possibilities. First, maybe you’re a Pokemon Master, and you ‘gotta catch em all’, and you want exalted with everyone, all at once. You go ahead with that, I’ll admire your dedication and work ethic… from a distance.

The other possibility is you want to know how you can get the most potential return on your time investment. Time is valuable… you are going to have to spend some of it running instances to attain reputation with a faction to earn that Heroic Key. You want to know that the choice you make is going to give you the best chance to get some good upgrades. Right?

There are two different kinds of rewards for achieving reputation with a faction.

  • First, there is the immediate reward; a faction Quartermaster has different items to sell, depending on your reputation level with them. As soon as you have the right reputation to qualify, boom, you can buy the item.
  • Second, there is the potential reward. As soon as you buy your Heroic key at Revered (soon to be reduced to Honored in Patch 2.3), you can begin to run Heroic instances, with the potential to earn one of the Heroic level rewards. You also earn a Badge of Justice for each Heroic boss you kill, which you can save and turn in to G’eras in Shattrath City for even more epic loot upgrades.

Now, my first recommendation, unsurprisingly, will be Cenarion Expedition.

The reason why is that at Exalted, the immediate reward you will receive is the ability to purchase [Earthwarden] as your new Main Tanking weapon. You won’t have to try to get it to drop, and you won’t have to find a solid group to run Heroics. As soon as you hit Exalted, it’s yours. On the other hand, of course, you have to climb all the way past Revered to Exalted to get it. But frankly, in my opinion, it’s worth it. [Earthwarden] will last you for a LONG time. The next time there is ANY upgrade to your tanking weapon is the [Wildfury Greatstaff], which drops from trash mobs in Serpentshrine Cavern. SSC is a fairly long way down the raiding path for most guilds. You will first need 25 people that are solidly geared from Heroics, Karazhan, AND Gruuls’ Lair before you can realisticly hit Serpentshrine Cavern. Let’s face it… getting [Earthwarden] will likely last you for a long time in your tanking life. Also, don’t overlook that at Revered you can buy the [Strength of the Untamed], which is a pretty darn good tanking neck piece. It’s not quite as highly ranked as [Mark of the Ravenguard] or [Necklace of the Deep], but if you’re focused on Cenarion rep instead of questing you can be happy with this, and you won’t have to buy expensive gems to trick it out like you will with the [Necklace of the Deep].

The only real potential upgrade from Heroic Coilfang Reservoir instances is a fairly nice one, the [Argussian Compass] from Heroic Underbog, which drops from The Black Stalker, the final boss. The [Argussian Compass] is ranked by Emmerald as the highest of all bear tanking trinkets, but as has been pointed out by Kadaan, this is based off of being able to use the effect very often. I personally use the [Commander’s Badge], a trinket that is obtained through Netherdrake faction, which cannot be gotten until after you have epic flying skill. Kadaan also points out that [Moroes Lucky Pocket Watch] from Moroes, second boss fight of Karazhan, and the [Darkmoon Cards] (very high Stamina trinkets) are great choices over this also. Regardless of whether you go after this, or if you prefer a higher Stamina piece, or maybe one of the engineering crafted trinkets, most of your options here can be obtained from the Auction House, professions, reputation, or this instance.

Wow, so with Cenarion Expedition reputation, a profession or the Auction House, you could conceivably max out your Two-handed Weapon and both Trinket slots, lasting well into Serpentshrine Caverns. And no raiding yet!

After Cenarion Expedition, you have a few choices to make. If you are obsessed with getting your Epic Flying Form, than you’ll need to be able to run Heroic Sethekk Halls, which is based off of Lower City reputation. But if we’re talking about tanking gear upgrades, then my recommendation unquestionably has to be Honor Hold/Thrallmar.

Honor Hold/Thrallmar reputation does NOT provide any immediate tanking benefits. In fact, aside from the Quartermaster of Keepers of Time at Revered, there are NO other immediate Quartermaster rewards for feral bear tanks. Sure, there are plenty of professions patterns available from the Quartermasters, but as far as tanking upgrades go, there is zilch.

But the potential upgrades…. Holy Elune! Just look at this stuff…

From Heroic Hellfire Ramparts, we have [Tree-Mender’s Belt], which drops from the chest off the final boss. From Heroic Blood Furnace we have the [Mantle of Shadowy Embrace], which drops from Kel’idan the Breaker. This item should be sending up bright flares to draw your attention, because of the massive pain in the butt finding good tanking shoulders has become. Well, these shoulders kick big butt. And better yet, both of these Heroics are reasonable to run.

Finally, for the insane among you, you can take on Heroic Shattered Halls, and you can shoot for the [Forestheart Bracers], which drop from Warchief Kargath Bladefist. I personally think that this is too small a potential reward in exchange for the massive challenge of a Heroic SH, but since there is very little else to choose from as a bracer upgrade, if you have a good, GOOD group, it may be worth a try. It’s still a solid upgrade from your [Umberhowls’ Collar].

Regardless, the belt and the shoulders alone are awesome upgrades. It is possible to get a comparable upgrade belt from Hyakiss the Lurker, one of the three randomly generated critter bosses in Karazhan. And of course there is PvP gear that is better. But if you do not PvP, or your guild is not raiding Karazhan, or is bypassing the critter bosses, then the belt and shoulders here are just outstanding.

Now, if you’ve gone this far, lol, and you’ve gotten those two Heroic keys, and run those instances to get your [Argussian Compass], [Tree-Mender’s Belt], and [Mantle of Shadowy Embrace], then you should AT LEAST have 25 Badges of Justice.

RUN, don’t walk, over to G’eras in Shattrath City, and buy your [Ring of Unyielding Force]. This ring, coupled with the [Violet Signet] from Karazhan reputation, will be your final two rings well into Magtheridon’s Lair. Starting to look like we’re getting our end game raiding gear here, doesn’t it?

We are now left with Caverns of Time, Auchindoin, and Tempest Keep to choose from. Unfortunately, as I said before, NONE of the three Quartermasters here benefit a feral bear tank, even at Exalted. At Revered, the Keepers of Time Quartermaster, Alurmi, will sell the [Glyph of the Defender], the best tanking enchant for your head armor slot. But you probably got to Revered with Keepers of Time just by running Karazhan attunement, and then running Durnholdt/Old Hillsbrad a few times trying for your [Iron Band of the Unbreakable]. Either way, reaching Revered with Keepers of Time isn’t a difficult grind, and the [Glyph of the Defender] is worth it.

If you carefully compare the potential rewards you can obtain from running the rest of the Heroic instances with the gear that you can obtain as suggested by the beginning guides, you’ll find that none of them are worth your effort. Crazy, isn’t it? Caverns of Time, Auchindoin, and Tempest Keep can all be safely ignored by a feral TANK. There are plenty of DPS cat form rewards, of course, which is well worth an article all on it’s own, but as far as tanking gear… nada.

But after getting this far, and having two rings, two trinkets, a two-handed weapon, shoulders and belt… it’s looking pretty good. Your [Heavy Clefthoof Vest], [Heavy Clefthoof Leggings] and [Heavy Clefthoof Boots] are also solid pieces that can carry you well past Karazhan. So where else are you looking to get gear now?

Well, let’s take a look. First, let’s see what else we can get prior to seriously 10 man+ raiding.

From those Badges of Honor come two more great rewards. For an Idol, coming live in Patch 2.3, is the Idol of Terror for 20 Badges of Justice. (Edit: I know that the hotlink on the Idol wasn’t working right… so I’m going to make it a pagelink for now. Sorry.) For a neck piece, we can get the [Necklace of the Juggernaut] for 25 Badges of Justice.

If you are raiding Karazhan, the Maiden of Virtue can drop the [Barbed Choker of Discipline]. It’s not ranked quite as highly as the [Necklace of the Juggernaut], but if it drops then by all means take it, and save yourself the 25 Badges of Justice for when the new 2.3 Badge rewards are released.

Now we are finally into Karazhan. What you will be looking for are;

That’s it. No, I’m serious. That’s it for Karazhan for bear tanks. If you don’t believe me, go back and look over all that gear again. It’s okay, I find it hard to believe too, but there it is.

That just leaves the Chest and Leggings. And it’s not pretty, because unless you PvP in a good Arena team, the next upgrades past Heavy Clefthoof are Tier 4 rewards past Karazhan.

For the [Greaves of Malorne], the Tier 4 armor token drops from Gruul. For the [Breastplate of Malorne], the Tier 4 token drops from Magtheridon himself.

I know that there are many dedicated players who actively raid these battles, and well beyond. I believe that if you are one of those players, then you are probably fully aware of what drops from whom, and also where you will be looking for your next upgrade. And if you are actively in The Eye and Black Temple, then bless you. I wish you good luck, and great rolling!

I hope that this greater in-depth look into bear tanking gear beyond the pre-raid warm up opens your eyes to your other options besides Karazhan, helps you to set some achievable goals, focus in on where to go, and exactly what you want to do next.

Until next time, peace out, my friends.