Shifting Perspectives: A brief taste of Bear Tanking in 3.0

For those that want some actual Druid information today, check out BBB’s latest massive article on Wow Insider here.  He takes a look at the upcoming patch and how it will affect bear tanks in terms of skills, gear and more. 

Thanks!

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Another Food Post

I’ve been meaning to write this one since last weekend (and BBB has been nagging me to do so).  With his food related post today, it seemed like a good time for this.

Since I work from home, I’m almost always on the internet during the day and part of that time (breaks) I’m often networking with others who do similar work.  Besides work topics, we often talk about things like how to save money, stuff about our families, etc.  Over a year ago, in a post on some forum board, there was a discussion about ways to save money.  Someone said that they saved a ton in groceries by purchasing food through something called Angel Food Ministries.

It’s a nonprofit organization that buys food in bulk and provides it at a very affordable cost to families – ANY family regardless of income.  I had checked in to it and at the time, there were no sites available in Minnesota.  The way it works is that a church or other nonprofit site has to take ownership of coordinating the entire process and it’s a pretty big undertaking.  They do get $1 for each box sold donated back to their site.    Last year there were a lot of sites in the south and west US, but nothing around us. 

The topic of saving money again came up last month on a forum post, particularly with the state of the economy and people’s jobs.  Again, someone mentioned Angel Food, so I decided to check it out and see if anything had changed.  This time there was a site around us.  It was about 20 miles away, but within reasonable distance if it was something we wanted to do. 

I explored the process a bit further and found out that each month they offer a regular box for $30. This box is intended to feed a family of 4 for one week.  They also offer a senior box of 10 frozen dinners that are nutritionally designed to be low-fat, reasonable calories and contain a protein, and 2 fruits or vegetables per meal.  Sounded like something for my mom.  Then they also offer 4 or 5 special boxes that you can purchase if you buy either the regular or senior box.  There were grill boxes, assorted meat ones, and a fruit/veggie box ($19).  There are no limits to the amount of boxes you can buy (at least that I’ve seen).  The menu for the regular box and fruit/veggie box sounded great for the price.  So my mom and I decided to give it a try and BBB agreed he’d go with to pick stuff up.

The church coordinating that site required you to order by the middle of the September and you could do it online and pay by credit card or in person at the church.  Then the food comes in the last Saturday of the month and must be picked up between 10am-noon.  BBB and I ordered one regular box and one fruit/veggie box.

Last Saturday was the time to pick it up and there are no words to describe the incredible organization of our particular site, especially after we found out this was the first month they had offered the program.  We arrived at our appointed time in the morning (set by alphabetical range of last names).  They had volunteers directing people in the parking lot, people directing inside the doors, a check-in area, and then a long line where you went along tables set up and volunteers put the items for the regular box into the cardboard boxes we had brought.  We were literally in and out in about 15 minutes and it was unbelievable how many people had come to pickup food.

The quality of the food so far has been very good.  It’s mostly brands that we haven’t heard of (somewhat like shopping at an Aldi store), but for the $30 box we got 4 steaks, 4 chicken breasts, 1 pound of ground turkey, 4 cheese-filled brats, a 2 pound pork loin roast, a 3 pound bag of unbreaded chicken nugget pieces (dark meat), a bag of french fries, a bag of frozen green beans, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, a bag of pinto beans, bag of black beans, package of chicken rice (like Rice a Roni), box of macaroni and cheese, a dozen eggs, a box of chocolate chip cookies, and probably a couple of other things I’m forgetting.  But basically a WHOLE lot of food for $30.

Then came the fruit and veggie box (which again was $19) – we got a 3 pound bag of apples, 3 pound bag of oranges, 4 pound bag of potatoes, 2 pound bag of yellow onions, 4 pears, 4 tomatoes, stalk of celery, 1 pound bag of carrots, head of cabbage, and I think one or two other things that I can’t remember now either.  Again, lot of food for way under grocery store prices (at least the stores around us).

The October menu looks even more tasty and wonderful.  We’re definitely in for another try.

We’d definitely encourage anyone (single or a family) to check it out.  Here’s the main website – Angel Food Ministries  From there you can search for a local site, review the October menu, and find out more about this incredible organization that will be helping us to definitely save money on groceries in the coming months.

The most important issue we will ever face

There has been a lot going on this last week. A ton of heavy information coming out.

I’ve put off talking about it, since this is supposed to be about WoW.

But I can’t put it off anymore.

I can’t… I just can’t let it go. I HAVE to talk about it.

..

.

I’m talking, of course, about Bacon.

I love Bacon. Talked about it before, love it, live it. My idea of the perfect meal is a couple slices of toasted bread, some light chilled mayo, fresh sliced tomato, crisp lettuce, and lots and lots of crispy, yummy bacon.

And over the last few weeks, some of the places I refer to frequently for the very latest in bacon news have had lots to say on the subject.

I recommend you go check out Bacon Today, and see his lovely pictures of the delicious looking Scallop Wrapped Bacon. I love scallops, so this just looks nummy.

Or perhaps sit back, relax, and enjoy reading the lyrics to that fabulous song, “An Ode to Bacon in Summertime.”

Or perhaps you might like to head over to International Bacon Day to keep up to date on the latest Bacon shenanigans, like I do.

I also love the Royal Bacon Society. Yes Marianne, yes I ❤ Bacon.

And no discussion of that lovely meat candy could be complete without looking in on the Bacon Freaks gourmet bacon store.

And then there is this lovely post about how to make your own Bacon flavored Vodka.

blt.jpg 

Ahhhh. God bless America.

Wait, wut?

What?

Wait, what did you THINK I was gonna talk about?

In other news, Shammies are fun

No, not the rags that you use to clean your car.

/sigh.

I got a few hours to dink around in Duskwood this weekend, and as of late last night, I have dinged 29. Leveling Enhancement, ’cause I want to taste that sweet, sweet Windfury lovin’.

Oh, this toon will be a healer. Uh huh, that’s right. A little Chain Healing, a little Totem loving, all sorts of yummy funs.

My Priest? Yeah, Shadow spec? I wish I knew how to quit you. It’s just too darn much fun. 

Shadow spec, you complete me.

So what the heck, a Shaman healer. Someday. It’ll be fun!

But in the meantime… Lightning Bolt swing-THWACK! Shock swing-THWACK!

Ahhh…. it is my fervent hope that tonight, I will be able to get that one last little level, and get my mount, and get the first stage of yummyness, the Windfury self-cast weapon buff.

And at 40?

Ahhh…. Windfury, Dual Wield, slow one-hand weapons… mmmMMMmm.

Oh, and yeah… level 30 is when the increased levleing really kicks in.

I figure I have about 6 weeks to get my Shaman to a level where I can abandon it for Druid leveling in Wrath.

Here’s hoping I hit 58 by then!

Level 40, I just can’t wait…

Anyone have any recommendations for slow one-handed weapons I should look for to buy before 40?

Big Numbers, Little Enthusiasm

I don’t really think of this as a QQ rant at all. I’m feeling a lot of enthusiasm for the actual Wrath expansion.

I feel optimistic about the future of Bear tanking, I feel optimistic that Shadow Priests will still be nifty (raiders can bemoan the 51 point talent, but I don’t raid. I think Dispersion in action looks cool.) and my Hunter looks to be getting all sorts of yummy goodness. Even for people like me, that intend to keep their kitty pet.

The quests look cool, there are tons more instances and stuff to do, raids will all have ten person versions, there are bear mounts for anyone that wants one, motorcycle mounts look neat, reputation grinds are reduced in pain and suffering because you can wear a tabard that applies all reputation you earn in any instance to the faction of your choice, so no more running hated instances 100 times to get the one reputation reward you feel you need from a faction, and the whole continent is huge in scope.

Nope, I’m looking forward to having lots and lots more fun in the game.

I figure it’ll be at least two months before I start to see people whining that they are bored. At least two months.

Well, maybe one month.

But… and you knew that, on this site, there is always a butt… I am not looking forward to playing the big number game again.

It’s gotten too big for me. It feels silly.

When the first expansion came out, we were in awe of those first items. You know exactly what I’m talking about, because you still see level 60 purples on the AH all the time, both profession recipes and drops.

We’d look at our hard earned level 60 epics, and then look at the stats on the green quality quest rewards in Hellfire, and we’d weep.

Here’s the funny thing though… we’re in the same situation now. We have our level 70 epics, and we can browse Wowhead or MMO Champion, take a look at the stats on the new level 80 gear…

And the stats are so big they’re silly. 

You know what gear you have now, and you know darn good and well how effective it is against what you’re fighting at 70.

When you see the stats on a similar item in the Wrath expansion though, and see the massive spike in numbers… well, how do you know if that is good? Great? Ridiculous? 

I feel like they are telling me I’m going to be wielding Godzilla for a two handed weapon.

“I swing at you with my giant thunder lizard! Hah! Oh, you dodge? Well, Dodge this nuclear breath attack! Fwooosh!”

Let me give you an example.

Right now, my favorite, prized tanking possession is my Earthwarden. I worked hard for that puppy, and I cherish it. Other bear tanks have moved on past it, but for those of us pre-SSC, Earthwarden is the big momma of bear tanking weapons.

earthwarden.jpg 

MMMmmmmmMMM…. Okay, now let’s contrast that with three new Wrath upgrades, shall we?

First, a quest reward from the level 74 group quest, Wanted: Ragemane’s Flipper.

staffofsorrowfulchieftain.jpg

Okay, it could be legitimately called a Kitty staff, but with Stamina like that, and Agility like that, is this also great for tanking? We’re going to be uncrittable anyway, so the loss of Defense rating isn’t that huge… but what about losing the armor?

Boy, that Agility and Stamina look huge next to our Earthwarden, don’t they?

But reality check.. this is a quest reward for a level 74 group quest with a recommended number of players of three. Everyone will have this. It’s possible the devs added this as our new Bladefist’s Breadth, an easy but godlike blue drop from a quest. But we don’t really know. Why not check out some level 80 drops to see?

Let’s move on to a drop from a Heroic instance… in this case, Heroic Utgarde Keep.

The drop  in question is the Enraged Feral Staff.

enragedferalstaff.jpg

To quote Keanu… Whoa.

That’s right, that’s +117 Stamina. That’s also 1,092 armor. +56 WHAT?!?!

And that’s all on a blue drop from a Heroic instance.

I look at the numbers on that, and I don’t even know what to say.

+117 Stamina? WTF?

If that’s a blue drop, what would an achievable epic look like?

Well, let’s look at an epic drop from ten man Naxxramas, the Staff of the Plague Beast.

staffoftheplaguebeast.jpg

Now do you see what I mean?

Sure, those are awesome numbers. Boy, those numbers are big. Are you kidding me with those numbers? Shoot, I’ll just equip that staff, strip naked and have fun storming the castle, okay?

The numbers are big enough that I know, I just know that there is no way that they equate to anything we are doing now. 

At this point, you have to look at the numbers and realize that diminishing returns must be pretty brutal at level 80.  

Remember the way things work in this game? The higher your character level, the less bonus you get from your stats.

Sure, a point of Stamina is still 10 health, that doesn’t change.

Keep in mind, this ain’t a QQ. It’s just the facts of life. 

That staff has +89 Agility. Wow.

At level 70 for Druids with 350 Defense,  14.71 Agility equals 1% Dodge. So +89 Agility is worth 6.05% Dodge.

6.05% Dodge, all the time, on a single piece of gear. Ignore the Stamina, that Agility is amazing.

But if we then look at Whitetooths’ work on determining a Druids’ Agility to Dodge ratio, we see that for Druids at level 80 and 400 Defense, 42.37 Agility is equal to 1% Dodge.

So at level 80, that same +89 Agility is worth 2.1% Dodge.

You see what I mean?

If you look at +89 Agility with the eyes of a 70 Druid, and see big huge honkin’ Dodge, you aren’t looking at it right. It’s not what you’re used to.

I’ll still be very satisfied by getting that staff. 2% Dodge is a fine amount of Dodge for a tanking weapon, especially with the Stamina, Armor, Strength and Attack Power. I’ll be very happy with it.

Now that I know what those stats will really equate to.

The trap is looking at all of the gear with these big honking numbers, and thinking that we are going to be walking gods. 

You have to remember that because of the diminishing returns of all stats as you increase in level, every time you ding, your existing gear actually makes you less powerful. You have to upgrade everything’s stat values just to stay the same.

I am excited as all heck at actually playing the expansion. I think it’s gonna be tons of fun. This ain’t a QQ about item scaling, etc. We all got used to it in Burning Crusade, and we will get used to it all over again.

Overall, I think we’ve found that when we ding and gain our Weapon Skill and Defense Skill increases, we still feel plenty powerful against monsters of appropriate levels, even in the same gear.

But I do wish that Blizzard would add the same basic functionality you can get from an addon like RatingsBuster, something that would put in paranthesis next to an item’s stats what it actually does for YOU, right now, at your class and level.

Because if you think the casual player was confused about upgrades now, can you imagine what it’s going to be like at level 80 in Wrath?

I mean, shoot… in Burning Crusade people were willing to drop 400 gold on a single gem that added +2 Agility. From Delicate Living Ruby to Delicate Crimson Spinel, people spent some serious gold to upgrade.

Can you really see that happening in Wrath? +2 Agility… it just doesn’t go as far as it used to, does it?

A change for da Bears!

Swipe will soon affect all mobs in a cone in front of you, instead of our current limits (and the limits in the Beta). 

Or, as Ghostcrawler says,

“We are going to remove the target limit on Swipe.”

So soon, your biggest concerns will be Global Healing Threat, and players that don’t understand how to deal with a tank that focuses primary threat generation on one mob at a time. 

That is all.

Please direct your shared ‘yays’ at a very welcome change to the comments here, and your QQs and whines about Swipe threat generation and damage output to the appropriate Beta fora.

Thank you!

It’s good to have friends!

Cassie checked the mail this morning while I was installing some software, and came into my office with a bundle in her hands.

“It looks like Manny sent you a package. Feels like a T-shirt.”

Huh?

“That’s wierd, he didn’t say anything the other night when we chatted…. the hell he be sending me stuff?”

I open the package, and instead of a T-shirt, I gots… well, you check it out.

bearcheeks.jpg

The attached note said;

“Hey John,

Thought you could use something comfortable in the way of late night tanking attire. I realise it’s not even a green, but….

Manny.”

ROFLMAO!!!

Thanks buddy…. I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t take any pics showing how it looks. “You just let your mind run riot, mate.”