Take a deep breath!

What a crazy, crazy weekend.

Sometimes, you have a stretch of days that are “lazy Sunday” days.

You know what I mean. You might have a few minor things you are doing, but for the most part you don’t have any big goals, or goals you feel up to doing. So you kinda drift around, idly doing a few quests, or farming some Herbs or Ore, or just sit around in PvP participating in guild chat.

Then… then you get a small frantic burst of activity that makes you feel like you won a spot on one of those old “you can keep whatever you can cram in a shopping cart in 30 seconds go go go” kind of game shows from my childhood.

I loved those shows. Go for the big ticket shelf, Velma! Don’t waste time in the sock aisle!

This weekend was just such a crazed, frantic mess of stuffs.

I’m not going to waste your time with in depth analysis of this or that. I had fun, and I certainly hope you did too.

I will hit what I feel were some of the Highlights.

I earned the Elder title.

Mostly due to having received credit for doing all of the Elder stuff LAST year. I only had to do Northrend, and get 50 Coins of Ancestry. This meant that after getting all the Northrend Coins, I only had to fly from easy access point to point in Azeroth to get the other 25+ Coins I was missing.

I main tanked Omen.

This was a big deal for me, because I’ve never actually seen Omen up and fought before. He was always dead when I passed through Moonglade before. But we had been doing some instances and raids, and afterwards I went to Moonglade, saw Omen sitting there, and mentioned I was gonna take him on. I had a few other guildies, Nighthawque and Ruune and Falromord, come on over to Moonglade, and I charged Omen and started beating on him hard. Over time others passing by jumped in to help beat him up, but I main tanked him 100% of the time, and by the end of the fight I had well over a million threat built up on him. It was cool.

I leveled a character to 58.

Hehe… no, not my Death Knight. I do have a Death Knight at 58, but it’s my SHAMAN I played and dinged 58. I got the ding last night, and now it’s on to Outlands, baby! I am still Enhance, I want so bad to switch to Elemental, but I literally know NOTHING about it, about the gear for it, and I have no gear or idea how you even play Elemental. It sucks. I am playing around with just dropping 100g on Spellpower gear and winging it at 60. I WANT to learn how to heal, and to heal I need the right gear. But I don’t want to gimp myself walking into outland. So I dunno.

I ran a lot of Instances.

Of course, this is nothing new. Ran a lot of Gundrak, Violet Hold, Nexus, Azjol-Nerub, Drak’theron Keep, etc etc. On Heroic. And I got my Essence of Gossamer, so the very last pre-Naxx upgrade I am seriously looking for is the Keystone Great-Ring from Drak’Theron Keep. That’s kinda crazy.

On the subject of Instances… had some weird damn bugs. We did a Heroic Violet Hold, got the blueberry as first boss, I was on my Hunter I think, and we wiped the first time on Blueberry. When we all wiped and came back in, let it reset, talked to the woman and went after it again… starting at Portal #3, we got double portals. We got Portal 1, then portal 2, then Portal 3 and 4 BOTH popped simultaneously, and THEN we got the Dog boss and a single pull steaming add portal both pop simulataneously.

We damn near got it, awesome tanking, but with the streaming adds, the dog boss, the Lava, it just overwhelmed us.

On third restart, it properly reset and we did Blueberry and won and finished it out, still shaking our heads.

Another instance later the same evening, we went into Nexus, and 5 seconds after downing the Void boss, the instance locked. HARD.

Everyone just froze in place. We were able to log out with Ctrl-F4, and log in on our other characters, and still have our guild roster show us in the instance. I took a screenshot of being logged in on two characters at the same time, but as it shows everyone’s toon names, I’ll refrain from posting that one. It took about 15 minutes, and tickets to GMs, with our mains locked into lala land before it finally reset on it’s own… and all the trash was reset. All of it except the ice tunnel, lol. So, a bit longer of an instance night than expected for a Nexus run.

My special project proceeds unabated.

My special project has been quite a bit of fun… now I’m into my Shaman, but I have made good progress and have had some fun. And I know, I’m only mentioning it to annoy the folks that have the curiosity of a cat.

Somewhere in there, we went into Naxxramas.

And we wiped. Repeatedly. We had two tanks, three healers and 5 DPS, and we decided to go in and take a solid shot at the first boss of the Spider Wing. We took a lot of tries at it, and I can honestly say that every single run was much better than the one before. The positioning, the running, the healing, it all improved every shot.

The final problem we ran up against, was when the healers kept the tank alive awesome, heck kept the entire party alive the entire run… all the way to the hard 10 minute Enrage timer. And he still had a LOT of health left at 10 minutes when he Enraged.

We’re all like “We’re gonna do it, we’re going great, oh shit he Enraged, I just got destroyed, oh holy hell, RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! OH, THE HUMANITY!”

It was an awesome learning experience… and I feel confident after seeing the team pulling together, that after a couple more weeks of everyone running some Heroics, getting better geared, maybe some DPS rotation work and fine tuning at a target dummy, and we’ll be right in the groove.

Of course, I believe in ending every evening on a high note. So after we left Naxx with our tails between our legs… we all trooped over to Vault of Archavon and beat him like a red-headed Rassendyll in Ruritania. Right off the cuff, 5 minute brief and BOOM! down he went. We had to destroy a Warlock chest armor, but Falromord got the nice, pretty Tier 7.10 Chest for Fury Warriors. Score!

Crazy man, crazy.

Oh yeah, and I soloed Blackrock Depths 100% in it’s entirety for my Shaman at some point, I think Saturday night, and ended up with over 15 full stacks of Runecloth and a bunch of greens. I went into the throne room as a Bear, pulled the Emperor, and let the entire room aggro on me… at no point in all of Blackrock Depths did I ever fall below 30,000 health. My self heals from Improved Leader of the Pack kept me up.

Have I ever mentioned that I love being a tank that can dish out the DPS? Have I?

I’ve soloed it before, sure, but the fact that my health just never dipped was hilarious.

I’m starting to think about soloing Attumen just to see how it goes.


Lunar Festival Time!

Grumble N Autumn reminded me this morning that it’s Lunar Festival time, so I wanted to share one resource that might make getting your Coins of Ancestry completed a lot easier.

And that would be The Walkthrough for All Coins that has been put up on Wowwiki.

To whoever the writer of that guide is, my thanks. Awesome work.

Trolling for Death Knight info!

Okay, feed me.

I have a level 58 Death Knight.

I know what I want.

I want to go Blood. I like self healing while killing shit, and being primarily in-your-face beating instead of spell damage.

So, if you would care to, since I know that darn near everyone in the universe has a Death knight now, I would love some suggestions on where to find some very, very specific info;

  1. The Death Knight Blood talent tree explained, and points invested, in terms of strictly SOLO LEVELING goodness. I do not give a good goddamn about a raid spec, about investing in points for raiding, or what the leet choices are for raiding. If it ain’t designed to let me solo on my own and be the best that I can be, it’s not what I’m looking for.
  2. The Death Knight solo Blood spec DPS rotation, or how things feed into each other for best synergy. I have what I think I’ve worked out, here is your chance to make me good “oopps, didn’t even see that.”
  3. An explanation for what, exactly, is a Death Rune, and how it applied to Blood.

Could I find this somewhere?

Most likely.

But that would take all the fun out of having people promote their blogs on my website, now wouldn’t it?

And if I’m lucky, I can inspire someone to write the article I’m looking for. 🙂

Obsidian Sanctum, short and sweet

Well, we read the suggestions, watched a couple movies (that whole “jump in the portals” thing sounded goofy), and then gathered together and went on in last night.

Everyone played their parts to perfection.

On the packs of trash, the casters and their Rain of Fire were dealt with fast and smooth, the mobs were split up and burnt down nice, the drakes were handled with aplomb, portals were jumped into, red circles (glaringly obvious red circles of death) were avoided every time, and in the end the Wall of Lava was avoided very, very well.

Gloves went to Cassie (Grats!), Emblems and suchlike were shared out, and the whole time I think we only had two different people who died. I’m not sure, I know Caladorn bought it on a drake and took a battle rez, I can’t remember if anyone else had a death during this, our very first run in OS ever.

It was fun, it was short (one hour exactly from start to finish, even with my long winded butt droning on and on about how we ought to handle trash), and there was lots to do to keep you hopping for that hour.

So… why do I immediately want to take him on with one drake still up?

I dunno. I do know that I expected more of a challenge. Even with folks talking about how easy this batch of content was, I still expected a confusion-based wipe or two before people understood the lava wall dance or the red circle of death on drakes. Including me. I figured I’d be lost and confused on the Lava Wall.

Could it be that it’s our years of experience that is finally making the difference?

Is everyone bitching about how raids are “ez mode”, when really everyone is just finally benefitting from 4 years of in depth training in how to play?


Nah, I think it’s just set up nice and straightforward so everyone can get in and learn together, and those of us with a reasonable amount of experience just expect harsher butt surfing from random crap in raids.

Like, we’re used to Moroes vanishing and garroting every healer in the raid, and the tank.

We’re used to Big Bad Wolf picking the healers to chase, cut the corner on and one shot. And never, ever, ever drop my Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle. The prick.

We’re used to, God help us, bad Infernal drops on Prince that make you scramble or curse or just cry to the Heavens, “Why me, Lord? Why me?”

Of course, all that was before the nerfing of the Karazhan content and the insanely ramped up Badge rewards that made gearing up a lot easier for everyone.

I had a good time, we experienced zero frustration, I have no cause for complaints.

But I do have to totally agree with Lady Bellwether that the challenges that used to have us blurting out our tales of awesomeness, and that sense of overcoming incredible odds and achieving greatness… well, that wasn’t there.

It was fun! It was very fun. I’ll be quite happy to do it again.

And the sense of relief at NOT wiping the raid from my own stupidity was still as strong as ever.

But I just don’t really feel there was any single moment in Obsidian Sanctum worthy of writing a blow by blow recap. Kind of straightforward, no random evil factor to speak of, and everyone in the group did wonderfully.

It requires more people to succeed than a five man run, but I had a hell of a harder challenge taking on the waves of trash with evil eyebeams up in the dwarf excort chamber of Heroic Halls of Stone.

Now, finishing THAT felt worthy of a freaking reward, damnit!

Next time, we either leave one drake up, or we bring an asshat along to screw up once or twice and add that random ‘zing’.



Please, just stop and think


This is me. Your friend.

I won’t steer you wrong.

When you pick up that phone, and you get ready to call someone?

Or when you need to talk to somebody?


Stop, and THINK about what you are planning on saying.

Not the phraseology, no. Although getting that polysyllabic shit down right is important, no lie.

No, stop and think about what you are about to say, and try… for the love of God TRY and imagine exactly what message you are about to convey.

Honesty is great. I love honesty. I’m a big fan.

Integrity. Ethics. Woot all the way.

But seriously, sometimes, you can lie by omission. It’s bloody well all right. Nobody really minds.

I’ll share with you an example. See if you can follow along with this.

Say you have a child in kindergarten. This child, by a remarkable stroke of coincidence, is the same age as my son, Alex.

Perhaps the child is even in Alex’s class. I’m not saying she is, I’m not saying she isn’t.

And all the parents have each others phone number from a shared out list the school provided everyone, and shit. So, like, they can call you up out of nowhere for some strange reason known only to the lords and masters of the PTA.

And you, this hypothetical 6 year old girls’ mother,  decide to call Alex’s mom late on a Sunday evening.

You are calling to tell Alex’s mom that your darling child is having a birthday on Wednesday of this very week, at a big fancy indoor playplace with inflatable slides and party cake and reserved rooms and the whole nine yards. And your purpose in calling is to invite Alex to this extravaganza.

That’s awesome!

Now, here is the key.

If you are calling so late on Sunday evening because you only invited half of the kindergarten class in the first place, and only at the very last minute decided to go ahead and invite the rest of the class of kids too… because you suddenly realized they would all be talking about it the next day and half the class would feel, rightly, excluded and unloved…


It’s okay to lie by omission.

You can just say, “Sorry for calling so late, Claire’s birthday is Wednesday and she’s having a party at this playplace over on Wilshire and 23rd. It’s from 6 to 8 PM. Can Alex come?”

That’s all. No more. It’s cool.

Oh, and for bonus points, when we ask you “Should we bring a gift for Claire? What kind of things is she in to?”, do not say “Oh no, you don’t need to bring a gift. Not at all.”

Not when it turns out you not only told other parents to bring gifts, but actually offered them suggestions for what Claire might like.

And then, at the playplace, have Claire sit on a giant inflatable throne (omigod I am not EVEN lying) while ALL the kids invited to the party sat on their butts in front of her, their hands raised in the air, while Claire picked them one at a time to go to the gift table, grab the gifts they had brung, and take them to Claire to be opened and, OMIGOD I AM STILL NOT KIDDING had one of the attendants of the playplace write down who brought what ON A CLIPBOARD.

Can you even imagine? Can you even IMAGINE the horror a small 5 year old child would feel, if as they all sat there, each child was picked one by one to go bring thier gift to Claire, and you… you were the only child whose cheap ass parents brought NOTHING???

Don’t let Claire’s mom be you.

Seriously. People like me, we have guns. Play these kind of games with the precious feelings of our child, and we may just snap and hunt your ass down in the street.

Just… just stop and THINK, people!

P.S. Oh, oh hell yes, we brought gifts. Even unemployed and saving every dime, we brought gifts. In a very pretty gift bag with a picture of Tinkerbell on it. We may not be interested in fighting this little war of prestige these soccer moms have staked out as their battlefield, but if you want to bring it, we’ll show you fire and manuever, sweet cheeks.

Meta gemming

Javan mentioned this in a comment, and I wanted to make sure folks had a chance to see it, I never really talked about it, I just equipped it and moved on.

Yes, the meta gem Austere Earthsiege Diamond DOES, in fact, affect all armor for bears after the multiplier.

That is not a bug, that is working as intended.

According to a post a while back by Ghostcrawler, this is working as intended. Really.

He makes it feel that this is actually the MUST HAVE feral bear gem.

Ghostcrawler’s post says the following;

Some more details to help answer some of the questions we’ve seen:

— Cloaks do have base armor which gets multipled by the bear bonus.
— There is no multiplier on any bonus armor. Not the bear bonus. Not the talent bonuses.
— There is a 2% armor benefit you can get from a metagem.
— The ultimate bear modifier should be 4.7 (Dire Bear form) x 1.66 (Survival of the Fittest) x 1.1 (Thick Hide) x 1.02 (meta gem).
— The best bear we can create in current itemization has 35,907 armor, which is 68.34% mitigation vs. level 83 bosses or 70.21% mitigation versus level 80 mobs.
— Before these changes, you might have been able to build a bear with nearly 40,000 armor, but that relies on using Defender’s Code and Origin of Nightmares, items of such ridiculous power that we were going to nerf them anyway before this change. (Now they’re fine.)
— Note how close that 40,000 armor is to the cap already. 😦
— We do have concerns block may be too good a stat for future raids, and we’ll keep an eye on it.
— Equipping a weapon will still boost Savage Roar (and everything else) the way it does currently.

Bottom line: armor was too good for druids. That was a blessing if you could get the items and a curse if you could not.

Now, you may ask yourself, “Bear, if Ghostcrawler said all this, why didn’t you mention it yesterday? Why are you just now bringing it up? It says RIGHT THERE that base armor on cloaks was going to get multiplied. Are you stupid or what?”

Well, see the thing is… I remembered this as the post where GC said that the Meta Gem affected bear form multipliers, and the discussion about our armor multiplying in general. It was only in looking it up again now for the meta gem quote that I went “Oh hey, lookie there. Cloak armor all spelled out in blue. Well, screw me.”

For the word firect from the crabs mouth, go read the post “Upcoming Hunter changes part III”

Okay, so it was changed after to say feral changes. It started out as Hunter, so sue me.

Ghostcrawler answer to comments from the thread include; 

Q u o t e:
defenders code has 850 armor. Is that considered bonus armor? if so than it does not get modified by thick hide and will continue to be 850 armor no matter what.

Defender’s Code will grant 850 armor unless you have the meta-gem.

Q u o t e:
if the wording you posted in your previous post holds true, than obviously only the 8 item slots will be affected by SOTF, but what thick hide affects even with your new post is still ambiguous.

Thick Hide, Dire Bear and Survival of the Fittest only affect base armor. This is the armor on all the base armor on your gear. Leather never has bonus armor, so it’s not complicated. Rings, necks, trinkets and weapons can have bonus armor. This is usually shown with the armor number in green, but confusingly, not always. Cloaks are complicated because they have base armor (which is multiplied) and sometimes bonus armor (which is not).

Q u o t e:
requesting further clarification of what exactly thick hide will and will not multiply.

Thick hide multiplies the base armor on leather and cloaks.

Q u o t e:
also, what exactly does the meta effect, from your wording it looks like it will affect everything.

The meta gem increases all your armor so it’s just a 2% bonus to everything. You want this gem. Fortunately it is not a rare drop like some of the other gear so we know you can get it.

Q u o t e:
finally, in a previous post, you stated that all armor item budget would be reallocated on staves. For example my staff from heroic halls of lightning has 700 armor. Will it continue to have 700 armor that just no longer gets multiplied by anything, or will those item budgets be spent and the staff will gain (purely random here) say 20 agi and 30 stam?

It will get 700 armor that is not multiplied by anything (except the meta).

You want me to WHAT now?

So, earlier in the week I regaled you with a stirring story of my incredible noobness in tanking 10 man (also known as normal) Vault of Archavon for the very first time.

You were all very kind and considerate, and generous in not calling me out for a lack of study prior to going into a raid. For that I thank you.

In fact, I had an awesome email from Ribeye to clue me in that he had a comprehensive and thorough walkthrough strategy guide for each fight in Naxxramas on his website, and hoped that it would help my planning out.

A gentle way of saying “next time, research first, THEN fight, noob”, and I thank you. Really nice clear descriptions of the fights, too. 

Now, what was it I was supposed to do…

Oh yeah! You said to just leap in and try shit out, right?

Might as well have, that’s what happened last night.

The patch went live, and I went to Wintergrasp to try and get some Wintergrasp Marks of Honor, since I need 40 to buy the new must-have bear tanking helm (for my level of progression). 

Well, Wintergrasp was bugged, as everyone knows, and was crashing Northrend everytime a game ended. Which was every 15 minutes, about, on my server.

The thing was, about 30 minutes after I started playing, the crashes stopped, with Alliance in control.. and a 25 man Vault of Archavon formed.

Somehow, I ended up as one of four tanks… three of us were feral bears, the other was a warrior.

Now, for the record, can I just mention how weird it feels saying that out of 25 people in a pugged raid, there were four tanks… and three were feral druids?

How drastically have things changed since the original pre-BC WoW, where out of four tanks raid-ready, three are feral bears to ONE warrior?

And of course two of those feral druids can switch to kitty for DPS while one bear and the warrior can tank and offtank.

We took Archavon on three times. The first two were wipes, we hit the enrage timer hard each time.

Each time, we used a different combination of tanks.

I was main tank and the warrior was offtank for the last successful run, but make no mistake; I didn’t do a damn thing different than either of the other feral bears on the run.

Each time, the raid leader assigned a tank, and started the run, and I stopped the run to make it clear we also needed to know who was offtank.

Why.. WHY does this have to be something that requires a reminder? Do people think that a main tank is all that’s important? What do you think happens when the main tank gets lunged? Do you really want the tanking job to fall on that hunter and his mighty pet ‘fluffy’?

Anyway, we had two feral tanks the first try (I was offtank), and then after the wipe, blame flew freely on the main tank, unjustified I felt, a new feral tank was set as main (with me as offtank again), we went again, wiped, the tank was blamed again, and I had noticed on the last run the warrior was taunting off me and fighting like hell to ping pong the boss back and forth.

It was actually impossible to keep the boss out of the damn clouds, because the warrior was fighting us both for aggro the whole fight. Run, run, run.

When we got back from wipe two, I asked the warrior why he was taunting and pulling aggro.

“The main tank kept leaving the boss in the clouds, I counted 20 seconds of not moving out of the cloud, so I took matters into my own hands”.

That started a nice bitter flamefest as each side said ‘did not’ ‘did too’, and other players picked sides.

There was also a nice little side argument going on between the feral tanks, since one tank had gemmed 100% for Stamina, no dodge at all… geared the same, all Stamina, and wanted to be main tank because “I have the highest health, so I’m the best geared tank.”

I wisely stayed the hell out of that discussion.

I will say that in my opinion, the main tank did NOT leave the boss in the clouds on try two. I was watching, and frankly, the only problems I saw the whole time was that the boss was kept running back and forth because he was never left alone to tank one guy long enough to stand bloody still.

And when you have to keep running, those damn spikes HURT.

Anyway, they were having a nice little fight on chat, so I left the raid and was hearthing when the raid leader asked me to please come back.

I’m like, “What? Dude, I’d be happy to run with you, but you have a flamewar in chat and 10 other people left the raid.”

But I came back, and he must be a VERY persuasive guy, because we had a full group again very fast.

A note here… the raid leader also topped out the DPS meters after the fight was over. According to my meter, he, as a hunter, had 3225 average DPS during the fight. Ummm, sure dude. You go ahead. Max DPS. You talk, I listen.

This time, he decided to make the warrior the offical offtank… and set ME as main tank.

With the warrior as offtank, the other two feral druids as kitty DPS, and me whacking away, somehow we managed to keep it so I was max threat and didn’t have to chase Archavon around the room TOO much, I tried to keep him out of clouds so melee didn’t get killed, tried to keep him standing still while thorns were on us, and the warrior picked it up when I got lunged.

We got his ass down, he dropped his 4 pieces of loot, and I got my first 2 Badges of Valor.

No, I didn’t get any other loot. So Cassie doesn’t feel the need to kill me. 🙂

What I was left with was the feeling that people act a lot better in a pug raid then I ever thought would be possible… but it’s still rife with silly drama. Going into it knowing that you’re just gonna try and have some fun is about the only way to play, because some folks are just waaaay too tightly wrapped.

Come on… ego fights over who gets to be main tank? Are you shitting me?

Still… it reminds me of the old joke…

Last week I couldn’t spell heroic VoA main tank… now I R 1!!!

Oh, and for more hilarity… one of the other feral tanks was equipped almost EXACTLY identical to me… the helm, the Polar gear, the gem choices, the staff… only differences were that I had the Greatness card, and he had Essence of Gossamer and the Keystone ring. I mean, seriously… that was funny.

What was funnier was when he whispered me that I really needed to replace the Badge of Tenacity and my Badge ring, that they were pretty much useless after the patch…

“I know damnit, I know, I know… “