Patch 3.3 Bear Gear – Consumables

To round off the stuff that will help you prepare your Bear tank, there is just one last area to explore – temporary buffs.

Temporary Buffs are things you can bring with you to help get that last little bit of preparation for when you’re tackling the big jobs.

If you’re going into Drak’theron Keep or Utgardt Keep, generally speaking when you’ve got good gear, consumables are entirely optional.

If you’re facing a big challenge… well, we can always use a little boost at times, right?

1) Food

For Bear tanks, the best choice really is Blackened Dragonfin. If you are looking for the best tanking results, then Agility plus Stamina is it. It’s all I ever carry around for tanking food. If you’d like some alternatives, then a combination of Crit and Stam, or Hit Rating and Stam, or Expertise and Stam are all also good. Just, not nearly AS good.

2) Flasks or Potions

Flasks

Flask of Stoneblood – increases maximum Health by 1300 for one hour. I’m sorry, that’s about the best all around Flask.

Elixirs

If you prefer to go with Elixirs, then there are some to look at;

Battle:

Guardian:

3) Finally, other forms of self buffs.

There are two relatively new items that can be crafted that can be used by anyone that are of special interest to us.

Inscription: Runescroll of Fortitude – increases Stamina by 165 for all party or raid members for one hour. For when you don’t have a Priest in the party, can be used by anyone, and only takes 1 Snowfall Ink and 5 Resilient Parchment to make a stack of FIVE.

Leatherworking: Drums of Forgotten Kings – Increases total stats for all party or raid members by 8% for 30 minutes. For when you don’t have a Paladin in your group. 8% is a LOT, my friends. It’s crazy. It takes 8 Heavy Borean Leather and 8 Icy Dragonscale to make one, but’s it’s usable by anyone, and has 50 charges. That’s not a typo, it’s FIFTY charges.

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Tanking technique update

A brief note to my fellow tanks about enemy AI.

There seems to have been a minor change to how enemy AI responds to the movements of the highest threat target.

It’s hard to see on one mob consistently, but if you grab groups of 3 or more, you should be able to see it clearly.

Previously, the mobs would tend to stay in front of you, and spread themselves out in a semi-circle. If you pulled them to you but remained moving forward for a moment, differences in lag would sometimes cause the mobs to overshoot your position, and you would have to do the bear butt waddle, stepping backward to gather them up once more in a semi-circle to your front. Once there, they would stay there.

Additionally, if you did a Feral Charge to a mob just after they had seen YOU, they would start moving in your direction while you overshot them… and depending again on lag, sometimes you would be facing away from them, and sometimes you would actually flip to face back the way you came, staying facing the mob and having them happily be facing you, away from the rest of the party.

Well, recently the enemy AI has changed a little. It’s very subtle, but what seems to have changed is the speed of their responsiveness.

The mobs will tend to move on you, getting behind you, and a simple backstep waddle will not always be a fast solution. They may do a variation on what we used to see with our Hunter Pets in BC, when Pet AI was first implemented to get the pet behind the mob, and you’d see your pet and the mob dance for a bit as each tried to get behind the other.

This may be intended, or it may be a bug, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention so that if you see the mobs getting behind you, you are prepared to move.

Don’t ever forget, having a 50% Dodge doesn’t do you a damn bit of good when the target is behind you. Targets behind you are unaffected by Dodge.

Oh, and FYI, that’s why those pseudo-rogues in the 10 waves of trash in Halls of Reflection suck so bad. Back attacks.

Have a happy!

Update: Veyska brings to attention a Blue post she linked to in the comments that the devs are aware of this, that it is a bug from 3.3, it’s not intended, and they’ll be working on it.

So, thank you very much, Veyska, for your help!

Dechion seems bummed

If you check out Dechion’s latest blog post, you’ll find a rant that, really… /sigh. /swoon.

You know, I used to do rants like that. Good ones, just letting the barking dogs in your skull loose to roam free for a bit.

Ahhh…. memories.

You can have a lot of fun, letting it all hang out like that.

Dechion, I wanted to share with you my new response, macroed, for when someone is an elitist asshat.

I pulled it straight from the video I watched on Leafshine’s recent blog post, Guild Application.

It’s very simple.

“Oh yeah? Well I’ve got something YOU don’t have! My collectors edition Sparkle Pony. Because it sparkles.”

In other news… I’ve seen mention on a few blogs now, and in chat in the guild, about how sick people are of elitist whiny snob bloggers.

Umm… I don’t know who you’re talking about, because… I don’t have anyone in my feedreader that has said anything like that.

Which I suppose lets folks know two things.

  • One, if you blog like that… I don’t bother reading your shit.
  • And two… if I blog like that, nobody tells me. 🙂

In other news, for more tanky goodness, why not go check out another blog about Druid tankyness, Bear in the Purple Hat?

And as long as I’m mentioning good tanky blogs…

Because Copey deserves a post of his own

Copey posted this in a comment on the previous post, and I’m sorry, but anything that makes me laugh that hard gets his own post.

Edit: Updated with Copey’s full version.

Copey, you rock.

If Nickelback was a tank:

I’m through with standing in line
As Deeps I’ll never get in
I just want to find a group
And Triumph badges win
This patch hasn’t turned out
Quite the way I want it to be

(Tell me what you want)

I want all Tier Nine
And never T-O-C
Gear good enough to go and PVP
Wanna steamroll content
With just a healer and me

(So what you need?)

I’ll need a LFG tool that’s got no limit
And bunch of tanking gear with stamina in it
Gonna join the 245 club
As DPS bow at my feet feet

(Been there, done that)

I want fifteen servers full of old huntards
I’m no longer limited to Dalvengar
Just hit the new button and
There’s an instance waiting for me

(So how you gonna do it?)

I’m gonna trade this spec for fortune and fame
I’ll stack stamina and hand the heals the blame

‘Cause we tanks just wanna be big rockstars
And gather all the loot and laugh from afar
The groups come easy and the deeps come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause sandwiches we won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the Dalaran bars
No time between all the instance starts
Every good DPS
Gonna wind up there
No marks or crowd control
’Cause we just don’t care

And we’ll

Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Ghost Crawler with out the hassles
I’m a well geared tank so I can be an asshole
Find a fisherman friend
So I can eat my meals for free

(I’ll have the dragonfin)

I’m gonna dress my bear butt
In a roguish fashion
Get a front door key to the Icecrown mansion
Gonna date a good healer that loves to
Spam her heals on me

(so how you gonna do it)

I’m gonna trade this spec for fortune and fame
I’ll stack stamina and hand the heals the blame

‘Cause we tanks just wanna be big rockstars
And gather all the loot and laugh from afar
The groups come easy and the deeps come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause sandwiches we won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the Dalaran bars
No time between all the instance starts
Every good DPS
Gonna wind up there
No marks or crowd control
’Cause we just don’t care

And we’ll hide out in forum chat rooms
With the latest wow-heroes of
Today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything
with that tankish style
Everybody’s got you
On their friends list dial
Well hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I’m gonna spam party chat
Turn on your mature censors
Gonna pop my pots
From a flask dispenser
Get old forum lurkers writing all my songs
About how if you’re a tank you can do no wrong

‘Cause we tanks just wanna be big rockstars
And gather all the loot and laugh from afar
The groups come easy and the deeps come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause sandwiches we won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the Dalaran bars
No time between all the instance starts
Every good DPS
Gonna wind up there
No marks or crowd control
’Cause we just don’t care

And we’ll hide out in forum chat rooms
With the latest wow-heroes of
today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything
with that tankish style
Everybody’s got you
On their friends list dial

Well hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

The journey to the dark side ain't complete, but it's slouching along

Ah, the rush of joy from the first few weeks of the new LFG!

How quickly it turns sour in the face of reality… or in this case, asshats.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I know my experiences are starting to mirror those Das Panzercow shared yesterday.

I’ve mostly been grouping with Windshadow the Druid, and that had given me a skewed perspective.

The very first couple days of 3.3, sure I did some LFG on my Paladin as DPS, but everyone and their little brother was online trying it out then.

Now, things have matured, Emblems have been won, and the self-centered attitudes of so many people are starting to come out, like stink rising off of… well, you know.

My Druid is dual-specced as Tank and Healer.

As a Tank and Healer both, I had long experience in running all Heroics that had been out successfully, frequently with guild members that had new alts. With the new LFG channel, all that happened was that in the pugs, most often there would be at least one raider that had better gear than I was used to seeing, so the runs, if anything, got faster.

Queueing up for LFG, as a Healer, I generally saw an instance pop in under two minutes, if that long. As a tank, it takes about 1 millisecond.

The longer queues would come when Cassie and I wanted to play together, and we’d group and join as Healer/DPS combo. Sometimes, it would take as long as five minutes.

Awww. Yep, I said I had a skewed perspective, right?

Switch to my Hunter. I was looking, and saw that my Hunter had 29 Conquest Emblems, and nothing at all worth buying from Conquest or Valor. Nada.

BUT… with just a few random Heroics, I could get enough Triumph to downgrade everything into an Heirloom Trinket. Still don’t have two of both Heirloom Trinkets, so hey! Cool! I could get there with just three or four random Heroics!

Yeah… welcome to the world of solo DPS queued for LFG. 15 minute to 25 minute wait times.

Damn, was I spoiled on my Druid.

So, now I can see first hand that, yes, it’s all much, much better than before, but it’s certainly not responsive equally to all roles. And really, how could it be?

If you’ll recall, my prediction prior to 3.3 was that solo DPS would be able to get a group far faster, but I never imagined that 20 minutes would seem long. I stated that I’d just be delighted if I could get a group without being online for two hours in the channel, and hell yes, that wish has been fulfilled.

I’m seeing more than just differing wait times, though. I’m seeing, as I said above, a rapid increase in asshattery. Or maybe laziness.

We could debate the RNG factor affecting what instances we get, and our suspicions that Blizzard has, ahem, weighted some to crop up more than others. But I’m sure it’s not the case. Ahem.

I’ll just throw my paranoia into the ring by saying I’ve had Utgardt Pinnacle, Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone and OMG Oculus a LOT more often than anything else. And I still haven’t seen Culling of Strat, one of my favorites.

That’s not actually a complaint, since I like Lightning, Pinnacle and Stone. It’s just an observation, when Cassie and I see the loading screen, I believe her direct quote these days can be counted as being, “What, are you kidding me, Halls of Stone AGAIN?!?”

I tried to do my Hunter in LFG a couple days ago… I had Oculus for my first of the day, and as soon as the Tank zoned in to see where we were, he left party. Within 5 minutes of waiting for another tank, the party fell apart.

So I went and did other things.

Later that day, I went into LFG again. After my 20 minute wait, I got… Oculus again.

The new tank left the group again.

Got Azjol-Nerub after that. Two DPS both declined the group without even seeing what the instance was going to be, and when they got replaced, one of those DPS and the Tank left as soon as we zoned in.

Yes, in Azjol Nerub.

A Death Knight switched to tank spec, we re-joined LFG, got another DPS… and THAT DPS left group as soon as entering the instance. After that a Ret Pally came in and, OMG, stayed and we could run the place.

As we ran, the Tank and the Healer (a Shaman) took turns sniping bitchily at each other. The Healer kicked things off by being snarky at the tank’s gear, the tank got defensive in reply by playing the “I quit WoW for a year and only just got back so that’s why my gear sucks” card, then the Healer responded with questions concerning noobness about the tanks’s skill after so long away, then the tank would comment that at least he could tank and chew gum at the same time, etc etc ad nauseaum.

The whole run, two different people from two different servers entirely, bitching at each other. For No. Apparent. Reason.

The run lasted about 12 minutes from first pull to dead Anub. Okay, maybe it was longer, but that was a seriously fast speed run, everyone had over 3k DPS, including the tank… we even accidentally pulled Hadronox before he web wrapped the stairs because the tank didn’t know any better, and we still pulled it off.

Yeah, what the hell are these two crackheads bitching about? I have no idea.

But come on.

This trend, of tanks in particular leaving the party and taking the deserter debuff if the Instance is not to their liking, is happening with an ever accelerating pace.

Welcome to the world of primadonna rockstar tanks that think that the world really does revolve around them.

Nothing in the game is serving to disabuse them of that notion, anymore. Want a run as a tank? You can get one whenever the whim strikes. Don’t like what you get? Why not leave, there’s always another one whenever the fancy takes you.

A solo DPS trying to get a group in good faith, willing to stick out a run, will wait from 10 to 20 minutes after he joins LFG.

A tank looking for a quick and easy run can get an instance immediately, see what it is, get pissy, “Aw, AN again?” and leave group, and by the time their deserter debuff times out, that DPS is just getting his first group.

I was playing with PetEmote in Dalaran yesterday, PetEmote has been updated for Patch 3.2 and I configured mine for Voytek the Spirit Bear, and while testing my emotes, I saw this said in Trade Chat:

“Enjoy the runs in LFG while you can, noobs, as soon as all the Tanks get the last of the Triumph and Frost they want, and the new bosses are unlocked in Icecrown, you’re never gonna see another tank again. They’ll be raiding with their guilds and getting Frost and you’ll be shit out of luck.”

Well, I guess all tanks raid then, right?

Because guilds need SO MANY tanks, that everyone that wants to tank gets to.

Oh, wait… raiding guilds only need two, MAYBE three tanks in a 25 person raid.

Well, I’m sure that out of 25 people, only two or three ever really want to raid anything. I’m sure.

What happens when there is a scarcity of a commodity, and there are tangible benefits to be derived from providing that commodity?

Someone identifies it and fills the need.

In this case, my simple prediction is that as tanks continue to be scarce, more people seeing long wait times as DPS will dual spec if possible, and start gearing up a tank spec. Then they will expoit the fact that tanks get instant groups, and run to their heart’s content.

Please keep in mind, I never said they’d be GOOD tanks. 🙂

As was pointed out by Panzercow, the new world order as far as most groups go, is zerg the content, ignore Crowd Control, and blame the Healer if someone dies.

I did a random last night with Cassie, I was healing, and we got Heroic ToC.

The tank was a Bear tank, and we had the Hunter, Rogue and Mage.

The Bear tank stood in the poison puddle. Never moved.

I’m healing my butt off, since I feel it is my job NOT to just keep everyone alive, but instead to keep everyone at 100%. If a single Health bar dips, I get pissed. Lose health on ME, will you! We’ll just see about that.

On a related note, I hate Warlocks. There you are, keeping everyone alive fighting the trash after Ick in Heroic Pit of Saron, the Flamewraiths are AoEing everyone and porting and the tank isn’t on them, they’re not getting interrupted, and why the hell is it that one bastards’ health keeps plummeting like a stone?

Why, the Warlock is Life Tapping to get mana back as he struggles to be leet DPS, of course. While standing in the AoE fire. That prick.

Anyway, so Heroic ToC, Bear tank is standing unmoving in the puddle of poison, just standing there. Cassie is melee DPS and she’s not able to both get on the mobs AND avoid standing in the puddle. Cassie is bitching to me about the noob tank that is too stupid to get out of the green bloody-be-damned fire, and I’m agreeing “yes dear” as I’m actually reduced to spamming Nourish on the tank to keep him alive.

The fight is over, nobody died, loot box appears.

The Bear tank asks how he’s doing tanking.

I do a /inspect, out of curiosity. His gear is a pretty solid mix of iLevel 200 epics and a few Triumph items right off my list. A Darkmoon Card: Berserking trinket seems an odd choice, but really, not bad. Certainly more than adequate for Heroic ToC.

Out of politeness, I accentuate the positive, and mention that he held aggro very well.

I am having a hard time thinking of how to politely phrase the concept, “Next time you might want to get your furry butt out of the green puddles so DPS can get it stuck in” when he says, and I kid you not…

“Oh good. And great heals! I knew you were a great healer when I saw I’d been standing in the poison and I didn’t have to move because my health wasn’t going down.”

…..

Way to encourage them, Bear. Nicely done. Dumbass.

If I’d let him die, or even let his health hover towards the low end, maybe he would have been inspired to work more on his mobility next time, or pop his cooldowns.

But no, I kept him alive, and reinforced the idea that you can brute force things, and it’s okay. Zerg, zerg, zerg.

Sigh.

Please, if you have never tanked before and want to step forward and join the ranks of the new tanks, please.

Do so. Do so without regret, and without fear.

But here are some tips. Serious tips, not snarky ones.

First, if you CAN gear up from going as a different spec on LFG in Heroic, by all means do so. There is no shame in running as DPS or Heals, and rolling on tanking offset gear and using Triumph Emblems to buy tanking goodies.

Dechion, I’m talking to you. 🙂

Whatever you choose to do, when you first set out to tank, use LFG to select normal early instances, such as Nexus, Utgardt Keep, Drak’theron Keep, Gundrak and Azjol-Nerub .

Take the time to go to, say, Wowhead and look at their zone descriptions for the instances. Create little cheat sheets, one page instructions breaking down what each boss does, or tips to watch for from the trash.

As an example, have a sheet for Azjol-Nerub that details Skirmisher abilities on the first boss, so you are prepared for when it ignores you and heads for the most distant player to destroy. Or mentions on Hadronox that if you stand in his green poison cloud, your lost health is healing the boss.

When you zone into a specific chosen instance, let the rest of the group know that, regardless of your gear or the level range of the normal instance, you are there to practise your tanking skills, and ask if everyone is okay with taking it a little slower than they may be used to, to help give you a chance to learn how to do it right. Depending on the group, you may even get some folks willing to offer helpful, non-dickwad suggestions.

And above all else… practise. Be serious about getting better.

Identify the normal situations… what to do when a ranged caster doesn’t come to you, what to do when you’ve got a large group on you and you lose aggro on one mob, learn how to mark, etc. 

Take the time, if you don’t already know it, to familiarize yourself with the different options of crowd control that other classes may have.

As a Bear tank, you can’t silence distant caster mobs to force them to come to you. But you can always ask other players to use their CC, so long as you and others don’t break it. 

You can also do what I do, use an addon like CaelNameplates to see aggro on all mobs, at once without tabbing, and be ready to toss Growl/Feral Faerie Fire on ranged mobs that you see you lost aggro on. Or Feral Charge them when your current target dies. Or whatever.

My point is, if you want to learn to tank, remember you don’t HAVE to LFG a random Heroic in your new full set of Triumph gear, get a Heroic Halls of Reflection, and be left wondering what the heck to do next.

Here’s hoping that things ease out soon, we get more people inspired to tank, and happy tanking!

It's time for a trifecta of terrific tales

It’s been long enough, I think.

We’ve castigated it for long enough, viewed it with eyes blackened by it’s sequels, and in such light, rendered it trite, and without meaning.

But it’s been long enough.

Are we not human? Can we not, after all this time, finally find it in our hearts to forgive?

I think so.

Left for so long, we can brush it off, straighten it up, put a nice pretty tie and new suit of clothes upon it, and look at it as if for the first time.

I speak of that classic movie from 1999… The Matrix.

Wait, wait, put down the pitchforks, hear me out!

I don’t suggest just rushing blindly off to view it, as though none of the preceding years (and sequels) had happened!

No, I urge a more gentle approach, a more measured progression, leading up to the movie itself. 

We must throw off the shackles of memory that bind us to the past, and see it with eyes cleared and new.

Let’s take this time, 10 years after it’s unveiling, to sidle up on it as if we were stalking prey on the veldt.

Hey, I’m feral. I can’t help thinking like a predator. Hmm, another good movie, there.

No, why not, during this holiday season, give it another chance.

But first, let’s view two movies that will help us set the tone, and gain the appropriate mindset. Immerse ourselves in the ambience.

I propose this, my erstwhile companions upon the road to entertainment.

First, view The City of Lost Children, a masterpiece from 1995.

And then, follow it up with the Director’s Cut of Dark City, from 1998.

No, I’m not putting links in. Don’t go reading a synopsis from Wikipedia, go watch the movies cold.

It’s about mood, style, immersion in a view of a world foreign to ours, but so real, so tangible, that you can come to feel that it may just be there, in some other dimension just a little out of tune with ours.

Then, and only then, watch The Matrix. And leave the damn sequels on the shelf.

Ahhh, it’s enough to make an old geek feel alive with the possibilities of pure imagination, all over again.

For those of you, brave pioneers all, that choose to take up the mantle of holiday forgiveness, I hope that you will come and tell me what you thought.