A tanking tip on situational awareness

I have said in the past that, as a druid tank, I’m in favor of running forward to grab my targets, and then turning them so that their back is to the party. I like to do this for a mulitude of reasons;

1) Since I am in the front running to grab my mobs, the melee DPS that follows me can run straight up to the mobs’ backside and begin damage quicker rather than having to circle around behind.

2) I can see what is happening with the party, and am positioned properly to use Feral Charge to leap to someone’s rescue if crowd control breaks or one of my adds gets loose or we pull additional mobs through fear, or runners, or just getting too darn close.

BUT, I do not believe that I have mentioned the other reason I’m okay with doing that, and it is because of keybindings.

Most of us use these newfangled mice with the umpteen gazillian buttons on ’em. I use a Logitech Razor optic myself, corded. And the mouse has right and left buttons, a center mousewheel that is also a button, and a couple buttons on the left side at easy right-handed thumb distance.

I have one of those extra buttons on the left side near my thumb bound to ‘Flip Camera’.

In the Keybindings section of the Esc menu, there is a category called Camera Functions, and one of those functions is Flip Camera. It is not, by default, bound to anything. If you do like I did and bind it to a handy mouse button, then with a moments’ touch you can see if anyone is behind you, and help maintain situational awareness without spinning around… and without giving away to a potential enemy that you are aware of their approach. Just a tap of the button and you get the camera view looking behind you, and then you flip back. No change of facing required. I started using it in Arathi Basin before BC came out. I just got sick of being nailed with no clue.

Anyway, it works just as well for keeping an eye on your rear, checking your six while you are facing the party and tanking. It’s very handy to be able to glance behind you to see if a pat is on it’s way, or keep an eye on that other group of enemies behind you that you feel is dangerously close, without having to change facing.

Just something that it occured to me that I’d been using more often now that I’m PvPing again, and then realized I’d never really addressed in the blog.

Anyone else have tips that you think of as being a ‘no-brainer’ that you’d like to share with the group?


Some clarification on Season 2 gear

I found out last night there seems to be some confusion amongst those of us that don’t PvP all the time, just what the heck is going to happen when Season 4 goes live.

As in, what will things really cost to purchase?

Dammerung told Cassie, for example, that he understood that Season 2 gear would require an Arena rating as well as Honor and Marks to purchase.

To help clarify this a little bit, since I personally get confused as HELL about what all the different byzantine emthods of getting PvP gear are, here is the Blue Post that spells out everything we know about PvP gear costs in Season 4.

While Season 3 is still going strong, we wanted to announce ahead of time the rating requirements that will be present for arena items once Season 4 begins. We also wanted to give everyone a heads up to some changes that will be in an upcoming patch, altering how points are gained and players are matched in the arena system. The patch with these changes is scheduled to release before the start of Season 4.First though, the rating requirement changes: When Season 4 begins, Season 3 items will be reduced in personal and team arena rating requirement to:

Shoulders: 1950
Weapon: 1800

The new Season 4 items will have the below personal and team arena rating requirements:

Shoulders: 2200
Weapon: 2050
Head: 1700
Chest: 1600
Legs: 1550
Gloves: none
Off-hand: none

In addition, some of the Season 4 quality items that will be purchasable with honor will also carry a personal and team arena rating requirement:

Boots: 1700
Ring: 1650
Bracers: 1575
Belt: none
Necklace: none
Trinket: none

The Season 2 items, which will move to the honor system when Season 4 begins, will continue to have no rating requirement.

The changes to the rating requirements for these items reflect the nature of the items, their power, and the relative difficulty that should be had when attempting to obtain them. These items are comparable to those found in the newest 25 person raid zone, Sunwell Plateau, and should therefore also feel very challenging to obtain.

To help ensure that the challenge in obtaining these items stays true to those achieving these ratings, we’ll also be implementing new rules with an upcoming patch to curb practices that undermine the core concepts of the arena system. These rules are as follows:

  • If a character’s personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating.

This means that a player cannot join a highly rated team and begin earning points based purely on the pre-established rating of the team before they joined it. They’ll need to compete, improve, and gain a personal rating worthy of the points they would receive.

  • If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team’s rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating.

This means that players cannot join a highly rated team and immediately face highly rated opponents, easily and quickly bringing their personal rating up. Instead they’ll need to again compete, improve, and earn their rating.

We’re excited to see these changes implemented, which will continue to emphasize the strong competitive nature of the arenas, and the challenge in obtaining the highest end rewards available for PvP.


  • If a team does not enter an arena match that is starting they will lose points equal to the amount that would have been deducted if they had played and lost.

This change makes it less viable to participate in illegitimate team match-ups by requiring every game be played; not just those that are against a team’s desired opponent.

Will Season 3 non-set items stay available?Yes, the Season 3 honor items will still be available for purchase without a rating requirement after Season 4 starts. There will be two sets of “non-set” items once Season 4 begins. The Season 4 honor items (boot/belt/bracer/etc) some of which will require a rating, and the Season 3 items (boot/belt/bracer/etc) which still won’t require any rating.

Just to sum up, when Season 4 begins:

Season 1 honor set: Removed

Season 2 arena set: Moved to honor, no rating requirement

Season 3 non-set honor items: Staying
Season 3 arena set: Arena rating and cost requirements lowered

Season 4 non-set honor items: Added with rating requirement
Season 4 arena set: Added to Arena with increased rating requirement

Why do I avoid PvP again?

So, in the wake of the ‘great Kara PUG loot whoring of 2008’, Cassie and I sat down and reevaluated our gear goals.

We both still want to do Kara runs, but now we are both on the same page of wanting to run for fun and Badges, not out of anticipation for loots.

Weird thing about being a Shadow Priest, or a regular priest as far as I know, is Tier 4 would be a downgrade for me. My current crafted gear is just better. The one item that was really an upgrade, the gloves from Attumen, are now mine. From here on out, it’s all about collecting Badges. Many, many Badges.

We both still want to run Magister’s, for fun and some chances at loot. I guess for Cassie, there are epic shoulders that Kael’thas can drop on Heroic that are way better than most anything else we could see. So she’s hot to get in there. Me, I’d like Timbal’s Focusing Crystal, but who wouldn’t? But I can live without it. Quagmirren’s Eye is fairly acccessible, so I’m not worried.

But we both agree that the single greatest upgrade we could both make is in our weapons.

I am using the Eternium Runed Blade, which was easy for me to farm mats for, and have crafted and waiting for me at 70. It is a solid piece of gear for starting out as a Shadow Priest.

Cassie is using Blinkstrike, which we got from the AH at a very low price, and Latros’ Shifting Sword as an offhand from Black Morass. Both have Mongoose on ’em, and they are matched in terms of looks, so they are a kickass pair of swords to both use and admire in appearance.

BUT… we could both know where better weapons can be found.

Season 4 has been announced to start on June 24th. When Season 4 gear becomes available, season 2 gear is supposed to be purchaseable with Honor and BG marks.

For Cassie, the Season 2 main hand weapon, the Merciless Gladiator’s Slicer and the offhand weapon, the Merciless Gladiator’s Quickblade, are both huge upgrades.

And for me, the Season 2 Merciless Gladiator’s Spellblade is also a huge jump.

Basically, looking at the rankings, these weapons are simply the best items, short of hardcore raiding or Arena PvP, that we could possibly get. And for PvE, they would last us well into Wrath of the Lich King.

So… to get them, requires us to do the one thing we dread most. PvP.

Well, that I dread, anyway. Cassie simply is afraid of the unknown.

It is supposed, at the moment, that the costs for Season 2 weapons are going to be the same as the Season 1 are now. That would be 25,200 Honor and 20 Eye of the Storm marks for the Spellblade, 18,000 Honor and 20 Eye of the Storm marks for the Slicer, and 9,000 Honor and 20 Eye of the Storm marks for the Quickblade.

So… how quickly do you build up Honor these days? I know this is gonna date my playtime, but I still find it hard to believe that Honor doesn’t decay and you can store it forever. I think I still have 7,000 or so Honor on Windshadow the Druid.

But I have, in the time since the Burning Crusade was released, done exactly ONE battleground. I remember it well, I did Arathi Basin once as part of a Legatum Ignavis group, all on vent, and had fun stealth camping a flag at the Mill. Lurking and waiting for a poor Horde rogue to try and grab the apparently defenseless flag and then Pouncing and tearing the poor guy down was delightful. I love Maim. Sigh.

Anyway, that was it. But I DID do battlegrounds a bit before BC. And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember exactly why I held this deep seated antipathy towards doing them.

So when Cassie was pushing me last night to go do a BG so we could see what it was like, I found it weird but I was the one resisting the urge to go. I just dreaded it, even though I couldn’t remember why.

The daily BG yesterday on Kael’thas (US) was Eye of the Storm, and since we need those marks anyway, we went there first. Neither of us had ever stepped in there before.

Cassie actually went to WoWwiki and looked it up so she could see the layout and learn what the goals were before we noobed it all up in there. She is so organised and thoughtful it brings a tear to my eye.

But we went in, the freshest, noobiest PvPers you ever saw in your entire life. Yes, we both had good Kara quality gear for PvE, but of course neither of us had a shred of Resilience. I have no idea if I should go grab the PvP set pieces from the reputation quartermasters for Windburn or not. But we went in with our PvE stuff last night.

We did two Eye of the Storm runs. The first one lasted about 2 minutes. The Horde just steamrolled us. It was so fast it wasn’t even demoralizing. We blinked, and a couple deaths and kills later, it was all over. I think we got a grand total of 27 honor for the entire match.

At that rate, yeah, we’re gonna be doing BG a lot. Ick.

But we went in a second time right away, and this time the fight lasted a good bit longer, and we both got to have fun nailing Horde. We were on Vent, trying to coordinate and support each other, but we spent most of it in our own little parts of the map.

On our second fight the Alliance won, so we got to turn in the daily and get the extra honor. So, woot! Good times.

So okay, now what to do?

I remember that I despise Warsong Gulch. And Arathi Basin is fun, but I remember enjoying Alterac Valley the most. So I suggest we try that. And, of course, the new ‘Join as group’ feature kicks ass.

So far, I can’t remember why I fear BGs so much. So what if you die lots, it’s not like you’re taking tons of durability damage. And these matches literally started within seconds of queuing up. Seconds. I remember it taking 15 to 45 minutes in queue waiting for each BG to start back in the day. This shit is FAST.

So in we go to Alterac Valley. And as it’s our first time in the map together, I suggest we whip around the corner and seize Irondeep Mine, and then move forward to help play defense at the chokepoint instead of rushing to the offense. On my druid, I always played offense and usually took a solid part in the push through and final kill of the General as a tank. But since neither my priest nor Cassie’s Rogue have the trinket to be able to port back, I figure let’s do the defense thing.

We did two AV runs last night. We won one, and we lost one. Both were fairly short, incredibly short compared to what I remembered.

And I now remember why I hated BG PvP.

Because I’d find myself screaming and cursing into vent, as if the other players could hear me, my venomous comments and ranting and raving. About what?

Small unit tactics, that’s what.

What in the name of all that’s holy makes people think that they’re best bet, when there are 6 of you facing two horde on the bridge in front of Dun Balder, is to back the hell up so they can get off the bridge and have room to manuever? Haven’t you ever heard of fucking choke points? Avenues of approach? Line of sight, maybe? Capturing the high ground? Just OMIGOD!!!

I am swearing and frothing at the mouth, as alliance players are running away from the bridge leaving me all alone against the few horde that are trickling in, apparently because of a defense plan I have never heard of called ‘let the horde get into the Dun Balder courtyard, so they can run around and get into the huts and climb onto high ledges where they can direct ranged attacks at will from two converging fields of fire and then fall back to break LOS and bandage at their hearts content’.

I mean, CRAP!!! Over and over! It’s just, yes, grrr! Retake the graveyard if you can, but if you can’t at least hold the Bridge! Especially when you have overwhelming numbers on your side!

Anyway, it was still fun.

And boy did I feel like an utter noob at PvP.

I tried to concentrate on burst damage, and would DOT up all opponents I could reach, use my PW: Death whenever I could, and run into the middle and Psychic Scream to make people blow cooldowns and trinkets. I used Mind Flay to slow down runners and I generally had a blast. I had no idea what I was doing, but I sure burned down a lot of Mages.

One thing that confused me was there would be non-Paladins that would suddenly be ‘immune’ to attacks over and over… not sure what that was. I think they were Warlocks… and now that I think of it, I wonder if that was a Blueberry sacrifice effect. Didn’t think of that at the time, just nkow that I’d be whacking away at a Warlock and suddenly ‘immune… immune… immune’.

But I never used Mind Control, and I really want to see if it’s any good in these fur flying free for alls.

All told, we got over 1600 honor last night, after two EotS runs and two AV runs. And it was short, fast and fun. That seems like a ton of honor to me… at that rate, Cassie could easily have the Quickblade when Season 4 starts.

I can see us having a blast doing these, especially Alterac Valley, as long as I can keep my rage in check. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find out what there was a purpose to letting the Horde all come in and form up in the bunkers. 

And the winnah is….


Beary Sneaky!

Congratulations to Kakalaki, for coming up with the name both Cassie and I could agree we liked best out of a ton of awesome ideas.

I did not announce it yesterday, since I saved the announcement for the WoW Insider Show podcast I did today.

Again, thanks Kakalaki! We love it!

Okay, we have some Arena Team names…

First, I want to present the ‘Top 10″ that we liked the absolute best…

And this was really hard, because there were tons of great ones. And, to be honest, there were quite a few I wasn’t hip enough to understand.

But, here we go…

Submitted by Bellwether:

Submitted by Razelore:
“Smokey and the Bandit”

Submitted by Conquernfool:
“Euthanize the bear first”

Submitted by Tom:
“Clueless Spectator”

Submitted by Lypi:
“Hide and sneak”

Submitted by Dooka:
“You’re Lucky My Sprint is on CD”

The following two were favorites of both Cassie and I; 

Submitted by Kakalaki:
“Beary Sneaky”

Submitted by Mooberry:
“We’ll blog this later”

Now, you might think this means that Beary Sneaky and We’ll Blog This Later are the two we have to choose from in the finals. And you’d be right.

The problem I’m having, is that on the one hand, something about Beary Sneaky just pleases the hell out of both of us… but at the same time, the other one is soooo damn close to being one of my most often used catch-phrases these days… “That Is So Going On The Blog”.

So I think Cassie and I will have to take a couple hours to think about it… we can discuss it during the drive to Alex’s doctor for his 5 year checkup.

In other news, in case you kind folks didn’t see it in the comments of Cassie’s Kara Key post, we both did Karazhan last night.

For Cassie’s first run into Karazhan, we burned through Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera (Romeo and Juliet and to heck with the fake names I can never remember), Curator, Shade of Aran and the Chess event.

Cassie did extremely well, not so much in the raw damage output department, considering she was hanging with the guild heavy hitters, but in that she kicked, slashes and targeted exactly who she was suposed to all night, and had tons o fun doing that interrupt thingie on Shade.

For her first run, she was rewarded with the Bracers of Maliciousness from Maiden and the King’s Defender as an offhand blade from Chess. And lots of badges, of course.

So rock on, Cassieann! Rock on!

Oh, and I recorded our battle against Shade of Aran… I have tons of stuff to do, but it will be going up as the next bear video, simply because it was chaotic as all heck.

Name our arena team!

Alert! Contest is closed!

Contest? What contest? Was there a prize? Answer… what, naming an arena team ain’t enough? Meh. Still, Thurdsday night will see a ‘Top 5 favs from BBB and Cassie” post, and on Friday, the big decision!

Thank you for all your great, and often hilarious, ideas! 

Now that I have your attention….

Two things.

First, Cassieann and I, along with Gerolan the best damn Paladin in the game, Jalard the boomkin and Darres the mage took on and took down Shadow Labs last night in a fast and clean one shot. No wiptes or pain, thank you.

And nothing worth a damn dropped. But, she got her first key frag. Yay!

Second, I think it’s time to have some fun. So, since Cassie needs some kickass swords, and cause it’s something we can do together, I’m planning on us starting an Arena 2v2 team. Hopefully, I can get some of our friends to also join us.

My plan is to suck so bad it’s galactically epic, and take video footage of us getting slaughtered.

You can help, by suggesting names for our team. Cassie and I will read all of your suggestions, and pick one. And announce whose name will represent our epic suckage. I will announce the… ahem… ‘winnah’, at the end of the week.

So get those evil minds thinking!

Can I haz PvP guide plz?

I have made no effort to pretend I know a damn thing about PvP.

That said, I am always curious about what those who DO play PvP think, what they have to say, what their ‘experience’ is.

Call it the natural, inquisitive nature of the bear.

So it was with the same sense of ‘hmm, let’s go see if there’s tasty honey in there’, that I checked out the newest article Allison Robert wrote on WoW Insider.

 The title of the article was promising…

“PvP for the beginning HK: 11 rules for the starter weasel”

 Now, being a PvP noob, I’m not sure what an HK is, or what she means by weasel, except that when I get pwned I call the bastard a weasel.. and other, less flattering names. But it says PvP and beginner… it must be great, right?


…………:::::::::It’s GOLD::::::…………….