Archive for August, 2009

28
Aug
09

Inclusion, Ownership, and the word “WE”

Building a team and the overabundance of the word “WE”

As I was sitting at work, procrastinating the pile of things to do on my desk, I was reading over all of my main staples when it comes to killing time, MainTankadin, my rss feed on every blog I follow, my guilds website, etc and I was inspired to write another article that deviates a bit from the specifics of being a protection paladin. I am going to try to tie this in to being a tank and something that is essential to a successful tanking core, but it can be used in any situation with any class or spec. This is because it is about managing the person behind the computer, not the role that they play.

A while back, I received one of the best pieces of advice for being an effective member of a team and I have applied this technique ever since. The piece of advice had to do with the concept of using the word WE as much as possible, as in we did a great job, we can do this, we really need to work on our positioning, etc.

Over the course of my career (my real life career) I was viewed as being cocky and a bit overbearing when it came to my communication skills. I was working hard and long hours and I was accomplishing quite a bit more than was expected out of someone at my level in the company, however as you can see above, my perception was that all of this work was solely my own. When the concept of WE was brought to my attention, it opened up a whole new perception of what it takes to get a job done.

Why should I use “WE”?

When you are talking to your raid, or your guild, or anyone in any situation, using the word we immediately creates a sense of group ownership and team. This is very important in WoW because of the fact that you do almost everything as a guild. This is not to say that if you have the Loremaster title, or something of that nature that it wasn’t an individual achievement, but when it comes to raids and gear and progression, there is absolutely NO doubt that it took a group of people to accomplish.

The concept of inclusion is very important when you are communicating in WoW. Depending on your guild demographic, you could be talking to a bunch of teenagers or a bunch of people in their 30s-50s. No matter what age you are, you will always perform at a higher level when you feel that you have a sense of ownership. This concept is universal. By including your guild mates in the success of your accomplishments, it makes them feel that they were essential to the end result.

This feeling truly enhances a persons focus, determination, and willingness to bend over backwards for you. If you are able to foster a sense of ownership and teamwork within your guild, you will have loyal devoted guild mates that will look up to you as a leader, regardless of your title. There are some people in life who are just natural leaders, who command respect, and who get things accomplished. This is a key to their ability to do these things, inclusion.

When should I use “WE”?

When this concept was first introduced to me, I was asked to pull up an email that I had send out to a bunch of people at work regarding a project I was part of. I was then told to read it, remember the tone of the email. Then, I replaced every single “I” with a “WE.” After doing this, I read the email again and it was like I was reading a whole new communication.

With that being said, the answer to when should you use WE, is every chance you can get. Both for positive encouragement, and constructive criticism. Try it out this week and see how it sounds. Even if your guild mates are not completely sold on the first day, you will see a natural progression in the attitude of the guild and the ability to progress during tougher times. People will band together instead of looking to play the blame game. This is essential to the success and longevity of your guild.

What does this have to do with tanks?

The role of a tank, and more specifically a Main Tank, is a very stressful and difficult job. Even when you master your character, understand your ideal rotations, and learn everything there is to know about an encounter so that you can use your skills in a proactive manner to prevent damage, you still are the focal point of the raid. The boss is hitting you and you are responsible for the positioning, threat, and overall survival of the raid.

Tanks in general have a larger perceived responsibility when it comes to raiding. We are the focal point of the raid, and there is an innate increase in pressure that comes with that. When you are talking to your tanks, whether it is privately in whisper or tank channel or you are communicating to them in vent, the concept of inclusion makes this perceived responsibility melt away so that they can continue to focus on the task at hand, personal survival and threat.

Most tanking cores are a very tight knit group of people and they are more than likely a bit overconfident (it comes with the territory of pacing, and tanking). The positive encouragement that can come from a sense of ownership is very powerful. So next time when you are talking to your guild or raid, be very mindful of your choice of words. The difference between WE and I is the difference between ownership of the task at hand and just another job.

The simple benefits of a sense of Ownership

All of the effort that you can put into changing the way you talk to your guild mates is to foster an environment of ownership. This concept is very important when it comes to motivation, performance, and sustainability. The more that a member of your guild feels that they are personally responsible for the success of a trash pull, boss fight, progression with in an instance or overall atmosphere that the guild has, the harder they will work to ensure that your goals get accomplished. Developing relationships and successful team cohesion is very difficult to do by yourself, by creating an atmosphere of ownership, people will accomplish this end result on their own.

If each member of your team feels that they are contributing to your overall success, then they will innately contribute substantially more than if they are just an individual. So what about those people who are just terrible at their class, spec, etc? Well there is one more thing that this sense of ownership will help you with.

No matter who you are, and what your skills set is, each individual has the ability to contribute something unique and powerful to a team. The fact that everyone is different means that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. The person that you see as weak, more than likely has a strength that you may not have. They may be able to help you achieve your end goals. This is where inclusion and ownership shine.

So remember, next time you talk to your guild, try using WE instead of I, and you will appreciate the new found sense of teamwork that results from a simple change in words.

27
Aug
09

a theory on gearing – the effective health set

Earlier on in the month I talked about the theory of a threat set and its applications during raids. As we get closer and closer to the Trial of the Grand Crusader (Heroic Coliseum), I felt that it would be a great time to start talking about your effective health set. Why does an effective health set correlate perfectly with new hard mode bosses? Well, your effective health set will be the gear set that you are going to want to wear for most progression fights, however there are always exceptions to the rule. You want to wear this set when you as tanking a new boss and healers will need to adjust to new mechanics, new positioning, and new raid disorganization.

By gearing for pure effective health, you will be taking the least amount of damage of any set that you have in your arsenal. This is important for new content for two reasons, first and foremost because new bosses hit HARD and you want to counter that with your best foot forward when it comes to survivability. Secondly, the less healing that you require (e.g. the more damage you avoid and mitigate) the more breathing room your healers will have to learn the encounter. In the end the more you can do to make the encounter easier for your healers, the smoother the attempts are going to go.

What is Effective Health?

I discussed this earlier on in a previous blog entry, however since the concept of effective health is very important to understand, I will reiterate the words of a much smarter man:

Effective health “…is basically a measurement of how much raw damage a creature has to deal to kill you. It is a measurement of Armor and it’s relation to Stamina…

Effective Health is the measurement of how much breathing room your healers have to keep you alive assuming all other factors fail — assuming you do not avoid or block attacks or have a mana shield active. Effective Health is important for tanking heavy hitting creatures because of Murphy’s Law — if you can have long strings of not Dodging an attack, it will definitely happen. Raid tanking, ultimately, is about stability.” – Ciderhelm

Let’s take a look at this statement and start to understand what the key elements are. First and foremost, it talks about the amount of damage that you can take with out receiving any healing. This is what the theory is based off of, but not what you should expect in any real situation. The concept of survival, and being able to take more and more damage and mitigate it, is essential to a progression encounter’s success. Healing mana on a progression fight is a crucial commodity. People do not know where to stand or how to react to boss mechanics, and as such, more healing is needed that in farmed content. Why do we care how much damage other people take? Well the less mana your healers have as a result of raid damage directly correlates to the number of heals you will receive on any given encounter.

The two key stats to ensuring that this is possible are Stamina and Armor. Stamina is as simple as it sounds, the more health you have correlates directly to how much damage you can take prior to dying. If your health pool is at 40k fully buffed, then you can take 40k worth of damage. However, if your health is at 48k then you can take 8k more damage. Armor on the other hand is a commonly overlooked statistic that is essential to your effective heath set, and it is something that you should strive to enhance any chance you get. Armor reduces the amount of physical damage that you take no matter what happens. You can be stunned, hit from behind, etc and you will still mitigate damage based on your armor.

The most important thing to remember about armor and why you want to continue to increase the amount you have is that:

An X% increase in armor means an X% increase in armor’s contribution to the amount of damage you can take.

What this means is that for a level 83 npc, aka a boss, to achieve 50% damage reduction you would have to have 16635 armor, 60% – 24953, 70% – 38815, and 75% – 49905. As you can see it takes significantly more armor to get a percentage, but as it says above, an increase in the percentage of armor you have gives you the same percent increase in damage reduction. Why did I stop at 75%? Well if you have ever been in your armor set with an Indestructible Potion and Furnace Stone active, you will notice that your damage reduction is a perfect 75%. That is because Armor caps out at 75% damage reduction.

Is armor and stamina all I should care about?

Absolutely not! Although these will be your main focus for item selection, gemming and enchanting, it would not be wise to completely forget avoidance and block. Avoidance is something that you will still want to focus on, as it is a chance at completely avoiding all the damage of an incoming attack, prolonging your time to live or TTL. Once you have identified the pieces that provide the most armor and stamina, you want to focus on avoiding attacks. Although your effective health set will not have nearly as much avoidance as your best in slot set, it will make up for that with stamina and armor.

Block value is another stat that may be overlooked when it comes to effective health sets. As long as you have first focused on avoidance so that you can maintain the unhittable 102.4% dodge, parry, block, miss summation, block is another powerful tool to increase your effective health. If you are unhittable and maintain your 969 rotation to ensure 100% upkeep of holy shield, any block value translates into pure mitigation. The more you can block, the less damage you take, extending your effective health.

Gearing, gemming and Enchanting your effective health set

When selecting your gear for your effective health set, you always want to consider any piece of gear that has bonus armor on it. How do you know if there is bonus armor? The armor value on the item is green. These pieces are usually high in stamina and perfectly tailored for effective health sets. As we have talked about before, if these pieces have sockets in them, you want to gem them to their strengths, meaning pure stamina most of the time. If the socket bonus is a +12 stamina or more, then it is worth the gem itemization to go with at 10 agility 15 stamina gem. Some great examples of gear that you would want to include in your effective health set are the following:

Saronite Plated Legguards Cloak of the Shadowed Sun The Leviathan”s Coil
Clutch of FortificationMark of the Unyielding

Each of these pieces has bonus armor, lots of stamina and some avoidance to boot. They are the ideal pieces to create the foundation of an effective health set. Based on the encounter that you are facing, you can go with double stamina trinkets such as the Heart of Iron, the Royal Seal of King Llane, or The Black Heart, or you could go with a dodge and activatible armor trinket such as the Furnace Stone. These are all great choices when it comes to effective health trinkets. There are pure armor choices, but my personal tendency is to not use them. If you are someone who likes to use armor trinkets there is an amazing trinket from the badge vendor.

Now that we have the neck, trinkets, rings, and base gear that will provide you with the stamina and armor that is needed as a foundation of an effective health, what fills in the pieces. The answer to this is usually the Best in Slot gear you have. What I mean by that is the piece of gear that you have that is strongest for that slot, e.g. gloves that have lots of stamina, armor, and avoidance. As you run more instances, you will acquire more gear that you can mix and match. In the end you should be able to put a nice effective health set together with unique gear that will boost your armor, health and avoidance as much as possible to help your healers and your raid during progression encounters.

As you round out your effective health set you want to focus on the holistic gear set, something that provides max survivability while maintaining the essentials of tanking. Hope this helps!

26
Aug
09

Twins, Loot, and more Loot

What to do next…

Not to sound like the broken record that is every other protadin’s blog, but I would like to talk briefly about my 10 and 25 man Coliseum raids last night before getting to the meat and potatoes of this post, which is what do I do with my Emblem’s of Triumph. I got home last night from work, logged in and got into our raid. Another week, another instance, only this week had a few new twists to it. First off, we had yet another new boss in the Coliseum, we had Crusader orbs in the bank, and we had an extended lock out in Ulduar so there was no clearing of the beginning of the instance to put us to sleep.

The night of raiding in the Coliseum was a mixed bag. We had a lackluster showing of main raiders due to various issues in real life, and as a result had to make multiple dps respec to their healing off spec. After we were all settled in to the coliseum, the fights started to fall like dominoes. Northrend beasts – Cake, Lord Jaraxxus – Joke, Faction Champions – Eas….

WIPE

Holy crap, we had a lot more trouble this week with the combination that was given to us. The enhancement shaman was raping our healers, the rouge was destroying our dps, and the healers were just not dying. Well to give us the benefit of the doubt, our mass dispel on the pally was off due to the fact that we had an offspec healer, and the crowd control was subpar due to the our raid makeup, however excuses are still excuses. We came back in with a better attitude, and a different kill order Pally – Enh shaman – rogue – Druid – Holy Priest – Warrior – Hunter – Spriest – Deathknight – and Lock. I was a cleansing savant! I doubled the next person in cleansing, my Hand of Protection and Freedom were on perma-cool down, as was my Lay on Hands and Divine Sacrifice. No one died, and the boss dropped free loots.

Now comes the fun part, new bosses with out real raid strategies, and one or two videos at max on youtube. On our first attempt, we lost a quarter of our raid to a slow switch during dark pact. We still managed to get the twins down to 10% with about 4 heals going off before the enrage. Came back and killed them in just over the speed kill time. Twin Valkyrs – Easy…

Our main tank core and loot

I would say that the biggest problem that our tanking core has is that we are too selfless. As I have discussed before, our tanking core is very tight and we do not really have a main tank. We all attempt to gear ourselves equally and we have similar philosophies in gear sets. This provides for a unique problem when tanking loot drops, who gets the piece of loot? Well in most guilds, dkp is the ultimate decision maker, and in the end it would be for us, but since Tanks have priority for any loot they want for main spec. We usually handle all the gear by having a brief discussion in our tank channel about who could benefit the most.

Well last night, we had multiple pieces of tank loot drop and it got to the point where we were pretty equal in 245 gear and all pretty indifferent (we all wanted the loot but were all willing to pass). The Belt of Bloodied Scars went to a roll off as we all had the Indestructible Plate Girdle, and the pants were given to our DK since I am not that big on Expertise and our warrior had them. In the end we all walked out of there with a piece of loot. The pattern for the Bracers dropped and I got those crafted with some Crusader orbs from the guild bank. In the end we were all happy, but it is a unique situation to be faced with four tanks that are really not loot whores. If anyone is the biggest sponge when it comes to loot, it would be me, but none of us really ever say, I WANT THAT!

What to do with my badges now?

While on the topic of loot, I have gotten my ring and libram (which is sexy), and I am quite happy with my stats as of now. Fully Raid buffed I have about 47.6k hp, 31,000 armor, 33% dodge and 21% parry. I was eating hits like a champ off Thorim hard mode at 14 stacks and loving every minute of it. However, I have reached a dilemma that I didn’t think would happen. I do not know what to do with my badges now. I could pick up a trophy and spend some badges on a piece of tier gear, however it almost seems like it would be better suited to go to a healer or dps class that will need it for hard modes. Since our guild gears our tanks first, I don’t know if it is beneficial for the guild as a whole to give me a trophy if I am going to get the first piece of conqueror that drops off every hard mode.

If I do pick something up, it would have more than likely been the shoulders, however last night i picked up some shoulders out of the 10 man Coliseum, boosting yours truly back to best geared tank on the server. (And it wasn’t because our server is behind in progression, it was just that much more 226+ gear). Now I am thinking that maybe I would get the gloves, seeing as the shoulders would be less of an upgrade now. Decisions to make and hard modes to kill…

Extending the Raid Lockout!

Off to ulduar – tonight is our night for General hard mode. Three guilds on our server have passed us up in the rankings because of the General nerf. We had been lacking the players to do any hard modes, and so we brought some alts and killed the bosses on easy mode just for the chance at some piece of loot that someone may want. The advent of the raid ID extension has saved us from the steady decline of attendance throughout the week. Tuesdays we have to sit people but Wednesdays we cant fill a raid, and if we push the raid back, even fewer people show up on the weekends. Now that we have extended the raid ID, we have a full night of general hard mode ahead of us…

Wish me luck (although the mindlessness of ret spec on the General encounter is a joke)

25
Aug
09

Managing your Numbers – How to ensure your raid is full

After a nice long weekend of birthday celebrations, I am back at work and back on Avenging Wrathy. As I stepped away from my computer for the weekend and did not log on to talk to my guildies, I was quite out of the loop when it came to our problem of the month, attendance. As the days grow shorter, and excuses approach, each guild is faced with the same problems: lack of people. This is only compounded by blizzards newest and greatest instance, the Trial of the Crusade! As much as I would like to blame the kids going back to school as the excuse for our recent abysmal turn out, I truly believe that there are more sinister demons in our closet so to speak.

The advent of the totally worthless instance is upon us. Throughout all of the first two instances of this expansion pack, I was in the top three on wow-heroes.com for most geared tank on our server. However, now with the fact that you can purchase end game gear with badges that you can get from heroic dailies, everyone and their mother is in amazing gear, yet their skill levels have not increased at all. The surplus of guilds that can clear all of the content available to them is skyrocketing and the gear is falling from the heavens, yet so many guilds are struggling to fill raid spots in 25 man raids. So, how do you as a guild recruit people and at the same time weed out the baddies from the people that will ultimately make up part of your core team. I have a few theories on why we are in this current situation and what you can do to stop the hemorrhaging.

The difficulty level of Trial of the Crusader

As I do appreciate the fact that the difficulty level of trial of the crusader has allowed so many more guilds to experience end game raiding, it has also truly homogenized the guilds of our server, and more than likely your server as well. We now have 12 horde guilds that have killed hard modes in Ulduar on our server. That is a significant amount of talent that is distributed very evenly across a lot of guilds. The fact that you can pug the end game server right now makes it so that someone who thought they may have a chance at end game in a progression guild can stay contently where they are and earn free loot with their friends. As the loot begins to fall from the heavens with item level 245 stamped all over it, guilds gear levels are getting higher and the difficulty of the Hard Mode achievements in Ulduar is diminishing as the weeks pass.

So how do you deal with a guild that is losing its players to real life, other guilds, “casualitis”, and plain boredom from ToTC?

There are a few things that you have to keep in the back of your mind if you are an officer or raider in a guild that is suffering through a numbers drought. First, this is the natural progression of guilds, people come and people go, and it is your duty to keep the guild together by filling the gaps that have been left by the departed. How you fill those gaps is completely up to you, but there are some ways that are more effective than others. Moreover, you have to remember that, if we are lucky, in two weeks all of these problems will be solved by a nice fat brick wall called Hard Mode Northrend Beasts. Nothing stops the general homogenization of server talent like a big fat raid boss stomping your ass into the ground. At this point the cream will rise to the top and you can look for those people that no longer have a home to bolster your ranks.

With that being said, you should be prepared to face that brick wall head on and understand what it is that you have to offer to the players of your server that is unique and appealing. From my guilds perspective, the officers have focused on one thing that separates us from the rest of the guilds that are waiting for a challenge, the race back to server firsts, and the elite ranks: our schedule. Our leadership is well aware that we have a unique service that we can provide to the masses of our server, and the lucky ones that would like to share in our success will come forward and apply when they are tired of wiping. We offer the same progression as every other guild on our server save one, in half the time. We raid 2 nights a week and clear the same amount of content.

That is our pitch, our slogan, our appeal. What is yours?

Once you have that unique identity that you can offer, and understand what your demographic is for prospective applicants, you still have to understand that it is no longer just as easy as looking at someone’s gear and achievements and knowing that they are a good player. You need to be more cautious when it comes to recruitment and guild invites. Our guild has a few policies in place that weed out the initial round of poor players. We require a guild sponsor, someone that is a current raider in our guild to recommend the recruit and vouch for their competence and ability to adapt to our system of play. Secondly, we have a 1 month trial period where each individual recruit is tested in the progression raid environment to see what they can contribute to our guild. The combination of the guild vouch and the trial period serve as a very significant filter to keep the caliber of player in our guild at the level we are accustomed to. What about the people that don’t make the cut? well that is what the gkick function is for.

How do you get those people to come to you?

This is another difficult decision that your guild has to make. Do you want to advertise on the over trolled and under utilized world of warcraft server forums, spam trade chat, go to specific sites such as maintankadin and post, or do you have more subtle tactics. Our guilds recruitment is strictly by word of mouth and raider referrals. If we have issues with filling a certain class, we tell our raiders to look out for a player that fits the role of what we are looking for during their day to day playing. We don’t recommend poaching by any means, and we do not actively participate in trying to take people away from competing guilds, however if we can offer them a step up in the raiding experience and they are willing, we give them the chance to prove to us that they can hang.

In the end, people come and people go, but you have to actively work to keep your guild full and successful if you want to enjoy the content that is considered end game. Understanding what makes your guild unique is the most important first step in getting those people that you need to fill spots. Remember that every guild is full of fun loving, chill atmospheres where “we plow through content and dont stress about it.” you have to find that thing that ONLY your guild has to offer, and market it to your advantage.

20
Aug
09

Back to Basics: The User Interface, aka UI…

So in my writers block this afternoon, I opened up my trusted google reader and started checking out all of the new posts that have popped up in the past day on the protadin blogging circuit. As I was reading a post by Rhidach titled Four Characteristics of a Great Tank, Part 1: A sense of ownership, I found my inspiration for my next senseless digression, the user interface or UI for short. A players UI is something that is unique and special to them, and for those of us that love to tweak the way our game looks, it is a passion and necessity.

When you first start out on your adventures in Azeroth, your UI is more often than not the standard Blizzard UI. A bar at the bottom that has (at the time) more buttons than you know what to do with, a few green and blue bars, and a map. Thats it! I really dont think that much more is needed to level all the way to level 80. Once you get there though, you have the opportunity to start custimizing your interface to provide you with pertinent information that will help you be a better tank, react quicker, and understand more mechanics of an encounter.

The Essential UI modifications

There are a few mods that every person should have if they ever want to set foot in a raid instance. The first and foremost is BigWigs or Deadly Boss Mods. These are mods that inform the player of specific abilities that the encounter is employing to try to get you to have a lovely run back from the graveyard. Another near essential mod is called Omen, or something similar if your guild uses a different threat meter. I as a tank rarely spend more than a split second looking over at omen, however the fact that I have it installed means that my threat is showing up on my DPS’es meter and they know where they are. It is also useful to understand who to salv and if you need to start concentrating more on your rotation and less on other things.

Other than that, you can probably get away with nothing more than the standard blizzard UI and be a sufficiently successful tank. But, what can you do to increase your knowledge of an encounter, enable better play, and become successfully as an all around player? There are a few mods that I use, that I cannot raid with out any more, and I will discuss them in a bit more detail later on in this post.

Your UI and your awareness – managing your Real Estate

One of the first things to consider when compiling a UI, or selecting a pre made one from someone who has much more experience making them than the normal player, is to understand what the purpose of your UI is. No matter who you are, and what you do, your UI is there to give you the important information that you need in order to do your job. Whether it be knowing what skills are on cool down and when they will be up next, if you have all of your buffs, how much health you have, who the boss is targeting, etc. However if you have too much information in front of you, you will not be able to see the most important part of what you are doing, the encounter.

I have seen too many tanks with UIs that have tons of bars, and scrolling combat text, and useless junk so close to where their character is positioned on the screen. The general philosophy is to arrange your most important information where you would find your eyes resting on the screen. For most of us that is the center, where our character is, however that doesn’t mean that you should ever obstruct the view of your character. You want to arrange things around your toon but at the same time, in a logical place.

What I use to keep me informed

Power Auras – this mod is handy little add on that allows you to fully customize a heads up display of sorts to let you know when a certain buff or debuff is active, in active, on cool down, ready for use, or anything else that you can think of. Personally have two things set up for this mod on my paladin, Holy shield, which is a gold glowing translucent shield in the bottom middle of my screen. And more importantly, Divine Plea, which is two blue crescents on either side of my character. If either of the buffs fall off the graphics are triggered and i have a visual cue that i have to refresh them.

Omni Cooldown Count – This is a simple mod that places a time value over the icons on your action bar that are on cooldown, so you know just how long you have until they are up again. nuff said…

Pitbull / Grid – This is a very customizable modification to your unit frames that allows you to color them, move them, alter their size, the information that the provide, etc. I believe this is almost as essential to a tank as omen, however you can very easily succeed with out them. One of the greatest benefits of having this mod is that you can move your player, target, and target of target bars so that you can see them at all times. Default position is way up in a corner where you would have look away from the action, this way you dont even have to glance away from what you are doing.

Bartender – This is also a highly customizable modification that removes the blizzard default action bar and replaces it with up to 10 bars that you can size and place anywhere on the screen you would like. In addition you have the option to have modifers, so if you hold down control, a new bar will appear, showing you a whole new set of 12 actions if you so choose to set it up that way.

Pally Power – This mod is also borderline essential. it tracks your blessings and with a click of the button buffs each class with their designated blessing.

In the end you want something that works well and provides all the information you need right at your fingertips at a moments notice. Below is a screenshot that I took in the middle of a yogg saron encounter about two months ago. I am of the mindset that you give credit where credit is due, and not claim that it is an adaptation or your own. My UI was created by Caith, is his and will always be, but I loved the organization, feel and simplicity. All I needed was a few tweaks and I made it my own, but I would never claim to have put a 1/10 the effort into it as he has.

Happy UI tweaking!

ScreenShot_060709_190640

19
Aug
09

The Faction Champions – Initial thoughts

As we wind down from yet another week of stressful and amazingly difficult raiding in the Trial of the Crusader, I wanted to comment on my opinions of the Faction Champions encounter and the role of a main tank and protection paladin.

My Raid’s Pro Pull

So when we got done one shotting the first two super difficult bosses (read this dripping with *sarcasm*), no one really knew what to expect from the faction champions. We had a descent thread in our officer forums going on about the PTR testing, videos, etc, however we didnt really know what was going to happen when we activated the encounter. So after everyone was buffed up and ready to rock, we talked the npc and started the event with the entire raid back by the entrance to the coliseum assuming that the champions would emerge from the gates as the previous two bosses did.

Boy we were wrong!

As the rogue jumped down and proceeded to destroy a few clothies, I found a paladin in the mix and marked it up as our first dps target. We were plowing away but really couldn’t put that big of a dent in her because the resto shaman and resto druid went unnoticed in the back, blissfully healing away. Then the paladin bubbled! Man how I love my bubble, however I loath it on a raid boss. Needless to say we were not prepared and coordinated and ended up wiping on the first attempt.

As soon as we got back into the instance, we grouped up on the circle in the middle of the room, started the boss fight again and to our relief saw that they mobs didnt instantly aggro. Now for our strategy (or lack thereof). The basics of our strategy was to contain all mortal strikes and wound poisons as much as possible, so we chain cced the warrior and the rogue. As for our kill order, we had rogues and dks on the three healers, interrupting every heal, as well as banishes when possible on the resto druid. One at a time they dropped like flies, then just pick your poison and kill the dps.

From a raid wide stand point, cc, interrupts, and focus fire are really all it takes to get this encounter down, but what of the protection paladin. I found myself low on mana for most of the fight, doing sub par dps and only really being useful for my awesome 30 second cooldown interrupts.

What can a protection paladin do to enable a raid’s success?

This fight in general was just as easy as the previous two in the coliseum, however, there is an added element of the fact that there are 10 mini bosses and they all have a multitude of abilites. As my grid began to light up with diseases, curses, and poisons, I get these horrid flashbacks of BT and Sunwell. For the Easy mode 25 man, I don’t really see any problems with cheesing your way to free 245 epics. However we started thinking about the challenges that we would face in the 25 man hard mode version.

From my perspective I do not bring great dps to the raid unless I spec ret. If i want to stay prot, or I didn’t have a dual spec, how could i contribute to the success of the raid? One word: Utility.

Cleanse, Blessing of Protection, and Blessing of Freedom…

Last night I racked up about 100 cleanses on our kill. The ability to relieve the healers from their duties of cleansing can free them up for the sporadic damage created by 10 mobs that do not have an aggro table. Moreover, the rogue and the warrior provide for some significant melee burst damage. A BoP can save a clothie’s life if timed correctly. With the amount of debufs being applied, you will be able to prevent a large amount of damage. In addition, cleansing and blessing of freedom can help melee close the gap on some of the mobs, as well as free up clothies to run away from the rogue and warrior.

So next time, I will be working on cleansing as much as possible while attacking the focus target to keep divine plea and judgement of light up.

18
Aug
09

Badges, we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

As the third week of the coliseum is upon us, it is time for me to make some decisions about my limited number of badges and how to spend them. Depending on how hard core you are, you may (as some of the tanks on my server have already done) have picked up an item already. If so, I am quite jealous. I personally, however, can not afford to do the heroic daily every single day, my work schedule and girlfriend just do not allow that. I do complete the daily every day of my three day weekend though, leaving me with 32 badges at the moment, and rapidly approaching 50 by the end of the night.

Now that I have a significant number of badges, what will be the best piece of gear for me to pick up, and why. Lets look at my choices to better understand what kind of decision and analysis will be necessary. You have a ring, a trinket, a libram, Shoulders, and a piece of tier gear (if you have the trophy).

Clutch of Fortification Glyph of Indomitability Libram of Defiance

Shoulderguards of Enduring Order

The obvious choice for pure flexibility is the tier piece, as you can pick up the gloves or the shoulders with 45 badges of triumph and the trophy of the crusade. But now down to the specifics of my decision. The first thing I have to consider is what am I looking to gain by upgrading a piece of gear. Do I want to increase my survivability, threat, or avoidance. Each of the pieces has a strength.

Upgrading your Tier Gear

If you already received a Trophy of the Crusade, then your obvious choice would be to select a piece of T9 to augment your gear set. A direct comparison of the T8 to T9 for both the shoulders and the gloves shows us that they are both a gain of 24 stamina. You gain more armor with the shoulders, and trade up defense and dodge for shield block value and rating. You throw in a bit of expertise, and you have a descent piece. An overall significant upgrade in stamina, armor, and avoidance for little loss in SBV.

The Gloves are similar to the shoulders in pure stat benefits. You also gain armor, stamina, and dodge. But instead of expertise, you gain 53 parry as well. A very nice piece for an avoidance set. The loss of 135 block value from either piece is not that big of a hit for the increase in other pure tanking stats, however if you combine the two pieces together, a loss of 270 SBV is starting to take a chunk out of your overall shield block value, causing a drop in SoR threat and mitigation. Alas, its a decision, but not a tough one because we should all a block set, and a threat set, and an avoidance set to chose from, this is just more loot to optimize these sets.

Either way you look at it, these are great upgrades if you do not use your 4 piece T7 bonus and are able to drop down another piece of tier gear.

The off set Shoulders, Trinket, and Ring from the badge vendor

The shoulders from the vendor net similar statistics to the T9 Shoulders, however you will not be benefiting from the set bonuses that the Tier gear will provide. The shoulderguards of enduring order are attractive at first glance because they trade expertise for parry. From an avoidance stand point they are looking very nice, and if you are lacking robust avoidance, they may be something that you want to consider.

The trinket is a defender’s code on steroids, lots of armor and an on use dodge. For me, This is a great effective health piece, however not top of my list. I appreciate the power of close to 2000 armor in pure damage reduction, however pending the last three encounters of the coliseum, I do not see as much utility in this as the other pieces. Now if there happens to be a boss that stuns or silences you periodically, this trinket will be one of the first to get equipped. 50 badges may seem like a low now, but in a few weeks when you are taking home more than 30 a week, it can be acquired in no time.

Finally, I have saved the best for last (in my opinion). The Clutch of Fortification is the Leviathan’s coil with more of everything. From an effective health (both the stamina and the armor), avoidance and strength, its a great upgrade from whatever else you are wearing. With this upgrade, I gain 20 stamina (4 less than a tier piece), 560 armor (more than a tier piece), Defense and Dodge rating. I can use it for my effective health set, my avoidance set, and my overall BiS set.

What am I getting first?

Clutch of Fortification




Tweet-adins

  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 6 years ago

Categories