Archive for January, 2010



13
Jan
10

The good doctor is dead

Fun, Fight is Fun!

Honestly going into last night, I had very low expectations of what we needed to do. Both our 10 mans didn’t kill putricide last week, my group was 2% away from the feat, but still no kill. It seems that all I need to do to fix our attendance issues is talk about it here, because I logged on with 5 minutes before raid start time and there were 32 people in our raid, including one of our priests who left. I was happy to see that we had the “who do we sit” dilemma last night. Well the night was a productive one, and I was impressed with our guild to say the least, but once again that monkey on my back called attendance makes me wonder where we would be if we would have burned even a few attempts on putricide last week.

Thoughts on Putricide

The night started out pretty normal, we one shot every boss up to putricide, and even a ton of tank loot dropped, the threat pants, helm and chest dropped and even though these items were no where near BiS for progression sets, they were welcomed for our two new tanks who are considered undergeared when standing next to me. When we got to putricide at 8pm the officers had a little discussion, namely will we burn our attempts now on putricide or should we go to ToTGC and clear it first. In the end, it was my opinion that we had our A team in the raid and there was no reason to waste that on old content.

We walked up to putricide, went over the strat and assigned our fury warrior to the Abom. I know, I know, why would we ever put a dps in the Abom when we need three tanks and that just gimps our dps so much. Well two of our tanks were underegeared and had not done the abom yet. On the other hand, our fury warrior has a full set of tank gear (which coincidently is better than our other new tanks) and did the abomination for my 10 man. We sat one of the tanks that had received an invite to the guild less than 24 hours earlier, made our Fury warrior go prot, and pulled….

The fight was pretty much the same as 10 man, but the health pool on the slimes was much higher, and the first comment in vent was holy crap they have a lot of health. Our first attempt on 25 man got us to 63%. While no where near a kill shot, it was a very solid first attempt. The next few attempts saw us steadily progress from the 60’s to phase 3 and a new learning curve for healers and tanks. I suggested that we employ the same tactic for focusing our raid as we did on the night we killed Anub’arak. So, with half our attempts left, we gave our raid an ultimatum, get the boss to 20% or we are going to ToTGC. We got him to 10%, then, 10% or we go to ToTGC, and he was dead.

The fight was one of the more fun fights I have had in a long time, lots of running around, kiting, environmental awareness, and strategy when it come to killing the slimes, positioning of the boss, etc. It was a nice feeling to kill a boss that was “challenging.” Now I will quote that because it only took us 7 attempts to kill the boss, making it no where near as tightly tuned and difficult as Sunwell or even Anub’arak hard mode, but it was definitely up there in the coordination skill-o-meter.

Movin’ on up to the east side…

With that kill we moved into the number 1 position on our server. Now while I do not think that most of us care too much about the position on the server, it is truly nice to take a server first. It’s a nice achievement that shows the talent of our raiding core. I don’t know exactly how it happens, but 2 minutes after we killed putricide, I had alliance whispering on alts asking if we killed him. It is amazing how fast news spreads. While notoriety and the prestige of killing him first is nice, I am already looking into the future, to the next wing and the next few bosses. The next wing opens up on this coming Tuesday, and I have yet to read up on any of these fights. I am sure there is a small amount of information which should help us in killing them next week, and I want to absorb all of it.

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12
Jan
10

The power of knowledge

Raiding Pains

This past week was an interesting one. First off I had to raid on Sunday on a laptop because I was at my company holiday party and a long ways away from my home desktop. It was amazing how much harder it was for me to see certain things with the blizzard UI. I had to drop my addons down to practically nothing so that my computer could handle the raiding environment. I was getting like 2 fps in ToTGC and that was not going to cut it for Putricide.

In the end, it was a painful night; we had quite a few new people in the raid, so Anub’arak was left up with 45 attempts because people sucked at kiting the spikes. One of our guildies put up a really funny youtube clip on our forums from Austin Powers where the guy dies to a Steam Roller. It basically summed up that encounter. The spikes are slow, and you get a BoP, how hard is it to just run to the patch and stand there. It wasn’t even that the new people were the sole source of bad play. We had people that have been there every week for the kill playing poorly, and there was just no excuse.

After ToTGC, we went into ICC to clear out our putricide attempts, and I am sad to report that the end of my night finished with my raid dead, me alive hacking away at the boss, one attempt remaining on the counter, and Putricide at 2%. Next week folks, next week…

Knowledge is power

On to the bread and butter of what I wanted to talk about today. This is not a topic of discussion that is exclusive to tanks, but it is one that I feel is more important for tanks to understand. So, once again I digress from theory craft, gear discussions, and thoughts of guild management to discuss something that every great player should be doing, but seldom maintain. I am talking about the power of knowledge, more specifically research, preparation, and understanding of mechanics.

We can specifically talk about the mechanics of fights, knowing what is coming so that you can be able to react, and be better for those first few nights of progression. Or, we can talk about a more general discussion of knowledge based off of class abilities, gearing strategies, and understanding of mechanics and statistics. However, in both cases this is what separates a good player from a great one. I know people that can pull 10k dps consistently, or can tank and hold great threat, but if you do not understand gearing philosophy, encounter mechanics, and general strategies, then you are not a great player, because knowing these things could make you that much better.

There are people with in my own guild, casuals, raiders, and officers alike, who do not play at the level that they should because they are not knowledgeable about these things. They think that at the level that we play, you can still log on, hop into a raid and hope for the best. Now while the demand on proper, prior preparation is more essential at the end game progression level for cutting edge guilds, it makes any player who is good, better.

Ignorance is not bliss; the intelligent suffer

Knowledge is the key to success. The more you know, the better prepared you are for the unknown, and the quicker you can react to dynamic conditions. I am astounded at some of our dps for not knowing the mechanics of a fight. I have heard responses such as:

I just have to sit back here and cast my spells, who cares what the boss does.

Now while I am confident in my assessment that this statement and mentality alone is not the reason that this raiders is one of our lowest performing on a daily basis, but the attitude in general is the main contributor to the lack of performance.  If you do not understand the most recent gearing philosophies, rotations of abilities and management of cool downs, then you are wasting the gear that your guild gives to you.

Exceptions to the rule

Now while these thoughts reach those of you who do not need to hear this, and fall on deaf ears to the ones who do, I still feel that it is an important topic to bring up given the push for progression that we are facing over the next few months. Almost everyone who reads this is already well versed in researching abilities, skills, and encounter mechanics. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading a blog or MainTankadin, you would be online, gabbing away in trade chat that you have the highest gear score on your realm, but have 5 points in Divinity and none in judgements of the just.

We are the exceptions; we are the unique snowflakes that shoulder the responsibility and progression of our guilds.  I wanted to talk about this today because I had a conversation with a few of my guild mates that opened my eyes to the fact that even in very progressed guilds, there are people who don’t know their head from their ass. It started with our one of our very best dps talking about armor trinkets and how OP they are on a fight where there is quite a bit of magic damage.

It never dawned on me that people do not have the resources that we do at MainTankadin. The information is out there, but not for most. Tankspot is a great place to go for warrior theory crafting and boss strategies, however I feel that theck and our brain trust at MainTankadin goes a bit further when it comes to analysis.  It took me 15 minutes to explain why he was wrong, explain the new equations for effective health, and the role that armor plays in our damage mitigation.

This lead direction into one of our casuals talking about how much chill of the throne sucks and how he is now the worst tanking class. I almost choked on my drink, because he is a druid. I began to explain to him that he is sorely misinformed and that he is currently playing one of the best tanking classes in the game for progression, and that his effective health is greater than any other class when you take into account cooldowns. This is where it got down right scary (and the true ah-ha! Moment for why I wrote this thread). I started to tell him about the druid T10 four piece set bonus, its uptime percentages, and its ability to mitigate a substantial amount of damage.

He replied: oh, well what is my T10 four piece set bonus? Well that’s just 12% that’s nothing.

For those of you who only play a paladin and missed my discussion on 4 piece set bonuses, here is a link to the blog post where I outlined why druids are king of the mountain when it comes to effective health and being able to take the hits like a champ. This guy didn’t even know what his own set bonus was, or why it was so important, or that he had two stacking cool downs that were both on a 1 minute timer, or that he had a 20% uptime of a 32% damage reduction, making him more powerful at taking a hit than any other tanks in the game.

The moral of the Story

As most of you know, research and discussion of mechanics, abilities, and rotations is important to your ability to play the game to the best of your abilities. What I learned last night is that, while I am a contributor to the paladin tanking community and the blogosphere, where many people may consider me an expert in gearing philosophy and tanking, my own guild was not receiving the same level of information. How can I love teaching complete strangers and not teach my own guild mates. So I leave you with a final thought:

While most people in your guild will probably get tired of your theory and discussion if you are as active in gchat as you are on forums and blogs, the occasional educational session will benefit your guilds greatly.

08
Jan
10

LFM again? You’ve got to be kidding

This is becoming a monthly occurrence

So once again I am back ranting about the same issues over and over again, and it is starting to get me truly frustrated. I got home a bit late on Wednesday for the raid, which was suppose to be either ToTGC for some 258 upgrades and Professor Putricide attempts. Our raid invites go out at 6:15 server and we take on time at 6:30. Well I logged on at 6:30 something, and there were less than 20 people in the raid. I just do not understand how we can go through such a good night of raiding the night before, killing two new bosses on both 10 and 25 man with little effort in the grand scheme of things, then not show up the next day for the real progression encounter.

On top of that, we are once again short people as not one but two of our priests bailed on us. One of them had to leave for school for the second time this expansion. Now while its frustrating, killing Anub’arak and Professor Putricide is no where near as important as your education and real life. When I saw that, from a raiding perspective, it sucked because we just got him completely geared up again and ready for content. However, the other priest to jump ship was a even more frustrating. One of our officers and legendary maces just cryptically said that he doesnt miss the game and wont be coming back after the holiday break.

While everyone is entitled to do what they please with their monthly subscription fee, I personally fell that officers, and people who have received a weapon that truly belongs to the guild have a higher obligation. I personally am losing the motivation to play with our guild, but it is my obligation as a MT to stick it out till at least the expansion pack. I think a lot of people don’t see this. Now beyond the amazing amounts of gear and legendary that we lavished our officer with, he was never much of a active leader, so from that perspective we are ok. The biggest problem with these two leaving is that they were two of our better healers, and we still have more than enough to do the encounters, however not enough to have the flexibility for the hard modes, as well as the attendance on our less stellar days.

Obligations and Exits

This has gotten me to think about how I feel about my role in the guild and the game, and how I would make an exit if my time has come. From my perspective, I already know the day I am going to hang up this game, and it has been predetermined by my loyalty to the 15 people that show up day in and day out. The day that the Expansion shows up, I will exit stage left. I am already longing for that day, as dealing with some of the more colorful characters in my guild is not an enjoyable experience, and I feel that even though we are an exceptional guild, who was in the upper echelons of this game, we are still burdened with the casual attitude of carrying less than stellar players because they have earned it by staying around for a really long time.

There is a small part of me that wants to enjoy the truly hard core, where if you are the bottom of the charts, or the guy who always gets hit by flying spell x, you are kicked and a more willing and eager replacement does a better job. However, my loyalty and conscience keep me from that. I have taken more gear than any raider by a considerable amount, and I am the only truly geared tank with any respectable attendance. This is just not something I can do to the friends I have made in my guild over the past few years.

The fork in the road always leads to recruitment

So here is where I go, once again, as we do every other month. We are going to open up recruitment and try to find another diamond in the rough. We are not a high enough tier of guild where we can just say we want some new priests, and tons of people are willing to server transfer. We have to recruit from with in Destromath. A few months ago we got really lucky. We were in need of another rogue, as a few of ours had school conflicts and were just not meeting the attendance requirements that we wanted. We picked up a friend of one of our best raiders, who was vastly under geared and in his first raid his dps was so so at about 5k dps. In a few short weeks of 100% attendance and a lot of gear, he has moved from close to last on the charts to a 10k plus dps machine. If we could get even one more of those in the priest department we would be set.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining, We are a top 500 guild with the capability of clearing pre nerf content with the best of them, in a very small amount of attempts. But for once I felt like our guild was in a great spot when we left for Christmas, we had 35 people in ever raid when we opened up invites, we got Anub hard mode on farm, ICC was a joke, and we were looking forward to clearing some great content. Now we are back in that place of uncertainty, looking for more, and its just frustrating. We will surely survive, we have for 5 years. We will clear almost all of the content, killing more than most, but not reaching that full potential on the cutting edge.

Professor Putricide

The good doctor is stitting with 10 attempts left on him in both my 10 man and the 25 man main raid. here is to hoping that we can get a raid together for Sunday to give it our best. I honestly think that we can kill him this week if we get our A raid in there. We have stellar dps, You only need one tank for most of the fight, and our healers are great. We have always killed things in a very small number of attempts and this would be no different, we just have to get in there.

Gratz to the few of you who have killed him, and good luck to those of you who are still waiting to for a shot…

06
Jan
10

Thoughts on Rotface and Festergut

Time for fun?

After killing Rotface and Fetergut on both 10 and 25 man, I will have to say that so far so good in Icecrown. Blizzard has made some fun encounters and some brilliant art work and mechanics. Last night was void of any tank gear, and we actually disenchanted quite a bit of loot as well, which is always disappointing because upgrades are good, and if no one wants them, then we aren’t benefiting from the loot that is dropping as a raid. I always love new encounter nights, they are long and painful, but very much enjoyable. I was up well into the wee hours of the night raiding because of the server lag and its influence on the speed at which we could clear the instance. We walked into the instance at our usual raid time, and immediately began to pull trash. That is when it happened, the lag set in and before we knew it, we had all 6 packs on top of me. We called for the raid to reset the pulls through the door, and I stayed back to be the meat puppet.

All of a sudden, everyone is running away, and I am at 0 health. My Ardent Defender proc’ed but I didn’t die, and I didn’t get healed back up. I was standing there tanking, and I looked like I had just popped an Ironshield potion. I was all blacked out, and taking no damage, so I decided to run, to save my repair bill. Through the first archway I went, and as I passed under it, the heal from AD proc’ed twice, two more animations, and 60% hp on the health bar. This was a sign that it was going to be a beautiful evening of oddities.

To tank or to kite

We started the night clearing up to the new content, and then starting to pull the trash. Contrary to some reports out there, the trash is AoE’able. Now we didnt do this on purpose, however the lag on the night caused a few more careless pulls, netting us two abominations, and ALL the adds behind them. It was an AoE fest with a few deaths, but nothing too serious. The real fun came with Precious and Stinky. After a wipe on Precious due to the fact that we pulled him along with a few adds who seemed to buff his damage, we had no problem with him. His counterpart, stinky was another story. I am pretty sure our healers were not ready for the decimate plus poison pulse, and we ended up killing him with most of the raid dead.

We picked ourselves back up, walked over to Rotface, and I went over the information that was known about the fight. Since I didn’t know how hard the boss hit, I put myself on the boss on our warrior on the adds. That was my first mistake. Our warrior was trying his best to kite the oozes, but was getting hit like a truck and went down. He got a battle rez and went down again shortly thereafter. At this point we made a bit of a switch. I went on the adds and our warrior went on the boss. The adds were a bit easier for me to handle between pursuit of justice, avengers shield, and my cds. The most difficult part of the first few kites is getting the first two oozes together. This is where your trusty mage comes in…

PRO TIP – The small oozes can be frost nova’ed by mages, if you are having problems with the first two oozes merging into a Big ooze, have a mage follow out the first person who gets mutated infection. When you cleanse it off of the person, the mage frost novas and the ooze is rooted in place. All you have to do is have the second infected victim run on top of the frozen one, and you get an instant Big Ooze

Once I moved onto ooze duty, the fight got a lot smoother. There are still a few more things you have to know about the off tank job. First off, the ooze floods are not completely random. They will only happen in a section of the room that has not already had a flood. This means that you want to start away from the nearest ooze flood and run towards it. By the time you get there, it should have disappeared, the ooze should have about 3 to 4 stacks on it, and you should not have taken any damage. If you have a problem with the randomness of what corner of the room has an ooze flood, it is better to freedom yourself and run through the ooze than to take the big ooze into the raid (as they have a AoE damage aura). Thats about it, rinse and repeat for nice shiny epics.

Somebody light a match

Festergut took about the same learning curve and Rotface for us. A few wipes to clean it up, and then a kill. Because the room starts off with all of the gas in it, and the shadow damage is quite potent, we opted to Bloodlust off the bat to give the healers a bit of extra power for keeping the raid alive till the first round of spores showed up. It is important as a tank to get the spore debuff, but not vital. You should not run away from the boss to try to get to a spore at any time. For tanks this is a simple taunt when i have X stacks type fight (similar to gormok’s bleeds or gluth’s ms stacking debuff). After we worked out all the kinks in the plan, we sent our less geared tank in first to take the damage when Festergut hits the lightest. He starts out hitting quite soft, but quickly ramps up to taking 30k off your life every swing, so it is imperative to have your better geared tank taking the damage when he has done his last inhale.

This fight is pretty straight forward and is more of a dps check and coordination check. While I say that, it is just as much of a tank gear check with the damage numbers that were flying around for us last night. There are a few things that you can do to help your raid out if you are in trouble. On the 10 man that I ran later in the night, Our warrior got rocked and died and we did not have a battle rez. The stacking debuf that festergut puts on you is cleared by your bubble. When I was at 8 stacks, the spores spawned and I called for everyone to move to the ranged spores (as they were both out there). At that point, I quickly mashed my /cancelaura DS macro, and cleared the stacks. This allowed me to tank him for over two minutes straight, and enough time for our dps to kill him before the enrage timer went off. This is more of a last resort thing for now, but later I am sure that our guild, and many others, will try to single tank it to see how fast we can kill him.

Gear Sets for the fights

While a few of my colleagues at MainTankadin were fortunate enough to be able to wear their threat sets to these fights, I was in full effective health gear with a double pot of an Ironsheild potion. Unless you are in a cutting edge progression guild, I would suggest that you go into the fight in your full effective health set, to see if your healers can handle the damage, and then move on to your other sets if you feel that your survival is not in danger. I may be completely off in my estimations of survival from last night because our server was lagging a lot (and as a result our healers may have been slow to get heals off), but its always better to be safe than sorry.

On to Professor Putricide tonight, as the encounter is “working as intended…”

05
Jan
10

Rotface, Festergut, and the Good Doctor

The nerf bat is quick

I wanted to talk a bit about Rotface and Festergut because those are the two bosses we have the most information about in the upcoming wing of ICC which was released today, but I would like to start with another small rant pointed in the direction of blizzard. They have decided to nerf Lady Deathwhisper already and make her easier to kill. While I understand that not every guild is like ours, and some people struggle with this encounter every week, what is the point of creating any difficult content if you make it easier 4 weeks after it came out. There is no reason for a challenge if you remove the challenge so quickly.

1/5/10 The Lady Deathwhisper encounter has seen the following changes in the 25 player normal version: mana pool has been reduced, the health on all adds has been reduced, and Adherents will wait a little longer after spawning before they start casting.
Source

This fight was never “hard.” It was challenging for the first few attempts and as you gained more perspective on the keys to killing the boss, it became much more trivial. Our alt raid usually gets overwhelmed once a week, however its nothing that we can not over come. Part of me can understand nerfing something like Lady Vashj or even KT back in the SSC/TK days, or nerfing Sunwell when 3.0 came out, but most of the nerfs in this expansion pack have not been that warranted. There are times where the community cries out that a nerf is necessary to kill a boss like Yogg +0, then Stars comes along and laughs at all of us with their kill shot. That is about as extreme as it got in Wrath of the Lich King. Most nerfs were too early.

Speculation on Rotface and Festergut

There is a very nice write up of the Rotface encounter over at StratFu, so I wont spend too much time doubling its efforts here. I will, once we get some kills in, add some information to the Icecrown Citadel section of the blog. From reading up on the fight, and understanding most of the encounter from a high level perspective, this fight should be quite straight forward for us as tanks. If you are the main tank, your job is about as easy as it gets. I would compare this fight to a combination of Lord Jaraxxus and Grobbulus. As the main tank you can stand still and build threat for most of the fight, occasionally moving the boss out of the Unstable Ooze Explosion.

As for gear for the Main Tank, we have yet to see how hard the bosses melee hits are, however with Slime Spray (Raining Green Ooze. Deals 6k Nature damage to enemies in cone in front of the caster every second for 5 seconds) there is a descent amount of nature damage being thrown around, so a full armor set will not be as beneficial as a max stamina set.

Festergut has some interesting mechanics which will make the fight a bit more than a tank and spank, but not by much. I see his mechanics aligning slightly with Algalon, minus the huge burst and the need to have a TON of health. He places a debuf on his current target called Gastric Bloat which Inflicts 12k damage and applies Gastric Bloat to the target, increasing damage done by 10% for 1.67 min (100 seconds) and will cause a Gastric Explosion at 10 stacks inflicting massive damage to nearby allies. This means that you will have to taunt before the stacks get too high. While most of the PTR videos I watched had tanks have much less than 10 stacks, this may be a change from the PTR to the Live version. Either way, you will want to watch your debufs when tanking this bad boy this week.

This fight seems more like a healer check than anything else, as the need for healing oscillates between a lot of raid damage and a lot of tank damage based on the number of breaths he has taken. Because of the ample amount of shadow damage that is flying around the room, you will once again see a mixture of magic and physical damage which will make a max hp set more viable for survival, and armor will be less of a benefit for preventing spikes which will cause tank deaths. This assumption is based off of Theck’s new formula which I talked about a while back. The reasoning behind this is that, unless the physical damage is substantial, more than a good percentage of your total damage taken will result in non physical damage, making stamina more powerful than armor.

Professor Putricide

Little is known about the good doctor, and I do not care to speculate too much about the mechanics of the fight, so I will leave all of my comments on this fight until after we have seen it. It is important to remember that there is an attempt counter for the encounter so It is advisable that you are putting your best foot forward when walking into this encounter. For those 25 man raiders, running your 10s first will give you a good idea if your 25 man can handle what he is throwing out there.

Good luck to everyone tonight, may the epics fall from the skies. I hope to see you with some fresh kill shots tomorrow!

04
Jan
10

Not Looking for Heroics…

Vindictive people suck

I rarely bitch and moan about these type of things on my blog, but today I was faced with one of those individuals for whom you truly wish would get what is coming to them. I know that WoW is a game, and that for a small monthly fee, you are basically allowed to do what ever you please with your character, however I ran into a new and painful method of greifing which I hope blizzard fixes quite soon.

I logged on this morning to do my daily heroic on my toons, another one of those great inventions that I must thank blizzard for in the future (lets put people that can kill Heroic Dungeon bosses in less than 20 seconds back in there so they can revisit the encounters and think of better days) for the Emblem of Frost system that has allowed everyone to get the gear that they want at little to no true difficulty, and make the people that will actually put it to good use farm for months on end. Ok, sorry about that little rant, I’m ok now.

Back to the story, I logged on, queued for a dungeon with a few guildies, and got a pug healer and dps. We zoned into the lorefest of an instance that is Caverns of Time, and quickly went about our business of waiting for Arathas’s slow ass to make it to the start of the zone. Once we got going, everything was fine, but I noticed that our healer was in full pvp gear, disc spec, and basically throwing bubbles out and /afk. I think that if there was a tank in there which wasnt as geared he would have been kicked before the first boss. Well, no matter for our group, I have like 50k hp and can heal myself. First boss up, first boss down in record time. Second boss up, Second boss down just as quick.

moving on to the final gauntlet with 11 minutes left on the timer for the bronze drake, and the priest says:

Sorry guys, I gotta take off, good luck, yes yes I really have to go even though we are 3 minutes from clearing the instance…

and promptly teleports out of the dungeon. For the first 30 seconds, I thought maybe something was wrong, or he had to help his gramdam because she fell down the stairs. But as time passed, it was obvious that he intentionally left the instance, while staying in the party so that we could not get another healer into the instance. We tried inviting a guildy to the party, and found that we had saved him but he couldn’t get in the instance. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to get this guy out of our party, all the while reciving messages which told us we could not Vote to Kick this player at the current time, we ended up having to disband the group and run a whole new instance.

While normally its not that big of a deal, I understand if people have to go, or if an emergency comes up, but this guy was doing it on purpose, just to spite us. Since he was out of the instance, and on another server, I couldn’t kick him, I couldn’t ignore him, we were just forced to run another instance due to someones idea of a sick joke. I really hope blizzard fixes this kind of thing. They should put a time limit on trips away from the dungeon before you are automatically kicked. Needless to say, after that experience, until the system is changed, I will be running my 1 a day with guildies and no more charity work for the needy.

03
Jan
10

2009 Year in Review

After a much needed long vacation from work and obligations, I am getting ready to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately blizzard was not as nice to me and dropped 3.3, making me log on every day for the heroic daily, apparently I got coal from them this year. Either way, the holidays have come and gone, and as we start a new year, and a new decade, its time to take a look back to see where we have been so we can understand where it is we want to go…

I know I am a bit late on the survey, but I thought it would be nice to toss my hat in the ring so to speak with my thoughts on the 2009 year…

1. What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Crazy as it may seem, 2009 was the first time I have ever been a Paladin tank. I have spent a long time in end game guilds in this game, casually pushing the envelope, however for Vanilla I was a warrior tank and for TBC, I was a holy paladin. While I am not new to tanking end game progression encounters, and I am not new to pushing the envelope of very very difficult encounters, this is the first time I did it as a paladin and a tank.

In addition to respecing my paladin as a tank, I reassumed a leadership role in my guild as an officer (I was an officer as the warrior MT in my Vanilla Guild), started a blog (this one!), and became an avid theorycrafter and daily poster on MainTankadin.

2. What was your favorite new place that you visited?

Contrary to most peoples opinions, I loved the concepts which were employed in Trial of the Grand Crusade. Our guild has always prided ourselves on quality over quantity. While tons of hard core guilds around the world began to implode because of the attempt counters, we were loving every minute of it. The added challenge of having a limit on the number of attempts added an extra level of difficulty.

I also have to say that Heroic 25 man Anub’arak was by far the most fun, challenging, and rewarding encounter to learn to tank. Assembling the unhittable set, learning the camera angles to pull the mobs, and getting used to having to tank and interrupt the mobs was something that I will always look back on with fond (if not frustrated) memories.

3. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

I have been fortunate enough to see most of the content when it was progression, and get the gear and opportunities that I wanted. The thing that I would love to have in 2010 that we had trouble with in 2009 is attendance for our 25 man raids. As successful as our guild has been, and as talented as we are, our attendance is our single largest factor to our “slower” progression. Anub took us under 100 attempts, yet it took us months, because we didn’t have the people to clear the instance on multiple days. I dont think that 3 days of raiding is too much to ask for the caliber of raiding that we provide, but apparently some of our raiders do.

4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

So many to choose from, yet only one should be the greatest achievement. Part of me wants to say Anub’arak, as it was a stressful encounter and a steep learning curve for me, however that fight was not about tanking, as much as it was about healing in P3. I think that the thing that stands out the most for me is the resiliency of my guild. We stood by and watched as guild after guild imploded, lost raiders, lost leadership, and either vanished into thin air or server transferred off. Our guild has been around for five years, and been a top PvE guild on our server the entire time. We have survived many leadership changes, member losses, and encounter road blocks, and all the while we are still alive, kicking, and doing things better (with respect to quality over quantity) than anyone else on the server.

5. What was your biggest failure?

Recruiting a consistent, reliable, and talented tank that appreciates the role of Main Tank as much as I do. Since I hit 80 on my paladin and started tanking in this expansion pack, I have tanked alongside 6 different warriors, 2 different paladins, 2 deathknights, and 4 druids, and I am the only consistent one. As the tank officer, I have tried my best to get a suitable replacement for a few of our great tanks that had to hang it up for real life, and I have yet to do so. Most of the tanks that I have had the pleasure of raiding with were ok at best. On three different occasions I had to educate tanks on their class. There is something wrong when a Paladin is telling a Warrior how to play their class, or a DK why they need more expertise.

6. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I think I have been the most excited about the gear sets in Icecrown Citadel. The thought of having a threat set, an effective health set, and an avoidance set which all come from different sets of core gear is really exciting to me. Currently, I have tons of different trinkets, rings, necks, and a smaller subset of gear that is gemmed and enchanted differently for these three roles, but in ICC, blizzard has finally stepped up and given us gear for the specific facets of tanking. There is Hit and Expertise gear, there is bonus armor gear, and there is pure avoidance gear. I love it!

7. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stand around in Dalaran and wait for a full raid. As I had mentioned earlier, our guild was plagued with poor attendance from key roles throughout the year. It was partially due to a small raid roster, and partially due to the fact that we have some people that take the concept of casual hard core to the limit. It is really frustrating as an officer when you have 15 to 20 really dedicated, and really talented raiders whispering you asking why we cant raid, or why we are not recruiting more people to fill these spots. Well we have recruited more, we have filled the spots, and we hope that coming off of the 2009 holiday season, we can hit ICC like a freight train.

8. What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?

I don’t listen to any podcasts, and I dont really know why, I just have not gotten into them. As for blogs, my blog role is long and distinguished (top gun anyone?), but my favorites are by far the talented and consistent musings of…

Rhidach
Honorshammer
The Children of Wrath
Pwnwear
Altadin
Divine Plea

9. Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.

I think one of the most important things that I learned this year, and it is something that has helped me mature as a tank, a member of the paladin community, and a theorycrafter is that you have to share your opinions and knowledge in order to mature as a player. I find that I have become a much better player as a result of becoming a contributor to MainTankadin and this blog. As I began to share my opinions, and as a result educating the community, I have learned so much more. This learning has been augmented by the discussions I have had with the other tanks in the community. The more you discuss your opinions and philosophies, the more you grow and learn how to better yourself.

Happy New Years to everyone out there, I hope it is a great year for each and every person that this reaches…




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