Archive for April, 2010


New Theory on ICC Gemming

Transitions in Gear Enhancement

What does the  Strength of Wrynn (10%)Hellscream’s Warsong (10%) do for you with respect to gearing philosophy? For me, and a few select other tanks in the world, it will do nothing. There are a few fights which we are still facing where pure effective health, pure stamina stacking, and piling on as much armor as possible will still be the paramount goal of our gearing, gemming, and enchanting philosophy. However, for everyone else, there is an opportunity to be had here with respect to a more balanced gear set.

The crossing point where you can start to evaluate your gemming and enchanting philosophies, and return to a holistic and balanced way of placing gems in your gear, has to be an individual decision however the decision just got easier with the arrival the 10% buff. Any tank who is not currently working on cleaning up the last few hard modes in ICC can more than likely trade pure stamina for a more comprehensive balance of gems. I have at present run into tank death issues on only one fight, Sindragosa 25 man Hard Mode and Lich King 10 man Hard Mode. All of the other fights which I have killed do not present a large enough threat to my survival to warrant gemming pure Stamina. However for me, and the handful of tanks who are knocking on Lich King Hard Modes door, we can not change our stam stacking ways. This is due to the sheer size of melee hits, special attacks and overall damage which we will take on these encounters.

Gimme a number, whats the breaking point

For those of you who are working on normal mode or the early hard modes in ICC, it seems that the two most threatening attacks come from a Festergut Three inhale melee hit and Lich King’s Soul Reaper. Both of these are along the same lines when it comes to TTL as Festergut hits harder but Soul Reaper/Melee combos are very deadly with out proper cool downs. Last week, unknown to my guild, I tested something on our Lich King kill to prove a point to the greater community. In my previous blog about the EH minimum for three hits during the normal mode lich king encounter, I was using data which was slightly skewed because of the fact that I was diligent about using cool downs during soul reaper. Don’t tell Kitty (our Holy Paladin) but I didn’t blow cds last week at all, just to get a nice data set, since I knew that I out-geared the fight.

Now unfortunately, our WWS parser’s computer was taking a crap so he turned off his add on to parse the fight, however if you would like to take my word for it, I did not die, we one shot the boss, and everything is right with the world. I had 58.1k hp and 39k armor. These are stats which are above the EH minimum for the Lich King Normal encounter in 25 man ICC. I got close, quite a few times, and by close I am talking 5% or lower. While this is a lot of hand waving, and I am definitely not one who condones that on the MainTankadin site, this will have to do for now, until I can provide you with a WWS parse at a later time.

Stamina is King, why should I switch?

The benefit of being above the effective health minimum is that from the perspective of TTL, you are no better off by adding 300 hp as you are by adding threat or avoidance. Until you can overcome that next hit, you will be killed by a lot or by a little, but you will still be dead. This means that we want to gear towards the EH threshold which we set based on our healing and progression, and then we can enhance our gear as we see fit. Lets take a look at the benefits and tradeoffs of gemming holistically. This first link is my current gear set for hard mode encounters. I have almost exclusively gemmed and Enchanted for Stamina. There are a few exceptions which are either relics of ToTGC (my shield) or movement towards the new philosophy (my chest).  Click on the picture to take you to the Chardev link…

As you can see, I have 45k unbuffed health, with a significant amount of armor and reasonable amounts of avoidance. Now what I will do is change my gems around to a holistic approach for maximum survival (aka defense and agility gems as opposed to threat gems) and see what we get from those modifications. The important thing to remember is that while we have been in an era where stamina trumps all other stats (save armor in most situations), the ability to transition away from max stamina is possible. For most tanks, it may even be a wise choice to do so, because you will avoid more, or be able to produce more threat.

The trade off that we see here is 1290 health for almost a full 1% avoidance. While that does not seem like much, we are first and foremost talking about min/maxing our characters. Secondly that is 1% avoidance that you didn’t have before which you are getting for stamina that will not save your life from a pure TTL stand point. You are also gaining 60 armor and 0.57% crit. These are small numbers, but when we consider that we were all willing to trade off our gemming philosophies for 6 stamina here, and 9 there, it is the same value increases, only we are going from stam stacking where it was readily visible on our health bars to a slightly more intangible benefit.

Lastly, we can see what happens if we gem for something other than survival and avoidance. What happens if you are not concerned about your survival, as we rarely see tank deaths, but your dps is getting very geared and you are starting to have threat issues. Or from a different perspective, you just want to increase your threat output so you can brag about it. Lets swap all the red sockets with strength/stamina gems and the yellow sockets with hit and crit / stamina gems.

And now, we have gained attack power and block value, as well as a substantial amount of hit to increase our threat output while not sacrificing too much survival. In the end it is up to you to decide what you want to do with your gear, how you want to enhance it, and to what end. It is important to understand why you are modifying your gear. Is it to ensure that you are taking less overall damage and give your healers a bit more breathing room, is it because of the fact that your dps is very geared and you are having trouble out threating them, or do you still die to encounters as a result of your lack of health. Once you have answered these questions you can start to think about how you want to alter your gear to achieve these goals.

Modifying gemming is only the beginning. We can start to swap out our Gladiator’s shoulder enchants, our Chest, gloves, boots, shield and weapon enchants as well. These were sacrifices which we made in the name of stamina stacking which we can now change. While I did not provide these changes in the discussion above, as I wanted to focus on gemming, they are worth while and powerful modifications which will further trade health for avoidance or threat. If enough interest is shown for a complete overhaul, I will mock up two gear sets based off of gemming and enchanting changes.


Blizzard’s April Fools!

Wrathy the Tuskar Pally!

I am a walrus and a Ninja, oh and I cheese my way to achievements!


my not so brief history, part 2

Developing a Passion for PvP

After the first week of PvP as a prot warrior, I started to think that it would be fun to be one of those guys that runs into the pack of 5 players and just destroys all of them. Unfortunately, I did not really have the gear for said activity, so I set out to get it, at first by getting the ranks to get the rare quality pvp gear, and later to start getting stuff in BWL and MC which would help my cause. As the PvP addiction grew, so did my time in game, and I started to see how people had so much time /played.

Our guild was running tons of instances including MC, BWL and ZG every week, and we were clearing them in a relatively quick fashion. As the gear showered down on the 40 man raids (and 20 mans when referring to ZG), more and more loot dropped for my PvP quest. After a few weeks of being Farm flag lackey, I decided to start smashing face. I never thought that some of my experiences in PvP would make me a better PvE player, but they did for both my warrior at this point in my career, and my paladin later on in WoW. I was learning the fine art of warrior stun locking and kiting.

As the weeks progressed, I was guarenteed a spot in the High Warlord (rank 14) grind group. For those of you who did not play in Vanilla WoW, pvp gear was achieved by attaining a certain rank. Each rank brought new rewards, and with those rewards, a title. The ranks were fluid and were modified every Tuesday during the realm restart. Each week the person with the most Honor gained got the most movement and ranking, and it decayed rapidly from there. It has been a very long time so I am not sure exactly how it worked, but I was well aware of it at the time and payed close attention. Our grind group was there to ensure that there was some order in the way that people made it to Rank 14. Since the 20 or so people who ran in the group were PvPing more than anyone else, we could ensure that the person with the most honor got first on the Realm when it came to honor.

The grind became a complicated process because of the fact that I was raiding every night but still had to get in my pre-requisite 100-400k honor depending on what rank I was. I was honing my skills as a warrior in BWL every week, working on trash pack pulls, line of sight techniques, and learning the in’s and out’s of my class. More importantly, I learned about one of my favorite aspects of being a tank during this time, the fact that I know everything that every mob in an instance does. This was a skill set which was lost when I was a healer, and it was something which I missed during that period, but for now, I knew how to pull every mob in BWL, what they did, and how the reacted to specific situations. I was also becoming more spatially and environmentally aware as I became one of the best tanks in our raid at picking up stray adds, aggro pulls, inadvertent pulls, etc.

Leading the Grind Group

After about a month and a half of PvPing every week, the bulk of our officers had reached rank 14, gotten their titles and their shiny new weapons, and they stepped down from the grind group. This was right about the time where I apparently got my first sole leadership position in a game. I logged on one Tuesday after our GM got high warlord and immediately got a ton of whispers asking me when I was going to start the group. I found it funny that I was no where near high warlord, and was not intending on going that far, however I was the one people turned to to lead the group.

Around the same time, something amazing happened during those Alt MC runs I spoke about earlier. I had been running these raids for a few months now, and everyone was quite geared. We were farming the place and getting those last few pieces before AQ opened up and we would no longer go back to MC. For months, I had passed every piece of gear that had dropped to alts and friends who didn’t raid that much, because of the fact that I was a full tier above them in gear, and already had all of my MC gear. There was one thing that alluded me, and it was a Thunderfury. Our Main tank and one of our off tanks had gotten their bindings and completed the quests to get their weapons, and I was up next.

About the same time that I was in line for a legendary, I started the alt run. That was my one caveat to the raid, the guild, and the people who I helped. I wanted the bindings if they dropped, since it would help our main raid in BWL and later AQ. Well the night that started off as routine and ended in an amazing fashion was not what I thought it would be. I walked up to Garr and killed him, but no binding droped. We destroyed Baron Geddon, and still no binding. I was giving up on my dreams of a legendary. All that work in the alt run, and we had yet to see a binding, while the main run had seen three more left ones. Then it happened, we killed ragnaros and I went to pass out the T2 legs and other shinnies, and there was a pink orb on the boss!

The Hand of Ragnaros

I was amazed. In the months and months that our guild had run MC, we had never seen an Eye of Ragnaros, and yet here I was, the only main in an alt run which had cost me lots and lots of repair bills, thousands of DKP above the next person, and ready to take my reward for all my hard work. I got the eye, and I got the shaft from our GM. He would not give me the mats needed to craft the mace, so I leaned on my friends and borrowed 5,000g (which back then was an enormous sum of money) to purchase the Sulfuron Ingots to craft the mace. Two hours later I had a 2 handed legendary mace in my hands!

By this time, I was probably around rank 10 and had a good deal of PvE dps gear which I used during the grind groups time. There was no such thing as resilience, there was no such thing as arena, and there was no such thing as arena points. There was only honor, rank, and with rank the ability to purchase gear for gold. The day after I got my Hand of Ragnaros, I logged on and started the grind group, with my shiny new weapon. Something had changed, as if over night, alliance were running AWAY from me, not towards me. I had pocket healers, and was on top of the scoreboard every week.

The bug instance and the rise of a Main Tank

Around the same time as I reached rank 12 (General), with no less than 700k honor, we were starting to clear AQ20 and some of AQ40. We were doing fairly well, getting our bug mounts in AQ, and trying to raise our rep with those damn hated Brood. As the weeks past, our main tank got less and less interested in the game, due to the burn out that comes from MTing a guild for a long time. He just disappeared one week and left me in charge. With a vacant hole in the MT position I stepped up and took the reins, and we started to progress again. Soon enough we were face to face with Huhuran.

While AQ is a faceroll instance in level 80 gear with 5 people, it was quite the opposite at level 60. Huhu was one of the more challenging bosses ever, and in my opinion showed who deserved to be a tank and who just went through the motions. She was immune to taunt, and required tanks swaps at specific times. This means that you had to ride the threat of the current tank and pass him up in a crescendo of heroic strikes and shield slams. After a lot of effort, and a specific bind in vent for the tanks, we got the mechanics down and subsequently the boss (On a completely random aside, my off tank for this fight just happens to be sitting a few feet away from me at work).

I was now a Main Tank, with all the responsibilities that came with it. I was also an officer, and a leader in our guild. As the days past, and The Burning Crusade’s release date loomed, we started raiding a bit less, pvping a bit more for fun, and taking a well deserved break from the long raid week. With the advent of 2.0, everything changed, people were overpowered, and warriors were gods. It was an extremely fun time, and although I did not know it at the time, the last time I would have fun on my warrior. The burning crusade was upon us, and it was time to level.

TBC, Auchindoun, and a transformation

On the first day of The Burning Crusade, I was excited and ready to level, I had specced Arms, wearing my Hand of Ragnaros and pvp gear and ventured through the dark portal. I did a few quests and it seemed as though the mobs out there had a lot more life and were taking a long time to kill with my very very good gear. An aside:

I wanted to mention that I HATE, HATE, HATE leveling with a passion, so this time in my WoW career was not looked upon with fond memories….

Anyways, after about an hour of questing in Hellfire, a few friends logged on and they wanted to try the new instances, as there was less ganking, less lag, and over all less problems. Couple that with the new gear which was better than some of our tier gear, we saw a win win situation. Ironically two of people who ventured into this instance are still playing and raiding in Crypt Friends, although one of them is me, and everyone else has since departed from this game. We took two prot warriors, a newly re-speced feral druid, warlock and resto druid. Not what you would call a balanced group, but it was fun, and we killed things fast. After a long day of running instances and resetting them, I was at level 62, and one of the highest in the guild.

A few days and a few levels past, and I was asked to tank an instance in Auchindoun by a few guildies. I was level 66, still in full T2, and ready and willing. Little did I know that this would be one of the two most important days in my WoW career, and a transformational change was about to happen. We were starting to clear the instance when the final straw hit the camels back. I had pulled a three pack of trash mobs, and started to establish aggro on them using my normal rotation, and I noticed that two of the rouges in the group had aggro on two different mobs. While the days of 5 sunders are far gone, and I had established long before that day that I knew how to tank multiple mobs as a warrior, this just did not sit well for me. I asked the rogues to wait a few seconds for me to get aggro before they attack and to attach my target.

After a few more trash packs with similar results, I was getting frustrated and reminded the rogues to wait, and their response was “its ok, we can just tank these ourselves.” I was done. I politely finished the rest of the instance and logged off. That was the last time I ever considered my warrior my main, and he would rot at level 66 for a very long time.

I will call her Wrathy!

Shortly after the burning crusade was released, I created a level 1 blood elf female paladin to see the starting zone. As I told you earlier, I hate to level and never had any intentions of that alt getting above level 5, I just wanted to see the area. Up to this point in my WoW career, I had leveled my warrior all the way up to 60 and then started TBC, I had a warlock who was in the 40s, and I had twink 19 mage. Now I had a level 1 paladin.

The same week that I quit playing my warrior, I was approached by a co-worker who had stepped away from the game for a little while. He wanted to level a shadow priest and I offered to help, and play casually. I had heard that paladins and shadow priests work well together in the leveling process, and so off I went leveling a new toon and leaving General Wrathizol with the Hand of Ragnaros on the shelf, gathering dust. The journey had begun, my paladin was very fun to level and I was not having issues with it.

I had decided that the paladin was the correct class for me to level for a few reasons. First, there were not many of them and so I could fill a vacant role in the guild, seeing as I stepped down from the Main Tank position. And secondly, I had very little confidence in the healing corps of our guild, they complained that healing was much harder and that they were doing their best. I set out to prove to them that healing was not harder than tanking, and that they just needed to put forth the effort. About a month later, I had a level 70 paladin, with blue healing gear who was as ready to raid as possible.

I stepped into a Kara raid in my blues, when others had weeks and weeks of epics, and out played every healer we had. A similar pattern started to emerge in gruul’s lair, magtheridon’s lair, and any instance I stepped foot into. I was our guilds best healer, and I was starting to understand that Souls of FxC was not going to provide me with the raiding experience I wanted. As one of the more long standing officers, and one of the best healers we had, I was faced with a tough decision. Do I leave FxC for greener pastures, or stick it out. About the same time, my roommate had similar feelings about our guild, and applied to one of the best guilds on the server, Crypt Friends, and was accepted. Losing an officer from FxC was a wake up call to the guild, and it set the wheels in motion for the next few chapters of my WoW career.

Once again, To Be Continued…


  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago