Posts Tagged ‘Trial of the Crusade


What Gear For What Fight?

Ulduar is NO MORE!

A quick aside to the purpose of this post; I am finally free of Ulduar for good unless I want to level another character. Last night we finally took a group into a partially cleared Ulduar to blow up Yoggy with three keepers to get our next mace. Since we did not want to clear the entire instance, as most of us are beyond burnt out of that instance, we got saved to another guild on the server’s instance. Because we stole that instance, we invited a few players from the guild we borrowed it from to come along for the ride for some achievements. After basically 21 manning the instance, and a few wipes on three keeper because our brain blood lust was a pug, yogg was down, we had another mace, and I was a very happy camper.

Gear sets for each boss of the Trial of the Crusader

In response to Amico’s request, I wanted to highlight the encounters of the trial and what gear sets I prefer to use based on my role. After I start to think about this, I have noticed that even the tanks I know that have gear sets often forget to swap them around for different boss fights, trash, etc. Now thats not to say that I am not guilty of this, as my number one swapping error is usually going from General to Yogg. That A’HAH moment usually came around the first tentacle when I did not see heart of the crusader up on my target. Not a big deal for normal yogg, but when you are pushing the encounter with less keepers, the 3% crit really helps. But in the end, what is the point of having gear sets if you don’t use them to the fullest.

NOTE: for the purpose of this discussion, any time I talk about Hard Mode versions of these fights, you can assume that I mean progression fights. So, if you are working on normal mode, and it is a progression fight for you, you should be wearing what I outline in the HM fights. If you have anub’arak on farm on hard mode (mel…), then you can take these suggestions at face value.

Northrend Beasts

Normal Mode: For this fight the most important things that you have to gear for are the impale/ferocious butt and threat on P3. For me the trumping issue of this fight on normal mode is P3 and the aggro that is generated during the stunned part of the phase. My guilds dps is getting to the point where I am having a hard time keeping up on threat between the Ferocious Butt and being knocked across the room on the charges. The impale on normal mode does not hit hard enough that you should have to worry about stacking effective health.

Gear Set – Threat Set.

Hard Mode: For this fight, the amount of damage that you take from unmittigated hits due to Impale and Ferocious Butt are more than your threat set can handle. Needless to say, any fight where you are getting hit for as much as this fight dishes out should require your effective health set. This fight has a great combination of dps and tanking gear checks, and as a result you want to have as much effective health as possible.

Gear Set – Effective Health Set.

Lord Jaraxxus

Normal Mode: There are two different roles that a tank has to fulfill on this encounter, the role of meat shield for Lord Jaraxxus, and off tank or run around and pick EVERYTHING up. For normal mode, if your mages (and to a lesser degree shamans and priests) are doing their job right, then you should have no survival issues on either normal or hard mode. For tanking Lord Jaraxxus, I always wear my threat set. The way that our guild does the encounter, we have our melee dps riding my threat the enitre fight, with the ranged killing the adds. The biggest issue with this is the dps race on the boss and adds. Jaraxxus hits like a kitten, with the exception of his Nether Power, and as such survival is not much of an issue. As for the role of off tank, threat, quick pickups and landing your taunts is the most important part of your job. Because you are only tanking adds, and the pickups and quick burst of threat are important, being hit capped with a threat set is very helpful in doing your job.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: While the Nether Power creates more of an issue on hard mode, and you have a dps race to the portals where every single dps swaps to the portals, Surviving is more of an issue and priority over bursts of threat. Because of the continuous swaps, you will always have a healthy threat lead on your dps. I like to be conservative when it comes to survival on progression / hard mode fights, as there are many things that can cause you do be killed. For these reasons, I always wear my effective health set for this boss fight, with a bit more focus on avoidance (Here is where I am going to lose a few people). I swap out my Heart of Iron for the Ony trinket to give me a bit more avoidance, as I don’t get hit that hard and I still have over 50k hp raid buffed. I find that the less that the healers have to worry about me, the more they can focus on Incinerate Flesh, Chain Lightenings, and the adds damage.

Gear Set – Effective Health / Avoidance

Faction Champions

Normal Mode: This fight is 100% about control and focused dps. I do not swap from protection, and as a result I find that my best utility comes from cleansing, Divine sacrifice, and BoP’s/Freedoms, and above all, lots of taunts. For normal mode, the dps burst from the npc’s is not unmanageable, and dps is the best way to combat this both from the focused dps of your raid, and the amount of damage you can do to the target  you are assigned to distract the npc healers. I like to be hit capped so that my taunts land every time on the target that I am dragging out of the raid, I also like the 2 piece T9 set bonus to reduce the time on my Hand of Reckoning. Luckily my threat set is two piece T8 and T9 for the set bonuses. As long as you are attacking your taunt target, and you have Divine Plea up, you should have plenty of mana to cleanse your entire raid and taunt every time its off cd.

Gear Set – Threat Set

Hard Mode: As taunting is no longer an option in this fight, my main roles in this fight are cleansing, BoP/Freedom, and above all the use of my Divine Sacrifice on cooldown. Because the fights can last up to 20 minutes, the more times you can get your bubble sac off the better. I like to use a modified effective health set for this fight, as the more health you have, the more you will be absorbing by your Bubble sac. As long as you have your four piece T9 on, stack as much stamina as possible. With this, you can mitigate the initial pull’s burst damage on the raid, as well as every 1.5 minutes give the healers some breathing room. Cleanse liberally, BoP on cool down, and keep your mana up and you will serve your purpose for this fight.

Gear Set – Effective Health (4 Piece T9)

Twin Val’kyrs

Normal Mode: As this fight comes with some interesting dps buffs in the form or the orbs and the Light Essence / Dark Essence benefits, threat will be paramount to this fight. Depending on your strategy and the gear levels of your dps, you can be left with very few stacks from the orbs while your dps could be easily pulling 12k. From a tanking perspective, and a threat perspective, I like to compare this fight to Hodir’s threat gimmicks. As a result, producing the maximum amount of threat will help you. The damage that the twins themselves do is not enough to worry about being in an effective health set as they do not hit hard unless they are under the Power of the Twins buffs, in which cool downs can be used if you feel that you are taking too much damage.

Gear Set: Threat Set

Hard Mode: The fight is exactly the same on hard as it is on normal with the exception of the fact that they (both the bosses and their shields) have considerably more health, and the AoE damage is increased a LOT. The damage from the twins themselves is not something that should concern you enough to put on your effective health set, but when you introduce the AoE damage, and the fact that the tanks don’t switch colors during the vortexes, maximum stamina is the only way to go on this fight. While threat may become an issue, as you will have your dps pushing as hard as possible to prevent a 6th ability, your threat should be sufficient in your effective health set if you position yourself to get a lot of the orbs.

Gear Set: Effective Health


For Anub’arak, instead of breaking it down into normal and hard mode, I am going to split it between tanking the boss and tanking the adds. The unmitigated damage from the freezing slash is enough for me to want to wear the same set on normal and hard mode if you are taking the boss. When you get to the point where you are killing Anub’arak on 25 man Hard Mode you can downgrade to your threat set for normal mode boss tanking, but until then, better safe than sorry.

Tanking the Boss: Freezing Slash is all that needs to be said. Threat is a consideration, but not at the cost of survival. The 2-3 seconds of unmitigated damage plus the constant damage in phase three is enough that you should be wearing as much health and armor as possible. I dont really know if there is anything more that needs to be highlighted about this role or the reasoning behind the gear.

Gear Set: Effective Health

Tanking the Adds: I have explained the mechanics behind the adds and their expose weakness debufs here, so I wont get into too much detail on this one. You have to stack as much block value and block rating as possible to try to get to passively unhittable. Even if you do not have the gear set, the more block value and rating you have the better to mitigate the damage. On 10 man Hard mode, if you have an unhittable set, you will literally tank 0 damage.

Gear Set: Passively Unhittable


Min / Maxing and Socketing


It may come as a surprise to some of you but I have a rather geared alt. When I first started playing Wrath of the Lich King, I wanted to play a pure dps class, so that farming, questing, earning gold, and raiding were a bit more “fun.” So I took my little level 39 twink hunter and leveled her all they way to 80. As soon as I started gearing her, I was asked to tank as a protection paladin for my guild. So my stint as a dps’er lasted a total of one week at 80. However after naxx got boring, and ulduar got on farm, I was able to gear up my hunter. I leveled as beast mastery, was one of the server’s first hunters to have a spirit beast (for those of you who only care about tanking, its an extremely rare cat that requires the 51 point beast mastery to tame and use), and Loved BM. Well, BM got nerfed, Survival got a huge buff, and off i went into the world of explosive shot.

Well, when we were in full hard mode gear in Ulduar and ToTC and farming for Emblems of Triumph took away most of my attention, my poor little alt was gathering dust. Last night we ran an alt ToTC 10 man and I brought my hunter. Well I’m in a mix of Naxx Best in Slot, Ulduar Best in Slot, and ToTC welfare epics, and I had to switch again, this time to Marksmanship. Where is this story about a hunter on a prot pally site going?

Min/Maxing – To ArP or Agi for a hunter

I want to use my hunter as an analogy for our tanks and our constant struggle to try to maintain the balance of stam, avoidance, and mitigation. As a survival hunter, agility is king, you gem agility the way most tanks gem stam, e.g. all the sockets but the ones to activate your meta. ArP is the number one stat for MM hunters as most of their damage comes from physical attacks (most of SV is explosive shot, or fire damage). So I am sitting on my alt, newly learning the MM rotation, full of agility gems, with no armor penetration in sight.

I start up a conversation with our token “i pull 9k dps regularly” MM hunter and he starts talking about ArP and how I should totally regem my alt so that I can gain a couple hundred DPS. Don’t get me wrong, I always strive to do more damage, however, dropping 10 epic red gems on an alt to go from 6k dps to 6.5k dps really is NOT my idea of money well spent. For my hunter, I will slowly gem ArP as I pick up gear until i am in the 600s and then go back to Agility.

What does this have to do with tanks?

The great agility versus dodge debate is an ideal candidate for this type of philosophy. Now most of the more hard core WoW players regemed the first day 3.2 came out, myself included. That tuesday night, I was standing in front of the gem vendor ready to blow every badge I had on 20 new shiny epic gems so that each of my gear sets, Threat, Avoidance, Effective Health, and Overall were full of epic gems. But what of the rest of us? What of those of us who feel like I do on my hunter? That is where the upgrade gemming philosophy comes in.

In the end we are talking about Min/Maxing, and not requirements (save 540 minimum defense rating), and as such gemming is really a preference. You can be that tank that really, really, really loves Stamina, needs Stamina, and craves the largest health pool on the server. But thats not me. I love balance. So if you are not engaged in the great agility versus dodge debate, and you have not caught up on Theck’s latests law of tank-ativity, Expertise, what do you do?

Well in my opinion you gem your upgrades, and you gem them according to your role, to augment your ability to do your job, and you gem them to enhance the piece to its fullest, and that is what I am going to do with my hunter. When it comes to the selection of gems for your tank, you have to take into account the benefit you will get from regemming. The dodge to agility switch is an expensive one if you gem like I do. If you are a stamina freak, then your gemming choices are simple and straight forward. In the end it all comes down to your desire to better your character, and how much you are willing to pay to get to that next level of stats.


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 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.


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.


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


Trial of The Crusade Loot

Last night my guild did as we always do on a Tuesday night at 6pm, open up invites, select our 25 man raid, and head off to our progression instance. Now to say that Trial of the Crusade is progression is only to indicate that there was a boss that we had never killed before in there, however the difficulty level of Lord Jaraxxus was just as disappointing as the Northrend Beasts. One shotting new content isn’t really what I signed up for Blizzard!

On a different note, as tanking officer I was faced with a difficult dilemma in gear distribution last night. The Trophy of the Crusade gives us our Tier 9 (item level 245) gear, and deciding who gets the token has become a bit of a puzzle. Our guild has always and will always gear main tanks first. I have never really had more than 1000 dkp, and am usually in the negative for most of the time, however I am fourth overall on earned. Everyone above me and a few below have 3000 plus dkp.

For the first time in our guilds history the tanks were not given priority on tier pieces, and not because we dont think they deserve them or that they are worthy upgrades, because they are, but because both MTs took some time off this past week for personal reasons and are behind in gathering the necessary 45 and 75 Badges of Triumph needed to purchase these items. Most of our raiders have been doing the heroic daily every day to get as many badges as possible.

I also have to make the decision now of looking over the sweet ring and nice avoidance libram for a tier 9 piece. What has a better opportunity cost, the T9 upgrade in shoulders, to get rid of the SBV / SBR T8 ones I have on currently, or the ring?

I personally don’t care much for the new system of badges and tokens = gear. The lack of availability in conjunction with the increased number of items that are bought with them makes gearing for progression difficult. Part of me just wants to wait for the hard mode in three weeks, but part of me knows I need to farm the daily heroic as much as possible so that i can at least get a few more pieces of iLevel 245 gear before we walk into the heroic instance.

Speaking of item level 245 gear, I picked up some sweet loot last night on both the Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxxus!

Forlorn Barrier and Dawnbreaker Sabatons

The difficult part of picking up these pieces is how they fit into my sets. As I have learned in the past, side-grades are more often than not upgrades for another set, in this case EH. I also lost a Dragon’s Eye gem by replacing my crafted boots. My plan is to pick up the T9 shoulders next week and socket them with a 51 stam gem, but until then, do I run with only two DE’s, or do I waste a Dragon’s Eye gem for the second half of Ulduar?


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