Category Archives: PuG

Panzerwhiners!

Uff. Here we go. I was frikkin busy last week, so let’s get on with all the ideas I had during that time. Let’s start with Panzerwhiners.

Opening disclaimer: The post actually took a bit different tone and is very generalizing. So please don’t take it literally but with a grain of salt. I tend to rant about things and sometimes I rant just for the sake of ranting.

Panzerwhiners – background

Lately I’ve came across many posts about tanks, for tanks and from tanks about how you are not responsible for dps pulling threat off you. That is is never your problem, it’s the dps problem. Well, guess what. That is wrong. Now I understand that newbie tanks do need the pat on the back, and I totally agree that in more cases is at fault the dps but not the tank. Where is the problem then? The self-entitlement and wowcocks of most tanks. Just because you are tanking, it does not mean you are godsend wunderkind that can solo the instance. Sadly I see more than often on both my Death Knight and Rahana.

I repeat again – just because you spec protection / feral tank / any dk spec, equip tanking gear and go dryhump mobs or try to get physical on the receiving end, it does not make you a better than anyone else in the group. In fact, this sense of fake self-entitlement makes many fresh tanks to act like even bigger dickheads than they would actually be.

Panzerwhiners – the ideas

You are not responsible for loosing threat, it’s the dps problem to watch their threat and pace down accordingly.

That is fair point and there is no discussion here. Then again, many tanks who just fail at tanking use it as an excuse. I mean, if I have taunt-tank (a tank that tanks through autoattacks and taunts) I will pull threat at some point, no matter what I do. And if I get this quote back in my face, I enrage. If however I see the tank doing whatever they can to tps but the T10 dpsers are devastating him, I will always have his back.

If dpsers unload everything on the very moment you start running in range, pull and die it’s their own damn fault.

It is. Then again if you are warrior charging into group, I unload my Howling Blast with Killing Machine proc and end up tanking everything, you are to blame. Thunderclap and Shockwave are valid AoE tanking spells. Actually, one of the best snap-aggro mechanics in game. Use them (and yeah I know SW is pain in the ass to get it right). Don’t yell at me for not wasting a big dps cooldown.

DPS are responsible for attacking the right target, if they pull threat from anything you are not focusing on, it’s their own damn fault and they should burn in hell.

This kids is a point where I disagree heavily. Oftentimes, no matter what I do, the tank is just not keeping to a single target. Tabbing through giving a little love to every mob but not really preparing any of them for fuckload of damage incoming is a fail from dps perspective. If you run in, start tab swipe-mauling, don’t blame me if I don’t follow it too. I always select same target as tank pre-pull, or the most dangerous mob if I am sure the tank just charges, tags and shifts attention there.

You are not supposed to use marks, dps must know what they can dps.

This is just extension of the above rule. Use skulls. It’s not that hard to make a button for marking skull or bind that through modifier to your charge, throw, deathgrip, faerie fire so you always give a dps heads-up on target. If tanks dropped the stubborn dickhead attitude on this, their lives would be a lot easier.

Of course there are many dps dickheads that just won’t care about skull or marks at all. But there are as well us, nice players who don’t want to make your life miserable. But it’s a two way road. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Help me help you.

Panzerwhiners – where can you improve?

Make haste for the time is nigh and the end of the world is close.

It is not. There is plenty of time. And by going too quickly you are likely to cause more troubles. To quote Big Bear Butt:

“Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to release and run back in?”

Read it again and think about it. I understand you’ve seen your awesome main tank Björn to reap through heroic in one pull, leaving nothing but severed body parts behind him, pushing in the frontline as only beacon of hope, shining champion that can’t be stopped. Juggernaut if you please. Well, that’s Björn, not you. You can’t do that. So don’t try. Always set your pace accordingly to your group, don’t push them too far.

We will just skip this here. I will pull this entire room. We should do it the way our guild does. Oh well, the Paladin will take care of that.

These shouldn’t be just voices in your head. Leading the instance by pushing forward and selecting paths is not only about doing what you want, but as well about communicating that to others, so they can prepare and support your decision. I personally hate skipping trash, it most of the times does not work (someone facepulls) and then there are two nasty groups to deal with and people wipe. Pit of Saron comes into mind heavily.

If you plan to do anything that derives from “standard way of doing heroics” – pulling more at once, cornering in some specific way, skipping trash or bosses – communicate. We are not mind readers. You risk breaking visual with your healer, over estimating your or healers capabilities, dps capabilities, anything really. And if you over estimate that without people being prepared, they hardly have a chance to recover.

Don’t turn your back on me! Turn it on them!

What really annoys me on most tanks is their inability or lack of will to prepare mobs for dpsers. Turn them around. You can comfortably do that while building awesome threat on them. That way you show that you appreciate other people in group with you and you actually null the chance of twat dps attacking from the front (twat dps always selects the shortest route to mob in vain attempt to top meters). I’ve even seen a response to this made by a tank who claimed that he

Does not have to turn the mobs around, it’s dps responsibility to get behind them.

It is. Then again, you scratch my back, I scratch yours. And by doing this, you are becoming a tank. Not a random panzertwat, but THE TANK.

Panzerwhiners!

Please think about how and what you do for a while. I understand you feel superior to us healing or dpsing people because you get shorter queves, you are crucial to any group you are in, but still. Make yourself a good tank, not just random stranger who pulls without thinking and then rages on everyone else for stuff they caused or failed to prevent.

Disclaimer: I am often fucking up as dps, mostly because I just can’t care enough in heroics. I admit that. But I try doing my best when the situation requires. Even if that is not enough. Put down the pitchforks and torches.


Cataclysm dispel mechanics, being carried and guest posters?

Hello there. In case you live in a cave or under a rock somewhere, there has been quite some blue activity over the easter weekend. We got announcement about some Cataclysm shaman revelations (tomorrow) – don’t be too excited though, there are three specs to be covered in that release, so I don’t think we will get anything more than “we were thinking” and “we might implement” but whatever! It’s shaman news for god’s sake! Rejoice!

Cataclysm change of dispels

Second news that popped up was about change of dispel mechanics in Cataclysm. And yes, we are getting huge overhaul there and although it brings one good thing, as a whole it’s shit. Yes. My OCD hates it. Hate hate hate. With passion. Anyways, here’s the blue:

We wanted to introduce some of the changes to dispel mechanics coming in Cataclysm. Our goals were to make dispelling a little less trivial to do in PvP, and to make sure there is more equity in dispel capabilities among healers in both PvP and PvE.

Within the system, there are currently five types of dispellable (or curable) buffs and debuffs: curse, disease, poison, defensive magic, and offensive magic. An example of defensive magic dispelling would be using a dispel to free a polymorphed ally, while offensive magic dispelling would be utilizing a dispel ability to strip away an enemy’s buff or heal-over-time (HoT) spell. The main distinction between these two types is in whether or not you can target an enemy with your dispel.

In Cataclysm each healing class will be getting three out of the five types of dispels, with one of these always being a defensive dispel magic. This design makes sure that finding a healer with the ability to remove magic isn’t restrictive in building teams for Arenas or rated Battlegrounds. It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.

In addition, we’re making the opportunity cost (what the player could have accomplished with different actions) for dispelling a bit steeper. We think the cost is too low for three reasons: 1) The actual mana cost is low. 2) You never waste a dispel. If you try to dispel a debuff that isn’t there then the dispel just won’t go off. 3) We have spells that remove debuffs with minimal input on the part of the player. In Cataclysm we are raising the mana costs, making it possible to waste mana by casting a dispel when there is nothing to dispel, and removing Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, and Abolish Poison from the game. With these changes in mind, we are working to plan dungeon and raid encounters where dispels aren’t in constant demand or spammed in order to be successful, though some need for dispels will still be a part of the design.

As previously mentioned, we are providing three dispel capabilities to all healing classes as follows:

  • Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
  • Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
  • Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
  • Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.


There is some trade-off that is being made in making these changes and we wanted to expand on this further.

  • Protection and Retribution paladins will lose their current ability to dispel magic.
  • All shaman will lose dispel disease and dispel poison in exchange for Restoration gaining dispel magic.
  • Restoration shaman, Restoration druids, and Holy paladins will need to talent into their defensive magic dispels.
  • Shadow priests won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.
  • Mage, hunter, and warlock will retain their current dispel mechanics.
  • Body and Soul remains the same, and basically any dispel mechanic not mentioned above is currently planned to remain as it is.
  • When possible, we’d like to combine dispels into a single action. For example, the druid ability to dispel curses and poisons might be a single spell with a Restoration talent that also allows it to dispel magic. This part of the design isn’t finalized, however.


As with all of our Cataclysm previews, keep in mind that any of these decisions could change when we’re in beta.

Okay, where to start. Right… dispelling magic as a Shaman. Sure, why not. Loosing a poison and disease dispel as a trade off? That’s not a trade off, that’s rip off. Please stay the fuck away from my class. I mean, come on. We can stop playing World of Warcraft and start playing “Be a Triangle in Random Enviroment”. It’s World of Warcraft we are playing in. You know,  lore, history and all that jazz. How the hell can possibly a Shaman, entity close to elements be dispelling magic? Poison and disease as a nature-based class, sure. Remove curse as a healer? Well, fine. But magic? As a trade off for poison and disease? No. Just no. Not to mention most dps offspecs get shafted by all healers getting dispel magic.
Gimme all the “It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.” crap you want Blizzard, but this change is nothing but yet another PvP “balancing” fucked up nonsense that will, yet again, hurt PvE enjoyment and diversity of the classes. Everyone needs a magic dispel in arena for Cataclysm, every team has to have healer, so everyone is happy, amirite? No. There are still players who don’t step into arena ever and people who do it because they got really bored of sticking their fingers in their nostrils while doing fuck all standing in Dalaran.

And for the record, I am not even that much enraged about loosing the dispel capabilities but the obvious reasons it’s made for and that it really kills some aspect of PvE. So now what? There will be no poison / disease / curse debuffs in boss fights in order to ensure there are no comp restrictions? Bullshit.

But let’s not smacktalk – I like the point they are making about dispel mechanics and mana cost. It’s another small thing to distinguish good and bad healers by giving them one more thing to care about. So sure bring that change in, looking forward to it. It will definitely make it way more interesting. Too bad Cleansing Totem will get the boot for this change. I really love that bugger. I call him Fred and everytime I go to sleep I lock him in a closet in Exodar so no one steals him. R.I.P. Fred. In the light of this blue post, I am getting a bit scared about what will they come up tomorrow. Fred gone, dispel magic, spirit on gear…

*shivers*

Rahana’s PUG karma is BoA!

Before we move on any further I have this shout out to make. My Deathknight hit 80 over the weekend and is running wild through heroics to get her first piece of T9, her RP background and nature is getting a shape too and since there is no raiding planned on her, she is working her way to Explorer while waiting for heroic groups. Sorry, I derailed myself. Back on to the shout out:

People, don’t be bad.

And I bloody mean it. I met four hunters in heroics yesterday. Three of them were somewhere on the scale between bad and pathetic. 600ish, 870ish and 1250ish dps does not cut it in heroic. Especially if the tank is moron that can’t use TC and tanks through taunt and the best dps clocks at 2000-2200ish. Why do you even enter heroics with such play? Gear won’t help you! Go learn your class a bit. I don’t really want you to do more than 2000ish dps overall, but if you can’t, go do normals or quest or whatever.

On opposite note – being carried and knowing it feels lame. Even if the people carrying you are cool about it and cheer you up. I got into DTK heroic with these three folks from the same guild – a bear, a retadin and a fury warrior. I didn’t inspect the bear, in fact I didn’t inspect anyone, but from first glance those people were packed in 251+ items. Despite the Bear’s efforts to pull the instance at once, I got troubles to get anything else out than Icy Touch and Plague Strike. I didn’t even get to Pestilence because the mob was dead by then.  I was feeling this -><- small and halfway through the instance I offered to stop dps, strip down and break out pom-poms. I was feeling terrible. I managed to do 2.4K dps overal  a number I’d be fucking proud of in my average pugs but I got the awful feeling of fail compared to others. Kudos to those cheery folks who carried my ass through there, your not-bitching and sportsmanship should be long time remembered.

And I managed to get a helmet with metagem and activate it. Long live blacksmithing!

Guest posters?

And a little something I was thinking about for some time now – I hear it a lot around and often in SAN chat that people want to start blogging, just not being all sure about it and you name it. We were all there, some of us just jumped the deep waters and started swimming but I am as well sure the blogosphere is missing out on some awesome posts from people who give up at the sight of doing all the prep work before you even know you’ll get any readers or anything.

For that very reason, I am offering a guest post spots to those who would like to try it out. To go public and see what people say about it. I am no Tamarind or Larísa to get you thousands of views, but there is stable base of readers (love you all) and it’s a good place to start.

There are no rules – it does not have to be about Shamans or raiding, the only condition is that it probably should be something I’d post, not interfering with the general feel of the blog. If this blog has anything like that.

Feel free to send me your posts, drafts or just ideas to work out with me either at my profile mail, or for those who have troubles clicking through my username, you can e-mail me directly at probebu [at] gmail.com


Operation: Rahana’s blues

After this terrible Nexus PUG experience I got yesterday, I made up my mind to actually go and do the experiment I had in mind before. Being sick and tired of carrying people’s asses through content without them at least pretending to be trying (I don’t mind carrying undergeared people who perform up to their gear capabilities), people not bother to gem or enchant, I decided to undergo this undercover operation. Let’s call it for the sake of terminology:

Operation Rahana’s Blues

What is it about? Over the upcoming week, I will gather and gear myself in blue quality gear from end-game normal instances and heroics. If I am lucky enough, I will equip said gear by next weekend, and I mean full blue gear and I will PUG. I am thinking about the sample of 10-15 heroic instances as a healer to not only see if I can still make them in lower quality gear than I am used to and especially, how will people react to such “undergeared scrublol” healing their instances. I will do my part, but I will get carried. Okay. Before we break down the rules, let me share the bloody Nexus heroic I did as a daily yesterday.

Nexus heroic is srz bussiness

It is. So here I am, loading screen of Nexus, thinking to myself what a great place to be, getting some heirloom badges and my daily portion of Frosts. The party looked great too – paladin, warrior, death knight and a hunter. Add my shaman totems to the mix and here we go, faceroll party milling enemies into dust. I couldn’t be more wrong. By the looks of it, the random members were sporting T9 and epics all over which made them slightly less awesome than me flashing my T10 all over the place and well being the cool kid and all. And then the fun started. First off, aggro was all over the place. Which was kinda strange given that highest dps was 2.2K overall done by the warrior with the tank sporting 1.7K dps overall as second on meters. Have you now gotten the general idea of the group? Fine, moving on. Somehow we managed to pull additional group to Commander Kolurg group despite Tremor totem. Which actually happens sometimes and well, it startled me a bit. Pause on healing for 5 seconds and then pushing in macroed Chain Heal and healing like madman. The interesting thing was that the tank had obviously no intention to pick the loose mobs – healing that thing with two rangers darting me is quite some fun, but nothing I’d like to do with PUG. Kudos to the hunter who sent his dinosaur to roflstomp and tank the berserk bashing on me.  Moving on. I must admit, I wasn’t doing my best healing on the next mobs as I was engaged in guild and other chats. However, without any prior notice, the tank run past corner, took the group in front of Grand Mage Telestra and took her for good measure too. Yeah, that’s pretty much how you do it all the time, but well, usually with heads up and not so poorly performing party. She died, I popped trinket and MTT to replenish myself, moving on. We killed the first draconian group on platform, second with the rift too. We are ready to jump down to tickle the wraiths when all of a sudden, this pops in party chat:

[P] [Karno-Shattered Hand]: fucking retarded noobs go fuck urself hahahahah!

A player has left your… Wait what? And yes, this was the tank. I seriously have no idea what made him to call us retarded noobs. No one died, stuff although slowly still died and the party chat was silent. Now, I am absolutely against Naming and Shaming, but this guy deserves all of it. Out of curiosity, I armoried him later. This is his protection build. Reckoning maxed out and no JoJ or Touched by the Light. Go figure. Now before you go bash on me – I don’t mind anyone in wrong spec or gear as long as they can somehow fill their role and don’t act like utter douchebags. Which this paladin did. The douchebag part I mean. Well, so there we were, four players without a tank, four minutes on debuff. The arms warrior was a good sport though and after I told him to “just go ahead and pull” he bladestormed our way through trash. As we were killing last trash before Anomalus, a druid joined us. Sprinted in, buffed us with cheap buffs (d’oh) and started tanking the boss. I had to swallow the urge to ask him why he is in kitty gear (he had 30K bear hp) and went on to heal him. Truth be told, he ate quite some ES charges. And now the fun part – NO ONE, and by that I mean no one in caps and bold, bothered to kill the rifts. Or the spawned adds. Without saying anything or moving, they just proceeded bashing on to Anomalus when he was immune, obviously not paying attention to the amount of damage incoming on the whole party. And they died. I say they, because I managed to save the hunter who took advantage of FD and pet tanked the boss and the little myself. After we killed the boss, I was getting a bit pissed off, really. Come on. If you want to do it achievement style, say so we can work it out. The only thing that made me not to drop the group was that fact that no one dared to bitch about dying. That would probably made me shit nuclear mushroom clouds. Anyways, moving on after another set of small buffs. All went rather fine, although by reaching the ramp to Ormorok the Tree-Shaper I got kinda annoyed that I am tanking the small saplings without anyone bothering to kill them off. The greatest shock came on the last pull of the patrol going around Ormorok. I launched a heal five seconds into the fight. When I did, my screen flashed, the omen sound indicating you are failing your aggro management resonated in the room as two centaurslashtree things happily walking to hug me hoping for the some quality time together. Dino to the rescue, again. I am starting to like the hunter. Well, to close the story, I really stopped healing after Keristarza dropped dead and just watched people going low with the stacked debuff. I was just too tired to be nice. And the hunter needed on the mail boots that were, actually, an upgrade. In retrospective I had to admit the hunter rocked. Only T9 he had were shoulders, rest was blue stuff. He was BM with the big Dinosaur pet and that evil thing was constantly saving my ass gnawing on anything that as much as looked at me. So although he pulled “just” 2K dps in the end, he was one of the better players you meet in PUGs. Completely exhausted, I decided to do this social experiement.

Operation: Rahana’s blues

As I said, the aim of this operation is to test how are the PUG waters for newbie healers. In order to somehow compensate for my experience, I decided not to take any epic item for the set, limiting myself to original heroic drops maximum. I will however do my gearing properly, which means rare quality gems and solid enchantst, as would anyone who cares about gear but plans on quick replacement. I will hide all my fancy kill titles and make an opening macro line of being new healer and asking people to have patience.

And I can’t wait to see myself fail. I am horrified how I will do – because seriously, there is definitely a difference between the comfort level of my gear as it is to some bluish starter gear. But I hope it will be fun as well, to actually test how I’d do in the hostile world, beating not only mechanics, but the moronic GearScore as well.

If anyone feels like trying this out with me, you are most welcome. Go for it, try it, send me an email how it was. Let’s see if we can cheat the system with low GS!

The gear so far:

[Frozen Forest Kilt]

[Moragg's Chestguard]

I plan to get the trinket from heroic HoS, crafted Saronite shield and the Grizzly Hills PvP totem. If you can save me time looking through loot tables, do you still recall where the starter/blue gear drops? Quests are unfortunately, not an option.


Halls of Reflection

Okay kids, I told you the story of how to clear Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron. What I didn’t tell you is that the last dungeon of this trinity will cost you your sanity. You know, back in 2010, Halls of Reflection were pretty much THE shit to do if you were hardcore enough. And I should really drop my How I Met Your Mother marathons. Anyways, Halls of Reflection.

*just an insert – names used for this guide are Alliance related. So if you play Horde, please replace Jaina with Sylvanas. Thank you.

Halls of Reflection is pretty short and not large dungeon, all there worth it is the wipe ensuring first room with two bosses, a little “woo I am a giant and I will stomp you” intermezzo and then the hasty escape from Lich King himself aka we’re not retreating we are just advancing in opposite direction.

Generally, this instance is pain to heal. It’s a bit better as a shaman, but still probably the most fucked place to heal. I even recall arguing with my real life friend who said it was harder to tank it than heal it (bear) and then went on to try and heal it on his paladin. He said that he can tank it any day, but he’s never going to heal it again. Take that with grain of salt though, as I can’t imagine worse class to heal here with than holy paladin.

The first room encounter

As soon as you enter, you will stand in a hallway entering this round room with two alcoves to the left and right. In middle of the room is an altar. There is this sissy human mage Jaina Proudmoore too who will start the encounter. The encounter starts with Lich King coming in and retrieving his Frostmourne in order to kick ass and take names in Icecrown Citadel later on and is not part of the encounter. The ghosts and champions he makes to spawn however are. These ghosts spawned around the room will in waves attack you. There is a grand total of 10 waves, wave 5 and 10 being boss fights (Dark Portal, Violet Hold). There are three usual ways how to deal with the waves, the door tactic, the middle tactic and the alcove tactic. I will break these down in a second with their pros and cons. Now though, let’s look at the mobs we will be healing against:

  • Ghostly priest: Shadow Word: Pain: 2,500 shadow damage every 2 seconds for 8 sec. Circle of Destruction: : 3,194-3,806 shadow AoE + knockback. Cower in Fear: 4 second fear. Dark Mending: Heal for 51-59k; these chaps don’t pose direct threat, you have to consider the SW:P healing, but other than that they are rather paper dolls and burn quickly. Lower priority.
  • Phantom Mage: Human. Fireball: 6175-6825 fire. Flamestrike: 5625-5375 + 8000 over 8 seconds. Frostbolt: 5225-5775 frost. Chains of Ice: 6 sec root. Hallucination: Summons in a hallucination with same health as mage. Mages are quite annoying depending on tactics. They either are all over the place nuking everything, or spamming your space with Flamestrikes. Worth to be on the look out of them and Wind Shear them to tank. Medium priority.
  • Phantom Hallucination: Human. Summoned by the mage at ~50% with same health/abilities as mage. Explodes for 10k damage when killed. Annoying bastards these guys. If you are lucky, those tend to spawn when there is quite some control of the fight established. Medium priority.
  • Shadowy Mercenary: Human rogue. Deadly Poison: 1065 nature every 3 sec for 12 seconds. Shadowstep: 7,000 damage. Envenomed Dagger Throw: 1065 nature/3 sec, -15% movement speed for 12 sec. Kidney Shot – 3 sec stun. Probably the most annoying feckers in the packs. Shadowsteps, rolling poisons and debuffs those should die first. Cleansing totem pwns for those bastards!
  • Spectral Footman: Human warrior. Spectral Strike: 100% weapon damage, ignores armor. Shield Bash: 20% weapon damage, 4 second interrupt. Tortured Enrage: +100% melee attack speed for 8 sec. Those keep pretty much just bashing on the tank so they are not that much annoying. Two of those at the same time can give you hard time with tank healing though, so pay attention! Medium priority, they often die in the collateral dps.
  • Tortured Rifleman: Dwarf hunter. Shoot: 4163-4837 damage. Cursed Arrow: +50% incoming magical damage for 15 sec. Ice Shot: 5700-6300 damage, 2 sec stun. Frost Trap. Avoid the traps, and watch out for the debuffs – the cursed arrow makes the mages suddenly deadly. If people can move and don’t do stupid things, these aren’t as dangerous. Medium to Low priority.

Okay. That’s the first room mobs. Before we start on the three tactics, please bear in mind using Crowd Control on this fight does not make you a wuss, it makes you survive. Do not be shy to ask for CC, traps, shackles, repentances, ask the dps DK to yank strain casters. Most importantly, don’t panic. Especially waves 7-9 are hard as hell to heal through, you will fall behind on global cooldowns and people might die. It happens. Prioritize your heals, do your best. But don’t panic. Now, the tactics.

The Door Tactic:

The very early tactic. It’s quite simple as to the idea of it – everyone stands near the entrance to the room and with smart use of interrupts and CC the mobs come in. You nuke those that come and then run out after the CCed or not pulled in range are to be nuked. Collapse back and repeat. It works well for the first four pulls and if people get into the right pace and do okay with the CC and interrupts there is good chance you will manage through waves 6-9. The pros are having enough open space and room to manoeuvre, the cons are the need of CC and lack of any LoS breakers.

The Alcove Tactic

Probably the safest, bruteforce tactic. Everyone hides around the corner of the alcove. With people disciplined enough, you are able to pull everything in melee range (which almost never happens as people tend to break the LoS cover upon first contact with enemy). This is tactic that will make us shine as you can squeeze the maximum juice from your Chain Heal, everyone is in range of totems and there is way less CC or interrupting needed to get some control in. However, staying in such tight spot means not much room to move and that you will have to move often, as all the AoE will land and cover more than half of the alcove. Pros: easiest to bruteforce, natural LoS breakers, allows for easy force-control of encounter. Cons: Little room to move, lots of AoE flying down and damage at the same time. And it’s the most boring one, all you do  is spam heal without much thoughts, just to keep everyone topped off.

The Altar tactic

This is the most advanced and fun tactic that relies on everyone’s skill and ability to max out their performance. Usually prefered by warrior tanks due to their extreme mobility. As you probably guessed, the tactic is about keeping everyone in the middle and rounding up the mobs or killing them as they stand. Now, this needs great tank first and foremost. The tank must be able to pick up everything, there must not be any loose aggro. However, it’s really the most fun you can get out of the encounter and I suggest you try it in guild run or something if you already haven’t. A very important note – the little moronic altar serves as LoS breaker – which is great to pull mobs close but not so great when it cancels out your heals. Have that in mind. Pros: Lots of room to breathe and most fun. Cons: You really need good party to pull this off. If you’d compared this tactic to the alcove one, it’s like comparing heart surgery to wood chopping.

Frost resistance and Cleansing totems are great help here if you have no other means of Frost resistance. Nature resistance totem is optional.

Fine, that’s waves tactics. Let’s see the two champions we will fight there too. Repeating again, instead of Wave 5, Falric will come. That’s the one on the left side. Ending the encounter instead of Wave 10, Marwyn will come. That’s the one on the right side.

Falric

Falric is the annoying guy. You can’t counter any of his abilities so all you gotta do is to heal like mad to compensate. The main annoying mechanic of the fight is Hopelesness – a stacking spell that reduces damage and healing done by party members by 25%, stacking up to 75%. Which means your heals will be miserable at the end of the fight. He does an instant strike at tank reducing tank’s dodge chance by 20% (magical debuff), a stun that if not dispelled will make you cower in fear for another 6 seconds and the very annoying fear (Tremor does not work) that will spread people all over the place and make them almost dead. You have to heal that up as soon as possible. If you can’t, prioritize. You, tank, best dps. It’s okay if people die as long as it’s not a wipe. There will be time to ress and drink after fight. Heroism is quite a good idea here as you really want to max out the dps to counter the buff. Don’t forget Healing Stream totem.

Marwyn

This boss is quite fun really. Your party needs to be spot on about moving from void zones, as they quite hurt and there already is enough to heal in the fight. Again, he does Obliterate which is instant strike supposedly to hit for 30K on heroic (before armor I believe). As mentioned above, he will spawn small purple circles, just move away and throw a little heal on people who moved out. The fun abilities are Corrupted Flesh, which is a debuff lowering target’s hitpoints to 50% – can be cast on anyone. Second is Shared suffering, a shadow debuff dealing 10K damage every 3 seconds for 12 seconds. It’s healable through and can be dispelled, when dispelled all party members share the remaining damage. Use your own judgement on dispelling the thing – if tank has debuff and there is obliterate coming, you can’t nuke heal two targets at once, so just dispel, save tank and then save the party.  Again, put a Healing Stream totem for a good use here.

Gatekeeper intermezzo

So, after you killed Marwyn, ressed, buffed and refreshed, you are ready to head deeper into the instance. Up front you see Jaina fighting Lich King but before you reach them, you need to kill Frostsworn General. This is huge Vrykul giant that will A) throw a shield with stun at random party member sweeping everything on it’s way, so spread mmkay? and B) summon a mirrors of your party that explode when you kill them. So stay spread, mmkay?. Anyways, this is easy but rather long encounter – the twat has like 440K hitpoints plus the images. Quick spot on healing and some chain soothing when mirrors explode, what up?

Lich King gauntlet

When you arrive to room with Lich King, feel free to whack him for good measure, chances are you won’t be able to punch him in Icecrown Citadel for quite a while. After few seconds, Jaina will Iceblock him or whatever and nudge you to leave. She will then stand near the exit from the room and wait for you to talk to her to start the encounter. So take it easy, eat up, drink up, iron your kilt and polish your shield, this will be a bumpy ride. You will run on this ledge trying to escape Lich King who will pursue you and launch waves of his undead minions at you. While Jaina breaks the Ice walls that he will spawn to block your way, your task is to keep party alive while they sort our the adds. If at any point Lich King catches up, game over. Oh and for god’s sake, don’t try if there is “invisible wall” at the edge of the ledge. There isn’t. Trust me, saw it happen. The rogue missed his Frosts that run. Okay, let’s see the adds:

  • Raging Ghoul: is a ghoul. So it is very likely to come in large packs, hit like baby on steroids, leap and well serve mostly as rage / proc build up till some serious stuff comes.
  • Risen Witch Doctor: is a nnoying. Ranged caster, shadow bolts and shadow bolt volleys. Especially tha later ones hurt a lot and having two overlapping is almost end to the party. Pay attention to the volleys and lock on secondary Witch Doctor to Wind Shear the crap out of him. These have to be killed first, as there is the highest risk Arthas will catch up with you on them.
  • Lumbering Abomination: is a bomination. It does cleave so no one but tank should stand in front of them and they should be faced away from party. Moreover, they do this diseasy belch that hits enemies in their frontal cone. What was it? Oh yes. Keep those turned away. Cleansing totem helps if you don’t have better results with Healing Stream (ie if only tank is getting belches, HST wins. If dps is retarded, you need more cleansing).

If I recall correctly, there will be four walls coming up. Save heroism for third or fourth, as you should not have problems earlier. Yes, as anywhere else, the waves get stronger and stronger, and even if you pop heroism halfway through last wall, it will still be used to the fullest. Once the last wall is down, get the hell away and enjoy the cut scene.

Congratulations, you just completed the current hardest heroic out there. Be proud! Learn from your mistakes and stop shaking. You did it!

And can anyone explain to me how come a few boulders can stop Arthas from kicking our asses all over Icecrown? Seriously, what is he thinking there?

“Crap, boulders. Now I am fucked. Oh well, let’s get cup of warm cocoa.”

Man up for god’s sake.


Pit of Saron, mon!

Moving on! Yesterday a first instance guide for the Icecrown Citadel was posted here (omigod really???) and by now we reached then end of Forge of Souls and are ready to jump through the pink swirly thing called portal and voila, here you are. Or there.

Pit of Saron

Pit of Saron is open-air instance featuring Saronite mines and Saronite miners, drakes and bosses. The single most important thing about that fact is that you can mount up and stroll around on your pretty mounts. Which as well means that often your tank will be way ahead of you getting himself killed while you still look around and do “ooooh” sounds about the instance. Be prepared! Let’s go with some general tips for the instance:

  1. There is really no need to play any other Water totem than Cleansing. And even if you do, it’s highly advised to use it on the upward slope after Ick and Krick. The mobs do some heavy fire damage and put up diseases, so both counter-totems compete for a Water slot, however from my experience even with lack of other source of fire resistance, the disease hurts more and you want Cleansing there
  2. Speaking about the slope, it’s the part with the highest wipe percentage of the whole place – you start with heavy nuke adds spread around (half of them casters) and the dps usually goes all out and someone often pulls two groups. In such cases, be prepared to loose people or wipe. It’s not your fault. It’s just tough to heal.
  3. There isn’t really much of your non-healing spells to utilize, all dispelling will be done by totem and there really is no need for interrupts or purges, but at times the healing will be pretty intensive. This instance does not test your all-round shaman skills like Forge of Souls, it will test your spot-on healing and judgement. And cooldowns. Don’t forget cooldowns!
  4. Seriously, if you don’t have Nature’s Switftness and Tidal Force macroed together and keybound in convenient place, do so now. For real.

Okay. That’s pretty much it I guess. There are no significant mobs or situations to pay attention to. Well maybe the dragon riders who tend to throw their axes around make them spin and chop. But if you have eyes those shouldn’t pose a threat to your group at all.

Forgemaster Garfrost

Okay, this boss is pretty much retard check. You’d say that the concept of breaking line of sight to clear debuff is quite simple, yet people fail it. Rule of thumb – people with more than 12 stacks don’t deserve heals. Especially if healing them puts the tank in danger. On the other hand, if you let them die, you’ll be called names. Get used to it, it happens.

  • Forgemaster is a Deathknight that will run away to runeforge his weapon to deal more frost damage. It happens at 66% and 33% of his health. You won’t notice the difference on decently geared tank though. He will run away at that point, and two things happen – wise people hide behind boulder, braindead startle after him to dps!
  • The main mechanics of the fight is the Permafrost. A stacking DoT debuff (similar to Keristarzsa in Nexus) that does not break with moving, but by breaking line of sight with boss. You do that by hiding behind Saronite boulders.
  • Time to time, he will happily toss huge Saronite boulder at random party member. It doesn’t do much damage, but it has some AoE knock back effect upon landing, so clear the area or get bounced. When you hide behind the boulder, your Permafrost stacks reset. Mind you, breaking LOS to boss means breaking LOS to tank!
  • Frost resistance is crucial. Do not hesitate to sacrifice the Flametongue spell power to Frost resistance, unless you have another source of Frost resistance present in group. Everything from boss direct attacks to Permafrost ticks deals frost damage here.
  • Oh, using Heroism is advised on this boss, I usually pop it after he gets his first rune weapon. It will fall off before you reach last boss.

Krick and Ick

After clearing all the slime-thing dragging abominations in area, you are facing Krick and Ick. Or, in short, the Ugly thing. By now either your whole party knows how to move out of slime poodles, or you know who is slacker and needs more healing. Make that mental note, it will be needed. This fight is shorter than Garfrost, but the Ugly thing’s abilities make it rather eventful. Get ready for some death blame if people fuck up. Happens here too.

  • As expected, he will spawn poison poodles all over the place. Move out or die, simple as that. The “acceptable” slack time is like two seconds. By that everyone should have spells finished and free to move. That as well means  quick LHWs might be needed to cover this slack.
  • He does this funny Pursuit thing – he will target random party member and start pursuing them (who would’ve guessed), increasing his damage but decreasing his speed. Why is that important to you? I’ve seen tanks taunt him back and tank him through that damage increase.
  • Poison Nova aka “just blame the healer if you are melee” ability. He will stop moving, attacking and everything and start casting Poison Nova. Yeah, your reflex is right. It’s NOVA spell so you get the hell away! It’s pretty much one-shot spell. And if the person caught in it survives by any chance, the following DoT component is bound to kill them. PS: Rogue’s Cloak of Shadow does not cut  it here. Just so you know.
  • The biggest test of your spot healing comes with this ability – Explosive barrage. To illustrate how it looks – he will start spawning growing arcane bubbles under every party member. Those bubbles grow while dealing damage to anyone near them and their only goal in their short lives is to explode and deal some more damage. Yeah. Staying away from those means pretty much constant movement. Fun fact: 8/10 dps personnel is absolutely sure this is healable through just fine and they don’t have to move more than once per two or three bubbles. Remember, you can’t heal stupidity. And even if you do, you will just end up blamed and tired.

Scourgelord Tyrannus

Hooray. After the upward slope pain and rushing through tunnel (seriously, the most entertaining parts of the instance, innit?) you end up on the terrace with Scourgelord Tyrannus flying around on Rimefang (‘scuse me but wtf is dat name?). Again, this is general awareness fight and does not need you to heal like mad. Or it does. The base mechanic of this fight is Overlord’s brand. Link-like spell that either reflects all damage back at the linked person, or heals the boss for amplified amount of your healing. Be ready to save the dps before they realize they got the debuff, but if they keep on going, feel free to let them die.

Correction as submitted by Rades – I am wrong, he is right!

Hi Blueberry, I’m pretty sure that the Overlord’s Brand does not reflect damage back to the Brand target, but rather any damage done by the Branded character gets reflected to Tyrannus’ target (the tank). It’s like the opposite of the Devourer of Souls debuff, except worse I guess – instead of lazy DPS blowing up a random teammate by mistake (Devourer) they instead blow up the tank…which means wipe.

(Really, it’s the same principle though for DPS. Got debuff? STOP ATTACKING! /sigh)

This fight needs quick judgement and reaction from you. If you get the Overlord’s brand, you need to renew ES on tank as quickly as possible and toss a Riptide on them which should cover it for the most part. Resist the urge to top everyone and the tank off during brand, rather think about your spell and target priority once the brand is gone. Same goes for when you are in tomb – if you get targeted, stay clear od others, ES+RT on tank and get tombed. First heal after tomb must always land on you.

  • Forceful Smash – instant melee attack that deals quite a lot damage and knocks the tank back. Is often followed by:
  • Unholy Power a self-buff that increases his damage done by 100% (which can be very lethal). By reaching the boss, you should have rough idea what you and the tank can take. Should either one of you be rather squishy, kiting during this buff is highly advised. And just in case, extreme single target spam should commence.
  • Rimefang, flying above you, will make the fight even more interesting. He will rain down snowballs that will deal damage and snare people in them, so you want to avoid those. He will as well target people to encase them in Ice tomb – those will have a hunter’s mark like icon above them. As far as I know, Ice tomb can be chained, so stay away from people getting in. It’s not really dangerous, a single RT before the impact will most likely do the trick.
  • Go heroism at the start (when he actually jumps down) and kick in fire elemental. Frost resistance is nice to have here, but not crucial. And healing stream totem smooths out the edges.

Congratulations, you just cleared Pit of Saron. I really hope there were no rough bumps along the way and if there were, take them easy. This is probably the first or second instance on the “just blame  it on healer” instance of all times. And don’t worry about lewt – Jaina will just port you to the cave for a while. Get ready to enter the mayhem of Halls of Reflection. Seriously, the place has Lich King and Frostmourne, it’s awesome place to be. Till you try healing it.


Healing your first heroics – just don’t.

At the early beginning of this blog when I was delusional about how easy it is to blog, I posted a series of articles trying to breakdown the basics for healing heroic instances, one by one. And I would say I did quite okay job for that time being scared bloggy chikkinsheet and all. Since last week I really, really wanted to post a guide to the new ICC heroics – better late then never, eh? But while trying to find any possible spare time to write them, I happened to run Pit of Saron myself with a PUG. And yeah, as you can guess, it was just brain numbing experience. And I can’t imagine any newbie average geared shammy being able to get through. My back was seriously aching.

The setting: Pit of Saron

The characters are your average PoS pug people. There is some shadow priest, some deathknight a pally tank, restoration shaman and a mage. The tank is just under i232 on average, with corresponding stats – we are talking 36K buffed with okayish avoidance (by okayish I mean manageable with reasonable pulls). The healer was, of course, awesome. I mean, hasted and pimped out Restoration shaman sporting 4T10, sweet thing, I’m telling you. The bit of a problem were the dps. The mage led the charts with impressive 4K average, then long time nothing, then little nothing, then there was the Deathknight just above tank damage done with 2.1 dps and the priest was just terrible. I believe my Searing totem would be more useful dps tool. But hey, whatever. The tank was pulling a bit over his comfort zone but I had the mana to keep him alive. Though pulling two Shovelers was just a tad too much. They really love slinging the dirt on me. But hey. Now the story about how Rahana was striked out.

Hiccup 1:  Forgemaster Garfrost

You know, the boss that buffs himself at 66% and 33% of his health by stunning people and then runs off to a runeforge to get the buff. That’s not all he does, of course. He does stackable frost damage aura – much like Hodir or in Nexus, but unlike these two it cannot be removed by movement. No. Way to remove this stuff is to actually break LoS to the boss by hiding behind one of the many boulders he’ll toss at you. Long story short, with all the awesome dps we had, there were only 2 people out of 5. Me and the mage. Not only healing 12+ stacks is pretty much global cooldown locked, especially in half melee half ranged group, it really becomes quite lethal. And well, if 3 people decide to chase the boss around when you try to hide behind the boulder and clean yourself (breaking LoS to those three puppets too) someone is bound to die. Most likely the 17K healthpool priest. And who’s to blame? The healer. Sure. I mean, I did almost frikkin 4K effective healing, used Mana Tide, Mana trinket and was really considering a pot. But it was my fault people died when they decided to ignore fight mechanics. Rahana just got her first strike.

Hiccup 2: Krick and Ick and stuff around

Pulling more abominations before Krick and Ick is fun and speeds up. Pulling up to three at a time while having group composed of people clearly unable to move out of green goo is stressing. Not fun. Cleansing totem is a godsend there.  I must say no one got pounded by Icks (Kricks?) one-shot AoE. Moving out of the exploding bombs was totally different matter. I absolutely adore people who are able to suppress any common sense in order to produce just this more dps, the needed few bits of dps that can make wipe-kill difference. Yeah, right. I somehow healed through. But if you asked me, I have no idea how. It was all reflexive, pushing key combos on auto-pilot, trying to preserve the last bits of my sanity hanging on to the task I do in this game. Keeping every sorry butt around me alive. I managed. Surprisingly, pulling out such a stunt is obviously casual stuff, not deserving even a low five. Rahana’s second strike came on the ramp leading up. Pulling the first two groups at once is something I find challenging even on guild runs (challenging means not allowing a single death). It’s just impossible to keep everyone alive if they decide to go all out, I have all 3 spread casters on me due to healing threat and everyone is about to die. I kept alive me, myself and mage. Like it or not, that’s how I roll – tank -> healer -> useful dps -> others. Anyways, obviously not amused corpses awarded me with strike two. Way to go Rahana.

Hiccup 3: Scourgelord Tyrannus

I will admit it, after suffering through the tunnel and already feeling the “LOLNOOB healer” attitude in the party, I really lost interest in group progress. Which pretty much lead to strike three. In few words, Unholy Power and Overlord’s brand on me. They somehow overlapped, and although usually I’d be more than fine to bomb the tank through it even at the cost of longer fight, I slacked. Willingly or not, I let the tank die and the group wipe. I know this was pretty dickhead thing to do, but after being constantly bullied since first boss, I couldn’t care less. Well, guess that got me strike three and out, as I was kicked while flying back to the place.

Moral of the story? Again?

I confess, I don’t take my A game to heroics, at least not very often. But still, my gear and experience allow me to make miracles and godly saves when needed and I always have few tricks  up my sleeves to pull off. I really can’t imagine a fresh healer going through what I got there. And that is not supposed to mean that I am uberleet player, that simply means we are all still learning and we are still making mistakes and learning from those. And it absolutely outrages me if I see someone not pulling their weight themselves bashing other people for their mistakes, or even worse, putting the blame where it doesn’t belong. What do you think? Have fresh players any chance to like the end of the game? The point where they are going to try and master their class?


How I pugged a VoA25.

Oh that’s right! I did it! With all my passionate hate for 25M raiding, I went way over myself and pugged VoA25. Well, PuG. As you might know, I play on Shadowsong EU server as leader of 10M strict guild. On the same server, Chayah over from World of the Hats is leading Fancy Hats Club, another 10M guild. Well, me and Chayah decided to actually help our guildies and schedule a 25M joint raid – as VoA is outside “strict” criteria anyways and people would pug it no matter what, the idea was to ease the pain for everyone and as well grant some fair loot distribution, not rely on some pricky ML to give out loot to friends (instead, I gave all loot to enemy!).

Always bring a towel. And don't panic. It's just 25!

Always bring a towel. And don't panic. It's just 25!

So, with one week prior notice, the raid was posted. The main problem with scheduling such raid was how to make sure we do have VoA at the scheduled time – which was resolved by posting the raid on Monday both before and after our raiding hours (lucky enough both guilds raid Mondays and at the same time) so we get two shots on the instance.

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Shameless P(l)UGs

Seriously, I am done PuGging. Like for real, dawgs. Well, at least on my low level alts. It’s just not worth it, really isn’t:

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It’s alive!

Yeah yeah, I know I slacked very much, and this was cause by various reasons ranging from leading the guild from officer position and trying to recruit enough people for our own raids (over holidays), being ill (over holidays) and the need to hand out with friends and family despite aforementioned (over holidays). I spent quite some time in the game in my bed too, respecced my paladin to protection for faster queves for Saronite farming, adjusted this and that and well, generally did nothing at all that could somehow be classified as “work”. Including this blog, but hey, I really had no topic to write on.

However, there were some interesting things that happened over that AFK period, be it new ICC wing or some very interesting PuGs I got. As well, I have been finally installed into Guild Master position after the start GM being AFK for over month (I am telling you, dealing with guild from officer position without set ranks, guild bank and other stuff is really not fun task to do). And finally I got myself to write something here too. So, where to start?

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The new LFG (yes, again)

So, we have patch 3.3 here for few more days and everything starts to settle down a bit and the euphoria is slowly falling off. Most of us tried all of the features or content at hand and are hungry for more. Most of us is running heroics in our spare time, because we either have nothing better to do, or because we want to gear up and gem our offspecs.

My experiences from LFG on Rahana are wide and range from “professional farming” parties, where no one says a word and you are out of the dungeon in fifteen minutes after first pull to “social” parties that chat a lot and are there rather to enjoy themselves in the instance. I must say I prefer the latter a bit more, as I am a social person and I consider at least “Hi!” and “thxbai” as common courtesy. There were hardly any cocky groups I encountered though, even if it was the “pro party” and there were some undergeared people or something, no one was being rude (well they did not say anything at all) and no one was claiming to be carrying others through. So while I was a bit worried how much this extended anonymity will destroy the community even more (although on various blogs you may find tales of how everything gets needed just because people can, hell, even I ninjaed a tank trinket) from my experience it was not as bad as I was afraid it will be.

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