Monday, January 26, 2009

Heroics... Finally

Wanna hear a secret? I've never done heroics before... Not in WotLK and not in BC. But that's now changed. Over the weekend I finished running all the Northrend regular instances, and between quest rewards, drops and a few rep items I managed to get AlierahDK is finally uncrittable in heroics.

So to celebrate, I tried getting a group for the daily heroic (Oculus), but instead got invited to HoS. Yeah, why not? Heroics are heroics, even if I don't get the 2 extra badges from the daily quest. So in we go, and it started pretty well - we downed Maiden and the big rock thingy boss, and cleared everything for the event. The event itself, however, we just couldn't finish - too many mobs for me to hold aggro on at the same time, and we just didn't burn them down fast enough. After 3 or 4 tries we gave it up and called it a day. Too bad...

After that, I managed to get into an Oculus run. The whole run was fairly smooth, until the last boss. In the last boss, you fight riding drakes. No matter how well geared you are, or how good you are with your class, the drakes always have the same stats and same skills. No matter how many times we tried, how we changed drakes around, what strategy we tried - he just wouldn't go down. At least I remembered to take off my armor before trying him, so my repair bill wasn't that bad.

So where does that leave me? 0/2 on my first day tanking heroics. Kinda sucks... I can make excuses for it - Eregos wasn't about how well I tanked, and in HoS we didn't burn the mobs fast enough. But it feels like making excuses.

There is one thing I would like to complain about - DPS in heroics. While tanks have to gear up, to at least be uncrittable and have enough health that they don't get 1-shotted by bosses, and healers have to have enough spell power and mana to manage to heal the tanks, it seems like most of the DPS classes ding 80 and head straight for heroics. I don't use Recount, or any other addon to check DPS, but from what I've seen on Omen I constantly had 3 times more threat than the top DPS. I'm not that good a tank, so the only explanation is that the DPS were underperforming. And no, it's not just the Omen info I'm basing it on - a lot of them had never been to these instances (regular or heroic). How, then, did they gear up without instancing? Without access to regular instance drops and quest rewards, that would leave them with crafted items and grinding reps, but somehow I doubt they actually made the effort to do that. So, I don't know... The whole thing is kind of disheartening - if that's what I have to look forward to in heroics, then I'm gonna be giving up on it and retiring my DK pretty soon. Let's hope this was just bad luck, and that things will go smoother this week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

3.0.8 aftermath

As you all have probably noticed by now, 3.0.8 hit yesterday (or on Tuesday, if you're playing on US realms). While I could talk about all the nice little changes, the balance changes, the bug fixes, the new Death Knight tanking rune, or any of the actual things the patch was meant to address, most of them still haven't had too much effect on me. What did, was all the bugs...

Right off the bat, the login screen says there are problems with Wintergrasp, and it is currently inactive. Good thing it went down when Alliance had it on my realm, so I got the buff, but I can see how that would be pretty damn annoying for most people.

After logging in, training new spells, putting the new rune on my tanking weapon, I actually managed to find a group for Utgarde Pinnacle. I was all happy, thinking I'll be able to clear those quests from my log, but of course the instance had to be bugged. Apparently, Skadi keeps resetting at various random times in the middle of his event, and despite restarting the event several times and even resetting the instance a couple of times, we just couldn't get past him. So much for that plan... At least I got a nice tanking chest from the quest I could complete.

In other bug-related annoying-shit news, for some reason the 2 Death Knight mount icons (Acherus Deathcharger and Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade) got switched. You have no idea how annoying that is (unless, of course, you're a DK). It was so annoying that I finally had to make macros for them manually selecting the right icon...

And these are just the issues I ran into - I wonder how many other issues there are that I'm completely unaware of. Also, I demand Blizzard give me the old launcher back - or at least a new launcher that looks like the old one. The new skin is just so ugly I can't describe it.

Here's to hoping Blizz fix it soon-ish, and we can all get back to actually playing the game instead of complaining about it. =)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not a real post

In completely non-WoW related news, Feedburner decided to move my account to Google, meaning the feed link was changed. The old one should still work (redirect to the new link), but it could just as well stop at any time. If you have any problems, feel free to hit the updated link on the right.

Might as well blab a bit about last night too, just so you can't say this post is completely unrelated. Did some more running around Northrend on AlierahDK*, and ran Oculus again (as DPS, though). The run went pretty smooth, but there was one thing that happened that I wonder what the "proper" way to handle was... As I said, I wasn't tanking, although I offered to. Instead we had a Pally tank. We down the final boss, and a nice tanking ring drops which both me and the tank want. Now, if I were DPS-specced, it could have been argued that I shouldn't Need it since it's for an off-spec. If I were tanking, there wouldn't be any question - of course I could Need it. But what happens when it is for my spec but it isn't what I actually did in that run? In case you're wondering I ended up passing on it, since it wasn't such a big upgrade over my current tanking rings, but it's still an interesting question.

Also, when I mentioned the other day that I ran Utgarde Pinnacle, I must have been on something, because apparently I haven't been there yet. I did try to run it last night, but it seems like no one wants to go there, for some reason. I even called it Utgarde Pineapple to try and lure all the hungry people lurking on the LFG channel, but it didn't work. Maybe I should offer cookies.

* If I'm going to be playing both of them for a while I'll need some way to tell them apart, so from now on we have AlierahDK and AlierahP.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Instances galore

After being away on recent weekends, it was nice to finally have an entire weekend without plans. And no plans means one thing: WoW time!

So I got some glyphs for my DK, switched to Frost Presence and went tanking. What did we have there? Gundrak, Drak'tharon Keep, Utgarde Keep and Violet Hold all tanked successfully, and after turning in all the relevant quests my gear is starting to get where it should be for heroics.

While waiting for the instances I got a chance to do some more questing. I finished Zul'Drak and moved on to Sholazar - where apparently I chose to go with the Frenzyheart Tribe. Unlike BC Aldor/Scryer rep, where it is clearly stated on every quest that completing it will result in loss of rep for the "other" group, there wasn't even a mention of the 2 factions fighting so far. Oh well...

Following a discussion on Altaholic's Are Us I figured that commenting on a priest spec when mine had been stashed away since WotLK came out was a sorta ridiculous, so on Sunday I unpacked priest Alierah, cleared her quest log and bank and headed off to the Howling Fjord. I did some questing, which was OK but seemed a bit harder. Question is, harder than what? While I didn't die, or have any noticeable downtime between mobs, it seems like killing them is just taking a lot longer than it did in Outland or with my DK. Add to that the abundance of mobs that knockback, silence, etc. and it makes for less than ideal questing. And finally, it's hard going from a DK that can pretty much solo all the group quests to a squishy priest who can't solo anything*.

I did, however, get a chance to heal both Nexus and Utgarde Keep, both with no problems. We didn't finish Nexus, but that's mostly due to people not moving and dying to Keri's debuff. Both runs (as level 70) I never had a problem keeping the tank alive, never ran out of mana and never even got close to the tank's threat. I'm actually kinda glad I didn't get Silent Resolve when I respecced after 3.0... With the current state of tanking, that really is a waste of a talent. At the end of the day, Alierah was 71 with some nice new gear (both from instances / instance quests, and crafting some of the Frostwoven set.

Can't wait to see what I'll do next. =)

* I realize that it's ridiculous complaining about group content not being soloable. So what? It's my blog and I'll complain about anything I like. Or rather dislike.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just running around

Well, much like when I just hit 70 on my priest, I'm finding it pretty hard to decide what I should be doing next. I respecced Frost for tanking, did some instances to gear up to heroics (going for defenst, mostly), but mostly I just wasted time flying around from one place to another and trying to figure out what's next.

So, yeah, nothing that exciting going on. I ran Oculus for the first time last night, and the whole drake thing was pretty fun to experience for the first time. I got 4 new upgrades (2 from quests, 2 drops), 3 of which will be going into my tanking set and one for DPS. All in all, a very nice run - nice people who knew their job, and the whole thing ended pretty quickly.

Then again, there are also runs like the one I had in Nexus earlier this week. Though it was after my respec, a 72 DK wanted to tank, which I didn't mind. We also had another DK DPS, so theoretically our DPS should have been crazy as between us we could have gotten SIX diseases on every mob*, except that in 90% of the cases the other 2 DKs didn't use their diseases. That's like being a rogue and not using your combo points - it's just plain stupid. After a few wipes, some people leaving/DCing and being replaced, and about 2.5 hours we were finally standing over Kerisrasza's corpse and I could turn in my quest for a new cloak.

The whole thing got me thinking a little... We all know PuGging is very much about luck. Get into a good group and everyone will have a good time. Get into a lousy one, and it'll be hell. The problem is, when you're in a bad group instances take much much longer, so you're in a situation where the good runs are over too quickly and you're wasting most of your time on bad runs.

Some people would say that it's in no small part my fault - I can always leave if the group isn't doing well and find another one. However, playing at an 8-hour time difference from the server means that even getting a group (assuming I intend to go to a specific instance) isn't that easy, and when you have a specific goal (like finally killing Keristrasza) things get complicated.

I know what you're thinking - the time difference thing can also be solved. I can get an account on an Oceanic server, but that would mean having to start from scratch for real and I just don't see myself doing that. If I think about it, it's kind of odd coming from an altaholic like me, but maybe not that odd. Now, even if I start a new alt on a brand new server, I still have the choice of logging on my DK for some level 80 fun, or my priest to go through the Horde story lines in Northrend. Switching to an Oceanic server (and an American account) would leave me with no options**.

I guess this is going to go as another one of those things I'm "considering", and then never do anything about, at least for now. You can be sure you'll be the first to know if anything changes.

* A lot of the DK skills do some base damage plus X damage per disease on the target.

** Except for the obvious one of creating even more alts there, who will all be low-level. Hardly an exciting prospect.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finally made it

Yup, the big eight-oh. Nothing fancy, just turning in one of the PvP dailies in Grizzly Hills, when I got the achievement and a little present in my mail.

So what now? I'd like to try tanking a little more seriously, but there's still a ton of "single player" content to see in Northrend which will be much slower if I'm tank-specced. Also, after going through the Wrathgate quest line, I sort of want to see it from the Horde side. And possibly Undead, if there's anything different from their perspective*.

Good thing I'm going skiing tomorrow. Won't have to decide till I come back. /grin

* Would be a real shame if there wasn't.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy camper

Yes, that's me. Running WowMatrix yesterday showed new versions of SpartanUI and Bartender were available. I've been using Spartan since around the time 3.0.1 hit and I really liked it, but it had a couple of issues that were kind of annoying:
  • When I'd log on, all the bars would be in the wrong place. I'd have to load a different profile, and reload the SpartanUI profile for everything to get back in place.
  • When skills didn't have enough mana/rage/focus/etc. they'd get entirely blacked out instead of "blue".
  • The Death Knight's runes were often partially hidden by the ghoul portrait.
  • Death Knight rune power didn't update properly when not in battle.
  • "Exit Vehicle" buttons on the action bar would never work.
All of these are now fixed. Makes the game much more fun to play when things actually work the way they were intended. =)

In the meantime, DK Alierah is more or less done with Dragonblight, had tanked a few more instances (relatively low level, though, so it's not surprising I didn't have any problems) and reached level 79. Just a little more until I reach 80. What do I do then?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Northrend and Death Knight tanking impressions


As I briefly mentioned yesterday, my Death Knight is having fun killing things all over Northrend. I cleared up the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord, and am now starting on Dragonblight. I have to say I'm really enjoying most of the new content. The quests, the environments, the stories - all very well done. I suppose I could do with a few less quests involving manuer, but it isn't that bad.

I also got to run Utgarde Keep as DPS once and tank Nexus one and a half times. First time through Nexus, our tank left after the second boss, so we reset and started over with me tanking and made it through 3 bosses. Second run we couldn't even get past the first boss*.

Finally, after all that running around I dinged 77, so I hopped over to Dalaran to learn Cold Weather Flying. Now that I can fly in Northrend, I'm also considering getting an epic flying mount. I have enough gold to buy it, and since I don't actually use my money to buy gear on the AH I don't see any reason not to. I might even get a dead chicken to ride while I'm at it.


First of all, I should mention that I've never tanked with a DK before these 2 runs and that I'm not specced for it. Still, I think I did a pretty good job - I had no problem holding aggro, and I think I used my skills and CDs whenever appropriate.

For single mob pulls, I pretty much used my usual solo rotation and, according to Omen, no one even got close to the threat I was generating.

For multi-mob, I'd load skull up with diseases, hit Pestilence and Blood Boil whenever I could, and once I had enough rune power I'd hit Unholy Blight for some extra AoE threat. Again, hardly any problem holding aggro, except for the few cases where the Shaman was a bit overzealous with her Chain Lightning too early in the fight.

All in all, I'd have to say tanking was pretty easy and quite enjoyable. My only complaint is that Pestilence seems to ignore CC, which was a nasty surprise first time I tried it. Still, it just meant a little adjustment, letting the mage sheep pull and grabbing aggro from him instead of me pulling and having the mage sheep afterwards. So, yeah, I'm definitely considering switching to a tanking spec once I hit 80 (or at least, after I'm done questing through Northrend).

* Mostly due to some people being a little low for the run and me and the healers not being specced for our perspective jobs.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where'd he go this time?

- He's getting really bad at this whole posting thing, isn't he? Wonder what happened to him this time...

- Well, I've heard he was on a business trip (again) and took a vacation or something.

- Pfft, you call that a business trip? He just went to China to see Pandas.

- Yeah, but still... It's not like he had a lot of time for posting.

- HA! Didn't have time? You know I saw his Death Knight running around Northrend at level 75 the other day? How'd that happen if he didn't have any time?

- Well, fine. So he sucks, what do you want me to say?

- You can say that again. If I don't see a proper post from him this week, I'm taking him off my reader. That'll teach him to ignore his readers...

- Yeah. Maybe he could even tell us about tanking with the DK. I heard he tried to run Nexus and failed miserably. Who knows? Guess we'll just have to wait and see.