Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Minor Difference

  This is my Pally's loot list and extra roll plan. The italics are undesired or already obtained.

Kallahan LFR rolls:

ToT 1:
1 dps (hit/mastery chest, random bracers, haste/mastery waist) roll #5
1 tank (hit/mastery chest, random bracers, hit/exp 1h, exp/dodge ring)
2 dps (hit/mastery cloak, haste/exp wrist, haste/mastery legs, haste/strength trinket)
2 tank (parry/dodge helm, hit/mastery cloak) no roll
3 dps (tier gloves, crit/hit 2h, crit/mastery neck) no roll
3 tank (tier gloves, hit/parry chest, mastery/health trinket) no roll

ToT 2:
1 dps (crit/hit neck, crit/haste shoulder)
1 tank (dodge/mastery cloak, dodge/parry wrist) no roll
2 dps (crit/hit ring)
2 tank (dodge/parry neck, dodge/mastery chest, dodge/parry waist) no roll
3 dps (tier parry/hit legs, crit/hit chest, hit/strength trinket) roll #4
3 tank (tier legs, exp/parry gloves, exp/35% heal proc trinket)

ToT 3:
1 dps (random wrist, exp/haste legs) no roll
1 tank (dodge/parry cloak, random wrist,dodge/parry gloves,parry/dodge boots,hit/dodge ring)no roll
2 dps (crit/exp back, hit/haste gloves, haste/hit ring, crit/strength trinket)
2 tank (parry/dodge 1h, mastery/dodge shield, dodge/parry shoulder, dodge/parry legs) no roll
3 dps (tier haste/exp chest, haste/crit helm) roll #6
3 tank (tier dodge/parry chest, dodge/dodge trinket) no roll

ToT 4:
1 dps (tier exp/mastery shoulders, crit/haste gloves)
1 tank (tier hit/mastery shoulders, exp/mastery 1h) roll #3
2 dps (tier hit/haste helm, crit/haste feet, strength/crit trinket) roll #1
2 tank (tier exp/mastery helm, dodge/exp neck) no roll
3 dps (mastery/crit 2h, hit/mastery helm, crit/hit legs)
3 tank (parry/mastery shield, hit/mastery helm, dodge/mastery legs, stam/absorb trinket) roll #2

  My first priority is to get the tier helm, since my current helm is off-set dodge/parry, not ideal. That also gets me 2 piece tier 15 (I already have tier gloves). Next I'm rolling for the shield off of Lei Shen, which will be a 22 ilevel upgrade and better itemized. After that I'll roll for tier shoulders and legs to get to 4 piece. Finally, I'll roll for the off-set hit/mastery chest and the haste/mastery waist, conveniently on the same boss. Alternatively I can roll for the Ret set tier chest for my tank set. After gems, it has 214 more secondary stats, 60 less strength.

  In the long run, I'm also looking to replace a 483 ring, boots, and weapon, preferably with as little avoidance as possible. I don't sneer at dodge and parry anymore, but they're still not ideal compared to haste and mastery.

  I just replaced my Relic of Niuzao with Brutal Talisman, a gearing choice that I anticipate will bring cries of "nooooob!" Why not the Steadfast Talisman? Quit simply, I don't like the dodge. Mastery and expertise are equivalent to me, since I reforge as necessary, so the passive stats are irrelevant. Steadfast Talisman is a funny acting, albeit controlled, 2 min cooldown starting at 16,000 dodge and reducing to 0 over 20 seconds, averaging out to 66.7 dodge overall (I'm not sure how to average it, so I just did 8,000 dodge/120 seconds). Brutal Talisman is an 8,800 Strength proc averaging at least 1,552 strength overall. Strength boosts Seal of Insight, Sacred Shield, and Battle Healer, each of which do a significant amount of healing over the course of a fight, increasing in value the longer the raid is not topped off, i.e. during progression. More importantly, the dodge trinket is still subject to RNG, while the strength trinket reliably returns health, boosts my absorbs, and tops off the raid as a bonus.

  My Jade Warlord Figurine is upgraded twice, so replacing it with an LFR trinket other than Soul Barrier seems kinda weaksauce. I'll just wait for it to drop, since I'll likely be spending a few rolls on Lei Shen anyway chasing after the tier helm.

  This is my Rogue's extra roll plan.

Kalyssa LFR rolls:

ToT 1: no roll-no roll-(gloves)
ToT 2: no roll-no roll-(legs)
ToT 3: no roll-no roll-no roll
ToT 4: (shoulders)-(helm)-no roll

  I'm just trying to get tier 15 pieces. All other slots are 502 or better. I even have two 502 daggers, and two 502 axes already, so I can switch specs with ease.

Gearing a tank can get a little complicated compared to pure DPS.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Abandoning Ship and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

  I've complained before about the Horde side of Durotan, and how I was dissatisfied with just about every guild I tried there. <Honor Bound> has a fantastic casual guild culture I was glad to have leveled in, but there was no raiding opportunity there. The guilds that did raid, however, were unacceptable to me for reasons I am done with, for real this time.

  With the release of Cata, I rolled a Tauren Pally that just clicked, and I think it was a combination of the new and old for me. I'd played Tauren before, but not as a Paladin. I'd played a Paladin, but not as a Tauren. The particular combination of the two is particularly fun. Also encouraging leveling was Inscription. Getting access to Northrend Research was a major driving force for enduring BC dungeons. Sitting on a stockpile of cheap Whiptail pushed me through into Cata. The release of 4.3 motivated me to gear up enough to tank under the Block capping model, just for the experience. Yes, I'm saying it took me almost 2 years to level and gear up. I was busy.

  I really, honestly tried to make it work on the Horde side. I figured I had spent all this time and effort, but that's just loss aversion, i.e. the Sunk Cost Fallacy. More specifically, this is an escalation of commitment. Every bit further I leveled an alt or an alt's professions on that side, the more I felt like I needed to stay and make it work.

  So I deleted my level 60 Druid and my level 51 Warlock, and rerolled a Druid, Warlock, and Mage on Proudmoore (my Ally Mage is just a bank alt). I've got my old Monk that never got past 20 set up as a bank alt, so selling everything off from there is already set up. Now I just need to set up my Pally for transfer. Preventing this is about a thousand glyphs I post and repost on the AH. I've stopped topping off my stock of glyphs, but I think I'll just have to leave them all on a second bank alt on Durotan and move to Proudmoore just with the remainder of my ink and other stock.

  My stockpile is another thing pulling me back in, as it were. Even the pile of notes by my desk, listing glyph competitors and their posting habits has been adding to the reluctance to leave. All of this is going out the window, (and by that I mean into the trash) and honestly, it feels good. Refreshing, even. The Horde side of Proudmoore is very large, so I'll be able to casually participate in the market there without making waves. Mostly I just want to fund leveling my alts. Alts can be gold-neutral if you leave crafting professions other than Inscription alone, and can be even a little gold positive if you take Herbalism and Mining. I like crafting, though, so funding that will require the professional heavyweight that is my Paladin with Inscription (all glyphs) and Transmute specced Alchemy.

  Also, transferring some heirlooms over there will be totally worth it. My monk has been leveling quickly (up to 52 now), and the blue gear I get from running dungeons constantly is not significantly worse than heirlooms, but with three additional alts planned, none of which get the snazzy 50% buff to xp, I'm gonna want those heirlooms.

  All this has nothing to do with the Ally side of Durotan, of course. I'm very satisfied with my experience in Tiyospaye so far, and I anticipate it being my main guild through the rest of Mists, at least.

*update* Tiyospaye sucks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tauren, Of Course

  But it's on the Horde side of Durotan. I haven't had much success there, other than to tap other markets. I've deleted level 50 characters before, but not over that (other than DK's). Rerolling on Proudmoore would be the most logical other option, and since I've been really, seriously thinking of forking over the $25 to server transfer my Pally (90 and geared), that would put all three most hybrid classes in a group.

  My Proudmoore Monk is a Troll, and I'm pretty satisfied with it so far. The combat animations are great, and cruising around Org on my Mech Hog is fun. My Pally is Tauren, so what to make my Druid reroll? I like to diversify my playing experience without playing the hideous unnatural races (Forsaken and Elves), and I don't like the alien races (Orcs and Draenei) either. I suppose I could just roll both a female Troll and Tauren and see which sticks after level 10.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Ramblings: My Last Complaints About That One Thing (srsly), Guild Hopping, Judging Performance

  I've been working on the rest of my Mogushan Vaults as a Tank Training Course articles, but I'm making sure they get more polish than the first did. After getting them all done, I'll link them all with headers. These are mostly points of reference for myself, but anyone else who wishes to see my brain droppings is welcome to criticize them. Most of my raid experience in Mists has been tanking, and I haven't healed in a while, but I did heal 10 man normal mode all the way through Cata. I'm considering leveling my Shammy and getting back into that part of the game. I mention this since the natural progression of thought (for me at least) is to write about  MSV as a Healing or DPS Training Course. I might do that too. Anyway, one thing I've been thinking of lately is how the three raid roles are judged. More on this later.

  This all is sort of prompted by me being dropped from the last raid my Pally tank was in. The other tank was saying the healers said I'm squishy (hearsay?). I have at other times heard healers (not these ones) remark "It's like he doesn't take damage" in reference to my performance on Spirit Kings. I'm able to mitigate almost all of the cleaves on the first King by over 50% using Shield of the Righteous. I am, as a matter of fact, not squishy. Prot Pallys cap hit and hard cap expertise. Get over it. (So do Monks, I hear.) Pally tanking is mostly about maximizing Shield of the Righteous uptime (hit, exp, haste), increasing it's potency (mastery), and timing it's use based on incoming damage.

  Spirit Kings is not Horridon, however. Good tanking cannot carry DPS that doesn't kill adds fast enough, doesn't interrupt enough (leaving the tank stunned, I can only interrupt 1 Stone Gaze at a time), and a healer that heals less than my Battle Healer and Seal of Insight. It's easier to blame the new guy rather than tell your friends they need to improve, so the fault was put on me. I was told to reforge to dodge and parry, and I said no. (Ironically, I'd been considering reforging for avoidance for Council of Elders, since avoidance slows the rate Frigid Assault stacks up. I wasn't certain, just considering it) I was asked to switch to either DPS or Heals, and I said it's not happening, since my DPS set isn't that great (viable, though) and my Healing set (my off-off spec) is definitely not up to it. The fact is, my tanking was rejected. My character is a tank first and foremost, so my character was rejected. I was not in that guild socially, only there to raid, and the second I was dropped from the raid, I quit the guild.

  This leads me to my thoughts on guild hopping. I'm all for it. Yes, that horrible sin that people deride. I've had my Rogue called a guild hopper, when my Rogue was in Eutopia for the first 6 months of Cata, (I was with them for over a year total) then Ephemera for well into Mists, until I finally decided to start raiding Ally side again. The very first guild I tried after that, I turned down. It's okay to say no. It's my $15 a month. I'll play with who I want to play with, and that turns out to be Tiyospaye. Yay, I got a good one on my second try! (*Edit* Wrong again.)The fact is, Eutopia wasn't my first guild in Wrath, and Ephemera wasn't my first guild in Cata. It takes some searching, and that requires being in a particular guild chat for a certain amount of time, and, as applicable, going on a few raids with a group. You have to get a feel of the atmosphere to decide if you like it or not, and if you're not satisfied, go somewhere else.

  Anyway, all of that aside, let's think objectively here about judging performance.

  DPS seems easy to judge, as long as you look at overall performance, not specifics. Let an expert in any particular class/spec quibble over details. What I'm looking at is the big picture. For DPS, I propose:
  • Rule #1 Obey the fight mechanics.
  • Rule #2 Don't die.
  • Rule #3 Have crazy burst DPS whenever applicable.
  • Rule #4 Be on top of the damage meter.
  Pretty straight forward, I think. Easy to judge. Special tasks like interrupts or killing adds fall under obeying fight mechanics. It's very much a catch-all term the way I use it. I add rule #2 because sometimes the fight mechanics are in conflict, e.g. if an add that needs to die is free-casting from the middle of a sand trap and you are melee, then leave it alone. Don't. Die.

  After the complicated parts are figured out, the task becomes simple. DPS is there to kill the boss as quickly as they can. This requires sustained high DPS, but at certain times, burst DPS to push a phase. Holding off on offensive cooldowns is sometimes necessary, and really this is just a reiteration of Rule #1.

  For tanks, Active Mitigation is the new thing, and this in particular gives a tank a way to judge performance that is not arbitrary and (mostly) not subject to RNG. A Pally tank's log can be inspected to see how they are using Shield of the Righteous, and whether or not they are optimizing their Holy Power generation. DK tanks can be judged by their effective use of Death Strikes. The tanks' lives used to be wholly in the hands of the healers, but now tanks have a great amount of control over their health.

  For tanks, I propose these rules:
  • Rule #1 Obey the fight mechanics.
  • Rule #2 Don't die.
  • Rule #3 Position the boss/adds and hold aggro.
  • Rule #4 Reduce incoming damage, particularly spike damage.
  Again with the fight mechanics, following them is always paramount. It can be simple, like Patchwerk, or it can be the worst council fight ever, all of the fight mechanics must be followed above all else. Again with not dying, whatever you do, don't die. If something you do causes you to die, don't do that.

  Positioning and aggro are a matter of keeping your team alive. If people are dying to breaths, cleaves, melee swings, hordes of adds, ect. while they are following their rules, then that's the tank's fault. Only the tanks can handle sustained damage, so be quick to get aggro and position correctly. Technically this also falls under Rule #1, but I think it bears reinforcement.

  After being sure that your teammates are protected, then consider the matter of your own health bar. Meters will lie to you, in this case. Overall damage taken is almost never relevant. Reducing spike damage is what's important, as well as carefully using defensive cooldowns to good effect. This is where it can get into class specifics quickly, but all tanks have their own tanking model, for the most part. Using that tanking model effectively will reduce the rate of incoming damage, allowing healers to sustain your health much easier.

  Healer performance can be a slippery thing to grasp, but the first two rules are probably the same as for DPS and Tanks. But I'm burnt out on this topic.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mogushan Vaults as a Tank Training Course: Stone Guard

 The Taunt Swap

  This fight is a very demanding taunt swap. The three Dogs need to be juggled precisely, and one failed taunt swap can wipe the raid. Have the Off (O) Tank on one Dog, and the Main (M) Tank on two.

  The basic principle of the taunt swap is to allow each Dog to reach 100% energy while Petrifying and Overload in intervals. The fight will begin as such:

M Tank - Dog 1 0%
              - Dog 2 0%

O Tank - Dog 3 0%

  At the start of the fight, if the O Tank's Dog is the one that begins petrifying, taunt swap with either of the other two Dogs, doesn't matter which one at this time. If one of the two Dogs on the M Tank begins petrifying, no taunt swap is needed.

  The two Dogs tanked together will begin to gain energy. Allow both of them to reach 50%.

M Tank - Dog 1 50% (petrifying)
              - Dog 2 50%

O Tank - Dog 3 0%

  At this point, the O Tank needs to taunt the Dog that is not petrifying, while the M Tank taunts the Dog off the O Tank.

M Tank - Dog 1 50% (petrifying)
              - Dog 3 0%

O Tank - Dog 2 50%

  The petrifying Dog will then be allowed to reach 100% and Overload, which stops Petrification. The third Dog will reach 50% about this time.

M Tank - Dog 1 100% Overload
              - Dog 3 50%

O Tank - Dog 2 50%

  This clears the energy on the first dog, and a new dog will begin petrifying. If one of the M Tank's Dogs begins petrifying, no taunt swap. If the O Tank's Dog begins petrifying, taunt swap.

M Tank - Dog 1 0%
              - Dog 2 50% Petrifying

O Tank - Dog 3 50%
  From now on, the O Tank should be sure to taunt the Dog on the M Tank that is at 50% and not Petrifying. This prevents two Dogs overloading at the same time.


  As the taunt swap juggling occurs, there are three of four additional abilities to watch out for:

Amethyst Pool - A purple pool of shadow damage to stay out of.

Cobalt Mine -A blue crystal with a blue circle around it that goes off after 3 seconds dealing damage and freezing anyone in it for 6 seconds. GET OUT!

  The pools and mines are fairly straight forward. It's just fire to not stand in. They can make things pretty crowded, though, so that's where the kiting element of the fight comes in.

  One way to do it is for the M Tank to kite down one side of the room, then up the other. The O Tank follows on the other side of the carpet, far enough away to prevent their Dog from gaining energy, but close enough to be in range of the healers and in taunting range of the other Dogs.

Jade Shards - AOE nature damage that needs healed through. The tanks can only mitigate this damage, not prevent it.

Jasper Chains - Chains two players together and deals increasing fire damage every second they are greater than 10 yards apart. Stay within 10 yards. When Jasper petrifies, the reduced fire damage taken means you can spread out and break the chains without to much damage taken. Typically, whoever is chained to a Tank is responsible for staying close.

The Tests

Do both Tanks stay out of Pools and Mines?
Do both Tanks mitigate as much damage as possible, e.g. cooldowns during Overloads?
Does the M Tank kite the Dogs enough so that melee DPS can also stay out of Pools and Mines?
Does the O Tank taunt the correct Dog on each taunt swap?
Does the O Tank keep the extra Dog the right distance away?