Thursday, June 19, 2008

[Offtopic] Wasting my time

This is a similar deal to something Big Bear Butt wrote about a while back, with a slightly more personal twist. It's partially because of our meteoric pace that people don't have all the stuff they need outside of raiding, but it's also just common sense stuff.

If you aren't willing to enchant your gear with at least something, you are wasting my time. The quality raiders get new pieces of gear and immediately go out and get their enchants, gems and are prepared. They know ahead of time what drops from what boss, whether they want it, whether they're willing to poke on it, and what they'll need to have in terms of reagents if they need to enchant it. They know what gems are optimal for their spec. They know what their magic numbers are for hit, spell hit, damage, crit, haste. They know whether it's worth it to break a set bonus or not. And if you don't know this stuff? You are wasting my time. You are wasting my time because you aren't bothering to get better. You're taking 5 extra minutes to think about whether something is better for you or not and wasting 5 minutes of raid time to do so. That's two hours worth of people's time, right there, because of your selfish ass. Or you're getting gear that other people could use more effectively than you because you have no clue whether something's good for you or not, which means we will not do as well in the future.

If you're willing to roll on a piece of loot - especially T6 loot - you must be willing to spend the money and time to get it improved as best it can. If you're not doing that, you are not worth giving the item to over anyone else. If that means you have to grind rep with a faction, tough. Everyone else has done this. If that means you need to farm or do dailies for money, tough. Everyone else does this too. These are excuses, and if you're making excuses for this behavior, you are wasting my time. You are wasting the time of every raider there who actually cares.

So if you don't have the rep for a head or a shoulder enchant for your class: you shouldn't roll on that piece of gear. It is effectively off-spec for you. And you shouldn't whine about it either. If you haven't gotten a head enchant after 2 months of getting a piece of gear, you have no basis to complain about anything.

If you don't know what to do in a fight, at least on some level: you are wasting my time. Yes, everyone is going to make mistakes now and then, especially on new content. Even the best raiders will. And sometimes those mistakes will wipe the raid. But if you consistently make the same mistake over and over, you are not worth bringing. If you consistently make the same mistake and cause the raid to wipe, you are definitely not worth bringing. If you have to ask questions about the fight that are based on the strategy that has been posted, that are clearly spelled out in the strategies and the information: you are wasting the raid's time again. If you are told that a fight is about surviving and you consistently do things that cause yourself damage...why should you come?

The fact is, there are a number of people out there who are willing to put in the time to learn this stuff. They know their class. They know their spec. They know their gear and what they're going to get next from badges, drops, and what exactly their enchants and gems are that they need. They know each boss fight coming up and what is expected of their class, even if they've not done it. They know how to play their class and how to do the best for that class. And they are begging for a shot to show the raid that they can do this. BEGGING.

I want a lot of friends in raids. I do. I want to joke, I want to have fun. I play this game not for the accomplishment or the loot, but because I like hanging out with people and socializing in some way while doing something entertaining with my wife. But I am really getting tired of people who are there to just waste my time, friends or no. I don't expect everyone to do the same amount of work I do to know their stuff; I find it fun to do the research and play with optimizing things, but I'm sure a lot of people hate that. I do expect them to do some small degree of work though. If they don't want to do the research, I expect them to find someone who has and ask their opinion.

So figure it out for yourself: am I wasting the raid's time? Am I wasting my friend's time? What can I do to get better? What can I do to make the raid better?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

[Druid]Cat Karazhan Gear Guide

I haven't found a lot of good sources for gear for cats going into Karazhan for the first time - as I mentioned previously, if you're feral chances are you'll be tanking in Kara. But if you're not, or if you want to work on your gear on the offchance you are 4 fite that night, here's a good list of the things you can go grab. I have tried to present items that can be crafted, quested, drop from instances or can be obtained via PvP for each slot. I did not list every item either, with this kind of precedence:

If a quest item is better than a drop, I ignored the drop.
If a cheaply crafted item is better than a drop, I ignored the drop.
If there were two or more quest items I tried to take the best one. If they're similar, I listed both.
For all items, they are ordered from best to worst. Onto the show!

  1. Deathblow X11 Goggles - Engineering Crafted, BoP. This is one of the best DPS items you can get, and has very few upgrades as you progress. The massive agility and the socket bonus make it stellar and very well itemized. It is occasionally replaced by T4 for the 2-piece T4 set bonus, but not often. However, engineering is not that useful for Bears, so it's not recommended most of the time. If you are Engineering, this is a good choice.
  2. Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Helm - S3 Arena, 1850 arena points, no rating. This is a good DPS and Bear helm, and will be used for a while in one form or another. I wouldn't wait until you've got this helm to go into Kara, but if you happen to be doing a lot of arena this should be a top priority to get.
  3. Cobrascale Hood - Leatherworking Crafted, BoE. This is a great starting helm. The only problem is the cost; the mats are 10 scales, 15 primal airs, 15 primal shadows and a nether. That could be pretty expensive to start out with. If you have the means it's a good choice. But if you don't...
  4. Savage Mask of the Lynx Lord - drop from the Black Stalker, Heroic Underbog. This isn't a hard heroic and because it gives CE rep, chances are you'll run it a couple times.
  5. Helm of the Claw - quest in Steamvaults normal. Another instance you'll run a ton of times, this is a very good piece with nice abilities for modification as needed.
  6. Darkguard Face mask - drop from Exarch Maladaar, Auchenai Crypts. There are plenty of head drops from various instances, but this one is the best of the lot at the gear level you'll be targeting. Crypts is admittedly kind of a painful instance to run but at least it's not a heroic.


  1. Shattered Sun Pendant of Might - requires Exalted with Shattered Sun. For Aldor this is merely a good pendant at the pre-Kara level, but for Scryer this is a huge boost in damage at that level. It does require exalted, but it is good enough that it won't be replaced until well into T5 content, most likely.
  2. Necklace of the Deep - Jewelcrafting crafting, BoE. This is one of the better necks for any feral, cat or bear, and with two agility gems you'll have a neck that'll serve you well as both a good dps choice and a good avoidance piece in the future.
  3. Natasha's Pack Collar - Blade's Edge questline. This is obtained early on and it's quite good, but you might want the Guardian Cord for a resto set as it's one of the best healing necks pre-Kara too.
  4. Vindicator's Pendant of Triumph - 15300 honor, 10 Eye of the Storm. This isn't ideal for cats - no agi - but the socket bonus, the high attack rating and the decent crit rating make it okay.
  5. Talon Lord's Collar - Sethekk Halls quest. Another decent quest reward, and you'll probably do Sethekk Halls at least once.
  6. Gromtor's Pendant of Conquest part of the Cipher of Damnation questline in Shadowmoon Valley. As you'll almost certainly be doing the SMV questline to get bear gear, this is a great piece to pick up along the way.

  1. Swiftstrike Shoulders Leatherworking Crafted, BoP (pattern is BoE). This is a hugely expensive item that is only available for a druid that wants to buy both the pattern and the hearts of darkness, but if you have the money I figured I'd throw it out there, as it is very good.
  2. Gladiator's Dragonhide Spaulders - 11250 honor, 20 Arathi Basin marks. Clearly the Merciless Gladiator or Vengeful Gladiator set is better if you can obtain them (and good luck with getting the VG shoulders on a pre-kara feral), but this is fairly cheap and easy to get. Shoulders are a hard slot to fill. This is very poorly itemized for a feral, but even with the poor itemization it ends up working out okay.
  3. Wastewalker Shoulderpads - Avatar of the Martyred, Heroic Crypts. This is very unlikely to drop for you and it is a pain, but it is the best drop pre-Kara that you could reasonably hope for. What's more likely to get is...
  4. Shoulderpads of Assassination - Talon King Ikiss, Sethekk Halls (normal or heroic). Don't roll over a rogue on these, but they're just great for a cat as they are. They're not even that bad for a bear given the shoulder options out there.
  5. Cleansed Fel Pauldrons - Deathblow to the Legion, netherstorm quest. This is an Aldor-only quest. These are basic but fairly good. The only issue here is that they are also a choice with Kaylaan's Signet which is a good ring. Make sure to choose wisely. I'd personally go with the shoulders, but if you're really hurting for ring options this is a possibility too.
  6. Dragonhide Spaulders- honored with Sha'tar. These are also good starting shoulders for bears. They're not great for either, but they're cheap and very easily obtained.

  1. Vengeance Wrap - tailoring crafting, BoE. This is another hugely expensive item requiring a nether, 10 shadowcloth and 14 primal air, but it is very strong and one of the only cloaks in the game with a socket.
  2. Cloak of the Craft BoE world drop, usually around 50-75g. A decent item sometimes found on the AH.
  3. Capacitus' Cloak of Calibration - Cache of the Legion, Mechanar. A very good cloak with nice stats for raids. Easy to get too, as you'll likely be running a lot of Mechanar for guildies and the like.
  4. Cloak of Malice -Nethekurse, Shattered Halls (normal and heroic). Another decent drop from a boss you'll likely see a lot of.
  5. Delicate Green Poncho Nagrand Quest. This is one of the more annoying or awesome quests in the game depending on whether or not you can time the drop from the jump platform right, but you may have it easy since you'll get your flight form at level 68.
  6. Skyguard's Drape - Sha'tari Skyguard - Revered. Not a great choice, but it's easy to get if you do your dailies. Not as great now thanks to all the SSO dailies.
  1. Shadowprowler's Chestguard - Leatherworking BoE. Another 'hugely expensive but awesome' item, this will not get replaced by anything in Kara. It does require items technically obtained from Kara in soulcloth, but this is easily found on the AH. The 12 primal shadows and two nethers aren't as cheap. This will serve you for a long time however, and is worth the investment.
  2. Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Tunic - 1850 arena points. This is a very good piece as well, and one that has multiple uses after Kara.
  3. Wastewalker TunicKeli'dan the Breaker, Heroic Blood Furnace. Not the easiest of heroics to run, but this is a good drop from there and even has a decent set bonus for druid cats.
  4. Tunic of Assassination, Pathaleon the Calculator, Mechanar (normal & heroic). Just slightly worse than the wastewalker tunic, it should be a lot easier to run this to get it.
  5. Chestguard of the Talon, random BoE world drop. If the clefthoof set didn't exist this would be a good bear item, but alas it is merely eh. Good strength and agility make this a nice item if you can find it cheaply - it usually goes for about 50g.
  6. Warden's Hauberk - Cenarion Expedition - honored. You can get this as early as level 62, and it's very decent. In some circumstances it'll be better than 3-5 because of the high agility - if you have a lot of attack power, this is worth it and then some.
  7. Hauberk of Karabor - Varedis Must Be Stopped questline, Shadowmoon Valley. Not outstanding, but a solid DPS piece that is fairly easy to obtain. Be warned that this also drops the Wildcaller, so if you get this you will have to get your DPS weapon elsewhere.
  8. Dragonhide Robe - Thrallmar/Honored Hold honored. This is really poor, but if you can't get anything else or you have it already, this can do. But you really should have the Warden's Hauberk, at least.
  1. Vindicator's Dragonhide Bracers - 11794 honor, 20 Warsong Gulch marks. One of the better bracers for cat DPS in the game, they are also quite good for getting uncrittable for bears. Pretty cheap as well.
  2. Shard-Bound bracers - Ogri'la Exalted. Hard to get exalted these days, but if you happened to get there these are a good choice.
  3. Nightfall Wristguards - Epoch Hunter, Old Hillsbrad Heroic. A solid piece but one of the harder heroics in the game.
  4. Primalstrike Bracers Elemental Leatherworking BoP. A very expensive, meh item, but if you happen to be a leatherworker with a few primal mights around, this might be an option.
  5. Nightstalker's Wristguards - netherstorm quest. For a green, a very good item and slightly better than the spymistress wristguards due to the attack power. Also an easier quest to get done that doesn't require a group.
  1. Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Gloves - 1125 arena points. Another good item with multiple uses including a sometimes usable spell interrupt ability. The gladiator gloves, unlike the other choices above, are not particularly good to get though.
  2. Windslayer Wraps - Leatherworking BoE. Another expensive but worth it craft item, though this one will be replaced fairly soon. 12 wind scales, 8 primal air and a nether are all a bit pricey, but it is very strong.
  3. Handgrips of Assassination - Aeonus, Black Morass (normal and heroic). The drop from Heroic Arcatraz is slightly better, but its extremely difficult to obtain and it's only slightly better. You'll be running BM at least a couple times for Kara attunement (because you DO want the Violet Signet, right?) and the glyph of defense, and this should drop at some point, hopefully.
  4. Fel Leather Gloves - Leatherworking BoE. Not hugely expensive (only 6 primal shadow), just barely worse than #3, this should be the priority most of the time.
  5. Drake Tamer's Gloves Shadowmoon Valley quest. This isn't the easiest questline but make no mistake - these green gloves are better than any drop you can get that wasn't mentioned and are just barely not the ilvl of a purple from a heroic. A very solid piece.
  1. Belt of Deep ShadowLeatherworking BoE. This used to be absolutely unobtainable; now it's merely hugely expensive. It is very good and will be used for a long time, likely deep into T5. Note that I am not mentioning the primalstrike belt here because of how expensive it is; if you're willing to spend that much, you should instead get this.
  2. Vindicator's Dragonhide Belt - 17580 honor, 40 arathi basin marks. Very strong belt though it is not as useful for as long as the other vindicator's pieces.
  3. Girdle of the Deathdealer - Aeonus, Heroic Black Morass. One of the harder heroics to do, but this belt is better than anything in Kara.
  4. Socrethar's Girdle - Netherstorm scryer quest. A really strong choice that comes from a long questline in netherstorm. A similar item comes from the Arcatraz attuement questline, but this is better if you're scryer.
  5. Dunewind Sash - Ghaz'an, Heroic Underbog. An easier heroic with a lesser reward, this is a good piece with decent itemization.
  1. Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Legguards - 1850 arena points. Still better than anything that drops or can be crafted pre-Kara, they're not quite as good as the other VG pieces. This should be one of your last if you really want it.
  2. Leggings of the Betrayed - Selin Fireheart, normal Magister's Terrace. While mrT is a very hard instance, the first boss is not so bad and fairly quick to get to. These are very good legs, better than some epics that drop pre-Kara. I don't think I'd encourage anyone to run these a ton, but you could do this 20 times a day (or 5 times an hour) if you wanted to.
  3. Clefthoof Hide Leggings - Blade's Edge quest. A very long questline that allows for Ogrila dailies, these were the best PvE legs pre-Kara until #2 came out. They're still quite competitive, and if you're nowhere near hit or expertise capped they're on par. These should be a top priority to get.
  4. Fel Leather Leggings - Leatherworking BoE. Not nearly as good as the #3, they're still quite decent and shouldn't cost too much to make.
  1. Sunrage Treads - Kael'thas sunstrider, normal Magister's Terrace. It isn't likely that you can do KT on normal prior to Kara, but if you can, these are the boots for you. Ignoring armor, tons of agility and even good stam make these stellar, and they won't likely be replaced until SSC or badge loot.
  2. Vindicator's Dragonhide Boots - 17850 honor, 40 Eye of the Storm marks. Not quite as good as the Leather boots for tanking, these are great for cat.
  3. Boots of Natural Grace - Leatherworking BoP. An expensive craft, but one that is great for both cat and bear is hard to beat. The armor alone isn't beaten until T6. If you're a leatherworker this is a good one to obtain if possible.
  4. Fel Leather Boots - Leatherworking BoE. A much cheaper craft that is very strong, the strongest of the fel leather set.
  5. Felboar Hide Shoes - Shadowmoon Valley quest. Another Cipher of Damnation quest reward. That whole thing is jam-packed with druid goodies.

  1. overseer's signet - Netherstorm Quest. This is a Aldor only questline. Very good ring and worth grabbing if you can.
  2. Slayer's Mark of the Redemption - SMV questline. This is identical to Kaylaan's signet but is not Aldor only.
  3. A'dal's Command - Sha'tar exalted. IT's not a bad choice, but not stellar and certainly not worth grinding rep for.
  4. Ravenclaw Band - Talon King Ikiss, Sethekk Halls (normal and heroic). Another reason to kill the Talon King. This isn't as good as some of the heroic rewards out there, but it is an easier to get item.
  5. Band of Anguish - shadowmoon valley quest. Another long questline, but this is only 2 agi less than #2. Really minor differences between all of them, and it makes this fairly strong.
  1. Hourglass of the Unraveller - Temporus, Black Morass (normal and heroic). This is a strong enough trinket that many unlucky folks still use it in T6, including myself. The proc rate is high and its on equip is strong anyway.
  2. Crystalforged Trinket - Ogri'la revered.Another harder trinket to get thanks to SSO, this is a solid piece. If you're grinding them already, great, but don't go out of your way for it.
  3. Abacus of Violent Odds - Pathaleon the Calculator, Mechanar. Not nearly as strong as the hourglass, but you may have this drop anyway. Not too shabby for what it is, and it does have the advantage of scaling well with your gear.
  4. Core of Arkelos - quest in netherstorm. Slightly better than the Ogre Mauler's badge, this is done in an early questline in Netherstorm that gives you the archmage's staff. And who doesn't want that?
  5. Ogre Mauler's badge, Nagrand Questline. An easy, early questline that gives a decent trinket. Go get this when you can.
  1. Vengeful Gladiator's Staff - 1850 arena rating, 3750 arena points. This is the highest of the high-end items, but it is available pre-kara in theory (and the price and requirements will be being reduced as well). This is on par with the badge staff and is great if you can get it.
  2. Gladiator's Maul - 27000 honor, 40 alterac valley marks. This is expensive for honor and time, but it is a great item that beats anything in Kara for raw damage. Even better, the Merciless Gladiator staff will be available for the same price, and it is just that much cooler.
  3. Staff of Natural Fury - BoE World drop. This tends to be very expensive when it hits the AH, but it is a good choice for those who don't want to wait and can afford it.
  4. Dreamer's Dragonstaff - Thorgrim the Tender, Botanica (normal and heroic). Not too hard to get and a solid staff to take you through Kara.
  5. Fleshling Simulation Staff and Wildcaller - questlines in Netherstorm (Fleshling) and SMV (Wildcaller). These staves are so close that they're too close to call. I'd recommend going after the Fleshling staff simply because Wildcaller also has a good chestpiece associated with it, but either would be fine.
  6. Staff of Beasts - Nagrand questline. This isn't as good as any of the others, but you can get it very, very early, especially if you have someone boosting you through the Ring of Blood quests.

[Druid] The Cat Karazhan Gear Guide Prequel

Since all blogs are contractually obligated to do at least one gear guide for Karazhan I decided to do one. Cat DPS has been on my mind a lot recently too; at first, being a cat was one of those 'nice things to have' kind of deals. In Kara I was almost never a cat, for example. It didn't really matter what my gear was if I wasn't going to be doing DPS, right?

Same with HKM/Gruul and Magtheridon. All of those require multiple tanks, so no DPS gear. SSC was the same too - only one fight (Leo) really didn't have multiple physical tanks needed, and all of TK save Solarian needed multiple tanks on each fight. Pretty much unless we were bringing a lot of tanks, I was guaranteed to be tanking something.

Well, we started bringing a lot of tanks. And we started getting into T6. T6 requires a lot of tanks of various stripes on the trash. Hyjal needs many tanks to deal with the waves - a prot paladin is ideal, but you need multiple tanks to deal with the abominations and any other stragglers, or to deal with infernals. But the bosses themselves? Rage needs only one. Anetheron needs a couple, but it doesn't always have to be me. Kazrogal requires 1. Azgalor requires a couple, but again - not always me. And Archimonde requires 1. 3 of the 5 fights in Hyjal I'd either be in catform or on backup. BT is very similar. Najentus requires 1, Supremus requires 2 - but not me necessarily. Akama requires a few, but everyone wants to go DPS on that anyway and it's not required I be there. Gorefiend requires 1. RoS requires multiple tanks but it's best to DPS if possible so that other tanks can tank (and not fail at DPS)- or really, it's best to swap me out. Gurtogg is the only one that a feral is really nice for.

So for 7 of the 11 fights in T6 I'm usually DPSing. Keep that in mind when making your gear choices; you will be doing DPS, and you should make sure that you have as good of gear as you can get for it. So start building your gear now!

Lies, damn lies, and WWS

I'm really starting to hate WWS.

Okay, I'm really not. WWS is an exceptionally useful tool and way to trace what happened. You can use it to correct someone's memory of who was alive when a certain event happened, such as showing that all healers were alive on the first Fel Rage of a Bloodboil wipe. You can use it to show that someone's not downranking their holy lights and keeping Light's Grace up properly, or that they're using flash heal instead of greater heal and thus making everyone's efficiency go down so that they can have bigger numbers. You can see who is being hit by what, who is using their healthstones and healing pots, and in general who is doing the Right Thing.

And too many lazy people use it by looking at the full report and nothing else, and saying how great DPS or healing people do based on that. That is really, really starting to piss me the hell off.

If you do use WWS - and you really should - do not be lazy and look at the full report. Do not evaluate your healers based on how well they heal trash. Do not evaluate your DPS based on how well they do AoE damage. Look at the bosses and ask yourself: what does this boss do? If you were a DPS on this boss, what trouble would you have? If you were a healer on this boss, how good could you be given the assignment? Is it a mobility fight? Is it a DPS race or a survival fight? Did they take on multiple roles in the fight?

Do not look at their overall value, because that overall value can be padded by trash to the point where the actual useful information - how well they perform on bosses - is totally obscured. Don't make judgments based on this either. And certainly don't give out raid spots because of it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

[Druid] What a Druid can and can't tank, and why

Last night was a good lead-in for this, as I tanked Archimonde on our guild's second kill of him. The progression kill was done with our MT, and it was on a night I wasn't there. Yeah, I'm still bummed about that. After looking at it some more, we decided that I'd be a better candidate for it. I'll follow up with why shortly.

After two early aborted attempts (one where he freaked out and ran to the guy with water shield for some reason) we downed him. Even had an early death, but it didn't wipe us. The healing was great and people did a great job of staying alive. One of the comments I heard a few times was that I was easier to heal. I'm not so sure about that. Looking at the WWS from our first kill, our MT on that had actually higher avoided attacks than I did and took about the same damage per hit that I did. The main difference that I could see was that the fight was shorter and he took more spiky damage. I'm not sure why that is; armor should reduce all damage. I guess Archimonde is very variable in his output.

Why I might have been easier to heal may be because in his avoidance gear, the main tank has a lot less stamina and expertise than he's normally used to. For this fight I didn't do any real switching at all save a PvP fear breaking trinket. I only lost the stamina from Commendation of Kael'Thas and a food buff. I'll have to talk to him. My real belief is that I was easier to heal because people were used to the fight and knew what to do, so more people were in position to heal when it was needed.

(ETA: it's because he was chugging ironshield pots the entire time and had ancestral fortitude up. That explains a great deal. 7500 armor brings us about even. Still, it's interesting to note that with almost no change in gear the druid took about the same damage and close to the same amount of hits that the warrior did on this fight, while the warrior had to use consumables aplenty. Again, a good reason why a druid is better if you can deal with heals).

But why did we pick me to tank it? Well, let's go over what a druid is good for. A druid is great against physically hard-hitting bosses thanks to the high armor they stack. This is exceptionally true against bosses that cannot crush; a boss that cannot crush and hits mostly physically will do somewhere between 15 and 30% less damage to the druid compared to the warrior or paladin. Druids tend to be able to put out very good threat, especially at the T4-T5 levels, so for fights that require a lot of threat they can shine. They're excellent when damage is inconsistently applied thanks to their armor. They work well when it is impossible to avoid a crushing blow for whatever reason. They are exceptional offtanks, usually the best, due to how their threat mechanics work; they do a lot of threat (and gain a lot of rage) just from white attacks, and have easy ways of generating more rage. They tend to have more HP than any other tanking class at the same gear level, and get greater benefit from buffs due to their HP multipliers in bear form - this makes them good choices to soak hateful strikes. And they have stupid abilities that sometimes matter, like being able to shift from bear to bear and dump all rage. Phase change fights are often good as well thanks to dots from lacerate. Mobility fights are also often good because of being able to shift forms. And any fight where the tank will tank at some point and DPS at another a bear excels at.

What a bear cannot do is block. Any fight that requires this will be a fight a bear cannot do, at least not without some major support. (I've seen warriors intervene a bear tanking Illidan for the shears) Any fight with fear mechanics is usually not a fun one, but this isn't as big a deal as it used to be. Any fight where the boss primarily does spelldamage is usually a bad idea as well unless specifically geared against spelldamage. (While bears make great tanks for flames of azzinoth, I wouldn't recommend them doing so without 365 FR). Bears are okay at tanking multiple mobs, about as good as a warrior. They cannot interrupt reliably.

So what bosses in T5 & T6 are good candidates for a bear?
Morogrim: this is a boss that will cause crushing blows, swings erratically, and hits very, very hard. Morogrim is excellent for a druid tank because of the possibly slow swings, the rage starvation at times, the requirement that crushes will happen on warriors some times and the generally high avoidance of a Bear. While Morogrim can crush this is an example of a boss where he can in theory crush anyone, so a Bear is better.
FLK: The shaman is a good choice for bears due to his spiky, hard damage at times. The early threat lead a druid can put out is also good here so that he can be DPSed hard.
Leotheras: For the normal phase, the dots from lacerate help picking him up from the demon and after every whirlwind. Same for the demon as well, though the demon is not as good as a warrior or paladin because of the spelldamage component.
Void Reaver: Between higher avoidance, great threat and the ability to offtank well, druids tend to consistently do well on VR.
Kazrogal: Not that this is a hard boss, but druids do well here thanks to not caring about losing shield block on stuns.
Azgalor: doesn't crush, so this heavily favors a druid tank.
Archimonde: doesn't crush, but does fear. If you can make it so that the fears are not an issue by using priests and trinkets, a bear is great due to the high HP while having high innate avoidance. This was what we did last night, and it worked pretty well.
Supremus: Another hard hitting boss with phase transitions, combined with nice mobility. Works really well as a hurtful strike soaker due to the high HP and armor.
Gurtogg Bloodboil: offtanking quite a bit of a time helps a lot here.
Reliquary of Souls: Phase 1 is nothing special, though a high HP pool allows for multiple fixates. Phase 2 cannot be reasonably done by a druid without the raid overgearing the fight heavily. Phase 3 is interesting though; the druid has the ability to dump all their rage instantly, avoiding the soul scream damage somewhat, but you have to be on your toes and make sure you have a GCD available. A druid's threat scales better than a warrior's does on this as well.

Where a druid is not so good (or simply, cannot do it)
Kael'Thas: Kael requires a shield to block pyroblasts.
Illidan: Illidan requires 102.4% dodge from a druid. This is impossible, so unless you want to eat 60% hits regularly you can't do this. I've seen reports of warriors intervening on a druid for the shear, but this seems a bit crazy. Still, could be done - but it's not ideal.
Hydross: Hydross ignores armor and causes spelldamage. This means a druid will take more damage than either a paladin or a warrior, even in resist gear. And resist gear for a druid is very hard to find.
Illidari Council: Most of the Illdari council requires some kind of interrupting, so bears don't do as well here. The priest does best with a warrior due to interrupts, and the paladin does best with a warrior due to spell reflect. Veras is not so bad to tank with a druid however, as it helps to have snap aggro and mobility here.

And on Sunwell...Druids are a mixed bag of sorts. On the one hand, there's a lot of spelldamage; Felmyst, Kalecgos both do a ton, the twins do a ton, and Muru throws around a lot. On the other hand, Kalecgos, Brutallus and Felmyst all do not crush. Stacking avoidance for Brutallus and tanking is especially wise and the fight almost favors two feral druids as the most optimal choice, as feral druids do more DPS when tanking, they can do better DPS when not tanking, and they can deal with a dual-wielding, non-crushing boss better than any other tank.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

[Paladin] What paladins can and can't tank, and why

I get a bit tired of seeing various ill-informed arguments about what tanks are good for what fights, and why they would or wouldn't be. I see it from people who know nothing about the class and from people who should know better. This is more of a rant than an in-depth math evaluation, but it's my damn blog.


Paladins are great at dealing with multiple mobs simultaneously. They're also excellent whenever you must remain uncrushable and you may take multiple hits in a short time. They excel against fast-hitting mobs. They excel on anything that has an aggro dump, as they have great snap threat abilities. Any fights with debuffs are usually good for a paladin as well. They work well against demons & undead. Anything that is sensitive to parry issues is also good for a paladin, as they do not have a particularly high chance of being parried due to not making a lot of melee attacks relative to a warrior or druid.

What they are not great at is dealing massive amounts of sustained high threat, at least compared to warriors or druids in their normal sets. (Paladins can do well if they know ahead of time they can go all-out on threat, but it requires consumable changes and some gear changes) They are not as good in high-mobility fights where a boss must be moved often thanks to consecrate. They are not great against caster mobs; they do less reactive threat and they take more damage. They are not good against mobs that fear. And they are horrible against mobs that silence.

Some bosses in T5 and T6 content that paladins excel at:
Hydross: great pickup on the phase change thanks to very fast aggro. They can also deal with the adds fairly well. Being uncrushable doesn't matter in this fight, and holy shield is useless, but avenger's shield is great.
Morogrim: Morogrim eats shield block charges up quickly, but a holy shield has a lot more charges than are likely to be eaten. Also, paladins tend to have more avoidance than a warrior does. Druids are still king here, mind you, but paladins are great. Of course, if you have a prot paladin here chances are you'll be tanking the murlocs.
Leotheras: Either the demon or normal form. Alliance paladins are especially good for this thanks to the SoV mechanics; having a DoT as your threat generator means phase changes are much easier. On the demon form a paladin gets extra threat (demon) plus easy ranged pickup and a nice phase transition, and combines this with innate fire protection and usually high HP.
Fathom-Lord Karathress: aside from cool videos of dealing with all the adds, dealing with the shaman is a good option given how quickly he can hit. Another is the hunter and his pet; using consecrate here makes this cake on both the pickup and the keeping aggro on both targets.
Void Reaver: VR's tough. If a paladin can get aggro, it's hard to lose it; consecrate helps a lot with knockbacks, a paladin can go all-out on threat boosts, and VR doesn't hit all that hard. If they can't get aggro though, it's often a lot of mana starvation. It's very much a feast or famine kind of fight.
Anetheron: Rage doesn't hit all that hard and has a lot of spelldamage, but Anetheron is more physical based. He's not a hard tanking fight at all, but having exorcism can be very nice here for added threat and damage. Tanking infernals is a good option too given the distance aggro a paladin can do.
Supremus: Ranged, quick aggro are great on this fight. Exorcism and Avenger's shield are excellent for reestablishing a position.
Gurtogg Bloodboil: being able to immediately remove all debuffs makes a paladin a great choice here; it makes the healers have a much easier time of it. Having two ways to get out of trouble in case the stacks get too high is another benefit. He also hits quickly, so more reactive damage is likely to happen.
Reliquary of Souls:Phase 1 is a wash. Phase 2 is almost certainly best with a warrior. Phase 3 is where a paladin can really shine. While a druid can dump all their rage most of the time (assuming decent GCD management) a paladin never has to worry about this and has the added benefit of having their actual threat scale almost exactly with the DPS's threat. And a paladin takes a lot less damage from the mana drain than the rage drain.
Illidan:Illidan's a demon, attacks quickly with a dual wield, and requires uncrushability (actually unshearability, which is slightly different). And there are phase changes galore. Paladins are great for this, though it's debatable whether they're better than warriors.

And honestly, I don't know enough about the fights in Sunwell to say intelligently what a paladin is best at there. I've seen reports that a paladin is very good at dealing with Brutallus (can't crush, but hits fast) and of course one is necessary for dealing with Mu'ru and with Felmyst. I understand that Kalecgos works well for prot paladins for the same reason that Gurtogg does; a prot paladin can cleanse himself of the debuffs via DS and tank him in the normal world for basically the entire time.

As to what bosses Paladins shouldn't tank:
Lurker: Consecrate tends to not hit lurker, so threat is low.
Vashj: the taunt mechanics often fail because of how they work (having to target the friendly usually means that you're out of range), so Phase 2 is often tough. P1 and P3 are great thanks to Blessing of Freedom however.
Al'ar: a lot of spelldamage is bad news here for tanking Al'ar directly.
Kazrogal: mana drain makes this a lot harder for a paladin. It's also a threat race, so more threat is really necessary here.
Azgalor: frequent silences make this a lot harder for a paladin.
Archimonde: frequent fears and lack of oh-shit buttons make this really annoying. He also doesn't crush but hits very hard.
Mother Sharaz: frequent silences.

It's a real shame that so many bosses in Hyjal are designed around screwing over a prot paladin, given that a prot paladin is so instrumental to getting to those bosses.

But let's go over some misconceptions:
-a paladin is fine on Hydross. While they don't normally have as good single-target threat on a boss, Hydross has short transitions that wipe threat, so sustained threat is not such an issue. A paladin has much better frontloaded threat than a warrior does. Furthermore, a lot of a paladin's threat is from base abilities, so having resistance gear does not gimp their threat the way it can a warrior.

-a paladin is fine tanking Al'ar. They can taunt off other tanks just fine on melt armor. The reason you'd likely not see a paladin tanking Al'ar is because they're so good at dealing with the adds, but there's no mechanical reason they can't do it.

-Kael: a pally does lack last stand/shield wall for sucking up a second pyroblast. They do, however, have Divine Shield, and Kael won't change his target during the pyroblast casting. This is easily better than last stand/shield wall for dealing with emergencies.