Friday, February 13, 2009

A Scourge Event

So I have an idea I've been kicking around and I want y'all input. I'm thinking about doing an event. The idea would be to get a full raid of 40 DK's at level 58 and stir up a ruckus.

Possible targets would be downing a fel reaver or going after an Alliance town or possibly even stormwind. At minus 25 levels to the king that might be a bit hard to pull off without some higher level assistance so we may focus on Southshore and see how long a group of 58's can hold it until the locals come in on their 80's and clean us up.

I'd feel sorry for the first ally that comes flagged into our raid and 40 DK's play hot potato with death grip. I say I'd feel sorry but I'll probably be too busy laughing.

So to pull this off we would need a lot of interest and some planning. First everyone who wants to come will have to roll a new DK and push it through the starter zone. Next we would have to set a time where the majority can make it.

If this sounds like a bit of diversionary fun to you, leave a comment saying you're in. If we get 20 to 30 comments real fast I'll start working on the logistics.

One I'm Pleased With

I'm not a big achievement whore. I don't go out of my way to get them. You won't see me chasing down the holiday ones. I do do children's week. Brewfest, love is in the air, winters veil, and the others I just don't care. Exploring, rep rewards, and all the PvP ones will only show on my sheet if I get them doing other things.

However there are a few I like and a few I want.

And I got one of those last night.

The missing piece was Old Kingdom. I had run it back in December as DPS but we didn't down the mushroom boss and I had never been back in. A couple of my guildies wanted the rose drop and there are some nice tanking bracers in there so we ran it.

Elder really wasn't that bad even though you can kite it to the stairs to avoid the immunity issue. Standard rules apply, burst the guardian down before you have a problem.

Prince was fine, if you follow Raid Rule 1B (Stay away from the shit that kills you) you will drop him quickly.

We just missed the achievement on Jedoga. Her third worshiped got killed by a pet just before she consumed him. We would take them down to 25% so her enrage wouldn't last long or hit hard. As it is, our pally had no trouble keeping me up through it.

Herald was annoying. The PvPers amongst us will have fun with that. I could easily kill the feral kitty, the hunter, the shammy, and even myself by just AOE tanking. I could not burst through the Pally's flash heals. Even using strangulate and and mind freeze to give myself 7 seconds to try and drop her she would come out and flash heal back to full. So I would just make sure she was busy self healing and keep myself alive and wait for the Calvary.

Amanitar was actually fairly easy once you know how it works. We would have the ranged all hang out by our pally who would use consecration every now and then to clear out the mushrooms there. Any time a green one would appear by me the feral druid will kill it. Therefore I just had to stand next to a healthy one, wait for the debuff, pop UB and I'd be fine. The hardest part was staying ahead of the the threat list. Getting shrunk every 10 seconds or so and losing my damage output was murder on TPS.

And with the mushroom down I got my Dungeon Hero. Now I just need to find a pug on a KT and Maly clear so I can get the one achievement I do want. Champion of the Frozen Waste.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Good Day Tanking

Between a lag spike, disconnect on a boss, finally seeing Xevozz and Zurmat in VH I took 58% of the overall damage over 3 heroics.

I got home a little early and was ready to smash some face. Nekron was still specced ele dps and Tharizza(lock) was on in our allied guild. Between the two of them I knew I had all the AOE dps I would need. We pugged in Corm(feral kitty) and Phet (Holy Paly) and went of to Heroic AN in hopes of the essence of gossamer.

We one shot AN in 25 minutes. Since I still had plenty of time we hearthed back to Dal and went to Heroic VH. This was the 8th time I've been in there and I had never seen these two bosses. We got Xevozz first and though I kited him I stayed down below which didn't leave enough room from his bubble things and we had our only wipe on the three runs. Once I knew what to do it was cake. As for Zurmat, he died so easily I still don't know what he actually does.

I'm sure it was nerve racking for the rest of the group when I disconnected right at the start of the last fight. When I got logged back in, Corm was in bear form and Cyanigosa was at 65%. I unloaded as much threat as I could and eventually pulled her off so we could score the kill.

I still had some time so we decided to do a mount run in CoT. I already have the mount but no one else did. Phet couldn't stay so we replaced him with another pugged holy paly Jiblette. Only Corm and Nekron had the riding skill and we blew through CoT so fast we still had 3 minutes to spare after killing the boss. Corm is now flying first class.

Then I had to go.

I logged on later in the evening for what I thought would be a raid night. As soon as I logged, the pally from H HoS whispered me to see if I'd tank the heroic daily for his pug. It was occulus. I've only done Oc once before and after killing the second boss we quit. I still don't like that place.

If I ever have to go back I'll use a slightly different tactic on Mage Lord Urum when you aggro him 3 times to grab his adds. What I did was drop a DnD on him and hope that grabbed all the spawns. Each time I lost my DPS in those three fights since I just didn't grab enough AOE threat. I know if the DPS dies its their own damn fault but as a tank I take it personal when anyone dies that's not being an asshat.

What I should do is hide everyone behind the tree so the mobs are forced to LOS us. Then send the ghoul in to aggro the boss. As soon as that's done, recall the ghoul which should bring all the mobs to our location packed much tighter, then AOE tank as normal.

Once we actually fought Urum he wasn't too bad. Just the standard walk backwards in a circle kite job where you wait for him to run to melee range every time he casts.

Well we made it through and I finally accomplished something that I've been meaning to do.

Even better, since it was the heroic daily it counted towards my proof of demise and my Champion of the Frozen Wastes. It also gave me two extra emblems. Between the 5 from here, the 9 from my earlier three runs, and the extra from beating the CoT timer I picked up 14 emblems yesterday. Outside of the equivalent in Kara that's a record for me. That also gave me the 80 I needed to go pick out my T7 Tanking Chest.
Ahh half way there. To be honest the two piece bonus sucks but I am looking forward to the four piece. I made sure to gem and chant it up nice since I'll be wearing this for a very long time. Now if only I could score some good shoulders. As it is, my self buffed stats while tanking are starting to look pretty good these days. 26,600 Health and I still get my Def Cap without Rune of the Stone Skin Gargoyle.

Told you it was a good day to be a tank.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rune of SSG = Deathtard?

As y'all know I like to keep up with the official DK forums. I know I'm a masochist. Explains my job.

When Blizzard introduced SSG, it was to assist Death Knights in attaining the uncritable status so they can begin to run heroics.

This is all well and good. I know there are many DK's out there who switch between DPS and Tanking and rely on this rune to ensure they don't go splat.

What I'm seeing is too many Deathtards out there thinking they can tank anything now that they are def capped. So off they go with 20k health 20k armor and 30% avoidance wondering why they keep wiping since they are Def Capped.

SSG can replace defense gear, it doesn't replace the grey matter between the tanks ears.

Heroic HoS Event with Lag

I tanked Heroic Halls of Stone last night for some guildies and a pugged healer again. This time we grabbed a holy pally that just repecced and was wearing mostly ret gear. Unlike my HoL run the other day, this pally proved skill > gear and did a fine job.

The only problem during the run was my lag.

Most of the run it was around 400ms which is not fun when you are used to 200.

There are lots of AOE pulls in HoS. Including several where you will get 10+ mobs at a time. Of course not all of them are elites in those pulls. That said, there is an easy way to tell if you are AOE tanking right.

If the bodies look like this at the end of the pull you did it right.

See how neatly they are lined up in a circle around where I was standing? I believe there were 15 on that pull. Using the standard DnD at my feet. Death gripping the one elite to me and then putting my diseases up for a pestilence followed by Unholy Blight, not a single mob aggrod on anyone else.

Now the title of my post mentions the tribunal event with lag. After we talked to Brann my lag spiked up to 900 ms and stayed there for the entire fight. Our Pally was worried. As an AOE Tank we actually have an easy time on this event. So long as the DPS and your healer don't stand in the lasers this is easy.

Here's how you do it. Stand about 3 steps up from the bottom in the middle. The walls on either side of you there are within 10 yards. This is important as it will not be possible for a mob to go past you with your AOE's up.

When the first 3 pack appears drop a DnD at your feet. From there IT, PS, and Pest and let the DPS kill them. I had the advantage of having an ele shammy, lock, and hunter for DPS last night and given my horrible reaction timing this was key to our success.

After the pack dies use your Unholy Blight. Now some of you may be thinking WTF Scourge, why pop an AOE damage ability with no mobs up. Lag is your answer. With the positioning I had, UB would aggro anything that tried to run past me. Using it after the fight ensured that over the next 20 seconds any spawns would come for me regardless of my poor reaction times.

This was the insurance I needed to make sure no mobs slipped through. Rinse Repeat and collect loot. Towards the end of the event when the mobs are coming every 15 seconds in larger packs with the bigger golems, go ahead and pop your Army of the Dead. This will give you some additional breathing room and take pressure off your healer.

There you have it, even with severe lag it is possible to tank the event. In fact two of my guildies scored the Brann Spanking New achievement.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Poll Result: Spec Interest

With 2 hours to go, this was by far the most answered poll I've put up with 132 people responding.

Not surprising given my own bias towards Unholy, the Unholy Tanking and DPS comprised nearly half of the respondents. Frost combined for a third of everyone, while Blood couldn't quite muster a 5th.

Regardless of tree the split between DPS and Tanking was 51/49.

When the PTR goes up, I plan on trying to create a Frost based Tank/DPS spec similar to what I have for Unholy. The goal will be the same, be a competent tank, and provide solid DPS.

I define Competent Tank as someone who can hold aggro (single target and AOE) and not die. From the mitigation standpoint I will be trading the improved AMS, AMZ, and Boneshield for Lichborne and UA. For aggro I will be losing Impurity, wandering plague, scourge strike, and a few others but will pick up Howling Blast and Frost Strike.

Solid DPS is a little more harder to measure since it is boss dependent. I know my dps varies considerably between heroics and raids so I will do my best to compare it to my current values.

If I can nail down a decent Frost spec, and I find more hours in a day, I'll take a look at blood for those of you who like that tree as well.

I'll also try to score some screens from Ulduar since I haven't dropped and graphics on you since Ony.

Servers are down, so Ask the Scourge

It's that time again. Blizz is doing some maintenance and supposedly dropping a small patch on us.

So I'm going to encourage everyone to ask their burning DK questions they have.

I may have the answer, I may not. If I don't I'll try to figure it out or find it. It may lead to a
new post such as the DK Profession post.

Later this afternoon I'll review the results of the spec interest poll.

In the meantime, what's on your mind?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sacrifical Ghoul in Heroic HoL

So we are trying to help our prot warrior build a DPS gear set for those fights we only need one tank and it make sense for me or our bear to tank it. He wants the Axe Lokken drops in heroic.

Our Holy Pally was AFK so we pugged in a tree to heal us. The tree had a couple heroic epics so we figured we should be fine. Especially since Dayrok(prot warrior), Marximo(combat rogue), and myself have run this and downed Lokken several times. We also have a guild Hunter(Linthia) in the group who hasn't had a ton of raid/heroic time but knows what she is doing.

We took the General charged to get Lin her achievement. Per DBM, it was the fastest kill on that boss I've ever done.

On to Volkan. Well maybe not. We didn't count on the Slags being a problem.

Our usual tactic is to allow whoever is tanking to run through all the slags and face pull aggro them. Once they are on the steps the tank will start applying threat. When rock does it, he thunderstomps on the steps, when I do it, I DnD there. In all the runs we have ever done we've never had problems with that.

First run in, druid puts a hot on rock half way through since he dropped to 95% health. About 20 slags came for the tree. He was only half way through. I dropped DnD on the three to save his ass which of course aggrod every thing on me in my DPS gear. No problem, pop Frost grab some heals and keep running for the stairs.

No heals.

The tree continued to HoT up the tank but didn't toss a single heal my way. Needless to say I went down and since we hadn't made the stairs yet the only other person with aggro on all my pissed off mobs was the healer. Guess who died next.

We explained the pull to the druid again, no heals until we are on the stairs on the other side.

Second try, as soon as the tank made the stairs, the druid put a heal on him. The druid was still in the middle and pulled aggro again. The rest of the scenario played out the same way.

Third try, we changed things up a bit. Instead of the tank running first which might scare the druid into healing we sent my ghoul.

So here's the DK tip of the day for Halls of Lightning. When you get to the slag pit, target a slag all the way over next to the stairs on the other side. Then send him in to attack. Wait 2 seconds and everyone else run to the stairs.

The ghoul will aggro everything on the way so the entire party can make the other side without any damage. As soon as the ghoul dies you will get bum rushed by a ton of slags. Have the tank pick them up and burn them down.

Sounds great on paper. Druid healed the ghoul since it was about to die and not everyone was across.

Fourth try, we convince the our pugged friend to not use any heals whatsoever until the tank has picked up the slags on the stairs. This time he didn't. He ran up the stairs and towards the side and aggro'd the elites there.

At this point we said we were done and all dropped group. Our pally was back from dinner so we reformed, used the ghoul trick on the slags and went on to get our hunter the shatter resistant and timely death achievements by one shotting everything else.

And the axe didn't drop.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Small Milestone

This is my 101st post. The Mish Mash report of my recent activities was number 100. In the two months and six days it has taken me to write 100 posts I've been visited over 13,000 times.

BRK probably gets that in a day or two.

That's OK, I know there are a little over 50 of y'all who visit me every day and I can only assume you find my ramblings entertaining and informative.

On average each visitor checks out 1.7 pages and stays for nearly 3 minutes.

The most popular entries I've made continue to be my talent spec discussion, professions, consumables, tanking primer, and being uncritable. Basically everything I've called out on the right.

I have also had 123 comments in that time. Though that number is inflated by me replying to what y'all have to say. Including Matticus accusing me of coining the term Deathtard. I will take no credit for that, however I may have helped popularize it :)

When I think back to my first post, my goal was to give Death Knights a voice and help demonstrate that we are capable of being more than the fad of the month and not everyone is a Deathtard. Since that time, warcraft realms has seen another 200,000 DKs join the ranks. And a ton of us have dinged 80. In fact nearly 300 thousand more of us and we are the most populous class at level 80.

We also made it through the 3.08 "nerf" fairly well. I still see DK's topping damage meters on a regular basis and believe we will continue to hold our own in 3.1.

So here's looking forward to the next 100 posts, may you find them entertaining and informative and worth coming back for.


Mish Mash of Activity

So I'm starting to get back into my routine and don't have anything truly noteworthy at the moment to discuss.

Our coalition continues to make progress finally, but I missed Naxx when we finally got Maxxena down. This coming week, I plan on leaving one drake up for a couple of attempts in OS.

I was recruited to join one of the top 10 guilds on the server. Seems they need some more raiders and after pug tanking for one, I made their wish list. When I said thanks for the compliment I prefer to stay with my friends, they tried to see if we would merge our guild in. Nice to know you can make a positive impression.

On the same lines, after we downed OS, we decided to do Vault 10, but one of our healers was saved so we had to pug another in. After the run, the healer said to keep him on our collective friends list since it was nice to pug with competent players.

Speaking of compliments, I am happy that Skeleton Jack is currently advertising on my blog. Make sure to click the link, and if you can't find it, I do have him in my DK blogroll. I find it is an excellent source of DPS information.

Back to my neck of the woods. I firmly believe, if we as a guild ever decided to focus our efforts purely on raiding we could rule the 10 man scene. But at times after a hard month at the office it's nice to sit back and fish.

I've been doing a lot of fishing as of late. In fact I've leveled it to 310 and got my cooking to 395 in the past couple of days. I'm starting to get to the point where I can supply a nearly endless amount of cheap buffs that the most valuable way to dispose of them is just use them while running around.

Last thing I did was go out and download the PTR client. I've never played on the PTR before but I really want to try out the 5/45/21 tanking spec to see if combining howling blast and unholy blight in the same build will truly pay off, as well as be able to DPS worth a damn while not tanking.

I will also be posting another Ask the Scourge day this week. I didn't get a ton of questions last time but it did lead to the profession post which with the help of all the commenters turned into a good resource.

Last, my DK tree interest poll is almost over and I have a lot of responses. I suspect it will lead to some new research topics since there is a good amount of interest in Frost and Blood as well.