Friday, March 20, 2009

Featured Death Knight - Deekow

Deekow was the first to fill out my questionaire. Since he's an entertaining blogger I figured I'd feature him. So if you want to be featured next week, fill out the form and I'll pick the most entertaining one and get you posted.

First let me say its nice to see you back in action again Deekow. I look forward to what's next with your blog.

If you happen to be on Runetotem Horde side /who Deekow and tell him hello.

At the time of this writing Deekow has a whopping 4,265 achievement points and is sporting a 0/31/40 dual wield build. You also won't find a nicer collection of gear than what he has. Epic may be achieved but its truly impressive.

Prior to rolling DK two weeks after Wrath Deekow could be found leveling his hunter to 55. He claims to have really liked his hunter but "The Death Knight is everything I wanted a character class to be."

I got a kick out of his answer on being a deathtard. "I seem to screw up spark duty the first attempt any given week on Malygos. Second attempt onward, I'm golden though." Now I've yet to see Malygos myself, but I'm told there is a good macro to help with that on wowwiki.

/tar Power Spark
/stopmacro [target=focus, noexists]
/cast [target=focus] Death Grip

I like to (raid, pvp, instance, solo, etc) Please provide details.

Raid and instance. I'm a social player as it is, and the fact that I can bring Deekow to the party and tank or dps as needed, even swap on the fly, means I'm playing exactly the class I want, having fun the whole time. And raiding, well... I'm new to WoW raiding and it's entirely different from what I was used to with EQ in years past. In some ways, WoW has dumbed down raiding, especially when you look at seriously involved lore and scripts like you had with EQ Planes of Power and such. But, it's also much faster paced, which I can entirely appreciate, and no matter where you raid, there's NOTHING like the feel of pulling off the seemingly-impossible with 24 of your closest friends. Nothing in gaming anywhere will come close to the feeling of Sarth 3D the first time, for example. 3 Weeks later and I'm still buzzing from that when I think about it.

What are you most proud of with your Death Knight?

Earning my place with the J!NX raid team. J!NX is a big name and kind of intimidating, but the raid team is really just a bunch of raiders with individual goals and personalities. As a newer raider, I had more of an uphill challenge than I think most other raiders do; but, I think I'm also a good gutcheck and example of why EVERYONE should bring their A-game (research fights, know your class, bring consumables)... if I'm doing it as a self-proclaimed scrub, there's no excuse for anyone else. There are certainly many better players than I am, but I've proven I'm an asset rather than a liability, to be sure. We're a newer raid guild as well and it's fraggin' awesome to be a part of that guild getting where we are today. Man... I raid with J!NX, how fucking cool is that?

Dekow's blog is linked at the top of this post as well as in my blogroll, it's good reading, entertaining, and something you should go check out.

Now don't feel you have to be an Uber raider like the Kow is to be featured. You don't have to be a blogger either. If you are having fun with your DK and have a cool story of something you did that works great too. If you're level 58 fresh out of starter, the PvP king, or just can't survive the first boss of a heroic you're toon is still worth being featured.

Kara Key Solo'd

Here it is. My fourth Kara Key. Big difference from my first one. When I keyed my lock I basically relied on others to walk me through each step and while I contributed reasonable DPS I definitely needed a good group to run the dungeons.

My second key was on my Bear. I was focused and tanked all the runs needed. They weren't clean runs but they got the kills required.

My third key on my hunter was just for fun. By the time I leveled him to 70 the key requirement was already dropped. But I keyed him anyway since I didn't think a non attuned toon belonged in Kara. This is the same feeling I have about Death Knight tanks getting uncritable by relying on Stoneskin Gargoyle. Some of the earliest posts I did were about getting 540 defense long before 3.08 came out.

Before you go off and think I'm being elitist about SSG, just realize that as you gear up and get defense on all your gear its possible to hit 540 with just a few enchants and a couple gems. Overall your stats will be better balanced between mitigation, avoidance, health, and threat.

Back to the key chain. I digressed more than usual but I just finished dinner and an adult beverage with it.

I only ran the minimum required for the key. Therefore my foray into SV and Arcatraz avoided all the bosses. I also skipped Murmur in Shadow Labs. I did full clears on Sethek Halls, Old Hillsbrad, Mechanar, Botanica, and Black Morass.

I did them all solo in an Unholy tank spec. For the most part I did them in my tank gear with frost presence because the 1700 DPS was more than sufficient. I only died once on a trash pull in Labs where I wasn't paying attention.

Black Morass was a little hairy since my new mouse decided to not respond and 500 ms lag didn't help.

The mouse and lag problems led to me missing 2 mobs as they made their way to the shield. All in all, soloing with 86% shield left wasn't bad. My Death Strikes healed me for around 2,600 health per pop and I used those about as often as scourge strikes.

So if you have a touch of nostalgia and looking for something to do before 3.1 hits, getting keyed on your own is very doable.

Featured Death Knight of the Week

I'm toying with another idea for a regular feature. My Ask the Scourge hasn't played out as well as I'd like. So here's my idea. I have a form as part of this post. Copy paste it into an email to me at
o m e n s c o u r g e @ g m a i l . c o m and fill out the questions.

Once a week I'll select an entry based on whatever criteria grabs my attention. I'll then write a blog post about the player and their answers. Whenever possible I'll use your own words as well.

The armory link won't be posted, it will just save me some time in looking stuff up. I may also email back a few questions based on your answers.

Death Knight Name & Server:

Armory Link:

Screen shot:

When did you roll your DK?

What was your former main?

How does your DK compare to your former main?

I was called OP because I ........

I was called a Deathtard because I ........

My favorite thing about DK's is.......

My least favorite thing about DK's is .......

I like to (raid, pvp, instance, solo, etc) Please provide details.

My favorite tree is...

I prefer to DPS/Tank/Both

What are you most proud of with your Death Knight?

If I could change one thing about the class I would change......

Anything else about your Death Knight we should know?

Closer to Kara and other fun stuff

Of course I forgot to send my screen shots so no pretty pics today.

I have one more step before I get my Kara key. Black Morass. Yesterday afternoon between fishing to restock my dragonfin fillet I ran Old Hillsbrad. Gotta say, other than the annoying first half this was the easiest dungeon to solo on the chain.

Why annoying?

When you are clearing and burning the shelters the guards do two things that annoy the crap out of me. They run, and they scattershot.

The running is annoying since you it takes more time to loot them since they aren't piled up at your feet.

The scattershot is 3 seconds where you can't do crap. Usually it comes the same time I want to mind freeze the warden to prevent its heals. Speaking of mind freeze, it works on Kel Thuzzad's frost bolts in Naxx.

Once you get to Thrall the rest is easy. Just remember to death grip the casters to you in the waves before Epoch and you're good as done.

I also ran some of our mid 60's alts through Slave Pens. Make sure you keep your health within a runic healing potion from full health so you can clear Rokmar's DoT on you when you drop him. Other than that real easy place.

Last AN heroic was a little buggy on Anub. When he would resurface he would run directly away from me. Guess he was scared. Omen showed I had aggro, target of target showed I had aggro but he wouldn't let me tank him properly. This also meant I had no control over which was he was facing for the pounds. Not to mention his pounds were hitting with the castbar only being half full.

Made the fight a little harder but we still scored the kill.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Naxx Clear

OK, so for my new guild this isn't a big deal. But for me it is.

Now I'm just a Malygos kill away from scoring my Champion of the Frozen North title. In two years of playing this will be my first title. I came too late for the battleground PvP titles and I never was progressed enough in BC to get those titles. Not to mention I'm too cheap to shell out 1,000g for "of the Shattered Sun."

It's interesting to me how different groups can struggle with different fights. My friends and I have tons of trouble with Four Horsemen, but one shot the construct quarter. My new guild is the opposite. Grob and Gluth just give us all sorts of fits.

On our third attempt at gluth one of our chow kiters went down early. I was dpsing in my tank gear since we had lost tanks in the prior two attempts. I popped frost presence ran back and picked the chows up. It was the difference between a kill and a wipe and I was proud of myself.

Grobbulus just farted all over us. Someone kept taunting right when he would spray his slime which kept us DPS from staying on the boss since we had to kill slimes. I don't know how many times the raid leader yelled about that as well as tanking the slimes in the clouds.

Thaddius was a clean kill this week and we have to give our heals tons of kudos for it. I DC'd right when a polarity shift occurred. I saw the DC coming so I warned everyone on vent and of course my polarity changed and I stood there trying to blow up the raid. By the time I logged back in I was dead and the boss was 20%.

It's not uncommon for me to get one DC a night but this was actually my third. The first came right when I had a mutating injection on Grob. Any guesses on whether I lived through my own cloud?

After Thad we went into Frostwrym and this was my first time ever seeing Saph. The fight was actually pretty easy. I imagine it will be tougher when the healing regen nerfs hit and all us melee actually have to care about staying out of the blizzards.

Kel on the other hand proved a little difficult. I'm not sure what the problems were but we had off tanks die on a couple attempts as well as the main tank. On the last attempt we lost the main tank and the remaining off tank with about 400k health left. As one of the remaining players, I called the army out and blew every other cooldown I had. I was at 25% health and one of 5 remaining players standing when Kel went down. Ugly but done.

I picked up 3 more pieces for my tank set including my 7.5 legs. If I choose too I could have the 4 piece bonus by combining the 7.5 chest and legs with the T7 Shoulders and Gloves. Three more seconds of IBF would be nice, but the shoulders and gloves I am currently wearing are too much of an upgrade.

My health using the standard Unholy tank spec has me at 29.6k unbuffed. My AP in this shot is still buffed from endless rage so it should be 3418 which is still not bad for a tank. I will also eat a snapper extreme when tanking for an additional 40 hit which I sorely need. I am also 3 emblems of valor away from a nice cloak upgrade and my bracers are still DPS bracers. If I ever replace those I can free up some gems for strength or stam depending on need.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not bad when all said and done

Naxx 25. We are clearing 3 quarters for the night. I log on all ready to tank and was one of 6 tanks in the raid. My new guild has a raid policy that they will pay respec fees if you are asked. For loot you still roll on your main spec which has been identified as tank. Outside of 5 mans I've only DPS'd for them in the week since I joined.

My time will come.

Since my main spec gear is mostly Naxx 10 and Heroics I had priority over any offspecs for tank drops I could use. For the other main spec tanks in the raid, most of them already had the i213 level gear. So I cleaned up. Tanked my EPGP rating down the drain but at least I'll be on more level footing.

So lootwise here's how I did.

For the second time in a week I upgraded my tanking shoulders from the Halls of Stone quest blues I had. Earlier I picked up the T7 shoulders, but those got upgraded again last night with the Pauldrons of Unnatural Death. I had the mats for my scribe chant, but I will have to gem these this afternoon. I'll put a +27 def in those so I can crit cap with the gear changes.

I also scored a pair of Callous-Hearted Gauntlets. These will be getting the armsmen enchant on them for the additional threat today.

The last piece I won was the T7.5 chest. Only due to a bug it got miss looted to a shaman who was supposed to recieve the shamy chest that dropped. So in the next few days I'll go from T7 to T7.5 and get my Valorous Scourgeborne Chestguard.

As for dishing out the pain.....

Like my tank set, my DPS gear is primarily Naxx 10, crafted, and heroics. Which is not to say it's bad gear but there are clear upgrades in heroic raids for me. I went with the 17/0/54 2H Unholy DPS spec even though there were two others in the raid. After two quarters one of the other DK's had to leave so I only fought for Ebon Plague with one DK for Military Quarter.

I'd like to say I held my own in there.

I should have been 3rd overall for the night but you can't DPS when dead and Azzure went down when a mind controlled understudy broke free on Raz early in the fight. On most boss fights I was in top 3 as well. Tonight should be interesting to see how I do on Patch. It's been a very long time since I've seen him in heroic where my raid buffed AP is well in excess of 5000 and my paper doll says I'll do 900 white damage DPS.

So with 3 Quarters down for the night with no wipes I picked up my 50th emblem of valor and Heroic Military Quarter achievement.

As I said, not bad, not bad at all. Tonight we should clear the place. All we have is construct and Frostwyrm. Assuming we get the clear I'll pick up 3 more achievements including the fall of Naxx and be a Malygos kill away from getting Champion of the Frozen Wastes.

Kara Key Update: Mech

I'll be putting up a Naxx 25 post in a bit but wanted to keep you aprised of my Solo Kara Key quest.

I hit up Mechenar yesterday so I could finish getting my Arcatraz key. As with previous dungeons trash is easy. DnD, IT, PS, Pest then spam RS and trade off between DS and SS depending on health needs.

One boss was a little harder.

Notice anything missing from Mechanno Lord's debuffs? Should be to the lower left of my ICEHud. No Diseases. Damn thing was immune.

No diseases means no self healing. It also means I don't hit as hard. To compensate I put more focus into maintaining my mitigation cooldowns cycled. I also changed my rotation to be BS and OB only for runes. BS to convert the bloods to death and Obliterate since it plain hits harder and I was no longer worried about cleansing my own diseases.

Had it gotten real hairy I could have called the army out. I also still had lichborne in reserve. As it was, I downed him with about 6k health left but by the time I was around 10k health I knew I was winning the DPS race.

The rest of mech was easy. The mini gauntlet to Panthelon was fun, but they were spaced well enough I could keep my self healed and only fight one group at a time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another step in the chain

Since I won't be raiding again until tomorrow I'm going to abuse my power and continue to regale you with my quest to solo the entire Kara key chain and all keys and attunements required.

This afternoon I went into Botanica. I need it and Mechenar to get my Arcatraz key. My memory tells me that Bot was one of those instances I liked to avoid since it usually took forever.

I went in with my tank gear on in frost presence. At 1600+ DPS I had the firepower, but the real beauty is by keeping my diseases up on all the mobs and death strikes I had virtually no down time.

The only two bosses that posed any hardship, though not much, were Laj and the Warp Splinter. Laj summoned a lot of flowers that were out of my AOE range. I decided I needed to seriously up my DPS so I called the Army out and essentially put round up on the weed and was done with it.

The only issue Warp Splinter caused was also with his adds. I wanted to maximize the time between his heals with the adds so I kited him around his room.

He was still getting his heals but I was doing more damage between them than he was healing himself for. I was also maintaining my health so it was just a matter of time before he dropped.

There's a side benefit from soloing these as well. My alternative activity in the afternoons is pug or farm. I looted 86g and vendored another 65g between boss drops and vendor trash. I also walked out with 8 greens to DE, 4 stacks of netherweave, and 16 sunfury signets. Surprisingly my Auctioneer tells me I can expect another 75g from selling that crap. Not bad for 45 min and a lot more fun than fishing.

Bring Back Attunements

I'm going to beat a dead horse this morning.

I think we should have attunements for raids, and heroics. Four months into Wrath has convinced me of it.

Blizzard dropped attunements so more people could see raid encounters. I'm going to assert without any supporting evidence that attunements did not serve as effective gate keepers to keep the multitudes from raiding.

I started playing WoW a little after BC was out. I don't know anything about the Classic attunements. I do know what was required for Kara. As for T5 and T6 requirements, those were dropped before I ever considered hitting those raids.

My first Kara toon was a warlock and I was terribad. I didn't know squat about hit rating. Aggro management was a foreign concept. Consumables, yeah right. Yet I still got my Kara key without any real difficulty. In fact I had to do less work to key my lock than I am my Death Knight.

Why? I got carried. I never even had my own Shadow Lab or Arcatraz key. All it really took was a run through of Labs, a few trash pulls in Steam Vaults and Arcatraz, complete Durnholde, and finishing Black Morass. Needless to say since I was carried through that, my lock had to be carried in Kara as well. 350 DPS FTW.

In addition to the above, my Death Knight also has to do/has done full clears of Sethek Halls, Mechenar, and Botanica so I can get into Labs and Arc.

When I decided I wanted to raid on my Bear I started doing research. I wanted to tank and I quickly learned tanks can't be carried. I looked forward to and enjoyed getting my bear keyed for Kara. I willingly ground instances for rep and drops to better my toon so when I was keyed I would be prepared. By the time I hit revered with the factions I knew their dungeons and was ready to handle them as a heroic.

Fast forward to Wrath. Only key you need is Violet Hold. Talk to two people and you're done. Heroics, be level capped. Naxx, nothing. Malygos, so long as you know someone who's downed Saph you're in.

I know all the hardcore raiders say lol naxx, but the fact is people still wipe in there. Hell I still wipe in there. With no attunements you would think more than 30% of the player base would have seen the inside of Naxx by now. Wowjutsu only show 3.7M raiding toons. Of those only 78% have downed Anub'Rekhan.

If the attunement process was actually a roadblock to raiding I would expect many more players/toons would have been to Naxx, but with a lower percentage of boss kills.

So if the attunements aren't a road block what value to they bring to a player who wishes to raid. It sets clear measurable goals that provide feedback that you and your group are making progress towards being able to kill a raid boss. Attunements provide gear checks, and gear that will aid in scoring a kill. Attunements provide practice for movement, situational awareness, and developing and implementing tactics that will allow you to progress.

Attunements assured your fellow raiders you had the basic commitment to not waste their time and gold on needless repair bills.

Back in BC, the requirements to enter T5 and T6 content was simple. To get attuned you cleared the previous content. Even for alts, this gave players and opportunity to gear up and learn how to employ their new toon.

Blizzard missed the boat on Naxx. But it's not too late to put some requirements on Ulduar. Even if its as short as Heroic Loken drops a key it will go a long way towards ensuring players are ready for the content at hand. Or Heroic Halls of Stone and complete the tribunal if the Lore fits. Even better, require a full Naxx clear before you can move on to Ulduar. The hardcore raiders can spend 3 hours for their alts while the casual raiders can learn not to stand in the fire, let the tank get aggro, and have a clue on what gear is good for our toons.

After all raids aren't fun when you wipe on the first boss half a dozen times or more.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tank Kiting

Based on previous polls I've done, I know quite a few of you are new to tanking. One of the skills you will need to master is kiting bosses.

When moving a boss around you never want to turn your back on them. As soon as you do you lose all your avoidance and your healer starts burning their mana faster. Assuming you don't die.

So to move the boss safely you need to either walk backwards or strafe the mob.

I'm a mouse driver which means I have to kite bosses with the keyboard since my 3 button mouse doesn't let me go backwards. Whenever I need to kite I use the arrow keys. It's not as smooth but its better than turning your back.

My mouse died on me so I did get a cheap $40 5 button mouse and my two extra buttons are bound to backing up and strafing left. I tend to go left more than right. Kinda like the reverse of Zoolander.

So what does this have to do with learning to tank kite. If you read my last post I'm working on my Kara key and I'm doing it solo. Grand Master Vorpil in Shadow Labs has to be kited.

So here I am kiting him backwards to avoid the void walkers getting to him. This is on the south pass after we already went north. For an 80 DK tank this should be relatively easy to solo, or take a dps healer if you want. This is a good boss to practice kite tanking on if you don't have a lot of experience.

Just keep moving. Never turn your back. Profit.

Going Old School

Last night I did my first ever AQ20 run. We 6 manned it with me tanking. I didn't think to take a single screen shot.

We also 3 manned Attumen to try and score the mount. He dropped like a rock but didn't give the horsey.

Next we 2 manned Onyxia since we were in the mood.

However, I decided I need my kara key on this toon so I started the quest chain. I'm at the point where I need to go into Shadow Lab. Problem is, I don't have the key. So it's time to solo Sethek Halls.

I'm sporting an Unholy Tank spec at the moment, but went in with my DPS gear on and in blood presence.

Looks like I needed to refresh my diseases and hit a death strike instead of taking pictures like a tourist. That said, self buffed in a tank spec I was still pushing 2,100 DPS which is more than double what this instance was designed for in regular. I think the rest of the chain should be fairly easy as well. If it gets rough I can always put on my tank gear too.