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Stacking Avoidance instead of Stamina

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

… Or how to actually make your Healers wake up a bit and smell the Cataclysm.

Right now the common theory is to stack Stamina and let the Healers sort it out. That kind of thinking is going out of the window in favor of a more complex system of mana management. Taking loads of damage and expecting the Healer to just handle it all just won’t cut it. I am going to ask you for a minute to follow me with this. Warning any and all math involved is going to be brief and simple.

Currently we Gem for Stamina, the only thing with higher priority is Hit and Expertise to their respective caps. At the moment I have a total of 18 Gem slots. Now considering approximately 3 slots worth of those is spent adjusting Hit and Expertise that leaves us 15 to put straight Stam in. Doing so (without any Jewelcrafting or Blacksmithing bonus) would be worth 450 Stamina or basically 4500 HP. Assuming your average Boss swings for about 10k thats two swings worth.

I recently Reforged my gear (using mostly Dodge and Parry) to Mastery netting me a total Block Chance of 40.45%, my Parry and Dodge dropping from about 22.5% each. I then switched my gems to favor Parry, Dodge, and Agility (using some half Stamina Gems in places) which has reduced my Stamina bonus from that 450 to about 180, a loss of 2700 HP. My Parry is currently 20.23 and my Dodge is 20.07 (Parry being more favorable due to the Talent Hold the Line). So Basically in exchange for 4.7% avoidance I Picked up 10% Block all of this is without any buffs. Which is an increase overall. That 5.3% more reductions when spread over an encounter really starts to add up, but basically each boss’ physical swing is reduced by about 1.6% which on that 10k swing means about 160 damage which is more than the difference in a full 30 Stamina Gem and a +15 Stamina + something else gem. Factor in longer fights and Critical Blocks and those numbers start to add up.

The reason all this is important is come Cataclysm our Shield Block will only give us 25% chance to Block increase for 10 Seconds, but will convert the overages of using it that push us above the 100% mark of Block, Dodge, & Parry from Block percentage to Critical Block percentage. We want to be as close to the line as possible. Right now however, what we gain is survivability. I haven’t checked my fully buffed Dodge & Parry ratings, but in the last run in ICC I had a full 40% less damage taken than the off tank. We favor Block a bit because we no longer gain Rage from Dodges and Parries.

With the Healers focusing on keeping Mana managed we need to focus more on keeping down on incoming damage, not how we can just take more of it. Maybe spending the Gold to swap out now isn’t entirely worth it, especially if your guild is on break, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future when making Gear choices at 81 and beyond.

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Taking the Lair

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I got into a PUG Blackwing Lair run. There were characters of various levels between 60 and 80, many of whom probably never were there before. Thankfully there was an attuned Warlock in the group to summon people straight in. Oh, did I mention, the person putting it together disconnected at some point before I got summoned?

As I have had to do once before (on my second run of “For the Alliance”) I assumed the defacto role of Raid Leader for 2 reasons:

1. I am the tank (there was a Bear off tanking, but I was better geared, so main tanking).

2. I know most of the encounters from a near full clear on a previous run (server reset as Chromaggus tore the 7 of us apart) and had read Nefarian’s encounter several times (I like dragons).

The group did fine. A little shakey at time with loot and pulling, but we (Shikamaru was handling the Master Looter duties) held it together.

The opening boss went smoothly, as the raid didn’t wipe us. Vael got burned without a single death. Trash was a minor bump.

The biggest irritation was the rooms before Broodlord Lashlayer. Fast respawning adds and traps spraying slowing gas. It was frustrating trying to get the rogues up to disarm them, but we decided to push through and forget the disarming. Took a bit too long, but we survived.

The drake trio and Chromaggus went down smooth. Nef was entertaining. Everyone pilled behind the throne after the first few waves and no one got the debuff. Nef summarily went down hard (did the Hunter call out and broke Shikamaru’s Weapon though).

As the only Shield wielding Tank, and one of only two Warriors (the other being there for the achievement only, I think) I cleaned up in drops. Two old school tank trinkets, and the Chest, Bracers, and Boots for the Tier 2 Battlegear of Wrath set.

I really dig Blackwing Lair. The encounters are cool, the gear all looks Awesome, and I can do it once a week >.>

Also did ZG with a friend’s guild (much drama) and went with a couple friends part way into Kara (Shikamaru brought his 71 Paladin for heals and picked up the Mongoose Enchant off Moroes, which I am now rocking). We cleared through Opera (Oz knockoffs) and will pick it up this weekend.

If you have never done these raids, get some friends together, read up on the basics, and go grab some loot.

P.S. If you qualify to run VoA on 10 or 25, I HIGHLY recommend getting into it everyweek. Got my ilevel264 Gloves last night off of Toravon.

Back to the Drawing Board

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I was testing out my soloing spec in Karazhan (which as a Warrior, is a difficult thing). I downed Attumen with little difficulty and moved onto Moroes.

First, with out uber-dps back up you start to pickup on things that would never happen because they would be dead (or re-dead in the case of Moroes’ ghost pals). Things like Lady Keira Berrybuck heals and Lord Crispin Ference disarms. I should have looked this things up, but where is the fun in that. Wiped twice figuring those things out. Changed my game plan and managed to drop all four adds on the third go before falling to Moroes himself.

At this point I decide to clear a bit more of the ballroom for repair money. The friend who was nice enough to stay in a raid group with me to let me reenter Kara after each death decided to come down to Deadwind pass and join me. So the level 80 Space Chicken and I reengage and she is pulling aggro super easy (I’m in Battle Stance of course). I switch to Defensive Stance to try and hold aggro and smooth things along and let her spend less time popping back to Night Elf form to heal. This is when I make the crucial discovery. Bloodthirst works in Defensive Stance… D’oh.

So it’s time to revamp that solo build. Bloodthirst is critical for near spammable healing, but now I can grab Concussion Blow for a bit more breathing room. I will definately do a post on my solo spec after I finalize it.

Anyway, we beat down Big Bad Wolf and fought our way through to The Curator. Took us a second go due to a few loose adds joining in the fight, but we downed him and I got the Dragon-Quake Shoulderguards I’ve been wanting. We called it a night shortly there after.

Karazhan, I will return.

Feeling Good and Fungi

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night was full of good news and events. The night opened with me getting invited to join my guild’s 2nd team on ICC this Sunday. I’ve been working hard at gearing up and being the best tank I can be. This is a big step for me, my first experience in ICC was as the 3rd tank in a 25man PUG last weekend (which went less than stellar, wiping hard on Lady Deathwhisper). Dailies went well (still saving up to get mounts at the Argent Tournament).

The revamp of Monsterbelly Appetite as Disarmed! is great. The new fish outside of Violet Hold are both moderately useful, plus more booze. I like those eels for running old content in my tank gear as all the dodge helps and the shimmering minnows are an expendable source of health.

My sidekick, Shikamaru (level 80 hunter), have been running TBC content lately, even getting in on raids over the weekends. We hit Auchindon last night and ran all four dungeons on Heroic. Mana-Tombs was a lot of fun and seemed to be punishingly high in damage for a level 70 Heroic (I started in early Wrath, and never ran it at level), but we cleared through without incident. Auchenai Crypts was the last new dungeon for both of us and we got Outland Dungeonmaster, there was much rejoicing. We cleared the other two for the first time on Heroic. Lots of gear was collected and he headed to bed.

I had one last stop for the night. After sorting out the interesting equips from the just plain eye melting (the curse of Burning Crusade gear), I was off to Zangermarsh and the Underbog. For the fourth day in a row I beat the instance up and down for a couple clears picking up Sanguine Hibiscus. Finally all the hard work paid off and I hit Exalted with the mushroom men of Sporeggar. Kungaloosh was made and sent out to several friends in celebration.

Five Tips for Grinding Sporeggar Rep:

1. Do the Non-repeatable Quests- this is one of those reputations where grinding will happen no matter what. Do the quests as soon as you can as killing Bog Lord and such to get to Revered is just down right boring.

2. Collect Glowcaps and keep them- You are going to need them for anything the Quartermaster sells (which is probably why you are getting the rep up), grab them early and often. The quest to turn them in for rep is fairly worthless.

3. Get to 80 or get backup- I started grinding them briefly while leveling through Outland (which is a good time to do the quests in my opinions). It was difficult and the gear just isn’t important anymore thanks to Northrend. Higher levels will make make the next part simpler.

4. Clean Out Underbog- Most of the trash in the first section (before the naga) have a decent chance to drop Sanguine Hibiscus, which is the whole point. However, there are a few nodes later on and anything that drops will cover repairs.

5. Spread it Out- Don’t force yourself to keep at it for 8 hours just to get Exalted. Run it a couple times a night, maybe go through the quests with some friends. Everyone can show off their shiny tabards and Tiny Sporebats together.