Thursday, 22 April 2010

Need more rage^H^H^H^H attitude

This post was going to be titled "No more tanking for PUGs", but then I calmed down, and then got irritable.

I've had enough of PUGers like that overgeared ret paladin (who drops consecrate on the portals in VH before the mobs have even appeared) or worse that warlock (who's hurling abuse while waiting for the second boss in Occulus to be pulled, not realising or caring that the shadowpriest is still mounted having got tangled up with a patrol and I've gone back to help out).

I'm geared enough now that the dungeon finder thinks I'm ready to tank Forge of Souls heroic (it went nicely, thanks), so I no longer need to enter heroics in a slightly apologetic fashion on account of my gear.

It's time to make sure that I'm always on top of my own game, and then (ab)use the power given by the fact that few people want to tank PUGs (for some odd reason), and call out those manifestations of Gabe's theory.

If you want to run a heroic in a competent fashion, that's great. If you want to faceroll the Emblem piƱata with no consideration for the fact that those other pixels in your group are actually other people, then welcome to the vote kick.

As an aside, I'm not sure whether FoS went well because people know that the ICC heroics are hard and hence pay attention, or I just got lucky, but it was a welcome end to an otherwise not fun evening.

For those not geeky enough to get the title, that's computer literate humour apparently...

Monday, 19 April 2010

What role to fill in farm content?

Number one daughter woke me at 6am this morning, and being awake I had a couple of choices. I could make an early start on my day's heavy workload, or tank a quick dungeon in the hope of upgrading one of my shockingly poor tanking trinklets.

So I find myself in Azjol-Nerub. Boss one goes down like clockwork. As we get set for Hadronox I notice that the feral druid's dps is fairly low, especially given his Gearscore (4.8k). I wonder if he's phoning it in, or perhaps if the mage (2.3k Gearscore) has somehow managed to AoE his way to the top of the meter. Switch Vigilance to the mage, proceed to down Hadronox, only minorly irritated by the paladin healer pulling the add groups before I'm ready. Essence of Gossamer drops, which more than makes up any worries I have.

Then, on Anub'arak the adds get a bit out of control on the third burrow phase, I fail to tank an elite which eats the healer, we wipe.

Proceed to PUG wipe post-mortem. Do not pass Go, do not collect Emblems of Frost.

First thing first, I apologise for letting the healer die. The tone of the rest of the debate was actually fairly pleasant for a PUG - one of the dps blames the healer, the druid blames the dps (and me by implication) for letting the little adds get out of control, and not killing the elites fast enough (and mentions in passing that he's in PvP gear, hence the low damage for his Gearscore). I'm guessing we were too tired, and too close the end, for any real rancour. Either way no one quit, and we killed the boss fine on the second attempt.

I came away from this wondering, not for the first time recently, if I should give up on tanking altogether. In a more reflective mode, I'm wondering what role do I want to be in on farm content.

I've tried dps. While it has had it's fun moments for me, more often it's routine at best, and I find myself slipping into bad habits with one eye on the Recount numbers. And when a tank or healer drops, or isn't very good, I find myself wishing that I was in one of those key roles.

I enjoy healing, especially in non-farm raids. But on farm content it's very dull and it becomes tempting to be distinctly lax.

I enjoy tanking, when I'm not feeling pressured for speed or by trigger-happy dps. On the plus side, although it does become somewhat routine there's always the need to pay attention - whether because the dps outgear you hence you're struggling for threat, or through bad play or bad luck. Hence it's never as dull as the other roles can be.

My problem with tanking will always be the amount of preparation involved - both being geared and knowing the fights - especially given my relatively limited gaming time. And I'll never enjoy farm content - I'd far rather be switching to a new alt where smaller investments of time can make much greater difference in capability. But if I can keep this in perspective I'll probably keep tanking.

Monday, 12 April 2010

An Ode to Blackrock Depths

Or what vanilla WoW got right but WotLK gets wrong.

In my youth Blackrock Depths and Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire were pretty much the end game for casual players. I'm not sure whether that's the reason for the scope of BRD, or if in the days of 40 person raids Blizzard just had a bigger vision that's now been toned down into bite-sized chunks of content.

Whatever the reason, Blackrock is still the epitome to me of what fantasy RPGs should be about. It's a big, multi-layered instance, that actually feels like real architecture rather than just a complicated corridor. When was the last time you got lost in a TBC or WotLK instance (apart from Occulus that is)? When was the last time you actually had a choice of routes?

It was possibly too big, but groups would happily spend several hours in there - probably at least one person was aiming for their Molten Core attunement but others perhaps wanted to raid the Black Vault, or you'd be with a blacksmith that needed to use the anvil. On your first visit there you couldn't even get to the end - your first priority was to get your Shadowforge key. Did you need to start a fight in the bar to get to the latter parts of the instance, or did the succubus there owe you a favour and hence would arrange an exit for you?

It was an exploring, questing journey, not a race to the end boss to get your emblems then zone out.