Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This isn't WoW Related, and I'm aware the very act of bringing up my not currently active blog is likely to give you a reason to finally remove it, but I'm banking on enough of you still subscribing having enough in common with me, that you'll appreciate this...

It's a blog / webcomic, by a close friend of mine. The actions of the characters are directed by the people that leave comments, and it's updated -daily-. Those last two reasons should be enough for you to give it a shot, if not just to add another consistently active blog to your daily reading.

...until I am compelled to share something again - signing out.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dungeon Diving Dwarfs Defeating Dragons

Franklin said...
Alright... Thanksgiving is upon us. You said (heck, I'm gonna exaggerate and say you PROMISED) to come back at Thanksgiving. ;-)

I'd love to say something along the lines of "But my fellow blogger, I've never left you!" and go on to reveal something like I'm still playing WoW (and am actually Tobald), or something along those lines - but it's just not the case.

What may be of interest - is that I've been tossing in a decent share of time with Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO)- which went free to download & play somewhat recently. I'm having quite a lot of fun (tabletop D&D has been a regular part of my geek diet for a number of years), and could see myself playing this MMO-incarnation for quite awhile. Yakra the Dwarf is making a living getting beat on, but in a slightly different light.

I'll throw this out there: Let me know if there is interest in hearing about the adventures and experiences of Yakra & Aertimus (& Company) in the world of Eberron. It's certainly a horse of a different color (compared to WoW) - but I do miss this community, and if the feeling is mutual I could stage a return.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quiet For Now

This post is overdue, and I apologize for that.

I stopped playing WoW shortly after my last post. Not out of any dislike for the game, but for the frustrations which can arise from the people that play it. I don't plan on going into any detail.

There are a few things which may be on the horizon:

1) I may pick up WoW again at some point, on a different server. Among those whom I've kept in contact with, a few have expressed interest scaling down to / forming a ten man guild. If this happens, it would probably be after Thanksgiving - some time after Aertimus has had time to get into the school year.

2) I may re-purpose this blog. I haven't stopped reflecting, really. Just hasn't been about tanking.

If your interested/curious in the above scenarios, stay subscribed. You may see another post someday, or you may not. There is only one way to know.

( Alternatively, you could follow me on Twitter, which I infrequently ((but increasingly)) use. )

Thank you all for your readership. It has certainly meant a lot to me.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

There Is No Triumph Over Grinding

The cost of all tier gear, excluding 25-Hard gear, requires tons of emblems. For the dedicated raider, emblems will be the limiting factor in how quickly they gear up.

The part that gets to me, is that a 25 man raider *can't just raid 25 mans*. With assumed equal emblem drop rate from both 10 and 25 (so far, both Northrend Beasts 10 and 25 drop 3 Triumph, and I'll make the assumption that the heroic versions will drop the same), a normal 25 man raider doubles his weekly allotment of triumph by clearing the ten man each week, triples it by also doing the ten man hard mode, and almost quadruples it by also running the heroic daily each day that week. And if they're doing hard mode 25 man, there is even more.

I only plan on doing ten man raids, so my emblem of triumph rate will be even slower, and the period of time in which I'll need to raid both normal and heroic ten man (after my group has progressed past the normal ten man) will be even longer.

There is no gearing out of this requirement! Until you have 410 Emblems (Enough for T9 Triumph, and non Tier-Side grade offsets), you can't stop grinding. You are compelled to clear the same content multiple times a week. And if you want off set pieces to allow different gear configurations (you should), pick up any of the conquest level gear as stepping stones, or God forbid off-spec gear... I don't even want to imagine.

I know I can get in the groove of doing the same bosses once each week, as many tiers of raiding has proven.

Doing both 10 and 25 man versions of the same boss in the same week borders being annoying. Its why I didn't want do Naxx 10 while I was doing Naxx 25 - but this was ok, because with Naxx 25 rewards being superior, there was no reason to do Naxx 10.
I can't imagine doing the same bosses up to four times a week, to get appropriately geared. It's lazy design, and it is being forced on raiders. It is not just an option to raid hard content to get good gear, as it has been in the past.

Notice I'm not angry that it is an option to gear up over time by doing easy content. That's all fine and good by me. I've just always enjoyed that I was able to take the option of doing hard content exclusively for my gear, rather then grinding gold/rep/emblems.

I smell resentment in the future. Those players who grind the everliving daylights out of multiple raids each week and the heroic daily unfailingly, will be bitter at the people they play with, who don't have that time.

In LOKI, I always enjoyed that we were able to support people from all walks of life - including those who's jobs/wifes/school limited their play time to the few hours a week we raided, and then just enough to procure consumables outside of that. As a matter of fact, I'd say that the raid schedule drew in these sorts. What will LOKI (or any other limited-raid-time guild) look like in a few weeks, when some raid members are slipping into their 5th piece of T9, and others are just buying their first?

Epics From Head To Toe

For the low, low cost of...
25 Champion Seals
305 Triumph
155 Conquest
110 Valor
40 Heroism
Enough Gold for one AH BoE Epic

You can get this. (Second trinket, Glyph of Indomitability, missing)

You can now equip a warrior head to toe in quality epics (including T9, without stepping into a raid, or relying on a drop (As long as your willing to do the heroic daily for 153 days, that is).

I was looking new gear, and wondered if every slot could be filled in. It is indeed true. And if you want to replace the BoE shield for the Hero Badge one (to stay completely true to the emblem-only theme, go for it).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Non-Generic Warrior-Type 3.2 Impressions

Darkspear was one of the servers that saw its shadow, and went back into hiding for another few hours. During this time, MMO-Champion forums read that the first 25 Man boss had been defeated by people on a more stable server, and that was all that would be the only raid content available this week (with one new boss being put out to slaughter each following tuesday).

Is it surprising that I (and I suspect others) wasn't giddy with anticipation for this patch?

T7 was entirely played out, before T8 arrived. Raiders were anxious for T8, and when it finally went live, it was pretty sweet. It's a well done instance, with lots of content. I'd argue that it was worth the wait.

T9 is pretty clearly a filler content patch. The tragity is - its release caused developers to rush people through T8 - a quality content patch. The nerfs were hard and fast (XT, Mimiron, and Yogg come to mind), and let people push through content with speed that insulted the amount of time spent crafted the content, and the wait that we endured.

As an added insult - T9's rewards (including all non T9-25-Heroic Gear) are hugely dependent on Emblems of Triumph. As it stands, the Heroic Daily (done each day) will provide more of this crucial currency then raiding, on a weekly basis. Raiders better be able to find the time *every day* to go sprint through content that offers no challenge, so that they don't fall behind the gear curve.

Also - Epic Gems. I picked up nine, with a combination of honor from alts and Yakra. Wintergrasp and the insane amount of heroic daily grinding meen that I'll never need gems from any other source again. The bottom is going to fall out of the rare gem market, including prospecting for profit (and as a result, ore sales). They don't feel epic at all, unlike the handful of precious actually-rare gems you got each week from Hyjal or BT.

Now, that said - I think this patch has plenty to be happy with. (I just think that this tier of raiding is going to stick out like the runt of the litter, and the development time should have gone into a more epic final tier for Wrath).

The new five man. While most of my normal heroic partners were smashing the first boss in the raid, I grabbed some PuGs and dove straight into the heroic. I had a pretty good time.

Blah Blah the intro is long blah blah. I was never really bothered by Kael's TK intro, so this didn't seem much different. Having it replay on a wipe was a bit much.

Yes, we did wipe on the horsey phase the first time. I don't think any of the five of us had done the argent jousting thing before, but it was easy to pick up. We let one of them re-mount the first time, and I similarly did not know I could remount after getting knocked off. Once we were aware of these features, it was a *mark skull*, *spam buttons*, repeat. We did have our horses despawn when we got down to two riders, and the third was still mounted while the two dismounted ones went all active/combat-like. That killed us, but on return the mobs were waiting on the ground, to pick a good ole fashion fight.

The second boss was hillarious (we had the paladin), and the third was fun (though I didn't fight him as part of the daily quest chain, so it probably lacked some impact). There was some lack of finality, as the final boss didn't cause a [[ You've Cleared This Instance ]] achievement - due to us not having fought all the alternate bosses. One member was very confused, and thought there would be more fights. Regardless, many abyss crystals were had by all.

Trading BoPs. After getting my five man loot rules spam multiple times (Need if Need, else Pass, and Aert greed's to DE), the warlock greeded/won a pair of mail shoulders. Normally, its a loss of an abyss. Luckily, we remembered that he could *trade* the item to Aertimus, since she was eligible for the kill and it was sub-2hours.

Raid ID Extentions. This is really what made the patch for me. I couldn't honestly get too angry at whatever package this feature came in. My Uld10 group now only needs hard modes from Vexaz, Mimiron, and Yogg. No one really needs gear from the early part, particularly now that there is a whole tier of stuff available. We can now skip hours of clearing crap we don't need, letting us work on the stuff we actually need! Its like I was gifted multiple hours of playtime each week.

The first thing I did, was put my belt on my action bars. Free frag bombs every 6 Min makes it feel like an actual utility belt, and throwing bombs in PvE & PvP always fun. I trained the Wormhole Generator, but didn't get to craft it. I found someone in trade to craft Jeeves, but he's going to take some mats gathering to get done. I also need to get three more points in engineering, which is going to be expensive.

Still to Do
Try new Battleground
Buy new Heirloom items
Find a Glyph of Commanding Shout
Really take a good look at my improved Prot DPS
New Orphan Quests
Go Fishing for the new Waterlogged Recipe

Monday, August 3, 2009

Knock Knock Knockin' on Algalon's Door

Yakra take this sigil from me
I can't use it anymore
It's getting dark too dark to see
Feels like I'm knockin' on Algalon's door

I think I'm getting into this longer format, weekly posting bit, where I go over the week's experiences and things learned/noticed.

Starting off the week! Thursday was back to Ulduar 10. We made do with the early trash bosses, got a repeat IC Hard Mode, and started on Hodir. It was both awesome, and disappointing.

We didn't have much trouble with the achievement. Two Healers (Druid/Paladin), One Tank, Three Melee (Arms Warrior, Ret Paladin, Enh Shaman), Four Ranged (Two Elemental Shaman, Warlock, Hunter). Not a particularly well synergized group, but we made the most of the buffs, and got it done. I really was just disappointed with my DPS contribution. I'd like to credit it to having to do sunders, commanding shout, and demo shout - but that shouldn't have hurt my DPS as much as it did. I guess that all the other physical DPS was getting the bonus of the singed buff in some form or another (from shaman/paladin spell damage), but I felt like I wasn't pulling my weight.

Yakra, why are you worried about pulling your weight as DPS? Your a tank!

I think the future of warrior tanks, particularly in ten mans and hard modes, includes the necessity of being flexible. We could not hope to do Hodir Hard mode with two tanks, and fights like Vezax don't benefit from having more then one. If your group wants to get these challenges done, and you don't have the luxury of a huge roster on the sidelines (a rarity in ten mans), then the ability to do two different roles well is huge. Add to that the superiority of some tanks in some situations (Paladins on Hodir, DKs of Vezax), and you'll almost certainly serve your raid better in some situations, by standing on the other side of the boss.

So following that night, I crunched gear even more, made some big emblem of conquest purchaces, and got a bunch more scarlet rubies and had em cut up.

Skipping ahead some, Vezax for the week provided me an awesome opportunity. We had pulled in another DPS warrior to replace someone who wasn't feeling well. I set it so that neither of us was responsible for interrupting - giving me an awesome opportunity to compare recount between the two of us. Arms has alot of proc based attack opportunities, and priorities matter (IE, What should you do, when rend has fallen off, MS is up, Taste for Blood Proced, Sudden Death Procced, and Bladestorm comes off cooldown? - oh and where do you fit in sunders, and should you risk clipping into another cooldown by slamming off excess rage?)

What did we do the same? Nearly the same amount of Slams (26 vs 28).

What was different? I prioritized Mortal Strike big time. I had more Overpowers, and less Executes. I either used Bladestorm once less, or he got an iceblock included in one of his. I had higher Rend uptime (contributing to the increase in Overpowers).

What can I do different? Well, I doubt I use execute properly in the sub-20% stage. I tend to mash it regardless of if Sudden Death proc'ed or not, which can steal all my rage - looking into better usage of it will help me. I also make rend my #1 priority when it needs to go up, but I'm thinking possibly I need to let it go momentarily, to deal with currently available procs and cooldowns.

Stepping away from Ulduar momentarily - I decided to get my Argent Dawn rep going. I had heard of a trick for speeding to Baron Rivendare, used by Mount-Hopeful players, and decided to give it a shot (getting both Rep, and a shot at a rare mount, is my kind of farming). Check the timer on the 45min duration debuff that you get when you start UD Strath.

It has 42 min left on it. Entry-to-Baron time was ~3 min.

The trick has to do with (what I'll presume to be) an Easter egg left/put in by programmers. Certain "trapped" boxes in the instance,when used twice, despawn gates/doors . This lets players skip the three minibosses in the beginning, (and more importantly) the Ramstien/Abomb event outside of the Slaughterhouse. Along the way, I kill the Spider Boss and Magistrate, for the bonus Corrupters Scourgestones (totalling 3 for each run).

In the end, you get 200 rep for each optional boss (50 for kill, 50 for scourgestone turn in, 100 for the argent dawn token use), 250 for baron (including stone), and 300 bonus for doing baron in under 45min. Barring any named mobs you kill by accident, I was getting 950 Rep a run... that is, until I maxed out my instances for the hour.

And then Sunday, back to Ulduar. We knocked, and we knocked, and we knocked heads some more on Freya. Freya+3 really is just an all around harder version. Damage is higher. Damage requirements are tighter, there is more to not stand in, and more targets to quickly switch to and kill.

Our MVP, if I had to name one, was our hunter (Moneyx) - the only ranged DPS by the end of the night, who not only dealt with all the trees and iron rooted people out side of melee range, but kited snaplashers and ran aspect of the wild on ancient conservator phases. And did 4k+ DPS.

Freya+3 puts us close to the Rusted Protodrake. Closer then I had originally thought that I'd get. The last three are the big ones - Mimiron Hard, Vexax Hard, and Yogg+1 (I don't count Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare, because that could get finished at a moment's notice - we're just doing it bit by bit each week). And once we get Mimiron, we unlock the chance to work on Algalon for an hour a week.

As an aside - our group made huge strides towards Champion of Ulduar. After Freya, we rocked Vezax with no deaths - a first, but one we expected sooner then later. The big surprise, was absolutely nailing it with a one-shot Yogg with no deaths.

That was the final pieces needed by our Hunter (who had run with a different ten man one week), to complete it. He's the first Champion of Ulduar that I know, and we were all amazingly excited that we got it. The majority of us are like me, needing just a clean Mimiron and

The design of this achievement is so amazingly superior to T7's Immortal, that I don't have words to describe it. If you recall, LOKI missed Heroic Glory of the Raider (T7) by only Immortal. We has weeks of minor mistakes / lag / disconnects that kept us from the achievement. If it had been designed like this one, we would have been riding Proto-Drakes a long time ago.