Tuesday, 20 March 2012

BBB random post generator challenge

Ironshield slumped down against the boulder on the side of the road, exhausted. He'd been trudging along this stretch of dusty road for what felt like weeks. His armour was chafing at his neck and ribs and his pack seemed to grow heavier with every step despite the dwindling supplies. He pulled a half an apple from his pocket and bit down. It was browned and withered and far from Juicy, but it served to take a bit of an edge off the gnawing hunger. He needed to reach civilization soon.

Two months earlier he had been sitting in a dingy corner of Stonefire Tavern in Ironforge when a Slender stranger had sidled up to him and basically barged into his quite conversation with a fellow veteran of the third war. He should have sent him packing right then, with a boot in the seat of his skinny human britches for good measure, but he hadn't. The stranger had spoken of untold riches, hidden in the southern deserts of Kalimdor, just waiting for someone brave enough, strong enough and wise enough to bring them home. With the little'un on the way and the lack of funds after all the devastation wrought recently by Deathwing, a bit of nest egg would be a welcome boon. If only he hadn't been so darn Vain! He knew it was a fools errand, but he thought he could handle it.

He'd stocked up on supplies and set out forthwith. The map the stranger had supplied was rather vague, but just accurate enough for him to find the quiet cove. He hunted around, following the various clues, until he finally found the cave. It was a narrow gap in the rocks really, little more than a crack, but once he'd made his way through he discovered the Shaft beyond. With a makeshift Torch, and a coil of rope he had made his way down into the depths of the earth. He was lucky to not encounter anything more dangerous than a couple of foot long centipedes but eventually he found it. A massive trove of treasure. Coins and plate and Jewellery of gold and mithril and silver. And lord of all the riches, a mighty diamond which shone with a light of its own like a glorious Star. He couldn't believe his luck, he could live off of this one find for the rest of his days.

He packed what he could into his bag, abandoning half of his food and water in the process. He would take what he could back home and return at a later date to retrieve the rest. The grapefruit sized diamond he wrapped in a cloth and hid in a bag under his tunic. It was uncomfortable but safe. He made the treacherous journey back into daylight just before his torch flickered out.

That was five days ago now. He had trudged through the desert for three days before he had run out of food in his small bag and gone into his main pack for more. At first he had thought it was heatstroke playing tricks on his mind, but he had spent the best part of a day confirming it. All the treasure he had found was trash. The coins were some kind of cheap soft grey metal. The plate was painted, rusted steel, and the pearls and ivory clearly poor wooden imitations. Worst of all the massive diamond was plainly a lump of common quartz. He was positive of what he had seen in the cave, but now outside in the desert sun all the glorious riches had turned to dross. Whatever the value of the items in the cave, it was clear they were enchanted to ensure they would forever remain Hidden.

Is that Gadgetzan on the horizon? There is certainly a line of smoke rising from a spot where it should be. He set off for home, he'd even be pleased to see a goblin right now.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

N00b Tanking LFR in Dragon Soul - Part 2

So you've lifted the Siege, and it's time to make your assault on the Destroyer himself. As you head up to the top of Dragonrest Temple, you'll meet Thrall and the Aspects charging up the Dragon Soul to attack Deathwing. After some RP dialogue Deathwing will unleash his ultimate weapon, Ultraxion. First there will be waves of twilight drakes, pick up as many as you can and be especially wary of the ones blasting swathes of blue flame across the platform. These guys must be taunted or interrupted ASAP. Avenger's Shield is brilliant for this. Once the trash are down Ultraxion will arrive and suck the raid into the realm of twilight. You'll also get a special button on your screen called Heroic Will. This button will shift you OUT of the twilight realm for 5 seconds or until Hour of Twilight or Fading Light complete. Your co-tank will likely tank Ultraxion from the start, but be ready with your taunt in case some trigger happy DPS jumps the gun. Thrall gives you a buff which halves the cooldown and doubles the duration of all your defensive abilities. This means you can and should have Holy shield up 100% of the time (at least the time you're actually tanking). It also means that you can soak every one of the Hour's of Twilight (which are 45s apart) by alternating Guardian of Ancient Kings and Ardent Defender. You can increase your survivability with Divine Protection regularly and throw a few Divine Guardians out there to help out the healers. All of this stuff isn't terribly dangerous on LFR but the one thing you REALLY need to concentrate on is Fading Light. It is a debuff of varying duration that is cast on Ultraxion's current target. If your co-tank gets it, taunt ASAP. If you get it, wait until there is <5s remaining on the debuff and press your Heroic Will button. You don't need to cut it fine or anything just wait until there are 3-4 seconds remaining and click. If you are still in the twilight realm when it expires you WILL DIE, not bubbling or damage reduction can save you.

Once Ultraxion is dead, there'll be a little video of Thrall shooting DW with the Dragon Soul. Deathwing is injured and flies off, hop on the Skyfire and chase him down. On the boat there'll be a bit of RP and then some Twilight Elites will drop down on the deck. Pick up the one that your co-tank doesn't and tank it over on one side near where the dragons get pulled in to the harpoons. The Dreadblade elite does a cleave so make sure you point it away, and if you have a choice, pick up the slayer. The slayer spawns on the Starboard side (the right hand side, facing the front of the boat). Once the elites and dragons are dead Warmaster Blackhorn will jump down. If your co-tank doesn't pick him up, taunt him and tank in the middle of the boat. Watch your co-tanks stacks of Sunder Armor and taunt off at 2/3 stacks, and then as soon as your stacks fall off there after.

With the Warmaster Dead (and hopefully giving up his nice shield) it's time to parachute onto DW's back. You'll either have to tank a Hideous Amalgamation or collect up bloods. If you are on Amalgamation duty, tank it right near the front of the area (it can be a bit confusing at first, zoom right out and look for DW's head). Wait until it has about 20-30% health and then run around dragging it through pools of corrupted blood until it has 9 stacks. Once it has 9 stacks, pop a defensive CD and tank it near the front edge. When it starts casting Nuclear blast, leg it to the far side. Help kill the tendon and then repeat. If your co-tank picks up the Hideous amalgamtion, run around picking up the bloods (look like the slimes from Yor'sahj) and stack them up just back from Amalgamation so that the main tank doesn't have to run far to get stacks. This is a very easy fight on LFR, you just have to be careful of people accidentally killing an extra tentacle and spawning an extra Hideous Amalgamation. If this does happen, pick it up and go tank it in a corner away from the pools and just let the bloods go where they will go. Avoid getting aggro on them as if the HA gets stacks it hits much harder. Once you've removed 3 plates DW crashes into the Maelstrom and it's time for the final fight.

This fight consists of 4 platforms which each correspond with a dragon aspect. You start on the green platform (Ysera) and this is usually where most groups will start on LFR. You'll notice you have a bonus button, this is a nice little damage reduction button, but it is only available on the first platform. Next you'll usually go to the Yellow/Bronze (Nozdormu) platform, which reduces the speed of the Elementium Bolt. Then Red (Alexstraza) which burns down the blistering tentacles. And finally Blue (Kalecgos) which is a DPS boost. On each platform there will be a limb of DW at the start. 5-15s after you start on the platform a Corrupted Mutation tentacle will spawn at the back of the platform. This must be tanked. If you start on it you need to pop some defensive cooldowns when it start casting Impale, if your co-tank starts, you must taunt it just before Impale is finished casting, don't worry it will still hit the original target, but you need to tank swap for the impale debuff which will kill the tank if you take two impales in a row without massive damage reduction cooldowns. When the tentacle is down, switch to the limb and help DPS. Pick up the bloods when DW casts Hemorage. Once the Red platform is dead you'll need to single target attack the small blistering tentacles that spawn as they are immune to AoE, but the DPS should be taking care of that. Once the 4 platforms are down you go back to the Green platform and Focus down DW's head. Little tentacles will spawn that need to be killed ASAP. They cast Shrapnel on various raid members. If you are one you can use the green button to handle it (although as a tank you should be able to just soak it). The thing you REALLY need to look out for is the two Elementium Terrors that spawn. Pick one up (your co-tank will take the other one) and drag them into the big yellow swirly. This will slow them down and help you survive. You might want to pop a couple CDs as the stacks of Tetanus climb. Use them from weakest to strongest, and use Emerald Dream and Holy Shield and Trinkets etc... to keep the damage down.

Congratulations. Do this all a few more weeks and pick up some good 384 quality gear and you can find yourself a proper raid to try :)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Stepping into LFR as a n00b tank

So you've put in the time and effort and grinded (ground?) rep and gear to the point where you have the 372 average iLevel gear. Said gear is all genuine tank, PvE gear (ie it doesn't have intellect, agility, haste or crit on it, it DOES have dodge, parry or Mastery on it, is Strength / Stamina and it's all Plate). You've put (at least) blue quality gems in all the slots and maximised your Combat Table Coverage and Stamina as much as human(oid)ly possible. You visited your friendly neighbourhood Enchanter, Leatherworker and Blacksmith to get all your enhancements, including a trip to Deepholm and Vashj'ir to visit the Therazane and Earthern Ring Quartmasters for the shoulder and Helm enchantments. And you're ready to Look For Raid. What do you need to know about tanking in Dragon Soul on LFR?

Ctrl-i and queue. The Siege of Dragonrest Temple is easier than the Madness of Deathwing, so I would suggest starting there.

First thing you need to do once you zone in is find out who the other tank is. This is pretty important information as you don't want to be wasting taunts on your fellow tank rather than the healers getting pasted. The easiest way to find out is to hit O to bring up the S(o)cial pane, and select the Raid tab. Now look for the little shield logos next to the players. There should be two, one coloured in and one outline. One of these will be next to your name, and the other person is the other tank. Don't worry about the Main / Assist designations as these are random. Once you've established who the other tank is, I like to mark myself and him to make it nice and clear who should have monsters pounding on them for eveyone involved. While everyone is still buffing up, zoning in, take the time to quickly inspect the other tank. If he's sporting a lot of 397 or greater gear, especially tier pieces, it is fairly safe to say that he is an experienced raider. Look especially for 403 weapon / trinket as this will mean that he's killed Deathwing. You can skip this step if you see a "Destroyer's End" title. If he's sporting a range of PvP gear / 346s you're going to be in a bit of trouble and you'll need to step up a bit more.

Anyway, you've got into a LFR group and you've lucked into a tank who seems to know what he's doing, let's get killing stuff. Almost all the trash is in groups of 2 or 3, see what your co-tank pulls and pick up 1 or 2 of what's left. After no time at all, you'll reach Morchok. This is one of the easiest raid bosses in the game to tank. Just go and stand right on top of your co-tank and DPS to your hearts content. If your co-tank get's 3 stacks of Crushed Armor you can taunt off and tank for a bit. When he starts channelling black blood, leg it behind one of the rocks that falls down around the edge and wait till he's done. Rinse and repeat.

Once Morchok is dead, head into the temple itself and hop on one of the dragons. Just follow everyone else. You'll either end up at Warlord Zon'ozz or Yor'sahj the Unsleeping (see below). Warlord Zon'ozz is also known as the Ping Pong boss, but it's a pretty rubbish game of ping pong on LFR mode. For the trash before the boss, pick up the Biggest mob and tank it. It's a massive tentacle. The rest of the raid should burn down the eye first and then the other smaller adds and finally your tentacle. For the boss, your co-tank will likely tank the boss and there is nothing for you to do, so just DPS as best you can. If you are tanking the boss, just tank him where he stands, on normal you have to point him at the raid and then away, but on LFR it doesn't matter much at all. I have heard it said that if the ball doesn't point at the raid it doesn't gain stacks which might mean that you don't do quite as much damage in P2 but I can't confirm or deny this. To play it safe it might be worth pointing the boss towards the raid until he spawns his Orb and then turning him around after it is out.

The next boss is Yor'sahj the Unsleeping (or the blobby boss as my raid calls him). Just kill the trash, you should group up and spread out and kill things in certain orders, but on LFR you either have a strong leader or you just muddle on. This boss is almost a 1 tank fight, so if you have strong co-tank, let him handle most of it. But watch is stacks of Void Bolt. If he gets 3, taunt the boss. Be especially wary of this if you are letting a Yellow slime through as the stacks will rise much quicker. If there is a black slime and you aren't currently tanking, pick up as many adds as possible to take them off you're squishier members.

After Zon'ozz and Yor'sahj are dead you will head up to the top of the temple and from there into the Eye of Eternity. Be wary of mass summons to the EoE, these are likely from jokers pulling you into the WotLK version of the raid. The trash for this boss is actually a bit trickier than most of the stuff we've seen so far. I always whisper my co-tank and say I'll take right, he can take left. Just pick up the group on the right and try and drag it towards the middle to help your healers get range on both of you. I say "try" and drag it, as there are a few casters around who will need silencing with something like Avenger's Shield in order to get them moving. Don't just stand in Blizzards and AoE. The last trash mob will be a big guy on his own, head for the edge ahead of the boss fight. If your co-tank is tanking this fight, there isn't a whole lot for you to do, but you can still be very useful if you keep a close eye on the DBM cooldown for Focused Anger and stand off a bit when it's almost ready, as soon as she starts casting it taunt from outside of melee range and she will immediately stop casting. Your co-tank will likely pull back immediately, just crack on with the DPS. In P2, be very wary of the ice walls (assuming you've just killed a pylon, rather than being electrocuted). She's dead, collect 250 Valor Points and hopefully go Gem and Enchant all the tasty new gear you just got. Coming soon, Madness of Deathwing half of the LFR.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Dear DPS, from the meat shield.

Dear DPS,

We appreciate your contribution, no really we do. Pew spewing really speeds up those dungeons for the Healer and I, and we like that. However, there are a few things you could do to make our lives a bit less frustrating.

By all means use all those abilities to Max out your numbers and I appreciate that you may be learning what they all do, but please please please, don't press that knockback button. Seriously, I realize it comes in handy while you're leveling your squishy moonkin or shaman, but when I've just used all my cooldowns to get those casters all standing in range of my cleaves, your knockback just screws everything up. You see if a caster isn't silenced he'll just stand where he is and fire off armour ignoring spells at will at the person on top of his threat table. And if he's out of range of my melee AoE, then that top threat person will quickly cease to be me, the high stamina, damage reducing tank, and rather be the significantly more vulnerable healer. And that's not even mentioning the knockback into the next group.

In a similar vein, if you see a caster or a hunter standing off to one side shooting at the tank, it's probably not wise to attack it. As instead of the usual competing with the tank's 500% threat generation, you will competing with a bit of residual threat. Much better to attack one of those enemies your tank is pounding on - preferably the one with the skull above it.

I won't harp on about pulling for the tank, you should know better. Or about those 3 repetitions of g and o that you love so much. Trust me, it really makes me want to slow down - and possibly - take a smoke break (I don't even smoke). But just generally, if you make my game feel like work, and not the good challenge type of work, but the annoying disciplining preschoolers kind of work, then I'm not going to go out of my way to keep you alive. And I may just throw it in for now, after all my next queue will very likely be as quick as my last one.

And a very special mention goes to the moron retribution paladin who thought it was a good idea to cast Hand of Protection on the tank on every cooldown, completely cancelling his threat and sending mobs everywhere. You are a schmuck.

Your tank.