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Hanging up the goggles

I am an engineer no longer… for the third time now.

This is a familiar journey for me, I’ve ditched the profession two times previously. The first time was while leveling Rhidach and not even at max, so no skin off my nose. Then, while gearing for TBC raids, I picked it up again for the Tankatronic Goggles — I still remember that grind really well, I had mining as the profession I was going to replace, so I went on a massive ore-fest. I gathered all the mats, dropped mining, and worked on leveling engineering into the wee hours, finally hitting 375 around 3 am.

Going into Wrath, I dropped it again and managed to stay away for a good year. But then only to pick it up again in May of 2009 when it was shaping up to be a massive EH boost due to the armor gloves tinker.

In my longest stretch of being an engineer in forever, I held on for dear life as long as I could. Through nerfs a-plenty going into Cataclysm, and after that. There was never going to be as good a time for Engineering as right after 4.0 when tinkers stacked with enchants and weren’t balanced around that consideration yet. It was all downhill from there.

Now armor is nigh-useless as a bonus stat, our belt tinkers will invariably kill us, and the glorious promise of a pseudo-gap closer has been squashed.

When I first mentioned on Twitter that I was strongly considering dropping the profession, I was interested at the people that dubbed me one of the last major holdouts for engineering. I think they’re giving me too much credit — I’m simply the last dope to realize I could steal an orphan and make an end-run for the life boats, rather than go down with the ship.

As to what to replace engineering with, for a long time I’ve been eyeing alchemy with a greedy look. The idea of a bonus that actually helps in PVE — whether it’s the extra 40 mastery and 15 resistance from elixirs, or the 120 extra stamina from flasks — is all kinds of awesome.

So, on Thursday last week I spent the better part of the day herbing on my level 75 druid and gathering a huge stockpile as recommended by one of those profession powerleveling guides. I was also helped by Ildara, the most amazing friend in the world, who gave me all the Cata herbs I needed as well as access to the leftovers of her Wrath-era stockpile.

By the end of the night I easily had all the Vanilla/TBC herbs I needed, plus extras, and was able to grind out the whole deal in about two hours. Including the time needed to run Black Morass for Elixir Mastery — and thanks to Antigen for willingly tagging along and making it much less boring to trudge through.

Next steps for me are definitely to get the druid up to 85 so he can start farming current-level herbs for me, that way I don’t have to continue to rely on the kindness of strangers for my supply.

In the end, I’m happy that I’ve got a second useful raiding profession again, though I’m deeply unhappy I had to drop engineering to do it. It’s become apparent though that any use engineering had during Wrath was a fluke, and it’d be follow to expect for a repeat performance.

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October 18, 2011
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You know what really grinds my gears?

Engineering nerfs.

Last night they hotfixed my precious Cardboard Assassin to no longer be able to taunt raid bosses. Thus effectively neutering it. Goddammit.

The Assassin was the only “safe” tanking belt tinker, but now that’s gone. Last night I tinkered the Grounded Plasma Shield onto my belt, but I don’t think I can bring myself to ever use it. The risk:reward ratio is way too unbalanced, no matter how low the fail chance is. I’m the guy that’s obsessed with the worst case scenario, and the idea of opening myself up to one stun, crit chance debuff, or AOE taunt is… unconscionable.

Maybe I’ll bring back the Nitro Boosts. That can be handy in some circumstances, I guess (when paired with a parachute for emergencies). And being shot up in the air isn’t insta-death like some of the shield’s backfires.

I really don’t get the philosophy behind the belt tinkers. What are they supposed to be used for? They don’t work in rated BGs or arena, correct? And the backfires make them irresponsible for raiding. Are they purely for soloing or group play when used by the not-so-faint of heart?

Eh, it’s not worth the energy to bitch. Eventually the wheel will turn again and engineering will be as amazing for tanking as it was at the tail end of Wrath. So, I’ll hunker down for now and for the foreseeable future.

On a happier note, the new Big Daddy bomb is pretty cool. Stuns enemies for 5 seconds in an AOE circle. Perfect for Maloriak add kiting. You better believe I made good use of this once I had six adds and was attempting to kite them.

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February 16, 2011
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Making the most of a broken profession

Saturday I spent most of the day power leveling up Engineering. I had a generous and amazing guildmate loan me a huge chunk of ore–about half the obsidium I needed and all the (soft) elementium I needed–which was a major boost. I think proceeded to feign an attempt to farm obsidium in Hyjal on my never-played DK, failed, and then resorted to hitting the AH. When all was said and done, the damage was about 6,000 gold. Which isn’t so bad in the scheme of things.

Once at 525, I quickly cranked out the Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades and then went about nabbing the cogwheels I needed for them. I went with the Mastery and Dodge cogwheels, for those wondering.

The Quickflip Deflection Plates were then bolted onto my gloves and macro’d to CS and HotR (/use 10 will activate them), to maximize uptime.

Lastly, I applied the Cardboard Assassin to my belt. I tweeted about this on Friday, but for those of you who avoid Twitter I’ll explain why. The Grounded Plasma Shield seems like it’d be the best option, but personally I feel like the malfunctions completely invalidate using this tinker. Pick your poison: you can be stunned, taunt everything in a 40 yard radius around you, or give yourself a 100% chance to be critically hit. You know, whatever your favorite flavor is.

I haven’t tested the Assassin extensively enough to see what the backfires are, but all I’ve been able to find using Google-Fu is one report of the taunt failing. Nonetheless, the good news is the Assassin has 77.5k health and can taunt even raid bosses. While this may seem fairly useless at first glance, think about that: if the Assassin can taunt the boss for even one hit, you’re looking at a decent bit of damage reduction. Enough to rival the value of the Grounded Plasma Shield, depending on the boss.

For tanks I would definitely recommend tinkering this onto your belt.

As for engineering as a whole, I’ve had a few folks asking if I was planning to drop the profession. Right now the answer is no, I invested a lot of time and money into it to go chasing the dragon that is the FOTM profession. Eventually the malfunction are probably going to be nerfed (my guess, based on the widespread outcry) which may or may not require a mass exodus out of the profession. We’ll see. Either way, things will run full circle and we’ll be back to where we were at the end of Wrath, with engineering a solid, dependable raiding profession. Might be a while to get back there, though, so buckle your seats and keep your feet on the ground.

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December 20, 2010
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How to gem your tankadin at 85

(Updated on 3/4/11 to reflect current trends towards maximizing mastery through gemming.)

I first did a gem flowchart last year, and then revised it later when epic gems came out. Cataclysm is a bit easier to decipher when it comes to what to gem and where, if only because the socket bonuses are much better and typically worth it. This is especially true until Cata epic gems come out, when skipping bonuses might become more worthwhile to push more stats out of the gems you can feasibly socket.

Moreover, gemming holistically will give us avoidance and mastery stats from the socket bonus that should be much more desirable this expansion pack, rather than the cram-stam ethos of Wrath.

Like I said, very straightforward: mastery/stam for blue, mastery for yellow, and parry/mastery for red. The dodge/stam gems are also yellow, but we’ll be getting more value out of mastery (until block capped), so stick with Puissants before Regals.

As for the meta, the Austere is much better than the Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond. This is because the latter only gives 1% more block value and (probably) won’t be a better source of damage reduction until you are reliably blockcapped.

Jewelcrafters want to use the mastery version of their exclusive gems, Fractured Chimera’s Eyes, in yellow sockets.

Lastly, for Engineers, you want to use a Fractured Cogwheel and then either the Subtle or Flashing Cogwheel–whichever avoidance stat is lower–to ward off diminishing returns as long as possible.

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December 6, 2010
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Inspired to greater heights

My emotional response to the rocket boots change has run the gamut from denial, to anger, and finally, last night, to acceptance. After admonishing that Ana not use her rocket boots on bosses in case they backfire, I went on to use them during the pull of Rotface. Usually I use the boots to quickly close the gap and keep Rotface from moving out of the dead middle of the room.

So anyway, I hit shift-R to activate the boosts absent-mindedly. Total muscle memory run amok at that point. And then imagine my horror as suddenly I shoot up into the air and clip the ceiling. I yelled obscenities into Mumble as Ana shouted “I’m picking up Rotface!” and everyone else began laughing uncontrollably.

I hit my parachute at the zenith, but took the full duration to come back down to earth. The chute cut out right before the end of my descent, and I had to eat some fall damage from the last bit of the drop.

We had a rogue, Gandy, that used his boosts during the trash before Blood Princes. Of course, his boosts malfunctioned, and up he went. Clipped through the ceiling and was killed by the trash up above.

As he described it to me later, “I felt like that Far Side cartoon of D. B. Cooper parachuting down with his briefcase into a dog pen. They all just watched me and the slaughtering began when I landed.”

And then on Sindragosa, Ichioso the boomkin used his boosts to help run back to the spider room as Sindy came down post-Rimefang’s death. However, instead of launching himself forward, he shot up into the air. All we could hear coming from behind us as we fled to safety was “she’s going to eat me! … Ok, she ate me.”

So, yeah, rocket boots. Bad idea in raids now! Sadly, and hilariously.

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December 1, 2010
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Engineering and tanks in Cataclysm

Engineering is the profession of kings, and I am overjoyed that it continues to be a great source of tools for tanks in the next expansion. When I first picked up Engineering (well, for the second time, having dropped it previously before Wrath) I was mainly lured back by the armor tinker, and eventually tinkers gaining stats made my decision worth it in the long run. I went from crackpot to visionary. As for Cataclysm, in addition to being able to carry over the parachute and rocket boots from 80 (although more in a sec about the latter), we can upgrade the armor tinker, and add another damage reduction toy to the pile–with a shocking twist.

Something old

Mind-Amplification Disk — Unfortunately this is turning into a belt enchant in Cataclysm, so the brief renaissance it enjoyed after 4.0.1 (when it stacked with the tanking arcanum and both gave a stamina bonus) will soon be over.

Flexweave Underlay — The agility from this cloak used to be pretty incredible before every one jumped on the armor train in ICC. The stats are gone, but the parachute remains. Enjoy it in Cata.

Nitro Boosts — Well, the good news is these are still in Cataclysm, but the bad news is they possibly fail more often and share a cooldown with the Grounded Plasma Shield. However, my understanding is that they cannot fail inside a raid zone, so that first downside is moot. The latter though will require forethought. Considering these are the closest thing I have to a gap closer, I am anxious about their application in a raid setting.

Something new

Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades — A “free” helm that potentially will last us most of T11, outside of tier sets and heroic-level gear. Very exciting to have a useful pair of goggles that won’t be replaced quickly, like the previous goggles were by Naxx25 gear.

Grounded Plasma Shield — Potentially our most promising new toy, and yet has some caveats with it. For one, (like mentioned) it shares a cooldown with the rocket boots. Moreover, the backfire from this tinker can be dangerous. One backfire I’ve seen mentioned is the device leaks Goblin Rocket Fuel on you, causing self-damage (yikes), and the other is that there’s a chance you’ll have a Plasma Misfire! which will then… attack all enemies within 40 yards and taunt them. I suppose that’s better than the original downside of the item, which was you had no avoidance while the effect was active. We’ll just have to see this in action, either way.

Quickflip Deflection Plates — No downside to this device, thankfully. Probably the best way to use it (since it has such a short cooldown) is to macro it to Crusader Strike/HotR and roll it off-cooldown to reduce damage taken over time and save healer mana. Like a secondary, less-potent Divine Protection.

Something to blow mats on for fun

Loot-a-Rang — Theoretically never have to bend over to loot an enemy again.

Goblin Barbecue — Now we provide the Fish Feasts!

And two pets, a rabbit and a fel reaver.

Plus tons of other things I don’t have the time to list. There’s something for everyone, but most importantly, some really awesome stuff for us.

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November 17, 2010
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I mourn for my armor webbing

Was just looking over the engineering changes post on MMO-Champ and was a little annoyed by what I saw. For one (and this is my largest complaint) the armor gloves tinker is going from a straight stat boost to a on-use proc.

While 1500 armor is a pretty sexy chunk of protection, I’d rather that be always up than an extra cooldown. I’m all for extra cooldowns, for sure, but… I feel the need to gripe.

Also I don’t see any rocket boots listed, which is a shame. I’ve yet to work the courage up to swap those into my tank set and they’ll soon (well, relatively speaking) be gone.

Lastly, the Cogwheels and Hydraulic pumps thing looks interesting but if I had to bet I’d say it’s just a way to customize an engineering-only trinket so they only have to make one. A +stam empty shell with two sockets, one of each kind. Which basically means we’ll probably be making an avoidance stat stick with this and this. Good starter, but ultimately a yawn-fest for sure.

Hopefully things pan out to be a little more exciting.

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July 13, 2010
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Better Late Than Never Friday, 4/9/10

Better Late Than Never Friday is a random monthly feature where I pull a bunch of search terms from Google Analytics that landed folks here and try to answer questions that may not be directly answered at this site, as gleaned from their keywords used.

best paladin tank enchant waist 3.3

Well, technically the only waist enchant is the Eternal Belt Buckle. If you’re an engineer though, you have two supplementary choices for some additional AOE damage. Using the Frag Belt or Personal Electromagnetic Pulse Generator tinkers on your belt (stacks with the buckle) can give your big pulls a little more oomph. The former obviously summons a bomb for you (with a neat little stun) and the latter can set off an Explosive Decoy for a chunk of physical damage. Both pretty handy.

nightmare tear does it give 10 to dodge also?

No, but it does give 10 Agility, which translates to some dodge. Though, not as much as 10 Dodge Rating would give.

glyph of judgement or command low level

Command is pretty nice at low level for the free mana it gives. That’ll make the early levels much easier to suffer through when going OOM is a constant, looming shadow.

sindragosa parry haste

Sindra does indeed parry haste (confirmed in this thread). This shouldn’t be much of a worry for two reasons: her breath is her biggest source of damage rather than her cleave, and dps will die if they sit in front of her, so you don’t need to worry about a clueless warrior causing you trouble, he won’t be up for long.

what kind of damage is putricide dealing? amplify magic

To the raid it’s either Shadow or Nature damage, depending on the attack. Your tanks will be taking a huge chunk of Physical damage from Putri’s melees, but even then there’s a lot of magic damage (especially in phase 3) and you don’t want to risk a tank gibbing ruining your attempt. I would recommend against amplify magic, honestly.

can i exchange my voa sanctified for emblems and mark?

Ye gods no.

does armor penetration stack with hammer of the righteous?

The damage is Holy, so it’s already penetrating armor.

does judgement proc seal of command cleave?

It does if you have at least one point in Judgements of the Just. It isn’t the judging the procs the cleave, it’s the application of the JoJ debuff. Probably a bug, but I’m not complaining.

festergut melee parry gib?

Festergut has parry haste turned off, so there is no danger of that.

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And so I have returned from the perilous north where bears and cellphones roam. Despite my best efforts the only time I could find any WiFi was standing outside a tchotchke shop on the main drag of North Conway, so rather than having a chance to post I just consumed as much 3.2 information as I could bring up on my tiny iPod screen. It was fun though coming home to the hecticness of all I needed to do with the new patch, like regemming/speccing, the new engineering toys, etc. More on that later.

Firstly, notice anything different?


Hellz yes, I got my Titanguard. Figures it happens the week a new tier of content came out, but que sera sera. We kind of just threw together an Uld25 this weekend just to do FL and maybe Razorscale and XT (aka the easy bosses) and wouldn’t you know it that little beaut’ dropped.

Side note: the XT encounter was changed, although I’m not entirely sure why. When was the last time Blizz upped the difficulty of an obsolete encounter? For those who haven’t tried XT since the patch, you can’t use the “tank between two piles” strategy anymore, because you can only cut off spawns from one pile now (and only by tanking XT right on top of that pile). Moreover, a lot more adds spawn now, with more bomb bots as well. Ranged needs to stay on their toes and use the bomb bots to dispatch the scrap bots pronto. It’s slightly harder now, but that also may have been because we were gimping the fight to begin with with some… er… creative uses of game mechanics.


Speaking of dungeons, I haven’t had the pleasure of trying Coliseum yet but I hear the first encounter is a lot of fun. In the meantime I’ve been getting my fill of the Tournament by endlessly running the new 5man. The normal version has a very sezzy trinket, the Black Heart, which is just awesome because it has an EH proc. Even better, I don’t have to worry about putting epic gems in my Monarch Crab.

(Sorry, another side note: I hate the proc animation of the Black Heart. It looks like someone just cast BoP on you. When I first saw this proc on another tank I freaked out thinking I accidentally threw a BoP on them and was in the process of wiping the group. This definitely needs a fix!)

Other great items to look for in the 5man heroic are the Peacekeeper Blade and the Mark of the Relentless. Both make up for their 219 iLevel by having a gem slot which makes them strong EH items with a Solid MZ socketed.

With the release of epic gems I’m definitely going to be shifting around some pieces to maximize my stamina and ride the defense minimum on a razor’s edge. I’m thinking of swapping back in the T8.5 gloves, putting the mind control tinker on my helm, and then nabbing the Mark of the Relentless from TOC if I have enough defense to swing all this edge-of-my-pants nonsense.


I’m very excited about the Engineering changes that came with this patch. Jeeves is an awesome toy and was a lot of fun to put together considering all the crazy robots you assemble it out of, not the mention the horribly frustrating several hour grind to get the schematic. Well worth it though to have on-the-hour access to my bank. Also great is the new auctioneer in Like Clockwork in Dal, which saves me the trouble of logging on a bank alt to hit the AH, and the Wormhole Generator which (along with the Crusader’s Tabard) means I’ll never have to sit on a zeppelin to Northrend again.

Lastly, a few quick impressions of the changes to Pally tanking that came with this patch:

  • I dislike not having Exorcism handy as a pulling tool. I used to use to with Hand of Reckoning for those two-mobs-surrounding-a-door pulls where I’d Ex one then Reck the other, then when they got next to each other follow up with a shield toss. Now it’s more like Reck to pull (since you do more damage if the mob isn’t targeting you) then shield toss as a follow up. Less initial threat is a bummer.
  • Vindication is an awesome, awesome change and I really enjoy having my own version of Demoralizing Shout. It’s a little slice of homogeny pie I can get behind.
  • I need to get over my bias of turning down a piece of gear if it has expertise on it, and my revulsion at parry. Both aren’t terrible anymore, and it’s actually conducive to decent threat to be soft capped for expertise now. I definitely recommend grabbing the SoV/C glyph.
  • And of course, how can I not mention our new second cooldown, Ardent Defender. I’ve seen this beauty pop a few more times than I care to admit, but it’s a nice reminder that a bad situation was nearly prevented. I’m also relishing the DK tank constantly calling me OP. Crow, it’s what’s for dinner.

I have a whole list of topics written down of what I want to go over this week, so look for lots of further dissections of various changes from 3.2.

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3.2 Engi changes for tanks (updated and bumped!)

Updated: In the original version of this post I derided the Engineering changes of the first 3.2 ptr build as half-measures. What they’ve added in the last two days though, I would regard those as genuine buffs. I can honestly say I am happy with my decision to drop Mining for Engineering now.

Here are the item enhancement/tinker changes:

  • Flexweave Underlay now gives 23 agi (up from 15).
  • Reticulated Armor Webbing now gives 885 armor (85 more).
  • New helm enchant: Mind Amplification Dish. Adds +45 stamina and an on-use mind control function to a helm. Will not stack with the Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector.
  • Potion Injectors now increase the amount gained by 25% when used by engineers.

Also, some fun new things:

  • A Jeeves robot that can be summoned once per hour to repair/sell reagents and gives bank access to skill Engineers.
  • An Engi-only AH in Dalaran.
  • A wormhole generator for Northrend on a 15 minute cooldown.
  • Rocket boots now add a passive +24 crit rating. Pretty nice for my Ret set!

    The buff makes the Engineer cloak enchant best in slot for avoidance (assuming you’re block capped and crit immune). Titanweave gives .39% avoidance, Greater Agility .42%, and Flexweave Underlay gives .44%. Also, the Underlay gives .44% crit chance and 46 armor. Pretty nice if those numbers make live.

    As for the Webbing, it was already best in slot for EH, and definitely an ideal glove enchant considering how unnecessary increasing our threat is. 85 more armor is miniscule, but I’ll take it.

    The helm enchant is nice too. If you’re crit capped it’s probably a fair trade to get some more stamina plus the MC effect in return for giving up some negligible avoidance. More stamina is always, always a good thing.

    Lastly, as somewhat icing on the cake, the Injectors are being changed to offer a +25% effect to health and mana potions. Not life changing, but can be a nice boost for times when you run out of mana (as rare as that is) or need a quick shot of health (pun intended).

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    June 30, 2009