1 0 Tag Archives: gems
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Confounded, &c.


Our raid week post-5.2 was a familiar tune for most normal-mode 10man guilds. We rolled the seemingly undertuned Jin’rokh, and then found ourselves banging our heads against the wall of the seemingly overtuned Horridon. (I guess Blizzard agrees, that encounter was hotfixed yesterday.)

Not much to say about about the Throne of Thunder otherwise, for obvious reasons. I guess I can state that I perversely enjoyed the trash after Jin’rokh. It felt like something out of a platformer game: avoid the unkillable guys with the lamps, don’t get blown off the bridge, somehow kill the banshees before they melt your raid. Initially terrifying, but a small and welcome challenge from the usual “stack up and AoE down” style of trash.

Now, if the rest of the raid has similarly gimmicky trash — well, then it can go straight to hell.

We definitely began to feel the effects of our post-Un’sok race-to-the-finish before the patch hit and the Ahead of the Curve feats of strength were yanked away. As of the patch dropping, we had only killed Un’sok, Grand Empress, Protectors, Tsulong, Lei Shi, and Sha of Fear once each. With a four hour raid week across two days, we just constantly extended the lockout and worked our way through each boss.

This was great for our immediate goal of finishing the tier before the tier was unofficially finished, but it was terrible for the long-term goal of gearing up a raid. We finished 5.0′s raid offerings with at least exactly the gear loadout we needed to complete those fights. But once we started on Throne of Thunder, it became obvious that the numbers were not in our favor.

So last night we decided, instead of just throwing our corpses at Horridon some more, to dodge back to Terrace and Heart of Fear and clear the former and get as far as we could in the latter before time ran out. Hopefully some needed upgrades would follow. Side note: Those nerfs are very noticeable. Ho-boy.

Anyway, I picked up a new pair of boots from Protectors and the cloak that I’ve been coveting for quite some time from Vizier, so I was a happy camper. When I went to socket the yellow gem slot in the former (and this is where the title comes in!) I was just shy of hit cap, so I figured I’d use the hit/stam gem. When 5.2 hit, I noticed that all the Nimble Wild Jades in my gear had been converted to Confounded Wild Jades, though I didn’t think much more of it.

Then, last night, I went to try to cut one of those gems and found myself, er, confounded. Even a quick jewelcrafting research wouldn’t teach me the pattern. Obviously, Blizzard had cut the gems from the game  – for obvious reasons, hit and stamina are both blue, and the gem shouldn’t have existed in the first place! — and I was slow to get the memo.

A little obvious in hindsight, perhaps, that it would be removed. I should have prepared accordingly and stockpiled a few stacks of them like some mad apocalypse prepper. It was a really handy gem cut.

Regardless, I wish I had an uncut Confounded in my bags or bank. I like to hold onto obsolete crap like that.

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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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Don’t gem Shifting Dreadstones anymore

Something not mentioned specifically in patch notes–but very important in case anyone missed the very hidden memo on this–agility doesn’t give armor anymore. One major by product is that (along with agility enchants no longer providing EH) Shifting Dreadstones are now an inferior gemming choice.

What made them so great before 4.0.1 was that agility was a triple-dip stat for us: dodge, armor, and crit/threat all in one tidy little package. While agility gems only provided 83% as much avoidance as the actual-dodge alternative, that 17% gap was easily made up (and then some) with the armor and threat. Now, obviously, the threat alone doesn’t make it as worth it.

As such, I definitely recommend you swap out that Shifting Dreadstones for Defender’s Dreadstones if you’re looking for more avoidance (and survivability), since parry is our only avoidance choice for purple gems.

Contrawise, if you’re looking for extra threat–and, it can be argued, survivability on Sindragosa–you can gem Guardian’s Dreadstones for expertise.

Personally I’m going to gem Guardian’s Dreadstones because that 60 parry rating I’ll be gaining will primarily go into the starving, gaping maw we call diminishing returns. At 85 it’s another story, but for now I’m opting for the expertise.

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October 19, 2010
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Armory datamining tells all

Last week, Armory Data Mining updated itself for patch 3.3.3. The site is fascinating and I recommend checking it out to see how everyone out there is speccing, gearing, gemming, and the like. It’s an interesting peek into the vast multitudes that play this game and how they play it. And, most importantly, it provides a view of how many people are playing the game correctly–ie, by the established and settled baselines widely understood among more top-end players.

While poking through the site I was floored to see just how many people were “doin it rong,” so to speak. As a caveat, I know a lot of surveyed characters may be fresh 80s, or abandoned characters from when the standards were different a year ago (or whenever). However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s shocking how many widely recognized “knowns” are ignored. I’m going to go through a few data points in this post just to show the more interesting things I noticed.

(Note: Unless otherwise stated, percents given are of level 80 Paladins.)

No one is using Shifting Dreadstone. For gems, the popularity (according to the site, popularity correlates to total numbers of gems compared to the number of characters with at least one gem) of red slot gems are 38% for Regal Dreadstones, 21% for Defender’s Dreadstones, and 15% for Dreadstones. Shifting isn’t even on the board, it’s popularity percentage is less than 10%.

You and I both know that when you’re gemming a red socket and going for that socket bonus, you want a Shifting Dreadstone. According to Theck, Agility is 83% as effective as Dodge for avoidance and, thanks to Agility giving Armor, each point of Agility is 4% more effective than Dodge when it comes to reducing damage. The fact that this information is so widely unknown among the surveyed masses is discomforting.

35% of Prot Paladins are using a +stats chest enchant. Look at those numbers. This I can only explain via simple ignorance. The standard for chest enchants should be this: if you’re under the crit cap, enchant +def, if not, enchant +health on your chest. Never, ever should you use +stats. Much for the same reason we avoid Nightmare Tears, the stat spread just isn’t as good as solid defense or solid hp.

63% are using Armsman on their hands. I can see the allure to this enchant, and hell, even at end game there can be some honest disagreement over what is better. Nonetheless, personally, I would always rather enchant for survival than for threat. So while this isn’t egregious or anything (definitely not on the level of no one gemming Shifting), it’s still fascinating to see how vast the appeal of this enchant is.

32% are using Blade Ward. This I’m sure can be explained away by those 32% being completely ignorant of how awful this enchant is. Which is a shame, because if they even did a cursory Googling, they would find that Blade Ward is widely derided as a bad enchant.

Only 15% are using the pvp shoulder enchant. Again, this is probably one of those counter-intuitive, makes no sense to the layman kinds of things, but unless uncrittable, you really want to have that +30 stamina shoulder enchant. The return on investment is much better than any of the Hodir shoulder enchants. It’s somewhat distressing on 15% of the Prot pallies out there have gotten that message.

On the other hand, there is the “holistic” gearing argument–that most of that 85% are T10-geared tanks that have enough stamina and are scaling back to emphasize damage reduction through things like avoidance–which is a valid philosophy at a certain gear level. Nonetheless, I find it hard to believe that that 85% is made up of just people who need the defense and people who are being holistic.

Glyph of Divine Plea is nowhere near as popular as it should be. GoDP has a popularity (same formula as gems above) rating of 63%. Judgement 60%, Seal of Vengeance 48%, Righteous Defense 26%. Those are my big four. Contrawise, here are some facepalm ones: Holy Light 25%, Flash of Light 19%, Consecration 29%, Seal of Wisdom 16%. The list goes on.

Only 18.4% of Prot Paladins use a 53/18 build. And of those, only 10% use the cookie cutter build we know and love. The rest somehow are across the board on 53/18.

34% of Prot Paladins take Seals of Pure, while only 24% take Crusade. And as we all know, Crusade builds are more threat than SoP builds.

1% of Prot Paladins take Eye for an Eye. What is this I don’t even. I’m hoping this is from a pvp Prot build… oh, how I hope.

62% of Paladins put points into Divinity. There’s some merit to this talent in harder content where trickle-down deaths are frequent and every ounce of healing matters. 62% of Prot Paladins are not currently in that content. This is another case of the talent “sounding” good and people putting points in without determining if the talent is best for them or the content they are currently tanking.

22% of Prot Paladins take Vindication. Sigh.

85% of Prot Paladins take Judgements of the Just. This is somewhat heartening.

54% of Prot Paladins take Divine Guardian. This makes me sad. This talent is so key and has so many, amazing uses that it’s a shame for anyone (let alone 46% of all Prots) to pass this up.

Ultimately, what I’ve learned from perusing the wealth of information compiled by this site is the wide disconnect between those that look up information on the net, and attempt to better their character and playstyle through the resources available to them, and those that wing it or (more likely) are unaware of what kind of treasure troves exist out there for the taking (or have consulted out of date/just plain wrong resources). A lot of what I listed above will more or less seem obvious to you or me (with some debatable exceptions), and yet it all might be considered arcane knowledge to others.

There are many horses out there that must be brought to water, methinks.

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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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“Should I gem with a nightmare tear?”

So you’ve got a non-blue gem slot, and you’re starting to think of options. You could just put a Solid Majestic Zircon in there, or perhaps the socket bonus is worth it? Well, for yellow sockets, the only survivability choice is an Enduring, but the piddling avoidance that you get from the defense hardly makes up for any stamina lost from not just slapping a Solid in there. For red slots, I concur with Honors, you want a Shifting in there.

But, you might ask, what about a Nightmare Tear? It’s +10 to all stats, how does that stack up?

Against an Enduring you’d lose .08% parry, block, and miss and 5 stamina and gain 22 armor, a nominal amount of crit, .1% dodge, some block value and dps from the strength, and a wide smattering of stats that don’t really enter into the equation (intellect, spirit, etc.).

Worth it? Using the commonly accepted armor:stam ratio of 11:1, you’re losing out on survivability ultimately equipping a Nightmare Tear instead of an Enduring.

Against a Shifting you’d lose 5 stamina, and gain the block value and dps of the 10 strength, plus all the useless stats. Derivatives of agility stay the same. Again, this is not a worthwhile trade off.

So, ultimately, no you should not gem anything with a Nightmare Tear unless it’s purely a threat pieces and you really want the extra damage that that strength can give you. In all possibilities you’re sacrificing effective health for threat stats.

I don’t think I’ve yet to see a tank with a Nightmare Tear socketed, but this was interesting to work out as a thought exercise.

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February 18, 2010
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Better Late Than Never Friday, 10/16

Wow, I haven’t done one of these in a long, long time. To be honest, this is just filler to cap off the week. On Monday I’ll have what I hope will be a very informative post on tanking strategies for heroic ToC 10, so that will be something of substance to look forward to. As always, I’d appreciate any additions or corrections to any answers I give in the comments!

breastplate of the white knight gems

Let me list them in order: Solid Majestic Zircon, Solid Majestic Zircon, and Solid Majestic Zircon. Ignore the bonus, you’ll lose too much stamina trying to get it.

vindication, paladin, worth it?

Absolutely! Vindication is hands-down a mitigation talent and a must-have for any serious paladin tank. I’m a big fan of self-reliance, and I don’t trust any raider to keep up a debuff I can do myself.

does vindication work on raid bosses post 3.2.2


mark of the relentless or the leviathan’s coil

I would choose the Coil for when you’re dealing with more physical damage (the armor) and the Mark when dealing with more magic heavy fights (more stamina).

shadow strike timer burrower

Every 30 seconds the adds will both pick the farthest player from them and target them for a shadow strike. Interrupt all the burrowers to prevent a one-shot of the target.

0/58/18 paladin spec

When I first saw this query my thought was, “how the hell did this person add up 76 talent points?” Then I realized that they were talking about Cataclysm when we’ll all be level 85. If I had those five extra points now, I would probably put them in Seals of the Pure for a nice threat boost. I think that’d work out to more tps than 3/3 Sanctity of Battle and another 2 points in Conviction. I can’t see anything mitigation-wise that would be a better fit for them.

2% magic reduction meta

Very, very situational. I can count on one hand how many fights that might help in, if at all. Not worth it except as a very narrow gimmick.

245 tank libram of valiance up time

According to the log I did the other day to test Quel’Serrar, 98.3%.

3.2.2 pally tanking with spell power weapon

No, no, a thousand times no. You’d get more threat out of a dps one-hander with a high dps number than a spellpower weapon. Spellpower is dead, get with the times.

anub’arak solo tank adds interrupts

I do this for 10-H and 25-N. It’s totally doable. Having a lot of block value helps significantly.

best prot pally weapon enchant 3.2.2

I’m partial to Blood Draining for the survivability aspect. If you’re hurting for threat, I would recommend Accuracy.

can a paladin interrupt hammer of justice coliseum twin

Yes, assuming the shield is down. Holy Wrath is a better choice for this, though. (Damage and interrupt in one!)

do prot paladins need alot of hit rating 3.2

I am a vocal proponent of hit rating. I strive to always run as melee hit capped (though I don’t gem or enchant for it). There is nothing better than hit to ensure a steady, consistent stream of amazing tps.

fresh 80 tankadin what libram should i get?

Libram of the Sacred Shield! You can easily nab it after 4-5 heroics.

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October 16, 2009
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How to gem, via a flowchart

This is a rehash of a spectacularly crappy (but very popular) flowchart I did back when Solid Sky Sapphires were the gem di tutti gems. Now +30 stamina may be the order of the day, but our priorities are basically the same: cram as much stamina in your gear as humanly possible. This gem will show you have to do that intelligently, while taking little stam hits for worthwhile avoidance trades.

Like I indicated last time around, there are two caveats:

  • This is hyper-simplified and assumes that you’re not heavily depending on gems or socket bonuses (despite the jokey line) for being uncrit.
  • I couldn’t find a good way to express this, but if you have two gems slots (or, hell, three) and one of them isn’t blue, unless the socket is +12 stamina, put Solids in both/all.


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October 5, 2009
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Better Late Than Never Friday, 8/28

I originally intended to do the next part in my “Characteristics of a great tank” saga, but then last night I forgot to run over to Elwynn to take some screenshots, and dammit that article is crap without accompanying pictures. So no part two this week, unfortunately.

For newcomers to this blog, BLTNF is when I pull search terms that brought people here from my Google Analytics and answer what they were originally looking for.

vindication 3.2 work on raid bosses now?

Yes, and it’s glorious. While warriors and other classes need to expend a global cooldown to apply their attack power debuff, ours happens automatically. Vindication is a serious mitigation talent and any tank worth their salt should take it.

how to get the new paladin mount in 3.2

Buy it from the Crusader’s Quartermaster in the Crusader tent at the tourney. It costs 100 Champion’s Seals.

shard of the crystal forest good for tankadin?

It’s not terrible, but the neck off of Kologarn-10 or the Malygos-25 neck quest are both better. Especially the latter with a Solid Majestic Zircon socketed.

what do protection paladins gem

I need to update my classic flowchart, but you can basically follow this: Use Endurings until crit capped, then gem Solids. The only time you are not gemming a Solid Majestic Zircon is if you want the socket bonus, which you should only go for if the bonus is +9 or +12 stamina. Ignore all other bonuses. Also, you’ll need one red gem for your meta (assuming you’re using Austere) which you can get from socketing a Shifting Dreadstone.

“greater inscription of the gladiator” defense cap

The Glad inscription gives you .18% crit reduction, so you need 5.42% from defense. I just wrote a lot of fractions in front of me to figure out how much defense skill that is, but I ran out of stickies and have no answers to show for it. I think it’s somewhere around 538 or so. Just refer to your character sheet to make sure your crit reductions add up to 5.6% or more.

Also (sorry, as a tank on the intertubes I am legally obligated to say this) there’s no such thing as a “defense cap”. Defense minimum!

how much defense = dodge

41 defense is 1% avoidance, or .33% dodge, parry, and miss. 123 defense rating is 1% dodge, parry, and miss (so, 3% avoidance).

2 bindings of the windseeker one clear

If this is true, I hate you. With all this Door Boss nonsense I’ve severely fallen behind in my Bindings farming. It’s kind of stressful thinking it’s going to be impossible to get Thunderfury once Cataclysm hits, so I have a very limited window (less than a year possibly) to farm these pieces. With a theoretical 52 tries remaining, each week lost to Door Boss’s cold, icy reticence is one week too far.

3.2 is hit rating important for protection paladin

Not so important you should gem or enchants for it, but it is definitely nice to have. Hit means more (consistent) threat and more successful taunts.

3.2 seal of righteousness tanking seal?

No. Maybe for quick-dying trash, but if you have enough time to apply a 5-stack of SoV, you should be using it.

are socket bonuses that good?

Depends on the socket bonus. +block rating, +hit, +expertise, +dodge, etc., are all bust. Only +9 or +12 stamina are worth going for, because if you’re gemming an Enduring or Shifting, you’re invariably losing 15 stamina. However, if the bonus reduces that then 3 or 6 stamina is a good trade for 10 agility or 10 defense rating.

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Better Late Than Never Friday, 7/31

On a house keeping note, I’m going to be on vacation next week. I’m trying to decide how to handle my absence, which I’ll probably either fill by making 5 posts this weekend and spacing them out with “Publish on x day” settings, or maybe with teeny tiny awkward posts on my iPod’s wordpress app (whenever I can find wifi in northern New Hampshire). I’m personally hoping I choose the former and then the patch comes out next week, while my (transparently) pre-written posts are about “How bad expertise sucks” or “If only we had a second cooldown.”

Although I could probably do a mad-libs raid recap… hrm… the possibilities.

does it matter if i don’t get my socket bonuses

Not particularly, assuming that bonus isn’t stamina. Avoidance is nice, but stamina is better. And block rating or hit/expertise aren’t worth gemming to achieve. Refer to my flowchart here for when to go for socket bonuses.

enchant weapon – blood draining does it increase with spell power?

I looked at a WWS from a recent raid to compare the heals that both I and Demogar (warrior tank) received from Blood Reserve, which is the heal the enchant gives. As you can imagine, I’m rocking about 860 spellpower (from stamina, I swear!) and Demo has a pitiful 0. Srsly, what a nub. Anyway, while just skimming through the WWS and writing down some numbers, for a one stack heal I got back around 391-466 hp, he got 405-412; two stacks I got ~894 and Demo ~900; three stacks 1215 verse 1243; four stacks 1665 versus 1650; five 1941 versus 2299.

Short answer is no. Actually, long answer is no too, but I’m pretty sure we get an additional 30% benefit to any crit heals from Blood Reserve. And yes BR does indeed crit. For example I received 1755 hp from a two stack crit. Not too shabby!

hit cap on righteous defense

17%, or 446 rating. Please don’t try to reach this. It’s not worth it.

glyph of seal of vengence vs glyph hammer of righteous

I’m very partial to the latter which is very, very useful for snap aggro in AOE situations. For example, on Kologarn when I pick up the rumbling adds that spawn, the glyphed HotR plus a Consecrate guarantees that I pick up every add before they have a chance to make a break for a healer. The SOV glyph isn’t as good right now because expertise is kind of bleh. But, in 3.2 it’ll be much more useful because we’ll be more dependent on the 5-stack SOV proc for threat. In 3.2 you’ll want that glyph. To actually answer the question, I’d get both.

paladin stamina to health conversion

For a Paladin 1 stamina is 10 hp. With the proper talents, 1 stamina is 11.4 hp.

how often do saronite plated legguards drop

If you’re in my guild, only once.

mongoose at level 80 tankadin

I know some people are very attached to this enchant for tanking (for the avoidance) but I’m just not a fan. It’s worth 120 agility when it procs, which is 2.3% dodge. Thanks to PPM it’s basically like adding .76% dodge to your character sheet, which I guess is nice overall. Based on what I’ve read it’s the best avoidance enchant but my biggest beef with it is the fact it’s proc based. You need avoidance the most when you have low health, and there’s just no guarantee that Mongoose will up to maybe give you that extra oomph to avoid the next hit. You have just as much a chance for it to proc at 100% health as at 5%. I’d recommend getting an enchant that’ll be there when you need it most and actually provides some EH; namely, Blood Draining.

seal of righteousness verses seal of corruption for tanking

SoC/V for sure. Righteousness is good for trash when stuff will die too fast for you to build a five stack and maximize the threat potential for that seal, but on longer living trash or bosses SoC/V is far and away your best choice.

tankadin effulgent skyflare diamond

Thankfully this gem is no longer bugged. Before 3.1 it used to, laughably, increase your resistances by 2% rather than reduce spell damage. Now it’s working as it should be. Does that make it a good gem? Eh, not particularly. You’ll in the end get more mileage out of the Austere meta. This gem seems too situational.

trouble picking up kel’thuzad adds

On 10man the trick is to fall back and watch both halves of the room. When an Icecrown Guardian spawns you have a few seconds to run over and pick it up before it beelines for a healer. Then immediately run over to the opposite end and grab the one that will shortly spawn there. Use Avenger’s Shield, Exorcism, and Reckoning to get their attention. In 25man you’ll probably be on one side with a different tank on the other, so there’s less running. As a fail safe, set the healer with the highest global aggro as your focus so you can watch their health and see if a Guardian snuck over to them.

ulduar demo driving

The trick to driving a demolisher (which I always do in our raids) is use your mouse buttons to drive forward and turn/aim and use keybinds to fire boulders. Time spent keyboard turning and fumbling to target something is time lost dpsing. Demolishers are slow so your biggest priority is cutting movement corners when you can.

why wont titanguard drop

I swear this isn’t me! I feel your pain, my friend. :(

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