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How tanks argue

Credit for this picture goes to the fantastic Rades, who spotted an interesting difference in argumentation technique on Wednesday following the tanking Q&A answers were revealed.

In one corner, Linedan and Lara were discussing Vengeance and how the Q&A didn’t properly address concerns people had over it. In the other, Vosskah and I were engaging in one of our usual tiffs over some inanity. Which, of course, quickly drifted in one of our usual Blood Elf vs Draenei throwdowns.

Still, I think I had the best burn.

But I digress!

I printed up a copy of Rades’ masterwork above and have it hanging in my office at home. Favorite detail: me pulling Voss’ chintacles, him pulling my hair. And therein Voss makes his most deadly mistake yet.

No one messes with the ‘do.

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June 10, 2011
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The game is afoot… race

Unlike the last game, last night’s actually lasted a decent amount of time and was (at least for me) much more fun.

We did this concept before, everyone rolls a level 1 and then races from one point to the other on foot, with deaths a plenty just about every mob over level 10. Last time we did Orgrimmar to Everlook; last night we did a track I thought would be much more ambitious, Silvermoon to the Dark Portal (by way of the Tirisfal zep).

Starting at the gates of Silvermoon in a huge naked pile, the gun first and we all broke for it.

Eversong, as you can imagine, was little trouble. I’ve leveled through the zone many times and knew the danger spots. I cross the Dead Scar at the north end than dodged down the road into the halfway point and crossed east towards the scar, and then down into the Ghostlands.

Ghostlands was pretty breezy, with only one rough spot at the beginning that was promptly cleared for me by the pack leaders who were torn apart by lynxes.

Towards the end of Ghostlands I was chasing Antigen, and then took a screenshot of my pursuit. I didn’t realize screenshotting made you stop running momentarily, so I had to shelve that after it cost me a chance at passing him.

We soon passed into EPL, which was definitely the hardest zone of the race. It wasn’t just the mob levels (though that did result in bats flying from across the zone to eat our faces), it was that there was no clear way to pass into WPL without crossing through huge groups of mobs. I elected to go south down the road and then cut southwest along the mountains, north of the Infectis Scar, rather than follow the road and go through Corin’s Crossing.

That was a huge miscalculation and cost me any chance at a win, I suspect. The graveyard was way too far away to make corpse hopping viable.

At this point the leaders for the rest of the game were established, and those that fell behind terminally quickly settled into a perma-bottom place. Poor Falowin tried to cross the mountains at some indeterminate point and ended up spending most of the race in EPL.

Eventually I squeezed my way out of EPL, probably in 7th place, and started making my way through WPL. The West was all about following the road and then corpse hopping past choke points where mobs were parked on either side of a road. There was a bear pincer moment, a spider pincer, and one point where you pass a field with caster skeletons on your right and a spider on your left. No way out there.

I think I ended up gaining time in WPL, because once I crossed into Tirisfal I started seeing people again.

I barely made the zeppelin, and the entire time I dashed up the tower I could hear Vili (already on the boat) shouting “GO ZEP GO, LET’S GO!” To his consternation I disembarked with the rest of them to STV.

Heading north through STV wasn’t terrible, though somehow I fell far behind Vili, but ended up ahead of Antigen. Either way, a few tigers later and I was cruising into Duskwood, land of the roaming soldiers. The only make up for the annoyance of all the mobs camping the road was how close graveyards were to each other.

You could tell we were in the final phase of the race at this point. The leaders were passing through Swamp of Sorrows while myself and the two immediately behind me were barely entering Deadwind Pass. The next two zones (Deadwind and the Swamp) were amazingly easy, not a mob in sight. Well, I got chased by a crocodile at one point, but I easily outran him.

Eventually Cendra took the win and crossed the ribbon (aka, the Dark Portal) and passed into Outland. Vili and Freezedealer quickly followed taking respective second and third place. I managed to pull fourth, and the stragglers (except for Falowin, who was in WPL at this point) began to trickle in one by one.

While waiting there I’m sure we drew a few questions from the various 50s and 60s that crossed through the portal into Outland. How often is it you see a pack of level 2 and 3s just hanging out there?

At one point a demon ran up the steps and caused a minor panic, thinking he was coming for us. Once he passed someone, everyone opened fire, but obviously didn’t do much of a scratch. As Antigen said, “where was the defense on that?!”

Once the rest of the close-by stragglers came by, I took a picture and we called it a night.

I hope everyone who participated had fun. I personally had a blast, and was immensely relieved the results seemed by the books. One more game to go!

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August 31, 2010
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Fun while it lasted!

I’m debating how to phrase the toning of this post. While what happened was definitely fun (while it lasted) it was also very frustrating in that it definitely ended with suspicious circumstances.

Alright, cynical skepticism, you’re up.

So last night was the first of the “ES Olympics”, the three games we would use to disperse three of the Shadowmourne loot items: the Favor, the Music Box, and the Pendant. And last night’s game was “Hunt the GM”.

I made the ugliest human I could stomach to craft and fled south to what I thought would be a pretty ingenious hiding spot. The rules generally were I’d be in a contested zone and not move.

I considered several dick moves I could pull, like rolling a Night Elf and Shadowmelding, or rolling a druid, getting it up to Aquatic Form and hiding in the ocean somewhere. But I decided against being mean.

Here’s where I ended up, and you can see the path I took:

Believe you me, it was a pain in the ass to get to Darkshire as a level 1 with a wolf chomping my face off every 15 feet.

There’s a small grove behind the tower on the border between Duskwood and Deadwind Pass. I ducked in there and camped out behind a tree. I indulged in some masculine giggling while waiting for my eventual executioner.

I hung out in vent while I listened to everyone talk about trying to find me. It was like hide and seek on steroids. Everyone was enjoying themselves, and at 7:20 I dispensed the first of my six prepared hints, which was just a throw away.

And then a moment later, the guild’s resident shifty warrior found me. This is while everyone still barely had a clue what zone I was. And so the game ended, twenty fast minutes later.

To harken back to the cynicism I summoned at the beginning of this post, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the warrior did a /who check for each zone on another account and found the one level 1 character that was out of place, focused on Duskwood and then zipped around with a /target macro with that level 1′s name. If I was going to cheat that’s how I would do it.

Not that I would because, you know, I have principles. And stuff.

In any case, I have no proof; but 20 minutes is awfully suspicious. Eyebrows are firmly cocked.

Annoyances aside, the 30th is my guild’s 2 year anniversary, so the second game will be that day. Probably another lvl 1 naked alt race. That was a lot of fun, and is basically impossible to cheat at without being ridiculously obvious. And as for the third game, I have no clue what to do. Any suggestions are welcome in the comments.

And of course with the pace Morvain is getting Shadowmourne shards, we’ll be having another series of games soon enough.

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August 20, 2010
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Video: How to OT BQL 25 Heroic


I never did anything like this back when I was privileged enough to get to offtank BQL. I guess the closest I’ve ever been was when tanking Loatheb back in Naxx25, I built a good threat lead then alt-tabbed out for the rest of the encounter.

Also: Peggle > Bejeweled.

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June 30, 2010
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Word of the day: Trickle-down death

Main Entry: trick┬Ěle-down death
Function: Noun
: A death that happens slowly, with an intermittent stream of damage that adds up to more damage taken over a period of time than healing received in the same period. Requires a longer time frame to finally kill the tank (more than a few seconds). Trickle-down deaths can be ameliorated with increased mitigation (armor mostly), and avoidance. Common in Icecrown Citadel.

Antonym: The Ulduar Splat

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March 12, 2010
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March of the Icecrown Penguins

My guildie, Morvain, made this video in his despair over the delay in 3.3′s debut. This is pretty hilarious:


Won’t somebody please think of the penguins?

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December 1, 2009
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The mask slips!

Ghostcrawler shows his true colors:

We agree with Communism.

Better dead than balanced!

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November 3, 2009
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How the other half tanks

To do something a little different, my post today is a brief interview with Demogar, my co-tank and brother-in-arms. Demo was recently served with a 3-day suspension from the WoW forums for what I can only assume was trolling. As you can imagine, he has some strong opinions on the state of tanking today, haha.

This is a bit of a fluff interview though, just to introduce the guy you’ve only seen in taunting comments and raid recaps to the wider audience of this blog’s front page.

1. Tell use a little about Demogar: when did you create the character,
what spec did you level as?

Demogar was actually created solely as something to do when I wasn’t helping a friend level his first toon on my Mage alt. I never intended to play him past level 20 but the mechanics of the class got its hooks in me. I leveled as Fury until level 61. A healer friend of mine begged me to tank for him but I was terrified of the responsibility. After several terrifying dungeon runs I found my footing and a passion for the game I had never known before.

2. What’s your raid tanking experience?

I played but never really got into raiding pre-BC outside of a few Molten Core and ZG runs of my old Warlock. I took some time off after BC launched then when I came back and leveled Demo I seemingly missed the boat on getting into a raiding guild. The guild I did get into spent the expansion running Kara and failing at early ZA. I went to another guild and did a little bit of Hyjal and SSC but nothing serious. Both guilds I tanked for but the Kara guild I was main tank.

3. What was your biggest raiding defeat? Biggest victory?

Excluding current content I would have to say working with my old guild to clear Kara and finally killing Nightbane… the biggest defeat was seeing how badly they performed in ZA and how we were never going to evolve any further. Including current content definitely 10 man heroic ToC is what I am most proud of and Yogg-Saron is my biggest disappointment.

4. What’s your favorite part of my tanking? :P

I think we have a good rhythm tanking together. You are as focused and committed to your role as I am. We each bring something different to the table and compliment each other well. You are able to herd adds together and hold them better than I can by far and are always on the spot with raid utility, whether it be Divine Sacrifice or Hand of Sacrifice on me when I need it. Tanks sometimes tend to butt heads and compete with each other, a problem you and I have never had. Your mind is always in the game and you’re always prepared and ready to react when something doesn’t go exactly as planned.

5. In 7 words, sum up your current feelings of the state of warrior
tanking. You are excluded from using the words “nerf” and “paladins”.

Slightly behind, very ignored, still VERY capable.

6. What do you think is the biggest misconception Paladins have about
Warrior tanks?

I see a lot of people think that Disarm and Spell Reflect are useful raid tools when they are in fact near worthless in a raid setting. There is some trash I can reflect tank and a couple bosses I can disarm but generally they don’t count toward anything in a raid environment.

7. Name the biggest change to tanking you’d like to see in Cataclysm

I would love to see a heavier emphasis on bosses with tricky mechanics over bosses that just hit like a truck. I think Twin Val’kyr are easy but they are a lot of fun because it is all about execution. It would also be nice to see gear options that are viable aside from stam stacking. It was nice when we used to have to balance our stats out to be more well rounded rather than just walking HP pools.

8. How many tanks, ideally, do you think a 25man raid should require?

I think they either need to have all encounters require two tanks or have them all require three. If they change it up a lot then you need to not only have two very well geared main tanks but also some very well geared DPS with very good tanking gear. That isn’t always easy to do. I personally like two tanks but I don’t care either way as long as they keep it consistent.

9. What do you think is a better system: high avoidance with
harder-hitting bosses, or lower avoidance but more, smaller hits?

I prefer low avoidance with smaller more predictable hits. I don’t think the difficulty of the encounter should be determined just on how much gear the tanks and healers have. I do think bosses should certainly hit hard but not as hard as they have been.

10. T13/14 in Cataclysm: How much hp unbuffed is a warrior tank going to
have? Make your prediction now!

It all depends on how much HP we have in full heroic T10 before I can compare fresh 80 HP to fully geared. But since they say that the Defense in the item budget will probably going to become stamina I would say possibly 80k in full heroic T14.

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November 2, 2009
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Anywhere you can go, I can get there faster

This post is dedicated to Falowin and his 310% mount.

Everyone knows Crusader Aura increases your speed by 20%, but what most don’t realize is the 20% boost is multiplicative rather than additive. That is, rather than taking the 20% boost and just slapping it on top of your mount speed, you multiply it in to the total movement speed number.

For example, a 280% mount makes you go 380% faster than normal run speed. Multiply the total movement speed by 1.20 (for the 20% bonus from Crusader) and you get the total movement speed with the aura up: 456%.

Contrawise, Falowin on his pretty pink 310% mount will only be going at 410% speed. If I was flying on said pretty pink mount (while wearing full t5, natch), I’d be moving at 492%.

Now imagine a pally with Aura Mastery on a 310% mount–they’d be going at 574% speed!

… I need to get me a Rusted Proto.

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October 22, 2009
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I could say that this joke was running


Disclaimer: I wrote this post yesterday in its entirety, and then a power flash ate it. The subsequent rampage took up all my remaining posting time yesterday, but let me assure you, Rhi did most certainly smash.

So Tuesday’s raid night was awesome (let’s not talk about last night) to the point where we pulled another one-shot three-fer, knocking out Onyxia, the Coliseum, and VOA 25s in one night. We were such a well oiled machine we burnt through all three over the course of about two and a half hours, with Coliseum only taking an hour and fifteen minutes. And as we’re roflstomping all this undertuned content, I noticed how relaxed the atmosphere was. Just to speak for myself, I tend to shut down and lock up on progression stuff, focusing more on the fight to the detriment of you know, actually enjoying the game. I stress out a bit.

Not Tuesday though, everyone was joking and laughing and some of the same running jokes that make an appearance in almost every raid were rolled out. Which then got me thinking about how many in-jokes my guild has, and how it’d make great post fodder in a sure-you-have-no-idea-what-we’re-talking-about-but-I-swear-it’s-funny sort of way. Here’s a bunch of them (and I invite my guildees that read this blog to contribute any I have missed):

“Zilga down!” I’m not entirely sure Zilga ever really died as much as Falowin did, so the origins of this are a mystery to me. Nonetheless, this is the universal “oh everything is going great” comeback. E.g., “5% left!” “Zilga down.”

“Back in my day…” One of the raiders, Valgard, has a visceral hatred of addons, for good or ill. He wouldn’t use an equipment manager until Blizzard came out with its own and would manually change gear piece by piece. It was painful. Demogar shot back at him with an impression of an old man (or perhaps a grizzled prospector) saying “Back in my day we didn’t need no dagnabbit addons!” The charm has faded since the first time it was done, but the bite of the indictment lingers to this day.

[Random awful Valgard joke]. Speaking of Valgard, boy does he love his bad jokes. It’s an accepted fact of life that at least once per raid we’ll be subjected to a quality joke as “Master looter? More like master tooter!” Groans aplenty, I assure you. One day he’ll make an actual good joke and the fabric of space and time will collapse on itself. No one will ever know.

“Loot pinata.” This is my fault, I came into some boss fight in Coliseum (not sure which one–was probably pre-nerf Faction Champs) with a cup full a’ hubris, insisting that said fight was so easy it was a loot pinata. It was not. I have yet to live this pronouncement down.

“20 minutes, tops.” Back during Ulduar we used to have the worst time with Freya’s trash. People got too antsy and would stand in the thunderstorm or forget to re-CC. Bad things happened, and one night it was proclaimed that the trash would take twenty minutes tops to get through. It took two hours. I left a little piece of my soul behind in that garden.

“RISE FALOWIN!” I did a haiku on this way in the past, and alas the basis for this in-joke has essentially passed, because Falowin is stubborn and refuses to die as often. In any case, in Naxx, whenever there was a Dark Touched Warrior in the trash pack, you knew–KNEW–that Falowin was going to die. He was like a side character in a Final Destination movie. He just had no effing chance. It happened so often that Morvain, one of the DKs, made a Raise Ally macro that would turn Fal into a ghoul and /yell “RISE FALOWIN!” It remains epic to this day.

“God himself cannot stop us.” This is another Falowin-related joke, pursuant to the ridiculous hubris that infects our ranks sometimes. To make fun of Demogar’s various pronouncements of confidence, Fal would then declare “god himself cannot stop us.” And then he would.

“I don’t give a bitch.” This one only started Tuesday, but it has legs (as they say). One of the warlocks was telling a story of a ten year old in a class he teaches trying feebly to swear derisively. The little boy declared that he “didn’t give a bitch” about something or another and an epic joke was born. We already spent most of the day yesterday scrawling this across the guild forums.

“Oh, I know what we’re doing wrong.” If we’re starting to wipe on a boss for stupid reasons, Demo like to refocus us a bit by putting a skull on the boss. Which is super helpful, because sometimes I get confused and try to tank one of the hunter pets. It’s good for a laugh though, and helps dispel some pent up tension over wipes.

“Dental plan!” “Lisa needs braces.” Kind of a stupid one. During Icehowl I would say in vent “massive crash” which apparently sounded an awful lot like Lenny saying “Dental plan!” in that Simpsons episode. So someone replied “Lisa needs braces” and another stupid in-joke was born.

So that’s just a smattering of my guild’s nonsensery. Do your guilds have any silly running jokes?

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October 8, 2009