Friday, October 30, 2009

Hallowed Be My Name

That post title felt a little blasphemous.

I don't usually do holiday stuff, but Cheesi and I spent a lot of time last year racking up Hallow's End achievements. When this year rolled around, I was only about 5 away from the title.

By the way, Blizz, thanks for getting rid of that "get 428 masks by trick-or-treating" achievement.

Anyway, my wonderful guildies put up with me last night long enough to help me get the "Hallowed" title. We killed the Horseman over and over and over and I managed to pick up the Squashling and the Hallowed Helm thanks to a couple of lucky rolls.

Eckhart/Sunfury is desperately seeking the Horseman's mount. I don't particularly care if I get it or not, so if I have the chance I'll try and help him get it. He'll have one less roll to contend with that way.

I'm really just happy with the title. Of all the holiday events, Hallow's End is my favorite. Who knows? Maybe actually accomplishing this one will convince me to be a little more active with the holidays on a go-forward basis.

We'll see.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Circus

I've been a musician for a long time...almost 3/4 of my life. I love everything about it: driving for hours on end, eating horribly, living on bad gas station coffee and energy drinks, the sound check, the hurry up and wait, the heat of the lights on stage, the energy from the crowd, and the complete exhaustion that sets in after you give your all.

A lot of people compare it to a circus. That's a pretty decent analogy, really. It's all so crazy and you don't have time to process half of what's going on.

My home life is a circus, too. This morning the dog had an accident on the basement stairway (three guesses who got to clean it up), Baby Tank had a spina bifida-related problem (a minor one...just took time to fix), kids were yelling at each other and fighting over the bathroom, and amidst all that I had to get showered and ready for work.

One of my deficiencies as a functional adult is, as Cheesi will tell you, my inability to balance things. I'm really, really bad at it. I go to work, play and promote my music, run a guild, lead raids, deal with kids, etc, etc, etc. I manage to pull it off, but rarely with flying colors.

I haven't played WoW much in the past week, but I did get online this weekend for quite a while. It was a lot of fun. I ran Ulduar on Mis and monkeyed around with a couple of Hallow's End achievements, and I leveled Mactire the Death Knight in the hope that one day in the near future he'll get to snag some Northren herbs for his Inscription.

But, like most guilds, we've had some drama. We are losing one of our absolute best raiders to another guild on another server. That's a huge blow to EoF. He's one of the best DPS Warriors I've ever seen, very well geared, loyal, dedicated, and a smart, smart player. Not to mention he's a really cool guy.

In addition to that, there's been a rift developing over something that happened while I was away. I won't go into details, but it's something that will strike fear into the heart of anyone who's ever managed a guild as a GM or an officer: Loot Drama.

I had a blast this weekend, but finding out about these things was like a punch in the gut. My 9-5 job is crazy, my music job is crazy, my house is crazy, and when I see things like this happen (among adults, mind you...which makes it all the more frustrating) I just can't seem to muster the energy to put on a happy face and deal with the situation in a rational manner.

My problems with balance should have deterred me from starting a guild. Either I live online and neglect everything around me or I hop on once in a while and neglect the guild. I'm not good with gray areas.

I've gotta figure this out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

That Ability Is Not Ready Yet

Waiting on the cooldown.

I sat down at the computer the other night and stared at my Raptr login screen. A couple of folks were online and it said they were playing WoW. I opened the Curse client and updated addons, logged onto the guild website and crossed Ignis off of our progression chart, monkeyed around with my Myspace and Facebook profiles, and called it a night.

WoW was sitting right there on the desktop. Would have been easy to log in, say hi, cycle my auctions, and log off.

I didn't, though. Why? Just not ready. I know the second I log in I'll be bombarded with questions. I just don't have the patience for that right now. I don't feel like running an instance, doing dailies, or farming.

Will my desire to do those things come back? Absolutely. I'm seriously considering jumping into a raid or two this weekend if the opportunity presents itself, but a couple of nights ago I just couldn't bring myself to log in.

I'm on my way back. Not quite there yet, but I'm working on it.

Still need to build up some rested XP.

Friday, October 16, 2009

RL Crit - Part II

I've gotten into the habit of posting on this site almost every weekday. I've been blessed to have so many people stop by to read and comment, and I've made so many friends via this blog and its related Twitter account. This has been a blast.

Because of some personal circumstances, though, it's time to take a step back and slow down a bit...both here and in-game. I'm not abandoning blogging or playing altogether, but I have to handle some stuff that a pixelated person can't.

I'll probably still post here once in a while. I'll probably still hop on and off my Twitter account as well. Neither, however, will happen as frequently as they have in the past.

Thanks, all. Take good care of yourselves. I'll talk to you soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RL Crit

How much defense does it take to eliminate crits from real life? Anybody?

The last five days have been crazy. Absolutely, completely, insanely crazy.

I haven't been on WoW the past two nights, which is probably a good thing considering I was way off my game while we were raiding over the weekend. Sloppy pulls, forgetting to Vig, etc. Just wasn't really with it.

Still, we downed Kologarn and hit a brick wall with the Iron Council. Still couldn't get Ignis, although we think we know what we were doing wrong so he should drop this week. We one-shot the bosses we had downed the week before, which is a good sign.

Tried out ToC and got nowhere in a hurry. We weren't expecting much out of it, so it wasn't a huge letdown. We just wanted to get in and poke around a bit.

EoE was epic frustration. I'm two kills shy of my CotFW title (Maly and H-AN). I really wanted to knock Maly off that list, but we just couldn't get a decent shot at him. First try, wiped in Phase 1. Second try, wiped in Phase 2. Third try, wiped in Phase 3. Theoretically, one more shot would have probably done the trick, but we just didn't have it in us.

We overgear the heck out of EoE, but most of us hadn't seen it before and there's enough going on that lack of experience with the fight can and will be your downfall. We'll get him sooner or later.

I'm hoping to sneak in a couple of raids this week, but my RL drama is still unfolding, so we'll see how it plays out.

Gonna try to toss up a post here or there, but they'll probably be a bit more sporadic than normal.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Advice for a Fresh 80

I get a lot of whispers from level 80 Warriors who are taking on tanking for the first time. The whispers come from both within my guild and from without, and the questions are usually pretty similar.

I've said a million times that there are a ton of sites that do a much better job than I ever could as far as Protection Warrior theorycrafting and number-crunching...I'm not even going to pretend to throw my hat in that ring.

What I can do, however, is hastily throw together a list of answers to the questions I usually get. I'm going to dumb this down, not because I believe my readers are dumb, but, on the contrary, because I'm an idiot who can't explain it in anything but a simple manner.


Here goes nothing:

What is the defense cap? For raids, it's 540. For heroics, it's 535. Why the difference? Because raid bosses are level 83 and heroic bosses are level 82.

Do I have to be at the defense cap to tank a heroic? The answer to that one, from a purely technical standpoint, is no. The defense cap is there to make sure that you don't get crit by a boss because boss crits hurt. If you take a couple of crits in a row, even in a heroic, your healers probably won't be able to keep up with the burst damage and you'll die. So no, you don't have to be at the cap to tank a heroic or a raid, but you should be.

I'm at 520 defense, and this upgrade has 40 additional defense on it, won't that put me at 560 and shouldn't I go for something that won't put me that far over the cap? I get this one a lot, and don't feel bad if you've asked it. The defense targets of 535 and 540 refer to defense skill. The defense number on items refers to defense rating. Every point of defense skill, at level 80, will give you roughly 1/4 a point of defense skill. It's not exactly 1/4, but if you're trying to calculate it on the fly, it's a good way to eyeball it. For the example above, you'll wind up at about 530 defense skill after the upgrade.

The higher your level, the less skill you get for each point of rating. Back at 70 when I was eyeballing upgrades the number was closer to .4 skill/rating, so I generally just cut the amount of rating in half and knocked off a point or two to guesstimate it.

Veneretio has some helpful calculators that will give you the exact numbers. There are also addons that can help you out by giving you the true increase/decrease in defense of an upgrade. Bottom line: if you're guesstimating on the fly, assume it's about 1/4.

What should my rotation be? It's not a rotation, it's a tiered priority system.

First of all, take Sunder Armor off of your Defensive Stance bar. Devastate does that and does damage/threat, ergo, it's better.

Also, please, for the sake of all that is good and sexy, take Rend off of your Defensive Stance bar. You want every point of rage you spend to generate threat, and from that standpoint Rend is a grotesque waste of perfectly good rage.

Here's the priority sytem, assuming a single target:
  1. Shield Slam/Revenge/Devastate
  2. Concussion Blow/Shockwave
  3. Thunderclap/Demoralizing Shout
T-Clap and Demo Shout should be kept up, as both are exceptionally good debuffs that help keep you alive. Also, make sure your sunders (via Devastate), don't drop off. As far as buff shouts, coordinate with any other Warriors in the group to figure out your shout assignment (Commanding vs. Battle) and keep it up as well.

While you're doing all of this, you're going to be spamming Heroic Strike. By spamming, I mean seriously emails offering you Canadian Viagra spamming. Keep it up all the friggin' time. Heroic Strike generates a good deal of threat, and it also serves the purpose of making sure that you're not wasting rage.

How does HS keep you from wasting rage? If you're at 100 rage points and the boss dings you for 8k, that's a ton of rage you could have used to keep pumping out threat. Heroic Strike is an expensive ability that offers a good threat return, which makes it great at dumping threat so every time you get smacked you end up with rage you can use.


Hopefully somebody got some use out of this wall of text. If you have questions, ask. I don't recommend asking in General or Trade chat because you'll probably not get anything constructive. Instead, ask a guildie if one is available. If there isn't, shoot me an email or, if you're on Bloodhoof (US) just whisper me. I'll be glad to help.

Happy Friday. Happy Tanking.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nice and Easy

Naxx last night was exciting because it was the first time in for Cheesi and my bro-in-law Willy. I think we may have had one or two other first-timers as well. Started way late because the Baby Tank hasn't been feeling well, which made it impossible for us to actually get started before she went to bed.

We cleared two quarters and I think the only complete wipe we had was due to a stupid move on my part on trash. Other than that, it was cake.

Most importantly, we had loot drops that people could actually use. Tons of upgrades got handed out to some of our folks who don't get to raid as often.

There were a couple of heated moments. That stuff happens, though. Guilds are like families, and as such it can't be cupcakes and puppies all the time. Just means we're a healthy unit. If we didn't have a minor scuffle now and then, I'd be worried.

At the end of the day, it was a solid run and a fun time. Loot and achievements were passed around and we got to expose people to some content they haven't seen.

From my standpoint, I got a handful of emblems and, even though I had a couple of deaths, I still made money from the run. That's generally a good sign.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Denizen

My Twitter buddy Mortigan bellied up to the Blogeroth bar and joined the club.

You may remember Mort from this infamous post.

And let's not forget about his most recent creation.

If those are any indication, his blog's gonna be a blast.

Finally, Another Breadwinner

Mactire, aka Mac or Big Mac, managed to become a Grand Master Herbalist last night at the tender level of 63. His Inscription is somewhere in the vicinity of 320.

I'm not an alt person, but the possibility of having another 80 with two professions that have the potential to make money is a pretty cool thought.

Ever since I created him, his questing area has been different from his farming area. After stalling his leveling and grinding his gathering, that's not the case anymore. As long as he's in Outland his gathering level is high enough to pick up any herb he comes across and, given the node density of herbalism, leveling Inscription should be relatively painless.

He's already started making money with Inscription. It's not much, but with people leveling alts, dual-speccing, etc, I don't see the market drying up anytime soon. I've sold a Death Knight glyph or two for almost 30 gold which, given the cost of the mats, is a huge profit margin. Considering Misneach's ammo business isn't what it used to be, this will be a nice supplement.

Mis sent him almost 1,500 gold to get his flight training and the Skeletal Gryphon (which I had to have), so I really want to make that back using Mac's professions. Shouldn't be that hard at all.

After Mac makes it to 80, I'll have to get to work on Nabaisti, who has been sitting at 300 skinning for ages even though he's still in his 40s. He needs an epic ground mount and will be begging Mis for the cash for flight training soon, too.

Alts are like kids when it comes to begging for money, aren't they?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ulduar At Last

I love the smell of progression raiding in the morning.

Yeah, I know most of you have cleared Ulduar and have a weekly naked run through it, but it was EoF's first time there. We had a former guildie walking us through the fights, but it was nearly a complete EoF team.

We went 3/4 in the Siege area. We would have dropped Ignis given a little more time, but we put a time limit on the raid because we knew we were going to lose a few folks.

I'm really impressed with the talent we have in our guild. Everybody learns fast...really fast. Flame and XT were two-shot and Razorscale was one-shot. It's good to be surrounded by players who know how to diagnose a problem with an attempt and fix it the second time around.

We're going to have several teams running this week. We set up early runs to help those who can't make the later raid times (and, as a result, haven't gotten to raid very much at all) get some experience and gear in Naxx and OS, and we've still got Ulduar up as a later run to accommodate those who are geared for it.

As long as people keep signing up and bringing their A-game, we can ride this wave of momentum through Ulduar and beyond. I'm hoping to be blogging about ToC in the near future.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Read Righteous Orbs


Seriously, I'm gonna commission Chastity and Tamarind to rant for me.

Moron, Meet Chat Log

Dear Idiots, if you are going to attempt to ninja a shard at the end of a run by claiming that someone rolled and received an item that you actually rolled on and received, remember that we can frickin' see the chat log, too.

Last night Tatia and I pugged H-UK. We picked up three dps: a Warrior, Shaman, and a Mage. Tatia asks if anyone is an enchanter. The Shaman answers in the affirmative. Cool, if you need any BoP blues or purps that drop, hit need. Otherwise, the Shaman will pick it up, shard it, and we'll all roll for the shards at the end. Pretty basic.

No one needed any of the blues, and the Mage needed the epic ring that dropped off of Ingvar. Easy instance, nice and smooth. Time to roll on Dream Shards.

Warrior takes off. Mage rolls, Tatia rolls, I roll, Shaman rolls.

Shaman: Tatia, you needed on the second blue and got it.
Tatia: No, I didn't.
Shaman: Check your bags, I remember you needing on the second blue.
Tatia: I just checked my bags, I don't have it.

This ensues. Mage gets a shard, I get a shard, Shammy takes off with the last one.

I don't remember how the stock UI chat box works, but Chatter will let you scroll waaay the heck back. So I did.

"Shaman in Question" receives loot: [Blue From First Boss]
"Shaman in Question" receives loot: [Blue From Second Boss]
"Mage" receives loot: [Shiny New Ring]
"Shaman in Question receives loot: [Blue From Third Boss]

It's all there. Plain as day. Why on earth would you sit and argue about something that we can scroll back and see?

It could have been a loot glitch, I suppose. I've had issues where I've greeded/needed on an item, won it, and actually had to go pick it up. Still, though, don't go accusing somebody of doing something like that when it's recorded and we can scroll back and see it.

"Shaman in Question" is probably on the realm forums bashing us or something. Tatia and I both ignored him, so if he's doing it in trade I have absolutely no idea and I don't particularly care.

If that Shaman is reading this (a) you're a ninja...and a pathetic one at that considering all you gained was a friggin' Dream Shard...or (b) you probably should have paid more attention to what actually happened before you started running off at the mouth, considering we can all backtrack and get a good look at the truth.

I swear, WoW needs a minimum age.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Already

There's been a chill in the air the past couple of days. Chicago weather being what it is, it's best to relish the real fall weather when it's here because winter comes fast. Spring and autumn are more like holidays here than seasons.

Seems like a month or two ago I was in Tennessee on New Year's Eve. The day I started this blog feels even more recent...weeks, maybe. I'm shocked to think that I've already chalked up over 120 posts and people actually stop by to read them.

What's the point? I'm not sure. I'm feeling sentimental, I suppose. I lost an uncle today, my wife's been digging through her family's past for long-deserved answers, and my niece is fighting a battle no 14 year-old should have to endure.

The last several times I've logged into WoW it's felt empty...pointless. The work we do now...heroics, raids, becoming obsolete at a startling pace. Why scratch and claw to collect better gear now, when in no time we'll be able to get comparable gear from a heroic 5-man?

It's the MMORPG treadmill, I know that. WoW's an escape, though. It's a chance to forget about real life and all the difficulties it brings. It's a chance to go from, in my case, a cube-dwelling spreadsheet jockey to someone who least until somebody in better gear comes along.

Obsolescence, whether referring to the gear we're wearing or our characters themselves, creeps in and makes WoW more frustrating than an escape should be. It's hard to feel like a fantasy hero when you can't keep up with the bleeding edge and, subsequently, you're neck-deep in mediocrity.

Bottom line: Real life sucks. Sometimes WoW life sucks. When they both suck at the same time, though, that's a problem.