Monday, February 5, 2018

Battle for Azeroth Plans (Pre Alpha)

My philosophy is the make the best decision I can based on the information I have available to me at the time. The raid team is planning to stay Alliance. We're currently 11/11 N and 3/11 H in Antorus.

All I know with certainty is I want to play a Zandalari Druid. Their travel forms are dinosaurs and some of the data mining hints ALL their forms might be dinosaurs.

My highest Horde toon is Kishuf, the mage I boosted in Warlords. I decided to level him rather than use the boost I got with the Battle for Azeroth preorder. Once I get him to 110, he can do the Nightborne and Highmountain recruitment. I'd love to see those stories. Then once Battle is out, he'll level to 120 and do whatever is required to unlock Zandalari.

I have no idea what I want to main for Battle on the Alliance side. Honor's Hammer, my Paladin, has been my main for every expansion except for Cataclysm where I started out with Theogrun, my Hunter. Even then, I switched back to Honor's Hammer about halfway through. He's a hard habit to break.

The other option I'm giving strong consideration to is going Druid on the Alliance as well as the Horde. I already have a max level Night Elf Druid alt, Tivonicus. I wouldn't have to learn another class as I bounced between my Alliance toon and my DinoDruid. Druid's have the most flexibility of any class in the game allowing me to waffle on my role choice for quite some time.

My other max level Alliance toon in my Dwarf Hunter, Theogrun. He's a great deal of fun to play, and an Engineer which is my favorite profession in the game. While its never been a strong money maker, it looks to be getting some fun items in Battle. Hunter provides the least amount of flexibility. If I get the tanking itch again, I'd have to start over with another toon.

I'd eventually like to level a Monk as an Allied Race but the only option on the Alliance side is the Void Elf . I know I'm weird but I'm really not all that enthused about the Void Elves.

I am excited about the Lightforged. I plan on making a Lightforged Priest once I get exalted with the Army of the Light. I have a max level toon of every armor type except for Cloth. I have heard Discipline is the least squishy cloth class you can level. He'd pretty much always be a transmog farming alt as I've never liked the fantasy of Shadow. It's not something that appeals to me.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It goes to 11 (or 10)


This weeks' combination of Sanguine and Overflowing was about as easy a combination as we could ask for. The frustration came from our keys continuing to upgrade to the same dungeon, Vault of the Wardens. You could say I've spent some quality time with Cordona last week. 

The highest our group has done is plus 9, and we decided to make our push for plus 10. Since we had gotten so much practice on Vault, that was key we chose. Our other option was Halls of Valor which I've only done on Mythic0. 

The run didn't start out well. My mic cut out right before we started. I managed to get it fixed, but it cut out again after the first boss. I could still hear, but my team could no longer hear me. Towards the end of the night, it died completely. I've only had the thing about 3 months. It was a Logictech, and I've always had great luck with their products. I guess I finally got a dud.

We knew were pushing the limits our group. Plus 10 gives the bosses a metric ton of health to burn through. The first boss did a mechanic where a beam formed between his glaives. I've never noticed it before. I'm not sure if we killed him too quickly on our earlier runs or he uses different tactics each time. I didn't handle it well and ended up wiping us. The second go at, I understood the mechanic and he went down. Whatever small margin of error we had going on evaporated.

We one shot the rest of the bosses and hustled our way to Cordona. We pulled her with under 3 minutes on the timer. My team gave it everything we had, but in the end, we wound up about 20 seconds short. If we hadn't had that wipe in the beginning, we would have had it. We can try again next week, but the affixes will be tougher (Teeming, and Skittish). Maybe we'll finally see some Maw keys.


Voracity is clearing the early the bosses in Nighthold with little problem. Even our old nemesis, Spellblade, has been one shot the past two weeks. Our gallant band of heroes has hit something a small roadblock in Tichondrius. We tried my friend's suggestion of killing the adds during the 'run and hide' phase, but we found our tank damage was too high, and the healers didn't want to continue with that strategy.

We've got the mechanics down cold, and we are hitting the enrage time on every pull. Either we aren't getting any of the bat phase buffs, or DPS is spending too much time on adds, or something.

The Developers announced a hotfix for Tichondruis on the 17th.

Health reduced by 10% on Normal difficulty.
Enrage timer increased by 60 seconds on Normal difficulty.

With those changes in place, I feel confident we will get Tichondruis down next raid. Our team still has time to finish Nighthold before Tomb of Sargeras drops.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Necrotic and the Paladin Tank

My crew took on Black Rook Hold+9 with the prefixes of Necrotic and Teeming. Necrotic meant that every mob put a stacking Damage over Time debuff on me that reduced the effectiveness of healing. It stacked quickly, especially on the larger pulls, and pretty soon my Light of the Protector was healing for single digits. The way Necrotic is generally handled is with coordinated group stuns and kiting.

I'm Stunned -- actualy I'm not

One of the problems I ran into is that Paladins lack an AoE stun. Sure, we have Blinding Light, but it's a disorient, and it breaks on any non-Holy damage. It's great when you are soloing, but unless you run with all Paladin group, the disorient is going to break in about a millisecond. Other tanks have true AoE stuns that do not break on damage. They can assist with the stun rotation. I can't. Consecrated Ground / Divine Steed helped a little bit with kiting, but I still was wishing for a true stun like other tanks have.

Phenomenal Cosmic Power, Itty Bitty Health Pool

The other problem I had is that Paladins are balanced around our ability to self-heal which leads to us having the smallest health pool of any tanking class. Necrotic takes all that self-healing away. I died on many pulls. The spider and bat gauntlets were painful. At one point, I wasn't sure we were going to be able to clear those bats. Druids have a giant health pool, Warriors have the incredible mitigation of Ignore Pain. Monks have the 100% avoidance built into Exploding Keg.

First time in a long time I felt like being a Paladin tank was a significant hindrance to my team. 

Even though we slogged through and finished the dungeon, we failed the timer. It felt like Necrotic had exacerbated every one of my weaknesses and while I knew it wasn't true, I felt responsible for the our lack of success.

Digging Deeper

I was frustrated and angry when I logged off and banged out a rant of a blog post that thankfully stayed safely in the 'Draft' folder. The next day, I could look at it with a bit more clarity. At about 875 item level, +9/10 is about the limit of our group right now and Black Rook isn't the easiest dungeon on Mythic +anything. I also hit up Twitter and Discord and discovered that there were elements of my kit like Blessing of Spell Warding or Final Stand that I had not considered. I face-palmed pretty hard.

I love playing my Paladin tank and I enjoy the way our healer roots are incorporated into our tank kit. In a strange way, I'm looking forward to Necrotic coming up again in the rotation to see how much better I can do with what I've learned.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Krosus Progression

Apologies for the Wall O Text. I'll try to remember to get some screenshots next time.


The Voracity crew headed back into Nighthold and knocked out the first three bosses (Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, and Trilliax) in short order. We had gotten our first kill on Spellblade the week before, but it was messy as my six-year-old's bedroom and I wasn't sure it was repeatable. I was right. The problem area, at least from my point of view, is moving out of Arcane fog while staying with my co-Tank during Annihilate. After a couple of pulls, I could feel the attempts getting more and more solid. Our Warlocks upped the AoE damage with a combination of some Warlocky spell and other Warlocky spell (Cataclysm?). That helped put the adds down faster, and the next pull we got our kill. It still wasn't super clean, but she was dead, and neither of the tanks were, so that's a bonus.

Aegis of Light

I had experimented with Aegis of Light for Spellblade to help both me and my co-Tank mitigate an Annihilate. I didn't find it that helpful. You can't use it on the move, or cast other mitigation spells. The 20% from Aegis isn't enough by itself to get you through. I may try it again at some point, chaining a copule of Shield of Righteous hits before I drop it.


We only got a couple of attempts on Krosus last time, but this week, we had more time to play with him. I switched my spec over to Holy Shield for this fight. Holy Shield lets you block spells and you can use it to block Searing Brand and Slam. I don't know if it was because of Holy Shield or something else, but the Searing Brand DoT felt more manageable this week than it did last week. During one of our attempts, my co-Tank went down and I figured I'd hold on as long as I could. I guess its part of my tank mindset, but I never like to give up on an encounter, even when its pretty obvious that we are on a one way trip to Wipesville, Population: Us. I blew every cooldown I had, as did our healers, and when I finally started tanking the floor, I had 17 stacks. This is as much a reflection of our incredible healers as it is my tanking. We knew we had the DPS to beat the enrage timer, and once the DPS figured out the Orb of Destruction positioning in the final phase, Krosus was eating fel lake.


The Officers decided that our next target would be Tichondrius. If you played Warcraft III, Tichondrius was one of the three Dreadlords that Sylvanas overthrew to become Queen of the Forsaken. The others wound up working for Sylvanas (Varimathras) or infiltrating the Scarlet Crusade (Balnazzar).

Tichondruis is an involved fight. My main job is kiting bloods away from the boss so DPS can kill them. We had some good learning attempts, but the list of our mistakes was, as Maverick might say, long and distinguished.

Oh, Legendary

After the raid, I went and opened up my Mythic+ chest and lo and behold, inside was a Legendary, the Chain of Thrayn. My dream Legendary is Saruan's Resolve, but there's no chance I'm going to complain about not getting it. It'd be like someone gave me a Honda and I'm complaining because it wasn't an Acura. I already own Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus, and after doing a little research, it looks like the Chain is better, but playing casually, I haven't finished the last Class Order Hall advancement which means I'm restricted to a single Legendary, and, as a bonus, because I've had Prydaz, I haven't kept any of my other neckpieces, so even if I wanted to use the Chain, I literally have nothing to put in my neck slot.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pathfinder, Mythics and Alts


One of my goals has been working towards finishing Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One. In Warlords of Draenor, I was a little behind the curve on the flying meta and competing with flyers for the rare kills you needed for Order of the Awakened rept was difficult.

I had already completed the A Glorious Campaign. Variety is the Spice of Life and Loremaster of Legion achievements. All that was left was Broken Isles Explorer and Broken Isles Diplomat. For Diplomat, the only one I was missing was Wardens. Ironically, the best way to get Wardens rep was to do the Kirin Tor Emisary. First of all, you only needed to do three quests for that Emissary and I always do all the Ley Line Race ones. The Kirin Tor Emissary lets you pick a reputation token that gives you 1500 reputation with one of the Broken Isles factions.

For Broken Isles Explorer, I was missing a couple like Trueshot Lodge, and the Gloaming Reef. After running around a bit, I knocked those out and finished Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One.


I ran again with the old Devolve crew. These guys are tremendous players, and I always appreciate it when they invite along for their run. My key this week was Neltharion's Lair+4 with Bolstering. This meant that every mob that died buffed the remaining mobs with more health and let them do more damage. The worst were the pulls with all the little scorpions. We quickly learned to the kill the big guy first.

My key upgraded to Maw of Souls+6 still with Bolstering. I found this one easier than Neltharion's+4. They pulls aren't as large so the Bolstering didn't stack up as high.


Tivonicus, my Balance Druid, is the first alt I've gotten to 110. Legion feels like a Druid expansion, especially Val'shara. Cataclysm was more of a Shaman expansion and Wrath was a Paladin/Death Knight expansion. I used the BoA item in Honors Hammer order hall to get him to Artifact Knowledge level 20 in short order. My goal with him to finish his class campaign. Unlike the Paladin, the 'do 20 World Quests' part of the Class Campaign comes right off the bat for Druids, and I've been working on those as I can.

I have no clue who I'll work on next after the Druid. I'd prefer my alts to be on the same server and with the new token for Blizzard balance that might be more feasible than ever. I've never been great at making gold in WoW, and it seems like everytime I get close to buying a token, it doubles in price.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Catching Up - Mythics and Nighthold

I was running a Mythic Plus the other night with my old crew (Wichita, Black, Lakini and Donk) and one of them mentioned how he missed reading the old blogs I did. Most of my writing free time has been devoted either to my Blizzard Watch columns or to the novel I'm working on. Something had to give, and for a long time, that's been this blog. Lately, though, I've found that I, too, have missed the outlet.

I'm going back to my original vision for this space of chronically my adventures through Azeroth. At most, I'll post weekly. These articles won't be as polished as my Blizzard Watch stuff. The editors over there are first class and help me take my writing to whole other level. What you'll see here is raw Honors Hammer.

Mythic Plus Shenanigans

That Mythic Plus I did was amazing. These guys have many different toons, but I think the composition was Paladin Tank (yours truly), Hunter, Balance Druid, Rogue, and Demon Hunter. It was a Darkheart Thicket+2, but the interesting part to me was that we ran it with one tank and four DPS. No healer. Well, technically, I guess you could say I was the healer as well as the tank. Basically, my crew could kill stuff so fast that my self healing through Judgment of Light, and Hand of the Protector plus my cooldowns could sustain me. With my Relics, I've gotten Ardent Defender down to almost a 1 minute cooldown. It wasn't until we tried Maw of Souls+6 with Raging that Lakini switched over to Resto. Maw is the Mythic I know the least, but even with it being maybe my 3rd time in there, we still beat the timer. The only real problem I had was the Seacursed Swiftblades. These guys turn into ghosts, teleport and then whack you pretty good. With the Raging buff, those guys could about one shot me.


On the raiding front, I'm firmly cemented as a main tank in Voracity. We're a normal mode, 3 hour a week guild working our way through Nighthold. We've got Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, and Trilliax pretty well on farm at this point. I take the little scorpions on Skorpyron. With Avenger's Shield, Consecration, Eye of Tyr, and Blessed Hammer picking them up is not a problem. I drag them to the boss where our melee DPS cleaves them into bits. Chronomatic Anomaly is an interesting fight. Our healers are amazing and we've never had much trouble with it. I adore the voice acting on Trilliax and its a fun fight overall. There isn't anything 'Paladin' specific I do on either of those two fights.

Sorry for the Wall-O-Text. Here's a picture of my current Trasnmog:

Spellblade Aluriel

Our roadblock has been Spellblade Aluriel. We do fine on the Frost and Fire stages, but Arcane is usually a mess. I have to stay with my coTank as we move out of Arcane Fog while mitigating Annihilate. Sometimes we have to do that with a bunch of Arcane adds in the way. If we get separated, one or both of us is going down. For Annihilate, I try to make sure I have multiple charges of Shield of the Righteous ready. When I have two stacks of the debuff, I'll add in a cooldown. This is one fight where I like having Aegis of Light talented as it can help both me and my coTank, but I usually only get one use of it per fight. We actually managed to get her down (our fist kill), but it required a battle rez used on each tank. I'm not sure how repeatable it is at this point.


We had enough time left over to go take some stabs at Krosus. I still owe this guy big time after what he did to Tirion. Do you I've forgotten, Krosus? Do you think I've forgiven?

We made some decent progress, but didn't get it down. It's something of a relief to have a fight that is mechanically simpler after the more complicated Spellblade fight. It looks like we are going to be cutting it real close on the DPS check for this fight. All I can do is try to stay alive, but if the other tank goes down the debuff is going to do me in in short order.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tin Foil Hat: The Titans Aren’t Dead

Throughout the Legion expansion, we have been recovering the Pillars of Creation, items used by the Titan’s keepers in the ancient past to shape Azoerth. We’ve also learned the Titans who gave those artifacts their power are dead, killed by their own champion, Sargeras.

But are the Titans dead? My own theory, to borrow a line from a famous philosopher, is the Titans are only dead “from a certain point of view”.

A simplified story

I think we’ve received a simplified version of the story; the same way a wise parent will simplify a horrific story for a child too young to comprehend it. We know that when the Titans died their essence came to Azeroth and inhabited the Keepers. Only Keeper Ra understood what had happened and it sent him into a deep malaise. The other Keepers couldn’t even process it.

But could being as colossal as a Titan’s have their entire essence housed in a Keeper? I think not. We are talking about the beings of such enormous size and power that they killed an Old God like we might swat a mosquito.  Not all their essence went into the Keepers. It couldn’t have. I think some of the Titan’s power infused into the planet itself and from there into its inhabitants, and it might have been Amun’thul’s plan all along.

We know the Titans scoured the universe for sleeping world souls. Like Sylvanas, they realized they had no way to produce more of their kind. They even called Azeroth “the Final Titan”. At that point, Amun’thul must have realized there would be no more Titans.

We are told that in the final battle with Sargeras, Norgannon wove a spell just before the Titans were destroyed. I don’t think Norgannon came up with that in the spur of the moment. A spell that powerful must have been prepared. We’ve seen from the Forge of Origination that the Titans loved fail safes and Azeroth itself may have been a final fail-safe for the Titans. Amun-Thul knew there was a real chance Sargeras would defeat them, and if he did, it would mean the entirety of Pantheon wasn’t enough. To save creation, they needed a larger, more powerful Pantheon. But Azeroth was the last world soul. There would be no more Titans, no additions to the Pantheon. The fundamental problem still existed.

How do you make new Titans?

Before their battle with Sargeras, Amun’thul worked with Nargannon to create a way to send the Titans essences to Azeroth. If the Pantheon defeated Sargeras, they won. If Sargeras defeated the Pantheon, he wouldn’t kill the Titans, he would free their essence to inhabit and power an army of heroes creating a new pantheon larger and more powerful than the first and one capable of defeating Sargeras once and for all.

The champions and heroes of Azeroth are the reincarnation of the Titans.

This is like the concept of the Bhaalspawn from Baldur's Gate. Spoiler alert for an 18 year old game but your character and all the enhanced individuals in Baldur's Gate are Bhaalspawn -- the mortal offspring of the now dead god Bhaal and females of various races.

We aren't the mortal offspring of the dead Titans but in the same way that Bhaal spread his ... err.. essence into Abeir-Toril, when the Titans died, their essence spread into Azeroth. Over time it coalesced in certain individuals. Sometimes it found a compatible spirit with a Titan forged like the Dwarf or Gnome. Other times it found a receptive host in a native being like an Elf or Troll. Even sentients from others worlds like the Draenei and Orcs possessed compatible spirits.

These Titan essences are what set our characters apart from the other ‘normal’ individuals on Azeroth. From our first adventures, we have been working to continue to better harness that Titan power within us, getting stronger and more powerful with each passing day.

Each Titan essence gives the hero a bent towards particular powers.  Those who have the essence of Eonar the Lifebinder become Holy Paladins, Disc/Holy Priests, Resto Druids, and Mistweavers. Norgannon’s spirit gave rise to all Mages, and Balance Druids. Khaz’goroth and Aggramar’s essence leads the adventure to becoming a physical DPS or tank. I couldn’t decide which one would fit. I think tanks fit Aggramar given his Pillar, but Prot Warriors carry a scale of Neltharion whose power came from Khaz'goroth. Golganneth’s essence powers all Shaman. Aman-Thul, like his Keeper Odyn, is the all father and all of Azeroth’s champions carry a tiny spark of him in them.

The Titan’s aren’t dead

They live on in each of us, and through us, they will again face off against their wayward brother Sargeras. Only this time, instead of five Titans, it will be an army of Azeroth’s mightiest heroes, and when that happens, Sargeras will fall.