Friday, April 24, 2015

Guest Post [Savvy Mark] Real life effects us all

Today I'm handing over the blog to one of my guildmates, Savvy Mark. I'll be back posting Soon(TM). Without further ado, here's Savvy!

Real life effects us all. 


     Everyone's reasons for playing MMO's is different.  What isn't always obvious when you start is the amount of time that you invest into it.  Not sure how long you've been playing? Type /played on your "main" and you will find some disturbing information.

     Now do that with all your toons on all your accounts.  The total can be huge.  But is this a waste of time?  Unfortunately (or fortunately) we have no means of tracking time spent with our televisions in the "on" position.  If you are like me, you turn the TV on when you are in the house (and some sleep with their TV's on).

     A little about me, I am an avid gamer going back to the days of the Atari 2600 (1979).  Adventure was my first foray into fantasy game land.  My game console migration led me to the Colecovision, Nintendo Entertainment System, Tandy 1000SX (my first computer which ran at a then whopping 7 Megahertz with 640KB RAM and had two 5 1/4" floppy disk drives), Sega Genesis, Sony Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Game Cube and finally a laptop and desktop which are both 4 and 8 years old respectively.

     My wife and I get into it about my game time.  She doesn't see playing an MMO as being the same as watching TV while texting friends/following Twitter or Facebook.  She's even concerned that I am setting a poor example for my son (who plays PS4 and gets on voice chat with his friends).  There are times when I've logged in to World of Warcraft simply to chat with friends or guildmates.  Is that really playing games?

     I bring this up because with 22 years of life in the Navy, playing games has been a great way to pass the time when away from home.  The problem is that now I am in the house and I still have a burning desire to kill things online, and with friends.  I quit WoW for over a year because I couldn't justify paying a subscription to go to an island in Pandaria and be bored.  With no new content for over a year, I quit.  Warlords of Draenor caught my attention and being guildless I almost quit again.  I have Honor's to thank for his post announcing that his guild was recruiting.  They were nice enough to allow me to raid with them across servers.  I did so with a hunter with full arena gear (I was 660 I-level) and being competitive in the DPS meters (and not dying by standing in fire, etc). 

     When the time came to move to the server, I went to my "main", the enhancement/resto shaman: Savvymark.  Savvy has been on both factions and has been every race (except Goblin).  I have used her for over 8 years.  Enhancement Shaman is one of the most underused class/specs in the game.  To be a female Tauren makes it even rarer.  But I like it that way.  The enhancement shaman is the most unique class/spec in MMO's today.  A combination melee/spell caster that provides utility to the party/raid from melee range.  But I like it that way.

     So what's with the title?  Well, real life effects life in game.  I have had to limit my playing time drastically.  Raiding twice a week (sometimes 3 times) is viable and I don't have much time for anything else.  Planning for an upcoming retirement, job searching, house hunting, etc. and I still want to kill things online with friends.  This is a thank you to Honor's for finding me an online home for my favorite toon (I have since recruited a few real friends to this new home as well).  It's a balance I'm going to have to maintain.  I've met new friends and found a welcome place to kill things.  I salute you Honor's for helping this guy. 

Thank you, Savvy. I'm glad I was able to help. Savvy has been a great addition to the Dirty Casuals. If you are looking for a new home in World of Warcraft, hit me up in the comments. You can also check the original post. We are 8/10 now and I think we could even use another tank in our rotation with a strong DPS offset.

Friday, April 3, 2015

I'm All About That Boat, Bout That Boat

I apologize for the lack of updates. Real life has intruded in a big way but last night we had one of those raid nights that you are telling stories about 2 expansions later.

Real Life Stuff


I was late getting online as we were negotiating to buy a house. Part of the real life stuff that is going on is that we decided to sell our house. It sold really fast. I mean sign in the yard on Wednesday, signed contract to buy the house on Friday. We couldn't really start looking until our place sold. The real estate market in my home town is extremely hot right now and if you put in an offer on a house contingent on selling yours, it will only be accepted if you already have a signed contract on yours.

We've been looking for the past month, but with the market so hot, there aren't nearly as many houses on the market as usual. We faced the basic problem of what we could afford near town was either small or in a not so great area. The stuff that was big enough and in decent areas was further out and would require a longer commute.

We found a place we liked. It is a little further out than we wanted to be but it has the room we need and it is a nice brick house in an older, established neighborhood which is what we wanted. The biggest issue is that the people who currently live there aren't moving until June and we sort of have to move out of our place by the end of April.

Good gravy, that's this month!!

Maidens


Once I got the offer signed and emailed to my agent, I was able to log in. The team was heading to Flame Bender. She went down in one shot. We then knocked out Kromog. My warrior co-Tank got his Protecting Palm. Shields actually do drop!

With that out of the way, we went to work on Maidens. We had made some really solid progress the previous Thursday and we consistently were getting to the 25% phase when the bosses all gain new abilities and pretty much everything goes crazy. Our best attempt was about 12%.

We noticed how long the fight goes and we decided to experiment with getting two Bloodlusts off during the fight. With the early Bloodlust we had to really slow down DPS toward the 3rd boat phase. After a couple of attempts like that, we opted to try pushing them through before the 3rd boat phase. Sorka's boat gives us the most trouble so we opted to make that one the one to skip.

The plan worked well. We were able to push Gar'an down to 24% before Sorka went over. That meant that Sorka stayed on the platform and we didn't get her boat phase. We got Gar'ran down and the damage from Sorka and Marak kicked up a notch. Steel (our warrior tank on Marak) went down. I taunted, but with both Marak and Sorka beating on me I didn't last long.

Both tanks were dead but Sorka and Gar'an were dead. Marak was still up at like 10% health. Tachi, our Boomkin, went Bear form, taunted and then hit every speed boost he had. Just before Gar'an got to Tachi to melee him (and probably one shot poor Tachi), Gar'an stopped to channel his Blood Ritual spell. Tachi put some more distance between himself and Gar'an, but soon after the Blood Ritual, Gar'an went over and finished Tachi. We were moments away from a Battle Rez but we didn't have any Battle Rezzers alive.

We were down to two Hunters, our priest, paladin and shaman. It was pretty crazy. The Hunters turned their pets Growl on. Gar'an went under 1 million. Kite, DoT and run. Slowly the numbers ticked away. Our priest went full Smite mode. Kite, DoT, run.

I thought we were headed for one of those agonizing 1% wipes, but then Gar'an toppled over and achievements filled the screen. Somehow, someway, we had survived, and defeated the Maidens.



Loot was handed out, but they didn't drop anything that would be an upgrade for me. Of course, with the move going on and not being sure about my availability going forward, I was only going to take something that one of other tanks (or soon to be tanks) didn't need. We now have a couple of guys with 4 set bonuses and only Blast Furnace and Blackhand remain undefeated for us.

Looking Forward


As we get into the meat of packing, my play time and blog time is going to be limited. I'll be without internet for some period of time during the move. I'm also not sure how the longer commute is going to affect my availability.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Let's Give Kromog a Hand!

WoW has been something of a haven for me this past week as my life in the real world has been fairly chaotic. Thursday night, we started on Kromog. After much discussion on Twitter and Maintankadin, we found a suggestion that the first tank on Kromog only take one stack of Warped Armor and then the second tank would pick him up and get two stacks. Then we would rotate as stacks cleared.

It was a good plan and with me starting initially, my stacks were cleared by the time the 'hands' phase was over. I only had to remember to taunt him to make sure my co-Tank didn't get his third stack. We still had to deal with three stacks from time to time and we used external cooldowns to help him through.

I continued to use "Stupid Paladin Tricks" to avoid the 'rune' phase completely.

The first 'rune' phase, when the Runes of Grasping Earth are showing up, make sure you are NOT in a rune. Yes, that's right, don't be in a rune. When Kromog is about to cast Thundering Blows, you hit Divine Shield. You'll still get knocked up into the air but you'll take zero fall damage. Once you land, Taunt the big guy and continue tanking. You need to be ready with a cooldown in case he casts Fists of Stone before you co-Tank is out of his rune/hand.

For the second rune phase, you use Blessing...errr...Hand of Protection. I'll get that change through my head at some point. When the third rune phase comes up, Divine Shield should be ready again. The one thing you've got to remember is not to use Lay on Hands as an emergency button in the 30 seconds before Thundering Blows is cast. Otherwise, you'll have Forbearance and not be able to cast Divine Shield.

What that meant was that as soon as Kromog was finished channeling his stomp, I was already in melee and he never used Stone Breath on the raid as a whole. It also meant one less hand for DPS to have to help free up. They could concentrate on my co-Tank and the healers.

That helped us out. The other strategy note we made was putting our DPS DK in the middle for AoE. It took several attempts, but we kept getting to enrage before we would lose people to attrition or we'd lose a tank or two. Finally, we had that pull where everything comes together and we downed him.

I managed to win the roll for the Tier helm. Of all the Tier pieces, this was the one that would be an actual iLevel upgrade (about 20 iLevels to be precise). The Tier piece reminds me a bit of Tier 5.

The next night, we didn't raid, so I hopped in LFR and did the Black Forge. I was after Kromog specifically. He cooperated and dropped the LFR shield. I was finally able to replace the 363 Ogre Dinner Plate I had been using since pretty much I hit 100.

With Kromog dead, we headed over to put in some attempts on Thogar. This fight is chaotic. You almost have to know where the next train is coming to know where to go. The biggest problem Steel and I had was managing the debuff during the phase where the two trains separate the raid. Even if one of us taunted right before that phase, the stacks still seemed to get too high before the phase ended. The adds seem to hit pretty hard and my health yoyos a bit too much for my taste.

We didn't get very far on Thogar usually dying during the split phase. We'll get back to him soon and hopefully start making some progress.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blackrock Tank Trinket Choices

Progression. It is like oxygen to the raid guild. Sometimes progression is taking down a new boss, but sometimes progression takes another form as Dirty Casuals learned on Tuesday night.

The night started on a positive note as a new Hunter, Savvy Mark, joined the raid. I always think of Jack Sparrow when I see his name, savvy? Mark responded to my recruitment post and it was great to have him aboard. I loved that he played the night as Beast Mastery. When I mained my hunter for a while at the beginning of Cataclysm, Beast Mastery was my favorite spec. I really need to go level that guy again. Ah well, one day.

We've anchored ourselves in Blackrock Foundry for a while. The Bosses of Highmaul had begged for mercy. Steel and I took the tanking duties. A one shot of Gruul made for a great start. We headed over to Oregorger already set to four healers. We are getting better about watching how much ore he has already gorged and we moved into position a little faster. The attempt went well. Boxes died, people avoided getting bowling balled for the most part. When he toppled over 2 seconds into enrage, I looked at the screen in stunned silence. Did we really just one-shot Oregorger?

Yes, yes we did.

A quick ride down the elevator brought us to Beast Lord. I use Glyph of Consecration for the fight but it makes Consecration feel quite clunky. I have to cast, then place the graphic on the ground. Steel and I traded off and Beast Lord toppled over without much fuss. Next up was Hans and Franz. Even though we really don't need our Holy Paladin to BoP one of us for the final Suplex, but he still does, mostly because he enjoys killing whichever hunter is slower on his Feign Death button. I wouldn't want to take that fun away from him.

Hans and Frans dropped a tanking ring and the trinket, Table of Turnbuckle Teamwork. We generally don't like to award two pieces of loot from the same boss to one person but Steel didn't need either piece and my other ring was a tank ring so I got them both.

4 bosses, 4 one-shots. Next up was Flamebender. We had a couple of people new to the fight and we had our first wipe of the night. It seems that as the fight wears on, I get further and further back toward the little fire pool thing in her room. It makes positioning tough for melee, plays havoc with out cameras and actually led to the line of sight errors on taunts I got last week. We made a concerted effort to move her back to the original starting position after each Firestorm AoE phase and that helped everyone with positioning.

In one night, we managed to down all of the bosses we previously killed. That leaves Thursday wide open to work on Kromog and/or Operator Thogar.

I now have to decide between the three trinkets I have: Tablet of Turnbuckle Teamwork, Heroic Pillar of Earth, and Stage 2 Knight's Badge.

Trinkets are not as straightforward as other item comparisons. You've got Mastery with a Bonus Armor on use (Tablet), Static stamina, versatility, and Bonus Armor (Pillar) and Bonus Armor with a Critical Strike (Parry) proc.

I asked Rhidach on Twitter


While the Badge has more Bonus Armor, would the static Stamina and Versatility on the Pillar make up for that? The crit on the Badge becomes Parry and while that is nice, wouldn't the Stamina and Vers give better TMI? The other angle is I only have the Stage 2 Badge so I'd have to use my bloods (thank you Ore Trader) to upgrade the Badge to Stage 3.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

6.1 First Raids

Sometimes you'll hear a commentator on a baseball talking about how the starting pitcher just doesn't "have their stuff" on a particular day. It must be weird being a profession baseball pitcher and knowing some days you will just not have it.

That's sort of how I felt on raid night. I just didn't have it. I don't know if I was tired or what and I was having a little bit of lag. My ping was around 230ms where usually its sub 100ms. That extra quarter second delay made everything feel off. I thought that maybe the lag was caused by the new patch and I turned off as many addons as I could spare as well as the new Twitter integration. That seemed to help a little bit.

There wasn't any discussion this time, I simply showed up Prot spec and we went to town. Gruul went down fairly quickly without any heroics needed. We banged our head on Oregorger for a bit. People were really starting to get frustrated. The positioning is so key, especially as everyone regroups from the rolling phase. If you get one DPS hanging out by himself, you just know Oregorger is going to Acid Torrent him and it will be nighty night for the raid. Our Boomkin switched over to Resto and we 4 healed it. He was dead the next pull.

Oregorger dropped the plate shoulders which I had chosen as my 'wish list' item. Each week, we can designate one piece of loot as a 'wish list' item. If the wish list item drops, it goes to the person that person. It's an interesting decision each week and its gotten even more interesting since I've been tanking. Originally, I wished listed weapons, rings, necks and trinkets. These were items I thought would be in high competition. Then when I started tanking, I wasn't sure which weapons, rings, necks and trinkets to be targeting (tank or DPS) so I switched to armor for my wish list. Those pieces would work for either spec. Oregorger's shoulders were about a 25 item level jump from my 640 LFR ones. Helm, cloak, shield and my Ret two hander are my only sub 655 items left.

We had a nice one shot of Beast Lord but we actually had a couple of wipes on Hanz and Franz as we got used to handling Suplex ourselves. I kept looking for the animation of being picked up, but only one tank gets picked up so a couple of times I didn't use my cooldowns and died.

All four bosses we killed had a chance to drop a cape I could use but none of them gave one up. This is reminding me of my Devilshark Cape saga. Before the next raid, I went out and bought the Apexis Crystal cape and upgraded it to 645 to replace the 630 blue I had been running around with. Now one will drop for sure!

The next raid night Gore couldn't make it so Steel stepped up to tank along with me. We started on Flamebender. We had a couple of new people in the raid and it took us a couple of attempts but we got her down without too much fuss. She actually dropped the Tier token but I passed for our Holy Paladin. While I do have 670 chest, our Holy Paladin has been with the raid team longer than I have and I felt like he should get the first token.

Speaking of the pantsless wonder*, we opted to try him next. To me, he looked like an easier fight than Thogar. Steel and I seemed to be having problems juggling the debuff. One of us would get a third stack while the other one still had 30 seconds or more to go on his stacks. I had been doing a Stupid Paladin Trick to avoid the 'hands' phase. I wondered if that was confusing Kromog and messing up the debuff application, but even after doing the fight 'properly', one of us got to three stacks.

I started doing some research around the web including talking to one of my frequent commentators, Michael Green. The consensus seems to be we are going to get three stacks sometimes. Michael had a good suggestion of having the first tank only take one stack and I think we should try that.

This makes the second week I've spent the entire raid in Tank spec. It feels great to be a tank again.

*If you fall off the edge of the Kromag's platform, you will see that he is not, in fact, wearing any pants.

Monday, March 2, 2015

US Hyjal [H] - Dirty Casuals - 5/10N T/Th/Sa

The Dirty Casual Nation

INFO: We are an Adult GAMING GROUP (18 and up) that is currently recruiting for our Warcraft Branch on Hyjal US Horde Side AND our Twink Guild on Burning Blade Alliance! We play multiple games together, have a closed facebook page, and are currently progressive raiding Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 9:30pm EST.

CONTACT INFO: For More information and easy contact info Tweet us @TDCasuals or go to www.TheDirtyCasuals.com

Contact EsmeraldaSky, Kreelix, Byjaxx, Tachinori In game on Hyjal US HORDE for more info! 

Apply quickly on the forums to join the gaming group 
WHISPER any Guild Member for an invite!

WHO ARE WE?

We are a gaming group for DIRTY CASUALS! (or dirty casuals disguised as hard-core's or hard-cores disguised as dirty casuals....)

WHAT DO WE VALUE?

A sense of humor. A sense of community. Gaming with like minded people!

RECRUITING:

Guild : " DIRTY CASUALS NATION" US, Hyjal Horde Progressive Raid Team : We are looking for DPS with a MIN 640 Item level for our progressive raid team that runs 3 nights a week T, Th, Sat at 9:30 pm We usually go for 2 to 2.5 hours. We have new players, returning players, and current players with raiding knowledge filling our ranks on Hyjal and across many servers!

ALL PLAY STYLES WELCOME

Burning Crusde Legacy "TWINK" Guild "Little Dirtys" US, Burning Blade Alliance

We are currently running our twinks as a group every friday night @ 11 pm EST and setting a level cap each week so that by Friday we can all roll together! Adult Beverages welcomed! This is a great way to end the week! Come join us!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tankadin Glyphs and Talents for Blackrock Foundry (Part 1)

This post will cover Gruul, Oregorger, Hans'gor and Franz'gar, Beast Lord Darmac, and Flamebender Kagraz. I'll do another on the other bosses once I get some more experience with them. This is based upon my experiences in Normal Blackrock Foundry. If there's stuff on higher difficulties that would alter the choices I've made here let me know in the comments and I'll edit the entry (and credit you). If you think there are better choices, let me know and we can discuss it. I'm always ready to learn.

I also wanted to address the idea of 'its Normal mode, do whatever you want.' We all have our own experiences and its easy to think that our experience is the typical one. It leads to comments like the one I saw on Twitter recently "Oh the ilvl 645 and lower things? Do they even matter?" Yes, they do matter. Plenty of people are still LFR 640 geared or worse and the 645 tokens represent a small or maybe even a large upgrade. In the same way, there are real players in real guilds doing progression in Normal Blackrock Foundry. The choices their players make matter and affect the outcome of fights they are doing.

Universal choices for Talents:

Speed of Light, Fist of Justice, Sacred Shield

I've also made Unbreakable Spirit the choice for each of these fights. None of them really has a strong DoT component for Hand of Purity to shine nor are there any mechanics we can overcome for our raid by abusing a double Hand of Protection/Freedom from Clemency.

Gruul

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You can solo soak an Inferno Slash with Ardent Defender. You can solo soak a second slash if you use the old Burning Crusade Bubble Taunt Remove Bubble. It clears your debuffs as well. If you've never done the Bubble Taunt trick before you may need a pull to practice it.

Here's a macro for it:

#showtooltip Divine Shield
/stopcasting /cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
/cast Hand of Reckoning

Talents and Glyphs:

Focused Shield, Consecrator, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Execution Sentence, Holy Shield

The DoT left by Inferno Slice is ideal for Holy Shield procs. The DoT isn't so dangerous as to indicate Hand of Purity but its an option if the DoT becomes problematic on higher difficulties.

Oregorger

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

Save up 5 Holy Power for each time you have to soak Acid Torrent. As he is casting, you cast Shield of the Righteous, then Judgement, and then another Shield of the Righteous. This will give you a nice damage reduction for Acid Torrent in addition to whatever cooldown you are using. I like to start with Divine Protection since early on in the fight is when our healers can recover the easiest. If you can stack Glyphed Divine Protection with the 5 Holy Power Shield of the Righteous and an external cooldown, you can almost eliminate the damage. Save Hand of Sacrifice for your cotank if he gets to a spot where he doesn't have a cooldown ready.

Talents and Glyphs:

Focused Shield, Final Wrath, Divine Protection - I like Final Wrath to help finish off a box and by not using Consecrator I can drop a Consecration on a box and move away. Consecration will continue to tick and do damage.

Unbreakable Spirit, Execution Sentence, Holy Avenger, Seraphim or Empowered Seals

Because of the rolling phase, you lose a ton of Holy Shield procs. The fight seems ideal for Empowered Seals. Drop in Insight when you are tanking and soaking an Acid Torent and switch to Righteousness for when you cotank has him and the boxes. Holy Avenger can be a sort of extra cooldown if you have to soak an Acid Torrent and don't have something off cooldown.

Hans'gar and Franz'gor

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

Save Ardent Defender for the final Suplex. It's the most dangerous and Ardent Defender guarantees you will not die.

Talents and Glyphs:

Divine Protection, Consecrator, Double Jeopardy
Unbreakable Spirit, Divine Purpose, Execution Sentence, Empowered Seals

If you can cycle between the two bosses when both are down Double Jeopardy is a nice DPS gain.

You have to move so much that having Consecrator helps. You Consecration moves with you and always ticks. You spend a lot of time in this fight either running around or with only one boss down. When you actively tanking, be in Insight and if you aren't actively tanking drop into Righteousness.

UPDATE: As JalmĂȘ the Kingslayer, correctly points out, if you run Empowered Seals, you should have both buffs always up.

Beast Lord Darmac

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You can leave a Glyph of Consecration ticking right by the door where the animals come out. A 5 target Avenger's Shield will pick up most of the beast.

Talents and Glyphs:

Consecration, Final Wrath, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Light's Hammer, Holy Shield,

Holy Shield really shines when you AoE tank the beasts. Holy Wrath buffed by Sanctified Wrath is nice for snap aggro on the packs. Final Wrath gets more use because the beasts will be in Final Wrath range often when Holy Wrath comes off cooldown. I also like Final Wrath in general to push out that last bit of execute range DPS that might just turn a 1% wipe into a kill. Be sure you don't have the Focus Shield Glyph because you really want Avenger's Shield to hit as many beasts as you can.


Flamebender Ka'graz

Tankadin Tips and Tricks:

You've got to be spot on the tanks swaps for the Cinder Wolves and on the initial pickup of the Overheated Cinder Wolf which can be complicated by the Summoned Enchanted Armaments.  Use Ardent Defender if you think there aren't enough people to soak the Molten Torrent meteor when it comes to melee. You can help the healers Cleanse any Singe debuffs players (including yourself) might have. You can Bubble Taunt off the Charring Breaths debuffs if they have gotten too high. Just be careful of your timing so you don't get anyone else (especially the other tank) breathed on while you remove your debuffs. You can toss a Hammer of Wrath to help finish off a Cinder Wolf that is low and needs to die before Rekindle or Firestorm is cast.

Talents and Glyphs:

Consecrator, Focused Shield, Divine Protection
Unbreakable Spirit, Sanctified Wrath, Light's Hammer, Holy Shield

Between the boss and the dogs you are pretty much always tanking. The only respite is when she does her Firestorm. Light's Hammer will be up for every one of them. It can really relieve some stress on your healers as a health buffer to everyone who groups up.