Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Deadmines, how it should have been

After signing up via the LFD Tool I still did not get straight into a Run, and actually had time to clear the Defias camp west of SH, and even make a run around the farm (I had the Defias Bandana, and the Defias Trapper quests) before the Ready check popped up.

This time I had a Shaman on Heals, and a Mage with two Druids, and the run was smooth. Everyone let me do the Pulling and it wasn't fast although I deliberately pulled multiple Miners, and chain pulled a few Goblins, HoR pulling a second (& later a third) so they each arrived just as the previous Goblin went down. At the bottom of the Foundry's ramp we unintentionally grabbed a few too many Goblins and I had my work cut out for me trying to maintain Aggro using nothing but Judgements, HoR, and Righteous Defense. Fortunately nobody died and the Shaman even commented that she was having fun healing.

Smite was no problem, nor was Capt. Greenskin, or even Van Cleef. There were no wipes or even deaths (except among the Mobs ;) and no idiots with Heirloom gear who think they're King Dick. Just 5 people who knew their roles, did was expected of them, and got the job done in an efficient if not expedient manner.

If I haven't said it yet, I will now; I am really enjoying how easy the LFD tool makes it to get an Instance run together.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Deadmines PUG from Hell

I wanted to have a go at Tanking the lower level Instances to see what I'd missed so I rolled a Draenei Pally (because Draenei and BElfs get a lot more Green gear from low level quests). I couldn't use the LFD tool until 15 but I waited until 16 (when I got Hand of Reckoning) to join the queue for RFC. After all, what good is a Tank without an actual Taunt ability, right?

RFC was a cinch, mostly because level 15 characters are starting to get a little too high for it and we were all 16 & up (inc. a 20 Warrior who signed up for DPS but acted like he was a Tank). Despite being a little on the high side for RFC I still got a reasonably nice blue 1H sword which was an upgrade even over my 2H weapon.

With RFC out of the way I hit Westfall in preparation for Tanking Deadmines. I could have just gone straight in via the LFD tool but I wanted the Van Cleef quest for the reward. (I also needed to stop at Stormwind to learn how to wield 1H Swords ;)

By the time I finally had the mission to kill Van Cleef I was level 18, which is a reasonable level to tackle Deadmines. But after signing up and volunteering to Tank I didn't get in straight away, and that was not something to which I had become accustomed. Then when I did get into a group one of the DPS declined the Run so we went back to the head of the queue.

Finally we picked up another DPSer and we were in. Myself, a 20 Warlock (in Heirloom gear), a Druid Healer, a Mage (calling himself Evilcaster), and a Rogue.

The Warlock was, to be brutally honest, an arse. And yet he was in Heirloom gear so he clearly should have known better.

While I was the designated Tank and thus should have been initiating the Pulls, the Warlock was doing his own thing and grabbing Aggro on multiple Miners. I was fighting to grab Aggro back when the inevitable happened. The Warlock drew too many Miners, along with a couple of Elite Defias Mobs, and we Wiped.

In Rhahk'zor's room before I could pull the Warlock sic'd his Voidwalker onto one of the Defias guards. I picked up Aggro on Rhahk and we managed to down the Ogre boss but it was a close fight. The Warlock then went missing. Not AFK, I mean he ran off. When he returned he claimed he'd gone to Solo the Pat that comes after Rhahk is defeated. By now that should have been more than enough signs and yet we continued on.

In the Smelting room we fought our way down the ramp while I fought the Warlock for Aggro. At the bottom of the Ramp I tried to carefully pull the nearby Goblins while the Warlock did his own thing, which meant running off and Aggroing the entire room.

"What the hell is he doing?" I thought to myself as he died, the Goblins swarmed us, and we Wiped again.

And then it appeared in Party Chat.


Yes, he actually typed that.

I got the Spirit Release and realized the 'Lock had Soulstoned me. And if I'd been in a better spot we might have been okay, but no. I'd tried to save the day and was in a bad spot to SS Rez.

After waiting for the Goblins to rearrange themselves I managed to Rez w/o attracting attention, but as I tried to Rez the Druid a Goblin spied me, summoned his little robot helper, and attacked. I took him down and was slowly working on his Robot when another Goblin heard the commotion and joined the fray, summoning a Robot of his own. I fought valiantly but to no avail and died a second time, and this time had no choice but to Release and run back from the GY.

On the way back in to the Instance I right-clicked the Warlock's profile and selected "Vote to Kick", and the message popped up "You are dead."

Crap. And because I'd SS Rez'd then died a second time, by the time I got back inside the group were some distance ahead of me.

Again I right-clicked the 'Lock and selected "Vote to Kick".

"Not in combat."


I selected the Warlock and sure enough, he was targeting a Goblin. I made it back to the group as they finished off Gilnid and the Goblins. The door behind him opened and the 'Lock was the first player through. This time I was not surprised to see him round up a whole mess of Miners and Defias and cause yet another wipe, and just like that I was dead again.

As we ran back to the Instance our number was suddenly reduced to four and I could not believe my eyes. After causing multiple wipes the 'Lock had dropped group.

What an arse!

On the plus side I was now Party Leader. Awesome. I know Deadmines like the back of my hand. I'm Tank AND Party Leader. There's only four of us but I was pretty sure we could finish this. (In retrospect I should have re-entered us into the queue and picked up another DPS, but I did not do that. It's a learning experience though, right?)

I immediately typed in chat, "Thank heavens he's gone, because as soon as we were in I was going to Vote to Kick him!"

LOL was the only reply, from Evilcaster no less, who would actually prove to be a decent Mage when not being eclipsed by an idiot 'Lock.

The Druid and the Rogue remained silent, at least until the Rogue complained about her armor and weapons being broken. This was understandable because for some reason, every single time she Rez'd, she had Resurrection Sickness. It was only on our last Wipe that I realized she was not running back into the Instance to Rez, but Spirit Rezzing after each death. Oy vey!

Then when she ran to loot Smite's Treasure Chest not once but twice (after I Rez'd her and in spite of my saying "Wait!"), I realized we were running with a very young player or someone on their first Alliance toon...or both.

On the Rogue's second death the Mage followed the plan that I'd already announced, being Sheep one of the Guards and keep it Sheeped while we killed the second guard, then Smite, then the Sheep.

I Rezzed the Rogue yet again and seeing her run immediately to Smite's Chest for a third time explained that it was Smite's chest, not ours, we couldn't loot it. She was not happy.

We slowly killed our way up the ship and near the top, with the Rouge dead yet again (this time having fallen off the gangway and been killed by a Troll, or so she said), I saw Capt. Greenskin and his posse stroll past above us, stop, then start running back to the ramp down to our level.

"Follow me!" I typed (and thank heavens I'm a proficient typist. "Quick! Onto the wheel!" and I ran to the paddle wheel and leaped up onto it.

The Druid made it on with me but the Mage was a little slow. After killing him Capt. Greenskin's crew pursued us to the wheel and I watched, puzzled, as they stood on the gangway for several seconds and then...the Druid died. Just like that. I thought I saw a puff of flame on Greenskin as the Druid died, and with that Greenskin & his crew ran back to the top deck and continued patrolling.

Still not yet back the Rogue announced that she was going to repair her gear (which I'm pretty sure was almost all Red by now) while I rez'd the Druid & Mage. We established a plan to take out Greenskin, and after clearing the final ramp ran back to Rez the Rogue who had died yet again while trying to stealth in past a Pat.

We returned to the ship, made our way back up to the top, and following our strategy Capt. Greenskin & his posse died without a hitch. Now all that stood between us, victory, and that Deadmines Achievement was Van Cleef.

Knowing he comes with two Mobs (and respawns two more at 50%) I outlined our strategy then pulled him, and things were actually looking good right up until the Druid ran out of Mana and the Heals stopped coming. I died, then the Druid died, then the Rogue dried. With Van Cleef and one Mob left the Mage gave it all he had but it just wasn't enough. Van Cleef had less than 100hp left when the Mage finally died. (I really should have picked up a 3rd DPS, so being Party Leader this defeat was nobody's fault but my own.)

After running back to the Instance and seeing full respawns I realized it was time to finally call it quits, and when I told the other three I had to leave it seemed I was simply expressing what everyone was feeling and the group dissolved.

Does it change my mind about Tanking or cross-server PUGs and the LFD Tool? Hell no. We had one idiot griefer (but we moved past him) and one newbie (as opposed to a Noob!) who (I hope) learned from his/her experience with us, and yes, I spent a good part of my evening in Deadmines and didn't down Van Cleef, but I still had a good time (and learned a few things, too).

In the end I think this sums up PUGs. Some of them are great, some end in disaster, and some are just business as usual; successful, but not memorable. Sure, the arse hats are memorable and make you fear the PUG, but they're also few & far between, and if you let them keep you from PUGing Instances you're really only hurting yourself. After all, it's your $15. Why let someone else control your game?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Awesome Maraudon Run

A full clear, including Rotgrip and Gizlock, with just one Wipe.

After downing Celebras the Cursed our Hunter claimed it was his bedtime and logged off. Up until then it had been a very smooth Run so we decided to push on and 4-man the rest, but as we cleared our way to Landslide tragedy struck.

While fighting one of the many trios of Stegosaurus, a roving pair of Earth Elementals aggroed onto our Shammy Healer, and before I knew what was happening he was dead. I grabbed Aggro and the Shadow Priest tried to take over Healing but a second Pat of Elementals joined the fray and with 3 to 1 odds (against us) we were quickly overwhelmed.

Then, while running back in, both myself and the Shammy (who claimed to be on his first Toon, and just might have been, too) got lost, and we were forced to wait for a Rez before we could get back underway. This time the Dinos went down without a problem and when the Pats appeared I grabbed Aggro and we smashed them as well.

The rest of the run was a piece of cake.

Landslide gave up his Helm of the Mountain, which I Needed, won uncontested, and immediately equipped. The Princess was also good to me and upon her death bed presented me with a new pair of leggings. With her down the Shadow Priest thanked us for the run then bailed.

Fortunately the Shammy & Druid stayed behind so we leaped off into the water and took out Rotgrip, who dropped his cloth Shoulders. The Druid & Shammy rolled Greed while I passed. We then fought our way to Gizlock and a prolonged battle in which the Druid ran out of his fire and into a nearby group of Dinos, where she naturally died. I told her not to Release and with the Shammy healing me one-manned the Goblin Boss to his slow but inevitable death, after which I Rez'd the Druid.

I was hoping that by not Releasing she'd be able to loot Gizlock, and for my consideration toward my fellow player Karma smiled on me and Gizlock offered up his Shield. The Shammy was keen to roll Need on it but when I mentioned I'd like it he graciously passed and let me have it, uncontested.

With a new Helm, Leggings, Shield, and a Fiery-enchanted Jang'Thraze, my Pally is looking more and more like a real Tank.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The (almost) Indestructible Paladin

After finally finishing Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (a tragic, bitter sweet ending, and I'll say no more about it) it was too late to get a group so I ventured into Maraudon. Yes, all on my own.

I had a collection quest and I'd read that it was now possible to get the Drops outside the Instance, but the only Mobs that seemed to drop the Crystals were 46 Elites, and they were few & far between. When I ran across the portal into the Instance itself I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained, and in I went.

The Mobs were mid 40s Elites, just a level or two below me (at 47) but they were single Mobs and I already knew from the outside encounters that I could take them, and so I did, and one by one I began collecting the Crystals. I do plan to Tank Maraudon but if I get the collection quest out of the way first then I won't be competing with my party for Drops, so Soloing these quests is actually a smart (& considerate) move.

I also discovered I could very easily solo a second collection quest I had, so I began doing it too.

The only Mobs that gave me trouble were the Oozes. Slow moving and traveling in pairs they're very weak to Ranged DPS, but get close and their Nature-based melee attacks pack quite a punch. As a Paladin I don't have a lot of Ranged abilities, I have some but not many, but I was still able to slowly kite the Oozes around while dragging them through my Consecrate spell and hitting them with the occasional Judgement and Exorcism. Not even the pairs of Dryads that patrol the caverns gave me as much trouble as did the Oozes.

Eventually I had just one Drop to collect, and that was when I made a mistake. The plant I needed to revive (to get the Drop) was in a small pit, but the pit was filled with Oozes. Not just a couple, there seemed to be at least 6 of them in there. Rather than advancing deeper into the Instance and look for an easier plant, I foolishly jumped down, revived this one, then discovered getting back out the way I'd come in was impossible. While trying to run out through the Oozes I got dazed and almost before I could blink I was staring at the Release button.

Crap. As a Paladin, dying is not something to which I'm accustomed.

I released and ran back in. Fortunately I'd revived the plant before dying (an embarrassing death, so we shall speak of it no more) and so the the quest Mobs I needed to kill had spawned. Unfortunately they'd spawned in the pit full of Oozes, so there were LoS issues while trying to get off HoR. Fortunately I only aggroed the one Mob and it emerged from the Pit to quickly die to (the now Fiery-enchanted) Jang'thraze the Protector (because nothing says "defense" like a flaming sword ;)

With my collection quests now completed I headed back to turn them in, which dinged me 48. I still haven't Tanked ZF yet, so I need to do that before I level much more or I won't be able to get in via the new LFG Tool. I'm not working Friday so I can probably run ZF Thursday night. My only concern is the number of Caster Mobs in there, and those Trolls do like to run when low on Health, but at 48 and with a good Healer and DPS backing me up I'm confident we'll do alright. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More adventures in Tanking

I decided to have a go at the Badland's Uldaman. It's an Instance I'm sort of familiar with but have rarely done, so I'm not terribly familiar with the trash Mobs or Bosses (and until last night I was still 'raiding' naked, with no Addons). Once again, almost as soon as I said "I'll Tank. Let's go!", the new LFG tool hooked me up with a group. Amusingly one of the DPS failed the Ready Check and got kicked out, sending us back into the queue, but with a Tank, Healer & 2 DPS in our group it took just seconds for them to be replaced and I was zoned into the Instance.

"Pull lots," came a whisper from someone in my party. I looked at their name, then moused over their icon. He was a Dranei Priest. I guessed he was our Healer.
"Okay," I whispered back.

The Buffs were being passed around as I started early by grabbing a sole Trogg who wandered into the entrance chamber. After downing him I applied my own Buffs, drank up, then got down to business.

The run went fairly smoothly except I picked up the Gni'kiv Medallion while someone else looted the Shaft of Tsol, and because we couldn't Trade across servers we had no way of creating the Staff of Prehistoria to summon Ironaya. In the caves beyond Ironaya's room we also got turned around and wound up near Entrance B and the Obsidian Sentinel, and so back into the caverns we went.

I was amused when the Priest asked us to hurry because he had a Raid to get to. Why sign up for a run if you've got a Raid scheduled not too far away? I guess he was expecting a faster run than what he was getting, although (IMO) it wasn't that slow (except for us getting lost). That was when Lady Karma slapped my face and I started to pull Spouse Aggro; we were going to the In-laws for dinner and now I needed us to hurry as well. Fortunately by now we'd made it to the final area with just a couple of Pulls between us and the Boss, so I knew there wasn't long to go.

Does everyone have Mana? Yes? Go. Go! GO! We rushed down the Ramp, killing everything that stood in our way. I did Uldaman years ago, with my Gnome Warrior Tanking. We'd wiped on the Boss because the stupid Rogue used his Combo points on Expose Armor, preventing me from applying Sunder Armor and being unable to hold Aggro on him Archaedas had run rampant over our group. It was not pretty.

This time I made sure I held Aggro, and despite constantly summoning reinforcements the Titan eventually fell. I completed all the quests I had, got the new ones, then was forced to burn my Hearthstone when everyone else dropped group and Ghetto Hearthed on me. But as I was eating with the In-laws it's not like I'd need to Hearth again any time soon.

The next day I decided to head back into Uldaman, but this time Solo. Now at 46 I figured I could take the smaller groups and get the Gems I'd somehow missed (for The Shattered Necklace quest). Prior to going in I downloaded and installed Titan and Atlas so now I would have an in-game Map of the Instance.

The going was slow but uneventful as I pulled larger and larger groups. After one massive battle where runners brought back reinforcements which almost resulted in my death (thank heavens I'd finally worked out what is required for a Pally to Bubble-Heal) I counted the bodies as I looted them and there were 12. Yes, they were 6 levels lower than my Pally (on average), but these were Elites, including a mini-Boss, not your run of the mill, garden variety Mobs.

This time in I picked up the Shaft of Tsol, so with the Staff of Prehistoria in hand and with Ironaya's room clear of trash, I decided to let her out to play. With around 15,000hp (6 times my own) it was a war of attrition that I eventually won, but not before the Iron Maiden engaged in some Dwarf Punting, kicking me from her room back into the entrance halls.

If the Priest had thought the previous night's run to be slow, he'd have died of boredom watching my Solo attempt. I gradually cleared the caves, found Grimlok, and this time got my second Gem. I also don't recall taking out Galgann on my other run, or if I just missed looting the Gem, but not this time around. Although I still had to look around for the sparklies, so maybe I just missed it last time. With the end in sight I pressed on and decided to see just how much of Uldaman I could clear.

Down the final Ramp I went with Golems and Dwarfs alike falling to my Crusader-enchanted Vanquisher's Sword. While I do have Jang'thraze the Protector (from when Shaun ran me through ZF) the 28-AP bonus on Vanquisher's would put the two blades on equal footing, except the enchant gives Vanquisher's a slight edge.

Outside Archaedas chamber I paused to consider the best Buffs for what I knew was going to be a very looooong fight. I decided Seal of Light and Blessing of Sanctuary were the order of the day, and hoped their sporadic and somewhat passive regen of my Health and Mana would see me through. Of my Auras I felt Retribution was my best choice, especially if Archaedas managed to summon multiple Mobs to aid him. And with that, I entered the room and began to release my foe.

As soon as he became clickable (instead of just scenery) I retreated towards the door and backed into a corner. Upon targeting the Titan I was actually a little daunted and wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. Although he was 6 levels lower than me, he's still an Elite Boss with almost ten times my Health, and he summons Mobs to help him. Fortunately the combined damage from my Ret Aura, Holy Shield (w/ Mithril Shield Spike), & Consecrate meant his little buddies never lasted long. I didn't even need to target them but stayed on Archaedas the whole time.

As the Titan's health slowly dropped to where I began to think I might actually have a chance, a Golem appeared by his side. It was larger than the Dwarfs he'd been summoning and it didn't go down as quickly as them either. Slowly my own health began to drain away, then a second Golem appeared. With my health bar dipping dangerously low it was time to demonstrate just why people despise Paladins.

I popped Consecrate then...Bubble Heal! Then a second Heal! Now at full health I renewed Holy Shield then laid down another Consecrate. A third Golem appeared, maybe even a fourth, I couldn't tell; I was focused on Archaedas' health bar as it got lower and lower. I'd fought this fight just one night ago but couldn't remember what happened when he died. I hoped his death resulted in his summoned Mobs despawning.

Finally the Titan crashed to the ground and his minions did despawn. Not that I was worried about them, it just meant I didn't need to finish them off, too.

And just like that I'd Solo'd Uldaman. Yes, a nerfed Uldaman (versus its pre-BC version), but still not a walk-in-the-park Uldaman, not at 46. When I found I still somehow had a completed Staff of Prehistoria in my pack I decided to go back in using the LFG tool, but at 46 the game decided I was now too high for Uldaman. I'm also almost too high for Maraudon, another Instance I'd like to run, so with that I set off for Desolace to grab the Mara quests. By the time I got there and had rounded up all the quests it was getting late and like the night before I was once again drawing Spouse Aggro. It was definitely bed time. Mara will just have to wait.

I know some have lamented that the new cross-server LFG tool has taken away the social side of WoW, but IMO your Guild and server are there for socializing. If you want to kick back and relax then run an Instance with your Guildmates. If you want to get in, kick arse & chew gum without taking names, the LFG tool is a great addition to help people find Instance groups. It's also made the more out-of-the-way Instances like Maraudon and Dire Maul a lot more accessible, and I'm actually looking forward to running those in my 50s. IMO the LFG tool has breathed new life into lower level content, and people are now getting more WoW for their buck.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tank is in the House

Razorfen Downs, to be precise.

I took the plunge, grabbed 750G from the Guild Bank (I'm in a small guild with my sister, her husband, and an old college buddy), and bought the dual-spec thingy you can get at 40. I punched in my Prot build, then gritted my teeth and installed the 50g Mithril Shield Spike I'd just bought on the Green Shield I'd also just bought.

I switched to Action Bar 2 and populated it with the Spells/Abilities I thought I'd need as a Tank. I'm familiar with (or at least have read) the 969 Pally rotation, but that's for 80 Pallies; I'm 42. At this level my rotation turned out to be pull with HoR, cast Holy Shield, Consecrate, HS, Con, HS, Con, etc. with the occasional Judgement of Justice or HoR to stop/kill Runners.

It's only a few Spells, nothing like a Hunter's rotation. It can't be too hard, right?

I brought up the new LFG Interface and looked at it. I've got the Gear, I've set up my Action Bar, I'm a Tank now, right?

So what was I waiting for?

I felt I needed to put some "Tank-time" in first. I needed to be familiar with playing this way before I tried to actually be a Tank. Especially when other people were going to be relying on me.

I hadn't done SFK yet, not the whole thing. In my 20s I'd hit the courtyard for the Mats for my Pally Mace Quest but I hadn't completed the Instance. Being 20 levels higher than the Trash meant Soloing RFK should be a piece of cake, and it was. I think I only came close to dying once when I grabbed two rooms full of Mobs, including a Boss. (Or maybe that was the night before when I Solo'd Gnomer as Ret ;)

After killing Arugal and completing SFK I figured it was time, and I hearthed, sold all the crap I'd picked up, made sure I had plenty to drink (and boy! Would I need it!), then opened up the LFG window again.

No, I don't want to do a Random Dungeon, thank you very much. I've been reading up on RFD so...Specific Instance, select RFD. Check off "I'm prepared to Tank" and...I don't even think I had the option to "Join queue". I think as soon as I volunteered to Tank the only options were "Close Window" & "Enter Dungeon", because as soon as I hit the 'Accept' button the Ready Check popped up, and seconds later I found myself inside RFD.

Buffs? Pally Buffs. Blessings? There was a Warrior. I think I gave him Kings, or was it Might? I forget. Priest? Wisdom of course. Mage? The same. Shaman? Er...Wisdom as well? What if he's a Melee Shaman? Fuggit! He has a Mana bar, he's getting Wisdom, too!

"Who's Tanking?" someone asked.

"That would be me," I said, from my position on the floor (as if Dwarfs aren't short enough already. At least I was still as tall as the Gnome Warrior :P), where I was drinking my first of many Sweet Nectar pots.

I hadn't selected to Lead the Group (via the LFG window), just Tank, but the Tank still sort of leads, right? I looked around. Everyone looked ready. Mana bars are full? Check.

I typed, "Ready?" as someone yelled "GO! GO! GO!"

I took that as a Yes.

HoR to pull. Holy Shield. Consecrate, and the first 2-Mob pull died very quickly. I paused for a second as...the Gnome Warrior Charged into the next group with the other three players hot on his heels. Oh, okay. HoR again. HS again. Consecrate...again. It was chaos, but I seemed to have Aggro on all the Mobs. HS is up...Hit It again! And the second group died.

I rushed the third group. HoR. HS. Consecreate. Repeat (with HoR on the Runner) and...Low on Mana.

"Drinking," I said, as I guzzled another Sweet Nectar.

"You can pull more than that," someone said, and I probably could have, but I was a Newby Tank and Newby Tanks are nervous; we don't like to get in over our heads until we know how to swim.

We were almost halfway in when we grabbed several groups at once (I think someone got impatient and did that deliberately) and the AoE exploded. Fortunately almost all the Mobs in RFD are Melee (which is why I'd deliberately chosen it over SM for my Tanking debut) so it was easy to gather them up and AoE them down.

A few Mobs broke from the pack, but they weren't Casters, and in RFD the only Runners are Casters, so I selected a Mob and yes, he was targeting someone who wasn't me. I hit HoR and he ran back into the killing fields. I spun, trying to keep all the Mobs in front of me (can't Block from behind), while laying down Consecrate and popping HS as soon as it was up. More runners. HoR's not up! So hit Righteous Defense! And back they came. The AoE was filling the screen and was over.

"I actually had to heal then," said our Priest.

I guess I really was taking things a little slow for him. Still, a wipe-free run is better than a fast, messy run with repair costs, at least in my opinion, but I'm a little conservative like that (as I am with most things in my life). This run was perhaps a little on the slow side, but it was also smooth (for the most part), and free of Wipes.

We hit Mordresh, the metal-loving Skeleton Boss, but before I could HoR him the Warrior body pulled a bunch of skeletons. More AoE ensued. Mordresh came down off his pile of bones. I hit him with an HoR while the skeletons around us exploded. Nothing could survive the AoE circle of death. I forget what Mordresh dropped but it was nothing I Needed.

We moved on and found Glutton, who dropped his Axe. The Shaman and I both Need rolled. He won. It was only a moderate upgrade to my current weapon so no big deal. I congratulated him and we moved on, fighting our way up the Ramp to Amnennar who dropped my Plate Helm. A horrible looking sky-blue Helm that resembles a Motocross Helmet more than anything else, but it was an Upgrade so I Need rolled. I think the Warrior passed. He was probably in his 30s and couldn't use it yet anyway.

I thanked everyone for the Run, and only now did I let them know it was my first time Tanking. There were general Thanks all around as the Priest offered me some words of advice.

"Remember you're a Paladin," he said. "Pull big! You're made for that."

"See ya," everyone said, and we all dropped Group and Ghetto Hearthed out.

I hit Stormwind and turned in the quest, "Bring the Light", which netted me the wicked looking Vanquisher's Sword. At 30DPS it's a significant upgrade over my Axe, better than Glutton's Cleaver, and is even a debatable upgrade over RFK's 2H Axe, Corpsemaker.

I Alt-Tabbed out to email my brother-in-law about my Tanking exploits but while I was tabbing back & forth (fact checking, I'm anal like that) I noticed he'd just logged on so I updated him in person (at least virtually ;)

I wanted a Fiery Enchant for my new sword but there were no Small Radiant Shards on the AH so that wasn't happening.

"How about Crusader?" the BIL asked, linking the recipe.

Large Brilliant Shards were a dime a dozen, but the Righteous Orbs were 45g each.

"Dude! That's 90g for an enchant on a mid-level weapon!"

"I'll do it for free," he said. "Where are you?"

As I typed "SW Bank" I began running from the AH to the Bank, and bumped into him coming the other way. "Well I was about to be," I said, laughing.

He hooked me up with Crusader then, wanting to complete the Quest "In the Name of the Light", we took off for Tirisfal Glades and the Scarlet Monastery, where I discovered when Crusader proc'd my DPS jumped from 75 to 95. Nice!

Shaun's 80 Pally obliterated SM Armory and Cathedral, and the two Instances provided me with a couple of upgrades, including a new Shield, a better-looking DPS Helm (off Herod) and a 2H Axe (for completing the Quest). I'm now in much better shape to Tank SM but first I want to farm RFD's Spider Boss for the Plate Chest piece he drops. With my new gear and the Crusader Enchant, if Shaun is not on tonight (19-hour time difference between us) I reckon I can Solo-farm him. And if I can't, I can always Tank it again :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pally Tanks

I'm level 42 at the moment (yes, I resubscribed, in case you missed that from my Phishing posts) and could respec Prot (I'm full on Ret, of course) or just shell out the 1K for the dual-spec.

From what I've read (& what I know of the Class) Pally Tanking doesn't seem too hard, I just haven't done it yet. Except for a quick Deadmines Run with my BIL on his 80 Pally I've solo'd all my Instances so far, including SM Library.

What I've been looking for are some good sites (other than EJ) or Blogs on how to be a Pally Tank, but pretty much everything I've run across talks about End Game and Tanking at 80. What I want is something to help me with Tanking now. I'd like to Tank SM, and I also want to do RFD so I can complete the Quest "Bring the Light", not to mention the Plate that can drop in RFD. The new LFG tool means finding groups for Mara and Dire Maul shouldn't be as hard as it used to be, and I really don't want to make either of those my first Tanking experience.

So, does anyone have any good sites where an up & coming Pally Tank could get some advice? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Funny moments in WoW

A long, long time ago, while running Kara, our Guild finally made it to the Prince.

After a couple of failed starts our Tank declared that after grabbing Aggro he was having trouble getting into the recommended spot to Tank the Prince, so I suggested he get into place and I Misdirect the Prince onto him.

As everyone moved into their appropriate place I cast Misdirect on our Tank, then slowly approached the Prince, who is a very big boy, and as I got closer to him he just got bigger & bigger. It was an interesting optical illusion that, from my PoV, made it look like I was getting very close to him yet I was still outside shooting Range.

When I finally got close enough for my skills to light up I discovered I was also now close enough to body pull the Prince, which I did. As I stared down the lion's throat I frantically stabbed at my Arcane Shot key, and just before I became the first casualty in Yet Another Wipe it fired, Misdirect kicked in, and the Prince decided he liked the look of our Tank better than he did me.

But as if to highlight just how close I'd come to being crushed, as the Prince turned away my Hunter took a parting swing at him. Yes, with his Axe. The Prince had been that damned close.

Yet another one.

This one fell into my Spam folder as well. Morbid curiosity piqued my interest and I was compelled to check it out:

From: "NCsoft Support (
To: Capn_John
Sent: Mon, January 11, 2010 11:43:04 PM
Subject: NCsoft Account Security Risks Notice

When you receive this message when your NCsoft Account means that there are serious security risks.
We have evidence to prove your account has been in different countries and regions, several attempts to login.
So we have to remind you to enter our web site as soon as possible to account verification, otherwise, we will be lock your account.
In order to protect your interests.

The NCsoft Team

Well, golly gee! If it's to protect my interests, then you just go right ahead and lock my account! Goodness me! Better to be safe than sorry, right?

I tried to email them back to tell them to do just that, but it seems I sent this email to myself and so when I reply to it I send myself the reply. Funny how I don't remember emailing this to myself...or being part of the NCsoft Team.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

WoW! Do people really fall for this?

I was cleaning out my email & Spam folder and before I could delete the 7 emails in there I noticed one was titled 'World of Warcraft Account Notice' and appeared to come from

At first glance, that's actually a rather impressive Phishing attempt, because I've only been resubscribed to WoW for literally 1 week. I figured it had to be Spam 1, because it's in my Spam folder, and 2, because it's an email claiming to be from a Blizzard Account Administrator.

I have HTML & images disabled so I had no qualms about clicking the email to preview it, and if the fact that it was in my Spam folder was not warning enough, the content of the email pretty much confirmed it, and I quote:

Greetings! dear players

Today, we are do all activities of the World of Warcraft accounts a routine check.
We have evidence to show that your account transactions involved in the disputed.
Please visit our web site as soon as possible to clarify otherwise we will lock your account.

The World of Warcraft Support Team Blizzard Entertainment

Do people really fall for this?

I'm impressed that the Phishers are on top of their game and getting this to me so quickly after I resubbed, but Good Lord, people! At least learn to speak/write English if you're going Phishing.

You know, having just hit Submit on this, I recalled that just this very afternoon I logged into Allakhazam for the first time in months, if not a year & a half. I mean actually logged in, not just visited their site, and lo! I get a Phishing email. Coincidence? It's either Blizzard (which is possible) or Allakhazam which has been compromised. I'm inclined to think it's the latter.

Monday, January 04, 2010

District 9, and others

Per my request, Dammerung posted a small review on District 9, a movie I'm interested in watching, and after reading his review and braving the message boards at I'm still interested in watching it.

As I read more about District 9, including Damm's review, it somehow reminded me of "Meet the Parents", which was my wife's choice of movie (way back when we rented it). I had little desire in watching it but only did so at her urging, and while she was laughing at everything that happened to Greg Focker (Ben Stiller's character) I empathized far too much with him, so for me the movie was very painful to watch.

As the movie went on and as Greg's get-to-know-you with his prospective in-laws spiraled ever downwards, it finally got too much for Liz and she decided she'd had enough...but by now I was too emotionally vested in Greg and I needed to see him succeed. He deserved his reward for putting up with everything the movie's plot threw at him and I wanted to see him get it. So we watched the rest of the movie and it was as painful as the first half, but in the end that only made the ending even more satisfying when Greg finally won over Jack and earned the respect for which he was long overdue.

"Meet the Parents" also reminded me of another movie I saw a long, long time ago. I was maybe in 5th or 6th Grade, so 1980 or '81. I don't remember the title but it was a similar disaster-comedy movie with a teenage boy at a family reunion/picnic where absolutely nothing was going right for the boy. In one scene in particular the lad was lining up alongside his relatives at a huge picnic table to get his lunch. After loading up his plate the boy was pushed away from the table by the adults either side of him, who then moved together and closed the gap. And the lad was stuck with his arm wedged between their bodies with him on one side and his plate of food on the other.

I remember my classmates laughing at this movie, which confused me because I didn't think it was funny. If anything it was sad & depressing. Through no fault of his own the boy's day was being slowly ruined and nobody seemed to notice or care. I do remember that this scene was typical of the entire movie, and it culminated with the boy turning his plate sideways to pull his arm free. Of course my classmates laughed as the boy's lunch was smeared over the sides of the unknowing adults, fell to the ground, and was crushed underfoot. And just as the adults around him were oblivious to the boy's plight, nobody watching, neither teachers nor students, seemed to notice that one little boy was not laughing.

Empathy is a gift, and a curse.