Saturday, November 17, 2007

2.3, Ret and PVP

Ok, some background. I levelled Rhubarb to 70 with the intention of being a Ret pally. I was accepted into Heroes as a Ret pally, (Ferth has always had an open mind about that, good man.) After extensive research and my aversion to BG's and some really bad first impressions in the arena (2v2: 1-9 with the one win coming when our opponents didn't show, sorry Wich I didn't mean to squeal. :)) I decided to shelve Ret in favor of Brambles. I went back to Rhubarb when our guild was in need of healers and/or tanks, and I discovered that healing and tanking are actually fun. I am currently sitting as a decently geared healing pally for arenas and raids, a uncrittable not-quite uncrushable tanking pally, and a noob ret pally with a great big hammer that I was lucky enough to get off of HKM.

So, with 2.3 Blizzard made some great changes to Ret pallies that I was eager to try out. With my schedule making me unable to raid in the near future I decided to respec to Ret for testing purposes. With the best Ret gear coming from Arenas and BG's, avoiding PVP and gearing Ret does not fit. Now the Arenas is not the horrible thing it used to be, I am on a fun team with great people and we are keeping a 1500 5v5 rating. I have a consistent, if slow, source of Arena points that I can use to grab gear. In fact when Season 3 hits, I will be grabbing either the gauntlets or the leggings, not sure which ones yet.

Patch 2.3 introduced the daily BG quest, which I think is brilliant. I figured, I could do the daily BG quest each day if possible and get a slow trickle of honor points to pick up gear while limiting my time in the BG's so I don't lose my mind. I started this theory yesterday with the AV quest.

Now, with the changes to AV I now understand even less what to do than I did before (which was minimal). Wichita and I went into an AV that had already started although barely, but enough that the Horde already controlled the road to SH. It was ugly, we watched as Alliance after Alliance charged in single handedly to their deaths, it was pathetic. We eventually afked out since the game was taking forever and we had no chance of winning. My theory was in bad shape because the one BG I was able to stand wasn't any fun at all.

I logged on later last night and just missed Heroic UB runs (2 of them) which left me to my own devices. I decided to give AV another try, by myself this time. The AV started well, we took down Galv and proceeded to the nearby graveyard. Unfortunately I died before the graveyard was capped and I ended up way back north with the Horde in control of SH again. Ahhh crap !! (I thought this to myself, thinking of the earlier occurrence). However, to my surprise, the Alliance actually cooperated together ! No one ran headlong into the mass of Horde, we supported each other, healed each other and we fought as a unit. We started winning the individual battles, taking ground and keeping it, it actually felt like a real battle. As for myself, I was hitting every thing I could reach with my hammer, cleansing as many seeds of corruption I could see, and I was able to retreat behind our lines when I was out of ammo (mana :)). Before I realized it we had actually won, and I was third in killing blows !! Even more surprising was that I had fun, and was excited about PVPing.

Later that night I tried EOTS for the first time, and I enjoyed myself again. I tried an AB and again I had fun, this is all very strange to me. I have no idea of the strategies involved, I just follow people and swing my hammer, lol. My theory however is a total bust, I planned on getting ~800 - 1000 honor a day, I got 3300 yesterday !! In only 6 total BG runs, 1 of which I afked out.

I an going to say that this new change has to do with speccing Ret and having the spec be useful. I was an effective force much of the time and I felt that I was able to contribute. However, my Ret gear is still quite lacking for PVE and especially for PVP. I was able to notice a definite difference when I fought someone with good gear and someone with bad gear. I have a plan though and the nice thing about Ret is grabbing PVP gear is also the best choice for PVE gear as well.

So to sum up, look out AOS and Nightfall, another Retnoob is on the loose. :P

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking a Stab at Tanking

Well after quite a long layoff between posts I doubt I have any readers left but what the hey. I've been in limbo with Rhubarb for quite a while now. I reactivated her a while back when Heroes was low on healers; I specced her holy and turned her loose, healing up a storm. At the time I only planned on healing for a little while but I realized that I liked it. However, in the back of my head I had always had the thought of returning to Ret once the guild had enough healers. We received an influx of healers and I specced back to Ret; unfortunately it was far too frustrating to do anything with. Inconsistent damage and no mana made for a frustrating grinding experience. This was very annoying and I toyed with leveling up something new or just playing Brambles again.

It was about this time that one of the main tanks in Heroes, Honorshammer, decided to leave us in order to pursue more of a raiding career. This, combined with an already existing shortage of tanks has created something of a tanking vacuum in Heroes that is somewhat holding up our progress through Kara.

I decided to see what I could put together for a Tanking set. After picking up some rep pieces and getting a couple of small drops, in very short order I was uncrittable (490 defense) and about 13% away from uncrushable. At this time I was ready to try tanking since I still didn't know if it was something I could do, or would like to do even. Unfortunately, at work we entered a 2 week long competition in Calgary, where I live, that took up almost every evening for those 2 weeks. That ended about a week ago and I just this evening tried tanking my first instance.

For my first instance as a tank we ventured into Shattered Halls. On this run was:

Rhubarb: sacrificial tanking newb
Origami: feral druid
Wichita: resto shammie
Lakini: moonkin
Regolas: warlock (not sure of spec)

My first problem (besides not having tanked before) was that these guys vastly outgeared me. I realized I need more spell damage to roll with these guys so I can generate enough threat.

Second, it does not matter how much you gear up and read up on how to tank, until you've done it you don't know squat. I had read all the theory and stuff, I had planned out what I was going to do and how I was going to execute my plan to build threat and to hold aggro. Not a complete waste of time but I definitely didn't need to spend so much time.

The problems I had were definitely not from building threat. They were mostly from holding aggro, and getting it back. Lakini and Reg were especially good at yanking mobs from me.

Some things I need to work on:

Avenger's shield: When there are more than 3 mobs I need to learn to pick my targets better.

Righteous Defense: Our taunt functions differently than other tanks in that, as far as I know, it becomes useful only after we have lost aggro. Its incredibly useful when a mob takes off, but noticing this is the problem. When there is only one mob it was pretty obvious when I lost aggro, however when I had many more it was more difficult to identify the lost mob and who hes targeting.

Mana: I burnt through my mana like crazy, partly because I had to really work to hold aggro against my overgeared guildies.

Composure: When everything went wrong and the sh*t hit the fan, I was left standing around wondering what I should do. My first couple of pulls there was a lot of this, luckily origami was able to put his bear suit on and save my bacon.

Anyway to make a long story slightly longer, we finished SH without a single death, whether I was the reason or not I am secretly going to take credit for it, *shhhh*. The tanking trinket didn't drop but thats ok, I realize that the tanking xp and practice is actually much more valuable at this stage.

I need a few pieces of gear before I am ready to venture into Kara, but more importantly I need much more practice. Hopefully in the next couple of days I can suit up for a couple more runs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

1508 !!

Starting out in arenas, on a 2v2 team with Wichita was like pulling teeth. I hated it !! I had to warn my wife that an hour of cursing was coming so I wouldn't get in trouble, lol. Needless to say after a while I just didn't want to do it, and I wouldn't. When I started on the 5v5 team, MewMew PewPew & Bubble, it was more to hang out with friends than to actually enjoy arena battles, although I did assume that it would be more fun than 2v2, and it was ... barely. I have documented already previous battles where Rhubarb was less than spectacular, I have gotten better and better (I think anyway) and total noob moments have decreased. Slowly I have realized that I do not dread arena night. In fact I am actually looking forward to this weeks installment.

Part of that is the fact that Rhubarb has respecced to Holy and I am intending she stay there, our guild is in need of healers and I don't mind filling that role one bit. Part of the arguments healers have is that they have a hard time doing anything solo, grinding for mats for instance. This is made easier for me because Brambles is a mote farming machine, makes it much easier. Anyway, back to arenas.

Last night Honorshammer & Jagdelf joined the team, although we lost Regolas, who hopefully fits in well with the Pants team. We went 8-4 last night and it was a lot of fun. Honors is a lot more vocal than we are used to and I liked it a lot. He would point out when a different aura would be better, and when someone was getting low on health he would let me know. Many times I would be in the process of healing them, but not always. It was really nice and very effective. Jagdelf made a big difference too, with his high damage and his pet he fit in nicely and we did quite well with him on the team.

Our team is in a really good position right now, we have several damage dealers, some good CC, and now 2 healers. I think we have a good chance to improve upon our new record rating of 1508.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

First Ever Heroic Instance

As the title says, last night I ran my first ever Heroic instance, Slave Pens. The group consisted of:


I was a little nervous about the run because, it was my first heroic, I had never even been to normal slave pens, we had 2 healers (Wichita resecced resto for the run) and therefore I would have to step up my DPS (no slacking) as well as being the only CC (for the most part).

I have to say, I was actually impressed with my performance. I was able to step up my DPS a little bit, (really need to download a DPS meter so I can compare my numbers between runs), I think I CC'd effectively and I managed to keep my aggro under control (most of the time).

Although my boots did not drop I did receive a nice +spell hit/+ stam gem to stick in my gear. Plus my first 3 badges of justice, and a sheep-load of fun. Overall the evening was great and I can't wait to do it again.

Next up for me is some stuff with Rhubarb, trying to get her better geared and more experienced. I am also thinking of trying the Darkrune event in Ogrila as I have 2 darkrunes to use.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Arena night & SV run

Well, last night was Monday which means arena night. Monday is such a great night for Arena matches, queue times are so low its rediculous. A couple of times the next match was ready before the loading screen completed. Our team last night consisted of Rhubarb (Holy pally), Wichita (Elem. Sham), Origami & Zadorr (Feral Druids), and Paymon ( ?? Hunter). For the first time I actually had fun in the Arena !! We went 4-6 for the night, our rating hardly went down at all, yay for more points :) . My performance, while inconsistent, was much improved I felt. My biggest areas to work on are: getting the PVP trinket, bubbling too soon, BOP'ing too soon. I also need to improve my gear so that I can spam my fast heals more often than relying on my big slow ones. Anyway, the night was a lot of fun and I am actually looking forward to next week, crazy.

After we ran our 10 matches, the group stayed mostly the same and we went to Steamvaults. I switched out Rhubarb for Brambles, and Paymon was replaced by Jagdelf, another fine hunter. For this run, Origami tanked so Zadorr could DPS, and Wichita brought the heals. Everyone did a great job, although Brambles was quite low on the damage meter :( . I must say, Jagdelf does an amazing amount of damage, he was a fair margin ahead of Zadorr, and VERY far ahead of Brambles. Overall, a fun run that ended with Brambles getting Revered with the Cenarion Expedition and receiving Incanters Pauldrons off of the last boss.

I'm a little concerned with how low my damage is with Brambles. Now, I'm not one to concern myself with being #1 DPS, in my opinion if the run succeeds than it was a success and I do as much as possible to ensure success. I enjoy CC and I like to think I do it well. I try to put Slow on mobs to make others kiting a little easier or to slow casters, so our group takes less damage. There are some macros that I intend to make which will improve my DPS which should help, and obviously gearing up will help too. Ideally I would like to keep my CC going well and improve my damage to competetive levels, that's what I will shoot for.

My next task is to run some instances with Rhubarb as main healer. Our guild is a smidge short on healers at the moment and I intend to see if I would enjoy healing an instance at all. If I don't I will stick to the Arena with Rhubarb and gear her up that way. If I do enjoy healing, I will gear her up more quickly and get her keyed for Kara (need only BM), so that we can get 2 groups going a little quicker.

My next time playing is Wednesday where I hope to make my first foray into a Heroic instance. There is a heroic Slave Pens scheduled and I am itching to get some badges. Should be an interesting test. If the run does not happen, hopefully I can get a group together for an instance with Rhubarb as the main healer, doesn't really matter which one, it's really just a test of my enjoyment as stated above.

Thats all I've got for now.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Brambles is a level 70 human Mage on the Altar of Storms server. This character is specced Arcane/Fire and has professions 375 Jewelcrafting, 366 Tailoring and 375 First Aid.

Rhubarb is a level 70 dranei Paladin on the same server. This character is currently specced Holy/Prot but has the best gear in Ret.

Both characters are in a great guild Heroes Inc. The people in this guild have been very friendly sinced I joined 2 months ago and I have enjoyed grouping for both PVE and PVP with them.

Brambles is currently my main and is geared and keyed for Kara if only barely in some areas. I am currently trying to finish her tailoring in order to craft the final piece of her Spellfire set as well as improve her gear in all other areas. I am also trying to improve her general play through improving DPS through a better/more efficient spell rotation. I have never had a character at this level (raiding) so everything is a learning curve. I am also trying to get her keyed for Heroics, the closest being Cenarion.

Rhubarb is my alt which I would like to get keyed and geared for Kara as my guild is a little light on healers. We've even had a couple of players (better players than I) respec healing in the interest of getting 2 groups going to Kara. I would like to get Rhubarb ready so they could go back to the pwnage I know & envy. Rhubarb is also my arena character being a charter member of the 5v5 team "MewMewPewPew and Bubble". I'm going to say right off, I absolutely suck as a PVP healer. My first match my team went down with me at 0 healing, incredibly sad. Hopefully i can improve my game so that I can at least join my team without the burning shame.

That is all I have for now.