RaidTunes Lite: The Band That Saved My Raid

•May 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

by Andy/Betancore

My raid almost didn’t happen last night.  Several people were out, the puggers were mediocre at best, and things were going wrong left and right when we finally did get the group together.  I almost called it several times throughout the night, but the music I was listening to gave me the patience and serenity to take it in stride and keep moving.  What band soothed my inner Onyxia Wipe Guy?  School of Seven Bells.

I had first heard them earlier that day from a fellow actor’s stereo while we were striking the set of our troupe’s recent performance (it was a triumph, I’m making a note here, huge success.)  I was hooked instantly.  School of Seven Bells rides a line between pop, electronica, and industrial with such peace and pride that it’s hard not to feel …comfortable.  It’s comfort music.  And that’s exactly what I needed.  It gave me the clarity to react to my mistakes from our new Magmaw strategy, the patience to deal with puggers who had never been to BWD, and the focus to be the sole reliable interrupter on Maloriak.  The raid fell apart after that because of connection issues, but the fact that we even got that far is solely because of School of Seven Bells.  I highly recommend them.

When Did All This Get Here?

•May 11, 2011 • 3 Comments

by Andy/Betancore

Holy shit, has it really been a month since I blogged?  Sorry ’bout that guys, but my life got a bit crazy, my computer broke, yada yada, I had no WoW or blogging time.  But, summer’s nearly here, so this’ll all be over soon.

I’ve recently realized that to fill needed DPS slots in my raid, I’ll need to switch from tanking to DPSing on my Rogue, at least for a little while.  Does that mean I won’t be tanking anything?  Aw hell nah, I love tanking, it’s what I do.  You just might see one or two Rogue-centric posts mixed in with all the shield stacking.

With that out of the way, I’ll get to what I really wanted to talk about: the deluge of 4.2 info we’ve had lately.  Today, I’d like to ponder the awesome new set bonus paradigm and look at the Death Knight Tank and Rogue set bonuses.

A New Paradigm

Ever since the T8 set bonuses enhanced some abilities (notably making Rupture usable for Combat Rogues,) set bonuses have largely been passive damage increases or lackluster procs.  More than half of the 2 piece set bonuses from tiers 9-11 have been along the lines of 5% increases to the crit chance or effectiveness of various abilities.  While that does incentivize collecting  a set, it’s just plain boring.

T12 looks set to change all that, with bonuses that add unique functionality to abilities consistent with the flavor of the Firelands.  Even the lowly 2-piece bonuses have been given a makeover.  There’s something here to make every class go “oh HELL yes!”

Death knight tanking

  • 2-piece Your melee attacks cause Burning Blood on your target, which deals 800 Fire damage every 2 for 6 sec and causes your abilities to behave as if you had 2 diseases present on the target.
  • 4-piece Your Dancing Rune Weapon grants 15% additional parry chance.

2-piece :  Diseaseless tanking is back, baby!  At least, it is if you have someone providing a 20% melee slow, and a 10% physical damage reduction on the boss.  If the other tank is on the same target, or you have another class providing the debuff, you could probably get away with another Death Strike every 30 seconds or so.  More shields.  Delicious, delicious shields.  Not to mention how much this combined with Heart Strike will help your multi-target threat.

4-piece: This one had me picking my jaw up off the keyboard.  Dancing Rune Weapon is already one of our most underrated cooldowns.  Your T12 4-piece bonus will turn it into (situationally) the strongest tank cooldown in the game.  In my current gear, with DRW up, I’m at about 55% avoidance.  Pretty nice in itself, but let’s assume that T12-level gear will bring that up to 60%.  Add on the 15% from the bonus, and you’re looking at 75% avoidance.  A full three quarters of the boss’s melee attacks will do no damage to you for 12 seconds.  For a hard-hitting boss, that is a lot of time for your healers to top you off when you get low.  Now, it does nothing for magic damage, but on a fight like Chimaeron, this could be a real life saver.

Rogue

  • 2-piece Your melee critical strikes deal 6% additional damage as Fire over 4 sec.
  • 4-piece Your Tricks of the Trade ability also causes you to gain a 25% increase to one of your combat ratings at random for 30 sec.

2-piece: Ignite? On my rogue’s crits? Yes please! Hopefully, though, this mini-Ignite won’t have the real Ignite’s issue of smaller DoTs overwriting bigger ones.
4-piece: 25% is a lot. This has the potential to be a 500+ DPS increase, unheard of for a set bonus. Tricks of the Trade is free with a glyph, and the 30 second duration of the buff means that you’ll potentially have a near-100% uptime.  The only possible downside to the set bonus I could see is how random it is.  Right now, depending on your spec, some ratings are massively more beneficial than others.  If a Combat rogue gets Crit Rating five times in a row, he’s going to be missing out on a lot of DPS compared to one who gets a Haste Rating proc five times in a row.  Also, if the buff can also affect ratings with a hard cap (Expertise, and Hit to some degree,) a rogue at both caps will get absolutely no benefit out of his bonus 20-40% of the time, which may be frustrating.  But, we don’t know exactly how it will work yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

All in all, I like where Blizzard is going with set bonuses.  Using unique, powerful abilities as set bonuses makes for more interesting gear choices, and more fun all around as we learn how to best utilize our new tricks.  I look forward to more sets like this in the future.

Taking a different path

•April 11, 2011 • 6 Comments

- by Wes/Sharvahn

Lately I’ve been feeling the call of burnout.

It happens to me at least once during each content patch, so it doesn’t come as a surprise, but it still leaves me looking for something more. I usually quit, go play EverQuest 2 for a month or so, then return fresh and prepared for the challenges of a new raid, but this time it’s not appealing to me. Could it be real life stress taking over? Spring is approaching, and with that comes hiking, basketball, frisbee, and other outdoor games I love to play, and that does take a toll on my play time. I still log in for raids, but when I log in any other time, I mostly sit in Orgrimmar and tab out to read or watch something on Netflix. I’m determined not to fully burn out this time though, and I have a plan.

Yes, go ahead and start panicking.

With every game I play, I’m a complete and utter altoholic. Nothing I do will ever change that, so I’ve given in to the inevitable fact that I will have 30+ lowbies scattered across realms and factions at any given time. However, I very rarely get these alts past 60; my highest toon other than Sharvahn and my neglected bear, Rhyaki, is a mage at level 72. Recently, I rolled two new characters, both rogues; one is a troll and is in Orgrimmar Brewing Co with the rest of my characters and the other is alone on the Alliance side of Argent Dawn as a worgen.

I’m finding that I really love the rogue class as a whole, but combat in particular. Oddly enough though, the worgen sees far more play time and more fun than my troll does. All of my friends are Horde side and the banter in guild chat keeps me entertained on Mahi the rogue, but there’s something about the worgen that I look forward to every day when I log in. There is no guild banter, no friends to level with, nothing. Yet for some reason, I love exploring the world through the view of an Alliance player on my own, meeting new folks, and earning gold by actually working rather than siphoning Sharvahn’s funds.

Don’t get me wrong, I still hate PuGs. Though on Kezule the worgen, I have no reputation to uphold as a guild officer and can snap at rude, childish, and immature players all I wish and have no reason to temper that anger. It’s wonderful. Now keep in mind, these are rude players, not new folks. As I mentioned in my last post, I have a new outlook on newbies and have developed patience with them. Kids and assholes? That’s Mr. Faggot to you.

So my worgen rogue has miraculously prevented me from approaching burnout this time around; how long it will last, who knows. I may end up having an 85 on the Alliance side one day. What do you do to combat burnout? Take breaks, roll alts, explore the world? The game is so vast, that I always have a hard time convincing myself I’ve seen everything in it, especially with the new areas brought on by the cataclysm. Tell me your burnout stories and what you did to solve it.

RaidTunes: A Black and Bitter Stain

•April 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for the late post, guys.  Don’t blame me, blame finals.  But I did promise you Amon Amarth, didn’t I?  In honor of their absolutely SUPERB new album, Surtur Rising, the Viking Death Metal (yes that is a genre) band makes up this week’s entire Heavy playlist!

Heavy: Amon Amarth – War of the Gods

Doesn’t this song just make you want to lay into something with a big axe?  Seriously, if War of the Gods can wake me up at 5:30 in the morning, it can get you energized for a raid.  Barely restrained passion is layered over melodic riffs, producing an intense, raidable (this is a word now) song.

Also Featured:

Amon Amarth – Slaves of Fear

An anti-religious viking death metal song?  It’s like they were looking for an excuse to make me love them more!  If you’re not the anti-religious type, just pretend they’re singing about the Old Gods and Cho’gall.  It fits.

Amon Amarth – Pursuit of Vikings

An empowering song with a driving, repetitive rhythm.  A great “serious time” song.

Amon Amarth – No Fear for the Setting Sun

Desperation and determination are just oozing out of this song.  It’s just the thing you need to get your nose back to the grindstone for those last few attempts of the night.

Light: Bomberman 64 – Green Garden Theme

As recommended by my star Enhancement Shammy and all-around righteous dude, Delrof (find his awesome comic here.)  A nice  light tune with a strong melody that tickles just the right nostalgia spot for me.  It almost makes me feel like my mace is giving out kisses instead of traumatic brain injury when I listen to this while tanking.

Also Featured:

Electric Six – I Buy The Drugs

An upbeat, bouncy rhythm to keep you on a roll.  Unless it’s a faceroll.  Hell, even if it’s a faceroll.

Brad Sucks – Dropping Out of School

This song is one of resignation.  It’s a big “aaaaah, fuck it” to the world.  Dropping Out of School might not be your cup of tea, but I find it keeps my mood just light enough to let the small things slide.

Emiliana Torrini – Sunny Road

Emiliana Torrini is one of those  artists like Amon Amarth and Florence + The Machine that I absolutely adore. She has a style that is very much her own, though the tone and even instrumentation of her songs is widely varried.  Sunny Road is a gentle, plucky tune, great for ending the night to.

Light Playlist

 Heavy Playlist

The Tank’s Oath

•April 1, 2011 • 1 Comment

by Andy/Betancore

I will get hit in the face, and ask for more
I will protect my comrades at all costs
I will be first among the fallen
I will strive to ease my healer’s burden
I will humbly lead my party to victory
I am the Tank

Words for every meatshield to live by. Let’s delve a bit further into the proper tanking mindset.

I will get hit in the face, and ask for more

It takes a special kind of person to be a tank.  The tank’s job is at the same time the most and least important in the game.  As a tank, you don’t have a particularly active role in killing the boss, or in keeping the group alive.  However, you’re the figurehead of the group, making sure that those responsible for the DPS and healing can do their jobs without a dragon breathing fire in their face.

I will protect my comrades at all costs

The bad tanks I’ve raided with usually weren’t particularly squishy, or inept.  Instead, what made them fail was the lack of a defensive mindset.  They would root the boss in place, despite the fact that the melee DPS was struggling to avoid pools of bad on the ground.  If a warlock ripped aggro, they would yell at him over Vent or chat, then taunt the boss.  As a tank, your first and last thought must be for the safety of your group.  With a few exceptions, it’s your job to move the boss away from bad as much as it is the melee’s job to not stand in it.  Always put your group’s safety ahead of yours, even if this means waiting another GCD to blow an important cooldown just to get a taunt off in time.  And as for overzealous DPS?  Taunt, then bitch.

I will be first among the fallen

As a tank, you are going to die.  A lot.  Accept this fact.  Even if the boss can be reset, when a wipe is called, you will most likely die.  Often, it’s your death that will trigger a wipe.  The tank is the canary in the coal mine.  When your face caves in, it’s time to leave.

I will strive to ease my healer’s burden

If your first and last thought must be to the safety of the group, all the ones in between must be to your own survivability.  Cataclysm introduced a new limiting factor to fights besides the ubiquitous enrage timer: your healer’s mana pool.  When this dries up, unless you have some serious tricks left in your bag, it’s game over.  Thus, it’s your job to make your healer’s mana last as long as possible.  Use avoidance and short cooldowns whenever they’re up, save long cooldowns for periods of high damage.  And DK’s, stack shields like it’s your job, because it is.

I will humbly lead my party to victory

I’ve said before that the tank is a leadership position, especially in a PUG.  Does this make you God Emperor of the Group, Highlord of the Holy Halls of Healability?  No.  No one likes a diva.  If you go into a group and start ordering people around, all you’ll do is make people less inclined to listen to you.  Speaking from personal experience, if you ask me to do something, I probably will.  Order me to do something, and I’ll spit in your face.  You need to keep this in mind as you lead the group.  Before General Umbriss in Grim Batol, ask who will be crowd controlling the Malignant Trogg.  You set the pace, so don’t start the encounter until you have an answer.  If no one speaks up, ask a specific group member to do it.  It’s better to let people volunteer than it is to order them around.

And don’t forget to mark, and explain your marks.

I am the Tank

Figurehead, protector, punching bag, sacrificial lamb.  These are the roles you take on when you put on your tanking hat.  Be prepared.  And remember your oath.

Stay Tuned

•March 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

We’re not going anywhere, but Wes and I need to rework the schedule for our posts. I have schoolwork to catch up on, and Wes is working more than usual. I’m thinking I’ll have my post on Friday, Wes will have his on Monday, and I’ll do a RaidTunes for Wednesday. Anyway, I’ll have a post for this Friday, and we’ll try that schedule next week. Hopefully, over the summer, we can get back to our four post a week schedule.

Your regular shield stacking adventures will continue on Friday with: “The Tank’s Oath.”

RaidTunes: The Lion-Hearted Girl

•March 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

by Andy/Betancore

This album is so full of awesome, not even Garrosh could be disgusted by it.

Time for more RaidTunes, now with playlists!  Let’s get right into it.  For those of you that are impatient, the links to the playlists are at the bottom, and I’ll try to get playlist widgets on the sidebar when I get a chance.

Light: Florence + The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

If you had to sum the feel of this song up in one word, it would be ‘powerful.’  Florence’s big, determined vocals seem to drive the percussive melody, infusing the song with sheer willpower.  But then, the music drops off, and listeners are given a feeling of hopelessness.  In a sense, this is what raiding can feel like.  Your group charges in, determined and ready; but then a healer dies, and all you can do is yell “KILL IT HARDER”  and hope the boss dies before your remaining healers run out of mana.  Determination wars with despair.  Rabbit Heart describes it perfectly.

Also Featured:

Silversun Pickups – There’s No Secrets This Year:

A smooth yet energizing tune to help you slip into a groove for “execution is everything” bosses like Magmaw.

Sarah Blasko – Over & Over:

A gentle, percussive song to keep your spirits up after all those wipes.

Halou – Halfbreath:

Laid-back, melancholy vocals over a drum’n’bass beat.   It doesn’t sound like it would work, but Halou can pull it off.  This song has a nice calming effect on me, and is perfect for near the end of the night.

Heavy: Kylesa – Don’t Look Back

And speaking of determination, this song has tons of it.  I find that Kylesa, especially their latest album, is great music to listen to when you’re tired or frustrated.  And, after a few of our first Atramedes attempts, I was both.  But, Kylesa’s sludgey goodness just has a way of either bringing me out of my funk, or helping me to embrace it.  I highly recommend them if raiding feels like a slog for you this week.

Also Featured:

Amon Amarth – Asator:

Brutal, chaotic, and catchy.  The perfect song for when shit goes horribly, horribly wrong; such as the entirety of the Omnomnom fight.  Also, these guys have a new album coming out this week, and it is fantastic, so they will be the featured artist next week.

Pantera – Widowmaker:

OLD Pantera.  No, not that Pantera.  Older.  Back when they were trying to play hair metal.  Yes, most of it is horrible, but there’s just something about Widowmaker’s hook that engages me in the first 10 seconds of a fight.

Mephiskapheles – Mephiskapheles:

My bolonga… has a first name… it’s “S-A-T-A-N.”

Rock Out, Kill Bosses

That should about cover it!  Next week will probably be all Amon Amarth all the time, but if you have any suggestions, leave ‘em in the comments!

RaidTunes Light Playlist

RaidTunes Heavy Playlist

 
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