…if you’ve been bad this year, Greatfather Winter brings pain.
Today’s RP Friday Five over at Too Many Annas is about “Keeping Up Appearances.” Here’s the questions, and my answers:
1. Describe your characters general appearance – is it exactly what you see in the avatar?
My characters look generally like their toons. Beltar’s a little shorter and scrawnier, Lin is actually even bigger, Illithanis is pretty much dead on as to what her blood elf toon is size-wise. In terms of their features, they match up with their in-game looks; it’s easier for me to keep straight that way.
2. What are their opinions on baths/showers/etc?
I’m not sure what Tauren bathing habits are like, but Linedan generally doesn’t worry about it too much unless he knows he’s going to be around people he knows (such as Monday night RP), then he’ll clean up. It’s more a luxury than a necessity. Beltar likes baths for the pleasurable feeling of hot water more than for the actual practicality of being clean; he spent enough time on the road that he’s used to roughing it and doing without for a while. Illithanis likes to be clean, and enjoys a long hot soak as a luxury, but again, with her being a Farstrider type, she’s used to long stretches in the woods where she’d have to settle for a dip in a freezing lake.
3. Do they fuss about their looks (and if female, wear makeup)?
Linedan and Beltar could both care less. Lin doesn’t care what his armor looks like as long as it protects him and it’s structurally sound; Beltar’s mostly the same way. Beltar’s only exception is if he’s back in Ironforge and has one of his occasional dates at the Stonefire Tavern with Bretta Goldfury (the gun seller)…those, he’ll clean himself up for. Illithanis almost never wears makeup–mascara gets in your eyes when you’re trying to stick an arrow through somebody–but she does take care of her appearance and keeps her armor and clothing looking as neat as possible.
4. If they could pick an outfit out of an infinite closet, what would it look like?
Linedan: Big, nasty, gnarly, matching saronite plate armor. Beltar: Black shirt, gray pants, black boots, and his favorite red fedora. (The fact that the fedora summons beer makes it his favorite.) Illithanis: Simple and comfortable linen shirt with a leather vest or overshirt, linen or leather pants depending on the weather, comfortable boots. Colors would be muted woodland colors, heavy on the greens because green is her historic family color.
5. For the guys – boxers, briefs, or commando trousers? For the girls – bikinis, thongs, or boyshorts? (This is not my question. You can go thank Jess for it. I’m still not sure I should even think about posting it. I can see my spam comment count going through the roof already! And yes, you really do want to click on and read about commando trousers. Just, don’t be drinking anything, or you’re likely to end up with it in your nose.)
Linedan: loincloth. Beltar: commando if he’s just hanging out around town (pun intended), briefs or boxers if he’s out in the world killing, for protection against mail pinching certain places. Illithanis: bikinis, with long johns and a linen shift under her armor and shirt in cold weather.
Here’s an interesting post on +defense rating over at Tanking Tips. Veneretio makes the point that +defense rating is better than either +parry or +dodge rating individually, due to (a) its inclusion of +block, +parry, and +dodge in one stat, and (b) the fact that the included +block rating isn’t affected by the new 3.0 “diminishing returns” mechanic.
Continuing my character introduction series, next we have my second WoW character on Feathermoon, my Alliance-side main, the cranky old hunter with a heart of bronze and a liver of steel…Beltar.
- Full name: Beltar Forgebreaker
- Created: August 2005
- Level/race/class: Level 77 dwarf hunter
- Spec: Marksmanship (currently 16/52/0)
- Age: 127 (human equivalent ~55)
Beltar is a fairly stereotypical dwarf. He’s cranky, he’s curmudgeonly, he’s loud, he’s profane, he’s often drunk, and he occasionally smells faintly like stale beer and pig. Physically he’s not imposing–a bit on the scrawny side for a dwarf, maybe an inch shorter than average, with a craggy, wrinkled face, hazel eyes, bad teeth, and mostly-gray hair that hangs straight to below his shoulders. His skin is weathered from a lifetime outdoors. He likes hats, and has a garish red fedora (Mirren’s Drinking Hat) that he often wears with dark-colored shirts and pants when not geared up for killing.
When I wrote Beltar’s history, I knew basically nothing about Blizzard canon history in the Warcraft universe prior to WoW. So I left it very vague. For the past century or so, after leaving home (the circumstances of which are explained in a story here), Beltar wandered all over the Eastern Kingdoms selling his skill with an axe or a gun. At various times, he was a merchant guard, bandit, hired killer, bodyguard, mercenary soldier, watchman, and much more. Because of his work with various merchants, he managed to miss both the First and Second War; before the Third War, he was grievously injured while bodyguarding someone, and ended up stuck in Anvilmar recuperating. By the time he was up and around again, it was years later, and he had to start regaining his skills again…from level 1.
Beltar’s one constant is his pet boar, Squealer. He tamed Squealer in Dun Morogh at level 10 and he’s had him ever since. He’s dabbled in other pets (he currently has an as-yet-unnamed Sholazar dreadsaber as a DPS pet) but keeps coming back to the big black crag boar, lousy DPS and all.
Beltar is simultaneously fun and frustrating to play. He’s my favorite character to roleplay, above and beyond even Linedan. Lin is quiet, he’s serious, he blends in to backgrounds. Beltar, at times, is loud, abrasive, profane, insulting–generally socially inept, and what’s more, he doesn’t give a damn. On those relatively rare occasions where I can just lay back and have fun being a drunk-ass crotchety gun-toting dwarven redneck, he’s an absolute hoot. And, unlike the basically noble and decent Linedan, Beltar is an amoral little son of a gun. He doesn’t really get the chance to show it off, but I’ve always envisioned him as being a perfect Mafia hitman. He’s not into dark magic, he’s not really into torture for the sake of torture, he likes puppies and kittens and rainbows well enough. But cross him or those he considers his–like his guild, the Wildfire Riders–and he’ll castrate you, nail you to a barn door, pull your guts out through your throat, and feed them to his dreadsaber while you watch…then head down to the Pig and Whistle in Old Town Stormwind and pound back some ale like nothing ever happened.
Even his accent is fun. His accent isn’t quite the normal faux-Scottish Blizzard-standard Dwarven; I figured his speech patterns in Common have gotten munged up by a century of exposure to humans from Lordaeron to Stormwind and everywhere in between. So his accent is similarly twisted; inside my head, it’s a bizarre mixture of Blizzard Dwarven, combined with some occasionally swallowed vowels and clipped endings (so “y’r” instead of “your,” “findin'” instead of “finding”), a bit of Minnesotan or Canadian prairie thrown in (he tends to pronounce things like “house” as almost “heouse,” if that makes any sense–it’s a linguistic thing peculiar to the part of Virginia I grew up in), and grammar patterns based off folks I grew up with in rural Virginia and those I knew in South Carolina.
The frustration part comes more from actually trying to play him. He’s always been a marks hunter, and always will be; I have Illithanis, my blood elf, to scratch my beastmastery hunter itch. Beltar is a gunbunny. It’s what he does. But marks hunters are generally inferior to BM hunters in a lot of circumstances, without any real “oh shit” buttons like Bestial Wrath if things go sideways, and they’re harder to level solo because their pets are much less effective. And with most of my time being taken up by Lin, Beltar almost exclusively solos. One look at his craptacular Armory tells you that; at 77, he’s still wearing lots of Karazhan pieces. He’s done exactly one instance run since entering Northrend. With only being able to play him a few nights a week, and with the majority of his acquaintances already long since 80 and gone onto heroics, he’s lagging, and his low gear level makes leveling him a bit of a slog. Beltar may make me break my “I don’t pickup group” pledge just to get the massive backlog of low-level instance quests out of his quest log.
I’d love to be able to put more time into him. But there aren’t enough hours in the day, really. So I roleplay with him when I can, and grind out a few hundred thousand xp when I can, and keep hoping I can pick up some instance runs or help with group quests, usually without too much luck. But as befits a dwarf who’s led a rough life on the road for over a century, I keep on keeping on.
Last night I noodled around on my alt hunters a bit before logging on Lin and doing a couple of Icecrown quests. Meanwhile, my wife Rashona was running through normal Halls of Lightning with some mutual friends. Suddenly on one of my chat channels, I see a member of that party asking “can anybody come and finish HoL with us? Z’s connection is going flaky.” Well, I’d been planning to give my aching wrists a night off from tanking, but these are my friends, and that is my wife, and it is Halls of Lightning…
15 minutes, five trash pulls, and one dead Loken later, look what I found.
Happy Panzercow, I am. Picking the Seal up in place of my old Coren’s Lucky Coin let me yank a +16 defense gem out of my T6 shoulders and replace it with a +7 crit/+11 stamina sparkly out of the guild bank. Then this morning, I made Revered with the Argent Crusade (I hate you, Alchemist Finklestein, so much) and got the +20 defense/+37 stamina enchant on ye olde Crusader’s Resolution. 23637 health and 21661 armor unbuffed now, 555 defense–and that’s without Titanweave on my cloak and without +20 defense on my shield, so I’ve got a good solid defense cushion now. Overall, my stats are now solidly enough for most heroics, maybe even the really hard ones like Pinnacle and HoL with a good healer.
I do feel bad about my bud Zemmen not getting this, though. Don’t worry, Z. Get that connection fixed and I’ll give Loken the pimp hand all you want until he coughs one up for you.
The noob didn’t even bind “Shoe” to a key! WTF? Stupid clicker.
I’ll bet he keyboard turns too. Loser.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing each of my “important” characters here–the ones that I tend to play more, anyway. And we might as well get the ball rolling with the guy this blog is named after, my main, the Big Guy, der Panzercow himself…Linedan. (And BTW, it’s pronounced “lih NAY den” or “lih NAY dun.” Not “LINE dan.”
- Full name: Linedan (formerly Linedan Granitehoof)
- Created: March 2005
- Level/race/class: Level 80 Tauren warrior
- Spec: Protection (15/5/51)
- Age: Equivalent to human 23
Lin’s most noticeable physical characteristic is that he’s big. I know, all Tauren are big, but he’s big even for a Tauren. Take a 6-foot-3, 240-pound NFL linebacker and scale him up to Tauren, ripped physique and all, and that’s Linedan. Then tack on all that plate armor, including standard-issue Blizzard oversized shoulders, and, well, there’s a reason I joke that he’s spec’d 5/5 Improved Loom. Other than being a giant wall of steel-covered beef, there’s three things noticeable about him: he’s got all-over gray fur (unusual from what I’ve seen, few Tauren go with that option); he’s got penetrating ice-blue eyes (ditto), and if you look closely, you can see a pink mageweave shirt under all that armor. But good luck spotting it–he rarely takes his armor off in public. He always looks like he’s ready to throw down.
Lin is very quiet. He doesn’t say much. But it’s not a placid quiet…it’s more of a “when is this mountain going to erupt?” quiet. He’s still, he’s almost immobile, he can almost disappear into the woodwork–or more appropriately, serve as an entire wall for a room–and if the situation calls for it, he can respond with extreme violence in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t take much time being around him to figure out that there’s a furnace of rage seething under that impassive exterior. That having been said, he’s no psycho (most of the time). He’s very loyal to his friends and to his guild Noxilite, who are basically his adopted clan.
Basically, Lin’s personality is the “noble savage”…take a bit of Lieutenant Worf, a bit of Daelen Red-Tiger from the original Neverwinter Nights, a dash of psycho seasoning, and throw them in a blender. Most of the time he doesn’t particularly get off on killing or violence, but it’s about all he knows how to do (other than blacksmithing). And since he is fanatically driven to be the best he can be, he practices that violence. A lot. He doesn’t have much of a social life and doesn’t have any known romantic relationships. If you translated it over to real life, Lin would be the guy who hung out around an MMA dojo all day, every day, working constantly, eating right, training insanely hard. And everything would be great until he got inside the cage and his opponent did something to set him off, and wound up with two broken arms and a skull fracture.
Lin was my first character on Feathermoon and second character in WoW. He is an old-school warrior, born in the days of 20%+ miss rates on all attacks, leveled in gray vendor gear and crafted copper chain garbage that sometimes he couldn’t even afford to repair. At level 18 he joined a large Horde guild, Hand of the Forsaken, but since most of the rest of HotF was far ahead of him in levels, he did most of his level-grinding alone. Even after leaving HotF and joining The Sidewinder Band in his 40s, he did very few instances. I actually didn’t start tanking until I joined Noxilite in his mid- to late-50s…and it showed. Some of those old-school Scholomance and Stratholme runs were pretty painful while I figured out what I was doing.
I never envisioned him being a prot warrior, even though I tried prot out for a while at 60. Coming from Everquest, where all warriors could do was tank, I didn’t want to get pigeonholed into that role again. I always wanted Lin to be a machine of destruction, wielding the biggest damn two-handed something he could find and massacring everything in his path. The truth, of course, is that a warrior without friends and without the ability to get good gear is a nightmare to level, and the furthest thing from a machine of destruction imaginable. So I ran primarily as a two-hand Fury build (5/31/15 I think) with the Anvil’s Molten Core and BWL raids, pre-Burning Crusade.
After BC came out and I got Lin to 70, I couldn’t get him into any of the Anvil’s early Karazhan raids. So I hooked up with friends who were starting their own, and I took him Prot (“temporarily”) because I knew I couldn’t offtank Kara as Arms or Fury, especially with his marginal items. He’s been Prot ever since. He moved up to maintank the Kara raid, and then got back into Anvil 25-mans as the #2 offtank, a position he held all through 25-man content clear up to our one pre-Lich King farewell poke into Black Temple–yes, those are T6 shoulders he’s got on in the picture, still at level 80. All the while, I was wishing I could DPS with him, because when not tanking, a Prot offtank was truly useless in terms of hurting anything. But I didn’t have good enough DPS gear, and needed to stay Prot for when I did have to tank.
The 3.0 changes to Prot have finally brought Lin into his own–it’s like some sort of Blizzard karmic payback for the months of sheer hell leveling him initially, and then trying to grind quests and rep as Prot because I couldn’t afford contant respecs. I’ve always played Lin as having an internal struggle between offense and defense, the berserker and the protector, but now, with Prot warriors being able to crank out 1000 dps easily and demolish stuff while grinding? He can be both at the same time. I love being able to stand in against three elite mobs and take their worst while dropping 4k Revenge crit bombs all over the place.
Someday, maybe I’ll take him Fury again, probably Titan’s Grip…although it will require a complete re-gearing that’ll take a while. But for now, after almost four years, I am finally content with where Linedan is in terms of the game. He’s not content, of course. He’s always pushing harder and harder. But I’m happy with my Panzercow, and at peace with his Protness.
These two videos are probably one of my most fun memories in almost four years of WoW.
Every so often, our raid group on Feathermoon, known as The Anvil Raid, gets together and spreads our particular brand of love, cheer, goodwill, and facemelting among various Alliance settlements.
Our destination this particular night? The human capital of Stormwind.
Our mission? Kill the humans’ three leaders–Bolvar Fordragon, Archbishop Whats-His-face, and Marcus Jonathan, back to back to back.
Did we accomplish our mission? Oh yes. That, and much much more. But you’ll have to watch the video to find out.
Part 1 is on top, and part 2 is on the bottom. The video includes Ventrilo commentary; the guy running the show is our raidleader Malkavet. The sultry voice reading the FlagRSP entry in the, uh, cameo at the end is the beautiful and talented Davien Stonemantle.
The video is courtesy of Gorebash and Naicella, edited together and music added by Gorebash. You can check out his WoW videos on Youtube as “pinkshirtfarmer.”
(Warning: NSFW due to a little bit of language and the occasional half-naked Draenei chick.)
So Linedan is finally starting to tank a few heroics; so far, just Nexus, Drak’theron Keep, and Violet Hold.
I was admittedly very skittish starting out; folks who know me know that I tend to be pretty insecure about my ability as a tank, even though I’m perfectly competent at it. But after a few horrid experiences with Burning Crusade heroics–the worst of which was a seven- or eight-wipe run in heroic Slave Pens, the “easy” heroic, back in the day–I basically gave up tanking heroic five-mans until 3.0 and WotLK came out. I concentrated on raid tanking in Karazhan and beyond for my badges, and left the overtuned BC five-man heroics to the paladins.
Well, despite my fears that Lin’s 22,500 health and 21,500 armor weren’t going to be enough, it all worked out OK. The Nexus run went well aside from a couple of wipes on Telestra. The Drak’theron and VH runs were with three people cranking out insane DPS and a very good druid healer, and other than a wipe on King Dred in DK, there were no worries. We nailed VH with the shield still at 100% and got the achievement for never using a defense crystal…not that I even knew where they were if we did need them. 22-and-a-half-thousand unbuffed health is low for some instances, when you consider that King Dred landed a mangling hit on me for well over 12,000 at one point. But a good healer, and intelligent planning of cooldown use (saving Shield Wall or Shield Block for special attacks, for example) can help with that.
He’s gotten a few upgrades, and now he’s at 23127 health, 21661 armor, 17% dodge, 15.5% parry, 13.8% block, and 544 defense, all unbuffed. Tricked out with level 80 buffs in a five-man, he checks in at about 25,500 health, which can be pushed close to 28,000 if I go with Commanding Shout. I don’t know if that’s enough for Naxx or not (one month and counting!) but it’s enough to get him through heroics for now. Now, if we can convince Loken to drop his trinket, and Ymiron to part with a Red Sword of Courage…
One of the more interesting discussions that pops up from time to time over on the Blizzard WoW warrior and tanking role forums is regarding shifting some points from the Protection tree over to the Arms tree to pick up two DPS talents in Arms–Impale, and Deep Wounds.
Impale: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your abilities by 10% per point. Two points.
Deep Wounds: Your critical strikes cause your opponent to bleed, dealing (16% per point) of your melee weapon’s average damage over 6 seconds. Three points. Requires 2/2 Impale.
Now, for reference, this is Lin’s current spec as of this post. It’s a 15/5/51 Impale/Deep Wounds prot spec; basically, it’s designed to be a DPS-oriented tank spec. In order to get the points to go 15 deep into Arms, I had to give up a few things over in Prot and Fury; namely, three points of Shield Specialization, all three points of Puncture, and (in Fury) three points of Cruelty.
At first glance, this looks kind of crazy. Impale, OK, that’s easy enough to see as a good talent. +20% to critical damage bonus on “abilities”–translation, yellow damage–is pretty handy, because the new post-3.0 way of doing things as prot means you’re getting the vast majority of your damage from yellow damage, not white swings. This basically gives you +120% damage on yellow crits instead of +100%. Add in the +15% crit chance on Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap and Cleave from Incite, the +15% crit chance on Devastate from Sword and Board, and the +15% crit chance on Shield Slam from Critical Block, and it should be obvious that Impale is extremely useful. But why would you spend three precious talent points on something that only adds half the damage of a white hit, especially considering that tanks generally swing fast weapons with low raw damage numbers?
1. Deep Wounds activates off any crit. Anything. White damage, Heroic Strike, Shield Slam, Revenge, Thunder Clap…even Damage Shield. Yep, that’s right, if you put all 3 points into it, Deep Wounds will activate if somebody crits themselves on your Damage Shield. Right now, 2/3 Deep Wounds is not proccing on Damage Shield, but 3/3 is. Either 2/3 should be proccing on Damage Shield, or 3/3 shouldn’t. We don’t know which is correct, Blizzard hasn’t said anything. But anyway, think about this. Warriors throw out a lot of attacks, between passive Damage Shield hits, white swings, special attacks, etc. That’s a lot of chances to get crits…and five of those attacks have +15% crit chances on them in most prot warrior builds. With 3/3 Deep Wounds, every time you crit, WoW takes 48% of the average white damage on your mainhand weapon, mitigates it by the target’s armor since it’s physical damage, and applies it to the target in three ticks, two seconds apart.
2. Deep Wounds “rolls.” Basically, it stacks. If the target has Deep Wounds on, and you crit again, the timer refreshes to 6 seconds and the 48% damage is added onto the existing Deep Wounds ticks. And there’s no limit to how high it can stack.
Now you can start to see how a talent originally balanced around 3.50+ speed two-handers can become useful in the hands of a prot warrior. If we chain lots of crits together, even with a low-damage weapon, those Deep Wounds ticks start to pile up into significant damage. How significant? Well, my only recorded data point so far was tanking a normal Culling of Stratholme run a few days ago–I’m terrible about forgetting to check my Recount before clearing it after an instance. In that run, Deep Wounds was 5.9% of my total damage. That’s not inconsiderable. And, considering it procs off Damage Shield crits? I can stick a bleed on a mob without ever swinging at it. That may have some negative implications for crowd control, but it’s a short duration, and who CCs nowadays anyhow?
The only downside is that if we really wanted to push this even further, and take 5/5 Cruelty, it would require giving up all three points in Armored to the Teeth. Considering that AttT is going to boost your average warrior tank by 300 to 400 attack power, I wouldn’t do it. I’ll gladly take 350 AP over 3% crit, even with a DW build. And, 15/8/48 isn’t an option, because it costs us Shockwave and either Damage Shield (which removes most of the reason to even take DW in the first place) or 2/3 Sword and Board.
So at the expense of a little bit of mitigation, we pick up a surprising amount of damage. As a tank, our primary job isn’t leet DPS, that’s true. But in this brave new world of WotLK tanking, DPS is how we generate most of our threat. More DPS, more threat, stuff dies faster. Personally, for raiding, I am leaning toward a 12/5/54 build, dropping Deep Wounds and transferring those three points to fill out Shield Specialization for the +3% block and guaranteed rage gain. Right now, though, I’m a Deep Wounds prot build fan.