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Archive for March, 2009

I’d like to thank the Academy

Well, it looks like my hard work (*snrk*) on this blog is finally paying off.  Yep, that’s right, kids, I has me an award…


…um.  Yeah.  I don’t know what Honest Scrap is.  I think the last time I saw this sign was on the wall at a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Georgia.  But I guess it means I’m, well, honest.  And scrappy.  Or maybe broken-down, which is how I feel some days.

Oh well, anyway.  Meme, I has it.  I’ve been tagged on this one by two folks–Stop over at The Stoppable Force and Tarsus at Tanking for Dummies.  The rules on the meme–there’s always fine print on these things, kids, remember that–are thus:

  1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
  2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
  3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Well, I already covered number 1.  Number 2, we’ll get to in a second, because I’m feeling rebellious and don’t want to do them in order, so nyah.  So that leaves number 3, 10 honest things about myself.  Hokai, here goes nuttin’…

  1. I’ve held an FCC Amateur Radio license since 1992.  And no, I’m not telling you my callsign; those things are public record and can be used to look up addresses.
  2. I’m 42 years old, which makes me (IIRC) the second-oldest person in our raid, and not by much.
  3. I really want to take my family and go to Australia someday for an extended vacation.
  4. I have a huge phobia about stinging insects.  If a wasp gets in the house, my wife kills it.
  5. I don’t drink coffee.  I am the only IT worker in the world that does not drink coffee.  I am a diet cola fiend.
  6. I am a type 2 diabetic and really should be taking better care of myself.
  7. I suck worse at PvP than Stop does.  Seriously.  I am absolutely horrible at it.  Even when I was grinding honor in AV before Burning Crusade came out, I sucked at it.
  8. I proposed to my wife on the beach at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  Yes, I got down on one knee.  Yes, she had to help me back up.
  9. My other major gameplaying interest is flight simulation.  My Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 install is over 50 GB.
  10. I love The Barrens.  Seriously.  I do.  Westfall can die in a nuclear explosion, but I just love The Barrens.

Now, I need to find 7 blogs that haven’t yet been tagged, brilliant in content or design.  Much like the old joke about finding virgins in West Virginia, this ain’t gonna be easy.  Some of these have been tagged by other people, I’m sure, but oh well…

  • Binary Colors.  It’s not just that Varenna’s a guildmate of my dwarf.  She’s sharp, she’s insightful, she curses like a sailor with Tourette’s but knows when to use it.  Plus, she’s a great writer, awesome RPer, and for a little slip of a human girl, damn that paladin can tank.
  • Mad Cow Chronicles (formerly Mooonfire!).  Neat layout, great content, and lots of Tauren.  Always a plus.
  • The Twisted Nether Blogcast.  A great WoW-themed podcast featuring the best WoW bloggers around.
  • WoW, Eh?  How can you not like a WoW-themed comic with a ton of inside Canadian jokes?
  • WTT:  RP.  A great blog about roleplaying and associated topics, put together by several friends from Feathermoon.

And that’s pretty much it.  Most everybody else in my blogroll’s gotten tagged already.  This either means that (a) WoW bloggers are a small incestuous community or (b) I’ve got one hell of a quality blogroll.  Obviously, it’s the latter.

Anna’s RP Friday Five: Parts of The Whole

(Sorry I’m late on this.  I was flying solo with Nublet over the weekend while my wife was selling her jewelry at the North Carolina Renaissance Faire, so I didn’t have time to blog.)

Slightly delayed by her foray into homeownership, Anna at Too Many Annas has gotten her RP Friday Five up.  This one’s called Parts of the Whole.  I’ll answer for Linedan, though I really should give the dwarf and the belf a little more love in these things…

  • What color are your character’s eyes?

Linedan’s eyes are a light ice blue, both in his character model and in his RP background.  I’ve seen very few other Taurens use that eye color, it’s pretty distinctive.

  • What is your character’s skin like?  Does he or she have freckles, tattoos, or other noticeable markings?

Lin’s fur is actually very uniformly colored.  It’s gray, all over, lighter in the front and snout and darkening on the mane.

  • How does your character smile?

Rarely.  Very rarely.  When he does, it’s small, unless it’s one of those very uncommon occasions where something makes him laugh.

  • How does your character carry himself or herself when walking around?  What is his or her posture like?

Very erect, as much as a Tauren can be.  Lin walks tall and proud (and often slowly) but without arrogance.  He doesn’t strut or preen, he just…walks.

  • Describe your character’s hands.

Big and three-fingered.  (Tauren touch-typing would be interesting.)  They’re heavily calloused from years of wielding weapons and blacksmithing, and always have a little bit of dirt around the nails–do Tauren even have fingernails?–no matter how he cleans them.

Don’t you, forget about meeee…


Consider, if you will…Malygos.  Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight.  Lord of Magic.  Along with the other four Aspects, the Titans placed them to guard and guide the development of the world of Azeroth.  Pretty heavy stuff.

What must this poor guy’s adolescence have been like?

I mean, c’mon.  Master of Magic.  That just screams “nerd.”  Can’t you see Malygos trying to sit at the lunch table with Neltharion, Alexstrasza, Nozdormu, and Ysera and getting totally blown off?  Obviously, Neltharion is the studmuffin bad-boy jock that all the girls love and their parents hate.  Alex?  The hot, popular cheerleader who’s a little spoiled but loves fluffy bunnies and generally has her heart in the right place…she’s also probably either fending off Neltharion or has already done it with him in the back of his Camaro a couple times.  Ysera’s the weird, dreamy chick who reads Kerouac and likes to wander in the fields and talk to trees.  Nozdormu is a total stoner who’s baked out of his mind most of the time.  And then there’s Malygos, with his 4.6 GPA and high-water pants and total lack of social skills, draco dorkus supremus, trying desperately to fit in.  And failing.  Oh, Ysera probably likes him well enough, and Alexstrasza has a little sympathy toward him when he epic fails the tail-swipe part of gym class.  But he’s still a complete outcast.

It’s like some utterly fucked-up version of The Breakfast Club, but with wings and scales.

So you know what happens to Scorned Geeks, right?  They grow up.  And get even smarter.  And invent things.  And get even more powerful.  And if they’re lucky, they build Secret Lairs and have Devious Plans to gain revenge on all those who wronged them.  Such is Malygos.

Unfortunately for Malygos and the revenge fantasies of nerd dragons everywhere, 25 of us from the Anvil wandered into the Eye of Eternity last night and gave Malygos the worst beatdown since Neltharion wedgied him in the hallway outside trig class.  Which is to say…

…with at least 10 people who’d never seen the fight before, we went in there and got him on our fifth try in our very first week.

Not that it was easy.  Even the Server Gods conspired against us, giving us a 25-minute late start because the instance lagged out and crashed just before we were ready to pull.  On the first attempt, the main tank died and I took over for a bit, but we wiped when he enraged just before phase 3.

The second attempt was even weirder.  We blew through phase 1 in pretty good time and got started on phase 2…and then I noticed he was still flying around clipped through the platform.  I made some comment on Vent like “What is he doing down here?”  The reply?  “Eating people.”  Yep.  Malygos was still alive, still attacking, and meleeing people to death…while being completely untargetable.  G frickin’ G, Blizz.  Nice one.

Attempts 3 (33%) and 4 (13%) were matters of working on sticking together during phase 3 and dying less.  The final piece of the puzzle was when a bunch of us decided to change our two-stack rotation of Engulf in Flames to a three-stack rotation (basically, “1112” instead of “112”).  It seemed to work.  He enraged, and he ganked about 15 of us, but dammit, we got him even if it was 12 14 seconds after the enrage timer.

We still had an hour left before our stop time.  So it was off to the Obsidian Sanctum to work on Sartharion +2 drakes again…one-shot, baby.  Not the prettiest ever, and I won’t go into my suckage on add-gathering too much, but we did it.  We even had time to fly up to Naxxramas and do a high-speed low-drag roflstomp on the Spider wing.  That just leaves us three wings + the top floor of Naxx tonight with three hours to do it, and then we’ll have reached a raid goal–clear all the 25-man non-PvP raid content in our two normal nights of raiding.  Malygos, Sartharion, and Naxx in six hours or less.  All that’s left for us now is the Big Kahuna…Sartharion +3 drakes.  We start that next week.

So yeah, it was a night made of awesome.  No loot for me, but pfft, I don’t care.  We killed Malygos on our first week, we’re finally in position to “win the game” with Sarth +3, and I got to write a blog post with a Breakfast Club reference.  It’s a good day, peeps.  A very good day.

Ah, that feels better

Linedan lasted two days as Arms before I took him back Prot.  I learned enough to know that (a) I need better gear before even thinking about bringing an Arms spec on a raid, especially as big a weapon upgrade as I can swing, and (b) I am totally addicted to the Prot playstyle now and it’s really, really hard to give up the crack.  I guess for me, it’s worth slowly grinding through my dailies at 1100 dps and bringing up the bottom of the DPS meters in Naxx-25 to be able to pull entire camps and survive, or tank Kel’thuzad, or even solo elites.

It’ll work having Arms as a dual spec for those times I want to deeps.  But I can’t give up being the Panzercow.  I just can’t.  It’s in my blood.  I have to face facts…I have a fever, and the only cure is more cowtank.


Some friends of mine from the awesomeness that is the Feathermoon server have started a new blog dealing specifically with roleplay and roleplay-related topics in WoW.  Knowing the people involved, the insightfulness will be epic and the posts will be legendary.  So, put on your RP clothes and head over to WTT:  RP.  Now.  You won’t regret it.

(Full disclosure:  I wasn’t in on the ground floor of the idea, but I’m hoping to do some writing over there.)

If you’ve ever been That Guy in a PUG:

Hannelore over at The Egotistical Priest has a few things to say to you.  Take them to heart, and you may spontaneously evolve into something with an actual functioning nervous system.

So you want to be a prot warrior: Levels 31-40


Let’s talk about your next 10 levels as a Prot warrior.  If you’ve been following along with SYWTBAPW up till now, you’re level 30, have all three of your stances, and are running around with one of two different 0/0/21 specs.  Where we proceed from here is pretty much the same whether or not you’ve got the 2/5 Toughness or 2/5 Improved Disarm build, so let’s get to leveling!

Levels 31-32:  2/2 Gag Order.  It’s a silly name for a very useful talent.  Gag Order is a talent that doesn’t really come into its own until past level 40.  Right now, it has one nice feature; whenever you Shield Bash a spellcasting target, in addition to interrupting and dazing it, you’ll silence it for 3 seconds.  Very handy on those pesky spellcasters.  Once you get this, you’ll start dragging the two-hand weapons out of your pack less and less.

Levels 33-34:  4/5 Toughness (or 2/5 Toughness if you took Improved Disarm).  We’re just filling in points here to get to the next tier of talents.

Levels 35-39:  5/5 One-Handed Weapon Specialization.  The late 30s and early 40s are when the two-handed weapons finally get put in the bank and you become a true sword-and-board devotee.  This talent, once maxed, gives you +10% to all damage you deal with one-handed weapons, including if you’re dual wielding.  But by level 40, you’ll keep a shield in your left hand instead of another weapon.

Level 40:  1/3 Focused Rage.  By now you may have noticed that rage can occasionally be hard to come by.  Focused Rage helps that by reducing the rage cost of all your offensive abilities by one point per point spent.

You may be asking, “OK, why didn’t we put any points in Puncture or Vigilance?”  Good question.  Puncture only reduces the rage cost of a single ability at this level–Sunder Armor.  (You won’t have Devastate until level 50.)  It’s an inefficient use of points, even though Sunder is your main spammable threat generator.  As for Vigilance, it’s a controversial talent.  A lot of endgame/raiding builds don’t even take it.  I have it on Linedan’s Prot build, and think it’s worth the point…at endgame.  For now, I think the point’s better spent in Focused Rage.  Remember, this is a leveling build, we’ll tweak it later.

Most of the new abilities you get in the 30s have to do with Berserker Stance.  You won’t use them all that much, but they may come in handy if you’re grouped with friends and, for some reason, find yourself not doing the tanking but doing DPS instead.  You’re smart, you can figure out when it’s appropriate to use these!  And then, at level 40, the skies open, shafts of light come down, and Chuck Norris descends from On High, Mankrik’s wife by his side, to give you the talent that truly sends you on your way to Prot fearsomeness…

Berserker Rage (level 32):  aka, “HULK SMASH.”  Hit this (Berserker Stance only) and for 10 seconds you are immune to Fear, Sap, and Incapacitate effects; plus, you get extra rage when you take damage.  I still use this on fights where I am not tanking and attempting to do “l33t prot deeps” (cough); with so many raid encounters pumping a lot of damage around an entire raid, getting more rage out of that splash damage lets me do more damage in return.

Whirlwind (level 36):  Another Berserker Stance-only gem, when you hit this, you hit up to four targets in melee range with your weapon (both, if you’re dual-wielding).  Sadly, Whirlwind does not count your shield as a weapon.  Even against multiple targets, with a single one-hander, this is very inefficient.

Pummel (level 38):  And yet another Berserker Stance restricted ability.  This is a spell interrupt; not only does it stop casting, it locks out that casting school for 4 seconds.  Unfortunately, Pummel and Shield Bash are on linked cooldowns, so you can’t Shield Bash, then stance-switch for a second interrupt.

Plate (level 40):  Not really a spell or ability, but you suddenly gain the ability to figure out how to wear plate armor.  It was all alien to you before, but then your trainer showed you how.  Miraculous!

Shield Slam (level 40):  This is it, baby.  It’s clobberin’ time.  Shield Slam was originally the Prot 31-point talent, but for patch 3.0, it was replaced by Vigilance and given to all warriors at level 40, to increase off-spec tanking viability.  They can use it, but we raise it to an art form.  This is your “nuke,” as it were; it hits hard, it removes a magic effect from the target, it causes high bonus threat, and it makes a really cool “CLANK” sound.  What’s not to like?

Shield Slam damage, unlike most other offensive talents, does not scale directly from Attack Power.  It scales with your Shield Block Value; the “block” number on your shield, modified by your strength (2 strength = 1 SBV).  Your 2 points in Shield Mastery give you an automatic +20% SBV, and your 2 points in Gag Order give you +10% net damage on Shield Slam.  And yes, when you hit Shield Block to double your block value for 10 seconds, your Shield Slam damage will skyrocket.  This is not just a threat move.  Shield Slam will, if you’re doing things right, consistently be your #1 damage-dealt move over time.

Getting Shield Slam changes your tanking priority system.  You remember it, right?  Revenge if it’s up, Thunder Clap if you need it, Heroic Strike if you’ve got the rage, Sunder Armor otherwise, lather, rinse, repeat next cooldown?  Well, here’s what it looks like at level 40:

  • Is Revenge up? Use it first, even before Shield Slam.  Why?  Because it goes away after 5 seconds.  Your window of opportunity is small, so you have to take advantage of it.  Remember, if you have a Glyph of Revenge, follow the Revenge with an immediate Heroic Strike, since it costs no rage.
  • Is Thunder Clap off cooldown and I’m facing multiple targets? Use Thunder Clap to try and keep other mobs beside your current target on you.
  • Is Shield Slam up? Use it.  It hits hard and gives you excellent threat.
  • Do I have more than 40 rage? If so, it’s time for Heroic Strike or Cleave to convert it into damage.
  • None of the above? Sunder Armor, for threat and extra physical damage.
  • Debuffs:  Don’t forget to drop Demoralizing Shout if you have a spare global cooldown.

Shield Slam changes the way that you pull, too.  Shield Slam should always be your opening move on a single-mob or boss pull, assuming you have the rage.  A Charge + Shield Slam combo, with one white attack in there, should give you a solid threat lead on the target.  For multiple mobs, you’ll probably still open with Charge, then Thunder Clap; but Shield Slamming the kill target as soon as possible is very much advised.

If it sounds like I’m making a big deal out of Shield Slam, I am, and you’ll see why when you start to play with it.  In mostly epic-level Naxx gear and raid buffs, Lin’s dropped 7200-point SS crits on Naxx trash (with Shield Block up).  You’ve probably been feeling a bit underwhelmed in the DPS department through the mid- to late-30s, but Shield Slam will give you an immediate damage boost.  Combine that with new ranks of Cleave and Heroic Strike at level 40, and you may well feel very invigorated about your Prot warrior.

As always, take opportunities to practice those tank skills.  There’s not always a lot of call for tanks at these levels, as folks tend to push through them quickly and prefer to be blendered through instances instead, but if you do get a chance to tank for a group, take it.  Shield Slam changes the rotation you’ve probably gotten used to so it’ll take some time to work it in and get comfortable with it.  The problem is, most of the instances at this level range suck. Scarlet Monastery is the one good one; your other choices are Uldaman and Gnomeregan, and going to one of those is like being asked “which would you prefer, a one-way ticket to Kabul or Pyongyang?”  Learn to love Scarlet Monastery.

Finally, a note on gearing.  At level 40, you can wear plate.  Save up some money for the occasion and start prowling the AH.  Do not switch a mail piece to plate if the plate piece has inferior stats; be intelligent about what you’re looking for.  The higher armor from plate is nice, but if you’re 41 or 42 and still have some mail on, that’s OK if it’s good mail.  Strength and stamina are still important, but at this level you’ll start to see a very few pieces of gear with other stats on it.  You’re not worried much about crit rating.  Hit rating, on the other hand, is good even in the 40s, so if it doesn’t cripple your strength and stamina too much, by all means, grab it.

One point to remember:  +strength is superior to +attack power. Why?  Because +AP just increases attack power.  +Strength increases attack power, and shield block value (for Shield Slam damage), and parry percentage.  It’s more bang for your gold.

Also, you’ll be able to start using better enchants with items over level 35.  If you’ve got the gold to do it, by all means, enchant what you can, although I wouldn’t spend a massive amount on it considering how fast you’ll replace some gear.  Weapons are good candidates since you tend to hang onto those a little longer.  Fiery Weapon is a good and reasonably available enchant, but if you’ve got the gold and are willing to go all the way, Crusader is probably the best for you under level 60.

Next post covers levels 41-50.  You can run any instance you like between 41 and 50, except they all suck!  I’M LOOKING AT YOU, MAURADON!

Don’t panic, it’s temporary

So if you go to look at Linedan’s armory link in the next few days, don’t freak out.  I haven’t been hacked, and the Armory isn’t broken.

For a few days, the Panzercow…is DPScow.

Yep.  In the interest of trying out a potential Arms dual-spec come 3.1 (as I mentioned in a post a while back), I’ve shifted Linedan over to a 53/18/0 Arms build for a little while so I can try to learn how to play it.  Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere as a tank.  Tanking is still my first love.  But in the interest of raid utility and general versatility (since we have a lot of good up-and-coming tanks in our circle of online friends), it makes sense for me to have my main have the option to deeps occasionally.  I don’t have anywhere near the gear for Fury, and Arms provides some raid utility, hopefully moreso in 3.1.  So, Arms is the plan, and I’m test-driving it now.

My first impression, from a single heroic Utgarde Keep run, is that I’m going to dub the 53/18/0 Arms build the “waiting for Godot” build.  I’m sitting there constantly waiting for something to happen.  Waiting for Taste for Blood to proc Overpower, waiting for Sudden Death to proc Execute, waiting to have enough rage to Mortal Strike, Slamming if nothing else is available…good grief.  I just thought Prot was reactive.  Arms is so much more reactive than Prot is, it’s scary.  Talk about worshipping at the Altar of the Random Number Generator, sheesh.  This is crazy.

BTW, my performance in that HUK run?  1250 dps, 2 stupid deaths due to agro yoinking.  If I was tanking, I’d have probably done 1250 dps and not died once.  Yep.  I’ve got a lot to learn, and a lot of gearing to do, to make this work.

And I’ve only got 21.8k health and 13.3k armor.  Sweet motherhumpin’ zombie Jesus, I’m squishy.

Damn you, Cylons

We were down several people on the raid tonight because of the final episode of Battlestar Galactica. We did Sapphiron easy enough with 21 in the raid, and should have been able to do KT…but only having one guy handling all four bugs during the final phase (which he was doing a great job on) left us too vulnerable to him getting mind-controlled or iceblocked.  So guess who KT kept picking to mind-control or iceblock?

We got him on the fifth try after we drug three more people in to help.  Then Sarth +1 because after five KT fights, it’s all we had time for.  So Malygos gets a week reprieve before the Anvil comes to take his lunch money.

Anna’s (Guest) RP Friday Five: Items of Significance

Guest post by Avonar over at Too Many Annas today, with another Friday Five set of questions.  I’ll do these for Linedan only today since I’m a little pushed for time:

  • Does your character have any specific jewelry that they constantly wear?
  • Lin doesn’t.  He does have a pink mageweave shirt that’s a bit of a constant though (see below).

  • Does your character have items that they always carry with them have that personal significance?
  • The aforementioned pink mageweave shirt.  See, our raid main tank, Gorebash, has worn a pink shirt for years now.  It’s part of one of his RP outfits–pink shirt, denim overalls, a straw hat, and a Thunderstrike.  (No, I’m not kidding.  On a male orc.  It looks like he just stepped out of bizarre through-the-Dark-Portal version of Iowa.  It’s awesome.)  One raid night he couldn’t make it and I had to stand in as MT, and did a creditable if not particularly noteworthy job in Tempest Keep.  The next day, Gore mailed Linedan a pink mageweave shirt.  To this day, Lin takes good care of it, keeping it mended and clean, and wears it on every raid as a good luck talisman.

  • Does your character’s weapon have a name? A personality?
  • I used to name Linedan’s weapons early on.  One of his first sabres was called Truecleaver.  His self-crafted Masterwork Stormhammer was named Cloudcaller (because it cast Chain Lightning).  But soon he was switching weapons so fast that I got out of the habit.

  • Are there any items in the world your character would defend/fight to the death over?
  • Maybe the pink shirt, but probably not even that.  Lin’s got a fairly que sera sera attitude about possessions.

  • Is your character a pack rat or do they just carry the bare essentials?
  • Most of my characters pack-rat.  So did Lin for the longest time.  Eventually I got sick of my wife’s little friendly jabs about never having any bag space and I got ruthless.  Now on average Lin’s got 40 open slots, sometimes more.  Of course, this just means his bank is full to bursting…

    (EDIT:  Welcome to the folks from WoW Insider!  Thank you very much!  Hang around, browse the blog, I hope you find something you like!)