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Archive for November, 2009

Gobble this

No, this post actually has nothing whatsoever to do with Pilgrim’s Bounty.  I could care less about most seasonal achievements.

It’s just to wish all of you out there (here in the USA, anyway) a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend.  The Panzercow family is relocating to a new bunker this weekend (starting as soon as my wife picks me up from work) so there may not be any new stuff until next week.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, here’s what I’m thankful for.  I’m thankful for a God that loves me, an awesome wife and kid, an amazing set of friends out here in the Intertubes, and of course, I’m thankful that prot warriors got buffed in Wrath of the Lich King and kick so much ass now.

Don’t eat too much, kids.  It leaves more for me!

“Good thing Da ain’t seein’ this.”

"Ain't natural."

“Right, lad, I hear what yer sayin’.  It’s a nice bow, ain’t denyin’ it.  I know it’s better’n me old gun.  But it’s a bow, lad.  Dwarves, we don’t use ‘ese here things, aye?  Bent sticks’o’wood w’strings onna back, ’em’s fer poncy elves prancin’ round th’forest.  A dwarf needs th’ feel o’a boomstick in ‘is hand, boy.  ‘Sides, last time I tried t’go on campaign w’a bow, ’bout damn threw m’shoulder outta joint fer a week.”

(EDIT AFTER THE FACT):  OK, the quick story behind this, and why Beltar is the Wildfire Riders’ resident loot trashcan extraordinaire.  While on last night, the call went out for a ranged DPS to help in Ulduar because Yva‘s connection crapped itself and she couldn’t get back on.  So I volunteered.  Despite his somewhat marginal gear compared to the rest of the 10-man, we got Hodir hardmode…and he got a nice cloak when the guy who won the roll saw that Beltar was still wearing a blue Cloak of Holy Extermination.  (Vent:  “BELTAR, GODDAMMIT, YOU ARE TAKING THIS CLOAK NOW.”)  Then we cleared Vezax trash…and the Golemheart Longbow dropped.  At that point, Yva got back on and I headed back out so she could take her spot back and they went on to get hardmode Vezax.

Holding patterns

So here in the States, it’s Thanksgiving week…a time where we take trips to see family members we really don’t want to see, eat until we’d want to puke except the l-tryptophan in the turkey’s made us too sleepy to lean over the toilet, and, oh yeah, watch the Detroit Lions lose.  Again.  (In the Panzercow family’s case, this Thanksgiving week will be taken up by packing, cleaning, and moving into a new bunker across town, broken by Thanksgiving dinner at Maggiano’s.  Something tells me by Saturday, I’ll be thankful for Ben-Gay.)

A lot of raids, including The Anvil, are off this week–in our case, because we raid Thursday and Friday, taking the week off is a no-brainer.  This enforced rest is a good time to sit and think about what we’ve done in the past near-year of Wrath of the Lich King, and start planning for what’s coming over the horizon…patch 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel, the last big raid before Blizzard blows the whole thing up with Cataclysm sometime next year.

Let’s talk about Lich King raids.  In the beginning, of course, there was Naxxramas.  Yeah, Blizzard grabbed Naxxramas out of the bottom of one of those bright blue plastic recycling bins and ran it through the crusher to reform it into Wrath of the Lich King’s first raid.  But Naxx in and of itself is, I think, a fairly well-designed raid instance.  You can tell it’s an old-world vanilla WoW raid because of the amount of trash inside…overall, though, they did a pretty good job freshening it up for level 80s.

The thing that shocked people upon starting to play around in Naxxramas was how fecking easy it was, by design.  Naxxramas was proof that Blizzard wanted to make raiding accessible to far more people in WotLK, and they succeeded.  Any raid group that wasn’t made up of people who ate lots of lead-based paint as a child could walk in there and clear two wings the very first night.  Get yourself a reasonable amount of heroic dungeon or ilevel 200 crafted gear, and lrn2play, and yes, you too could stand astride Naxxramas like a colossus.  We didn’t exactly dominate the entire place in one night when we started 25-mans in there, but it didn’t take us that long.  We went from a standing stop to dropping Kel’Thuzad in something like five weeks.  In BC, with largely the same cast of characters, we spent longer than that working on Lady Vashj in Serpentshrine Cavern alone.  We never did get Kael’thas down until the 3.0 patch went in, at which point we were able to roflstomp him.  After SSC and TK, Naxxramas was a Caribbean vacation, complete with college girls (or cabana boys, if you’d prefer).

Enter Ulduar.  Ulduar was a return–somewhat–to old-school raiding.  Unlike Naxxramas, Ulduar made you work, at least a little, for your rewards.  I wrote about this a few times back in April when The Anvil started on 25-man Ulduar.  It still wasn’t SSC or TK or Hyjal or Black Temple, and nowhere close to the oh-God-kill-me-now difficulty in Sunwell Plateau.  But compared to Naxx, it was challenging.

And Ulduar itself, I think, is Blizzard’s crowning achievement in raid instances, just barely displacing Karazhan from that spot.  It’s big, it feels grand and epic.  It’s pretty.  There’s enough trash to help you make your repair bills back, and the trash will bite you if you get lazy.  And the boss fights are varied and interesting.  There’s a vehicle fight that, unlike Malygos, doesn’t suck a bowling ball through a silly straw.  There’s fights that require offtanking, fights that require tank-switching, fights that require splitting your group, fights that require mobility, fights that are straight-up tank-and-spanks…and Yogg-Saron, which is up to fifteen minutes of pure craziness on crystal meth.  And with the introduction of “hard modes,” once you’d mastered the basic content, you could start ramping up the difficulty at your own pace and ability, in order to score achievements and some extra loot.  I’m not a big fan of hard modes in general because it feels like I’m only getting half the content I would be otherwise, but even I have to admit, in Ulduar, it worked.  We’ve been raiding Ulduar for seven months and we’ve only just now been able to get XT-002’s Heartbreaker, for example…and are still working on things like Freya +2, Thorim hardmode, or (oh God the pain) Mimiron’s Firefighter.

And then, we got patch 3.2.  And we got the Icecrown County Fair…uh, Trial of the Crusader.  In which Blizzard took all the good stuff about Ulduar and threw it right out the window into a passing garbage truck.

Now, I know that 3.2 was “filler” content between Ulduar in 3.1 and Icecrown Citadel in 3.3.  To ask for a Double Stuf Oreo’s worth of filling in between those two crunchy cookies, eh, that may be a bit much.  But ToC isn’t even a real Oreo.  It’s one of those crappy store-brand versions that’s got about 0.3 mm of godawful fake-vanilla stuff in between two stale soggy wafers.

Where to start.  Well, how about…it’s one room? That’s it.  One big round room.  It might as well be a Coke machine.  Right-click human dude to insert $1.25, machine dispenses refreshing beverage…uh, pissy magmataur, two huge-ass worms, and a yeti.  (Don’t stand in the yeti.)  What’s worse?  They recycled the same frigging room for the 5-man heroic dungeon.  Art fail.

But the real screwup isn’t how it looks, it’s how it plays.  When we finally headed into ToC for the first time, we dropped the first three encounters in about 2 1/2 hours.  That’s pretty good for a first time into a raid instance.  But here’s the trick–we got loot off those three encounters that absolutely peed all over the loot we were getting out of Ulduar at the time…where we were still working on difficult fights like Thorim and Vezax.

The fights in ToC aren’t difficult.  They’re stupidly easy for the rewards that you’re given.  They’re gimmick fights…learn the gimmick, and they’re yawners.  Only Faction Champions (the ultimate broken-ass faux-PvP nerdrage fight, now nerfed down to Faction Declawed Kittens) and Anub’arak will keep you awake in normal ToC.  Pretty soon, we were sharding two-thirds of the loot we picked up in Ulduar because our core group had already blown past that tier of stuff and were picking up ilevel 239/245 things out of 10- or 25-man ToC every week.

We cleared normal ToC after four weeks of work.  That’s right, kids, we cleared a Tier 9 instance faster than we did Naxxramas.  And all that time, we were scoring ilevel 245 loot and Tier 9 badges at a feverish pace.  This wasn’t just a vending machine, it was a stuck vending machine that kept dropping cold Cokes on our feet.  We can now walk into normal ToC and clear the whole thing out in less than an hour and fifteen minutes…and get around sixteen piece of ilevel 245 loot and 15 Badges of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.  Were it not for hard modes, we wouldn’t even be going to Ulduar any more.  And even when we do get the hard modes, it’s just to say we did it.  The rewards from them simply can’t compare to what we get sleepwalking our way through ToC.  Mudflation, much?

But ToC has one final kick in the nuts to deliver.  Switch it to heroic.

Our raid group could demolish ToC normal, no sweat.  Then we walked in there on heroic and got owned. As in, couldn’t get Gormok past 35%, forget the Twin Jormungar or Icehowl.  Gormok’s Impales were landing for 40k–that was 85% of my buffed health, in one shot–near the end of the fight.  Yes, I know, you’re supposed to use a rotation similar to what the tank gets on Mimiron’s Shock Blast–Hand of Something, Pain Suppression, Shield Wall, etc.  But I am not, to put it mildly, a fan of fights that basically come down to “if the priest lags for a half-second, and the RNG hates your dodge%, you’re dead and there’s damn all you can do about it.”  That issue aside, now this is the beat-your-face-in difficulty level I expect from a Tier 9 instance that can give me ilevel 245+ stuff.

The difficulty gap between Trial of the Crusader and Trial of the Grand Crusader is the size of the Grand Canyon.  And it’s not so much because ToGC is too hard, although I’ve got issues with some of the fight designs (see Gormok above).  It’s because ToC is way, way, waaaaaay too easy for the rewards you get.

It is horrific design all around, and even though I go every week and tank it or DPS it for The Anvil, I am most heartily sick of it.  I do my job so we can get out of there faster and get on to something else that is actually fun and challenging…be it Ulduar, be it Onyxia (which still rocks my socks off), be it even Trial of the Grand Oh God Not The Face.

This leaves us, as a raid, in a holding pattern, and the strain may be starting to show.  We’re doing ToC every week to gear up for Icecrown, but it’s not like we can try hardmodes on normal ToC a la Ulduar.  We grind through our 15 badges, and then we go to the familiar confines of Ulduar to work on hardmodes, which are still actually hard to us, or Onyxia.  Every so often we take another poke at ToGC to see if we’ve ramped up our DPS and strategy for Beasts, but I don’t know how much heart we’ve got in that right now…because that will be a long grind to power through, given how hard it is, and 3.3 draws ever closer.

You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to Icecrown Citadel.  Bring it on, Arthas, I’m waiting.

Get me a job at the State Department

"Ambassador" and "Crusader" simultaneously. On second thought, that might not work well nowadays.

This may not seem like much to people in the world of Wrath of the Lich King…after all, there are a ton of people running around with these achievements, given how easy cloth turnins and the Argent Tournament make it to gain rep with your home factions.

But you have to understand that Linedan is old-school, boyyyy…created in 2005, back in the day when quests in newbie areas gave a paltry 50 or 100 rep instad of the 250 or 350 they do now.  He wasn’t Revered with Thunder Bluff until level 70.  For most of his life, he’s had better rep with Orgrimmar than he has with Cairne and the boys.  In fact, I’ve played that into his whole “disowned” RP persona…had I been able to, Thunder Bluff would have been the last Exalted rep he got and the last Argent Champion he got.  Unfortunately, the Argents make you Champion for your hometown first before being able to do the others, and as the rep grinds worked out, he hit Exalted with Thunder Bluff not too long after he got it with Orgrimmar.  After that, it’s just been a matter of grinding out newbie quests in Tirisfal and Silvermoon, and doing Tournament dailies, which I have slogged through with the same joy and verve that I approach doing status reports at work.  Which is to say, not very much.

To give you an indication of how things have changed…Lin wasn’t Revered with Thunder Bluff until level 70.  Latisha, my human alt prot warrior who is now level 67, hit Exalted with Stormwind at level 42. Even with the +10% human rep bonus, that’s just crazy.

I’m not sure if I’m going to work this into RP with Linedan or not.  I haven’t quite decided if it’s time that the big guy got a last name again.  In the meantime, I feel a small glow of accomplishment…and then realize that the Argent Tournament rep grind is not over.  I’ve still got 4500 to go to get Exalted with the Sunreavers.  Oh God, more jousting. And it’s all champions this time.  Blaaaah.

And looming behind all of this is the Big Kahuna, the long-term achievement goal I have for him…Loremaster.  30 quests in Kalimdor, 120 quests in Eastern Kingdoms, and 20 quests in Icecrown are all that stand between me and that title.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s going to be one hell of a push to pull that off.

So awful, it was awesome

Everybody’s got pick-up group (“PUG”) horror stories.  If you’ve played WoW for any length of time, and grouped with total strangers to try and get a quest or instance or raid completed, you’ll quickly start building a list of tales of woe.  If nothing else, PUGs should make you feel much better about yourself, I think…after all, since you’re smart enough to be reading this fine blog, obviously you are a top-notch human being in general and WoW player in particular, and do not deserve to group with people so stupid that they have to put a sticky note on their monitor to remind themselves to breathe.

But even the best of us–and I–sometimes have to PUG.  And last night, I ran across a doozy.

I was on my hunter alt, and wanted to run the daily heroic, which was Gundrak.  Now Gundrak isn’t the easiest WotLK heroic out there, in my opinion.  Slad’ran (the poison snake boss) has wiped me more times than I care to think about; even with excellent players and a top healer in T7/T8 raid gear, his Poison Nova can throw out more damage than we can power through.  The Drakkari Colossus is a pain-in-the-ass pray-your-and-your-healer’s-latency-is-low movement fight.  Even Gal’darah, who’s pretty straightforward, will gib a strong tank if the tank has a brain fart and doesn’t get out of whirlwinds.  (Don’t ask me how I know this.  Please.)

But, against my better judgement, I joined the LFG queue for it anyway.  And a couple of minutes later, I got a whisper–“h gun?”

Let’s see.  No complete words, all lowercase, and this on an RP server.  I feel a winner of a run coming on.  Eh, toujours de l’audace, dude, what the hell…”Sure!”, I replied.  I immediately found myself in a group with the group leader (a boomchicken), a warlock, and a male human paladin–obviously the tank, since he had over 40,000 health–named…Hotbox.

Ohhhhh yeah.  The stench of quality is overpowering with this one.

I flew for Gundrak while the leader druid rustled up a healer (another druid), and the five of us headed inside.  I was immediately greeted with Blizzard’s lovely new feature…the “ZOMG are you sure you want to save to this instance??!?!?11?” dialog box.  Hmm.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Well, we were all a bit confused by this, but all of us accepted and thus saved ourselves to that heroic Gundrak instance.  And down the stairs we went toward Slad’ran’s area.

We got to the entrance, ate a Fish Feast, and the paladin “Hotbox” pulled.  Without warning.  Two groups.  Hoo boy.  A frenetic and confused fight ensued in which the warlock and tree died, but we got both the trash groups.  The resto druid popped (yay soulstones) and started rezzing the warlock…as the paladin pulled more trash without saying anything.  Ugh.  We four-manned the trash, got the warlock back in…and then the tree said, “no boss.”

We looked.  Slad’ran wasn’t in his alcove.  We walked over to the alcove and saw that the alcove bridge gizmo had been activated.  In fact, all the gizmos had been activated, the bridge to Gal’darah’s ramp was aligned, and had the trolls and rhinos in position.  That meant that Slad’ran, the Colossus, and Moorabi were all dead.

Now people started getting pissed.  The critchicken who had the “hat” denied vehemently that he’d been in Gundrak that day, as did the rest of us.  And yet somehow, we were looking at an instance where the trash was up, but the bosses weren’t, the worst possible combination.

So the rest of the party started jumping off the ledge into the water.  I was last because, of course, I had to dismiss my pet.  In that period of time, people started getting eaten by the fish.  A clusterfuck ensued, resulting eventually in us getting to the ramp with two more deaths, to which the group leader said, and I quote exactly, “lol.”


We formed back up, buffed, and fought our way up the ramp to Gal’darah’s area…

…and he wasn’t there.  His bodyguards and their rhinos were.  But he wasn’t.

The paladin pulled the rhinos (without saying anything) anyway, and nearly died because we were all too busy going “wtf?!?” in party chat, but we got them.  A ferocious argument ensued where the boomkin protested his innocence and swore he hadn’t been in Gundrak for at least a week.  Hotbox also said he hadn’t been in Gundrak for at least a week.  The other two said it had been longer than that, and I hadn’t had my dwarf in there for literally a couple of months.

So there our tale ends.  Hotbox (!) the male paladin, plus the other four of us, all hearthed our separate ways, probably to never see each other again except amidst the bustling crowds of Dalaran…or in the LFG tool someday, God forbid.  I had a pittance of silver and a locked instance with no way to score the two Triumph badges I wanted.  Either somebody was lying their ass off, or had gotten tricked, or we had a bugged instance.  And it was 25 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

I balmed my wounded soul by wandering off to the Pig and Whistle in Old Town Stormwind for four hours of the best RP I’ve had in many a month…culminating in a raid by the Stormwind Guard, two near-arrests, three strained marriages, a couple of damaged friendships, and one of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins telling another of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins to go fuck themselves, while the third of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins stood there and shook her head in disbelief.

What’s two Triumph badges in comparison to that?

Linedan takes a survey

I saw this courtesy of Tarsus over at Tanking for Dummies…this is a tank version of Miss Medicina’s healer survey, done up by Dammerung over at The Children of Wrath.  It’s long, but this is a really good set of questions.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Linedan, 80 Tauren warrior on Feathermoon-US (RP).  His spec is the old bog-standard 15/5/51 Impale/Deep Wounds cookie-cutter; supposedly 15/3/53 is the “new black” but I still have those two points in Cruelty, at least for now.  I expect I’ll end up going 15/3/53 at some point soon.  I also have Latisha, a 66 human prot warrior, also on Feathermoon…she has yet to actually tank anything, though.

What is your usual tanking environment?
25-man raiding–currently Trial of the Crusader and Ulduar, poking at some Ulduar hardmodes and ToGC–with The Anvil raid group on Feathermoon.  We have four tanks in our core group (me, another prot warrior, prot paladin, frost DK) and we raid two nights a week, so we have a set two-week rotation where each of us gets to fill in the role of MT, OT, swing OT/DPS, and DPS (or in my case, loldeeps) for a given night.  Prior to the rotation setup, I was almost always slotted as an offtank and MT’d only occasionally.

What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?
XT-002, Iron Council, and General Vezax.  They’re straight-up mano-a-mano brute-force tests of strength for the tank, and I like those.  Auriaya is fun with the precise interrupt timings and fears, and I like Anub’arak as well.

What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Faction Champions in ToC may kindly go die in a mother-humping fire immediately and never come back.  Nerfs or not, I positively despise that fight.  Keep your badly-executed bastardized faux-PvP out of my raids, Blizzard.  I also have a strong dislike for heroic Gormok, because it feels like survival in that fight is out of my hands…the RNG decides whether I avoid that 40k Impale or not and there’s damn all I can do about it except pray I anticipate it.

What do you think is the biggest strength of your class, and why?
I used to say single-target snap threat, but DKs can beat us on that, so I’ll say mobility.  Nobody is more mobile than a prot warrior.  Single-target threat is still our best tanking area, and we still may have the best two-second burst threat of any class, but overall, with Warbringer, we’re probably the most mobile class on any raid battlefield…ironic, considering we’re wearing the heaviest armor.  Also, all warriors automatically spec 5/5 Improved Badass and 3/3 Irresistable Sexeh, which are talents not available to any other tank class.

What do you think is the biggest weakness of your class, and why?
Three things–our DPS while tanking is weak compared to other classes, especially death nuggets.  Our AoE threat is weak compared to other classes, especially death nuggets.  And the Heroic Strike mechanic is effed-up beyond all recognition and forces us to repeatedly and rhythmically pound a button every 1.5-2 seconds for no bloody reason whatsoever in order to keep our threat near other classes…especially death nuggets.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best tanking assignment for you?
Anything except pure AOE tanking.  Personally I kind of fall down on constant-mobility fights like a Grobbulus or a Razorscale, but other than that, I can do any single-target job you need.  Main tank, pinning down adds, kiting, I can do it, and do it well.  The only thing that is really out of my realm is pure AOE tanking, like Freya flower trash or rubble on Kologarn.  That is the home of the paladin and the death nugget.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the most?
Any class, really, as long as the player knows how to use their abilities and we know how to complement each other.  We have no beartanks in our raid (sadly) so I have limited experience in working with one.  Warrior/paladin is a ferocious team that complement each other very well.  Warrior/death nugget can work very well together as well, especially if the DK is good at AOE tanking (as ours are).

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the least?
Stupid ones.  Stupid death nuggets are the absolute worst, just because the DK class has a lot of abilities that can make a tank’s life a living hell if they’re misused.

What is your worst habit as a tank?
I don’t Heroic Strike enough.  Yes, I’m the only guy in WoW who literally doesn’t hit “2” enough.  It’s easy to forget HS spam, but not hitting it enough gimps my damage and threat output, so I have to get better at it, or I think Kadomi will fly over from Europe and kick my ass.  On the flipside, I also tend to overuse Devastate–oddly enough, 3.2 made that less of a problem, since it hits so much harder now.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
Other tanks who won’t let me do my job, taunt off me, “help” me when I don’t need it. DPS who overburn on pulls and don’t let me get solid agro.  And, most of all, Army of the Dead.  Keep those taunt-happy little bastards away from my mobs.

Do you feel your class/spec is balanced with respect to the other tanking classes?
Generally, yeah.  I wish we did more DPS while tanking, and could do more DPS in prot spec while not tanking, but in general, I think we are reasonably well-balanced against druids and paladins.  Death nuggets, well…”they’re a hero class,” that’s what I keep hearing, anyway.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
My eyes, my ears, and my brain. I look at logs to an extent, and glance at Omen and Recount occasionally, but for the most part, I look back and think about what I did and what went right and wrong. I talk to our raid officers and the other tanks frequently, too.

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have with your tanking class?
There’s two–first, that we’re uber, just because we were uber in vanilla.  We’re not.  And second, that leveling a prot warrior is hard and painful.  In the post-3.0 world, it isn’t anymore.

What do you think is the toughest thing for new players of your class to learn about tanking?
The priority system that you have to use to maximize DPS and threat. Warriors are, as far as I can tell, far and away the most complicated and active of the four tank classes. We have a veritable metric assload of abilities that we use, and we don’t have a fixed rune rotation like DKs or a “969” setup like paladins.  We have to make split-second decisions based on what’s off cooldown and what’s lit up.  It’s not hard to learn, but it takes some work for it to become second nature.

If someone were to evaluate your tanking ability via tools like fraps, recount, and World of Logs, what tendencies would they notice?
I tend to faceroll a bit and spam keys instead of cleanly hitting my priority system, when I get stressed.  I don’t Heroic Strike enough.  Sometimes I stand in Bad(tm).  And when I’m DPSing, I tend to lose targets in all the flashy glittery glowy clutter of a 25-man fight.  Yes, I’m extremely critical of my own performance, can you tell?

Stamina or Avoidance, and why?
Avoidance is based on the random number generator, and the RNG will screw you sooner or later.  Health is always there for you.  (Besides, Lin’s a Tauren wearing plate armor…how can he have a near-30% dodge rating?  He’s humongous and weighs a squillion pounds.)  Stamina is your tried and true friend.

Which tanking class do you understand the least?
Paladins.  I’ve done beartanking back in BC, and I have a DK (though she’s blood DPS) so I sortakinda understand how they work, even if I don’t know the details of how they tank.  But I’ve never gotten a paladin past level 33, and that was ret.  I have no clue how fancybelves do what they do.

What addons or macros do you currently use to aid you in tanking?
Nothing too out of the ordinary.  The normal stuff, of course–threat meter (Omen), DPS meter (Recount), raid assist (oRA2), and boss mods (DBM).  I use ItemRack to switch gear sets quickly, and have recently started using the wonderful and versatile Satrina Buff Frames to replace Elkano’s Buff Bars.  I also use Bartender4 for bars, XPerl for unitframes, ChocolateBar and Data Broker addons for a top status bar, and the old warhorse, Scrolling Combat Text.  (I think it may be time for a Panzercow’s UI post very soon.)

Do you strive for a balance in tanking stats, or do you stack some higher than others, and why?
Stamina in general is my #1 priority–I’m down on health compared to our other three tanks because I’m slightly behind them in gear level, so that’s my biggest thing to catch up on.  Plus, Ulduar hardmodes and ToGC are the home of the “holy crap, how much did that thing just hit for?” fight (hi Gormok), and there’s no replacement for a huge health pool as long as I can still crank out enough threat to keep the mob on me.  Other than that, I try to maintain a balance, but don’t usually succeed.  Right now, Lin’s under the hit cap, near the expertise cap, heavy on defense, way heavy on dodge, and light on parry.  I keep an alternate set of gear that’s still crit-immune, but gives up stamina and some avoidance to load the hell out of shield block value…for those times where nothing else will do but an 11k Shield Slam across the face.

The Raid for the Cure

Every now and then, you run across something that reminds you that at its best, World of Warcraft is more than just an online game with 11+ million subscribers.  In its best moments, it becomes a community of friends who care about each other.

John “Big Bear Butt” Patricelli has one of those moments up over at Big Bear Butt Blogger now.  A member of his guild, Sidhe Devils on Kael’thas-US (one of the more active guilds in the WoW blogosphere), has been diagnosed with breast cancer, so the Devils have decided to do a little more than just mere moral support.  Go check it out:  World of Warcraft Raid for the Cure!