Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stupid DPS Tricks

Something I noticed repeatedly tanking Forge of Souls for my 22 slot bag and DPS trinket, DPS like to hit stuff the tank isn't. What are they thinking?

Being a bear I don't have the fancy silence abilities the other tanks do so if there is a caster its is staying where it is unless someone else takes pity on my running around and silences it for me. So this means that on a lot of the pulls in Forge of Souls I make a skull beat it in the head, run around to get a little threat on everything else (mainly to make sure the healer doesn't aggro them) then settle back down with skull and whatever other mobs cared to join me.

I then have my feral faerie fire cooldown to use to keep moderate threat on anything not in my swipe range. More than enough to keep the healer safe and surprisingly often enough to keep aggro from brain-dead DPS. All I have to say to those DPS is hit the gorram skull and try to pick a target the tank is actively tanking otherwise.

I've got a much bigger beef with healers though, for example a aggro whore mage who took over 34% of the heals in a heroic and yet somehow the healer sought fit to keep healing them. Perhaps I've grown a bit bitter over time, or perhaps I am just more pragmatic, after all the less I get hit as a tank the lower my repair bill. In any case if there is a DPS that sees fit to pull before I do, or constantly pulls aggro on unmarked mobs despite having a skull marked for just that reason, then I am going to let them die. Scratch that, I am going to go out of my way to get them killed so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. It actually makes tanking more interesting/fun.

The number of healers that would go along with my evil plan are few and far between and in fact the only healers I know that would let someone die for those reasons are also tanks. Coincidence? I think not. For the most part healers will heal everyone equally without bias. How boring.

Reduce Your Lag Time 100ms

Perhaps even more depending on how slow your fingers are. ;)

I was recently made aware after over a year of pressing buttons that your spells aren't actually cast until you let the key go. This means that when you go to cast a spell quick to interrupt something or stop someone from dying with a heal there is an extra delay in the time it takes for your finger to not only hit the button, but to lift back up as well.

I only found out about this after I stumbled across an add-on to fix it, SnowfallKeyPress. Of course I didn't believe it as first, but I tried it and sure enough my spells were cast when I let go so I installed the add-on and sure enough they cast right away.

After trying the add-on out in a few instances and raids it was immediately apparent to me that my timing was a little off from what I was used to. Most noticeably was when I was healing I was often healing the wrong person because my heal went off before I had switched targets. I had never noticed how good I had gotten at synchronizing my target switching with my heals. That passed pretty quickly once I got used to the new rhythm.

The second thing I noticed, which is actually beneficial this time, is that I find myself able to interrupt much more reliably. Short cast times or catching an interrupt just as it comes off of cooldown, much easier now. This is why I will be keeping this add-on around.

When I started looking into this it appears many popular add-ons provide similar functionality of their own; so if you use an action bar replacement add-on or something like clique then this add-on might not do anything that isn't already being done.

Friday, May 21, 2010

True Evil

There are plenty of times where people can be inconsiderate, selfish or mean, but once in a while you come across someone purely evil. The type of person that should be locked away from society or squished under a large rock.

I've just started leveling my mage with a friend in outlands starting with hellfire peninsula. We both grabbed the one PVP quest to cap the three bases in the middle and figured we'd do it when we happened to go by.

Well we tried one night and a level 80 priest was there waiting to kill us low-level types. We go down in one or two hits. Corpse run back and my friend gets away, I don't. I can totally understand and forgive someone attacking a flagged player in a PVP location without looking at their level, once. If you go out of your way to kill them a second time knowing you won't get anything out of it then you are just a jerk. It was late and we gave up for the evening.

The next time we go and cap the first one only to be steamrolled seconds later by a hunter and paladin who then proceed to camp our corpses. I was about to give up when I decided to flip to my main, get some help and trounce the punks. We did.

Capped the other two without any competition and headed back to honor hold to turn in our quest. This is when asshattery turns to evil and the paladin, Renderence of Perenolde, swoops in on a flying mount and decided to one shot our low-level alts in town.

Funny how he didn't want to attack our mains of his own level, but had no problem attacking characters over 15 levels lower.

It is one thing to attack someone in a PVP area who is flagged, no matter the level or reason, since if they are in the area and flagged they are sort of consenting to be killed. Even still it isn't nice to gank lower level toons.

A line gets crossed though when you follow someone obviously no longer interested in PVP and ambush them. In a grossly unfair fight no less where you have no chance of losing.

These types of people go to a special hell with toy trains and mohawk grenades.

Another Dream

It started out going to work, but I got to pull into the loading dock which appeared as a garage rather than the parking lot. It was Thanksgiving and I was offered three platters of goodies to take home.

I was also asked to watch a coworker's mice for a day sometime in the future. This surprised me even in the dream, but I still agreed.

When I go to leave I open the garage door to find that just outside there is a lot of junk piled up, old bicycles and stuff. It had obviously been there for a while and somehow I had gotten into the garage anyway.

It didn't seem to matter because I got out again in whatever mysterious way I got in and found myself next in my parent's back yard in a red canoe with my mother and grandfather after I had unloaded my goodies.

I took out a small packet of tiny Oreos (like quarter inch diameter tiny) and opened them. They were vanilla on one side and chocolate on the other with white frosting in between. I offered then to my mom then had some myself.

Looking around I notice the terrain is quite different from reality and about half the backyard is flooded. The water was perfectly calm where we were which would usually be a hill.

It was probably no coincidence that things started to move soon after I noticed that. From the treeline on the back edge of the yard a tall grey dead tree floated upright towards us narrowly missing the boat. The tree was missing all but the very stubs of its branches.

A second dead tree floated out and that one bumps the end of the canoe sending us speeding down the hill where we stop in calm water again at the bottom.

At this point I am made aware that we are trying not to get wet for some reason and the canoe, now made of raw rough wood, has a hole in it. My mother and I climb out to shore without getting wet to try to find something to patch the hole inside.

After getting back up the hill we turn around to find my grandfather sitting on the patio at the bottom of the hill in front of a slider door out from the basement, he was all wet and told us he was going to sit there to dry out.

Next we go through the house and down to the basement to go out to the patio. A pterodactyl swoops down and grabs something off the patio and flys off. I then notice a pair of babies which are covered in bright red fluffy down with white spots. We go out to bring my grandfather inside and they come at us nipping and pushing. They seem rather strong for their size. The dog get out in the process and goes after one. I get the dog back in and go back out to help trying to keep one that followed me from getting in.

Then I wake up to my alarm clock.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Something to Remember Me By

PVP is all about the dying and everyone and anyone will die at some point. In an ideal PVP world all things being equal everyone would lose half the time and win the other half.

Once you come to terms with your own fleeting mortality you can come to appreciate sharing a little something with whomever got that killing blow.

For starters I like to share a faerie fire with rogues and other druids. Rogues have to burn a cooldown if they want to stealth, but druids are out of luck until it wears off. Nothing annoys a stealthy player more than not being able too.

The next step up, once you have the resilience to survive long enough to pull it off, is to leave your enemy with a 5 combo point rip. Which brings me to a story about why druids and paladins should avoid each other in 1 on 1 combat.

I was nearing the end of an Arathi Basin and things were not looking good. I stealthed up to the lumber mill and found a single paladin guarding the flag, but standing just inside the building pacing and jumping.

I still needed to assault a flag with my orphan so I took a chance hoping they would not attack and would of been more than happy to retake the flag right after I was done. They attacked instead.

It was quite the fight, each of us burning pretty much every cooldown we had over the course of the fight, some of them more than once if they had cooldowns under 3 minutes. Each of us had killed each other three times over when we both ran out of tricks.

I went down in a last stitch effort to heal myself before getting a hammer of wrath to the head (which was followed by one of those nasty instant exorcisms), but I still still had a full power rip ticking away which took that paladin out seconds later while spamming flash of light. It was a laugh out loud moment.

Alliance lost that battleground before I even got the chance to rez and I requeued for another random battleground and got Isle of Conquest. Usually I run up and fight at the workshop then fall back and defend the keep, but this time I listened to some yahoo that told a couple groups to take the hangar. It sounded like a nice change of pace so I went with it.

I met that same paladin up at the top as they ran in to attack, I pounced on them like white on rice and they just bubbled and jumped off the edge. :(

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

School of Hard Knocks

I thought this achievement would be much worse than it was, but it turns out horde hate it just as much as the alliance and vice versa. What this means is that it is more than likely that some sort of mutually beneficial if only temporary truce will be present at the start of 3 of the 4 battlegrounds.

Eye of the Storm is a free for all against not only the opposing faction, but your own as well so everyone is on their own there if they didn't bring their own help.

So in the spirit of cooperation here are the rules of engagement I discovered doing this achievement yesterday evening. First for returning a flag in Warsong Gulch, let the opposing team take your flag unopposed as they may be trying to help and drop it right away, if they leave the room with the flag (or try) then they should be eliminated. Also if the opposing faction comes in too great of numbers all bets are off and assume the worst. Once the flag is dropped everyone should be nice about taking turns returning it and if you have already done it run over to the other side and extend the same courtesy to the other side. Keep in mind that not everyone knows to right click the flag buff to drop it and some players will be using an ability such as stealth or feign death to drop a flag, so don't beat on them if they don't drop it immediately.

Once everyone has returned a flag that needed to, or enough people get restless the truce ends and the battleground proceeds "normally". I noticed even though we were still competing for a win that there was still a cease fire when players weren't fighting over a flag. You could still walk around freely in the opposing faction base without being attacked so long as you minded your manners.

Next up is capping a tower in Alterac Valley. There is going to be a race among your own faction to run to a tower and cap it before everyone else. This is a little annoying as it is very easy to fall off a spiral staircase when you are in a hurry. No worries here though, the opposing faction will likely come and help you out. Like Warsong Gulch allow the opposing faction to retake the tower freely so long as your faction overwhelms the horde force so that if a fight did break out you would surely win (even those with good intentions can change their mind when odds are in their favor). Once the flag reappears again everyone takes turns capping it until everyone is done. This is going to happen at towers closer to the middle and those who have already done it or aren't interested will head to the ends to down the bosses. Once you are finished it would be nice to head back to your own towers and help the opposing faction in the same way.

This truce really only applies to the central towers and also somewhat to the roads (again in the central portion of the map) as single runners could be going to help. The far south and north are business as usual and by usual I mean a partial turtle as both sides should probably have a few defending their bosses to make sure they don't lose while all this good will is taking place in the middle of the map.

The last "easy" one is assaulting a flag in Arathi Basin. The battle starts off with your own faction racing to assault the flags first, then for a time the battle is the same as any other Arathi Basin until the flags are captured. At this point the truce begins, allow the opposing faction to approach and assault your flag so long as they do not come in a large number to overwhelm the group you are guarding the flag with. The opposing faction gets credit for assaulting your flag and it is immediately defended by someone clicking on it again. At the same time if you need to assault a flag you walk up to an enemy controlled flag and assault it without attacking anyone. If you are attacked then try another flag. There will be some players that will just try to be mean, but it's really no skin off their nose since the flag is only lost for a second or two and hardly effects the outcome of the battleground.

This truce will likely last the entire duration of the battleground, so long as you walk up to an enemy flag in a non-threatening manner you probably won't be attacked.

The last one is capturing a flag in Eye of the Storm and this is totally going to be a grind. Both your faction and the opposing faction, 30 players in all likely want to grab that flag and return it to their base. The center of the map around the flag spawn is going to be brutal and maybe half a dozen people will actually get to do it any given battleground if they are lucky. It is possible that a battleground could end without anyone capturing a flag.

In this case I left it up to Karma, I tried my best to grab the flag and when the opposing faction was trying to grab the flag I fought them off rather than try to grab the flag myself. I got lucky and the third flag spawn in my second Eye of the Storm I got it and capped it.

My next step would of been to recruit some help to fend off the opposing faction (and possibly my own in the form of a pally bubble canceling the flag pick-up cast).

Good luck out there! When it feels hopeless keep in mind that the other side is just as frustrated and possibly annoyed as you are and will probably try and help you out for a favor in return if given the chance.