13 April 2012

postcards from less than paradise

 the portal to Firelands - Sulfuron Spire, Mount Hyjal
 Lost City of the Tol'vir - Uldum
 Pillar of Stone in Deepholm - Therazane's Throne
City in the sky - Spectacular at night!
Vortex Pinnacle, Uldum

or paradise lost? Julienne is bewitched, bemused and sometimes befuddled... and enjoying every moment as a tank.


so I had a wonderfully painful and humbling experience last night about which I'd like to first vent and then settle myself... if possible.

First Cata Heroic dungeon?

Lets back up.

We have a mystery guy in the guild. He's also sort of a pester. I'm pretty sure he doesn't MEAN to be and he still really omg wtf man settle down is a pester! I'm trying to be there for him and appreciate his really extravagant gifts (2 bars of truegold?! 150 volatile earth?!)

Well, after hours of trying to get us to run something, a pair of us from the guild join group and decide to smoke before we go... then it's just all in and go go go.

So he starts the Thrall quest chain that outs the Twilight Hammer, sends Thrall into a terrifying and really informative struggle for his life and sends US into saving him, one adventure after another, with his mate, Aggra. This is a phased chain, difficult to achieve the first time out without researching it along the way... and is LONG. He couldn't have known this or that this was the same quest chain he was kinda pestery while I was doing it... So we wait an hour.

And then when we FINALLY hit the button - my first Cata Heroic Dungeon ISSSSS... 2 bosses already done in Shadowfang Keep.


Wipe on first boss (to me... he is actually the THIRD boss in the dungeon) because hunter crits boss before I can land the leap on him and he spins his breath of doom on the heals while the adds eat everyone NOT on the dais where I was.

Red Light/Green Light boss is the cake walk he should be.

Hunter is challenging at EVERY pull and I'm fighting him, even with vigilance cast on him. He's a friend, he's beasting DPS and I just don't understand why when he could hold his DPS some and make it less frustrating... sigh. More on that later.

Last boss. Screwy pull and really cake mechanics once you've seen them.

FIVE WIPES LATER and the fucking heals got off 9k in heals in the whole fight before I was dead. I self-healed for THREE TIMES THAT AMOUNT OMG... really?

Now, I've been told since then that the issue is in part that paladins and priests cannot remove the curse that the boss is spewing like plague all over the room. Ok. So I should have told the mage to remove it. Still... 9k in heals in a heroic fight? Alex could have come up with 9k heals in fucking Scarlet Monestary, and DID! AT LEVEL! ON A PALLY! lol

I dropped and went to bed feeling really beaten up even though J explained that it wasn't my fault. Players who know their REAL place in a run wouldn't be trying to make the warrior quit tanking so they could change from healing to tanking and wouldn't be beasting threat on a new tank without ever diverting their threat to the tank like my friend the hunter did.

So this morning Matthew (Hornztheman) took me on a quick run of a heroic dungeon. A "real first" one when my mind was fresh and the day was bright and sunny and we were the only two who knew eachother.


I died. I did it to myself twice and had a really bad bit of luck on another one that I can blame myself for only if I want to be brutal. I died in the boss fight with the reaper because I put myself between a wall and the boss when he picked me to kill and my leap was on cooldown and no one else had aggro in intervene range. He was SO close to dead that they downed him. A wipe was not had.

(I do have to say KUDOS TO HORNZ who picked him up with the little reaper unit AND kept the ads from coming up the stairs. Have I said before how epic and elite and sexy Matthew is? I should do it more often.)

The other two times were in the nightmare phase of the last boss fight. Fire burns. Did you know this? I thought I did, too... apparently I needed to prove it to myself one more time. Then I didn't navigate the lightning bars well... oh well. My bad. This is a player vs. mechanic issue, not a tanking one and so... oh well, right?

Julienne now has a dungeon achievement that Allumette never managed to get... by any name.

SO much better it was like night and day.

Thank you, Hornz for being epic awesome eliteness that shares itself and is warm and sunny and helpful and funny. I love you.

Now it's later.

I think I know why my friends in my guild are so hard to play with and it's mean and I have to be really careful. There's a broadly believed and pretty clearly upheld misconception in Underground Connection that warrior tanks can't hold threat.

I know, right?

This is so prevalent that I believe they all just assume it's not going to happen and open right up without thought or consideration to managing their own threat mitigation. (They DO have experience and history to uphold this misconception, so... what can you really say without risking offense or unintended critique?)

Another thing I've found so widely spread that I can't even hold Underground Connection accountable to it alone is that no one knows exactly what their place IS... so I'mma put it here and you can love me or hate me. Agree or disagree or take the high road and just agree to disagree without argument... it's up to you and I'm not changing my mind regardless. (To quote Hornz, do what makes you happy.)

This individual will make strategy decisions and will also make placement and movement decisions, often on the fly, so get over yourself Mr. Resident Expert... follow the tank or die. He's the one taking the damage and paying extraordinarily high repair costs for your pleasure.

Not all raid leaders are tanks. The majority of tanks are raid leaders for a reason.

I don't really care how you used to do it... how you saw it done in a video once or anything else. If the tank says to do it a way, DO IT and do it WELL. Exceptions and suggestions are for the moments AFTER the wipe and AFTER you double check your OWN performance and it is solicited by the raid leader. Until then, shut up and do your job.

These shiny sexy fluffy and lovely members of the party are so helpful and adored that they believe that they are necessary. They absolutely are not.

The 6-18 DPS players represent the biggest problem in any raid, from where they stand or how aware of the ground they are WHEN they stand somewhere... too damned many different personalities and skill sets to manage and maintain a balancing act over... yeah. I sure did say it. I meant it, too.

DPS create more trouble than they're really worth. And we love them. We beg them to join us. We do this because we are lazy, not because we actually NEED them.

Do not be confused. A fight without DPS is long... it can still be completed on any fight without an enrage timer, and on some fights WITH them. Those in charge just enjoy the raid better when it goes faster.

DPS is NOT in charge. DPS does NOT make movement or placement decisions. DPS does NOT tell the tank where to be or what to kill. DPS does not make the pull. DPS does not tell the tank WHEN to make the pull. DPS does not work to achieve higher threat than the tank. DPS does not need to watch the performance of other raid members and is not responsible for critiquing the healing, tanking or the DPS of other raid members.

DPS is there to do their job. Period.

Know your ROLE. Know your CLASS. Know your WHOLE TREE AND SPELL BOOK. Know your race and how it affects your class. Know yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to be creative and innovative in it. Watch your threat. I don't give a fuck if you can do 100K DPS unbuffed, if you pull the boss then you're tanking it you dumb fucker... what's your dodge? Parry? Block? yeah... IT IS YOUR job to mitigate your threat, not the tank's job to out-threat your dumb ass. Do yourself a favor and shut recount and turn on your threat meters in the game instead, showoff.

Mages/Warlocks/Priests are squishy and incapable of controlling their threat? BULLSHIT

I know a guy who tanked one of the bosses in the Blood Council in ICC on a mage every time they went in there to do the fight. Laleigha didn't have threat in OTHER fights, baby... she sure could BEAST IT UNTIL IT COULDN'T BE STOLEN BACK in that one fight, though.

Warriors can't hold threat?

Be careful not to say that to the elite tanks in the EU servers who regularly take world first achievements, most of them wont go anywhere without at least 1 warrior tank... usually a pair of them after finding that pallys, death knights and druids just have so many things to overcome that they are less effective choices.

Whatever you do please DO tell that to Chaosidy on Cenarius. He'll tank his sexy little red-haired girl's ass right into your shit and teach you a thing or ten about respect and authority by being so good at it that you can't even "accident" him into a loss of control over a group of mobs that regularly reset aggro.

Regardless your preference, the truth is that tanks are all relatively balanced and are all equally effective and ineffective in given circumstances. Warriors are a plug and play tank with some serious deficits compared to the other tanks when it comes to AOE threat and long-range taunts. These are easily overcome. I'm quite happy to keep my shield in trade for death grip, for instance... and while lay on hands is a sexy treat, I can regenerate health in big ugly pulls without needing to ping myself once for a real lot.

The tank just can't hold threat! I have things all over me!

I find that funny because I have a fury warrior who can beast 25k DPS standing still in melee range of the whole group of mobs on a new tank in lesser gear and who isn't sure of his rotation and not ever pull aggro. I can also use my rotation straight out of the gate and go down like a pretty red carpet in less time than it takes to complain that I seem to be getting aggro for some reason in vent.

See, the difference is in knowing your class, your role, and how to manage your threat. Does that make me uber L33t? Nope. Just apparently better than 99% of the fucktards and asshats in LFG and LFR.

Know your damned class, show up and beast the DPS without pulling threat. We pay you well*, we treat you like Gods... pay us back by doing what you're being brought in for.

Without a healer or five you're gonna die. PERIOD.

Let them preen. Let them be the whiniest prima donna in the world. Treat them well. Gift them with drinks and foods and praise. Thank them twice and always remember the please and thank you like a good child.

In the end you're not getting there without them and they have a lot on their minds all the time, so quitcher bittchin'.

If the healer tells the tank that something looks hard going, ASK WHY. If a healer tells you to pay closer attention or that you're taking too much damage, LISTEN TO THEM!

This role is going to make sure that no one dies. They are often going to do this at the cost of their own lives. This is why I always assign a healer in another group to the healer in your group so that it's like a round robin of having each other's backs. That shammy that let you die? Did you notice they died before you did? NO? I didn't think so. You were too busy not paying attention. That's because they didn't heal themselves, they forgot because you were standing in shit and sucking heals like a bastard.

Ok... so rant and rave and lecture done... lol

The fact is that in a strong raid group there are exceptional leaders in all of the roles. The best raid leaders recognize this. Lousy ones may not ever ask or get an opportunity to find out because those awesome leaders are now leading their OWN runs somewhere else.

When everyone comes to the table ready to play hard and go deep for what they want it becomes quickly apparent who is a deficit and who is there to win it.

Only the unethical and lousy player ever shows 
up without bringing his best to every fight. 
Especially when it's "below" his level.

Peace, and if not peaceful then spell it out and make THEM do the math.


*how many dps classes are there with how many pieces of gear to drop for them in every run I do? whether you do 10 dps or 100k dps you'll still get the reward and it's a random roll generator so your shot is as good as anyone else's if you get the loots...

Julienne is Tanking...

There's No Place Like Home... There's No Place Like Home
pretty tank girl in mogged gear hearths home to Stormwind for a quick bank run

Mr. Robot has some suggestions... and this gear is so low I might keep upgrading first.

Officially the first Julienne* is now and forever Allumette**, a graduation of a sort to make room for her next incarnation.

Julienne is a level 85 Protection warrior who has a dual spec in Arms that has not been touched or looked at since she was level 69 and the decision was made to stop screwing around and being a chicken and just get to tanking already.

At that time I sold every piece of DPS gear that Julienne had and I commissioned a full set of level 70 tanking gear from a guildmate and have not looked back. I have farmed the mats for and commissioned DPS plate for Purisdreams and have farmed for and commissioned tanking plate for Erijan (formerly known as Holle.) I have farmed and commissioned designer plate for Allumette and Erijan. And I have even farmed and commissioned a full set of PVP starter plate for Allumette who is farming the purple dragon in this year's Children's Week event because for three years that has been all that has stood in her way.

Julienne's first foray into heroic Cata tanking was a cluster.

I was so frustrated that I dropped group and gave up after 5 wipes on the last boss. In that fight the heals managed to get 9,000 points of heals on me... a tank with over 125,000 health. Hornz suggests that this is because the pally wanted to tank the fight and was setting me up. Chaos pointed out that paladins and priests can't remove the curse being put on the party and so he was perhaps giving up and not just being a shit. So, my bad. I should have asked Oopise to remove the curse. I was still peeved and exhausted from constantly fighting the hunter for aggro and felt like I was somehow letting myself and the rest of the group down.

And so this morning Hornz kidnapped Jules and we queued and I picked up DEADMINES omg!

And I died 3 times. Two of them ENTIRELY my own fault and one of them just a really bad set of circumstances where I was stuck between a raging reaper and a wall when he picked me as his favorite new toy. It flowed smoothly and evenly and Julienne now has an achievement that even Allumette never got because some time in the past year some concepts of the fights in that dungeon gelled in my mind and suddenly came to me as inspirational successes as I went through.

I DID kill me 2 times in the gauntlet in the nightmare dream because I misgauged the fire on the forge ramp and totally misjudged the lighting rods in the hall... but... those are PLAYER issues, not tanking issues and next time I know what I'll do instead.

All things considered, the challenge will be holding aggro against the guild when I tell them to have at me.

And still... there's no place like home. :) Level 25 guild in a place where all but the last raid is open to being joined by all of my friends on very many servers... and they're fun awesome peeps.

Julienne is happy here.

So is Allumette.

* Julienne was a lucky break when I chose it years ago.

For those of you who do not know, I had decided I wanted to dual wield weapons and was looking for a girl name that had a dual meaning. I've previously always used action words for my characters in the old fashioned dice sorts of role playing games, and liked the theme if not the overall effect. You can't always be Flee or Dice... you know?

1. it wasn't taken
2. it's a real girl name
3. it is a cooking term meaning to uniformly cut into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch strips... ie: julienned potatoes are best known as McDonald's french fries.

A perfect fit for a girl who ended up wielding 2 2handed weapons the size of her own body, really... and perfect to let that girl graduate up to allumette and bring up a new girl using 1 weapon and a shield to achieve the same level of success.

** Allumette is literally a graduation of Julienne... not really a girl name, as such... it is still workable in a world with people named for household items and food dishes, so... lol.

To allumette is to uniformly cut into 1/16 inch by 1/16 inch strips... roughly the size of a kitchen matchstick... when done to flat leafy items it's called a chifonade, if you cared to know.