Sunday, December 28

Good PuG, Bad PuG, Ugly PuG

I hope everyone had a great Winter's Veil! I'm all holiday'd out, at the moment. While I should be writing stuff I should be writing (and there's so much to write about!), I'm gonna ramble about PuGs, people and random pictures again because... well, as I've said before... I can. :D

Some guildies needed UK regular, so I agreed to tank it. I've been respec'ing Prot mostly on the weekends, cause instances are easier to get into and, well, it's loads of fun. So it was a Holy Pally to heal, a Frost Mage and me. We had to pick up two dps. We ended up with another Prot Warrior and one of those Blood DKs. Not perfect, but the Frost Mage, DK and I were well above level and outfits for the dungeon, and it's a quickie anyhow.

We get in there and there's an unspoken contest between me and the other Prot Warrior for control.

Moral #1 - two of the same class/spec in an instance is not a Good Thing.

I was designated tank, but he "off tanked" most of the time, instead of DPSing the kill order. This actually worked well on the Skarvald fight. I tanked Dalron with our mage dps'ing and he tanked Skarvald with the DK dps'ing. Healer in the middle. This could be a tricky fight (I don't think it's designed to be as tricky as it could be), but it's pretty straight foward regardless of the group. Mostly you can just burn 'em down.

We mowed down the instance quick, maybe 35 minutes. Then trouble hit on Ingvar. Now, Ingie is not a tough boss. He's got a couple of tricks that hit really hard, but if you tank him out of the way and dps him in the butt, he's no problem. This group just couldn't get it together, though. Couldn't get the melee dps to move and they kept getting caught in the Smash or the Axe attack. Tank boy would taunt at absolutely the worst possible moment and heals and the mage would get hit with his shout and silenced. It was a mess. After three wipes and it's 2AM, we called it a night. That was embassassing because it was the first fail I've had in Northrend. And in regular UK no less! I mean, I expect it when we get to heroics, but wiping that hard on the starter dungeon??? Ouch.

Moral #2 - Class/spec composition isn't nearly as important in Wrath as it was in TBC... but everyone doing thier job and paying attention is Very Much still important.

So the next night, with the guildies still needing the run for the final quest, we try it again. This time we pick up a Elemental Shammy and a Kitty Druid. I think we blew through it even faster. This group wasn't nearly as strong as far as raw power goes, but it was way more... hmmm... professional? Everyone understood that, as much of a PITA is might be, marking and attacking together is important. Letting the tank take those hits and tearing down the mobs in order actually helps the tank take less damage, which mean the healer can keep everyone up longer. And so on... There was no "could you please..." or "hey, maybe you should..." Everyone knew what to do even though no one said anything. Ingvar goes down nice and neat. They turn in their quests. Done. No need to come back until Heroics start. Yeah! (Cause I'm sick of the dungeon now... even if it is fun.)

Moral #3 - Raw power does not equal easy or quick.

In fact, most times in Wrath, it's irrelevant. Wrath really has gone a step further in making fun, skilled play more important than pure "Look At All the Stuff I Have" power. Don't get me wrong, I still like all the stuff. My tank set is freakin' hot! (My dps set is horribly ugly. gak!) But playing your toon is now way more important than an extra percent or two of any given stat.

In example run number one, the DK was doing insane DPS. But he kept taking those Smash hits. A dead DK doesn't do anyone any good. In the second example, all three DPS were solid and right on time. It was consistant and didn't take the place of what else was needed. If we needed a totem, Shammy popped a totem. If we were taking AoE damage, Kitty went to Bear. If we needed cc, Mage did that funny penguin thing. Damn the DPS, do what's right for the situation.

Moral #4 - Raw DPS doesn't matter if you're dead.

For the fun one... The Black Temple! Woo hoo! Just doing a daily in Northrend and I get a whisper "Wanna do BT?" And I'm think... um... sure. Blah, blah, blah, you know how PuG raids go, an hour and twenty-two billion "can I get a summons" later... we're all gathered outside the sewer and ready to roll. So in we go, and someone yells go, and you can imagine/already know what happens next. The raid rez's and someone starts actually organizing things.

Basically, we wiped on trash repeatedly and only got in sight of Najentus. Never touched him. I did get to off-tank as Arms and, when I had a healer, it worked perfectly. No trouble at all. Course it was a lot of fun and, after the 5th or 6th wipe everyone started to relax and just enjoy it as a social gathering.... er... with big deadly monsters. Ah well. And naturally, when the repair bills started getting a bit high, it fell apart.

Moral #5 - PuG raids are not ready for BT yet. Nope. No way. :)

As ugly as it was, though, it was still a good place to meet new people and interact. My group (group 3) reformed after the breakup and we hit Violet Hold for a bit. I'm not terribly familar with all the boss fights that can occur in there, so it was a nice run. I got to DPS, a DK tanked, we had a Holy Priest, a BM Hunter, and a Rogue. Everyone had a good time. I love the Xevozz fight. And I added 4 more people to my friends list. No loot, but seems to me I came out of both the raid and the dungeon better off.

Moral #6 - A good PuG is the one where you take out more than just loot.

Happy Adventures!


Sunday, December 7

Protection for Arms Warriors

Being Prot has been fantastic. It's like being the Belle of the Ball. Everybody wants you. :D

No, I'm still very much an Arms Warrior. I'm always gonna be an Arms Warrior. But I really like switching roles a lot better now... way better than in TBC. I'm gonna share the experience from an Arms Warrior point of view. There are plenty of starter tank guides out there, and MUCH better Warrior tanks to learn from, so the focus here is on the Arms Warrior who specs Prot from time-to-time, gets called to tank in their Arms spec occasionally, and any Warrior who hasn't spent a lot of time in the tank roll. As usual, I'm also writing from a more "casual" player's view.

Which means I'm gonna ramble a lot, so hang on... :P

The Go To Guy/Girl

So, I'm in a UK PuG and the group leader is a Rogue. The whole party consists of me (Prot Warrior), a Death Knight, two Rogues, and a Holy Priest. All melee DPS. The lead Rogue just starts marking targets and sap'ing right from the start. The Priest is giving directions since she's the only one that's run it before. Not much for me to do except gather mobs and hold 'em still while the DPS chops 'em up. Easy enough. By the end of the run, though, I'm calling the shots, deciding how to approach the bosses, tanking without cc (yes, those doggies can see you my little Rogue friends) and so on. I didn't ask to be in charge. It just kinda happens when you're the tank.

So the first thing an Arms Warrior has to get used to when tanking is being the leader. Not just the center of focus. Grabbing and holding aggro is LOT different than being focused on a battlefield. Getting attacked from all sides and killing everything around you is not the same as controlling the situation. That's exactly what a tank does. The tank has to do everything they can to control what's going on around them. And when it goes to wtf hell (and it will), you have to get control back quickly. It's an entirely different set of skills. As an Arms Warrior you survive and kill and thrive in unpredictability and chaos. As a tank you control.

What will help you tremendously in this situation is your awareness. Arms Warriors have a lot of practice keeping track of enemies (mobs or other players) and tuning into what party members are doing. They have to if they want to stay alive. While the technical skill set you use when tanking is considerably different, your ability to stay on top of what's going on around you should already be built in. It's probably the single most important skill a tank can have, so if you've been Arms for awhile, you're way ahead.


This first thing you have to be aware of is threat. You DPS. Well, now you TPS. That's Threat Per Second. You need to ooze threat.

This is actually an easy switch if you've ever DPS'd a boss fight. Where before you had to work constantly to NOT pull aggro, now you can cut loose. So, forget what you know. You don't need to ramp up your damage slowly in a dungeon. You don't need to hold back your cool downs. Unload right from the start. Now you can't have enough threat.

What's nice, from the Arms perspective, is that you should already know the difference between holding aggro and pulling aggro. (And if you don't, shame on you... LEARNIT DERNIT!) As DPS you have to watch your threat so you don't pull aggro off your tank. As the tank, you WANT to pull aggro off another player. In fact, if you don't, people will be very, very, very upset with you. Yes, even if it's their fault. But since you're Arms, you should be able to know when it is your fault and when it's not. (ie. ranged dps targeting the wrong mob in the kill order vs. you missing that Devastate on the third mob from the left.) Knowing this will make you a better tank.

Be Prepared

As pointed out, if you're gonna tank, people are gonna expect you to lead. So I made a checklist. It may seem obvious, but now you're not doing this just for yourself, you've gotta make sure the whole party is on board and on the same page. (Stayed tune, more mixed metaphore recipes coming soon.)

For example, while in Nexus, the PuG I was running with was doing great. Mowing down trash easily, and nailing the bosses just fine. Then we got a four pull. And I'm thinking no problemo, I mark and get to work. Next thing I know our Arms Warrior is dead and clearly a little upset with me. She was hitting the third mob in the kill order, and the cross was still up. I do skull, then cross, mark the cc, mark the pat and don't mark anything past that for simplicity in a 5-man. It's skull, cross and then kill left to right. And she was right to be upset. No, she wasn't hitting the wrong mob. I realized that I never said a word about kill order. Not once. It was going so well, I made the horrible mistake of just assuming. That mistake added another few gold to her repair bill.

Tank's Group Checklist

1. Make sure everyone is fully repaired and ready to roll BEFORE they are summoned. There's nothing worse than a player who runs out mid-instance to repair. Yah, after five wipes and the dwarf is down to using his blacksmith hammer, go ahead and send people out to repair. After a beating like that, everyone needs to take ten anyhoo. But there's no excuse for someone coming in without pristine stuff on their bod.

2. Establish your marking system right away or someone's gonna die. Nuff said.

3. Establish loot rules. Keep it simple. Need before Greed works fine for PuG and casual 5-man/10-mans. Don't make it more complex than necessary. Short version to macro: "I suggest loot as Need before Greed. Need only on main spec upgrades and please ask first. Greed on everything else. Unclaimed BoP to enchanter for disenchant /roll. Agreed?"

(Don't be a nazi about this, btw. If someone asks to Need an item that is off spec, let 'em if no one needs it for their main spec. For BoP it's generally Main Spec, then Off Spec, then Disenchant.)

4. Related to the above. Ask if anyone is going in for something specific and establish if a roll is gonna be needed before hand. Save yourself the headache of having to do it after the fight. Because it'll lead right into another fight... one that doesn't involve a boss.

5. Bring basic supplies. This is actually optional and it's a good idea, when you make sure everyone is repaired, to make sure they have the basics, as well. I bring an extra stack of basic vendor food and, being an alchemist, the mats to make mana and healing pots as needed. Don't get crazy with this. Bumming a couple of mana pots on the final boss is fine. Expecting someone to bring them for you for the entire run is a bit much. Everyone should have heal/mana pots, basic class elixirs/flasks, buff food and bandages. They should also bring any reagents they need for special spells. Check before you start!

6. Have everything you need. Yes, you actually have to set a good example. :)

7. If you don't know the dungeon well, ask for strategy help from anyone who's been in before. It's a good idea to read up and watch any videos you can find about the dungeon you're gonna run. The more you know...

8. Say thank you. Thank the entire party for the group at the end. Send a whisper to the healer thanking them specifically and personally. Even in a bad run, they'll remember it and probably heal for you again. :)


You fight differently as a Prot Warrior, and this is where the technical differences come in. You don't ever fight alone.

You have to be aware of other classes abilities so that you can call on them when needed. Arms Warriors tend to be most concerned with class abilities that can either keep them alive longer, or hold a bad guy still long enough for us to kill 'em. As tank, I think you really gotta know a bit more about each class' abilities. In one run, for example, I completely forgot that Shammies can cc. Oops. Finally he spoke up and I started calling for it when needed. My bad. If you don't know, ask. You don't have to sound like a noob. "Can anyone cc that caster on the left?" is fine.

Tank Tip: Even the most difficult player wants to contribute. If you have a player that's being a pain, give 'em a job. You'd be surprised how far including someone will go.

One of the biggest mistakes I see Arms Warriors make constantly in PvE is Charging at the start of a fight and pounding away on the mob. (Is it just me or is Charge now automatically placing us behind the mob???) We're very use to beating the snot out of anything in front of us, head on. If you're in font of the mob, it's very bad. You're just killing your tank cause the mob gets a free shot (kinda like an Overpower) on your tank every time it Parries one your hits. Well... if you tank, you don't have to worry about getting behind the mob. :)

You do, however, have to worry about everyone else getting behind the mob. Hunter pets and Rogues are very good at this. Pets automagically go into the mob's back if they don't have aggro. Rogues are just use to doing it automatically because they get a lot of practice at it. Instruct other melee DPSers to stand on the pet, or stand on the Rogue. It works.

You need to study up on how threat is generated. DPS is important, but not nearly as much as Threat. So, if Shield Slam (big threat) is on cool down and Revenge isn't up, you throw Devestate (the enhanced Prot version of Sunder Armor). It doesn't do as much damage, but it's big time threat. Sometimes bigger damage is better, though. When Sword & Board pops, smash 'em in the face. Twice.

You're still gonna use your DPS meter, but now you're gonna switch it to TPS. It'll give you a good overview of how much threat you're putting out. More important, it'll give you a quick look at who is putting out the most. I use Recount, but any DPS meter that will do TPS will do just fine. While spec'd Prot, throw Vigiliance on that party memebr. It's tempting to always throw it on the healer, which may indeed be the best place for it. But if the healer isn't generating much threat during the fights, it might be better to put it on someone else. Just lately, I've found Death Knights in particular tend to pull threat quickly. Those frosty ones are terrible about it.

You do, however, have to keep your threat meter up. The DPS meter won't substitute for a good threat meter because ya gotta know where that threat is coming from and where aggro is going before it actually goes. Only a good threat meter will tell you that. The built in one Blizz added with 3.0 is okay, but an add-on like Omen is much better and can give you a quick look at threat on each target. And even warn you when you're about to loose aggro.

Blizz gave all Warriors a little treat when they made Shield Slam a learned skill, rather than a Talent in the Prot tree. I'll go out on a limb and say that, combined with increased threat and damage from Thunderclap, has made Arms Warriors almost as good as TCB Prot Tanks! Well, maybe not that good. But definitely better. :)

When you tank as Arms, you're gonna don your +Def gear and load your Dodge and Parry just like a Prot Warrior. You don't get all the fancy tricks like Shockwave and Damage Shield. But what you have is more than enough to Tank a Wrath 5 person dungeon. I wouldn't recommend it with the average PuG, but a good group that can stay on target, cc properly, and mind thier threat would work great.

Give Prot a try. And give Arms tanking a try. I think all Arms Warriors will enjoy the challange and the experience. Every skill you have will make you a better warrior. Tanking is a great one to have... and it's all kinds of fun, too! :D


Sunday, November 30

Arms to Prot for A Week

I decided. I'm gonna try Protection. Everyone seems to be having so much fun with it, I figured it was worth a shot. So, yesterday I finally went back to Stormwind for a quick update and respec'd while I was there.

And honestly... Prot is...

Freakin' awesome.

It's nice to be pretty much invincible for a change. :)

Oh, and Blizz lowered the cost to respec to 35g, thankyouverymuch. I did have to get new armor, which is nice cause I like getting new armor. I'll be trying Protection for a week before switching back to Arms, but I suspect I'll also be switching back to Prot frequently to tank instances. Why?

Well, perception to be honest. And it's kinda annoying.

I tried at least half-dozen times now just to get into a PUG for Utgarde Keep. And I've gotten tons of invites to instances. Each one starts with "Are you Protection?" and ends with "No. But I'm Arms and I can tank or DPS, whichever ya like." "Thanks anyway." Poof.

The reason Arms Warriors get that kinda response is the stinkin' Bruning Crusade dungeons where any Warrior that wasn't a Prot was considered worthless. That mindset is still VERY much preveliant.

Don't believe it? Read the guides to TBC dungeons. Not once will you find "For this Dungeon, the recommended party is a Prot Palladin, a Shadow Priest, a Warlock, A Mage... and an Arms Warrior." Not once.

That way of thinking is still very much instilled in most players for Wrath. Which is silly because Arms is such a strong tree now, specially for running 5-mans. In fact, I bet you could run entire Wrath instances with just a healer and four Warriors!

That's not QQ, mind you. It's just an observation. Arms Warriors are gonna have to get out there and make a reputation for themselves. Yah, with your resiliance, you're just an uncritable as a Prot with max'd out DEF. Yah, you can hold aggro through almost anything. And yah, you can still put the hurt on a boss AND tank at the same time. We're all just gonna have to get out there an prove it.

So why give in and spec Prot? Well...

Like I said, first of all it's a lot of fun and I wanna experience it. Prot can now stun like a freakin' rogue, interrupt, AoE and still put out some nice DPS. Still feels a little slow to me for solo'ing, but then again when you can solo a good portion of the quest bosses, who cares? :)

It's also good practice. Lets face it, we Arms Warriors have been PvP specialists for awhile now. We need to get back into being the whole package tree for Warriors. Versatility was originally the way Arms was suppose to work and now we've come full circle and we're that way again. But killing multiple mobs with melee AoE... and Tanking... is gonna take practice to get really good at it. In fact, we're gonna have to get really good at PvP, DPSing multiple targets, and tanking really fast if we're going to change that "specialist" perception most players have. Spec'ing prot occasionally is great tanking practice.

And finally... I need to get the hang of Prot and at least a feel for it before I finish up the "So You Wanna Be A Warrior?" (new title) series. :)

Yah, I still say Arms is way better for questing and solo'ing AND it's more fun. But only a lil' bit more. If you haven't gone Prot yet, give it a try. And get your tank set up to speed. You're gonna need it either way!


Thursday, November 27

WoW I'm Thankful

I'm thankful for my family, and kids, and friends, and so much more. And I'm thankful for WoW, too, of course.

Blizz should add a one-day holiday for Thanksgiving. Even if it's generic thankful day. Why not? A whole day where PvP, for example, is turned off and players from both factions can walk among the opposing faction's cities with open chat.

I know, is *War*craft, but even in war there's breaks in the fighting. A small ceasefire on a special day would be interesting.

Blizzard Entertainment

I'm thankful for Blizz. Sure, I'll jump up and QQ if they do something I think is boneheaded. This wonderful game/experience they've given us, though, is genius. There's been so many great moments I've had in WoW that I truly think it's made some people's lives better, as far as some of the entertainment options we have available to us goes. Thanks Blizz.


I'm thankful for my online friends. Sure I have IRL friends. They're the best. But there's plenty of people I would consider very dear friends, people I've know for years, been through joy and sorrow, experienced part of their lives... and had amazing adventures... that I've never even met FTF before. And probably never will. I'm thankful for them, as well.


I'm thankful for my guild. Dark Clan is made of, oh, 5 active members? 12 or so total that check in on occasion (most of the rest are playing different servers or Horde now-a-days). It's mostly adults who have careers or school or families... you know, real life stuff... and most nights it's just nice to have the guild chat up and have some company. We can't raid, we can't do pre-mades, and we can barely, on occasion, get a 5-man together. But my tiny little guild makes sure playing WoW isn't a lonley experience. Would we take more people in? Sure. Do we actively recruit? No. Are we a pretty quiet and content lot? Yup. And I love it for that. Thank you guildies.


After all this time, they still make me laugh. Thanks guys. :)

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving and joyous holiday!


Sunday, November 23

Lazy Days in Dalaran

Everyone's talking about the bear. The cute white bear. The cute white adorable WoW 4th Anniversary bear. Best pet so far, I think. :D

What a great present from Blizz! TY!

Course, ya gotta get to Dalaran to outfit him. Head over to the pet shop, wash and feed your bear cub so he's nice and shiny and happy. Grab a leash to walk around town with him, on account you don't want a shiny, happy bear cub nibbling on Nelfs. Bad form. And to a bear cub, some of the more diminutive toons are gonna look a lot like tasty gnome snacks. While at the pet shop, be sure to grab some fetch balls. Toooooo fun!

Dalaran is the best city they've done since Stormwind. Seriously. It's a great place to relax and have some fun. I've always wondered why Blizz didn't add more diversions to the cities. Mini-games, arcades, marketplaces, spas... more focused gathering areas. Dalaran is a small, but good, step in that direction. No reason they couldn't add a little more with each patch for fun. And I haven't even found my way down into the sewers yet! I hear they're a blast for fishing. :D

Oh, how'd I get to Dalaran at Level 71? Well... it's pretty easy, actually. An old trick, but it works. You just get one of your Level 72 mage friends to pull you there. Group with your friend and have them go to the Dalaran battle master. Queue up a battleground (any will do) and enter when it pops. Then take the fraidy-cat debuff and leave the battleground. You'll end up in Dalaran. Set your hearth to one of the inns (I'm staying at the lovely A Hero's Welcome at the moment cause it's roughly half way between the bank and the portals). Easy.

Anyhow, Dalaran is gorgeous, of course. And Blizz has done a little to make it more fun. There's a clothier with new shirts. No pants or dresses yet. :( But the shirts are nice. I've been wearing the black pirate shirt or the red one that drops from Cleefy for years. Finally there's an acceptable alternative for casual under-armor garments. Yea! More please. And yah we're really gonna need that wardrobe feature for non-stat items now.

There's a mount vendor. You've probably seen everyone grabbing the brown bear mount, of course. At 750g it was a bit steep for me right now (I hit Northrend with about 1000g ... lol). And there's plenty of people that are fascinated/disgusted with the Tundra Mammoth mount that can carry three players, and has vendors attached to it. I love that idea, but at 20000g I don't love it that much. If I ever come into that much g I'll grab one, but I'm not grinding it out. More fun is that the Snowy Griffin is now available in fast mount form!!! 2000g, but a nice change from the brown griffins with different colored reins. I hope that the Ebon Griffin will be added soon.

I'm sure a lot of the fun stuff is aimed at role-players, but they shouldn't get to have all the fun. Now Blizz needs to add more stores like this, more fun items (at outrageous prices, of course). Add them to the other cities, as well. It'd be fun if each major city had, say, a toy store with different toys in each. Pain to collect 'em all? Probably, but anything Blizz can add to get players to spread out a bit isn't a bad thing. The lag in Dalaran isn't nearly as bad as it was in Shatt at the beginning... but it's bad. I hate turning down the graphics, so to get the pretty views I have to enjoy it as a slide show. Blah.

Some warrior bits...

I'm gonna redo the What Kinda Warrior Guides, of course. They really need to be more generic cause the original idea was NOT to do another How To guide. It's s'pose to me more of a "What It's Like" guide. That's why I didn't to the Prot one yet. It was outdated before it even got finished. So, that's coming up... eventually.

Being a warrior is so much fun right now, it's hard to get into any sort of "optimizing." I have absolutely no rotation, at the moment. It's all "Gee, lets try that cause it seems like a good idea" right now. Just kick back and enjoy it for awhile. No, we're not as powered up as most classes. Yes, Blizz seems to have taken a somewhat meh attitude towards warriors being a "lead" role, opting instead to hand out warrior roles to every other class.

That's actually a good thing, though. Mainly because warriors are now so versatile. And when they finally get dual specs put in the game, it'll be even better. I'll be doing Arms/Prot. For now, though, while many other classes can fill traditional warrior roles, YOU can now fill those other roles much better. Still no effective cc, but wicked dps and multi-mob abilities with built in toughness make a warrior handy in any situation. Try out something new!


Sunday, November 16

An Arms Warrior's First Few Days in Northrend

I kinda miss having big shoulders. But I s'pose those will come in time. :D

As I wrote before, I hit Northrend with every intention of stripping off the old and embracing the new. Spec, gear, weapons... hair. So I did. Okay, haven't settled on the hair, but that's okay. I haven't replaced everything yet, either. But I've only spent a few hours in Northrend so far. More will come.

Being a noob again, though, is so much fun!

I did roll up the Deathknight, of course. Wicked story line, but probably be awhile before I go back to it. It was hysterical to see, literally, dozens upon dozens of DKs running around. Lots of fun, too.

My "Wrath Strategy" was to hit Northrend a little behind the crowd, but stay ahead of the horde of DKs that'll be power leveling through Outland. So far, so good. I haven't had any problem at all with quests, lag, over crowding, disconnects, queues, or anything like that. In fact, the whole of the expansion has been completely smooth and seamless. Awesome job to Blizz!

And Northrend?

Completely in love with it. It's gorgeous, dangerous, and full of wonders. Maybe not quite dangerous enough, but I'm sure that'll come as zone progression continues. Some of the quests in Howling Fjord, where I started, are brilliant. The ROFLplane is a favorite. And riding the flaming spear across the bay is truly a Great WoW Moment. Oh and penguins. I love penguins.

The lore and the quest progression, so far, feels smoother and more connected than Outland did (at least to me), as well.

And the place was built for Warriors. :)

So how's the Arms Warrior thang working out? Brilliant.

First off, your TBC-gear is gonna be way over powered for the first two zones. For most Warriors that'll be just fine. But if you really wanna get a feel for the experience, you'll want to switch to q-rewards and drops as soon as possible. And even with out stacked up hit, crit, Attack Power, resiliance, and your fancy gems and enchants, you'll still be way over powered. Which is a good thing because there's several times the mobs come at you back to back and super fast.

All of which is a lot of fun for a multi-mob killing machine like an Arms Warrior. You really are going to be using your abilities in a more situational mode. Now again, what follows is not theorycraft, or any of that nonsense. This is very much from the "push the button and see what happens" school, at this point. It's not efficient, it's just what's worked and what's fun.

Hold Aggro!

To which most Arms Warriors, being the calm and practical types they are, will responsd, "Well, don't pull aggro, dumbass." Prots are usually too polite/proud to say anything when someone pulls aggro off them, but Arms types aren't particularly inclined that way. Mostly we follow the "You Spank It You Tank It" school of tanking. We can spank and tank, after all. :)

The good news is, that's not really a problem any more. You can tank. Very well, actually. Pop on your shield, switch to Def, and do that tanky thang. Bash 'em with the shield, Thunderclap, and start your Sunder/Revenge rotation. If you get in a tight spot, pop Shield Block or Shield Wall. You're good to go. Granted, it's TBC tanking and you don't have any of the fancy threat moves Prots have. And you also aren't go to hold as well as a Prot, particularly if your friends are really geared and buffed up. You might have to ask 'em to dial it down a notch or two. But it's nowhere near as bad as it was in TBC.

So tank it up. :)

All the Moves

Okay, that's nice. But what about the good stuff, right? K.

You can now kill everything. At the same time. Fast.

Is that good enough. :)

Three mobs are easy. Four mobs is... well, easy. Five, though, that's... still easy. Try some different combinations in different situations. Some that I like so far:

Sweeping Strike - Not a combo, but hot key this one right away if you haven't already. You're gonna use it a lot. I missed this ability and having it back just makes an Arms Warrior right again.

Sweeping Strikes > Whirlwind - Does this really work? It looks like it does. Try it and watch the damage go scrolling by. It's neat.

Recklessness > Sweeping Strikes - Just mean. Not for use when focused, but that goes for Recklessness in general.

Recklessness > Bladestorm - Yah if you have any aggro at all you're gonna be hurting. But everything will be dead... so...

Rend - With any bleed effect boosters is a win. Nuff said, 'cept Welcome Back Rend.

Execute - You'll just mash this pretty much constantly when it procs.

Thunderclap > Bladestorm - Melee AOE. Throw in Recklessness before hand (assuming you can pull off the rage) and it's pure evil.

And I actually popped Retaliation several times over the last few days. Ha!

I'm also catching myself using Cleave a lot more than Heroic Strike, particularly in the mob packed areas of Northrend. Hitting multiple targets at once is just pure joy for an Arms Warrior.

You're Still The Same

What's best is Arms really hasn't lost much for it's PvP toughness. And we can pop a lot more consistent damage that works well in both PvP and PvE. Your top end damage is still there. You still have Heroic Strike and Mortal Strike you'll use all the time. Throw in Execute for a bit more juice. You'll still pop Whirlwind when you can. You're still easy to heal if you're wearing your Resiliance gear. The damage spikes, both taking and giving have leveled out a lot more. Damage dealing is higher and more consistent. Taking damage is still stable (healable) since you're almost impossible to crit.

I don't just Slam at all, but never used it much anyhow. It DOES still give nice damage, but it feels more like a, "Gee I have a lot of Rage and everything is on cool down so I might as well use... um... ah! Slam!" Meh. Maybe in time we'll see a new Slammer build.

If you're like me and giving up your Resilience while starting out in Northrend, don't worry too much. The Stamina on gear is insane. It's wicked. It's in the Very Good category. And that's just the greens. ;)

Basically, Arms is just a lot of fun right now. Again, cheers to Blizz for doing what they said and making it more fun to play, not just more efficient to kill stuff. I hope they never loose sight of that.

Now... how am I going to get a Dual Wield Bladestorm build to work.... hmmmm.... :D


Sunday, November 2

Two Weeks of Whoa!

I didn't post on the Zombie Invasion and Hallow's End cause I was busy. Hallow's End is my favorite Azoroth holiday, of course. So, I jumped into that with vigor. And ya know what... it just wasn't AS fun as it has been. Maybe I've just seen it too much, but it needs a few more upgrades than just some quest changes and a few extra drops. Why isn't there a massive quest chain to hunt down or fight the Dark Riders in Deadwind/Dustwood during this time? I mean come 'on. That place IS Hallow's End. I also couldn't get to the Headless Horseman this year, due to circumstance, which kinda sucks.

The Stink Bomb event in Southshore/Tarren Mill was fun, but a little whacked. The PvP was enjoyable, but not really up to the good ol' days for that area. Alliance's side of the quest was to make a scounting run on the Wickerman Festival. That involved riding all the way up to Lordaeron (no, it's not "Undercity" sheesh!), ridding up to the Wickerman, getting flagged, and then riding back to Southshore. Woopee. The Horde, on the other hand, had to run into the middle of Southshore, get flagged, drop a stink bomb, and try to get out.

So, the Horde side was actually interesting and fun. The Alliance quest sucked. Yah, I know there was an Alliance side quest for the stink bombs, but it wasn't nearly as fun. Still, there were some nice fights as the Hordies tried to complete thier quest. It would have been so much better if both sides had the same quest. Horde dropping stink bombs on Southshore, Alliance dropping... air freshner? on Tarren Mill. THEN you'd see some fights! Maybe next year...

Not to say anything bad about Hallow's End. It was great fun while it lasted. But my interest seemed to be a bit lower this year. Of course, it got upstaged mid-way through by Arthas, so that might have had something to do with it. And here it comes...

I loved the Zombie/Scourge Invasion. There. I said it. :P

I spent a great deal of last weekend fighting Zombies and griefers in Stormwind and elsewhere. It was a blast and half! Blizz created a social experiment that pretty much turned the whole of WoW on it's head for several days. And good job to them!

Yah, I tried the Zombie thing. It was fun for, oh, about 15 minutes? I was out hunting Horde around Goldshire. Finally ran them down just outside of Eastvale Lumber Camp. A small group of Alliance showed up about the same time and we all went at it. Course, the Horde gang was there to turn the Camp into Zombies and I got infected.

When I turned, I could suddenly talk to the Brutal Tauren warrior that was kicking the crap out of me 30 seconds before. Turns out he was a nice guy, and (I'd forgotten) we'd dueled awhile back outside of BRD during Brewfest. (And yah, he kicked my arse then, as well.) So we ran around trying to infect the rest of the Horde and Alliance players that were fighting. It was in an isolated area, no lowbies around, and all great fun.

I get the idea of opposing factions trying to infect each other's cities. I also agree that the starter areas should have had some form of safety catch. What I didn't get was people of the same faction infecting their own cities. Either way, it made for some spectacular fights around Stormwind and Iron Forge. I'd heard Darnassus and the Exador on my server were almost completely wiped out.

I also get what a pain in the ass it was for lower level characters trying to quest or conduct business. Neveron (my Priest) spent two hours trying to unload stuff in the Auction House, a task that should have taken 15 minutes. Every few minutes, some griefer would come Zombie charging into the AH and detonate. So I'd spend the next few minutes debuffing everyone and everything like mad. That's the one mistake I think Blizz made...

Suicide bombers? Bad form. Bad Blizz. That was unnecessary and in poor taste.

Other than that, though, it was interesting to see the two sides go at it. By two sides I mean griefers and those trying to slow them down. And I do mean slow them down, not stop. Blizzard gave the idiots that find fun in making things not fun for others the tools they needed to get the job done. For a few days, the balance shifted from the dumb asses being a nuisance to being in control.

What surprised me a little, on Fenris anyhow, was how many players stood vigil in Stormwind through most of it, doing their best to turn back the tide. Over the course of the invasion, I saw the same people over and over again fighting the zombies everywhere they could. We grouped a lot, we had to fall back a lot, we got infected a lot, and we died a WHOLE lot. But, at least in Stormwind and Iron Forge, there were long periods where the cities were safe. I'm calling that a job well done.

As a social experiment, it was kinda of horribly interesting. Those that wanted to quit in frustration. Those that were going to fight no matter what. And those that wanted to screw things up as much as they could. It really brought out the best and worst in players of WoW.

I know there those that doubt, but I think it worked exactly the way Blizz intended. It created a sense of hopelessness, frustration and horror that would come from an invasion of this sort. I saw a lot of buttheads during the invasion. And made sure to note who they were so that I don't end up in a PuG with 'em. I saw a lot of QQ. And I saw a whole lot of Heroes.

I think it also set the stage for Wrath brilliantly (and yah, there's more to come). Stormwind is bleak and you can feel the pressure building and the darkness decending. The King is back (yea!) and the call to arms will go out soon. Things are changing.

Granted, I'm into the whole fighting the Scourge thing. It's my favorite story line in WoW. Yah, even after getting everything (except the damn plate chest... drop damn you!) from the invasion points, I still go out there and kill 'em when I'm in the neighborhood. I'm loading up now on those Argent Dawn sharpening stones. I think they'll be handy in Northrend. Killing the Scourge Invaders, btw, is a great way to get Scourge Stones for Argent Dawn rep, if you're inclined and sick to death of grinding Scholo and Strath. Just be sure to wear your Insignia of the Dawn.

Yah, I wear my Argent Dawn tabard with pride. :)

Wrath is 12 days away... I can't wait to see what happens next.


Sunday, October 19

Over Achieving and Solo in Scholo

I wasn't terribly thrilled with the achievement system when it was in the works pre-3.0. Not that it's not a good idea, I was just kinda meh about the whole thing.


The last few days I've been checking my Achievements log pretty frequently. There weren't many that got retro'd. And the stats pages are seriously messed up. So I'm looking at, say, my gold per day (and then peeking at my currency tab) and thinking "Damn, I gotta run dailies."

I also looked at how lame my rep is with most factions. It's a great "hey, you never did this even though you said you'd go back and do it" reminder/nag. Plus all the stuff I actually did do, but never got credit for. My dungeon boss kills only go up to Cleefy??? Oh, c'mon. What am I? Level 20 again? :P

The neat part is, most of it can be done while doing other stuff. For example, I need to farm up lower level gear for Dark Clan's guild bank and my alts. Well, I can solo all those dungeons now, and yah, I'll be making a point of smacking the crap out of any bosses on the Achievements list. Twice.

Lately, I've been doing the three-things-at-once thing in Scholomance. Early in your Level 70 career, this is a good place to go to guage your progress. As you improve your gear, this instance gets slightly easier each time. At some point, it stops being a good measure. But for awhile, if you can solo Scholo in under two hours, without dying, you're doing pretty good.

One of the things on my list is finishing my Argent Dawn rep. I love the Argent Dawn and I'm thrilled silly they'll be appearing, as the Argent Crusade, in Northrend. But I still want that Exalted with the original. Scholo is a great place to grind out the rep. (Do Strath if you've got a couple of friends along.)

It's also a great place to pick up the odd gear piece for Neveron, my holy Priest at Level 55. Sure, she'll have to go in ST, DM, BRD, and Strath herself to finish up the BoP bits. But she'll go in pretty well geared up to start. And she'll probably level high enough to completely skip Assfire Penninsula. Blah!

I get rep, gear for an alt (and plenty to drop in the GB), and a step toward another Achievement!

Now all I fear is grinding out the VC and Gnomer runs for cloth to turn in for that Abassador title... gah!

Maybe I'll turn on the new low level quest option and run around naked with the lowbies doing quests... at least there's a story to go with the grind. :P And another step toward World Explorer!

Achievements. Genius or Evil Blizzard Plot to keep us playing?



PS Bored and Wasting Time Idea: Strip naked (no armor, no weapons, no nothin') and start the low level quests in an area you've never played. You can only wear gear you pick up from loot while questing and you can not spend any gold. Blast from the past! Call it Retro Rep Leveling. :P

Note to Blizz: Better underwear options. Sheesh!

Saturday, October 18

Finally! Warriors Get An "I Win Button!"

Actually, they get two... and half. But more on that in a moment.

The patch is pretty awesomesauce. Now that we're several days into it, I'm still having fun playing with the new stuff. Just seeing that many bank slots open up was pure joy! Sure, it won't last. I'll fill 'em up with junk pretty quick. But it's a win for pack rats.

After the long load, I ran straight to Stormwind Harbor. Fantastic. Lots of space. But not terribly useful at the moment. There's cannons and big war boats, but nothing you can play with. Hopefully they'll slowly add a few things here and there to give a reason to go down there more often. I'm thinkin' a market or bizaar place where players could rent stalls to sell their made wares. Wouldn't that fun and chaotic? :)

Then, of course, I trotted over to the barbershop. (They couldn't have picked "stylist?") After spending 45 minutes in there, I ended up with the "Tomboy" short hair that looks really cute. That lasted a few days and then back to the frizzy/layered look I've always had. It's gonna be fun to be able to change occasionally, specially since there hasn't been a lot of clothing options lately.

We need more like stuffs like this. I'd like to see a wardrobe similar to the vanity pet thingie. You could stick all your non-stat clothing in there (preferably with a way to convert stat havin' items to non-stat items cause some of the leather and cloth armor looks awesome). Tailors would get a big boost being able to create "civvies." Jem crafters could make jewelry. Why can't I have a belly button piercing? Ya know? Inscribers could do (temporary) body tattoos. Can you say Tramp Stamp of the Month Club? All that, of course, ties in the marketplace idea, as well. And all of it could be stored in a wardrobe you access from any inn. Fun!

My Holy Priest, Neveron,) took up Inscribing. This works out great with all the low level herbs I've been stockpiling. She's not up there yet, but she definitely is going to have an easy time of it. Herbs are easy to get. And Inscribing is all kinds of fun. She made scrolls that teleport the user to Shat and several armor scrolls to stick in the guild back. Win win win!

I also got the nice little Human surprise of Every Man (Woman) For Himself (Herself). Bye bye PvP trinket. Humans get to load an extra stat boosting trinket in that slot now. And as an Herbalist, I got a free heal. It's not terribly useful because it's not a big heal, but it has already come in handy a couple of times. And when you use it, pretty flowers grow all around you.

Then I went to the trainer, trained up and put in all my talent points. I didn't pay much attention, just stayed in Arms mostly and spec'd straight to Bladestorm first. Then I went back in and filled in anything that looked fun. Can get serious about specs later. It's boring and time consuming. Over all, though, there's not really anything bad for Armsie-types.

The only horrible things I've encounter so far: Shield Block is on a one minute timer now. Suck. Find the asshat who did that and beat them. In the picture there, I'm waiting for our team to knock out the horde FC. I'm in defense mode. Shield Block may run for ten seconds and be instant/no rage, but when the horde came for me, I last about 4 seconds. No way it was up for ten seconds. Really need the old Shield Block. I might have last 5 seconds. :P

The other thing is that it feels like I'm taking damage faster in PvP. Whether this is the lack of having Toughness, or because other classes are hitting harder, I dunno. In PvE stuff, it doesn't "feel" as bad, but then again I'm definitely killing 'em faster. So that could easily be that they just aren't getting the chance to hit me. Dunno. Have to wait and see.

So, let's get to the goodies for Arms Warriors. :) This is all VERY first impressions kinda stuff. I' don't even have a threat or damage meter installed. This is just how stuff "feels."

First off, all Warriors can now pop thier big cool down abilities - Retaliation, Shield Wall, and Recklessness - every 5 minutes. That's our half-a-I-win-button. Most Warriors rarely used these. You always had the "save-it-till-you-need-it" nag in the back of your head, so you never pressed the button. I rarely used any of them except Shield Wall. Maybe Recklessness in an end-boss fight if the AoE attack wasn't going to be bad. All three got a nerf bat to the noggin, but it's not too bad and it's definitely worth relearning to use them. Five minutes ain't nothin'.

Second, is Execute. OMG. Before, this was kinda an I-Win-Button, but you really had to work at it to get there. Just getting the enemy down to 20% wouldn't do the trick. You had to time it out so you had enough Rage to make it worth it. Or wait until Rage built up. In a boss fight that was fine. Coupla white hits and you're there. PvP it was a lotta pure chance. If you had to wait two hits, swinging at 2.8 seconds, before you smashed Execute... well... you aren't gonna make it.

Now? It's on a proc. Thanks to Sudden Death, you get a change to proc this any time during a fight. And believe me, when it lights, you hit it! Like the Fist of Angry Tauren! It's gonna be one of the primary Arms Warrior attacks from now on, I'm thinkin. When this and Wrecking Crew proc at the same time: Big fat piles of Ouchie! Arms Warriors are still way too proc dependant, but stuff like this makes it worth waiting for them.

And the big lotso win?


This is so much freakin' fun it's sick. Sick sick sick! "You die, she dies, eeeevvvveryone dies." (Name that reference. Ha!) After getting all spec'd out, I went up to the Western Plaguelands and popped into Scholo for a test run. Where before I had to time and pull pretty carefully, now it's saunter on in, aggro, kill 'em all, wash, rinse, repeat. It's brilliant.

In fact, Arms Warriors are now full fledge multi-mob killers. AoE in a can. Pop a can a whoop-ass on 'em delicious. You've got Cleave, Whirlwind, Sweeping Strikes, Retaliation, and Bladestorm. Chain 'em all together and the body piles quickly grow enormous. I watched three horde warriors gang up, run into a crowd of Allis at Stables in AB, and unload a Bladestorm blender at the same time. It was amazing how fast everyone around them just fell over! Wicked!

The downside, if there is one, is that most players are putting Arms Warriors back on their kill 'em first list. Throughout Burning Crusade, most ranged classes got buff after buff, to the point that they could safely ignore an Arms warrior for a few seconds because of the slow swing time and being buffed up with various shields, stam enhancers, escapes or self healing. They were getting a bit uppity. :P

Not so much now. Most casters figured out fast that Arms Warriors are a much bigger threat to them now and focus your ass fast. The first time they get hit with a Charge, Mortal Strike, Execute combo and eat it before they can even cast, they get a little trigger happy when they see you coming.

Which reminds me, the only Glyph I like so far is the Charge one. Surprises the hell out of Hunters and Frost Mages who have gotten Charge/Intercept range down to a science. Then suddenly you're in their face from way farther out than normal and it's panick time. Unload Bladestorm on them and it's all kinds of havoc. Yup, they're gonna focus ya. Hard.

While I'm thinking about it... Shammy's got a new blow-back ability all melee fighters will want to watch out for. It sucks. It's sneaky. It's a cheap shot. It's highly effective. (And probably highly amusing for the Shammy.) The trick is, they'll stand with their back to a cliff or the edge of a tower. They know that melee fighters are going to try to run through them and get into their backs. Then they simply toss you off the cliff. Ya, I discovered that the hard way. :P

The counter to it is to keep the Shammy between you and the cliff. When they panic and use the ability, Intercept and unload on 'em. It's a gimmick that won't last long as people get more experience with it (kinda like Priests using mind control to run you off a bridge). In the meantime, let 'em try it. You get to hurt 'em while they stand there and wait for the opportunity.

Blizzard has gone a long way toward doing what they intended to do, IMHO, at least as far as Arms Warriors go. Playing and popping your abilities is now a lot more situational. You can get by just fine on your old rotations. Yah, MS doesn't come up as fast, but it does have much nicer damage. Overpower is not only better because of procs, but still an absolute necessity. Even more so now. And good ol' Whirlwind is still quite effective. All will continue to be staples of the spec. But to play really well, and to counter all the other class's abilities, ya gotta use the new stuff to good effect when it's proper to do so. Imagine the fights Blizz can design now for Wrath and beyond.

Fun stuff!


Saturday, October 11

I Love Noobs!

Do you remember signing on to World of Warcraft for the first time? That sense of wonder? That sense of "I have no idea what I'm doing, but I love it?"

I do.

I think that's why new people to the game don't bother me at all. Who cares if they don't know what's going on? They're having a blast and they're experiencing WoW for the first time. What an amazing feeling! The sense of adventure and the unknown, playing a warrior because it's fun, and not caring if you're "doing it right." Just doing it. I love that.

I'm feeling a little bit of that as we get closer to Wrath of the Lich King. I can't wait to get to Northrend and have no clue again. I can't wait to explore areas that I don't know backwards and forwards. I can't wait to be creeping through the forrest at night, sword ready in anticipation, and get wigged out at the sight of a Level 8 bear. :D

For all the crap they take, being a noob sure is fun. I wanna be a noob again.

On release night, I'll go through the horrible load time and jump the on the boat with the rest of the entire server population. I'll put up with the disconnects, sluggish realm response, and I suspect, realm queues. But I won't be that one that power levels to 80 as fast as possible.

I'll be the noob that runs around to every NPC to check them out before taking my first quest. I'll be dressed in grays and greens and my quest log will be completely empty. I'll be the dummy that carries two swords and specs Arms, and stands in the auction house constantly to get a matching armor set, regardless of whether the stats work or not. I'll PuG the first dungeon and it'll take forever. I'll ride directly into a Horde base. Oops. I'll fall off something. Probably twice. I'll spend a ton of gold on crap I don't need. I'll level herbs/alchemy/fishing/cooking/first-aid the hard way by trying to figure it out for myself. I get lost a lot. I'll spend a lot of time in black and white.

And I'll love every moment of all of it. :)


Saturday, September 27

Building A Better Arms Warrior, Part 2

I'm gonna ramble about Arms Warrior gear and stuff in Wrath, so skip this one if you want to wait and see, or just don't give a ... yah. That's all the Wrath spoiler I'm givin' at this point. :D

I've been trying to browse through the various WoW databases online to learn what kind of gear will be available to us Arms Warriors types. There's some fun stuff, but it's a bit different than we've grown use to in Burning Crusade. I'm not gonna link a big load of gear here, yet. I've got my eye on few favorites, but this is really just general commentary. I'll wait until we get a little closer to start serious shopping.

First, the important part... fashion! It's all very Norse-ish. Not all the designs are implemented yet, but so far it looks like pieces will match better. I like it way better than the BC bad-70s-porn-movie and gem'd glow-in-the-dark stuff. I don't love it, mind you. No chain mail skirts, blindingly heroic sets, or sexy plate outfits, yet. Unfortunately. But it'll be a fun I'm-a-Viking-come-to-pillage-your-ass look for awhile.

I'm gonna switch armor fast even if it's not as good as my current gear. I wanna experience it. For that reason, I've been looking over the early quest, drop and craftable items. Be ready to spend some gold on a few of the Blacksmith peices that'll be popping up. Very nice blue gear. There's a few quest and repuation items that are looking good, as well. I'll recommend WoWhead's Wrath of Lich King site for browsing.

Heirloom stuff looks fun. There's several pieces that are great generic level gear we'll be able to pass down to alts. This is an awesome idea. I've got a Fury and Prot Warrior I need to level. They'll get neglected a bit when Wrath hits, but once I'm ready for 'em again, they'll be able to go quick in some very nice, scalable hand-me-downs. Brilliant. Although I wonder... will we start seeing Warrior enchanters? They won't need that quest and dungeon BoP gear any more. Might as well DE it for cash and enchants. Hmmmm.

As for stats, things are a bit confused right now. Arms Warriors seem to be pretty set. But there's a lack of +Hit gear in the plate category. Not too bad for Arms, but I suspect Fury Warriors will be selecting leather a lot, at least early on. Arms Warriors will get a bit of Hit (enough?), decent Crit (more please!), plenty of yummy Strength, and good ol' Resilience and Attack Power. The big surprise, and the one that's got me thinkin' a lot (what?), is that most of the Arms Warrior gear is piled with Stamina!

What's that mean?


Could mean a lot of things. The big Attack Power is understandable. A lot of Warrior abilities are gonna be AP based now. So that's a Good Thang. But why all the Stam for Arms Warriors? Honestly, I think it's cause of the "multiple roles" part of Blizzard's plan. With all that Stamina AND Resilience, an Arms Warrior can easily dance from effective DPS to effective tank with one button and a weapon/shield swap. No more carrying around two and half sets of armor. Swap a trinket, rings and neck, and suddenly you're a very, um, well-endowed tank. :D

What happens is that the Arms Warrior will remain quite beefy for PvP, but now becomes a lot more effective and desirable for PvE situations. Consider the utility of the Arms Warrior in, say, 10-person raids where space is limited. You've got kick-ass DPS with built in toughness. And with a quick-click-macro, you've got a very effective third tank. That's pretty nice. It's the essence of Arms Warrior, as well. Versatile and tough. The PvP focus for the spec during BC was nice, but it's time for somethin' different. Well... a little different.

Another thought (two???) that comes to mind is, apparently, crushing blows are going away. Tanks are now gonna be concerned primarily with mitigating Critical Hits. Prots will do this with Defense. Arms will do it with Resil. Prot will still have high Block and other damage reducing abilities, and thus be way better at avoiding damage. But with a good deal of Stamina, an Arms Warrior becomes a difficult to Crit, viable tank option for many more situations. This could be a very Good Thing, as well. It's a crafty way for Blizzard to make an Arms Warrior more adept at different roles without completely ripping apart the spec.

Is that how it'll work? Dunno. But it's a great idea.

Bottom line for Armsies is, we're gonna get a LOT tougher. Probably need it from seeing all the massive hurt some other classes are getting loaded with. But it'll be kinda nice, as well. :)


Saturday, September 20

Journey to the Grim Guzzler

[Update: As Andrea points out in the comments below, just take a right when you enter BRD, kill the three Dark Irons, click the box, pull the handle, and you'll end up right in front of Coren. Sheesh! If you need the exercise, though, keep reading. -Fri]

It's BREWFEST! Yeah!

Not my all time favorite Azerothian holiday (that'll be coming in October), but it sure is a fun one. And Bliz was kind enough to enhance it a little bit from last year. This year, ya gotta go after a boss in Blackrock Depths to get a cool mount. Or a lusty bar wench to help out by throwing beer at your enemies. I'm not much into mounts (me and Bruce have been together way too long), but a combat companion that tosses beer stiens? Too fun!

When I was but a wee lil' Warrior I blew past BRD. Only went in there at level twice, I think. Never even got half way through, and definately never got to The Grim Guzzler. That's where the Brewfest boss you have to kill is located. Nice bar, too, if you like 'em shady and with booze that'll literally sets you on fire. My kinda place. :)

Anyhoo, since then I located it, of course. But it took awhile. I ran through BRD for hours trying to find it. Didn't have the Shadowforge Key, either. So I finally figured out a needed that, and then I spent another good while wandering around in the Depths until I stumbled onto the bar. Then awhile after that I stumbled out. By the way, don't try crossing those bridges over all that lava while you're hammered four different ways from Tuesday. Not Good. :P

So, for Brestfest this year I thought I'd share the route in pictures and video. These aren't great, but they'll getcha there if you've never been. Don't forget to sneak behind the bar and sample some of the Brewmaster's experiments. Strongest booze in the game. Wow.

Directions to the Grim Guzzler

These direction assume you have the Shadowforge Key. I'm kinda also assuming you know how to get to Blackrock Depths. In the screenshots and video, I've cleared some mobs to make it easier to get through. In particular, just before you enter the Guzzler, there's four elite fire elementals that hit pretty hard. Pull 'em two at a time and they aren't too much trouble.

You don't have to fight your way through everything unless you really wanna. At level 70, the aggro circle is pretty small and you shouldn't need to fight too much. Watch out, though. Most mobs in here run when they get low on health. Don't let 'em get away or you'll have a real fight on your hands.

And yah, I made a wrong turn in the video. Bite me. :P

Detention Block

From the entrance to the dungeon, go straight forward into the large cavern.

Take the left most tunnel.

Use the Shadowforge Key to open the East Garrison door.

East Garrison

On the lower level of East Garrison, unlock the door above by right clicking
on the giant lock mechanism in the lower portion of the room.
It's like Tomb Raider on easy mode!

Go up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs go leftish (northeast) and follow the passage.

The door should now be open. Continue down the passage to the next room.

West Garrison

Take a right and turn into the passage on the right, heading north.

The Manufactory

Go straight across the room until you get past the last pillar.
Directly ahead will be Golem Lord Argelmach.

Turn right (east) and head for Shadowforge City

Cross the bridge, take out the fire elementals and go into the Grim Guzzler.

The Grim Guzzler

The Grim Guzzler, Lower Level.

Coren Direbrew.

The Grim Guzzler, Upper Level

Don't forget to kill some mobs on your way out, if you're in the mood. They drop Dark Iron Scraps for Argent Dawn rep, and Dark Iron Residue for Thorium Brotherhood rep. The Brotherhood's rep vendor is located here in the Grim Guzzler, as well.

Happy Brewfest!