Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Family Update

So a little over a month ago I made a post about getting my Dad into WoW. When I made that post he had gotten his Warrior up to level 18. My helper Pally was languishing at 13.

I see him online some evenings and most weekends. I usually whisper to say hi and see how it's going, but he still doesn't really keep an eye on his chat frame, so I almost never get a response.

In that time he's managed to get his Warrior up to 35. (My helper Pally is still languishing at 13.) Every time we see each other he has a few more questions about the game, though most of them are interface related. How to do (or not do) something specific.

I've been considering asking if he's interested in joining the guild. It would give him a (relatively) safe place to ask questions and stuff in-game to an audience I largely trust. I may bring that up when I see him on Sunday.

He's been amazingly resourceful in his out-of-game research. For instance, I never broached the topic of addons with him. While many of them are very helpful, it's also usually a good idea to have a decent grip on the game before adding that level of complication. So it surprised me one day when he mentioned he'd found out about them and had even installed EveryQuest. He also managed to find a helper site (I didn't ask which one, but probably WoWHead or Thottbot) because he mentioned seeing a lot of stuff about coordinates but didn't know how to find them in-game.

There have been some typical noob moments that have been amusing for me, both as a veteran and a former noob that once made many of the same mistakes. Such as when he explained how he tried to solo Stockades (because it was a green quest) and was getting hammered. Or how he wandered into the wrong parts of the Wetlands and found himself getting pretty badly beat up. Not knowing that you could respec. Equipping a leather helm with Int.

Then we got into the conversation with my mother about how there is no "beating" this game. It just goes on and on. She asked if Blizzard gives me anything for my continued subscription. I said no, but they gave me a horse for getting Dad to play. She seemed bewildered. I didn't know why. Then Dad explained that I didn't mean a real horse. I tried my very hardest not to laugh. Or smile (too big).

If I know my Dad (and I think I do), he's going to get that Warrior to 80. Maybe quest out Northrend. And then quit. Or, providing that doesn't happen before Cataclysm comes out, he'll probably quit at that point. I have a hard time imagining that he'll pony up to buy another retail copy of the game just to keep playing. The subscription model almost kept him away.

I need to spend some time catching my Paladin up. It would be nice to actually spend some time playing with him again before the quitting thing happens.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Better late than never

Overall it was a pretty slow WoW weekend for me, mostly due to the fact that I spent half of it skiing.

I got my UI set back up with ShadowedUI in place of ag_UnitFrames. I went with it primarily because I was able to set it up to look almost exactly the same. There's a few things I'm still not completely happy with, but I think it's just because they're different and I need to adjust.

I got my DK up to 78 and got a full Savage Saronite set of armor crafted for him. Now I just need to find a workable PvP spec and take him into the BGs to see how that goes.

I got kicked from a VoA pug before it was even full for having too low of a gearscore. I found another PuG and quickly got Toravon 10 and 25 kills (scoring my Sanctified Lasherweave Legguards in the process). I checked the Armory feed of the guy who kicked me. No Toravon kills for him this week.

And, finally, I participated in our guild-first kill of Yogg-Saron.

The fight was a lot of fun. Probably one of the best I've seen yet. And while we did significantly outgear the encounter, it still felt really good to get in there and get him down.

Our biggest problem in the past is that we never really had enough time to make repeated attempts on him. And the fight was so complex that we would get overwhelmed as soon as anyone made the tiniest mistake. It was way too frantic and it felt impossible to get a really good grip on what was going on and how we needed to handle it.

I don't think our gear made the fight trivial. In fact, we still had a number of wipes before finally getting the kill. What our gear did for us was give us a mistake buffer. Instead of dying the instant we screwed up, we had time to recover and learn. I have no doubt that--now truly understanding how the fight mechanics work--if we were to revert back to Ulduar gear levels, we would be able to replicate our victory.

One thing I really am bummed about, though: I'd heard that the music and speech entering phase 3 is some of the best in the game and I've been looking forward to hearing it for months. But I was so keyed in on the actual fight that I completely forgot to listen when it actually came around. And I doubt we'll be taking the time to go back and do it again any time soon.

I tried finding a YouTube vid or something that showed the fight with the actual in-game sound instead of an imposed soundtrack, but came up empty. If anybody knows where I can find such an untainted vid, please let me know. I would be eternally grateful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

So awesome.

In honor of her 6th month of blogginess, Windsoar over at Jaded Alt offered up her brilliant idea-factory of a mind as a muse for any other blogger that wished to be so gifted. I did. Here's what she presented me with:
So you’re charging ahead of your raid team at half height (but quadruple poundage). What are the top 10 things that make you awesome (fuzzy cuddles can be included)?
First off, let's get two things straight:
a) I would never, ever charge ahead of my raid. I respect the healer gap at all times. *cough*

b) I am fierce. You hear me? Fierce! There are no fuzzy cuddles here. Look at this. Does this look cuddly to you?

Or this?

Or this?


Don't answer that one.
  1. Let's start with the most obvious. Five seconds ago I was an emo scowling Night Elf. Now I'm a raging, angry badger bear. And if I wanted to, I could be the black kitty of doom that bleeds you enough to fill the Red Cross' blood banks twice over. Then I could just turn into a bird and poop on your corpse while I'm flying away. I mean, come on. I can shapeshift at will. How is that not spectacularly freakin' awesome?

  2. I'm not some namby-pamby shield-wielding tank. I don't have a big shiny sword (or two) that I can use to deflect the boss' blows. I take those boss hits full-on in the face. And it fuels my rage. Do you understand that? I am fully 1/10 the size of most of the bosses I stand up to. I don't care if I were some big-shot "Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion". If I hit something that only comes up to my shin in the face and accomplish nothing except pissing it off, I'm going to soil myself.

  3. Speaking of which, just about everything I do makes me mad. I get hit? Mad. I hit something? Mad. Dodge? Mad. Crit? Mad. Hell, I can just arbitrarily make myself mad at a moment's notice for no raisin! I make Kratos look like a Boulderite on 4/20!

  4. That Saurfang guy? Yeah. I've tanked him.

  5. I'm the fastest damn thing on four legs you've ever seen. Cats? Cheetahs? Pfft. Whatever. I am a big, heavy, densely-packed brick shithouse of Rage. But I can still Dodge fully half of everything that's swung in my direction. Honestly, dude. You tried to punch a bear and he dodged it. Fail.

  6. Not only can I dance my some-odd-hundred pound frame like a butterfly, but when I lash out with these big ol' clawed sledgehammers I call paws, I can hit everything within 8 yards of me. Even things behind me. *Swipe!* It's like a whirling dervish of death. Bet you didn't even see it, either. Here, I'll do it again. Make sure you don't blink or you'll miss it. *Swipe!*

  7. I can make mobs so mad at me that even though there's 9 (or 24) other people in the room whittling their life away, they can think of nothing more than trying to beat me into a pulp. I mean, come on! There's a rogue turning your calf into poisoned hamburger, a mage spraying ice-knives in your face, a warlock turning your soul into personal pocket-crystals, a hunter knocking arrows into your thick skull while her wolf uses your Achilles' Tendon for dental floss, a paladin endlessly judging you like a mother-in-law from Blackrock Depths, and I'm your biggest concern? Priorities, man!

  8. Nalorakk may have been the bigger bear, but I'm the one still standing. That's right! What now, Troll god? Huh? WHAT!?

  9. That staff I use while tanking? (The one that must disappear off into the Twisting Nether or Emerald Dream when I'm shifted?) It's where every bad dream you've ever had comes from. That's right. I wield that thing. And I pried it from the corpse of a dude who had a giant, poison-filled needle for a hand and a GI tract on permanent loop.

  10. I can roar with such ferocity that all the mobs all around me lose composure for the next 30 seconds. I bet they wet themselves, too. I mean, I would. You know...if I wasn't so awesome.

Friday, March 26, 2010

3.3.3(.3.3.3) broke my game!

Since 3.3.3 dropped, I've become more acutely aware of this little fact that's always rested in the back of my brain.

I am completely and utterly reliant on my addons to raid. Or even run dungeons. Or do anything more complicated than fish or camp for the Time-Lost Protodrake (and if he ever does show up, I may be screwed anyway...because killing him will be more complicated than fishing).

A while ago I set up San with a band spankin' new shiny UI. Lots of addons, almost everything default hidden, moved, or replaced. All organized to fit comfortably on a 1600x1050 display of hawtness. (As an aside, I've been meaning to do a UI post, but I keep forgetting to get screencaps of it at good times.)

For this reason, I can no longer raid (or do any of those other things) on San when I'm not sitting at my desktop machine. With very few exceptions my laptop does not have the same multitude of addons installed. Mostly because I don't want to spend the hours it took to set up my UI the first time trying to duplicate it on a different display. Also because WoW taxes my laptop enough without all the addons. (Hence why I use it for little more than fishing or camping...usually while watching TV or otherwise having 90% of my attention occupied.)

Anyway, as tends to happens with patches, broke many of my addons. But usually when this happens, it's not the really important ones. And it's only minor, annoying breaks.

Not Oh no. It broke the Mac Daddy of my addons: ag_unitframs. I'm getting so many bugs, it's making effective raiding (and raid leading) almost impossible. First my raid frames won't show up. Then my healthbar won't move. Then my target frame never changes (even though I'm clearly cycling through targets). Then the statuses of other people in the raid stop updating. (Why is our dps so low all of a sudden? Everyone's dead? When did that happen?) All this crazy stuff. I'm going batty because I'm trying to lead a raid and I don't know what's going on.

Can you see my dilemma?

I've already had people in my guild switch from aguf to PitBull (which I have installed, but only use to hide Blizzard's Auras, since aguf won't) or x-perl. Since those have apparently been updated and aguf has not, I may need to switch. But then that leaves me in the tough spot of trying to redo my UI setup immediately before a raid. Fun stuff.

Dear aguf programmers: please, please, please update the addon for!

In a similar vein, I've also decided the default UI is no longer cutting it for Daluaan. Anyone have any good references for Resto and/or Enhancement Shaman UIs?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Druid Set to Date

I may be biased on this one. It's the only set I've collected full 5/5 in. But I still say, from a simple design perspective, the Druid T4 set is the best one we've seen yet. This is due in no small part to one very specific thing: pants.

Don't get me wrong. Robes are cool. But they feel very Resto or Balance. Ferals don't wear robes. They wear pants.

Still, in general, the whole set feels very...Druidy. It's a whole gold-trimmed, leafy pattern. Like a tree wrapped itself around us and became battle-hardened.

Collecting the whole set was no easy task. The pieces came from Kara (Curator, Prince), Gruul's Lair (Maulgar, Gruul), and Mag's Chamber (Magtheridon). Plus, at the time, we were competing with Warriors and Priests for our tier tokens, two insanely popular classes in BC.

But I did it. I managed to collect all 5/5. The night I got the chest token from Mag, I traded in, equipped that sucker, grabbed my matching mace out of the bank (I was actually using Illhoof's Tickler at the time, but that doesn't look very Druidy) and then ran off to the most Druidy place in the game I could think of to take some screenshots.

Burning Legion? Pfft. We're ready, right Remulos?

I still have that set stored away in my bank. I was really proud of the accomplishments it represented. And, you looks awesome.

Maybe I should put it back in my (already overstuffed) bags and use it as my "city wear." Just for fun. Hmmm....

Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BA Shared Topic: World of Awecraft

The shared topic going around this week, courtesy of Blog Azeroth is to discuss one (or some) of the moments that have wowed us during our time in WoW.

I could probably pick a ton of these. Just about every new raid puts me at a moment's awe. (Ulduar's Descent into Madness, specifically, was damn cool.) The Wrathgate cinematic--even though I had seen it 20 times before Wrath officially came out--was still damn near moving me to tears when I finally saw in in context with the questline. Almost all the music in the game fills me with awe. The DK starting zone. Seeing my first raid (Kara). Getting that first epic mount. Getting that first flying mount. Getting my first 70. My first 80. My first Draenei (the first Alliance race I really liked aesthetically). The list goes on and on.

But if I had to narrow it down to one thing--just the one aspect of the game that stands out heads above the rest--it's not even something so specifically in the game.

It's the story. The Lore. The reason we're actually out there doing the things we do.

When I first started playing WoW, it was mostly because it just seemed like kind of a fun game. I'd play on and off in month long cycles, sometimes taking longer breaks. Even though I started playing the game around the time of the first Scourge invasion (when Naxx opened in EPL), I didn't make 60 before BC dropped. In fact, I didn't even make 70 until Christmas day a year after the release of BC.

The biggest part of this was due to the fact that I all but quit the game when I was somewhere in the mid-to-late 40's; about the time the game expected me to be running Sunken Temple.

It seemed that to make any real progress, I had to go through the dungeons. I didn't get the sense that questing in and of itself was going to get me there. And my experience with previous dungeons (Stockades, Gnomer, Uldaman) had left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole process.

Ultimately I just wasn't having any fun anymore. I had no purpose.

At this point I'd like to mention that I had played Warcraft I and II. But, obviously, WoW came out several years after those. Plus I didn't really pay attention to the actual story going on when I was playing them. I never played WCIII because I didn't have a comp that could handle it.

Anyway, back to WoW. BC had been out for almost a year and I was still stuck at level 40-something back in Azeroth. I hadn't even played for more than a couple hours in months.

At the time I was a regular reader of Joystiq, but had always avoided hopping over to their sister site, (then WoW Insider). It was bad enough I was playing an MMO like WoW. There was no way I was geeky enough to follow a Blog dedicated exclusively to talking about it. (*cough*don'tsayit*cough*)

So anyway, this one day work was really slow and I'd pretty much gone through the entirety of My Internet™ twice over. I decided, in the interest of fighting boredom and no other reason, that I'd go see what kind of stuff popped up on this WoW Insider site I'd so avidly avoided.

While perusing I found this little recurring column called Know Your Lore. And it had these names attached to it like Azshara, Illidan Stormrage, and Lady Sylvanas. You know...characters I'd heard of or even ran across, but really didn't know anything about.

This was late 2007 (October/Novemberish, I think), so there had already been a good number of posts in this series made.

I started with the Illidan one. I knew he was the big bad of BC (or at least he was at the time, before KJ entered the picture) and I wanted to understand exactly who he was and I was supposed to be excited about getting myself to 60, going to this strange Outland planet and hunting him down.

Oh. My. God. My mind was blown. I didn't think an MMO was capable of sustaining that kind of story. It's one of the reasons I had always shied away from them. Give me a Final Fantasy or a KotOR any day. Something with a strong crafted story line that I could actually progress to a resolution and care about, right? None of this keel seex snow moose crap that was totally inconsequential. Right.

Needless to say, I spent the next several hours of my day (and a few the next morning) reading through the entire back catalog of KYL posts. Plus I followed a bunch of the character reference links in those posts to WoWWiki and read those. Then I followed links in those posts to other WoWWiki posts and read those. I couldn't get enough of the stuff. As someone who'd always appreciated a good story and dreamed of maybe someday being able to tell them, WoW was like a veritable goldmine. Lined with crack-cocaine Girl Scout Cookies. And puppies.

All of a sudden, I had purpose. I wanted to be a part of this Lore. I wanted to be in these raids where it was all unfolding before me. I wanted to be in this completely amazing, awe-inspiring story.

And now, 2+ years later, long after I'd all but given up on WoW, here I am.

Question for anyone following me on a feed

I don't know if I have enough of a following that any of you have me on a feed, but if you do, I have a question for you?

When I obsessively edit my posts over and over (because I can never seem to see the mistakes I've made until I'm reading the post on my blog page instead of in the editor, and I'm also incapable of finding all the mistakes and then correcting them at the same time) do I spam your feed readers with the same post over and over again?

If so, I'll be making a concerted effort to edit my posts diligently before actually posting them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

DK PvP Help?

Is there anyone out there that can point me towards some good DK PvP resources? You know, the usual...specs, rotations, etc. Preferably somewhere where I don't have to dig through 1000 forum posts from the last 18 months to root out the useful information.

I want to start getting back into the BGs more often and I think I want to use my DK to do it. I'd like to figure out how to get him some decent starter PvP gear (heirlooms, maybe?) and level him the rest of the way to 80 in the BGs.

I don't really trust Google searches in this matter because of the proliferation of account hacking sites out there. So I'm hoping that someone who reads my blog knows some good resources. Or at the very least has a friend of a friend (of a friend)...

Now I know how the other side lives

Last Thursday night we headed back into ICC with a different group of 10 than we did on Tuesday. I ended up going on my Shaman (Daluaan) in his resto spec.

I'd healed up through Saurfang before. A couple times, actually. Or, rather, I should say that I've healed up to Saurfang. We always have one of our healers go DPS for that fight and every time I've gone on Dal, it's been me. I'm usually the weakest healer in the bunch and my Enhance DPS is not too it works out.

Well it just so happened that our group was cooking along fairly well, so we thought, "hey, why not see what we can do against Festergut and Buttface?"

The funny thing about tanking (and DPSing) is that they don't really change. Yeah, you might use some different abilities if you're dealing with a group instead of a single target, or you might have to move to avoid different things. But in the end tanking is tanking. Dishing out damage is dishing out damage.

Now, maybe I just say this because I'm more used to tanking and DPSing. They take up 3 of the 4 specs of my two raid-toons and the leveling spec of every alt I've ever played. Maybe any healers who read my blog will disagree with my next sentence.

Healing changes. Holy crap, does it change. Healing the Ugly Bros isn't anything like healing that ranty queen B, Deathwhimper.

Even though Dal is a pretty competent healer, I've never healed current content on him. He's always been a tier behind, if not more. As such, I've never really been in a group with him where at least half the raid didn't moderately outgear the encounters or where I really had to pull my own weight healing. I just had to be "the 3rd healer." Even the couple times that I did the Lower Spire previously, I never really felt like I was in a position where I was being tested.

Festergut and Rotface? Yeah...they were a test. We ultimately two-shot both of them. But I directly attribute both wipes to my utter noobishness and inability to handle healing demands on fights where people can't get carried.

The most eye-opening part for me is seeing how hard it is for healers to cope with the mistakes the rest of us make.

As a tank, if someone else makes a mistake, it usually means I have to toss out a Growl followed by a quick FF and everything's good again.

As a DPS, if someone makes a mistake...well...I might have to stop DPSing long enough to throw a brez. But it usually doesn't affect me. Or there's usually very little I can do about it even if it does. (Flame Wreaths, anybody?)

Being used to these roles, when I did something bad, I usually brushed it off with a quick "sorry" and then went about my business.

Never. Again.

Healers, I have a whole new respect for you guys and what you have to put up with when I quickly say "sorry."

I think everyone should have to heal progression content at least once in their raiding career now. And the more mistake prone they are when they play...the more mistake prone people they have to heal.

I can't say it with anymore detail than that. If you heal, you know. If you don't, no description I could conjure up with words would do the experience 1/1000th of the justice it demands. You just have to experience it.

On the positive side, I found out that HealBot makes calling out the Mutated Infections a lot easier than trying to watch DBM announcements.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Bear's guide to ICC: Rotface

Oh hi, there. Been a while since I've done one of these. Let's see if I still remember how...

The Rotface encounter requires two tanks doing two very different jobs. One is exceptionally easy. The other one can make or break your attempts. No pressure.

The Rotface Tank:
The Rotface tank has the easy job. Rage up, Charge in, and start tanking Rotface so that his teeny, tiny hitbox (don't tease, he's sensitive about it) is pretty much lined up over the teeny, tiny circle in the middle of the floor. Then...hold him there and tank away. You want to tank him there because throughout the encounter, any given quarter of the room may be flooded with ooze. (I love that's so fun to say.) The flood leaks pretty far into the room. Holding Rotface in the center will minimize raid movement during the encounter. Plus it will help with Ooze management (which we'll get to).

Once you're happily beating on him, there's really only two things you have to watch out for.

1) On set intervals he will target a random raid member and start puking in their direction. 9 times out of 10, this won't affect you. However, if you happen to be in the line between Rotface and said targeted raid member, you will have to move out of the way. So don't fall completely asleep.

2) Occasionally one of the Big Oozes in the room (more on those below) will become unstable and explode, doing damage to anyone near it and sending 3 ooze missiles in a high arc through the air. The missiles can land anywhere a raid member was standing when they were launched and will do significant damage when they hit the ground. When the explosion happens, you want to drag Rotface to one of the corners of the room to avoid the falling ooze missiles. I like to drag him straight back from where I'm tanking unless I'd be headed right towards the exploding ooze or into a flooded corner of the room. Either way, communicate with your raid which way you're going to go so that you can all say together. You do not want to spend a lot of time spread out during this fight. Once the ooze missiles have all hit the ground, drag him back to the middle.

Rinse, repeat.

The Ooze tank:
If you are the Ooze tank, there's a lot riding on your shoulders. To make things worse, Bears might be the worst Ooze tanks in the game. We can do it, but it takes considerable effort.

So what's going to happen is Rotface will start hitting members of your raid with Mutated Infection (very similar to Grobbulus's Mutating Injection). The infection is a disease that ticks about 3K damage every second for 12 seconds or until cleansed. When the disease drops off (whether by cleansing or because the 12 seconds expired) that person spawns a Little Ooze. The Little Ooze cannot be taunted and it has unreachable levels of threat on the person that it spawned from. The Little Ooze has a small ticking AoE attack, and will also drop nasty pools of gunk near the feet of the person it's targeting. For these two reasons, you want to keep this thing out of the raid. You also don't want them combining into a(nother) Big Ooze in the middle of the raid.

Big Ooze, you say? What's that?

When two Little Oozes get within 10 yards of each other, they combine and form a Big Ooze. The Big Ooze is tauntable and it is what the Ooze tank needs to handle. Like the Little Oozes, the Big Ooze pulses AoE damage and sends out puddles of concentrated nastiness. It also hits quite hard. Most tanks can't stay near them for more than a second or so. They move quite slowly, though. So the idea is to kite them around the edge of the room. Bears, all we really have to help us with this is Growl and Fearie Fire. We have our caster form spells, too, but they don't really do much threat and it's dangerous to stop moving.

The Big Oozes will also absorb any Little Ooze (or other Big Ooze) that gets within 10 yards of them. So once there is a Big Ooze in the raid, the idea is for the infected raid members to run to the Ooze tank and follow along side him/her until their Little Ooze gets absorbed by the Big one.

Each time the Big Ooze absorbs a Little Ooze, it becomes more unstable. When it becomes 100% unstable (5 stacks), it does the explodey thing I mentioned above. If it absorbs another Big Ooze, it counts as 2 little Oozes + existing instability stacks.

While kiting, there's a number of dangers you still have to keep an eye out for. If Rotface is puking, you don't want to cross that stream. The Ooze that floods the room slows you and does damage, so you don't want to spend too much time in it. And you have to avoid the smaller pools the Oozes shoot out at all cost. Those are the really dangerous ones. Also, keep moving while the missiles from the exploding ooze are in the air and try not to run across spots where other raid members were standing when they launched.

It is possible to change kiting directions if necessary. When you do this, make sure you make a wide arc around the Big Ooze. You do not want to let it get within melee range of you. Again, it moves really slow, so this is very doable. Just pay attention and be careful.

And that's it. Simple, right?

A few things worth noting: Like the Grobbulus fight, the Infections come faster and faster the longer the encounter goes, acting as a soft enrage timer. Eventually your healers and Ooze tank just get overwhelmed and can't keep up.

If a raid member dies while they have a Little Ooze aggroed on them, it will go after the next highest threat target. This person will then have to kite that ooze to join the Big one. If the second highest threat member happens to be the Rotface tank (which actually happens often in our runs) then the only way to get it out of the raid is to let it merge with another Little Ooze right there and then get taunted away. This whole process will put a lot of strain on your healers.

A capable Hunter can very well be the Ooze tank.

We like using a Pally as the Ooze tank. They have a fair number of ranged abilities at their disposal, are able to free themselves from slow effects if they have to run through the flood, and can Purify the infected raid members when they get into the right position. (This last is insanely helpful, both in terms of saving GCDs from the healers and allowing them to not have to pay attention to when the infected raid member is in position to be cleansed.)

Edit: Talking about loot drops is traditional. I guess forgetting about that part isn't too smooth on my part.

On 10-man, Rotface will drop Shaft of Glacial Ice, which isn't too shabby. There's a decent number of better weapons in the game for bears, but it's possible this will be an upgrade over what you have.

On 25-man you can look forward to the Seal of Many Mouths, the Bile-Encrusted Medallion, and/or Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy. None are particularly amazing or must-have for Bears, but there may be something in there of use to you depending on what else you have (or haven't) picked up along the way.

As with all my boss strats, I'm writing from the overall perspective of a Bear tank and what they will need to do. For you Cats reading this blog, I suggest you check out Dinaer's guides on Forever a Noob. They're written for Rogues but are a pretty good guide for melee in general and his gear drop suggestions (with the exception of weapons) will be spot on for Cats. If I have additional insight, I will try to add it in my blog. Here is his Rotface strat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We've been on a wave of ICC craziness in our guild lately. In the last 6 nights, I've spent 4 in ICC (3 on 10-man, 1 on 25). A lot has happened in those few days.

Two Sundays ago (the 7th, which is guess is out of that 6-night window I just mentioned) we got our 10-man team together and headed in to finally take advantage of a Raid ID we'd extended from the previous week. Yes, it took us until Sunday to do it. Like I said...our raid time is tight.

Anyway, with the recently-fixed Rotface injection timer and the 5% "pity buff," we were finally able to down Rotface. It took us two tries, and the second one was pretty sloppy. The last 250K was done with 2 tanks, a healer, and a dps. The last 100K was done sans healer. Fortunately one of the tanks and the dps were both paladins and I had all my cooldowns available. We scraped by. Much hooting and hollering and screen capping occurred.

We had about 3 minutes to give Putricide a try before we lost our tank for the night, so we buffed, pulled blind, and died fast.

Fast-forward to this past Sunday. There'd been some grumbling about how we were being too selective with our ICC teams. Fair enough. We were limiting our pool quite severely, even to the point of leaving out people who probably deserved to go. So I set up a run specifically targeted at some of those others.

We wiped once on Festergut because of a bad pull. And that was it until we started taking cracks at Putricide. Yep, that's right. Our not-quite-A team one-shot 5 of 6 bosses on the way to PP, including Rotface. Twas a good night. (We won't talk about our PP progress.)

This week we have two different 10-man runs planned. Last night's got stuck in the Plagueworks without downing any of those bosses, but it was a good run for the amount of time that we had.

Thursday night is our next shot. Then one of those two IDs will be carried over to the next week for some more progression tries, either on PP or the Blood Princes.

When it rains, it pours, I guess. Good times, though. And progress! :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not so much

Once again, my planned topic of discussion is being derailed because I found someone else posting something that I could relate to and that my mind found infinitely more interesting at this precise moment.

This time it was Saffron posting some experience leading weekly raid PuGs.

For having been a raid leader as long as I have, you'd think I'd lead a lot of PuGs. Yeah...not so much. I don't even like participating in PuGs and really only do so out of occasional necessity. One of the things that make leading raids in a guild (or mine, specifically...I can't really speak to many others) is that the people in my guild are willing to be lead. They listen to me, try their best to follow my instructions, and generally respect me and the position I hold. It makes leading raids exceptionally easy.

PuGs...again, not so much.

However, a few weeks ago I actually participated in an Alliance Wintergrasp victory on my server (they're exceedingly rare, even when weighted heavily in our favor) and jumped at the chance to get into VoA and maybe get a piece of T10 gear that I wouldn't have to spend Frost Emblems on (because I'm horrible about logging in to do my random dailies and have fallen far behind most progression-oriented types in collecting them).

You would think a bear tank with over 50K buffed health or a kitty capable of sustaining almost 6K dps (in an unideal mix of Uld 10 and ToC 10 gear) on a tank-and-spank raid fight like Toravon would be in popular demand...especially as infrequently as the Alliance folk on my server get chances at him. Turns out...not so much.

So I convinced Student/Frat Pally tank in my guild to tank with me and then did the unimaginable. I pulled together a PuG VoA raid.

Before pulling the boss I asked if everyone knew the fight. No one indicated otherwise so we went ahead and pulled. Two wipes later it was clear we didn't have the DPS to bring him down. I could sense general uneasiness (how dare a PuG fail!) and some snippiness started appearing in raid chat. I ran interference long enough to get people to stop calling other people names, declared that we lacked DPS to finish the fight, apologized, and said I would be asking some of the lower DPS to leave.

One immediately whispered, knowing he was down on the list, and offered to bow out. I thanked him for understanding and let him go on his way. Then I whispered three more, apologized again, but said that I was going to have to ask them to sit this one out.

To my surprise, all three were very understanding. They all thanked me for giving them a couple chances before booting them. Two thanked me for talking to them before just dropping them. One thanked me specifically for whispering him instead of calling him out in raid chat. They all dropped on their own accord, rather than making me raid kick them.

We filled their spots along with those of a few people who were too impatient to deal with wipes or time needed to find replacements, then smoothly cleared all 4 bosses in the Vault.

I still don't like PuGs, leading or otherwise. I still try to avoid them when I can. I still tend to think that there's roughly a 102.8% chance that they're going to be a nightmare. But at least now I know, somewhere way, way back in the darkest, least used corners of my brain...not so much.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Truth

So I was all set to make a particular post today when I came across this Truth post Bear Pelt put up over on WoW Trotter. And then my mind spun way off into the nether.

Immediately when you hear an individual plays games (particularly MMOs), you immediately form a number of assumptions and opinions about that person. I don't need to list them. You can probably think of a dozen right now. You probably did it between the last two sentences without even skipping a beat.

Does anyone meet all these assumptions exactly? No. It's just a stereotype that we're all familiar with. But stereotypes exist for a reason. While very few people fit them exactly, a large number of people will at least come close. You know, have at least a small number (if not more) of those stereotypical traits. But regardless, we go in with them. And then it's only time and experience and getting to know people that really make us change our minds.

Of course, all this is just talking about the real world. Referring to some nameless, faceless person like, "Oh yeah, I know Rob. He's a pretty hardcore gamer." But in a social and interactive game like WoW, there's a whole new layer of complexity.

In a game like WoW, once we've been forced into that base stereotype, snap assumptions are made on not just how we type in guild chat, but on the toons we play and (unfairly) the roles we fill and how well we fill them. Often times, once those snap assumptions have been made, collated, and reacted to, any evidence that contradicts them goes right through our minds without stopping. Whatever the MMO version of in-one-ear-out-the-other would be. (In-one-eye?)

Sometimes we'll play with someone for years before we realize we've improperly categorized them.

One particular member of my guild comes immediately to mind. He's a guy, but plays all female characters and is very animated and excessively squeees (as Bear Pelt put it) and such. Behaves very stereotypically female. Even on Vent, his voice is somewhat androgynous, which led most of the guild to assume he was female. It was a little bit of a shock to find out otherwise. I still have to constantly correct myself when speaking to/about him because it's just how I've come to think of him over the years that we've been in the same guild.

One of our core raiders who's been running with us for at least two years is only 15. We had no idea until he finally got a headset with a mic for vent. He's always carried himself so maturely, never resorted to txt-speak, etc, that everyone assumed that when he talked about "school," it was HS or even college.

I used to be surprised about how much football chatter goes back and forth in gchat on Sundays. I used to think I was a bit of a special snowflake in that regard. Turns out, not so much.

I was surprised how many of our guild's members (especially some of the more active ones) were actually adults with families. I was never under the illusion that married parents didn't play wow, but they make up a large portion of my guild's leadership, which surprised me at first.

Yes, these examples are all about me. I'm not any better than anyone else in this regard. I do strive to approach new people I meet with an open mind. Sometimes it's easier than others. But the attitudes exist. And the more aware we are of those attitudes, both in ourselves and the people we meet, the easier it'll be for us to enjoy playing this game together.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Random bits and linkage

Thanks, all, for the support during my whine-fest on Wednesday morning. I think no small part of my frustration was due to the fact that I'd put in over 30 hours of work this week, prior to posting that. It's been a hellish one. The end is finally in sight, though.

Over the past week we've gotten a little more detail on how Mastery stats are going to work and even got a Feral-specific touch from Eyonix. Alaron over at The Fluid Druid got the news out along with his initial thoughts. I don't think I can say it any better than he already did, so I'm just going to direct you there. (Although I still say +crit is more likely than +agi for our second stat.)

If you missed the news and want full coverage of blue input on the matter, you can check this blue-tracked thread over on MMO-Champion.

Finally today, before getting back to the grind, I want to point you over to a post about some of the new in-game music we can look forward to in 3.3.3. As I'm pretty sure I've stated in this blog before, I'm a huge music nerd and I love the way Blizz has composed tracks for WoW (and all their games, really). These new tracks are no exception. The ZF Quiet and ZF Big Battle tracks, especially, have me really excited to figure out a way to get a high-enough level Troll over there and participate in the Echo Isles quests.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Guild Pressures

I've been limiting my WoW time quite a bit lately, for a number of reasons. Some of them have to do with wanting to clear out a backlog of other games I've been collecting (just finished Mass Effect 2 over the weekend and OMGSOGOOD!). Some of it is because non-gaming things (skiing, hockey, social events, work) have been taking up a larger portion of my time recently.

But mostly it's because, for the first time in the 4 years I've been playing, WoW's started feeling like a second job for me. And when I sit down and log in, I'm just not finding myself having much fun. I'll hop on in the evening, stick around long enough to see if a raid is going to come together, and then either go on that or log off if it becomes apparent there won't be one.

There's a couple loads that are typically spread out among multiple members in guilds that have fallen almost squarely on my shoulders as of late.

Our guild has 3 raid leaders. However one has involved himself much more in school and his fraternity over the last year than he has in WoW. Really the only time we see him with reliability anymore is during extended school breaks. I'm not faulting him for this. It's a very healthy thing and I'd be more concerned if he was ignoring these parts of his real life. But the simple fact is that it's one less reliable raid lead in our guild.

The other raid leader had work more or less blow up in his face and start consuming a disproportionate amount of his time right around the same time he signed on to help coordinate an entire convention. We haven't so much as seen a "X has logged on" from him in about 6 weeks, I think. Again, not faulting him.

But now I'm the only raid lead left. It's pretty much up to me to figure out what our guild is going to run any given week, whether it's an open invite or selective, and who to invite if it is selective. Then it's up to me to be the one showing up to actually lead said events. Normally I don't mind this. I enjoy leading raids. But I end up feeling guilty when other obligations call me away or when I just want a night off. I shouldn't get that kind of feeling from a game. Plus I end up scheduling our raids around my schedule because I don't want to force any of my fellow officers to fill in when I can't be there. A few have stepped up to help try and fill the gaps, but I know it's not a role any of them particularly want to play.

Then we come to the issue of tanks, particularly progression tanks. There is a reasonable number of well-geared tanks being played by skilled players in our guild. The problem is that most of them are alts of people who play their other roles much better (and have collected much better gear). There are really only two main-toon, main-spec, progression-ready, reliable tanks in our guild. I'm one of them. School/Frat Raid Leader is the other.

So, same thing. Any time we're trying to run anything harder than ToC 10, I feel obligated to be there tanking to give us a reasonable chance at success. I love tanking. It's a ton of fun. More than I honestly ever thought it would be before I took my first baby-bear steps into Kara. Plus it makes leading a raid really, really easy for me. I'm much more distracted when shredding ankles in cat form or bringing my Shaman in for a change of pace. I actually have to pay attention to me more than the raid when I do any of those.

But Cat is still my first love and I'm really, really starting to miss it. I've gotten to go Cat in a few VoA pugs and dungeons in the last month and I've enjoyed the hell out of it. And playing around with the Mangle change on the PTR has made me really want to flex those muscles in a raid environment. Honest to God, if our guild ever got 3 or so tanks that I reasonably trusted and thought were better than (or at least as good as) me, I'd be happy spending 90% of our raids staring at ass-end of everything we met.

But again, our raiding opportunities are limited. We have to make the most of them, especially on 25-man where our less hardcore members have less patience with wipes and such. So a-tanking I go.

I know this whole post sounds like a gripe-fest. I guess, to some extent, it is. But I don't want to get down on this game or my Guild. Both are great. And raiding is still the single most fun thing in the game for me.

I just really want to be able to share the responsibilities of it all again (with people that aren't just grudgingly accepting them).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I know I shouldn't question in a world with orcs and elves and magic and such...but I still wonder how things like this happen.

Daluaan was waiting for the start of a Wintergrasp battle and he suddenly started feeling...fresher.

Does anyone have a hose?

I know you want what's on my mind. I know you like what's on my mind. I know it eats you up inside.

Friday, March 5, 2010

More on the Mangle Change

So I finally got my furry butt over onto the PTR last night to do some actual testing of the Mangle changes. Interesting stuff.

Anyway, I have some recount screenshots. Now you all get to see how much my knowledge of my class exceeds my actual skill. :-P

All these tests are 5-minute sustained runs, self-buffed with IMotW.

First, the live test:

Not my best, but not much lower than what I'm used to seeing on solo DPS tests. It was good enough for a general benchmark.

So then I went over to the PTR. Didn't change a thing. Same spec, same gear, same glyphs...all of it. Here's what happened:

350 dps increase. And you can see the way all the damage percentages jumped around. I used 20% of the Mangles I used before (which is exactly what should be expected) and increased the number of Shreds by 50%.

It was definitely easier to tell, at a glace, what my next priority should be. Mangle was almost out of the equation completely, so I only needed to juggle Rake, Rip, and Savage Roar.

My Rip count did take a bit of a dip, and I'm not sure why. (Oddly, it dipped even further in the next test.) I think I may have just been getting tired.

Last test I did was respeccing to take 3 points out of Improved Mangle and move them to max out Ferocity. Here's how that panned out:

Not a huge increase, and what increase there was had nothing to do with Ferocious Bite. As you can see, I got one more in on this test than I did on the last and still did about the same damage total.

FB is a hard beast to categorize, though. Because of the small sample size, one more or one less crit can make a huge difference in the total. Plus the amount of damage done by FB is partially dependent on how much Energy you have when you use it. So it's hard to get a good baseline for comparison. There's too many variables.

That said, even if the averages had been the same, we're talking an extra 30dps or so. Nothing spectacular.

As a quick aside, apparently there was something going on with Glyph of Mangle. I think they're planning on keeping it in game, but changing to make it just increase the damage of Mangle instead of the time. However, it's bugged and is allowing Ferals to pretty much one-shot Mangle anyone in a PvP situation. I don't have Glyph of Mangle in my Cat spec, so I wasn't able to test this. But it seems to be an indication of what they're planning on doing with the Glyph.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Because inspiration is fleeting today

OK, because, as the loading screen tips tell us "Remember to take all things in moderation (even World of Warcraft!)" I'm going to skip writing about anything more WoW-related than referring to a loading screen tip.

Instead, I'm going to send you all to what has been one of my favorite websites over the last 3.5 months.

This guy put together 7 unique songs by sampling and remixing YouTube videos. The results are astounding. Not only is the music composition a ton of fun, but watching the accompanying video to get a sense of where all the different sounds came from is nothing short of hypnotic.

Go. Listen. Enjoy.

Auto-pilot FTL!

So I was planning on making a random picture post today, ala Need More Rage and WoW Trotter. I sat down at my comp this morning, kicked off a PTR installer (I've never actually gone on the PTR before), moved a few screenshots to my flash drive to bring to the office and then...stood up and left for work, leaving said flash drive still in my computer.

Go me.

So now I need to find something to actually write about. Hrmm...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New PTR build = Feral wags

I didn't have a topic readily in mind this morning, so I did my usual perusal of, my blogroll, and MMO Champion to see what what's being discussed. This last source dropped a bit of a bombshell in the form of Druid changes on the new PTR build.
  • Mangle (Bear) now increases the damage of bleed effects for 1 min. (Up from 12 sec)
  • Mangle (Cat) now increases the damage of bleed effects for 1 min. (Up from 12 sec)
Holy geez!

Now, for Bears, this isn't a huge deal. Since the tanking rotation is pretty small and simple, I don't see this changing much. What it does do that's really nice is allow us to not have to fret about Mangle dropping if one fails to land.

For Keeping the Mangle debuff up is one of the most complicated parts of our rotation. You always, always, always want to make sure your target has a Mangle debuff before you apply either Rip or Rake. And Mangle is not a particularly low-energy cost ability.

Previously you could maybe get by using this every other rotation. It depends on how much you're critting. Now you'll be able to go an average of 8-10 rotations between every Mangle. That's more Shreds, and that's huge.

I'll probably wait for the people over on EJ to do the number crunching for me and then just pass it on to you. But That's going to be a big boost. I may have to do a PTR copy tonight and do some comparisons to post tomorrow. I'm all giddy at the thought, though.

Additionally, this change could free up talent points spent in Improved Mangle, as we'll be using it much less frequently. Similarly, you may choose to spend fewer in Ferocity as well, although Rake will still be big in our rotations, so maybe not.

Beyond just us, though, Rogues and Warriors should be very excited about this change as well, as Bleeds are a decent part of their damage rotations. Now when we're stuck in high-mobility fights there's less of a chance that the Mangle debuff will drop off the target, which means more damage for them. Everybody likes big numbers!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feral Mastery

Ask anyone you run across in game what their spec is, and you can probably get a pretty good idea of what they do. Holy Priest. Enhancement Shaman. Prot Warrior. All of those should immediately bring to mind a role. In other situations, it may clarify a playstyle. Frost v. Arcane Mage. Combat v. Assassination Rogue. Just by knowing someone's class and spec, you can get a sense of what they're about.

But there's always an exception to the rule. Take, for instance: Feral Druid. Hmm...still a little ambiguous, isn't it? You don't know for sure what that person does. Are they a Tank or a DPS? Are they specced/geared to excel at one of those roles or to be able to do an adequate job of both? (DKs also fall into this category.)

This brings us to yesterday, when I touched on one of the stat changes coming in Cataclysm that I wanted to explore a little more thoroughly.
Mastery - This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It's directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.
Do you see where I'm going with this?

Let's go back to the other specs we've already mentioned: Holy, Enhancement, Prot, Frost, Arcane, Combat, Ass (*cough*)...I don't think it would be too hard to come up with, at least on a general level, what kind of Mastery stats each of these specs would have.

But what about Ferals? What kind of Mastery bonuses could we get that apply across our two roles effectively?

I know it's been a while, but they did cover some Mastery stats info at BlizzCon last year. While Rogues are the specific example in that post, you can get an idea of where they're going.

So Ferals? What would we get?

I could see a flat damage increase of some kind. That would help Bears with Threat and Cats with DPS numbers. That's good.

Armor Pen? Again, good for cats. But now 2 out of 3 stats are going towards increasing a Bear's threat output. That's not fun. Nor is it particularly useful.

Health or Armor increases? Great for Bears, useless for cats.

Haste? Okay, maybe. But again, its seems like that would do little to help Bears beyond threat. Rage generation if we see that from Haste somehow, but as said yesterday, Rage starvation isn't really an issue until you vastly outgear content.

The basic theme running here is that Bears care about Survival and Mitigation, while Cats care about damage output. There's really no good cross-section there. They're incompatible insofar as I can see. Either each role only benefits from 2 of the 3 Mastery stats, or Bears really get the short end of the stick. And either way, we end up feeling inferior to just about every other spec in the game because they get tangible benefit from all 3.

Now obviously Blizzard is aware of this. But we're going to have to wait and see how it's handled. I'm definitely very curious.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cata Stats & Ferals

Finally I get to talk game mechanic speculation about our class in my blog!

Eyonix has posted on the Blizz forums to give us all the low-down on gear stat changes coming for Cataclysm. There's a lot to absorb there, but it's definitely worth taking a few minutes to read over it.

For the purposes of this blog, however, I wanna take a minute to highlight the stuff directly pertinent to Ferals.
Stamina - Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.
I don't expect a lot here will change for bears. Our gear will have a lot more base stamina on it, so we'll see less scaling of stamina from talents (as pointed out below). For cats, I'd like to say this is probably going to up our survivability, but I assume the incoming damage will be adjusted to handle this. I see this move as an attempt to normalize party- or raid-damage during encounters. 3K damage every few seconds affects some classes a lot more than others.

Haste - Haste will become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly. Our intention is for Haste to let you "do stuff" more often.
Again, for Bears, I'm not sure how this would apply. Maybe we generate more rage than we do now? Only I don't think I've ever been rage starved in content that I didn't vastly outgear. For Cats, though, this means faster Energy regen, which can only lead to good things.

Mastery - This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It's directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.
We don't know much about this yet, but it does raise an interesting question for Ferals. However, I believe I have enough to say about it that it may warrant its own post. So more on this tomorrow.

Armor - The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.
This is interesting. While I can see raising health pools of some classes as a reasonable balancing move, I'm not sure why they would want to do the same here. The wording is "so much more protection," so there's still going to be a difference. But I wonder how much it'll be now. Again, I'd like to say this will have no affect on Bears and will likely up Cat survivability. But who knows how they're going to change incoming damage to compensate for this?

Strength, Agility, Hit Rating, Expertise, and Critical Strike Rating - These will all still appear on gear as well. Aside from situations mentioned elsewhere in this list, in general these will function similarly to how they do now, though the details -- such as how much Hit Rating you might need to effectively combat high-level creatures (more on this below) -- are likely to change.
Not much to say here. Some things will still be familiar to us after the change.

Attack Power - This stat will no longer be present on most items as a flat value, though it will still show up on some process. Strength and Agility, which will be present on items, will grant the appropriate amount of Attack Power (generally 2 Attack Power per point of Strength or Agility) depending upon which stat a particular class favors. Agility may provide less Crit than it currently does.
Of all the changes, I think this one is my favorite. I absolutely hate Attack Power as a stat on gear. Maybe it's because I tend to overthink things, but when I'm comparing two pieces of gear AP is always that one stat that makes me hesitate and overthink things. In my world view, AP should be to stats what a puzzle is to its pieces. (AP:Stats::Puzzle:Puzzle Pieces, for you nerds like me.) Basically, AP should be the end result of some combination of your stats and they shouldn't throw extra loose AP at you just to make up some perceived balance difference. You wouldn't expect them to throw a couple extra blue pieces in a puzzle just because the end picture didn't have as much blue as the puzzle next to it, would you? No. So don't do it with my gear, either.

Armor Penetration - This stat will no longer be present on items. Armor Penetration will still exist in talents and abilities.
And this after I wrote a program to find gear combinations that hit an armor pen cap. Ha ha.

Seriously, though. I knew this was coming (which is why I only put about a day and a half of effort into said program). What's nice about this is that Armor Pen isn't going away as a game mechanic, just as a gear stat. So if I, as a Feral, am supposed to have some level of ArPen, it's probably going to come from Agility or something. Makes it easier to compare.

Defense - Defense is being removed from the game entirely. Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by us Righteous Fury.
Obviously this doesn't affect Bears much, as we already have crit immunity through talents. What this does, though, is remove Defense from the Cloaks, Rings, and Amulets that we share with other tanking classes. More itemization for stats that directly help us. (Yes, Defense does increase your Dodge rating, but not by enough to actually make it a desirable stat.)

Reforging - While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.
I'm really excited about this. I hate when I'm looking at a possible upgrade and thinking to myself, "Man, this is an upgrade in a few areas, but these one or two stats are completely wasted on me. Do I really want it or should I wait for something that I can really use fully?"

Now the answer is easy. Yes, take it! And move around the stats that aren't that useful to you. Now it's a solid upgrade.

Gems - We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We'll have more details on this in the future.
I hate getting gear and knowing I have two options: Gem it well, or get the socket bonus. Cats have no use for blue gems. Bears have almost no use for Yellow. But since gear is so similar between them...yeah. If Blizz can find a way to make every gem color be at least somewhat useful for every class, I'm all for that.

If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:
  • A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
  • Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
  • Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina. Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.

Overall an interesting look at the changes coming up. I am going to miss the epeen of having 3 times the armor and health of anyone else in my raid. It definitely held up a big neon sign that said "San's the Tank!" But it's nothing I'm not used to. My health and armor pools have both been nerfed since BC. I'm still not any less of a tank now than I was then, I promise. Changes come and go, but as long as we can still do our job, who cares?

If anything, I can see this freeing up bag space for Dual Spec Ferals like myself. I have a single piece of gear common between my two specs (Darkmoon Card: Greatness). With the Frost Resist gear I keep handy, and my special cooking and fishing hats, I have one 20-slot bag entirely devoted to gear. With these changes, I might be able to share a few more pieces of gear between my two roles. Not only would that open up a few bag slots, but it would also help my effectiveness on fights where I spend time in both Cat and Bear. That, I think, would be a welcome change to any Ferals out there.