Posts Tagged ‘tanking’

Sundering Along: finding your way through BRD


How to find your way around BRD:  a visual guide / howto / map.

In case you’re confused by how to find your way around in BRD, I’ve compiled a flowchart to help guide the way.   It shows routes, how to get the key, and bosses along the way.  I like the chart on wowwiki, but I’m a more pictures-visual person.

In case you wanted more information, the pdf version – Giant BRD flowchart – has links to bosses/quests, and better resolution, unlike the jpeg below.

Yellow arrows are optional bosses.

Blue, the path to get a key.

Green, the path with a key.

Pink, once you’ve opened the lock.

I’ll make two notes that I couldn’t fit in the chart – (1)  once you have the key, its smart to open the gates, so that new members can continue, without following a strange path to find you.   (2)  If you’re tanking, or sure that you have a good tank, and want the key – on zoning in:  go straight, do an immediate u-turn, and then go up the Dark Iron highway.  That’ll lead to Incendius, and you can do the key route in reverse.  The hazard of this route is that the highway and upper arena will have large groups of adds to be tanked.  That can wreck some tanks.

Let me know if I missed anything / if it can be improved upon!

*Disclaimer:  I left the lava “shortcut” off intentionally.  Because its just cruel to tempt lvl 50-somethings with a speedy run, when it’ll just lead to certain doom.


Sundering Along: The Next Generation


After 5 years of playing Horde side, I made a gnome warrior.

My friends and I turned to the dark side are checking out how the the other half lives.  Personally, I’m curious to discover why Varian Wyrn isn’t a raidboss we get to kill for loot and put his head on a stick.  (Slaughtering him for a bear isn’t enough.  I want a trinket called “Varian’s Ego” with a tooltip:  “Suffocates the room with self-righteous fury.  Chance to make party members kill you out of sheer annoyance.”  It could be a two-boss raid.  I nominate Garrosh.)

Despite my newfound love of reading quest text – its new! – I hopped back into LFD, because I needed a tanking high.  I’m leveling with a sword, a board, and in prot spec.  Some things, I suppose, never change.

Bad call.

I encountered what is hands-down the worst healer I’ve ever seen in 5 years of playing WoW.

Perhaps you think I kid?

I do not.

I zone in, and do the usual healer check to guess the pace I should pull the instance.  He’s in gear with no bonus int or spellpower.  Cool.  Probably a good idea to take it safe, since I’m new to Alliance-side myself and untwinked.  With no other casters, running SFK is a great opportunity to gear up a healer.

Uhoh, Righteous Fury is up.  Not a big deal – I usually produce enough threat that it doesn’t really matter – just something to mention to save future tanks some headache.  The silent refusal to take off Righteous Fury is a little strange… but no harm, no foul.

Time to pull.

Bam, the Worgen is taunted off me.  Hand of Reckoning, how I despise you.  “Mind not taunting them off me? Reckoning does damage, but is a taunt.”  Ugh.  No response, more taunting.  Even still, I guess, I can taunt it back.  So, irksome, but livable.  No need to prod more, it’d just drive everyone crazy.

This brings me to the bad part.

The rogue (as rogues often do) was bouncing forward and had pulled something new.  Charge, thunderstomp, they’re mine… but oh crud I’m almost dead.  Yay lifebloom + potion + cooldowns.

We live.  I exhale, and eat some food.

Next pull, the rogue lets me get first.  The rogue being mostly dead, I figure this is a subtle healer trick to keep the dps tame.

I was wrong.

The healer didn’t heal me.  To the point that the rest of the group kept asking him to heal.  Reminding him to heal.  Begging him to heal.  To add insult to ignoring my injuries:  he even judged wisdom.  Sure, I had a full stock of bandages, a nice stack of healing potions, and a lifebloom cooldown.  I’m also an obsessive cook, which was great once everything was dead…

But that doesn’t mean I’m a healer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when healers contribute some damage.  Speeds things along, keeps the game interesting, I get it.  But… we still need a healer.  Please.  Like, when I have 100 hp, and the curse does around 200 damage a tick.  Now is a great time to heal.  Not to taunt another pull.

Oh yes he did.

Thank goodness for whoever bandaged me while the ghost-wolves descended upon us and I desperately ate the last of my food.

Alas, the healer never said a thing.  (How do you ignore someone that never speaks?  I never ignore people, so this is new territory for me.)

Sundering Along: Alas, Azeroth, I hardly Knew Thee


So long Azeroth, and thanks for all the fish.

After 112 runs (and 14 deaths… one of which was intentional, oh BRD key), I’m level 60.

I will now ominously hover over Hellfire in victory.  (Adorable undead laugh here.)

If there is anything I can say about leveling via instancing, it is that the levels go by absurdly fast.

The early 40s were a blur.  Each Mara Purple was a 10-15 minute exercise in learning how to avoid being gouged.  (As a warrior, use Shield Block at the start of the satyr pulls.  Try to get a revenge off on a satyr, if they’re both up when SB wears off.  Alternating that and Concussion Blow gives the best chance to avoid a dps-killing gouge.)

The late 40s were over in the blink of an eye.  I barely had the time to finish the quest to summon Hakkar in ST.  (Highly recommended – the fight is a fun addition.  There aren’t many event-fights in WoW anymore, and this is a cool bit of variety.)  Alas, I saw none of the cool drops from the 40s.  No Sang’thraze.  No Jang’thraze.  And so no nifty sword of swirling skull-doom.  No dragon sword.  No strange dagger of limited use.

The 50s, I’ve loved.  I immediately took my engineering to 375, for the helm and trinket.  (Nothing else comes close for tanking.)  Added bonus:  I’m now miniature.

Blackrock Depths is a wonderful instance.  It has enough variety (and enough options for bosses) that I never quite got bored with it.  My second group (at level 51) was able to clear not only Prison, but continue on to clear the entire instance.  Most fun I’ve had in the spire for ages.

And the quests.  Oh the quests.  I’d forgotten how many fun quest chains there are for BRD.  There is nothing quite like rescuing the princess, only to be told that by doing so, you’ve ensured that the dwarves will be reunited under a (probably) evil and crazed ruler.  Or at least the mom is likely nutters.  (Sidenote:  possible Cata fight?)

If you’re planning on doing the the BRD quest chains, grab them once its possible that BRD-Prison can be the random – they each involve multiple trips, and often killing NPCs that are off the beaten path.

My next goal – Scholomance has two quests I adore:  The Lich, Ras Frostwhisper and Dawn’s Gambit.  I highly recommend both chains, even if they send you across the globe.  But have impressive visuals, and the response of players who didn’t even know what you were doing is possible – nothing short of golden.   Oh, and I’d love a classic Onyxia key.  (Warlord’s Command is done, contemplating getting Seal of Ascension to tempt groups into UBRS…)

Apparently, LFD has other plans, and I’m to do Ramparts immediately upon hitting 61 (where I now am, after turning in quests).  Ok, I can live with that.

I have to confess, though… I’m sad to leave the Old World behind.

There are so many instances I never got the chance to explore (DM, Scholo, Strat, UBRS…).  There are too many instance-based quest chains I’m leaving undone (Tier 0.5, how awesome you would be… or even Tier 0).  It is a real shame that almost all of the level 60 content is completely ignored, whether leveling via dungeons or via questing.

Maybe next time, I suppose.

Next up (for real):  time to hit 62, for a better Engineering helm, and a completely ridiculous shield from Sporeggar – Honored (I have an old stockpile of rep items for them, apparently).

Sundering to Eighty


In the process of collecting data on the performance of characters in lvl 80 heroics, I’ve discovered something truly absurd:  I genuinely love tanking pugs.  More than raiding, more than getting insane gear for my cat druid (ok, Deathbringer’s Will is ridiculous.  proc + flightform = beautiful visual)…  I just love tanking pugs.

So I decided to level a warrior (the tank class I’m missing) to 80, using LFD, playing as a tank.

Like the title says, I’m a spaz.

But its ridiculously fun.

  1. I can tune the difficulty of the instance to match the group / my mood.  With a weaker healer and dps, I can opt to pull one group, and focus on bringing each pull down cleanly.   Perfect for when my attention is mostly elsewhere.  Or, if the healer is up for it – I can grab everything in SM Library up to Houndmaster Loksey in 2 pulls, or let the runners in Cathedral pull the main room for us in a neverending deathfest.  Even though I’m twinked, these are great learning experiences for managing cooldowns and keeping aggro on 20+ creatures at once.
  2. I’m truly the leader.   In most cases, the group is completely dependent on the tank’s sense of direction.   Some of these instances (hello Wailing Caverns) are absurdly non-linear.  BRD has its own flowchart. In my first Uldaman, someone needed Grimlok, and I had to draw on 4-year-old memories to find him.    Fortunately, I’m fond enough of the instance that the memories were still there… but there is something quite thrilling about being in charge.  Just hope I remember all the turns in ST.
  3. Twinking is for pve.   The bonus bags, heirlooms, and better enchants are game-changers for lower-level instancing.  At the moment, I’m rocking 2.5k hp at 38 – more than my rogue had at 60 (but less than my twinked 28 bear druid).  I do absurd amounts of damage.  Out of the 51 runs I’ve done, only one dps – a mage – has outdone me in overall damage done.   I also seem to be virtually-indestructible.   I can handle pulls without a healer.

“Virtually” isn’t quite right.  I’ve died 5 times.  3 of these deaths were in Gnomer – in each case, someone pulled a terrifyingly large wall of mobs – like, Genghis Khan would be impressed by the force amassed against us.   This happened either by not dismissing a pet on the jump down to Fallout (trog zerg > me), or twice on the way to Thermaplug (robot zerg > me).  These reduce me to laughter, so I’m pretty happy with it…  the other two were from a healer that disconnected on a giant pull of insanity, and another from a healer that didn’t realize I had a ticking  disease, no hp, and had run out of food.

So nobody’s perfect – thats what my no-death character is for.

I’ve definitely seen a fair bit of crazy from lower-level players.  Ret paladins seem to be particularly fond of taunting to do damage.  I had a strange warlock who insisted on pulling for me.  A rogue that randomly jumped into groups… not groups I was near, not groups on the path, just pulls nowhere by us.  He’d die, we’d finish the pull, res – and then start the cycle again.

Again, still on the funny end of the spectrum.  Hopefully I can keep the good grouping luck going.

I’m really excited by this + the next band of instances.  SM Cath and Uldaman have always been among my favorite instances.  I think I screenshot Archaedas every time I’m there.  ZF was always a fond source of memories.  I’m slightly apprehensive of Mara – but I’ve never tried it twinked, so it could be a completely different – and much more fun – instance.

Oh!  And – thank you google reader – I’m really psyched to see that Pugging Pally is leveling via healing dungeons.  Its really interesting to read from another point of view – and I’m glad that SM Graveyard syndrome is a shared experience.  The only thing that kept me going was the hope of a rare spawn, just for the novelty… and even then, I only saw Ironspine.