Killing Machine: The Feast Begins

I finally completed The Sacred and the Corrupt last night. Great big thanks to Naboo, Gadiyus, Cloria and Prostyles, without whom I would have had an even tougher time coming up with all those darn Primordial Saronite. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to do this at all without my guild: Obsolete. Thanks to all who had a part in allowing me to build Shadow's Edge. :)

I've already begun the lengthy Feast of Souls quest, in continuation of the legendary quest line. Last night I managed to feed this hungry weapon a whopping total of 18 souls before the guild succumbed to latency issues. With the current pre-3.3.2 timing involved with Blood Queen Lana'thel's Vampiric Bite, we try not to waste attempts on particularly laggy nights, which unfortunately makes progression more difficult than it really needs to be. :S

Just a reminder to anyone else suffering on Barthilas: be sure to report latency issues as often as they occur using the in-game tool, so Blizzard knows that they really have to do something about the Oceanic realms and the Bloodlust battle group. I normally rest on anywhere between 250ms and 350ms (I refuse to engage a tunnelling service on principle), and I post reports whenever it's over 600ms.


Filthy Tricks: Enter Taraka

In an effort to become more self-sufficient in certain other endeavours, I decided to roll a Rogue. All the guides and all my friends cautioned against it, but I had long fantasised about specialising in Subtlety from the very beginning so that's the path I chose. As is my custom, I tend to focus on the single-point talents in my primary tree, then fill in the secondary talent tree, then come back and fill in my final points.

His name is Taraka, after an order of assassins in my favourite TV series ever: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This was an opportunity to play a female Gnome, I suppose, but I just couldn't bring myself to switch the gender setting. I've never been entirely comfortable roleplaying the fairer sex, and the fact that so many boys and men are is a source of confusion to me. :)

Even at this low level I think I have a new fondness for Rogues. The play-style is pretty fun, especially since the low raid performance of Frost DKs goes unaddressed by Blizzard for the time being. I'm definitely getting my dual-wielding fix here, stabbing enemies rapidly is lots of fun.

Levelling with the Dungeon Finder: 15-30

The Dungeon Finder is a little hit-and-miss at these low levels. The main issues are that these dungeons (Deadmines and Gnomeregan in particular) are extremely trash-heavy, and they feature miles of distance to cover from start to finish. I've been in a random group for Gnomeregan twice so far that ended up disintegrating halfway through. Also, I think some DPS fail to appreciate how hard it can be to tank with such limited pools of abilities.

Dungeon Finder Bliss: 30-?

Once I dinged 30, adventures at the Scarlet Monastery were suddenly available and suddenly I found myself in groups that could actually finish a dungeon run. I can't say much for this bracket since I've just reached it, but I have a feeling this bliss is short-lived. These short dungeons can't get me all the way to 58 and I dare say there are some hardships ahead. I'll keep you guys posted should anything interesting happen in the meantime. :)

New Year's Resolution / Dungeon Tips

I suppose it's a little strange having a New Year's resolution for WoW. Regardless, my new mantra this year is:
Never lie to the Dungeon Finder.
That means if I can tank and/or heal, then I am definitely ticking those boxes. DPS is so easy sometimes, but the Dungeon Finder only works if everyone contributes. Besides, playing an in-demand role can shorten your queue times significantly, so why not?

Tips for New Tanks

If any low-level and/or new tanks are reading this, here are a few suggestions on how you might improve your experience when using the Dungeon Finder:
  • Stand still as often as possible: melee DPS classes are ideally supposed to be attacking enemies from behind, and this is impossible when the target is following a dancing tank. Your healer(s) will never lose line-of-sight or range either.
  • Keep enemies in front of you: player-controlled characters are unable to avoid (dodge or parry) or block damage from enemies that are behind them.
  • Mark a DPS order: I have the raid markers (skull, cross, etc) keybound to my F*-keys. This makes it trivial to mark up enemies, and helps your DPS find the targets they are supposed to be killing, which should make it easier for you to maintain threat on everything.
  • Master "the pull": there's quite a lot of finesse to tanking, but once you figure out how to get enemies on your good side, everything will suddenly become smooth and shiny for the whole party. :)
  • Mind your healer: if your healer is frequently running low on mana, make sure you let them drink-up between each pull. It might be a good idea to "pop your cooldowns" (meaning your damage-soaking self-buffs) at the start of a pull, or whenever your healer is having trouble.

Rules for DPS Players

Low-level DPS players are in too great a position to spoil an experience for tanks. Here would be my suggestions for the death-dealers in a party:
  1. Don't die: your ePeen is worth nothing when you are dead. Resurrections and grave-yard runs steal valuable time from the whole group.
  2. Watch your threat: this is one of those very simple tips. Reign in your compulsion to kill for just a few seconds while your tank gets a situation under control. Tab-target often so you know you are killing the enemy with the lowest health, which should hopefully be the same target the tank is concentrating on. 
  3. Obey raid markers: the convention is to concentrate on the skull-marked enemy first, followed by the cross. I am amazed at how often unmarked enemies die before marked ones.
  4. Crowd-control early, interrupt often: the moment your tank pulls, you may have a few moments to CC some of the enemies before they reach him. Depending on the strength of the group, this could save you lots of hassle and make the pull easier on everyone. Enemy casters should be interrupted and/or silenced as often as possible by anyone able to do so. Note that you should never immobilise an enemy when a nearby patrol will come and notice.
  5. Defend the healer: if there is an enemy attacking the healer, by all means stop it. You could pull threat on the enemy or CC it, or use healing or defensive spells on the healer. Remember, sometimes the best way to CC an enemy is to just tank it yourself for a few moments.
  6. Help your tank: if you have any threat-sharing abilities, you should be giving them to your tank whenever they are available. This is especially necessary if you are approaching or exceeding the tank's level of threat on your target.


Gorloc Tribe: Cracked!

I've been religiously hatching my Mysterious Egg every single week since convincing The Oracles that I could be trusted with them. My weekly ritual (the inspiration for my neglected addon: EggTimer) has involved breaking open my Cracked Egg filled with hope, falling rapidly into despair when the contents are revealed, taking the long flight over to Sholazar Basin to get a new egg, and then getting on with my life for another week. I have had over a year of disappointment with enough Aged Yolk to make a stinky omelette the size of Sholazar Basin.

Cut to this morning, when I was pleasantly surprised to find the Reins of the Green Proto-Drake emerged from my Cracked Egg. Finally, my devotion to the long-tongued has paid off and I will never hatch another egg (on my Death Knight). Off to help the mean puppy-men now, to get my Frenzyheart Brew.