Friday, June 29, 2007

Example of Prot Gear Problem

Here's an example of the problem I have with paladin tanking gear, and what actually prompted me to make my last post.

I have two tanking boots: [Flesh Beast's Metal Greaves], from Mana Tombs; and [Boots of Righteous Fortitude], from Heroic Sethekk Halls.

[Boots of Righteous Fortitude] are gorgeous tanking boots, and above all they are paladin tanking boots. Yet if I was going to tank Karazhan, I'd wear [Flesh Beast's Metal Greaves] because they bring me much closer to uncrushability.

This seems wrong to me. Game mechanics should not make me choose an almost total downgrade. If the mechanics do so, the mechanics are flawed.

You can see the same problem with Righteous Armor. It's actually a really good tanking set, except that it fails the uncrushability test. If paladins didn't need to become uncrushable, there's a decent argument that Righteous Armor would be the paladin tanking set of choice for a raider just starting Karazhan.

(Well, there might be better pieces overall, but people wouldn't laugh at you for trying to tank in it. Unless you're in the Raid and Dungeons Forums. Then you'd get laughed at for not having epics.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Protection Tree Tweaks

Here's a stab at some tweaks that I think would improve the Protection Tree and tanking for paladins:

http://talents.unleashedgaming.net/?p=vt&i=24738

In my opinion the need and effort involved in getting to an uncrushable state warps the class in many ways. For example, you simply cannot evaluate a lot of paladin tank gear as you would not wear it solely because of uncrushability.

We don't really know how a paladin raid tank would perform in true paladin tank gear. This is because if she was in true paladin tank gear, she would be crushable, and thus pointless. Similarly, a talent such as Redoubt is useless after uncrushability is achieved.

So I solve the problem Gordian-Knot-style, and simply fold uncrushability into Shield Specialization (additionally reduces chance of crushing blow by 5/10/15%).

Additionally, Blessing of Sanctuary is removed, and Kings moved into its position. With the smaller raid size, there are not really enough paladins to put all required blessings up, and Sanctuary is usually dropped. Kings is a good blessing, but not necessary in 10-man content, and only one paladin in 25-man content needs it.

I added a Fear Immunity, Blessing of Courage, into the 11-point slot, making it reasonably accessible to all specs. It's a short duration blessing, modelled after Blessing of Freedom.

The final change was to swap Weapon Expertise for a talent that returns mana when blocking. Because we are paladins, it is extended to return mana to the entire party. Seems in theme, but makes us different than warriors, as a paladin tank would more likely be put in a caster group.

We retain our strengths of being really good on fast attack or AoE fights, but we still have our weaknesses of lower health and damage mitigation than warriors.

We also get a lot more freedom to gear up. Basically, I'm tired of wearing warrior tanking gear, and would really like to wear paladin tanking gear.

Edit: Hmm. It appears that the talent tree site is down. Hopefully the description above is enough for people get the idea.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

/roll Loot Rules

On Skywall, the standard loot rules for Bind-on-Pickup items is pass when the loot roll comes up, and then manually use /roll to determine who gets the item afterwards. This seems a little odd at first. Why pass if you're just going to manually use the same process afterwards?

I think the reason we do this is that the standard loot roll does't really correspond to how we think of items. The standard Need/Greed basically has two options:

  1. I need the item.
  2. I don't need the item.

I don't think this correctly matches our thinking about loot, and as such, we ignore the automated system and manually roll afterwards.

In reality, I think there are 3 basic reactions to loot, not 2:
  1. I will use the item all the time.
  2. I will use the item some of the time.
  3. I will not use the item.

We don't explicitly say so, but when we manually roll afterwards, we take the all/some of the time division into account.

For example, say [Hourglass of the Unraveller] dropped in Black Morass. It's a really nice trinket for my Retribution gear, and I wouldn't mind having it. But I don't really want to take the item from a rogue. So I pass, and wait to see if the rogue expresses interest before rolling.

(If I was an active Retribution paladin, this would be different, and I would roll against a rogue for it. I'm talking as a Holy Paladin who may or may not spec Retribution one day.)

Under Need/Greed, no option really fits. If I Need, and I win it over the rogue, that's a bad result. If I Greed, and a mage wins it, that's a bad result too. So we pass and roll it out manually.

Under the three option system, it's much more obvious. Rogue picks the first option (use all the time), I pick the second option (use some of the time), and mage picks the third option (never use it). So the rogue gets it, but I get it if he doesn't need it.

Knowing that this more closely matches how we think about loot rules, I think there are a couple changes that could be made to speed up loot distribution. For example, rather than manually doing need/greed rolls, you could use three steps, rather than making people guess if the "all the time" people will roll.

Or you could use the automatic Need/Greed loot window. Need if you will use all the time, Greed if you will use some of the time, and Pass if you never use it. If everyone passes, an enchanter scoops up the item and shards are passed out at the end of the run.

This could easily be adapted to any instance where you use /roll, such as Karazhan. You could even implement a 1 upgrade per run rule by saying that once you win something, you can only hit Greed from then on, ensuring that someone who hasn't won something can hit Need and guarantee a win.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Crafting

Crafting in WoW is good for:

  1. Making decent gear for your main character to supplement quests and drops. Personally, I like wearing gear that my toon has crafted.
  2. Making good gear for alts.
  3. Making specific valued pieces for friends and guildmates.
  4. Making consumables to buff you.
  5. Having something to do other than quest and kill. Collecting recipes and advancing your crafting skill is fun.

Crafting in WoW is not good for:
  1. Making money by selling crafted gear to other people.

I think a lot of the people who have problems with the crafting in WoW had visions of, say, becoming an weaponsmith, and selling the weapons for large amounts of profit. But the simple truth is that crafting gear is not a good path to riches.

And the reason for this is straight supply and demand. It is very easy to become a crafter, and thus are a lot of crafters in WoW. Almost everyone has at least one crafting profession. This quickly forces the margin for crafting to a very low point. If I have materials for something, and you charge 100g to combine them, I can very easily find someone who will do it for much cheaper.

As well, you can get gear from quests and instances, so crafting isn't specifically necessary. Also gear doesn't degrade, so there's never any repeat business. If player X buys a Sword of Doom, she's never going to buy another Sword of Doom, only a Sword of Greater Doom.

Realistically, the only way you can make good money from a crafting profession is to have an extremely rare recipe that is highly valued. In the old days, this would include epics like the Lionheart Helm.

Blizzard has tried to build a little bit of margin into crafting in TBC, most notably with Primal Nethers. Primal Nethers are bind-on-pickup, so if you want an item that needs one, you need to find a crafter with the recipe AND a nether she is willing to part with. That imposed scarcity allows the crafter to increase her margins on crafted goods.

If you want to earn money using professions, the best thing to do is focus on items that are used up. This includes consumables and raw materials used in crafting. After all, if everyone is a crafter, everyone is going to need materials. Supply and demand.

Now, is this situation good? Would it be better to make it so fewer people are able to craft, allowing them to actually make money from their profession?

Personally, I like the existing system of crafting. It's very solo friendly--until you hit the Primal Nether stage--and I like being able to make gear to supplement my quest gear. I can live with not being able to make a profit via crafting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rating Karazhan, Part III

(See Part I, Part II.)

Ahh, Nightbane. Hmm, I thought Blizzard said that Fear was going to be less important in TBC. Quite honestly, I don't really understand Blizzard and Fear. As far as I know, you need a warrior tank, or a dwarf/draenai priest, or two shaman to even have a reasonable chance of beating this fight. I just don't understand that logic. Sometimes I wonder if there's some other way of dealing with Fear that Blizzard thinks we should use.

Personally, I think boss Fears should work more like Intimidation: everyone except the main tank gets feared. That would make Fear-based fights much easier to deal with without raid-stacking, and make non-warrior tanks/non-dwarf priests more viable.

Aside from that, Nightbane is an okay fight. There's nothing really interesting in the fight, it's all about the tank breaking Fears, picking up Nightbane when he lands, and being topped off before Fear. In many ways, it's a very tank-healer-centric, old-school fight.

Final Grade - Nightbane: C+

In general, Karazhan is a pretty good instance, with a nice mixture of fights and bosses, along with some superb voice-acting. I'd say that it was better than Molten Core or AQ20, on par with Zul'Gurub, but worse than Blackwing Lair. (This being the extent of my pre-TBC raid experience.) However, it does suffer from three significant flaws.

First off, the instance is rather large, and thus the trash is excessive. Just running from the side door to Aran's room takes forever, and that's after you've killed all the trash. The entire instance pretty much needs to be thinned out.

Second, a lot of the fights are very biased toward ranged groups. Maiden, Curator, Prince, and Nightbane for example. In particular, I really wish that Blizzard would stop using chaining spells that do more damage to people near each other. Those alone make melee even more difficult than it already is.

Would Curator really be that much harder if the Astral Flares did a straight lightning bolt instead of a chain lightning? The melee dps already have to chase them down, and this would make having an extra rogue/shaman/paladin/warrior much less hurtful.

Third, the instance really lacks a solid epic capstone fight. MC was a very weak instance, but the presentation of Ragnaros was superb. Summoning him for the first time was awesome, and truly felt epic. Ossiran the Unscarred, Hakkar the Soulflayer, and Nefarian were all awesome end boss fights that finished off the instance with a bang.

I don't even know who the end boss of Karazhan is. It's possibly Prince Malchezzar, even though I have no idea what he's doing in Kara. Maybe it's Nightbane, given that it is a dragon fight, which is only accessible after a questline. Compounding the issue is that my guild beat Prince first, then Nightbane, and finally Netherspite.

Karazhan starts out really strong, but it ends in a whimper. However, overall it is a decent raid instance, and the individual boss fights are fairly strong. It's more the connections between bosses which are missing. Regardless, I'm really looking forward to the next raid instance.

Final Grade - Karazhan: B

Ranking of Boss Fights (best to worst):

A+: Moroes
A: Shade of Aran, Chess Event
B+: Curator, Prince Malchezzar
B: Attumen the Huntsman, Opera, Netherspite
B-: Terestian Illhoof
C+: Nightbane
C: Maiden of Virtue

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rating Karazhan, Part II

(See Part I.)

Terestian Illhoof is a decent fight. About the only knock against it is that the Demonic Chains do a bit too much damage. If your raid runs a little dps-light, and one of your dps gets sacrificed, it's a bit dicey as to if the person will survive. As well, it's fairly hard to get a heal off in time to keep the sacrificed person up. To be honest, it might be better if the Demonic Chains had more health, but did less DPS. It would make that portion of the fight a little more forgiving.

Final Grade - Terestian Illhoof: B-

Shade of Aran is a crazy fight. Fights where you can go all out are always fun. The silence around him is a bit annoying for paladins, as it means you cannot melee-heal. However, the new Blizzard mechanic is great. It's amusing to make the ranged people run around like the melee people normally have to do.

The voice-acting in this fight is superb, and adds a great deal to the atmosphere for this fight.

The only problem with Shade is that the ending part with the elementals can get too chaotic, especially if you don't have a warlock. But that's a small quibble for such a unique and engaging fight. It's a hard fight, mind you, but lots of fun.

Final Grade - Shade of Aran: A

The Chess event is a very nice breather. It's fun, and relatively easy, and provides a great change of pace. For some reason, I like controlling the pawns.

I'm gravely disappointed that Medivh cheats, though. What's the world coming to when you can't trust an evil undead wizard to play fair in a game of chess?

Final Grade - Chess Event: A

Netherspite is also a very interesting fight. The portals and beams are an interesting mechanic. I haven't actually been in on a kill for Netherspite yet, but from what I've seen it's a good fight.

Edit: Killed Netherspite tonight. I think my rating stands.

Final Grade - Netherspite: B

Prince Malchezzar (and the legions he commands) is a complicated fight to grade. On the one hand, it's a well done fight with interesting mechanics. In particular, the random element of infernals makes the strategy for this fight more dynamic than most.

The problem with this fight is that I don't think raiders deal with randomness very well. In the ideal case, when you lose a fight, it should have been because you made a mistake, or did not execute correctly, and you should know that you did not execute correctly. In contrast, when you wipe on Prince, the most common phrase you will hear is that the raid had bad luck.

Which is not true. It is not bad luck, but failure of strategy that leads to most Prince wipes. However, the link between failure of strategy and the wipe itself is hard to see. Most people only see the proximate cause of the wipe ("We wiped because an infernal landed on us"), and don't see the underlying strategic flaw ("We didn't move the raid to a safer position early").

This disconnect often shows up in DPS fights which lack a timer to make the lack of DPS obvious. Instead, the proximate cause of the wipe is healers running out of mana, and so that's where the blame falls.

The inability of the Prince fight to make clear the true reason the raid wiped is its deepest flaw. Which is a pity, because in a lot of other respects it is a very well designed fight.

Final Grade - Prince Malchezzar: B+

Still to come: Nightbane, and the overall grade for Karazhan.

Rating Karazhan, Part I

I think it's a good time to take a look back at Karazhan and evaluate it. I've done almost all of the fights inside (haven't been in on a Netherspite kill yet). I'm not going to describe the fights here, but you can take a look at the WoWWiki Karazhan page for full descriptions if you want.

First, let's look at the trash. I'm not a fan of the trash in Karazhan. I think respawns are silly, and there's too much trash in general. In particular, the trash from Curator to Shade of Aran really needs to be thinned out. For the most part, the trash is at a reasonable difficulty level. The major exceptions are the spell shade packs. Maybe my raid hasn't discovered the secret to dealing with them, but we get absolutely wrecked by them every week.

Final Grade - Trash: D

Attumen the Huntsman is a solid introductory fight. It's a relatively simple tank-and-spank fight that has a couple of phases and is a good length. It's a very good first raid fight that serves as a check to see if your guild is ready for rading.

Final Grade - Attumen the Huntsman: B

Moroes is one of my favorite fights. It is the first complex fight, and is a solid test of your guild's coordination. About the only negatives is that it can be hard if you don't have a priest, hunter or paladin to crowd control, and it gets a lot easier with 2 priests. But it's still doable with stunlocking, kiting, or even just tanking everything.

It's a fight where a lot of different strategies can work, but in the end just comes down to the skill of your raid. As for difficulty, I think it is well placed, especially with the vanishes to give your raid a breather, and allow healers to catch up.

Downing Moroes for the first time feels like a significant accomplishment arising from skillful execution, which is what the best raid fights do.

Final Grade - Moroes: A+

Maiden of Virtue is a decent fight. The layout of the fight with the pillars is well done, and the fight is very different. It seems to be much easier if you have a paladin in the group, and does require you to be quick with cleanses. However, I'm a fan of Blessing of Sacrifice, and I always enjoy fights where I get to use it.

The big knock against this fight is that--like several fights in Karazhan--it is biased against melee-heavy raids. It's still doable, but realistically if you have more than 3 melee, it's painful.

As well, I think that Maiden does slightly too much damage. For some reason, I die an awful lot on this fight, which is odd for its placement in the zone. Like tonight I took a Holy Fire, cleansed it, then got hit by Repentance and died before I had a chance to heal. Maybe we aren't using Dampen Magic enough. I do think that the Holy Fire damage could be toned down slightly.

Final Grade - Maiden of Virtue: C

The opera events are really well done. All the fights are reasonably interesting and amusing. After the difficulty of Romulo and Julianne was brought in line with the other two fights, all three fights are roughly the same quality.

Running around as Little Red Riding Hood, and being chased by the Big Bad Wolf is hilarious. I'm not really too sure what else to say. The fights are tuned well, and I look forward to Opera when we do Karazhan. At the same time, there's nothing amazing about any of the fights either. Solid raiding fare.

Final Grade - Opera Events: B

The Curator is another very good fight. It's the first real test of your DPS, and one of the best places to make them step and be accountable. To be quite honest, in a lot of pre-TBC content, tanks and healers carried the DPS. I'm very happy to see TBC making the DPS visibly responsible for wipes.

As with Maiden, this fight punishes melee-heavy groups. It's still doable, but puts extra stress on your healers. That's really about the only negative for this fight.

I love the voice acting for Curator, as well. It's very different from your typical raid fight, and is a nice change of pace.

Final Grade - The Curator: B+

I'll cover the remaining bosses next post. One thing about Karazhan I've noticed is that it really likes a balanced raid. One of each class plus a DPS off-tank is pretty much the ideal setup for going through Kara from start to end. In fact, the more your raid deviates from this setup, the harder many fights in Kara become.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Negative Effects of Durability

In most games, durability is an advantage. Items with a high durability last longer than items with lower durability, and thus are more valuable. This makes intuitive sense.

In WoW, however, high durability is actually a disadvantage. It seems counter-intuitive, but looking at game mechanics quickly shows why. The most common form of item damage is the 10% durability loss from death. However, the cost to repair an item is based on per point of durability lost. An item with higher durability loses more points for each death, and thus costs more to repair for each death.

For example, take two items: blue boots with 50 durability, and epic boots with 100 durability. Let's say it costs 10 silver to repair one point of durability. After one death, the blue boots lose 5 points of durability, and the epic boots lose 10. It costs 50 silver to repair the blue boots, and 1 gold to repair the epic boots. Having lower durability was actually an advantage for the blue boots, which just does not seem right.

And this has a startling amount of ramifications, especially in the endgame.

First, gear with higher item levels tends to have higher durability. That means that as your gear gets better and better, your repair costs increase. Because the raid dungeons do not drop increased amounts of cash, it means that the amount of gold needed to support raiding increases as gear gets better.

This is a big problem for healers and tanks. As a character levels, the rate of gold farmed continues to increase, allowing them to keep pace with their increased costs. At 70, though, this changes.

For DPS, the rate of gold farmed continues to increase as new gear is gained, allowing the DPS to match the increase in repair costs. However, for healers and tanks, the new gear does not help increase the rate of gold farmed, meaning that they have to farm for longer periods of time to keep up with the increasing durability on their gear.

Secondly, the increasing repair costs leads to higher cost of death, which leads to more risk-averse behaviour. When a single wipe costs 5g or more, a healer or tank is less likely to engage in risky actions like joining pick-up groups. This is bad for the game as a whole, as it works best when people are actually willing to do things, to take the risk of dying.

The solution is to change the repair mechanic. Rather than repairing on a per-durability-point basis, repair costs should be done on a fixed percentage base (by level). It should always cost the same for a level 70 to repair from 0% to 100%.

To return to the above example, if costs 5 gold to repair from 0% to 100%, both the blue boots and the epic boots cost 50 silver. So for a healer or tank, it takes them the same amount of time to farm for gold to support their new gear.

(The DPS ends up with more free time, and possibly more money as a result, but I don't really see that as game-breaking. At least not as game-breaking as forcing the healers/tanks to farm for continously longer periods of time. Besides, the rogues and hunters already avoid half the wipes anyways.)

This way there is symmetry between the percentage loss when dying, and the percentage gain when repairing. Costs are now fixed, and no longer require increased farming time. Durability is once again an advantage as--not counting deaths--an item with high durability will last longer and not cost as much to repair.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rogue Joke

From Cephas of Twisting Nether:

Jesus: "I can offer you eternal Salvation."
Disciples: "Can I get Might or Kings instead?"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Retribution Respec

After the last post about making money, I tried out Auctioneer and Enchantrix. Talk about information overload! I quickly gave up on AH trading and instead respecced to Retribution (20/0/41).

Retribution is a lot of fun! Four digit crits are awesome. Probably not that amazing to any DPS readers, but as a paladin, it's funny to see. As well, Retribution is very gratifying on a visceral level. Your charcter does special attack animation, giant numbers pop up, your hands start glowing white, and there's sound effects. I was gleefully killing stuff all over Blade's Edge at first.

It is a lot more mana-intensive than I expected. I've always viewed Retribution as fairly mana-efficient, but it can be very mana-hungry. However, this is mostly judging Command. In fact, if you use Seal of Command (Rank 1) and don't judge, you can get 95% of the damage and greatly reduce your mana usage. I'm contemplating macroing SoC so I can left-click for Rank 1, and right-click for max rank.

I also totally understand the comments about threat now. I only went on one instance run as Retribution, but I had to be very careful about threat, even with one of our main Kara tanks tanking.

(It was a pretty weird run. Normal Shattered Halls with Prot Warrior, Feral Druid in bear, Retribution Paladin, Rogue, and Priest. We didn't really use crowd control but just tanked and killed everything. We probably outgear the instance at this point.)

I wasn't even doing that much damage. I was hovering at about 70% of the rogue's damage, though that was with tossing a few heals here and there. But I'd start attacking and then I hit a 2K Crusader Strike crit, 2K white damage crit, and 2K SoC crit--all at the same time--and the mob would be attacking me. Good thing I wear plate.

Between Retribution and selling off a lot of the enchanting materials and primals I had accumulated, I managed to increase my gold levels substantially. I'm still a long way off from the epic flying mount, but I'm in a much better position than before the weekend.

I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to stay Retribution. My healing is okay, but I'm missing Blessing of Kings. I would like to try out in a raid, just to see how things work. Quite honestly, for a 25-man raid, having at least one Retribution Paladin is probably a good idea. For a 10-man, though, I'm not really sure.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Melee and Terestian Illhoof

There are certain fights where paladin meleeing just works out perfectly. One such fight is Terestian Illhoof in Karazhan.

I'm usually assigned to heal the warlock who is killing the imps. What I try to do is drop Consecration every so often to help her out. But this leads to mana problems, and I usually end up having to drink a mana potion or stop the consecrations.

So last night I tried a different strategy. I put Judgement of Wisdom on Illhoof, and melee'd with Seal of Wisdom, healing the warlock as necessary. It worked spectacularly well. I was able to consecrate every 8 seconds, keep the warlock up, add a little bit of melee damage, and end the fight with over 30% mana. I think the fight went a bit faster and much smoother than normal.

In retrospect, I probably should have used Seal of the Crusader for a bit more damage and a bit less regen, but I was really concerned about mana from our previous experiences with him.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Money

The thing I find hardest about being Holy is making money. I like Holy fine when I'm raiding, but solo it's just painful. I also have a tendency to die a lot when soloing, which adds more repair bills, wiping out any profit I'm making.

As a result of this and gemming/enchanting/upgrading gear, my gold total has been steadily going downwards. I'm now hovering around 100g, which is pretty low for Outlands. At this rate, my epic mount is years away.

So, the question is: how do I earn gold?

I'm trying the daily quests, but so far the Skettis fire-bombing eggs is the only one I can do with any regularity. On the others, it takes forever as Holy, and is terribly boring.

Grinding, again, I can't stand with this spec. I'm not a fan of it at the best of times, but Holy just seems so boring, and each fight takes so long.

I tried mining, circling the map looking for ore, but it seems fairly hard to find, or perhaps I was following someone else who was mining.

I wish I had an 70 dps alt, but my closest ally alts are in their 20s and I'm a slow leveller.

Any suggestions for what would be a good way to earn gold?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Helm Update

In the end, I went for the T4 Holy helm.

It will probably be the most useful for the next little while, given that I'm still Holy specced. As well, I did get a really nice weapon, and I should balance it out with some healing gear.

Finally, my previous healing helm was [Mask of Inner Fire], which is more a shaman DPS helm. Not to mention that it looks like Catwoman's mask, meaning the T4 Helm is a big upgrade in the style department.

I also got Exalted with the Shat'ari faction over the weekend, and picked up [Gavel of Pure Light]. My healing set is doing pretty well now. I'm trying to find someone with the Spellsurge enchant, but failing that I'll put +81 healing on it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Second-worst Quest in the Game!

Adversarial Blood is a terribly designed quest. In all of WoW, only the Silithus Field Duty quests are worse.

Basically, it's a group quest where you need to summon and kill 4 bosses, and loot a quest item off each boss. This is the sequence of stuff that you need to do:

1. Kill living arakkoa until you get 6 Shadow Dust (25% drop rate).
2. Use the Shadow Dust to get a potion that lets you see invisible dead arakkoa for 15 minutes.
3. Kill dead arakkoa until you get 10 Time-Lost Scrolls (~50% drop rate). These arakkoa are actually pretty tough, and you'll have to deal with the living arakkoa at the same time.
4. Use 10 Scrolls to summon a boss.
5. Repeat 4 times.

This isn't all that bad, especially if you're in a group.

Until you realize that the boss only drops one quest item for the entire group, and you have repeat the above process for each person. This is insane.

As a general rule of thumb, if you have a Group quest to kill a boss, you should let the group complete it together. This way, everyone gets the quests together, works together, completes them together, and is rewarded together. Shared accomplishment is the key.

Quests where you have to repeat the quest for each person in the group are not fun!

Heck, the only reason the Silithus quests are worse is that you couldn't set it up so that everyone was at least on the same quest. Instead, half the group would be working on a quest that they did not have.

Group quests are all well and good, but you need to be able to work on and finish them as a group!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Prince Dead, Loot, and a Dilemma

My raid downed Prince Malchezzar (and the Legions he commands) today. It was my first Prince kill, and the second Prince kill for the guild.

It's a neat fight, but I find some of the other raiders' reaction to it very puzzling and, to be honest, a bit frustrating. First a description:

Imagine a grid. Malchezzar is tanked in one of the squares on the edge of the grid, and the raid sets up in an adjacent square to dps him. Every so often an infernal will fall down and occupy a square, making it uninhabitable, and unable to be moved through. The square the infernal falls on is essentially random.

(There's also some other stuff involving enfeebles dropping people to 1 health, very fast attacks leading to crushes, and flying axes, but it's not really relevant to my issue.)

The problem is that the raid often insists on staying in the same squares, and hoping that no infernals hit the two key squares. Which is crazy. Every time we did that, infernals would box us in, and then when one did land on a crucial square, we would be unable to move to a safe pair of squares.

Of course, every time this happened, people would say that it was just bad luck, that if only the infernals had come down on different squares we would have been fine. But just because a fight has a random element, doesn't mean that you can't come up with a strategy to deal with that random element.

If you wipe over and over to the same thing, it is no longer bad luck, but bad strategy.

In any case, we eventually started moving more, shifting the Prince early, and keeping the number of escape squares high. And it worked. One dead Prince.

Then he dropped loot: [Helm of the Fallen Champion], [Gorehowl], and [Ruby Drape of the Mysticant].

We have no shamans and so the rogue and I roll off for the Helm and I win! Yay, Tier 4! Up next is [Gorehowl].

RL: Roll Need
*crickets*
RL: Roll for toy
*crickets*
Me: Umm, I'll take it no one else wants, but doesn't warrior tank want it?
Warrior: Nah, not interested.

So I have a random [Gorehowl]! Woot! I feel kind of bad about winning the T4 now, but I really wasn't expecting the lack of interest in the axe.

But anyways, this leads to the dilemma of what I should do with the T4 Helm. I currently have the T4 Protection gloves and the T4 Retribution gloves (from a raid when there was no other paladins/rogues/shamans). And I'm also currently Holy Spec and mainly healing in raids.

I'm still kind of interesting in tanking, and I do have a decent tank set built up where the T4 Protection Helm would slot nicely. But I don't think my guild needs me as a tank anytime soon. I could get the T4 Holy Helm, but then I would end up with 3 pieces, each from a different set, and that just seems silly to me. But Retribution is tempting me, and I would have [Gorehowl] to smash faces with.

I really have no idea which helm to pick.