Sunday, 28 February 2010

Clueless DPS

Playing on my pally who I've  specced prot recently I had 2 of the most contrasting groups whilst tanking.

First was Mana Tombs. After a whole load of healer DCing and people going afk while we try to queue we finally get moving. Same level mobs and my gear isn't amazing, plus I'm noticing the healers mana regen isnt amazing (most probably an ele shaman healing). Everything is fine up until first boss only the 2 levels higher hunter keeps almost pulling aggro expecially on the first boss where you generally stop while dark shell is up. The DK then decides I'm not pulling fast enough and the rogue goes afk.

After a couple almost wipes prevented by me and the healer going nuts and keeping everyone alive I'm quivering with nerdrage. Apparently I don't know how to pull. I remind him I did this instance to death at 70, I know it better than him and I know its fucking stupid to try to chain pull Mana burning mobs because I'll oom, the healer will oom and we'll all die. I get told to l2p.

I snap. I cannot be held responsible for what happened:

"I'm going dps, if its such a fucking EZ mode instance you can tank"
"LOL NO U TANK NOOB. I only pulling because you wont. DK can't tank anyway"
"Go ahead start pulling"
/w healer: Don't heal him
nub dk has died

I let him die a couple times, taunted off the hunter only once the mobs he'd overaggro'd had killed him and generally did asshatish things like that. The instance continues with me getting constant grief from the dk, the hunter constantly posting meters, the healer being silent and the rogue afk.

Finally approach the end boss and clear. A resounding ignore on the dk so he can go be obnoxious elsewhere. One thing I did notice is that once I feel people are taking the piss I become completely intractable. Even about buffs. Like at one point the rogue was yelling for BOM. I ignored him then after a couple of mins asked him what the magic word was.

My other run in contrast was cool. Auchenai Crypts. A bit of a suicidal rogue with the wanderlust who otherwise seemed very apologetic when he accidentally pulled groups, a mage and a warrior who both did acceptable dps and didn;'t make me want to self harm and a resto druid who didn't care what his mana was like and urged me to keep going, even if he's on 5%.

Even with the annoying spawning ghosts and crap like that we still kept a good pace and cleared with no issues. Perfect run.

I'd have dropped group on the first occasion purely because I grow tired of that crap but at the time we were having trouble filling all spots regardless of tanks. I really hope any of the upcoming changes they're considering won't affect the ability to remove douchebags.

Meh, I've been so busy with work recently that dungeon runs are the closest I've got to pve

Wtb raid!

/echo out

Monday, 22 February 2010

Goodbye Sweet Prince

 (The following is taken from what I posted on my guild forums edited for your delicate eyes)

Today friends I recieved what is the 3rd warning against my account and it is a tale of woe which will make even the strongest among you cry at the injustice. So steel yourselves friends for what follows is not for the fainthearted. I have strayed in my time from the straight and narrow but never have blizard properly caught me out. Did they catch me when I was MDing lowbies in IF? Did they catch me for trolling in /trade? No, each one of these warnings has been related to my naming of my characters.

I play on RPPVP realms because I like the people and regretably a couple of the names of my characters have been considered a breach of the RP naming conventions. I've actually removed a fair chunk of the detail purely because the first couple I'll throw my hands up and admit I was in the wrong. All were completely indefensible and the GMs have shown remarkable restraint and good humour in dealing with me.

The shock with has prompted me to write this diatribe? It is the saddest nail in the coffin of pain. As some of you know I picked up a Beast Mastery spec due to the furore caused in the hunter blog community about its raid viablity. So in an effort to have a go I dusted off my old pet from the end of TBC, the awe inspiring Devilsaur you've all grown to love as much as I have. Blizzard.... they renamed him and warned me.

ACCOUNT: *****
Character Name in violation: Echosnare's Pet - Gaylord
Type of violation: Inappropriate
Consequences for account: Pet renamed and warning issued

I would like to ask that we all take a moment's silence in honour of the great pink dino. May this shameful day be forever known in history as Black Monday.

Goodnight sweet prince, you were our hopes and dreams. When you got big and red, so did we. When you stomped about, you gave us permission to break the mold and stomp about too. And when you roared there wasn't a dry seat in the house.

I will always miss you

/echo out

Hush, he's with the Angels now.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Frostheim takes a "Beasting"

Now if you read a load of hunter blogs at the moment you'll notice a medium sized cloud of nerdrage focused around the issue of BM raid viability.

Basically Frostheim, one of the bloggers over at Warcraft Hunters Union also has a column over at, and in this column he kicked up a storm by stating his opinion about the current state of the BM spec and the raid viability of the spec too.

I'd just like to weigh in on this one and say:

Leave Britney Frostheim alone!

The WHU blog is a great source of information for both new and experienced players and for some people to rubbish his entire site over it is stupid. What's even more stupid is the complete lack of understanding of basic raid mechanics that some people in the comments threads everywhere have shown both defending and lampooning the spec.

First of all I doubt this was intended to be a sucker punch to the spec. Yes the tone was slightly condescending and yes not all of the data he used was perfect in every way but cut the guy a break. Everyone loves BM and Frost is no exception. The tone a lot of people picked up on rather hurtfully is the way the guy writes but it's intended to be amusing, and if they bothered to see his blog they'd realise this. I think some people came into the the post expecting to be outraged and filtered their responses through that rage.

Secondly some of the people replying on both sides further serve to reinforce the stereotypes I thought hunters were edging away from.
In the defending corner the fact that one of the main defences was that FI was a key buff was a complete joke. Yes it's important, yes your pet could also be bringing an armor debuff but its also true that the buffs are brought by other classes that don't struggle to compete and in 25mans they will most likely be covered. I forget the poster but I also believe someone was arguing that because your pet was better on movement fights - it was better on certain fights in ICC where you're required to move a lot which in my mind is bullshit. Any spec has learnt to move by now and it wont gimp your spec if you're doing more base dmg anyway. Every spec is stronger at different things, surv will benefit more from magic gimmick fights like Hodir, MM will benefit from %dmg increase fights like BQL and I also feel this is where BM falls down. Why they hell can't blizzard give the pet a buff or make it an applied debuff to the target?

Some of the people on the other side seem to be using Frost's data as a stick to further beat the spec with which is also a shame. Mainly just to make themselves look like the better players. Obviously no playstyle is better than any other provided the player is still having fun. Apart from the normal trolling this was partially a backlash against all the people turning up to vent their anger. I reckon if half of them posted their armorys we'd be laughing at their gems.

The Data. As was pointed out "the plural of anecdote is not data" and this was why the column was originally penned. Frosthiem has been getting multiple emails from BM hunters calling him out for "dissing" their spec every time he mentioned it wasn't a raid viable spec and he chose to address it (before he entered the hunter druid bet) with actual data. The data wasn't perfect - as has been pointed out. I believe this to be an almost self fulfilling prophecy. Because BM isn't the best dps spec, the best min-maxing progression hunters won't play it and so the gap widens on the meters shown.

As has been repeated Ad Nauseum it's not competitive, however, it's still a viable way to raid if you're not raiding hardcore. My main problem with the spec is the fact that often I know I'd be top of the meter if I respecced. I have access to reasonable gear (when I have time to raid) and I can gather the setups to get me over "the bare minimum" but I don't want to be there.

IN MY OPINION I agree with Frostheim on a lot of points and I believe there's a damn good reason you don't see a lot of hunters as BM in ICC and thats because its not optimal and until it gets a bit more love (Which is probably coming in the form of better pet scaling) it will still be lagging behind the other specs. I'm not saying for one second that BM hunters shouldn't raid, I'm merely stating that because the deck is stacked against you it's unlikely you'll be in a progression guild in that spec, purely because raid leaders will always try and optimise their raiders.

Lastly I'd like to point out that whilst people aren't as energetically jumping on the BM Wagon the theorycrafting is still out there if you're after it. EJ still has a thread up on it which is being updated and theres always the Spreadsheet if you prefer to do your maths on your own.

I myself have decided to take up the mantle of BM on farm content at least and see just what kind of numbers I can push out of it. Mainly so I can bring Gaylord the big pink dino back. I'd like to extend the challenge to all other hunters rocking MM and survival to make their offspec BM so we can actually gather some decent data. From my initial spreadsheets I'm getting more out of Arp than AP although that could be related to the spec I'm using. 

I'd welcome any tips/tricks from more experienced BM hunters in the comments below

/echo out
(hectic week, meant to get this out sooner)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Having the balls to fail

A bit of a change today. I'm going to try not ranting and instead try and reach out and help some people I think need a helping kick up the arse hand.

I was musing on some posts I see around the WOW Blogosphere and my first hand interactions with people I know on my server and it reminded me of when I was first getting started with proper raiding. Basically there's people I see every day who will often hold back their own progression because they're afraid of the tarring and feathering that often follows in most online communities when you make a mistake.

Now as a Raid Leader our squad is solid and we have no recourse to invite friend ranks let alone randoms for progress but in my alt runs I often ask people I know if they want to come along to some very easy content for some free purpz and a laugh. More often than not from the indiviuals I'm referring too I get back

Sorry man, I'm not sure I'm ready for x instance, I think I need to do more work on my gear.

or at least a variation of that. Now I know I'm an asshole sometimes and it could be they don't prefer my raid leading style (carrot and stick approach, mostly stick) but I think it's a problem a lot of basically good players have. They are suffering from "low self epeen™"!

Back in the days when I was just sinking my teeth into TBC content I was obsessive about my gear. I may not have had the best gear but for the access I had - I had the best gear in each slot available and enchanted and gemmed and I believed that if I wanted to get further I had to be in the maximum the previous content offered. I was not the only one in the guilds I was in who felt like this and often it was used as an excuse by the guild leaderships to call off raids or stop trying. When I joined my current guild I was completely broken of this. Initially we didn't have the best gear or even the best players on the server. We started Lich King content in blues and we cleared everything the first week. It took us a little longer to get the 3drake OS but still we were improving all the time and were trying to avoid getting complacent as we moved into Ulduar. Half of the time we'd down shit and I'd be thinking "I didn't think we'd manage that after the first 3 wipes". It wasn't uncommon for the people I was playing with. They were used to wiping and used to overcoming content by wiping on the fight and learning something new each time.

My point is DO NOT GIVE UP. Nobody can tell you that you cannot do the content you are attempting except you. Sure it might put a bit more pressure on the raid but we're strange beings us humans. We need adversity to grow and yet if we see the easy route we will almost always take it. Stop being humble because I've seen full t9 232 players pass on doing ICC because they thought they weren't geared and players in worse gear join and rock the meters. I have even tanked up to putricide ICC10 on a death knight wearing mostly naxx gear with a couple bits of T9. Sure it was harder and I had to work really closely with my healers to make sure if they were boner spiked, for example, I'd use something to try to stay alive but it was also a hell of a lot of fun. Coasting through content as soon as its nerfed isn't.
To the players who don't believe they deserve or are ready for higher content:

Only you know how good you are and only you can deny yourself opportunities. Sometimes it will be legitimate but remember: Failure will make you a better player because the awful feeling you get when you do let the side down is the perfect motivation to get better and never do that again.
Echosnare - Motivational speaker (2010)

And accept my goddamn invite to the purp train

/echo out

Thursday, 11 February 2010

So it seems I can't take my own advice...

After getting in too late to raid the other night I decided to grab some dinner and sort my random and the seasonal etc. A guildie mentioned a TOC25 pug they were in and I got invited as they were wiping on Faction Champs. My problem it seems is even though I knew it would be a fail pug I still thought I could change things.

So the setup we're facing is only 3 melee, as I zone in I ask "who's taking what". The Raid Leader responds "just warlocks fear stuff" followed by "FOR THE ALLLINANCE" By that point I'm saved to 2 bosses and we wipe rather spectacularly followed by another round of people leaving the raid because their dogs are on fire.

I bully the RL into promoting me. Mark up and wipe again. Apparently when you say "interupt the shaman" its code for "just dps the kill target then die when you fail to move from a bladestorm". So more people join and I get a couple people I trust on the melee, 1 reliable interupter on the pally and whack 2 dps on the shaman to interupt. Wipe again because a hunter can't wait for me to mark and had left his pet on aggressive.

Finally we killed it. Only to wipe once on twins because it turned out the RL not only couldn't form a raid worth a damn but also couldn't do any threat and left one of the twins to run around munching the casters and was sitting on the literal other side of the room so they healed once. Then by that point so many people had died to orbs we had another round of fake DCs and we decided to call it.

I'm not sure why but it really bothered me. I guess I'm just used to getting into these pugs and eventually sorting them out. Still I had a number of the players from the larger guilds on the server thanking me for taking control and we even had one of the dps following our kill stream on xfire and announcing to the raid that we'd just killed sindragosa.

Anyway, it's just reinforced what I already know, even if you have to start it yourself it's better than trying to repair someone else's raid.

/echo out

Monday, 8 February 2010

PuG Raids - some tips

I was having an argument in trade chat with a warlock (no, really). Now I like to think I've matured enough to rise above that channel where the only thing being traded is insults but something this lock said to me stuck.
"I've done heroics but now I'm as geared as I can get. I can't do raids because everyone wants an achievement"
Which struck me as a little depressing. My response was for him to form his own raids which he veto'd on the grounds that he's semi retarded (his words not mine). So I had a little think about what I'd do. I'd form my own raids and gear up that way.

I've been raiding since the end of Vanilla (Nothing special, a bit of a go at MC and lots of ZG) and its only really in the last year or so I've gotten back into forming my own raids to have a crack at the content. I've been an officer for around 4/5months and now help lead our progression raids but as an aside I still run our alt ICC25 and TOC25 runs.

Before I start I should probably point out that the dedication some of our main raiders show to their alts means I instantly have a much easier job a lot of the time we raid. Generally those who aren't Guild members are drawn from the social circle of those I play with or have played with in the past. But this wasn't always the case...

Possibly the biggest advice I can use if you want to start forming your own raids is the Raid planner tool on the MMO Champion website. Play about with it and work out the different places you can bring the buffs in from. The second biggest piece of advice is to try playing every class or role because the better your understanding of the game the easier the time you'll have in the instance. It makes it a lot easier to overcome boss mechanics if you know what each class can do and where the unique buffs are coming from. Also, at least try and know what you're walking into fight wise. I've led without having a clear idea of the fights and we wiped because I couldn't point out what was going wrong. Also pick a time for each run and keep it regular.
Also - make sure you're playing your character properly. It's hard to maintain authority when you're putting out tank level dps.

Whore yourself around
Play with lots of people - its the only real way to meet players you'll be happy to invite. As I pointed out at the start, I have it easy these days but it wasn't always the case. Back in Naxx days although I knew we'd clear the place, I'd often have to shuffle lots of people around and mainly fill with PuGs. Having a good social network in the game will lead to better quality raid.
When you do get more people asking to come than you have spots, tailor the raid to the difficulty of the instance. I tend to do more entire guild alt runs of TOC25 than I will of ICC purely because I set the standards high and warn people I'm doing so. As long as you don't fanny about and are honest, most people won't stalk away with their nose in a sling when you tell them you think they need to gear up more. If they do and it causes drama make sure you have a concrete reason for keeping them out.

Learn to be a jerk
Often people will do things that are stupid. You have to tell them not to do it and (because its a PuG) give them incentive not die in fire/goo/explosion every attempt. I use a system to distribute loot that punishes poor performance. I'll state before each boss what I don't want to see happen and if you do one of them - I add a gear point. You also get gear points (or GP) for each piece of loot you get. If you have 2GP and you roll against someone with 1GP - they automatically win the item regardless of roll.
This does cause nerdrage and a whole load of excuses, but generally if you're sensible it's appreciated by the mage who's done a steady 7k dps the entire instance who'd have otherwise lost the roll against the mage doing 4k dps and dying in every boss ability. Being fair with the loot and keeping the run free of idiots means over time people who are sensible will gravitate to your run and it will get easier.

Don't use GearScore
If you're relying on a gear rating addon to tell you whether people can play their class you're a lazy douchebag who needs to learn to use the armory. 5s looking at their enchants/gems and gearchoices says a hell of a lot more about a player than an arbitrary number will.
MMO champ featured an addon called EliteGroup which actually might help and comes recommended by a couple people I play with.

Make realistic goals
Set an easier target to reach and build from there. It will help focus the people in the raid. Its an anticlimax if you say "we'll" down putricide and we spend the whole night wiping on precious and stinky.

Have fun
Don't let other people fuck you around and enjoy it. It's one of the most rewarding things the game has to do. If it isn't for you, then find someone who is prepared to stick their neck out and reward them by playing sensibly and turning up once a week.

/echo out

Friday, 5 February 2010

The new LFG system

If like me you have a couple alts you most likely think the new system is awesome. I honestly think its absolutely brilliant in some ways. In others, just by the nature of the system, it blows goats. I realise I'm posting behind the times a little here as the wow blogosphere has been filled with much the same over the past few weeks. Unfotunately my stomach and myself had a disagreement earlier in the week where I thought he should be filled with food a couple times a day and he didn't. Now I'm feeling slightly better I thought I'd release a little more bile (vomit related humour!). Another rant? Why of course!

Below is an example of a guy (who I play with sometimes) who decided to be an asshole. What did he do? He and a pal from another guild repeatedly killed other players on the first pull in Gundrak Heroic using Tricks of the Trade to pull the first pack and refusing to leave. Because there is two of them they can't be kicked and everytime someone accepts they're just going to take the 15minute debuff and leave, they can refill it with more victims. Because one of them is in the tanking spot the mobs won't be picked up and most of the party will die and incur repair bills every single time. They did this for around 2 hours and killed people around 70 times.
Here's the shit that got  posted on our realm forums which is complete with screenies and drama.
Now I'm occasionally very immature. I have been known to deliberately provoke people and on accasion I've seen Trolling produce some pretty funny banter (like the time 3 of our members spent 2 hours patiently sending individual stacks of 1 fish to another member and completely spam filled their mailbox). But, I have never wasted 2 hours of my life just to piss people I don't know off. It just doesn't make sense.

You play a plate dps. The pally healer rolls on your gear for their DPS spec because they play that usually. Ok its fair enough, I know I tank stuff on my DK because it means faster groups and I don't have a problem with this. You get to the second boss and a tanking item drops, and again the pally is rolling need because they "also tank sometimes". I've seen people roll for all 3 of their specs in heroics before. Normally I don't give a crap because the bulk of heroic loot is bad anyway and by this point everyone is normally rolling in enchanting mats and only doing the heroics for their 2 frost emblems. Its in the ICC heroics that this mainly produces the QQ and this is precisely why I only do these places with guildies/friends if I actually want anything.
Or a DPS wants an item so they wait for your debuff to run out so they can try to kick you and get someone who doesn't share their armor class/spec type this annoys me most. Mainly because I've had it twice even when I've been on echo who needs nothing from any heroic.

Elitists without a clue
The people doing it for just the frost emblems generally fall into 2 categories.
The people who recognise they outgear the instance and will tolerate the presence of everyone else because they know its just a heroic and its pretty hard to screw it up. They just want it to go fast and smooth and will generally agree to the optional bosses provided people are moving quickly and will do all reasonable things to keep the group moving at a reasonable pace.
The other category is made up of people who are similar in gear to the first type but severely mentally deficient and impatient. If they are a DPS they refuse to use aggro drops or Misdirects and will generally pull aggro and whine about how its the tank's (who they outgear) fault. They'll also often try and speed up the run by pulling other packs to AOE when the healer is running oom or the tank is miles away.

Why oh why do some fuckwits insist on doing the achievements that still require some co-ordination? I'm not talking about the simple ones like On the Rocks. But occulus ruby void/emerald void for example are common ones players try and force the rest of the party to do. I can control an amber drake, I know when to put my rift up, I know when to fire my shock. It's not rocket surgery but some people really don't have a clue so the party will wipe repeatedly and the guy who begged you to do it is either putting a stupidly optimistic slant on how badly you just failed ("almost guys just 50% to go, we almost had it there") or nerdraging because he assumes its someone elses fault.

Know-it-alls in Lowbie Dungeons
Reading around a bit on the intarwebs I look at other blogs, generally hunter oriented. At the moment a lot of the blogs I'm reading are bringing it up.Being a bit of an elitist cockbag I figured I was immune to it. What I mean is, you join a group and some wanker in BOA gear spends the entire instance telling you how to play your class.
Example - I'm playing on the char I hang out with the missus on. A level 34 (currently) Balance druid. Now I'm basically spamming moonfire and the occasional wrath to conserve my mana pool which at the moment has a tendency to deplete rather alarmingly. (dreamstate soon wooo!)
A freaking hunter starts telling me to do things. A hunter in STRENGTH GEAR ARRGHGHGHGH!!! Ok so maybe just the strangth BOA Axe. He was telling me to use DoTs. Starfire is more than adequate and means I can spend the majority of the instance actually dpsing instead of drinking as everyone moves off into the distance. I will spend a good 70-80% of my time levelling in situations where I can't justify using them so I simply don't.
Now apparently this makes me a noob. A noob who was outdamaging his scrub ass. Of course any information I give him is met with "Lol l2p ur own clas noob". IT IS MY CLASS ARGHGHGHGHGHGH!
I don't normally bite. I normally am very calm and do something vindictive like forget to heal them/fail to taunt off them or even deliberately misdirect them. You know, something that kills them but leaves the people not annoying me alive. On this occasion, it was the good old vote kick before the last boss. It has the double advantage of being completely unexpected and such a massive kick in the balls that perhaps next time they won't consider being such an asshole again

The sad thing for me that really is kicking in is the lack of a community on your own server. Previously you instanced, pvped and hungout with everyone on your server. Now with instances cross Battlegroup, pvp the same and about 6 big cities to choose from its often like the only contact you have with the rest of your server is in pug raids and trade chat. Both of which aren't exactly the best place to meet people. RPers won't really see this as they have their own communities but for those of us who play for the pve its actually becoming more and more dissociated and I'm just not seeing all the people on my realm I used to.

/echo out