Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hey Vegeta, what’s the scouter say about his Health Level?


Yep. The creation of my Goblin Rocket Launcher last night netted me enough health to finally push past the 10k mark -- 10,229 unbuffed to be exact, and I'm still working toward my Furies deck. Is it can be off-tank tiem now plees? (I know, I ought to work on my defense if I'm super-serious about the idea of tanking. That Wind Trader's Band I picked up sure is a nice tool for the job, though.)

I also hit level 69 last night, meaning I got to equip my Crystalforged War Axe with the +35 agi. The DPS output was significant. In fact, against the two pitiful mobs I tried it out on, it went up by 33%, which seems way too high to be realistic. I realize two mobs is hardly a representative sample. Clearly some disciplined study is required.

Intimidation, which I specced into at 68, continues to be a very nice tool. I've been farming a lot of ogres in Nagrand -- the warrior kind that can charge at you -- and I've appreciated using it to stun the ogre before he can charge and stun me. It also makes a great snap aggro grab if I hit an emergency situation and need Cafall to pull something off me.

One more level, just one, and I'll finally have arrived. I apologize for the lack of hard data in the last couple of posts. I understand that saying "Kill Command is cool" and "my new axe hits hard" is scarcely informative. But with 70 in sight, I'm just too excited to stop and do the data collection.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Die Liebe ist ein wildes Tier (Ding 66)

All hail Kill Command!

Roughly speaking, this one new talent now represents a large percentage of Cafall's damage dealt. Unfortunately, "rough" is going to be the theme for this entry, as it describes my two-handed axe skill, how I got a two-handed axe, why that (lack of) skill is relevant to a post about Kill Command, and the language I'll be using to talk about it. Let's begin.

Sixty-six is a landmark level for Gweryc. In addition to gaining KC, a pug in Nagrand netted him the Honed Voidaxe, which will be with him until 69 when it will be replaced with a Crystalforged War Axe with +35 agi.

To date, this has traditionally been the moment when I'd brag about how well Gweryc did, how great the group was, et cetera. But because I'm honest, I'll let you all in on the truth. The Ring of Blood chain became a total clusterfuck. We were too low to have really tried, we got hassled by Horde, we died many, many times. We actually did well up to the Final Challenge. I was proud up 'til then. But Mogor just ate our lunch. We pulled in outside dps, and we still died. Some of that dps left, we got new dps, and died again. And again. I tried tanking when the paladin went down, and it was nearly enough... we'd get so close, so very close to winning. And then, we wouldn't. Until somehow... we did! I think half of Nagrand must have ended up coming to help our group before it was all over with. So while it was not exactly Gweryc's proudest moment, it was still a really nice thing to see just how many people were willing to pitch in. Give yourself a pat on the back, Alliance. You're good people.

So I've got two great two-handed axes now, which will take me all the way into 70. Time to start training up that 2H axe skill, yes? My 2H axe skill is very poor -- 287/330 as I type this, and that's after grinding it for a long time. My lack of skill is impacting my crit chance, which impacts my chance to proc Kill Command, which impacts Cafall's damage dealt. Thus, I won't have any solid numbers to post on KC until I get that axe skill up. All I can say for now is a highly subjective, yet gratified, "niiiiice."

There was one bit of strategy from the Ring of Blood chain that I was pleased with, and can share here. Since becoming an engineer, I've taken the time to make all three Mechanical Dragonlings. The dragons are on a one hour cooldown individually, but only share a one minute cooldown with each other. Meaning for three consecutive minutes, you could deploy all three dragons if you wanted. You just can't have two out simultaneously. Before certain Ring of Blood bosses, I'd equip one dragon and let it out, then swap out the dragon trinket for my Maelstrom card before entering combat. The dragons stay deployed when you unequip their trinkets, so I got damage boosts from both the dragon and the card, while leaving my Bladefist's Breadth untouched in my other trinket slot. The trick worked perfectly, as I'd hoped, and it's something I'll be looking to repeat in future boss encounters.

It makes me wonder -- can I use Misdirection with my Goblin Rocket Launcher at 70, to perform the traditional Hunter role of fixing a mob on the tank with a ranged attack?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Behold, O God, our shield

More instancing to discuss, this time in Hellfire Ramparts. My role this time was an off-tank, as I had done before (albeit unintentionally) in Zul'Farrak. I'm defining an off-tank here as "a player that can safely and effectively tank one enemy," as recognized by The Way of the Punch Bag - A Guide to Tanking v2.0 on Allakhazam. For every pull the main tank made, I singled out at least one mob and tanked it until it was dead. That was my job, and really, it makes perfect sense.

When I choose my gear, I look primarily at two areas: damage mitigation and attack power. Those categories break down into things like agi, str, def, dodge, and so on, but broadly those two categories are it. Can I kill it, and can I stay alive while it's trying to kill me. There's a couple ways I might have chosen to gear myself toward that end. One is the agi/dodge heavy setup some rogues prefer, which I've never really explored. Instead, I've gone the route of favoring survivability except in cases where an item is available that has ridiculously more AP.

So here I am, a guy in the second heaviest armor in the game, dressed with tank stats in mind, a 26.3% dodge rate, and attacks that are opened up by dodging and parrying. Off-tanking just seems like a natural fit, nicht wahr?

And it works. I always tanked at least one mob, sometimes more when my AoE fire traps caught their attention. And since I was an OT, my special attacks were regularly unlocked. I came in second on the damage meters, below our level 68 tank and above a 64 warlock. (I was 63 at the time.) I did die a couple times, but I attribute the deaths to mistakes (some mine, some not) rather than a fundamentally flawed strategy. Generally my health never got lower than about 50%.

Proof of our group's success can be seen in my armory profile for now, as I'm currently wearing the Handguards of Precision quest reward.