Tag Archives: Heroics

World of Warcraft – Agreeing with Servitob


You may have noticed that the blog has been unusually quiet over the past few weeks. This is primarily down to a rather unusual set of circumstances which have resulted in the coming into the world of the very first ZombiePirate mk2. My wife and I are now enjoying a 3 hour sleep/feed cycle and understandably between hospital visits and being at home with a newborn little time has been left to really indulge in my normal activities.

That being said, I am now back at work following paternity leave and, with things settling down, am finding time to once again grab a few moments to myself when not needed elsewhere.

As hinted at in the title of this post I am beginning to come around to be of the same opinions as Servitob. My quiet time is generally composed of some time in Azeroth at the moment. I’ve been enjoying my Shaman a lot. Not doing anything specifically but enjoying my time and running Tol Barad in the main. However, my main issues right now are with the LFD system that Servitob mentioned in his post about taking a break.

While I had the good fortune to run a few dungeons with him before he upped and left I am now bereft of that partner for my own dungeons. However, LFD is becoming a constant source of failure and annoyance. I tend to get thrown in as a healer using my resto spec, I do not mind this at all, healers provide a vital service in a group and as I can, I will and have done so with some success, however, in the past week I cannot remember having completed a single random Heroic through the LFD system!

This kind of rate of failure warrants some kind of investigation, after all, there must be some reason as to why this keeps happening and let’s face it, perhaps me as the Healer could be the cause, I’m not going to rule myself out as something that can be improved upon. Now, primarily my Shaman has been Elemental and the DPS I do is pretty decent, I was doing 10.8k in Baradin Hold last time I was there which netted me 3rd on the Damage Meter and I was very happy with that. My gear is actually ideal for healing Heroics and my achievements attest to the fact that it is possible, I’ve had some really wonderful groups after all, but through all this there is one glaring problem when these groups fail! A lack of DPS.

Now, simply stating that the DPS is poor doesn’t really help anybody out so I think I need to go a little further in my explanation rather than just flagging the DPS as poor. Having a primary spec that is DPS and having done DPS I think I qualify as someone who knows what they are talking about and am qualified to offer advice. Heroics are not a walk in the park these days, nor should they be, you have to use the tools at your disposal to overcome the challenge, this is a bit of a throwback to the Burning Crusade and I rreally enjoyed running those with my real life friends in the guild we ran together. Yet, if everyone pulls their weight and knows what to do these challenges are pretty easily overcome yet the mentality in LFD is that you load in and should ROFLstomp your way to victory with no effort.

Due to my being an Elemental Shaman really I have the DPS mods on my UI, I have Recount and Omen so can measure damage and threat easily enough so I am watching what is going on. Last night I was healing Heroic Throne of Tides and the very first pull consisting of two Spiritmenders and two big melee chaps, normally you nail the healers first before taking anything else out. Our group didn’t, in fact the Guardians were dropping before the Spiritmenders, this fight took around 10 minutes to complete due to all the healing the mobs were doing. I knew from this point (and going virtually OOM on the first pull) that this group was not going to do well. It was composed of a Pally tank, Kitty Druid, DPS Warrior, a Warlock and me healing. I’ve finished this place on Heroic more than once so I know how the place works. That first pull was a true /facepalm but I persevered. I told them to drop the healers first.

The next few pulls didn’t go much better, melee DPS standing still in puddles of poison (I will not heal people through it, you need to learn to move!) and things were very slow. I left before the first boss due to an average of 6.5k DPS and trash fights wiping people as the mobs were killed in poor orders and not even attempted to be crowd controlled.

To be honest this was the icing on the LFD cake for me a true travesty of a group that I knew had no chance of making it past the first boss let alone to the end of the instance. The DPS warrior was doing a massive 5.8k dps too, way too low for Cataclysm heroics and his lack of movement away from danger areas meant he died twice on pretty simple trash pulls.

I switched over to¬† my DK tank and thought I’d try a normal, we went into Blackrock Caverns, I got us through to the third boss with no problems, I’ve been wiped on those elemental pulls a lot when Cata first dropped so getting through that was nice. However this was my first time tanking the boss, I knew the mechanics but would be doing this for the first time and it is a gimmicky fight so we wiped pretty quick on the first try, second try went better but still wiped. When one of the DPS asked if I was retarded I left the group. I’m not here to deal with that kind of abuse, I was the second tank in that group after joining before the second boss so who knows what they did to the first guy. It pretty much put me off tanking now as I don’t want to spend my time in gimmicky fights like that. I’ll stick to my DPS or healing ways where I know what I am doing.

Running dungeons is becoming a real strain and I am noticing myself having an increasinly belligerent attitude to those people in there. In general it seems to be the melee DPS classes that cause the most issues in terms of underperforming, whether this is a class issue or player issue I think we can gloss over for now. The only real fun I’ve been having is in running Tol Barad, both the dailies and the PvP scenario as well as a couple of other PvP battles.

I know that the answer to many of these issues could be a “run dungeons with your guild” but that too presents issues. We have almost 200 people in our guild, at most we have maybe 10 online at a time and only a handful of those will be 85 and most of the time off doing their own thing. We don’t have the numbers online to run pure guild dungeons and even when we have tried this some of them must have been running it in their RP gear or something because again subpar DPS meant fights were taking far too long stretching my mana reserves and making fights harder.

I really believe that in many instances (pun not intended) the problem with DPS is that they are expecting everyone else to do the work, that they can waltz in, do their mediocre DPS and get carried through to get Epics and that just isn’t the case anymore. Yes it might have worked in Wrath but now we’re almost ignorning that content and going back to when you had to learn fights and control those mobs. If you can do this you can win but few people seem to be aware of this and I am running out of patience to try and help. Sure I could go and find another guild, one that allows me to run those dungeons with an all guild group, but I don’t really want to do that as I’ve made a big contribution to the current guild and don’t want to just abandon them as they are good guys and gals.

However, just like Servitob WoW is becoming a chore rather than a place of rest, while I may still be on here and there to do the PvP I do enjoy at the end of the day I am a PvE person. I missed raiding in vanilla, TBC and Wrath and I wanted to see it with Cata but more and more I am thinking that when my current subscription expires I may not renew, at least for a little while.

Perhaps a change of game will help, I get paid on Tuesday and I’ve been watching Rift quite closely and I did enjoy it in beta.

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Trolling World of Warcraft


Since the in-laws dropped in on our family a few weeks ago the painting gear has been tidied away in its little box. This has meant no further models have been painted in my War of the Ring force although the collection has grown by several miniatures since then! I, of course, need to correct this and am thinking my unit of Morgul Knights should be the quickest and easiest to get painted before I try finishing off the Easterlings.

Over the weekend I also gave myself properly to the Truekin, having read the new Dark Eldar Codex from cover to cover and planning out my 1500pts army list. I started off by putting down all the units I’d like to include and to my surprise came in 254pts short after putting those in. I then went to town on expanding some units and increasing the number of others. I even made my first few purchases on Saturday to start things off, looks like my un-retirement is now confirmed. The Orks are still destined for the sale bins though, they’ve been a lot of fun and have done me proud, however, it is time for me to return to my first love.

Speaking of first love, the gaps in my schedule that would usually be used for painting have been taken up with other hobbies. For me that is gaming on my PC. I’ve been pottering around in WoW getting myself ready for the Cataclysm with various alts. In January of this year I went through the drastic act of selling off all my characters gear and deleting them. I then stopped playing for around 6 months and was very happy. I was happy to come back too and got my character restored, however, their gear was of course all gone. I was back playing Alliance with friends so what money I did have was on a level 1 alt, I got my two 80’s restored and shipped my Priest back to the Alliance with a good chunk of moolah. My on-again, off-again nature with WoW has meant that I’ve missed out on a lot of the end game content for this expansion, the same as what happened with Burning Crusade. I was talking with Servitob the other night about perhaps trying to regear one of my 80s. The only gear I had on my Shaman was the T8 chest and gloves, a necklace, two trinkets and a ring, that was it. Therefore I knew there was no-way I’d be allowed to run Heroics, I’d get kicked out of the group for sure. So, I hatched a plot about wearing the Darkspear Warrior disguise from the Echo Isles liberation questline as that would hide all the gear I am missing! It was so devious it might actually work too…

I went to Orgrimmar and sat opposite the Heroic Target Dummy to see what I could do, I dropped my totems and managed just over 1000 dps. I then signed up for some normal 80 dungeons. I ended up running a couple of the Tournament 5 mans which got me some shoulders and a main weapon, I’d pulled a shield from my bank and grabbed a few items from quest rewards in Icecrown and rep items (cloak and belt) to round me out. Yesterday evening, after having spent a few hours in the afternoon running normal dungeons, I decided to chance an Heroic. It popped me into that same Tournament 5 man as I’d been doing on normal earlier. We walked it! Not only that but I was holding my own DPS wise against guys who were obviously way more geared than I was. I also ended up doing Heroic Utgarde Keep, Timed Culling of Strat, TotC, Azjol-Nerub, Forge of Souls and the Oculus. This got me my Northrend Dungeon Master achievement and a hell of a lot more gear! I got a load of Justice Points and grabbed myself a new belt which was a huge upgrade. In fact, the only item I am now missing are boots and most of my gear slots are once again filled with Epics. In around 3 or 4 hours I went from a well undergeared and virtually naked character to having a gearscore of 3600. Sure, that’s not a huge number but when I was hovering around 1k at the start of the day it’s amazing what a few dungeons have done and I’m very glad I did it.

Not only was it a hell of a lot of fun but I feel like I have a viable level character to do things with in the few weeks up till Cataclysm. Getting used to the way an Elemental Shaman plays after 4.0.1 has been interesting and I am liking it a lot. This was my favourite character to play in the past and is just as much fun now. I look forward to getting those boots I’m missing and going through some things I had missed out on when I quit. My Horde characters have next to no money, something I can correct having earnt 400g just from the dungeons I did. The fact that I can hold my own and feel like I am contributing to the group is very fulfilling when I thought I’d be dragging them down and making people work harder. It does almost seem too easy but I am happy to be back at the top-level again, I might not be kitted out in full tier 10 or whatever but I now have more options about things I can do.

Phake the Troll is back setting stuff on fire and then shooting lightning up its ass! Times are good.

Dungeons and Dragons – A Player’s Responsibility for Heroics


As part of our gaming at the moment I am performing the role of DM for the inhabitants of the floating citadel, we are even joined in our imaginary adventures by Mrs Servitob. We have yet to convince any other spouse/girlfriend to participate. This is a custom campaign we are currently undertaking, formed solely from my own warped imagination. This provides an interesting diversion from our other gaming and exercises a completely different set of skills from tabletop gaming. Things are more freeform and there really is no limit to what a player can do, save his imagination of course or an overly dictatorial DM.

D&D 4th edition is certainly different to previous incarnations, it introduced the idea of Tiers for character progression. A standard level one character is now supposed to represent an above average person, whereas before you were a regular joe who got butt-whooped by a Badger or some-such. Your stats reflect you as being a cut above the mundane populace of your world and therefore you start in an aptly named Heroic Tier. This doesn’t mean that combat is a walk over, there are still tough fights to be had as our group encountered when they met with the first milestone encounter I designed for them. Gribblin’s Elf bit the dust after feeling the attentions of one of the Guards patrolling a ruined temple.

As DM I am trying to portray a world in which the characters not only feel at home, but is believable, even within the realms that there is magic and various monsters of differing ferocity. So far all the players have encountered is humans, halflings and a dragonborn as their enemies. Not a horde of fantastical creatures, I am trying to create a very “real” world with a touch of the fantastic so as to achieve a decent suspension of disbelief. If this world lives on in the memories of the players and if it seems like a proper place to them I will have succeeded.

Now, as much as it is my job to try to craft a believable world for my players I think it is the responsibility of the players to live in that world in a proper manner. While we are all sitting around the table to have fun together acting like a douche is not really an option if you are thinking about the other players in your group. We have an interesting dynamic in our group between one of our dragonborn warriors and a sulking teenage human wizard. These players also happen to be the husband and wife team. Our group is composed of the following characters;

  • Dragonborn Fighter
  • Dragonborn Fighter
  • Halfling Rogue
  • Elf Shaman
  • Human Wizard

We therefore have a pretty good combination of roles fulfilled. After the last session where the players reached another milestone, following on from their trip through the catacombs of the aforementioned temple everyone left with very good feelings. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the goings on that characterised people getting into character and playing their part in bringing the story to life.

While our wizard is a sulking emo our rogue has a flair for the dramatic. So far she has launched herself sliding across table to get to otherwise inaccessible enemies to jab daggers in the ribs of an assailant, has run up the back of our dragonborn on several occasions to land behind the enemy after delivering a ninja like kick to an opponent’s skull and generally beaten the living crap out of anything we’ve come across. This indulgence into a character, providing an heroic flair, acting in character with how someone with decent skills could go about performing their role brings our games to life. It makes things seem more cinematic, we play using dungeon tiles so you can see the layout of the playing area, we use what is on them to enhance the game and make things look more lively than just a plain old grid or our own imaginings. Having a visual representation of the dungeon certainly adds something to our play (and makes me work harder when designing these adventures), it creates an atmosphere in which the players can exercise their creativity and as DM I (of course) welcome it with open arms. When I see a player seizing hold of their place in the world, acting heroically as Heroic Tier characters, it brings me great joy. The world comes alive and we spin tales there together. If we can continue this as we delve deeper into the story I look forward with eager anticipation to see where they go next and how they deal with the things that will be thrown at them.