Monday, January 26, 2009

You'll notice the blinds are pristine above a certain point. This has everything to do with how tall my baby is.

At the beginning of November 2008, Big Bear Butt posted a picture of his workspace. A little later, Matticus asked Kestrel to show off his work/play area and then did the same himself. Since then, some others have done the same:
In an effort hop on the bandwagon, I will do the same. Without further ado (click to enlarge:)

Some details about the picture:
  • Monitor: This is a Samsung 24" 245BW from Costco. The angle of the picture makes the monitor look like it's slanted, but I assure you, that's not it's normal state.
  • Computer: Off to the right is my computer, a Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM and an 8800GT resting in an Antec Nine Hundred. It's really quite a nice case, not over the top, yet still an attention getter with all the blue fans.
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. Far and away the best keyboard money can buy, for half the price of those stupid G15s.(I'm a programmer, what can I say?)
  • Mouse: Logitech MX 518 Gaming Mouse. I use the G5 at work, and I don't like the scroll wheel. This mouse actually has a really nice scroll wheel.
  • Speakers: Altec Lansing VS 2420 2.0 Speakers. Altec Lansing always has great speaker quality, and these pump out decent bass even without a subwoofer.
  • Microphone: This is really just a Rock Band mic with a microphone stand. Originally I bought the stand so I could play guitar and sing at the same time in Rock Band, but I pretty much immediately started using it as a Ventrilo mic. The quality is amazing considering it's a freebie with Rock Band.
  • Whiteboard: Essential. I use this to organize guild info, write down quick notes whatever I need. The drawing was colored by my nephew. Current info on the board: Planning Recruit-a-Friend pairs with the wife.
  • On the wall: There's a map for Zelda: Twilight Princess from the Collector's Edition Strategy Guide for the Wii. Right below that is a push pin holding three things: a badge from an anime convention from three years ago, my Blizzard Authenticator, and a Footsteps of Illidan card that I won from the Twisted Nether Blogcast.
  • On the screen: I run WoW windowed, but covering most of the screen. I used to run full screen, but I like it better this way. I can see vent without having to alt-tab or have another screen, and I can adjust WoW to whatever size suits the situation. I run Spartan UI and in the photo, I am sitting in between trash pulls on my way to farm Anzu.
All in all, I think my overall setup is a little simpler than most. But it's easy to maintain. I invite any blogger who hasn't already to show off where they play, and please post a link in the comments!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hunters need not apply (just kidding!)

Savant is looking to expand it's base to raid 25 man dungeons! For more information about Savant, check my "About Savant" page. We are currently seeking people who have a thick hide when it comes to ribbing and a serious attitude when it comes to raiding.

Currently I'd be willing to consider anything, but what we need most are:

Shamans of any kind.

A couple of shadow priests.

Balance Druids.



Healing and Protection paladins.

Warriors of any kind.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Prima Donna Tank and how he did us a favor.

When you have someone in guild that griefs other players it reflects badly on your guild. But sometimes the perception of grief is simple joking around, which, in sparing amounts can be a healthy way to relieve the stresses of raiding (or not raiding as the case may be.)

How do you know when this behavior goes too far? Well, for the people in your guild, it's often easier to read their reactions and so you know almost instantaneously when you have crossed a line with them. For people outside of the guild, it's harder to tell. Some people take certain things too seriously, or can't understand why someone would want to create a little chaos for others.

At first it's not too bad, but an hour later, he's still at it. The next day, he's at it again. Why? Surely he's gotten his stress out. Surely he's capable of doing something productive. You know for sure your guild member has crossed the line when other guild members are inundated with tells asking for the GM.

Unfortunately I was unavailable for comment at the time it was happening, or I would've put a stop to it right there. I even had a couple people in guild that said to kick our griefing guild member. However, the case did not seem so extreme, and so I talked to him about his unusual behavior. He agreed that he would stop and I let it go at that.

Flash forward to last night. I told this person that they were being benched for Malygos. Apparently he thinks that somehow he should be special and not ever have to sit out for a fight, but everyone else should. And he gquit.

Good riddance I say, but I think if he could have taken it in stride instead of being fussy about it, he would have seen that I was being as fair as I knew how, and it was simply his turn to sit out.

I think I did the right thing by allowing him a second chance. If he hadn't blown it for himself, we would still have a good tank, and he would still have a decent supply of loot. That said, if the behavior had continued, he would most certainly have been kicked out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I don't cheat at DDR, by the way, just Heigan

So it seems that the guide I posted yesterday for Heigan may be obsolete now (and even when I published it.) According to WoWWiki, the safe spot is no longer functional. However, due to the nature of wikis (and the fact that I've seen this warning before,) I hesitate to change any information until I can confirm personally that the information is out of date. If it is, I will update the post to reflect that. Unfortunately I won't know until Friday at the earliest.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heigan the Unclean isn't the only four-area dance game I'm good at.

As of Patch 3.0.8 (yes the day I posted this,) this strategy is invalid. I'm keeping it up here for reference. If you would like to find a working strategy for Heigan, try Rochelle's post at Tank Hard!

Heigan the Unclean is a simple fight. Incredibly simple. So much so that I have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that people die in it. Sure, lag could be to blame, but I think if people had just a little more awareness, they'd be able to get through it just fine. Savant had this problem the first time we fought Heigan. Our warrior tank, a priest, a hunter, and myself were living through the splash and showing off our dance moves while the rest of the raid lay dead on the floor. Fortunately, it was enough. Before our next encounter, a forum turned me on to different strategy. That strategy has since given us several clears of Heigan with no deaths in the raid. Here are the results from our last raid.

Entering the Room

Above is a picture of when you enter Heigan's room (click to enlarge.) You can see a spot on the left labeled "Safe Spot." Let's take a look at this spot from the front.

Here, you can see that the safe spot is a 135º corner on the right side of Heigan's platform. This is a spot where no splashes hit. So long as you are tightly in the corner, you will not take any damage from the splash. Let me say that once more. So long as you are in the corner, you will take no damage.

The Pull and Phase One

When everyone is ready, the main tank initiates the fight and moves Heigan to the spot where I am in the above picture (click to enlarge.) The ranged DPS and healers run past the tank to the safe spot, and ensure that they are as far in the corner as they can be. The ranged DPS then rotates to attack Heigan. Healers of course don't need to rotate at all. The positioning of the tank can be tricky to ensure that the healers have line of sight, and if there is a problem, the tank must move, rather than the healers. The same is for DPS, though they won't be taking direct damage, Heigan does have a disease that must be removed. Hunter pets remain on the platform with the other melee DPS.

Phase Two

When Heigan tires of uselessly beating on the tank, he will teleport about an inch away from where he was being tanked, put up an aura that does a 7.5k damage tick, and make the splash show go faster. Immediately when Heigan teleports (or a little before,) the melee and tanks retreat to the corner as shown above. Hunter pets stay in and fight. Why? Because pets with avoidance (should be all raid pets) will only take 1875 damage a tick. This is easily healed by the combined power of Mend Pet and one of your raid healers. The healers are going to be bored for this fight and full of mana, so you may as well give them something to do.

Note that it may be possible to keep some melee in during phase 2. I know last time, I was doing this fight, I was running in and out trying to squeeze out a little more damage. Check with your healers before doing so, though as they may be looking for a break before Loatheb.

When phase 2 is over, go back to phase 1 positions and restart the strategy. Good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A guide where I show you how to REALLY own Anzu.

*Updated 8/27/2009: With the advent of Savage Defense, you probably don't even have to be 80 to do this. In fact, I don't even bother to shift out and heal any more. Still don't have my mount drop. /cry

The rest of the guide is unedited from its original form, due to laziness, mostly.*

This is a guide for Feral Druids to stealth to Anzu and kill him solo. This guide does assume a few things.

  • You must be Level 80. Mostly because the gear you need to do this requires it.
  • You must be reasonably well-geared. When I say that, I don't mean you need to be fully raid geared. See the picture above? That is me in my (slightly old at this point) bear gear. I have 32597 health, unbuffed. You could probably do it on 28k health and 22k armor.
  • You must have done the Epic Flight Form Quest. None of that silly, "I waited until 71 and just bought it from the trainer" stuff, you have to be one of the druids who EARNED epic flight form.
  • Bring a potion or a healthstone. Or both. You probably won't need him, but there is a chance that you can be stunned at the beginning of a banish phase, in which case, you'll want the extra healing.
With that out of the way, head to Sethekk Halls! In case you've forgotten, it's in Auchindoun. It's the east instance. When you enter the instance, hit cat form and stealth.

Getting There

In the picture above, the orange line is the instance portal. The yellow line is the path you will be taking. For the most part it's a linear walk to Anzu. The thing to keep in mind is that though Darkweaver Syth can see stealth, at level 80 you can walk by him without so much as a fuss, as long as you stick to the outside of the wall. If you're a Night Elf and you happen to aggro him, you can run outside the far door, break line of sight, and Shadowmeld.

In the picture above you can see about how close you can get to Darkweaver Syth. Just follow along the wall and you should have no problems with him noticing you. After you go up the stairs, and into the next room, you should encounter the Avian Rippers. Staying along the right wall will get you past them, but beware the one ripper in the middle that likes to brush right up against the wall.

When you get past this room, you are now in the room where the battle takes place. Now all you have to do is clear the trash in the room and summon Anzu.

Clearing the Trash

When you clear the trash, for each pull, it is important to note what mobs are in what pull. As the illustration below suggests, there is a specific order in which you want to do things.

Prophets die first, because they fear, and if you end up getting feared into another pack, it's probably game over, try again. Next on the kill list is the Shamans, as they heal, and that's never a good thing. Next should be Talon Lords as they have a rather annoying stun. From there, just kill whatever has the lowest health.

At the beginning of each trash pull pop Berserk and Barkskin. Berserk will keep you from being feared, and Barkskin should just be used every cooldown anyway (general tanking advice here.) Targetting a Prophet, spam Mangle and Maul until it dies. If there's another Prophet, do the same. You should basically kill in the order outlined in the paragraph above.

As to the order of the pulls, refer back to the map of the path. I have six grey circles marked and one green one. The grey circles are the 4-pulls that are a random assortment of bird people. The green circle is the drake that pats in a circle around Anzu's summoning claw. The first thing you want to do is buff Thorns and Mark of the Wild. Then pull the group on the southeast corner. Then, heal up using Regrowth followed by Nourish spam. Pull the drake circling the middle when he's closest to you. Then pull the remaining groups in any order, waiting for your Berserk in between each pull. No, it's not necessary to do so, but Berserk makes these pulls a lot easier, both by increasing DPS substatially, and removing the possibility for fear.

Fighting Anzu

Look at the picture above (click to enlarge.) This is where you will be tanking Anzu. This coffer is in the southwest corner of the room. Now, look at the following picture (again, click to enlarge:)

After Anzu banishes himself, this is where you should go to heal.

There is one macro you should have for this fight:

/target Eagle Spirit
/cast Rejuvenation

This will cast Rejuvenation on the Eagle Spirit, which will cause 500 DPS to all mobs in the room.

Make sure your buffs are still up, and all your cooldowns are available (The important ones for this fight are Barkskin, Berserk, Enrage, Frenzied Regeneration, and Survival Instincts.)

Summon Anzu.

If you wait near the coffer, he won't pull right away. When you're ready pull him. This is how I do the fight:

Start off by using the Eagle Spirit macro. This will not pull Anzu, so hit Bear Form, Enrage, and pull him over to the tanking spot, making sure to position him in a way that is outside of line of sight to the healing spot. When he is positioned, pop Berserk and spam Mangle+Maul. When that expires, start using Lacerate+Mangle+Maul, refreshing Demoralizing Roar and Faerie Fire when needed. Keep 5 stacks of Lacerate up. Anzu will occasionally stun you, but this should not be a problem at this point.

Eventually, he will Banish himself, at which point you should run to the healing spot. Cast Regrowth on yourself, then spam Nourish until you are either at full health or half mana. Use your Eagle Spirit macro and go back into bear, Demoralizing Shout the birds, and use Swipe+Maul to get the birds down. With nameplates up, you can easily target the lowest health bird to make sure it dies first, then move to the next lowest, and so on.

When Anzu comes back in the fight, you may still have one or two birds up. Get them down quickly, reposition Anzu, and get back to fighting him the way you were before, using Lacerate+Mangle+Maul and refreshing Demoralizing Roar and Faerie Fire when needed. If Berserk gets off cooldown, save it. You may find yourself getting pretty low during this phase. If that happens, use Survival Instincts+Frenzied Regeneration. Don't use Maul while regenerating. Continue through this phase until he banishes himself again.

When he does, it's back to the healing spot. Again, cast Regrowth on yourself, then spam Nourish until you are either at full health or half mana. Half mana is much more likely at this point, unless you just did a regen. If he stuns you at the beginning of this phase, you probably only have time for a Regrowth+Nourish, Eagle Spirit macro, and then back to Bear Form. You may have to use a potion or a healthstone. Use Berserk on the birds to clear them quickly, then Anzu should come back out. At this point, there is no Banish phase (since he does it at 66% and 33%) so you can tank him anywhere. Just keep up your rotation of Lacerate+Mangle+Maul, keep Demoralizing Roar and Faerie Fire up, and you should be done! When he falls, pray to the loot gods for your mount!

Now, the most important thing about this fight is keeping Anzu out of Line of Sight while you're healing. If he sees you cast a spell, he'll put Spell Bomb on you, which drains 2000 mana and does 1000 damage whenever you cast a spell. Since that's likely a third of your mana pool, you can't afford to get hit by it even once.

Good luck!

Greedy Goblin is probably the most riveting material I have read in months.

Last Friday, Savant cleared all of Naxxramas! I won the Staff of the Plaguehound off Kel'Thuzad. It's very shiny, but I can only really use it when DPSing (doesn't happen often,) or farming (which I'm doing more of thanks to Greedy Goblin.)

I've been working on a guide for soloing Anzu, and as I'm reading other blogs more and more, I realize I also need to write a guide on how to beat Heigan. You know, the right way. I've already alluded to the fact that there is no dancing involved. I'll just have to put out the guide in a bit, probably after I get a version of Fraps that works with Vista.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trust me, you WANT the Meta Socket. You NEED the Meta Socket.

If you're looking for a tanking head drop, and just can't get a good one, I recommend dropping the forty badges on the Savage Gladiator's Dragonhide Helm. In terms of tanking, the stats are better than the T7.10 Helm. It's only when you look at the socket bonus that the tier helm pulls ahead, in terms of survival. Of course, you could just do PvP and get a better helm, but if you have the emblems to spare and don't have a good enough arena team, go for it. I personally had a ton of emblems from the fact that I had nothing to spend them on. Still waiting for those gloves to be an upgrade.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grr...! I'm gonna give you a Feral Staff... Infection!

After the post yesterday, I've been wondering: Do I need to spec for Infected Wounds? It would allow for me to tank AoE mobs a little easier, but will it be enough to tank the mobs that get past me on fights like Gothik?

There's a lot of conflicting information on whether Infected Wounds works on a raid boss, and I've been under the impression for a while that it didn't work. That's why I've really shied away from it. But tonight, before raid, I think I'm going to go spec into it and see how my damage stacks up using WWS. More information to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Naxxramas a quatre ailes comme les chérubins.

Still have yet to do a full week of raiding, and we're up to having cleared all the wings in 10-man Naxx! Yay! I'm trying to find a good source to track our raid progress against the server. WoWJutsu is simply inaccurate, and WoWProgress only tracks 25-man raids. Ideally, it would use achievements to track the dates and segregate the 25 man guilds from the 10 man guilds. Bosses without achievements associated would probably have to be tracked with gear. Or, you know, that

One thing I noticed during our most recent encounter with Gothik, was just how much harder it is for Druids during that fight. To start out, I was on the undead side with the ret pally, death knight, resto Druid, and shadow priest. Warrior was on the living side with warlock, discipline priest, and two hunters. During the course of the battle, everyone on his side lives. Everyone on my side dies. Okay, let's swap tanks this time. Now I'm on the living side and the warrior's on the undead side. No one else changed sides. Everyone on the undead side lives. The warlock dies on my side. It was a successful fight, but it still bugs me that Swipe is such a narrow attack. And that I still have to mash it every cooldown, despite the threat buff. I just wish we had something else we could mash. Or not mash, as it were. It should be called "Bear Smash!" and function similarly to Thunderclap, only without the speed reduction and with more damage.

On a final note, I took a suggestion from Matticus and raised the funds for a public bank tab. So far I haven't heard much about it from the player base in my guild, except for my wife, who thinks it's pretty cool. We may start sticking overflow materials in there.

Thursday, January 1, 2009