Hello Guardians!

There isn’t really any “news” to talk about per-se, more like some community driven content I wanted to draw your attention to. These aren’t in any particular order, mostly just whatever came to my brain first.
 

Blizzlist!

My friend Kristin has started a weekly community-driven newsletter about Blizzard’s products, called Blizzlist. It’s a really neat way of distributing important and/or neat content from Blizzard or the community to others. I highly recommend subscribing. You won’t regret it!
 

SoO Raid Guides

If you didn’t know yet, for this tier I’ve been doing video guides specific to Guardians for each encounter in the Siege of Orgrimmar. They start out rather rough but over the course of the tier I’ve managed to nail down the overall look and feel rather well I think. Obviously going into Warlords the goal is to produce the videos at a much faster pace, split amongst Reesi, Buraan, and myself. In any event the two sets of guides are linked below.

 

New Player Guide!

Late last week WoWHead published their set of “New Player Guides” designed to help players that boosted to 90 get a handle on their chosen class and spec. I had the pleasure of providing the content for the Guardian Guide. Obviously I don’t think anyone here will be particularly interested in it, but I did want to mention it as something I had fun participating in.
 

Sentry Totem is Live!

Sentry Totem is another project that I’m excited to be helping out with. Sentry Totem is a site where you can receive expert advice and assistance on how to improve playing your chosen class and spec. I am obviously not implying that you now have to go there to ask questions or get help as a Guardian. I am participating to help out Tickle, and nothing more. I actually seriously doubt many – if any, even – Guardians will post there. TiB isn’t going anywhere nor will I stop helping people here.

I wanted to make this crystal clear to everyone because I’ve seen instances in the past where assumptions have been made about the actions of one person or another on the internet. I obviously don’t want anyone to make any ridiculous assumptions about me or my association with Sentry Totem, hence my post here. I should also clarify that I am not receiving any monetary compensation for any work I do at Sentry Totem – by my own choice – nor will any “tips” be passed on to me – again my by own choice – if you want to support TiB, we have a donation button up in the top-right corner. Again I’m not asking you to do so, I’m simply telling you that if you want to contribute to the Guardian community and feel that $$ is the best way for you to do so, go ahead and donate. The money is deposited into an account that can only be used for site maintenance and hosting fees.

Anyways, enough soapboxing from me. Enjoy your week!

Hello Guardians!

In case you missed it, this weekend, myself and Arielle were on Finalboss TV discussing all things Guardian, and that episode is now up on youtube:

We had an absolute blast doing the show, so thanks again to the guys at FinalBoss tv for having us on, and I hope you guys enjoyed it also.

-Buraan

Hello Guardians!

My guild has finally completed our relatively relaxed transition from a 10 man guild to a 25 man guild in preparation for Warlords of Draenor’s 20 man Mythic raiding.  Which means we now have a roster of slightly more than 25 people and I have now done all fights on 10 and 25 man on heroic as a guardian, and actually re-progressed some of the later fights in the instance as 25 man.  Thus I thought this would be a good time to discuss some of the changes that I faced as a tank and as a guardian as a result of moving between raid sizes.  Even if you aren’t going to be going to 25 man any time soon, or even if you are waiting for warlords then going to 20 man, I hope you find some of this useful.

Are there any gearing differences?

Well, yes and no.  If you are changing to 25 man at this point in SoO, you are probably largely overgeared for most of the encounters, even on 25 man, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about gearing differently than you would in a 10 man.  If you are worried however and feel like you aren’t so UBER geared, I would suggest putting on a stamina trinket like the Malkorok trinket until you feel more comfortable.

I personally just ran with the tanking cloak for the whole of the first raid along with the tanking metagem, which was partly because I was also having to deal with organizing 25 people instead of 10 and several of them hadn’t seen the fights before, not to mention I had to adjust the strategy slightly for 25 man. So for my own peace of mind, I went with an RPS build with tanking legionaries, I don’t actually have heroic Malk trinket, else I may have used that also.   I will say here also that, although a lot of people think that the tank cloak is relatively garbage, when you don’t know how hard stuff will hit, and you are doing something you haven’t done before, it can be really useful.  It allows you to push right to the edge and die, meaning you find your limits much quicker and you don’t cause a wipe to the raid in the process.  I will discuss this more in some future blog posts about ranking and dps.

All in all for gearing, the damage difference from 10 to 25 isn’t so amazingly great and with the gear should you have at this point you probably won’t see much trouble, but do feel free to play a little safer whilst you see it for yourself.

Are there any major differences to the bosses that a tank should be aware of?

Probably the best way to do this is boss by boss, so here goes:

Immerseus

Not really, this fight actually feels significantly easier on 25 man, the only thing to really think about is that because there are 50 stacks on the boss and 25 people (so the same stacks as there are on 10 man) the adds will basically all spawn at once.  This means that you’ll be tanking them all at the same time, instead of bit by bit in 10 man.  They will hit like a truck if you have all of them on your face at the same time, but realistically this shouldn’t cause you problems.   If this boss was tuned harder in general, there may be some things you’d want to optimize, but you should find this so simple as a tank.

Fallen Protectors

Fight is essentially identical to its 10 man version, bosses just have more health, so just go with what you usually do, if you normally get your tank to soak the mark or arrogance however, I’d probably suggest against it here, at least initially.  Besides, you have so many people in your raid, you should have some classes that can soak it with ease.

Norushen

The main thing here is that there are a lot of people in your raid to send down, we did 5 groups of 2 for the dps. Where the tanks just do their thing and healers go whenever as long as the healing is fine.  As a tank, the challenge phase isn’t really any different, there could be a little more damage on you, but if there was, it wasn’t hugely noticeable for me.  The real thing is that there are going to be more orbs more often because you will be sending more dps in, so the tanks job is to get through your trial asap and get out to soak whilst the other tank goes in. I guess you could 3 tank if you really had issues, just to have more orb soakability (ye that’s totally not a word).  I’d be a bit careful taking too many stacks from the boss, but I managed about 10 this week without to much issue (stacking it up on purpose).

Sha of Boring

So as a tank, you swap the same, move the same, do the same prison in the same way, and the boss still hits like a wet noodle.  If you were to say there was any change it is that adds are probably more problematic to get aggro on, as they’ll be all over the place.  Additionally, there are 2 large adds instead of 1, but we usually never tanked them, if you did however, you probably aren’t going to be able to. Don’t forget to soak rifts!!

Galakras

The only thing I found here really was that it is a little harder to make sure you have aggro on all of the down adds when they are active with so many people dpsing different things, and you only have so many taunts.  However, you probably have a hunter or two and maybe some rogues, so ToT and MD if you struggle.  Nothing really scary in this fight, you can still stand in for the skullcrack thing that the 2nd “boss” mob does and survive…your melee may thank you for moving out though so they can keep dpsing.  You will also have a billion stuns/grips/knocks for the adds so if you had issues with those on 10, you won’t (read: shouldn’t).

Iron Juggernat

There is a bit more damage going out, feel free to ask for the many available external cds, sacs/vigilances etc if you need them.  You can still basically spam click 3 mines and not die.  This fight is more about managing more people so there will be some stricter positioning for your ranged, which could mean that you may need help on a mine from time to time.  This is because you would probably have 2 people standing  out at range to get the sawblades, so if they get a mine on them, they’ll be quite far away.  Normally though they’d be classes that could soak the mine if it spawned on them anyway, so just make sure to communicate if you can’t get to it and I’m sure they’ll take it for you.

Dark Shaman

Here, we went with 2 tanks up the side and 1 in the middle part, the nice thing here is that you can have all of your melee dps join the 2 tanks up the side, which means that you will have no melee around you causing problems when the blobs spawn, so that aspect of the fight is easier.   The only thing to watch is around the explosion of the meteor if there are blobs spawning, just pop a minor cd to survive.  With regards to the tanking up the side, it is really not complicated or hard, I haven’t done that part on 10, but in 25 it was so simple I couldn’t really imagine you would have any issues if you have done it before.  You could go with the strategy of having ONLY 2 tanks take haoramm, but just be aware that you will have a lot of melees near the other boss when the blobs are spawning, so make sure to move away so that you don’t kill them.

General Nazgrim

We 2 tanked this on 10 man, but went with 3 for our first few kills on 25 man, and to be perfectly honest, I almost fell asleep.  If you 3 tank, have 2 on the boss near the door to malkorok, and the 3rd tank just stands near the add spawn and tanks all the adds.  If you choose to 2 tank it, it is still doable, you just may need to help tank some of the adds, and keep an eye on the execute timer, but in reality you can still take one to the face as a bear and live if you are at full hp.

Malkorok

There’s not much to this one either, main thing is the adds, there are now 3 which means you can’t just taunt them all (except for when you have incarnation up).  Melees can help you taunt adds in, dks especially with grip.  I tend to try to hit 1 or 2 with thrash or swipe and taunt the extra, which works most of the time. The other thing about this fight is the blood rage phase, which if you are planning on soaking, you’ll need a LOT of cooldowns on you, if we were at a disadvantage compared to other tank classes for this mechanic on 10 man, 25 man is a whole other ballgame.  It is still doable, but you aren’t ideal for it.  Just make good use of your plethora of external cds.

Spoils of Pandaria

Basically no change for you. GL HF  oh and if you thought the brewmaster buff hit hard on 10 man…..ye, I’ll let you figure that out yourself.

Thock

Here we went for a simpler kiting pattern on 25 man (so just up and down instead of in a circle and THEN up and down) it just made things easier for new people to learn.  We still solo tanked it (even though I played tank still) and I just took the bats when they spawned, so that they can be in range of the melee dps, and also provide a backup tank if something went wrong.  You can basically do any thock strat here, so you could actually 1 tank properly, or 2 tank or whatever really. …and you can still sometimes be the only people left alive when the boss dies (yep we 2 manned the last ~20 million or something)

Siegecrafter Blackfuse

This is where things get a little more interesting, that little bit harder that the boss hits can gib you when he gains the haste when the belt is finished.  The shredders have a little more hp, so you need to put slightly more effort into killing them.  We stayed with the same strategy we had for our 10 man kill, with the exception of 1 of the belts, picking mines instead of missiles.  This is something that you will have to figure out for yourself,  whatever works for your guild is best, you can probably get away with the same strategy as your 10 man kill, but it could be advisable to avoid the missiles on 25 man.  Particularly as you should have a lot of add control for the mines.  For the stacks we don’t go for any crazy stacks, (the most I take is 5) I am however working on a strategy where I basically never drop stacks and dps every single add….more on that some other time however.  In short this is a fight where you have to manage your dps cds well to kill the shredders, and manage your defensive cds, both personal and external.  If you have killed this on 10 man though, you won’t have too much of a hard time, just have patience whilst the rest of your raid learns the fight (yeah, I know).

Paragons of the Klaxxi

These bosses hit hard….like proper hard, they did on 10 man but holy crap man. Just ensure that towards the end of the fight you have some defensive cds available.  The main thing here is using the scorpion buff to the best of your ability to help your raid.  Here is the dps meter from our most recent kill, I messed up a little at the end, but you get the idea:

The fight is a bit of a cluserf**k on 25 man as there are people everywhere, additionally, you have to be more particular about who dpses what and when.  As a tank however, just make sure you stay alive, don’t position the bosses badly, and zerg the crap out of the boss in the scorpion (make sure you get externals whilst you are in it).

Garrosh Hellscream

To be perfectly honest, this guy is quite fun on 25 man, he does do a little more damage to you, so be prepared for that, but if you play properly, you can pretty much 1 tank this boss.  The adjustments we made for 25 man were basically positioning related, and also vengeance sharing when you have 3 tanks (if you go for a monk kiting strategy for the adds).   Be careful with thrash around when the mind controls come up.   Other than overarching strategy changes for this boss however, there’s not much different for tanks.  The only thing I can t hink of at the moment is that in p1 the adds which will fixate on people will do a little more damage, so they can be quite dangerous if  you leave them beating on the raid.  This just means it is important to control them well, but you should have been doing this on 10 man also.  Lastly…you’re still the best person to kite the iron star….  /cry

General 25 man things

So apart from gearing and strategy things, there are several aspects to raiding 25 man that felt different to me.

The first of these is that OMG the cooldowns, wow.  There are so many cooldowns available for you to use if you need them, so figure out how to communicate with your raid to let them know when you need them.  Make sure you track them, and definitely don’t be afraid to ask for them.

The second thing I felt was that although even in 10 man, the tank is relatively prominent person in the raid, and it is important that you play perfectly, on 25 man it feels almost doubly important, as there are many more people who rely on you being consistant.  Many more melee to yell if you spin the boss in an odd way, or people to get annoyed when you die.  Just be ready for a little more pressure and take extra care of your surroundings, maybe even modify your UI a little if it helps you. I will probably be redoing my own in the coming weeks and I will post about it when I do.

The third thing was the lag, larger raid means more people, more spells, and a much busier combat log.  We actually have a guy who is having to buy a new graphics card to try to handle 25 man raids.  So be sure to check your graphics settings, and don’t be afraid to turn them down a little.

The last thing is for 25 man, you need a little more patience.  You now have 25 people who can mess up, who can dc or lag out, go afk randomly.  25 people to mess up at mechanics on a boss.  Obviously you want as tight a raid as possible, but whilst your guild gets itself together for the next expansion, you are going to have to deal with sub-par players, or pcs that can’t handle the larger raid until your roster is fully set for WoD.  If you are the officer in your guild, this is your responsibility to make sure that people pull their socks up, and sort their stuff out.  If you’re not, you are just going to have to be patient, and ensure that you aren’t one of the people causing the problems.  Make sure you have looked over the fights on the new raid size, if you want you can watch some of the VoDs from my stream: twitch.tv/buraan, or even hop on live and feel free to ask questions.

Ok, one last last last thing, voice comms on 25 man can be a lot busier than your 10man, so make sure you communicate in the most efficient way possible when asking for cooldowns or coordinating with your co-tank, so that the raid leader can get the most clear air time possible.

Finally

This transition has been quite long and arduous for us.  Right when you would normally be able to chill and relax after progression we had to keep right at it, even when guild members move on to their new homes for Warlords of Draenor and we have to replace them.  To be perfectly honest, we considered going 25 man back in Throne of Thunder because of warforged loot, but the task seemed way too daunting to really be feasible.  Having been forced into transitioning was quite tough at first, but I think in all, it hasn’t been maybe as bad as it could have been.  I’m sure there are guilds either better or worse off than us.  So to those of you still going through the transition, and those of you who haven’t even started yet, best of luck in your raiding and preparation for Warlords of Draenor and I hope you find a great home for the next expansion, so we can all enjoy face mauling together.

Until the next time:

Buraan

 

Hello Bear Fronds!

There’s not much to talk about this week, but I did want to mention a couple things.
 

Dev Watercooler Part 2

There was a second part in the latest Watercooler series, this time focusing more strictly on healing. There isn’t anything that specifically relates to tanking here, but you can make some implications, even for Guardians specifcally. With the shift more towards better decision making with healing it’s far, far, more likely that we’ll see tanks being prized for their ability to stay alive on their own. That’s a change I’m fine with really, since it’s more “tanky” and seems in line with the previously announced change of de-coupling Vengeance from offense.

For Guardians specifically this blog post all but confirms that we’ll be seeing changes to Ysera’s Gift, Nature’s Vigil, and possibly Tranquility. Although it’s not really clear whether or not we’ll even still have Tranquility in Warlords. Only time will tell.

If you’re interested Ashunera wrote up a very good analysis of the changes, which you can read here. Jasyla also wrote something slightly more snarky which I enjoyed.
 

Realm Maintenance

Rho from Realm Maintenance interviewed me for this week’s episode of Realm Maintenance. It was a lot of fun to be on a show that wasn’t my own, and I wish I got to do it more. Go check it out, as he puts a lot of work into this show and it really pays off.
 

Final Boss

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that Buraan and I will be on Final Boss this Sunday! I’m really excited since both Bay and Ana are friends of mine, and I’ve been a fan of their show since day 1. Don’t worry, Buraan and I are already planning some shenanigans. :D

You should come watch! 1pm PST (4pm EST) this Sunday the 16th of March over at their twitch stream.

I was originally going to do this in like a Pastebin or something, but then I realized that screenshots are useful. Basically a couple friends of mine were recently musing about connecting to Twitch chat through an IRC client. Then I realized that I had promised them instructions like a week and a half ago – and promptly forgot. So here they are.
 

How To: Connect to Twitch Chat with an IRC Client

Step 1: Get an IRC Client. Any old IRC client should work for this, but personally I use mIRC. That means all of my screenshots will be for mIRC, but you should be able to translate them into the client of your choice.

Step 2: Add Server Info. This is actually pretty easy. You just set up a new server with the information shown below:

Step2

The “Password” field in the screenshot above will be the password to your Twitch account.

Step 3: Configure Identd Info. Again this is simple. Simply configure as shown below:

Step3

The “User ID” field in the screenshot above will be your Twitch username.

Step 4: Connect. Once your server is configured, select and connect to it. You will be prompted to enter a channel name:

Step4

Enter the name of the Twitch channel you would like to connect to, preceded with a hashtag (“#”). For example if I wanted to connect to my channel I would enter “#deastin”. Click “OK” and you’re good to go!