Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tanking Panzerkins, a Guide, a Movie, and Thoughts on the Death Knight

I'm still RL fishing as far as WoW's concerned, but thought I'd put out this guide for tanking as a Moonkin. I don't think it's nearly as controversial to consider the moonkin as a tank for relatively major encounters as it used to be even a few months ago, as this WoW Insider post helps confirm. For fun, here's the movie.

The guide linked to, above, still doesn't give us the proverbial mathes for bear vs. panzerkin threat, which I still need to get around to doing, but let's just say that unscientifically, moonkin can step in there and keep the squishies from going dry. Of course, as all of us PUG junkies know, it's just as much knowing how to tank as having the gear, talent, etc. Man, how a good tank makes PUGging more fun -- though admittedly it's not as important as lucking into a good Priest. I'm going to pause for some silent reflection. Phew, good Priests are nice.

I'll put a hard-copy of the moonkin tank guide here just because the Blizzard forum posts, even some sticky ones, disappear every so often.

Totally randomly, I'll append that the Death Knight seemed to make a lot of sense until I figured out that it could be either Horde or Alliance. I'm not totally on top of the late breaking info on the next expansion, but initially I thought having a flood of new high level Horde characters on Proudmoore would help balance out the numbers in the battlegrounds a bit and shorten waits. I will say that I'm much more likely to put some serious time into a higher level alt than a brand-spanking new Blood Elf. They're fun, and I've leveled a draenei hunter a bit, but I still don't have anyone over 10 but my main. I'm more confident now that's all the Death Knight is: An attempt to get those of us who don't want more lowbie alts but would pour in a few more months' of gameplay if the alt was as interesting as our main.

Now even after saying that a high-level alt would be attractive, note that the Death Knight seems to be a hybrid that's a lot like the Panzerkin. This is a magic using class that can tank. The difference? Well, instead of inserting an extremely round peg (those moonkin are pretty healthy, ain't they?) into a very square hole, these guys get to toss mana and rage entirely for that rune jive. Probably a smart move. Maybe something similar can happen with 'kin down the road?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

RL Fishin'

For what it's worth, I'm afraid I really have gone fishin' for a while, and 'net access will be spotty for the next week or so. Then back to bloggin.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Druid Forum, DPS, and Mana Efficiency

I've been taking more knocks on the head for using my "of Nature's Wrath" gear, this time over on the Blizzard forums. The general gist (from here and elsewhere) is that many balance druids go Insect Swarm + Starfire for their rotation to save mana and sustain their DPS. That makes sense, but it's also not what I'm trying to do.

Here's a quote from the above link.

The most common casting rotation is this: IS/SFx4
The highest DPS casting rotation is this: IS/MF/Wx6

Well, exactly. For DPS, you Wrath, and that's where Nature's Wrath gear comes in.

Here's what the question reduces down to for me:

Why all the bias for mana efficiency when you'll often, depending on instance, bring down trash mobs before that's an issue? IS + SF might be good boss material, but it makes you inefficient against trash.

My guess is that the only way +nature dmg gear hurts you is if you...

1. Run into nature resistant mobs.
2. Are forced to back-up heal mid-fight.
3. Have a fight that lasts longer than you have mana.

The first would stink, but I haven't seen much of this outside of Nagraand. The second happens. You can swap idol and weapon to help, but yes, if your party starts to go down around trash mobs, you're in trouble in more ways than just gear. The third happens, but usually the fight's under control by then.

For bosses, you *change gear* if you've got it, but I'd like to see the pre-instance reward gear that'll beat what we've got here.

I mean, seriously, I haven't quite put in the time to have Tiered gear like the examples from the forum post I linked in the first paragraph: Madrox, Caliane, Skeldi, and Horao. Of course I'd rather have that stuff!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gone Fishin'


I've been neglecting my cooking skills, and it's about the time I started getting buffs to go with my health breaks, so I got back on the cooking horse. I'd run the cooking quest two days ago, and now I'm back to fishing myself up some mats.

For a druid, fishing/cooking at level 225 or so is pretty easy. I ran over to Kelsy Yance in Booty Bay for the hot smoked bass recipe, as well as the filet of redgill. The second can be easily fished up in spades in Moonglade, which is a quick telelport away for us nature lovers, and the first can be found down in Tanaris, where I also made my way to Gikkix at Steamwheedle Port and grabbed two recipes: nightfin soup, which gives you, even at this low a level of cooking, a nontrivial buff of 8 mana/5 seconds -- for 10 minutes! -- as well as poached sunscale salmon, which has another great, 10 min buff of 6 health per 5 seconds. Nothing earthshaking, but better than a kick in the face, even at 70. Both of those have pretty good drops from Lake Elune'ara in Moonglade as well. Steamweedle gives out a good deal of spotted yellowtails, and Gikkix has a recipe for those, too.

The toughest part was probably finding the General Goods vendor in Moonglade, who is in the "far inn". Minimap included.

(Yes, I realize this is a horribly titled post.)

Jal's Current Gear

I've started up my fairly methodical blog post comparing "of Nature's Wrath" gear to Nodrassil Regalia with respect to their ability to dish out burst damage. One thing I've learned that, of the flavors of armor that I have currently (Expedition, Clefthoof, Murkblood), the Expedition set pieces have the best "of Nature's Wrath" bonuses. Too bad I can't go in and buy the whole set.

In any event, though I'll be comparing Expedition pieces in the mathes-off, I did first compile what Jal is wearing now, with its bonuses, etc. Here's what he's got.

HeadClefthoof Cover of Nature's Wrath20371 nat
NeckBrooch of Heightened Potential22149
ShoulderClefthoof Shoulderguards of Nature's Wrath18854 nat
BackOgre Slayer's Cover (+18 Int, +11 Spr)682016
ChestWindroc Shroud (squishie cloth)1302621
ArmMurkblood Bracers of Nature's Wrath11542 nat
HandsExpedition Gloves of Nature's Wrath16958 nat
WaistMurkblood Belt of Nature's Wrath14857 nat
LegsMurkblood Pants of Nature's Wrath23175 nat
FeetDreghood Boots of Nature's Wrath14744 nat
Ring 1Sedai's Ring (+12 int)155
Ring 2Wildlord's Band2511
Trinket 1Glowing Crystal Insignia26/104
Trinket 2Vengeance of the Illidari0/12026
WeaponTalbuk Sticker (+15 sta, +11 int)5810
Off-handSlavehandler Rod of Nature's Wrath34 nat
IdolIdol of Ferocity (worthless for balance)
Nordrassil Comparision Totals:921284 nat
Grand Totals:1399 (without kits)192
627 nat
747 temp

Naturally there's not much past pure Nature damage. I can see why this would make Mera cry, but I can also see why, with roots or a good tank, this is some great stuff. It's a free crit every time I throw Wrath, and Wrath is powerful enough now that I lead with it instead of Starfire. Interesting to think there's still some room in the Nature's Wrath for improvement, as I could upgrade it all to Expedition, if those ever hit the AH.

Only real downside? Well, I do run out of mana occasionally, the armor isn't great (better than a Clothkin's, but not great), and it's not very flexible. If I need to emergency heal, I swap in my healing staff, but it's still pretty shoddy if I don't have time to change clothes. If I bump into the ever more common nature resistant mob, the DPS goes waaaaay down as I Starfire and Moonfire them to death (though I did just pick up an "of Arcane Wrath" cape questing last night *sigh*).

We'll see how the numbers cut out later, but thought this might be interesting, and following Jal's gear is something I'd been meaning to do more often.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ding! 70

Farming motes of mana and guess what happens... Woohoo. Bout time. Now it's time to move from getting XP to getting gear and keys.

EDIT: Meant to add that /played is 25 days, 12 hours, and a few minutes. Not sure where that ranks me on the all time quest for 70, but it seems a little high. ;^) All those danged solo attempts of places I shouldn't have even been visiting, I guess.

And there's fragment #2

Last night, the guild leader and I did a stealth run to grab the second key fragment on the way to Kara attunement (horrible picture included, below). Though Amanna says this is pretty easy to do solo in his guide, his notes of when he tried make things sound a little more complicated.

Now here’s where the real strategy comes in. I hate to admit it, but I died about 5 times trying to kill the Guardian to get the key.

Well, we died about 3 times trying to get past the mobs at the start. Amanna and other guides say to bypass the first two guards and time your run through the patrolling mobs that come afterwards on the left. We eventually, after a few aborted attempts to sneak past the stealth-detecting bog lords on the right (aborted as in, "Bog Lord hits you for 3000"), waxed the first two Coilfang Warriors at the entrance (only one death trying, though if you're smart that won't happen -- sap one, then lure the second up to the instance entrance, run and heal outside the entrance once you're done, duh), and then took out one of the wandering patrols to make timing things easier. The Steamvaults is a horribly busy instance, at least at the beginning, and some good [computer] hardware would really come in handy.

After that, grabbing the fragment was pretty easy. I made the same mistake as Amanna, going full-balance moonkin, thinking the damage would bring it down easily. I ended up having to down a Super Healing pot. To continue an already hazy evening, I forgot to bring out my trees too, for some strange reason.

I also hadn't checked his notes before the run where he suggests to bring the Guardian to the surface, and the guild leader started drowning at the end -- but didn't die even though I cast Regrowth on myself twice instead of him. Nice spaz, Jal. Bring breathing potions/cherries. But things worked out, and, aside from the Bog Lord corpse runs, we got the fragment in no time at all. Much easier than managing a PUG, and it's always fun to spend some time with guildies.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Map coords without a mod

Many minimap coord mods have gone belly up or cause trouble with updates, so I was awfully happy to find this macro to let me know what they are:

Create a macro using this script (just copy & paste it):

/script px,py=GetPlayerMapPosition('player')
/script DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(format('[ %s ] %i , %i',GetZoneText(),px*100,py*100));

You click on the macro and it will give you your coordinates in the chat pane.

Now you can use all those quest tips where they only give you coordinates for the mob/item you are looking for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Fragment Down

I'll plan to follow-up with a more in-depth set of notes on taking down the bosses in Shadow Labs, but this is a quick note to say I've gotten over my whining from last night and have my first key fragment on my way to Kara attunement. Another fun night overall, which is, if you've been reading, sarcastic. Had a guy bail because his parents made him go to bed, if you believe all you're told, then had another drop briefly because his traps were being tripped. Pretty sure it wasn't me, but heck, I don't know a hunter trap from a hole in the ground. Also couldn't convince the remaining party members that I could heal the instance (have over +600 healing with healing gear on and healed the group for a while last night when the pally had trouble), and we sat for quite a while before scaring up a resto (whatever the equiv is) priest, making this the second marathon SL run in as many days for me.

Did I panzer much? Not really. It's a hard sale to get a slot in a SL group when you're balance spec'd as anything other than DPS, in my very limited experience. My gear gives well over +650 nature damage now, so I was usually dealing 1k with 2k crits again, with Moonfire and Insect Swarm doing DoT in parallel. Overall, pretty good tanking tonight, so I was only able to pull aggro a time or two. I'm currently using a cloth chest piece for a little more DPS, and felt a little squishie.

So SL panzering was all stealth tonight. I did quite a bit of swapping from my +dmg weapon and off-hand to Braxxis to get mana reg and to proc Omen of Clarity. Elune's touch is actually a heck of a lot more useful than most make it out to be, and I was never oom for long. When I wanted to try out panzer-ige, I'd put on the feral dmg mitigation gear and simply try my best to pull. Again, the tank was good enough to grab back aggro with, as mera has mentioned, his (later her) snap aggro skills. I only pulled aggro away from squishies a few times with wrath-spams, mostly seeing the tank grab aggro first. If two trash mobs broke towards our squishies, I was useful pulling the threat away, however, feral gear on or no.

Quick comment on snap aggro: In my experience, panzering requires starting up as a panzer; it's not a good role to take mid-way through a fight. When I think someone really needs help (like they're running from the tank -- *sigh*) and I need to grab aggro, I do swap from 'kin to bear to use the snap skills. Panzerking takes some serious planning, not to mention a good starfire lead.

And man, let me say that, with that +nature dmg, Jal is pretty danged powerful. I'll need to find the app that keeps track of who does how much damage in a party, and I do have to give the proverbial props to the warlock and mages for sheeping and CC'ing the mobs in general rather than just DPSing, but even with the poor moonkin's DPS gear "of Nature's Wrath", I was piling it on. Nice that balance specs give you the flexibility to run panzer or DPS.

Kind of a pain to be doing this all on the iBook G4 rather than the new overclocked GeForce 8500GT. Was looking at 4 fps for a while, aka "most of", today. Nice slideshow.

Ah, and finally, for a while we had a feral, resto, and balance druid in the party. Was fun to collect the whole set for a while.

Worst. Night. Of WoW. Ever.

Here's my post to the Customer Service Forum at the WoW site:

I just ran the Shadow Labs with a group that brought down Murmur. We also killed the First Fragment Guardian. I had (and have) the quest Entry Into Karazhan, but was not able to loot the Guardian and receive the first fragment.

I opened a ticket and was told I was having a UI issue, though I don't run any mods on my iBook (which is what I used tonight). I'm suspicious that it has something to do with the way I died while fighting Murmur.

Here's the chain of events:
1.) Murmur kills me.
2.) I release my spirit and start to corpse run back into the instance.
3.) Group kills Murmur.
4.) First Fragment Guardian spawns.
5.) I'm rezzed before I hit the instance.
6.) I help bring down the Guardian.
7.) Everyone loots the Guardian and gets the first fragment but me.

Note: I could loot Murmur, so I found it strange that I couldn't loot the Guardian.
Note: Two party members dropped within split nanoseconds of looting the Guardian and hearing that I couldn't. Though this happens occasionally, it's odd. What did they know that I didn't? Was there an action they might have taken that put me between the proverbial rock and a hard place? I suspicious that I've been [a near homonym for] shrewd.

So this is essentially EDIT: four two and three-quarters hours down the drain (still a ton, afaict; we wiped a bit. Hey, I was dishing out well over 500 DPS; I did what I could). I'm a casual player, so that's a pretty big night shot to heck -- aka, I'm very [b]very[/b] disappointed that the game didn't let me loot the corpse. That's awfully unexpected behaviour.

I've got two questions for The Blues...

A.) What happened? Why couldn't I get the fragment?
B.) Please heavens, is there any way I can get a Virtual Property escalation on this? Something untowards happened, that's for sure.

If there's no way on earth B can happen -- as in no way on earth, virtual earth, or any other realm of real or imagined sorts -- please goodness groveling please answer A so that it won't happen again.

Thanks for the help. I'm trying not to be awfully frustrated.

The worst part is that whatever happened wasn't [solely] because of getting into a PUG with less than pristine (and I'll chalk it up to it being early in the morning) attitudes or getting ninja'd, etc. This is a bug. It's a problem with the way Blizzard's written the game. I lost XP from Murmur. Fine. I was dead. Whatever. But this key fragment was the goal of the instance, I earned it, and couldn't get it because of the code. This one falls on Blizzard, I'm afraid.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Entering the world o' gems

In my WoW playing career, I've been in the possession of one, count 'em, one gem. I bought it from some NPC schmoe in the inn at Honor Hold, just to see how the gem thing worked. What it told me was that gems were just as big a mess as enchants; lots of money that I couldn't spend effectively until I did a ton of homework.

Well, at least the homework becomes much easier when you find the World of Warcraft Gem Finder. If I want to know which give +spell dmg, it's just a click away. Spell damage in a blue socket? Two clicks.

Very nice. Not quite PayPal donation nice, but nice.

Btw -- thanks for the comment earlier. Will post soon about the +nature damage, which I do tend to use over generic +spell for PvE leveling. After a quick review of the Nordrassil Raiment, I think the much less expensive +nature dmg gives Tier 5 armor a run for its money. Pre-70, obviously enough, I think "of Nature's Wrath" is tough to beat.

Now I haven't run any mathes against "of Arcane Wrath" and starfire, but when you can grab that +617 bonus every two seconds, 1.5 if you crit, well, I think it's the pure speed of wrath that's most important for maxing out your gear's bonuses. I do start with starfire, as things haven't changed much since level 62 or so.

Balance Style:
Starfire to pull
Entangling roots
Moonfire for DoT
Insect Swarm
Vengeance of the Illidari or the like
(reupping roots and moonfire as necessary)

The only thing that's changed for panzering is that I'm using the Braxxis staff now instead of Ursol's.

Panzerkin with Braxxis
Starfire to pull (occasionally if starfire stuns, I'll use Vengeance of the Illidari)
Wraths until mob is on me (Nature's Grace pays off here)
Moonfire (followed by Wrath on criticals)
Insect Swam
Faerie Fire
Wail with Braxxis
(re-up moonfire every ten seconds, and follow with Wrath if Nature's Grace procs)

Ding! 69, dude (and of Nature's Wrath)

Well, after running though the Nesingwary quests (and a few battles at Halaa), I took my level 68 self back to Zangarmarsh to finish up a few quests still on the list. Talk about easy experience points -- I got about 780 per kill in the good ole Kill X of Y quests without losing more than half my mana, and could panzer through the mobs for about 1/3 a health bar. It was easily sustainable, and I racked up 80-90k in what must be record time for me.

In Outland, so far I've been most impressed with the landscape in Nagrand (and enjoyable enough Kill X of Y quests building up to "boss battle" style climaxes) and the fairly compelling ogre and Wyrmcultist storylines. Zangarmarsh's Sporeggar are probably the most memorable from that zone, but overall I haven't enjoyed the marsh nearly as much as those other two. Regardless, it's given me the 69, putting me that much closer to hitting the Shadow Labyrinth for my first fragment of the Master's Key as I start up attunement again.

Fwiw, I did solo into the Shadowlabs a bit, but was only able to look around before getting tagged by that giant eye. I think the screengrabs are on the iBook, which I might post later. Definitely a group thing, though I'll try again at 70. Also, in a woefully belated post, I'll finally dig into the powers of "of Nature's Wrath" equipment, which I've been using like mad. When I've got my balance set on, I've got +617 nature spell damage, which has been awfully nice. The bottom line on the Nature's Wrath gear is that I get such a boost to damage that the lack of critical hit bonuses seems a very easy tradeoff. +617, folk. With my Vengeance of the Illidari proc'ing, which adds another 120, I'm wiping up. When Rank 9 Wrath causes 278 to 312 points (and Rank 10 only a bit more, 381 to 429), I'm rolling in the damage. Since I'm usually doing PvE when I've got the balance gear on, I'm also usually outside using roots, so the damage mitigation losses from Nature's Wrathing are all but meaningless.

1800 crits for 210 mana points and 2 seconds of casting ain't bad, folk.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Only one root?

WoW Forums -> 2.2 PTR Patch Notes:

Entangling Roots: It is no longer possible to have Entangling Roots on two targets at the same time in the outdoor world.

What in the world? First druids can't get crowd control going inside, and now Blizzard's nerfing outside too? Thanks tons, guys.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

An Elemental Reward

With TBC, Blizzard introduced a few BoP armor sets for high level leatherworkers. It's sort of a thanks for specializing which had become nearly useless after TBC killed the value of the old purple craftables.

Just so I won't forget (yet again) what my elemental specialization reward armor set is, well, it's the Primal Intent set (wowwiki):

The Primal Intent set is the 3 piece Bind on Pickup (BoP) armor set which can be crafted by elemental leatherworkers once they reach skill level 375.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Kara attunement guide you (aka, "I") can understand!

Looks like our feral druid friend Amanna has a Kara attunement guide you can understand. Apparently he's borrowed these "Karazhan Attunement - Cliff Notes" from WowWiki, but he adds some comments on how he was able to solo a few extra parts with feral druid specific strategies. I'm thinking it'll be a while before I'm doing the same with balance, but the post seems a good place to start.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Setting up to raid

I just hit 68, which means I wasted 30 mins flying around in my new druid flight form. Fun, but not very productive.

It also means I'm close enough to 70 to start sniffing raiding. I bugged a guild recruiter at a raiding guild who said that in addition to mad skillz in my class, I needed to be tuned to Kara. Okay, I knew tuned was "attuned", but what's Kara?

Karazhan is a raid instance that requires a heck of a lot of work to enter. In this case, that work culminates in grabbing something called "The Master Key." Blizzard provides an interactive chart (Kara's in the middle of the "Raid 1" tier) to help you figure out where you need to go to get the key. I've looked; it's still overwhelming complicated. WowWiki tries to make things better, but you're still left with lots of links going all over. Whatever the heck is has a Burning Crusade Progression Checklist. Still pretty danged daunting.

I'll start stepping through it all soon enough, and hopefully it'll make more sense.

Looks like we start here, in the old world beside Duskwood (Duskwood which was, I'd say, one of the more enjoyable zones in the old world).

Ding! 68

Backfilling another ding. This one's a little more action-oriented than 69's; I'm whacking Bloodmaul Ogres in Nagrand. Not a bad quest line, all dings considered, hardy har.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ding! 67

Yet another backfilled ding! post. Fraid I lost my connection (was squatting on an open WiFi) when I turned in the quest, and missed the "ding" stats proper. Also note this happened on the woefully underpowered iBook. Got an MSI GeForce NX8500GT in the Windows box now, and wow. It's like I'd been nearsighted up until now and I finally got glasses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nihilum no use moonkin

Exclusive interview: Awake from Nihilum speaks with WoW Insider - WOW Insider:

Quick questions about classes: How many DPS warriors do you all use? Any Moonkin? Any tanking Paladins? Any enhancement Shamans?

We aim for efficiency. So no, we do not use any Moonkins, Protection Paladins, Retribution Paladins or anything that is way below the standard classes that can do a much better job at said task.

Ouch. I'm going to have to race some more mages on dps. The problem would seem to be that there's little to off-tank in a boss battle. We'll have to see once I hit 70. At 66 now, and late on the ding! post. Will get to that once I'm back on the machine with the screenshot...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ding! 66

Nothing too exciting; just filling back in the dings, yo.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Yay SSE in Pentium III

From the 2.1 patch notes:

• Proper recognition of SSE support for Pentium III has been implemented resulting in improved performance on this platform.

Now that's good news, ain't it?

I recently got my iBook G4 working again with all of 12 beautiful frames per second in WoW, and that's at 800x600 on an LCD hoping for 1024x768. Outland really has upped the playable minimum sys requirements, not that it wasn't overdue.

Still, if you've got a P3, enjoy.

The threat fun and balance gear lists are still in the works. I've been sidetracked making an application that'll let me blog those cool item description hovers more easily.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The 1%ers

I'm currently working on an introduction to threat, but in the meanwhile, I found this WoWInsider post covering "1up's Black Temple tour" interesting for this quote regarding the very cool Black Temple flyby movie available at the above link...

It's weird that they make content like this for, like, such a small group of people... [from someone identified as Sean Molloy, managing editor gfw]

That's a horribly interesting observation that's been nagging me for a while. I mean, seriously, how many people raid? Even the WoWInsider staff routinely talk about not getting to much end game content. Why is there so much really neat content made for the top 1% of WoWers? And why does Blizzard toss this great content into the trash so easily?

What do I mean by trash tossing? Well, try and find a guild that'll take you on a raid in the Old World endgame content, like the Molten Core, especially since these instances are so much easier now that everyone's above level 60! Oh yeah, I'm attuned to the Core, but I don't see any chances to run it. Some folk obviously are still slumming, if only to farm it (lava cores keep popping up on the Auction House, for example), but by and large the raid guilds are taking that organizational overhead and putting it elsewhere -- getting to the Black Temple.

Really, the flyby in the movie is pretty neat.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ding! 65 & Patch 2.1

Though this picture is in the Blade's Edge Mountains, most of the experience for level 65 came from smacking down firewing blood elves, arakkoa, bonecrushers, and, most recently, the mobs down in the bone wastes. And yes, the firewing smacks mean that I went with Scryers in the great Scryer vs. Aldor debate. The rewards are indistinguishable that I often wonder if Blizzard didn't set them up as a sort of joke to see the community go crazy trying to decide between six and half a dozen. For me, I already had some second-rate fire resist leatherworking patterns, so I went Scryer for arcane resist and the very nice healing staff. We'll see if I finish the rep grinding.

Patch 2.1 has a couple of additions to keep in mind for moonkin. The new clock-like timer for timed spells is okay, though I was pretty scared to notice pre-2.1 that I could "feel" 10 seconds extremely accurately and really don't need the GUI to help me out there. That moonkin form now, like cat and bear, has its own replacement action bar is nice, but the first time you notice can also a bit disconcerting. That is, when you go to moonkin form, your #1 action bar is now blank except for number 1, which is still melee attack. I had a moonkin bar set up for #3 and a separate bar for #1, and would occasionally use #1 for accessing a couple of extra spells in 'kin form, so discovering this in the middle of a fight was initially a bit disorienting. Still, now we've got another bar to fill, which is great.

A few bits from the patch notes that might be useful.

Barkskin now reduces all damage taken, with its duration reduced to 12 seconds and cooldown reduced to 1 minute. The tooltip has been adjusted to indicate this ability can be used while frozen, incapacitated, or cowering in fear. That functionality was already present, but not listed in the tooltip.

Omen of Clarity: This spell is no longer castable in Tree of Life Form or Moonkin Form.

Mangle(Bear): Damage increased by 15%, but bonus threat reduced so that overall threat generation will be unchanged.

Subtlety(Restoration Talent) now applies to all spells, not just healing spells.

Teleport: Moonglade: This spell is no longer castable in Tree of Life Form.

Barkskin means that it goes on my moonkin action bar now as a good armor buff. I am going to miss Omen of Clarity; that's a good talent to combine with melee-based strategies like a panzerkin. Mangle is interesting only in that there's no threat increase, so it doesn't help bears tank better than 'kin than before. And now panzers don't want Subtlety at all, as tanking means wanting threat.

I'm thrown off a bit why trees can't teleport to moonglade. Why bother with this? If it's a humanoid form, let it teleport. Hope kin aren't next.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Enough with the crosspromotion, Blizzard

(Stealing a comment I made to WoW Insider...)

I'm a little tired of the shameless crosspromotion of Starcraft II on World of Warcraft now; it smacks of ESPN and their month-long pimp of the boring as get-out NFL draft. First we had it cropping up in our login screen, which wasn't so bad. Now when you go to, you get a full-page advert of SC2 with timeline like they think they're Apple or something. Fun times.


I didn't really mind when WoW Insider announced it'd be Starcraft Insider for a day, but with all the crosspromotion now I feel like the Larry Spannel character in the movie adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross (that date me sufficiently?).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ding! 64

Missed the fancy gold spinning effects from leveling in the ding-screenshot this time, as I hit 64 with some experience for discovering Veil Lashh, and it caught me off-guard.

Still, 64 is an important level, if only because it lets me use the Braxxis' Staff of Slumber I bagged for 50g a while back in what was a pretty suspicious deal. This staff is, if you believe the Bear Tanking Gear List, a site destined to become any Panzerkin's best friend, the 22nd best two-handed weapon for providing damage mitigation, and the absolute best a druid can get until level 67 in the game. It provides 550 armor, and the 400% moonkin armor bonus works with it as well, giving me over 12k in moonkin form now. Not too shabby.

To celebrate, I finally decided to get the infamous Carrot on a Stick from ZF solo. Was enjoyable overall. Getting the Mallet of Zul'Farrak was a cakewalk, quite unlike trying around level 45. In Zul'Farrak proper, most mobs ignored me as I walked right up to the gong that summons Gahz'rilla. After clearing out the front half of that room, I let him have it.

Of course it would appear quite a number of mobs spawn once you're done whacking the boss. As any good level 64 druid would, I went to travel form, turned tail, and ran like mad all the way to the instance entrance. Then, remembering I hadn't yet looted Gahz'rilla (actually, I'd tried, but my bags were full of troll sweat. Smart), I popped back into travel form, past about 20 mobs waiting at the entrace for my return (most behind me or unfortunately blocked by my bags, below), and ran on back for the looting. It was a classic episode of Benny Hill.

Oh well. Now I'm level 64, have one of the best staves in the game for a panzer, and I'm 3% faster on my mount. Woohoo.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What is a Panzerkin?



What's a Panzerkin?
A panzerkin is exactly what the name says -- a moonkin-spec'd druid who can tank. Put another way, panzerkin are about balancing out two competing drives, damage per second (DPS) vs. damage mitigation. Though often panzerkin only perform as an off-tank, picking up those mobs that stray from the group's main tank before they hit the true squishies (mages, warlocks -- even priests to a certain degree, though they don't wilt like real clothies when attacked), in most instances, they make quite capable main tanks.

Why can moonkin tank?
  • There's no better spec for pulling than the panzerkin, who can grab with starfires for about 1k damage even at my current level (63) and crit for 2k. It's very easy to moonfire a number of mobs quickly, keeping their attention on you, or to toss in some Wraths as they approach, all while in your high-armor form.

  • With pointblank wrath-spams, it's very hard to find a tank that can match a panzer's DPS, which helps with keeping up the threat level. Worst case for me is, give or take, 450 damage per 3.5 seconds with Wrath and my feral gear on, which means 900 damage in 3 seconds when I crit on top of moonfire's damage over time (turns into 650 & 1300 with DPS gear; beat that, prot warriors).

  • With the right gear - Ursol's Claw is an early example -- panzers can also dish out good DPS during melee combat as well. Feral-geared moonkin can dish out better damage in melee as kin than bear.

  • Elune's touch gives melee an added benefit of regenerating some Wrath mana while you're at it.

  • It's also here that druids' area of effect (AoE) damage spells make more sense. Casting barkskin and hurricane mean that quite a few mobs will concentrate mainly on you, and is a good way of pulling aggro, as the form doesn't have talents that do that artificially.

  • So why not call them Abramskin? Well, the World War II panzers were known in conjunction with blitzkriegs, or "lightning war". Moonkin have the damage mitigation to tank fairly well, but have a much more difficult time keeping up their damage per second (DPS), if only because they run out of mana. There's no way to beat Wrath-spamming your opponent for DPS, except that, eventually, without a ton of Elune's Touches and a great shadowpriest, you'll run out of the mana to conjure Wrath up. This takes some good gameplay skills, as well-timed mana potions become especially important.

    Clothing a Kin:
    You may have heard the term "clothkin." These seem less prevalent in The Burning Crusade because there's a lot more +spell damage leather gear, but clothkins are those who sacrifice armor to pile on cloth equipment. The bonuses of cloth gear targets the classes that usually wear it, mages & warlocks, and have a great deal more +spell damage for Wrath, making DPS go through the roof.

    This is great when you're soloing, and can use roots for crowd control, and helps a balance druid fill a DPS slot in a group, but loses two-thirds of the bonuses the moonkin form gives -- extra attack power and the armor multiplier. I'd also suggest that "of Nature's Wrath" gear, which I'll blog more on later, is a better way to pick up some more DPS and damage mitigation than cloth gear for very little gold.

    Striking a good balance between DPS and damage mitigation gear is pretty difficult. I've found I tend to wear nearly pure feral gear while panzering, with just a few extra pieces to add DPS to my Wrath.

    Why the Armor Bonus if not Tanking?
    Taken another way, let's answer the question, "Why does moonkin have as much armor as bear?" from the Blizzard forums. From the OP:
    There is just no way that a caster form should have the same amount of armor bonus as a tanking form. Ever. Period.

    Perhaps because moonkin is a tanking form? From the first reply...
    In a nutshell, the Moonkin armor level is to give you a measure of survivability if you pull aggro from trash in an instance - allowing you a limited ability to offtank.

    The way I see it, they got a bump in armor in order to promote some measure of scalability now that the game has extended 10 additional levels. Playing a heavy hitting caster that neither has an aggro dump, nor any aggro reduction talents is a wee bit dangerous. Armor helps them.

    The point of these two posts is certainly true... As I've said a few times, being a druid means you've been the main healer quite a bit, like it or not. I've healed long enough to know that when a tank loses aggro and a mob rushes a clothie, the health bars drop like the bottom fell out. It's a real pain healing mages who draw aggro before they go down and the chance for wiping begins.

    But healing standard DPS moonkin who draw aggro? No problem. If a moonkin can't finish off one loose mob, well, they aren't worth their Deeprock Salt. Even then, the healer has a lot larger window for timing the heal than with a mage. The armor is a good bonus, even when just DPSing.

    But, as I've already suggested, it would seem there's another message from Blizzard. They could have left moonkin at 360% for their armor multiplier after the bear nerf, and nobody would have complained. At 400%, matching bear armor for armor, the message seems to be, "You can both tank, fools!"

    Why not?

    (I'll try to edit this post a bit later, but thought I'd get this much out now.)

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007

    Youtube: Five Moonkin in BG == 15 Treants

    Cute, at the very least. There's a quick snippet where all five moonkin shawdowmeld, and break with moonfires and treants galore to gank a pally in the battlegrounds around 3:20 in. Sometimes I can't tell what the heck the guys are running for, where the wrath is, and why nobody drops out to heal, but still fun to watch. (Note: I'm no BG expert.)

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    Ding! 63

    Last Saturday, I finally made it on the 63. Exciting times, I know. I wasn't paying attention as the Fen Strider patrolled behind me, and, well, welcome to the next level.

    I recently bagged [Ursol's Claw] during a PUG in Hellfire Ramparts, and it's changed my solo style a bit. Here's a quick list of my solo, one-on-one, PvE modus operandi through the levels, give or take.

    Before 40
    Starfire to pull
    Moonfire for DoT
    Faerie fire
    (re-up moonfire every ten seconds)

    Moonkin #1 (Discovered roots in a big way...)
    Starfire to pull
    Moonfire for DoT
    Entangling roots
    (reupping roots and moonfire as necessary)

    I'd begun to feel as Amanna says, "Not sure how many of you still actually fight with your weapons, but if that’s your gig, then here ya go."

    Ursol's Claw (still in moonkin form)
    Starfire to pull
    Wraths until mob is on me (Nature's Grace pays off here)
    Moonfire (followed by Wrath on criticals)
    Insect Swam
    Faerie Fire
    Wail with Ursol's Claw
    (re-up moonfire every ten seconds)

    With Ursol's Claw's bonus, I'm up to about 270 per hit, which makes it worth using weapons again, even when balance/DPS geared.

    Enough. This was mainly a Ding! post, but seems to have gotten a bit carried away.


    Saturday, May 5, 2007

    Panzerkin Introductions

    As this is a first post, introductions are in order. This blog will focus on one type of World of Warcraft gamer, but will hopefully be interesting -- at times! -- for anyone that overlaps at all with the following description:

    I'm a casual WoW gamer, trying to ramp my balance druid up from mostly soloing quests to a diet rich in instancing and raiding.

    That's it -- the Confessions of a Part-Time Panzerkin.

    Confessions: Not the most experienced player here. Solid, but not a know-it-all. Heck, I just main-tanked for the first time in a level-appropriate instance last night. TONS of solo questing, I do have. A good deal of Scarlet Monastry experience and a time share in Blackrock Depths? Got 'em. Key to Scholomance? Yeah boy. But I'll be confessing a lot of naivety here.

    Part-time: I don't play ten hours a week. In fact, I've been playing the same main for just over two years, if you'll excuse (but count) the six-month layoff to "get some work done." Over those 18 months to 60, I averaged less than an hour's play a day. My gear has almost always been made up of greens with a few blues. I didn't buy the expansion the month it was released, and waited until March to join in. I've been in two guilds, both social. Until now, I've played for structureless fun. How do you move from casual gamer to raider? Aside from a ton of play time, I don't know. Let's find out.

    Panzerkin: I'll relate some of the best, easily found balance gear that has quickly moved me from a decent level 58 to a much more powerful 62; boy, the Burning Crusade has great stuff. If I think I've learned a trick for casual druid moonkins (in that order) I'll share. (They're rare, but if you're below 60 and haven't soloed Lord Roccor, or if you're a balance druid and haven't purchased something "of Nature's Wrath" from the Auction House, you're missing out.)

    Critical Thought?
    Occasionally, I'll also wax nearly academic, I'm afraid, like when I discuss how Blizzard's incredible political correctness means that half the humanoid mobs are female, that there's no difference between the powers of males and females, and that this means that half the time Blizzard's got you beating the crap out of a woman before taking her money. Luckily, the blogger "key words" should make those "academic" posts pretty obvious.

    So that's about it. The only people reading this post, since nobody but me will know about the blog when I post it, will likely be those interested enough to know its quick history. That either means the blog's a partial success, or one heck of a joke. Either way, thanks for dropping by and reading. I hope a few of the posts will be useful, and am eager to hear your replies.