Posted tagged ‘WotLK Beta’

WotLK Beta: Tanking Azjol Nerub

September 10, 2008

This past weekend we saw the 8095 Patch which buffed warriors and crushed the World Server. The open world was pretty much unplayable, but instance servers were fine. Presuming the server stayed up long to get a group together, 5-mans were by far the best option.

We started with Azjol-Nerub, and we spent more time getting the group invited and summoned than we spent running the instance. Really.

We went in with myself tanking, and my wife healing, both at 74. We picked up a 70 rogue, a 70 boomkin, and a 75 Hunter to fill out the group. This zone is intended for 73 to 75, so we were maybe a bit on the low side, but well geared.

The zone is amazing. Stunningly designed, it has by far the most fun layout of any zone I’ve yet seen. The zone has very little trash. Just a few pulls between bosses, usually with the next boss in site. Going in blind, the fights were interesting enough to force us to adapt to their abilities, diverse enough that I can’t imagine getting bored, but not so hard that you should expect a wipe-fest for most groups.

The pulls are generally on the smaller side, though some do hit reasonably hard. Running without CC wasn’t a problem here, and there are just a few places where AOE would be missed. As a Protection Warrior, I never felt like there was anything “I couldn’t do well” – perhaps we are simply OP at the moment, but the fights felt challenging enough for me to feel good about my tanking, but not so hard that I was stressed that I might wipe us. A very good balance, if not an hard one to hit.

We did get lost one time going through the instance, and I took my time pulling (just to make sure I didn’t get extras) but, even so, we finished with 37 minutes left on Fort.

23 minutes for the whole instance.

Getting this run down to 15 minutes shouldn’t be a problem once you know your way around. I can easily imagine getting a group together than running this several times straight, just to make sure you get all the drops.

This zone is right next to Ahn’Kahet, which is a longer instance. The two contrast each other very well, and would make for a nice double-header run back-to-back.

WotLK Beta: Protection Warriors with Patch 8095

September 9, 2008

A lot of sites have talked about all the specific warrior changes in the most recent patch, so I’ll not go through the list point-for-point. I will talk a bit about the feel of having played with these changes some.

First, the protection tree has been consolidated to the point that I don’t feel like I’m having to leave behind some must have talents. Not that I couldn’t use another dozen points, it’s just that after getting the “gotta-have” talents, there is still room for a few more style picks. This is a very nice change from the last few builds where the Protection tree had been getting very bloated.

The first thing I tried after respecing was some simple grinding. Tossing on my DPS gear, along with a sword and shield, I went to town. At this point, solo-play with a tank spec is not bad. It isn’t quite up the standards of a Fury grinding build, but it is way past what most tanks have come to expect. There are even a few NYI abilities that should pick things up even more. If this was all that this patch gave Warrior Tanks, then this would be enough.

So, solo play is great, but how is the tanking? Amazing. It feels almost like cheating. I ran three different instances with this spec, and I have never had such an easy time holding mobs. The new, higher, DPS helps, but the star of the show is Thunderclap. By the second half of most of the runs my DPS simply stopped bothering to pay attention to my marks after the first mob in the pack went down. We used no CC on any of the runs, and even the with DPS not bothering with focus-fire, I was able to keep entire packs glued to me.

Thunderclap, Cleave, Shockwave. These are a few of my favorite things.

To be frank, it feels like a nerf must be incoming. Something like “Warriors can’t use weapons”, “Only 3 abilities can be used per fight”, or “From now on you must always run 1 person short”. After learning how to tank 5-mans in TBC as a warrior, this is just amazing in how much less stressful this is. It is still fun, there are still just as many choices to make, it is just that I don’t always feel like my DPSers are working against me.

Being able to tell the group to ‘let it rip’, rather than ‘wait for sunders’; Being able to pick up the packs of adds, rather than just watch them run straight at the healer; if this is what it has been like for Tankadins, I can understand why so many people have preferred to run 5-mans without a Warrior. Hell, if it weren’t for the fact that there are never enough tanks, I can’t see why anyone would take anything other than a Tankadin for small group play.

Until now.

My hope is that they do level out the tanks a bit. Make each able to blast through 5-man content, just as well as Palladins do in TBC. Also, make it easier to choose a non-warrior for raids. Pre-3.0, all tanks can certainly do all content, but we all have things that our class does better. Sure, this means that warriors will stop being the “Number 1” choice for some situations, but it also means that I’ll be less likely to want to sit myself out because I just can’t do as good of a job as some other class.

In this brave, new WotLK World, you will pick a tank for the skill of the player, not the class they chose to roll. I for one, am looking forward to it more every day.

Getting Ready for Titan’s Grip

September 3, 2008

Even though I have always leveled with a tanking build, I’ve played around a bit on the WotLK Beta with a Fury Spec, and have found it enjoyable. The amount of DPS is nice, and the low amount of downtime is great. Titan’s Grip is what originally got drew me in. Duel wielding massive weapons? Awsome!

I’ve even got a few nice ones in the bank, those nice Karazhan weapons that dropped nearly every run. I knew I’d been keeping them around for some reason!

Still in the bank?  Yup.  However, I apparently hadn’t ever bothered equipping them. After my re-spec to Fury I ran out to see my amazing new non-prot DPS, and nearly got killed by a level 70 mob. Miss, Parry, Parry, Dodge, Miss. I could barely hit him, and he seemed content to wear me down over a 2 or 3 hour battle. Turns out that WotLK mobs aren’t impressed by my sub-300 weapon skill levels. Huh, who’d have thought?

So, I slowly leveled those skills while questing with my wife, and I’m am now caught up.  With the appropriate weapon skill I’m able to put out very solid dps.  I’ve even tanked a few 3, 4, and 5 man quests, and found that the spec does still work for that.   I’m not going to be tanking any instances this way, it is just far to frustrating, but I was able to mostly hold mobs still.

I do still need to go back to the live servers and park myself in the Blasted Lands for a few hours, because the last thing I want is to go through this mess again when Wrath launches.  Also note: the word is that those mobs in the Blasted Lands no longer give ‘skill ups’ in the beta.. so if that is your preferred method, take care of it now!

WotLK Beta: Tanking Utgarde Keep

August 25, 2008

I finally got around to tanking my first WotLK instance. I’d been playing around with Fury, so I went back to Protection (8/0/64) for the run.

I picked a Enhancement Shammy, a Hunter and a Warlock from the LFG queue, and rounded things out with my wife healing the run.

Short version: Great instance, super quick and mostly easy.

After running so many 5-man heroics in Outland, tanking a regular 5-man is a bit odd. The trash is really quite easy, not at all like the heroic mode trash that is commonly tougher than the bosses.  I don’t remember any pulls having more than 3 elites, and was able to hold everything easily, even without using any CC through the entire run. There are even a few sections made up of mostly non-elite mobs, which are a nice change of pace. The pace was quite fast as well, as the trash never pushed my wife low on mana – even though she was DPS’ing much of the time.

The bosses, however, are a step up from the trash. They are in fact downright challenging. All the fights have a gimmick – something special – that makes them more than a simple spank’n’tank.

Our one wipe of the run came on the first boss, which none of us had seen before. Turns out that if you don’t know that the boss has some “Illhoof-like” tricks, things can go bad quickly. We took him with no problems the second time, and by paying a bit more attention to the other bosses, were able to through the rest of the run cleanly.  We had a solid group of Epic geared toons, and even with that each boss fight felt like a real victory that could have gone the other way. I’m not sure how a group in leveling greens is going to manage this place, at least at level 70.

The boss drops are quite solid. I think one of the items was actually picked up to be used, and I equipped the blue quest reward ring (in place of a Kara DPS ring). The gear seemed to be at (or just above) Karazhan level, so anyone in TBC blues and greens will find some huge upgrades here.

Overall, for a run that we finished in about 45 minutes, Utguarde Keep is a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to running this place back-to-back several times at launch.