Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The Revolution is upon us!

Or something.

I've MOVED to:


Please address all further inquiries there, thank you verymuch and havaniceday.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Tunic of Assassination AND Abacus of Violent Odds with One Kill

So, we were planning on doing some raiding last night, but, as usual, we lacked a certain absolutely needed class. It's always tanks or healers. Last night, we were lacking healers.

Sometimes a smaller guild really doesn't do better. Ah well, we'll pull through.

I split up the guild so that we could do some supplemental instances. Sent one team into Steamvaults and the team I was in decided to head to The Mechanar.


Well, I had never been there. Turns out, it was lots of fun. Although the robots were immune to my poisons (and I hadn't brought sharpening stones), there were enough blood elves to go around to even out my damage.

It didn't take us too long to get to the final boss, Paletheon the Calculator. He was a toughie. Actually, it wasn't him, it was these little ghostie adds that he kept summoning. They were ripping through our clothies, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. We were cloth-heavy that night: Warrior, Rogue, Mage, Mage, Priest. A great team, though, with superb players, so we got through stuff I'm sure was designed to kill us. Always helps to have some extra CC, anyway.

Well, as we're hacking away at the Calculator's health (oh, he's a blood elf, btw, not some robot), these ghostie things totally shred everyone in the group but the warrior and me. So, no healing, just a bit of tanking and dps, and we finally take the bastard down!

But, we had three casualties, so we waited for them to come back.

Lo and behold! The elevators were BLOCKED with the pink laser doorblocker thingies! WTF! The mages and priest couldn't get back to get their part of the key for that funky quest line, AND, we hadn't looted yet, so they couldn't even get access to the loot. Or, actually, one of them couldn't, because she released too soon after dying (thinking that mega-warrior Kyosan and mega-rogue Psyae wouldn't be able to defeat mega-calculator). That was irrelevant, anyway, because, after figuring that our teammates wouldn't be able to return, we looted, and....

The Tunic of Assassination AND the Abacus of Violent Odds (like, the ONLY reason for a rogue to even be in Mechanar that far) dropped!!! Wow, I was so excited and stuff.

Well, the Tunic is my first Assassination piece, and it's definitely an upgrade for my pvp set. I can't wait to spend all my money on some gems for it. Hah.

The Abacus is a great dps upgrade. We went to Shattered Halls afterwards to get some rep for our warrior (rep = heroic keys), and I got to test it out. Basically, the trinket gives 10 seconds of insanely high haste rating every two minutes (the cooldown). I'm going to be playing with macros in the next few days to try to maximize my usage of the trinket (like linking it to cheap shot or something, so that if it's not on cooldown, I'm using it every time I make an opening, which is probably something around 2 minutes). If anyone has better suggestions about that, lemme know.

Here are the Thottbot linkies to my lewts. Woot!



(I haven't gotten that thingy that lets you see items on mouseover, and not even sure Blogger lets you do that. Maybe I'll figure it out one day.)

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Monday, March 12, 2007


Like, when you finally get to level 70 with the majority of your guild, and you've geared up a bit, but not a lot, and you're all working on getting attunements, keys, reputation, oboy...

What order should you really do all this stuff in?

Okay, lemme tell ya.

You should start by writing this stuff down. Even if it's on a post-it, it's helpful, because you can easily lose track of your goals, and it's also exciting to see those goals progress and realized.

There are two "tracks" you should focus on. A personal and a guild track.

Your personal track can be timed according to your own schedule, and progression varies tremendously from person to person. Personal tracks involve a few things:

-single/small group quest lines in each area
-reputation via repeatable quests

Allot yourself a certain amount of time per week to accomplish these things, and do them in a logical manner. Also, have backups and variety to keep you from getting bored. It's also a good idea to have backups in case you planned on farming one day, but find that your favorite farming area has been taken over by gankers. Stay and suffer, or go finish some of those quests? It's good to have choices. Also note that when you're doing these quests, most of them chain quests, you really don't "need" a guild, and you don't always have to keep bugging guild mates to fly from Netherstorm to Shadowmoon Valley to help you kill a few demons, especially when there are plenty of other "soloists" hanging around trying to accomplish the same thing. Be resourceful and social, and you'll accomplish a lot more with less burden on your guildies (who will feel obligated to help you, but regretful that you couldn't do more to help yourself).

When you get to the 5-man quests, *then* start asking the guild. Why is this a good time to do so? Because if your guildmates were anywhere as resourceful as you, they have also done the chains up to the 5-man quests, and have been biding their time with other progressions till more guidies get the quest. Don't freak out if you announce in guild chat that you need to do that quest, and no one responds. It happens. If you have an event manager addon or a forum or anything like that, use it. Be patient. Perhaps you've gotten the 5-man quicker than your guildies. Perhaps they're genuinely busy. Ask at times when there are plenty of guildies online to choose from, and ask the ones in the same or nearby areas (ask them with /whispers, and they'll be more likely to respond).

Personal progression is important for many reasons. It gives you an opportunity to upgrade your own items with quests or professions. It allows you to get instance quests. And it gives you a break from doing the same thing over and over, whatever that may be. Also, don't forget that you can progress solo (or with a few friends) in Eye of the Storm pvp, or arena pvp, both of which offer huge gear upgrades for relatively little effort. (you just have to be patient!)

Your guild track is generally managed by your guild leader and/or officers. There are so many instances, it can quickly get overwhelming, and officers and guildies can get confused about where the guild is headed, and why. Not only that, but the guild leader can often get off track. It's important to communicate the goals of the guild, and to make course corrections as needed.

Guilds should focus on having members available and assembled for the instances that correspond to level, gear, and experience. When you first get to Outlands, the order is:
-Blood Furnace
-Slave Pens
(plus Caverns of Time, Tempest Keep, etc.)

When most of the guild is at 70, the focus could shift to "end game" material.

Current starter end game stuff consists of Gruul's Lair and Karazhan. Gruul's Lair contains two bosses, and is a 25-man raid instance. Karazhan is a 10-man instance with 12+ bosses/minis. The alternative to those instances are the Heroic instances. Heroics are "upgrades" to the earlier 5-man instances, requiring Revered reputation with the factions generally controlling the area of the instances.

What I originally tried with my guild was getting keyed for Karazhan as quickly as possible (which includes a lot of instances I haven't mentioned), and working on acquiring gear to take on the Heroic instances. We took Attumen with ease, but got stuck on Moroes. Well, 5% away from not being stuck, but with extreme difficulty. After much investigation, I realized that in the Outlands, having a *single* guild focus is unrealistic. Here's what I currently think is the right way to do things:

-get keyed for Karazhan asap (yep, it's worth it)
-run Attumen runs every week (two epics each time)
-get everyone revered with Honor Hold and Cenarion Expedition asap (same time as keying for Karazhan, if possible)
-run Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Slave Pens, Underbog at Heroic (you can do ONE run per instance per person per day).

Each Heroic boss is guaranteed to drop an epic.
Each Heroic bosses drop Badges of Justice for each teammate, which can be used to purchase very nice epic upgrades.

Once your guild gets to a comfortable level of gear (this is very subjective), then try Moroes.

Moroes is the *bridge* for Karazhan. Basically, if, without flasking and over-potting, you cannot take Moroes, then your gear is probably not sufficient. (Yeah, player class/role configurations are also very important, and obviously tweak those before you totally give up.)

I plan to take the guild up against Moroes once per week to test our relative gear strength level. During the week, I'll be pushing everyone to get their Heroic keys and to conquer the Heroic instances to gear up.

Once we take Moroes, I'll combine Heroic instances and Karazhan.

Once we've defeated about 3-4 Karazhan bosses, I'll throw in a Gruul's Lair run.


Hope DST didn't kill you guys like it did me!


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Cycle of Hatred

Someone in the TN official forum was jokingly complaining about the "Cycle of Hatred", which basically consists of the misapplied revenge taken on an unsuspecting member of the opposite faction.

Let me 'splain.

Beezlebot is farming clefthoof hide in Nagrand, minding his own beezwax. He's an alliance rogue, let's say. Over the course of a few hours, half a dozen horde have passed by. Most have ignored Beelzebot, some wave, some even stop and help for a few minutes.

Then, right as Beezlebot makes a kill, some horde hunter rolls up and dismounts. Well, considering what's already happened, Beezlebot thinks nothing of it, loots the beast, and then starts to skin it. Lo and behold! Horde hunter, Bucshot, sits back and aimed shots poor Beezlebot. Beezlebot tries to recover, but is immediately hit with a concussion shot, slowed by some pet, dazed and confused, and couldn't get to the hunter if he tried, which he did, and very quickly dies. Not much you can do with farming gear on vs. a hunter with a full pvp set who gets the first shot at you.

What, personal recount? Pshaw, naw, I'm just makin all this up, right?

Anyway, by the time Beezlebot gets back to his corpse (which takes a while in Nagrand), Bucshot has long since left to go find other victims. Beezlebot is like, damnit, and I always leave farming horde alone, damnit, that isn't fair. Damnit, I want some revenge.

So, Beezlebot creeps around, or flies around, and finds some other lowly horde, and GANK.

Thus it begins.

That lowly horde only saw exactly what Beezlebot saw. Some random alliance ganking him.

So, that lowly horde does the same thing in return, but not to Beezlebot. To some other alliance.

And soon, it's a vicious cycle that keeps repeating. Why? Because there's always at least one true, heartless, relentless ganker, and that's all it takes.

I'm not complaining about ganking. Just saying.

Well, in my case, I'm kinda like Beezlebot. But I make slightly different "revenge" choices.

Nagrand has some pretty intense PvP, if you haven't noticed. It can be fun and strategic.

Well, Bucshot, my friendly hunter that did, indeed, gank me, was nowhere to be found. But... there were plenty of horde to be had at Halaa. It was horde-owned, and they only had 1 guard left, which meant that they'd be trying to protect it.

So, I snuck on over to a wyvern post, and capped it.

Now... Nagrand pvp. For a rogue.

I'm not going to give away my strategy, sorry.

It's just too good.

Let me just leave it at this:

I did go flying once, to try to drop a few bombs and maybe hit Bucshot, but I couldn't find him.

When I returned, as I expected, there were a few horde waiting for me.

What I didn't expect was that there were six horde waiting for me!

Well, I didn't last long.

But, I returned. Ultimately, the score ended up something like this:

They killed me: 2 times
The number of total kills (and tokens) I got from stealthfully killing them: 13

I win.

The moral of the story?

I redirected my thirst for revenge at horde who were anticipating combat, and who offered a real challenge. It was much more satisfying for me to take out same-level horde who were engaged in pvp (especially when I was killing one of them when two other of them were trying to kill me) than it would have been if I had merely found some horde farming, and ganked that horde.

So, I ended at least my potential cycle of hatred by strategic redirection.

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Karazhan, Gruul's Lair, Swords Again

So, Forge, my guild, is "in" Karazhan.


Well, they're not in at this very moment, of course, but we're trying some bosses in there, and doing fairly decently.

Here's how it went down:

I got all the keyed people together. 16 at that point. Hard to make two 10-man teams with 16, and hard to fill one and not have 6 angry players. Well, I can't satisfy everyone. I made the best 10-man team I could, more or less to set the par. If the best 10 guildies can't take the first boss, then perhaps we shouldn't be in there. If I took anyone other than the best 10, then if we failed, I would have too many factors, and would have to try it again, anyway, with the best 10. Regardless of why I do the things I do, after a few quick trips through the insanely fast respawning trash mobs (that hit much harder than the boss), we took down Attumen, on our 2nd or 3d attempt. Either way, not a bad way to start.

We then made our way through the "back" way to the banquet hall, which takes you through the kitchen. Let me tell you. Avoid going that way. It's a nightmare. Too many mobs, and the chefs really know how to carve you up. Either way, our biggest problem was the non-crowd-controllable mobs. Stewards, valets. They really suck.

After a very arduous clearing of the banquet hall, we laid out a plan to take down Moroes, the Boris Karloff impersonating undead rogue host of the phantasmagorical party. He proved infinitely more difficult than Attumen. So much so, that after about 3 wipes, having to re-clear our way at least once, we suspended activities for the evening, and went to think about how we could defeat him.

A few days later, we were back. But this time, we decided to clear the stairwell direction, which led us through a corner of the ballroom. This was a much better way to go, as we only had to clear a handful of mobs before clearing the banquet hall. Our plan was this: we would shackle the "heavies" of the minions, we would ice trap the paladin, and we would kite/dps the holy priest. Then we'd kill the paladin, then one of the shackles, then the other, then Moroes.

Well, with shackles breaking all over the place for a variety of reasons, and with our healers getting one-shotted by stray minions, and with a variety of members getting garroted to death quicker than they could announce it, we didn't last too long. So, we modified our approach. Now we'd kill the priest and then paladin, but we'd keep the other two shackled while we worked on Moroes (ultimately reducing the number of garrotes he could issue).


That's what we got him to. Ugh. So close!

We tried a few more times, and tried again another night. No success. I'm really not sure what the problem is, other than the fact that we all need to gear up a bit more.

We'll try him again, but I want to get everyone some gear from Attumen while we're at it, and try some of the beasts in the meantime.

Oh, and post-script, the 6 who didn't go with the main group found 4 pugs willing to go, and they took down Attumen as well! Woot!

Gruul's Lair.

I plan to take the kids into Gruul's Lair this coming Friday to see how we all fare. Just for the first boss, of course. But he drops some phat lewts, as they say, and it's important that the guildies are getting a challenge as well as an opportunity to gear up a bit.

I think we're going to get slaughtered, myself.

But that's me.

I'm pessimistic and cynical.

Naw, I'm not. I'm optimistic and rational.

And schizophrenic.

I'll let you know how Gruul's Lair goes.

Swords Again

When I was doing Molten Core back in the day with a companion guild, I got some nice sword that dropped. Well, as you all know, I'm totally addicted to my mace spec. However, I wasn't really getting the kind of damage I needed for a raid group with my Mass of McGowan and Cold-forged Hammer, or whatever I was using. They were old, and it was a pain to get any mace upgrades (like it is now, mostly). But this new sword had some very nice dps stats. So, I grabbed my second best sword, which was sitting in the bank, and slightly altered my spec, with an eye for pve. (I usually travel around with a more balanced combat spec, which allows me some survivability in pvp, but still lets me kick ass in raid instance damage). And, it worked. My damage shot up so much, it was sick. But then, Blizzard released their firm grip on high level pvp items, so I spammed pvp until I could get the Grand Marshal one-hand maces. Yeah, two of them. Scroll down, you'll see them. Anyway, they were wonderful, and helped me get over the curve of not being sword or dagger specced. I've used them up to just the other day in the expansion without too much problem.

Of course what that really meant is that my damage in groups was decent, but not up to par with what I thought it should be (like, #1). Not only were all the mages out-damaging me, but the friggin druid tank was out-damaging me!!! Well, I can't have that.

So, like any WoW addict, I started to farm for Aldor rep. Then I figured it'd take me about a year to farm to exalted, at the rate I normally farm. So, I bought it. It cost about 1000 gold to get from 3600 in revered to 21000, which hit exalted. I bought up all the marks of sargeras and fel armaments the auction house had to offer, and BAM, I was exalted. That felt good. No more forced farming.

Why'd I pick Aldor? Vindicator's Brand. So, bought that for a hefty amount, and then grabbed my next best sword, Revenger, modified my spec again slightly to account for swords, and then skilled up.

So far, I'm impressed with my damage output. It's quite high, and I think in the right setting, I can be #1 again. (but not in those instances that require a ton of aoe damage, or where I'm getting CCd all the time).

So, now, I'm working on gathering up gear from instances and raids, and slowly increasing my arena points in order to get my Gladiator maces and switch back to my fave!



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Friday, February 23, 2007

70! (Everyone Does This, So I Guess I Should, Too)

Well, this actually happened a few weeks ago, but I've been slacking. I have a lot of new screenshots of some pretty cool stuff from the expansion that I plan to upload and display. Be patient.

I guess while I'm here, I'll give you all a guild update.

We've been getting to level 70 at a fairly decent pace, most of us while trying to enjoy the new content and immerse ourselves in the new storylines and plots. In the meantime, I've been prodding my guildies into getting attuned to Karazhan, which requires visits to the Caverns of Time, Sethekk Halls, the Shadow Labyrinth, Steamvaults, and Arcatraz, to name most. It's a lot of work, but we've been managing fairly well. I have some goals and deadlines set up, and hopefully we'll be "raiding" Karazhan by March 2.

While doing that, some of us have been trying to manage some arena teams and games. I made a 2v2 team with a feral druid last week. We managed to get about 370 or so arena points in a week. We figure if we keep an average of 300+ arena points per week, we'll be getting some decent gear upgrades soon enough.

My issue is that I am a combat mace spec rogue, and I've been using the Grand Marshal maces from the original game. There are few mace upgrades. The absolute best ones require the wielder to be a macecrafter. I'm not one. The next best (somewhat easily available) maces are acquired via the arena. For those of you who know anything about combat maces, you'll appreciate the fact that, for once, Blizzard thought about mace spec rogues by making two separate arena reward maces, one designed perfectly for main hand (slow, high damage range), the other for off-hand (fast, low damage range, high dps). The issue I have now is that my maces do about 60dps each. Almost all the new weapons in the expansion run from 70 to 100 dps easily. My raid damage has dropped tremendously, since I'm still using my old maces. I'll post here again if/when I get new maces. Should be fun.

Also, I'm implementing a new loot system in the guild. The old one we used was a modified Suicide Kings system, which works well for a nice, tight group, but doesn't account for a lot of variables. Ultimately, it relies a lot on luck, which I don't like so much. I prefer raw merit plus other deservedness factors. My new system is a DKP-style system. I'll lay it out briefly here:

Everyone in an official raid who is present and assists on a raid boss kill will immediately acquire 5 points for a mini-boss, 10 points for an end-boss. The loot master will link all of the items and then adjust everyone's points to reflect the boss kill. The loot master will then link a single item and ask for bids. It's a silent bidding process. Anyone who wants the item may whisper the loot master with a bid that is at least 2 points (there are no negatives in this system). Whoever has the highest bid will win the item, and will be charged the equivalent of the second-highest bid plus one point.

So, if Bob and Nancy bid 10 and 5 points respectively for an item, Bob will win the item and pay 6 points. It's kinda like Ebay.

The points are immediately accounted for on our dynamic loot chart. There are rules for ties, and if no one wants to bid, which are all very simple and straightforward. The object of the system is to provide a modicum of guaranteed reward for those who regularly attend raids, but a lack of excessive burden on the guild loot officers.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Valete, amici et amicae!

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Burning Crusade

Well, hi!

I tasted the water, with hesitancy, but once the sweet succor upon my lips did touch, away myself I could not pull.

Translation: I bought TBC and I love it.

Just as an update, a few weeks prior to the expansion, I pvp grinded to get myself those Grand Marshal maces and three GM set pieces. Yes, it was quite worth it. I'm still using all my GM gear, mixed with my old Lt. Commander gear, and it's helped immensely in the expansion. The first couple of things I upgraded: rings, ranged weapon, neckpiece. I pretty much have everything else, and I swap individual pieces to max out certain attributes depending on what I'm doing.

And, yes, I'm still combat mace spec. Apparently many rogues are now reverting/converting to combat mace in order to level, as I once did, a very very long time ago. I stuck with it. I love combat maces, and will never change. It's my destiny. Oh well.

Oh, it also goes well with my play style, and is fun as hell to play.

And, yeah, I main tanked the second boss (the big lobster) in the Slave Pens. Seriously. It was awesome.

Guild update: I gave my guild (Forge) an ultimatum: We're a raid guild, prepare to raid, desire to raid, have the dedication and competency to raid, or kindly depart. Perhaps too harsh, but I'm really a softie. Obviously we're not raiding just yet (not enough 70s), but we're leveling at a fairly steady rate, and are starting to get through the required quests for the level 70 instances. Oh, and guild retention was about 98%.

Expansion: Once I set foot through the portal, and ever since, I was thoroughly impressed. The size and complexity of the expansion was well worth the two year "gap." Honestly, I don't believe in the theory that all MMORPGs should come out with an expansion every year. I think that's too quick. Blizzard has done an absolutely wonderful job for the past two years coming out with patches full of new content. This expansion is like icing on the cake, plus another cake. And maybe a case of beer.

Why is it impressive?

- it's HUGE
- flying mounts
- easy and quick quests that give you a taste, but don't burden you too much
- hilarious movie/etc. references throughout the expansion
- a variety of world pvp (not all are that well implemented, but at least they're trying)
- arenas
- two new races (which I haven't even begun to fully explore)
- max 25-man instances (this is the best feature)
- many new 5-10-man instances (second-best feature) that don't take five+ hours each

In short, clear and fun goals that can be completed in one sitting, thus catering to absolutely every player type. I can log on, get in a 5-man group, and run any of the 5-man instances in under an hour, have a lot of fun, get some gear, log off, and have a real life, too. Thanks, Blizzard!

[Editorial note: Of course I don't log on for merely an hour! But, if I did, I'd still be happy with the game.]

As my guild and I progress and explore/conquer, I'll update the blog.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Guild Update & Boss Checklist

Here's the quick version of how my current guild situation looks:

  • -started a guild early on in a server's life, made it family oriented, casual, but also catered to those who wanted to level
  • -when enough people started getting to level 60, they felt the temptation to join already existing hardcore raid guilds to see end-game content and get nice gear
  • -I saw friends disappearing, but I couldn't join them, since I felt an obligation to my guild
  • -my guild had become a "feeder" guild
  • -I didn't like that
  • -so, I made my own raid guild while keeping the old guild as is, and (here's the kicker) I let my old guild continue to be a feeder guild, but feeding to my own raid guild
  • -when we started, we were still having trouble with places like UBRS
  • -now, about three months later, we farm Hakkar, have beaten Kurinnaxx, Rajaxx, and Buru, and we're working on Ossirian, Onyxia, and MC
  • -at the same time, the family oriented, casual guild still exists and is thriving.
  • -anyone in the raid guild who needs a break from raiding can semi-retire by moving to the casual guild, and move back into the raid guild in the future, if desired
  • -the guilds are "sister guilds", and we share a chat channel
  • -raiders from the raid guild often help out the casual guild players do quests and level, and friendships are made and perpetuated (instead of divided between different guilds), and that, in turn, helps the raid guild because some of the casual guild players will eventually advance to the level they need to join the raid guild, and those friendships have already been forged
  • -anyway, it works, but needs a lot of devotion from everyone, especially the guild leader
So, here are the bosses we've taken as a guild (which includes members from our sister guild):

-The 5 priests (see the movie at here)

-Bloodlord Mandokir
-Edge of Madness: Renataki, Wushoolay


MC (in conjuction with a separate guild, about 50/50):
-Baron Geddon

Our goals right now are:

-The remaining EoM bosses
-Farming Hakkar once per reset

-maybe others
-Farming Ossirian (for my damnable mace!)

-guild-only start farming everything in there
-Rag (whew, wish us luck, but we'll probably be able to use the Ony and Hakkar buffs to help)

-Kill, then farm Onyxia (hopefully once a week)

My raid guild has about 50 members, and I keep the numbers low, quality high.

The sister/casual guild has over 150 members (including alts), and we have about 10-15 potential high levels who can help the raid guild.

What we're really looking forward to is the expansion and the 25-man raids. Although we don't have all the fancy BWL and Naxx gear, I think the quality of our members will allow us to start on those instances immediately and effectively.

Well, that was exciting. More updates will come when we kick something else's ass.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006


What's that, a new Molten Core mob?

Naw... it's just PsyKitty!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

My UI Now - Minimalist

I went back to minimalistic. I like it.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Psyae's Profile

Let your curiosity finally be satiated.

Link goes to my main PVE configuration. I'll eventually get around to updating it to show my pvp, boss fight, fire resist, and all that other crap. If you do the dropdown, you can see my entirely impossible wishlist. Hah.


Psyae's CTProfile

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Rogue UI Analysis

I've had a day or two to play with my UI and to try to tweak it a bit. Honestly, although it looks cool, I hate it. It's way too cluttered and over-informative for me. I actually reduced significantly the number of addons it was using, and it's still overwhelming.

But, it was a great test for me, to see what I really rely on when fighting.

I practiced dueling a few different foes, and I examined everything while fighting in ZG (where I'm normally very familiar with what goes on). Here are my results:

I had trouble forcing myself to look at the new health meters. Not only that, but having the enemy health meter adjacent to mine is absolutely insane and confusing. Also, having the health meters significantly separated from the mana/energy/rage meters made the latter meters 100% useless. When you're a rogue fighting a warrior, it helps to know how much rage the warrior has. If you're not careful, it could be used quickly to beat the crap out of you. (I will stunlock or blind, or whatever is needed to keep a warrior from being able to hit me when the rage bar is high). I found I was relying mostly on the default target icon to watch for combo points, health, etc. I know this is mostly because I'm used to it, and haven't trained myself out of it. However, I'm not sure it's not an entirely bad system. It really doesn't take up a lot of room, and certainly doesn't clutter my screen. Yes, my eyes get pulled away from the action, but not so significantly.

The one thing I found quite interesting was that my eyes kept flipping to blank spots that used to be occupied by icons. I use the icons to determine when I can do certain moves, like eviscerate, when I have enough energy. So, it works like this: I see that I've got sufficient combo points, by looking up intermittently at the target icon, and then I look down to see when the eviscerate icon isn't greyed out, and then, when it's available, I spam it. Noticing what I was trying to look for led me to narrow my expectations of what my UI should be like.

Here's what I looked for:

-lit riposte icon
-lit eviscerate icon
-lit gouge icon (only in pvp)
-stun bar (to show how long my sap, gouge, CS, KS, blind, etc. would be)
-stealth icon (to see when I could stealth/re-stealth in a pause in combat)
-enemy health
-enemy mana/energy/rage
-enemy's target (this is especially good in boss fights. if you see you're the target of your target, you'd better use some anti-aggro asap)
-combo points on enemy
-various cooldowns (blade flurry, etc., but not as often as what's mentioned above)
-once in a while, I'll look at my own health and energy, but I've done this so long, I can "feel" it instead
-certain limited opponent cast bars/timers: ice block, perception, but rarely, and only in pvp

I have an idea that I can combine all of those things into one place on my screen, and then leave the rest for visuals. I get a lot out of what I can see, and when I have stuff all over my screen, it doesn't help a bit.

I think I'm going to try for a minimalist approach next (very close to what I was using before (like, nothing)), but more organized and tailored to what I need. Instead of adding a bunch of stuff all at once, and then weeding out the unnecessaries, I'm going to trash everything, then start from the bottom, adding what I absolutely need. I think that'll help my frame rate a bit, as well.

I'll keep you posted on what my UI evolution.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rogue UI

So, I've been using pretty much no special UI since Cosmos went all funky about a year ago. I tried Titan, but for me it's only good for leveling (and maybe money grinding).

I looked around a bit for other UI addons, maybe to spice up my play style a bit. Refine it. Confuse it. I dunno, whatever. I grabbed a compilation addon by Oki (I think that's right), and kinda pick and chose what to put into it and how to set it, and here's what I'm currently playing with. See if you like it. (trying to make the image clickable to show full size. wish me luck)

Screw it. Here's the link: LINKY TO UI PIC

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Rogue Review Review

Okay, since I'm a rogue and all, and the rogue review just came out, and I've actually applied my talent points, oboy, I figured it'd be appropriate for me to comment on this newest patch.

I'm taking excerpts from the patch that I want to talk about, ignoring the rest.

Hey, this might be fun.

Cross-Realm Battlegrounds - Blah. Haven't tried it yet, but I hear it's good for some. I'm disappointed that they didn't incorporate the "no degradation of honor" yet. Waiting for the expansion, my arse.

World PvP - Blah. I played around a few towers in EPL, but it's basically, can you stand there? Yeah? Okay, it's yours. Wait, holdon. It's more like, can you stand at an old, run-down, useless, abandoned tower with absolutely no strategic advantage whatsoever in the fight against the scourge OR the opposing faction? Yeah? Okay, it's yours.

The deserter debuff will now continue to expire even while you are offline. - As it should.

Due to significant talent changes, Rogues will have all talent points refunded and can be respent. Training costs for all talent spell replacements have been significantly reduced.

Eviscerate: Manual of Eviscerate (Rank 9) now drops somewhere in the world.
Garrote: The damage from this ability has been increased approximately 50%.
Relentless Strikes: This ability will no longer trigger when your finishing move does not hit your target.
Sap: Enemy rogues will now always lose stealth when you Sap them.

Bla blah blah.

Okay, briefly, they screwed over rogues. Again. Badly.

First, for most other reviews, there was a major talent overhaul. I'm not necessarily saying it was bad that they didn't overhaul the rogue talent set (they did change a few things), but the things they changed were mild, and they didn't really address major issues that have been brought up over the years this game has been around. For instance, no realistic fist weapon talent.

They also let rogues down by ignoring the lack of rogue-specific game content. They should have established a "rogues' guild" faction that might rival the current Ravenwhatever faction that's currently worthless. They should have infused some life into a new series of rogue quests allowing all manner of rogue to accomplish things that no other class could, and that highlight unique rogue abilities. Lockpicking, pickpocketing, trap detection, stealth, all combined could make for a few very fun, complicated, and worthwhile adventures with very little added work on the part of the developers. How come the last time I got to use that stuff was when I was getting my poison quest at like level 20? So disappointed that they could put all that work into a week of the lamest scourge invasion imagineable, and not add a few decent rogue quests. Shame on you, Blizzard.

Ah, no, but Blizzard knows how to treat its customers. Instead of giving to rogues for their review, Blizzard TAKES AWAY! Remember a few patches ago, when they "fixed" that coding OVERSIGHT that made our poisons DISAPPEAR every time we went in or out of an instance? You know, the one that made battlegrounds a logistical nightmare of trying to restock poisons constantly because you either win or lose every five minutes, which means a five hour night runs you about 60-70 poisons? Yeah, that BS. Remember that it took Blizzard a YEAR to "fix" that little problem, while concentrating more on expanding end-game content for 40-man raid groups, pretending to cater to the casual player by making us go through high level instances... with a raid group.... to get cheap-ass upgrades to gear that most 60s start collecting at about level 55? Anyway, if you remember or acknowledge any of that, just realize that Blizzard has turned you away, happy, and ambushed/backstabbed/blinded/ambushed/backstabbed/backstabbed, and generally just screwed you over while you were busy setting up your "new" talent points. Yes, indeed, Blizzard reneged and re-established the loss of poisons lack of code. Why? Because of some technology thing. HUHWHA? It's like... if mages all of a sudden couldn't make water, and Blizzard said, sorry, you never actually "could" make water. That was just a temporary fix on a bigger problem, and by allowing you to make water now, it has the potential to do something technological that will cause other things not to work right... we think. So, we'll let you make water again when the EXPANSION COMES OUT YOU'DBETTERGETITORYOU'LLBELEFTOUTANDWILLNEVERBEABLETOMAKEWATERAGAINHAHAHAH!


Okay, that rant temporarily over.

I don't usually discuss my talent spec in public. Or generally anywhere. I like to keep it hush. Well, I used to. I almost don't really care nowadays. I guess my fear of being scorned for my odd ways has dwindled along with how much I really care. Since I can't even access any of the talent trees from work, nor my character profile, I cannot post them all yet. However, I'll tell you that my spec is currently 20/31/0.

If that means anything to you, then great.

I'm still mace-specced, which, since I have maces, is the way to go. My unbuffed attack power is like 839 or something, and health is 3800 or so. The nice thing about my build is that although my attack power isn't as high as I would like, I have some nice gear that gives me extra swings, and my talents actually add a lot of dps. I can also survive a bit longer than many other pve rogues due to my higher health.

Yeah yeah, I'm not all decked out in epics, so stop right there with any potential criticism. I'm working my way up the ladder just like all the other peeps who work 10-11 hours a day, and play significantly less. I also refuse to join a teen-run all-out "raid guild" whose aspirations include seeing who can insult other guild members most with racist, sexist, crude comments, and who will get their first ever view of a real-live used pair of panties.

Speaking of which, why does a single "item" get called a "pair"?

Anyway, so I'm sticking with my sister guilds, and we're currently conquering ZG. I think my new talents will help a lot, and I've already seen a boost to my dps. Since I'm always on top of the damage charts (when I'm not too preoccupied), I think this will be even better.

I'll post detailed info about my spec and gear whenever I pick the best publicly accessible gear/spec/whatever online character profile thingy. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Site Analysis

Thanks to Google and Roguespot. :)

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My Guilds & Some ZG Stuff

Yeah, my guild situation is interesting and unique. I know I don't talk about it much, but it's important to note my current situation.

Here's the briefest (is that a word) explanation:

- Main guild was Pathos Hammer
- Guild was a 180 member "feeder" guild
- We were not doing high-end content
- Dismayed level 60s were leaving to go gear grind with @ssh@t guilds
- I could have perpetuated that state of being... and I would have probably quit in a fit of depression
- Instead, I formed a sister guild, Forge, designed specifically to allow level 60 Pathos Hammer members who wanted end-game stuff an opportunity to maintain continuity with Pathos Hammer
- Of course, everyone told me it wouldn't work
- Everyone loves telling me how things won't work
- It worked.

- So, I run two guilds now.
- Pathos Hammer is effectively run by a council, and really gets along because of our philosophy of friendship, family, and forgiveness. Oh, and fun.
- Forge gets along because I'm strict, we have scheduled end-game runs, the members are wholly devoted to end-game stuff, and we can act more like adults (it's family, but more like when the kids go to sleep)

So far, we've been running ZG about twice a week. Once in a while, we'll go take out Kurinnaxx in AQ20. He's a breeze.

When we started trying ZG, it was a mess. We managed okay with Venoxis (the first boss we tried), but were having a hell of a time with the bat boss. But, through persistence and the Forge spearheading the events, we started learning these bosses. We were told that we would have hella trouble with the bat boss. We got her in a few tries. We did have a lot of trouble with the spider boss. But we were able to overcome that obstacle, as well. After a few weeks, we eventually made our way to the tiger boss. We one-shotted the tiger boss. (that means we killed the guy the first time around, none of us ever having even seen him before!!!)

We were amazed.

Yeah, sure, the panther boss gave us a fit. But sometimes you gotta wipe 5 times on a boss to learn it. We learned it. We beat it. That's what makes it all fun and worth it. Learning, overcoming.

Okay, so we took down 5 ZG bosses. Tried Hakkar. Oboy, we sucked at Hakkar! Hahah. Can't beat him yet, but we're working on it. I'll let you know when we've knocked that smirk off his scaly face.

In the meantime, feel free to download and watch the video I made of us taking on the 5 bosses. (Yeah, my Venoxis movie was kinda screwed up, so I did what I did in the video on purpose). Heck, watching these movies, you might get an idea of how to beat some of these guys! Hah.

Right-click, and save as:

Teh Moovee

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


No, not leagues under the sea.
No, not my annual bonus. ( I wish!)
No, not how much the U.S. deficit is in hundreds of thousands (which would be 20,000,000,000), but probably close.

Yes, it's the number of unique visits to Psyae's WoW Et Cetera since I long ago implemented Site Meter. Yey.

More specifically, as of when I just now checked, I've had 20,418 total individual "visits", which doesn't count revisits by the same IP address.




Oh, hey, new pic. This will look cool:

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

1.12 and DKP Capitalism

Alrighty. Some ... people... have been complaining that I haven't updated my site in a while. I guess I've been a little busy.

I've also been kinda out of topics. Yeah, everyone's covering the new 1.12 whatever patch and the rogue review, as well as the contention regarding alliance shamans and horde paladins. I hope to the gods they don't actually name their classes that, since "paladin" has a very specific connotation, especially in the World of Warcraft game history, that wouldn't really make much sense in the context of a Blood Elf.

Shamans? Eh. Not so much a history, and not so narrowly interpreted.

Obviously, talents and skills will be different, with similar themes. I'm not worried.

(Although I wish Blizzard would come up with something unique instead of ripping itself off).

Okay, well, you asked for it. Here's what I think about the rogue review:

1) 90% of what they're doing constitutes a "fix" to a vast number of problems that have been plaguing rogues since day 1, and should have been fixed much earlier, in earlier patches.

2) Classes that have already undergone reviews have been seriously upgraded. I played a warlock prior to the warlock review, and it was so difficult, I nearly quit the game (survivability was zilch). I even posted a guide here on how to pvp against warlocks as a rogue. It was something like: rush the bastard and just kill him. Now, I'm lucky if I survive a warlock encounter. They're tough as nails, and quite often top the pvp kill charts (aren't DoTs fun?). Anyway, what do rogues get? A slightly fiddled-with talent tree that really doesn't do all that much. How about a nicely revamped talent tree, some friggin tier armor that doesn't look like all the other tier armor (how many friggin shoulders have to look exactly like shadowcraft shoulders? even random, non-set ones look identical!), and maybe, just maybe, some rogue-specific quests that require a bit of stealth, pickpocketing, assassination (without having to fight through an army of mobs first), thievery, whatever? Heck, I just ruined #3 on, because I said it all right there.

3) Re-read #2. Also, read my mind. I'm not feeling very verbose today.

Thought of the day:

Is the capitalist society of today the equivalent of joining a classic DKP system WoW guild that has been running instances for 200 years?

Let me elaborate on what I'm talking about. DKP = dragon kill points, which is a system whereby members of a group earn points by attending instance raids. They can then spend these points to "purchase" dropped items. The higher the number of points a member has, the more that member can outbid other members for an item. The classic system allows stockpiling of these points, and "old" guilds tend to have members with so many points, that new members literally can never catch up in order to bid on anything at all.

So, does that mimic capitalist society? In other words, when you, a n00b in the world, tries to get into business, do you even have a chance in hell to acquire the kind of wealth the lead aristocrats possess based on years and years of being in the same "family"? I could name some names, but I'm sure you can figure out a few.

If this is the case, is there a way to beat the system? Should there be?

Your thoughts?

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Battlegrounds, the Epic

I get a lot of references to my multiple battleground strategy posts located here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, they are so spread apart, they're difficult to analyze as a whole. So, this post will be a culmination of all the battleground strategies that I have written, and perhaps notes from other commenters regarding those strategies.

Ayæ in Warsong Gulch. [Note: Psyae is Ayae is Psyae]

I decided to visit Warsong Gulch Sunday evening while I was in the top half of level 29. It was this Ayae’s first visit to a battlegrounds, and, I’m sad to say, not much different from all of “my” visits there previously. I think I played about four games. The first one I don’t really count because I came in about ten minutes after it began. Subsequently, I think the Horde came out on top, 2-1.

I will say, though, that although the Alliance were all over the place (as usual), and lacking in uniform determination, there were enough pockets of Alliance that had a keen idea of what to do that we held our own very well throughout the games, even with different groups of Alliance and Horde. The trend I’m noticing in at least level 20-29 Alliance groups in WSG is to split the group into three. A defense group, consisting of 3 or 4, an offense group with 3 or 4, and the remainder acting as midfield offense/defense. Of course, I immediately volunteered for midfield. Later today, I’ll post some statements that were made about me by random people, and some screenshots of the scoresheets as well as the map of the field (showing the status quo scattering of our troops). I think they’ll be very informative if not humorous.Speaking to strategy: I’ve posted on this before, but will update. I’ve been on both sides of the field, Alliance and Horde, and, regardless of what you believe, they’re nearly the same in most regards. The differences you “think” you see are mostly based on random groupings in BG. If there is an overabundance of offensive-style horde in a few games that you play, your immediate reaction is to assume the horde are more organized, and offensively aggressive. The same goes for just about any random grouping and your subsequent impressions.

There are four primary WSG strategies that I have observed in mass use. I will explain them all, and give a few comments on each.

1) All Offensive, D on return
2) Hannibal
3) All Defensive, one flag runner
4) Mixed O/D

1) All Offensive, D on return: This tends to be what most groups start out doing, at least up until the first flag cap. It’s similar to a race, and the way WSG is set up, it seems one of the more obvious tactics. As soon as the gates are opened, everyone heads out the right-hand side (graveyard side), runs along that side of the field, en masse, to the opponent’s base, either runs up the tunnel or takes the ramp, grabs the flag, and runs back. This often takes place without any combat until the return. At this point, a few things may happen. One of the flag-bearers may get intercepted by offensives returning to base, and then the team that loses the flag has to turn around and chase the opponents back into the opponent base (which usually ends in a loss). Or, both offensive teams may clash in the center, losing both flags, wiping out most of each team, and having to start from scratch. Or, finally, both teams pass each other again with little loss, and it becomes a game of return your flag from your opponent while trying to keep theirs.
All in all, this is a tactic that tends to be tried only once, at the beginning, and, unless you have a powerful force, is not often attempted again.

2) Hannibal. This is a Horde favorite, whereby 7 or so teammates huddle together rather tightly, and, as a group, stomp their way across the field, pick up the opponent flag, and stomp back. Usually these groups have had lots of experience doing this, and/or they teamed up before entering BG. They provide constant support (healers constantly healing (not tanking), mages slowing, warriors tanking/destroying, shamans doing it all, etc.). If done correctly, this is the most effective strategy I have ever seen in BG. Generally, it’s based on the fact that at any one time, there won’t be more than two or three Alliance within sight of one another at any given time. Thus, a tight, stomping force like that can easily take down two or three opponents at a time, moving quickly (or slowly if they want), and just acting like one huge unstoppable tank. All the while, a few individually stronger players are left to defend the flag. Sometimes I’ve actually seen this tactic done without flag defenders, and they still win. Most of my observations of Hannibals were done in the 40-60 range of WSG, so that’ll give you something to look forward to!

3) All D, one flag runner. This is a tactic I’ve seen done on both sides to varying degrees of success. Usually a druid or shaman will bolt to the flag while a strong contingency of defenders await the initial onslaught (see #1) of the opponents. While most of the opponents are rushing, this leaves the opponent’s flag somewhat defenseless, allowing for the stealthy grab and rush back. If the timing is right, all the offensive party from the opponent will have been killed by the defenders, thus giving the flag runner an open field to return (or at least to hide out in till things settle down). This has also been accomplished by a rogue and healer combo, or just a solo rogue. (yes, I’ve pulled off my share of these with a variety of setups, mostly solo). The object here is to keep the opponent distracted while your stealthy runners do their job.

4) Mixed O/D. This is what I was describing earlier, where each player is “assigned” a duty. Optimal layout tends to be around 3D, 3M, 4O. But that varies depending on opponent strategy and strength. Although this seems to be a good overall strategy (at least for testing the strength of your opponent), it’s not great for using throughout the entire game, because if your opponent ends up doing the exact same thing, it usually comes down to the flip of a coin. What I’ve seen happen is just an exchange of some opponent players (”You take D this time, I’ll go O”), and it shifts the balance enough so that although you thought you were winning, you’re scratching your head, wondering how you lost.

There are many different strategies that can be employed in BG. Stick with what works, but only when it’s working, then switch! And, don’t be afraid either to take charge or demand organized leadership — that is what I’ve seen as the #1 BG downfall (everyone doing their own thing).

Comments on This section:

Windpaw Says:October 31st, 2005 at 1:07 pm e
The complete lack of any idea of what you’re getting into is both one of the most exciting, and most frustrating aspects of the battleground experience.

I can say with pretty fair certainty though, that when you show up in the assembly area in AB or WSG and hear 10-15 people yelling for invites - and no one is inviting - you’re in for a stomping.

As the players on [Twisting Nether] mature, I’ve been enjoying a much more balanced BG experience. I find myself on the winning side about as much as I find myself on the losing side, and only rarely are we getting pWnD into oblivion the way we were in the beginning.

Just this weekend, Sequoia jumped into back to back AB sessions - and each one was completely different.

In the first, the Alliance was like a ravening wolf. We were using the ‘all offense all the time’ strategy that I prefer and kept the Horde off balance and rezzing in their graveyard for most of the session. We won with a comfortable 800 point spread.

The very next session was a mess. The Alliance was split apart with a few people guarding the mine and the rest running around in ones or twos trying to assault fixed positions held by mobs of Horde. The loss was embarassing - made more so by the fact that it was one of those rare groups of players that really didn’t care if they lost or not.

Psyae Says:October 31st, 2005 at 1:51 pm e
I’d like to make it clear that Windpaw is discussing AB strategy with “all offense, all the time.” This is a tactic I think I discussed briefly either in a post or with Windpaw at some time. The concept is simple, but challenging to pull off. Your team basically acts like the Hannibal I mentioned in the WSG tactics, sticking together tightly, supporting each other, and attacking/taking over each flag one-by-one, but without “holding” them. If you’re quick enough, you might be lucky to have only one or two bases in contest. Depending on the opponent’s strategy, you could win before they know what’s going on, or, if they’re doing the same thing, it could be a test of stamina. If you are faster, and keep your team alive longer, you can catch up and overtake your opponent. Once you do, you’re nearly guaranteed to win.

The problem, as in all bg strategy, is getting everyone to work together and support each other.
Something I’ve noticed, as well. The one-player tank idea (I haven’t mentioned yet) actually has some limited success in WSG, as I’ve shown on my personal blog, and as Ayae in TN showed in her first few runs. However, in AB, I’ve never seen it happen. Yeah, I’ve taken over a flag or two solo in AB, but within seconds, I’m surrounded by opponents, losing what I’ve “gained.”

The other obvious AB strategy is advance, capture, defend, extend, capture, defend, extend, etc. If you took elementary math, you’ll quickly understand why this is often a losing AB tactic. It spreads your team too thin, and allows for any medium contingengy of opponents to take any of your bases with ease. Recovering from a base loss is difficult if you were relying on it, which, using this method, you most assuredly are.

In a few weeks, after Windpaw and I run a few more ABs, we’ll collaborate on an AB tactics post, and hopefully come up with some alternative successful strategies.

Elzandra Says:October 31st, 2005 at 2:11 pm e
So, Ayae, you are saying that it wouldn’t be effective to hold, say, the Blacksmith, Stables and Mines?

I was thinking that if you could keep just those, parking everyone at the stables while keeping a few defenders at the smith and mines you might do better than the run and capture strategy.
If you can assemble a good mobile “Hannibal” force to travel to either the mine or smith as necessary, while having one mounted person ready to scream for either the mill or farm if the numbers count shows too many horde at the upper areas to defend properly, wouldn’t that work as well?

The only time I have won in AB there was no strategy, but we seemed to naturally fall into defending those three bases. I have never seen that happen again. Usually it’s “run in circles scream and shout” time with some pitched battles at the stables.

I also find that many don’t play their class well. Everyone is looking to melee and no one supports each other. I have written about the lack of attention to the cloth wearers; as a Ret pally it makes much more sense for me to chase them down, unless a hunter is paying attention (my damage isn’t good enough to try for the rogues and warriors..especially not at 52 in the 50-59 bracket).

Healing, buffing..I try to do that at the same time, but I don’t dare sit and *just* do that. They have us dead before I run out of mana.

But, I don’t really know what I should be doing. Advice?

Windpaw Says:October 31st, 2005 at 2:35 pm e
In my opinion, regardless of what location you manage to take - the holding force should be nigh non-existant. If you have teams of 7 and 8 on the move, you’re much more capable of dominating whatever force the ‘other’ side has left behind to ‘defend’.

Since both teams are on the move you get excellent coverage across the field. I’m still in the 30-39 BG which means that there are no mounts. The rapid assault forces that we muster in order to retake or defend a contested objective are full of Hunters using AOC and Druids in Travel form. The key point is that they are a *force* and not solo.

The only defense that seems to work in the BG games I’ve played is the short term defense that comes from contesting and taking a location. You hit say - the “Mill” and scare off the defenders. During that time there is a lull of a few minutes where bad guys will trickle in and put up a fight.
These are folks that have been lured in from other areas. They were pulled in by all the calls for help coming from the Mill. So - being bored playing static defense and wanting to help - they run full tilt to the mill, arriving in pairs or one by one.

Once they show up - what they don’t realize is that the folks calling for help are already dead and the zone is already under enemy control.

So - from the George Patton school of warfare - the assault force that just took the mill only sticks around long enough to repulse the initial counter-attack. Once that is done - they’re already on the move and targeting their next objective.

While I call it ‘all offense all the time’ - there *is* a defense going on. A very fluid, and very mobile one. It’s much like playing constant ‘mid-field’ in WSG with your whole team. Your defense comes from a rapid fire offense that keeps the enemy off-balance and the ability to respond quickly and in force to threats.

As a Pally - you should be a critical member of one of those assault forces moving about the battlefield. You can do damage and heal and with your multiple seal based buffs, you are what is called ‘a force multiplier’. In other words you make *everyone else* stronger. The key for you is to find a purposeful team that seems to have a clue. Stick with them and support them. When they assault, you assault. When they move - you move with them. If they fix their position and try and dig in - despair….

Pally’s like Druid’s are a class that works as glue - binding units together. If the team you’re working with doesn’t have a healer - fill that roll as they slam into Horde defenses. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to take down a bad guy whose health bar *never* goes down.

Psyae Says:October 31st, 2005 at 2:55 pm e
I’m not saying that a partially defensive strategy is necessarily bad. I’m just saying I haven’t really seen it work that well in AB. Mind you, I have a lot more experience in WSG (as do most of us, since AB is so new). Ultimately, any strategy is useless unless everyone on your team is applying it and doing their respective jobs.

As for what role specifically you should be playing, again, it depends on the overall strategy. If there is NO overall strategy (par for the course), then I suggest finding a niche. In other words, just observe where and how you’re needed, and go for that. My other suggestion, perhaps more practical, is to buddy up with someone. I admit, I do fairly well on my own, but when some bored paladin/druid/priest finds me and decides to be my personal guardian healing angel, I’m a nearly unstoppable machine. Watch any skirmish, and you’ll see why. 99% of the time, most of the skirmishers target the BIGGEST, BADDEST guy running around out there. Who is that most of the time? The Tauren warrior. Why is that the stupidest tactic? Twenty paces back, there is a priest or shaman, usually undefended, usually left alone, constantly keeping Mr. Warrior alive. Yes, it’s quite true that rogues target and attack cloth-wearers with an instinct as keen as a hound chasing a fox. But a great fallback of many small groups is that they don’t quickly target the healing classes and eliminate them first. If they did, the warriors would fall so much more easily. [thanks to Windpaw for also pointing this out as I was writing this and juggling work simultaneously] — as Windpaw indicates, it works both ways.

Paladins are undoubtedly the most “annoying” Alliance class: they have at least two somewhat lengthy “immunity” powers, which they can use to protect themselves while they heal critical teammates, or heal/buff themselves. I’ve been up against a pair of Paladins before. Well, I beat them, but the point is, if they were supporting a DPS class, or if there had been one pally and one DPS class (rogue, warrior, mage), I would have been screwed (assuming they were working in conjunction). Rogues rely on taking enemies down FAST. If the rogue gets an opponent down to 3%, and before the rogue can take that fatal strike, the opponent pops back up to 100% health, you’ve pretty much beaten that rogue (or at least pissed the rogue off).

Try going duo with a reliable ally for a few games. See how it feels. Hopefully the teams you get will be better organized. However, if not, you’re still getting a boatload of HK if you’re covering one of the higher DPS players. (play a few games, look at the scores, then team up with one of the top 5 in subsequent games). You don’t even have to “tell” them what you’re doing. Just be there. Trust me, they’ll be grateful when they rip through legions of horde, and whoosh, are fully healed to take on the next onslaught.

[and hey, Windpaw, no fair changing your comments after you post! yeah, I saw that!]

Windpaw Says:October 31st, 2005 at 6:31 pm e
Hey - no harm no foul Read bad after I put it in - made more sense to edit for clarity
Back on target - I agree fully with your post - In switching from Sundance (full DPS combat/assasination spec Rogue) to Sequoia (Feral/Restoration based Druid) was a shock.

Life on the battlegrounds and in PvE as a rogue was a very simple combination of rapid fire hammer blows followed up with the odd interupt or three.

With a Druid - life is different. First off - until I level a fair bit more or put a lot more points in my Feral tree - there just aren’t any interupts. No 3-4 second gouge, no cheap-shot, and no kidney-punch.

At the moment the best Sequoia has is a single stun attack in bear form and it has a 20-30 second cool down (forever). I’ve got that stun talent pointed out to give me a 5 second buffer - but in bear - where your attack speed is *slow* - you’re usually using it to give yourself a chance to shift out and heal - vs. do more damage.

I won’t even go into ‘rooting’ people. Rooting is fine against melee classes, but rooting a Shadow Spec Priest, Warlock, Hunter or Mage is an exercise in futility.

Adopting a druid has forced me to change how I fight and how I behave on the battlegrounds.
With Sundance, I can operate *very* independantly. With Sequoia - I team up or I perish…(though admittedly there is much less‘perish’ going on now that I have travel form!)
The struggle with Druid is that you’re so adaptable - it’s easy to get stuck in one mode. I often drop into cat mode and *stay* there during PvE because the cat does such great damage. Problem is, in 1 on 1 fights - it will never out damage a *combat* spec rogue…or at least not *yet*)

The key to playing the class effectively is to learn *all* the play styles and know when to shift.
When I’m fighting and thinking clearly - I win a lot. But if I’m off my game at all a mistake happens and I’m a wisp. So many ways to skrew up. I can shift out of bear or cat too soon and waste mana. I can stay in caster too long and waste mana. I can forget to use ‘natures grasp’ or forget to root (just once) and it’s lights out.

With Sundance if I flubbed a move or missed an evis I always had the ability to vanish and restart the fight on my own terms.

Harder to do that with Sequoia.

Two things I learned in last nights duels.
1) Fear and Silence Suck. Dueling Romodi without a useable spell interupt ability has opened my eyes as to what path my next 10 talent points are going to take. By the time I’m done - he’ll be ribbons of bloody cloth with a confused look on his face

2) Ayae’s gouge/cheapshot/kidneypunch and kick suck. In bear form I have nearly 2000 armor - but because she can keep me stunned - she can hack through it eventually and get to the creamy druid inside. Because she knows I have to shift out to heal - she simply waits and KICKS my heal down just as soon as she see’s my hands turn green. I may *never* be able to out damage her - and I’ll not have a mana pool big enough to kite her for about another 8-10 levels.

The only answer is to be able to root her more often and more effectively early on. She can’t KICK what she can’t get to. Since she could easily kick my ‘roots’ spell too - the fastest way I can counter is to up my ‘natures grasp’ talent - an instant cast ability - and remember to use it.
Ultimately (getting back to the subject) - the Druid - like the Pally is more than just the sum of its own parts. Put Ayae and Sequoia together and you’ve created a monster. Together they can stealth, DPS, HEAL, and Interupt, AND Tank. Elzandra and Ayae together would be the same way.

A good duo that know how to play their class is darn near unbeatable.

Vzl Says:October 31st, 2005 at 10:14 pm e
Some druids use their hearthstone prematurely when shifting out to caster form. This makes a green glow similar to a heal spell and fools many a rogue to kick early. Additionally bash makes a great precursor to shifting out and a full heal with healing touch. Just don’t let Ayae read this…

Psyae Says:November 1st, 2005 at 8:56 am e

Anorn Says:November 1st, 2005 at 10:20 am e
what i find funny, and sad at the same time, is that when i play WSG with my horde toons we never have a plan. I’ve played about 10 WSG games in the last week. 10-19 bracket (may or may not matter). We have completely crushed the alliance in every single match. I dont think they’ve ever even scored on us.

We always seem to have a couple in base, majority in mid, and a couple runners who charge in at seemingly opportune times.

I log in with an alliance toon and get in WSG, and there’s all this strategizing. We end up getting crushed.

What’s the deal?

Psyae Says:November 1st, 2005 at 10:54 am e
Strategizing is useless if no one’s listening.

There’s also a lot of luck involved if there’s no strategy. Luck being, did you happen to get in a BG with individuals who individually know what the hell they’re doing? If so, you might pull off some amazing wins.

The issue really comes up when you’re stuck with a mixed bunch — a few excellent players, a bunch of mediocre players, and a handful of rotten players [mind you, I’m talking PVP here; it doesn’t really matter if they can RP or PVE when you run through those gates]. I’ve been in some of those horde groups, Anorn, just like you, where you have a handful of outstanding players, a few good defenders, and the rest just muddle about in the middle. Certainly, we won quite a bit. However, our Alliance opponents were so spread out, so disorganized, and even more so, so unqualified as pvp players, that the majority of my team could take out the opponent 1 of us vs 2 of them.

Honest to goodness, I played a game where I took the flag (score was 2-0, our favor), and literally pranced all over the battlefield. I sat down in the middle. I sat down on their end. I sat down on my end. I ran up to my opponents and yelled at them. The rest of my team also sat down, not fighting at all for about ten minutes. Needless to say, no one killed me, no one returned the flag. They didn’t even take their flag!!! We did nothing to stop them, but they couldn’t even kill me when I wasn’t defending myself!

Why do I tell this story? Because, like I said, you often get the luck of the draw as for the composition of the teams. Your mediocre team might look godly in a series of fights, but you might be fighting an opponent team where 90% of their players have never been in the battlegrounds before, or happen to be near the lower levels of the range [something I’ve not mentioned yet, but is a HUGE factor], or a myriad of factors leading to your amazing winning streak.

And, bam, it could (and often does) hit you here and there, that there’s an opponent team you just can’t beat. So, you have 1) easy wins, 2) back and forth wins, 3) consistent losses. Each of these is based on a combination of many factors including team makeup, average levels, individual experience, time of day, day of the week, weekend/weekday, bg level range, and strategy.

Why do I bother with this tirade? Because if you can’t control the other factors (which, most of the time you can’t), then at least try to control ONE factor: Strategy. You’ll boost your chance to win.

Windpaw Says:November 1st, 2005 at 12:02 pm e
Vzl - that hearthstone idea is dandy - I hadn’t thought of that at all.

Bash is indeed my ‘prep to shift and heal’ move. I’ve talent pointed it out for a full 5 second buffer (enough to shift and throw down a regrowth or a full Healing Touch (which is talented down to 3.5 seconds)

The problem with it is that the cool down is such that you really only get *one* bash. Don’t mess it up and don’t miss. If you do - chances are you’ll be dead before the cooldown finishes.

Against a combat rogue or a warrior or Pally, part of me wants to bash - then shift - then ROOT. Then run the hell away and heal. Against a high dps ranged class - it’s bash and hope the heal finishes. My heals are talented out such that I can avoid a great deal of interuption - but I’ll need a few more levels before they’re flawless.

rae Says:December 11th, 2005 at 12:25 pm e
I would like to posit some issues with the above mentioned AB strategies, the “all out offense” tactic.I was actually a big fan of this plan when I first started playing, mostly because I was a rogue in a new bg where people didn’t know what the hell was going on. I could do as a pleased^^But now that AB has been out for a while, this strategy is known, and simply won’t hold up against a decent team.First, if the oponant has even one good rogue on their team, the system is screwed. A rogues optimal roll, in my opinion, is stealthing to ungaurded or lightly gaurded flags and “spoiling” them. That is capping not necessarilly to take it over, but to prevent the oponant from getting points for a time. One or two rogues (or anyone, really) simply moving behind the attacking mob can cap everything as soon as they leave it. AB is about holding flags, not killing toons, so really a spread out force has a large advantage in that they can cap more flags more rapidly.Secondly, even when the above issues are covered (leave one or two bhind to cover capped flags) the all attack strategy loses its potency as toon mobility increases. i.e. mounts. After 40 the speed with which defenders can reach contested flags is massively increased, and at 60 with epic mounts the response time is almost nothing. A team with epics and even half their wits about them can decend on a contested or assaulted site in seconds. having two fairly large attacking forces is nice, but if their entire team can respond to an assult rapidly, and then respawn just steps away from the fight, the attacking forces are going to have a huge disadvantage.The system which I have come to support is based on the old “hold three” principle, but with a few tweaks. First, the three should be carefully selected to be easy to move between. For horde, the mill, smith and farm are an optimal configuration, due to the way the paths and bridges are situated. It is extremely easy for a large defensive force to remain mounted somewhere between these three, say at the south bridge, and move instantly to defend against any attacks. You need only one static defender at each base, freeing up the rest of the team to act as a hammerblow where it is most needed. Additionly, one to two rogues or druids should be moving through the back ranks, spoiling the other two bases if they are ever left undefended, picking of meding cloth wearers, sapping random toons, and generally causing havoc co-op style. this combination of distraction, mobility, and co-ordinated defense of the inside lines Napoleonic style makes, in my opinion, for optimal winning conditions.

Psyae Says:December 12th, 2005 at 9:29 am e
I agree. The Hannibal zerg strategy is actually really good against unmounted, newer players without decent stealth characters. I also agree that all strategies should be based upon the strengths of your team and the weaknesses of the opposing team, and that each game can require an on-the-fly change in strategy. It takes a good team that follows orders and a good leader to implement such impromptu changes. Without it, I’ve seen games that originally appear to be wins turn into terrible losses.

Recently, I’ve seen a strategy employed by a very good raid leader. The strategy was the classic take three, defend three, provide some offense and cover when needed. However, this leader was excellent at picking individuals in the group and assigning them new tasks on the fly. This allowed maximum flexibility, and we won a number of battles in a row.

Thanks for your comments, rae!

annlovelace Says:January 9th, 2006 at 10:06 am e
As an alliance priest going into the battlegrounds. be it warsong gulch or arathi basin, i have observed one stratagy that the horde continually use that the alliance do not, and it is really simple.

the horde protect their healers, and more than that, they attack alliance healers on site, and will ignore other classes to take down the healers, knowing that without their healers, the other alliance fighters will fall to a concerted attack.

alliance need to adopt horde tactics and use them against the horde, and this is one that is easy to implement, and surprisingly effective. a small group that defends its healers properly will tear through a much larger group in fairly short order.

using a stealthed rogue to protect the healer is also a great tactic, as the horde WILL attack the healer. effectively the priest is acting as bait.

if you have ever been in a party that has wiped seconds after your healer has gone down, you will understand just how important defending your healer is when in a party. the battlegrounds is no different.

so use horde tactics against them. protect your healers to the death if neccesary, and take out their healers on sight, ignoring other classes until the healers go down.

whether you are attacking or defending, the above tactic is essential if you want to win in the battlegrounds consistantly.


Quick note on Tactics:

As for tactics, I do a few things regularly:

I always go after the enemy flag-bearer. Not surprisingly, this usually gets me killed before I can even get one HK, but I believe it greatly benefits my team, because I can get to places fairly quickly, and without being noticed, if I don't want to be, and I'm often the first one on the scene, in the middle of the field, facing the enemy flag-bearer and about 5 of his team following closely. I don't wait. I just CS him, and try to slow him down. The more I cause them to pause in the middle, the greater chances my team has of getting there in time. Once the enemy gets back to their base with the flag, it's very difficult to recapture it because of the complexity of the base, and because the graveyard is right there.

[Depending on who has the flag and what kind of support the carrier is getting should greatly determine who you choose to target. If a warrior has the flag and is being escorted by a shaman and a priest, you will almost never win by targeting just the warrior. Cripple the warrior, if possible, and take down the healers asap. Then kill the warrior. Warriors go down very fast without healing.]

Now, reverse that, and there's where my numbers rise quickly. I also hunt people just like me. The soloists who chase after MY flag-bearer. They tend to come in groups of 1 or 2, and are easy to take down. Since I'm there fairly quickly, I'm usually the one who gets the HK and killing blow, and often my teammates are too far to get any HK credit. The third tactic is just basically being in the mix of things when there are huge clashes. I often get ignored, and can take down all the casters before I'm even noticed. This is all while my team's tanks are taking the biggest hits by their team's tanks. But after I take out the casters, I focus on their melee players like rogues and warriors and since they've now lost their support, they're much easier to take down. The only real dilemma I have when deciding what to do is to choose whether to initially focus on hunters or casters. I sometimes hit hunters first because it's like a two for one. You take down the hunter, and the pet goes with him. Honestly, it just depends on what the casters are doing. I almost always hit priests first. It's so annoying to go toe to toe with a warrior, and just as you're about to strike that killing blow, he's at full health. I don't like that. Not one bit. It's, of course, the fault of the priest. Just one ignored priest on the sidelines can turn the tide of any battle. (Priests... run.)

When I was doing BG regularly at lvl 50, I was nearly always at the top of the rankings. Other than what I just told you with those tactics, I really don't know why.Oh, one other thing. Back when I was 50, some other player (druid, maybe?) shouted, Psyae, I love you! I'm like, wha? He responded, every time I'm in trouble, you're always there! I think that's another "tactic" I overlooked. It's recognizing when a fellow teammate needs help, and saving that player. It's less of a tactic, and more of intuition or something, but I've been on the receiving end of attacks where I know my fellow players could have assisted me, but for whatever reason did not. This type of support is absolutely necessary if you're of the "must win" mindset. It's also good for guilds who raid a lot.

Arathi Basin Notes

In AB, there are two main strategies that seem to work: 1) capture and hold 3 bases 2) capture and hold 3 bases, then make offensive strikes to take the weaker of the remaining two, lose it, then take the other, lose it; rinse, repeat Although #2 might seem silly, both methods are viable, depending on your overall raid group makeup, and more specifically your small team makeup.

Most AB groups go with the default 5/5/5, with each team loosely assigned to go cap and defend a base. Two or three usually end up defending while the others go run off to find their personal fortunes elsewhere (often dying quickly as a result). Theoretically, if you can cap and hold 3 bases the entire game, you will win, albeit slowly. Assuming you have five fairly strong players on each base, and the horde can't organize a full assault, you can generally hold out. If the horde do launch a full assault, that leaves their other base open, and you can just move your newly dead there, and wait again for the next assault.

So, there are two main arguments that I see people yelling about in /raid while this is being attempted. One is, "no one move from your base, total D on three, and we win, don't go try capping other bases!" The other is, "yes, we need to hold, but we also need to keep the horde on D on the bases they have now so they can't mount a full assault!" Of course, I cleaned up the arguments a bit. Both, perhaps surprisingly, are right! But if you were the leader, which one would you do? (assuming anyone would listen to you). Well, that's where a guild raid comes in handy. You know your group's strengths and weaknesses, and you can assess the strength of the opponent. Based on how easily you've been holding the three bases, you should be able to determine whether you can afford to take people off of defense to mount small assaults to keep the horde on defense. I don't know how many times during those games that I was either assaulting or defending the blacksmith (take the blacksmith, it's worth it!) and just watched 4-5 horde standing, unmoving, at the farm flag. They weren't moving because if they did, and they came to help their comrades try to take the blacksmith or the mill, they knew that one of us would sneak back and ninja their flag while we mounted a small assault at their front door. This, I'm thinking, is great! I have a guaranteed minus four horde trying to pound me!

Enough of that. On to tactics. (strategy = big picture, tactics = small picture) Take a guess, if you dare, what I shout about most to the people who play nearby me? Go on, guess. No, it's not "HEAL ME!" Ah, "Morons!" is a good guess, but that's not it. Ah, finally, you got it. It's "KILL THE PRIEST!!!!" Every skirmish I get in, everyone does what they always do. They attack the warrior first, then the rogues, then the shamans, then maybe the druids, and then the priests. Oh, but wait. By the time they get the warrior to half health, we're all dead. Because the warrior has like 3-4 totally untouched healers! Arrgh! The horde has the same damn problem! Hah! As soon as I got with a healer that actually saw me as an asset that shouldn't be left to die immediately upon horde attacking (rare!), just a handful of us decimated every single horde attempt to retake the farm and the blacksmith.

The farm was my favorite. There were horde swarming us. Every single one of them was trying to tap the flag. Every time someone tapped it, I tapped them. I did the unroguely thing by switching targets just so I could get all the horde near the flag interrupted. When I interrupted them, they figured they needed to get rid of me first. So, instead of tapping the flag again, they went 1v1 with me. GOOD! Why was this good? They totally ignored the druid who "found" me and kept me from dying. End result? None could even come close to matching my DPS, so all I did was focus on one, whack him till he was dead, then the next, then the next, all the while staying barely alive thanks to the druid. I didn't have to think about running away, or how I hadn't had a healing potion in days, or anything. I was totally uninterrupted, and nothing survived. Why did this happen? No one attacked the druid! Hah! See, the moment a horde puts the heat on my healer, I'm SOL. I would have taken down one or two of them, but then I'd be done unless I could get to the druid and protect him. Surrounded by horde, that would be difficult.

We just need to reverse this mentality and totally focus on eliminating healers. There was one undead priest in a few of the games I kept hunting. She should have died about 20 times by my hands alone. However, every single ally around me totally ignored the priest and concentrated on every single other horde. Okay, given the choice, do you fight a druid in bear form or a priest? A shaman or a priest? A shaman in wolf form or a shaman in humanoid form? A shapechanged druid or humanoid druid? A shapechanged druid or a priest? Pick any combination, and your answer should always be the same (with some exceptions).You take out the humanoid healers first.

Priests first, druids second, shamans third. Priest are 100% healers, and have the mana to do so AND protect themselves, but they cannot withstand a bashing by 2-3 melee classes. Once they're out of the way, at least one of the shapechanging classes will have to convert back to humanoid in order to do any healing. Ones that are already in humanoid form are there for one of two reasons 1: crowd control or 2: healing. If a druid or shaman shifts back to humanoid, what do you think they're about to do? Ever duel a druid? Yeah, HEAL. Either themselves or an ally. Take out the humanoid druids first. They're surprisingly soft. Shaman are a bit meatier, but they heal a lot less than druids. Take them out next. In a skirmish, I've literally ignored one warrior, one shaman, and one druid who were all trying to pound on me just to get a priest. Since that time I actually had some support, I took down the priest. Then the druid, then the shaman, then the warrior.

Since priests love to run away, the warrior had a hard time landing shots on me and couldn't build up enough rage to make a difference, and the other classes just couldn't keep up with the druid that was healing me and my dodges. What we ended up with was a tank. And my gear sucks, too! hah What would have happened had the warrior, shaman, and druid ignored me and gone after my healer? We'd all be dead and we probably wouldn't have even gotten the priest. So, it's not as if my tactics were perfect, but they took advantage of the horde doing the same thing wrong that we always do.

Remember: Healers first. Then semi-healers. Then soft targets. Then hard targets.

On my oldest server, there was this tauren warrior who became the most notorious on the server. He was very good at pvp on his own, but he also attracted a following. He got to the point where he had a 4-10 priest escort everywhere he went. Entire parties of equal level alliance were slaughtered just by him and his priestly following. The priests all had assigned themselves duties within their group, so that they weren't double-healing each other or wasting mana otherwise, but each priest had another priest to watch out for. Basically, if you saw this guy, you ran. And ran, and ran. I don't know anyone who didn't hate him.

Dunno where that was going. But shows the relationship between melee classes and priests, and the importance to cut that link quickly.

*** Oh, one other tactical thing: Sometimes I rez and then run to the "happening" scene and there's a skirmish going on. Before I get even close to anyone, I've targeted all the horde in the skirmish. I'm looking for: -healers -anyone 30% or lower in health If I see a healer, I determine whether that healer is in an actively healing capacity in the skirmish. Then I determine whether anyone has engaged the healer. If no one has, then that healer is the most dangerous enemy in that skirmish, and that's my target. Even if I don't kill the healer, I've perhaps saved my teammates a few seconds and given them the opportunity to finish off their quarries without the enemy being fully healed all of a sudden. Then they can come help me finish off the healer. If the healer is preoccupied already, I look for a target with low health. (or even a low-level target). These I can usually take out with just a few hits, no matter what their class, as long as they don't have a supporting healer. So, if I've determined they're not going to be healed, I jump right in and finish them off. Am I breaking my earlier rule about healers first? No. Modifying it, perhaps, but the rule of take out the "weakest" comes into play, since even the weakest do full damage. If I'm sure I can take out a weaker opponent, I will do so quickly so my teammates can get some relief and focus on the other opponents. Remember, I only do this if I can either kill in one hit, or if the enemy healer is fully preoccupied and won't be able to heal anyone.

posted by Psyae at 11:55 AM

Pluto's Dad said...
I know this is an old article but..as a priest, somewhat ironically I often find myself shouting to the raid "kill the priest!" So often I get ignored and heal over and over until the enemy is dead. I find, if I stick to heal-over-time spells, I REALLY get ignored, they don't even notice unless they see a big jump in health.The only time I get targetted is if I'm playing against an organized guild raid. They know what they're doing usually.Though yesterday, in a PUG I was quite happily suprised when the others on my team actually protected me when I got targetted. That almost never happens in PUGs.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006 2:47:18 PM

Arathi Basin Notes #2

I have some observations about my multiple AB runs last night. [Ed. note: although the events took place a long time ago, they mirror just about every series of AB runs I've been on, so applies perpetually]On two occassions, we lost by a slim margin, due specifically to overreaching.

One of the most important things an AB leader needs is flexibility. Just having one set plan and enough players following that plan is often sufficient. However, when the plan is interrupted by an overwhelming force of opponents, the leader needs to quickly amend the plan, and bark orders accordingly. For example, if the plan is to take the stables, mines, and mill, and hold, but the alliance mill raiding party is taken by surprise by a superior number of horde at the mill, the alliance leader should (knowing the number of those horde) order a tactical retreat, regroup, and perhaps assault another base (farm, blacksmith) based on information provided by those who can scout those areas.

Back to overreaching. Often, both forces are just about equal, and each side toggles between holding two and three bases. In many of these cases, it's vitally important to defend what bases are held. The horde holding three bases to our two is not pretty, but the horde holding three bases and assaulting one of our only two is devastating. This happened a few times last night, but not because of the horde's superior or outnumbering forces. It happened because of individual overreaching.

There are two types of overreaching. Individual and group. Group overreaching is when a leader makes the decision to attack a fourth base when possessing three. Individual overreaching is when a roving band of independents decides to attack on its own. Group overreaching sometimes nets an extra base, but mostly results in the loss of one currently possessed. The net result is a loss. This is because the game does not rely on the number of bases you hold at any one time, but instead how long you hold onto those bases. A tradeoff (lose one base, win another) is necessarily a loss because it takes an entire minute to fully cap.

During the first base's conflict time and the new base's down time, the team is not gaining any resources from either base. Whereas, if the team had merely held the base it possessed with good defense, there would be an uninterrupted flow of resources. Obviously there are times when taking another base is strategically optimal. for instance, if it's determined that an overwhelming number of horde are desperately trying to capture an already held base, the alliance team can just shift focus, grab the most undefended horde base, and not suffer heavy losses. The one thing I heard most in those games, and the one thing I know that killed any chances of our winning was the report that this "roving band of adventurers" (usually about 2-5 players spread all over the map) repeatedly gave. Throughout the game, they were rarely near any of our held bases. They were hopping all over the place, looking for horde weak points. This is FINE, if that's part of the plan or a decision made based on a reasonable belief that the horde had major weak spots. But here was the report: "Blacksmith only has 5 horde guarding it!" What this means is that one of the roving band believes it's strategically sound to move our current base defenders forward to attack a currently held horde base, defended by 5 horde (that they can see).

What ends up happening is that the roving band thinks it's sufficient to take the base on its own, and fails to do so in the most miserable fashion. At the same time that that roving band is getting slaughtered, our undefended stables get taken, and the horde mount a massive assault on the mill while a few other horde pester our mill defenses. Net result? We end up with one base. Horde ends up with 3-4. What this roving adventurer fails to realize is that 5 horde at one horde-held base equals 10 horde somewhere else. If you don't know where those other 10 horde are, you'd be foolish to risk losing your currently possessed bases in order to try to gain a fairly well defended horde base.

Just think about the roving band of HORDE adventurers: "Hey, the stables have... uh... no defenders! Let's nab it and move on.".... "Holy crud, not only did we just totally get the stables for free, but there are like only 2 guys at the mines, and one of them looks like he's running away somewhere else!" NAB. "What, they're mounting an assault on our well-defended base? Let's distract them by attacking the mill! Everyone to the mill!" That's an awful scenario.

The second time I found myself leading our raid group, we captured and held the stables, mines, and mill within moments, and were definitely pulling ahead in points. However, there was a group of 3-4 of us just randomly wandering around, giving reports like I said before, and acting totally on their own initiative, getting killed quickly by horde defense, and roaming again. At the same time, everyone I asked to stay at the stables ignored me, and ran to the mill (where there were already 5-6 of us) or to wander on their own. The mines were underdefended, and some of the stable defenders ran to the mines. Leaving... zero people at the stables! I even asked people BY NAME to stay at the stables. I indicated repeatedly that we needed at least three defenders on each base, and THEN the rest could toggle offense/defense based on the situation. No one wanted to defend the stables.

I can't count the number of times the stables got ninjad. What's that, you ask? It's when one or two players sneak up and snag the flag without any or with little opposition. It's a win/win situation for any side that can ninja a flag successfully because it interrupts resource flow, and causes the opponent unnecessarily to reinforce that base with defenders. Sometimes a ninja can turn into a win. I ninjad the mill last night (different game) when it was totally surrounded by horde. I figured, what the heck, at least I interrupted the flow. They came runnin after me (because I was purposefully leading them away from the flag), and I died with all of them pounding on me at the bottom of the hill. This was surprisingly more successful that I had imagined because another alliance team was mounting an attack on the mill from the other side, and since the flag was in contest, the horde couldn't respawn there. By the time I rezzed and got back, we were in full possession of the mill, defending it well.

Speaking of defending. I have learned to LOVE defending. I think it may be the new offense! Hah. My favorite places to defend are the stables and mill. And I consider myself pretty good at both. By myself and sometimes with another rogue, I successfully defended the stables against about 10-15 ninja attacks, and some duo attacks. This didn't take much effort at all. I mostly just stood there, hidden in the nearby bushes, waiting. However, my abilities allowed the leader to focus other people on offensive raids. (Like I said, flexibility!)

Stables are pretty straightforward. Not much terrain to deal with. The mill is a different story, and most people defend it rather shoddily. The absolute worst thing I see people do is rush from a well-defended, terrain superior position at the top of the hill (facing the farm) down to the bottom to intercept horde raiders. This is a total waste of defense resources, for one, and it's also a great danger to the mill flag. It prompts others who would normally have stayed at the top of the hill to go "rescue" the over-impulsive defender at the bottom, and soon few if any are left on the plateau at the top. This allows a druid or rogue to sneak up and ninja the flag. Once that flag is tapped, folks, all the defenders dying at the bottom of the hill cannot rez at the mill! It's vitally important to keep that flag from being tapped.

Just as important as when you are raiding a base, and need to tap the horde flag to insure no horde can spawn there. I use that tactic myself all the time. When a good number of people are with me on a mill raid, I stealth when I get to the top and ignore all the fighting, I'm sure much to the dismay of my teammates. But they don't realize that I'm actually increasing the chances of a victorious capture. While everyone is occupied on the ramp up to the hill, the mill horde defense rushes to the edge of the hill to attack the raiding alliance. Maybe one stays behind for a second or two to check out the flag to make sure it's not getting ninja'd (most players are so impulsive, the very moment they get to the flag, they tap it. you should wait if the situation warrants it so you don't have to fight (ask Seq about the waiting game)), then the impatient horde runs to help his teammates "defend." Only seconds have elapsed, so it's unlikely any have actually died on the ramp yet. I look, I make sure I'm free (and I use the flag itself to block the horde view of my name floating above my head), and I tag it. I rarely get interrupted, and if I do, it's usually only by one horde, and that quick skirmish usually ends up in my favor. Once I tag that flag, the horde loses all its rez defense for the mill. That means every horde we end up killing on that ramp must rez somewhere else! I rush to the edge, and help finish off the horde, knowing the horde won't suddenly appear at my back. This is an awesome tactic. TAG that flag, and make them work to defend it!

Back to defense. Imagine the situation is the same, but the sides are switched. You're defending the mill flag, but you don't have anyone AT the flag. It only takes 10 seconds, and BAM, you just lost it. The reason I stand at the top edge of the ramp isn't necessarily to intercept raiders. It's to determine when the mill is being raided, by how many, what levels, and what classes. I then can pick my personal target and indicate to the other defenders what that target is. By the time the raiders get to the top, we're ready for them. We can start attacking them at the top edge, but it's vitally important to slowly guide it to the area of the flag. I've defended the farm flag against a horde raid group because every single one of them was trying to tap the flag (a good idea in general), and I kept hitting them each in succession. I don't care if all I need to kill that ONE horde is hit him three more times. If the OTHER horde tapping the flag succeeds, I've just lost all my defense on that base AND potentially interrupted resources (depending on the state of the flag).

Worst case scenario is when the horde are trying to "defend" that flag because we tapped it, and all they have to do is re-tap it to get rez privileges at that base.

Now I can "sum up."


  • -follow the plan
  • -listen to the leader (even if the leader is "wrong", you'll still likely do better than roaming around)
  • -don't roam around unless that's your job
  • -defense is a good offense when you're playing the resource game
  • -defend your "flag", not the entire map (don't rush out of the range of your fellow defenders or they just might stand there and watch you die)
  • -play for the win, not for HK
  • -communicate what you observe so that the leader can make informed decisions (you say "5 horde attacking mill", buddy says "5 horde defending farm", guy at mines says "3 horde attacking mines" - leader knows only 2 horde at max are defending blacksmith, and it might make a decent target)
  • -although you can report observations, don't make your own strategic decisions, that's for the leader
  • -although you don't make strategic decisions, you DO make tactical decisions based on your assigned task (i.e., you don't initiate a raid on another base if your task is to defend mill, but you can make decisions about where your party should be placed at the mill, what raiders should be attacked in what order, etc.)

posted by Psyae at 1:32 PM

Arathi Basin Notes #3

Being Revered in Arathi Basin (nearly exalted), I have seen just about every strategy employed there. I've talked about a few earlier, but I want to share some of the more recent strategies, particularly the ones that seem most effective, especially with higher level groups.

[note: from Alliance perspective, but can be applied either way, in theory]

1 - Inverted C Zerg:-Despite the name, this is a rather simple strategy that has seen some success in the 40-59 range. I don't see this as viable in the "epic" 60 range, but it might be worth a shot against a horde pug. Alliance immediately rush the Mill, leaving one to cap stables. It's likely the Mill will be captured by the zerg quickly. The zerg then proceeds from the Mill to the Blacksmith, and then reinforces the captured bases while sending a roving offense to harrass the Farm or Mines. Pros: This is a great strategy to pull on an unsuspecting pug. It guarantees two bases within a few seconds of the game beginning. Some might say at least two bases are guaranteed anyway, and that might be true, but not in this quick timeframe. The original Ally strategy was to send half to the mines, half to the mill, and leave a few at the stables. In that situation, it's likely either the mines or mill will be targeted by the horde, and, even if the allies succeed, they have to fight with reduced numbers over a longer period of time to do so. Yes, they "could" feasibly cap both the mines and the mill, but not if the horde send only one or two to the blacksmith, and all the rest to counter the allied offense on the mines/mill. With the Inverted C Zerg, the allies guarantee a quick cap on stables and mill, and then have a huge offensive force to attack the blacksmith, instead of a scattered force often seen in more basic and pug strategies. There's always a chance that the horde underdefend the blacksmith because traditionally it was an "automatic cap" for the horde. Cons: Lately, the horde anticipate early attacks on the blacksmith, and defend it accordingly. Plus, the horde has become more keen on a "roving" team (more on that later), and can cause a lot of trouble for the zergers early on. The slight flexibility of the zergers being able to switch to the farm or mines if necessary (neither a great pattern) is probably not enough to provide sustainability throughout many games. Also, if the strategy is used against the same horde team, the allies could find themselves with absolutely no bases (e.g., horde zergs mines, stables, and mill (their own inverted C), and traps the alliance in a major blacksmith battle, while annoying the newly risen at the allied graveyard. This has the potential to be avoided if the allied stables defender keeps a sharp eye on the mines/bs path, an alerts the zergers to a major incoming force).

2 - The Modified Left Hand Middle Finger-Eh, I don't know why I pick these titles. This is a variation similar to the inverted C, but, as the title implies, the initial focus is the blacksmith. Two full teams hit the blacksmith immediately, while two smaller teams hit the mines, stables, and mill simultaneously. Usually, the mines team consists of two players, and the stables/mill team consists of four. One will stop at the stables, while a stealth team checks out the mill, and caps it early if possible. If the horde send a barrage to the mill, that team backs off and defends the stables. This is a "get three quick" plan, that's fairly effective if the blacksmith is capped early. If the blacksmith cannot be capped, chances are, it's a losing battle. Whichever faction grabs three bases first can usually hold out longer. Some basic principles of this strategy are that after the first wave, the bare minimum defense on each held base is two, optimal three. One of the first teams is a roving patrol (epic mounted), and goes where the action is. The stealth team can divide itself between defending the stables and trying to ninja the mill or farm, depending on how organized the enemy offense is. Pros: Compared to the inverted C, this strategy hits the smithy hard and fast, often before enough horde can arrive to fend off the epic mounted allied offense. It's flexible. Blacksmith, stables, and mines is the optimal configuration, but if the mines are overrun, it's not hard to mount a successful mill offense. Cons: Absolute teamwork is essential. Just one or two slackers or "individuals" or wannabe backseat leaders will crash the entire system. If the blacksmith is not taken within the first two minutes or so, things are usually bleak, and it's hard to catch up (having devoted all those forces to one base). Overreaching (in any strategy) can be fatal, especially against an organized opponent. Learn the names of your opponents and figure out what kind of strategy they're likely to employ, and whether you'd be better off sticking with a solid three, or going for a 4-cap against a loose pug group.

[Wow, friends. This post is insanely long. Worry not. I'll be editing it over time. Enjoy!]


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