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About a month ago, I completed a very fun and intense achievement. Every week since then, I’ve been leading a Sarth Drake Run. We agreed that we would zerg Sartharion every week until we all have our Black Drakes. Each time we’ve been there, I’ve led a group that kills Sartharion zerg style in less than 4 wipes.

The problem with me leading a raid is that I hate leading raids.
I hate giving out assignments.
I hate explaining fights.
I hate people whispering me asking about a fight mechanic.
I hate being of charge of what Paladins should Bless what.
I hate calling out Bloodlust.
I hate telling people to move out of fire.
I hate announcing Fire Walls.
I hate having to manage Master Looter or be in charge of someone doing Master Looter.

Yet somehow I managed to lead a Sartharion Zerg. I ask myself: How can someone who hates raid leading, raid lead a hectic and somewhat demanding fight?

The answer is this: The success of bad raid leaders isn’t in the raid leader. The success of a bad raid leader is in the raid and how well each member takes charge of their own characters.

On our second attempt, our single healer disconnected. He said so on vent and my immediate thought was to wipe it. The Elemental Shaman was throwing heals on the tank and we lived for another 40% or so. We had 2-3 paladins in the raid. Everyone wants a different Blessing. Yet I didn’t tell the Paladins to bless anything specifically. The simplest way for people to do this is not set up Pally Power, but the Paladins need to be smart and Bless the proper people with the proper Blessing (Like Might on Healers? Really?). I never did a ready check in between attempts. If you are at the muster area pre boss, I assume you are ready to pull. I never had to deal with any “ninja AFK”. Just type in raid chat if you are going AFK and don’t AFK without telling someone. Rather than waiting for people to return from AFKs or get in range of buffs, we had to wait for Bloodlust and tank cooldowns to reset between each attempt because everyone in our group was quick to get back in place and try again.

I don’t even use Master Looter for these runs. Everyone who I choose to take on these runs, is either from my guild or I have past experience running dungeons with. These people know that we’ll keep doing these runs until we all have drakes, so there is no drake ninja. I tell everyone to simply pass on all the items, and we can do standard rolls. The same way a Master Looter does, except I don’t have to worry about distribution loot. Think of this like a loot Honor System. If you can implement this into your raids, you are one step closer to having a trustworthy, reliable and rational raid.

What did I do differently than any other successful raid leader? Nothing. I might even do less work than most raid leaders. However, I had an excellent group. A better question is “What did my raid do?”, and the answer to that is took charge of their roles and tasks and were smart about it.

Advice for raid leaders: Nothing new. If you are a raid leader leading groups that are killing raid bosses, you are probably doing something right. If raiding is your primary goal and people in your raid aren’t smart, and aren’t learning encounters simplest thing to do is replace them. If you have a great raid group, try running without Master Looter on, but make sure everyone knows what to do.

Advice for raid members: Be smart, and use your class. React to each situation accordingly. When a wipe is called, or when it is inevitable release and runback. We are no longer is vanilla and raiding doesn’t require 8hours/6nights anymore. Slow raiding is dumb raiding. By being smarter, you can make more your raid time more effective.

This past week, I got a pretty cool achievement. I zerged 10 man Sartharion with 3 drakes up. To summarize, doing this fight as a zerg is a lot of fun. At the gear level available in game, it’s really easy, it doesn’t require more than 10 people to do and a good pug will be able to clear this. I’ll run down what I did with my group to accomplish this.

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How to get your group together:
The interesting thing about this is I did this as a pug I put together on the Exodar forums. I put a post up on the forums with a date and time for the run seeking anyone interested in taking part in the zerg. As soon as people started posting, I filled a roster up pretty quickly (about 3-4 days before the run happened). I took 4 people from Mediocrity, and the other people consisted of pugs from 4 other guilds. Calling this a pure pug would be a lie, but the group was put together in a pickup group style. You can find your group anyway you want, forums in guild, in trade. Most groups will be able to do this if you have heroic 5 man Trial of the Champion-Naxx-Conquest gear. The better the gear, the easier it is.

What to take:
In the group we had a Protection Paladin tanking and a Holy Paladin healing, and the damage dealers were a Warlock, Elemental Shaman, Feral Druid, Fury Warrior, 2 Death Knights, Marksman Hunter, Arcane Mage. You’ll want 1 tank, 1 healer and 8 DPS(1 who can taunt). Group composition shouldn’t matter too much as long as the roles are filled. You’ll want at least 1 person who can taunt and a Shaman for Bloodlust though. Each DPS should be able to sustain about 4000 DPS over roughly 80 seconds using bloodlust, trinkets and big cooldowns(which is extremely easy with the current gear availability). More important than DPS, everyone in the group should be able to survive fire walls with minimal movement.

Pulling and positioning:
After all the trash is cleared in the instance make your way to the back of the room. You’ll want to pull Sartharion from his left rear side. The tank will turn him around. Everyone except the tank should stand at the back of the room. Movement is key, and it won’t be perfect the first time. Allow yourselves a few wipes to get used to movement. As for fire walls*, when a fire wall comes from Sartharion’s head the group will collapse on a little piece of land sticking. When fire walls come from his tail, the group can collapse on Sartharion (not behind him to counter tailswipes and not in front of him to counter flame breathes). Again, the less you move the more you focus on DPS.

*A note about Fire Walls: If someone gets hit by a fire wall, two things happen. They take damage and spawn adds. Since there is only 1 healer he’ll have to shift his attention away from the tank which is bad. Adds create an added issue of hitting non-tanks. You can never switch from Sartharion to adds so they are just a problem to everyone.

Photobucket“The red spec is Sarth, the brown spec is the tank, and the green spec is the dps and healers. Standing here lets you DPS the dragon, and avoid one direction of fire walls.”

The fight:
Zerging Sartharion with 3 drakes relies on a key statement: Minimal movement with high uptime on DPS. This is usually why melee zergs are popular(Melee can move and DPS at the same time very easily), but I believe any group composition can do this.

Group pulls. As soon as everyone is in position, Bloodlust, DPS cooldowns and trinkets should happen. Ideally, Bloodlust should last until he’s at 50% health (80 second fight with 40 seconds of bloodlust). If your DPS is high, Bloodlust can last up to 30% health.

Shortly into the fight, Tenebron will land. The tank needs to taunt the drake and keep the drake on him for now. Continue to avoid fire walls, etc. At 30%, Tenebron will enrage. His damage will be increased by a significant amount. It gets a bit tricky here. Our group was lucky enough to have a druid. A druid can taunt the drake, and sprint away in cat form. This will give the group a little more than 15 seconds to finish Sartharion off before the drake slaughters your druid and runs back to ruin your group.

Another way to deal with the enraged drake is to have any class with a taunt, taunt the drake and use a potion of Swiftness to run it away from the group.

The whole fight cannot take longer than 85 seconds (1 minute and 25 seconds). At this time, Sartharion puts a shield on himself making him immune to damage. The only advice I can offer for low DPS is again, to minimize movement and keep a high DPS uptime on Sartherion (in addition to having mastered your class’s rotation/priority). If your DPS is low because threat is an issue, misdirect and tricks of the trade at every cooldown. If your tank’s threat is not spiky, you can ride threat at 90% all of the fight.

Photobucket“Angryknight on his sweet new Black Drake.”

The Reward:
You get a pretty sweet title, like mine “Ossein of the Nightfall”. And one person in the group gets to walk away with a Black Drake. Our group rolled on the drake, and Angryknight, one of our death knights in the group won it. With the success of our group, we’ll be doing this run every reset until we all have drakes(and probably even after since this run is quite fun).

Upcoming: I’ll be writing a post about raiding leading and how bad leaders can make successful groups. Another Warrior interview soon and a role playing post on the gear aesthetics in Tier 10 gear.

A recent post on my realm forums, and a reading that was given to me in a morality and ethics class at University sparked some thought in me.

Imagine you are in a random pick up group for the daily heroic, and as you progress through the dungeon, you are doing something wrong. Your DPS is abysmally low, people are watching aggro, feigning death and wind shearing and still pulling off of you, and people/tanks are dying often. Whatever your role in the group, you are performing badly. Assuming you have the proper gear, Intellect and spell power for a caster, Stamina and Defense for a tank, or whatever your class requires. You don’t out gear the instance, but you are geared well enough for it.

Now, multiple pulls in the dungeon, someone says something to you:
“Do more DPS”,
“Make more aggro”,
“Don’t let your group mates die”,
…and this ticks you off.

What should you do?

If someone’s criticism of you made you mad or ticked you off you could question what that person’s relationship to you is. For the sake of this argument, let’s say this person is your enemy.

You’re in the same group as your enemy, and he criticizes you. How can you profit by this?

Plutarch’s writing claims that one’s enemies keep one at guard. Enemies reveal your weak spots. Your enemies dislikes you because of your performance (you don’t join a group for the heroic daily to make friends, you join a group for the daily Emblems or whatever your group’s goal is).

“Now our enemy … doth acquaint himself with the infirmities both of our bodies and mind, with the debts we have contracted…all which he knows as well, if better than ourselves.”
-Plutarch

Some might claim that criticism can be mean, or some people might take it the wrong way. Your enemy sees your performance differently than you do. Your enemy sees a different reality and can criticize you differently than your friend will. In some cases, your friends will praise what you do, even if you are doing it bad.

““Those persons who have been brought to live soberly by the fear and awe of enemies, who have learned to guard against negligence and idleness, and to do everything with a view to some to some profitable end””
-Plutarch

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Why Bambi? I have no idea, but it’s an important piece of wisdom. I found this one when I searched Criticism on Google Images.

What do I encourage you to do? Go run a pick up group for a heroic, a complete PUG. See what others might say about you, and what others are doing. At the end of the run, possibly ask them to say how well you did. If someone says you are playing badly, take their word as some type of wisdom. Ask them for a recommendation. If someone is blatantly trolling you, or giving you stupid criticism(y u play tauren lol), just thank them for the advice anyway.

Now to answer my question from before, if someone criticise you, what should you do?

Don’t be scared to make yourself a better player.

The Focus of Writing

So I’ve written a few posts. About half the time I write, I usually know what I want to say and the other half of the time, I’ve no clue what I want to say. This post will summarize for you, the reader, and also for myself what I want to focus on in each post. There will be generally be four types of posts written: Philosophy, Personal, Interview and Game Mechanic.

Philosophy: Posts categorized as philosophy will cover Warrior ideas, thoughts, certain role playing aspects, and how to approach the game from the point of view of a Warrior. Philosophy posts may sometimes deal with game mechanics specifically related to Warrior ideology.

Personal: These posts will deal with my personal progress, goals and failures through the game, whether it is achievements, dungeon or raid progress, guild progression, gear upgrades. I hope these posts will be the most infrequent since not many people want to read about other’s goals, etc.

Interview: Interview posts will be interviews and discussions with other Warriors. I would consider these posts to be the most interesting, since they will cover a wide spectrum of Warrior opinions and philosophies.

Game Mechanic: These posts will cover topics of the mechanical type. More specific details in playing a Warrior, rotations, general Warrior itemization and thoughts and explanations of patch notes.

All these categories won’t be singular to themselves. Philosophy and Game Mechanics will often times overlap. Personal posts will often time overlap with Philosophy and Game Mechanics. Interview posts will usually always contain tid-bits of Philosophy and Game Mechanics, etc. These categories are more so I can focus in on each post I make.

Upcoming posts: An Interview with an Arena Warrior, How A Player Benefits From Their Enemies, Tips on Loremaster and Seeker.

Have Rage, Will Travel is now featured on Azeroth United.

They’ll be sponsoring charity events, the first one being Hearts, Hands and Voices.

It will begin in November and end in December, I’ll keep you updated on this. The widget will be on my blog until the event is over. Click it to find more information!

Thanks to all who participate.

The Change from Arms to Fury

This past week, I made the change from Arms to Fury. What’s the difference between the two specs? How should you handle gearing for each one? Let’s begin.

The Role Play Behind Arms and Fury
Arms is based on militant style training focused on weapon mastery. There is a reason Arms has weapon specializations. You devote yourself to the training and mastery of one specific type, whether it is Poleaxe, Sword or Mace. Each weapon type adds a benefit to your class. Due to the sharpness and size of axes, you’ll land more critical strikes. The pure brutish nature of Maces allows them to ignore armor, and the swift and delicate nature of swords allows you to double attack every so often. In role-playing this is an excellent design but in balancing and min-maxing, it’s a terrible design that locks you into choosing one weapon type.

Fury is based on attacking your enemies as fast as you can with anything that you can. One of the most noticeable features of the Fury spec is Titan’s Grip, the ability to hold two handed weapons in one hand, dual wielding two towers of pain. Since Fury Warriors have no “formal” training in weapon masteries, picking up two of the largest weapons you can find and furiously hitting things makes sense. The damage reduction on your weapons can also be explained in the mastery of weapons, or lack of. Since you don’t that formal training, your balance and ability to use the weapons is reduced. As a fury warrior, you attack faster and crit more, but you also take more damage.

Both specs have the same pure purpose in a raid. If you want to be a damage dealing warrior in a group setting, spec either Fury or Arms.

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The Play Style
What are some other differences between Arms and Fury passed the RP reasons? The most important difference is play style.

Arms focuses more on Proc damage(Specifically Overpower and Execute). Arms also relies on a cast ability, Slam. Since there are often times when Mortal Strike is on cooldown, and neither Overpower nor Execute are available, Slam is your only option and since it has a cast time, movement is much more limited. Rage is hardly an issue in Arms because of Endless Rage, and thus rage management becomes less of an issue. Arms relies on one weapon.

Fury, in contrast has a much more set rotation. Fury has no cast time on any abilities(You should never use Slam without a Bloodthirst proc). Fury however often times runs into rage issues. There are always issues with this, being that at low gear levels you make rage slower, and at higher levels rage often times becomes a non issue. This is a topic for another post, but it is something that needs to be addressed. Also, Fury relies on having two weapons.

In Short: what’s the play style difference?
Arms: DPS is heavily based on procs, rage is usually not an issue, some mobility issues, and you only need one weapon.
Fury: DPS is based on mostly a set rotation, rage can be an issue(requiring more rage management), little mobility issues and is also reliant on having two weapons.

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“Fury Warriors are not Rogues in Plate. Leather is very well itemized, but it doesn’t have strength.”

So what is the stat focus?
Arms and Fury have different caps. I won’t go through them, but they can be found at Ragebar’s warrior theory guide at Ensidia.com.

Arms: All Arms Damage is based on weapon damage. The math shows that Armor Penetration gives greater weapon damage increases than Strength does. The strongest combination of Armor Penetration is as follows: Have roughly 50% Armor Penetration on your gear. All of your attacks will reduce enemy armor by up to 50%. Now get either a Grim Toll or a Mjolnir Runestone, and when it procs, your attacks will ignore up to (roughly) 100% armor. This will provide huge burst increase. (Again it shows how reliant on procs Arms damage is).

Fury: Fury receives an innate 20% to Strength. For every 10 points of Strength on your gear, you receive 12 Strength. For the 20 Strength epic gem you receives 24 Strength. Since 1 Strength equals 2 Attack Power, you end up getting a conversion of 1 strength on gear equals 2.4 attack power. Most theory says you should stack Strength as a Fury spec because of the excellent scaling it receives.

Who cares about math, what about my DPS?
I recently made the change from Arms to Fury. All of my gear comes from Non Hard-mode Encounters. For Arms, I used the Edge of Ruin. For Fury I use weapons available in 10-man Ulduar. I do not have a Grim Toll or a Runestone. I was Hit capped and expertise capped in both specs. My most basic stats changed in the following ways:

My Arms stats: 3800 AP, 48% Armor Penetration, 31% critical strike.
My Fury Stats: 4700 AP, 29% Armor Penetration, 33% critical strike.

I don’t have any parses from playing as Arms. I have anecdotal evidence(which isn’t very empirical or scientific). As an Arms spec Warrior, I would do less than 4.5k on fights that had more movement than pure DPS time, and about 5k on fights that had less movement.

As a Fury Warrior, my DPS has rather stayed consistent to what I have been doing as Arms. A quick shot of my guild’s 25 man Anub’arak kill, puts me at 5100 DPS.
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25% of my DPS is in Heroic Strike. Surprisingly, Deep Wounds is also a huge chunk of my DPS:
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The Conclusion: A Thought on the Arms vs. Fury Debate
Both Arms and Fury do great damage, marginally equal. Once you understand the focus of each and the difference in play style, you can succeed in both. Goodluck!

Interview: Khorax

Character: Khorax
Guild: Riot Act on Mal’ganis, Horde-side, ranked 48th US in PVE as per Wowprogress
Notable Achievements: A Tribute to Insanity, Observed 25 Man, Glory of the Ulduar Raider 25 Man

Let me introduce Khorax, hard hitting damage dealing warrior of Riot Act on Mal’ganis server. He’s raided some of the hardest content in game, killed some of the strongest bosses. He’s the owner of an Iron Bound Proto Drake and most imporant, he plays a warrior. Let’s get into this persona.

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On Choosing to Play a Warrior:
Khorax originally played a paladin saying “I wanted to play a class that could takes hits, and still dish out heavy damage. I originally rolled a Paladin, but playing Alliance and the Paladin buffing system(kings plz lol?) turned me off. I left the game for a while with intentions to leave forever, but a friend wanted to reroll, so I rolled an Orc Warrior on Mal’ganis. The Warrior was everything I wanted it to be, so I’ve been playing it ever since”.

On His Main Spec:
He plays a damage dealing warrior, but he focuses more on his raid than his own numbers: “As a DPS warrior, I bring more utility to the raid that I do DPS, although my DPS doesn’t lag behind. With Death Knight and Paladin tanks in my guild, I’m the one to typically sunder the bosses. My offspec is Protection which is mostly for Heroics.” He also notes about Arms and Fury: “I prefer to play Fury, because it scales better with raid buffs, and at the top end does better DPS than Arms. I recently just switched to Fury, I’m happier than ever. “.

“As a DPS warrior, I bring more utility to the raid that I do DPS”

On Playing Competitive End Game:
Khorax has tried to succeed in all things, so Warcraft comes naturally “I’ve always been on top of things, academics, sports, video games, so I make sure I try to be the best. I test things out to see which works best, doing research and staying up to date on and preparing for future talent changes and itemization changes”.

On Warrior Specs and Gear Philosphy:
Khorax is a complete Warrior, playing every spec and understanding each one: “Warrior specs are simple and each one focuses on different things. As a tank spec, Protection focuses on Stamina, since stamina doesn’t suffer diminishing returns. Arms focuses on weapon damage, since most of your abilities are based on weapon damage(Mortal Strike, Slam, Overpower, etc). As of right now, weapon damage has  greater increases from Armor Penetration than Attack Power(based off of Strength). Both Arms and Fury also focus on Critical Strike, since one of a Warrior’s highest DPS abilities is Deep Wounds. Fury is simpler to gear for than Arms, stack Strength and win. Since Fury suffers a raw -10% to damage and the way Strength scales with Improved Berserker Stance, Strength is the stat to stack as a Fury Warrior.”

On Improving Your Warrior and Your Gameplay:
Khorax places his trust in the numbers: “Get a Spreadsheet! They are the most useful things anyone has created for Warcraft. It makes maximizing your gear and damage easy. Also do research. People theorycraft for a reason. Use all resources as best as you can. As per gameplay mechanics, environment is key. Always be aware of your surrounding, use your movement abilities effectively and manage rage. PVP has the same principles applied, keep moving and manage your stances”.

“Get a Spreadsheet! …it makes maximizing your gear and damage easy.”

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On the Simpler Things:
Rare mounts, and awesome boss fights: “My favorite item in game is my Amani War Bear. Coolest mount in game hands down, and you can’t get it anymore which makes it even more awesome. As for my favorite instance and boss? Sunwell hands down. It was the hardest instance from beginning to end, and had insane boss fights. My favorite boss fight is Illidan. It was a unique, new and pleasantly long and demanding encounter”.

Thanks goes to Khorax for the interview, and his ideas on the Warrior class and end game play.