Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All I Needed To Know I Learned By Rolling A Death Knight

Aeglys, my DK just dinged 70. I've learned a lot from playing him and leveling his professions. Here are a few points I've picked up along the way.


Melee DPS is much more engaged than the pew pew from range that I experienced with my mage. To be courteous to the tank (as well as increase my own dps) it is important to not attack the boss/mobs from the front.

I really try to help my tank out because I understand the nuances of that role. I probably give the tank a little more time than he needs to have solid aggro, but the ability to go all out without worrying about aggro is nice. And I always try to stay to the back or side to avoid parry gibbing my tank.

But dang! Some tanks just can't stop moving! Some mechanics make constant movement or frequent changes necessary, but some tanks just never stop moving around, making it hard to stay where I should be.

This experience brought with it the realization that I could do a much better job (while tanking with Billy) positioning mobs so my melee dps can do their job better.


In many (most) cases, I am the group leader when tanking. This is rarely the case when I'm on my DK, and I've found it hard in some instances to not try to take charge. Usually the tank is capable but may just have a different style or approach...sometimes they aren't. I try to take advantage of this situation to explain my main is a tank and offer some advice. I always do this in /w to avoid embarrassing the tank. More often than not, they express gratitude and step up and get us through. I feel good that I helped someone do a tough job a little better.


As a blood spec DK, I do primarily single target dps. Wrath has brought to the game a heavy aoe mentality. Rarely are mobs marked. I rarely mark when I tank, however, on Aeglys I can pull aggro off the tank on a single target. I try to attack the target of my tank, but he may be hopping (tabbing) through the mobs to get solid aoe threat built. I can't hop with him, as my abilities rely on establishing diseases to unleash my big hitting combos.

Marking a kill order does not signify a weak tank! I've been made fun of a few times when I marked with Billy. If it bothers you, kiss off. Marking targets makes everyone's job easier. Just because there's a kill order doesn't mean that you can't aoe, but it does mean that single target dps can do their job without frantically trying to find the target the tank is focusing on.


My mom always said that if you're angry or irritated with someone, try to put yourself in their shoes. You just might find you understand where they're coming from.

I haven't been upset with dk's per se, but I now have much more respect for DK tanks. It's so foreign to me that I don't get it very well and therefore don't do it very well. Yeah, I could put the time into researching DK tanking like I have with my warrior, but I'd really like a change of pace. I can get tired of the responsibility of tanking and look forward to having an alt that can just dps.

So thanks tanks! Druids, Pallies, DK's, Warriors, Mages (lol, I threw that one in because of a steamvaults run that I did on my Mage back in the BC days. I was with a priest and three druids. I grabbed all the little leper gnomes before the robot boss and aoe'd like mad while my 4 group mates spam healed me. It was good times.) I will no longer scoff at your concerns in tanking forums regarding class mechanics. I will no longer think that warriors are the only ones that matter. They're still the best, or coolest, in my opinion, but you guys are all right too. And you have my respect.


OK, not always...BUT you can really gauge a DK by his or her use of death grip. The DK that pulls mobs off the tank is fail and should be deleted. The DK that pulls a range/caster to the tank is full of win!

I find that the brief experiences I've had tanking on my DK were made much more difficult by the other DK's in the group. I think it spawns an unhealthy competitive attitude. I'm not looked at as the tank, so much as another DK, and suddenly there's an undeniable need for these failknights to want to put as much turf between their name and mine on recount - with complete disregard to consequences.

Because of this, one of the DK's in my group will deathgrip my primary target, and I've already called for deaths in these instances via a /w to my healer. I ask them to stop, but if they ignore me, then I ask the healer to let them die. Is it bad that as a tank, I relish in the opportunity to assassinate one of my group members? Or is it simply not intervening on another retarded suicide attempt?

Well, this wall of text is enough to make China jealous, so I will stop now. I decided to not talk about professions, because it wouldn't be interesting. But JC/BS combo is a bear!

I have enjoyed rolling my DK. It's been a great experience full of learning and fun shenanigans due to being OP. Group quests mean you'll use your ghoul and maybe a health pot! :) If you have resisted the DK, give it a try. The opening quest line is EPIC! And just because there's so many bad DK's out there should not be a reason for you to miss out on great fun.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blogosphere Rampant with Taggers! Full Story at 5 PM MST.

To get things started...if you haven't paid Tarsus a visit, do it now. Go ahead! I'll wait...

Now that you've done yourself a favor, back to me. My name is Billy and I can dance, baby!

Umm, no idea where that came from. (It's still true though.)

And now to the meat of the show (completely stolen from the wowinsider podcast, I know)...

Tarsus tagged me for the RP meme (What the hell is a meme? And what's up with all the freaking parenthesis!? Seriously! It's spooky!) I gotta say, he's been a real pal and a great supporter of my efforts here. (Some will thank him, and some will send him hate mail. Some will say WTF!? ENOUGH PARENTHESIS ALREADY!!!) OK, I agree. (kinda) ROFL!

Apparently I'm a touch slap happy from some long hours at work...on to the meme!

What is your name and where did it come from?

My name is Billy Wallace. I know little of my youth. I was found in a basket as an infant on the steps of Northshire Abbey. My "father" was a monk who resided at the abbey. He was the one to find me and decided to help raise me. He told me that it never felt right to name me. I had been carried to him by the winds of fate, and that meant that my destiny, was not his to carry, but mine. He told me that I could only do so after I grasped it with all my faith and strength with determination to follow it's uncertain paths.

My first step was one of self realization. I had to choose my name. I new this from a very early season but was admonished not to rush the process. It would come to me in it's own due time.

I am a dreamer. My adult dreams are filled with the screams of my opponents, the battle cries of my allies, the heat of spilt blood and gore, the pain of self doubt and fear of failure, the price of victory. My youthful dreams were very different. The themes were the same as they are now, but they were still full of innocence and idealism. There was no blood or screams back then, but there was heroism, fighting to protect those you love, and fighting for freedom.

I dreamed of magnificent individuals. Warriors who may never have existed. Soldiers who stood for right. Heroes who bested monsters that threatened their way of life. Gladiators who rose against all odds to overthrow the oppression of evil tyrants.

The name of one of these whispered itself to me in my dream and in my waking moments. It tickled my ear with an odd familiarity as I wrestled with my friends in the apple orchard. It itched my mind with insistence while I completed my chores. It began to bore into my conscience with persistence until I claimed it for my own.

I put my spoon down during dinner one evening and said, "Father, my name is Billy. Billy Wallace. That is who I am."

"It is a good name," he said, and often I was reminded that it was a name with an important future.

How old are you and what is your birthday?

The certainty of knowing one's day of birth and age is not mine to carry. I do know that I am somewhat past my 30th season, maybe in my 32nd. I am old enough to feel the effects throughout most of the day of having slept on the snowy ground. However, I am young enough to ignore all discomfort as I charge with bloodlust into any battle.

I have chosen to honor my entrance into the world in the summer. This is the time of my fondest memories of the Abbey. This is the time that I am certain to visit home and the resting place of my father.

Are you in love and with whom?

Ah. That. Love. My travels have not permitted long-term relationships. I have had certain feelings of attraction for a kindred spirit. She is of my race and she bears a shield. Unfortunately, she has sworn herself to a dwarf, who in all honesty is a better man than I and better equipped to give her what she deserves.

Another female for whom I have felt great affinity is not of my race. Nay, she is not even of my faction and so is labelled my enemy. Our union would not be understood and so shall not be.

What is your favorite mount and why?

Well it certainly is not the Black War Mammoth that I wasted my Stone Keeper Shards on! The woolly beast was much to large to navigate through many arches, so now I keep it in the stables at all times.

For ground travel, I love the sleek power of the Night Elves' cats. They are quiet but deadly.

I am certain that I will soon own a handful of the Gnomish chicken-like contraptions simply to increase my vast collection of mounts, but they will not be ridden, because I cannot stand their infernal racket.

I am fond of the Gryphon for air travel, because to me it is an honorable creature full of dignity and freedom, but one day I shall ride on a drake. A drake of any color strikes fear into lesser men, and so I shall ride one into battle for that very effect.

Do you have a preferred type of Azerothian meal and where do you get it from?

I will eat anything. I enjoy eating any dish that is spicy or grants me strength. I sometimes try to unwind by fishing for dragonfin in Dragonblight. They can be made into great meals. At times, however, this is more exciting than relaxing due to the fact that some of the Horde are also looking for this fish, or for unsuspecting Alliance more likely. They tend to usually travel in groups to avoid fair fights, and I must constantly watch my back.

I have been known to take my meals or warm my journeys with the wide variety of potent beverages available. Rarity somehow makes them more desirable, but isn't that true with most things?

You know those giant mushrooms in Zangermarsh? What is your theory on how they came to be and why they are so huge?

Large fertilizer. Maybe Gruul took his boys camping? I'll ask him if I ever get to meet the ugly brute!

If you saw the Lich King walking toward you, what would you do?

I can imagine this encounter vividly. Through my quests around Northrend, I have seen visions of the transformation of Arthas into the monstrosity he has become. At one point, I felt some amount of sympathy for him, but no longer.

I would bring my shield to bear, grip my sword with my might, allow my rage to build and smolder within me. I would look to that anger to fuel my abilities as I rely on my friends around me for the boon of their support.

I would charge to meet the cursed king, putting myself between him and my allies. I will fight as I have never fought before to protect those dear to me. Surely, the coward will summon minions to aid him, and these too shall be kept from those who support me in my battle.

We will fight until one of us is dead.

I will not fail.

The land will be freed from the curse of the Lich King. Cleansed of his wrath. Relieved of the tainted oppressive haunting caused by his evil workings.

And then we will celebrate our freedom!

Thanks again to Tarsus. This was fun. I now unconventionally tag my buddies Kyne and Thogrim, who have not yet joined us in our blogging endeavors, but should do so as they are both quite capable at spinning a tale to be remembered.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A week or so of DoubleYaTeeEffs!?

In case you didn't get my retarded spelling there...that's WTF's!?

I've had this weird phase in game over the last couple of weeks that has me saying, thinking, or screaming WTF!?!? quite often. Let me share a few of them with you.

WTF #1

So I'm tooling along, working on the exploration achievements, when my Carbonite suddenly informs me that a quest is completed. (See my beautiful arrow #1) I immediately thought to my self, "Self...WTF was that!?" So I opened my quest log, and saw that the quest was from Grizzly Hills. (See gorgeous arrow #2) The odd thing about this all was that I was in Silverpine Forest! (Handsome arrow #3) I hadn't interacted with any mobs or anything like that. I had just travelled past a small horde village.

WTF #2

This one isn't new, but I had forgotten, so it got a WTF!? I was still working on the exploration achievement, this time in Wetlands, and I came across Dragonmaw. It is found on the far Eastern portion of the Wetlands. It seems like a really cool staging area for an instance or raid, with low level 60's elite dragonkin all over the place. The level 62 elites made me think that if it was present in Vanilla Wow, it had to be raid status, as the level cap back then was 60. I guess I should google it.

There's also a named elite level 62 dragon named Axtroz. Named mobs must die....it's one of Billy's rules. I secretly hoped for a quest item to start a raid atunement or something like that, but all that dropped was some silver coinage. Very disappointing IMHO.

WTF #3

Very similar to dragonmaw - This time, I had traveled West into Hillsbrad Foothills. The only area that I hadn't unlocked yet was Purgation Island. I found the only island on the map and headed that way. When I got there, the place was loaded with level 59ish elite mobs. They also had nothing to offer by way of exciting loot, quests, etc. Another in game dead end or never developed region? I'll be spending some time on google after this post it seems.

WTF #4

I was in Old Kingdom helping some guildies level and gear. A couple of them were passing out on their keyboards, because it was around 3am. This gave me time to look around. Like any other tall and muscular hero, I was primarily looking at myself. That's when I noticed that my gun has a face!

LOL and WTF!? I've been carrying this badboy around since a couple days after dinging 80 but never noticed this detail! Too fun.

WTF's #5, 6, and 7
FREEDOM OF THE ALLIANCE - I was helping some buddies who were a bit tired of getting ganked in Hellfire Peninsula by all the level 80 hordies that hang out there. (I was about to go on a rant, but I'll save it for another post.) Anyway, we went ahead and did the pvp daily to cap the towers. They shared it with me, and when I turned it in I got the pvp trinket and this achievement!

MEDIUM RARE - I got invited to a raid into Gruul's Lair. It was a horrific experience akin to most of my raiding attempts made of 99% pure fail. However, while we were waiting for the pugtastic members of the raid to get ready for summons, I starting killing stuff. One of the mobs was evidently medium rare. (He tasted well done to me.)

BESTING THE BLACK DRAGONFLIGHT - WTF!?!? Billy has actually completed a raid!? It's a freaking miracle. Really it was. This group had no business completing anything. They would probably struggle with Deadmines. This one will be further explained in an upcoming raid post.

The biggest WTF, however, was the priest who face pulled trash because we were all noobs. He literally said that..."Somebody pull or I will. You're all a bunch of [insert various vulgarities]N00Bs!"

Somehow pulling the mobs while the Main Tank was afk made us less noobish....somehow....um, can someone explain that to me? I saved his squishy butt mainly to save the rest of the group. How does he thank me? Yup, he pulls a drake. It just happened to be the one that goes immune until the mob in the portal is burned. And yes, the MT was still AFK. (apparently he just had to have a sandwich, so he gets a WTF and a /facepalm too)

The priest left group (thank goodness) and the tank got booted. We pulled in another guy to MT Sarth. We downed him easily. The BoE tank ring dropped, and they said to roll greed due to it being BoE. I was retarded and rolled greed. Then the ones that said to roll greed Needed. WTF!? Yeah....I hope to someday share a story about a raiding experience that doesn't suck.

Anyway, sorry for the extra long post, but I actually enjoyed many of these unexpected experiences. Thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The long promised post on my UI setup

Promises Promises...

I've been saying I'd get this post out for a while but I've been dropping the ball. I should wait to take a cleaner screenshot, but if this post doesn't get done now it may never happen. So as a warning...this screenshot may very well be recycled in a future post.

So there you have it. The addons I'm rolling with are as follows:

CT Viewport - I like the fact that the top and bottom aren't chopped off of the picture, but you actually get a wider view. I'm spinning my camera like a spaz while tanking to look at my groups position and watch for adds, etc., and this gives me a wider view. It also gets most of my buttons out of the viewing area.

Ice HUD - This one is nice because I hate looking all the way up to the top left to see my hp, then back down to look for a cd button, pot, etc. I turned off all options except for the bars themselves, so I have the unobtrusive semicircles on either side of my character for quick viewing of my hp and rage without a bunch of extra clutter. I tried pitbull for this, and they have some sexy features, but I couldn't seem to get it configured in a way that I liked, so I got rid of it. I found the pitbull raid frames especially difficult.

Bartender 4 - This one has been great. I can easily configure action bars, xp or rep bars, buttons, keybinds, etc. I really like this mod.

Carbonite - Love it, Love it, Love it! I was using Questhelper before, but QH was such a memory hog, and I got a ton of error messages from it. I love the minimap that carbonite has because I can zoom in or out without toggling to the world map. I also really like the shaded areas on the minimap that show me where a quest mob or item could be rather than a single waypoint or dot on the map. It has been much less demanding on my machine while providing so much more in my opinion. I also like the battleground timers and such that it displays for me.

Omen - If you don't have it, you're a tool. And if you want to give me that "threat is dead" load of crap, you're an even bigger tool.

Recount - I linked this one to the wowinsider review rather than the download site because of the detailed explanation it provides. I used to hate damage meters due to the epeen abuse of them, but as I've learned the additional features (such as viewing your top damaging abilities, or the events leading up to deaths) I've learned to evaluate the group's and my own performance. I can easily answer questions like, "Am I heroic striking enough?" or "What kind of damage just killed us?" Another must have in my opinion.

Squeenix - Gives me the square minimap. Not so important, but I keep it. I'm not really sure why.

Behind the scene addons:

Lightheaded - This gives me a double wide quest window. The right side has WoWHead comment. It's helpful for those quests that you can't seem to figure out without having to alt-tab.

Deadly Boss Mods - This is extremely helpful for heroics, and near necessary for raids. It makes life much easier to know what abilities are coming up from the boss and mobs.

Atlas Loot - This lets you look up any instance or raid to see what quests are available and what loot the bosses drop. You can also look up any profession and what they can make, all the faction items you can get at each level of rep with them, etc. I love this mod as well for the reduced alt-tabbing. It's also a great tool for deciding what instance to run to gear up yourself or a buddy.

What didn't make the cut:

As mentioned above, I couldn't seem to get PitBull to work like I wanted. Elkano buff bars also got dropped, probably due more to my limitations than those of the mod itself.

Well there you have it. You may like it, you may hate it. To each his own. It's working for me right now, but it's also opened the door to me being more comfortable with change. So if I find something around the corner that sounds helpful, I'll probably give it a try.

I hope this was somewhat helpful for anybody thinking about moving away from the default UI.