Us dpsers have been getting a bit of grief lately, particularly from smug tank types who, just because they can walk straight into instances and that we’re dependent on them to a certain extent, seem to think that they can treat us like dog shit. Because, here’s the thing; good tanks don’t walk into a group and start reading everyone the riot act about how they need to behave to make this tank happy or he will leave, yada, yada, yada. Good tanks walk into an instance and start tanking well.

So, to be fair to those good tanks, (and I love you good tanks, I really do), I wanted to set out a few little points that DPS can use to make those good tanks lives easier. The bad tanks can go kiss my butt while I put them on follow.

1. Don’t be Lazy – Yep, that’s right. Don’t be lazy. Is running PuGs a snooze-fest for you? Well, then go and do something else because I don’t want to carry your lazy butt, (but I may do anyway, see point 3). Get in there and do good DPS, goddamit. Your role is to do DPS, not to waltz through the dungeon whistling a merry tune. (I am assuming here that you are actually able to do good DPS.)

2. Understand your Tank – All tanks are not created equal. They like to do the same thing but often in different ways. You need to quickly work out what your tanks style is and adjust yourself to that. It is not the tanks job to adjust himself to you. Is he a sprint and pull tank, gathering up mobs and herding them together? Does he take his time? How long does he need to get good threat? Do your big crits give him problems? Is he able to handle a good deal of AoE? Does he mark the mobs for kill order? Does he give the mana users time to drink? Whatever his style, you will have to adjust accordingly, so do it.

3. Recognise your Priorities – No, I don’t mean spell rotation. I mean, why are you in there? Why are you running this PuG? Is it for badges? Reputation? Experience? Gear? Whatever it is for, quickly size up if this group will get you what you want. Back in Burning Crusade, I used to run a lot of battlegrounds. I was doing it for the honor points to get some gear. If our side won the battleground I would get a lot more honor points. So players logging on and then going AFK were a liability for me. If a player on a PuG now goes AFK, work out if it will hinder your chances at getting what you want. If the rest of the group is great and you’re going to steamroll through the content anyway, carry the prick and then ignore him at the end of the run. If your goal is gear but players are needing on everything, drop the group. It isn’t going to give you what you want. If you need to finish some quests in the instance but the group won’t give you the time to do it, maybe it’s worth finding another group also. Recognise your priorities and act on them.

4. Is your Healer up to the task? – A great tank coupled with a sucky healer means that you may have to spend some time looking after yourself. And you may have to spend more time than usual saving the healers butt. You may keep the healer alive through every fight but the recount chart doesn’t reflect your efforts. Do it anyway, the best thing the fail-healer can do at the end is put you on ignore. The worst combination is a poor healer who is a rez nazi. The kind who cause the group to wipe but expect every player to run all the way back, even if the instance is a long and meandering nightmare such as Mauradon. In this case, let them die just before each boss goes down. Deeply satisfying.

5. Be nice. Say hello to everyone when you zone into the instance. Put out a table without being asked, throw some buffs on immediately, ask people which buffs they prefer, set your soul stones to the healer, ask if everyone has done the run before, admit when you haven’t or that it’s been a really long time and you might need some brush-ups. And at the end thank everyone, (and then immediately stick the utter fail-cases on ignore).

Oh, and if you get any grief, particularly after the party has used up its vote-kicks, put on a pirate hat. It really seems to annoy people.

There has been a lot of internet noise recently about how many bad players there are in WoW now. And after my Scarlet Monastary Cathedral run last night, there could be a lot of truth to this. Last night was a run so bad that I stayed just to see if it could get any worse. We had a paladin tank and a paladinhealer that could not agree on which buffs to use. The healer spent most of the instance hysterically writing “BoK Please!!!!!” in chat.

The tank was super bad. Our first tank dropped after 2 or 3 mobs, so we had to wait a little while for the new tank to turn up. When he did he greeted us all with the words, “I hope you like big pulls cause I pull a lot of mobs”, at which point he ran out into the corridors surrounding the little fountain, pulled every mob in sight and we wiped. A quick run back and he did it again. Once again we wiped but for a different reason. (more…)

Listening to the latest Instance podcast yesterday, my ears perked up when the boys spoke about the infamous pre-rogue nerf, DPS chart from Festergut. For those of you who may have missed this chart, here it is.

DPS for Dummies also spoke about this today, but I want to add my own unique viewpoint to talk about the ramifications of these figures.

Now a cursary glance at this chart shows that out of the top 10 DPS, only five are pure DPS specs, and they come from only three of the pure DPS classes, rogues, hunters and mages. Retribution paladins swing in at number 4, Unholy Death Knights at number 5, Fury Warriors at number 6, and Feral Druids at number 7, before we stumble upon Arcane mages at a pitiful number 8. Survival Hunters and enhamcement Shamans round out the top 10.

The big losers in all of this, apart from mages, are Warlocks. Affliction Warlocks come in at a lowly number 12, just in front of Arms warriors and Shadow priests. The truly amazing thing on this graph is that Frost Death Knights come in at number 13. Keep in mind that Frost DK’s are the tanking spec, so we have a hybrid tank spec beating out pure DPS class specs. I can only imgaine what Warlocks are thinking right now. There must be spittle coming out of their mouths. The only thing they’re good for is creating portals, but we don’t even need those now due to the new LFG system. Scratch one class?

The core argument to come out of this is the question of pure classes over hybrids. Should pure DPS classes do more damage than hybrids? And if so, how much? If we put two specs from each pure DPS class in the top 8, that would still leave a lot of room for the hybrids to swing in. Pure DPS only gets invited along to damage stuff. Remember that crowd control doesn’t exist anymore and I’m not sure who really needs a buff to intelligence. If every other class is beating you on that then your reason for existing must be up there with Sarah Palins’.

But the most glaring example of fail for me in this chart is the figure lurking in 6th position – Fury Warriors. Warriors aren’t even a hybrid class, they are the traditional tank. The Fury spec is the warriors long forgotten cousin, the spec they pull out when an off-tank isn’t needed for example, or when you want to level them and not suck outrageously. For them to be beating mages and warlocks in every spec that they have is insane. This is insanity people! How can this be justified? To put it in perspective, rogues would need to have a healing spec and have it be more powerful than priests to give a similar comparison. How has this become so unbalanced? Is this something to do with the world of total fail that is Arenas?

Assasination rogues, and combat rogues also to a lesser extent, have been nerfed since this was published, but from what I understand they are both still at the top of the table. What can Blizzard do about this? Buff this, nerf that? They need to do something. And I need to re-examine my reasons for leveling a mage, goddamit.

The undergeared project, of which I am a member, cleared ICC 5 man on normal mode in blue gear this weekend. Here is the link so you can check out the details. The top DPS pulled 3000 DPS. Now remember, that was done wearing only blue gear. So as Gevlon says in his post, if someone does damage below 1.5K it is not because he is geared in Blues, it’s because he’s useless.

I was not on the run, since my mage has now reached the dizzying heights of level 36. My leveling progress has been slow for a number of reasons:

1. I haven’t had that much time to play. I had five days off where I managed to get about 14 levels done, but that has been the most time for me so far.
2. This is my first ever time playing Horde, so all the content is new. And considering the fact that a good deal of this content may well be lost come the next expansion, then I am wandering around, ‘smelling the roses’ so to say.

I suppose that I could level quicker if I followed a guide or something, but I am enjoying this leveling process. Some of the instances are new to me, and I am discovering areas that I had no idea even existed. And dawn at the flight point in Thousand Needles is pretty darn amazing. What isn’t that much fun is the PuG’s. Last night I ran the Scarlet Monastary Armory for the first time. I felt for the tank. After the first pack of mobs were cleared he promptly sat down and went on strike. The reason? He objected to the fact that the rogue was pulling everything. I objected with him, in the beginning, but the other three party members went right on pulling. The tank had made his point but they had made a point as well – who needs a tank? If I hadn’t talked him into continuing he still would be sitting at the end of the hall now. Which is very strange. Years ago, when I leveled my main, I remember these 5 mans as being hard. We had to use a little device called crowd control, and we needed it a lot. Now it seems that we sprint through this stuff without even pausing for breath, (I have a serious problem with mana, but I never get a chance to drink – goddam you fire spec!).

Has this content been nerfed in the interim period? Have low level players been buffed? Or has the play mentallity evolved to a higher level? It’s an interesting point – players today decry Blizzard as making instances just sprint affairs, but it seems to me that this is not Blizzards fault; it is the consequence of a development in playing style. Taking your time, thinking things through and smelling the roses is no longer acceptable. I ran ICC5 heroic the day it was released. It was the first time for all of us and we just sprinted through it. Nobody took the time to work out what was going on. We didn’t even wipe. Sure, we were all mightilly geared, but still …

Anyway, Gevlon doubts that we will get 25 raiders with our present bunch of guildies. He has already seen a bunch of people join, start leveling and then not log on for a while, and he is removing these players as necessary. We seem to have a lack of warriors in the guild, so why don’t you join us? I think if we manage to clear end game content in 25 man raids wearing blues that this will be pretty big news.

Don’t think it can be done? Just remember that in previous 25 man raids, a good percentage of players would always be carried. I remember that we usually had something like the first 8 or 9 DPS performing really well, while the other ten were being carried. 3 healers would be doing a good job but at least 2 weren’t pulling their weight. And there was always a tank that wasn’t effective somewhere. But in this group, nobody will be carried. Every single DPS and every healer and tank has to pull their weight. The DPS who is last on the recount chart should have a DPS score very close to the first ranked DPSer. This will make a huge difference on the bottom line. I think that it is doable. I wouldn’t be leveling this mage if I didn’t think so.

A word of warning on the guild: the rule is no morons or socials. If you say grats when an achivement is automatically announced in guild chat, then you will be lucky to not be kicked. This is not a guild to hang out and chat with the members. We’re there to get the job done.

I know that my last few weeks of posts have mostly been an epic barrel of hate, but that’s where the fun is, right folks!? So today I have more hate but I will mix it in with some grudging appreciation as well. So lets get the boring appreciation out of the way so we can move on to the awesome hating. Shall we?

I have been disparaging in my scorn of the new LFG system in a few posts lately, but credit is where credit is due. Leveling my little troll fire mage for the blue project, it is obvious that without this system in place I wouldn’t be running all these old world instances. Even though I am lowly DPS who everyone scorns for being so easy to play and so undeserving of loots, it only takes me about 7 minutes to find a group after queing. True, the groups are full of ninjas and retards that make a geriatric syphilitic blind wombat look good, and true that most of the time I zone into the instance when they are more than halfway through it, which is a bad sign usually, because people leave groups voluntarily more than they get kicked, but the fact is that a quick run through the Scarlet Monastary Graveyard got me 75% of the way from level 31 to 32. In about 15 minutes. That’s impressive. And I do appreciate the fact that I am running these with similarly leveled players; I hate being boosted through an instance by a high level player. It just takes all the fun out of the game for me. Oh, a question for you all: why are the ninjas usually hunters and rogues? Can anybody tell me that?

Anyway, enough of that, lets move onto the hate.

Blizzard has increased the rewards on Occulus. Now this is a good thing, because as it stands now, Occulus sucks. Not the instance itself mind you, just what it produces. And it produces a world of pain because apparently players can not only not get their puny sized brains around the fact that they have to ride a dragon, but that they actually have to push 3 buttons as well. I am sure that they are using this as a torture right now in that nasty Guantmanelo camp or however the hell you spell it. Tonight you have to run Occulus 27 times with Noobs.

Noooooooooo…

Screams aside, the bright sparks at Blizz recognised that this was a problem and decided to up the rewards. I personally would have just deep-sixed the entire instance if I were in charge, but rewards were decided and rewards are what we got. What rewards exactly? Well, lets spell them out for all of you dear readers:

1. Two extra Emblems of Triumph.
2. A bag of rare gems.
3. And a shot at the reins of the blue drake.

You know they’re desperate when they throw a mount in there.

So I know what you’re wondering now. You’re asking yourselves where the hate on my part could possibly be coming from. Well, here’s the thing:

Nobody knows about this.

I only found out about this because I heard it on the Instance podcast, (yey, the instance!). So I heard about it the other day, and I decided to log onto my rogue and see if I could get it on the daily random. I jump in que and a good deal later the little screen comes up – I’m in. I press accept and I get, the very first time, The Occulus. Awesome. Blue Drake here I come, right?

Well, not exactly. We just couldn’t get this group to stick. People were dropping like flies on a Melbourne summer evening. I even made a macro where I hit it and it said in chat:

“Don’t leave! There are new Occulus rewards including the chance at a Blue Drake!”

It didn’t do much good. We finally got a group together and even though they knew about the new awesome rewards people still dropped out when the dragon fights began. We fianlly got the last boss down though, but alas the mount was not there. A word of warning though, you have to loot the chest to get the rewards. Two of our party didn’t do that. Sucks to be you!

So Blizzard, kudos for trying to make it more tempting for people to run The Occulus, but epic fail on getting the word out into the community. The really stupid thing is that Blizzard have mentioned recently that they want to make the game accessible for people who don’t want to look things up on the internet. That may be their intention, but their Occulus planning isn’t showing that at all.

In the old days, a long time ago, centuries even, people who were very naughty got branded. Usually on their forehead. This was done by getting a red-hot iron object and sticking it on the individual concerned. Ouch. Some burning flesh and a few screams later and for the rest of his life everyone would know that he was a donkey molester.

Well, how about the same thing for PuG’s? I mean, this is a fantasy setting based on Medieval life, kind of, yeah? So it would be fitting in a way. Basically it would work like the achievement system. Every time you got kicked from a group it would add to your branding achievement list. The branding could just be like the title system except you can’t turn them off. Lets play around with this. We’ll call the mystery player, Lolz.

One kick from group – Lolz the Mistaken. One kick can happen to anyone, and it might have even been a mistake. The Mistaken title will disappear after one day.

Three kicks from group – Lolz the Unwanted. Three kicks is a big deal as you didn’t have time for the others to wear off before you were kicked again, or you were too dumb to just stop playing WoW for a day so you could reset it. And lots of players are dumb so expect to see lots of these walking around. This title disappears after three days.

Five kicks from Group – Lolz the Unloved. Five group kicks in a short period of time is quite the achievement. People really don’t like you. You must annoy a lot of other players and be very stupid into the bargain. A big five days for this one to wear off, which gives you lots of time to achieve the final awesome step …

Ten kicks from group – Lolz the Moron. It says it all really. You’re a moron, and when we see you come into the group you will be automatically vote kicked out of the group. Things will go downhill rapidly for you. The only option is to just take some time off WoW or at least from Pugging. How long? A week. Lets try and keep this realistic.

I think this system would be awesome. I would have liked to use it for the warlock in our Gnomeragon run on Sunday who did the whole instance using only his wand. Lucky for him that he had his imp out to do some actual damage. And I am sorry to say that seeing a rogue in the PuG means an almost certain guarantee that they are going to be drop-kicked the hell out of there. Like the rogue that I ran with who thought that it was his job to pull the mobs, had stamina and mana enchants and was wielding two daggers on a combat build. . Actually, thinking was probably not what was going on there. He diappeared from view fairly quickly though, so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to vote on him.

Any improvements to this branding system? please let me know.

For the first time ever I am posting twice in one day. There is nothing for it, as I am now on holiday finally and have some time, and because I see rubbish like this posted. Now, admittedly, WoW.com is the place to look for rubbish, but even this was more rubbish than the usual rubbish that we get from them. To sum it up, healers are the drummers of the group. He meant for this to be a compliment I think, but whatever. Apparently healers are far more important than any other class. This is my favorite quote from this “article”:

“… If the tank and healer are both good, as long as the DPS can put out ANY DPS and there’s no enrage timer, things will die.”

So any DPS will do now, will it? And I love how he stuck the ‘no enrage timer’ clause in there. Are we talking 5 man heroics or raids here, because as far as I know just about every single freaking boss in present raids has an enrage timer. Oh, but wait, he snuck “… The healer is the most important member of a five man group,” in at the beginning of his article. Well, just so we’re clear that this certainly isn’t true in any raids that I know of. But is it true? Will just any old DPS do in a 5 man group? And is healing that hard and compolicated?

I will now come clean – I have a healer. Even worse, it’s a paladin. I leveled him up to about level 40 when a couple of friends wanted to try WoW. One of them chose to tank, one chose DPS, so I went with the healer. After they got bored of WoW and drifted off I still had the paladin, so I mucked around with him for a bit. I took him into 5 mans. I healed. It wasn’t hard. In fact, how do I put this, it was ridiculously easy. My first run was through the Stockades. It was a PuG and the tank was good. Except that he just ran, and we had to keep up. It was a rude shock for a first-time healer but I kept up as best as I could. And all I had to do was spam Flash of Light as fast as I could. I never ran out of mana and i kept that tank and the rest of the group up for the whole run. We finished it in what seemed like extra-record time and we didn’t wipe. We didn’t even have one death. And afterwards I got complimented on my healing.

So this is what we’re all getting our knickers in a knot for? For players who spam one button while standing at the back and who never run out of mana while they’re doing it? If anyone did a good job in the 5 man it was the tank – his performance was truly impressive. The DPS were good as well due to the fact that things died quickly. I also think that current heroics are not good indicators at all for what is the optimal party balance for a 5 man, namely due to the fact that the gear ratio to the difficulty level is just so high. If you go into an heroic run with a really well geared tank and some good DPS then you are not going to need any heals. You’ll get the bosses and mobs down before any of them will kill you. Old school 5 mans, however, are a good test for what is reality. And healing is not hard. I don’t know what they’re carrying on about. Good DPS is hard.

Is that it? No, not quite, Apparently the roles of healing and tanking are so stressful, so complicated, so unforgiving and so unappreciated that we now have to give tanks and healers the biggest rewards. This is a guest post from ‘We Fly Spitfires’ on World of Matticus. I am a big fan of We Fly Spitfires, I have his blog linked on the side. But this post is beyond stupid. An example:

“… Tanks and healers are in consistent short supply whereas DPS are a dime a dozen. And there’s a reason for that. Tanking isn’t easy and it comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility.”

No, actually the reason for it is that every class can DPS and we got dual specs a while back. Rogues can’t tank the last time that I checked. It gets better though:

“… Healing is much the same and also comes with it’s own set of stresses and strains.”

Stresses and strains? Do you want a special blanket, a cup of tea and a soothing back rub as well? This is a game for fucks sake. Healing is not any more stressful than being a melee DPS. In fact I found it much easier – just keep everyone alive. I didn’t have to worry about boss tactics or juggle all my cool-downs, I just had to spam flash of light. But apparently I am such a special and unique flower when I play my paladin that I should be getting special rewards.

“… Sub-par DPS can join a raid (even if it’s not desirable) but sub-par tanks cannot tank one and poor healers cannot heal one.”

So what he is saying here is that you can carry DPS but you cannot carry tanks or healers. What rubbish, I’ve carried healers and tanks many times. Three healers on a ten man and you can bet your butt that you’ll be carrying one of them. Where do you put the crappy healer? On the ranged DPS for the most part. Tank not up to scratch? Well, we can work around that by changing our tactics a bit, happened on Ignis the Furnace master quite often actually. If that didn’t happen we’d just swap him with the off-tank. By this sentence alone, Gordon is implying that any tank or healer in a raid environment will be top-notch, whereas the reality is just not true. Last quote coming up:

“… Call it a Tank or Healer Bonus, and a well deserved one at that. They are more important and necessary than anyone else, rarer to find, and they’re jobs are a lot tougher and far more stressful.”

Oh, you’re such a special flower, aren’t you?

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