Previously, I talked about exactly how threat mechanics work in groups. Now, you might think I was going to use that knowledge to inform our decisions on being a bear tank.
Instead, I'm going to talk about gearing up.
I'd like to start by saying, up front, that this article is unlikely to contain stunning new information that will change your bear tanking world. For those players that are firmly bear tanking their way through Gruul's Lair and beyond, you are most likely to read this, chuckle, and move on. You are already living the dream, kicking butt and taking purples. Hopefully, you will share some of your insight with the rest of us.
But for the player just starting out, eager to prepare themselves to be the best bear tank they can be, I hope that this article will be of some help.
So you want to be a bear tank. Great! Bear tanks are lots of fun, and speccing feral gives you the wonderful ability to not only be able to tank at the drop of a /invite, but also let's you solo effectively with a simple change of gear.
To be a bear tank, you need to realize that your role requires you to focus on two main responsibilities;
Threat generation is exactly that; you must put out enough threat to keep your enemies focused on you, while the rest of your party kills them.
Staying alive blends into two different philosophies;
Survivability is your ability to still be alive after taking a big old whack from the boss, or suffering spiky irregular damage the healer was unprepared for.
Mitigation is your ability to avoid or reduce taking that damage altogether.
Today, we are going to focus on the second of those two responsibilities, staying alive, and how to plan your gear choices effectively.
WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 11 Mar 2008 17:30:00 EST Here's your weekly look at the most popular columns and weekly features from the last seven days of WoW Insider. Miss these the first time around? Don't miss them again.
Know Your Lore: Grim Batol KYL takes a look at the Dwarven city in the wetlands, and the moral of the story is that the Bronzebeards are awesome! Wait, there's probably more.
Last week, we discussed the matter of twinks and PvP. In many occasions, twinks exist purely to PvP, dominating lower-bracket Battlegrounds with their über-gear. In fact, there is no shortage of twink complaint threads on the World of Warcraft forums. Whatever one might feel about twinks, it's an ongoing phenomenon that shows no signs of letting up. I'm not a big fan of twinkage myself, but it's such a distinct subset of the PvP crowd that I feel compelled to write about it. Twice. Oh, and for the record, I am quite aware that 'twink' is a homosexual slang term. I prefer to think of the Hostess snack, though.
So here we go, the second part of our look at twink PvP. Last week we discussed an overview of the potential items that twinks can obtain... I didn't make a comprehensive list since that's a considerable task. I did, however, give some pointers in the right direction. Considering that Resilience does not exist in lower level PvP, the key stat is Stamina, so get gear with loads of it. There are also ways to improve on gear, particularly using permanent item enchants. The most notorious of these is probably the Nethercleft Leg Armor, which requires Level 60 to apply, but has no item restriction. It might cost a bit of gold because it requires Primal Nether to craft, but the +40 Stamina is well worth it for twinks. Patch 2.4 also promises removing binding on nethers, which may or may not lower prices. For casters, the tailoring equivalents of Golden and Runic Spellthreads are also good investments, despite the 20 stamina hit.
For the head, an enchantment from the old world is still king. The Lesser Arcanum of Constitution is a reward from the Libram of Constitution quest in Burning Steppes. Aside from some items, it also costs 30g, which is a fair price for most twinks for a 100 health increase. It's the best head enchant for twink PvP. That is, until Patch 2.4, which previews the first and only PvP-specific head enchant obtainable upon reaching exalted reputation with the Shattered Sun Offensive, appropriately named Glyph of the Gladiator. The caveat with these head enchants is the inability to apply them on items bound to one of your characters, necessitating the assistance (or services) of another player.
As promisedearlier, we've brought the sexy back of Reader WoWspace of the Week, just in time for you to enjoy on downtime Tuesday. (Although we make no guarantees about consistent amount of sexy....) This week's submission comes from Violetly, level 70 Blood Elf priest on Mal'Ganis who somehow has managed to show up in the armory twice. Violetly's chief complaint is that we're not doing enough justice to the girly WoWspaces out there -- so she did her duty and sent hers in for us to enjoy! Violetly writes:
I have long felt it is my duty to provide WoW Insider with a much needed "girly" WoWspace, so here we are ladies and gentlemen. I have been playing WoW since 2005, first leveling an Alliance hunter to 60 before crossing over to the Horde with the arrival of BC. Violetly has always been PvE shadow for raiding. However, after returning to school to pursue a Master's degree in education, my raiding came to a screeching halt; so to spice things up, I recently switched to PvP discipline. I'm finding discipline to be very entertaining and equally as frustrating for my opponents (even in my welfare epics)!
For more details on this great girly WoWspace, (and another picture with moar fuzzy cat) read on after the break!
I don't get it. I'm 70, have lots of nice purples, know the game well enough, and have even done Onyxia dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times back in the pre-BC days. But why then does she inevitably present a problem for me and my friends?
It's probably because she is bugged. And not just bugged, REALLY bugged.
Two groups have now gone in and tried to defeat her. Each time the first attempt was a failure as people relearned not to stand too close to each other (Forsythe run to the center!), run to the side when the rains fire down (<-- 2N, 2N - 1 -->), and all those other small tidbits that make the fight what it is. However when it reached the second attempt, she started acting strange. First, she wouldn't target anyone or let anyone tank her - she just walked around her lair and jerked around a bit. We could still damage her, but that was it. And really it was only the ranged and my crossbow that were able to do any damage (more dots!).
It seems like the possibilities of Uldum, in Southern Tanaris, have sparked the imagination of lore fans and adventurers ever since the first person turned in the Discs of Norgannon out of Uldaman. The wealth of Information we recieve from the quest about the intentions of the Titans (those whom the disc calls "The Creators") and the origin of not only the Dwarves, but possibly every sentient race on Azeroth, is tremendous, and Uldum only promises to bring more of it, revealing incredible secrets about the origin of life on this and perhaps other worlds.
Unfortunately, since we apparently need the Plates of Uldum to access it, it remains closed for now, and we're stuck with speculation about what could lurk in its halls. However, today, Drysc commented on the possibilities himself in a forum thread. While all he really confirmed is that they DO plan to open it at some point, it's still more than enough of a bone to get the old speculation machine turning.
One thing that was rampant on Sunday was names that were clearly against the terms of service, and of course nasty language. So if any of the photos have blurred-out names, you'll know why! Before you jump through, keep in mind there are a few photos, so the load might be slow. Don't forget to check out my full coverage of the stress test!
Some have accused this trailer of being a blatant ripoff of Fury. But I have to be honest with you, I don't mind if it is. I love me some action-based World of Warcraft machinima. The author said his longer piece will be available in April and when it is, I'll be there to check it out.
Your least favorite races - Tue, 11 Mar 2008 11:40:00 EST We all have our favorite races, whether we actively play them or not. Personally, I have a thing for playing Humans and I desperately want to play an Ethereal one day. At the very least, have an Ethereal presence in Wrath, even a small one.
What about your least favorite races, though? We all have those, too. We don't always have good explanations for it, but for one reason or another there's just something that drives us absolutely crazy. My #1 most hated race in Warcraft would have to be Gnolls. What do they even do? Their most famous member is Hogger, who doesn't even do anything. Okay okay, they kill people and that's bad, but they don't do do anything. At least Kobolds mine stuff up.
Tell you what, I'll go ahead and give my Top 5 after the jump. If you're interested, go ahead and read on!
Addon Spotlight: Goin' commando (or close) - Tue, 11 Mar 2008 11:20:00 EST Each week, the Tuesday server down-time gives us all a little time away, which I often spend contemplating the state of my User Interface. As a semi-pro (long on semi, short on pro) addon enthusiast, this often means I visit various addon sites for updates and to peruse the new and exciting developments since my last visit. Although I am meandering towards automatic updates, because it makes me feel so connected, I still enjoy browsing what's new in the world of addons.
However, sometimes I start to wonder if life would easier without addons. I could spend less time worrying about updates, memory footprints, configuring addons and a potentially cluttered UI. I would not have the same power to make changes to the look and feel of World of Warcraft, as well as the opportunity to change my game play. With so many alts, and my known commitment issues, I need to add variety to grinding. What, then, for the freedom of giving it all up and just playing the game out-of-the-box?
New MMOs breaking the combat mold? In many ways, the dominant style of MMO combat we see in games today, particularly in the Everquest and World of Warcraft vein, is a direct descendant of tabletop gameplay. As much as that model has served us well over the years, some, like JoBildo over at TTH, believe that the future of MMO combat is almost upon us, and once we see the light, we'll never want to go back.
World of Noobcraft, the 2.4 debate With the changes comes to World of Warcraft in 2.4, many of the hardcore raiders out there have begun wailing once more. To some, this is tantamount to a whole new kind of "welfare epic" and demeans the accomplishments of the game's elite. As Ron at Gaming Today points out, this is exactly the kind of attitude that turns so many people off of MMOs in the first place.
Behind the Curtain: Rehashing an old argument? I just wanted to share my thoughts on the whole Casual vs. Hardcore debate - you see, I've never been comfortable with the Casual and Hardcore labels in MMO games. I disagree with the idea that you suddenly become Hardcore when you pass a specific number of hours played. I used to argue with guildies that the Casual and Hardcore labels were meaningless, and we should invent new ones, but as I've thought about it more I realise that the labels themselves are valid, but just not in the way they are commonly accepted and applied.
WoW's new arena season delayed to hold off AoC? Timing the release of popular content to coincide with the release of competitors' products is a time-honored practice in the game industry. Hell, it's a time-honored practice in ANY industry. You steal some of their thunder in terms of headlines, community buzz, and most importantly, player dollars. In a recent blog post, Relmstein questions Blizzard's logic in delaying the start of World of Warcraft's PvP Season 4 for at least another patch.
The US page seems to have been changed from the original above (as of this writing, under Warlocks it says "hey you found some hidden text, there must be some giant conspiracy here"), but the European page shows the original "cool guy/girl" as a recommended player for Warlocks. At least one commenter on the LJ page says this has been around since day one on the main page, and I wouldn't be surprised -- Blizzard is familiar with leaving secrets on the official page for players.
Depends on who you ask, but I'm raiding on my human level 70 protection warrior the most. Besides him, I have a Tauren, Night Elf and Draenei warrior at 70 and Orc and Draenei shamans also at 70. I like warriors a lot. For me they're the fundamental basis for the whole game and they get a lot of derision and abuse from players of other classes. This despite the fact that they're the most played class in the game, or maybe because of it. Shamans are a close second because they're the scrappy underdogs with a lot of heart and a great array of abilities to bring to any raid or instance. Plus, man, once you've seen Windfury crit, you can't give that up.
I have two paladins stuck in the 50's. I don't talk about them.
Warlock Rigo of the Dragonsblight realm was on a Karazhan raid with his guild Dragonsbane. Unfortunately, when it came time to face down Nightbane, the raid didn't do so well. Soon the only left standing was a lone Paladin desperately waiting out his bubble cooldown while the undead dragon considered its options.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
Over at OCRegister, a news website for Orange County, there's an interesting little glimpse at Blizzard Entertainment's new HQ. While we don't get a full tour of the place, we do get a number of photos and some fun details.
The most interesting thing to me was their personal museum, which will include things such as the Emmy award that the South Park episode "Make Love Not Warcraft" won, and a bottle of Chardonnay from the debut night of Warcraft III. I'm sure that in no time at all, this museum is going to be packed full of cool things.
The 28th episode of the WoW Insider Show included myself, blogger Amanda Dean, Druid columnist John Patricelli and Turpster in an hour of lively discussion on this week's hot topics. Stories covered included:
If you missed the show, there are plenty of ways for you to listen today including the Flash player on the WoW Radio site, free iTunes download or mp3 file. And you can listen in live every Saturday at 3:30p ET on WoW Radio.
[Listen] to this week's show. [iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. [RSS] Get your favorite reader in on the fun.
WoW is a fairly good-looking game, especially when compared to some other MMOs, but let's face it: it hasn't had much of a change to its graphics quality since its release in 2004, and you can tell. To give you an idea of how pretty it could be, Youtube user qelss has rendered several models from WoW with more light and some additional filters; you can see one above, and more on his profile page. As MMO-Champion notes, these are fan-made and not previews of anything, but it's still fun to look at the gleaming swords and armor.
The arenas have been a nearly constant source of conflict for many players. It seems that many creative schemes have been used to inflate ratings in the pursuit of gear and glory. The developers implemented personal ratings to combat ill-gotten gains from a single slot buyouts and high-rated team sales. It seems that the latest fad for ratings boost may be queue dodging.
Recently, Kenjiwing of Korgath brought this phenomenon to the attention of the official forums. There is currently no penalty for a team that fails to join an arena battle once the queue pops. The team that actually does show receives no reward and the match is recoded as a draw, which does not count toward the requisite games for the week. They are left to wait for another battle in hopes that the other team will show.
Yes, it is Tuesday, whatever shall you do? - Tue, 11 Mar 2008 07:30:00 EST Well, it is maintenance day again. Tuesday is the Hump Day (i.e. Wednesday) of WoW players everywhere. The realms are down, and the children are home from school on March Break (at least in Canada).
Fortunately, this past week has been a busy one, and there is plenty of material for you to catch up on while you're bemoaning the maintenance, scheduled from 5:00 a.m. PST to 11:00 a.m. PST.
First of all, you won't want to miss any of our coverage from Sunday's stress test of the TTRs. The GMs were out in full force, pulling all sorts of nonsense.