Friday, May 29, 2009

When is enough DPS enough?

When you can't do any more without pulling aggro!

Tanking an instance the... old fashioned way, is one thing. You know what I mean, DPS wait for 3 sunders etc etc.

Tanking an instance when the 3 DPS are having a DPS race... is quite another experience!

So, last night I did 3 runs of Violet Hold and 2 of Gun'Drak. Total repair cost for the night? Approximately 3 gold! That's right I didn't die once!

On the second VH run, the DPS shaman, the DPS pally and the DPS mage started to get a bit over confident. They had really being going at it hammer and tong on the previous run with no problems, and had started talking themselves up.

"Oh I did more damage", "Yeah but look at my DPS", "Oh but you have better aoe", "But I did top damage on the final boss" etc etc. You get the picture.

The holy priest and I were watching this happen, slightly concerned about how it could end.

The priest knew what was up and had no trouble healing an uncrittable tank who knows how to use his defensive cooldowns, (lv 75 with 521 defense? Somebody say mitigation?)... so we figured we should be ok, even if all the excitable DPSers managed to get themselves killed...

Or if we let them die ;)

The stage was set.

The race was on!

For once it was a race I was content -not- to win. That's right, people are starting to out-DPS me when I'm tanking. About damn time too! Something isn't quite right when the tank is also top DPS... (but that's another story about death knights being OP)

Right from the get go the guys were employing underhanded tactics to pump up their numbers... Like jumping right into the trash at the start and blasting the heck out of everything while we are buffing, afking, and generally getting ready to start the instance.

This was going to be interesting.

Mage vs shaman vs retadin. All of these have the potential for monster DPS. Each of them was a skilled player. They were all 2 levels higher than the tank. We had just completed a flawless run of this instance and everyone was on top of their game.

We all run in, and the guys are spanking all of that inconsequential trash at the start trying to get some numbers up before they all get zapped.

(FYI, violet hold is similar to the black morass. Portals, spawns, blah blah. When the event starts giant pink LAZERS zap all the trash in the room, so there is really no need to kill it all first.)

Then the portal spawns a mob and it is ON for young and old. I'm in there throwing down a death and decay and over my left shoulder shoots a fireball, while over my right shoulder the shaman launches a chain lighting. or something. Something that pissed the mob off bigtime is what it was!

A quick taunt and that mob back under control , then I hardly had time to get my diseases up before the mob died.

These shenannigans continued until the portals start spawning packs of mobs. Now my work was really cut out for me maintaining aggro, thankfully these guys had no issues selecting my target and focusing it, but AoE was the order of the day so I had to start tabbing spamming to build as much threat on all mobs as possible, in amongst a hail of blizzards, lightings, and whatever it is that pallys do. Frequently mobs would get loose, and my taunt and death grip keys really got a work out.

Bosses came and went, but the DPS race was the main attraction here.

After 2 bosses, the pally and shaman were neck and neck, but the mage was falling behind.

For shame! Mages gotta be resprazentin'! gnome sain?

Trash talking between trash pulls was friendly, however, it was clear nobody was going to let up until it was all said and done, and the ground was littered with an array of bloodied corpses.

Now my little intellectually-superior, dress-wearing, fireball-sligning mage had to do something drastic if he was going to stay in the race, so he started taking some... risks.

The kind of risks you don't take unless you have faith that your tank WON'T let you die...
Lucky for him I was treating this run as a challenge, and keeping the excitable DPS kids safe from harm was my duty.

So... a portal spawns a pack of 4 mobs. I am going through my pre-pull ritual, where I blow my horn of winter, blood tap to get a death rune up, pop bone shield, then lay down a death and decay...

I get as far as blood tap when my skinny friend blinks past me! What the HELL is he doing?

Snap! he blasts the pack with a well placed Cone of Cold.

Crackle! arcane explosion while staying JUST out of reach of the hapless mobs.

Pop! a frost nova roots them all neatly in place, right where I am just about to cast my death and decay.

Next thing I know my screen is a mess of blizzards, chain lightings, consecrations, the works. By the time the mobs are free they are all more interested in me than the mage, who has escaped completely unscathed and is happily burning down the pack with the other DPSers.

Violet hold has a tendency to get a little boring at times, as there is so much waiting between pulls and after bosses. Not this time! I was on my toes the whole run with my new found tanking skills being put to the test on each pull, the DPSers were clearly giving it everything the had, only the priest complained about it being boring as there wasn't much work for him to do!

... and in the end?

The shaman just edged out the pally, tipping over 1600 DPS overall with the most damage. Closely followed by the retadin on 1550ish, and the ballsy mage coming in third with a lowly 1480 DPS.

My 1310 looked weak by comparison!

Afterwards we all added each other to friends, and headed over to smash our way through Gun'Drak a couple of times. Thankfully I got a bit of a rest there as the guys weren't being quite so excessively competitive anymore. Once again no troubles, no wipes, no deaths even, no arguments, no stupidity, just solid teamwork, understanding and reliability from all sides.

I remarked to the healer that he hadn't even scared me once in all the runs, which was true, I don't think I dipped under 10k HP at all. Naturally I spoke too soon causing the lag monster to hit and the healer nearly disconnected a few times.

To his credit he managed to keep me up even though he could hardly see what was happening, I spammed a few cooldowns and death strikes as required to make up the additional healing, and all was well.

So why was I happy to taunt mobs off frenzied damage dealers who weren't giving me a chance to build aggro? Why, exactly, didn't I let anyone die?

Well, I had to think about this one for a bit, and ask myself the question, and I think I have the answer.

Not only were these guys skilled players, pro even, but they were clearly having a DPS race, which is something I can relate to. Also, they weren't pulling aggro by doing stupid shit, just by doing insane damage from the word go... even from the words "ready.. set..." without the go!

Even when the mage went overboard, he still managed to present me with a pack of snared mobs right at my feet and then get away to safety. He knew I could pick them up, and he knew I wouldn't let him die.

In the end I think it was all about understanding. We knew each other's limits and were content to push them. It was fun, it was challenging, and contrary to my last post, I will NOT let you die if you aren't being stupid.

Provided I'm in a good mood.

Did I mention I picked up all the tank gear from Violet Hold?

Yeah, I was totally in a good mood :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I WILL let you die!

I will let you die.

You will have deserved it.

The healer will probably be on my side and let you die also.

It will be your own fault.

I think I will have to take a summary of this post & comments and make a start-of-instance macro, including;

1. do not pull. anything. ever. (I -will- let you die)
2. wait 2 seconds to dps (I -will- let you die)
3. kill order (I -will- let you die)
4. stand behind mob (rogues at least tend to get this one)
5. get the hell out of frost presence you twit (watch how many DKs try to argue that they like being in frost... its unbelievable)
6. I only wait for healer mana. Deal with it. Your dps is probably shit anyway, why should i wait for u to mana up? Don't give me that shit, my main is a mage. There should be no reason to wait for dps to regain mana ever. Drink when the healer is drinking or drink on the run.
7. LOS means DONT HIT ANYTHING UNTIL I SAY. That' actually what it stand for ok? shhh.

The difficulty, of course, is maintaining control of a pug, giving instructions, and not having people think you are a complete jerk.

Sometimes a player will see what you are trying to do, understand that it's not all about them, relax, fulfill their role, and invite me back again and again to tank stuff.

Other times, people won't see it that way. Sometimes, I'm too slow (I have a reason, they may not see it, ill be waiting for healer mana, a cooldown, someone who isn't in the room yet...)

Often someone doesn't know what the hold up is and just goes and pulls then runs to me. Mages in particular seem to think its oh-so-pro to pull a pack and frost nova it when its near me then blink away.

So most of the time things go well. Sometimes people get really upset with me.

When this happens it bothers me more than it should. It's a lot easier to be everyone's friend when you are just a ranged DPS doing your job properly.

At least people who know what they are doing don't get upset, quite the opposite. I guess that means something, but I just don't like it people argue, either with me, or around me, or in my pug.

PS: ran gundrak about 4 times last night. Pro group, 15 - 20 minute runs, lots of XP, lots of lootz, lots of fun. Will be doing that instance again :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Without further ado, here are some screenies from my latest install / rebuild.

The guts of this UI is SpartanUI which I haven't used before, but it's a nice change from Xperl or Pitbull if you ask me. I had to do a bit of customization because even though SpartanUI is designed for widescreens, the buttons and text was far too tiny on my 24 inch 1920x1200 screen.....

... so I changed some scaling, made some big spam buttons on the left, and installed all my other favourite addons like omen and recount, quest helper and scrolling combat text...

This is little Zupa the gnome DK with Speedy...

And this is just pretty ! Should be pretty easy to guess where this was taken, it was also the first place in WotlK where I decided to stop and take a picture :)

OMG I found it!

Hi all,

Just wrote about a video that inspired me to become a mage in a comment over at

Well check it out I found the video!

From back in the olden days... go check out why I rolled a mage!

Friday, May 22, 2009

spread the word!

Remember when there were hardly any mage blogs?

Seems not that long ago that you had to search high and low to find more than a couple...

Well times are changing and while we have seem some of our favourite big name bloggers throw in the towel in the past couple of months, mage blogging is alive and well!

Check out this forum post for a comprehensive list, then why not add your 2c and help out all these worthy mage blogs with a bit of free publicity?

Go on do it! clicky here

Somebody say screen shots?

Yah that was me.

Ummm... Might have had some technical alarm clock difficulties this morning.

Possibly needed extended sleep maintenance. This may have interfered with my screen shot delivery forcast.

Fear not! Screenies will be forthcoming, and until then I can share with you all a story from last night.

I will make it brief!

So... a long time ago, in a land, far far away, lived a litool death knight called Nikitar...

oh yeah I said brief. oops my bad.

... So a few days ago I bought a stack of 24 stam gems off someone who was spamming trade. I bought them all and got them for cheep cheep (like a budgie!). We are talking like 17 gems for 14 gold each or thereabouts. (I bargained him down from 15! Zomg leet haggling skillz! I has them... ) He sent them COD. They arrived for correct price.

All was well.

Now I only actually needed a couple. I just figured that over a long enough timeline, I would need them all, and whatever was surplus I could probably sell for a few gold profit. This is where I stopped doing clever things, and started doing silly things.

Everyone knows bag space is a scarce and precious commodity. I wasn't about to go running around with 17 gems in my bag. When i picked them up I was no where near the bank... So in my misguided wisdom how did I solve this dilemma?

I left them in the mailbox! Great thinking 99, you can pick them up from wherever, they dont take any space, and you have 30 days to figure out what you are going to do with them all! Just like when I send items between my alts! Right?

Hang on I thought, what about the seller? He needs his money! So what do I do? I take ONE gem from each mail and pay the COD money and leave the rest sitting there... This is a great idea right?



Once you do that, none of this 30 days timeout. It becomes 5 days... or is it 3? Not bloody enough is what it becomes!

Of course ignorance is bliss, and I was blissfully ignorant of these events happening in my very own mailbox. Far too busy smashing yet another pug group through normal Utgarde Keep...

Until I get this mail out of the blue

"why did you send the gems back?"

errr wot? WOT?

*quickly check inbox searching for gems*


*(I totally didnt say bugger. I said several things none of them quite as nice as the quaint aussie 'bugger')

So I send a nice polite mail back explaining what happened and asking if I could pretty please have my gems back, but expecting the worst. Naturally I got no reply... So I looked him up and sent a tell. No reply. He was fighting some boss somewhere but even when the fight was over, no reply.

I basically gave up on the gems at this point and decided I had learnt an expensive lesson.

The very next day I gave it one last try, this time managed to talk to the guy, explained what had happened, and he sent me my money back!

See people aren't all bad!

Even in WoW!

Who you gonna call?

I <3 Machinima.

The good ones that is, some I find plain boring and dumb, but the good ones bring much joy to my heart, cold and rotten though it may be.

The first one I ever saw i think was Red vs Blue. This made me laugh my ass off an is most probably the most successful machinima ever, with innumerable episodes, all of them hilarious.

Sometimes I find a machinima that makes me go PHWOAAAR how they do that ay? An example of this one can be found here at WoWFailBlog. It's not funny, it's just awesome. I would like to know how this was done.

edit: the original has been taken down but it can be found here on youtube.

The one I discovered most recently is totally funny. At least totally funny if you are old enough to remember watching ghostbusters as a kid. Check out this post at Hardcore Casual for my newest, favouritest machinima!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How many DKs does it take to change a lightbulb?

3 in my case.

One on the same server as my mage...

One on the same server as my buddy from work who is a hardcore raider...

And one on the same server as everyone's favourite Gnomey... just so I can say Hi and stuff.

As you can see this gives rise to some minor issues, as one has to go to work and spend quality time with the Missus and do all those other things that make it impractical to play three separate toons on three separate servers.

A decision had to be made. I hate decisions. I am not a decisive person. This is not going to change anytime soon, I accept this about myself. Sometimes I wish other people would too... but that's another story.

So I tested the waters. I played my female Dranei frost DK for a while on Gnomey's server. Imaginatively named Zupette. In hindsight I think I prefer the name Zupalina, but there is no way im starting again, so Zupette is here to stay.

Now this Gnome(aggeddon), like the truly benevolent statesman that he is, immediately set me up with a bunch of helpful friends, some bags, and a stack of gold. A big stack. He had a hard time convincing me to 'borrow' this much gold, but did in the end...

What a champ! Gnicest-Gnome-Ever!

A few days later I got chatting to my networking geek friend who sits down the hall from me at work. He is a hardcore raider with a bunch of level 80s on a different server. Different to my main and different to Gnomey. Turns out he got benched by his end game raiding guild and wasn't happy about it. Figured he would start playing his alt warlock who was sitting at level 71...

...Convinced me to roll a DK on that server and play with him.

Righto then - so I did. Started again and went unholy, smashed through the DK starting quest line, got this particular DK up to level 71 in record time. This one was a gnome and he enjoyed a successful, if shortlived, PvP career, and was even more imaginatively named this time around... Zupa... I just didn't want there to be any confusion about who was driving... you know?

He is also a member of the totally awesome guild "vertically challenged" Comprised entirely of gnomes and dwarves, and has already has a Kara run under his belt, complete with epic lootz and everything!

So what happened at level 71? Well turns out my raiding friend had only been benched temporarily, and is now raiding ulduar 4 or 5 nights a week. I know nobody else on that server, and if my mate is playing he is either raiding, or farming for raiding, or resting... for raiding.

At some point I found myself asking "why am I here?" This was after I bought my flying skill and discovered that the cool looking ebon flying chicken thing isn't cool looking at all, on account of its BRIGHT RED ASS!

What the hell! (I'm new to alliance ppl)

And THEN... Most recently, another RL friend, who is also my team leader at work, reactivated his account and started playing his original toon, a lv 70 warrior... back on my original server.

At last he convinced me to go back to that server, but I really had developed quite a thing for the DK playstyle, and was honestly sick of wearing a dress. So Zupa, Hand of A'wesome, sits at orgrimmar, keeping the home fires burning, while the newest kid on the block takes up all my wow time.

Introducing Nikitar, dual specced blood dps / unholy tank level 71 death knight of awesomeness.

I bought dual spec instead of flying skill this week as it seemed like I would get more use out of it, and I have to say it's awesome having this much flexibility. Particularly when half the time im tanking instances, and the other half im soloing quests.

I have a lot of fun playing this toon I must admit. Plate-wearing, Self-healing, Giant-Axe-Weilding... How do they fit so much awesome into just one class?

Are my ranged DPS days over?

Are these the first steps on a journey that will eventually lead to me main tanking in 25 mans?

And what of my other DKs? The benchwarmers?

Well Zupette... Zupette is going to have to pay off her debt to Gnomey soon. This shouldn't be too hard on account of her not actually spending any of it, since DKs don't really need any money to start with.

Zupa the gnome may become PvP focused and maybe join some arena team by the time he gets to level 80. I really like him. I enjoy playing a gnome. I like being small. Tiny even.

And Nikitar. Well Nikitar might be a cutesy little blood elf chick, but DAMN she is tough! (and hawt) and so much fun to play! She will definitely become my first lv 80.

Screenshots tonight guys! (no really, i promise)

till then...

WTB Spirit Guide

Something has been troubling me of late...
Something I can't quite put my finger on, but nevertheless it is there, in the back of my head, bothering me.
I expect this is due to an unfortunate sequence of events that has occurred lately, RL styles, that has stripped me of my inspiration to blog, and to a lesser extent to comment on all my favourite blogs, and even to play Wow. (cue world's smallest violin thx)

I don't feel good about it, but I don't really know what to do about it.

Now I feel like im over dramatizing. I mean, I still lead a charmed life. My 'problems' are really nothing to stress about. I still have food and shelter, I still have an education. I still have a great job working for a solid company. I love my apartment, my suburb and my city. I love my family and friends.

As a good mate of mine used to say "it's worse in the trenches" This can roughly be translated to "quit your bitching" or "wake up and smell the roses" or even... "suck it up princess"

True enough.

So what's the damn problem?

Maybe it's coz this is a self proclaimed frost mage blog, and all i've been playing is a death knight?

Maybe its coz my mage is actually a fire mage these days?

Maybe I just feel like I don't have anything worthwhile to put in a blog post anymore. (surely not!)

I just don't know.

Perhaps the reason I haven't felt like blogging is simply because I haven't been blogging?

Maybe all I have to do is click this here button that says "post" and then come back tomorrow and share some other randomness with my blogging buddies.

Can't hurt to try.

Actually you know what, I'm going to come back later tonight and introduce my 3 death knights. Yes I know there isn't much point having 3 of them... but I guess I'll explain that bit later as well.
Well, whadyaknow.
I feel better already!