Monday, November 30, 2009

Back To Live Action

Well, work didn't miraculously become better after a long absence. If anything,the relaxing break perhaps magnified the mundane deluge of everyday sludgery.  Yes, sludgery is a word I made up and I think it describes very well day-to-day life sometimes, depending on your mood.  Mine's obviously as black as last Friday.  Which is to say more of a gray color.  Anyone else thing Cyber Monday is really a clever sexual innuendo?  I guess it really wouldn't be all that clever if it was.   Pretty obvious if you ask me.

I, for one, will be keeping it real.

In a similar fashion, tanking didn't become miraculously easier when combined with raid leading after my semi-break from WoW.  I say "semi", because whenever I hear someone mention taking a break it's for like three months or something.  For me, its rarely more than a week off, and usually means I just failed to keep up with my blog roll and played a lot of console games.  Which is exactly what I did over the Thanksgiving holiday bonanza.  Partly because I was afk at my parents, and partly because I knocked out Assasin's Creed II in about 40 hours of nearly contiguous game play.  Awesome game, great ending, great game play, good length.  All in all, a winner.

Then I picked up Modern Warfare 2 so I could play a bit with my brothers online.  Plus, it appeals to my twitchier side.  So far so good on that one, but I'm not really gunning to beat the game so quickly.  It's more of a change of pace.  Like Aion only on the couch instead of in the Captain's Chair.  (Seriously, does anyone else think of their computer chair as their personal Dr. Evil high-backed brooding post, wishing it had strange buttons for various modes of death?  Sharks with frickin' lasers and a pit of fire?  Or is that just me?)

Which brings me back to my MMO life.  Sunday night is our alt/newbie raid group.  Some of us run alts, some of us are new to raiding, some of us just don't partake of the cornucopia that is progression raiding.  It's a healthy mix.  It's also a group I'm looked upon to lead.  This last Sunday we happened to be short a few regulars (it being the holidays and all), so people ended up in different roles.  For me, this meant main tanking on my DK (usually I'm OT or DPS on Dece).

I feel like I should take this opportunity to reiterate: Main Tanking and Raid Leading often don't mix.

I say often, because some fights are a bore.  Others, however, can been a real pain.  If you're one of the few that can effectively raid lead while main tanking Malygos, kudos to you, chum.  We warmed up on OS (no drakes) and then went to try EoE.  For a lot of people, it was their first time here, and the learning curve for that fight is mighty steep.  It also can be very main tank intensive on the movement side, especially if you're using the strat where the tank positions relative to the sparks to make it easier for the raid to stay put in the middle.  Boy was that a challenge.  We only got past the first phase once, but we were really low on DPS.  Many of our folks are not really geared for it yet, so it's not a knock on anyone, we've just done really well on everything and are trying to not rerun as much as possible.  Having cleared Naxx, OS, the first two VoA bosses, and then OS-1D... a trial EoE run wasn't a bad idea.  In fact, the clear of OS-1D last week was really encouraging, but we weren't missing those regulars who happen to be among the better geared.

In short, the attempt was not meant to succeed, but to be a learning experience.  I've found these are good for a group sometimes, as it really motivates people work on their gear.  Otherwise, if you work on the gear first without ever hitting something where you struggle, people tend to get bored really fast or fidgety.  Every once in a while, a group needs a wipe fest.  It's just good for the soul.

I don't have any clever tricks for tanks for EoE, you just have to position opposite of the sparks.  There's a lot of camera work and movement, plus you want to keep high threat so your DPS can burn, baby, burn.  It's really a challenge, and I'd like to say I was great at it, but at best I was mediocre.  Also, try to use your cool-downs right before his bad breath.  It hits hard.  Recall that he doesn't have a tail swipe (unlike every other dragon), so really you just need to concern yourself with his conic frontal attacks.

On a tangent, I'd mentioned OS before.  Trying to main tank AND dodge flame walls AND call them out is another tanking challenge.  It's really hard to see behind you (even when you have the "flip camera" command hot-keyed).  Well, it's hard to see behind quickly, call it out, and then move appropriately to dodge the wall.  So, here's the trick: find the hole in the wall that would come from behind.  Sit in it so if it comes from behind, you don't have to move.  Then all you have to dodge is the on-coming flames.   It's been mentioned before, I know, but for a newbie main tank, I thought it bears re-mentioning.

Then calling 'em out doesn't become so hard either, except if you're using left/right nomenclature and then realize, as a tank, right and left no longer have meaning to you since you're facing sideways.  You can always switch horses in mid-stream and start using "front" and "back" to indicate hole location.  Not a big deal, but you probably should have gone that route to begin with.  Ah, how different encounters can be through the eyes of a different role.

In any case, going back and struggling to tank on "old" fights was just what I needed to shake of the dust.  Tonight the 'lock gets the call from the bullpen to go pitch a winner in ToC-10.  Last time we got all the way through the Twins.  It'd be really nice to throw a complete game tonight.

Oh, and I think I'm going to try to pull a Miss Medicina (zomg, I actually used your blog name, Jess) and start bolding pearls of wisdom.   Maybe not wisdom or pearls so much, maybe just main points.  Or maybe random sentences, I'm never sure what she's doing over there, but I liked it enough to try and emulate.  What can I say, I'm a skimmer.


  1. "I'm never sure what she's doing over there"


    Trust me, I'm rarely sure myself.

    I bold whatever point I really want my readers to take home. This is due to the fact that I'm the worst TLDRer in the blogosphere, I swear, and I don't want to alienate people who can't stand reading giant walls of text... so if you like reading lots and lots of text, there's plenty for you. If you're a skimmer and just want the main points, you can just read the bolded parts. It's worked pretty well for me!

    "but we weren't missing those regulars who happen to be among the better geared."

    I'm assuming you're talking about me and Boingo. I happen to think I'm pretty well geared for the content, tyvm! Or did you pull a scott and insert a "weren't" when you meant "were"?

  2. There you go forcing things on readers again ;-).

    And since it wasn't bolded, I suppose you get a pass, but I was clearly referring to the successful 1D attempt we made last week... of which you were a part of.

    <3 Ful XD