Lich King Blues

My 10 man raid hit the Lich King last night for the third serious time. It ended ….. poorly. I really wish we could take the same group every week, but real life keeps getting in the way and we’ve always got two rotating spots.

Sindragosa was a pain again this week. I’ll look forward to the day when we can kill her without losing anyone to the AE, without messing up ice blocks, and without killing her right on the enrage. Anyways, we had about two hours on LK last night with two people who’d not seen the fight before.

Well, not all was bad. I privately compete with two other 10 man teams on the server run by friends, and I know we’re doing better than both. One of them can’t get out of phase one due to cleansing troubles, and the other is still stuck on Sindragosa. So that’s a yay! \o/ At least we’re on phase 2.

For reference, my 10 man usually 2 heals but switches to three for K. We have two pally tanks (I am the OT) and 5 DPS around 6k.

Phase One

Phase one is easy as long as the offtank cleanses herself on time (lawl). We haven’t had a rogue to FoK Tricks me for two weeks, and I was worried about grabbing enough ghouls, but it doesn’t honestly seem to matter. The MT always ended up with most of them while I grab as many as I could, and even a few ghouls on me was just fine. Phase 1 is easy for is now.

The MT is often complaining that Arthas jumps around if the adds are tanked too close- yay for unfixed positioning bugs! So I end up backing up a bit more than I expected at first. This makes it a little bit more difficult to grab ghouls – and if I get too far away, I can’t really get back without being extremely careful about where I point Shambling Horrors. So I often find myself with just 2 or 3 ghouls & too far away from the MT for my cleave damage to pick up more.

This worried me at first. But after a while I realized – it’s ok.

I keep encountering this situation in tanking – a problematic situation is sometimes much easier to deal with if I just relax, don’t panic, and avoid overcorrecting. It’s OK if I’m a bit further away. My raid is smart and knows how to run over to the adds to get cleansed, even if they have to run a few extra steps. If I’m really short on ghouls, I can just taunt a few, or warn my MT on vent and RD him, or RD off a dps or healer if they snag some ghouls. By the time I’m short on ghouls, phase 1 is almost over and plague has jumped enough that it’s gonna kill my second Horror just fine when it hits him.

I roll Seal of Command in p1 since I like the cleave effect to pick up ghouls.

We didn’t bother to tranq any of the Horror enrages. I just saved my stuns. Between Holy Wrath, Captain America Shield, and Hammer of Justice, I was fine.

Anyways, like I said, phase 1 was easy. Our healers especially appreciated the fact that we had a disc priest along this week. Apparently his bubbles are OP for Infest.

Phase Transition

Things that make Phase Transition more interesting: OT forgets to cleanse herself! \o/ Or, ranged runs towards OT as she is clearing herself of the raid to cleanse herself! No, don’t do that! I only have a few seconds to clear myself of the raid, don’t make my life harder! Anyways…. the phase transition is not difficult for us either.

Our lock solos the ice spheres.

Raging Spirits seem to die with agonizing slowness. I don’t know why they die so slowly. Our DPS is not low – although we are very, very used to 2 healing everything, so it’s odd to have one less DPS. Maybe they have a ton of HP – I don’t know. I’m always looking at percentages. I guess they must be pretty hard to kill.

The MT takes the first one, and I usually grab both the second and third. In practice, this means I’m tanking two at full HP as the LK moves into Phase 2.

Phase Two

Phase two is made much more fun and interesting by the fact that I have never seen all my spirits die before we wipe. I get into phase 2 with two very live spirits on me; the best we’ve done is kill one. Therefore I spend the whole time tanking hard-hitting adds with an awesome frontal silence! I drag them to the center, pile them on Arthas, and strafe over- so the adds are sitting on top of the LK but they’re not facing the raid or the MT. And theoretically they get burned down first, before the Valkyr comes out and becomes a priority.

The Valkyrs are problematic. They have a ton – just an absolute ton – of HP. I mean it. Damn things don’t die. I try to get a Hammer of Justice on them; if I see someone stun them first, I wait and throw my HoJ when I see theirs wear off. At least, that’s how it should go. We seem to be pretty short on snares. I did a WOL search though and all three of our pallies – me, the MT, and our pally healer – are stunning them. What other snares do we have access to? IDK… the fucking things just don’t die fast enough.

We managed to save one or two raidmembers this week, which was an improvement over last week.

And we also managed to not cover the entire floor with Defile four out of seven times! \o/

Look, it’s the little things that count, OK?

Final Note

A clarification on my Raging Spirit whining.

I realize that the third one spawns right before Quake; the mechanics of the fight are such that I will always have that third one in phase 2. Here is my problem with them. I end up in the center in phase 2 with an add at 100% and one around 80%. IN PHASE 2. The valkyr spawns when one raging spirit is half dead and the other is untouched. So yeah… my opinion is that DPS on them is being slow right now >>

The Fastest Way to ICC from Dalaran

Getting to Icecrown Citadel from Dalaran is a bit of a pain in the ass.

I mean, first of all, there’s no flight path, which sucks. I’ve been spoiled by recent raids – TOC and Ulduar both had paths!

Don’t give me any of this “Anafielle, you have a 310 speed mount and crusader aura – it doesn’t get much faster than that!” bullshit. Look. Pointing myself in the right direction and zoning out is still more irritating than paying some taxi driver to get me there while I go down into the kitchen and mix myself a pre raid martini.

And not only do you actually have to FLY there, but furthermore, Dalaran itself gets in your way. Since Krasus’ Landing is on the wrong side of the city from ICC, you can’t fly straight there – you have to avoid the huge No Fly Zone that is the city. Like many of my raiding cohorts, I often find myself playing the “let’s see how far I can fly in the debuff area before I fall off my mount and have to float down through half the zone at a snail’s pace!” game.

And don’t give me any of that “But at least you’re a pally! You can click off the debuff and bubble right before you hit the ground!” bullshit. Look. I have three buttons on my keyboard. One of them is taunt. The other is my entire 96969 macro’d to a single key. The third is bubble/hearth, but you can’t hearth while you’re falling. No reason to confuse myself with more buttons.


There is another way.

Credit goes to Boogelawoof, a good real life friend and badass shammy healer. He discovered this gem of a method to get to ICC.

Hey everyone. So I hate going to IC from Krasus’ Landing cause I’ve been demounted an floated for days half way across the map. As such, I’ve been toying with ways to get to IC from alternate starting points. Some people that tried it out said I should put it on the forum so here I am.

Go to the purple parlor and walk outside. You can mount up there and it’s a beeline to IC. in case you don’t know how to get there, you have to go through the portal in the violet citadel that is opposite of the caverns of time portal. So you go right instead of left after you go up the big stairs. That is all, you may all go back to your day now.


Look, I don’t care if this is not actually shorter than the traditional way. It’s probably just about the same length. However, it wins – absolutely wins – in terms of convenience. I’m alliance, so my hearth is right next door to the Violet Citadel. I’m always logged off in the Alliance Inn, the alliance-side bank, or the Jewelcrafting shop. Violet Citadel is practically closer than Krasus’ Landing.

Get there – zip through the portal – mount up – and fly in a straight shot to ICC!

Try it out. If you’re immensely lazy like me and dislike silly inconveniences like flying around a huge no-fly zone like Dalaran, you’ll love this new way to ICC.

Brand New Day Recruiting More for ICC25

Are you on Drenden? Looking for a new raiding guild? Well, I think you need to strongly consider joining my guild, Brand New Day!

Brand New Day is currently 7/12 ICC25 with the capability to get further. We are a casual guild on Drenden-US, Alliance Side, with a light raiding schedule – 7:30-11 PM EST Tuesday Wednesday Thursday, possibly moving down to 2 nights per week. There are two or three 10 mans that run on weekends. Most everyone in the guild is an altaholic, and there are always tons of people online!

We have a very committed core group of people. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to progress and see new bosses when we have 4 empty spots in the raid. We were 23 manning Rotface the other night- ugh! With a full raid, we would do well, but we need more people! New recruits capable of good DPS would quickly have a spot in the raid every week.

Reposted from my forums thread:

“But, Anafielle! I’m a DPS and no one wants DPS! I’m like the red headed step child of the recruiting world! I’m like Shakezula looking for a date for prom! No one wants me!!”
You’re in luck!! Pew pew pew is exactly what Brand New Day needs! If you can prove that you deserve those fat purps, get your ass in gear and apply.

We are looking for people who are interested in raiding casually, but with focus, and good DPS. If you beat my DPS on Festergut (6.4k) in your first raid, I will gem your first upgrade for you. Entirely! I will buy you gems!!! So get to it and kick my ass!

We raid with focus for a small quantity of time. Because of this, we are only looking for people who are interested in committing to all our raids. The upside of such low weekly commitment is this: if you raid with BND, you might be able to play wow and have a girlfriend, too! There’s life outside of wow? There is! I promise! The internet says so, so it must be true. And we still progress just fine with two days a week of raiding. Like what you’re always telling your girlfriend – it might be short, but it’s damn effective!

Does the recession have you down? Get talked into investing in a prime piece of real estate on the Tanaris coast? Lose everything in the Dalaran Sub Prime Morgage bust? BND is the solution you’ve been looking for! Perks of being a raider in Brand New Day include reduced prices on flask mats and guild bank supplies, and coverage of repair fees for raids for those who reach “raider” status!

The healer’s union finally caved to tank demands and heals are now free, with the exception of hunters and those who enjoy standing in fire. Our healers do still have a “No Heal” list, which is kept a closely guarded secret, except for the fact that Khergan is on it at least four times. In general, it is easy to keep yourself off it. Compliment them a lot. Repeat after me: “Oooh, Dornoch, what a big mana pool you have!” Make sure to slip them bribes all the time. “Oh, Tala, I heard you like flowers! So I have these Frost Lotuses …”

We take this game seriously. Like I said, we are all adults with little patience for kiddies – unless they are someone’s small child on vent providing vital post-raid commentary like “Anafielle is a smelly tank.” Occurances such as being demoted for insulting Honeyflake‘s choice of outfit or sweet pink drake are few and far between and happen at most several times a day. Cybering during raids is strongly discouraged, unless you are the raid leader, who is not only allowed to cyber but encouraged to do so. Our hunters are under strict instructions to stop MDing healers, except for Legolina, who is featured in an MD macro all hunters are required to learn upon entrance to the guild.
Like I said… we are mature!

BND features a large cast of wonderful, very different people from those who have just one main, to those with ten alts and several more across their childrens’ accounts! Being in BND can teach you about the world outside Azeroth, too. Why, just the other day I learned that Canada has real cities. I know, I know. I was shocked too. Next, you’ll be telling me they have electricity and running water. [*]

[*] Mocking Canada is strongly contraindicated for those seeking to join BND. Side effects include unexpected demotions, unfortunate officer notes, and /gkicks.

If you aren’t interested in raiding on our schedule.
If you are a new and totally ungeared 80.
If you are not committed to doing the best DPS you can do & learning how to do more
If you like standing in fire…
Please don’t apply.

If you want to join the most fun and excellent group of people on this server, and if you would be a quality addition to our ranks, then get ye to our guild website and put in an application right now!

Tales of a Noob: Kologarn

As I mention quite a bit, I’m pretty new to the world of raiding. I’m good at grasping big things quickly, but I have a bad tendency to make some hilariously silly mistakes. I’ve made quite a few of these in my wow career so far, and some of them make pretty good stories.

I should probably write them down before I happen to forget all about them and think of myself as some kind of pro! :)

My first story involves Kologarn.

Anafielle, welcome to Ulduar!

The raid I am thinking of was quite some time ago, certainly very soon after I hit 80.

It marked one of my very first 25 man raids with my new guild. I was along as the third tank, a nice supposedly stress-free position for the most part which gave me a chance to obtain some raiding experience without being thrown into a crazy hot seat.

Stress free? Me? What are you TALKING about? Since when have I tanked anything without stressing out about it?

This was Ulduar in the time of patch 3.2. The guild knew all the beginning fights by heart. I was about 60% worried about wiping the raid due to my own stupidity and 60% worried about making a complete and utter fool of myself. Yes, that adds up to 120%. Don’t argue with my math.

Mostly I just felt overgeared for my experience level. I was decked out in 226 without a lick of experience to justify all this raid quality gear. On those early raids, I felt like a 10 year old girl playing dress-up in mommy’s closet. Someday I knew those clothes would fit me right; but right then, I thought I looked stupid and awkward.

The Fight

I had done Kologarn on 10 a few times, but never 25. In 10s I had always been on “grab rubble when it spawns” duty. In 25s, they put me on “taunt trade” duty.

Trading taunts! Exciting!! So this is what real tanks do! I have to tank the boss. AWESOME. Yet terrifying! The raid’s survival rests on my overgeared yet underexperienced shoulders. I was excited and scared at the same time.

In the middle of the fight, I got gripped.

This was totally unexpected. What? What?? Oh god! That boss needs me! What if my cotank got too many stacks of the debuff?! What would happen if I wasn’t there to taunt?! How do I react to this crazy and completely unexpected situation?

When I dropped from the arm, I clicked my autorun key. This has always been my middle mouse button. Back then I was an autorunner; I always used to move by speedily clicking autorun (my middle mouse button) on and off. Always. I have since taught myself to move by holding down both mouse buttons, but back then I was still an autorun clicker. It was, in general, a pretty precise way to get around.

In this situation … unfamiliar with the boss’ hitbox – or, to be honest, the concept of hitboxes in general – and panicking to get back in position … it was a catastrophic error.

Yes. I auto-ran off the edge.


After my horrifyingly humiliating experience with the edge boss, the raid giggled a bit at me and killed him cleanly, leaving only my pride hurt. >< After all, it was freakin’ Kologarn…. easy mode.

And oh… was my pride hurt.


Feel free to laugh at me :)

Blood Queen Lanathel (10) Zerg Strategy

I’d like to make a short post here about our BQL 10 strategy, because people tend to look at me like I’m completely insane when I describe how we do this.

This is what we do.

We use a zerg-like strategy – two heals, six DPS, a tank, and an “off tank” in DPS gear (me). This stresses the healers, but allows us to put enough DPS on the boss to take her down before she hits the second air phase.

Tanking & Offtanking BQL

The OT takes damage from two things – Delerious Slash, a nasty DOT; and Blood Mirror, which mirrors the damage the MT takes in the form of pure shadow damage.

There are basically three ways to mitigate the Offtank damage:

1) The MT can stack armor. This will reduce the size of the Blood Mirror hits to the OT.
2) The OT can stack pure stamina to absorb all that shadow damage.
3) The OT can (I hear) stack shadow resist. We haven’t tried this.

Armor is extremely helpful in this fight – the more armor the MT has, the less damage both tanks take through the Blood Mirror mechanic. Armor, of course, does nothing for the OT. His damage is pure shadow damage. The MT can hold BQL throughout the fight, or the tanks can trade her off and cycle their cooldowns to reduce total damage done.

That having been said…

We sort of throw all that out the window by putting the OT in DPS gear.

Using a DPS as Off Tank

As the offtank, I remain in Prot spec, but I throw on my Ret spec gear, my “threat” axe and my shield. I go sword/board because half my protty abilities require a shield.

This allows me to crank out about 5.5k DPS while remaining in prot spec, giving me access to prot’s superior stamina scaling & Divine Shield/Divine Guardian for the air phases.

I sit on the main tank, with Righteous Fury off, doing a modified version of my rotation to optimize my DPS. When she flies into the air, I bubble out and pop Divine Sacrifice. (I don’t use my cancel macro; the idea is to help my party!)

This works if your healers can handle those Blood Mirror hits on an “offtank” (or a pure DPS) with a health pool around 32k when all buffed up. Our heals are absurdly badass, so we do it this way.

I’m pretty sure this strat is only viable on 10 man. :)


Personally, if I’m going to be wearing DPS gear anyways, I’d rather go all the way and switch to ret spec, significantly raising my DPS. My HP pool shouldn’t suffer much from the reduced stamina scaling, although my healers about had kittens when I suggested it… I’d have to stack a little stamina to make them happier, I think.

I was instructed to stay in prot spec so I still had Divine Sacrifice, which I pop on both the first and (if we have one) second air phase. Well, imo, we have three pallies specced into DS, I should be able to do without it… but I’m not calling the shots. We do it this way, and it works.

One day, I might secretly pop into ret spec, flask up for HP, put a stam piece or two on and see if it works. :) Until then, I will just sigh and keep going half-prot half-ret…


Is my raid the only raid that does it this way?

I thought this strat made a great deal of sense when it was explained to me. My healers are certainly able to deal with it. Our trouble with this fight was rarely with me dying; it was more with DPS figuring out how to deal with the many crazy damage-causing mechanics.

But when I tell people I off tank in my DPS gear, they look at me like I’m crazy. “OF COURSE we use two tanks!” “Why the hell don’t you stack stamina?!” or “We taunt trade to cycle through our cooldowns” are usually the responses I get.

Huh. Well, it works for us! This is a damn tightly tuned fight, even on 10 man, and if the MT & the healers are willing to sacrifice about 20k of my health pool to take my DPS up a little, I’m not going to argue.

The ICC 10 man fights aren’t nearly as unforgiving as the 25 man fights, especially for a raid in largely 25 man gear. Our strat is completely viable, if a little nerve wracking for the healers. I have a feeling this is one of those fights that will come to be single-tanked as more 10 mans get comfortable with it. Especially as the Strength of Wrynn buff increases DPS and health pools.

Please tell me if you also use a DPS as the off tank (or a DPS/tank hybrid, the way I do it). I’d like to know that we’re not the only ones!

Divine Sacrifice, my new BFF

I am shocked by how long I tanked with talent points in this skill without ever using it.

Not the current, redesigned Divine Sac. I’m talking about the old Divine Sac. Think back to patch 3.0, 3.1, even 3.2 – the “Push this button for a good time” version of Divine Sac with a big red chance of death sign attached.

It kind of reminded me of the way Engineering items are taglined in the game. “Absorbs X percent of damage taken by raid members. Occasionally results in death, so don’t forget your bring your bubble!”

I realized soon after I started raiding that there was literally never a situation where I felt comfortable popping a skill as scary as DS. Oh, I’m sure it used to have its uses, but I guess I was too noob to know them. If I was tanking something, the extra damage was way too worrisome to contemplate. If I wasn’t tanking something, I still worried about killing myself. What if the healers didn’t compensate?

So Divine Sac sat on my bar, completely ignored, until 3.3 came along and changed things forever.

Patch 3.3 and the Divine Sacrifice/Guardian redesign.

Oh, how things change. First of all, the damage redirection became party-only and much, much safer. More importantly, those extra 2 points in Divine Guardian added a raid-wide damage prevention aura that lasts the entire 6 seconds regardless of when the spell gets cancels.

Enter the Cancel Macro. You are probably familiar with this if you have your bubble on a macro to clear debuffs. The Divine Sac macro is precisely the same:

/cancelaura Divine Sacrifice
/cast Divine Sacrifice

Spam that button twice. You cancel the party redirect part, so no extra damage to you. Your whole raid takes 20% decreased damage for 6 seconds.

Wow. Holy shit. Read that again. A 20% raid wall. On a two minute cooldown. And it can be triggered at no personal risk to the tank. There is absolutely no reason not to use this all the freaking time.

It took me a long time to figure this out. Maybe I’m a slow tank. That’s why I’m posting about it now. I just started using Divine Sac a while lot about a month ago, and I can’t believe it took me so long to understand how amazing this spell has become.

Once Ignored, Now Beloved

Divine Sac was a completely neglected part of my tanking arsenal pre-3.3. Now its one of my absolute favorite abilities.

I pop it at least once on every raid boss. Even in farm content, I pop it because just it’s there and I can. No, seriously, that’s my reasoning. It’s there, and I can push it. Why not? Yeah, that’s right, this might be 10 man Marrogar and we could down this in our sleep, but I’m going to Divine Sac this bone storm just because I can. I do more than roll my face across the keyboard – sometimes I push interesting buttons, too!

I usually try to use it twice per boss fight. Its two minute cooldown happens to lines up flawlessly with several heavy raid damage times in ICC like BQL’s Air phase and Festergut’s Exhale Blight. I pop it early in a fight if I know I want it available later. Hell, if heals are light and I’m in sketchy tank gear, I use that thing in Pit of Saron when tanking those BK-phase-3-like mobs just before the final boss!

Divine Sacrifice and I are now BFF. I put it in a special place on my action bar.

Some Places where I use Divine Sac in ICC:

Marrogar: Bone Storm. Or, if tons of healers get spiked!
Deathwhisper: Phase 3, when the spirits start spawning.
Saurfang: After he hits Frenzy, when he gets high on BP.
Stinky & Precious: Don’t forget DS on these minibosses! Shortly after a Decimate.
Festergut: Pungent Blight. DS is back up for each one.
Rotface: Late in the fight when the slimes are spawning really fast.
Princes: On a Valanyr activation. I like popping it here better than on a Keleseth activation because theoretically the only person who should take damage when Keleseth is active is the ranged tank, and he’s getting other sorts of cooldowns.
BQL: Bloodbolt Whirl. DS is back up for each air phase. I usually bubble out of the first fear.
Valithra: on a Blazing Skeleton.
Sindragosa: Blistering Cold. Especially Phase 3, just before a tank (and hopefully no one else) eats a Blistering Cold.

When do you use Divine Sac? When should I be using it?

Tanking Festergut is Fun!

I love the Plagueworks wing…. tanking in here is never boring!

Even Festergut requires some thought and cooldown management to tank correctly. I can’t pop wings on the pull; I want them later. I can’t blow LOH in a panic if heals are light; Forbearance will screw me later.

The DPS buff makes me capable of pumping out some truly ridiculous numbers, like 6.4k on our very first kill. I’m Halleigh in those logs, and I was first tank. The mechanics of the fight are such that the first tank does about 50% more dps than the second. What? Strength of Wrynn, you say? Shh… I want to think I’m badass, OK? :)

Anyways… here’s a little rundown of how I tank Festergut as a pally. I know Festergut hasn’t been progression for a while for most people, but my guild downed him for the first time last night, so he’s on my mind!

Tanking First

I tank first because my MT (also a pally) prefers to tank the first cooldown intensive portion of the fight himself. Since that happens to the second tank, he tanks second. In keeping with my new addiction to Armor Potions, I chug one on my way in. Unlike most of the time when I’m tanking a boss, I don’t pop wings on the way in – I save them for later.

Tanking Fester first is easy. I pop Divine Protection when Fester hits 2 stacks of Inhale, just to ease things for the healers. It’s not necessary, but why not? I know it’ll be back up when I need it later. Cooldowns are there to be used, and I’m working on using mine more effectively.

While the MT has the boss

When Festergut is taunted off me, I toggle RF off, hit Hand of Salv, and go around to the back of the boss. I hate searching through my buffs to click things off, so I have a special /cancelaura Righteous Fury macro.

In fact, I have a few keybinds (Z and X) that I reserve for odd things I have to do that tend to change from fight to fight – generally macros, like target macros for specific fights, Gunship rocket, etc. On Festergut, I make sure /cancelaura Righteous Fury is on my X key.

My rotation changes a little to optimize DPS, while keeping a very close eye on omen. Hand of Salv works wonders, though. As soon as I can safely pop wings, I do so to lay the smack down on that bitch!

A Hand of Sacrifice on the MT helps when he’s tanking Festergut on 3 stacks of Inhale.

When I see Festergut casting Exhale Blight, I smack my Divine Sacrifice /cancel macro twice to trigger the 20% “raid wall”. Divine Sac is awesome on this fight; the two minute cooldown is short enough that it can be popped for both Exhales!

A Note on Raid Awareness

In this fight, it is incredibly necessary to know exactly who’s in melee range and who’s at range. We stick a lot of healers in melee range, so this is not always obvious. I always make sure, before the pull, that I know precisely who’s in melee and who’s at range. I want to be able to tell from that DBM raid announcement what spores are where without even looking for the spores on my screen.

As the not-actively-tanking tank I am the best choice to move if there are 2 spores in melee. When DBM calls out the 3 spore targets, if I’m one, and someone else has one in melee range, I move my butt out to the ranged!

Taking Festergut Back

I toggle Righteous Fury back on when the MT hits 7 stacks; I’m far enough behind in threat that I can do this safely.

Of course, this can be interesting when you’re a tank who buffs with PallyPower and doesn’t have RF on her bars. I panicked the first time I tanked this… oh god, MT is at 8 stacks. PallyPower doesn’t buff people when I try to rebuff them after battle rezzes in combat (I know; I’ve tried). Will it work on RF? Do I have to open my fucking spellbook?! Luckily, the Pally Power RF works mid combat. Oh, addons, how you complicate my life…

When it's time to taunt off the MT, I chug another Armor Potion. I'm getting addicted to those things. Rhidach, I'm sending the bill to you.

Festergut will quickly get his third stack of inhale, and it's cooldown time – Divine Protection, which I have on a cute Power Aura so I can see precisely when it's shielding me (I like visual cues). When it falls, I pop each of my trinkets and pray the healers are on top of their business.

He exhales. I smack my Divine Sac Cancel macro again. Two minute cooldowns ROCK. Just sayin'.

Theoretically, no one dies, including me. And if the DPS have popped their cooldowns right, Festergut will die on time!

Well, that's how I do it. Your mileage may vary. :)

On Burnout and 10 Man Drama

I don’t really want to talk about the drama that has taken place over the last two weeks. I think everyone who has me on their twitter feed saw my whining and knew I was having quite a bad time of it.

In the eternal words of Monty Python, “I got better.”

But I am told by my officers that they hear the signs of burnout creeping in.

They do say tanks burn out faster than any other role. Maybe this is why – my silly belief that I can and should step up, take the lead, and take on responsibility for things. It’s what drove me to become a tank in the first place, and it’s the personality trait that has put me in some very unfortunate situations when I try to fix something inherently broken.


So I don’t want to talk about drama. I do, however, want to talk about burnout and 10 man raiding.

A Tale of Overcommitment: 10 Man Raiding in a 25 Man Guild

The core of the problem, to be honest, is that I am committed to both 25s and 10s. This is not a problem if you do two 25 mans and two 10 mans. If you do three 25 mans and sometimes do 10s on the side. When you start to get serious about both, that is when the trouble begins to pop up.

When the 25s suck, the 10s become more and more important.

And the 25s have really, really sucked lately. Attendance has been low and raids have been underattended or canceled; when they’re not canceled, we raid shit like TOC25 (reg) and watch all the gear get DE’d or go offspec. I know the officers have been under a lot of stress. That’s 9 hours a week of frustration for them and, frankly, for the rest of us.

No wonder we’ve all been turning to 10 mans to give us the fulfillment and the fun we expect from raiding.

The Progression / Officer 10 man

I have the great fortune to run in my guilds “officer” 10 man, although I am not one. This raid has some of the best, most committed players in the guild, and also some of my closest friends. It’s a joy to go see new content with them.

Most casual raiding guilds have a hardcore “core” of people who are more committed than the rest; in my guild, that’s largely this raid.

We raid on Fridays. We have also raided Ulduar 10 on Sundays for the last few months to get everyone Rusted Proto Drakes. With the introduction of more ICC10 wings, we have even thrown a 3rd 10 man on the schedule.

The math is scary. Three 25s and three 10s. That’s six nights of raids a week.

In other words…. too much.

An additional complication – I work until 7 on the weekdays. Working ’till 7 pm, driving 25 minutes home, I barely make invites. I am usually a little late. I often skip dinner, and if I eat I just have time to microwave something. Six days a week.

Every day of raiding has a purpose & is important to me, but after a while it has started to wear me down.

The “Second 10 man” Drama

Those who have been in this situation before – 25 man guild, progression/officer 10 man – probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

When the 25s get frustrating, and there’s a 10 man that is fabulously successful in comparison, and there’s not enough depth to truly field a second one… people start to get antsy.

We have a bigger problem than most due to an unfortunate lack of depth in my guild (see: attendance problems, recruiting). The second 10 man has been plagued by drama, poor leadership, no leadership at all, and – quite frankly – a terrible lack of tanks for six months. It has split up and reformed tens of times, and the only constant has been the unending stream of complains and cries for the “officer 10 man” to split up “for the good of the guild” to get everyone into ICC.

That in itself is another quite lengthy blog post. My guild used to have two ten mans and crippled them both to “even things out.” The officers are never going to do that. There should be enough depth to field a second ten man, and the same thing that makes the 25s suck (attendance; commitment) cripples this second raid.

How 10 Man 2 drama affects me in 10 Man 1

My point in mentioning this is that I am my guild’s second raid tank. I am geared to the teeth; just as geared as the MT/RL. I am without a doubt the best choice to both lead and MT the 2nd ten man.

I’d do it well, too, and the idea sort of appealed to me until I realized just how much I’d be giving up to leave my current 10 man raid. I came close to doing this. The fact that I did not…. really angered some people.

So that pressure has been heavy on me lately. It exploded last weekend when I made a move to help the 2nd 10 man – a good move, the best one I could make, but not the right move – and stuck myself right in the middle of the drama. It sucked.


Things have gotten better since the drama that had me all whiney on twitter last week.

For one thing, my 10 man will never raid 3 times a week again. I am adamant about that. I am not burning myself out, and I can’t handle 6 high stress raids a week on my tank. I am declining any 3rd raids that come about, and everyone understands. They have also pushed back some time slots to improve my quality of life coming home from work! \o/ All is well.

The 25s saw a resurgence in interest this week. Instead of going back to wipe on Festergut again, we went to see some new fights, and ended up killing Blood Princes 25! Nothing like a new kill to excite people. Then, 23 & 24 manning Ulduar hard modes our first time seeing them – that was pretty fantastic, too! Just because we outgear them doesn’t mean it’s not fun to hit those fights.

Recruitment is good, I hear; people are awesome; I love my guild; I’m done complaining (for now, :) ).

The second 10 man will continue without dramawhores and with quality alts to fill out the ranks. It’s not the best option in the world, but it’s the only one they’ve got, and after the explosion of gquits and drama last week everyone is extremely happy to have a raid at all.

Things can only look up from here, and one thing’s for sure – I’m in it for the long haul. Carefully… but I’m here to stay.

Blood Princes: I am no Orb Whisperer

My 10 man is 10/12 now, which is close enough to the Lich King that we have moved into “focus focus power through” mode.

Unfortunately, Blood Princes and Blood Queen Lanathel decided to be assholes this week and set us back by about an hour apiece before we finally killed them, limiting our time on Sindragosa. Because Blood Princes in general frustrates me, I wanted to rant about it today.

Smack Those Balls

We don’t use a ranged tank. We use me (prot pally) instead, while the MT takes both the other two. So, basically, I run around the room collecting Dark Nuclei while keeping Keleseth as my focus, throwing Hammer of Wrath on him to keep my threat high.

Yes. I am the ball collector. This involves lots of cute comments in /raid. “Don’t ignore the balls, Halleigh!” “You’re our ball expert.” “I’m sure you’re used to chasing balls around all night.” “Don’t hit them too hard. Gently.” Mmmhmm.

Anyway. For a while, I could not figure out why I had so much fucking trouble with this. Those balls just do not stick. They float away. Uncontrollably! I can’t figure out why they leave sometimes. It can’t be healing aggro! And they die – very, very quickly. I try to load a lot of threat onto them, in case they are being ripped off me by healers, but all this does is kill them faster. I usually had 4 or 5 balls when Keleseth activated. Then, the raid came over to kick his ass, suddenly I find myself with 1 or 2, panicking.

I started to figure out what was going on.

1) It appears from looking around on the internet that they don’t really have an aggro table; they just latch onto whoever hit them last.

2) It seems like there are only a total of 6 (?) balls in the room at any given time. Instead of keeping 5 almost-dead balls on me, I began paying close attention to their HP and burning down the almost-dead ones in favor of grabbing a new, full-HP ball.

I have a feeling that when the raid came over to DPS Keleseth their splash damage was both ripping balls off me and killing them

My job was not really the problem. Seemed like we were wiping for execution problems in other places. But I was still frustrated! Silly balls, stick to me next time please!

The Story of a Pug and a Friend

This is both a pug and a friend.

I believe in pugging.

Sure, there are tons of mediocre pugs. And there are definitely a ton of pug horror stories I have had.

But for every 9 hilarious nightmare pugs, there’s a 10th great pug with the raid-geared DPS pumping out the big numbers. The super pro guild group that pugged you as their 5th for a 10 minute run. The hilariously funny group that keeps you smiling the whole time. The rare player who CC’s mobs for me in HoR. Or, my personal favorite, the new players really playing like pros or asking for help and learning quickly.

Or: the pug where you find a friend.

There have been a lot of complaints lately about pugs. With all this negativity floating around, I’d like to tell a story about when I was a noob tank (oh, the horror!!) and a friend I made through pugs who greatly influenced my wow-playing career.

My Nooby Days

About six months ago, I was both a noob tank and a noob 80 – a recipe for disaster.

Halleigh, my paladin, was my first 80. I leveled as prot past 60 with a frost mage buddy, and decided I liked the prot tree and wanted to stay prot. Little did I know this meant I was destined for tanking in the endgame. Oh god. And I quickly realized how hard this was.

Of course, being me, I refused to give up and did shittons of research. I taught myself this “96969” rotation I read about. I did hours of studying on how to gear correctly and where to find the gear I needed. I bookmarked guides for every heroic – sometimes two or three – and memorized how to tank every boss. I also refused to pug without someone on vent or skype with me who could help me out.

Yes, I was crazy! I might have been a noob, but I was painfully aware of my inexperience and I wanted to make things as soon as possible for the DPS who got stuck with me.

My pocket healer

Through pugs, I met a shammy healer named Zalakor.

It happened without warning. We pugged a few heroics together, added each other to our friends list. He looked me up. I looked him up. Before we knew it, we were pugging together every day.

Zal was gearing an alt, and liked healing me. I was gearing a main, and desperately needed his experience. He was a very confident and solid guy who always encouraged me and taught me quite a bit. I was a very, very underconfident and terrified new tank who needed (I’ll be honest) a lot of help, love, and care.

Having him along as my pocket healer was a wonderful confidence booster. I am very hard on myself, and being a new tank is a rough job when you are new to the endgame in general and constantly faced with the prospect of being a leader in a place you don’t know.

Knowing a solid healer is behind you, supporting you ever step of the way; that’s an irreplacable feeling.

I highly recommend every new tank unsure of what they are doing obtain a pocket healer for themselves. I promise. It’s huge.

I have a feeling the situation is the same for healers – find yourself a tank you get along with, and farm farm farm with that person! It makes a huge difference to have a team in place.

My First Raid Experience

Anyways, back to my story of my healer friend Zal. Little did I know his main was a druid tank.

After we had known each other for some time, he made me a really fabulous offer – he was in the market for an off tank for his small guilds’ weekly Ulduar 10 runs, and he wanted me to do it!

Wow! I was honored and impressed. He wasn’t just being nice to me so he’d have a tank to farm with – he really thought I was good! I was quite pleased I had impressed someone much more experienced in the game than me. He always said he’d rather heal me than most of the other tanks he encountered, and that’s how I knew I was doing something right – approaching tanking with the right attitude – even when I was still desperately lacking in experience.

I was also in my raiding guild Brand New Day at this time, and although I wasn’t raiding with them yet, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to find myself in the OT slot soon. I was worried. I was scared. I had no raiding experience – absolutely zip – and I hate letting people down.

I wanted to learn raiding, and here was the perfect opportunity – outside of my guild – so that when I did start raiding, I’d still be a noob, but at least I would have a bit of experience!

It was perfect. I joined Zal’s 10 man Ulduar runs. And Zal and his buddies – wonderful mature adults all; two couples and several friends – taught me Ulduar.

We never got all too far in, but those runs were quite enjoyable. I paid very close attention and learned whatever I could. I also … loved it. This was the first time I really started to fall in love with raiding.

When I eventually did start raiding with my guild’s 25 mans, I was incredibly, incredibly thankful for the raid experience Zal had given me. I had a long way to go, but I had gotten my feet wet in Ulduar and at least I was familiar with the first few bosses. I went into it very green, but not quite as green as I might have been thanks to Zal and friends.

And Then, When I Was Not So Noob Anymore

I tried to keep up my U10 run with Zal as best I could, but being the OT / second tank for a 25 man guild required most of my time. Eventually I had to leave his U10 run for good. I have always had a very keen sense of responsibility and loyalty, and I was very sad to leave, but my desire to see hard modes with my guild won out. I promised all my friends I would eventually see them again on an alt, and took my pally off to bigger and better things.

Months later, here I am with a raid-capable alt. My DK is 80, geared, and pulling quite respectable DPS. The first thing I did was tell Zal I could raid with him again… and I’m looking forward to seeing my old, out-of-guild friends once more. :)

Pugging and the New LFG

I never would have met Zalakor without pugging. Making this friend had a huge impact on my wow experience and definitely colored the early days of my wow tanking experience. I specifically would probably not have met him with the new LFG system.

Don’t get me wrong, the new LFG is fantastic. I think it’s one of the greatest improvements to the game I have seen in my time playing wow, and while I am fairly new to raiding, I have a great deal of wow experience.

I love it. It makes life so – so – so much easier, and it is an incredibly powerful tool that vastly speeds up and simplifies the process of getting into a dungeon.

I am simply lamenting the passing of a system that allowed new players to get to know the people on their server, in favor of random players from their battlegroup. Gone (mostly) are the days that one recruits to one’s guild from a particularly impressive pug. Gone are the days when one felt accountable for one’s actions, fearful of pissing off people who might retaliate in trade chat or on realm forums. Gone are the days when I would recognize the names of half the guilded people I ran with.

These days have been replaced by something better. They absolutely have.

But they are gone, and sometimes I look back and wonder if I would have had the same nooby experience with the LFG system in place.

I wonder.

About The Author

Tankadin Errant is a blog written by Anafielle, a paladin tank on Drenden - US Alliance side. (Armory)

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December 2022