Archive for August, 2011

Elitist Jerk

Madness…? This is SPARTA!
 – King Leonidas (300) 

Time to put on my Gevlon hat again and lament my encounters with the Dungeon Finder.

Last night I took Jez to run a random regular with Varian & Yalena to help Varian finally get to 85. We got Vortex Pinnacle, which is a beautiful instance by the way, and were joined by two PuGs; a Priest and a DK.

The Priest: Bittersweetz @ Bronzebeard

I’m going to prefix this by pointing out that Yalena had queued as heals and performed this role throughout the instance. This said, within a couple of pulls I noticed a Penance spell effect whiz past me. Having never noticed this in VP before I panned my camera around to see what was casting it; it was the Priest, she had queued and was DPSing as Discipline!
For the run, she averaged just under 3000 dps.

The Deathknigth: Darthfang @ Drakar

I thought it was a little odd when the DK popped Army on the first pull, though I attributed this to maybe having clicked the wrong button. He was Frost but had taken things a bit literally and was only using Frost spells; no Plague Strike, Pestilence or Blood Boil even though we AoE’d most of the instance. But it was his spec that astounded me the most; he had 3/3 Nerves of Cold Steel AND 2/3 Might of the Frozen Wastes two talents that are mutually exclusive in use.
For the run, he averaged around 3500 dps.

This is Madness!

Right before the final boss I decided to call them both out, maybe I was wrong to have done so in the way I did, but I can’t very well go back now and have a do-over can I? I spelt out very clearly that Discipline is a healing spec and not DPS and that the DK’s spec was, quite simply, screwed up.

The Priest I could kinda forgive as, despite the fact that she was using a healing spec to DPS, the spec it’s self was fairly solid. Though I really don’t get why she didn’t just queue as a healer since that’s what Discipline with Atonement is all about. Having looked her up on Armory today though I see that a big reason her DPS was so shocking is that she has 0.00% hit and does not have the Glyph of Divine Accuracy. Simply glyphing correctly would probably increase her damage by 1-2k. I’m actually thinking I’ll create a toon on her server later and send her an in-game mail to 1) say sorry for being a jerk and 2) suggest this to her. One thing she said that did annoy me though was, after dying on the last boss, “It’s my first time here” while her Armory profile shows that it was her third Asaad kill. After three times through an instance, one would hope to have a fairly good idea of which boss ability will one shot you.

The DK however really annoyed me and I honestly don’t know why. He explained his reason for having 2h & 1h specialisation in the same build was that when he’s solo he uses a 2-hander and when he’s in instances he dual-wields. To which I responded “Dude, that’s what dual spec is for!” His response to me saying this was to further explain that his off-spec is Blood, but that he doesn’t like tanking. You have to ask yourself, if you don’t like tanking why have you got a tank spec?! Make your offspec Unholy or, even simpler, MS Dual-Wield Frost, OS 2 Hand Frost. The evidence available would suggest that he’s one of these people who mindlessly dumps all his points in to one tree without any though. On top of this, his gear was all over the place. He’s wearing a mixture of plate-tank and plate-dps items, which is forgiveable since he’s still levelling, however he’s also wearing agility items in several slots and a trinket from a level 65 instance. This is all topped off with empty gem sockets, no enchants though again, this is forgiveable due to levelling perhaps.

The Morning After

I admit that this encounter annoyed me far more than it probably should have and I apologise again to Yalena for allowing my frustration to spill over into our conversation afterwards. She did ask if I think the same about her (as she’s often concerned about her own damage) but the difference is this; She asks people for help and she reads everything she can get her hands on to help her improve. The only way I can suggest for her to up her damage is to try and get in to using keyboard shortcuts. She’s a mouser and I understand that, for some people, it’s simply not natural or intuitive to use keyboard shortcuts so I help her as much as I can with the tools she’s comfortable using.

I had some really good PUGs on my own Priest & DK yesterday gaining two levels and one level respectively. Sure, there were a couple of “bads” along the way but never really more than one in a group. To carry two people through an instance just really riled me up and Yalena was probably right to suggest it was time to call it a night.

A Quick Update

Following on from my recent posts about market competition, here’s the latest:

My original plan was to suffocate my competitor by cutting off his supply of raw materials and forcing him to post below his cost price. This worked for a couple of days but, as is often the case, circumstances have changed. The volume of ore available on the auction house this week has increased quite significantly on recent times making it virtually impossible to close this avenue.

However, my competitor has also changed their posting schedule. Earlier this week we were posting at the same time resulting in constant back and forth undercuts, however the last two days it seems s/he is now posting a few hours after me. I’m happy with this because I generally post first, giving me a couple of hours of sales at higher prices. I’m not sure if this is going to last or not, time will tell.

Somewhat interestingly, Foo has been posting a couple of articles the last few days discussing Auction House campers that reflect my recent experiences very closely. Needless to say I’ve been reading his thoughts on this subject and seeing if any of his ideas will work in the gem market. There are a few that I have adopted, mostly in regards to walling at a price that nets me a reasonable return while forcing my competition to post lower than me.

To The Mattresses!

it’s all-out war — we go to the mattresses!
 – Sonny (The Godfather)

This is a quick update to yesterday’s post.

I have a fairly simple game-plan for dealing with my new competitor which, so far, is working.

  • Firstly, I’m buying up all the ore I can get my hands on below a certain price threshold leaving only the most expensive stacks left.
  • Secondly, I’m buying out any uncut gems that are cheap.
  • Thirdly, I’m buying up Heartblossom.
  • Finally, I’m posting with deep undercuts.

The first two actions serve a dual purpose; they increase my stock while pushing up my competitor’s costs. The third action reduces his capacity to transmute Carnelians in to more profitable Inferno Rubies. Lastly, since I have a lower cost, I have no qualms about driving prices down in the short term. What I loose in single-transaction profit I’ll recoup in volume.

Yesterday I dropped a chunk of gold to set my plan in motion and there was an immediate reaction from my competitor. Here’s an example that played out last night; My established floor price for Inferno Rubies yesterday was 125g, my competitor was listing around 175g. My first round of postings went up at 160g and were immediately undercut with 159g 99s 99c. I pulled most of my first round and relisted at 150g and again got undercut by 1c (I’m only listing a few gems at a time so relisting doesn’t cost me the earth). Third round I went deep and listed at 130g, another 1c undercut ensued. So I went for broke and listed at my floor price of 125g each… Nothing, no reaction, he didn’t relist his again.

I sat in the AH for about an hour last night before I decided to call it a day. A couple of times I noticed that my competitor was buying out of my auctions and relisting them himself. Poor guy, this is the worst thing you can do, especially when the person you’re buying from is online and clearly has stock available. When he did this, I immediately undercut him again meaning he either had to sell the gems he’d just bought from me at a loss or give me more of his gold to try and run my stock out (which is unlikely to happen for a while). Before I logged I threw up a couple of small walls of Inferno Rubies and when I checked this morning they’d all sold.

All in all I’m actually rather pleased with the results so far. My gross sales were up on recent days and I actually made a net profit despite having invested in a lot of stock which I wouldn’t have bought on a normal day. I may even continue with this sort of strategy in the longer term if it continues to be profitable.

Friendly Competition

I’m very active in the gem market on my server, it’s my main source of income. Recently however I’ve noticed a fairly significant drop on my profit and it seems I’m not the only one.

Last night I was messaged by one of my competitors asking if I’d noticed another, newer entrant, to the gem market. Through the course of our conversation we established that this new person has seemingly managed to be online 24 hours a day for almost two weeks solid. Not only this but they have been aggressively undercutting anyone else posting auctions within seconds of them listing.

Now I’m all for a little friendly competition with my fellow jewelcrafters. It’s part of the game and one expects this when you’re as active in a given market as I am. However this new competitor is acting very differently to other sellers. To me and my fellow seller the new comer fells too automated not to be suspicious. Sure, it could be someone camping the AH to make a pile of gold but the circumstances would seem to indicate otherwise. Here is a character who has suddenly appeared on the scene with a seemingly large resource pool to set up their operation. They are bullying the smaller players out of the market using extremely argessive tactics meaning anyone without a significant investment can’t compete.

Fortunately, this isn’t me. I have a good stockpile and can still turn a profit while undercutting the new arrival. I also have enough liquid capital that I can cut off their supply at the source by buying up all the raw ore so it’s a good bet that I can ultimately hurt them at both ends of the market, however in the short term it makes brings an interesting challenge.

The Joys of the Dungeon Finder

Wizzbit

You know, in certain older civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords.
 – The Operative (Serenity)

I have many alts that I’m gradually levelling. Last night I was playing on Wizzbit, my Gnome Warrior (lvl83), not  to be confused with Wizzadora, Gnome Priest.

Anyway, last night I ran a couple of leveling instances with my wife on Yalena (lvl82 Resto Shaman), my sister Varian (lvl82 Destro Warlock) and our friend/guild master on Codemonkey (lvl81 Prot Paladin). Wizzbit is Fury, so all we needed to do was pick up a third DPS and we’d be good to go. There was no one on in guild in the low 80s so we hit LFD, got Blackrock Caverns and picked up a Hunter, who seemed nice enough.

We proceeded to clear to and downed the first boss with little problem, though Varian did manage to get herself killed (it was my wife’s first time healing as a Shaman so she was still figuring out all her abilities.) One boss down, we headed on to the second.

Now, anyone who’s run BRC before knows this fight, stand in the beams to stop the adds transforming. Before the pull, we paused to explain the fight to Varian (she’s just come back to WoW after a two year break) and to the Hunter, who confessed he’d never been here before. No problem, I appreciate honesty and respect people for saying that they’ve never done an instance before rather than rushing in blindly and potentially getting you killed. Varian was to take the beam on the right and the Hunter the left, step out at ~80 stacks, let them fall off then step back in.

Everyone happy with their assignments, Code executed the pull. Varian ran in and blocked her beam. The Hunter just stood where he was and started shooting, he didn’t even attempt to move towards his add. Naturally, the add quickly evolved and started running around. Code picked it up and we killed it, then returned to the boss who died in due course. Varian, despite never having done the fight before, had her add under control the whole time and managed to come second on damage. There was a brief post-mortem discussion, during which the Hunter apologised saying he didn’t understand where he was meant to stand and us pointing out that now he’d know for the next time.

The rest of the instance was fairly non-eventful, until two pulls from the end when the Hunter sent his pet after the wrong group and we ended up with ten mobs on us instead of five. Code rounded them all up and we AoE’d them down. It was a tense 60 or so seconds, but Yalena acquitted herself rather nicely on the healing without anyone dying.

Ok, so the Hunter wasn’t that bad I guess. He was from our server and, based on the conversation in party, this was his only toon. No hard feelings, he just needs to learn to pay a little more attention in future.

Round Two, Fight!

The Hunter departed and we rolled again, this time getting Throne of Tides along with a Balance Druid. One pull in and the Druid asks for an afk, we continue clearing trash and after almost five minutes he returns explaining that he had to put his 6 week old son to bed. We reach the first boss, set up add assignments and engage. She goes down, maybe a little slowly but not overly so. After the fight I take a peek at my damage meter; I was doing about 7k, Varian & Code about 6k each and the Druid? 338dps! Seriously? I inspected him; His gear looked fine, mostly quest greens, right stats even a few enchants. Talents looked about right for Balance based on what little I know of the spec. What the hell? In hindsight, we should have vote kicked him right then and there, but we didn’t.

Instead, we moved on to the second boss where, just as we’re about to pull, I have to remind the Druid to put on his chicken suit. “Oh, LOL, I forgot!” Why/when did he even come out of Moonkin form in the first place?

We engage the boss, I get hit with Curse of Faitgue followed by Squeeze and finally dumped right slap in the middle of a Dark Fissure. I died. The fight continues and eventually the boss falls over, Varian topped the damage meter and the Druid improved… to 660dps. Cerith Spire Staff drops, a solid upgrade for Varian and a decent upgrade for Yalena (she’s main spec Elemental) but the Druid out-rolls them both.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an elitist and I don’t expect someone in lvl80 quest greens to be posting 10k, it just doesn’t work like that and I’m fine with it. However I do expect them to post more damage than a lvl60. Given his gear, he should have been able to pull 4-5k easily and 5-6k with a little effort.

A vote kick is initiated in the middle of the next pull, the Druid gets the boot and is replaced by a friendly Gnome Death Knight who actually knows how to play and we finish up the second half of the instance.

It’s times like this that I can understand where Gevlon is coming from. I don’t mind helping people out with gearing up an alt, but by the time you hit lvl80 you should have a pretty good idea how to play your class. If not, ask your guild mates for a little advice or do some reading online (Elitist Jerks comes to mind). Don’t zone in to an instance and expect four complete strangers to carry you. WoW is a team effort and you need to play your role or you’ll be replaced.

Appearances Are Everything

JezebelleBut, as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here.
 – Agent Smith (Matrix Reloaded) 

This started as a comment I was writing in response to a post on Blessing of Kings, but turned in to something longer, so I thought I’d post it here instead. For context, have a read of this blog post on the official website.

 

I’m really undecided about this change.

The Void Storage aspect is a welcome addition;
I keep 2 bags in my bank for gear and have ended up sharding my old tier sets to make room for newer stuff. I don’t actively wear any of the older gear; like Rohan, I tend to think its had its time in the sun. It is nice to have it to remind you of what used to be and the battles you’ve fought but, for the most part, it should be respectfully left to rest in peace.

The Transmogrification thing is what I’m less sure about;
Battlegrounds will be a sea of people “wearing” season 4 so as not to give away that that they’re actually wearing season 10 elite gear. LFD groups will be filled with people wearing Tier 2 or Tier 6 (arguably the artistic high points in the game, though I actually rather liked Tier 10). For “serious” role players I can kind of understand the desire to look the part for. Then again, if you’re acting out a scene, why not just equip the armor you want to portray then go back to your current armor when you’re finished?

Personally, I feel a sense of achievement when I obtain a new item. Showing it off says to everyone else “Look, I’ve killed the boss that drops this gear!” It’s a status symbol and a badge that you’ve progressed to a point that others may not have.

Will this hurt WoW?
Certainly not from a game-play perspective, but it will dilute the artistic style of the game. There’s also the very real possibility that this will lead to less original and creative designs on future gear. From an artist’s point of view, why bother designing a unique set of armor if players are just going to hide your hard work and make it look like something that was done years ago?

I really do hope that they decide to make owning the item you want to outwardly display a requirement, this will encourage a lot of people to go back and experience some of the old content that they maybe haven’t before. Even running Blackwing Lair at 85 can be enjoyable and a large proportion of the current player-base have probably never even set foot inside.

Threat Level Midnight

Royal Crest Of Lordaeron

The world’s smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite.
 – Doctor Manhattan (Watchmen)

Threat has long been a large part of the game for tanks. That constant battle of keeping ahead of a Feral Druid, or Fury Warrior. Over the years Blizzard have added threat reduction mechanics to many classes; Cower, Feign Death, Wind Shear etc, in an effort to give players a way to lower their threat without having to back off on their damage. To an extent, these have worked, however some classes still have no way of reducing their threat in relation to the tank, Fury Warriors are a prime example of this.

With Cataclysm Blizzard tried something new. Rather than adding threat dumps to damage dealers, they added more threat to tanks in the form of Vengeance. It is fair to say that this helped but many tanks, myself included, have never been especially fond of the mechanic. It’s kinda clunky and during the first 5 seconds of a fight, or any fight where two tanks need to trade agro, it has serious drawbacks. The big problem being that it takes a while to ramp up to give it’s full potential and then decays fairly fast once you stop taking damage.

Yesterday Ghostcrawler posted a blog entry on the official site. The short version goes thusly:

  • For damage dealers: Doing damage is fun, watching your threat is not and having to stop attacking because you’re about to pull agro is even less fun.
  • For tanks: Tanks are busy, they have to manage their cooldowns, position the correctly for the damage dealers, trade agro with the other tank, avoid fire, keep an eye on that big debuff the boss does and all while keeping ahead of the group on threat.

Now, personally, that “micro-management” is what I love about being a tank but I can understand why a lot of people don’t. It’s hard work, you’ve got to be aware of any number of things at the same time, you need to be communicating with the group and you need to make sure that you know what a boss is going to do before he does it.

What’s the solution? Well, here’s what Ghostcrawler has to say:

  • Short Term
    The concept of threat is going to be made trivial. Tanks will now generate threat equal to 500% of their damage, compared to 300% before. This was, apparently, hot fixed in yesterday and Ghostcrawler has said that they’ll adjust this up further if damage dealers still risk pulling ahead.
  • Middle Term (likely patch 4.3)
    Vengeance will be changed to have an initial jump when you first damage damage, followed by a gradual increase (as it currently does) over the duration of the fight. It will still decay in the same way it does now.
  • Long Term (likely the next expansion)
    All tanks will be moving more towards to an “active mitigation” model, similar to Blood DKs. You can see this happening already with the changes in the last patch to Holy Shield. This model gives you more granular control over when you want to reduce your incoming damage through the use of abilities.

I see this as a positive change. Many people will argue that this amounts to “dumbing down the game” or “catering to casual players” and in reality both these arguments are at least partially true. However the simple fact is that, in order to give damage dealers a sense of progression, they need to give them constantly higher damage output. Tanks get… higher damage reduction? Yes, but not really. Damage reduction plateaus and it’s hard to progress beyond this point. What happens instead is that tanks have to start stacking threat stats (hit & expertise) to keep ahead of the damage dealers, but there’s a trade-off of survivability to generate maintain that lead. By making threat less important, tanks can focus again on their survivability and let the damage dealers go about their contest of topping the meters.

Blizzard are going to have some work ahead of them to balance tanks abilities such that you don’t end up 20 different “short cooldown” buttons to click, but I think that this could pan out really well. The key thing for me is going to be keeping each tank unique from the other three.

Forward Planning Discount

Wizzadora

Run for it? Running’s not a plan! Running’s what you do, once a plan fails!
 – Earl Bassett (Tremors)

This is Wizzadora, my Gnome Priest. Right now she’s level 80 but I’m working on getting her to 85 as quickly as I can.

I’m levelling her for a couple of reasons;

  1. I’ve tried playing a Priest a few times in the past, but for one reason or another, I’ve always got bored and deleted them. When it was announced that Gnomes would be able to be Priests in Cataclysm I decided that I’d give it another go and I’ve actually really enjoyed levelling her.
  2. Since I started levelling her it has become apparent that my guild has an over-abundance of tanks and mêlée damage dealers, but a general shortage of ranged damage dealers and, more importantly, healers. Well, we have healers, it’s just that they’re almost all Druids which really hurts us in raids.

I started out levelling her as Shadow (as most people tend to) but I soon found that Shadow was a real mana drain and I was having to drink after every couple of groups. Maybe I was doing it wrong, I didn’t really understand the class that well at that point, but I was also starting to run instances and (naturally) found that queues are shorter as a healer. So I did a little reading on healing as a Priest and decided to respec to Discipline with an Atonement based spec. This is what sealed it for me, the combination of being able to contribute to damage while having some really strong heals helped me to get in to the class and bumped up my enjoyment considerably.

Since I’m a sucker for pain, I’ve decided that this alt will be a pure healer and set up her secondary spec as Holy. I don’t enjoy Holy quite as much as Discipline but I do see that for really intensive fights the healing throughput is greater than Discipline and it therefore makes perfect sense to be able to play as either.

 

So, how does this post relate to the Auction House? Well, as I’ve been levelling Wizzadora, I’ve constantly kept one eye on the AH. It’s amazing the bargains you can get when you’re not in any particular rush for them!

My best purchase so far came on Sunday evening; Someone listed a Je’Tze’s Sparkling Tiara on the Auction House for 675g. To put things in perspective, this item averages 17,591g on my server so, naturally, I grabbed it. Sure I could flip it and make myself around 16,000g profit (which would be the Goblinish thing to do) but I actually wanted the item for my Priest and the chances of seeing it for this price again before the next expansion are minimal.

As things stand at this moment, with the gear I have in my bank already along with the quest rewards I can get for the Thrall line & first day of Hyjal dailies,  I should be able to start running Troll heroics pretty much as soon as I hit 85. With a little forward planning, you can do the same for any alt you’re levelling. The best thing is, as these items are Bind on Equip, you can always resell them later if you get better or decide to abandon the alt.

Auction House 101

Auctioneer O'ReelyThis is why we’re here…because this little grey rock sells for 20 million a kilo.
– Parker Selfridge (Avatar)

I just had a strange thought after picking that quote… I bet Giovanni Ribisi would make a good goblin when they eventually make the Warcraft movie!

Anyway, today’s topic is; The auction house. This should be a fairly broad article to give you a good introduction to what the auction house is about and give you some ideas for getting started making money from it. In future articles I’ll go in to more detail on various aspects of this.

The Basics

Located in every major city of Azeroth you will find at least one auction house (there are two in Stormwind for example). These auction houses allow you to trade items with other players of your own faction. You’ll also find auction houses located in the major Goblin towns; Booty Bay, Gadgetzan and Everlook. These auction houses allow you to trade with members of both factions, but carry a higher cost for doing so.

When you list an item, you are charged a small fee (the listing fee) which gets refunded if your item sells. If your item is sold, the auction house takes a cut of the final sale price so you’ll want to keep this in mind when deciding on your asking price. For the same-faction auction houses this is 5%, for the neutral auction houses it’s 15% (damn greedy goblins!)

Selling something is actually very simple; You drop the item you want to sell in to the window, enter the price you want to sell it for and hit the button to list it. Then you can sit back and wait for the gold to roll in. While this will often work, there is more to making gold off the auction house than most players realise. Armed with the correct knowledge, you can cash in on other peoples’ naivety and turn a profit in a number of ways.

Selling

The simplest way to make gold from the auction house is to look at what you have in your bags.

You will find that green or blue quality Bind on Equip items, while worthless to you, could be used by another player. Blue quality items can often sell for significant amounts of money, especially if they are considered “twink” items, for example Feet of the Lynx sell for upwards 300 gold on my server!

Raw materials like ore, herbs and leather are always in demand by people that are either to lazy to go out and gather them for themselves or simply don’t have the professions necessary to do so.

Before selling anything on the auction house you’ll want to check if anyone else is selling an item before you list yours. If they are, list your item for slightly less than theirs (we call this undercutting). You can undercut by as little as 1 copper and know that your item should sell before theirs does.

Reselling

Once you have a small pile of gold yourself, you can dabble with reselling. Looking again at something like those boots I mentioned above, if you see someone selling a pair cheap, say for a couple of gold, you can be fairly confident that you can buy them and relist them for more. The person you bought them from will be happy because they got what they thought they were worth and you’ll be happy because you got what you know they’re worth.

Reselling doesn’t come without it’s risks though. There’s nothing to stop someone else coming along and undercutting you to the point where they’re selling for less than you paid. In this situation, you have a few choices; If you’re confident that you can sell for the higher price, buyout their auction and relist that as well. If you’re less confident, you can always wait for theirs to sell and then list yours again. The worst case is that you’ve made a bad investment, sell yours at a loss and hope you do better next time.

Knowledge is Power

Throughout all of this the most important thing is market knowledge. If you have an idea what something sells for on a good day this will help you decide what to list for when there’s none currently for sale. Markets also tend to shift at different times of the week. For example during the weekends, when more people are playing, prices will be very different to mid-week, when less people are playing. Find out when the big guilds on your server raid, you might notice a spike in the price of consumables on these days. Check the cost of items you can go out and farm with minimal effort, on most servers enchanting materials from classic level 50-60 instances sell for really good money and can be farmed all day long by anyone.

Mastering The Market

Once you understand the basics of the Auction House, there are a number of ways that you can optimise both the time you spend buying & selling and the amount of gold you make. The first, most obvious trick is, rather than noting down average sale prices on scraps of paper, get an addon to do it for you. There’s any number of these available ranging from very simple to extremely complex.

One of the major players is Auctioneer. Personally, I find Auctioneer to be overly complicated with vast amounts of options and modules that most people will never use. It’s a massive addon taking up a solid 12MB of disk space and a lot of memory when running in-game. This may not sound much, but for players with more modest systems this will really affect your performance.

My weapon of choice is AuctionLite. It’s significantly more compact than Auctioneer (under 1.5MB) but still offers many of the core features. You get two extra tabs on the default auction house interface enabling you to search, buy and sell in bulk. It gives you fast scanning, to cache auction house prices for later use and then allows you to display this information on item tooltips giving you an idea of what an item is worth.

The New Protection Paladin IV

This should be a fairly short post to round out the current series.  So far, we’ve covered off;

Now we come to the final subject I wanted to discuss…

Part 4: Consumables & Professions

Hardly any human being is capable of pursuing two professions or two arts rightly.
– Plato (I guess he never played WoW?)

Preparation is important. This is especially so for raids, where you have 9, or maybe 24 other people present. It is good practice to never assume that you will be provided with consumables and so you should always arrive with everything you are likely to require in your bags. That way, if someone else drops a feat or a cauldron, it’s a bonus.

Consumables fall in to a couple of obvious categories:

Flasks, Potions & Elixirs

  • Flask of Steelskin – Flasks are a mainstay of raiding and this is no exception. Giving you 6300 HP (after talents) this is the preferred choice for progression raiding as a larger health pool gives your healers more time to react.
  • Elixir of the Master – Once you know how a fight plays out, where the big hits come etc, you should consider stepping away from flasks and going for elixirs instead. This translates to 2.84% block chance, so really helps to smooth out damage.
  • Elixir of Deep Earth/Prismatic Elixir – Depending on the fight in question (be it physical or magic based damage) you will want to pair your Elixir of the Master with one of these. Both are very strong and can help to further even out your incoming damage.
  • Golemblood Potion – Very useful in a tight spot when your cooldowns are used up and you need burst of parry (strength gives you parry, remember) to help avoid a big hit. Keep in mind that once you’ve entered combat you can only use one of these so time it well! If you expect a big hit immediately upon engaging a boss, you can also chug one of these as you run in (before entering combat) allowing you to use a second later in the fight.

Food

In my bags I usually carry a stack of flasks, a stack of each elixir mentioned above, some Golembloods (when I have them) and a couple of stacks of minestrone. This way I’m prepared for whatever comes along and am not left unbuffed/unfed if cauldrons and feasts are not available.

Aside from consumables, you should also take a look at your professions. A level 85 toon without two (maxed) professions is wasting a huge chunk of bonus stats. Most professions give very similar bonuses for reaching the upper levels, some are more suited to tanking than others, but it’s important to realise that even levelling mining to 525 can give you a significant boost. This post will look at professions purely from a grouping/raiding perspective. In future posts I’ll talk about professions more from a gold making point of view.

  • Alchemy – Rewards a selection of decent trinkets. Also gives you extended durations on your elixirs & flasks.
  • Blacksmithing – Allows you to add sockets to your bracers and gloves. This translates to room for two more gems.
  • Enchanting – One of the most expensive professions to level, however it allows you to add 60 stamina to each of your rings (Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina) which translates to 1680 HP after talents.
  • Engineering – A reasonable choice for tank, Engineering gives you access to an epic helm before most other players, you also gain a number of tinkers, so is certainly worth considering.
  • Herbalism – Fairly weak for tanks giving you a small self-heal Lifeblood along with a slight haste boost.
  • Inscription – Gives you access to Inscription of the Earth Prince which is a straight 120 stamina (1680 HP) gain over the shoulder enchants sold by Therazane.
  • Jewelcrafting – Grants you access to Chimera’s Eye cuts. Also gives you a chance to loot a number of quest items in the world which yield some rather nice trinkets making Jewelcrafting one of the strongest professions for a tank.
  • Leatherworking – Lets you place Draconic Embossment on your bracers. It’s important to note that despite this giving more stamina than other profession bonuses, this is partly due to the fact that anyone can enchant 40 stamina on their bracers bringing this much closer in line with other profession perks.
  • Mining – By far the strongest gathering skill for a tank. The bonus for reaching 525 (Toughness) translates to a sizeable stamina boost (1680 HP unbuffed).
  • Skinning – Master of Anatomy – The weakest gathering skill for a tank. The bonus is far more suited to a dps character.
  • Tailoring – Another weak choice with the bonuses far more geared towards dps/healers (eg; Swordguard Embroidery)

Personally, I’m Enchanting/Jewelcrafting as this gives me access to some good perks and helps with gold making. If I was levelling a Paladin purely to tank with no consideration to gold, I’d still go with Jewelcrafting and likely pair it with Blacksmithing.

Final Thoughts

Thus ends my introduction to Paladin tanking. This series has taken a little longer to put together than I originally expected, however I have covered more than I intended.

I have plenty of other articles planned, including a few on how to get started making gold, so make sure to subscribe to the feed if you haven’t already!

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