Mar 212011

As we’ve discussed before, my guild is currently 10/13 in the heroic version of T11 content. It has been quite the grind. However, last week as we went to kill all the bosses we’ve had on farm for quite sometime we couldn’t help but notice how much easier all of the bosses seemed to be going down. I’d love to think it’s because everyone was on their A-game, but in all actuality the content was just made easier for raiding community out there. For all those who haven’t been strolling around such sites as MMO-Champion or the official WoW website Ghostcrawler felt so passionately about the changes he addressed them directly in his latest blog post entitled “Raid Progress.” The whole thing was a decent read; however, I loved his main argument which was:

  • I chose to use the word “progress” in the title for this blog quite intentionally. We think progression is the key to players having fun. When groups stop making progress, the members get frustrated. When individuals feel like they are stuck, that’s when they start to lose interest. I don’t think it strictly has to do with the flow of loot being shut off. A big part of it is the sense that as you climb up that mountain, you are getting closer and closer to the summit instead of just sliding back down to base camp at the end of each day.

It really shows Blizzard is looking at their player base. While the top end raiding guilds were able to have the progression race with the glory of knowing they did it when it was hard, now more casual players can experience content at the end level as well. However, for our less progressed readers it is important to realize that though the encounters are nerfed, they are by no means a cake walk. Now more so then ever proper raid preparation will really set apart the guilds who go far verses the ones that sort of fizzle for awhile just to end up not getting much done. A common question I receive is exactly where would one go to get advance knowledge of fight encounters? Well up until a very short time ago I would of told you the same thing everyone else would of, “Well tankspot of course!”  That is no longer the case and I can say with pride that there is no better place to get your strats and first looks at encounters then LearntoRaid.com more commonly known as L2R.
Recently I had the privilege of going through a very quick back and forth with vodka officer and rogue, Killars. While Killars is a co-founder of the web community L2R he wants to stress before we get into everything that while vodka encounter videos are used in the strategy discussion that happens on L2R, L2R is a project maintained by both Killars and Kinaesthesia, a vodka healing priest. The guild itself has no direct connection to L2R and questions on strat videos or anything on L2R’s website should be directed to the website’s forums and not vodka’s guild forums(A mistake I made when I first went to find someone to speak with from L2R’s admin). Now with that out of the way we can get into the meat of what Killars and I had discussed about his project, L2R:

  • Q: vodka has become synonymous with top end raiding, when did you decide you wanted to take that knowledge and feed it back to the raiding community?
  • Killars: When I first joined vodka I had always been impressed by their quality of video in terms of editing and music which I later learned was mostly due to Kinaesthesia’s brilliant work and vision. After some time of realizing Kinaesthesia deserved more support and more of an opportunity to show his editing skills we got together with one of my friends “Blackquantex” and began brainstorming an idea of how to go about making something of it all. We felt the WoW community severely lacked a source for high quality videos and that we could build a website around Kinaesthesia’s vision, my dedication, and our friends website skills etc. to fill that void. We knew it would be a lot of work, a lot of which is still on going, but we’re dedicated to providing the best content and we hope to really build the site to being the #1 source for video tutorials and more.

I personally have grown up as a raider watching Kinaesthesia’s videos, for anyone who hasn’t gotten the chance to watch one I highly suggest going to L2R or on you tube looking up vodkaguild. When I learned he would be applying the same editing techniques he uses in his kill videos to the strat videos I knew right away L2R was going to be a quality source of material to help younger progression raiders out.

  • Q: Most people relate L2R with Tankspot, how do you feel about this comparison?
  • Killars: I’d be lying if I didn’t say we don’t look at Tankspot as our competition. They are doing almost exactly what we would like to do, but we intend to do it better. Every great idea has to start somewhere and they’ve done a great job so far with Tankspot. As for the comparison of our site compared to theirs I don’t really think I have a fair answer to that. I obviously have bias opinions of my own and from L2R supporters, but I don’t know what the overall consensus is, I’d hope it was in L2R’s favor though =P

Back in Wrath if you researched a fight you had to of heard of Tankspot, they were everywhere. However, in cata the frequency of the videos has gone down quite a bit. There’s still the need for knowledge on raid encounters, why not trust vodka members to teach you the methods they used to achieve their status in the raiding community.


  • Q: As I’m sure you’re aware there has been a recent blanket of nerfs hitting most of the heroic versions of T11 Boss encounters. How do you feel about these nerfs in regards to other guilds now being able to push further in their progression efforts, when they’re killing a version of the boss that’s easier then the one you had to go against.
  • Killars: A lot of these fights felt unfinished and in some cases over-tuned. I just recently had a chat about this with a friend from Paragon about Atremedes in regards to what the hell the devs were thinking when they released that boss nearly unchanged from BETA. There have been many many changes to these encounters since we first progressed on them, far too much to talk about in detail. If I had to make a blanket statement I’d say I felt most of the nerfs were well timed and semi-necessary. Simply put, the majority of players cannot kill bosses I guess they should be nerfed after a period of time. WoW isn’t built for just the super hardcore player base so I’m perfectly fine with nerfing content well after the progression race has ended so a larger base of players can see the content.

Killars said it best, “Simply put, the majority of players cannot kill bosses I guess they should be nerfed after a period of time.” I love end game raiding and my guild does very well, but I still remember looking in trade chat for a Karazhan pug in hopes of getting some kind of gear just so I could have the hopes of entering SSC or TK. The fights we’re rough back then and they relatively stayed that way. Now Blizzard realized they don’t just want 5% of the player base seeing all content and they’re doing something about it. You can’t really complain about that.


  • Q: So which boss in this content patch did you find most enjoyable progression wise?
  • Killars: Tricky question! V&T I liked a lot personally as I developed a strategy to use a Subtlety spec for the fight where the 3 Rogues we had at the time played a vital part in killing the boss without having to be responsible for interrupting something (FINALLY!!!). I have to also note Cho’gall as it was a very well tuned boss that led to a very exciting kill.

As you can see readers even our brothers in energy bar, rogues. Think its ridiculous that there’s kick duty on pretty much all these fights!


  • Q: Any quick tips you could offer the fluiddruid readers in regardes to preparing for their heroic mode progression?
  • Killars: Well obviously the best tip of all is to go over to Learntoraid.com and watch our amazing videos! Hahaha other than that I’d say everyone needs to have far more discipline when raiding new content. Raiding in Cataclysm has been about avoiding damage taken and executing fight mechanics correctly more so than ever before. Learn all the fight mechanics, master them, then you can begin to pile on the copious amounts of pewpew that you’re dying to unleash. As I often half jokingly say “I guarantee that if everyone stays alive for 10 minutes the boss will be dead”.

You heard the man, get to learntoraid.com and start seeing what you’ll need to prepare yourself now that the first wave of “nerfs” are done with heroic content. Any half way serious raider will tell you that the fight begins long before you first pull the boss. The very first step is educating yourself about the encounter ahead of you. This post was important to me not only did I want to take the time to show you we have an awesome community here to help everyone learn and adjust to the changes within our spec and class, but also we need to help one another to get the most out of this game from a PvE standpoint. I can make forum threads and blog posts about encounters from a feral standpoint, but when it comes to the 25 or 10 people in your raiding coming together to get that boss kill I really suggest you take the time to see what Killars has done for us on L2R. As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or pm me on the forums and lets all take a moment to give a big thank you to Killars, for taking the time to discuss this other web-community with all of us, I know you got a lot on your plate and it was an honor getting to discuss L2R with you.

Until next time


 Posted by at 1:00 am
Mar 152011

What’s up Cats and Kittens (Sorry just wanted to try that out)

With Syl and myself getting use to our new roles on the site, sadly I’ve let a couple things slip under the radar I’d like to take a moment to address right now. The 4.1 changes announced so far have been dismal for the needed changes in feral 4.1 dps improvements; however, we have seen a few quality of life changes that I’d like to take a moment to discuss with everyone.

  • A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

It doesn’t happen often but when it does you really want to /facepalm. A key raider goes down and thinks to themselves this is the perfect time to click the release button. Now your raid leader is screaming at you, “I don’t care if you can’t find them get them up now!” While said raider is yelling, “I died next to the stairs!” Well no more!!! I like to think of this as a situational dps increase, time spent mousing over the entire battle field was time wasted from dps. A change that I can’t complain about.

  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.

Again another quality of life change. The amount of times I would pop tranq in a pinch to just get half of it pushed back due to heavy aoe raid damage was numerous. This will make feral tranqs that much more clutch in both 10 and 25m raid settings. Again not great news for dps, but good news nonetheless.

As most of you are aware blizzard has started a new blog called the Dev Q&A series. The first Q&A went out and I have to say I was not impressed at all. While their claim is we just answered the questions that we’re voted up the highest, sadly most of the questions they answered were things they’ve addressed in simple blue posts since the new forums have launched. There was only one question asked that recieved an answer from all specs of the druid community, this question was asked by squiggly line, squiggly line, tiny airplane, happy flamingo from Taiwan, he asks:

  • Q: Moonkins lack the “execution” phase spell or talent, is that an intended design and why? –輕體小子 (Taiwan)
    A: While it’s true that a lot of character classes have a special ability they can use at the 20% health mark, we didn’t set out to make sure everyone had one. Balance druids have changed a lot in the last two expansions and went from a pretty simple rotation (spam Wrath or Starfire) to a pretty complex one. We’re not sure at this time they need yet another mechanic to manage, but it’s a potential design direction to explore for the future.

While it made me sad to see that there are Boomkins out there asking for more ways to improve their dps over ours, I can’t help but wonder if he realizes the feral execute is arguably the weakest of all class and specs. If it wasn’t for bite refreshing rip under 25% there’s a good chance that feral kitties would just skip that talent anyway.  I’m just happy that blizzard agreed that Boomkins don’t need another mechanic to manage making us look silly in current content. The next Q&A series is all about pvp so don’t hold your breath anything useful will be addressed there either.

I still hold hope, numerous changes have been anounced to different classes and their aoe abilities, and there’s not to many classes left to adjust other then us. So keep your paws crossed, hopefully we’ll get some patch notes about us very soon. If they’re announced I promise not to take a week to get a discussion going on the site.

Until next time


 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Mar 112011

Enough time has passed that more and more people are starting to get the taste for heroic content. A question I get often from ferals who actually study the best class in wow is, “Hey, once I get heroic gear, I just reforge mastery and haste instead of mastery and crit right?” Well, the answer to this can be very tricky, and the only way to answer it truthfully is using the Mew program to determine exactly where you are, stat-weight-wise. Mew itself is pretty self-explanatory; as I mentioned before, I’m not a theorycrafter, but I do believe everyone needs to understand on the most basic level how to use this program. Before you can make sure you’re fully ready to tackle the raid content ahead of you, you must have your equipment in the best possible condition. This Mew process the first time will take 10-15 minutes; and less than 5 after that.

First, you can get to Mew through the sidebar of this site, Alaron has made numerous feral tools easily available to us. You’ll notice a few different links on the site you just want the click the hyper linked “here” to take you to the most recent page. You’ll be promoted a window to run the program, of course click run then the real fun starts.  Your screen turns an ugly shade of grey until you go from file to new then it’s really just a boring game of fill in the blanks with the correct answer. Remember all information you place in here is your unbuffed caster form stats, so take off that Motw and let’s see your armor. I suggest doing this next to a reforger.

The first time you set up Mew you just go down the list plugging your character information in. As you can see via the crit chance for all values you are looking for the rating, which means mouse over crit chance as I have done, then enter the rating value indicated there. (You’ll need to mouse over each stat individually and enter each rating value as I have done for crit)

(Please Click the Pic for the zoomed in version)


Basically when all is said and done you should end up with something that looks like this:


Now comes the part where your going to be happy I told you to do this next to the reforge guy because after you set all this up, then go through to click your trinket procs and raid buffs (it’s important to click the trinket procs and raid buffs you ACTUALLY HAVE in your raid group. Raid buffs make your stat weights different so be sure not to click a buff you wouldn’t actually have.) Then you click the button on the right that says Calculate. Ladies and Gents, that button is going to be your friend. You will then notice two tabs one for dps or as they call it model output, and of course the one we love is relative stat values.

I’ve heard the phrase in heroic gear haste > crit and that’s actually arguable. In 372 Haste is approximate to Crit is a better phrase and that’s what you’ll be trying to achieve in reforging your gear. Basically once you start getting heroic gear and you notice your haste stat value is now higher then your crit, you want to reforge everything to mastery then to haste, until on your personal stat value haste and crit yield roughly the same dps increase. This will take time. Reforge, recalculate, then reforge, then recalculate, then reforge, recalculate the process is rewarding but not much fun.


As you can see from my values Haste remains roughly .01 dps above crit; however, this is as close as I could bring the two. It’s important to keep your gear in perfect raid condition. I’m the only feral in my raid group; however, for those in guilds with more then one feral I suggest you guys meet up on vent after raid and take the 10 minutes it takes to get this done. This might not get you a ton of extra DPS, but if you’ve ever wiped on a boss at 0%, then you know how important even little improvements can be.

As I said before, all this should be done after you pick up a few 372 pieces. By a few I literally mean 2 or 3, it’s amazing how quickly haste starts to take over crit in very little heroic gear. As always please comment or email me any questions you have on basic uses of Mew.

Until next time.


 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Mar 092011

Put away those master balls guys, I’m only here to offer my insights and wisdom as our fearless leader shifts focus away from the game, to take care of his military obligations for awhile. I have so much I want to share with you about my experiences going through this game as a feral; however, the real question is…Why should you care what I have to say? Well allow me to make my first post all about myself, in hopes that some personal insight into my past will allow us to get on the same page on what I can bring to the blog, in Alaron’s absence.

A glimpse into the past:

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since November 2006, This means that I did not get to play end game vanilla due to The Burning Crusade releasing late January of the following year. Like Alaron I was in the military, US Army Infantry. I was introduced to the game by friends of mine in the Army. We decided to make toons on Shattered Hand-US and push raid content even though we were stationed in Germany, eight hours ahead of server time. I was the definition of scrub at level 70 to be completely honest the only reason I made a druid in the first place is because everyone in the army called me bear due to my large, door-kicking down size, so when it came time to pick a toon a bear druid seemed what I was best suited for. We did fine for a bunch of late night raiders but I remember strolling through shat, seeing all the toons in full t6 (months ahead of anyone else on our server) and decided I wanted to be that guy.

I left the army after 4 years 8 months of service, once I was stateside and able to raid I was quickly accepted into the 2nd horde guild on the server as a bear tank. This was as blood wing of Ice Crown was released. We managed to land the server first Heroic Halion kill and server third Heroic Lich King. Once Cata was released things in my guild weren’t feeling the same and I moved up again to the server’s rank one guild <Downtime> as a feral cat. Currently we are 10/13 in tier 11 heroic content.

Hopes for the future:

What I am is an observer and a strategist. I spend a vast majority of time watching kill videos from higher guilds, doing my best to know how I can deal with these encounters for my class. I spent just as much time reading information from blizzard and other sources on how our class changes will effect the raid from a purely pve stand point. It is amazing how just knowing boss abilities, one can already come up with a class stratigy on how to handle a fight. I collect this information and put it into practice for raids, one thing I can pride myself on is even when things are going horribly and a wipe is sure to happen, using the numerous amount of feral abilities I’m usually one of the last to die.

What I am not is a theory crafter. Plugging away countless scenarios into a simulator is not what I’m about, but I do follow their work, and have the gift of being able to put their complex work into a simple, easy to read forum. I am also not a PvP’r, when I spoke about the time I spent researching this game from a PvE standpoint, I hope you realized how serious I was. While I find battlegrounds enjoyable, I’ve just never had the thirst for it like I’ve had for PvE. My goal as a guest blogger is threefold: first, to share not only my views on blizzard changes for the class and spec we all know and love; second, to offer insights on how to handle progression through raid content from a cat that’s dealt with it all before; finally, to help the community stay current on changes, as blizzard continues to nerf and buff the best class in the game.


Well thank you for taking the time to get to know me, I look forward to learning more from all of you, as we spend more together. I think we should all take a moment to thank Alaron for keeping this site open, even if he won’t be around for awhile. I know I’m grateful for him allowing me to be able to write to all of you, this is my first time writing for an audience and hope you don’t mind watching me grow as a blogger as I hope to read about you all grow more skillfully in Cataclysm raid content.


Armory: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/shattered-hand/qbear/advanced

Guild: http://downtime.shatteredhand.us/

 Posted by at 10:00 pm