Thursday, 31 July 2008

Don't stand next to the trap

I've often heard our healers saying "Don't stand next to the trap" or bemoaning other healers who are often to be found standing next to a shackled or trapped target. So I thought I'd find out why and post here.

The executive summary is: standing next to a CCed target makes it more likely it will attack you when the CC breaks, rather than going for the CCer.

Lume the Mad has a good post introducing the concepts of Threat and Aggro which I recommend reading. It is useful to know about threat to understand the following!

So Lume says if you are standing in melee range of a mob, you must exceed 110% of the threat the mob's target has to pull aggro, at which point the mob will come for you. If you are outside melee range, its 130% threat. From Wowwiki, melee range is 5 yards or closer.

Consider the case of a hunter chain trapping a mob. They will lay a trap and try to get threat on their mob, so it runs straight for them and into the trap. The mob will get trapped and will have to stand still and think about their actions. At this point no one is damaging the mob, so who is gaining threat on the mob?

Generally it's the healer. The mob is annoyed with the tank so every time the tank gets a heal, the mob becomes a little more annoyed with the healer - the healer is gaining threat on the trapped mob. When the mob breaks free from the trap, the healer has gained extra threat on the mob from when it went in. The trapper on the other hand usually has gained no extra threat on the mob at all (unless they have been drinking potions or healing themselves).

When the mob breaks out of the trap, if the healer has 111% of the trapper's threat one of two things can happen. If the healer is standing out of melee range of the mob, the mob will still go after the trapper, because the healer needs 130% threat to pull aggro. If the healer is standing inside melee range... the mob will go after the healer, because when in melee range, the healer only needs 110% threat to pull aggro. Melee range being next to the trap.

So I think that's why its a bad thing to stand next to a trapped or shackled mob and merrily heal away. I could be wrong of course ;)

Monday, 28 July 2008

Badge Fever and loot moaning

Badge Fever is a big issue in our guild. Normally demure, quiet members of the guild will come close to some monstrous Badge of Justice reward and suddenly become the mother of all badge whores. Badge Fever can be diagnosed using the following symptoms:

  • Constant updates of how many badges they need ("Only 10 badges to go")
  • Pestering for daily heroic runs ("Anyone up for the daily heroic? Please?")
  • Moaning about slow clears of Karazhan or the nights where less than the maximum number of badges are obtained ("2 wipes on Aran? WTH...")
  • Constant updates of how many badges they need ("Only 9 badges to go")

Equally vexing are those crazy people who hang out for certain loot drops, stoically attending each and every kill of a boss just to have the chance to roll on non-dropping loot. Something I am guilty of myself, having camped Attumen for 3 months.

Similar to the "loot" meme, ala "Loot-reaver", we now have a new one operating in our little guild, where we rename certain loot items people are after:

Who can tell what the next wave of craziness will be in our little guild. Stay posted is all I can say.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Karazhan key fragments number 2 and 3

Last night I got a group together specifically to grab the Second and Third Karazhan key fragments. Our little group of adventurers was Feral Druid tank, 2 mages and a boomkin, with myself Resto shaman extraordinaire healing. Healing a proper level 70 instance. Oh deary me.

The Arcatraz

This went well apart from when we chose to tackle Zereketh the Unbound. This nasty puts void circles underneath you, which if you don't spot them you take lots of damage and generally die. Spotting these void circles when I was staring intently at Grid was quite difficult. However when the tank backed into a small alcove on the left hand wall, he went out of line of sight. This meant I had to run forward into range of the nasty Shadow Nova... which promptly knocked me back before my heal had finished casting. Result, dead tank very shortly followed by dead healer when he spotted a void circle too late. The boomkin died at the beginning to a void circle anyway, but luckily our two mages were on the ball and finished Zereketh off. Who promptly dropped plate loot anyway. Grrr. I had Zereketh as my focus so I could tell when to pop Bloodlust, but in the heat of the battle I totally forgot.

The key fragment was easy to get after that and we wisely decided not to try to finish the instance and instead head on over to all druids' favourite instance, the Steamvault.

The Steamvault

Ah the Steamvault, SV, place of many many Cenarion Expedition rep runs so Druid B could get his Earthwarden. We have a saying in our guild now - "No more Steamvaults". Sometimes though you have to make an exception.

The run went well, clearing a couple of Bog Lords with the greatest of ease. The only sticky point was when the tank pulled an Ice Elemental pack and a group of Naga. Despite the best efforts of our AOEers, we didn't survive that one. Finally the last key fragment was mine and... we had a crack at the nearby boss, Hydromancer Thespia. I was dreading this after what happened in The Arcatraz, but oddly enough one Nature Resistance Totem and some serious elemental nuking later, she was dead. I even managed to pop Bloodlust at the end this time.

It now occurs to me that because the two mages had to nuke the elementals quick, it would have been more useful for me to pop Bloodlust at the beginning of the fight.

The Black Morass awaits

Kam is now ready for The Black Morass, from the point of view of the Karazhan key chain. Whether he is ready healer-wise, only an attempt on the Black Morass will tell.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Sethekk Halls solo healing

Last night was Zul'Aman night in the guild, so I was grinding more Shattered Sun Offensive rep when a call for Sethekk Halls went out. As I've never done Sethekk I replied and found myself the only healer, in a group of a Feral druid tank, Mage, Enhancement Shaman and Hunter.

The run went pretty smoothly, perhaps due to the low level of the instance and the fact that most of the party were level 70. Stuff I learned was:

  • The ghost summoned from the Sethekk Prophet's death hits very hard. So much so that it seems only a Nature's Swiftness + Healing Wave can save their target. I initially tried a normal HW but the monkey getting hit died before the heal landed. So second time I tried a LHW and the same happened. Of course the true fix for this is to run away from the slow moving ghost, but it was frustrating when the Enhancement Shaman died 3 times in a row to 3 different ghosts and I couldn't save him. Maybe I shouldn't have tried.
  • The Cobalt Serpent, a big blue wind serpent type thing, does a wing buffet which throws you back, cancelling any heals. Also, the Sethekk Oracles do a Chain Lightning which has a silence effect. So I had Earth Shield up on the tank all the time, refreshing during combat, because I didn't know when I would get silenced or interrupted.
  • I need something to tell me when Water Shield has been removed. I was taking a fair amount of damage from the Chain Lightning and various other effects, and each tick takes a WS charge. Several combats ended with me noticing that I no longer had my lovely Water Shield.

Onto the bosses:

  • Darkweaver Syth. This guy was a tank and spank apart from that he summons 4 elementals at various health levels. I used the Fire Elemental at the start to help with killing the adds and generally because we were all grouped together I could use Chain Heal to keep the party topped off.
  • Talon King Ikiss. Despite being told I needed arcane resistance gear for this final boss in Sethekk, the tactic we actually used was to hide around the back of a pillar when he casts his AOE arcane explosion. There is a nice clear raid warning issued, and the whole party runs away round the back of a pillar, so its very clear when I need to follow. After the explosion he also does 1-2k of damage to the whole party, but this can easily be fixed by Chain Healing once to get 2 or 3 party members and then a second time to fix up anyone who wasn't touched. I kept Earth Shield up on the tank all the time and we killed him quite easily.
  • There aren't any more bosses, despite only killing two! I was wondering where the rest of the instance had gone.

Because we had a hunter in the party, he was trapping various mobs, so I had to be careful not to stand next to the trap. More on that later when I can dig out the relevant facts as to why this is a Bad Thing.

Overall the run was good fun and I got to practise a few things. No loot this time from drops, and the reward I chose for the quest Brother Against Brother was an upgrade for my elemental set. I do now have the Shadow Labyrinth Key and have already been recruited to help with an SL run for the first Karazhan key fragment.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Account Security or cool RNG keyring?

The Blizzard authenticators are back in stock in the EU site. Given I'm ambivalent about the thing, but they are quite cheap and a couple of guildies wanted one, I ordered a few anyway. The postage is 7 quid for however many you order, so it's a good opportunity to club together to save some cash. Plus when I get the thing I can either tie it to my account and try not to forget it, OR have a neat Blizzard branded keyring which happens to be a handy Random Number Generator. I'm still concerned about forgetting to take it with me then being unable to log into WoW however. Is anyone else ordering one on the off chance, are you sold on the idea, or is it just a load of nonsense?

Edit They seem to be sold out again. Crikey!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Shaman vs Scuba

While I am away Scuba Diving, I thought I'd post my ponderings on Shaman and the sport. Aren't scheduled posts wonderful? (The answer is yes, btw)


Scuba diving involves the use of a tank of compressed air, attached to a first stage which reduces the air supply pressure to the pressure of the water surrounding you, so it is breathable. A regulator goes into your mouth (mmm tasty salt flavour) which you breathe from. The kit is somewhat cumbersome although its not bad, and breathing from nitrogen-enriched air (Nitrox) gives you a good buzz.

Shaman have the ace underwater breathing spell, which lets them breathe for 10 minutes without anything, save a Shiny Fish scale as reagent. It can then be recast any time while underwater, so effectively you have infinite time.


Underwater WoW is a bit boring really; we have a giant pump in Zangermarsh and some waterfalls, a few mobs of various types. There are some ok shipwrecks, but these are usually murloc infested, so unsuitable for exploration. Unless you like killing murlocs. And who doesn't?

Scuba divers have far more interesting places to dive, given the world is somewhat larger than the world of warcraft. We have reefs, fish habitats, really massive shipwrecks, dropoffs which descend 100s of metres to the sea bottom, the list goes on.

Getting to the dive site

Shaman have water walking and probably a flying mount, allowing us to skip most obstacles such as underwater mobs and land mobs and drop right into where we are diving. For travelling across land, a flying mount is better than a beaten up dive truck any day. Walking across the water then dropping in is far superior to struggling up and down a sandy beach with several tons of dive gear on.

Scuba divers usually either have a beaten up dive truck if shore diving, or a boat if on the sea. A boat can have drink, beer and food, so this definitely beats a flying mount on which you can't even drink or eat. You can also snooze on a boat between dives, try that on a taxi and you'll discover yourself logged out.


A Shaman has mucho defense, lightning, fire, earth shocks. Unfortunately the underwater habitat of WoW is a little more hazardous than the world.

A Diver, well will have a small knife if they are lucky, if they are not in national parks or places which prohibit such things.


Shaman get to tap up the many Mineral nodes we can find underwater. We can also kill mobs for various vendorable items and RRQ items, for example Unidentified Plant Parts in Zangermarsh.

Scuba divers on the other hand get to keep sea shells, if the laws in the country allow. There maybe treasure but generally such things are protected so no steally!


Ok so diving in the real world definitely beats diving in WoW, even with a Shaman which seems to be the master of underwater activity - apart from those druids and their pesky Seal form. It is a pity there isn't more interesting and cool underwater architecture in WoW, but I guess the designers probably thought people would see it once, die when they ran out of breath and never come back.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Softcore Pawn: how to use the loot ranking addon

I am lazy. Very lazy in fact. So when I was facing gearing up Kam to healbot levels, I thought to myself, surely there has to be an easier way that staring at endless gear lists and quest rewards, trying to balance this stat against that stat and make agonising decisions over which piece of gear to use and which to vendor.

Luckily I was tipped off by frequent mentions of the Pawn addon on internet sites. This little addon will show a number in the tooltip for an item which rates how "good" the item is. When comparing items, the rating can then be compared instead to make a snap decision. Is this the best way to compare items? No. Is it a quick way to compare items? Yes.

The catch is that the rating for an item is created based on the stats the item has. The Pawn addon functions in a similar way to those "Equivalence Point" systems all over the WoW space; each stat is given a fixed weight or a multiplier, all the stats are multiplied by their weights and then added up, giving you the rating for the item. Each set of weights is known as a "Scale" in Pawn.

The easy (and lazy) part comes where, instead of working out how much you value each stat relative to each other, you just take a commonly accepted set of values, slap that into the Pawn addon and start comparing items. That's exactly what I've done. To follow this you need to have installed the Pawn addon into your WoW client. Grab it from WoW UI.

Here is the main menu of Pawn, brought up by the /pawn command. It is showing the weights for the stats for the "Shaman Healing" scale, one I've already added. I shall add an Enhancement scale as an example, to follow click the "Import" button.

The import dialog appears with a text entry field where the Scale can be pasted. In the Pawn installation directory, in <WoW dir>/Interface/Addons/Pawn/, there is a "Sample scales.htm" file which contains sample scales. I shall take "Shamans: Malan's Elitist Jerks Enhancement Points (EP)" scale for Tier 4 which goes something like this

( Pawn: v1: "Enhancement Points": Ap=1, Strength=2, Agility=1.74, CritRating=1.97, HitRating=1.34, HasteRating=1.28, ArmorPenetration=0.22, ExpertiseRating=3.18, RedSocket=16, YellowSocket=15.88, BlueSocket=8, MetaSocket=20.88, MainHandDps=9.03, OffHandDps=3.7, OneHandDps=3.7 )
Copy and Paste that whole thing into the text entry field in the import dialog. Hit Ok.

The scale definition contains it's own name which shows up as "Enhancement Points" here. If you prefer a different colour click on the Blue box to the left of "Change Color" and choose a better shade; I've gone for a nice red. Ensure "Show this scale in tooltips" is checked. Now click "Close". The Scale is all set up and should start appearing in tooltips.

I have some random gear lying around I've collected for an enhancement set, so lets go take a look at how good it is. This Demonblood Eviscerator gets a score of 729.8
whereas the Rockbiter Cutter of the Tiger gets 296.6. Note you can only use such weapon scores to compare weapons with each other, never weapons to armour. So in this case for a mainhand the Eviscerator is best. For weapons Pawn uses the stats and the DPS values to compare, the Eviscerator has more raw DPS plus some expertise so I guess that is why it is rated higher. Note Pawn doesn't take the weapon speed into account, so here knowledge that an Enhancement Shaman is after a speed of 2.6 or slower is useful; luckily the speeds are both the same so that doesn't muddy the comparison.

I'll try comparing some shoulders which will pick up the various stats on the shoulders. These Mantle of Perenolde get 128.1.
These Exotic Spiked Shoulders get 80.7. When an item has sockets, Pawn will give each socket a flat value, in this case 16 for a red socket. If I was to put a +8 Strength gem into a red socket, Pawn would give the 8 Strength a rating of 16 (the Scale gives each Strength 2 points) and so this value of 16 for the socket would be sensible. If I stuck uncommon gems in a red socket, this flat value of 16 would be somewhat off.

Finally if you stick sets of gear in the bank, an addon which shows bank contents like Altoholic will let you get the numbers on items when comparing quest rewards. As a hybrid who is collecting 3 sets of gear for Resto, Elemental and Enhancement, this is invaluable.

The Shaman Healing scale which is shown is also a sample scale which comes with Pawn and I have used it to collect up my Resto set. However, I have always to keep in mind my target stats of 1200 +healing and 120 mp5; the scale encourages mp5 over +healing, which is fine when collecting gear, but when I had hit 120 mp5 I needed to start getting more +healing, at which point I had to use my own judgement.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Site update(s)

On the advice of the Blog Azeroth site, I have added a search box to the left hand bit of the site, because searching using tags alone is rubbish and google searches rule. Blogger does provide a blog search on the bar at the top, but the google search also searches any sites I've linked to, including those on my blogroll.

I thought I'd post how I did this for those who are interested, as I couldn't find any info on the BA site itself.

  1. On the blog dashboard, click Manage Layout.
  2. On the column of boxes (blogroll, links, etc) click Add A Page Element. Make it a HTML/JavaScript: click Add To Blog next to HTML.
  3. In the popup box which appears, leave the title blank.
  4. In a different web browser window, go to; google custom search on the fly.
  5. In the box shown there will be a load of code. Copy this code into your system clipboard using Copy and Paste functions (eg on Windows select all then hit Control-C).
  6. Back to the HTML/JavaScript element, in the Content area, Paste the code from google custom search.
  7. Click Save.

If you're brave or know HTML, you can also add other handy links to the HTML/JavaScript panel, such as a subscribe link.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Worldwide Invitational pictures

No, sadly I didn't go to the WWI. I didn't get to get autographs from Turpster, see models dressed as Night Elves, or play being the Lich King. I guess I'll have to get Hulk Hogan's autograph another time (weak joke alert). However our brave and crazy fire mage, and our trusty paladin tank *did* go. So without further ado I present AblazeTheMage's Blizzard Worldwide Invitational pictures.

Warning: these pictures are mostly of models dressed as Night Elves.

© 2008, 2009 FlameShock. All Rights Reserved.