Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Warrior Progress Update


So Hardcode, my Tauren Warrior has (thanks to 20% Hellscream's Warsong) picked up the reins of our ICC-10 group as main tank. This position was previously held by my Paladin, who is still ahead in terms of gear.

What is up with no tanking loot dropping for three straight weeks? I'm really not that motivated by loot; I just don't want to be the one holding us back.

However, after a three-month hiatus, our guild is back and progressing nicely. We managed guild-first kills of Putricide and Vilithria Dreamwalker (aka the loot pinata) and were poised nicely to move to 10/12 with Blood Princes and Blood Queen Lana'thel sure to go down.

Instead, we opted for [The Dedicated Few] by 8-manning Naxxramas. Don't get me wrong, we had an awesome night - most of us were crying from laughter. But it was a shame we didn't have the numbers available to finally be 10/12 in 10-man ICC.


My two arena buddies and I have run a few different comps throughout S8, never settling on one due to my inability to settle on a character. Although quite undergeared, we queued for 10 games this week as Warrior, Mage, Priest. We went 3-7 under the following handicaps:
  • Our healer was rocking a 5,000ms ping and was playing one-handed (yup)
  • I hadn't quite figured out my defensive macros (Shield wall took 4 keypresses... sigh)
  • I had clocked about 5 hours total experience as a Warrior in PVP
  • Our MMR was 1550 (on BG9)
We're all pretty excited about our performance. In fact, this could very well be the comp we use to finally break 1800 and beyond (yes, we are scrubs).

On Guild Management

We need to expand, but our guild has always struggled to run multiple raids. The core is so tight-knit that we always want to run together. I've got some half-decent strategies down in our forums, but there is so much to consider.

Does anyone have advice on how to run multiple teams within a single guild?

Monday, June 7, 2010

MLG Columbus - RMP Strikes Back

In a word: awesome.

Loaded Black took on compLexity Red (coL.Red) in the final in what will go down in arena history as the most entertaining final to date.

col.Red were running Mage, Lock, Druid wizardcleave for most of the tournament, but had an ace up their sleeve in the form of Reckful - one of the world's top rogues.

Loaded Black were running the disregarded classic comp of Rogue, Mage, Priest (RMP). Before MLG Columbus, RMP was considered an inferior and outdated comp.

After today, top teams everywhere will be scrambling to form their own RMP teams.

Check out the coverage here, here and here. Warning: WoWRiot is pretty uncontrolled; there may be images/links that are NSFW.

An update on my Warrior's progress is on it's way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Character Progression

Last time we talked, my warrior was Level 68, on a Thursday. He was Level 80 the following Sunday morning.

After a single week, he's already successfully main-tanked the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel. Not bad at all.

At the time of writing, his gearscore is 4700, with another jump expected quite shortly (replacing blue 200 and 219 rings with 245 and 251 Rings). Gearscore absolutely sucks, but it remains the simplest way to articulate how geared a character is.

The playstyle is quite enjoyable aside from the RSI-inducing Heroic Strike/Cleave mashfest. I'm very glad to hear that these abilities will be changed in 4.0. All in all, I can say with sincere confidence that Hardcode is very likely to be my main in Cataclysm.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post; Character progression. My approach to Hardcode's progression is a list of "things to do before Cataclysm", which I'd like to share with you.

Stuff to do before Cataclysm
  • Choose and max-level two professions
  • Set up my bank (20-slot bags everywhere, trade bags where appropriate)
  • Achieve Exalted reputation with all Horde factions (via Argent Tournament)
  • Achieve Exalted reputation with Netherwing faction
  • Obtain the Reins of the Raven Lord
  • Obtain an Argent Squire Bank
  • Obtain a 310% flying mount (most likely Iron-bound Proto-drake)
  • Get the explorer achievements
  • Get all Azeroth and Burning Crusade Raid & Dungeon achievements
  • Get Keymaster achievement
  • Amass significant wealth (50,000 gold is my target)
I'll remind you of the context here; this is my ninth Level 80 character. I have achieved most of these feats on numerous characters previously but if Hardcode is to become my main, he will need to grind these out. All nine of my characters have epic flying too; my kingdom for the ability to refund 6-7 of those (~30,000 gold)!

On Professions

I've still made no progress on selecting professions for cataclysm. It looks as though I'll be roped in to Mining/Blacksmithing as no other guild member plans to take a Blacksmith into Cataclysm. This leaves a gap as we only have one Jewelcrafter and he's focusing on caster gems. In a perfect world, I'd opt for Blacksmithing/Jewelcrafting so as to maximize both my personal and guild benefits, but it would be far too expensive to maintain.

Obligatory Questions to the Readers

What are your plans pre-cataclysm? What professions would you suggest?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No posts this week; away on business...

I'm not sure that I have any readers; but in case I do...

Do not expect any posts this week. I'm on a training course and have limited access to the internet.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Professions for a Protection Warrior

My warrior has hit Northrend and shall be tanking Utgarde Keep tonight; not the pinnacle of achievement (PUN!) but a great milestone for what is sure to be my 9th max-level class. The hero of this story is laden with gold - once he hits Level 70 he'll be levelling up with epic flying.

With the level cap in sight, thoughts shift toward end-game. Blizzard were kind enough to provide a timely preview on professions in Cataclysm.


As a guild master and raid leader it is quite beneficial to ensure that at least one member of each raid is an Enchanter. Although not currently relevant, enchanting materials (especially shards) will be quite valuable and sought-after during the early stages of Cataclysm.

It is very useful to collect and store these shards in the Guild Bank, for use on progression raiders' gear. Keep in mind that you need a visible, transparent method for distributing these amongst your guild. Once you get a backlog of materials, selling the excess can help pad the Guild Bank considerably.

For my warrior, Enchanting offers the following perks:
  • Guaranteed, trusted disenchanter for every heroic and raid
  • Stamina bonus on-par with all other professions (via Ring enchants)
  • Access to a new vanity pet

We're planning to have a Paladin and Warrior tanking team for the beginning of Cataclysm. As such, a dedicated Blacksmith would be very useful; crafted gear will be especially relevant during the early phases of Cataclysm but will remain so throughout.

For my warrior, Blacksmithing offers the following perks:
  • A source of PVP and PVE gear
  • Access to any plans that drop in heroics or raids
  • Two bonus sockets (wrist, gloves) that provide a bonus on-par with all other professions

Hands-down the most profitable profession (alongside enchanting) if you have the patience and apititude for playing the Auction House. People always need gems; PVE, PVP, Casual or Hardcore.

Due to the way Blizzard staggered Jewelcrafting designs in Wrath of the Lich King, guilds should encourage multiple Jewelcrafters, each with their own specialities. Focus on caster gems (intellect, spirit), on dps gems (strength, agility) or tanking gems (stamina, avoidance). Stats such as Mastery, Haste, Hit, Crit and Expertise could be co-ordinated as well.

For my warrior, Jewelcrafting offers the following perks:
  • A stat bonus similar to all other professions via Jewelcrafter-only gems
  • A guaranteed way to make money throughout the entire expansion (both through gems and new vanity items)
  • (Specualtion) access to trinkets and jewelery throughout the expansion

In my position (~ 10,000 gold today) it would be unrealistic to assume that I could level my Jewelcrafting or Blacksmithing without either taking mining myself or having a guildmate feed materials to me.

Mining will be extremely lucrative early on, as it will feed Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing. Early expansion mining can be a cutt-throat and hostile environment (read: heaps of fun).

For my warrior, Mining offers the following perks:
  • A stamina bonus similar to all other professions
  • Access to the materials I need for early gear (via Blacksmithing)
  • A great way to make money

HA! You're reading the blog of a guy who is levelling his ninth class to 80 - did you really expect a verdict?

The current thought is Enchanting / Mining - this combination allows me to source materials for early gear, while making money hand over fist on excess materials. Dropping Enchanting is more likely, as I do not currently have the funds to support a tradeskill grind via the Auction house. If, however, I can make 100,000 gold before the end of Wrath, I may change my mind.

Any advice or criticism of my analysis? What tradeskills would you choose in my position?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deep Wounds Protection Spec via

Veneretio over at posted a great article about the Deep Wounds Protection spec for Warriors. Rather than simply linking to a talent calculator, Veneretio describes the points in the spec where choices are available.

Although nothing in the article was revolutionary, having an experienced voice walk through the talent tree was very valuable to me. I think you should read the article and check regularly (it's in my Google Reader).

For reference, here is my intended proc spec, in the form of a simple link to a talent calculator.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Warrior Stance/Ability Table

To help me figure out my Warrior keybinds, I thought it might be useful to generate a table of abilities and their requirements. This has really opened my eyes to some truths and I will be changing my keybinds appropriately.

For example:
  • Mortal Strike and Bladestorm are usable in any stance. Switch to Berserker for a damage increase!
  • Spell Reflect and Shield Bash are usable in Battle stance (but require a shield).
The most immediate epiphany is to move Mortal Strike off of my Battle Stance bar and onto Q or E (see my keybinding post). Bladestorm will also find it's way to Z or X.

I need some more time to digest this information, but I thought that it may be valuable to share.

The table I generated is shown below. This version has the "boring" abilities removed (shouts, heroic strike, etc) that are usable in any stance. Click the image to see the full table.

(click it to see all Warrior abilities)

Are there any surprises there for you? Is it helpful to see all of this in one place?

On the Warrior Class

My warrior is now level 65 (or level 705 as I like to call it) and is currently shredding up the psychedelic zone of Zangamarsh. Dividing time between Random Dungeons and questing is paying off in spades.

The plan is to skip Terrokar Forest and head straight to Nagrand; a Talbuk as soon as possible is the goal. Kodos are the worst mounts in the game.

My current feelings about the Warrior class are almost all positive. The single gripe is rage starvation, which can be attributed to my gear and level. In fact, this is the first character I've actually struggled with; racking up 8 deaths in Hellfire Peninsula. Some might call that a detriment; for me it's simply awesome - there are few remaining challenges in World of Warcraft.

Proper evaluation of the class must wait until both PVE and PVP are tackled properly. I must admit that this time, I might not be (as) disappointed.

Those who know me personally will roll their eyes at this point; every single class I've levelled (except Rogue) is always going to be my next main. This blog stands as evidence to the contrary.

Life is hard.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Using Keybinds

On keyboard turners:

First of all, if you turn using the keyboard ('A' and 'D' by default) you are doing it wrong. If you want to improve your game, the first thing you should do is unbind your turning keys.

Personally, I use W to move forward alongside A and D to strafe left and right. It doesn't matter if you use W, Q, E instead, as long as you're not using the keyboard to turn. Turn your character using the right mouse button and the mouse exclusively.

I'll save my rant on backpedalling for another day.

Which keys are available?

Now, my system for determining keybinds is pretty simple:
  • W, A, S, D reserved for movement
  • ~, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 used for often-used abilities
  • Q, E, R, F, C used for clutch instant-cast utility (interrupts, etc.)
  • Z, X, T, G, V used for utility
  • Mouse 3 and Shift Mouse 3 are "target focus" and "focus target" respectively
  • Numpad buttons are reserved for raid-icons
  • Alt and Shift are my preferred modifiers
  • Control used sparingly, usually for low-maintenance actions (pets, shouts, etc)
Note: When I say something like mod+F I'm referring to holding either Shift, Alt or Control and hitting the F key.

Tip #1: Unusual, but awesome combinations.

One really clever tip I came across when figuring out binds for my warlock; you can bind channelled/cast-time spells to mod+W,A,S,D. This is due to the fact that you don't want to move while casting these anyway!

For example, my Health Funnel (channelled spell that heals your pet) is bound to alt+S. Haunt is bound to alt+W. It feels very awkward at first, but after a few minutes it's easy as pie, and it frees up other buttons (like 1-5) for instant-cast/mashable buttons.

Tip #2: Have clutch abilities usable while strafing.

The next tip I have for you is put important/clutch abilities close-by, so you can mash them on the move. For example, interrupts are generally instant-cast and are often off the GCD. Hence, I usually put my interrupts, dispels and stuns on Q, E, R, F and C.

Now, if you're a keyboard-turning noob, you might wonder; "How can I strafe right (D key) and press F to interrupt at the same time?". The answer is simple; jump.

Practise this move: Strafe right (D) and jump (spacebar) as you're strafing. Immediately release the strafe key (D). You will continue to move right at run speed! This is the perfect time to let fly a Wind Shock or Strangulate.

Tip #3: Have one modifier key as your "focus" key.

Let's say you choose alt as your "focus" key. If you're a Mage with Counterspell bound to R, you could replace the Counterspell button with this macro:

#showtooltip Counterspell
/cast [mod:alt, @focus] Counterspell
/cast Counterspell

  1. This will cause Counterspell's cooldown, icon and mouse-over to be displayed for the macro
  2. This will interrupt whatever you're casting to perform the counterspell. Very important!
  3. If alt is held down when this macro is run, cast it at (@) your focus target
  4. Cast Counterspell normally (that is, at your current target)
Note: You can replace Counterspell in the above macro with any spell (e.g. Wind Shock, Mind Freeze, Shield Bash, Hammer of Justice).

So, in a single button, you now have the ability to Counterspell either your current target or your focus target (by holding alt).

If you're not familiar with the focus frame and focus targeting you're missing out. The Blizzard UI allows you to have one target and one focus target. This means you can "target" two opponents at once! Better still, with macros you can set up spells to automatically hit your focus, rather than your target.

In PVP (especially Arena) this is, of course, mandatory. As a Mage, for example, you can have the "kill target" in your sights, while keeping the healer "focused". Because he's focused, you'll see a cast bar as he pumps up that Holy Light; a quick Focus Counterspell and you've interrupted his healing without stopping your DPS on the main target.

In PVE, focus can also be useful in less active ways. For example, keeping Deathwhisper as your focus allows you to watch her mana bar during Phase 1. A healer can focus Saurfang to keep an eye on his Runic Power. This is a great way to start using and learning about focus.

And a question for the Warriors:

How have you keybound your stances? I'm having a lot of trouble figuring this out! I'm planning to have some macros for PVP at 80 but I'd like to know how PVE warriors handle stance dancing.

Any help or advice?


Druid, Rogue, Mage; Burning Crusade.

Death Knight, Paladin, Priest; unleashing the beast,
Warlock and Shaman; make Arthas appear a layman.

My name is Josh and I'm an altoholic. I never intended to be this way, I just can't help myself. My envy of people with a main character is palable; my self-loathing and lack of focus culminating in a debilitating need to check if the grass really is greener (it isn't).

Ultimately, this becomes a sounding board, a public notebook... a soapbox. For here is where my thoughts become text, my feelings fleshed-out and my battles broadcasted.

Welcome to Mocking Blow.

A brief history, of sorts:

In the before-time, when demons were localized to Felwood and Blasted Lands:
  • Human Priest to 60; raiding UBRS
  • (Male... >_<) Night Elf Hunter to 60; raiding MC and BWL
Beyond the dark portal, where space goats and sexy elves roam:
  • Tauren Druid to 70; feral tank for Kara, SCC and TK.
  • Blood Elf Mage to 70; PVP all the way
  • Undead Rogue to 70; PVP and daily quests
And into the frozen wastelands of northrend where our hero becomes Guild Master:
  • Orc Death Knight to 80; main-tank for Naxx
  • Blood Elf Paladin to 80; healed Naxx & Ulduar, tanked ToC and ICC
  • Undead Rogue from 70 to 80; abandoned immediately after first raid
  • Blood Elf Priest to 80; healed Ulduar
  • Troll Shaman to 80; abandoned due to boredom
  • Tauren Druid from 70 to 80; fell in love with resto during ICC-10
  • Blood Elf Mage from 70 to 80; PVP'd to a 1400 rating and took a break from WoW
  • Human Warlock to 80; DPSing in ICC-25
My most recent undertaking is that of a Warrior. Currently Level 63, this character represents a very real finality in my quest to find the right class. For you see, if the Warrior does not represent the ultimate class I will likely never find peace and an altoholic remain.

This then, is the story of one man, trying to find his place in the World of Warcraft. Oh, and a place for insane rants and a healthy amount of analysis.

Strap in; it's going to get hairy.