The Cranky Tank

Frequent ramblings related to playing a Warrior in WoW

Transmog for January 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve done a transmog-related post, and I think it’s time to remedy the situation. So, here’s my current tanking transmog, which is probably one of my favorites to date.

January 2015 Transmog

With the exception of the shield (which is a drop from Heroic Twin Ogron in Highmaul), the entire set is obtainable solo.

This is actually a pretty easy set to farm, if you don’t mind running Heroic Dragon Soul A LOT. The shield can be problematic, though I think that the Ward of the Red Widow from Beth’tilac in Heroic Firelands is a decent match.

7/7 Normal! 4/7 Heroic! Holy cow!

Last week’s progression raid night was, for lack of a better word, EPIC. We got our first normal Imperator kill on our second attempt of the night, on our second night of attempts. We then flipped to Heroic difficulty and took down Kargath and Twin Ogron, since those are our heroic “farm” bosses. With forty minutes remaining, we decided to try Heroic Butcher. This was a fight that roughly half of the raid was dreading, while the other half was enthusiastic. The naysayers were shown that the fight wasn’t “too hard” via a slightly messy one-shot! Buoyed by our victory, we hustled over to Heroic Brackenspore, which was another fight that the group was a bit unsure about. Guess what? It was another one-shot! Now that I’ve seen these fights, here are my thoughts on tanking them:

Imperator Mar’gok (Normal): Meh. The boss himself is fairly easy to tank, though he hits very hard. The small Volatile adds can be a bit of a pain to pick up if they try to slip through a cluster of mines. Gorian Reavers hit HARD. Mark of Chaos: Fortification is by far the most annoying part of the encounter to tank. Basically, you get rooted in place and expel a massive AoE explosion to anyone within 35 yards. If the entire raid fails to move away, there will likely be a few deaths. The solution, as a warrior, is to have a Heroic Leap ready to propel you out of the group the INSTANT you get the Mark of Chaos warning. If your Leap fails (which it often does), the raid has at best 6 seconds to get away from you. Yuck.

The Butcher (Heroic): Ouch. The mechanics of the fight aren’t any different than the Normal version, but the boss hits MUCH harder in Heroic. Keep Shield Block up, weave in Shield Barrier whenever you can, rotate your defensive/self-healing cooldowns, and pop a Ravager when you tank-swap (it boosts your Parry by 30%, which may prevent a stack or two of The Cleaver). Good Luck!

Brackenspore (Heroic): Meh. Much like The Butcher, your primary concern is the increased incoming damage, especially during Necrotic Breath. Self-heals won’t help you here, so you’ll want to have a big Shield Barrier and a Demoralizing Shout ready for this attack. Also, keep in mind that the Creeping Moss grows much faster in Heroic difficulty, so you’ll have to pay a bit more attention and move the boss if the moss starts to get close to the raid.

Easiest Solo Ever? Possibly.

In my never-ending quest to SOLO ALL THE THINGS, I sometimes get complacent about trying new strategies. It’s deceptively easy to succumb to a form of tunnel vision whereby you persist on tackling the mechanics as if you were in a full raid group. Case in point: Protectors of the Endless. I had tried to solo this encounter many times since hitting level 100, and failed miserably each time. Focusing on the warrior while kiting him out of the healing pools didn’t work; neither did nuking the healer. The incoming damage was too great and I would inevitably die before killing a single Protector. I figured it was a combination of sub-par gear and sub-par self. So, I looked up some videos to see how other warriors were doing it, and the solution was simple and elegant: USE the healing pools instead of avoiding them! By standing in the pools and using Glyph of Shield Slam, you receive a massive healing buff and can easily dispel the buff from whichever Protector you’re currently working on. After switching to this new strategy, the fight turned into a simple tank-and-spank, with my health rarely dipping below 90 percent! Why didn’t I think of that?


New Boss Solo: Gara’jal the Spiritbinder!

Whew! That fight is one of the most brutal gear-checks yet for a solo warrior! It’s a DPS race WITH enormous ramping incoming damage, so it doesn’t seem possible to succeed without a lot of brute force. If you’re at all interested, my setup was the following:

  • Item level 659,
  • Greater Draenic Strength Flask,
  • Draenic Armor Potions,
  • Versatility food,
  • Battle Shout,
  • Dragon Roar, Sudden Death, Bloodbath, Gladiator’s Resolve

Not “optimal”, perhaps, but after over a dozen attempts this was the combination that worked. It will get easier with better gear, which seems to be the ONLY way for warriors to solo bosses in Warlords of Draenor given the complete nerfing of our previously useful self-heals.


Lunchtime Ramblings: To Stream, or Not To Stream?

That is the poorly-phrased question that I’ve been pondering today. I certainly WANT to stream some of my WoW antics; I have OBS all set up with a nice chat censor, viewer count, timer for speed runs, new follower pop-up, and such. I’ve even announced my streaming sessions on Twitter (mostly mount soloing runs, for testing purposes). Most of the time, my streams have somewhere in the vicinity of zero viewers (one, if I count myself). I suspect that there are a few reasons for this:

  • Lack of audio commentary,
  • Lack of a webcam shot of my face in the corner, which seems traditional,
  • Lack of self-promotion and/or presence in the “community”,
  • Boring content

The first two possibilities are probably the least likely to change any time soon. For one thing, I don’t own a webcam, and if I did I wouldn’t subject viewers to my ugly mug out of courtesy. The lack of audio commentary comes primarily from the constraints of my PC’s location: it’s in a shared family area, and my commentary would likely annoy others and contain a fair amount of background noise. Also, I’m very self-conscious about speaking, though that might improve if I were to attempt some “enhanced” streaming.

I’m not entirely sure how to increase my streaming presence, or if it’s even possible at my level. I’m not going to beg for followers (though I am grateful for every one), and I don’t have the means to do prize giveaways (which seems to me like low-level bribery when starting out). Announcing my streams on Twitter and posting links to my Twitch channel on all of my posted media seems to be my limit. Here’s hoping for favorable word-of-mouth?

Finally, I suspect that my streams may be, well, BORING. I don’t PvP, so that’s out. I don’t stream my raid nights out of respect for the privacy of my colleagues (though I do make first-kill videos for YouTube). I solo old raids on a nightly basis, though I think that might wear a bit thin when I don’t take down any new bosses for a while. There are others that cover the gold-making/professions scene MUCH better than I, so I’ll spare my viewers that bit of my routine.

I don’t know. After reading what I’ve just written, it seems to me that maybe streaming just isn’t something I’m cut out to do, despite my desire to do it. Or maybe I’m just being my usual cranky self. What do you think?

A High-Altitude Overview of Warrior Soloing at 100

I’m not going to bother with a lengthy introduction (I’m lazy)… Instead, gaze upon my random thoughts on soloing stuff at level 100!


Second Wind: Don’t bother. It’s useless for MoP soloing, and has VERY limited utility in earlier raids. Sad, really, as this used to be the MANDATORY talent for soloing.
Enraged Regeneration: This is my personal choice for soloing. It’s a big self-heal, has a fairly short and reliable cooldown, and has great synergy with Last Stand/Rallying Cry (if you have access to them).
Impending Victory: Meh. Not as bad as Second Wind, and not as reliable as ER. Take it if you think you’ll be fighting a LOT of adds, and you might get some decent mileage out of it.

The remaining talent choices are largely a matter of preference. This isn’t progression raiding, so there aren’t any must-haves. Pick what makes you feel most comfortable.


Tanking: Protection (obviously). Mandatory for pushing the envelope (Mogu’shan Vaults and beyond), and a safe bet if you’re averse to wiping on easier content.
DPS: Arms/Fury/Gladiator. A personal choice, really. Use what you like (or have the best gear for). I LOVE Gladiator Stance, and it lets me get double-use out of my raid tanking gear, so that’s what I’m currently using. YMMV.


▼ Ulduar

It’s a 25-man faceroll! In fact, if you’re careful, you can save a few precious minutes and do the Flame Leviathan fight sans vehicle. Just pick up a chopper, race through the gauntlet, dismount and AoE the trash that comes running in, then NUKE the boss on foot. FL hits hard, but with careful use of CDs it’s not that bad.

▼ Icecrown Citadel

The entire raid is easily soloable at 25 Heroic difficulty (minus Dreamwalker, but she’s skippable). It’s an easy 30-40 minute farm for the Invincible mount, if you’re so inclined.

▼ Cataclysm Raids (Tier 11)

Blackwing Descent: Easy on 25 Heroic difficulty. In fact, due to the nature of lava damage and the Heroic platform mechanic, Nefarian is easier on Heroic than he is on Normal!
Bastion of Twilight: *Mostly* easy on 25 Heroic, EXCEPT for Valiona and Theralion. Their Blackout attack doesn’t seem to have been “squished”, so it’ll one-shot you on 25H. It is survivable on 25 Normal with all defensive CDs popped, so be prepared and kill them before you get a second Blackout.
Throne of the Four Winds: This place is as annoying as ever. If you’re mount farming, set it to 10 Normal and just faceroll it, since it’s not really worth the headache to attempt the fights on a harder difficulty.

▼ Firelands

Fairly easy to solo on 25 Heroic difficulty, with a few exceptions.
Beth’tilac: Cinderweb Spinners have a nasty perma-stun on Heroic, so you’ll need to get topside and kill Beth as quickly as possible. When she drops down, follow her and finish the job before you get stunned into oblivion.
Baleroc: is pretty tough on 25H. If you’re tanking, the Decimation Blade is lethal; if DPSing, the Shards will kill you if the Blade doesn’t. It’s a DPS race, pure and simple.
Shannox: A royal PAIN if you’re DPSing, due to the antics of Rageface. I suggest playing it safe and going Prot, if possible.

▼ Dragon Soul

The entire raid is a cake walk on 10 Normal/Heroic. The first three bosses are pretty easy all the way up to 25 Heroic, but it gets pretty rough after that. If you’re farming mounts, I’d keep it on 10N unless you need it on Heroic for the (admittedly pretty sweet) tier transmog gear.


After an eternity of soloing Dragon Soul (Spine of Deathwing, you suck), I finally obtained the Blazing Drake from the Madness of Deathwing fight. Well, it felt like an eternity, but it was really just a couple of months. At any rate, it was the last mount I needed for the Awake the Drakes achievement. This meant that not only is the achievement 100% soloable, but I also got the awesome Emerald Drake!



Lunchtime Ramblings: My Ideal Job

Sooner or later, everyone gets asked the dreaded question: “What’s your ideal job?” Some people will answer with a direct “X position at company Y”. Some people will BS with a “getting paid big bucks to do nothing”. Then there’s me. My ideal job doesn’t actually exist, since it’s a paid conglomeration of things I already do and things I’d like to do more.

  1. Play video games (probably WoW, duh) and create media (written, video, streaming) based on my experiences. I sort of do this now, albeit sporadically and in an unpolished fashion.
  2. Weekly trips to various habitats to collect/catalog/curate insects.
  3. Weekly trips to used bookstores to hunt for rare gems and such.
  4. Weekly shopping trips to nurseries to collect and grow plants outside the accepted “garden variety” ornamentals. California natives, oddball exotics, you name it.
  5. Photo-blog items 2,3, and 4. This would require equipment and skills I don’t actually have.
  6. Teach people about biology, the environment, and science in general in an informal fashion to combat ignorance and raise awareness. This may well be impossible for ANYONE, given current societal attitudes.
  7. Contribute to video game design in some way. I haven’t figured out WHAT, since it’s a creative process that I have no actual skills for, but still…

So, basically, roll all of my interests and hobbies into a big wad of STUFF, add a healthy dose of skill inflation, make it all on my own schedule, and pay me decent money to do it. That’s my ideal job. It’s about as close as I get to “dreaming” about what could be, given my lack of imagination.

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