Archive for the 'tanking' Category

Addon of the week: RaidBuffStatus


First off: I wondered why I didn’t get one disconnect in the 2 raids I did yesterday.Β  For the past few weeks this has been the standard I was getting used to (ok, not really).

I was always blaming my addon mania for this, as I figured a few of them were probably fighting over who got to place their useless information in some unread tooltip first.

But this morning I got the joyful message from my internet provider that they secretly upped my internet speed!

Now, I can hardly believe that the lack of speed was causing the problems before (8Mbit should be more than enough, right?), but I wouldn’t be surprised if those sudden DC’s were caused by them tweaking their routers.

Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It could just be temporary luck and my addons could still be plotting a huge chain-DC on my next run, right after I see the message: “Mainspecs, roll on [Trauma]“.

However, a faster internet connection for the same price is never a bad thing πŸ™‚

And I think I already payed my due’s to murphy.. because to be absolutely safe, I decided to updated my router firmware as they suggested. Having my router protected as good as possible, this caused some undocumented updating problems: my password got reset, which not only caused me to not be able to access my router, and internet until I figured out how to reset it to factory default. It also resulted in me losing all the configurations which I meticulously tweaked over time. It took me 2 hours to get everything back as it was *sigh*

But I’m back in business, like everyone’s favorite VH boss would say.

Anyway, enough screen clutter, on to the addon of the week:

RaidBuffStatus

This addon came to replace my previously used BigBrother a while back, and it’s a must have if you’re perfectionist like me.

Unlike the name suggests, this addon does more than just check the status of buffs in the raid. However, that is one of its main purposes.

Who would want it?

Raidleaders mostly of course, but anyone with a sense of responsibility will like it very much. For tanks this can also be very useful. Even in PvP this is useful for the deathwarnings and the CC breaks.

Why would you want it?

To “spy” on everyone and quickly notice if they ate their plate clean, took their (right) medication.. I mean, have their (correct) food buffs and flasks/elixirs, buffs, aura’s, presences, or stances, but also who’s been slacking in giving the rest buffs (yes, I’m looking at you, slackadins!) and who is n0t even inside the instance yet even (regular slackers).

These are not it’s only functions.

For tanks it has the special function of showing interesting information about taunts used, and breaking CC’s. It can give text and sound feedback when your taunt fails, or when someone else taunts your target. When someone else taunts your target, it also recognizes if this is a tank or a non-tank. For example: if a hunter grabs your aggro, it will explicitly mention that it’s not a tank that taunted your target.

The options for taunt warnings are many, like you can see in this configuration screen, there’s not a single kind of taunt not covered. It’s close to too much information, but you can choose what you wanna see and what not, that’s the good thing.

For those that aren’t raidleading or tanking, it’s still useful besides spying on others. It can be configured just to show your buffs, and helps you buffing the right people by simple clicking your buffs in the main overview. CC breaks are also good to know if you’re a CC capable class. If you’re a dps druid it’s also interesting to get deathwarnings too, so you can quickly battleress f.e.

The operation

The main overview screen looks like this if you’ve got it full option:

This page shows the overview of all the information you can get about the current raid. It might look confusing, but once you know the reason for the way this is ordered, it’s get much easier to use.

The screen is split into 4 parts.

First part, the top row of buttons shows basic “readiness” problems, like people not in the same zone, people AFK, low durability, having useless aura’s, people using low level consumables or ammo, or people who are dead… Personally I think 2 things in this list don’t really belong there, but you can all change that.

The second part is a list of bars that show the health of the raid. Average health of tanks, average mana of healers, etc. Personally I only care about healer mana, and healers/tanks alive, but you can choose what you want to see from the configuration menu.

The third part is a grid of all the standard buffs, kings, mark ot wild, fortitude, seals, presences, etc.

The fourth and last part are the buffs that you would use for progression raids, and are interesting if you really want the best from your raid. These are basically consumable buffs like foodbuffs, elixirs/flasks, stuff you wouldn’t use in heroics f.e.

The buffs have colors on them, these colors say something important about the buffs too:

  • Yellow means that somebody in the raid is missing this buff
  • Red means that somebody in the raid is missing a buff you’re responsible for
  • Blue means that you’re missing a buff that someone else is (or could be) responsible for.

You can configure click actions on these buttons. By default they are this:

  • Left click turns checking for the particular buff on and off
  • Right click buffs people if you’re capable of buffing it
  • Shift-Left click reports this to the raid chat (if you’ve got the authority to do so)
  • Ctrl-Left click whispers the buffers about what they forgot.

There are also 4 buttons. The scan button on top refreshes everything, nothing spectacular. The bottom 3 buttons are only usable if you have raidleader or assist status, and can be used to report to the raid about the missing buffs (if you don’t have this status, it can report to yourself only, but that’s a bit senseless, as you have the overview in front of you). The Trash and Boss button do basically the same, except that the Trash button ignores the fourth part of buffs. The Boss button shows everything. The R button is simply a readycheck.

Sometimes it’s a shame that it only allows you to report to the raid as leader/assist, especially in pugs. You can however always make it whisper to the responsible people what they’re forgot to do.

Update:

I forgot two windows that pop up if you press the little two arrows on top of the addon.

The left one gives an overview of your group, showing what specs and abilities the players have. Very useful to quickly see who are the tanks, healers, melee, and ranged dps, and what they bring to the raid in abilities.

The right one let’s you configure which buffs you consider a buff, or a warning, and which ones you want to show, or report. This basically configures the RBS display. Here you can change the buffs that you think are wrongly placed, or are just not interesting to you. Those slacking buffs that were wrongly placed in my opinion can be replaced or removed here.

The options

The latest versions comes pre-configured for three options. Just press the button and the configuration will be adjusted to your role:

Personally I would’ve liked to see the “tank” option too. but it’s not hard to configure that manually.

Manual configuration is simple btw, even though there are lots of options.

Consumable options configures whether you’re ok with lower level consumables or not.

Reporting configures to whom you want to report the information, and how.

Raid Status Bars show what bars you want so see in the bars overview.

Mouse buttons configures the click combinations you can use

Tank/CC/Misdirect/Death Warnings (see pictures at the begin of this post) configure if you want these warnings, and if they should be audial, visual, both or even reported to the raid.

Food announce can automatically throw a raidwarning when a fishfeast or any other interesting buff source is dropped. You can configure it to whisper people when these items are about to time out too if they still haven’t used this. I like this option a lot, because especially fish-feasts are easy to miss.

The other options are quite self-explanatory or just small operational options.

…And finally

I think it’s a very useful tool. As tank I love the taunt warnings, the misdirect/cc warnings. Simple functions like who is still not in the zone is great for summoning people to their raid, you don’t need to have them all ask for it.

The authors claim it’s lightweight, but it’s still a pretty big addon (1.2 MB). Processor usage seems to be low though, and that’s most important with wow being such a CPU hungry game.

Oh, I haven’t tested this yet, but if you would like to be able to use the reporting function even if you’re not a leader, the following “hack” should fix that *evil grin*

Open the Core.lua file in the RaidBuffStatus addon folder, and add this to the end of it:

function IsRaidLeader()
Β Β Β  return true
end

Good luck raiding!

P.S. Funny picture of the day

…after he dropped from his mount into the depths πŸ˜‰

Updates: I completely forgot to write about 2 very interesting views. Weaved it in the middle of the story. I also got a new DC again *sigh*, though I can’t complain, because a wow bug caused me to be able to do the weekly raid twice, how nice!

Another update: I discovered the proof reading option in wordpress, which pointed out quite a few mistakes. I was actually a bit shocked by the amount of errors it found. English isn’t my native language, but I still thought I had a better grasp of it. Guess I can use it’s help. It’s not unusual for me to revise a post a few times after I updated it (I’ve got a mild form of dyslexia, which makes me put words in the wrong order sometimes, or simply skip them), but this one needed it badly a few times. My apologies for the bad English I used before, I hope this will improve it a little in future posts.

Addon of the Week: Tidy Plates


I thought I was cured of my alt-o-holicalism (is that even a word?), but then I realized I’ve got another problem: severe addon dependency. I just found out I’ve got 199 subfolders in my addon directory. Eh what?? ..yeah.. 199.. I had a slight hope subfolders were counted too, but they weren’t.. This means, that minus the blizzard addons, I’ve got 175 3rd party addons folders. True, most addons consist out of multiple folders, luckily, but even if I don’t count those I end up with 72 individual addons…. I think that explains why I needed a faster processor in this already decent machine. It wasn’t blizzards resource hungry engine, it was my out of control addon-mania.

yeah.. I think I’ve got a problem… πŸ˜‰

I don’t want to delete any of them though, but perhaps if I think them over, I might learn which ones are useful and which ones aren’t.

I’ll start with my latest addition to the herd: Tidy Plates.

I saw this one a few times in a Tankspot video, and Lore even talked about it shortly once, but it only seemed like more screen clutter back then. Yesterday however, I got HoR as daily for the gazillionth time on my tank. It’s not that I hate the place or have real difficulty with it, but it does require more focus from my side compared to other dungeons. Mainly because I have a hard time seeing all the enemies in the fights. First, because they’reΒ  transparent. Now that should be easily fixed by turning their healthbars on…

Not for me though: I happen to be a little colorblind. I’ve got deuteranomaly, which basically means I have problems with the color red and all colors that are mixed with red. Example: epic or rare? both blue to me. The standard enemy healthbars show up entirely red. So, sure, I can turn ‘m on, but I still don’t see much, therefor I might not notice that angry rogue chasing the overzealous, but poor, lock immediately.

This is where Tidy Plates enters, lead by the sound of trumpets. It’s a replacement for the default plates. Don’t get me wrong here, this is useful for everyone, not just the visually impaired. And not just for tanks either. I actually feel like a bad tank for finding out about this so late.

Recommendation:

  • Healer: Nah
  • Dps: Yes
  • Tank: Hell Yes
  • PvP: Yes

I don’t fully see how a healer could benefit from more visual healthplates, unless (s)he could gain benifit from clicking people in the field perhaps. As shaman healer I.. hmm..Β  might consider it because that could make choosing between chainheal, or single target heals simpler. It could up efficiency by not wasting chainheals on people who were standing away from the group. I haven’t tried this yet, so I might just give it a shot once in a daily HC or some simple weekly raid where I can be crap without causing too much damage. For a priest, druid I see little benefit. For paladins none. Howver, the nameplates are very clear so it is easy to keep track of who’s where. If you’re a healer and raidleader, this could definitely be useful.

Could work...

But, the creators didn’t really seem think of healers also, because there isn’t a healer settings (e.g. I could imagine the display of debuffs on a name plate as an option). You can choose from DPS, Tank, or PvP mode.

For dpssing it’s better than I expected. Besides health, the plate also displays your current threat on your target. Theat normally can’t be calculated on non-targeted mobs, that’s how blizzards threat system works. Mouse-over, however, is considered enough “targeting”, so Tidy Plates can show your threat on any mob in the group while you continue nuking your current target, as soon you mouse-over their plate. That makes finding a new safer target a breeze. Rogues or Feral druids can make it show combo points instead if they want, but I doubt I would use it for that myself. Casting enemies are made extra visual also, which will make an interrupting job simpler (it’s easy to see what is cast). What’s probably the most important is that it’s just much easier to select targets apart from all the frills. It might finally stop you from tab-targeting *looks away and whistles*

DPS view. This screenshot doesn't do TP justice though. Getting a good shot of all options without being too careless wasn't as easy as I hoped.

I’m not much of a pvper, but I’m leveling a warrior in arms/prot spec, so I figured I could give it a shot. Man, I OWNED AB! *cough* ..Nah, not really πŸ™‚ But it was a lot more fun than I expected. The PvP mode of this addon shows your current target very clearly, and also draws a class icon on top. Not once did I accidentally charge an annoying frostmage instead of the disc priest. At a glance you can see what your up against, select the correct target, then hamstring and mortal strike his ass before they knows what happened. I’m not sure if a experienced PvPer would like this, but for me it was a great help. I was 2nd on damage (forgot to screenshot, yep, I’m a blogging noob) and I couldn’t have done it without.

Lock and priest didn't want to stand still for the picture

Where this addon shines is with AOE tanking. There’s simply no easier way to see on which mob you’ve got threat and which not. I used to have Diamond Threat Meter as my favorite AOE threat addon, because it had a great multi target display. Since that one basically died, I couldn’t find any decent replacement for it had to learn to do without. Tidy Plates however not just turned out to be a good replacement, I think it’s much better. Mostly because it’s simplicity (always a good thing). In tanking mode, it shows mob plates in 3 sizes: normal size is for mobs that are not in combat, small is for mobs that you’ve got aggro on, and finally large for the mobs you’ve lost threat on. If you ever lose aggro now, just taunt the biggest plate and continue facerolling. It’s almost too easy. Even in messy fights it takes no effort to see if there’s a mob on the loose.

For a tanking screenshot you can better see the Tidy Plates site. I failed to get a shot as good as theirs.

In the end, I actually found it causing less clutter than the original healthbars, simply because everything that’s not interesting fades. Also, if you don’t like the looks, there are lots of custom look extensions available, from neon glowing plates to Zelda like health displays with hearts (if you’re into that stuff). It’s even possible to make your own with the basic template plugin, but you’ll need to learn a little bit of lua (the wow addon programming language).

Verdict: if you’re a tank, get this. You’ll love it. If you’re not, you’ll probably like it anyway.

Lead, follow or get out of the way


There’s no right choice for me when it comes to (PuG) raiding. The thought of raidleading one stresses me out, so I rather avoid that. I do know I’m quite capable of doing it if I have to, because I have done so before, but it only works well for me when I’ve got the correct kind of group. That means: a bunch of proactive people that can communicate normally. I’ll even settle with just no obnoxious types that go kicking and screaming whenever something is not 100% equivalent to what they’re used to, whether it’s no better, or even worse. The type that constantly challenges decisions and can even go as far as deliberately sabotaging an attempt to show they are right. I always manage to get at least one of those on my raid. Kicking them is no option unless I can prove it, otherwise it only seems that he was right, making me look bad.

Not raidleading however, usually forces me into that role. I won’t go kicking and screaming, but when I’m not raidleading I almost always end up in some seemingly clueless group, and the raidleader just doesn’t care, treating everything as if it was tank & spank. I feel forced to explain some important details in those situation, so I could just as well have been the raidleader.

Today I had a good example of this.

The new weekly raid was Ignis the furnace master, a fight I can almost dream. First I went pugging on my restoration shaman. The nice thing about healing is that you can keep yourself completely in the background if you want to, but you’re also that important to the group that your decisions matter. I chose to stay in the background this time for reasons mentioned above. The raidleader was therefor of course, the AFK kind, and let us just do whatever we thought was best. FL went down with ease, so the group wasn’t all new, luckily. The trash before Ignis wasn’t a problem either, but that’s tank and spank with just a little environmental awareness required, so nobody should have problems with that. At Ignis, the raidleader spoke, finally: “go when ready”. One of the tanks charged in and started kiting the boss all over the place. The other one instinctively picked up the adds, but for some reason ran into a far corner with them and stayed there, with me having to make the decision of either running up and solo healing him, or healing the rest of the raid and hope for him to realize his weird choice. He still had my earth shield so I chose the last.

When he started to ask for healing I figured a tiny hint couldn’t hurt. I didn’t want to leave the rest up to my only (effective) colleague healer and also didn’t feel like making the group wipe while I was well aware of the problem, just because I chose to stay in the background. I still left the other tank running in oddly shaped circles with Ignis though. And nobody was still saying anything about that either.

He went down alright, and with the gear people have these days it’s not a big deal of course. The Ignis tank then decided to say it was actually his first time doing this, and wondered if his kiting was ok. Bit late, but at least he cared.

Ok, second run, now on my paladin tank.

I wasn’t planning on raidleading again, but as tank I kinda feel required to take at least a leading role. When we entered Ulduar somebody immediately started a discussion whether or not to try a hard mode FL. I don’t know why anyone would want that these days, and there’s also the risk of wiping, which inevitably causes people to leave, so the answer was no. Nevertheless, he, or somebody else already turned on the towers. So much for that decision. I ended up solo nuking some of the towers, because the pro-hardmode fans were charging straight to FL, while others were just following the ones in front of them. Luckily I got help from the official raidleader, so towers down eventually.

FL down, no big deal, onto Ignis.

Now, I had not met the entire group in person yet, I knew one healer, but that was it. And people started saying “gogogo”. Not fine with me, because I got some rules of my own:

  • Tanks need to be marked. Simply because I want to know where my fellow tank is at and I’m not pulling if he’s not ready. (Note: my ui doesn’t show raid health in numbers, so I can’t see who’s tank quickly).
  • Healers need to be ready. One priest was afk, and those first mobs require some AOE healing, and I didn’t know yet if he was one of the healers.
  • Tanks need to know their target/role.

I stated this, result: small bit of commotion. Not much, but still.

We got marked, I got assist. I changed the tank mark from the druid healer to the DK tank, which I figured out myself by then then was the other tank. We cleared the trash.

At Ignis. We chose nuke tactic (In my book, that’s tank & spank ignis in the water, OT just holds all adds and should be able to do so till the boss goes down), but when some people started to explain that choice as kiting him in a square, and adds nuked in the water first, I got the idea they had a whole other definition of “nuke tactic”. All I could type was “hold on!”, but the ADHD hunter already pulled the boss misdirected to someone in the raid (but definitely not me or the other tank). I quickly grabbed the boss, and just figured I’d do the square kiting thing, if that was the way they understood it. As tank that’s just more fun to do anyway, it’s the classic way, and even if we don’t nuke the adds, it’s really not any different to the water thing except for melee having to use their legs, and tank doing more *yay*.

Result: COMMOTION! PANIC!

Apparently another part of the raid did understand “nuke tactic” as tank&spank in the water, and they now reacted as if I was pulling Ignis into their own front yard, and was putting their cat, grandma, and home entertainment system into his slagpot. At those moments I feel like telling them to shut it and calm down, but I just pulled Ignis into the water. It was their choice now.

But I mean, previous group was running for their lives when the tank realized that if you don’t tank Ignis away from the raid, the raid will run away from Ignis, and was quite happy with that way of doing it. Where was the commotion then? It will remain a mystery I guess.

Well, they might have been to busy saving their own ass to also plea the thank for better aiming. I should remember that one πŸ˜‰

Getting started


Yay, today I realized again why I wanted a blog for myself. I love to read blogs and comment on them, but there’s just this thing that always seems to happen to me. Some, in my opinion, completely innocent and even friendly (meant) comment get’s either deleted or blocked by moderation. This usually made me feel both bad and pissed, because just like in game I just hate to get silenced. Then I feel bad because this guy likely misinterpreted what I said, but since you don’t get the answer why, you can only guess what he took wrong. I hate guessing. And it is all just too minor to send a PM for. But it remains annoying me for a while. I hate pre-moderated blogs anyway. I know there are many trolls out there, but censorship is not the solution. It get’s way to easy to just block posts that have good arguments against your ideas, instead of discussing it.

If someone asks for an opinion, why don’t they just mention that, in fact, they just want you to agree, or tell them it’s all fine and they’re great, because they need an ego boost or something. I can even do that, no problem! Fool yourself all you want, it’s your blog, your party. But otherwise, I’m just going to say what I think, honest, probably very blunt, but with good intentions. I’m just naive in that way.

Yep, I’m terrible with handling people’s egos. I’m even bad with my own! Like yesterday, where I did a perfectly good [Lord Jaraxxus Must Die!] PUG run, with my paladin tank. I never tanked that place before. My tank is actually an overgrown bank char, which I found out was fun to play. But that didn’t stop me from charging in there with just dps/healing experience for that place and a meticulously composed personal tactics sheet. I thought I knew it all. Well, wrong! Of course there’s always something you just didn’t expect that could happen. Like a DC at the moment Gormok walked in. Which is great, knowing that I just bought my Blizzard Authenticator, and now I had to find the damn thing for the code, while in the back of my head, my poor colleague was getting slaughtered by impales. But DCs happen, so no way I could’ve foreseen that. When I finally got back in I could just grab gormok for 5 seconds before he hit the ground.

So, kudos for that offtank and both(!) healers! And /bow to the great dps.

Anyway, Dreadscale and Acidmaw were up. I would take Acidmaw, and the offtank would take Dreadscale. The rules of this fight seemed so simple to me. Mobile tank get’s a debuff, raid get’s the other, raidmembers walk to mobile tank, et voila! I just keep threat, and face the jormungar away from the raid. But of course, before I could even get decent threat on acidmaw, that bastard paralytic toxined me, while he was grounded! I didn’t even know he could do that to his tank then, I never noticed that happening before. So I was a bit shocked for 3 seconds. None of the many tactic sites or videos mentioned this and the other tank was on the other side of the room already also. So all I could think of was having him drag that worm all the way to me, while trying to avoid the entire raid that was in between us.

No way of getting that done smoothly now is there.

Anyway, lots of raid damage, and a bit of a mess, but we survived. Yet I can’t help but blame myself for not knowing that could happen, and how to handle it.

Finally, Icehowl. Ah, an easy fight! At least that’s what I thought. Tank and spank, with a short run like hell phase. This bastard does hit hard though, I didn’t expect that. For some reason, I guess frozen healers, my health got to about 5%. So out of reflex I pushed my lay on hands key, but nothing happened because I was stunned. Screw PVP because before my my brain could yell “NOOO!” to my fingers, they pushed bubble!

Well, it saved my ass, though I still had Ardent Defender, yet not the poor DPS that was trying to beat me to my threat. So there I stood, as tank, bubbled, and while I was playing whack-a-mole with the elusive Divine Shield buff icon, which jumped around like crazy with all those temporary raid procs going on and off, the offtank was doing his best to grab that wild ape.

So many times I told myself to make a switch on/off macro for that damn shield, just in case. I finally did that now.

The funny thing is that I think nobody noticed it. In chat the offtank got blamed for something to which he admitted. I still don’t know what it was. I doubt it was because he acted as a backup tank on the boss, which is his job, so I hope not. Panic bubbletank thanks him for that.

To my surprise, Jaraxxus himself, which I considered a much trickier fight, went smooth. And even though the raid was saying thanks for the smooth run, I was still cringing of the fuckups.

Tank you aren’t really allowed to make mistakes, only dps can get away with a them, but that’s probably the reason why I think DPS is boring. Subconsciously, I probably like to stress myself out to the point of grinding teeth and pushing my keys through the floor.

But I think that’s a good thing. It pushes me further. It’s easy to just tell myself I did awesome, while in fact it was just mediocre.