Monday, October 14, 2013

Gearing and Raid Progress Update

Holy crap, I'm updating. It's nuts, isn't it? I've determined that I'm the worst blogger in the history of bloggers in terms of consistent update. Possibly an exaggeration. I go through spurts of wanting to write in it, but then... I get distracted by shiny things and before I know it, a month or two have gone by. In any event, here's my little update as to how things have been since I last updated.

We finished out T15 at 10/13H. Dark Animus was the last fight we were working on and man, did it hurt a lot. But since we knew that 5.4 was coming out so soon, we just basically did our farm content for the last two weeks. The thought was to get as much gear as possible for the next raid without also burning people out. We've had a few people take some breaks here and there because of burn out, so we wanted to avoid that going into a new tier.

Siege of Orgrimmar has been a lot of fun so far. Some fights have been stressful, some easier than expected, some that really seem to crap on melee (big surprise), the normal stuff. Currently we're 13/14N, Garrosh is definitely a tough fight as we expected. My biggest bit of news this tier is that I FINALLY got a weapon upgrade. I've been running Shin'ka, Execution of Dominion (fully upgraded of course) since like our second kill of Sha of Fear and it has been just ridiculously frustrating that not even one two-handed strength weapon has dropped in ANY of our runs. I'm not even exaggerating. We literally saw none for all of T15. I was out for a week due to computer issues and they still didn't see one. So I was a little happy when Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful dropped on like our third General Nazgrim kill. Just a gigantic upgrade over axe.

Speaking of upgrades and well, stats, I've gotten to a point in gear where mastery just is getting to ridiculous levels. I've been reading a bunch of threads on MMO-Champion about blood dks going for haste to increase damage, which sounds good in theory, but I just can't bring myself to do so. Many of these threads talk about "safe points" of mastery and each has a different amount they claim. This is very frustrating because I was always under the impression that mastery never really devalued unless A) the damage in the fight is mainly magic or B) you cap your Blood Shield quickly and sit there at max for awhile. Some of these values I've seen thrown around have been at little at 150%, but most commonly I see 180%. A few posts from Raegwyn suggest that the 230-240% range seems to be more than sufficient, which now that I'm around that level, I can agree with. I'm sitting around 245% mastery raid buffed. Aside from really hard hitting bosses (Garrosh), I can cap my Blood Shield at times while tanking a boss. So more mastery is probably not necessary. Up until this point, I have been shying away from stamina in terms of stat allocation. I hit and expertise (soft)cap, then go mastery wherever I can, taking avoidance as it comes. With the introduction of Riposte, avoidance has become a bit more appealing. As long as I'm tanking something, I can maintain basically a 100% uptime on it. I end up around 25% crit or so while it's up, obviously varying when Dancing Rune Weapon is up as well as some trinket procs. So stamina hasn't really even come into the picture for me aside from the few mastery/stamina gems in blue sockets when I'm already at hit cap. But since I've hit this "threshold" on mastery, it has become more appealing. I've switched my runeforge to Stoneskin Gargoyle and even replaced the jewelcrafter only mastery gems with stamina ones.

So what does all this mean?

Well, on a fight like Malkorok, which I firmly believe was created with a dk tank in mind, I feel ridiculously over-powered. On most fights, it's easy for me to gain a max Blood Shield while not tanking a boss, waiting my turn to taunt. But with the mechanics of this fights, it's insane. During the initial pull, I pop Dancing Rune Weapon to avoid as much as possible, Vampiric Blood to increase healing and Death Strike spam to build my Blood Shield and Ancient Barrier, Empower Rune Weapon for more Death Strikes. As long as everyone does their job and gets in the void zones, I never lose the Ancient Barrier and Blood Shield stays up 90% of the time. In addition to this, and this is something I only recently became aware of, Bone Shield will stay up indefinitely as long as I never lose Blood Shield and Ancient Barrier. I never realized that as long as any damage taken while Bone Shield is up is fully absorbed, you never lose a charge. Most times, we go into phase 2 and I still have all 6 charges up. Now, the over-powered part happens when I take the boss back from my tanking partner. Obviously I have a full Blood Shield at this point, which also means I have a maxed out Ancient Barrier as well, and my health is max as long as I never lost Ancient Barrier. So I get the boss back, with just over 1 million health, with a 1 million physical damage shield from Blood Shield, and a 1 million damage shield from all sources from Ancient Barrier. 3 million effective health? Yeah, try and kill me, buddy. I've managed to keep my Blood Shield up for the majority of phase 2, to the point where the Ancient Barrier buff from phase 1 is still present when we go into the next phase 1.

Enough boasting, but can you blame me? That's insane. My guild is overall doing decent. Some of the fights this tier I'm not a fan of. Kor'kron Dark Shamans is such a mess of mechanics. Thok the Bloodthirsty hates on melee if you don't keep him in phase 1 (and we don't since we're caster heavy). But other fights are a lot of fun. Malkorok, Paragons of the Klaxxi, Garrosh. Honestly, I love the Klaxxi fight because of the lore involved in it. When I hit exalted with them and went on that walk with Kil'ruk the Wind Reaver to the chamber below Klaxxi'vess and he spoke about Y'shaarj, I got so excited about the impending clash between the Klaxxi and us. Also, that fight seems so intimidating when you read about it. You sift through all the mechanics... which you think Blizzard was writing a book or something, and it's really not so bad. Our first kill happened in just 3 attempts. Seriously like the Twin Consorts of this tier, as Shanthi said in our kill video. Garrosh is proving to be quite the challenge, but it's a very fun fight, aside from him randomly going taunt immune... still haven't figured out why that happens. But it seems to reset when he does Whirling Corruption. Might cause us some trouble in phase 3 if he continues to do that. We've gotten into phase 3 only a couple times thought. Best attempt had him around 13%. Aaaand that's all the steam I've got for now. Until next time!

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