Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Icecrown Citadel 10-man - Gunship Battle

Unfortunately I forgot to fraps the second boss, but I did get the last two. Here is the third event in Icecrown 10-man with annotations.

Icecrown Citadel 10-man - Morrowgar

Last week the Late Shift 10-man raid went in and dropped all four of the Icecrown boses. Here's Morrowgar (pre 3.3.0a nerf).

New ToC Videos

A few new ToC videos from the week before Icecrown hit. One is a full 10-man clear abridged down to 10mins and the other is Anub'arak. Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Video: Ulduar - Thorim (Dual PoV)

One of my officer recorded this fight from the arena persepctive and send me the raw footage. I combined mine with hers for a more holistic view of this fight.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video: Trial of the Crusader - Lord Jaraxxus

Benevolent Thuggery takes down Lord Jaraxxus in ToC-25. Includes annotations showing the addon Jaraxxus_DebuffHealingMonitor. Turn off annotations if you don't care about that part.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trial of the Grand Crusader - Northrend Beasts

Benevolent Thuggery's first kill in Heroic ToC 10-man. Watch the ending for an interesting way to deal with Icehowl hitting the berserk timer.

Worst Twins Kill EVAR!

Another fun video, this time showing our first attempt using a new strat for the Twin Val'kyr.

Note: For best viewing experience, open in a new window and enable HD mode.

Thaddius 6-man

A little while ago we started doing Naxx with "too small" groups (anything from 4-8 folks). In this one we take on Thaddius with 1 healer, 2 tanks and 3 DPS.

Note: Open in a new window and enable HD for the best viewing experience.

My YouYube Channel

Lately I've been having a blast making Fraps videos of our fights. I've started posting them to YouTube here:

Quaiche of Dragonblight


Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Battle-Bot Pets from Mt. Dew

Mountain Dew and Blizzard are teaming up in the MountainDewGameFuel.com challenge. By watching videos, referring friends, and all kinds of other silliness, you earn tokens which you can use later to buy stuff.

I normally don’t got for promotional crap like this, but apparently you’ll be able to get one of the new Battle Bots in-game pets. Oh yeah. 75 pets here I come!

Click my banner so I get more points. :)


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quaiche is Back and Gone Resto

Funny how you take a break from blogging and suddenly have so much to talk about. In the past few months I changed my raiding main from Quaiche (Feral Tank) to Clavain (Warlock), Patch 3.1 came out which changed everything, we started raiding Ulduar, I’ve been continuing to tweak my addons, and I decided to make Quaiche into a healer.


Playing Clavain in Ulduar has been a kick. I was very fortunate to have geared him up very quickly in the weeks preceding patch 3.1 so he was ready to go into Ulduar the day the patch hit. (Although that day actually SUCKED ASS and nobody got to raid Ulduar as far as I can tell.)

Playing a warlock is fun. My first toon in WoW was a Horde warlock on Sargeras. Managing pets, DoTs, direct damage, pumping health and mana around like it is water… all while casting as much direct damage as you can… is FUN. I’ve been tanking for so long I forgot how much fun it was to actually be competitive in the DPS meters.

Ulduar has been a blast to learn. In my opinion, while Naxx was fun in its own way, it was really still a 40-man raid. They’d tuned it down, but it never felt like an instance that was really designed for 10- or 25-man raids. The fact that you could just run through AOEing like mad is evidence of that.

Ulduar on the other hand is a place designed for the way guild raid now. Trash pulls you have to plan out or you wipe. CC is back! Mana management matters. AOE isn’t the only way to go. Tons of changes… all of which I like.

On the addon front, I’ve been continuing all my projects. oUF_Quaiche is still getting regular updates and has come a long way since last I posted about it here. I’ve taken over maintenance of BigBrother which is a fav by the raid leaders in my guild. I helped Cladhaire with some of NinjaPanel’s features. All that fun geek stuff I can’t stop doing.

Our guild is still strong. And big. We’re still around 150 accounts and 500 toons. We’ve been pretty stable at that number since end of BC, so nothing new there. We’ve been progressing quite well. We’re 7/14 in 10-man Ulduar and 4/14 in 25-man Ulduar, which I think it quite good for a casual raiding guild.

Somewhere in the last few weeks, we got all out talent points refunded and I was so engrossed in my warlock at the time, I completely forgot to spec Quaiche. This week I was logged in on him and started thinking about what I wanted to do. I’ve not been a serious healer since early Burning Crusades… and I always threatened to make him a healer in Lich King. “What the hell,” I said, and specced him 11/0/60. Spent a few of my 240-odd Emblems of Heroism and I was good to go.

Now to find some Naxx PUGs to practice on and get a few more pieces of gear.

More soon on my return to Resto.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Addon Updates – Grunt, ChannelLock and Titleist

Been continuing work on some of my addons and figured an update post was due.


I first wrote about Grunt a week ago. Since then I’ve got it almost done and have published a beta to Curse.

The feature list has slightly expanded:

  • Auto-repop to graveyard if in a battleground and don’t have a SS
  • Auto accept resurrect request
  • Decline all duels (not sure this is working right now)
  • Auto-accept invites from guildies or friends
  • Hide that annoying “Are you sure you want to Quit?” dialog
  • Skip gossip at vendors unless the ALT key is down
  • Show/Hide enemy nameplates when entering/leaving combat

The only part that doesn’t seem to be working 100% as of yesterday is the accept invites from friends and guildies. That was working before so it shouldn’t take much to fix.

Developer checkins:

Beta and Official Releases:


I started ChannelLock back in December and while it continued to get a bit of attention here and there, some annoying timing bugs prevented me from releasing a beta.

I seem to have worked all of that out now, so the first beta is available on Curse.

Here’s the official description:

Have you ever found that the channels you're joined to changes without any rhyme or reason? Or that you log over to another toon and don't have the channels you had on your main? Or maybe they change channel numbers and what used to be in /4 is now in /5?

ChannelLock was created to solve these problems. You simply provide the channel names and associated chat frames and it does the rest.

Developer checkins:

Beta and Official Releases:


My newest zero-configuration addon is a simple solution to a simple problem. Everyone is now collecting achievements and the titles that go with them. But which title should you display?

Don’t fret, just let Titleist take care of it for you.

Every 5 minutes, Titleist will change your title randomly. Just install and go. No configuration required.

Developer checkins:

Beta and Official Releases:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Big Bear Butt is still alive

If, like me, you are a reader of The Big Bear butt and if you read that blog with a feed reader, you may not have seen any posts in a while. It sounds like he’s having an RSS issue:

I posted before that Feedburner no likey my upgraded Wordpress 2.7 install, and the widget they have provided just doesn’t work anymore.

So, I had to change to the current self-provided RSS feed for feedreaders…

But this means that anyone that only ever got my posts via a Feedburner provided feed thinks that I’ve gone silent for over a month.

I still get folks, nearly every day, email me to let me know that they haven’t had any posts in their feedreader from me in a long time, and asking if I’m still blogging.

I figure that the number of folks that haven’t checked the site to see why I went silent probably outnumber the ones that mail in.

So, I humbly, most pathetically ask that, if possible, my fellow blogger friends please make a teeny, tiny mini-post just mentioning that Bear is a dumbass and has a broken Feed, and if they are still interested in getting my posts, folks need to please, pretty-please visit the site and subscribe to the new feed.

I honestly can’t think of any other way of getting the word out at this point… since the Feed is broken.

Word to the wise… never trust to third party free service providers to continue to provide free services. Not if you like to NOT mess up your fun.

Seriously, thank you very much in advance.

So check your links, and if in doubt, go back to the website (in a browser) and re-subscribe to his RSS feed.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Addon Projects – Grunt & QTrackerPosition

I’ve been hacking on a few new addon projects. These are those kinds of addons that either do exactly what you want, or you probably don’t want them. Grunt started out as a bunch of hacks I had in a script file that someone asked me to share. QTrackerPosition came about as a result of me getting annoyed at the default positioning of the Quest and Achevement tracking frames.


OrcA warcraft addon that does those dumb menial tasks you hate doing yourself. Simply install and go. No configuration required.


Performs the following functions for you

  • Auto-repop to graveyard if in a battleground and don’t have a SS
  • Auto accept resurrect request
  • Decline all duels (not sure this is working right now)
  • Auto-accept invites from guildies or friends
  • Hide that annoying “Are you sure you want to Quit?” dialog
  • Skip gossip at vendors unless the ALT key is down

Disabling functions

If you dont’ want one of these functions, comment out the appropriate RegisterEvent call in the PLAYER_LOGIN event handler. It should be pretty easy to figure out. :)

Information and Download (alpha quality):



Quest Tracker QTrackerPosition is simply repositions my quest watcher and achievement watcher frames to where I wanted them.

  • Achievement tracker is left of center, near the top
  • Quest tracker is right of center, near the top.

I might make the position configurable some day, but for now they are hard coded.

Information and Download (alpha quality):


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rules of the Road

http://realestatetomato.typepad.com/the_real_estate_tomato/F_St.jpgI was digging through one of my notebooks today, organizing stuff and reading old notes and whatnot, when I found a page I wrote on 7/13/2006. I don’t know why I wrote it down that day, but it is something I’ve talked about to my professional colleagues and friends for a long time. As I was reading it, I realized it applied quite well to the drama and issues that crop up in guild management.

It was simply titled “Rules of the Road” and had the following content:

  1. Don't stress out about things you can't control - ignore them
  2. Don't stress out about things you can control - fix them
  3. Confront someone as soon as you recognize the problem - don't let it fester!
  4. Help people who sincerely ask for help
  5. Fight for what you believe in
  6. Admit when you are wrong
  7. Reserve the right to change your mind
  8. You do NOT have to justify saying no to someone

My dad taught my 1-3 when I was growing up. He had ulcer issues as a younger man because he let stress build up too much. Those rules help you get grounded when you feel stressed and show you simple ways out, even when, as in Rule #1, the out is to ignore the issue.

Numbers 4-5 are extensions I’ve added over time to help me guide my life. Help your friends. Admit when you make a mistake. Do not be afraid to change your mind. Don’t let other people convince you that “flip flopping” in the presence of new information is somehow bad. When you know better, do better.

The final one is the newest addition to the family. Sometimes many people, when presented with a request they has to say no to, will seek a rationalization or a story that they can use to justify saying no. Here’s the thing… you don’t have to justify saying No. You shouldn’t be rude, you should be always polite and respectful, but you can just say, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t,” and leave it at that.

This game is a game. We pay for it. There is no good reason to let yourself get into a situation where you are angry or upset. Passion is good, negative emotions are not.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Benevolent Thuggery Takes on Naxx-25 and Sarth1D

I was going to write a post that talked about our first foray into Naxx-25, but Hautian, one of our Paladin main-tanks, beat me to it.


Read her post for more detail, but basically our “test run” showed that we are going to squash this place.

She also writes a nice description of our first real attempt on Sarth with one drake up. We chose Tenebron and the team did well, but couldn’t quite get it done this time. Soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Q’s Wow Setup Pt 1 – UI and Addons

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and have written bits and pieces of it on my guild’s forums. I decided while sitting in a conference call today to collect it into a set of posts. This part is about my UI setup.

I’ve been hacking on my UI since I first started playing the game. Back then, wowace didn’t yet exist and the only good dependable addons were the CTMod family. But since I am a professional software developer in my real life, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and am always looking for the optimal user experience in the game.

Two+ years later, my UI has almost no stock elements on the screen during raiding. (Click for a full sized version.)


On of the things I do with my UI design that is different from many other people is careful thought about keeping the most important information close to the middle and less important information out on the edges or not displayed at all until I ask for it.

Another thing I do is to use the exact same UI for all my toons regardless of class. This has interesting implications on the UI and on some of my other configurations, so this isn’t the last you’ll hear of this. The result of this is that I never use class-specific addons.

Let’s take apart that screenshot and see the component parts.

Information Bar – NinjaPanel


I’m an information whore. I love to know what is going on around me. Across the top is an under-development LibDataBroker panel called NinjaPanel. You could just as easily use FuBar or TitanPanel, but NinjaPanal is a lot smaller. It also has zero configuration UI, so don’t run out and grab it without knowing what you’re doing.

Unit Frames – oUF


Under that, in the top left corner, are my player and raid frames. These are not a single addon, but instead are a collection of small addons that are designed to work together to make a unified experience.

oUF is the base framework. On its own it does nothing. It requires what is called a “layout” to work. The layout I’m using here is one I created myself called oUF_Quaiche. It shows the player frame at the top, and uses smaller frames for the raid, in a grid below. In 5-man party mode, the party frames are the same size as the player frame.

In addition, I use a bunch of oUF extension modules that add more information to the display:

oUF_AFKIcon Shows a little (!) icon when the player is marked AFK
oUF_Banzai Changes the healthbar color to red if the player has aggro (Quaiche has aggro above)
oUF_CombatFeedback Shows +NNN and –NNN to hint at the changes to the player’s health. (Hard to see in the screenshot, but more visible in the game.)
oUF_DebuffHighlight Displays the icons for dispellable debuffs. I have mine configured to only show debuffs that I can remove. I don’t care about the rest.
oUF_DruidHots Shows little colored indicators to track MY Lifeblooms, Rejuvs, Regrowths and Wild Growths on the target.
oUF_HealComm Shows a green extension to the health bar that displays incoming heal totals. Depends on all healers using a HealComm enabled addon, but in my guild this is required.
oUF_ReadyCheck Shows little ? and check icons on the raid frames when a readycheck is being performed.

Why all these zero-config addons?

This is actually a simple question to answer. I have 176 addons in my Addons folder. I need every single thing that I run to be lean and mean. Every wasted CPU cycle or byte of RAM can decrease my experience. Config UI costs resources, so if I don’t need it, I don’t have it.

The way oUF and oUF_Quaiche are coded, if any of those extension modules are not present, the feature just isn’t there. Nothing fails.

As with NinjaPanel, oUF has ZERO configuration UI. To change it, you write LUA code in the layout (oUF_Quaiche), so if you don’t like exactly what you see, don’t use it.

Combat Heads-Up-Display – Various Addons


This is the middle of my screen and is where my eyes are glued while in combat. It is made up of four separate addons: IceHUD, MikkScrollingBattleText, ClassTimers and SimpleMarker.


The core of this part of the screen are the arcing health and mana bars on the left and right side. These bars represent MY health & mana on one side and the health & mana of my target on the other side. In addition, the target name, raid icon (green triangle) and target debuffs are also displayed here.


Since TBC days we’ve had scrolling combat text built in to the game, but honestly, it sucks. MSBT is an amazing addon that gives you a much better experience. It uses a Load-on-Demand configuration system, so despite having extensive config options, the config takes no extra resources unless you open them.

A few of my favorite things from MSBT:

  • Eye catching crits and important hits
  • Combine combat “spam” caused by DoTs, HoTs and AOE into single messages
  • Cooldown available information (e.g. “Mangle is ready”)
  • Add new information messages for almost anything you want.


See the little timer bars below the right HUD arcs? Those are provided by ClassTimers and are timers for DoTs on the target. I use these a LOT to know when to refresh my various debuffs. I’m working on figuring out how to get certain buff & cooldown timers on there too so I can be ready to refresh my Savage Roar or my Tiger’s Fury, but I don’t have that worked out yet.


The final bit on this part of my screen is that row of raid targeting icons near the bottom center of the HUD. Those are buttons that I can click to assign a targeting icon to my current target. I could move them away from the middle, but I find that as a raid leader I use them fairly often, and don’t wanna have to take my eye off the screen to find them.

Dashboard Panel – Various Addons


At the bottom of the screen is what I call my Dashboard. This is where all my action buttons live and also where I keep my minimap. This is comprised of four addons: Dominos, Squeenix, AutoBar and kgPanels.


The 24 buttons on the left are the main action buttons. There are actually two 12-button “bars” there, each one configured to be 4 columns by 3 rows in size. The rightmost “bar” is my main bar and as you can see, they buttons are mapped to the standard “top row” keys on my keyboard. The one to the left of that is for extra stuff that for one reason or another doesn’t fit on the main bar. I often use it for quest items, items picked up during combat, per-encounter macros, etc.

The main bar is configured to do paging when I hold down ALT or SHIFT on the keyboard. This means what looks like a 12 button block is actually 36 buttons. To help me deal with this many buttons, 2/3 of which aren’t visible at any given time, I have a system I use to decide on which page I will put spells and actions:

Meta Key Spell/Action Type Description
(none) Primary combat This is where my main combat spells and actions go. If I use it while fighting, it should be here.
SHIFT Secondary combat These are things I might use in combat, but then again, I might not.
ALT Buffs/stance/etc Here is where my self-buffs, mount, stance and other similar actions go.

The system here works quite well and I have used it on my druid in bear, cat and tree forms, as well as my rogue, warlock mage and deathknight. By grouping the actions and spells into these three logical groups, my brain gets used to looking in a consistent place.

I also organize the buttons themselves by order of use. Actions or spells that I use constantly go under my index finger. Things I need less often go farther up or down the bar. Less hand movement equals more precision and better timing.


I like my minimap at the bottom. In the center. And square. Squeenix is lightweight (low resource usage) and does just that. Perfect!


Did you ever wish you could have buttons automatically reconfigure themselves based on what you have in your bags? Suppose you have a button for non-buff food. But then a mage throws out a table and you grab some strudel. Now you gotta drag that onto your bar? Or you get a new kind of health pot or a flask or… WHATEVER.

This is the problem AutoBar solves. For aesthetic symmetry reasons, I have my AutoBar configured to be 8x3 in size and on the right side of the minimap. Some of the buttons  are bound to keys to make them easier to trigger in combat, but not all are.


This one is purely aesthetic and offers no value other than it looks good and makes me happy. Do you see those little frames around the Dominos and Autobar buttons? Those are make with kgPanels. You can make frames for just about anything and even put textures in them if you want.

Buffs and Debuffs – ElkBuffBars


I’ve tried a lot of different buff systems over the years, but for quite a while I’ve like Elkano’s Buff Bars. I like that they use timer bars so a quick glance can tell me if something is about to drop off. I position buffs above debuffs above temporary (e.g. weapon) enchants, so there are actually three docked bar sets. Buffs are blue, debuffs are red and tench is purple.

As you can see, when fully buffed up in a 25-man raid, it can get pretty busy over there. I’ve tried many times to go with something more compact but I keep coming back to this. Meh.

Combat Tracking – Omen and Recount

On the lower left of the main screenshot you will see two boxes containing timer bars. The top one is Recount and the lower one is Omen.  While they are displayed in this screenshot, I actually don’t often have them up during a run. I have launchers on the right side of my NinjaPanel that can pop them open or close with a button click.



Since the 3.0 change that introduced Threat as a measured value like health, the accuracy of threat trackers like Omen has gone up tremendously. In fact, you don’t even need a threat meter if you don’t care to watch the rest of the raid and are only interested in your own threat, because the game will now give you that feedback.

As a raid leader, however, I like to be able to watch it on certain fights, so I still keep it around.



Cryect, the original author of Recount, has moved on to other projects, but his little addon is still the best in-game combat meter there is. Damage in, out, heals, overheals, debuffs, deaths…  you name it, it tracks it.

Chat Frame Tweaks – Chatter + Custom Code


The only other major element that is up while I’m in combat, or any time for that matter, is my chat frame setup. It is comprised of two addons, one of which is a custom hackjob I wrote for positioning and splitting the chat frames and one is a general purpose chat tweaker.


In the chat you see in the screenshot, you’ll notice a lot of color, abbreviations, links, etc. All of this is provided by a wowace addon called Chatter. The configuration options available in chatter are too numerous to mention, but for the most part I take the defaults.

A few specific things I do change are:

  • Since my chat frames are right up against the bottom of the screen, I reposition the chat edit box (where you type) to be above the first chat frame instead of below it.
  • Channel colors are set with Chatter so they “stick” across my toons
  • Timestamps enabled on all chat frames
  • Player alt names are configured
  • My main toon name is added to the watch list so if it gets said in guild chat I get a big pop on the screen reminding me to look there


I stole the bulk of this code from my friend Tekkub a while back and have been hacking on it ever since. Basically it creates four chat frames and positions them side-by-side across the bottom of the screen. It also maps different channels of content into each chat frame.

The end result is this:

Position Frame Name Channels
Far Left ChatFrame1 General, Trade, addon messages, system messages and all that kind of stuff
Middle Left ChatFrame3 Guild and guild related (e.g. Officer or guild alliance) channels
Middle Right ChatFrame4 Party, Raid, and Raid Leader channels
Far Right ChatFrame5 Loot, Rep gains, etc.

This kind of thing is a bit invasive to your system, and like many other parts of my UI, has no configuration. You either like it how it is, or you don’t. If you decide to try it, be sure you understand and have read the uninstall instructions first.

Other Combat Addons

There are a bunch of other addon that are participating in my combat experience but don’t show up on that screenshot. Rather than go into any great detail, I’ll just list some of the key ones here:

  • BigBrother – tracks raid/party buffs
  • oRA2 – General purpose raid leader assist tools
  • BigWigs + LittleWigs + BigWigs_Auras – BossMods for 5, 10 and 25-man content.
  • CastYeller – Announce spells, failures, etc.
  • MagicMarker – auto-mark trash mobs in instances.
  • Nameplates – tweaks and mods to the overhead nameplates on mobs
  • OmniCC – cooldown timers on your action buttons
  • RedRange – red buttons when  your target is out of range
  • ToneDeaf – audio cues for combo points and other stuff

Other Non-Combat Addons

There are a number of other addons I use to help manage my non-combat life in game. Again, there are too many for great detail, but here’s a list of the most important ones:

  • AtlasLoot – all-in-one loot database
  • Auctionator – I just wanna undercut the low item on the AH
  • AutoText – Why waste a macro slot for a whisper, tell or commonly used raid message? Autotext it!
  • Combuctor – Best bag mod in the game from the author of Bagnon
  • BulkMail2 – Auto send crap to your bank and mule toons
  • ClosetGnome – Alternative to ItemRack
  • DoubleWide and Lightheaded – Best quest log hacks available
  • Fisherman’s Friend – Double click casting and auto-lures
  • GatherMate, GatherHUD and Routes – Optimized experience for farming nodes or treasures (like Everfrost Chips)
  • Genie – superfast bag sorting
  • GnomishAuctionShrinker – tweaks to the Auction frame
  • Instance Maps – maps to… well… instances
  • Kennel – Why have 47 vanity pets if you don’t show them all the time?
  • Mapster – Your map should not be fullscreen.
  • MobNotes – Because “Cannot be CCed” should be on some tooltips
  • Panda – Mass disenchanting (and other stuff)
  • RatingsBuster – Simply the best gear comparison addon in the game
  • StealYourCarbon, SimpleRepair and tekJunkSeller – Some things should just happen automatically in this game
  • Talented – The only way to manage your talent points. Save your fav specs as templates.
  • teksLoot – Mini loot window that doesn’t get in the way
  • Tipsy – Because I like my game tooltip… right… HERE!
  • TourGuide – My favorite quest/powerleveling guide addon

There are lots more, but those are the main ones.

The next post in the series will be about my hardware and non addon game setup.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Best Week Ever

My wife likes to watch “The Best Week Ever” on TV. I’m not even sure what network it is on, but after sitting next to her for enough episodes (typically with me in Wow fishing or farming), I’ve got the gist. So, without further ado…

QUAICHE… You are having the BEST WEEK EVER!”

Why? I went from bring reasonably well geared as a Bear tank to almost as good as I can possibly be (until we’re clearing Naxx-25 every week) in just a few days.

Given the changes that happened to feral druids this week, it might seem odd that this is the week I got so much stuff, but sometimes that is just how things work in this game.

The goodness started for me on Monday. Some time during the day I got wind of the pending 3.0.8 patch. It may have been in one of the IRC channels on Freenode or maybe I caught it on WorldOfRaids. I can’t remember.

I had already made my Durable Nerubhide Cape the previous day “just to have in the bank”, so that slot was now up to par. But my neck, rings and trinkets were about to get the nerf bat, so over lunch I ditched work and logged into the game to see what I could do.

Chalol, one of my officers, was in-game (it was MLK day so he was home from work). His JC can make Titanium Earthguard Chain and Titanium Earthguard Ring, both excellent pieces when gemmed right, so I had him make those up for me. 3.0.8 wasn’t here yet though, so in the bank they went next to my new cloak.

That night I ran my obligatory Heroic Drak’Tharon to make another attempt at the Keystone Great-Ring. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve killed that skele-dragon at the end, but that is my cross to bear. I will have that ring dammit!

On Tuesday the rumors were confirmed. 3.0.8 was here and along with it a new version of Rawr (2.1.7). I started comparing my other pieces while downloading patch over lunch. I had been going back and forth on the T7.10 chest and gloves for a while now, but the way the stats all started lining up, I got more Mitigation and Survival by making the switch so once the patch was installed and Dragonblight was back up, I headed over to the vendor and spent 140 Emblems of Heroism getting my Heroes' Dreamwalker Raiments and Heroes' Dreamwalker Handgrips. That is 5 pieces upgraded in three days.


I had already purchased my Valor Medal of the First War weeks ago, and used it for certain fights, but now it clearly overpowered the Badge of Tenacity so I made that swap permanent and put the Badge in the band for old times’ take.

At this point I was ready for Naxx-10 that night. I was raid leader and one of our two tanks that night and I felt pretty good about my numbers.

Naxx went well. We had a good fun group. We didn’t rush and had an occasional “oops” wipe, but were able to take down everything we faced. Anub was straightforward—we do him without kiting on 10-man and just burn fast. On Grand Widow Faerlina (a fight I enjoy), the Boots of the Worshipper dropped. Since there were no other ferals in the raid, it was mine. Sweet! Maexxna followed and also went down.

After Arachnid, we went on to the Plague wing. Noth was a breeze, as expected, then we marched over to Heigan. Heigan is an easy fight in 10-man. You learn the dance and do it. The dance is simple, look where the fire is about to be. Once it pops up, move to where it just was. Rinse, repeat.

But nothing is ever so simple. Slowly, we lost raid member after raid member. A few here because the tank was holding Heigan too close to the platform which messes up the healers. And we got the disease on a bunch of people too, which can be bad when the healers are dealing with 300% cast times.

Eventually Heigan is at 30% and everyone is dead but the pally tank, a shaman healer and a warlock.

“Should I DI Mack?” asked the tank.

“Hell no,” I said. “Kill him.”

I hate to give up on a fight that can be won. And I know Heigan can be won with a healer and tank and a DPSer. So it took a while, but these three folks burned him down steadily but surely. It was a wonderful thing to behold. Great job guys.

In our guild we joke that Naxx-10 doesn’t actually have any feral tanking gear, so I expected very little as I looted the body. Imagine my delight and surprise when I saw Staff of the Plague Beast and Cuffs of Dark Shadows. Again… no other ferals in the raid (and no rogues) and since both were upgrades for me, they were mine! WOW!

Now we’re up to 7 pieces in 3 days. Amazing.

Of course, that night I ran yet another Drak’Tharon run to get my ring but of course it didn’t drop. Bah! That thing doesn’t exist.

Wednesday I logged in late after hanging out with my wife in front of the tube. Started to put together my Drak’Tharon team but got high jacked for a quick Vault of Archavon 10-man run. The mage PvP piece and T7 Shaman pieces dropped. The former got taken but the latter got melted. Oh well.

Off to Drak’Tharon for another attempt at my ring. I have to again thank all these folks who keep running that same place over and over with me. I could do that place in my sleep and Kendal, often our healer on these runs, has geared up quite well, so we walked right through as usual.

We do the stupid skele-dragon again, nothing new there. Go to loot… and…

MY RING! Finally, I could replace the Ring of Earthen Might with the Keystone Great Ring.

That is a total of 8 epic quality upgrades (9 if you include the trinket I bought earlier) in just four days.

Here’s my final gear list and stats as of last night (exported from Rawr):


Savage Gladiator's Dragonhide Helm


Titanium Earthguard Chain


Trollwoven Spaulders


Heroes' Dreamwalker Raiments


Trollwoven Girdle


Gored Hide Legguards


Boots of the Worshiper


Cuffs of Dark Shadows


Heroes' Dreamwalker Handgrips


Titanium Earthguard Ring


Keystone Great-Ring


Valor Medal of the First War


Essence of Gossamer


Durable Nerubhide Cape


Staff of the Plague Beast


Idol of Terror


Tabard of the Wyrmrest Accord


Black Swashbuckler's Shirt


Regal Twilight Opal













Dodge Rating:


Defense Rating:










Avoidance PreDR:


Avoidance PostDR:


Total Mitigation:


Damage Taken:


Chance to be Crit:


Overall Points:


Mitigation Points:


Survival Points:


Threat Points:



QUAICHE… You are having the BEST WEEK EVER!”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Undocumentd Nerf – Handwraps of Preserved History

I was warned by a friend this was coming, but I forgot to include it in my last post because I hadn’t yet been in game to confirm.

Handwraps of Preserved History has been seriously nerfed for Bear tanks.

Prior to today, it was very over-budget. We all knew it. But we all wore them anyway. Today they corrected it and made me take them off.

Here are the old stats:


And the new stats:


Needless to say, they were quickly replaced with Heroes’ Dreamwalker Handgrips and a +16 Agililty gem.

Patch 3.0.8 – Feral Druid Perspective

bear badge I spent some time today reviewing the 3.0.8 patch notes. Since it is going live today (YAY!), I thought it might be good to review the parts of this patch that affect Feral Druids.



Armor Changes

The most talked about change in 3.0.8 for feral druids is the so-called “armor nerf”:

Bonus Armor: The mechanics for items with bonus armor on them has changed (any cloth, leather, mail, or plate items with extra armor, or any other items with any armor). Bonus armor beyond the base armor of an item will no longer be multiplied by any talents or by the bonuses of Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Frost Presence.

This was something we've known about for a while and I think has much less impact for level 80s than it would have had when we were wearing our level 70 gear, which was heavily stacked with "green" armor values. Most of our current gear doesn't have bonus armor.

The more important part of that change, however, is the "or any other items with any armor" bit. Again, we knew this was coming, but essentially it significantly reduces the total impact that armor has on necklaces, rings, trinkets, cloaks and weapons. This is significant for Bears because pieces where the overall mitigation value was mostly about the armor will now be worth far less than before.

Goodbye Badge of Tenacity and Nerubian Shield Ring and hello Valor Medal of the First War and Titanium Earthguard Ring.

But what about our Armor? Well... they've addressed that with a talent change:

Survival of the Fittest: This talent now grants 22/44/66% bonus armor in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form in addition to all of its previous effects.

The feeling I'm getting at this point is that we will end up with better mitigation after this change. Also it will let us use our non-leather slots to focus on Dodge (up to 50%) and Defense (after 50%) instead of just stacking armor.

Feral Attack Power

Another one that has been getting lots of attention is the changes to how Feral Attack Power (FAP) work:

Feral Attack Power: All weapons now have the potential to grant feral attack power based on their dps (as compared to the best superior-quality weapons available at level 60). Players will see their existing feral weapons grant roughly the same attack power as they did before (+/- 2 or so), but many new weapons will be options for the feral druid. Some feral weapons have had strength converted to attack power to be more appealing to other classes able to equip them. All druids will see the amount of feral attack power granted by an item in the item tooltip, if it grants any, but other players will not see that information.

But there is another little related wrinkle in there…

Polearms: Now trainable by Druids.

Taken together, these are pretty cool. Polearms like Black Ice suddenly move to the top 3 list for feral kitty DPS. Not many others right now compare with that particular polearm, and none of the polearms really do much for tanking, but still... the options are interesting.

I spent some time a couple of weeks ago talking to Astrylian (author or Rawr and contributor on the EJ druid forums and friend of mine). It turns out that the FAP has always been a function of the DPS of the weapon, but what is changing is that now the FAP is automatically calculated.

You've maybe seen screenshots like that show shows FAP on the Titansteel Destroyer or other non-feral pieces. The interesting thing is that a non-druid WOULD NOT SEE THAT LINE in the tooltip.

So where does it come from? Here's the equation:

FAP = (DPS - 54.8) * 14

Since the titansteel Destroyer has 186.5 DPS in the patch, that gives it 1843 FAP. Pretty cool eh? It gets even better. There are now weapons that were basically hunter weapons that are available to us (and vice versa). Any 2H weapon you can equip will now get a FAP tooltip when your playing your Druid.

BTW, Black Ice has 203.7 DPS. That gives 2084 FAP. Since it also has 108 agility and 72 hit rating, you see why it can rate so high on feral DPS.

The potential downside to all this is that we may find Hunters and others classes interested in rolling against us on pieces. I don't think it will be a concern for us, but it does open the pool up a bit.

Other Ability Changes

There are a number of smaller, but still important changes that hit today:

Growl: Range increased to 30 yards

Sounds good. Stack that with Glyph of Growl and you shouldn't have any trouble with runaway mobs in Heroics or that boss transfer on the Four Horsemen event in Naxx.

Primal Tenacity: Now reduces the cost of Bear Form, Cat Form, and Dire Bear Form by 17/33/50% in addition to its previous effects.

Sweet! Since the expansion, we've all noticed that shapeshifting seems to cost more than it did before. Powershifting is way too expensive to even consider. Maybe this will change that... maybe not.

Protector of the Pack: No longer changes value based on party size.

Sounds good to me. Everyone likes Attack Power bonuses right?

Savage Roar: The buff now persists outside of Cat Form but only provides its benefits while in Cat Form.

This may be useful for those times when you need to switch out of Bear for just a few seconds to grab that errant trash mob. Now when you go back to Cat your 5-CP Savage Roar will still be there ticking away.

Swipe: Swipe (Cat) has now been added at level 71, dealing 260% weapon damage, costs 50 energy with no cooldown. All talents affecting the Bear Form version affect the Cat Form one as well.

Finally kitty cats get some AOE damage. Given how the game seems to have become an AOE fest, I'm glad we've not been left out of the fun.

Shadowmeld: This ability will now properly restore threat when it is canceled. In addition, it will correctly remove a player from combat if it is active when that player is the last person left alive that the creature hates. This ability is now also unusable while affected by Faerie Fire.

Bummer. I only just learned about our own little "Vanish" trick and now it is basically gone. Oh well...

Bear Form: This ability will now grant the correct attack power per level for levels 71-80.

Good. Better threat gen for bears... except...

Savage Fury - Mangle (Bear) damage was being increased by a higher percentage than intended. This has been fixed, and in result Mangle (Bear) should see roughly a 16% damage reduction. Also fixed a bug with Savage Fury where the Rake bleed effect was not being increased.

...then we lose some. Net effect? Not sure yet.

Survival Instincts: The extra health from this ability now persists in all forms, but the ability can only be activated in Cat Form, Bear Form, or Dire Bear Form. This prevents the health gain from occurring multiple times if constantly shapeshifting.

Darnit! A cool sploit I didn't know about nerfed before I could even try it.

Profession Changes for Ferals

There are also some changes to professions that are relevant to bears and kitties:

Increased the critical strike rating granted by ranks 5 and 6 of Master of Anatomy.

We might see a few more ferals regretting having dropped skinning now.

A new recipe for [Worg Tartare] is now available for purchase with Dalaran Cooking Awards. This delicacy imbues hit rating and Stamina upon those brave enough to eat it.

If you need hit rating, here is another recipe you might wanna try. No fishing required for this one.

Added a new recipe to enchant bracers with Stamina. You can buy this recipe from Vanessa Sellers in Dalaran.

If you aren't a Leatherworker and are coveting our Fur Lining - Stamina for bracers, this might be worth looking at.

The epic leg armor patches now require a Frozen Orb in addition to their other materials.

Again, the non-Leatherworker ferals will feel this the most as the prices of their leg enchants will go up. Leatherworkers have a self-enchant that is almost free, so we won't care much except that maybe we can make more money selling epic leg armors than we could before.

Other Items and Gear Changes

In addition to profession and ability changes, a short list of gear changes is work commenting on:

Dreamwalker Battlegear: The Rip bonus is now 4 seconds instead of 3.

One more second of Rip for the 2-piece set bonus... hmmm... not bad. Might make me spend some badges on them for my kitty set.

Druid Feral Tier 7 Set: The 4 piece bonus now also decreases the cooldown on Tiger’s Fury by 3 seconds.

More changes to the Feral T7 set bonuses to make kitties more powerful. Cool.

Undocumented Changes

There are always a number of “discovered” or “undocumented” changes. These come from http://www.wowwiki.com/Patch_3.0.8_(undocumented_changes)

Rewards added for [Wintergrasp Mark of Honor]

Some ferals might like the Titan-forged pieces. I'm not sure how viable they'll be in PvE however.

Maim duration has been increased by 1 second. (3/4/5/6/7 seconds)

I always like a boost to abilities. This one won't affect raiding much, but may be useful soloing or in a pinch.

Survival Instincts now temporarily grants you 30% of your current maximum health for 20 sec. (Old - 30% of your maximum health)

This is actually a nerf. On those fights where the debuff from a boss causes a reduction in your maximum health (ala the red beam on Netherspite in Karazhan), your "Oh Crap" button now gives less health back. Bummer.

Thick Hide now increases your armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 4/7/10%. (Old - All items)

This is just more of the "armor bonuses for leather only" change described above. This is goodness and helps make up for the lost armor multiplier on neck, finger, trinket and weapon.

[Darkmoon Card: Death]: Changed to improve critical strike rating by 85 (Old - 85 haste)

That might make it quite interesting for kitty cats.

Monday, January 19, 2009

BookHunters – Working together on the Higher Learning achievement

102256 The Higher Learning achievement is one of those achievements that looks so easy to do but is so damn annoying. Find and read eight books scattered around Dalaran and you get a cool mini frosty void walker pet thingy. The problem is that they only spawn every 3-4 hours, and are just as likely to spawn a fake book as they are one of the books you’re looking for.

My good friend Jordail turned me on to a great idea to help with this headache.

“Join the bookhunters channel,” he said.

It is simple. Join the channel. Encourage anyone else you find who is obviously camping a bookspot to join it. When a real or fake book spawns, announce it in the channel. If it is a fake book, open it to get the timer restarted ASAP. If it is a real book, announce it to give people a minute or three to get there so they can read it too.

For extra credit, create a macro to track the timers. Mine looks like this right now (channel 7 is the bookhunters channel on my system):

/7 Upper VC: ??
/7 Lower VC: 11:35
/7 Visitor Center: 12:25
/7 ToF Balcony: 12:03
/7 Violet Hold: ??
/7 Port Room: ??
/7 Upper LL: ??
/7 Lower LL: ??

Anytime someone announces a timer, I update the macro. Anytime someone asks for timers, I click the button. Easy as pie.

Since joining I’ve gone from 0/8 on this achievement to 4/8 and have a good shot at getting the other four in the next day or so.

Thanks Jord!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Balancing Survival and Mitigation in Rawr 2.1.6

I spent some time today chatting with Astrylian, the author of Rawr, about how to best balance Survival and Mitigation. From the Rawr.Bear tooltip, we see that “Survival Points represent the total raw physical damage (pre-mitigation) you can take before dying.” Essentially it is a quantitative measure of your health and stamina related stats.

One thing I’ve been noticing lately and have talked about with Hautian one of our Paladin tanks, is that Rawr seems to like Stamina a whole lot. More than I expected. This is what I wanted to ask Astrylian about. I wanted to understand the balance and understand how to control it better.

It turns out that since version 2.1.5 there has been a feature in the Bear model that lets you put a “soft cap” on the Survival statistic. This means the relative weighting of the Mitigation statistic starts to go up as you cross over the soft cap. "PERFECT!” I said, “How does it work?”

First, how you set it up. Open Rawr and select the Bear Model. Your current Survival value will be listed in the “Summary” section of the Stats tab as shown in this screenshot:


So with the gear I have on in this Rawr profile, I’ve got 137,385 Survival Points. That number is when I am buffed as I would expect in a typical 10-man Naxx raid. When typically 25-man buffed I’m up over 145k.

Now let’s look at how the Survival Soft Cap is configured:


As you can see, the default value is 140,000. Talking to Astrylian, that number was chosen as ‘about right’ for current 25-man boss. It happens to be around the amount of unmitigated damage from three of Patchwerk’s Hateful Strikes (25-man version) or three of Sartharion’s hits (with three drakes up). This formula isn’t precise, but is something he and some of the other folks on Elitist Jerks worked out. And as you can see, I’m short a few points, which explains why Rawr wants me to stack more Stamina right now, but with 25-man buffs I actually cross over that 140k line and it starts to focus more on Mitigation.

I asked Astrylian what the soft cap does to the relative weighting of Survival and Mitigation and he sent me this graph to show how it works (click to see full-sized):

Rawr Softcap 140k

This graph is for a 140,000 softcap. The X-axis is the raw unscaled Survival and the Y-axis shows the scaled Survival. As you can see up to 140,000, the values match (the scaling is 1). After 140,000, however, the value slowly falls off.

What this does in the long run is weight the Mitigation stats higher in the Rawr Overall points system.

Other softcap values courtesy of Astrylian:

Content Softcap
Planning for Ulduar 25-man Raiding 160,000
25-man Raiding 140,000
10-man Raiding / Heroic 5-mans 120,000
5-man Dungeons 100,000

SWEET! Thanks again to Astrylian and the rest of the Rawr team for this amazing tool.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Raiding Resto in Crafted and BoE Gear

Since early in the Burning Crusades, Quaiche has been a bear tank. I originally converted from resto to tanking one evening when a guild officer needed a tank for Shadow Labs. I had some feral gear, but not much, so he went to the AH and bought me a set of Heavy Clefthoof gear and a ring or two and off we went. Then with the help of Emmerald’s Gear List (and later Rawr) I tanked all the way to Black Temple.

Now we’re heading into Naxxramas in the new Lich King expansion pack and the opposite is happening. We’ve got plenty o’ tanks. Bears, Warriors, Paladins and even a DK tank. But we’re short healers. “Fine, I’ll be a healer,” I said, “it’ll be fun.”

I started by crafting as much resto gear as I could (I’m a 440+ Leatherworker so made all this myself):

After that I hit the AH for some shopping. There are some pretty good BoE blues out there that can be had for a steal if you get lucky:

I ended up replacing all of the crafted blue leather in less than two weeks with better drops from Heroics and Naxx-10, but those pieces and the other stuff I bought enabled me to be a Heroic and Naxx-10 healer in very little time.

One slot that is hard to fill is the weapon. I ended up with War Mace of Unrequited Love from Heroic Nexus as my main hand and Watchful Eye in my offhand, so I didn’t have this problem for long. One thing I’ve seen people using is the Chilly Slobberknocker from Champion of Anguish quests. YMMV.

This week I’m back to bear tanking again, but now I’ve got a pretty good healing set going and am totally ready for Blizzard to ship dual-spec in patch 3.1 so I can be a Bear Tree full time!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fun with AceConfig-3.0

My first hacked up solution to the channel lock problem was a quick-n-dirty little addon that I created using the Dongle framework. Dongle is a great addon framework for things that need a bit more than nothing, but not as much as a full-featured configurable UI.

When I decided to work toward releasing ChannelLock (after pressure from guildies to give it up) I realized that doing the config UI I wanted using Dongle and native Wow UI manipulation would have been, to put it mildly, a pain in the ass. On the other hand, using AceConfig would make it easy.

Converting the DB code from Dongle to AceConfig was basically a no-op. AceDB-3.0 doesn’t use a mixin any more, while dongle does, but with a few minor changes, it just worked.

But the whole reason I made this switch was the get the integration with the in-game addon config system for free. Ultimately I wanted the tree in the addon list to have the following entries

  • ChannelLock – shows “about” info
    • Channels – config for the channel setups
    • Profiles – standard Ace3 profile management

For the “about” info, I’ve been using Tekkub’s tekKonfigAboutPanel.lua code for a while. It is simple and “just works”. But I hadn’t tried to integrate it with Ace3 config before.

Getting all of this to work as expected took some experimentation, but ultimately it was quite easy:

LibStub("AceConfig-3.0"):RegisterOptionsTable("ChannelLock", self.options )
LibStub("tekKonfig-AboutPanel").new(nil, "ChannelLock")

(Line numbers added to enable better explanation of the code.)

Line 1 takes the Lua table stored in self.options (it is just a standard Ace3Config table) and registers it with the AceConfig-3.0 registry using the name “ChannelLock”. This let us later add the options described in the table to the config system, to slash commands, etc.

Line 2 uses Tekkubs code to create an About box panel that contains various bits of information from the TOC file. By passing nil as the first parameter to new(), it tells the library to make this a root node in the config tree. The name is passed as the second parameter.

So far so good. We’ve got our root config node and we’ve registered our options table. Before I show you the next bit, however, let’s take a look at what is inside the options table. It looks something like this:

self.options = {
type = 'group',
name = "ChannelLock",
args = {
channels = {
name = 'Channels',
type = 'group',
args = {},

profiles = LibStub("AceDBOptions-3.0"):GetOptionsTable(self.db)

The trick is that the table contains two sub-tables: channels and profiles. The channels table is filled in dynamically by other code in my addon and the profiles table is filled in by the AceDBOptions-3.0 library. That library automatically creates an options table for all the typical profile operations (copy, new, delete, etc.) so I don’t have to.

We’ve registered the table with the AceConfig registry up above, now what we want to do is insert the channels and profile sub-tables as separate pages underneath the root page. We do that using the AceConfigDialog library and the AddToBlizOptions method. The arguments are: registered table name, display text, parent and sub-table key. The code looks like this:

LibStub("AceConfigDialog-3.0"):AddToBlizOptions("ChannelLock", "Channels", "ChannelLock", "channels")
LibStub("AceConfigDialog-3.0"):AddToBlizOptions("ChannelLock", "Profiles", "ChannelLock", "profiles")

Line 1 adds the channels subtable and Line 2 adds the profiles subtable.

That’s it!

oUF_DruidHots – Timer Indicators for Resto Druids

I know I said I was working on ChannelLock right now, and that is true, but earlier this week I decided to respec resto since Benevolent Thuggery is feeling a bit light on the healer front.

I quickly realized that as a healer I missed the indicators I used to use in Grid when I healed a year ago. Since I now use a custom oUF layout instead of Grid or Pitbull, I decided to hack something together. What started out as a quick little lifebloom timer quickly blossomed into a full blown Druid HOT timer.

Here’s a diagram showing how it looks and what they each mean:

oUF_DruidHots Diagram

It attaches the indicators to the top left of the Health bar.

So far I love it. I’ve already gotten used to seeing the colors and instinctively knowing what heal I want to put on the target. There are a few things I still want to do however:

  • Some kind of indication when the Hot is about to expire. I’m going to play with blinking, fades, borders, etc. to see what works best.
  • Better configuration for layout authors. Right now everything (indicator size, color, offset, spacing, ordering) are all hard-coded. I’ll put the config in a table an oUF layout author can embed in his layout code.

It is up on the CurseForge project site if you wanna give it a try in your layout. As with all oUF extensions, it requires that you have oUF (the base frame framework) and an oUF layout (the definition of how you want your player/party/raid frames to look) installed.