Zul’Aman: Nalorakk Strategy

might compile a ZA guide at some point. Nalorakk is a dual tank fight. He rotates between a troll form and a bear form every 40ish seconds or so; a tank is needed for each form. Nalorakk is tauntable and doesn’t deal any Crushing Blows (go wild with odd gearing :P). The encounter is resettable by running down to the base of the stairs.

Tank him at the base of his platform, have everyone else spread out in a semi circle.

  • If you are concerned about surge, have someone with a high amount of HP stand slightly further from Nalorakk than everyone else to soak the charge. Honestly though, it doesn’t do a whole lot of damage as long as everyone is spread out to avoid splash damage.
  • We have both tanks standing on top of each other to divide cleave. However if one tank dodges, the other tank will soak all 14k damage. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we had a third raid member standing with us playing Cleave tampon (a healadin).

Troll Form
: All bleed effects cause 100% additional damage
: Charges someone (pretty sure it is whoever is standing furthest away from him) knocking them back and hurting anyone in the vicinity (around 1.5k on plate 3.5k on cloth)
Brutal Swipe
: A cleave (frontal damage) that does 14k damage on plate, divided evenly among up to 2 people.

  • He doesn’t do a whole lot of damage in troll form, so have your healers conserve mana.

Bear Form
Lacerating Slash
: Bleed for 1735 damage every 2 seconds for 18 seconds
Rend Flesh
: Bleed for 2335 damage every second for 5 seconds
Deafening Roar
: AoE, 2 seconds silence and around 1k damage to everyone (don’t know the range).

  • He does A LOT of damage in bear form. Keep the bear tank topped off, the AoE silence sucks.
  • Whoever is tanking the bear needs to taunt him off of the troll tank ASAP to prevent Mangle + Cleave. If taunt fails for some reason, have a paladin BoP aggro off.

It’s pretty much a gear check. Your tanks, the bear tank in particular needs to be well geared as do the healers since this is a pretty healing intensive encounter. So summary: Keep the tanks alive, spread out, make sure that each tank grabs aggro when Nalorakk changes to their assigned form.


  • I’m not 100% sure how the cleave mechanics work. Specifically, I’m not sure that the full Cleave amount gets pushed onto one tank if the other dodges/misses/parries.
  • Bear tank: save your potions for a double bleed + silence. If you get all three effects, there’s a good chance that you will die.

ZA and Beyond: 2.3 Patch Musings


So patch 2.3 came and the server didn’t crap out and die to my utter surprise (not kidding, was assuming that we would crash out of all instances). Zul’Aman is fun, it reminds me of Zul’Gurub, which is a good thing because ZG is one of if not my favorite raid instance in WoW. From what I can gather based off of the little bit that we tried last night, it definitely picks up where Karazhan leaves off, boss difficulty wise. Since there’s not a whole lot of literature online yet regarding strategies, bosses are taking a bit of trial and error. It’s a refreshing change; learning is fun!

Most of my mods work except for Deadly Boss Mods which continuously throws out errors every couple of minutes. I think there is a patch update out, but I didn’t get a chance to check or download it yesterday since the site was under heavy load. I can officially ditch the CT Mail Mod (I hate CT) because there is a mass mailer built into the UI. Also, pressing ALT + Z to remove the UI for screenshotting now automatically removes name tags. Nice!

I respec’d my paladin into 5/5 Combat Expertise for the stamina buff. It’s an overall 1.2k ish increase to my unbuffed health. Nice! WTB 10 more badges 🙁

Weapons Expertise Notes

Beyond the basic paladin tree changes and gear announcements, I honestly haven't looked much into the 2.3 nuances because I have been busy (and "busy with my on-and-off love affair with Steam :P). Patch 2.3, which has a confirmed release date for November 13th, is introducing Weapon Expertise, a combat mechanic which will be replacing Weapon Skill.

Expertise Rating has the same conversion rate as Weapon Skill: 3.9 Expertise Rating to 1 point of Expertise Skill at level 70. Many of the other affected mechanics also remain the same unless I am mistaken (probably am).

  • Each point in Expertise Skill also reduces your target's chance to dodge and parry your attacks by 0.25%
  • Expertise isn't limited to one particular weapon (unlike Weapon Skill).
  • Every level a mob has over you, its dodge and parry will increase by 0.2%

The expertise cap
In other words: how much Weapon Expertise you need in order to become immune against a boss mob's parry and dodge. From a tank perspective, having all of your melee attacks land means more threat generation. Recall that at an equal level, a mob has a base 5% dodge and parry. So a level 73 mob would have a 5.6% dodge and parry (3*0.2 + 5). At 22.4 Expertise Skill and 88.36 Expertise Rating, your attacks can never be dodged or parried.

What about the attack hit table?
To my knowledge, the uncrushability calculations remain the same, but I am not 100% sure since I haven't looked into the new changes in depth. I need to update the guide since Weapon Skill was nixed.

WoW Update 10/30/07


I’ll get to responding to people and what not within the next day or two, after I tend to guild administrative stuff, which I am also behind in lol. Last week was hectic: I had to evacuate my residence on Monday and Tuesday of last week because of the wildfire situation in Southern California. Everyone and everything is okay thankfully, but ugh…

I’ve been putting off the Halloween events and finally had a chance to do the Headless Horseman event (by do I mean farm) last night in Scarlet Monastery. Picked up a spell damage ring, a healing ring, and a neat looking pumpkin hat (will post screenshot later, I don’t have them at my work machine). Fashion > All.

My WoW playtime has been somewhat reduced as of late because Fall marks the start of game season. Game season means that I am distracted by the multitude of triple-A releases between October and Christmas. As a consequence, my 2.3 badge farming endeavor is going rather slowly. I want my legs and I want them the very second 2.3 goes live (whenever that is)!

So the Crysis demo: I had an eyegasm. You won’t find a more visually stunning game anywhere, it’s beautiful. Hell, it even looks great set at medium on a low ass resolution (WTB new video card). Everything is interactive including the trees and buildings and the AI is reasonably smart. I wasn’t really blown away by the storyline or the gameplay, but that’s an unfair evaluation given that it’s just a short demo.

Beyond the graphics and amusing myself with the physics engine, I am very interested in seeing how the plot, pacing, and gameplay size up to some of my old standbys (ultimately, I like well rounded games). Depending on how well executed those elements are, I smell a possible new contender for 2007 game of the year. I think I am going to need a new video card in order to enjoy the game properly.

Gaming Rant: Stop Boring Me

So I have this big problem: I buy games but don't finish them. My shelf is full of first person shooters, RPGs, strategy games and the like for multiple platforms, all collecting dust. This was just going to be a short blurb with a list of reasons why I never finish games, but it kind of turned into a long ass rant. I swear I'm not full of ire, I'm just bored…

Single player time-sinks are not fun anymore because I have no time to sink. I consider myself an average gamer demographic: working age adult in my twenties. That means that I have a couple of hours at most every night that I am willing to dedicate to a full screen game (as opposed to WoW, or another game where I am doing something else most of the time).

Long games need to have natural breaks built in. Usually breaks are down in the form of missions, levels, episodes and what not. Such episodes must be of reasonable length, no more than an hour or two. If I have to turn the game off to sleep or head out for an errand, I can't spend an additional half hour looking for a save point or a safe place to exit the game.

Games need better pacing. If at any point I am bored for more than an hour, there is a very high chance that I will turn the game off, set it down, and never pick it up ever again. Cut the filler crap: Artificial increases in difficulty in place of intelligent AI and design is not clever. I love a challenging game, but I don't like 30 hour long jumping puzzles, I don't like ammo starvation (if you give me a shotgun I want to use it), and I don't like final bosses so ungodly difficult that it forces you to farm for hours (I know what you all are thinking and fuck you, WoW is different). That's lazy and poor game design.

New game mechanics and devices are needed, I want innovation. Given our level of technology and the resources available to developers, I kind of expect more in terns of things like NPC interaction and play. I think that some of my malcontent towards most single player games stems from the rise in multiplayer games. Human beings, for good or bad add a completely new level of complexity to a game. As a result, computer characters often seem dry in contrast. After all, the depths of e-tards and e-drama are infinite, the depths of shitty AI are not.

I swear that the gaming industry is just as bad as the movie industry at times in terms of delivering pretty looking media with very little substance. Computer graphics by nature date themselves very fast. Take a look at some of the games that were your favorites 5 years ago. Replay them and see how many are still fun (Personally, I can probably name them on one hand. Deux Ex, Half-Life, and a few others). There's something to say though about developers who put extra attention into the art direction in a game, possibly at the expense of having a new cutting edge graphical engine. I admire that.

2.3 Itemization and additional changes

Drysc has confirmed that Precision now affects spell hit as well as melee hit, nice! Also, a new talent for retribution: “Fanaticism will now reduce threat caused by all actions by 6/12/18/24/30%, in addition to its current effect.” Nice change, on par with threat reduction for other DPS classes. I guess my only gripe is the fact that Fanaticism is a passive talent rather than an activated spell like Righteous Fury. It’s going to be much harder for ret specs to tank.

If you haven’t already, check out the new items available in 2.3 from Zul’Aman and the heroic vendor. Several of the new additions are specific to tankadins. I’ve listed the new plate tanking additions, but there are also several new capes, trinkets, rings, weapons and what not but I don’t have time to list them at the moment, have to get back to work.

Zul’Aman drops
Battleworn Tuskguard

Chestguard of the Warlord

Pauldrons of Stone Resolve

Jungle Stompers

Heroic badge rewards
Bonefist Gauntlets

Bracers of the Ancient Phalanx

Chestguard of the Stoic Guardian

Girdle of the Protector

Iron-tusk Girdle

Sabatons of the Righteous Defender

Unwavering Legguards

It’s major badge farming time. These are the current prices on the PTRs: Pants, chest and head are 75 badges. Shoulders, waist, feet and hands are 60 badges. Bracers are 35 badges.

Oblivion: Fighter’s Stronghold

I’ve written about Oblivion once or twice, so I suppose this bit of news is worth mentioning: There’s a new official Oblivion download available from the Bestheda site and it’s free until next Monday (the 22nd of October).

The Fighter’s Stronghold is a full castle for you to explore, hold your shit, hire servants, collect furniture, and otherwise live out your Elder Scrolls Sims fetish/fantasy. Features (full backstory and what not is detailed in the link provided above):

  • A fully detailed castle for you to explore
  • Knights of the True Horn patrol the castle and do your bidding
  • Secret treasure vault
  • Upgrade the furnishings in every area of the castle
  • Hire a vintner to create special wines to enhance your fighting abilities
  • Hire a combat trainer to spar with
  • Hire a taxidermist to craft lifelike trophies for your great hall
  • Purchase an ancient Dwemer Forge that buffs your Armorer skill

I am immediately attracted to anything like this for some reason. So if you still play Oblivion, it seems like a cool dig to plan world destruction from. If you’ve retired from Cyrodiil, it still looks interesting enough to pickup during server maintenance or when your ISP explodes. Did I mention that it’s free this week? I like free…

Game Review: Portal


I don’t think I’ve talked about Portal enough or how much I love it. Portal is a first person puzzle game/comedy based off of Narbacular Drop, a game created by students at the DigiPen Institute who were later hired by Valve to work on Portal. It’s not a traditional first person game; So if you dislike shooters, I still highly recommend picking it up for legitimate and refreshing fun.

I really expected it to be little more than a tech demo of the Portal gun, for the sake of introducing new gameplay and letting the modding community have at it. In fact, since the Portal mechanics and the puzzles are so damn fun and intuitive, I would have been happy with just a tech demo. Instead, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a self-contained immersive story with a compelling narrative.

Basically: You wake up in a futuristic sleeping chamber. Guided by a snarky computer voice, you are run through a series of “tests” with only a portal gun and the promise of moist cake. The gun shoots two portals that will attach to (almost) any surface and act as a gateway between each other.

The dialogue, written by the guys who did Old Man Murray (funny gaming website of early 00’s fame), is hilarious and just bizarre. It’s a pretty simple story that you just have to play because I can’t describe it very well without giving away the fun surprises. Oh, it also has the best ending song in the history of ending songs. Just, so satisfying.

If you don’t want to purchase all of the Orange Box (why not though? 5 games for $50 is a steal), Portal is available via Steam as a standalone download for $20. I guess my only con is that the game is fairly short at about 3 hours (give or take a half-hour) for a play-through. After completion, several additional modes unlock (not to mention the possibility of fun user created mods). WELL worth prying your fingers away from WoW for one of the best games of the year.

PS: For those who have beaten it, rumor is that the Valve online store will have Weighted Companion Cube toys (plushies??) in stock by this Christmas!

2.3 PTRs: Tankadin Notes

Site Note: Those who are only interested in reading the WoW related posts might want to use this URL to filter out all of the non-WoW related entries. October marks the beginning of gaming season with the Christmas purchasing season just around the corner (meaning that I might actually write about “other things”).

I won’t quote the patch notes because they are like, on every single WoW blog and site. I am really looking forward to the sub 60 experience increase (might start leveling my mage again) and Zul’Aman. I really thought that ZG was a fun and well done raid instance, both loot and design wise. Hoping that ZA is similar.

Threat: The old Improved Seal of the Crusader talent (15% increase to attack bonus and holy damage) is being integrated into the normal seal and the new Imp SotC will be the the current Sanctified Crusader talent. Additionally, the mana costs for Exorcism/Hammer of Wrath/Holy Wrath is being reduced, which is nice for Karazhan tanking since I spam Exorcism on certain bosses fairly often :P.

Mitigation: The Weapon Expertise talent is being replaced by Combat Expertise, which now increases Expertise by 1/2/3/4/5 AND total stamina by 2/4/6/8/10%! 10% MORE STAMINA IS AWESOME! I think that’s what, a 1k+ health buff for me? (Don’t feel like looking up my stats now).

A new stat rating called, “Expertise” is being added. According to the notes, “Expertise rating converts to expertise at the same rate that weapon skill rating formerly converted at. Each point of expertise reduces the chance for your attacks to be dodged or parried by 0.25%.” Less chance to be parried means less damage. Less chance for a mob to dodge means more threat. Intriguing.

Pets will now attempt to melee behind their target when engaging in combat! This change is nice because mobs can parry all frontal attacks. More attacks = more parries = more to heal. I try to drag the mob back a bit to reposition all of the melee, but that’s not

Itemization: New heroic badge rewards are added, take a look at the tanking choices. Compare the [item]Wrynn Dynasty Greaves[/item] to Unwavering Legguards (75 badges). Fuck Curator, Badge farming anyone? I am sort of regretting blowing my badge stash on random DPS/healing gear that I didn’t need instead of stocking them :/

Miscellaneous: The range for cleanse is being increased to 40 yards, which should make fights like Prince nicer (having to move in and out of AE range sucks). There are additional faction discounts for all levels above neutral: 15% for revered and 20% for exalted; I am all for knocking off repair bill costs. I had posted a prospective new protection spec a few posts back, but never followed through in lieu of the 2.3 changes coming. I am glad I held off!

Orange Box: Impressions

kind of wanted to do a full article/review on Orange Box, but I am so damn tired this week from getting to bed past 1am every night (playing games of course). I need to finish reading through 2.3 PTR notes before making a commentary post (PROTECTION BUFF PALLYGASM).

I pre-ordered The Half-Life 2: Orange Box over the weekend, which was unlocked at midnight the other evening. So I’ve sacrificed nearly all of my farming, instancing, and Doombeard leveling time this week for the sake of obsessing about it. I worship Valve games almost as much as I worship Blizzard games (almost). TL;DR version of the following: Get it. Get it now.

Team Fortress 2 is damn fun, the play reminds me of the WoW battlegrounds a bit in the sense that both are class based team versus team games with similar objectives (node capture, capture the flag, etcetera). I love the art style; it’s just perfect.

Portal is unique first person puzzle game that takes around 3 hours to complete, give or take a half hour. If you haven’t heard of it, YouTube the trailer, the portal gun is endlessly fascinating to play with. I was mostly interested in it for the gameplay value, I didn’t expect it to be funny! The AI adds sadistic humor to the game while interweaving narrative (it’s set in the Half-Life universe).

Upon completion, an advanced mode is unlocked with 6 more challenges, some limiting your time and the number of portals that you can use. I highly recommend playing through the game a second time in commentary mode, it offers insight on the game’s development and design.

I can’t comment on Episode 1 or 2 because I haven’t played them yet. I need to play through Episode 1 first (didn’t buy it originally, wanted to wait for them all to come out or for a compilation). But before that, I want to play through Half-Life 2 since it’s kind of been 3 years. Orange Box is a great deal. Even if you have already purchased HL2 and HL2: Episode 1, it’s still 3 excellent games for $50. A real bargain if you ask me!