Axe To The Face – Wait, no, Sword.

The problem with having a healing main spec and a tanking off spec is that you’re always taking up room or pushing someone out. Naturally, in five mans (what Vid does the most) I was either having to force a main-spec tank to play his off-DPS spec, or another main-spec healer to DPS, or in the case of heal/heal specced people, to either tank or not run with them at all. Since it happens that I rather like the people in my guild, and have no desire to tank heroic Halls of Reflection again (it went fine), I decided that I needed to buck up and give Ret another go. I liked the prot spec for soloing old instances and for sheer indestructibility, but it just wasn’t practical when I’m married to a tank anyhow. I really wasn’t having fun tanking random heroics. For the record, I did do a few. Impatient DPS barking at me to go faster, people pulling trash packs before I could even get there… It just wasn’t fun.

So I logged in to have a look at the off-spec Retribution gear I had picked it up. It looked pretty good! My tanking bracers had always been DPS bracers; I had crafted the ret goggles with a meta socket some time ago. I had a 219 necklace from the ToC 5-man, 232 shoulders. My trinkets were/are decent but nothing to write home about. My cape was pretty sucky as was at least one of my rings (I had the other 232 ring from heroic HoR). But it wasn’t bad. I dropped some change to buy a BoE cloak on the auction house, and spent some hard-earned Triumph emblems to replace my awful ring. The only piece I couldn’t immediately replace was the chest. I scraped up my engineering mats to enchant everything. I even have a decent PvP libram.

Things were looking good. I spied on my guild’s ret paladins and found a cookie cutter ret spec and glyphs. I even downloaded a retribution addon that was recommended to me. I put Berserking on my fancy new two-handed sword! I was ready. I asked if any guild folks needed to run a random heroic, surmising that they could deal with my noobish ret behaviour. We got a group together – Voss tanking, a hunter, shaman, resto druid and myself, and we went to Halls of Lightning.

I was excited. I was a RETRIBUTION paladin. An EYE for an EYE, baby. I don’t play melee DPS… you know, ever. I had a very, very brief stint as a cat druid and that’s pretty much it. So I was pretty focused on what lay before me – making sure I was close enough to trash packs, watching my rotation (yes, I get it, ret paladin rotation is to hit face somewhere in the proximity of the keyboard, har de har). So I was doing that, but was very anxious to not be utterly terrible. How was it, then, that I glanced over at Recount to…

Utter, abysmal and complete failure. Horrible. Terrible. Legendary, even. “To be later mocked behind my back,” kind of terrible. I was doing 800 DPS.

800. My level 63 Frost mage does better than that. I was ashamed and confused. “I don’t understand!” I said in Vent. “What am I doing so terribly wrong?”

We went down the list of things I might be failing at.
Was I hitting the shiny buttons in approximately the appropriate order?
Was I wearing my healing gear?
Did I have the right Seal?
Sort of.
Was I using the right Aura?
That much, at least, I had right. (It’s called Retribution aura, even I can’t mess that up).

I didn’t understand what was so wrong, and I struggled with the misery of fail and not understanding – right up until we were almost at Loken. In my excitement to crush the mobs with my mad engineering skills, I was left behind the group a little bit. As I ran, I had time to I look down at the chat log. Don’t ask me why I hadn’t looked at it before. The entire box, with a bit of loot spam on either side, was a sea of blue text. Can you guess what that blue text said?

Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 172.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 173.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 174.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 175.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 176.

Yes, that’s right. Ms. I Always Play Casters fails again. My heirloom weapon, you understand, was a two-handed axe… or a one-handed mace, or sometimes a one-handed sword. So when I decided to try tanking, that wasn’t a problem. My previous ret weapon was also a two-handed axe. Even as a healer, I used to run up and smack things in melee range to keep my skill leveled as I went along). When I got the ICC weapon the other day I was so excited to have a great ret weapon that it completely slipped my mind that “leveling two-handed weapon skill” had been on my “to-do” list. I’m pretty sure I started that instance at zilch.

Yes, it took me the entire instance to see that my weapon skill was leveling as we went. The good news is that after I went and beat the snot out of half of Icecrown for hours, I’ve now maxed out the skill, and subsequent ret DPS has been at much more respectable levels. I wouldn’t say really great, especially not compared to our guild’s very skilled DPS… but more respectable. I’m just glad I decided to try it out with a group of friends and not random puggers. I don’t want to be the person someone else writes about in their blog.

Which brings me to another series of search results. I love them so.

ramparts corpse run – You’ve got the wrong person. But you’re in luck, because Shintar has got you covered.

what do you mean by massochism – It means “You pugged your way to 80,” or if you prefer, “When a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman love to whip each other very much…”

scarlet monastery graveyard directions – Honey, if you got lost inside the instance there’s nothing I can do for you. I even went to look up Jame’s Scarlet Monastery Guide to see what he says and it doesn’t even have its own heading. It’s like, “As an afterthought, there’s this other instance. Just sort of go into it and see what happens because you cannot fail.” If you’re wondering how to get there… I think the Chillwind flight point is the closest – nip through the Bulwark and head North to the Monastery, you can’t miss it. As Horde it’s pretty easy because it’s right by Undercity. But why would you need to know that when everyone does LFD?

wow paladin healing new icc 5 mans – You’re going to force me to answer seriously! Anyone else, feel free to chime in with a comment if there’s something I’ve overlooked, or if you disagree or something.

Okay, for Forge of Souls, slap Beacon on the tank and don’t stop healing. No, really. The AoE damage in this instance is pretty heavy. Be ready to emergency heal yourself or bubble at Bronjahm if he fears you out into the Soulstorm. Make sure to move in for Soulstorm. Likewise be ready to bubble when all those ghosts come out at the last boss. And be sure to get behind when he does the OMG-it’s-a-wall-of-death-thing. Hilariously for a few runs I could never get the hang of which side was “behind,” continuously resulting in embarassing death.

For Pit of Saron, stick close to your tank. I hate Garfrost as a paladin healer. The LoS with the rocks, the overzealous DPS who don’t bother to go behind a rock… it’s aggravating. Just… make sure your tank doesn’t die, heal everyone else as much as you can, remember to LoS the debuff, and pray. Ick is pretty easy – your DPS may die to a poison nova or to not running when they’re being pursued, but don’t worry, you can’t heal stupid. You can BoP a pursued person if you’re feeling charitable though. Get ready to use all your “on the move” healing skills when the little magic bubbles start exploding from the ground. Holy shock someone, instant FoL someone else, lather, rinse, repeat, more or less, and that’s the whole fight! I even cast Gift of the Naaru. Shash, it’s useful! For the next bit, I like to mount up and run past those two packs of Vrykul but it can be hard to get a pug to understand it so you may end up just fighting them. Don’t stand in the Hellfire. Make sure your tank has prearranged places to pause in the frost hallway gauntlet – we usually run to the circle in the middle and pause there, then move on. You do have the speed enchant on your boots, right? The last guy is pretty easy; don’t stand in anything icy on the ground; stop healing as much as you can if you get the mark on you (I want to say “Overlord’s Brand,” is that right?). There’s a periodic enrage that will hit your tank pretty hard so be ready to heal heavy damage there, especially if your DPS don’t stop attacking when they have the mark on them. In a pug, that’s not outside the realm of possibility.

For HoR, it’s relatively simple. I tend to vary my Beacon target from instance to instance; not always putting it on the tank, but for this instance definitely do it. You’ll need to heal a lot of other people – including yourself, so it’s a lifesaver here. Dispel things as much as you can, but priority is keep everyone alive through all this silly trash. You fight Falric first – he’s a real pain. When I first started coming here with a lower gear score, the fear that he does (it hurts as you’re feared) would nearly kill me every time. You are your top priority – heal yourself, which will top off your tank, then heal everyone else as much as you can. The amount of healing and damage done decreases as the fight goes on, so heal as much as you can, but it’s important to get him down ASAP. More trash, then the other guy – he’s not nearly as tough. Don’t stand in wells of death on the ground. For the last part, the trash gauntlet – you really have to depend on your group’s competence. The tank will point nasty aboms away from you and keep things from eating your face. If he/she is doing that, then it’s cake. If not, be prepared to bubble and sprint something to a tank or whatever you have to do, and you are home free! Have fun in the ICC 5-mans, they are a happy loot-fest. Except if you sort of want the plate chest that Falric drops. I’m pretty sure it’s a myth.

dwarven eyes – Aren’t they purdy? This search came here no doubt because of Anea and her dwarf. Unless you were looking up some kind of creepy recipe alchemical dead dwarf recipe. What’s wrong with you?!

wow moonkin vs maraudon pristine waters – Aaaand in the right corner, we have the crit chicken, resplendent with feathers, fur, antlers, and socially awkward demeanor. In the left corner… Princess? My money is on the moonkin!

pants of the naaru – It’s a talking chandelier, it doesn’t wear pants.

does “zum’rah’s vexing cane” exist – This kind of search result always makes me laugh and feel a bit sad at the same time. Clearly, someone’s been chain-running Zul’Farrak. They hit google in a fit of frustration, furiously typing. They know very well that the thing exists. Maybe they want to find a Lootseeker’s support group? In any case, it does exist… my paladin has it in her bank…and I’m very sorry.

death knight tanking necessities – You want these folks, not me!

pally point – I think it’s the successor to Power Point, don’t you? Every time you go to a new “slide” there’s a brilliant flash of light that makes the audience go “AUGH” and you have to start every presentation with a warning about epilepsy because being this awesome can trigger envy and other harmful reactions.

12 responses to “Axe To The Face – Wait, no, Sword.

  1. Pally Point would be awesome. And it would have a chance to stun people on melee hit, or something. Not compatible with Warlocks Vista, though.

  2. You’re misadventure with leveling 2H Axe skill had me rolling.

    I’ve so been there.

    I’d been using a 2H Axe as my main when the Sword of Justice dropped during a run with Souldat, one of my blogmates. Hey, it’s the best non Epic melee DPS weapon in the game, right?

    “Equip it,” Soul told me.


    “Equip it, I’ll wait.”

    I sighed and equipped it, and watched my DPS drop like a stone for the next few instances while my 2H Sword skill leveled up.

    For Pit of Saron, stick close to your tank. I hate Garfrost as a paladin healer. The LoS with the rocks, the overzealous DPS who don’t bother to go behind a rock… it’s aggravating.

    Have you tried switching to Frost Aura during Garfrost? I’ve found that it cuts into the stacking frost debuff enough that it makes that boss manageable. I do the same thing with Urom in The Oculus, and it’s kept me alive when the healer is focusing on keeping the tank upright.

    Ick is pretty easy – your DPS may die to a poison nova or to not running when they’re being pursued, but don’t worry, you can’t heal stupid.

    ::looks guilty::

    I didn’t really think it meant DBM really meant 5 seconds for the Poison Nova –hell, I’ve gotten out of the way of stuff like that before when I begin at 2 seconds– but DBM really does mean RUNRUNRUN! when that alert goes off.

    (Being a lefty during Ick positively sucks, BTW… my tendency is to run in the opposite direction of everyone else when the bombs are going off.)

    • Redbeard! Poison Nova BUSTED! Haha. I shouldn’t have said stupid, really. I must clarify, it’s not like I’d be in a pug going, “WAY TO GO THERE, STUPID.” I’ve just seen so many DPS die to it and then go “…” or “oops.” Mostly it’s good for a laugh – it’s not as if I don’t do such things myself: see, leveling 2H sword skill unbeknownst to myself.

      That’s a great idea about Frost Aura, duh, I never even thought about it. I’ll try it the next time I’m there!

      • Oh yeah. I’m busted.

        Just like I had that string of runs in A-N where I ended up getting Pounded. Didn’t matter what I did, I swear that Anub’arak zeroed in on me and would swivel around just to make sure I looked stupid, lying there in the dirt.

        I must have had “Stupid” tattooed over that Liadrin’s Helm or something.

      • Oh, I almost forgot.

        The trash before you head into the tunnel on PoS I use Fire Aura and Frost Aura, depending on what the enemy casters are. I don’t know if it helps, but having strictly fire or frost casters in each mob makes it easier to defend against, particularly since the spikey damage comes from the casting.

        If there are any other Pallys out there who have actually studied it more thoroughly, I’m happy to hear from them.

  3. I can’t remember the particular character or even the instance, but I know I have been there with the “oh shit, my skill isn’t leveled!” thing.

    And wuss that I am, I even thought, “ohmuhgaw, I hope they don’t find out, I’m so embarrassed!” As if they’d know the weapon skill was the issue. They probably thought I was a fail!class.

    But hey! All fixed now, right? It’s like it never happened >.>

  4. You always have such wonderful links in your posts. I nearly choked on the socially awkward moonkin, and the Exodar Disco video was brilliant as well. Incidentally, the Pants of the Naaru are a real item in case anyone didn’t know.

    Garfrost is a pain as any healing class, though being mobile helps a little. It still does you no good if people refuse to drop the debuff though, or keep running around the boulders in what feels like an attempt to never let you get LoS with them to make sure you can’t heal them.

    And argh, I can’t believe you mention skipping those two vyrkul packs. The thing that bothers me most about that isn’t the skipping or not skipping itself, but that it’s one of those things that people in pugs insist on propagating even though they don’t understand it. No matter how many times I tell them that no, it’s not on a timer, and we should wait until everyone’s mounted up and then run together if we really want to skip, there’s always at least one guy who goes “gogogo” before Ick has even hit the floor, mounts up and triggers the spawn while everyone is still looting.

  5. At least it was a guild run and not a group of randoms! Even the nicest pug people politely asking if your weapon skill is 0 makes you feel like such a noob, haha.

    And despite the healing/tanking check that HHoR seems to be, I always find PoS more aggravating…there’s just so many things that can go horribly wrong if people are careless. Garfrost stacks, the poison nova, the dreaded first two pulls on the hill, the ice cave, Overlord’s Brand…it’s enough to make healers curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.

    Plus I disengaged off the hill once and parachuted INTO the Pit of Saron. /grumble

  6. Pugs told you to pull faster??
    Did you not take note on how I pull stuff?
    Must pull as fast as noodle otherwise chaos!
    Though I did have a group bitch at me in DTK a few weeks back because I was going too fast and they wanted to “enjoy the instance”… riiight.

  7. Hey, I scooted over to your blog from B.A. and I have to say I love that you can find humor in yourself 🙂
    Oh man. Let me tell you about those weapon skills. Imagine me. My rogue. The best guild horde-side. Shiny shiny gear. I join a pug. They all stare in awe at my shiny new weapons. Weapons that I secretly did not level. It’s okay though, no one can tell just by looking at me.

    Too bad I forgot about the Achievement you earn for leveling a certain number of weapon skills to 400. Oh god. Everyone was all like “look at that epic rogue!” when I joined, only for them to go “..what” when I got that achievement IN THE MIDDLE OF A BOSS FIGHT. Omg.
    I was like, “Uhh… exit stage left….”

    Also, those search results are awesome. I should start doing that. I think WoW blogs in general get some pretty “special” ones sometimes! Hah.

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