Dual Unto Others

In a perfect world, we would all be fortunate enough to run with only our guildmates in Heroics and find that perfect unison of one tank, three DPS and one healer that could create that magic and that would ensure those hours of farming gear and Justice Points are nothing short of a blissful experience.

In reality, some have an easier go of it than others. Depending on who is online and who is already spoken for, you may find yourself being one of those stragglers who is forced to throw your lot in with the Dungeon Finder to get what you need. As DPS, the queue times can be unbearable. Not to mention the fact that PuG Heroics already have such a small chance of success that just downing the first boss can be seen as a huge victory.

Some enterprising DPS have decided to use their dual specs to become something that would allow them a much easier time of finding random groups to farm Heroics with – those of tanks and healers. Unfortunately, if not done correctly, this can create an even more painful experience for all involved. So, without further ado, here are my tips on how to use your dual spec to the fullest while trying to do Heroics.

Lesson #1:  Do Your Homework

If you’re planning on playing the part of a tank, healer or even DPS, when that’s not your natural role, you need to at least make sure that you can at least perform said role at an adequate level for the content that you are about to do. You won’t get very far if you can’t generate or hold aggro, if you can’t keep 4 other people and yourself alive or if you are not putting out the DPS to kill things fast enough.

Take a look at what others of your desired class/spec are doing, in terms of talents and rotations. Understand the mechanics and what the abilities associated with that spec are used for. I would put in just as much time learning your dual spec as you would put into your main spec, for something like this. If you’re not going to do it well enough to help your group succeed, then you’re basically doing all of this for nothing and that’s not good!

Lesson #2:  Look The Part

Once you have gotten into the right mindset to really understand the role that you’re trying to become, you then need to make sure that you are just as convincing on the outside as you are on the inside.

If you’re planning on becoming a temporary tank, make sure you have pieces that are fitting for a tank and that you have a generous amount of health and other attributes (like dodge and parry) to be able to take some hits.

If you’re aiming to become a healer, make sure you have pieces that a healer would wear. Anything with Spirit on it is going to be assumed as something that a healer would want, so make sure you have plenty of that on you. Make sure you’re not wearing any trinkets or using any meta gems that would be terribly obvious as DPS caster only.

If you’re in the rare bind of being a tank or healer attempting to DPS, possibly due to too many others like yourself in the guild needing upgrades and not enough runs to support them, make sure you are hit capped or as close to it as possible. If you play a class with CC capabilities, get comfortable using those abilities and become familiar with the symbol assigned to you for marking purposes. Watch your aggro and focus fire the correct mobs down, when it’s time to do that.

Lastly, make sure your gems and enchants go with the role that you are trying to perform, too.

Lesson #3:  Stick to the Script

It can be mighty tempting to want to fall back into your normal mindset in a group. You see that death knight made some strange talent choices or that the feral druid is letting his bleeds fall off too soon. You have experience. You know these things!

Except you’re there to tank. A little advice or a friendly suggestion is fine. Getting into blow by blow explanations and possibly even arguing with them over how things are done is purely bad form.

This rule seems exceptionally true for healers that place themselves into a DPS role. It can be tempting when you see life bars going down to stop what you’re doing and throw heals in rapid succession to save the day. That’s not why you’re there, though. Granted, if the run is on the unmistakable path to a wipe and you feel that you can possibly help save the day, by all means. I would expect any DPS to do the same thing. That should be a rare occurance and not a habit.  However, if you can cleanse something (such as a curse, poison or disease) that your healer cannot cleanse, then by all means, cleanse away!

Things not dying fast enough means the fights go on longer than they need to, which taxes the healing and can cause other problems. In short, do what you came to do, unless the situation absolutely calls for it.

Lesson #4:  Come Clean

There are some professions where you’re not immediately panicked by seeing someone wearing a trainee tag. The cashier at the grocery store. The busboy at a restaurant. That kind of thing.

Then there are those where you really don’t want to know that this is somebody’s first time doing a particular task. The person drawing your blood at the doctor’s office. The pilot flying the airplane you are on. The minute you discover they may not have that much experience is exactly when you start to doubt you’re in good hands.

With that in mind, feel free to state that this may not be your primary spec, but that you do feel confident enough to play it and don’t be afraid to ask for pointers.  This will go over a lot better than people assuming that you are a main spec tank, healer or DPS when you clearly are not.

Lesson #5:  Don’t Quit Your Day Job

At the end of the day, you’re doing this because you have to. You may enjoy what you’re doing, out of necessity or because it started to grow on you. But, remember why you’re really there. You’re there to get a shot at some gear that nobody else can use or to farm the Justice Points you need to buy better gear, so you can be ready to raid that much faster.

Do not get so attached to your dual spec that you start insisting on doing it in your actual raids. Do not think that because you made the most of your dual spec to get through a difficult time that you automatically know more about that class/spec than those that have been doing it since a previous expansion.

In closing, the journey towards becoming the best you can be so that you’re ready to raid should be an enjoyable one. You should be looking forward to watching your stats grow and your abilities hit harder or heal for more and it shouldn’t be something that you dread doing.

Slipping into a role that you don’t normally perform is not for everyone. Some people would rather deal with longer queue times than put themselves in a situation they’re not entirely comfortable with. Listen to your gut. If you know deep down that you don’t feel confident in the idea of tanking or healing (or even DPSing) or you know you don’t have the desire to put in the work to really give it your best shot, don’t do it.

Stick to what you know and what you enjoy. If you can still do that, while ensuring you are on the right path to being the best you can be, then you’re doing the right thing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Thanks for reading and happy hunting!

Silly SSC Mistakes

I’ll have to skip out on my usual digest post this week sadly. It’s exam week and as a result, lower time spent. Don’t expect anything else until Tuesday evening.

This is the kind of stuff that can easily turn a 3 hour run into a 6 hour run. Kudos to the folks at Fallen Heroes for allowing us to borrow their instance (Lurker down). In this really short post for today, I’m going to let you in on some of the stupidest mistakes that top tier raiding guilds can make. You look at these errors and mistakes and it seems so plainly obvious. But when you’re actually in there in the heat of the moment, things can go from bad to oh crap at any given moment. We popped into SSC due to the lack of manpower for Hyjal ops.


Wipe 1: Shadow Priest stood on the wrong side of the “line of scrimmage”. He didn’t wait the requisite 3+ seconds for our tank to secure Hydross. Sure enough, Hydross crossed and we pulled 8 elementals. Positioning is oh so very important! Make sure you stand on the side that Hydross is on. At least if you pull, you won’t make 4 new friends!


Wipe 2: Simple miscommunication here did us in. We were at the 27% mark and our bear tank was going to mosey Tidewalker up from his spot and tuck him into the side between the pillar and the wall. Problem? Healer’s didn’t hear the tank. Yeah the onus was probably on our end to move up with him. By the time we realized what happened, he had already parked himself out of line of sight and took several shots to the face. He did call out that he was moving him in vent. Unfortunately, no one heard him. So if you’re in charge of calling out a particularly relevant and important piece of information, make sure you speak up. If you call it out and don’t so much as get an acknowledgment, yell it louder until you do.


Wipe 3: My fault but my hands were absolutely tied. I think the worse time to get a disconnect in WoW is DURING a pull. What makes this worse is that I’m the only healer on the Hunter tank. You can kind of imagine how that worked out. I noticed too late that we were standing around much to long and vent was far too quiet. This was right after a ready check, as well. It just goes to show that players can fail under the most ordinary and routine of situations.


Wipe 4: Oddly enough, we didn’t even wipe to Leo personally. We wiped to his 3 cronies in front that kept him in place. True it had been about 6 – 8 weeks since we last foray’d into SSC. We also had 3 players that we’re trying to key up to increase utility. Like a bunch of sheep, several of the players stacked up in one area attempting to DPS down Leo’s mobs. What they forgot were the AOE mind blasts that those mobs cast. Every once in a while, players need to be reminded that they are not supermen. Just because you’ve picked up flashy T6 level gear does not mean you can stop doing the simple lessons that kept you alive in the first place. In this case, it was to take down 1 at a time.

Lady Vashj

Wipe 5: We breezed through most of phase 1 and half of phase 2 with no real difficulties. As luck would have it, we hit a crimp in our plans when our Strider kiting Warlock bit the bullet and went down. Our Shadow Priest took a multishot to the face. I also think we lost a mage there at some point. It all took place within a space of 10 seconds. The boss took a note of that and called a wipe immediately so that everyone could run to the stairs. What he erred out on was that our Shadow Priest got the call for a battle res and our warlock chewed down a soul stone to get back up. What was a deficit of 3 players was now of 1 player. We might have had an outside chance for that. I think what happened here was that our Raid Leader made a judgment call far too early without ascertaining what kind of resources were free to get the dead players back in action.

Wipe 6: This one takes the cake for the most stupidest wipe of the night. We forgot to change it from group loot to FFA loot. The first core was only lootable by our MT who is busy trying to stave off the Naga’s coming up those stairs. By the time he got to it, it had already despawned. Repeat that another 2 times and you can see that we were way behind the game on that one and would have been eventually overwhelmed. There are encounters where FFA looting is a requirement. Make sure you check to see if the encounter you are doing is one of them!

5 Gaming Lessons from Matticus

I got tagged. I’ve never really done one of these before, but I have read about them. How nice of GMW to conveniently provide me with an outlet on a slow day. I’ve been asked to come up with 5 lessons that gaming has taught us.

Without further adieu and in no particular order:

  • Game reviewers can no longer be trusted
  • A little bit of post game analysis goes a long way
  • You are represented by your actions
  • Idiots come in all ages
  • School and WoW don’t mix

Just some various notes for the upcoming math. December is now upon us. It’s the best time of year with food, presents, drinking, etc. It’s also the worst time of the year with exams. As such, I will be posting at a much reduced rate (2-3 a week).

Another layout’s on the way. Should be up before New Years. I was reading up on some design principles and philosophies. Boy I built this place incorrectly.

Curse website looks great! I wish we could move some of the widgets around and that the stupid preview function in the blog would work. That would make my life so much easier when I write there. Good grief.