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Repost: Intro to Power Auras (part 2 of 3)

Intro to Power Auras (part 2 of 3)

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/25/11

 

In part 1, I showed some basic auras you can setup. In this part, I’ll go through some of the more advanced options, and what is possible if you use them correctly.

Timers:

On top of displaying whatever warning you desire, you can also setup a timer, to show how much longer a buff/debuff has left, how long until a CD is available, etc. You can also setup a timer to only display below a certain threshold. So an aura can popup with a countdown from 10 seconds for your swiftmend, for example. Or your Harmony buff aura can track how many seconds are left, so you can correctly time a direct heal if Swiftmend is still on CD.

Multi-Auras:

The first trick is to have multiple auras using the same space, acting as if they were one aura. E.g. you can have a white aura to show when harmony is up, and a red one in the same place when it is not. This is extremely helpful for anything that is super vital that must be up at all times. Harmony, Savage Roar, Pulverize, and Demoralizing Roar are all good examples of where this is useful.

It’s also helpful to show when a cooldown is up. This is very nice for tank cooldowns (I have them go blue with a timer when they’re up). If nothing appears, the effect isn’t active, and it’s on cooldown.

To setup a multi-aura like this this, simply setup your normal aura, copy it, change the colour and invert.

The left aura is the one for when the buff is up (with a timer – see above), and the right one shows red when there is no rip on my current target.

 

Compound Auras:

This is my favourite trick. You can tell auras to only activate if another aura (or multiple auras) are active. Often this involves creating auras that are actually disabled, as they do not exist for any other purpose.

E.g. Setup a (disabled) warning for when you are under 80% mana, then create an innervate CD aura, that depends on the mana warning. The innervate warning will then activate only when BOTH are true. In the heat of a raid fight, all you need to do is alt-click innervate when you see it pop up.

In order to setup the dependency, you need to get the number of the aura you’re depending on, which you can get by simply hovering over it in the mail interface. Then simply type this number (or multiple numbers, separated with “/” backslashes) into the activation box as shown.

The left aura is the mana check (which is disabled, as it’s useless on its own), the right one is an innervate CD aura with a reference to the mana check aura. You add the reference by adding the id – you find the id by simply hovering over the aura in your list, as seen below. Disabled auras can still be used as extra conditions :

 

Exporting/Importing auras

While not technically a function in the light of the points above, this is extremely important to know. You can export auras to a text string that can be imported for someone else. This also serves as a fantastic way to backup your auras while you’re working on them, since often you make a small change, everything breaks, and you have no idea how to fix it.

You can import/export individual auras, or an entire set. Considering how you setup a full set to work together, its advisable to always export a set.

It’s pretty basic to do, but I’m addicted to inserting screenshots now, so here goes :

 

In the final part I’m going to outline the full power auras setups I use, along with some tricks specific to each druid spec. I’ll also mention some auras specific to certain raid fights.

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Garnaph

Repost: Intro to Power Auras (part 1 of 3)

Intro to Power Auras (part 1 of 3)

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/18/11

 

Power Auras is pretty much the most powerful tool a raider has in their toolset, and arguably the most vital, after Threat Meters and bossmods. While you could argue that a number of mods perform the same purpose as what I’m going to mention Power Auras are used for, they lack user customization, and as such, it’s easier to edit auras than it is to edit LUA code in mods, from a user point of view.

Simply put, power auras is a mod (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/powerauras-classic.aspx)
which allows you to setup certain triggers to display warnings on your screen. These can be based on buff/debuff, mana/health levels, ability cooldowns, combo points, holy power… you name it, it can do it (although not item cooldowns, sadly).

A simple example of what it can do for you is Innervate, for which I have auras that tell me when it is off cooldown, AND I have under 70% mana . So rather than having to watch the cooldown on my bar, and look at my mana bar, it’s all in one place.

Once you’ve built up a decent set of auras, you can have all the warnings you want in one place, making it easier to focus on staying out of the fire, while your auras do most of the thinking for you.

Setting up your first power aura:

When you first load wow after installing power auras, you see… nothing. Don’t be alarmed. You need to open the console first by typing /powa. This brings up the main UI, which will have no configured auras at first :

Note there are several pages. This does nothing other than help you group your auras, e.g. each page can be for a different spec.

To create your first aura, click new. This window is where you will do a fair amount of your configuring. I’ll cover functionality first, and then looks. First, you need to set what criteria the aura will activate for. e.g. when an ability comes off cd. As you can see, there is a lot of options (although sadly, item cds don’t work at this stage, e.g. trinket cds).

From here you can set additional options :
1 – Do you want it to only show in combat? when not resting? (having your auras popup while you’re in Orgrimmar/Stormwind can be extremely annoying). All of these options have a yes/no/clear(don’t care) option.
2 – You set the “enemy target” option to check for your aura’s criteria on your target, rather than yourself. Friendly target works similarly.
3 – For buffs/debuffs, you can set number of stacks. You can also set it to activate for less than or greater than a certain threshold e.g. you can check for a number of stacks of the DMC : Tsunami trinket.
4 – The “invert” option is very important, as you can show when something is NOT active. e.g. a warning to show that you do not have your Harmony Mastery buff up.

Look and Feel:

Then you setup how you want the warning to appear. You have a lot of options here. I prefer to have square icons matching ability icons, since I prefer the whack-a-mole approach (and the order of them on my screen matches the order on my bars), but there is also a number of other options. Options here include some packaged with power aura, and some of the in-game textures. You can also have pure text come up if you’d like. There’s a lot of examples all over the Internet of what is possible.

What’s worth mentioning is that while setting up the look and feel can be extremely time consuming, once you have one working aura, you can simply duplicate it and slightly alter the options to create a new aura. This obviously saves a lot of time in the case where you generate 8 or more auras. In the case where you have several ability icons, you don’t have to set the size and opacity, merely the location on the screen. To do this, select an aura at the main page, click copy, and click which page you want to copy to (you can copy to the page the original is on).

Here are two simple auras, one for Swiftmend (a simple cooldown check) and one for the Clearcasting buff. I’ll cover more advanced options in the next episode in this series.

 

      

Debugging your power auras.

The best way to test that a set of auras are working correctly is to try them out on a training dummy. You might have to disable checks for resting in order to get this to work (you can always switch it back off later). Then click on the auras to see why they’re not working. This can take a bit of trial and error to get right – be patient :)

What does help is if an aura isn’t displaying, and you think it should, simply ctrl-click it’s icon in the main interface, and a message will tell you why it’s not activated. e.g. “you are resting”.

In the next part I‘ll outline some of the more advanced features of power auras, and show how you can unleash their full potential in order to make your life even easier.

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Garnaph

Repost: The Baleroc Feral trick

The Baleroc Feral trick

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/14/11

 

We were told you needed to 2 tank Bale, and that solo tanking it wasn’t possible in 359 gear. Yet we pulled it off, due to a few tricks that we came up with. They worked so well, I felt it would be useful to share what we did, as it’s pretty druid-specific :

Our DK was our tank for the encounter. He popped AMS for inferno blade, and popped Dancing Rune Weapon for decimation blade (he dodged+parried half of them). Also, since Death strike scales with DMG taken, a DS right after a decimation blade hit was very effective.

The point I want to mention, however, is what I ended up doing on the fight. I went as kitty DPS, but took all the spell dmg tank talents (2/2 Natural Reaction, 3/3Perseverance), and kept my FR glyph on. When it was time for me to tank a shard (I picked up each odd one as it spawned), I went bear, popped BS and SI or FR (and got our disc priest to PS me on the 3rd one when SI/FR were both on CD), and tanked it to around 20 stacks, running out only when my health dipped under 50% (most dps can only survive to around 10 in our raid). This helped our healers get incredibly high stacks of Vital Spark, which made the single tank strat work really nicely. I also managed to push 16k DPS, in spite of being in bearform for 40% of the fight.

Our hunter picked up the remainder of my shard, and our warlock (with Shadow Ward and Soul Link) tanked the even shards, with our rogue picking up the remainder there.

The Holy Pally was the first one to heal me, on the very first shard, and this is no doubt why his healing was well ahead of the others in the end.

I thought I’d try this as a gimmick – I honestly didn’t expect it to work as well as it did. I can certainly recommend it for any other ferals, especially if you’re MS kitty.

Our WoL parse for the kill using this strat : http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/hbch13yxgaxl78wz/dashboard/?s=3063&e=3374

Posted in Feral Bear tanking, Written By Garnaph

Repost: Tanking Q’s

Tanking Q’s

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/13/11

 

I read in the 2009 version of Lissanna’s post someone asking if a tank version of the questions existed, so I figured I’d create one.

  • What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Garnaph, Druid, Feral Bear.

  • What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

Purely 10-mans. I often offspec resto/boomkin. I also run 5 mans to farm VP, but it’s not as much of a concern when it comes to how I play my class.

  • What is your favorite tanking ability for your class and why?

Thrash. Nothing is as satisfying as seeing everything in range having the blood droplets animation. It also hits like a truck.

  • What tanking ability do you use least for your class and why?

Feral Charge. I actually didn’t even have it in my spec for a while, until last night. If I need to get somewhere quickly, I prefer to use stampeding roar, and take some healers and dps with me.

  • What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?

Unchallenged mitigation. We have more armor than any other tanking class at the moment, an 18% passive damage reduction talent, and another 6% spell mitigation (24% total for magic damage). When soft enrage mechanics kick in, you want a bear tanking the boss.
We’re also the only tank who can be taken semi-seriously as a DPS. I often do 2-3 times as much DPS as my 2nd tank.

  • What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?

Lack of HP makes us vulnerable in some fights. Our abilities also don’t scale with HP or damage taken very well (aside from a small benefit to SD from vengeance), so if you take a string of magic hits, you’re in big trouble as a bear.

  • In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

I generally prefer to add tank. We have some very nice AoE tanking abilities that make holding aggro easy, and in the small windows when you’re not taking, you can battle res, innervate, or tranquility – all of which greatly assist your raid. You can also push out some effective cat dps if there are lengthy periods where you are not needed as a tank.

  • What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

My tanking wingman is a DK, and we balance each other out well. His abilities compliment my own nicely – where he can’t aoe tank so well, I can. Where I can’t scale with HP (e.g. Bael), he can.

  • What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

I’ve had some bad experiences with warriors lately. Sad, since I didn’t have a problem with them in Wrath.

  • What is your worst habit as a tank?

Thinking of myself as a DPS. I sometimes let Demo Roar drop so I can get more vengeance, or I’ll charge into a group of adds and thrash them, just to do some DPS. This often puts unnecessary pressure on healers.

I also often pay more attention to raid leading than to my tanking. So I’ll get DPS killed by a breath attack, or not move something to the correct place on time, because I’m paying attention to something else.

  • What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

When someone goes mad on DPS the instant you pull, before you’ve had a chance to build vengeance. DPS should know better by now.

  • Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks for PvE tanking?

Not completely. Our passive damage mitigation is arguably overpowered at the moment, and our mastery is pretty broken (although the two balance each other out, I guess).
We could really do with us scaling better with HP all around.

  • What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

I obviously use WoL like most. I also run the mod Fatality, which shows how everyone died mid raid, so I don’t have to find out what wiped us hours later, when logs are uploaded.
I’m very critical of myself over cooldown usage. Even if I didn’t die, correct cooldown usage could have saved a healer some mana, or allowed them to heal someone else, who then wouldn’t have died.
Generally the criteria for spotting fail are :
(1) Did I keep pulverize up as close to 100% as possible?
(2) Did I push competitive DPS?
(3) Did I die to something stupid?

  • What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?

People think that because you don’t wear plate, or use a shield, you’re not a real tank. I guess this stems back to TBC, where we couldn’t get uncrushable, so no one really took bears all that seriously. Recently Blizz has blurred the lines between tanks a fair amount, so a lot of that just isn’t true any more.
A lot of players still think of Bears as an offtank – even though this is a job I usually pick for myself anyway, we are quite capable of taking hits from a boss and surviving as well as any other tank.

  • What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

The idea of a priority system that is based around both mitigation and DPS is a tough one to get to grips with. You want to push top DPS for threat, while also keeping Demo Roar up, and using your cooldowns appropriately. This can take a fair amount of practice to get right.

  • If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a tank via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. too much damage taken, not enough cooldown usage, etc)?

They’d see me dropping pulverize way more often than I should (I changed my power auras recently to make this much harder to do, however).
They’d also see much less cooldown usage than ideal.

  • Dodge or Mastery, and why?

I’m still stacking dodge on all pieces. I know there’s a growing argument for taking Exp, or going for a full DPS Mastery/Exp/Hit build, but until such time as my DPS would be a factor in my raids overcoming enrage mechanics, it just seems far too risky for me.

  • What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Warriors. Perhaps it’s because it’s the only class I’ve never tanked with personally, but they just seem really complicated and non-intuitive to me. Taking a look at other classes it’s fairly clear what your rotation should be to maximise mitigation – for a warrior it doesn’t seem to clear to me.

  • What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

Addons : TidyPlates (with threat addon), Skada (which includes a threat meter).
Macros : I have yells built into all of my tanking cds, so healers know when I start to panic. I also have healing potions and health stones macro’d into my FR macro, so when I hit low health, I pop it and my health almost instantly climbs back up.

  • Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I reforge all to dodge, so I guess this applies to what pieces of gear I choose, as some stats will be be left behind regardless. Primarily I look for Mastery pieces, preferably also with Exp/Hit. I try pickup as much hit as I can, as Demo Roar missing a lot really distracts me from doing my job. I know I’m going to get flamed for not taking Exp instead, but this works well for me. Every time I pickup some hit, I can immediately see Demo Roar hit more, and it makes my life a ton easier.

Posted in Feral Bear tanking, Written By Garnaph

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