Paladin progress? At an end?

February 20, 2010 at 9:29 am (althattery) (, , , )

No! It is just beginning to get fun.

Galgamesh hit 80 earlier last night, in the only fitting way – in the middle of tanking an instance. Ahn’kahet. In fact, the first boss she fought at 80 was Prince. But not in the Blood Princes version, thankfully.

After a bit of scurrying around, getting a Titansteel Shield Wall, getting stuff enchanted with Defense, getting capped, she’s run a few heroics – and thanks to Mach, Hhol, and Azureangel taking turns healing, several regular Trial of the Champions.

She has The Black Heart, on her first night of being 80, before she even has a single piece of T9. This seems wrong, and either presages greatness, or a titanic disaster of gearing.

Mu wa ha ha ding!

But now maybe we can go back to Huntering and some more thoughtful posts.

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Warning: Educational Content!

February 17, 2010 at 5:58 am (Hunter) (, , , , )

I’ve seen a lot of disagreement on the Lady Deathwhisper fight over if it’s better for Hunters to use Viper Sting or Serpent Sting. I take the less intuitive path of Serpent Sting is better. This has been bugging me, and as we all know, I like being right, and I like maximal dps (as opposed to Predacon dps?) – so, I sat down and ran some tests.

First, no offense to anyone in the Viper camp, but I think a lot of the love for Viper on Deathwhisper is being people don’t quite fully examine the tooltip.

Viper Sting:

Stings the target, draining 4% mana over 8 sec (up to a maximum of 8% of the caster’s maximum mana), and energizing the Hunter equal to 300% of the amount drained. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on any one target.

I think most people look at the “4% mana” part and think, “awesome, with something like 10 million mana, that’s like 400,000 mana! That’s like a full minute of my dps in eight seconds! (Light knows I did at first!) What we miss is the second part of that: “up to a maximum of 8% of the caster’s maximum mana” (that’s you, the Hunter). Math, raid buffed, has slightly less than 16,200 mana. 8% of that is 1296… ow. Viper is 1% every two seconds for eight seconds, so each two second tick is 324 mana drained.

Plinking Serpent Sting on a target dummy with no buffs beyond Aspect of the Monkeyhawk shows that a normal tick of Serpent Sting does an average, for Math, of 494 damage. He still has his 2pT9, and about 60% (unbuffed) of those ticks of Serpent were crits, averaging 1139. Plus, being Survival (yes, there’s still some Survival hunters left), while Serpent Sting targets take 3% more damage from his other abilities, like Explosive Shot – extra dps that comes from using Serpent, lost during Viper.

While Viper Sting seems, on the surface, to be potentially good, simple math (hah) shows that for Math, going Viper is a dps loss.

This really isn’t a hard and fast rule, “never use viper on Lady Deathwhisper”, though. Really, I want to say it seems generally suboptimal, but you might be a special case – fortunately, it’s not hard to check, if you care about pulling out that last extra hundred-some-odd / hundreds-of dps on Phase 1 – calculate 1% of your mana, and see if it’s a bigger number than an average tick of your serpent sting.

Though there is a time to use Viper Sting on Lady Deathwhisper, and that’s when you run low on mana. Sure, it does less damage than normal, but getting 24% of your mana bar back in eight seconds on a 15 sec cooldown beats eight seconds in Viper by leaps and bounds, let alone the amount of time you’d need to spend in viper to get that much mana back.

I know I’m not some leading authority, but the theorycrafting here is easy enough to try this at home and see – just, don’t blame me if somehow something goes horribly wrong. I’m not responsible for horrible mutants, wipeitis, wandering dps syndrome, or any other fallout you might randomly find. The world is a buggy place!

Fair winds and good hunts. Stay owning, my friends.

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Is a Huntard who learns still a Huntard?

February 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Been thinking on what makes for a good player, from a 5man / raid perspective. Natural thinkiness (which sometimes, like when discussion my Theory of Optimal Combat Action, or TOCA, gets me more or less kicked out of guild chat! :O) + recent in-game stuff that highlights some points + I like lists (so why isn’t this one) = I’m working on a post. While it’s not done, yet, I’d like to highlight one important distinction.

ICC 10 Wednesday: it was a bit of a crap day/night for me, though I don’t remember why. It was also off to the fabled and apparently famous BoO start, wiping twice to Naxx trash by 14manning Anubbie – once to TRASH!, but hey, that’s lulz and unportentious. Though once we get to Icecrown Citadel?

Huntard: Ripping Deathbring Saurfang off the tank/s to come barreling towards you because you targetted the wrong thing to taunt, because SAURFANG IS NOT BLOOD BEAST. Twice. After the second time, and a just mid-raid yelling-at, I was feeling a bit shitty. Usually my huntard shenanigans are cheeky and fun. This was messy, and tragic. Which makes them … not shenanigans at all. Eeeevil shenanigans!

But you know what? We all make mistakes. Sometimes they’re stupid mistakes. I don’t care, you could be me, Amber, Pike, even The Great BRK, and you still can’t contain The Huntard. It’s one of those deals we sign. Warlocks agree to throw up a stone and throw down a cookie jar and then go splat because their purpose is served (<3 you, Cirisi!), Hunters try mightily but our containment barrels occasionally leak radioactive huntardation all over.

What is a big difference between a bad player (Huntard) and a Good One (ME!)?

I figured out what I did wrong, what caused this problem to happen, and figured out two ways to solve it (a possible alternation to overall raid strategy, or just taking a moment's breather). The second- or third-biggest trait I feel makes for good players is we see where we can improve, and fairly actively seek out ways to correct our problemgenic paradigms and to increase / refine our ability. We actively further our learning to play.

There's no five-point list there, no real way to do this, except to pay attention, think, and listen to what others who're as good as or better than you have to say, without just blindly following along. Actually, that kind of was a three-point list.

tl;dr: Math is a scrub who Distracting Shot'd Saurfang in the face, twice, and lived to tell about it because I LOVE FEIGN DEATH MU WA HA HA.

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Hey, Math, what do you want for Cataclysm?

February 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm (Hunter) (, , )

Well, Papa Winter Veil, since you asked …

0) Non-consumable Ammo: WE ACTUALLY GET THIS ONE. I am please.

1) The abilities we were almost given @80 in Wrath!Beta to come back @85: Camoflage and the awesome Trap Thrower. Maybe also Explosive Shot resetting the duration of Immolation Trap; though I’m not sure from the theorycrafting angle if that would ever eclipse Black Arrow’s functionality, epecially when well-timed / transitory buffs are intersecting.

2) Beast Mastery: The ability to dual-wield pets. “Because fuck yeah” is all the argument this needs at all.

3) A Hunter-specific quest chain. Class-specific quests and rewards in general, sure. I’d like to see Warlocks get a flying mount, and Hunters get at least a ground mount. Specifically, a quest where you go forge the saddle and the barding and then out into the wilds (of Un-Goro) and tame your personal mount of sheer win: an armored devilsaur. Pallies have their chargers, Warlocks have their felsteeds, but seriously, if any class in the history of ever had the most fitting flavor for a class-specific mount, it’s Hunters. Tame Beast, anyone? And if you could Tame a beast and ride it around, and you tell me you’d pick anything other than a devilsaur, you’re a dirty stinking liar. :P

4) Or how about an ability that you can ride an enlarged version of your pet (which granted might cause a lot more graphical work for just one class) which then shrinks when you ‘dismount’ by leaping off it to go on the offensive. Just because it’d be lulsome.

5) Gun models that are two pistols in terms of looks and models but mechanically are still a single item. An alternative is a talent to carry a second ranged weapon of our same ammo type in our normally-melee slot, but I’m not sure that the overall loss of stats on our stat-stick would be made up by a sort of Titan-Grip talent, unless it maybe doubled up on any shot we use instead of just auto-shot.

6) Some sort of functionality to hunter’s mark beyond a class-specific RAP-buff. Mark it on party/raid minimap, increase range / no deadzone (but see below) against the marked target, maybe – I don’t know what. Just that right now there’s no reason not to put it up but it’s not really anything beyond +lots of RAP.

7) Pet’s Wrath! – sort of like Raise Ally for Death Knights meets Eyes of the Beast. If a hunter dies, with his pet active, rather than the pet vanishing, the hunter can take control of his pet which gets some buffs and/or new abilities (making it in this form equal to a raised pc!ghoul in utility and damage regards) to keep fighting until the pet dies or a certain duration passes. REVENGE OF THE SPIFFYKITTY. Plus, I want to hear Amber go “Omnomnom! AVENGE ME!”, because it’d be awesomely hilarious.

8) Play Dead – srsly. When the Hunter FDs, the pet should, too! Also, being greedy, purely greedy, a 90% damage reduction of AoE damage like our pets’ ‘avoidance’ – ’cause I’m sick of FDing and not surviving because someone pulls over a cleave or whirlwind or nova or something. ^^;

9) Rapid Fire makes haste speed up our GCD while active. Yeah, it’d throw rotations a bit out of whack and, under focus, might make us a bit more focused-starved (unless it also slowed down focus consumption), but haste is fairly useless to hunters (less in Cata, but still!) – this would give us, a fairly purely sustained class, a 3m CD for burst (sorta) and make it a more useful talent for more than eking out a bit of White DPS.

10 and Finally: an end to this asinine new!deadzone. Some might argue it makes no flavor sense – which I don’t usually truck much with this argument as normally presented, fuck that! I want to redneck motherfuckers in my flying magic space goat game! Some might argue it’s for balance purposes, but I don’t really think it’s that bad. Might it make hunter pve too easy? I dunno, we still go squish. But I don’t really think of Arena as the best of balance points. Maybe I’m just a casual pvper who needs to LEARN TO KITE PLAYERS NEWB, but honestly I’d rather not have the be the ONLY class who has to worry about shooting range – and if it costs us Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite, and Wing Clip to get it well then BOO HOO melee hunters are a myth and it’s a steal at twice the price. We’re not a melee class, and we’re the only ranged class who can’t pointblank. Either make us able to shoot at melee range OR cause a lot of QQ by forcing other ranged classes to need to dps at range.

Just some scattered hunter thoughts and a bit of content. Although we’d always all like New And Shiny things, the class is fairly fun and a bit diverse- but yeah. Gimmie shinneh.

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This is threatening to turn into a Newbie Tank Blog.

February 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm (althattery) (, , , , , )

Adventures In Babysitting Tanking! I guess I’ll have to write a bit on Being A Hunter … and I think I even found a niche. I’ve discovered that recently a lot of people talk about a lot of things on my mind and what I want to say, has been said (contra-DPS bias, people calling BS on people saying WoW Is Easy**) – the idea of “what to write” (other than just expressing myself on the subject for my own fun writing about it) is best answered by “what do I want to read, but am not finding elsewhere” (and unless I’m missing a blog or two, there’s some excellent theorycrafting FAQs on Huntering but not much in the way of middle ground. “This is what we found”, newbie help (which is immensely helpful – I’m half the hunter I am today because of the bestest hunter blogger evar, BRK. <3) – but when I was just digging into Huntering some moar explanation would have been nice. Maybe I can help someone else. Wow, digression.

What I'd really wanted to do, though, today, now, was a bit of an open letter to people in random dungeons:
*Dear Death Knights: Please, don't drop Death and Decay in front of mobs before I pull; please wait for me to at least hit them with my shield, taunt, or judgment, and especially please let them get into my Consecration. I'd like a leadup on threat, please. On the up side, I figured out what to do with you – you're gonna waste your runes because I'm going to just move to the side and pull them so they don't run through it.

*Dear Death Knights again: please, use Death Grip tactically, rather than "I want to dps you, you're not here, I'm not going to walk to where you are WHEN I HAVE DEATH GRIP WHY WOULD I DO THAT"? Death Gripping a stray mob, a runner, or especially a caster my shield missed into melee range (especially into my consecration) is a good use of Death Grip. When I'm running to the mob and you're behind me and you pull them past me and to you, that is a poor use. When you are standing three feet behind me and pull it into the space between us, this just makes me go WHAT THE FUCK. Also, I'm trying to tank them, which means I need to move so everyone is more or less in front of me again. So I can, and so they don't hit my weak point for massive damage.

*Dear Warriors: Kind of like with DKs and death grip… If I'm moving to attack, and haven't thrown my shield, please don't charge. If you go zooming past me before I stop and tank you have probably opened up too early. I know that charge gives you rage, and that's fine, but hold off on a second, okay? Which reminds me – popping Bloodrage before I even start MOVING? That's not time efficient. That's not going to poke me to go – I'm going to go when the healer is ready and some of the DPS is. Jumping the gun is just annoying. If I were a bitch I'd let it wait out THEN pull. But i'm not there, I'm not like that – yet. And like Healers have healing instinct, I have tanky instinct. Maybe I want to let you die, but while petty – and kinda fun! – it's not practical. We might need your dps. I want to have you live, stop making it so hard, and stop trying to tank by charging early and opening up with sunders or even a devestate. PLEASE.

*Dear AoE: At heart, I am Hunter. I love you. But please for the love of god wait to show up until I have agro! We don't get along like this. I know you love me, and I love you, but when I'm not Huntering we're a bad mix unless there's a bit of an aggro buffer! Let me get my dance in with every tank's girlfriend, and then I'll dance with my bestest friend, mmkay? I mean, yeah, there's a reason I'm a Paladin tank, lolaoethreat, but we can't just hop to the first dance of the night right away together.

*Dear everyone: let me share with you a good rule of thumb. Does it have a cast bar? Does this cast bar go down because it casts heals? Or does it make big glowy zones of hurtypain that call to you like sirens to stand in theMNOBESTRONGMOVE … ahem … yes? Chances are these people, even if they don't have the big glowy skull that is WoW's bash-them-with-a bat signal, they die first. Please kill the casters. Plus, sometimes they have AoE! They're threatening our precious AoE DPS monopoly! ATTTAAAAACK!

*Dear mage: YOU DROPPED A TABLE I LOVE YOU HAVE MY BLESSING BABIES. Oh? You didn't? BAH HERE HAVE KINGS ANYWAY but I will be glaring at you while I nom my Crusty Flatbread instead of Delicious Mana Manna. (do dooo doo do, mana manna…).

*Dear other paladins in the group besides me and probably Temnyi who's healing me: we like to hash out who's covering what. Usually, Tem has Imp. Wis, and I don't have Imp Might yet, so I kings, and he does Blessing of Wis/Might/Otters. If you've got Improved Might or something, let us know. Or you can do kings and I'll do him a favor and put Sanc on everyone. Don't just start dropping blessings! I mean, most of the time, buffing everyone is appreciated, but just because we're not running / configuring PallyPower for lol5mans doesn't mean we don't coordinate. Buffs are srsbzns! Well, they're at least practice.

Dear everyone: Nexus isn't Karazhan, UK isn't Icecrown, but five mans is where good group behavior is practiced and becomes habits! It's not srsbzns, but it's at least nice to have a veneer of professionalism and proper group etiquette!

Dear Tank: Is Righteous Defense up? Is Blessing of Sanctuary up? Is Seal of Shiny Holy Acid up if it’s a boss? Yes, yes, yes? THEN Pull! No, but you pulled? AGH CAST QUICKLY THEN RESUME TANKING. There’s an addon to help you, self, and it’s called brain. Stop being Paladumb! … Dear self: what? You’re the tank, self. ACK.

Dear Tanking: When do you ever stop being an adventure? When do you stop being fun? With Divine Bwee on the horizon I don’t see this being anytime soon. Heck, even all these people and all their frustrations are just dust in the wind.

**One thing I want to talk about, later, is that, talking to some people (former guildies) I realized that a lot of it isn’t that WoW Is Too Easy (how’s that ToGC 25 coming? Herald of the Titans? Mmm?) isn’t that there’s no challenge, but rather it’s ‘Too Accessable’ – what I, unkindly, refer to as “elitist prickery”. It’s not “too easy” in that there’s no challenge, it’s too easy in that it’s not “all challenge” and that, god forbid, Blizzard put in an optional “easy mode” and/or that the rewards for harder modes aren’t more distinct. Yeah, (WARNING: PSYCHOLOGY) a lot of the bitching is either a) people who’re tired of WoW and thus taking an indistinct phenomenon that might not even be wholly articulate to them, and/or just generalizing that into “WoW Is Too Easy” because encounter nerfs and ‘accessibility’ make it an easy target, or b) people who can’t stand the thought of their being similar but easier content because it somehow (yes, my sarcasm means I understand but have no sympathy for this viewpoint) diminishes their own accomplishments. Grevlon (I gather) and a few of my former guildmates, I’m looking at you. Wow, digression again!

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News: Shiny Wings of Light have no substance

February 3, 2010 at 5:10 am (althattery) (, , , , )

… And therefore don’t let you fly!

*runs around through a bell shop flailing like a frantic and hopped up tree, ringringringringringringring*

So, uhm, I’ve kind of neglected this blog lately.

But I have my reasons! I promise!

Ding! 70!

Things I’ve learned about Paladins lately:
-I usually forget I even have a ret offspec; though it’s good to remember when targets are sparse enough that getting 4+ on me at once is difficult.
-Prot is viable for levelling and actually kinda fun when the mobs are melee or melee + 1 caster and can be rounded up. GROUPHUG OF THE RIGHTEOUS! Smitings for XP and JUSTICE! Mu wa ha ha!
-I’m either demented or the game gets radically different over the next ten levels, but TANKING IS FUN :D
-Prot!Galgamesh is as cacklingly gung-ho and insane about leaping headfirst into danger as Math is about leaping… well … pet-first… into danger. IF ONLY THERE WERE A SKILL CALLED “PULL MOAR.” Or as I call it, “Holy Plurb” – basically a 30′ (OR MORE) cone (or sphere!) attack that only deals a small amount of holy damage and goes “Nyah nyah I poke you come thwack me!!”.
-It does make a considerable difference, having a healer with you upon whom you can thoroughly rely.

(a plurb is the sensation of a three-dimensional ripple in reality crossing through your space)

Stuff I’m Not Looking Forward To:
-Already lost 1k so Gal can even just fly in Outland; going to lose 5k more soon for Epic Flight.
-Tanking wHoRe … I’m sorry, Halls of Reflection.
-THE GUILD MESSAGE OF TODAY. AAAGH. Thank god I can’t draw, I’d be compelled to draw it.

Stuff I am excited for:
-Most Northrend heroics from a tank perspective!
-Instant Queues! MU WA HA HA.
-Becoming excellent at something else other than just dps.
-I really want to try Raid tanking. Especially, for inexplicable reasons, Council of Iron.

A final thought:
This hit me the other night – Protection Paladins are, basically, masochists. Especially before they get Divine Plea at Level 71. They work best and are on top of their game when they’ve got a lot of people all beating on them. One v. one, not taking much damage because HAY YOU’RE PROT HAVE SOME MIT AND MOAR AVOIDANCE, we are running OOM and sad. But give us a mob of things battering our defenses and smacking us around and we’re all BWEE I TANK YOU ALL.

Either that or, like I said, I am demented.

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Pragmatism

February 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I am sure there’s a much longer and more interesting post here, but it escapes me. I’m sure I can edit, or just write a new one. ^^

disclaimer! my memory is like a goldfish made of swiss cheese and any info regarding officer stuff is secondhand and inference, so Amber/Mach/Atropus/Evisc (cognrats) / etc?, if I get something wroooong, just smack me.

So, first up, BoO needs peoples! I’m sure that most people right now reading this are either a) guildies, b) former guildies, or c) other friends, so not exactly a diverse and virile pool of recruitables, but if you want to join us for funs and lulz, come stop by the forum… just, please, don’t be a DK or a Hunter because we have so many. Besides then if you’re a hunter you need to compete with me for loot, and that makes Spiffykitty the Ghostsaber and Agincourt the Frostwolf sad. Please, think of the pets!

Anyway – I was talking to Atropus (who happens to be an officer, god help us all), about how the guild is trying to recruit, and what we need, and thinking of optimality, he lists what we could best use for tanks, healers, and even dps (yes, folks, we need dps – unthinkable!). My first question is how much recruitment is ironclad on only recruiting certain classes and specs for diversity, and how much it’s trying to recruit to fill one of the four/five/six main roles in a raid (tank – the MT/OT distinction seems a bit to have evaporated in Wrath, tank heals, raid heals, melee dps, ranged dps, magical dps – the distinctions being important in Wrath, though while it seems it’s either melee vs. ranged or physical vs. magical*, but I’m not sure if that’s really two distinctions or three – lol, Hunters).

(*which puts some classes, such as Survival Hunters in a bind, because *Cam Clarke voice* half of my dps is magical *beat* … and the other half is fabulous. */Cam Clarke voice*. :( Fuck you, dolphiiiiin Lady Deathwhispeeeeeer!)

… Holy crap, I digress. Anyway, it was about this time when I realized, when it comes to getting a lot done in life / WoW / what do you mean they’re not the same?, my guiding principle is Pragmatism. I’ve seen guilds choke on putting principle above pragmatism and getting nothing done to my mounting frustration, and I’ve seen guilds that claim pragmatism as a shroud bloat and topple because they’ve got no principles to hold it up.

I’ve been in, hrm – Green Mountain Militia, Omen of Faith, Hotuken Knights, Magnate, Infinium, Curse of Eminence, Pride of Victory, Brotherhood of Oblivion – holy crap, eight guilds over ~three or four years. And of the many things I’ve learned (besides, holy crap, I could write a book of studies on the psychology of Warcraft) is that, ultimately, for things to get done, things need to get done. Which is kind of a loltautology, but I don’t think a lot of people frame it like that (which I mean in general, BoO’s recruitment is a leaping point for this, not the point/target of this). And how do you get things done? Practicality!

You really need a tank to do something. You have two options in front of you – a Death Knight, and no tank. Now, if you go with the no tank, then nothing happens. Now, maybe you have an irrational mistrust of Death Knight tanks, or think “they can’t MT” despite all the contradictory evidence in front of you and your own misconceptions about the class, like “they don’t have a taunt except Death Grip” – so you might not want to go with the Death Knight. But he has a frost spec, and when asked what presence he tanks in, he says “Frost, duh” (seriously, ask – you’ll save a lot of time if you’re pugging a DK tank by asking that one question), so if you at least give him a try, then there’s a chance that, wham, you have made progress!

Similarly, going back to the example provided by BoO and then fictionalizing, if you have raid slots, going with your optimal choices for buff / ability / gear diversity is, well, optimal. However, ultimately, if you’re too specific you’re either not recruiting anyone or taking forever, and with the modern distribution of buffs the need for a specific class is pretty much largely gone (unlike the worst days of raid tuning that I know of, Ye Olde Sunwell Plateau), you can “bring the player, not the class” to fill most raid spots – be practical, and then your recruitment pool is a lot better … and then, wham, you’ve filled out the guild.

I’m sure there’s a lot more examples I’ll think of later, because sometimes, with some people, it seems like a foreign concept, and if it’s too foreign, the whole languishes in doing nothing, or just doing Ulduar 10 / undermanning 25 again.

Good luck in WoW and in life. /wave

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… What is this I don’t even…

February 1, 2010 at 7:12 am (Uncategorized) ()

From Stats on my dashboard, for top searches:

started leveling a warrior with all the boa gear, thought it’d be interesting to see if i could level faster than questing if i went prot and spammed instances for xp (not to mention the gear etc). and have done so since level 25. just dinged 52 and have noticed something rather evil about a lot of lazy/exploiting players. after entering an instance, some lazy hunter or rogue (im not being racist here, it just seriously always is hunters or rogues, and i have a level 80 hunter and a level 80 rogue … =/ ), will announce “brb” and then just cease to return for the full 15min lockout they have from being kicked. they set themselves on follow on a caster or healer of some sort, and gain themselves a 15min (sometimes full run depending on instance), xp fest whilst they kick back and watch the daytime t.v. to me this is rather disrespectful and was wondering if any1 else had experienced this, or whether its just something i’m picking up on and no1 else is encountering? or are you the bishtards that fake brb and afk for 15mins whilst gaining free xp and slowing down the group? just to clarify, not ranting or raging, just noticed a new trend of afkers and instead of residing in bg’s, they seem to spam lfg randoms and go afk for thier 15mins of protection against being kicked. also i’m still unclear as to how the anti-vote kick thing works. it is 15mins right? the same timer as teh dungeon cooldown? can someone enlighten me at some point during the discussion in this thread? regards – kaneshiro

…. What?

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