Posts Tagged ‘Raiding

20
Jan
10

Identity Crisis

Who is this handsome stranger?

Tuesday nights are Delirium’s ICC 10-man nights, which I’ve been making sure to sign up for regularly as I try to gear up to be a little better situated for 25s.  So last night I log on, check the weekly. see that it’s Lord Marrowgar and then notice that there are close to thirty signatures for our ten mans tonight.  Since I’m not an official raiding member and still at initiate status, I get a sinking suspicion I won’t be raiding.

So I stick around either way and the invites go out with everyone who signed up getting picked up into a 27 man raiding group.  There’s some hemming and hawwing over what’s going to be done for the night, whether or not we’re going to raid ICC still or maybe do an older 25 man in order to get others better gear.  During the course of the discussion they mention that it would be nice to have an extra healer.

Now the previous night I had been in a spectacularly fail Ignis raid as a healer, trying to grab last week’s weekly raid before at the last minute.  Sicne there were no other options, I had to go as heals then and even after all the time I was away from the healing train, I was somewhat surprised at how quickly and easily I fell back into the rhythm of it.  So I went ahead and offered up my healing services if it would make things easier to get the groups going.

I didn’t get an exact answer back right away and eventually calls went out for all people below raiding status to roll 100 and the lowes scores would be asked to leave.  I immediately roll a six and prepare to call it a night when I’m told that, as a healer, I have an automatic in and won’t be asked to leave.  So once more I donned my holy hat and made with the life bars.

Things went well the rest of the evening with us coasting through the first wing, only wiping once on Saurfang and even one-shotting Festergut with a textbook attempt.  I was able to go to shadow for two of the fights, so I really filled the role of swing healer/dps where necessary.  At the end of the night I was rewarded with enough new frost emblems from the weekly that I could finally afford my first piece of t10 gear.  But then the indecision set in.

I realized that if I had gone heals this evening, it’s most likely I would have to do so in the future.  Not to mention that as I was healing in ICC 10 (which was surprisingly easy compared to Ulduar), I felt that familiar twinge that came with being a raid healer.  The joy of seeing my power auras popping on and off coldown and my heals critting like nobody’s business was exhilerating again.

But was I ready to stop this crazy shadow experiment?  Could I simply turn away from all the time and gold (and trust me, it was a lot of gold) I had spent optimizing my gear for dps instead of heals?  When I asked our GL, she informed me that they needed heals for ten mans and ranged dps for twenty fives, so either one would be beneficial.  Truth be told, I wasn’t really blowing anyone away with my dps and I was only barely grasping the role as a ranged raider, so it wasn’t like the guild would miss my shadow deeps.

In the end I decided to wait until I had 95 badges so I could upgrade my robe (which definitely needs it), but I’m still a little rattled at how close I came to simply ditching shadow and returning to the raid healing role.  Am I ready to be deeps with that kind of attitude?  For the moment I’m shadow and I’m going to give it a few more weeks still, but I hope to have this decision wrapped up before I get my first t10 piece.

So waddya think, gentle jerkwad?  Should I drop shadow and return to my silly old healing ways?  If there’s anything I learned last night it was that I haven’t really lost a step as far as raid healing goes, and I’m defintiely a better healer than I am dps at the moment.  But then again… pew pew, mofos?

-Dueg

18
Jan
10

Transition Pains

So last night I skipped my happy ass on down to ICC 10 for another night of raiding and shadowy goodness.  I had just picked up some Nevermelting Ice Crystals, which I lurve, and was testing out a new rotation designed to maximize dps on my constantly refreshing SW:P dot.  Yup, things were certainly looking up for Dueg.

So we get in there and go to work, spanking trash around and making our way deeper into the heart of the frozen citadel.  Things were going ok and I was doing decent dps, though less than all the others.  This is mainly due to me pretty much skipping the ToC completely and still wearing mainly Ulduar/Naxx/Maly 25 gear.  I mean, I’m no slouch or anything, pulling in the range of 4k dps on single targets, but I certainly was lagging compared to the other, better geared raiders.

Still, I didn’t feel so bad, things were cruising and we were actually able to get Festergut down after only four or five attempts, somewhat surprised at how simple the fight seemed.  I was feeling pretty good about myself as I had managed to avoid making myself look like a total noob and registered a decent 3800 dps in the final tally.  Still way in the back, but I felt not too bad for someone who’s only been raid dpsing for a couple of weeks.

Then came Rotface.

Fuck yo couch!

The funny thing is that I’ve heard that this fight is supposed to be the easier of the two and is practically a tank and spank except for occasionally having to move.  This isn’t really a lie so much as a gross understatement.  You see, there’s an occasional mechanic where someone gets a disease and must run out to an off tank kiting adds around the room.  Once the disease fades, a slime will form and start attacking the person who had the disease.

In theory, once two or more slimes get close together, they form into a larger slime that continues to suck up more slimes until it gets so huge that it explodes.  Here’s where things get tricky.  You see, as the slime grows it starts doing aoe damage to everyone around it, but to get the small slime off you, you must be within a certain range of the big slime in order for it to call it over.  This is exacerbated by that fact that pipes around the edge of the room occasionally spit puddles of slime that do damage and snare anyone who steps in them.

So to make a long story short, I died a lot last night, usually before the wipe, but because the little slimes are such little bitches about forming up with the big slime, I also lost a lot of dps.  My dots were constantly falling off and I even registered only a pathetic 2200 dps for one particularly slime filled fight.  Yes, it was a poor showing for Shadow Dueg last night, and one that I hope to never repeat.

But other than this sad spectacle, the transition to dps is going quite well.  I’m beginning to smooth out my rotation, getting a feel for when to cast what and when mind blast comes off its cooldown.  My dps has been slowly rising and hopefully I’ll get caught up in gear soon so I can start making more of a raiding contribution.  Either way though, I’m loving the new guild, the new instance and being part of raiding again.  And I know that next week Rotface is going down like the little bitch he is.

-Dueg

15
Jan
10

Separation of P & E

I’ve only been back for a few weeks but already an old problem has cropped up, one that rears its ugly head fairly often for numerous different classes at various points in time.  Always a sad event heralded by much QQ on the forums, official or otherwise.  I speak, of course, of the dreaded nerf.  This time around it was the warrior crowd receiving a swipe of the bat as they had their ability to break roots and snares pruned back thanks to a Warbringer nerf.  Why did this have to happen?  Why couldn’t the warriors continue merrily breaking movement impairing effects in order to be better tanks during raids and dungeons?  Because of three little letters: PvP.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am definitely not a fan of the PvP at all.  I much more enjoy getting loot from raids and the camaraderie of other players as opposed to small thirty second bursts where I’m frenetically trying to cast damage spells while getting stun locked for the entire “match”.  Arena is definitely not a place for the priestly crowd and I was more than willing to stay away and still am.  The problem though is not that there is PvP  in the world, but rather that it is effecting even those who decide to avoid it, making it something of a pox upon the raiding community.

Look, the deal is that when you have these two systems that are so very wildly different, you simply can not balance them between the two without destroying the integrity of one or the other.  Either you overbalance one class by giving them a PvE ability that causes them to absolutely own at arena (see: Death Knights 3.0) and overbalances the population in their favor, or you do what was done to warriors and nerf them back, making them balanced in the arena but killing some of their fun in other places.  It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation that Blizzard continually tries to make work, often leading to a river of nerdly tears and asthmatic angst.

Here's the saddest one of all, just not emotionally

The main problem is that Blizzard continually tries to balance these systems even though they’re obviously not working together and it’s gotten to the point that people just aren’t surprised by it anymore.  Oh, there’s still plenty of grousing going on and the blogs and forums definitely light up as the news filters down through the WoW community, but for the most part it’s met with a ho-hum sort of response with most people saying something along the lines of “this blows, but it’s what Blizzard does to us”.  This complacent acceptance must end!

The thing is, there’s an easy enough solution, one so simple that I’d be extremely surprised to find out is only being proposed here on my lonely corner of the web for the first time.  Blizzard, why don’t you simply make some abilities unavailable in arena?  I mean, if you can write into the code the ability to make mounts unavailable once you cross an invisible line to become indoors, why can’t you do it so that specific talents or abilities disappear once you enter arena?  I’ll admit that I’m not a programmer, but that seems like something that could be implemented that could go a long way to solve the problem.

Let’s go back to our warrior example real quick.  The talent Warbringer allows a warrior to use charge and a few other abilities while in combat that they could not before.  If they did, then those abilities would break any movement impairing effect in addition to their usual effect.  Because this was allowing warriors to break roots and snares in arena, which was considered an unfair advantage, Blizzard removed the impairment breaking effect.  Now it may be a little too much to ask for Blizzard to dissect a talent like this and remove part of the effect (breaking impairment) and leaving the other (using abilities in combat), but imagine how easy and cleanly the problem could have been fixed if they had done that.

Perhaps they could simply add two new talents or spells/abilities for every class with one only working in arena and one only working in PvE, then they can work on balancing those and leave the other stuff alone.  If they wanted to go even more extreme, they could introduce a brand new PvP talent tree designed to countermand PvE talents, or even simply introduce new talents into the existing trees.  A specced Mind Flay where the snare effect can not be broken would both cancel out the warrior’s talent and allow it be used in PvE at the same time.  Thing is, Blizzard is not a fan of solving problems like this, preferring more of a slash and burn method where they simply throw out what doesn’t work between the two.

I’ll reiterate it again and even go further: I’m not a video game programer or a dev.  I don’t fully know what goes on behind the scenes in Blizzard’s clandestine halls.  Perhaps what I’m suggesting here is so monumentally difficult it teeters on the realm of impossibility.  But the fact of the matter, Blizzard, is that you can not solve your PvP balance issues by removing PvE abilities from other classes because then you’re stifling a vibrant and, by your own admission, vitally important portion of the game.  This is compounded by the fact that those most effected by the nerf usually don’t even participate in arena.

Look, monsters don’t complain any time they feel like any particular class has an advantage over them, but I get that players do, and constantly.  However, any time a class is weakened as a whole in an attempt to placate the arena crowd, it effects not just the individual players of that class, but also the raid dynamic of their guilds and possibly even strats and gems and enchants.  You can’t justify such a massive shift simply because you’re not willing to seek alternative solutions to problems, at least not as frequently as it’s done in WoW.  So Blizzard, I think it’s time to put down the bat, take a breath of fresh air, and solve your problems with some common sense.  Ready?  Good.  Now put an arrow on the front of the circle that pops up under someone when you select them and give us back our inky black ball of doom, you sacks of shit.

-Dueg

11
Jan
10

Delirium won’t know what hit it

So like I said on Friday, I went ahead and apped to Rey and Scrat’s guild and began to prepare myself to once more plunge into the depths of Northrend’s chilled dungeons.  After a spirited montage of me taking it to the limit, Reyk was able to put in a good word for me and I got an invite to the guild.  Checking the calender I signed up for a couple of raids and happily went off to research fights.  Yes, I was a raider once more, albeit a much darker one than before, and I must admit, I was excited.

Suckers

So last night I logged on and within a minute get a tell from the guild leader asking if I wanted to come run ICC ten man, which is an invitation you really shouldn’t turn down after only one day.  So I bravely stepped up to the plate and went on my first raid in over three months.  The group had already cleared the first wing and was moving directly onto the Plague Works wing.  We were able to kill Precious in one swing and wiped only once on Stinky and moved straight over to Rotface.  The fight was a lot of fun, kind of a straight tank and spank except for one tank who kites mobs and random members occasionally having to run to the tank and drop a slime off.

We wiped on him all night long, but it was a lot of fun just to be raiding again, embraced in the warm grasp of nine other people sharing my hopes and dreams.  And I did a respectable enough job, pulling around 37 to 3800 on most fights depending on how often I had to run a slime over to the off tank.  We only got the boss down to like 30% at it’s lowest, but at least the other group didn’t get him down either.  I also am definitely beginning to get a feel for shadow priesting and understanding what it takes to be a raider as dps.

First off, understanding your rotation is key.  As a shadow priest I’ve found that the secret is to get your timing down to the point where your dots are always up on your target, your mind blast is always on cooldown and you are always casting a spell.  To this effect I’ll always start with Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast to get replenishment ticking.  Then I’ll throw Devouring Plague and Shadow Word: Death up there and cast Mind Flay, which allows me to begin the regular rotation, constantly recasting dots just before they fall off and always interjecting Mind Flay when there’s no other spell to cast.

I also found that targeting is another factor that you must be aware of, able to switch when necessary to the correct target.  Though this particualr tip matters less in large geoups in which the only tip I can give is this: Mind Sear.  If there are more than two mobs still standing, cast more Mind Sear.  If your target dies, find another and cast more Mind Sear.  When you think you’ve been casting too much Mind Sear, cast more Mind Sear.  This spell makes me weep with the awesome potential and is the only reason I pulled over 4200 dps for the entire night.

Of course there’s the usual raider caveats such as being aware of where you stand and making sure to let the tank gain aggro first (that particular one I broke last night when I got a little over excited).  You’ve also gotta be aware of your oh shit buttons and when and where to cast them.  Bring consumables, yadda yadda, all that good stuff.  Also, do your research, I can’t stress this fact enough as I ran across this interesting little vendor for the first time since being back:

Woulda been good to know this information 200 badges ago

All I know is that I’m definitely ready for raiding again.  I just hope it’s ready for me.

-Dueg

08
Jan
10

To Raid Again

So I’m back.  For pretty much two weeks now I’ve logged on every day except maybe two and have made sure to run a random a day and lately have begun to run all the ICC instances looking for new gear (I swear, Ick drops his little fucking rotten thumb one more time and I’m gonna go ape shit all over the place).  But at the same time, I can still feel it there, over my shoulder and whispering into my ear, the dreaded Malaise of Warcraft.

Don't turn around!

The feeling of repetition and pointlessness.  Sure, I’m farming badges and working on getting slightly better loot in the new ICCs, but that goal has a foreseeable ending and after that, well, what then?  So I’m seriously considering apping to a new raiding guild, one that Scrat and Reyk have joined.  Apparently the guild regularly takes “casual” apps, and in face they only need casual priests at the moment.  This means that if I’m around, I would have a chance at raiding only if someone doesn’t show up and open invites go out.  I’m kind of ok with that.

So now that the possibility is there, I’m definitely going to have to start getting back into raid shape again.  I’ve already started with gear upgrades from the farming, obviously and am now regularly pulling between 3800 and 4000 dps in heroics regularly, and I can definitely feel it.  The adrenaline, the pull of the dark side, the pure power of it all, and the ultimate sorrow of losing our little black inky ball of doom and death, a true tragedy.

R.I.P., You left us too soon

So will I become a raiding priest once more?  Well, only time will tell, but I will probably be apping a little later this afternoon and we’ll see what the next few days will get us.  I’m nowhere near being a hard core raider anymore, and my gear needs at least two tiers of upgrades to be standard at this point, but that’s easily changeable after a few raids of ToC or maybe even getting to poke my head into ICC.  Eather way, I’m  back, gentle jerkwads, and for the moment, it feels good.

Go Shadow Dueg, go.

-Dueg

25
Jun
09

Tier 9 Separation Anxiety

3.2 speculation is on the way!  With the PTR up and running and new changes filtering down to us as quickly as people can find it out, we’re all being treated to a wealth of changes upcoming for WoW.  One of the major points that regular raiders are looking at with those hungry, wild eyes is the new tier of loot that’s dropping.  First off, this is a full tier of loot, but unlike the previous ones, this one is separated into three distinct ilevels instead of just two.  When I heard this, I immediately began to wonder as to how they were planning on distributing this with the new normal / heroic system that they’re doing for the raids.

The popular and most likely theory, as espoused by WoW.com, is that you’re going to have the lowest level of igear awarded for running the normal raid.  You’ll then have the middle level awarded for heroic ten man and normal 25 man and finally, heroic 25 man will award the highest level of loot available.  Simple enough and this is most likely the way that things will be done.  But is this the way it should be done?

Maybe it’s because I’ve decided that I’m done with 25 mans for the foreseeable future and that I’m such an unapologetic loot whore to boot, but I’m beginning to wonder why Blizzard has this need for separating loot like this.  Well, I suppose that’s a bit of a lie, I understand that you have to give incentive to players to run 25 mans or else every raiding guild would shrink down to about 15 solid people for ten mans.  So I can understand why they had to make 25 man loot better.  I also get that often enough 25 mans are tuned up to the point where though you have more people in better gear, it can be tougher and take longer to progress at it.  I get all that.

But have you noticed the new items coming out?  Have you checked the ilevels separating the different sub tiers of this gear?  In Ulduar, each item sub tier was separated by 7 ilevels.  Enough to know there was a difference, but not enough to really be too concerned about it.  Someone decked out in full Ulduar 10 gear was never really too far behind someone decked out in a comparable Ulduar 25 set.  Now, however, you’re looking at a separation of 13 ilevels per set with noticeable differences between each sub tier.  This means that the difference between running the 10 and 25 mans has once more increased.

Of course, this was the way of things when Wrath first hit, with a separation of 13 ilevels between 10 and 25 man dungeons.  Things were also notably easier back then, with people able to PuG Naxx 25 and OS 25 and eventually even Maly 25 to the point where you didn’t need a guild in order to grab the better gear.  Now, however, Ulduar 10 is difficult to PuG, though not impossible, and if you want to be seeing Ulduar 25, you better know 24 other good people in order to get past the first few bosses.  I can only assume that the new Crusader’s Coliseum will also scale in difficulty, meaning you’ll need guilds and solid raiders to see the content.

So what’s my issue with 25 man raids getting better gear than 10 mans?  None, really.  What I take issue with is the huge difference in gear you’ll be seeing in the ilevels.  I’m not saying that 10 man groups are punished gear wise, because how can someone be punished when you’re given something, but by making such a huge difference in the gear levels, you feel a sense of incompleteness.  Though you’re not being punished for running ten mans, you’re not being rewarded like 25 mans are.  It’s like your group is handed a 50 dollar bill each for working all day, then seeing a bigger group each being handed a 100 dollar bill for the same amount of work.

Of course, nothing’s set in stone at the moment.  There are three sub tiers, but no one knows for sure how they would be distributed, we just have a good idea based on how things have worked in the past.  We also know that at the moment, the middle sub tier is the one that will have tokens available for purchase through emblems.  So it looks as though they’re creating a system where the most hardcore 10 man raiders will only ever be as good as the average 25 man raider gear-wise.  This is where I get a little rankled by the whole system and the idea that though I’m doing more content and achieving more things, I don’t have the ilevels to show it.

In the end though, I suppose it will be what it is.  Truth be told, I’d rather do ten mans and avoid the frustration of unmotivated 25 mans.  It makes you feel more elite and I always had more fun wiping on hard modes than I did while looting high level gear.  Perhaps the new tribute run mechanic will allow heroic raids to loot the same type of gear regardless of whether you’re in 10 or 25 man mode.  Though I doubt it, because Blizzard wants and probably needs a defined line between the loot tables of 10 and 25 man raids.  I just wish it didn’t make the loot whore in me cry so much.

-Dueg

23
Jun
09

The Return of Revolver, and Other News

So a decision has been made.  I have withdrawn my app to Coalition, who looked pretty full on priests at the moment anyways, and have decided that I will create my own new guild with Reyk.  Though we haven’t really set anything in stone, we’ve begun the leg work, contacting a few people, seeing if some real life friends might jump ship from their current guild.  It’s very exciting times.  We’ve also definitely decided that it will be a 10 man hard mode guild.  We all feel that you don’t need to see 25 man to see everything.  Having excellent gear is always fun, but in the end, I don’t think it outweighs the fun of playing with a bunch of friends.

So we’ve decided that our original social guild, <revolver> shall be born anew!  This was way back when we originally started playing and included a couple of our other friends.  In fact, my alt on my original server is currently the guild master of the original reincarnation, seeing as he’s the only character with an active account who is still in it.  Either way, it’s going to be great to have my own guild and to be able to not worry about whether we can get 25 on the next raid night.  Getting 10 will be a lot easier and a lot more fun I think.  I’ve even managed to draw Tart and her unaware husband into the fold, making us complete for a healer and tank team.

Oh, and the final part?  Scrat has decided to come back for this little venture thanks to the upcoming changes to the shaman class.  So once more I’ll get to play with my asshole friend in a raiding environment.  I also now have enough cash to buy the epic flying ability finally, but I must wait till 3.2 comes out in order to get the huge discount that’s gonna be handed out then.  Ah well, patience is a virtue after all.  Couple that with everything else going on and my buddy Scrat coming back and oh yes, things are definitely looking up for Dueg.

Plus, after hours and hours of moving this and tweaking that, I’ve finally finished constructing my new UI.  Though I’m thinking that I might still change a few tiny things.  For the most part though, I’m all set, though I can’t get the grid mana bars to work which is annoying me more than a little bit.  So without further ado, I give you Dueg’s brand new, super happy UI of fun and happiness:

I dunno...

I dunno...

I’m still not sur about it though, I think it might be taking up too much space on the bottom, but that might be because I have it set to be black instead of see through.  I’m also considering pulling that Pit Bull portrait up near the map, which is my current mouse over and the small bar above it, which is my target’s target, down to site closer to the other target frame.  Once I have a ten man raid filled up, you’ll see 9 other squares in the middle that I can use Clique on.  I still haven’t tested it in an actual raid, so that may come a little later tonight.  I’ve also decided to give Decursive a try since as a priest, I have quite a few heals already loaded onto clique.

So it’s definitely interesting and the funny thing is that lately I’m feeling a resurgence in wanting to play more often.  Looking for things to do so I can keep playing and I’m definitely enjoying the game again.  Hell, just running around the fire festival was fun even though it was just running around.  Speaking of which, expect a review on that tomorrow.  So interesting times for Dueg coming up.  Don’t worry though, I’ll keep you updated on things with <revolver> and we’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully before too long, I’ll be back in Ulduar, making attempts on Yogg, only with 15 less people.

-Dueg

11
Jun
09

Going Backwards to go Forwards

So last night a familiar monster once more reared it’s ugly head as our guild was gathering to do our usual Wednesday Ulduar run.  15 minutes before the raid, invites started going out and my grid started to fill up with familiar names.  I did what I usually do and flew on out to Ulduar, sitting around the teleporter with Tart, Reyk and my buddy Iolret chewing the fat while we waited… and waited… and waited.  You see, when 7 pm ST rolled around, we only had 18 people on, making us seven people short for all you mathematically challenged people out there (don’t worry, I had to use a calculator myself).

Tension slowly began to rise amongst the assembled, who stood around wondering why people couldn’t get their act together or at the very least post that they couldn’t make it for raid nights.  The minutes ticked by with no new raiders logging on and finally around 7:30 ST, the officers told everyone to get in vent because the guild needed to have a chat.  So Eck, our guild leader, began his spiel, saying that we were simply not putting up with this sort of showing anymore.  Obviously, most of the people who were on at that point weren’t part of the problem, but changes were coming, and the leadership wanted feedback on it.

You see, this had happened once before and they were beginning to see a pattern emerging.  The last time we went from having almost perfect attendance to suddenly half the raid becoming ghosts was when we were transitioning out of Naxx and into Malygos and OS 3D.  In other words, when the going got tough, people hopped off the loot train.  These people would show up for the easy purps, such as clearing Naxx or in this case, clearing out Ulduar up to the Keepers and then simply bail when it came time to do the tougher fights such as dragons or General.  The loot simply wasn’t enough reward for them to spend time wiping.

Of course, the problem with this is that other people in the guild want to progress.  For us, it’s not an issue of loot, though I guarantee you that I most definitely want some Yoggie loot (oh Shawl of Haunted Memories, you will be mine someday), it’s an issue of wanting to see the end game and to beat it.  To “win the game” as it were, as much as you possibly can before new stuff comes out.  Obviously we don’t expect everyone to feel that way, but if you sign up to be in a progression guild, you’re making a commitment to show up on raid nights and try to raid as much as possible.  If you want to ride a loot train, then find another guild.

So after a bit of discussion the leadership let us know that we’re going to be putting a very strict attendance policy into place and will effectively be clearing out the ranks of people who were making poor shows of attendance.  No one got booted right off, but moving forward, we’re expecting 75% raid attendance policy from all our raiders.  Anyone not adhering to this or regularly skipping out on raids without posting will simply be booted from the guild.  That may sound harsh to some, but it’s also not fair to the guild to make us all sit around with out thumbs up our butts and possibly have to call a raid just because you felt it more important to play with your Hello Kitty dolls instead of logging on.

Now of course, such a strict policy will most likely result in a significant lessening of our raid force, possibly weakening us to the point where we can’t regularly do 25 mans for a few weeks to months.  This has drawbacks, of course, since at least a few people in the guild simply don’t need 10 man gear anymore, myself included, but since others do, we’ll run it till we get enough to return to heroic.  So we took the 18 or so people we had online, divided them up into two groups, invited a couple of friends or casuals from the guild and got underway with our ten mans last night.  My group gathered up and we decided, hell, since we’re in this situation, we’ll make the best of it with an achievement run.

We started out by getting the Shocking achievement on Flame Leviathan by not giving it a system overload then moved on to XT and it was decided that a hard mode attempt was in order.  No one was desperate to clear 10 man as quickly as possible and we all wanted to try new stuff, so once that heart got pooped out, we went to town and severed it.  Six or so wipes later and <NEED A DISPENSER HERE> saw it’s first hard mode loot of any variety from Ulduar.  We then moved on to Iron Council where we spent the rest of the night wiping on the hard mode of that fight, though it was encouraging how close we were getting while we were still hashing out our strategies.

And then a funny thing happened.  All of a sudden the night was almost over and I hadn’t been looking at the clock bored at doing the same easy content that we’d been doing since 3.1 hit.  And it struck me, though this was ten man, it was progression.  We were doing things that we had never done before and enjoying ourselves.  Though we were wiping continuously and I probably spent between 100 to 150 gold last night, we were all laughing and joking and having a good time while we were gathering around and devising new strats and whether they would work.  It didn’t feel like just another night of fighting bosses and passing out loot, it felt like raiding again.

Who knows what the future holds for NADH?  Maybe last night was an anomaly, though attendance has definitely been trending in that direction, or maybe it’s the beginning of the dreaded summer time blues when raiders discover this “outside” that I keep hearing so much about.  Perhaps we will shrink and become a ten man raiding guild for the time being, forming a couple of groups each week in order to try hard modes or maybe simply to clear out Yoggie once and for all.  Either way, all I know is that on our next raid night, I’ll be there with bells on, cause I’m a raider, and I’m fr srs.

-Dueg

PS: <NEED A DISPENSER HERE> is recruiting right now in order to help bolster our ranks and return to heroic Ulduar asap.  We’re currently focused on downing Yogg-Sarron in heroic and doing hard modes in ten man with an eye on clearing him there as well.  Anyone interested can app here.  Since we’re already in Ulduar, we do have gear requirements and are not interested in farming Naxx in order to gear out one raider.  We raid Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 to 11 ST, so please don’t app unless you can consistently make those times.  Tell ’em Dueg sent you, because I get DKP if you work out!  Plus, you get to raid with this guy:

I think you know what you must do

I think you know what you must do

03
Jun
09

The Game of Blame

Oopsy Daisy

Oopsy Daisy

So the other night, Tartshapdbox and I were chit chatting in between Yogg-Sarron wipes (crazy awesome fight, btw), when she mentioned to me that Mr Tart had just finished a PuG that had gone a little less than spectacular.  First off, it was an Ulduar 25 PuG, which sounds frightening enough on it’s own, hosted by a guild with a few randies along for the ride.  Mr Tart was apparently one of the healers who had gotten picked up, though I’m not sure what class or spec he is as we only had a few minutes between wipes to chat and we were mainly weeping at the sheer INSANITY AND MADNESS of the Yoggie fight.

To cut to the chase, apparently the run had not gone according to plan with a lot of wiping on the earlier bosses which eventually devolved into finger pointing.  One of the fingers found itself firmly planted with Mr Tart when someone claimed that because he was a healer and usually one of the last people alive, he was a bad one.  Go ahead and read that again.  Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds.  Sounds more like some guild tried to PuG a raid instance that you really can’t PuG and then got butt hurt when it wasn’t being accomplished, so they started blaming the PuGs.  A common occurrence.

However, it does cause one to wonder on exactly when can you tell where the blame is?  Though not every wipe deserves a round of finger pointing, the fact is still there that sometimes it will be someone’s fault.  There are going to be subtle and sometimes not so subtle signs pointing to the culprit and most people are quite adept at reading them.  However, there is one supposed proof of it being the healer’s fault that comes back to haunt us over and over again.  A lot of people consider simple death to be a healer’s fault.

Now look, I’m not going to rant and rave about people blaming the healers for every little death that happens.  Most guilds have a healing officer who is in charge of admonishing healers, and no one understands healing better than other healers.  But there are times when death is the fault of the healers or just one in particular, and as healers ourselves, it is our responsibility to know when it’s our fault and step up and take responsibility for your mistakes.  So let’s see what happens when healers go bad.

Healing is an art form in WoW, composed of hundreds of small, split-second decisions made within minutes of each other.  You can get away with small mistakes, but the bigger ones will cause wipes with the first and most obvious one being missing your cooldowns.  In Ulduar there are quite a few instances where something will simply flat out kill your tank unless cooldowns are blown to avoid it.  When a healer is assigned to use a cooldown such as Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression in order to avoid the brunt of those abilities, they have to be on the ball and ready to cast it.  Too slow and your tank dies and your raid wipes.  Your fault.

There are also occasions where we do fail on healing.  When assigned to be healing a main tank in Ulduar, we need to be coming fast and furious with the heals.  There should never be a gap longer than 2 seconds where a main tank is not receiving a direct heal.  This means that dedicated healers must stay dedicated and not wander from their targets.  If you want to help with raid healing, cast your AoE spells with the MT as their focal points, but try not to switch targets.  Nothing makes me feel worse than a tank saying they didn’t get a direct heal for 3+ seconds.

It’s more difficult to tell when raid healing is failing however, because of the randomness of raid damage.  There’s spike raid damage, which is hard to come back from and will occasionally kill a dps if they’re not topped off.  There’s also steady damage, such as a raid wide aura or the likes of which.  This type of damage should not be a raid killer and healers should be able to keep people dying slowly.  Raid healers should be skilled enough at target prioritizing and able to move efficiently from one to another.

To address Mr Tart’s situation directly, I’ll say that in my guild, the healers are often the last few people alive and that’s actually a good thing.  A healer is actually less likely to be the cause of a wipe the longer that they’re alive.  This is why we consider ourselves priority targets and a healer becomes quite skilled at keeping themselves alive along with their targets.  If you die from not moving at the right time or from just not paying attention early on in the fight then yes, the wipe was probably your fault.  You can’t heal from the floor.

Look, it’s natural to have a knee jerk reaction of “nuh uh!” when someone says that something is your fault.  But playing the blame game can be a good thing if people learn from it either to improve themselves or to find who is consistently causing wipes for your raid.  Don’t be afraid to stand up and apologize for your digressions as long as they are not plentiful, everyone’s human, even blood elves, and we all make mistakes.  Except for Dueg, who is perfect.

-Dueg

29
May
09

Friday Strats – Assembly of Iron

With our powers combined...

With our powers combined...

Ah yes, the Assembly of Iron, or, as some people call them, the Iron Council.  These three baddies are a pretty cool little encounter in Ulduar where the difficulty actually scales depending on which order you kill them.  I’ve only ever done the fight on easy mode myself, which really isn’t that easy, but after doing some research, I’ll try my best to describe the varying degrees of difficulty based on the order.  So let’s get started and as always, we begin with…

The Prep

You’re going to need one tank for each of the mobs, which will all need to be spaced out through the room so that they’re nowhere near each other.  Whichever tank is assigned to Steelbreaker will need at least two dedicated healers and at least one dedicated dispeller (I’ll get to that in a bit), however, you may want to assign three if you’re having trouble keeping Steelbreaker’s tank alive.  The other two tanks will also need a dedicated healer and you’ll need at least one healer on raid healing as there will be constant ticking damage on the whole raid for as long as Steelbreaker is alive.  Once you’ve hashed out who goes where, simply buff up and have the tanks pull.

The Fight

I’m going to describe each individual bosses abilities and tactics separately, but first let me cover a few universal things dealing with them.  When one of the bosses is killed, they give a buff to other two which immediately heals them back to full and gives them a 25% damage buff.  It will also grant whomever is left an additional ability with the final one pretty much changing up your previous strats.  Also, as I said, you’ll need to separate them into three areas of the room, we usually pull Steelbreaker and Runemaster to the two opposite corners closest to the door while another tank will move the Stormcaller to the back of the room in order to tank him there.  Now we’ll look at each individual boss.

Steelbreaker

This boss is the key to whether or not you want easy or hard mode.  Because of his abilities and the fact that he hits extremely hard before he even gets the 25% bonus to damage, you’ll want to kill him first if you’re not attempting hard mode.  When all three bosses are up, he’ll only have two abilities: High Voltage, which is an aura that deals 2,500 nature damage every three seconds  to everyone in the room and Fusion Punch, which is a channeled cast that deals 100% weapon damage to the tank and leaves a DoT behind dealing an additional 17,000 nature damage every second.  This DoT is dispellable and must be removed immediately.  I suggest assigning a dedicated dispeller who simply spams their dispel as soon as this is ability is cast in order to remove it right away.

If Steelbreaker is still up after one boss dies, he immediately gains an effect called Static Disruption that he can cast on any random player not in melee range.  This is a 6 yard AoE effect that increases nature damage taken by 75% for twenty seconds, which means that they’ll begin taking about 4,250 or so nature damage every three seconds during that time (that’s fuzzy math, so don’t quote me on that).  The raid will need to spread out in order to avoid more than one person being affected by this ability at a time.  

If Steelbreaker is the last boss left alive, he gains an ability called Overwhelming Power which he will apply to the tank, increasing damage dealt by 200% but causing a Meltdown after 30 seconds, which will automatically kill your tank and deal up to 30,000 damage to anyone within 15 yards, most likely killing them as well.  If Steelbreaker is the last mob standing he will regain 15% health and a 25% damage damage buff whenever any member of the raid dies.  Since he will definitely be killing at least one member of the raid (the original MT) and his damage is already increased by 50% from the other two mobs dying, this means that this is an intense DPS race that will need a lot of heals, so it’s only suggested for the strongest of guilds.

Runemaster Molgeim

This is the middle height guy who will occasionally buff the other members of the Assembly.  He starts off with two abilities: rune of Power is a ground based AoE damage buff.  It is vitally important for your tanks to be aware of whether or not this is cast upon their targets and move them off it asap.  If Steelbreaker is allowed to stand in this rune, he’ll smash your tank’s face in very quickly and please note that Stormcaller must be silenced in order to get him to move if the rune pops under him.  Players can stand in these runes to gain the damage buff themselves.  He will also occasionally cast Shield of Runes which absorbs up to 50,000 damage and one it pops will buff Molgeim with a 50% damage increase.  This ability can be dispelled or stolen by mages.

If he’s alive after one boss dies, the Runemaster will gain the ability to cast Runes of Death which are going to be huge ground based AoE effects that deal 6,000 nature damage per second to anyone standing in them.  Your raid must be prepared to move very quickly if these appear in order to keep the strain on healers to a minimum.  If he’s that last boss standing, Molgeim will cast a Rune of Summoning which will begin to spawn untauntable lightning elementals who will randomly target raid members and begin chasing them.  

If they reach who they’re targeting, they’ll explode, dealing around 15,000 damage to all players in a 30 yard radius.  Each rune will spawn around 10 of them in about a 4 second time span, one right after the other.  You can snare them, so you’ll want totems or frost mages working overtime to keep them moving slow while your AoE works them down.  If one escapes from the AoE, whoever they’re targeting needs to book it while the ranged works on the mob.

Stormcaller Brundir

Considered the easiest mob and usually left till last, he’s also the most annoying since he’ll simply start casting ranged spells if you try to move him.  Like the other two bosses, he starts with two abilities: Chain Lightning, which is a straight damage spell that will arc to up to five players and is interruptible.  He also has an Overload ability which has a small cast time and will end with him dealing 30,000 nature damage to all enemies within 30 yards of him.  I’ve heard tell that tanks can eat this with proper cooldowns and whatnot, but I recommend they gtfo.

If still alive after the first boss dies, Brundir gains an ability called Lightning Whirl which looks like a whirlwind but instead will hit random raid members with lightning, dealing up to 7,400 nature damage.  This is a 5 second channeled ability and, like Chain Lightning, is interruptible.  If Brundir is the final boss alive, and he will be if you want to do it the easiest way, he will gain his final ability, called Lightning Tendrils.  This will cause him to rise up in the air and randomly target a raid member who he’ll start chasing.  All raid members within a 10 yard radius of the spot where he’s floating will be struck by lightning, taking 8,000 nature damage per second, so you must be prepared to move if he’s near you.  This ability is also a threat wipe when he lands, so make sure to allow your tank to pick it back up.

Basically, the most intense healing phase of this fight is going to be while Steelbreaker is up as he will test single target heals with his high melee damage and raid healing with his nature damage aura.  The healer assigned to Brundir’s tank will need to be aware of Overload and make sure to be standing at close to max range in order to avoid getting one shotted by it.  Other than that, the fight’s not too difficult if done in the “easy” order.  As I’ve said, I can’t comment on the harder versions of the fight just yet, but it sounds like leaving Steelbreaker up will truly make healers weep and gnash their teeth.

The Loot

10 Man

Lady Maye’s Sapphire Ring – This is an attractive ring for both holy and shadow, especially with the higher spirit total on it.  Disc definitely has better options elsewhere.

Runetouch Handwraps – These are probably going to be best served on the wrists of a shadow priest, and even then they are definitely replaceable.  There’s better for holy and disc priests out there.

Stormtip – This is better served in the hands of a resto druid or a shadow priest, but healery types should look elsewhere.

Watchful Eye – Drops from hard mode, this neck slot item is not as attractive for holy priests as it is the other two varieties, though the gem slot does add versatility to it.

25 Man

Overload Legwraps – With hit rating, haste and SP out the wazoo, these leggings are going to be a shadow priest’s best friend for quite a while, I’m sure.

Radiant Seal – This has more of a Disc or Shadow feel to it to me, but Holy should jump on it if they get a chance and need the upgrade.

Raiments of the Iron Council – More suited for shadow with the haste rating, I’d still pick these up if you’re a healer thanks to the flexibility of the gem slots.

Rapture – Not just for looking pretty, this staff will be the second BiS for all three specs until your raid can down Hodir in hard mode.  Please note how awesome my banner looks because of this staff… and that I’m a total whore for loot.

Unblinking Eye – This is a fantastic neck piece for both shadow and holy.  Disc will find better options from a couple of different sources.

Sapphire Amulet of Renewal – I find this neck piece to be somewhat of a disappointment for a hard mode drop.  That being said, it’s still a very nice item for shadow, not so much for holy.  There are better hard mode neck pieces for Disc, but don’t let that stop you from picking this up if you need it.

And that’s it for the Assembly of Iron.  This fight is fun and chaotic at the same time, so be sure your group is ready for whichever order you decide to do it in.  Next week we’ll finish up the Antechamber of Ulduar with the crazy cat lady, Auriaya.

-Dueg




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