Archive for the ‘ Instancing ’ Category

It’s Always Best to Wait for the Healers

Trust me, you’ll live longer.

Last night <Unemployed> embarked on our journey to become Immortal. No, we didn’t go hunting for the legendary fountain of youth, nor did we start peeking under rocks in hopes of finding an oblidging vampire.

No, my friends, our quest to become Immortal began with 23 people, a dream, and one surly Death Knight Instructor.

Things started off very well. Razouvious without a hitch, Gothik was completed with similar competence, and it wasn’t until we hit up the 4 horsemen that we ran into issues. What issue? Well, when you have a resto shaman who’s staring down Blameaux, rolling 8 stacks on the debuff, standing in one of her void zones all in the middle of disconnecting, well, things start getting interesting.

Needless to say the poor shaman dropped. What ensued was heated debate over weather or not we were out of the running for this week. Apparently there’s some scuttlebut going around that if you make sure to kill Rivendare first (since he counts as the ‘boss’), any deaths afterwards won’t be counted against you. Something to do with a bug and 4 horsemen not being required for The Dedicated Few. (which by the way I think is ridiculous, we completed The Dedicated Few AND killed the 4-horsemen with only 8 people just fine tyvm)

So, unsure about our fates we continued onto the Construct Quarter. Patchwerk down, then Grobbulous… except…. we lost another shaman. This one was another DC, except he didn’t call it out on vent. You can take out insurance against DCs like that, that’s why we had at least one paladin re-spec. Problem is, if we don’t know you’re DCing we can’t be ready to carry you through until you can come back and stop staning in the fire.

So, our quest for Immortal will have to continue.

Fun fact on Gluth: I can tank the zombie chow. Not kite, tank. It was my first time doing so and I was a little lost. He got quite a snack during the first decimate but, despite that, we still killed him before the second decimate. And thanks to our retadin who came back after the first decimate to help show me the ropes. I think next time I’ll do a much better job and the raid as a whole seemed to think having me tank the darn things worked much better than risking one of our fragile holy paladins. (we have a lot of paladins)

As for the title? Well. After we took out the Military and Construct quarters we decided to go kill some Spiders really quick. We only had 20 or so minutes left in the raid time and, oh, what a coincidence, Arachnaphobia is only 20 minutes!

/readycheck

/~half the raid is ready

/pull trash

DK tank dies, Warrior tank dies, Bear tank dies, DPS either dies or runs for the hills. AFK people finally get back to their screen.

Warrior: Woah I’m dead

Mage: Why’s everyone dead

Warlock: C’mon guys I left for TWO minutes!

Meanwhile I’m laughing so hard I can hardly breathe. To make matters worse I think when some people came back they didn’t realise we were doing spiders instead of plague. No doubt thinking we’d wiped to gargoyles or something they started jogging down that direction.

I have no idea who it was. All I know is I was sitting there, merrily chowing down on my mana strudel and suddenly DPS are dropping like flies. I look up the ramp back towards the exit and what do I see?

PANDEMONIUM!

Undead and slimies running amok amongst the clothies. Ready? Ready? TANK TANK TANK!

Ok, the undead are… um, dead-er. Slime is down, let’s get the dead back up.

Over vent:

Warlock: “I’m combat locked”

Hunter: “Still kiting here!”

Ohshi-

By this time he’d kited the slime all the way around and back to the raid. We killed it, but I was again laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

Needless to say, last night was fun. Definitely one of the best nights in Naxx in a while. I really enjoy the achievement system. It goes a long way to making old content new again.

Oh, and big props to Layni too. It was her first time helping us take out Grobbulous and she handled the debuff like a pro.

Definitely, PRO.

Achievements, Awesomeness, & the Anti-Guild

Achievements

I pulled a very late night last night. I don’t think I was asleep until midnight or somewhere there-abouts. I didn’t even crack open my nightly reading material, just cuddled up with the kitties, shut off the lights, and went unconcious.

The reason why I was up so late has everything to do with my recent aquisition of Shocking, Subtraction, The Dedicated Few, and The Safety Dance.

We were also painfully close to The Undying as well.

We started on Thursday after our 25-man raid completed Heroic: Twilight Duo in record time (one hour, three attempts, one kill). We started with Less is More (I wasn’t present for that one) but then we quickly moved on to Naxxramas.

We killed the Arachnic quarter first, of course. It was clear that our DPS was a little slower than we were used to. We were missing 2, after all, so it was only to be expected. So I pulled a weenie and called it a night and we all promised we’d finish up on Monday.

So it was a long Monday.

Awesomeness

It’s not required to have only 8 people on the 4 horseman fight to get The Dedicated Few achievement.

We did it anyway.

Also, on Gothik it’s quite possible (and actually very easy) to have live-side covered by a Druid Tank, a Pally Healer, and a Rogue DPS. Gothik was the first time the entire run that someone died. We started out with 2 dps on live side and the rest on dead and it just wasn’t enough. We made that one switch and things went smooth as silk. Oh don’t worry Undying, we’ll get you next week.

The only other times we lost people that night was when a hunter who likes to live on the edge died twice to Saph’s breaths, on successive air phases… No more battle rezzes for him. (We’d already blown Undying, so it was occasion for us all to laugh at him). The other unfortunate death happened on Kel’Thuzad.

A bit of a perfect storm blew up to smash our faces into a wall. A few people forgot to take off their frost resist gear and I (who was tanking the adds) managed to get ice blocked and between the 104% ice block damage and the (really freaking big) bugs it was just too much to heal through. So, down I went, and everybody else followed suit soon after.

It was late and we were all making little mistakes here and there. When we actually do start running for The Undying we’re all definitely going to be in a different mindset.

The Anti-Guild

As awesome as it is to be able to say you can clear X content with less than Y number of people is, it always makes me uncomfortable.

For example, we mopped up Naxxramas with 8 people. Eight, hand-picked people. There were two people who didn’t get to come along and share in our conquest, and that makes me sad.

I know it’s just a personality quirk of mine. I want everybody to be able to have fun and to be part of the group. It comes from knowing, in the most primal and visceral of ways exactly what it feels like to be on the outside looking in. I also know that not everyone is up to the challenge a lot of these achievements represent.

I don’t know if <Unemployed> will ever complete the Heroic: Glory of the Raider. In fact, I’m pretty sure we won’t. We’ll try like hell, but I’m not going to bank the farm on it. We just don’t have enough people performing at that peak, and that’s ok. We’re not a hard-core guild. We only raid 3 nights a week and we don’t force people into specific specs. We try to avoid min-maxing and exclusionist policies because, first and foremost, we are a guild “For the Good Times”.

Collecting Achievements is a whole lot of fun, and I love doing it, it just makes me uncomfortable when the call has to be made to take this person over that one. It’s a call I’m thankful that I don’t have to make.

Malygos Stomped… Again

Threat still an issue.

So, I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. On my screen, I have Omen tucked nicely underneath my character’s tiger toes and above my orderly block of ‘Oh Sh*t’ buttons. It’s right there, front and center, I’m keeping an eye on it ALL THE TIME.

Just this week, however, I’ve been noticing that our dps have been creeping up closer and closer to the threshold I set for threat. I saw this on Anub’Rekhan, on Malygos 10-man, Grand Widow Faerlina, Patchwerk, and now again on Malygos 25-man.

I guess it’s to be expected during Malygos. After all, ranged casters can still explode things during the vortex with instant-cast spells. Even though I’m always mashing my attack rotation (242342348234234238423423), I’m also always getting ‘out of range’ errors. Suffice to say, no threat is being generated.

Things in this fight are compounded by the fact that I must be CONSTANTLY vigilant about where the sparks are coming from. We cluster our raid in the center of his platform and it’s my job to make sure the raid is always between the source of the sparks and Malygos. So what would normally be a ‘sit and generate gobs of threat’ encounter, is turned into a kite-scramble while waddling backwards, fretting about the random dps or healer that’s standing where I want to go and still trying to stay ahead of the dps on threat.

It’s certainly a challenge (and one I rather enjoy).

So yes, on Malygos, these issues are expected. But what about Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow, and Patchwerk? Those are most definitely ‘sit and piss off the boss’ fights.

I’m wondering, has anybody else noticed a more difficult time staying ahead on threat? I never really payed attention to my actual Threat Per Second, I only kept an eye on the general size of the gap between my threat and that of the DPS.

That gap, within the past two weeks, has closed alarmingly fast.

Of course, this could all be a result of my almost insta-epic experience, one compounded by my status as not only a Barfly, but one of two physical leather-weareres and being a tank. (perfect storm here for loot to fall like rain). It could be a case of me getting the best of the best early on and now that the DPS are getting their hard-earned epics they’re starting to encroach on my ‘huuuuuuge tracks of [aggro] land’.

*ahem*

But I don’t think our dps has increased all that signifigantly within proportion.

Which once again leads me to wonder…

what’s wrong with my threat?

Sorry, I Lied…

*shifty eyes*

I actually did get a good amount of WoW-time in over the weekend. In fact, I must confess that I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with my baby shammy. When I sat down on Sunday she was a mere level 37, and the the time I went to bed that night I’d ground her all the way to 41.

And NO, I didn’t do it through dungeon runs. That day I had Mr Tigerfeet take me once through Zul’Farak, and then a nice pally-man took me through Cathedral. I got 1/3 of a level from ZF, and only about 1/5 of a level from SM Cath. That still leaves at least 3 1/2 levels I did ALL BY MYSELF!

I’m usually pretty against running low levels through stuff. I don’t like being powerleveled and I don’t like doing it for others. I made a slight exception this time though because my quests were starting to get ridiculous. When everything is orange and red you know you need to get some leveling from elsewhere.

Mudsprocket helped save my bacon on that score, and I’m rather chagrined to notice that, after the fact, I had completely forgotten about the Arathi Highlands. D’oh.

Either way, Shaman = love. I’m leveling enhancement and enjoying every minute of it. There was a streach of a few levels down in my early 30s where I’d have to sit and drink after every fight. It was getting to be frustrating, but then Atrides came up and thwapped me for using Lightning Shield instead of Water Shield.

I made the suggested change and now, not only do I have no down-time, I can successfully out-last just about anything. No, really, I feel like a freaking Paladin in all their roach-ey glory.

Last night, though… was absolutely great.

I wasn’t on Rainseeker (my shaman), I was instead playing Tigerfeet. I’d logged on with the intent to futz around with some dailies and then maybe hop over to Rain later and continuing leveling her.

My guild, however, needed me. I’m such a sucker for being needed.

They were wrapping up Naxx-10 and needed another tank. Well sure, I figured, I’ll go. I don’t have to be happy or cheerful, I just have to tank stuff. See, last night I’d gotten one of my random fits of depression. The kind where you start to wonder what’s the point in anything if you can’t leave a lasting impression on the world. The best lasting impression to me are children, the ultimate form of creation, the ultimate sacrafice of love. I can’t have children though, so sometimes the prospect of working diligently away at my life, accruing things and building a wholesome home (forever to remain empty), gets me down. It always seems to happen at once. A couple of guildies we’d had take a break because of a new baby have started playing again, then yesterday the MOTD urged us to congratulate one of our shamans on his new progeny, and Phae is setting down her blog because of her impending blessing…

You see? When it rains it pours.

So last night I was just in a blah kind of ‘feel-sorry-for-myself’ mood. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to escape.

So I tanked the Military wing, my least favorite, but I did it anyway. Then we got to Saph and, oops, nobody had their frost resist gear with them. We decided to say ‘screw it’ and killed him without the FR gear. One dead dragon later and we were passing out our membership cards for the ‘100 club’.

Grats from the guild and then on to KT. Hey, we’re on a roll tonight, why don’t we try his achievement too? That was actually pretty fun. Kill 18 abominations before phase 2.

We didn’t have any specific plan apart from pull the A-bombs and see what happened. We were very scared that when we’d pull a group of a-boms we’d get whatever else was lurking in the corner along with. Nope, that’s not the case. Range-pull an abom and you’ll get the 3 in the corner and nothing more.

So, we’d pull a group, kill them, then pull another. About 3-4 pulls in it dawned on me that nobody was counting how many aboms we were killing. Oops. Oh well, we’ve gone too far now, let’s just get down as many as we can and hope that it’s enough. Pull, tank, kill kill kill, pull, tank, kill kill kill, lather rinse repeat.

Phase two I just did my best to stay out of the way and toss hots where I could. Phase three I picked up the big bug-men and then down went KT aaaaaaand. We Just Couldn’t Get Enough. Like I said, we don’t know how many we killed, but we always had an extra group on us. It made phase one a lot more fun and interesting for tanking. I’m hot sure how dps felt about it, they certainly did a good job of keeping the other adds in check along with getting the aboms down.

Well, ok, Naxx is dead, we’ve all got two new achievements, now what?

Sarth Sarth!

But I said, what about Malygos? We haven’t killed him on 10-man yet…

Needless to say, everyone loved this idea, so off to Malygos we went!

First try was a very good solid attempt except we didn’t make the enrage timer. We were at 2 minutes by the time we got to phase 3, and I was having some difficult aggro issues. One of our locks got 1-shotted because her dots ticked her up above my threat during the vortex.

I must do something about this. The second time we killed him, but she was still holding way back. This wasn’t a question of not having enough dps, it was a question of the tank not generating enough threat. This hasn’t been something I’ve had to deal with since BC when I was tanking in Kara for a group that way-outgeared me and all I had was a Braxis Staff of Slumber! That was rough.

Anyway, we killed Malygos, but not before he killed us.

Wait,

What?

No… REALLY! We were all dead!

Don’t believe me?

Click for Larger

Click for Larger

My raid frames are on the left, underneat my character frame (Yes I’m using default, ooooh the ghetto!)

It’s a nice shot if I do say so myself, You see Maly all *omgwtfbbq’d!* falling out of the sky, my pointer is hovering on him and we know that yes he is, indeed, skinnable, we’ve got the achievement in there and… of course, we see that everyone is, indeed, quite dead.

Hilarity, pure hilarity. Plus, by this time, I was most certainly not feeling a bit depressed! In fact, I got up this morning and got some exercizing done this morning. There’s just something about physical exertion that starts your day out right, really!

/Regurgitate

Ooh ooh ooh! ULDUAR NEWZ! YAYZ!

Here it is: http://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/underdev/3p1/ulduar.xml

See below for my thoughts on specific aspects.

Beneath ancient Ulduar, the Old God of death lies, whispering…. Tread carefully, or his prison will become your tomb.

Convenient that we’ll be conquering Death before attempting to take out Arthas. Should make that job much easier, I’d expect.

Ulduar is set to blow players away with gorgeous setpieces, sprawling battlefields, and innovative boss encounters. Ulduar’s design aims to provide a fun, unique, and innovative raid experience, but it also includes additional challenges – and rewards – for seasoned raiders. In this sneak-peek at World of Warcraft’s newest raid dungeon, we’ll take a look at some of the new content that makes Ulduar rise above the crop of amazing dungeons already available in World of Warcraft.

(Emphasis added) hype, hype, look I found the scale tool, we’ll see, I’d better look freaking leet, e-peen stroking… moving on.

The most obvious difference between Ulduar and its predecessors is that the dungeon actually comprises two separate raid areas.

Lies, they did that in AQ. The difference here is that you must go THROUGH the first area to get to the second. Oh wait, it’s kinda like attunements, but with less opportunity to whine I suppose. (I am pro-attunement btw)

You and your friends will have to use these [siege] vehicles wisely to break through Ulduar’s defenses.

Ok, that sounds pretty cool.

A mix of motorcycles, demolishers, and siege engines will be at your disposal, each granting unique abilities to the pilot and the passenger.

Which one plays like a Druid?

demolisher passengers can load themselves into the vehicle’s catapult so that the pilot can launch them into the distance.

Ka-CHUNK – MOOOOO00000000ooooooooooooo……….

Mimiron built the Flame Leviathan as part of the V0-L7R-0N weapons platform, wh-

No, stop right there. One moment…

*ahem*

VOLTRON!

*cough* moving on.

Normal spells and abilities won’t be enough to take down this juggernaut

Cat is not for FITE anymore? /sniff.

After wearing the massive war machine down, you will have to launch players onto the tank’s back to destroy its defense turrets and sabotage the Leviathan before you can move on.

Phase 3, now with less chaotic flapping, enjoy the flying cows instead.

Patch 3.1 will hit the Public Test Realms very soon, so you will be able to see for yourself what other challenges await beyond the gates of ancient Ulduar.

DAMMIT!

No, really, DAMN YOU! That pisses me the HELL OFF.

Come on, you want to release new content, ESPECIALLY a new raid, do your OWN playtesting of the damn instance. I am paying YOU. How dare you perform open playtesting of new raid content.

I have neither the time, nor the guild resources available, to partake in playtesting Ulduar. I was all kinds of excited that we’d all be waiting at the doors to Ulduar. On Tuesday night after 3.1 dropped we’d go in with the other big-name guilds on our server and NOBODY would know what was going on.

Finally, first kills could be awarded on the basis of intelligence and adaptability.

Now though, with a public playtest of Ulduar….

damn you.

Drop & Give Me 50!

Go run the last boss in AN, make sure everyone survives. Go kill the first boss in UK without breaking any Ice Blocks. Go kill the second boss in AK and she had better not get ANY kind of buff from her watchers. Go get your achievements for Skadi, stay the HELL out of the ice breath! Go do your Wyrmrest Dailies… DAILY! Go tank Halls of Stone, no I don’t care if you’re a druid and terribad at AoE tanking, do it anyway!

Go do all these things, if you weren’t on heroic, you’re doin’ it wrong, go and do it again.

Nobody was born to raid. There isn’t a single person who was able to step into raiding, WoW, any game, or any thing, and immediately find themselves an expert at it. No, I’m pretty sure that this is an unqualified absolute.

There are some people who learn more quickly than others. Sometimes a person’s learning curve will be so quick that it seems like they’ve picked it up immediately, but trust me, there was a curve.

In a guild raiding environment, expecially with 25 people, the raid lead(ers) always have to keep an eye on the fight, what they are doing, and what everyone else is doing so that they can adequately flush out problems.

Problem is, there’s only so many times you can say “Stop standing in the fire” before you have to try something else.

It would seem to me, that nobody stands in the fire on purpose. Some people don’t have the best reaction time, some people are inattentive, sometimes it’s even just bad luck! In order to really get people to quit standing in the fire is to help them find out why they keep standing in the fire, so that the problem can be avoided in the future.

If it’s a problem of reaction time or attentiveness, then that person needs to practice. Problem is, they can’t practice unless they’re in the raid, and 24 other people get socked with repair bills while they learn and hone their skills…. right?

WRONG!

We’ve got these wonderful little things called Heroic instances, right? We’ve also got a number of achievements for these instances, many of which involve increased gear, skill, focus, dedication…. you get the idea.

Don’t think of heroic achievements as useless title-mongering, use them as tools to help train your guildmates who might lack necessary raid skills. It’s a lot easier to get a group of 5 people to agree to run a single boss ten times than it is to get a group of 25 to do the same thing.

Here’s some specifics on the fights I listed at the start of the post, and why I mentioned them specifically:

  • Azjol’Nerub, the last boss is wonderful practice for environmental and boss awareness. It’s also a good fight for running around and picking up adds. This boss, I think, is THE best way to practice for Sartharion with drakes, weather you’re tanking, dpsing, or healing. Watch his cast bar, get AWAY from the pound. Watch the ground and get away from the rocks so you don’t get spiked. Make sure you pick up the adds, if you’ve got an add, bring it to your tank, cleanse the poison (or heal through). It’s a challenging encounter, but VERY good practice for even more challenging encounters.
  • The first boss in Utgarde Keep will toss out Ice Blocks. You can attack your teammates and free them, similar to the Demon Chains on Illhoof in Kharazan. However, if you leave your teammates ice-blocked you’ve got a mechanic similar to Kel’Thuzad! In fact, it’s even more challenging than taking on KT because you’ve only got 5 people. If your healer gets blocked you could be in a very bad situation. Learn to work around it and KT ain’t got nothin’ on you.
  • Making sure the second boss in Ahn’Kahet: Old Kingdom doesn’t get any buff from her watchers is an excellent test of burst-DPS. You have to kill them, and kill them FAST or she gets a rather nasty buff- wait, this sounds familiar, almost like dealing with sparks on the Malygos fight? Ding.
  • Aaaah Skadi, you sick SoB. Second boss in Utgarde Pinnacle. Fight your way up a gauntlet while dodging shooting ice breaths…. yeah, don’t stand in the ‘fire’.
  • The Wyrmrest Daily, Aces High or something. I personally haven’t done it (still working on that chain akshully). However, this fight is direct training for Malygos on phase 3. Things can get a little chatoic when you’ve got 25 dragons all flapping around and can’t see anything and are getting vertigo from the spinning sky. Trust me, it helps to know what you’re doing ahead-of-time.
  • The last one is for me. Once again I’m on flame-duty for Sartharion. I’ll tell you what, it’s rough. It’s a HARD job to do. I’ve found though, that with practice I can overcome a Druid’s shortcomings and do the job well enough. Doing that stupid gauntlet thing in HoS though is great for practice.

The Kittens of Prophecy

Although <Unemployed> hasn’t quite gotten superstitious enough to depend on good-luck charms while raiding, I’m fairly certain that our Raid leader and I are convinced that our kittens are posessed of magical powers.

What are these magical powers?

Why, they sit on our laps (or in my drawer), purring contentedly. Their contented purrs cause disruptions in the nether that reaches out into the interwebz, granting our raids fantastical (and officially undocumented) buffs, allowing us to complete feats of strength, granting us amazing prowess!

Oh yeah, you heard me correct.

Last night, first we killed Sartharion… PLUS ONE! (with no thanks to me and my inexplicable lag/disconnecting)

Then… THEN we went to go whup up on Kel’Thuzad. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be.

Due to his antics on Tuesday we only had 3 tanks. He cannot be killed with less than three. I mean, I’m sure that, in a pinch, one tank could manage all 4 adds if KT were DPSd down crazy-go-fast and none of the healers got ice-blocked or mind-controlled and everybody stayed alive and and and…

Yeah, you need 3 tanks.

Problem was, my connection couldn’t be trusted. SOMETHING was going on. Atrides and I were getting horrendous lag spikes and disconnects, but our status on ventrilo was just fine. I re-booted my computer, turned off all my addons (I think I’m addicted to IceHud… srsly going through withdrawls here), he re-set the router, then he re-set the modem and I rebooted AGAIN and all of this helped

But it wasn’t until Nibbles came and sat in my drawer, and Silverlake curled up in Mel’s lap and together, with their magical nether-vibrating purring, that I was able to stay connected and stable enough to allow us to kill Kel’Thuzad.

Ok, now, I know I’m being very ego-centric here, painting everything as my doing. This really really was a guild effort. We learned that you absolutely CANNOT cast any AOE (or hunter pets!) at the banshees or you’ll aggro the abominations and skeletons behind them. The first time the tanking team picked them up and we were able to kill them, the second time they killed three people before they were brought under control, and the third time was similar to the first, except all three times it happened it set us back far enough that we never really managed to recover.

The fight, each time, I finally got the feeling that everybody was bringing their A game. This was an actual battle. Every attempt battle-rezzes were tossed out, healers struggled, DPS got frost-nova’d and mind-controlled.

During phase 2, I spent my time staying AWAY from everybody else, tossing Faerie Fires on the boss every now and then, Cycloning my mind-controlled teammates, and generally making sure that I survived (and stayed connected!) so that I could do my job in phase three.

My job in phase three btw was to soak up massive amounts of physical damage and not get myself 1-shotted be the evil red circle of doom. THAT is something that I, as a bear, am very, very good at.

Ohyeah, you wanna beat on my face? BEAT ON MY FREAKIN’ FACE! I ain’t goin’ NOWHERE BOY!

/flex

*ahem*

Yea, we killed Kel’Thuzad….

/more /flexing

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