Posts Tagged ‘ Naxxramas ’

In Which Tiger Proves She Knows What She’s Talking About

I finally got to put all my hard brain-work to the test.

On Sunday I participated in a 5-hour mega-raid that spanned the entirety of Naxxramas, the Eye of Eternity, and wrapped up with the Obsidian Sanctum (1D).

First of all, raiding for five hours is rough. Second of all cats can DPS. Like mad we can DPS (4k worth of dps if you were curious). Third of all, with the new Shred glyph, our rotation has a lot more wiggle-room.

But yes, the entire five runs I got to run around in my pure, unadulterated kitty-ish glory. I also realised that I doubt I could lead raids from a DPSing role. Whilst DPSing my attention was focused intently on my timers and my own position (I’m notoriously poor at getting out of whirlwinds), leaving little to no attention to spare for the actual raid.

It was a very good thing that I wasn’t leading at this point, so it wasn’t an issue.

Back to the ‘rotation’. With the refreshing on Rip (and the longer Rip through another glyph) I found myself with extra combo points to burn. Burn on what? Ferocious Bite of course!

In the past I would probably be able to FB once every other boss or so. I just wouldn’t ever usually find myself in that perfect zone where Savage Roar had enough time, Rip had been recently refreshed, I had five Combo Points, and Tiger’s Fury was off (or nearly) Cool-Down. Now however with the extra super awesome long Rip I’ve found myself in that situation two, three, sometimes four times during a single boss encounter!

With practice I think I could do even better.

Haste, is AWESOME now. The very first thing I noticed when I started to dps was now I have flashing paws of kitty fury! Pa-pa-pa-POW!

/bat

/batbatbatbatbatbat

Lots and lots of fun!

As it’s Monday, I’ll leave you with a little Moosik. 😉 Rolled up just for me, to you, from Pandora. The Killers, All The Things I’ve Done. (Maer, you should enjoy this)

Erm… Erm… LOOK OVER THERE!

Total cop-out post today guys, I’m sorry.

I’m working on something huge for you all, and it’s not exactly the HUD analysis, though that is being worked on too.

But this other thing will be ready before my first HUD post. And it will be lots of fun, and delicious, and awesome, and not really feral-related at all.

sorry ’bout that.

I also apologize quite a bit.

sorry

osnap, c wut I did thar?

/snicker

OH! <Unemployed> cleared the first 4 quarters in Naxx last night in only 3 hours! First time we’ve made it through all 4 quarters in one night. Hurrah! Everyone did great, and we even managed to (finally) pick up Heroic: Make Quick Werk Of Him. First time we’ve done that fight with everybody connected too, so it was great.

Lots of chain-pulling, AoE, seat-of-your-pants glory to be had!

I’ve also been reading a lot about Ulduar and liking what I see. I may post my thoughts on some specific blue posts if I can’t think of anything more interesting to talk about.

Pre-patch blahs, WoW dry season. Yep, let’s blame that. 😉

Yes, The Wall And My Head Have Long Been Good Friends

And still, familiarity breeds contempt.

Let’s look at some of the points that have been sticking in my craw.

Upon release of The Burning Crusade, once level 70 had been achieved, raiders were presented with:

  • Karazhan : Tier 4, 10-man raid, 9.5 bosses, 2 events, Plenty of interesting trash (CC & tactics required), Located in the Old World
  • Gruul’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 2 bosses, Minimal interesting trash (tactics required), Located in Outland
  • Magtheridon’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 1 boss, Minimal trash (not much tactics or CC required), Located in Outland
  • Serpentshrine Cavern : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 6 bosses, Robust trash requiring both CC and tactics, Located in Outland
  • Tempest Keep : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 4 bosses, Moderate trash with CC and tactics required, Located in Outland

Totals for raid content on BC release:

  • Number of Raid Instances: 5
  • Number of Tiers: 2
  • Number of Bosses: 24 (9 ‘pure’ bosses in kara, spider & chess=1 boss, opera=1 boss)
  • Difficulty (interest & quantity) of trash: Moderate-high (Highs and lows in each instance)
  • Location appeal: All but one located in Outland, Karazhan being in Old World was a nice touch.

Now, let’s take a look at the Wrath release. Hard modes with different loot will be treated as additional bosses. Because of the extra work for balancing, 10-man raid bosses will count as 1/2 of a boss and will not count as a full extra boss because no new artwork (models, textures, animations, scenery) needed to be created.

  • Naxxramas : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 15 bosses in 25-man, 5.5 bosses in 10-man, Robust trash but no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
  • Obsidian Sanctum : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 4 bosses in 25-man, 2 bosses in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
  • Eye of Eternity : No Tier, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, No trash, Located in Northrend
  • Vault of Archavon : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend

Totals for raid content on Wrath Release

  • Number of Raid Instances: 4
  • Number of Tiers: 1
  • Number of Bosses: 28.5
  • Difficulty (Interest & quantity) of trash: Low (Lots of trash in Naxxramas, but no CC or tactics required)
  • Location Appeal: All instances located in Northrend

Now, I realise that a number of my points are personal preference. For example, I believe that being forced to go back to the old world to get to raid content is a good thing. I enjoy connections throughout the world, tying everything together. I also enjoy trash that requires a brain to get through instead of the chain-pull AoE-fest that we are ‘enjoying’ in Naxxramas.

If I were to be as strict on the numbers as I would like (counting 10 and 25-man versions of bosses as one and the same) Wrath would find itself severely lacking in the number of baddies to kill.

But, just looking at the numbers, content proffered in the two expansions upon release seems to be relatively equivalent.

Why then, does it not feel that way?

First, in Wrath, we only have one tier of gear to look forward to, and it’s possible to get almost every single piece from one instance. This is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about it. I’ll get to why I think it’s a bad thing a little later.

Secondly is the trash. Upon the release of 3.0, Crowd-Control died. It was no longer needed. Part of this was from Blizzard’s new paradigm shift of ‘bring the player not the class’ (25-man Razouvious and Faerlina are stark exceptions), and part of it was a conscious effort to make Naxxramas an introductory raid to help newbies get their feet wet.

Those are the reasons, but I don’t accept them as excuses.

For example. The trash in Gruul’s Lair; the entire raid had to stack on the back of some mobs there or they would get charged and wipe the raid. In the Arachnid quarter there are spiders that charge, but this is no more than an annoyance. Nobody dies, and the AoE continues.

If these big spiders hit harder when they charged, requiring that they be sheeped, or rooted (druids can do that indoors now, not that they need to) would help add interest and challenge. It would make the 20-minute achievement more difficult too. If you needed a raid that was geared enough to survive charging spiders so that DPS could be cranked through the roof in order to get through quickly, wouldn’t that make it more worthwhile?

So, back to the numbers

Wrath has more bosses, one less instance. I’m going to tell you that my issue is with variety.

But Tiger! There’s only one less instance! There’s plenty of variety!

NO, there ISN’T.

The vast majority of raiding content in Wrath is in Naxxramas. OS, EoE, and VoA are presented in similar manner to Magtheridon’s Lair and, to a lesser extent Gruul’s (Gruul’s had 2 bosses, remember). Here is your boss, kill him, loot, win.

Imagine, if you will, that BC had just dropped and only contained Karazhan, Gruul’s and Magtheridon’s Lair, and that’s it.

Hmmm, ok, in typical Tiger fashion I’ve realised that that is pretty much what just happened, and it’s not really a bad thing. The problem I’m seeing is that Ulduar will only make this problem worse! Icecrown will then be the icing on the cake that is my dissapointment with Wrath raiding.

All for want of variety.

I made a comment in Vent last night that seemed to be very well-recieved by my guild: I don’t mind banging my head against a wall, I just wish I could bang it on a different wall for a while.

Back in BC, once you progressed beyond Tier 4, if you found yourself getting roflstomped by content you could go and do the other tier of that content. Al’Ar mopping the floor with your face? Go tackle Hydross instead. Leotheras put the bliders on you? Take your tanks and go tackle Void Reaver.

I’ve said before we’re working on Sarth 3D. Our biggest problem is that, after an hour or two of wipes, when we’re getting frustrated and discouraged, there’s nothing else for us to go work on.

But Tiger, Ulduar will have more hard modes! More variety!

How many of those bosses will you need to kill to get to ther bosses? If one boss’s hard mode eludes you, will you have the option to go work on another and come back, or will that chance be lost to you for a whole week?

I think that is a fatal flaw in what appears to be Blizzard’s single-instance tier paradigm. The ability to go bang your head against a different wall is missing.

And that’s why I’m frustrated.

PS – WTB Pally & DK tanks.

No, really, come say hi, please.

And Here We Separate the Men From the Boys

Or the Women from the Girls in the case of myself and miss Warlock.

What am I talking about? Why… This of course!

wowscrnshot031609205918

The screenshot was taken by our hunter who’s got a snazzy little addon that takes screencaps whenever he kills a boss, gains an achievement, or levels up. I think it was called something like Scattered Shots, or something. Either way, there it is!

I don’t have my own screenshot because I was too busy squealing and hyperventilating and shaking and by the time I remembered “osh*t screencap” the achievement had faded away.

Here’s the break-down:

We did the bulk of Naxxramas with only 9 people. First we went and killed Razouvious, then we went and took out the Plague quarter, eager to get Heigan out of the way. Next we took a break and breezed through the Arachnid quarter. Actually, that wasn’t a breeze, we had some unfortunate AFKs and we were trying to take things carefully. Trash was done messily but everybody smartened up right quick for the boss kills.

Next we sauntered over and laid the smack down on the Construct quarter and finished up the night back in Military with Gothik. By this time we were debating how we wanted to handle the Horsemen. We knew we could 8-man it, but we were going for Undying so we really wanted another healer for insurance. So, we called it for the night.

Tonight, we went back in with our extra healer, stapled him to a tank, and got down to business. Melee was forbidden on Zeliek and there was much calling out of void zones on Blameaux just to make sure everyone was on their toes.

Once they were dead we moved to Sapphiron and we all donned one pice of Frost Resist and had our Pally toss up frost aura. We weren’t taking any chances. In fact, both the rogue and I (only melee apart from the tank) had to make sure to stay on our toes and out of the blizzards, sometimes even running away from the dragon so that we didn’t get hit. There was one rough moment early on when a blizzard rained down on a group clustered behind an ice block during the first air phase, but our healers were able to valiantly struggle through.

After the dragon came the moment of truth. Would we be beset by lag and find ourselves in failure, or would we be able to rise above, pull together, and claim our titles?

Well, you already know the answer, so I’ll let you know how the fight went.

As per usual, I would be off-tanking this fight. Bell (warrior tank) and I kept the incoming Abominations under control until about 30 seconds before KT popped, then it was all me. The last thing we wanted was for him to have to juggle and Abomination and worry about stacking as much threat on KT as he could.

After that I stepped back and spent most of my time in bear form and kept Faerie Fire (Feral) up on the boss. It’s much easier to keep 2 people in melee apart from each other than it is to keep 3 people far enough apart. Once again, plan for problems, plan for people to get confused, and do your best to make a situation where problems can be fixed on the fly.

Then, 40% came and went and the big bugs came out and it was my turn. I picked one up quickly and had the other mis-directed to me. I had a minor heartattack moment when I’d been tanking for a few seconds and realised I’d forgotten that I needed to pay SPECIAL attention to void zones. I immediately strafed to the right and acertained that no, I’m not in immediate peril (giant bugs wailing on my face not withstanding).

Tanking the adds can be tricky for the sole reason of the void zones. Even if you can outlast the bugs, they get to be so large that you can no longer see your character and if a void zone pops underneath you… well, you won’t see it. So what I do is whenever DBM tells me one has spawned I look around for it. If I don’t immediately see it I strafe. More often than not it’s somewhere I didn’t look and strafing wasn’t needed, but sometimes it is, and it’s those times that can save your life.

So then, after what seemed like an eternity, I happened to mouse over the boss and saw his health was a mere sliver of its previous robust glory. My pulse quickened and my fingers flew. I reminded myself to keep watching for void zones and I prayed that I didn’t get ice-blocked.

And then….

The Undying.

It felt amazing. It’s the feeling I used to get on a first kill back in BC days. It felt like the first time we killed Rage Winterchill in Mount Hyjal. After weeks of working, we’d finally done it!

THAT, my friends, is what true progression feels like. I miss those edge-of-your-seat fights where you hope and pray that everyone has brought their A game and that maybe, just maybe, tonight will be THE night.

And when it is?

Ooooh baby you’re on top of the world.

Monday Moooosik

And Pandora makes a come-back! Here’s the first three songs that rolled up for me this morning, my rating, and my thoughts.

  1. Re-Align by Godsmack – Unrated until this morning, given a Thumbs Up – I’ve been a Godsmack fan for a while now. I’ve used the ‘add variety’ button twice on this playlist, I suspect this is a result of my first added variety, the band Loudermilk.
  2. Awaken by Disturbed – Unrated, stayed Unrated – I skipped this. I do like Disturbed, but when their ten-thousand fists CD came out I listened to that non-stop for a month or two. All their stuff tends to blur together for me now so Disturbed is a once in a while type thing, and I wasn’t in the mood for it this morning.
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica – Unrated, given thumbs down – Bleh. I don’t have anything against Metallica, I just wasn’t in the mood for it this morning, maybe with a thumbs down Pandora will get the hint. Plus, the version that rolled up was a live version and I hate listening to live versions (unless I’m there of course)

That’s it for the first installement of Monday Moooosik. As for WoW-related activities, well… There’s only three bosses standing between me and The Undying. We’re finishing up Naxx-10 tonight, so wish us luck!

Last time we were shooting for Undying, when we got to KT I got iceblocked while tanking the two adds. We were also 8-manning it and some of us had forgotten to remove our frost resist. Hopefully this time, packing an extra DPS and one more Healer we’ll be able to set up enough redundencies that we can take out insurance against something unfortunate like that happening again.

Other than those two we still have the 4-Horsemen to take care of. When we did them with 8 people we survived with nobody dying, but our healing shadow priests assured us that it was a very close thing indeed. Once again, we need to do our best to set up redundencies in case someone DCs or gets an unfortunate lag spike.

When we decided to call Naxx last night we went and took care of Gotta Go When the Volcano Blows for 4 people, myself included. I’ll tell you what, when there’s only two* DPS on Sartharion he takes a LONG ass time to kill. First try we got him to about 10% before one of our tanks bit the big one. The second try it was about 5 percent and the last tank was able to hang on until he died.

The healers assure me it was an epic battle. I wouldn’t really know, I was lying on the ground in a pile with three other naked bodies.

Needless to say, they did an AMAZING job. Now I need to make sure to grab my Frost Resist belt from the bank before hitting Naxx again tonight and we’ll be good to go!

*Edited because I can’t count, see comments if you want to lol @ me.

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.