Raiding Nostalgia: M’uru and the Doors

Bit of raiding nostalgia here. I remember one of our “challenges” in downing M’uru in Sunwell prior to the nerf was not losing melee to threat pulls on the adds. Two melee camps were used in our strat. One at the Near Side Door (the one used to enter the boss’ room) and another at the Far Side Door (entrance to the path to Kil’Jaeden).

You had to walk a fine line to opening up early enough to have all waves dead prior to transition to the “burn phase,” and not starting so early that you ended up in a puddle on the floor.

Below is an excerpt from my old guild’s strategy thread on M’uru. The dialogue is courtesy of one of our bear tanks.

“There seems to be misunderstanding in the actual differences between near side tanking and far side.

Having done both on numerous attempts, allow me to clarify and offer suggestions.

On Far Side Door (FSD), there is about a yards worth of play room from the time they come to the door to the time their aggro tables kick in. This allows the tank to run way up infront of his dps group and start building threat. By the time they are in position, mangles and several swipes have been applied with a couple of Mauls thrown in for good measure. It also allows time to compensate for any misses/dodges/parries the adds may do. The way they stagger in is no issue either on FSD because of this play room you get. So, dps can really lay into it without much issue.

FSD tanking is about 5x easier to tank than Near Door (ND).

Now, ND on the other hand. There is little to no play room. The tank cannot stand further back, as I’ve seen it suggested quite a few times now. From the exact moment they cross that purple door, they have a aggro table. If the tank does not get (at minimum) proximity aggro, they will bolt after a healer, even with the frost traps.
Now, another thing that some don’t seem to understand. The near door adds also stagger in. Meaning.. You will see 1 zerker and a mage come through. The third add (usually the 2nd zerker) is behind the purple door.

Here’s what happens with that. Us bears have one aoe threat move, that’s Swipe, it hits 3 targets only. As said before, soon as the first two adds come through the door, the bear has to and must get aggro on them. There is no compromise here. So, we swipe and it hits the zerker and mage, BUT that third add is behind the door, and guess what.. it doesn’t get hit with swipe because it’s LoS. So, we got the first two tagged and now waiting for the 1.5 second GCD to recover. During this time is when the 3rd add comes through. If we aren’t up by that door, we will not get proximity aggro on it. It will run and tear someone a new ass. Usually as long as it turns to us first, that’s enough time for the GCD and we can then mangle/maul/swipe it and then we can start our threat build up.

Now during this, if you notice we’ve done about a swipe or 2 worth of threat, just to pick them up. Contrast this with the far door and hopefully you can see how this can be a bit different to dps. Alternatively we can mangle the first zerker, hope the mage doesn’t run off (but it does), and then swipe the 2nd zerker when it comes in, and give time to dps the first one through the door. BUT!! there’s another little annoyance with near door. And that is adds that get stuck behind the wall. And this my friends is a ripe ol’ pain in the ass for everyone. It’s usually the mage that does this and what’s fantastic about it, the mage will begin it’s casting of 8k fireballs at random people. So, the bear has to move about and try to get it unstuck while keeping the zerkers in front as to not get plowed in the butt, as it hurts.

Another thing that makes it different is the visual perception of how much threat time has been built on near and far doors. Far door you see that bear working into those adds like there’s no tomorrow, and you see the bear walking back with them and finally stop when he has them in position. This is a visual queue to start dps, in this time a few seconds have passed and probably not noticed and yet the adds get down in time. Near door doesn’t have this, you must force yourself to wait a few seconds before tearing into the adds. You have the time to wait about 6 seconds, which is about 4GCDs for the bear, which is probably a mangle, 2swipes and a maul. And still kill the adds in plenty of time.

So, this all sounds like “woah is me the poor door tank”, but in fact it’s not. There are things that can be done to work around this. First you have to be smart about your dps, you just have to. You cannot under any circumstances begin your dps just when you see them pop through that door. That’s not smart as you will most likely die. I’ve seen it time and again where dps thinks that one swipe and a mangle is enough aggro to hold it, and hate to tell you, but it’s not. You just have to give the tank a little time, not asking for 30 seconds or anything since it is a dps race. But you can start with white attacks, and give a quick glace at omen to see how much room you got. I know it’s possible to do this as I’ve tanked and dps’d the fight. After a mangle and 2 swipes (and omen showing more than 3k threat, we get there fast) you can start opening up a little. But realize near door is going to be fragile with the aggro because of it’s shortcomings.

Now, suggestions on this. Since near door aggro control is finicky, I would suggest putting the high threat dpser’s over on far door. Possibly the whirlwinding dps warrior, he would have much more threat leeway over on that side. Mostly, if they do pull aggro, they don’t really have evasion, fd, iceblock, and all those cool toys that other classes get to fix the mistake. This would probably make for a happier warrior.

Us bears could also delay the marking of the add to kill until we feel it’s safe to dps as we’re the only ones that know that a mangle has been dodged, a maul has been parried and all we got on it is a swipe. Believe me, we got the best gear we can use for that fight and it has it’s expertise, but rng is rng and these things happen.

Another thing, myself as dps when it’s allowed (though I know you’d rather have a rogue or war over a cat), would probably be better on near door. N and I had a bash rotation goings on the zerkers which kept the spike damage down with 5second stuns on a 1min CD. Also, if a mob gets loose, I can go bear taunt it back to near door tank keeping him from turning his back on the others. Usually I don’t take too much damage in the process, since I’m sporting about 64%ish dodge in cat gear. Ideally this shouldn’t be needed, but we all know how blizz loves the RNG system.

So, the TLDR version. Near Door = hard tanking which requires smart dps control. Don’t AoE off the bat when they come through the purple curtain. Start with single attack on marked target. When it’s around 70%ish or so, you can open up the blade furys, whirldwinds, sweeping strikes and what-have-you. Omen is your friend, and will give you accurate threat readings on marked targets. Put it in a place you can view it easily and quickly.

As far as the “differences” between M and N, there isn’t. Both got their jobs down and working with what they got. What dps has to understand is why far door has less threat problems than near, understand exactly what those differences between the sides are, and how to work within those confines while still getting the job done. Things like moving people around to far and near doors could possibly alleviate some of these issues.

Bit long, but this just had to be explained from one of your friendly neighborhood bears.”

I miss raiding a lot these days. We’ve now been on break since mid-May, and I have a feeling grouping back up for Firelands is going to be less than smooth.

5 of the people in my current 10 man team were on the Sunwell raid team which is probably what led to the nostalgia moment. 🙂

It’s definitely fun to remember the old times with great teams!

Internet Anonymity – Conduct in a Virtual World

On Thursday, the GM of my guild kicked over 400 members. Unfortunately, I was at work and didn’t see the actual drama unfold which involved some abuse of GMOTD (guild message of the day) as well as a general guild “catfight” over lack of monetary distribution and failure to provide access to game content on the guild level.

The result was the mass kick of around 400 people from a guild that hit 25 only 3 weeks ago. The drama may have ended there after a few days of server wide trade chat complaining and possibly a call out on the server forums (does anyone even use the new style?). However, our leader’s rage was not assuaged by the kicking. He wrote out his feelings in a diatribe posted on the main page of our site. It didn’t take long for the letter to be linked both on the general WoW forums as well as MMO Champion. It was one of those shots heard round the internet, or at least heard around the WoW community. “The incident” has now made its way to my twitter feed, and been linked by several blog sites.

I have experienced a myriad of emotions over the issue. On one hand, I’m on the last leg of my journey through Azeroth. It takes more and more effort to pull away from RL (real life) things that are currently holding my attention and log on for my scheduled 10 man or arena matches with my WoW buddies. On the other, I’ve truly enjoyed my time with these guys. Of the 10 of us, I’ve played with 8 off and on in hardcore 25’s since Sunwell in late-BC, and I’m married to the other one. Sure, it can be challenging raiding with a bunch of dudes. They can be assholes sometimes, and they enjoy “ribbing” each other. We all enjoy the occasional beer or 20 on a raid night sometimes to the detriment of the content being worked on. A regular bunch of WoW “joes” rambling through 10 man content.

Anyway, the whole thing really did grow out of a joke. At first, we didn’t give them guild chat access, but that felt cruel so we turned it on. Created a bank tab, created some forums, answered silly questions, prevented people from typing in all caps in chat. As time wore on, we, the original raid team, finished 12/12 raid content to the point that we could do it in one 3 hour session instead of 2 nights. The gold was rolling in from our sales of BoE epics from Tier 11 content (NOT from the guild perk). There was an increase in gold begging, run begging, silly question asking. We booted repeat or extreme offenders and kept chugging along. We started running an alt run on the other night, and started pulling in a few of our well liked guild members.

I’d like to state now for the record that we NEVER, EVER, EVER took herbs, gold or any kind of mats from any of these people to support our raiding activities. This misconception in the whole thing makes me laugh and irritated. Anyone who would think this has never been on a raid team. Of the 10 of us, we have 8 people with 6 alts with epic flying earned long before Cataclysm ever launched. We didn’t need to steal money from these people. Learn to AH.

Alt runs weren’t enough for them. We promoted officers from their ranks as he stated. Gave them forums. Posted our strats in strat threads. Hosted rated battleground nights (that 3 people out of 400 showed up for). The push to 25 came, and with much begging, pleading and cajoling the 8 of us willing to run heroics to push our level managed to split up and get some of the running with us. For the most part, indifference.

After 25, our GM had pretty much had enough as had most of the founding members. Guild chat was a mess, the natives were hitting 85 and were restless, but were too lazy to do anything without hand holding. I used to be extremely patient with newer players, with jerky players, with anyone, but after seeing the garbage that this game community is capable of producing, I say YOU WANT THEM TAKE THEM.

The day after we hit 25, we kicked all inactives of a week or more, we did an analysis of who we thought made good guild members and who were unsalvageable, and we compared that to who we believed actually contributed to our vast viral community. We created two ranks. For PC (politically correct, even though you probably think most of us incapable of that by now) purposes, we’ll call the ranks “Staying” and “Going.” Those of the “Going” rank were informed that they were at the mercy of the leadership’s rage and might want to consider a new homestead.

This all came to a head this past Thursday night, there was an abuse of GMOTD privileges, a general “You don’t do anything for us” outcry from the masses, and an answering “fine get out” kick from our GM.

Was the language of the dismissal letter inappropriate? Yes. Should we have never let things get this out of control? Yes. Did I disagree with turning on guild chat and perpetuating this from the beginning? Yes.

I feel like I should feel more sorry and don’t, and to be perfectly honest that doesn’t make me want to quit this guild. It makes me even more tired of what this game and its community have become.

I will not miss being called a jerk for not passing out epic flying money, being called mean for refusing to teach someone how to play or telling them to stop “grats”ing every, little thing. I am just as happy to get my quiet, mellow environment back. I just didn’t go all beserker rage and get linked by a person who was in the guild for one week after we hit 25.

Five years ago, I’d have been mortified to be associated with the whole thing. Now the disgust goes both ways. The message for the masses? Be careful, and don’t join guilds from /2.

Oh and for the people on our server saying they don’t want to run with us? We don’t PUG crap ,so we don’t care if you don’t want to run with us. GLHF.

Peace and good luck building communities out of the social waste area.

I do read back through this and think….where did this cynical, dbag come from….the difference in my own outlook is astounding.

While Waiting…

Header updated to Cataclysm. Check.

What to do while waiting for your midnight launch party, or for tomorrow’s package to arrive?

Many blogs and sites have been feverishly at work while we’ve been out lollygagging in the post-Shattering world waiting to die in a fire.

For Rogues there are some places where you can get a definite head start on all your Cataclysm knowledge needs:

1. Elitist Jerks

http://elitistjerks.com/f78/t110016-cataclysm_raiding_faq_updated_12_2_10_a/

A favorite of hardcore PvE players for years, Elitist Jerks has what you need to know. There’s already a great rogue cata raiding at 85 FAQ posted. However, beware of posting. They do not treat either trolls or ignorance kindly on EJ.

2. RogueSpot

http://www.roguespot.com

For a friendlier community, c’mon over to RogueSpot. We have knowledgeable rogues from top guilds, such as Feist from MidWinter, and everyone is a bit more laid back. Cerias has recently done a makeover of the site and things are ramping up.

3. Shadowpanther

http://www.shadowpanther.net

For more casual rogues, who would like a quick AEP glance at gear or who need some leveling advice Shadowpanther does a great job of keeping his site updated and efficient.

Only one thing left friends….are you leveling in Hyjal or Vashj’ir first? J

Balancing Act

Yes, Rogues were hit with the “Balance” stick over the past week. However, I will say the changes didn’t hit as hard as I feared. Or, it’s possible that I just braced myself for it more than I realized.

The base numbers coming down through the “internetz” is that it works out to about a 7-8% drop in Mutilate damage and a 2% for Combat.

/shrug

Nerfing and Balancing are just a part of life in any MMO really. The part of this change that bothers me is really the fact that the developers stated that it was due to their notice of guilds stacking rogues for certain encounters. A lot of those guilds of course then benched or kicked the rogues and brought other classes. I was trying to find the quote so I’m not just slandering the posters in blue, but I’ve been unsuccessful for the moment.

Things like this do make feel a bit for fellow rogues not as lucky as I. Sure, we’re all stealthy loners that love the shadows, but we do enjoy some group play now and again. Thank you to my guild’s officers for your wonderful job at keeping the class balance and maintaining the roster and attitude we have. It’s a pleasure to stab for you.

Although Ghostcrawler did get a snappy new sig from the Rogue “hotfixes”:

“Blizzard’s solution was F) Destroy the sun.”

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=22418944030&sid=1&pageNo=15#280

Will I lose my Rogue card if I claim to not care whether I’m first or 10th on an addon damage meter as long as the boss dies or the encounter is successful?

Likes and Fixes…Patch 3.3

And today we get a round of fixes (nerfs ;)) to the previously released Patch 3.3 Frozen Halls dungeons and Icecrown Citadel raid encounters as well as some extra rewards for actually remaining in those Oculus randoms that pop up now and again.

The highlights and a LINK back to the source.

1/5/10

  • The Lady Deathwhisper encounter has seen the following changes in the 25 player normal version: mana pool has been reduced, the health on all adds has been reduced, and Adherents will wait a little longer after spawning before they start casting.
  • Interrupting a fireball being cast by the Ymirjar Flamebearers in normal and heroic Pit of Saron will no longer make them instantly cast Hellfire.
  • The ghost waves at the beginning of both normal and heroic Halls of Reflection have undergone several changes that should make them easier to defeat such as preventing 2 mages or 2 mercenaries from spawning in the 5 mob pulls, a shorter duration of the spectral footman’s shield bash, and the spectral mage’s flamestrike having a longer cast time, shorter duration, and (in heroic) doing less damage.
  • The Oculus loot improvements posted here have been made: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=22418861894&pageNo=1&sid=1#0

So now I feel kind of bad for being all kick happy on the PoS mobs. It’s a bit  juvenile, but seeing people post LFG H-PoS really makes me giggle inside. Also, I don’t think Lady Deathwhisper needed a nerf. It was the only fight in the first wing of ICC that really felt challenging. Oh no, it takes a few wipes to down that? We have to make it easier. Seriously guys, I didn’t love the M’uru wipe fest either, but Lady D was no where near that kind of harsh. (People who claim to have loved M’uru are 1] Sadists-in a bad way and 2]suffering from long term memory issues.)

So a couple of weeks into Patch 3.3 The Fall of the Lich King, I definitely have my likes down:

1. Mutilate. Mutilate. Mutilate – I absolutely love playing this game as a Rogue wielding daggers. I was a bit ignorant in TBC. Thus, why I subjected myself to Combat Daggers up until Lady Vashj. O..M..G…though. Mutilate is so good right now, it feels sinful to use it. Like dps-ing with really good chocolate or scotch.

2. Gunship Battle – Oh ye who complain about vehicle fights, leave your complaints at the teleporter. This fight has it all. Portals with spawning mobs, Cannons and cannon fodder, Battle mages, Faction warfare against Flying Gunships, and last but now least gas-powered ROCKET PACKS. My only regret is that I don’t have a raiding toon Horde side to see this fight from that angle, too.  As melee, I get to zip back and forth between the two ships taking down battle-mages, rocketeers, and axe throwers. Now this is gaming.

3. The opening emote sequence to ICC – Yeah, Trial of the Crusader/grand crusader and its four raid ID’s has me tired of Tirion’s emoting speeches, too. But this starter scene between him, Muradin, the Lich King, and our fallen friend Bolvar almost makes it worth it. I’m loving watching this story unfold.

4. Professor Putricide – I should probably be worried, but I’m really looking forward to stepping through the gate leading to the Plagueworks of ICC and this boss that was barely tested EU side PTR. For once, we don’t have massive amounts of PTR strats and raid kill videos. We have a basic ability list, and we’re going to have to figure it out. In 10 attempts or less. Looking forward to the intensity.

TL;DR version – Mutilate = sinfully good, Gunship Battle = stellar, My anticipation level for the rest of ICC = high

As always, happy raiding!

Patch 3.3 – Icecrown Citadel Raid Access

I’m back from sunny FL to the wonderful cold, autumn rains, and the big buzz in the WoW raiding community today is all focused on Daelo’s post about Icecrown Citadel and Blizzard’s plan for Boss availability and attempt limitation in the instance.

Here is the post in full as well as a link to the original:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=21038229051&sid=1

Icecrown Citadel testing has been progressing very well over the last few weeks, and this has been a huge help to the encounter design team. I want to thank everyone who has logged onto the PTR and tried the encounters there.

As we’re now getting closer to the release of 3.3.0, I wanted to talk about our plans for access progression within Icecrown Citadel. Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live. At this point I can’t give precise dates for these release dates as they are determined by when patch 3.3.0 goes live. Once dates are known with more certainty, I’ll update the community so they can plan appropriately.

The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks. Then the Plagueworks will open with Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide becoming available. After another period of time, the Crimson Hall will open and you can then fight the Blood Princes and Blood-Queen Lana’thel. The final Frostwing Halls unlock then occurs after that, making Valithria Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and the Lich King available. We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.

There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.

The Lich King may not be attempted until Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, and Sindragosa are defeated. Furthermore, the Heroic difficulty of The Lich King encounter may not be attempted in any week unless the three aforementioned encounters have been defeated in Heroic difficulty that week.

The Ashen Verdict provides reinforcements and material for players to assault Icecrown Citadel, but this support is not endless. Raids will have a limited number of attempts total each week to defeat the four most difficult encounters in Icecrown Citadel: Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. As these boss encounters are unlocked, the number of attempts available per week will increase. The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana’thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses. After a raid has exhausted their attempts for the week, the Ashen Verdict must withdraw their support and the four most difficult bosses all despawn and become unavailable for the week. The limited attempt system is a feature of both Normal and Heroic difficulty.

There will be no explicit rewards for defeating the Lich King with a specific number of attempts remaining as there was with Trial of the Grand Crusader. There will also not be an achievement to complete Icecrown Citadel without being defeated by a boss encounter, or letting a raid member die. (i.e. A Tribute to Insanity).

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell’s effect if they so wish.

My thoughts:

1. I actually have no problem with the Gating concept. It seems to fit well with the story they are attempting to build with the Ashen Verdict. It also saves guilds from feeling like they have to devote 24 hours to the raid instance for “first” kills. Although that would probably be the argument that top world and regional guilds would have against the “gating” idea.

2. A limit of five attempts seems a bit ridiculous. People are in raiding guilds because they enjoy raiding. If our time is too limited, you have the problem of boredom and losing core team members. Basically here, I just hope they know what they are doing and the potential pitfalls.

3. The buff that will gradually increase is a built in nerf. I don’t see the point of limiting the instance and building in a nerfing mechanic.

4. I’m still excited to see Icecrown Citadel. I’ve avoided too much spoiler information because I want to enjoy it. However, I’ll have to start researching boss abilities to ensure that my role is covered for my guildmates in our limited attempts.

5. I’m really glad they removed the Insanity and Immortality type of achievement. I dislike the dissention it could cause for raid teams. Making what should be farming run stressful and aggravating. This mechanic has not affected my guild yet in ToGC since we are still working on Anub, but I know it wasn’t fun for friends I have in other top guilds.

As always, it will be interesting to watch both the community feedback and the instance itself unfold. What an explosive 5th anniversary. 🙂