Rage of the Firelands Week 2 – To be on time is to be late…

One thing about 10 man raiding, you really have to depend on your team to show. Especially tanks and healers. In 25 man raiding, you generally have a larger bench which equals more options if RL interferes.

Last night we found ourselves waiting on a OT who had signed up on the calendar for last night’s planned Firelands run. After grabbing a DK Tank friend of one of our new members, we plowed ahead through the 45 mins of trash and a repeat Shannox kill. Sadly, this only left us enough time for 3 attempts on Beth’tilac and no new kill in week 2.

Raiding etiquette 101 – Sign up, show up, or please communicate. Nine other people are sacrificing their time to be their. Show them some courtesy.

Hopefully, Tuesday’s run will start on time and we’ll get some work done in the new Tier12 content. 🙂

Happy Raiding!

Advertisements

Rage of the Firelands Week 1: Trash and Shannox

My first adventure in the new tier of raiding was the Saturday after release. After a two month raid break at the end of Tier 11, the six of us still interested in raiding from our original team were starting to feel the raiding bug again.

The trash in Firelands is actually pretty fun. Thank goodness because there is a lot of it. On our first night with a couple PUGs from trade (we actually recruited an old raidmate that night searching for a home), we saw the strength trinket, caster staff, and a crossbow. Loot is great, but it was fun to be running with the guys again.

On Sunday, we ventured in on our first main raid. We brought along a Pally to replace our friend who gained a new work schedule during our break. After a good trash clear and 4 attempts, we managed to down Shannox. (Yay new dagger!) Beth’tilac didn’t drop in our first two attempts, but we were at the end of our allotted 3 hours.

Not too shabby a return for a half new team. I’m looking forward to week two starting tonight!

 

Happy Raiding!

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!

Intermission

Word on the street with a lot of raiding guilds this month seems to be that things are on a downturn. Think U.S. housing market 2009.

I know our current 10 man team is having trouble with the desire to push on to 4.2. We took a vote and decided that taking a complete break until the Firelands would probably spell disaster as far as a solid team is concerned. So we’ve opted to chug a long. We dropped our raid night down to one night a week, cut out our alt run, and elected to not worry about clearing heroic modes.

These decisions may not seem like a big deal, but coming from a group of former top 50 hardcore raiders going casual isn’t always easy. The main group has been raiding together in one form or another since Molten Core. The rest of us were added to the gang during Sunwell progression.

Is it us or the game? We probably do fit the “aging gamer” model. We’ve all been playing since the first year of launch. We’ve moved from being carefree college gamers to mid-20’s to 30’s professionals. I’m not sure that WoW in it’s “glory days” would hold our attention in the same way it did in 2004.  Also, we’re unwilling to run the 10 + 30% bench that would be required. We have 10 people. It’s all or nothing baby.

A few things that for me would make the game a bit more playable:

1. Shorter heroics – I don’t care if the hardcores think I’m bad. I don’t want to spend 2-3 hours in a pug heroic instance. It’s not fun, it’s tedious. Plus, I’m unwilling to make the time.

2. Tol Barad – If this zone was anything remotely like Wintergrasp, I’d probably log on for a game a day.

3. 10 man Heroic Difficulty – We can clear 12/12 normal tier 11 in 1.5 to 2 hours. With half drunk people. On all but Halfus, we were running into solid walls on our heroic attempts. About a month ago, we checked to see how many guilds had cleared Heroic 10 man worldwide it was around 30 mostly Asian. In the US, that achievement dropped to 3. Uh yeah. We can read the writing on that wall.

In the interim, I’ve played through some Star Trek Online, reduced my 5K completion time by about 3 mins, and enjoyed some spring bonfire cookouts. Win. Win. For me anyway. Whether or not Blizzard will continue receiving subscription dollars from me when SWTOR comes out, remains unknown.

Rogue UI – My Favorite Addons

 

I love a large, clean middle of my screen. The better to find and stealth kill you, my dear. Unfortunately, I’m playing on a 5 year old laptop. The graphics upgrades to the game have not been friendly to my tired machine.

My solution has been to whittle down my addon usage to only “necessary” additions. By necessary, I really mean what I must have to be able to stand to do what I enjoy in game. As a 10man raider and avid arena player, I need clear space, quick information, and room for many keybindings.

Best change implemented in recent Cata patches for me was definitely moveable target and player frames. This allowed me to live with ditching Pitbull and Grid and move to using only the Blizzard standard raid and party frames. The name of the PvE game in Cataclysm is interrupts in Tier11 content as well as the 4.1 Troll heroics. Being forced to look at the top left corner of my screen for a spellcast in addition to watching my environment for danger and managing my cooldowns/buffs was enough to drive a gnome girl mad.

And so, the list:

1. Dominos – I absolutely cannot stand having the standard, unresizeable large standard bars. I have everything in my arsenal bound to various hotkeys. I’ve been using these abilities for 6 years plus, so I definitely don’t have to stare at them. Dominos is lightweight and extremely customizeable for all your action bar needs.

2. PowerAuras – With PA, you can show buffs & debuffs on your character with various “auras” that you can size, resize and place left, right, up, down or all around your character.

3. FuBar & Plug-ins – I use DurabilityFu & MoneyFu.

4. Omen – Threatmeter. A dead rogue does ZERO dps. Also helpful for realizing when it’s your turn to pop evasion and tank it up.

5. Skada – Damage meter, how you died, % of damage by abilities, etc.

6. Deadly Boss Mods – My favorite raiding boss timer addon since BC. I’ve tried some of the others, but I always end up using my steadfast DBM.

7. GnomishInterruptor – Announces successful interrupts to your party for easy rotation management (or finding out who failed at their blast nova on Nef). Not updated for 4.1 as of Tuesday, unfortunately. 😦

All of the above are easy to find by a quick visit to wow.curse.com.

 

UI Raid Style

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

UI -full keybinds

4.1 – Stealth Buffed? Wtf?

Never in my wildest rogue dreams would I imagine Blizzard granting the following:

“Stealth base cooldown has been reduced to 6 seconds, down from 10, and the movement penalty from being in Stealth has been removed.”

A buff to our most hated ability? We must be dreaming. After a week of battleground and arenas in my Sub spec, I can say the buff to stealth is fun but it just feels evil.

My other favorite class gain in 4.1?

“Tricks of the Trade now has a 100-yard range, up from 20.”

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now I don’t have to run 40 yards from my assigned Al’Akir spot to reapply TotT if my guildies get chatty when we should be pulling. 🙂

A full list of the Rogue specific changes can be found here:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2657803#rogues

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.