Side Note #100

Wow. Just informed by wordpress that the last post was number 100 for me! Three years and 100 posts later and still raiding on my rogue.

This blog was started to replace a blog I had started on a site called Guild Cafe during Karazhan. At that time, I was an officer/Assistant GM for a 10 man guild that was trying to transition to 25’s and Gruul’s. We ended up absorbed by the 3rd ranked guild on my original server, and thus began my extremely hardcore raiding schedule. We ran 6 nights a week, 3 hours a night. As you can imagine, that took a toll on everything in my life.

After about 9 months of 100% attendance, I server transferred to join a guild that ran 4 hours a night, 4 days a week. Both guilds had stopped running MH/BT and were on SWP. With Wrath launch, I was struggling to find the desire to maintain a Top 50 guild mentality and desire. I quit raiding and then the game for about 3 months. With Ulduar, I was feeling the bug again and joined a 3 night/3 hour guild. We progressed through all content and I stopped raiding after a year and a half of 95% attendance. In Cataclysm, I joined a group of friends from my two former guilds to raid strict 10s on a casual schedule. Some quit after Tier 11, and the rest of us are attempting to plug along.

What a raiding journey. For the most part, I’ve been fortunate to play with some great people and great guilds. I’ve got a ton of WoW stories and even gained some real life friends.

Long winded wow history over. Let the raiding discussions commence. 🙂

Firelands – Worst Luck EVER

After making the decision to rebuild our team for Firelands raiding, the five of us that remained knew that we had a daunting task before us. We’ve been on this type of sinking ship before. Sometimes you bail out all the water, sometimes you sink.

While I personally believe we’re far from sinking, our raid nights have had a bit of a “keystone cop” sort of feel to them. We’re failing at things like showing up on time and doing a bit of class and fight homework personally without expecting the raid lead to force feed it to you. Some of this is due to the fact that we got used to being a group of former hardcores who just have good raiding habits by this time. Building a new team will always come with it’s fair share of hiccups.

Some of the things plaguing us have just been plain bad luck as well. Life happens and it happens to us randomly and viciously. A raider’s refrigerator line breaks and floods his kitchen 20 minutes before start. A tank recruit logs off after a ZA and doesn’t come back and we kick him after a week. Another raider had a bad night installing a new system at work on the same night as the refrigerator incident and ending up getting home 20 minutes before end.

Such is raiding. So we’re back to the same options. Recruit a 30% bench and sit tons of people. (Many of whom will quit because they’re sitting and we have a 2 day a week schedule.) Roll with the punches and go when we can and call it when we can’t. Disband and give up the ghost.

We’re currently working on Majordomo. I missed the Alysrazor kill during my week of vacation. So with normal modes almost done in, I’d love to see our team stablize and start whacking at heroics.

Rogue Raiding

I saw that a visitor today found me by searching for how to play a rogue on Beth’tilac. While I’m far from the cutting edge of progression, I’ll share some of my insight and resources used.

Your role as a rogue in any raid is going to be determined by your group’s makeup and the strat your leadership chooses to run with. As a dps class, your focus is always going to be:

1. Staying Alive.

2. Performing any utility assignment you’ve received (i.e. kicking)

3. DPS..DPS..DPS

So we’ll start with living. To survive a fight you need to know how to anticipate the mechanics of the fight you’ll be participating in. Research. Watch vids. KNOW what is going to be happening. Once you’re in the instance, LOOK, LISTEN, & MOVE.

Melee is movement. It’s a dance. You want to maximize your time on target and stay out of the bad stuff. Rarely will you have the Baleroc or Patchwerk type fights where you’re just standing still going through a dps rotation.

For boss mod info, my preferred mod is DBM (www.deadlybossmods.com). However, other options like DXE (Deus Ex Encounters) are also popular. Choose the one that works best for you.

For DPS maximization and fight mechanics, I keep an eye on the Rogue threads over at EJ (www.elitistjerks.com) and I’ve recently become a fan of the vodka guy’s L2R (learn2raid videos) on youtube. Shadowcraft.mmo-mumble.com is the new rogue tool for gear optimization. It can replace all those unwieldy spreadsheets.

My guild group is currently 4/7 Firelands on 10 Normal. We’re raiding 6 hours a week. The 4.2 mechanics thread at EJ has some good basic rogue tips: http://elitistjerks.com/f78/t123899-cataclysm_4_2_x_raid_mechanics/.

Shannox

For this run, I’m usually the solo melee. I stick with the tank on the boss while our ranged dps takes care of killing rageface as well as dispelling any facerages.  We leave immolation traps up around the boss, but I disarm the crystal prison traps around Shannox IF and only IF there are other ones available further out for the Riplimb tank’s use. This fight is mostly a tank and spank for me while avoiding any traps in my area. At 35%, I switch off Shannox and help burn down Riplimb then we push Shannox to 30% and execute him. We pop hero at 25%, and I burn a Tol’Vir potion.

Beth’tilac

For the spider lady on 10 man 1 DPS is sent up to her web along with 1 tank and 1 healer. I was tagged in our group for web duty. The key is getting your group to bring down 3 spinners quickly. We have the tank up first, followed closely by the healer, and then I take the 3rd web rope. You only get ropes from taunting or dpsing down the Spinner spiders. This mechanic is key because you need your tank and 1 DPS to get Beth’tilac to 80% in three web phases. This will ensure that you have enough time to kill her before you run out of time, healer mana, and hope.

While on the web, you have to watch out for the central hole, burning meteor patches, and Beth’tilac’s smoldering devestation cooldown. We drop back down through the center with 5 secs left to her cast. Damage while up on her web is pretty minimal if you don’t stand in the fire. I use feint on cooldown to assist my healer, but my health never is an issue.

If your raid can get a good rhythm for bringing down the spinners and killing the adds that spawn down below, Beth’tilac should be a simple and fun kill.

Lord Rhyolith

Here’s where things start to heat up. Rhyolith is a melee player nightmare. You have a boss the size of your screen, magma flow to stay out of, constant eruption damage, and adds that give off a pulsing damage circle. Oh, and you’ll probably be tagged for steering the monstrosity. Your job will be to manage dps on the boss’ legs to keep him running around his platform and not running into the magma moat. If he drinks the punch, your raid is dead. You facilitate this by using the steering bar that will pop up when the boss is engaged. In addition to keeping him on the island, you’ll need to run him over the active volcanoes that spawn. 2 to 3 volcanoes spawn at random locations on the island after each time Rhyolith does a concussive stomp. Feint and Cloak both work to mitigate or ignore the damage of this encounter. Also, you never want to be close to the edge with your back to the magma on a stomp as the knockback effect can throw you in for a massive hit. After the volcano stomps have removed all of Rhyolith’s armor, he’ll go into his tank/spank phase. Pop hero and stab your heart out.

Baleroc

The fight that our class is made for. The only crazy mechanic here is the Shards of Torment. These crystals will spawn and must be soaked by dps players in a rotation. Our team uses 4 players. It’s a good idea to chose classes that have either a self-healing or some kind of damage mitigation. I soak the 1st shard to 12 stacks using Feint halfway through while continuing to maximize dps, Shadowpriest takes the next 12. Our shard despawns and another shard spawns. Our Hunter takes 12, and the our Warlock takes the final 12. Rinse, repeat until that boss dies and be glad your aren’t a tank or healer. 🙂

There endeth my FL knowledge. I’m heading on family vacation for a week, but I hope to see some Alysrazor soon. Be sure to watch actual raid guides to get some better insight into these fights. Good luck and HAPPY Raiding!

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!

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!

Rogue Raid Buffs

Yes, you read the title right. Rogue raid BUFFS. I’m astonished at the number of posts, tweets, trade chat complaints I see that believe rogues still don’t contribute anything but damage to raid groups.

The days of rogues providing nothing more than some serious single target damage per second are long gone.

Following the “bring the player, not the class/spec” mentality of WoW WotLK raiding, all buffs are mirrored or similar to what other classes can provide.

1.  Savage Combat is a 4% increase to physical damage to any target you have poisoned, and is provided by a Combat Rogue. Its mirror is an Arms Warrior’s Blood Frenzy ability.

2. Master Poisoner provides 3% increased critical chance to any target you have poisoned and is provided by a Mutilate Rogue. Its mirror is provided by two other class types a Ret Paladin’s Heart of the Crusder or a Shaman’s Totem of Wrath.

3. Tricks of the Trade. The premium ability that Rogues gained in Wrath of the Lich King, in my opinion. Glyphed this ability provides a 15% damage increase by the person you target for 10 seconds, and they also receive all threat generated by you during that time frame. Similar to Hunter’s misdirect, but with many more options in its use in high end raiding or even your random dungeon group.

Side note – With the changes to Warlocks and Shaman coming out today, looks like beta for Cataclysm isn’t far behind!

Now I’m off to work more on H-ICC25. We’re currently sitting at 7/12 Hard Modes. We were unfortunate to get hit with some roster change ups after our first Lich King kill. Mostly people deciding they were at the end of their WoW time.

Happy Raiding!