The last week, we had our ups and downs in the guild, but I think we ended on a strong note.

We have some great new people, and I’ll get to that soon.

We are also still having a little bit of adjustment period going on.

Let me ‘splain.

(Digression: How many other people grew up with I Love Lucy being one of the only choices on the TV, in black and white, as a kid? I can still remember Ricky Ricardo pronouncing explain as ‘splain’, and hearing the laugh track that tells me I’m supposed to think it’s funny. Our generation sucked for TV. When I think of the shows you get to grow up with now, I want to destroy all cable and satellite broadcasting, melt your VCR tapes and DVDs, and force you to watch Gilligan’s Island and I Love Lucy for a month straight to make you understand my generations’ bitterness better. Oh, and another word for nostalgia? CRAP. Damn you. Damn you all. And get off my lawn!)

Okay, so at the start of the game week, we took a look at the sign-ups on the guild website for Karazhan, and Gerolan and I started inviting people. We got our ten, and in we went. We were timely, and we were going to go straight in and clear everything up to and including Curator.

The group was a mix of seasoned regulars and new guild members, with two of the folks entirely new to Karazhan.

Begin soapbox:

A word of advice, folks. If someone says they haven’t been to Karazhan before… don’t assume they are going to either suck, or be undergeared. I’ve said it before, and I reserve the right to say it again… there are many ways of getting gear upgrades, and raiding is not the only one. And having ten or more friends to play with does not mean you are a good player any more than having 4 friends or less makes you a bad player.

That’s a point I think that gets lost, a lot, in talking about the game.

Just because someone is in a largely populated guild that always has enough people online for 10 man, or even 25 or 40 man raids, does not mean that every person in that guild is a good player.

I have seen, oh so many times, someone ask “Is that [insert class here] a good player?” and see the reply be something along the lines of “He was in OOB and raided The Eye, so he’s really good.”

Oh, bullshit. I have seen from personal experience that folks with end game raid experience can suck, and then some. Sure, their gear may be great. But great gear will carry an idiot only so far, and no farther. Even worse, because they were in a guild that raided the Eye or higher, they often have a massive chip on their shoulder and talk down to others in less progressed guilds. Yeah, if you are so awesome, why not go solo the Eye? If you can’t then shut the hell up and acknowledge the part teamwork played in your progression. Asshat.

Anyways, just as there are poor players in high end raiding guilds, likewise, there are plenty of folks I know that never get to do group activities, or if they do, it’s very infrequently. And yet, when I do see them in a group environment, I get blown away by how on top of their game they are.

My friend Melpo is one such player. He has a ton of personal responsibilites, his work and his family life pretty much preclude him from ever coming online earlier than 10:30 at night, even on weekends. And he has a vicious early start time for getting the kids ready for school.

But on those times when there are still lots of folks in the guild on late at night, and I’ve been able to get into a heroic 5 man with him, it’s always the same. He plays a Rogue, and he kicks ass; he manuevers and saps and stunlocks and generally plays havoc with our targets, and he puts out ungodly DPS without ever pulling too much aggro, and his gear is damn good, without being able to go on Kara runs.

He wanted gear upgrades, he knew he wouldn’t be going into Kara anytime in the future, so he went and found one way Rogues can get great stuff solo… he ran Battlegrounds until he could get his Season 1 Arena swords. He knows he won’t be getting rolls on void crystals off Kara D/E, so he does his dailies, makes his Alchemy transmutes, and is saving for his dual mongoose enchants. In fact, he may have them by now.

When we chat, he has smart advice to give Cassie on setting up macros for pickpocketing on the Sap, and positioning for distraction prior to Sapping, and generally has spent a great deal of time thinking about, analyzing and playing his character. And he never gets to raid. It’s a damn crime, is what it is.

Soapbox temporarily off.

Sorry for the mini-rant, but it is pertinent to todays’ discussion.

We had ten people for Karazhan last Tuesday, and two of them had never been in Karazhan before, and a third, as far as I know, had only ever gone on our raids on his shadow priest, not his bear tank. So I would have a new bear tank as my off tank.

Others in the run may remember things differently, but during Tuesday’s run, we kicked everythings’ butt really good, and had no wipes that I can remember. The only times we had some excitement was a few times where I body pulled on the walk to Attumen, and some problems with our bear off-tank acting like who was tanking a mob was a  competition instead of a team effort. You know, the whole “Are you taunting them off me? WTF?” kind of thing. There was one really cool moment, when as we approached the corridor leading to Maiden, someone pulled the 4 Elites near the last AOE group. Usually that would mean wipe, but the team pulled through awesome. Whatever, it went okay, and we blasted through Kara until we reached Curator.

At Curator, we ran into a problem where one set of Arcane Anomoly and Worms were bugged, they were stuck in a wall in Curators’ room. We cleared everything else, but had problems with the last set Evading.

We decided to take on Curator anyway, and about 3/4 of the way through, he bugged, focused on the off tank to the exclusion of everything else, even though it showed me at the top of the Threat list by 200,000 points, and then after the off tank died, came after me… and healed himself to full. We wiped in disgust to reset, and came in and wiped again just getting that damn trash mob dead despite the Evade. But our last fight on Curator went off without a hitch. All in all, a good if undistinguished run.

Begin discussion of the problems the rest of the week.

Our group, the one full of people that signed up, went off as planned. But there were other people in the guild that wanted to get their own Kara run going also. So they worked on it for a while, and eventually got enough people together to get in and get going. And although they skipped a few things, they did get through to Curator and cleared him also.

And for the rest of the week, we were screwed.

First, our bear off tank had an issue the very next day, where he violated our Guild Charter, and passed the bounds of decency by being unbelievably rude and crude to a guildie. Just, way, way over the line. It was not the first time he’d done that kind of thing, but this time was just amazingly bad. So the officers, including myself, decided it was time to boot him. And we acted on it immediately.

This left our group without a second tank. That’s cool, no big deal, right?

Well, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal except that, with a second group forged, almost everyone in the guild that is active was saved to one of the two teams. And each night for the rest of the week, we could only get 7 people on. And every night I got to field the questions of “Are we going to Kara tonight?”

Having two teams just really screwed the week. Instead of knowing what night to come back to finish, and being able to grab someone if one person wasn’t able to make it, everyone had to come back every night in the hopes that we’d be able to go, but the guild just doesn’t have enough active players to keep two full teams, with alternates, going. A fact that most of us knew full well from prior attempts, but whatever.

Anyway, things came to a head Saturday night, when the questions about Kara were surfacing, and one of the guys in the other Kara team was telling people that my team wasn’t gonna be able to go because we didn’t have enough people, but their team was going in to finish, so hop on alts and join them. I offered my help to their team on my Hunter, and then did a quick look at the guild roster, and thought, “Wait a fucking minute… we have enough to get going. What the hell is he talking about?”

I compared notes with Gerolan, and as close as we could figure, we had 7 people ready and able to go into Karazhan… two of those being the guys that were in for the first time. Well, maybe we couldn’t do any bosses, but could we get to the Chess event? And make damn sure that the guy we booted couldn’t ninja the event? Let’s give it a try.

We started with 7 people, on the trash after Curator. We had;

  • Windshadow (me) – Tanking Feral Druid
  • Gerolan – Healing Paladin
  • Kellas – Healing Priest
  • Caladorn – Healing Paladin
  • Solarae – Mage
  • Malkil – Mage (and first time in Kara)
  • Jimboton – Survival hunter (and first time in Kara)

We went in, and I’ll be perfectly honest with you. It was one of the smoothest Kara runs on trash I’ve ever seen. We went in, we took it nice and easy, one pull at a time, not slow and not rushed. We cleared one pull at a time with no issues or even confusion that I saw all the way to the first big chamber with all the Magical Horrors and Mana Warps. 

Now, we were just looking over the chamber, deciding how best to control the pulls, since you get one Magical Horror and two Mana Warps per pull, and three Mana Warps on the middle pull, when Occulus logged into game.

I bullied him unmercifully to get on his Warlock and come help us. After that, Kara was a bullies’ lunch, and we were hungry. And just like a pack of outcasts looking at a bully, we ganged up on it, beat the hell out if it, and stole it’s lunch.

What, didn’t you guys do that in High School? 

Anyway, with our team bolstered by Doc Occ, we were just too overpowered for the trash. Eight man team in Karazhan? Pffft. Too easy. lol.

We cleared the trash, we moved on in, and not only did we have no wipes on the way to the Chess event, but we only had one death… Occulus. Poor guy.

It was just smooth, baby. Mark, pull, tank, trap/shackle/banish, heals, next. Like clockwork. Extremely good individual playing on everyone’s part.

We got to Chess, we explained the battle, and boom! We won. Kinda hard to build that one up. :)

I did have fun playing the Caster in Chess for the first time. AOE and direct blasts in Chess are fun!

After we finished Chess, we looked around, and decided to at least give Shade of Aran a shot. If we could take him down, we wouldn’t have to clear the trash on Monday when we came in to finish it. Were we feeling cocky? Yeah, a bit. Especially since we were running low on DPS.

We managed to get a ninth person into the team, a Mage named Darrez, so now we really were close to having a full group.

Sadly, we did not succeed in taking down Shade. And we only got one shot at it before Occulus had to go back to studying for an exam and writing an essay paper.

On that one shot, with new people and short one, and only me for melee DPS, we got Shade down to 12% health.

It was pretty obvious we weren’t going to get ‘er done on the first whack, though. We never did get his health under his mana, his health stayed 10% – 12% above his mana the whole fight. Well, with three powerful healers, and short one person, it was pretty clear where the team was lacking, and even without DPS, I think we came amazingly close. If we’d had Rynadur, our resident Rogue who was gone all weekend, it would’ve been doable even with our original eight and him, I think.

I am very proud of everyone that went on that run. We could have sat back, and said “We don’t have ten, so we can’t go”.

Instead, we said “We have seven people here, we can see how far we get. Let’s go for it.”

And the moral of the story, for me, is don’t be scared to take people into a freaking raid just because it’s their ‘first time there’. Everyone has a first time everywhere, and that has no bearing on their skill at playing their character.

It just means that raid leaders need to step up and do a solid job of explaining what to expect on the next pull.

Grats guys, you all rock!

12 Responses to “Kara – it’s not just for 10 anymore”
  1. Lin [EG] says:

    Bravo for taking it on seven manned.

    Our own raid constantly goes eight to nine manned — normally nine, because one of our mages can’t make it on time, but is usually a half hour to an hour late due to RL stuff. There was a wonderful time when one of our healers didn’t actually tell us that he was offline trying to hop onto Vent (and didn’t get it to work) and we fought all the way to Attumen (with a really bad pull that we did recover from decently nicely (okay, so four of us died)) without him before realizing it, and asked him why he just didn’t run his bum over. His response was that the raid leader promised him a summon… when most of us didn’t know that he wasn’t along. Lazy paladin. He was sitting in SW the whole time. (We ended up kicking said paladin when we got to Aran because he didn’t understand the fact that he is not supposed to move during Aran and blew us up several times.)

    But seven manning? Very nicely done, BBB! Kudos to you and your team.

  2. don says:

    Great job! A smart group can do well in Kara, even if you don’t have ten people. I think it’s fun for the people involved too; you get almost a sort of confirmation that you’re a good player in a good group when you’re doing crazy stuff that just shouldn’t work, but does.

    We often get 8 people inside of Kara and start, killing Attumen trash (and sometimes Attumen himself) as we wait for the rest of the group to arrive. Two healers, two tanks, and some DPS? Yep, time to go!

  3. Messyah says:

    Yeah man, great job. There is a big difference between good geared players and good playing players. We had a warlock that was out on hiatus for a while who just recently had returned in greens abd blues and he raped some of our super-geared people on DPS.

    Know your t00n!

    Btw, I am now on a new server, in a new guild and we just downed Lurker and Tidewalker in SSC. It was awesome. We had 9 DPSers hitting past the 1200 mark on the Lurker fight. Plus, this guild respects me as a DPSer when I am not needed for tanking. I may not be hitting 1200, but I am at a steady 700+

    BBB – In honor of Ferals everywhere, I topped our guild rogues in damage and kills in our Premade BGs all this week… though one of my old guildies transferred over and he beat me last night. (Which is what I expected since he is a certified BAD A$$!!!!) – This helped me ear respect as a viable DPSer… and when the patch comes out and undead and robots will bleed, watch out bitches! Muwahahahaaaaaaaaa!

  4. Quincey says:

    Nice Vid ^.^

    But i wanted to say how much i agree with your mini rant at the top of the page :) i have a story myself about a guild mate that performed better than anyone could have expected.

    I am in a SSC / TK raiding guild, i consider myself to be a fairly decent raider, usually picking boss fights up within an attempt or 2. I play as an “Elder” in my guild, basicly meaning i look after the newer members, making sure they have a smooth transistion from thier old guilds style into our own, and answering any questions they may have.

    I was recently assigned a new trial member, Avantis of Eonar EU, and i have to admit i was scared shitless when he told me that he had never evan done a 10 man before and we were pitting him against Leotharass the blind. However to my ABSOLUTE amasement he listened, asked in /w what he didnt understand, did what he was told and in the end was part of our very first guild kill, himself performing to a degree of exellence that i have only to expect of our most seasoned raiders and has continued to perform to a high standard from then on. An easy job for me that evening ^.^ and quite a little + next to my own name as an elder.

    It just goes to show that you can never judge a raider by his experiance, and that evan the most seemingly unworthy may just suprise you a little ^.^

    P.S – loving your new website B, might have to look into sorting myself out my own domain :D

  5. Pesce says:

    Great article and you are absolutely right; there is always a 1st time for everyone. Kara isn’t all that difficult and if you explain the fights right to new folks it usually goes off well. You may wipe once, but after that the trick is obvious. This past weekend we Two Shot Curator and One Shot Shade with 5 players who have never done Kara before. I was worried about Shade, especially with the Flame Wreath, but the new folks listened well and pulled it off flawlessly. Kudos to you for barking, err growling, at idiots who look at others as inferrior.

  6. Ngita says:

    We had massive issues with that at the start.

    Ok we have 25 people for kara but only 4 tanks and 3 are locked to 1 run and 5 healers and 4 of those are locked too the other run….

    Wasnt really resolved till both groups could clear to prince in a single run plus kara capable alts.

    If you know for a fact you wont kill before aran runs out of mana dont try. Kill the elementals and have everybody with a pot or healthstone ready

  7. Kobay says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your mini-rant, especially since I am in a similar boat. I’m in a large guild which has 2 groups farming Kara. I’ve been keyed for a month, but can’t get my paw in the door.

    I work from 4pm to 10pm or later, 6 nights a week. On top of that, my wife plays the game but doesn’t raid, and a good chunk of my game time is spent helping her level her hunter. (and I do mean good, I love playing with her)

    I’ve tried to get a late night group going, but for the last two weeks by the time I come on our first team has already done their time and group two is in the middle of a run. Nobody left to play with me. :-(

    On top of that, my GM has started putting groups for 25 mans together while I’m at work.

    Ok, now I got off on a rant. My point is, it’s good to know I’m not the only player whose progress is hampered by time rather than gear/skill.

  8. smallferret says:

    One of the more insane things I’ve ever done in wow was 13-manning 2 ZG bosses and the first in AQ20. Actually we had 12 60s and a 58. We were all fresh 60s and half in greens–mostly we weren’t even in UBRS blues. But everyone knew what they were doing, listened to the leaders, and got them down.
    Gear, spec, and experience matter much less than skill and a willingness to listen.

  9. Asara says:

    This reminds me of the time we tried TK with no mages. It was an unmitigated disaster, but I was proud of my guild that we at least tried. I believe that was the night we downed Mag for the first time, which was awesome for us as a rebound from multiple wipes on the first trash pull in TK. We’ve never tried Kara with less than 10 people before, but it’s good to know that it can be done! I will remember this in the future, to be sure. Many kudos to you!

  10. Rob says:

    Yeah I faced that curator bug, pretty frustrating. We decided to stop kara for the week, not realizing we could somehow defeat the bugged arcanes. Our GL/RL/MT’s attitude is that if we dont have 10 people of the right type/gear then we aren’t doing kara. Of course since we don’t have a sign up it leads to chaos, usually on Tues we are overflowing with people and every other night we can’t get a run together. That’s the main reason I quit the guild and moved to a highly organized guild who clears kara in four hours.

  11. Vishero says:

    OMG…BBR FTW!!! This post rocks. I recently changed to resto druid before and had never, ever healed anything group thing, not even questing. I am at the point now where I can solo heal a solid 5 man ramps without wiping once, as a level 61. Give us a chance to get there and we can show you that we belong there!!!

  12. […] that, in fact, are the hardest hit in terms of attunement are exactly the same folks that I have mentioned in a previous post this week… people that want to play the game the ’straight’ way, facing challenges […]

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