Last night, the good old Sidhe Devils had another raid scheduled.
In keeping with the ‘limited playstyle’ theme, we had Vault of Archevon and Obsidian Sanctum on the schedule.
A couple nice ten man runs, shouldn’t take too long, and everyone can have some fun and get some loot.
Well, first thing we did was see that Alliance held Wintergrasp, and was due to lose it in a half hour at 7 PM server. So, even though our raid was scheduled for a 7 PM start, everyone that was on went to Wintergrasp Fortress, in the hopes that we’d have time to get inside before we lost it and had to wait for the culmination of the battle.
Thanks to the awesomeness of the guild, by 6:45, everyone that had signed up for the raid was not only online, but had made their way to Wintergrasp and was able to get inside.
We buffed up, got ready… and got an announcement that the instance was scheduled to reset in 10 minutes.
Now, I was under the, obviously totally mistaken, impression that once you were actually IN Obsidian Sanctum, they wouldn’t boot your ass out for losing Wintergrasp. Maybe you’d have issues if you died and had to run back, but I guess I didn’t think it through.
So we had 10 minutes to pull and kill the four trash and down the boss, assign loot, and get the heck out of there.
You’ll understand if I’m justifiably proud that our crew did, in fact, accomplish that just fine. A total beatdown slam dunk in your face kind of thing.
And even better, both Tier pieces that dropped, a Mage chest and a Paladin Healer chest were usable by guildies, so nothing got wasted.
I was absolutely delighted. Talk about time pressure!
So from there, we went on to the second half of the scheduled evening, Obsidian Sanctum.
We’d talked a bit about doing it with no drakes up or one drake up, but after we cleared all the trash but the last drake, and discussed it… Graimerin described what he knew of how to handle the extra drake… and our healers had massive coronaries in anticipation.
I decided that, since some of the folks there hadn’t had a chance to see the normal fight yet, we should pass on it this time. It made more sense to me to do it straight with everyone at least once, to make sure everyone is comfortable with the normal encounter before we ring in any changes. From what I’ve heard leaving drakes alive is quite challenging, and I’m going to respect that.
Again, it went smooth as silk. There was a bobble at the beginning, when I wasn’t exactly sure where the heck the ‘safe zone’ to handle the single-opening Lava Wall was, couldn’t twist the camera angle fast enough to see it coming, and ended up getting brushed by it, but now I know… and will remember for next time.
Wham-bam and loot was had by many. Of course, at this rate it’ll be Christmas before everyone has their Tier gloves, but what the hell. That’s why you can buy them with Emblems of Honor, right?
Well, we did both raids… and it was only 8 PM. A one hour raid night seemed kind of lame, we spend more time on Heroics than that… so I suggested we go on and take on Naxxramas: The Arachnid Quarter.
Surprisingly, this suggestion was met with a certain measure of enthusiasm.
So we headed on over to Naxx, after explaining how to get there for the folks that hadn’t been on last weeks’ failed excusion.
Yeah, that’s right, this would be the guild’s second shot at it, and some of the folks hadn’t been there before. See? We ain’t no hardcore raiders, nope, not us!
Some folks took side trips to Dalaran to pickup Tier items and gems so they could equip their new shinies before the run. So we weren’t even as maxed on gear and enchants and stuff as we could be. What a bunch of noobs.
We went on in, cleared the little spider trash, and faced off on Anub’rekhan.
Now, last week we tried the commonly accepted strat for this boss, which involves the main tank (me) dragging the boss all up and down the right side of the room, hugging the wall on the other side of the green slime trench, while the rest of the raid takes down the adds, and I get some heals.
We met with varying success last week, sometimes I’d die on the run when I got out of range of heals or a healer got silenced, and on our last try of the week we just didn’t have enough sustained DPS on the boss for long enough to get it done and met with the Enrage timer.
See, we have outstanding DPS… but most of it in the guild is melee. Cassieann the Rogue, Razedbarre the Death Knight, Caladorn the Paladin… great DPS one and all, but they have to play the ‘run and catch up’ game whenever switching from boss to add and back again.
We had two ranged DPS, Elystia the Mage and Sinnas the Hunter, and while both are great, Ely was kept pretty busy AoEing the little swarmers that spawn from corpse explosions.
You’re not going to get the boss down in time unless you get some focused fire on his ass, and sustain it.
So I went with the suggestions of a few of you wonderful folks, and decided as Main Tank to try just standing and taking the Locust Swarm in one place.
I pulled and tanked him right where he starts the fight, in the alcove at the end of the room where adds spawn in the green curtains, and when he started Locust Swarm, I just made sure I was closer to the group than he was, kept his back to the alcove, and I ate the Swarm.
It had the advantages that the healers could all be confident they were at a safe max range from me to stay outside the silence, and the DPS knew where exactly they were running back and forth to.
Also, and this was a key consideration for us, as Graimerin the Paladin was the offtank, it left him able to handle his pulls on the Crypt Guard adds while knowing exactly where the range of silence was going to end… with Sinnas there with Misdirect to help out.
The first time we tried it, it went perfect… incredibly perfect. With my gear and our healers I was never in any danger at all of going down from Locust Swarm. It just wasn’t an issue. Nobody else got silenced, and I still got heals when needed, the adds got beat up, and it all went very well… until somehow during a Locust Swarm the boss got taunted off of me… and I was silenced so I could do NOTHING to get it back.
Well, okay, so we went back in, I yelled and screamed and threw a tantrum… oh wait, no, actually I just said let’s try the same thing again… and try really, REALLY hard not to taunt off me this time. Please guys?
And we did that, and it was a slam dunk “nothing but net” crushing of the boss, no deaths, totally owned him.
If you’re curious what a Feral Druid in 100% pre-Naxx gear wore when standing still and eating the Locust Swarm in ten man, here is a snapshot of my list of gear worn at that time;
- Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm (with +37 Stam/+20 Def enchant, +16 Agi gem and +32 Stam/+2% armor Meta)
- Titanium Earthguard Chain (with +16 Agi gem)
- Trollwoven Spaulders (with +52 Dodge /+15 Def Inscription enchant)
- Polar Vest (+8 All Stats enchant, +16 Agi gem, +24 Stam gem, and +8 Agi/+8 Hit Rating gem)
- Trollwoven Girdle (with +16 Agi gem)
- Gored Hide Legguards (with +55 Stam/+22 Agi LW enchant)
- Polar Boots (with +16 Agi enchant, +16 Agi gem and +8 Agi/+8 Hit Rating gem)
- Dragonfriend Bracers (with +40 Stamina enchant.. god I love that enchant)
- Titanium Earthguard Ring (with +24 Stam gem)
- Keystone Great-Ring
- Essence of Gossamer
- Darkmoon Card: Greatness
- Durable Nerubhide Cape (with +22 Agi enchant)
- Staff of Trickery (with Mongoose)
- Idol of Terror
- Handwraps of Preserved History (with +18 Stam LW armor kit)
Of those items, the only one that really embarasses me are the gloves. Instead of buying my Tier 7 gloves, I keep blowing my Emblems on Bind on Account Heirloom items. My Shammy really loves my mace, though.
I am slowly working on saving 40 Wintergrasp Marks of Hnor for the Titan-Forged helm.. but every time I do Wintergrasp, we are defending and we lose. It’s getting OLD playing for the entire run, from start of battle to finish, and lose in the last 30 secsonds and get 1 Mark. Grumble.
So, moving on… we destroyed the first boss. Shall we take a chance and move on to boss two?
I think so!
After killing the trash, we squared off on the second boss.
I described the fight as I understood it from reading multiple strats.
We have a platform, with four adds and the boss, Faerlina. I was going to hold the boss, so the plan is, we mark all adds with a pre-arranged kill order of Skull, X, Star, Circle. Graimerin was going to shield throw on the far left mob, Sinnas was going to Misdirect/Multi-Shot on the far right mob, and that would drag everyone to Graimerin on the left side of the platform.
I would then in mid pull ranged Growl taunt the boss off Grai and drag her over to the right side of the platform.
Near enough for the boss to be affected by the death of an add when Frenzied, not so close to gimp mobility.
Everyone works to beat the adds down to about 15% health, and then all out on the boss.
When the boss frenzies, everyone switches DPS to the next mob on the kill order, pre-marked.
Then back to DPS on boss.
And if you are standing in Rain of Fire, move out.
And yeah, it went about that easy. Everyone was right on the money first time out the gate, and we trashed her crib.
Well, hell folks… this shit be ez-mode. Third boss, anyone?
Okay… moving on…
Clear some more trash, take some AFK time to tuck children into bed and feed cats and such, and look at the big ugly spider boss, Maexxna.
I could run down the strat we used, but it was pretty much the normal that can be found many places on the web, I think. I tanked with my back to the rear wall, Graimerin laid down a Consecrate to pick up spider adds on the spider butt, Ely and Sinnas AoEed the spiders when not hitting boss, and worked on un-Web Wrapping folks, and we had great heals.
We wiped the first time when Paraclesis our Paladin healer… and Main Tank healer… D/Ced at the first second of the pull from a massive thunderstorm in his area taking his power out, and we didn’t know… until I died wondering why I wasn’t getting ANY heals.
Well, fortunately Nighthawque was online, a Resto Druid healer I’ve mentioned before, and we were able to ask him to come in.
15 minutes later, we tried again and had massive success.
I want to reiterate that these were not ‘by the skin of our teeth’ wins. These were ‘everyone is alive and at full health and close to full mana’ wins.
It’s pretty crazy.
So I want to thank everyone that took part in these raids for preparing their gear so well, for knowing how to play top notch, for being so damn good, and for making Naxx look so ridiculously easy.
One of the things we have to decide now, since we aren’t a raiding guild, is to what extent we follow this up.
Do we have two raid nights on the calander each week? We had one scheduled for Thursday, a work night, and didn’t get enough to sign up. I hate the thought of having them on both Friday and Saturday, since hey… I HOPE normal people are going out and having fun or doing something other than gaming all weekend long. And I don’t like the idea of scheduling things when I would expect most folks would normally be making other plans, since then they might feel pressure to log in instead of log out and dance party.
See, we aren’t a raiding guild. We are a friends guild where the first rule of law is, Real Life comes first. The second rule is, friends come before loot. If you want to raid so bad it’s burning a hole in your gut, and playing with friends is a secondary concern to seeing the content and getting phat loot… well, there are a lot of raiding guilds out there. We aren’t going to change our focus.
Sure, friends come first… but we all also love to see new content and get phat loot of our own. So, I guess the question is going to be… how many nights per week do these friends of ours, who put real life first, want to commit to going and doing raids?
And how will we know if they are signing up for raids because they really WANT to, or just because they feel pressure to help the guild?
ARGH!!! There are days when being a guild leader is a pain. We have a huge night of victory… and all I can worry about the next day is trying to schedule enough to keep everybody having lots of fun, while not scheduling TOO MUCH!