Hi, I’m Beartrap, and I’m a convenience raider.

I can only raid when the times are convenient for my schedule. The other activities in my life, be they family, social, work or chore related get prioritized first. If there is a block of time in my schedule where I can reasonably make sure I’ll be available to raid consistently week over week, AND if there is a raid team that runs that same schedule that will have me, THEN I can raid.

So, I’m a raider of convenience.

I love to raid, I LOVE having long term goals, having something in the schedule to look forward to in the game, something to work towards, all that jazz, all culminating in the camaraderie of banging on a boss with friends. Love it.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of this team.

Team Snuffy has our first scheduled raid this Saturday, November 10th. I’m gonna be the DPS Hunter in our ten person group, and I’ve been seriously sweating being as ready as I can be.

I started behind where I could have been, and I know it.

When the expansion came out, I had burned through all my saved Valor to gear up my Death Knight alt. You know, the alt I haven’t even touched since. Oh yeah, and I also leveled my Druid to 90 first AND stayed on my Druid exclusively until I was exalted with The Tillers.

Those were good weeks, fun weeks, I had a lot of fun playing there. I expected to play and raid as Druid, so it was good for me to really find out for myself how my Druid felt now. Time was NOT wasted.

Still means my Beartrap started out the expansion several weeks behind where I could have been in terms of Valor point gear and reputation.

Yep, when I committed to raiding on my Hunter, I was sweating it. I was so far behind in rep and Valor, will I possibly be ready on time, ready to be an asset and not a boat anchor?

The first thing I had to have was a goal. What would be the bare minimum gear level I should hit to be where Blizzard tuned the first raid bosses? I cannot, CANNOT be lower than that when I set foot in there with Team Snuffy.

Fortunately, the ‘need’ for raiders to do LFR to gear up has been a hot topic on the forums.

My question was answered, in detail, by Blue poster Draztal. The whole thread on MMO champion there is good to read, but the relevant paragraph is;

You’re not supposed to transition from LFR to Normal. You’re supposed to start on Normal (in fact, LFR opens a week after the normal mode of the raid has). So, if you want to get every possible drop to advance in your progression, yes, sure, you’ll want to raid the LFR if you’re not doing Heroics, but there’re more areas than just gear where all raid groups should be looking at when having issues with a certain encounter. Most of the times, unless it’s a dps race, it comes down to something else (bad strategy, for example).

Reading this and other comments make it clear that the intent was for a raid team to be capable of success if they start by being fully geared through Heroic Dungeon iLevel 463 content.

That set a baseline for me. If every item I have equipped is properly itemized for a BM Hunter, and is a minimum iLevel of 463, then my only chokepoint to being an asset to the team is my skill.

My skill. Uh oh. Shit.

So, since I’m sure I am going to suck, let’s try and get the highest possible iLevel of gear I can in the time I have available, all right?

I’ve been running random Heroics, and I’ve done fairly well there in drops.

Cassie has worked hard to level her Leatherworker, and she made me the crafted mail Chest and Gloves. I easily made the Tiger trinket with my Inscription, and made some decent money selling what I didn’t want along the way. Sidenote – it takes approximately 200 herbs milled to make one random Darkmoon card. And I’ve been farming 200 herbs in about 15 – 20 minutes. Just FYI. The stopgap is the Scroll of Wisdom, and there are ways, grindy ways, around it but one a day is fine for me.

I’ve bought a nice Valor Cloak by being Honored with Shado-Pan, which I did from questing in Townlong Steppes, I don’t have the faction dailies unlocked yet. I got a couple very tasty drops from LFR, but never by using a token. My tokens only ever give me gold. So it goes. I think getting one upgrade per week of full LFR isn’t that bad.

The Sha of Anger has some nice guaranteed boots, and groups form up for that constantly.

There have been a lot of ways to get gear upgrades so early in the expansion, and once I’m Exalted with Klaxxi there will even be a ring upgrade to go with the one I got from the Halloween event. I’m not gonna make that by this Saturday, but it will happen some time next week.

My point here is, by last night, I reached iLevel 470. On the dot. So, when the other skilled raiders in the guild said they were going to hit Heart of Fear LFR for the first time and asked who wanted to go, I COULD GO TOO.

I am current on what I can access. I’m caught up. I’m not AHEAD, I’m caught up. Color me delighted.

My Hunter is not Exalted with anyone yet, but I managed to reach ilevel 470 even with a 450 Zen Alchemist Trinket, thanks to one valor item, one purchased necklace epic, three crafted items from our own crafters, a Halloween drop and heroic loot.

This means after two weeks, the pressure is off.

I don’t HAVE to run LFR at all now, except I like it and can do it when it’s convenient for me. Technically, I don’t even have to run any more dailies unless I like them. ‘

From this point as a raider, I am geared right for the starting raid. To progress further and improve, I should expect to get upgrades from raiding and as incidentals when i build up valor.

Where I need to be focusing now is on skill. Learning the fights, practising my coordination, watching videos by Tankspot and Fat Boss.

I will continue to do LFR, because I like the chance of loot and I like running in LFR. I did back in Dragon Soul days too. And I’ll hope for drops, sure. But I don’t HAVE to.

I will continue to do Dailies and improve my reputation with factions. Not because I have to, but because I do want to be Exalted with Klaxxi, and all the rest. I want to progress through all of the content while it is current… and when patch 5.1 brings new factions and storylines, I’m going to be able to shift my focus on to them without feeling I left unfinished business behind me. Hopefully.

A scant few weeks of dedicated preparation, oh yeah and a LOT of help from guildies in doing Heroics, and I’m good.

I see the complaints on forums and Twitter, the outrage about dailies and faction grinds and LFR loot drops and what people say they HAVE to do. I’m not buying the full package.

It feels more to me like people imagining some perfect world where all that exists is the eternal now, and then getting outraged that their vision does not match reality, without any consideration for whether it will all be irrelevant in two months when shit is fully released and a new patch comes.

If you’re a new raider, it does not take that long to get to where you need to be to get started. I just proved it. And once you’re getting drops from the raids that are now being released, you WILL get items of such higher iLevel that the LFR stuff will be massive downgrades.

I can see Valor staying viable longer, but iLevel 476 and 483 LFR gear is very much a short term help.

Give it a month, maybe two months from now, and this whole controversy will be gone as ilevels of available content that people are clearing goes past ilevel 500.

Would I dearly love it if the epic bow that drops from Raigonn in the Gate of the Setting Sun heroic had a higher drop chance than 1.5%? Yes, of course. I am specfically running the Gate of the Setting Sun heroic every day in the hopes I’ll get that bow, to get that much better prepared before raid start.

But I don’t have to do it, I am choosing to do it. If we fail this Saturday, it’s not going to be because I didn’t have an epic bow. It’ll be far more likely to be due to my not moving my ass when I was supposed to.

The key points I’m trying to make here are, if you want to be raid ready but feel daunted by all the reps and stuff to gear through, don’t be. Aim for a heroic drop in each slot if you can, and do what you can at your own pace to improve past that point and consider it gravy on your bacon.

I know that there is a lot to take in with the expansion, but if you do the quests through Townlong Steppes and Dread Wastes, getting the quest rewards from those two zones, you should end up with a high enough iLevel that you can buy just a few crafted PvP blue armor pieces to fill out your starter gear and be able to run heroics.

The heroics? I’ve run them all, and honestly, they are not that tough. The shift has fully changed to AoE from crowd control. Lots of damage, lots of AoE spamming, learn the mechanics and you should be fine. As a tank, be prepared for AoE swarms. Lots of them.

Understand that if you stand there and let a group get behind you, you will be taking it right up the butt, and they won’t be gentle. MOVE, just moving a little bit backward can force the mobs to the cone in front of you, eliminating those backattacks. I can’t count the number of tanks I see that run forward into the middle of a group of mobvs and stand there looking cute, while the healer goes bugnuts trying to keep them alive.

Also, clouds of shit? Move mobs out of it, please. We can’t target into that shit, so again, hared concept, but move your butt out of the cloud, and then move the MOBS out of the cloud. Your butt is a cute one, we want to see it.

Consider the heroics to be in the mold of Wrath of the Lich king… with shorter routes, fewer trash pulls, but slightly more complicated boss mechanics. Slightly. And lots more swarms of dinky adds.

So relax. Don’t get too caught up in the rhetoric of the forums. I am right there with people who want to be the best I can be and as prepared as possible… but you’ve got to have a baseline to start with. You can’t look at the top of what is potentially available and then just assume you MUST have all of that gear or the entire raid dies.

I’m not kidding. In two months, I promise you we’ll be looking at more powerful gear from the new reps, JUST like when Molten Front came out, and we’ll forget all about the gear available from previous reps.

And we’ll have built up such a stockpile of Lesser Charms that we’ll be able to take weeks off of dailies and still be buying our three Elder charms each week.

So relax. Chill.

This entire post is liable to be revoked if we go in Saturday and die because my DPS was too low. :)

Oh, and Team Snuffy is still looking for one ranged DPS player, not a Hunter, who would like to raid with us and would be committed to being a part of our regular team. We will be raiding Saturday afternoons only, and if you’re interested, just give me an email.

6 Responses to “Casually Preparing for Raiding”
  1. Theodoxus says:

    Last night was pretty magical for me. Finally got enough Valor to buy the neck from Klaxxi that put me over 460, then, as I was queuing up for LFR, a guildie asked if I wanted to do Sha of Anger. Heck yeah!

    We get into a 40 man group, hear Sha bellow out, rush over to where he spawned, and the allies are pulling him. Sigh.

    15 minutes later, he’s respawned, we’ve killed him and I’m wearing my magic nikes! So cool. Then, my guildie asked if I wanted to LFR – well, dur!

    So we do the two raids I’m capable of doing. All I get is gold. I spent every golden ticket on a reroll and just got more gold. My guildie won new pants. I was happy for him.

    I’ll do LFR every week, but it’s not the jackpot of happy loot like DS was, where I’d typically come out with two or three new pieces of tier the first time through. Not a fan of the new loot method – like someone posted last week, I too like the “drama” of loot rolls. At least it shows that things are dropping and that it’s not just a giant pinata of gold.

    I also realized that I miss intimate raiding. Both the Sha and LFR were barren feeling. No chat, barely any text… no camaraderie. It was sadpanda.

  2. Talarian says:

    And BBB nails it again. Gear gives you an upper limit on your DPS, your healing throughput, or your effective health as a tank, but skill is the primary factor hat holds most people back, not gear. I see people in ilvl 470 gear barely doing 30k DPS, and I myself was in ilvl 460 gear pulling 55k DPS. If bosses aren’t dying and you aren’t hitting the enrage timer, chances are you’re geared enough and just need to get better raid awareness. Gear helps a lot, but if you don’t have the skill to get more out of your gear, it’s not going to help you to get more gear.

    Granted, this turns on its head a bit if you’re racing for world firsts, but 99.9% of the WoW population aren’t racing for world firsts. And those world first folks ARE getting the most out of their gear because they’re VERY skilled, so a couple more ilvls might actually be the difference between a heroic kill and a heroic wipe. But honestly? Most of the complainers invariably aren’t at that skill level. They just like being vocal.

  3. Navimie says:

    I think people forget that casual raiding does not mean you don’t give a toss about raiding – it means that you’re not going to grind every daily to get every piece of heroic gear before you step into a raid. You can even step into a raid with greens which we have had in our guild as well (last minute dragged in healer who was wearing quested gear and world event epics). I hope you feel skilled enough on your hunter to be able to raid – mind you the first fight is very tank oriented so BBB can rest a little bit. Wish you all the best BBB. Being casual doesn’t mean you don’t know your class, it doesn’t mean you don’t read up what gear to get or what rotations to use. Casual means that you only have limited time to play, and I hope it goes well for you this weekend Bear.

  4. Ngita says:

    Talarian, Elegon needs quite high dps, like really high, 3 weeks and 55ish wipes and still not dead.(in comparison we killed the first boss in HoF in 5 wipes. I agree with the bear in principle and yet I play differently, not 100% I would have ground out my exalted rep ring and neck if I did, I would done 6 bosses in lfr as heals this week instead of 5 bosses as dps and one as heals. Yet I still do that one boss as heals because I need a better shield and I can’t get one from valor.

    I have already replaced 2 valor upgrades with drops and yet i will be capping valor for a long time yet, even if just for offset dps gear, LFR as heals perhaps not so much, yet lfr is a very quick way of capping valor and I want to cap my valor quickly again even IF just for my alts.

    Bear at 470 you should easily be good for the first 3 bosses, but when you get to a real dps check its pretty hard to say I won’t do that little bit more just to get past the hump,in my case that little bit more is lfr+valor capping, but I draw the line at grinding exalted reps.

  5. Talarian says:

    That’s true. THere are definitely DPS gear checks. But in the same vein, a number of guilds cleared Normal Elegon in the first week, when LFR wasn’t available and at best those folks may have had 1 piece of valor gear and a couple pieces of crafted gear. Do the extra ilvls help? Maybe, and sure, I’ll backpedal and say they probably would help a gear check like Elegon if you’re consistently wiping at 1%, 2% or if you have enough extra ilvls, even 5%. But my argument that you’re better served improving your skills than trying to grab a few more ilvls still stands. Go look at LFR and see the wide range of DPS/damage dealt values between people, and start inspecting their gear. I guarantee you a lot of them are closer in ilvl than you think, especially given that there’s a minimum ilvl of 460.

    In either case, it really comes down to what you (the generic you) want to do with your time. If you want to chain run heroics, or do dailies, or do none or some of those, find a group that supports that play and go from there. I’d argue you’re required to do *something* to prepare to raid, but you don’t need to do *everything*. If you want to do everything, though, all the power to you :D

  6. erroll says:

    i dont under stand the item level stuff. i come home and play. i read triple b on train.
    im wearing 453 item level. but showing. 464 so say im raid ready. idk why. this weekend i plan to try my first lfr cause i can.
    im low damage. very high dodge. dotn even know if built right. but im loveing heroics. they just fun too me.
    for years. before tank bags and randoms. id go thundering into Stormwind. with tank lfgroup. my fave part of game.
    good luck on first raid triple B. i plan my first lfr this weekend. as im sure you know tank fail the worst fail. ill prob be booted. but i will learn :)

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