Archive for the “Raiding” Category

I’ve noticed something unusual, and I’ve sat on it for a while, but I think it’s time to act.

There is a saying; “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times it’s enemy action.”

Well, we’re up to five now. By the Auric scale, we’re definitely at enemy action.

It’s no secret I enjoy playing alts. I’m one of those folks that may have one or two characters I flat out love, those being my Feral Druid and BM Hunter, but I play lots of alts.

With the advance of Looking For Raid, there has been an added venue for play. Ding level 85, gear for new Heroics, run until decked and then hit LFR for polish.

At this point in time, I’ve got five characters at level 85, and all of them are pretty damn solid in LFR gear; Druid, Hunter, Warrior, Paladin, Rogue.

My Priest is at 83, and my Death Knight Bear and Cub character is 81, so those are next in line. Don’t ask if I’m going to train my 9 year old son to play in LFR if you don’t think you’d like the answer. Just pray his DPS isn’t THAT much better than yours. :)

Still, five characters I have geared up 100% through LFR Dragon Soul random groups rather than traditional raiding.

Here is what I’ve noticed and reported on before.

During the initial LFR rollout, you had a period of uncertainty. People were not yet fully accustomed to the idea that they could roll Need on anything they wanted with little to no concequences. So, there was a fairly reasonable chance for at least the first month of winning something as other players that had already won an item would pass.

After that began the period where some groups would begin running together and rolling on everything so they could pass it to a friend in their group that wanted it (enhancing chances), and also the Monty Haul scenario where people would roll on absolutely everything, to acquire trade goods so they could make a deal later for what they really wanted.

That seemed to be the period we were in now. Some folks bring decked out characters chasing that one item, others bring new alts looking for everything, and it often seems that every roll finds you competing against every single player, and nobody passes unless they have no chance of winning due to spec or class.

It can feel like if you did not get the actual highest roll out of 25 people, then you’ve got no chance. Greed and avarice have won. Blizzard has even unveiled new LFR loot rules for MoP that make it clear they are acting as though there is nothing to be done short of a scorched earth doctrine on the existing system.

My experiences over the last month to five weeks are leading me to believe we are seeing a silent counterstrike acting against the “need on everything” culture, working from the shadows.

Five times now, on different characters, the following has taken place;

I run, I do my best. I don’t have the worst gear in the group overall, I certainly don’t have the lowest DPS. There are one or two specific items I would like. During the run, as loot drops I pass on it, until finally one boss drops a piece of loot I have specifically wanted. Everyone rolls, I lose the roll with my number somewhere in the middle of the range. We move on to another boss.

Shortly thereafter, without warning a trade window is opened, and the piece of loot is placed there. No conversation, nothing. I accept, and whisper back my thanks and appreciation. The person then says something along the lines of, “No problem, I didn’t need it and you looked like the person who could use it the most.”

This has happened to me now five times, different people and different items for different alts.

Is it a sweeping trend? Maybe not. Have you seen it yourself? Probably depends on how many alts you’re gearing through LFR compared to actual raiding with a raid team and getting real loot.

But again. Once, sure. Twice, huh. Three times or more? I take note.

I like the idea of a silent revolt against greedy needy players. People who are nice people, and at the same time aren’t all confrontational yelling at other people in raid chat about taking things they already have one of and all that stuff.

People who may have just decided that if others will need for selfish reasons, they can need for charitable reasons. 

Yes, it does put another player in the position of winning an item and then having the power to decide who, in their opinion, ‘deserves’ the item most. That could be a hot little topic for debate, right? How do you decide who ‘deserves’ the loot?

Overall though, I think it’s a delightful idea, one that is worthy to discuss.

We talk about other people rolling need on stuff they don’t have a use for. How interesting that there are folks out there that have looked at the situation and decided for themselves to take a stand, but do it in a decidedly non-confrontational way.

It would take more work, but I have to admit, it’s making me reconsider my ‘pass on all unless I actually need it’ policy.

I might just start playing Secret Santa myself.

What do you think?

Comments 21 Comments »

Last night, at the tail end of one long day, a few members of Team Wanda, Band Of Misfits most progressive raiding team, were chatting in vent.

They had just completed the server first Glory of the Cataclysm Raider earlier, so I thought I’d pop in and say hi and grats in person.

I found them in discussion on whether or not it was possible to four-man the Conclave of Wind.

They apparently do mount runs. A lot.

I was about to head out and go to bed when Shadowson asked me, “You think you’d join us as a tank to five man it?”

Ummm… you know what? It’s been a very long day.

“Sure.”

Let the record show that on this evening, four stalwart, skilled adventurers, brave and true, and one misfit bear boldly entered into the Throne of the Four Winds.

  • Shadowson the Shadow Priest
  • Kissinger the Mage
  • Pumpken the Resto Shaman
  • Randomski the Prot Paladin
  • Bigbearbutt the bacon butted

Yes, it is in fact possible to down the Conclave of Wind with five players. We did it on our second attempt.

We won’t speak of my incredible fail on the first attempt, ‘mkay?

Shadowson healed as Shadow DPS while I tanked on Anshal, Randomski tanked Nezir with Pumpken healing, and Kissinger… well, Kissinger blew up Rohash.

There was much hopping back and forth by Pumpken, Shadowson and Kissinger all trying to do the work of a full raid.

In the end, I felt the thrill of victory over a challenge I didn’t even expect to have put in front of me, a challenge we didn’t even know would be possible or not.

I think that is why it tasted all the sweeter.

Al”Akir, what to say about Al’Akir…

I went as Kitty, and I found out that it is possible to be thrown off the ledge by a tornado, get back up and be dropped in the NEXT tornado, and then again for a third time.

At least my kitty looks cute floating in midair.

Good thing, because I sure as hell spent a lot of time doing it.

Oh, and Al’Akir?

Easier than Conclave of Wind, and just as dead.

What a surprisingly good way to end an otherwise crappy day.

If you happen to be one of the folks that is feeling bored with Looking For Raid, and wondering what in the world there is left to do in the game…

May I humbly suggest you get three of your closest friends and see how much fun clearing older raids might be?

Sure, ICC and Ulduar spring to mind as tasty little targets, but why not see what other kinds of crazyness you can get up to?

The World of Warcraft is your oyster, after all. This is as overpowered as you’re ever going to feel before Mists of Pandaria sweeps away all before it.

Let your mind run riot, man.  What do you have to lose?

My thanks to Shadowson and Team Wanda, for the unlooked-for opportunity to have a little fun.

Comments 7 Comments »

Last night felt like a very, very long night.

I raided for what felt like hours.

Hold on, it really was hours. It really only felt like minutes. The time just sped away on the wings of angels.

Evil little raiding angels with black wings taking delight in the death of online baddies, but angels nonetheless.

After my last post about the LFR difficulty issues, I had some thoughts on how someone who wasn’t a raider could try to take advantage of the fluctuating skill situation.

My thinking was pure speculation, but it went kinda like this;

If I was a raider, then I would know my scheduled raids were coming up. I’d want to be as powerful as I could for the raid. Therefore, I’d want to get my mains into the LFR as soon as I could after a reset, so that I could get my first shot at any ‘free’ upgrades, and get them all gemmed and enchanted and reforged (and transmogrified) before raid time, whenever that may be. 

Some guilds do raid on Tuesday night right after the reset. Those folks might have changed to using the LFR Tuesday night, or they might not.

Why change to an LFR Tuesday? If they raided Dragon Soul normal before the LFR, they might send a good upgrade to a person that proceeded to get a comparable item (at a slightly lower level) the very next night, a wasted opportunity to benefit the team as a whole.

If tank A just got a 384 tier shoulder, do you give a tier shoulder from normal mode to the same tank the very next night, or do you spread it to the other tank instead who is still wearing 378s?

The way I figure it, however the guilds are raiding, the majority of leading-edge progression gamers would probably try to get in on the LFR Tuesday night after the reset to get their ‘free’ upgrades, maybe Wednesday, and be as powerful as possible going into their ‘real’ raiding for the week.

Now, more pure speculation, those same raiding guilds would probably end up queueing as groups instead of piecemeal, since they don’t like idiots any more than casual players do, and bringing your own tank/healers has always been a time-honored method of reducing the chances of failure. Or annoyance that affects performance, anyway. I’m not saying an entire raid team would queue as one, just that the likelihood seems high to me that folks that raid together and know each other well would probably be able to find five buddies online at a given moment to queue with.

Plus, it’s more fun to scoff at other players when you’ve got a group of like-minded friends to hear your snarkiness. I know that’s how I roll.

That was my thinking.

How to put it into action?

If I, as a non-raider, wanted my best chance at playing with serious, talented people in LFR instead of idiots and offensive asshats that spend more time typing hate than targeting adds, then I would want to queue up Tuesday night.

A theory is just a theory until it gets tested. Accordingly, I went into LFR last night to see what it would be like.

I ran the Dragon Soul LFR three times last night, back to back. I played on my Warrior for the first wing, and then on my Hunter for the first and second wings.

Every group went smooth. Every group had complete success. Through the entire night, there was only one wipe.

The first run of the evening had myself, Cassie and two fellow guildies. The rest of the group was composed of non-guilded random people.

There was a little confusion on colors, the whole “green ooze does not aoe in LFR, you don’t have to prioritize it” thing that keeps throwing people used to studying normal mode. Our one wipe came from haste. In the future, mister strange tank, please try not to pull the boss while you rush across the big open space to get to the next trash pull. Shortcuts are fine, shortcuts THROUGH the big boss-circle-area on the floor, not so much. ‘kay?

Even with that, it was a far cry from the runs of just the night before, where everyone had a chip on their shoulder and felt the need to belittle everyone else rather than, oh, you know, do their own part. Unless typing a lot of bullshit equates to skill. /sarcasm.

There were two more runs for me that night, and on each run more members of our guild’s raid teams joined in. Or drove it forward, as the case may be.

I felt some of the raiders out a little, and got some comments along the lines of, “I want to knock the LFR out now so I have any loot before we raid.”

Anecdotal evidence, granted, but clearly there are some raiders right in my own guild that were certainly thinking, “Get in, get it done, get gone.”

Those last two runs?

The first one was the first wing again, smooth and clean. About ten guildies, plus random scattered people. At one point, Baddmojo the guild figurehead and raiding Rogue from Team Wanda broke over 52k DPS. Intentionally. Yes, that is a five and a two, followed by ‘k’, and it doesn’t stand for karat. Yes, I do feel that any character breaking 52,000 DPS on a single boss fight is overpowered and ridiculous. What frightens me is the idea that once raiders really get cooking in Dragon Soul Heroic, 52k might seem… quaint.

The second wing raid was more interesting. We were now in Azuremyst evening prime time for gaming, and we queued with about twelve guildies all together for it, including one tank and three healers.

The raid group we got was forged of just three guild groups.

Seriously. There were three guilds represented in the raid, almost no solo players.

The run was so smooth it went even easier than the first wing.

It became clear early on that the entire raid was formed of experienced raiders knocking the LFR out early.

It was my first time completing the entire second wing from start to finish as one raid. I have seen the middle two encounters a few times, but that was always as a replacement for people bailing in a failing group.

The tone of the discussion in vent was mostly amazement and disbelief that nobody did x stupid, or died to y from not moving out of the fire, or targeted the wrong mob, or ran the wrong way, or whatever.

It was one night, and maybe it was a fluke. But I have to compare the runs last night with the ones scattered over the last week and weekend, and there is no comparison in quality.

Last night just was… nicer, and far FAR more professional.

Not serious, just… no stupid bullshit.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a story that Yalani shared in guild chat the other night, a story about Yalani’s Priest and LFR. The name of Yalani’s Priest has been concealed to ensure the story will continue to have a happy, repeatable, ending.

Turns out, Yalani was in the LFR, doing the first wing.

There was this asshat in the raid, I’m sure that comes as a complete surprise to you, who kept typing elitist smack during the run. You know the kind of thing only too well, I’m sure. Constant criticism and offensive bullshit heaped on others. 

The raid progresses through the bosses until they are on the last boss of the wing, Hagara the Stormbinder.

For those of you that haven’t done the encounter yet, at one point Hagara will stand in the middle of the vast circular platform and channel the Frozen Tempest. Hagara hides in a Watery Bubble, four pylons form at equidistant staitionary intervals along the outskirts of the platform, and four equidistant lines form that transform into Waves of Ice that travel in a clockwise direction around the platform.

If you get hit by an Ice Wave, you take a shitload of damage and, generally, you die. 

Ice Waves are considered extremely easy to avoid. Before the waves form Hagara shoots red beams out to clearly show where they’re gonna be. At that point, you’ve got lots of warning to move your ass to a point in between any two lines.

No, really. When the Ice Waves form and begin moving, you can easily stay right in the middle of two waves, running around the rim of the platform. If you have some form of run speed enchant on your boots, it’s extremely easy. Just run around, destroying pylons as you come across them, and when the last pylon falls the Ice Waves vanish.

It is SO easy for someone prepared for the fight to avoid the Ice Waves that whenever someone new to the run dies by being hit by one, the asshats in the raid WILL mock them and call them stupid, noobs, morons, and all that other stuff. It’s one of those things people like to use to show disgust, as if they were born already knowing to avoid the Ice Waves, and as if it wasn’t the responsiblity of the experienced to make sure the raid is prepared for the encounter and questions are answered before pulling.

So, back to the story.

The raid is fighting Hagara, the Ice Waves form, and the raid starts running around the circle.

Yalani hangs back near an Ice Wave and Life Grips the asshat to her.

Asshat gets hit by Ice Wave and instantly dies.

Said death by Ice Wave is noticed by all, but not why. Immediately, all the OTHER elitists that like to mock people (but not nearly to the extent this one asshat did) just tear him a new one for being a stupid noob dying to the Ice Wave.

Asshat descends into frothy-mouthed nerdrage.

I like to actually picture the asshat seated at his (or her) computer (in his or her mom’s basement, of course), literally frothing in rage.

Well done. Well done indeed.

This is officially my favorite thing of the expansion.  Not the patch, the expansion.

Thank you, Yalani. Thank you OH so much for that. May you continue to bring swift internet justice to asshats on Hagara, and cause them to tread oh-so-lightly in the presence of any Priest they encounter from that point forward.

Comments 13 Comments »

This post has the potential to unleash rage and drama in those that read of it. You’ve been warned.

Nooo….. it’s not about the new BOE Blizzard store pet. Well, not MAINLY about the new Blizzard store pet.

As Steven Brust might say, one word on the new pet.

It is a pet. It will be in the Blizzard store. When you buy it with real money, dollars, euros, yen, what have you, it comes to you bind on equip. You can trade it. You can presumably wrap it in that pretty wrapping paper and mail it to a friend.

You can sell it for gold on the Auction House.

Yes. A Blizzard-sanctioned method of turning real money into virtual gold. You pays your money, you gets your in-game gold. And, depending on pet prices on your server, you takes your chances.

My comment is; so?

A few years ago, I’d probably give a shit. These days, the only victim I see is the account hacker that wants his virtual gold to be the only option you have to buy with your real money. And really, screw The Hacker.

The only point of interest I have in the project is to see how much your $10 will eventually be worth in virtual gold, based on the demand for this pet by people who don’t want to spend $10 of their own real money to get it.

My wife is one of those folks who will pay 20,000 gold for something, and that’s okay, but she already pays $15 a month in real money on the game, be damned if she’ll pay more. And more power to her.

I’m sure your opinion will likely differ, and thus, drama potential one.

But no, that’s not the potential drama I really wanted to talk about.

I was reading Officers Quarters on WoW Insider tonight, and a comment Scott Andrews made touched off this little fireworks ‘splosion in my brain housing group.

The Raid Finder is not just for the guildless. Guilds can also take advantage of this new feature in several ways. The first and most obvious is that it will allow your raiders to get practice time on bosses for your own normal-mode raids. Since you don’t get locked to the instance using the finder, you can see the mechanics ahead of time and still raid with your guild in the same week.

I read that, and for a moment, the aforementioned fireworks went all ‘splodie. Then I felt my brain actually jump the track (over the shark, most likely) and spin aimlessly for a little bit. I failed my SAN check, I tried to disbelieve the reality of the text I had just read, but I rolled a 1. Epic fail.

Scott clearly has spent some time thinking about this topic, and already internalized this, but I’m slow and I’ve been busy.  So maybe I’ve missed the discussion somehow on my feedreader. It’s possible, my feeds have been whittled down to a bare smidgen.

Is Blizzard really just about to release a tool that hardcore raiding guild officers will be able to use to require their members to raid hour after hour after hour in ‘does not count’ practise sessions to fine tune their performance before attempting a boss fight in a raid ‘for reals’?

And nobody has said squat?

Sure, I know that the loot drops won’t be as good as a ‘for reals’ raid, and I know that it will be easy peasy lemon squeazy mode, but it’s still the bare bones of the real raid, and as the game progresses, it’s still a tool that will continue to grow with the patches and expansions.

How did this slip under the radar?

If you were an officer in a hardcore raiding guild, and your guild was shaky on the mechanics of movement, target prioritization or mechanic flow for a particular boss encounter, are you telling me you would NOT have your raid members get in a few hours practise where it won’t count against your weekly attempt?

I’m sorry, maybe nobody cares anymore, but it wasn’t that long ago that players in hardcore raiding guilds were complaining bitterly about having to run both 25 person raids AND 10 person raids every single week in order to maximize their possible loot drops and point/token earnings. I believe quality of life and balance between game time and real time were becoming factors.

This may not be in quite the same ballpark, but it has the potential, in the first few weeks of any new raid, to be even worse. That raid team that really, really, REALLY wants to smoke the raid bosses first week… well, how many hours are they prepared to spend running the raid on what will be, for all intents and purposes, Practise Mode?

True? Not true? Molehill that just looks like a mountain?

You tell me.

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The new boss is up and smoking in Baradin Hold, and his name be Occu’thar.

This be what he looks like alive;

And this be what he looks like all deaded and stuffs;

Now, let’s say for a moment that you’re a Druid trying to go all Feathery on Occu’thars’ butt.

For the people doing DPS, there are two things to be real careful of; staying the hell out of the big red circles on the floor (Focused Fire), and being set to drop massive AoE on the Eyes of Occu’thar.

See, the big dog randomly picks somebody and does a Focused Fire that stays on where that player had been standing, burns for a second, then spawns a large red stationary circle (12 yard radius) at it’s gaze point, a circle that does 35k+ damage per second, for several seconds. Needless to say, anybody standing in the bad gets eaten alive.

The other thing he does, is he casts the Eyes of Occu’thar, which spawns one eyeball per player in the room; the eyes travel to each player in a cloud, stick on the heads of the players dealing damage as they burrow in, and then once they are done (10 seconds), they detonate, doing Shadow damage to everyone. If all the Eyes detonate, they are doing cumulative damage. It’s a wipe. You can survive one Eye, say the one on the tank as long as the tank doesn’t currently have the 100% Shadow damage debuff from Searing Shadows.

Before the Eyes get cast, you want everyone but the tank of the moment to be all huddled up close, and you’ve got about 9 seconds to blast the shit out of those eyeballs before running like hell, because immediately after the Eyes pop he’s gonna shoot that Focused Fire right where you’re standing.

You want to have somebody or some place marked that you’re all going to fall in on, someplace close to the melee, so everyone know that when it’s time to deal with Eyeballs, we be moving to ‘x’. We had a big blue square over a melee DPS player for our fall-in mark. We tried a stationary mark on the floor first, but since the doggie likes to cast Focused Fire on you, that meant if the Focused Fire was on the mark, we didn’t have a second fall-in point to run to.  With a melee marked for us to fall in on, the other melee didn’t have very far to run to stack up. All this means is that, with the tanks swapping the big dog back and forth between them due to the Searing Shadows breath debuff, the melee will keep shifting position at least a little. If the Focused Fire circle drops on a melee, you’ll be shifting your movement a lot.

But it worked, damn it, it worked.

So, this is basically what he does.

When you pull him, he’ll do a Focused Fire on somebody. Everybody starts all spread out, using /range with a 12 yard distance if DBM doesn’t have it set up for you yet. That way, when it picks somebody, there is just one person hustling to get out of the circle before it goes boom.

Very shortly after that very first Focused Fire, he casts the Eyes of Occu’thar. Everybody that can, fall in on your marked spot. As soon as the cloud of eyes descend upon you, blast the shit out of them. Then, SCATTER! The first of two Focused Fires that follow each Eye summons will immediately (and I mean immediately) begin. I mean right the heck NOW!

You get away from the Focused Fire circle, continue DPSing the boss. Stay spread out. After a short break, the second Focused Fire cast since the Eyes spawned will appear. You are now safe to immediately fall into position on your Eyes AoE mark, there will not be another Fire before the Eyes are cast. When the Eyes appear, AoE them fast, then scatter again before the next Focused Fire of the cycle hits.

Rinse and repeat. It goes 1 Focused Fire, then a repeatable sequence of; Eyes of Occu’thar summoned, first immediate Focused Fire, delay of a few seconds, second Focused Fire, then stack up for the Eye sequence, then begin again.

There is almost exactly 1 minute between the very beginning of the first Eye summons and midway through the second Eye summons. I know this, because I cast Starfall (1 minute cooldown) in the middle of the first Eye spawn, and it still had 1 second cooldown remaining at the end of the second Eye summons.

As a Moonkin, I understandably felt under the gun to deliver some AoE here. You keep hearing how awesome Moonkin AoE can be. You just have little margin for error, you’ve got to burn all those Eyes down fast.

When the Eyes spawn, you’ve got about 9 seconds that the little bastards have to be dead before you’re running from Focused Fire. You do not have time to screw around with tab-targeting and Moonfire/Insect Swarm. You have to have a clear tactical plan in place for what to cast, when, and why.

As things began, I quickly pushed my Eclipse bar into a Solar Eclipse, to gain powerful Wild Mushroom effects. I am currently, stupidly, specced for Lunar Shower, dumbass that I am, so I couldn’t spam my Sunfire like I should’ve on the boss between Eye phases. Why? Because my Moonfire/Sunfire would give me Lunar Energy and push me out of Solar Eclipse.

I tried using all sorts of other spells, like pushing my Starfire a lot, and what I found out was my mana currently can’t handle my all out DPSing the boss AND doing AoE, because I have to use Hurricane each time. I had to carefully eke out my Starfires and Insect Swarms, so as to regain some mana before each Eye.

As I said, I pushed into Solar Eclipse, kept some DPS up on the boss, and waited until Focused Fire was done and we knew the Eyes were next. I started positioning my Wild Mushrooms on the fall-in mark, recasting them on the fly if we needed to adjust. As soon as the Eyes were summoned, I fired Starfall to get the cooldown started in anticipation of the next round, detonated my Mushrooms, backed off a step and kicked off a Glyphed Typhoon (does larger AoE with no knockback), and then I used Hurricane to channel them down the rest of the way.

Then, I ran like hell, of that I can assure you.

Hurricane eats so much mana it’s a sin to use, but there is a reason we have it; sometimes, you just need AOE and everything is on cooldown, and you don’t have time to recast three Mushrooms. 

I really should never have been specced into that Lunar Shower, that kept me from using Sunfire on the boss, and that was a lot of lost DPS.

Every wipe we had was from failure to clear 100% of the Eyes within 9 seconds. Wild Mushrooms just do too much damage in Solar Eclipse to let it fall off. The best solution that I can see is to drop Lunar Shower, and practise the timing on popping Starfall, Mushroom Detonate, Typhoon, and then rapid-casting three more Mushrooms and seeing if the Detonate is off cooldown in time to use it. I really don’t think there are enough GCDs in there to do all that in 9 seconds, but right now I’m too tired to try.

Still, we did it, Occu’thar is dead tonight at the hands of two different Band of Misfits raid teams, and it felt like a solid win.

I hope that all of you enjoyed or will enjoy similar success this week, and dear lord, I pray that you don’t try to pug that. It is enough to break the strong and drown entire cities in the tearful cries of “Get the hell out of the red! No, you’ve got to burn the eyes! Stop DPSing the boss, and kill the EYES! FUCK your damage meters!”

Comments 2 Comments »

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