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.
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!