Tag Archives: raiding

Chi Cerca Trova & Siege of Orgrimmar Heroic: 10 vs 25

After 2 months of being unable to progress because we couldn’t recruit faster than we were losing people to burn-out and real life, the decision was made this week to go to 10-man Heroic. Our goal? Get through the content as quickly as possible and then get everyone subbed in to get the Heroic Garrosh kill they’ve earned.

As it turns out, though; there are some things about 10m that required some adjusting on our part. If you find yourself in a similar situation, dropping from 25 to 10, let me share with you the lessons we learned our first night in 10s!

ImageImmerseus: Ow, That Hurts

First lesson we learned is that the Swelling Corruption stacking DoT really matters on 10m (REALLY matters).

On 25m, with so many DPS splitting the stacks (and usually running with an extra healer), we basically ignored the DoT. No one usually got more than 2-3, maybe 4 stacks, and since we were all in the same small piece of real estate anyway, healing through it was no big deal.

In 10m, though, we had a few wipes because people were dying with ticks between 600k and 800k–ouch! So, we had to do what the Pandaren have been telling us to do all along: S l o w  D o w n. We had to watch our stacks and not go above 5. Once we did that, the fight was a lot easier, if still a little annoying.

Protectors: Just Go Ahead and Stack Everything

Protectors was actually way, way easier on 10 than 25. Ranged stacked up and got healed, we took a few steps out for Corrupted Brew and Sha Sear, but other than that we just executed the fight normally from our spots.

Much to everyone’s (okay, well, half the raid, at least) delight, we stacked the bosses very, very tightly, making for a quick, mostly clean kill. No melee were (significantly) harmed in the killing of this boss.

Norushen: Oh, Hey, Adds.

On 25m, we always had 2-3 DPS that never had their corruption cleared and focused on adds so that those who were at 0 corruption could focus entirely on the boss. In 10m, we sent all of our DPS in, and that meant that everyone needed to be more attentive on adds, something we almost failed at.

Thankfully, we cleared it up pretty quickly, and since we had all of the DPS in and out so quickly, once the little adds were dead, the fight was a cake walk. In fact, we beat our 25m time by almost a minute!

Sha of Pride: Heroic LFR

Compared to 25m, 10m Sha of Pride was much, much less chaotic. We stacked up like you do on LFR, focused on rifts closest to our stacked group, and executed everything else normally. Except for a couple of “whoops” deaths, Sha went down pretty easily.

Galakras, Iron Juggernaut, & Dark Shaman: Business as Usual

Except for some positioning adjustments on Juggernaut and me still learning to tank Shaman (and a few would-be Storm Chasers), these three bosses remained largely unchanged. We used identical strats to our 25m, just pared down to fit the group.

Nazgrim: On Your Toes

Biggest difference for Nazgrim (besides getting distracted and standing in Aftershock–oh, no, wait, that’s not that different) is that we have fewer people covering interrupts and stuns, so we had some deaths to Ironblades, especially combined with Bonecracker or War Song.

We stopped at Nazgrim for the night, but we’re going back in there Monday, and we can’t wait to kill Thok, at last.

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Why I Don’t Like You, And Probably Never Will

UPDATE: There’s been a meeting of the minds, so to speak, and our guild and the guild that is the subject of this post (and the myriad comments below) has reached an agreement. Good grief, I sound like I’m writing some kind of political release.

Fahget about it. We’re starting over, clean slate. Nothing to see here, move along.

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For weeks, I’ve been telling my guildies not to feed the trolls, and (for the most part), they’ve been great. Here I go ruining it, because I have a big bag of troll food, and I’ve got to use it up before it goes stale.

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So this is an open letter to whom it may concern:

It’s one thing to win, and the truth is, I don’t fault you for being first. I’m not all that jealous of your progression or gear. See, our guild never set out to be first. We were (mostly) content to do the best we could do, which sometimes was great and sometimes wasn’t.

We got a new team at the helm with some new ideas about raiding, and we got a little better. A little more consistent, a little more focused, a little more driven. That, combined with the server we’ve called home for nearly 10 years now crumbling into pieces as guilds drifted away, transferred servers, or just collapsed completely, resulted in us being in the number one position. It was cool, but we didn’t stop being, well; us.

If you think my dislike comes from a place of jealousy, I’m afraid that’s your pride getting the better of you. If you had arrived on our server and taken the lead graciously, we’d probably get along extremely well. In fact, I’d probably look up to you and encourage our raiders to take notes from yours. We’d still be driven to try to keep up with you, no question, but I imagine I would think you were pretty cool.

Instead, I watched as you easily took over the 10-man progression slot and immediately started giving crap to the only 10-man group that was, at the time, actively pursuing heroics.

Why? What did putting them down do for you?

Then it was Challenge Modes, and again, you circled around those players with the previous bests like vultures, ripping on them whenever the opportunity arose. I knew as soon as I heard that we would be next.

See, I knew you guys would probably catch up and overtake us, and I knew the minute it happened that the silence would break. You wouldn’t sit around watching our players at the dummies anymore, you’d have to say something.

And, unfortunately, I wasn’t the least bit wrong about that. The day after you took the lead in progression, your members immediately started in, trolling and mocking ours as they waited outside the instance on raid night or stood in the Shrine. It made me angry, not because you had passed us in progression, but because you felt the need to turn around and try to make my friends feel like crap about it.

So I asked them to maintain the silence; to take the trolling in stride. There were some–interesting–ways my guildies took this request, but by and large, they did as I asked.

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And yet it continues. Maybe you think you’re just being funny, but that’s not the way it comes across. So no, I don’t like you, and I probably never will.

I’ve been on the internet long enough to know the responses to this post, so in an effort to save your time, I’m going to list them below and you just circle the ones that apply to your reply:

A. It’s just a game, get over it.

B. You’re being stupid.

C. If you don’t want to hear crap, then get better.

D. You’re just jealous.

E. It’s just fun, lighten up.

And maybe it’s true, maybe I do take it too seriously, too personally–but I only do because people like my husband and some of my friends do, too. I’m protective of them, and I don’t like to see them feeling frustrated because you decided it’s your job to remind them that you’re first and we’re not.

Well, congratulations, but there are different kinds of winners.

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Blizzcon, Warlords, & The Horizon: Part 1

It’s been a little over a week since the Blizzcon Opening Ceremony. I geeked out as I watched my virtual ticket over the weekend, and now that I’ve had a week to process everything, I want to join in the crowds voicing their opinion on what we all saw and heard.

World of Warcraft

First, of course, is World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. I was definitely more interested in Warlords than in Mists of Pandaria when it was first announced, but that’s not a good measure, because I ended up loving MoP. In fact, I’m still enjoying the heck out of Mists!

Warlords: Storyline

The premise of Warlords is great–go back and fight against the Big Bads of a bygone era, a new Horde crafted from an old brotherhood. Big characters: who doesn’t want to meet Durotan & Draka? Who wouldn’t want to face Ner’zhul before the first rise of the Lich King?

Facing down Rend as he was in Draenor is going to be brilliant, not to mention the fact that I love draenei and getting to work alongside original draenei in their homeland sounds like something I’d sign up for yesterday.

The concerns I’ve heard, though; are valid. Primarily:

  • Is the story too contrived?
  • Isn’t the alternate timeline thing a little confusing?
  • Are the female characters getting shuffled under the table for this expansion?

On the first and second points, I think they’re kind of combined. The alternate timeline idea makes the story feel more contrived than it might otherwise. If you aren’t sure how this is going to work, it’s basically like this (at least, this is my understanding of it):

Warlords: Parallel Timelines

The idea is that Garrosh goes not only back in time, but on an alternate timeline completely, goes back to before the orcs drink Mannoroth’s blood, and rallies them into an un-cursed Horde. I believe his plan is to bring them back to our current time and wipe us out because I guess he’s a little ticked about the whole Siege of Orgrimmar thing.

Does this make the story a little contrived? Honestly, yeah, I suppose it does, but I think I can overlook it for the sake of what’s going to be involved. Burning Crusade also felt a bit contrived, but in the end, a lot of people loved that expansion.

As for the last point, it’s valid, and I want to know more. I’ve heard there will be some female characters, particularly a draenei, that will be completely awesome, but I don’t know that it makes up for the fact that this is a pretty testosterone-driven expansion. The “boys’ trip” comment took me aback a bit, too. I’m withholding judgement until we get a better look at exactly what’s going down in Draenor, and I’m hoping they’ll surprise me.

Raiding

Obviously, raiding is a huge deal for me, so I was paying close attention to the raiding changes. The biggest change is, of course, the raid types:

New Raid Structure from Blizzcon

I’m not going to lie, the inner elitist in me (and it IS inner, I can’t stand on elitist ground, I hang out somewhere on the cliff of “managing somehow”) recoiled at first. Everything is flex? But, but, but–that–I–okay. It’s a change. We’re not usually great with change. Is it a bad change? Nah. Is it a dealbreaker? No way. It’s different, and we’ll make it work like we always have.

My guild’s primary focus will be Heroic and Mythic. This means that we’re going to have to sit 5 people when we do Mythic, and that’s going to make an interesting dynamic. I will say that I like the fact that this will require players to push hard–when you really want to raid the highest content and your spot is in jeopardy, you will work for it.

The unfortunate side of this is that there’s a good chance that even people who try really hard won’t make it into Mythic every week. Encounter balance will play a big role in how this works out. I can tell you I’ll be fighting with all I have for my Mythic spot.

Coming in the next post: Item Changes, Stuff I Geeked Out For, Hearthstone, & Heroes of the Storm.

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The Double-Edged Sword of OQueue

I started hearing a lot about the add-on OQueue probably a month ago. If you aren’t familiar with this add-on, it allows you to join premade groups cross-realm for raids, PvP, dungeons, scenarios, world bosses–anything, really.

I held off downloading it. The truth was, I’d never had a super hard time finding a group. My main is a well-geared, Alliance character, and on a server where Alliance dominates (ratio of about 4:1, probably even more unbalanced now), that’s made it relatively simple.

Then I started playing my Horde warlock, and I felt the pain of that imbalance. It was nearly impossible to get a couple of gems cut, much less any kind of raid for Celestials or Ordos.

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OQueue Fan 

This being what it was, I decided to bite the bullet and try OQueue. I did a little reading about it, then downloaded it and tried it out. My poor warlock went from being stranded on a lifeless Horde-side realm to a Celestials Group and Ordos right after it.

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This, I decided, was awesome. Suddenly, I had to try it for all of my characters. My main’s Flex night falls on an offnight, and since we’re limited to a night, we go for the most relevant Flex wing for the raid–right now, that’s wing 4, because we’re working on Garrosh and want people to see him (plus there’s some considerably nice gear off of those bosses that are still upgrades for raiders).

That meant I still needed the other wings of Flex–and I had OQueue. That was about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Since then, I have used OQueue to run the first three wings in Flex every week, Celestials and Ordos on my druid and warlock, and a few scenarios to cap my Valor Points.

It’s amazing–it’s nearly instant most of the time, and there’s no work involved–this can’t possibly have a downside, right?

All the Lonely People

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This week, I did what I’d been doing the past couple of weeks: on Tuesday, as soon as realms came up, I OQ’d my druid for Ordos and Celestials. Within 20 minutes of logging in, both bosses were dead. Excellent.

Not sure what to do with myself, I OQ’d again for a flex raid, knocked a wing out, then hit up a couple of scenarios for VP.

Then I logged out, because I didn’t have anything else I needed to do on my main, and there was no one around anyway.

I’ve realized this week that I’m missing something in my OQueue shenanigans–people. I didn’t realize how valuable those moments getting a bunch of people on our realm together to do a world boss or teaming up with guildies were to me until I didn’t have them anymore.

Suddenly, doing groups isn’t about pulling people together–it’s like the entire World of Warcraft went LFR, and I don’t like that aspect nearly as much as I thought I would.

OQueue or NoQueue? 

(Ha! NoQueue. Get it?). I’ll still use OQueue, it really is an invaluable resource when you want to kill a boss or do a scenario and there’s no one around to help you out. It’s awesome for Flex raids, which are hard to put together on a relatively low- to moderate-pop server.

However, I’ll keep my eyes open for chances to group with others from my server. Next Tuesday, before I open OQueue, I think I’ll take a look at Trade and do some old-fashioned group-finding.

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Lessons from the Timeless Isle

  1. Do click on everything.
  2. Don’t stand still for too long (see also: Burning Cleave, Molten Inferno)
  3. Do ride the Albatross Express.
  4. Do talk to monkeys in caves.
  5. Don’t laugh at Zarhym’s jokes.

Pre-Patch

I originally planned to make a blog post the day of the patch itself, but I had only been awake for about 30 minutes when my husband said, “Holy crap, the realms are up!”  Of my list of goals for going into 5.4, I…almost made it. My goals were:

  • Get every level 90 Justice Point capped.
  • Get my main Valor Point capped.
  • Get the Darkspear Revolutionary title on my warlock.
  • Sort out my bags.

I did my VP cap, and I almost got every level 90 character JP capped:

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I also got my title!

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As for the last one…

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Eh, you win some, you lose some.

Patch 5.4 – Day 1

Taxi!

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I am the one who knocks (yeah, I’ve just been looking for an excuse to say that):

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Onward to Orgrimmar:

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Play as a Team: Guild Progression

What is a guild? Very simply, it’s a group of players who come together under one banner to achieve a certain goal.

That goal can be anything: friendship, camaraderie, questing, leveling, PvP, role playing, raiding, progression. Most guilds combine at least a few of these, though I think we all know some guilds who are more focused on one or another.

Herding Cats...

Casual Progression

My guild is a casual progression raiding guild. I define “casual progression” as goal-oriented but more flexible than hardcore.

We raid three nights a week for about 3 hours per night. The other nights of the week belong to me (okay, actually, they belong to work and family, but I’m cool with that).

If my daughter wakes up with a bad dream, I can walk away for five minutes and not lose my raid spot. I can sign out of a raid for dinner with my husband. I don’t have to be perfect.

But I darn well better try.

That’s the key to any progression for me: be as close to perfect as you can be. Come prepared: bring a flask, get a stack of potions, eat your buff food, read the strats, watch the videos. When that pull countdown starts, be as ready as you can be and do everything you can to be as good as possible.

When the raid is over, take a look at performance. How did you do? Can you do better? (That’s a trick question, the answer is always yes). How will you do it better next time?

Guild Progression

I said all of that to establish where I’m coming from with this topic. The above is my raiding philosophy,  if you can call it that. I can say with complete certainty that all of the officers in my guild would agree that it’s what we expect from everyone. It’s definitely what we expect of ourselves.

The reason for performing your best is not to be awesome. Sure, it’s nice to be awesome. It’s certainly helpful if you are awesome. But the reason your ability and your performance matters comes down to one thing: guild progression.

Ultimately, I want to be in a guild that kills bosses. My personal role in that experience is to do whatever I can do to help kill bosses, and that is much more than a performance issue.

The fact is, sometimes the best thing I can do to help my guild get a boss kill is to sit out of a fight.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is admit I am stumped on a mechanic or that I need some help with my class and my role.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is to pass on a piece of loot that I could use but that would help the guild out more in the hands of a player who can utilize the optimization better or needs the upgrade more than I do.

Why? Because I care more about the guild progression than my own.

Personal Progression

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Personal progression is extremely rewarding, let’s be honest. It feels great to get new loot. It feels great to be involved in a boss kill. 

If you’ve ever gotten one of these whispers:

  • “Man, I wish I had your gear.”
  • “How did you get that title?”
  • “Congrats on the boss kill, we’re still stuck.”

You know there’s some pride wrapped up in personal progression.

But none of us live in a vacuum. I can’t walk in there and solo a progression boss (I’ve proven this with a few misfired Moonfires). I rely on the 24 other people in my raid.

One person’s progression is far, far secondary to the guild’s progression. A raider’s personal progression is only relevant in how much it helps us succeed as a guild.

My Bottom Line

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic this week, mulling and stewing and raging, depending on the day. All of my thoughts come back to a few principles:

  • No raider is irreplaceable. If you’re in a guild that’s been raiding for years, the very fact that you are in the raid at all is a testament to this truth: you replaced someone. 
  • You raid because the rest of your raid allows you to do so. As I said before, you can’t solo bosses. If you’re in a raid group right now, it’s because the other people in your raid find you valuable for one reason or another. Keep being valuable, and you’ll probably get to raid for a long time.
  • Guilds don’t exist to serve you. Guilds are communities created by like-minded individuals, each with their own motives, desires, and objectives. We are not merely a vehicle to achieve your personal goals. We all have individual goals, but our primary objective is for the guild’s boss count to go up.
  • Guild progression > individual progression. I love to be present for boss kills. I love to get new loot. I love to do well on meters and get acknowledged for my contributions–who doesn’t? But I care much more about where we are as a guild, and if it takes me sitting back on the sidelines, playing a non-favorite role for a boss or two, or passing on loot, then that’s what I’ll do.

I’m in a progression-oriented guild because I like to be involved in a group that gets things done. I like being part of something bigger than myself. I like knowing that I play a role in what the guild is doing. Those things are rewarding to me; those things are fun to me.

In a conversation last night, one of our officers dropped the key word: teamwork.

Do your best, put in the effort, admit when you’re struggling, make a sacrifice for a fellow raider: play for the team.

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Battlechicken Vlog #2: Let Me Make a Macro

Battlechicken Vlog #2! I told Navi earlier this week that I wasn’t sure I’d ever find something as awesome to vlog about as Navispam. I still haven’t, but you get this anyway!

I like to make made-up albums for my guild with song titles specific to our raid and members. I’ll show you the cover of the “album” from which this song comes, but the songs themselves are guild-related and will stay on our forums.

However, “Let Me Make a Macro” has been stewing in my head for a few months. Our raid leader/GM Boomslang says this phrase at least once every new fight. I felt like it needed to be written, so I wrote it. And that’s what vlog numero dos is: “Let Me Make a Macro.”

If it gets someone to smile tonight, I’m good with that. :-D

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5.0 Patch Day Mayhem

Best advice I have for pre-patch is read all the blogs. See the bottom of this post and the comments for resources, posts, and guides. If you have one, please link it!

Here’s the problem. In the past, I did patch days like everyone else does patch days in the blogosphere. I talked about my class, I wrote guides, I talked about all the changes. Here’s what I’ve decided: there are so many people doing that way better than I would.

So instead, we’re going to amble down the path of the many, many half-finished blog posts I’ve written about this patch and Mists and the game in general. We’re going to hit each point as succinctly as possible (which means this post will go on forever…) and, yeah. That’s the plan.

Point 1: Where I Stand on Mists of Pandaria

When MoP was announced at that fateful Blizzcon, I looked at my husband and said, “You have got to be kidding me. Pandas? They’re going to base our entire expansion on an April Fool’s joke?” Later came: “Who am I fighting? What will I be raiding? What is my purpose?”

I would never completely discount something without seeing it first, but my initial response was slightly more than reserved, slightly less than annoyed. Internally, I gave Blizzard this challenge: you’re going to have to sell me hard on this one.

For months, no matter how interesting the news came out, I dismissed it. Over and over again I brushed it off, sneered, or sighed at “monk” this and “pandaren” that and “Horde” this and “Alliance” that.

Then I played the beta. I wanted to play because it was beta, not because my mind had changed. I wanted to see it for myself. This was it–the moment Blizzard would have to sell me on Mists of Pandaria.

Ambermist in Astral Form in Mists of Pandaria Continue reading

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Thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic and Why We Quit

When SWTOR announced free-to-play this week, several sites used the phrase “hemorrhaging subscribers” to describe the huge decrease in subscriptions from launch until now. A lot of people are walking away, myself and my husband, Ultraking (UK for short) included.

As much as we’d like to sum it up with a blanket statement and say “Everyone’s quitting because of X,” that’s just not reality. Everyone is going to have their own reason for leaving, and while we’re likely to see trends, nailing down a definitive answer is, in my opinion, highly unlikely.

Recently, UK and I were discussing (again) why, exactly, we’re letting our SWTOR subscriptions run out. There was the overarching answer that we “just don’t enjoy it anymore,” but that’s a simple and incomplete. We got to talking about what exactly that means for each of us. We talked about things our friends have said, comments made on Twitter this week, things happening with our guild, and I think at the end of it, we have a pretty good idea of an actual answer.

The Expectation

The first reason isn’t actually anyone’s fault. The fact is, people had a lot of expectations for this game. It had one of the biggest, longest-lasting fandoms attached, before fandom came with Tumblr memes and Twitter lists. You attach “Star Wars” to something, and people suddenly get excited.

Star Wars Cosplay

It’s understandable, isn’t it? Most of us love Star Wars on some level. Fans get instantly nostalgic thinking about it, and it’s not uncommon in any fan group to want to escape into that every once in a while. Some do it through books, others through websites. Some RP, and others–well, we play video games. People have very clear ideas about what the Star Wars universe actually is (although they don’t always match up), and the idea of an MMO–as close as you can virtually get to being a part of Star Wars–well, that’s exciting.

SWTOR Hype

The game was hyped a lot. I don’t think it’s Bioware’s fault for hyping the game any more than I think it’s the players’ fault for having high expectations. Some people are pleased with the game the way it is. Some aren’t. It just is what it is, and that’s okay. Continue reading

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World of Warcraft Isn’t Real, And My Name Isn’t Ambermist

Heads up, this one’s long, personal, and maybe sort of pointless, but it’s been swimming around in my head for a long time, and since I did just ask everyone to tell me about themselves, it seems relevant.

This post has been in my head for months–as a matter of fact, I started writing it there the day I came back to this blog, but I kept coming up with reasons not to flesh it out and post it.  When I came up with the July Challenge, it was on my mind, and then I read this post at Tree Heals Go Woosh (which is, by the way, the best blog name ever). It got me thinking about all of that stuff again since the end of Wrath/beginning of Cataclysm brought a lot of this to the forefront for me.

Over the course of Wrath, I learned so much about WoW. I’d been playing half-blind for a couple of years, I realized, and with the leap into blogging, I suddenly had a world of information and experiences at my fingertips. As an expansion, Wrath encouraged that exploration, and I honed a lot of my skills there.

See, I knew my stuff. >.>

I had a lot going on in my life during that expansion, too; a lot of change: my father-in-law passed away from cancer, my brother-in-law had a heart attack and a stroke, my daughter started kindergarten, and my son was diagnosed with autism. I was stressed out, at my highest weight ever, dealing with my own issues on top of everything else, and profoundly insecure.

I started using WoW and its many, many things to do as an escape, but more than that, I started to find my identity there. Continue reading

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