Tag Archives: WoW Raiding

A Look Back at Legion Part 2 of 3: My Legion Raiding Experience

The Emerald Nightmare

…was aptly named. Elemental shaman in the first tier were uh—well, not so good, honestly. I also was in the midst of a guild shakeup, which made raiding a lot more interesting (but not in a good way). I started in Syzygy on Sargeras at the beginning of the tier, but due to some differences of opinion, ended up in Crisp on Baelgun, with whom I killed Xavius and finished the expansion.

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Things I liked about EN: Ursoc. Who doesn’t love what amounts to a burn fight? Sometimes it’s fun to do minimal mechanics and DPS as hard as you can.

Things I didn’t like about EN: Most of the rest of it. But I don’t know how much of that can be attributed to the instance itself and how much of it can be attributed to my situation at the time.

Trial of Valor

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So uh. Yeah. I was on the bench for most of Odyn progression. Guarm was equally fun and annoying, depending on the day. Helya was an adventure and a test of our coordination and communication skills, which had varying states of success.

tumblr_n3cgbdJzbI1ttn104o6_r1_250.gifAnd then there’s The Chosen. Ahhhhh well. Our first Chosen recipient was a holy priest with the cloak who cleverly abused the cloak’s power to never technically die. Then there were a bunch of people that got it in one of our runs (including brand new guild members) who had never killed Helya before.

Me? I didn’t get it until halfway through the expansion because something always happened. One time we had a new balance druid who Starfalled Helya while we were setting up, then ran back to where the rest of the raid was, literally ran in a circle around us, and wiped us all. If you’ve heard the phrase “he ran around like a chicken with his head cut off,” he was exactly that. One time I got bombed on Guarm by someone’s debuff. Another time I was out of position and Gust-of-Winded into a tornado on Odyn.

It was so bad that by the time I got the title, the healers were focusing me and there was discussion about getting my druid and just staying in bear form to make sure I got it. Thankfully it didn’t come to that, but I’ve never been so happy to be done with a damn achievement in my life.

Nighthold

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Ah Nighthold. Honestly, there are some things about Nighthold I really, really enjoyed. After a tier of what-good-is-an-elemental-shaman-anyway, we had a few bosses where we were able to actually have fun. Earthquake with Sephuz on Skorp was a good time; saving Stormkeeper for the little adds on Anomaly was actually helpful. And then there was Spellblade. heart eyes emoji.png

Yeah, our Arcane mage made me cry (I’m looking at you, Pecans), but it was still a good time.

botanist experience

basically botanist

And then there were the other bosses. High Botanist was our kryptonite, and Star Augur and I did not get along. At all. The fel spit phase was almost certain death, and I Trined us a few times until I realized that if you turn on Chat Bubbles you could see the Star Sign announcement above people’s heads and didn’t have to rely on the colors, which apparently in my advanced age of 33 matters (I maintain that the green symbol blends in with the floor like camouflage, I don’t care what anyone else says…).

As far as Gul’dan? I honestly don’t think he gave us nearly as much trouble as Botanist. He was an end boss who felt like an end boss and that was okay. Plus my fellow ele and I got to go ham on eyes at the beginning and that was fun.

Tomb of Sargeras

I honestly enjoyed ToS. I know a lot of people didn’t, but I liked most of the bosses, I liked the environment, and I ran the place a LOT.

Favorite bosses? Actually, I liked most of them. Mistress I could’ve done without, but I was spared most of the progression on it, so I can’t complain much. Harjatan and Host were fun for elemental. I liked the Sisters, Maiden, Avatar, and KJ fights. I thought orb-catching was fun, I liked the dance on Avatar and while I think that KJ had some glaring issues (c’mon, that stand-around-and-get-bounced phase was actually awful), I liked the idea of the mechanics. But I’m not hard to please, so there’s that. I also was the weirdo who loved Imperator in WoD.

I should mention that in order to get a Maiden kill and to be in for Avatar and KJ, I had to switch to hunter because the lower single target damage of ele combined with the desperate need for immunities made it a poor choice (which sucks, I might add. Getting benched because of the class you play blows, but like it or not, it’s been a part of the game for a long time). BUT hunter was fun to play, so it turned out all right.

Antorus, The Burning Throne

Man, screw Antorus. I liked ToS; I didn’t like Antorus. I don’t know if it was my state of mind at the time or the instance itself or a combination of both, but even now I try to do as little of it as possible.

There’s not a single boss in the instance that makes me go, “Yeah, I really liked that fight.” Varimathras was okay. Portal Keeper and High Command were fun for Chain Lightning. Everything else was decidedly meh. Argus took us over 700 pulls, and I wasn’t in a great place anyway so it was extra mind-crushing.

I have rarely been happy to see an instance come to an end, but when we killed Argus the relief was palpable.

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These days, I only do Argus on normal/heroic on my characters if I can help it. I’ll do the Garothi/Aggramar/Argus bit if I have to, but I haven’t done a full clear of Antorus since I quit raiding, and I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon. I’m having a fine time doing Mythic+ and trying to cap all of my professions, tyvm.

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Part 1:

Part 3: Why I Left My Guild & What Now?

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The Collective Aha Moment & Two Reasons I Hate Firelands

The Collective A-Ha Moment

One of the most insightful comments I’ve seen came from Emmalise on a post I wrote last February. She talked about how she likes the teamwork aspect of raiding, how rewarding it is when 25 people all team up and get a boss fight. A week of wipes and frustration and let’s-try-this and what-about-that pays off when suddenly it all clicks. I call it the collective a-ha moment, and it’s an important part of why I raid, too.

For each player, there’s a different “epic” in the game. Maybe your epic is getting the best gear and flexing in the middle of Stormwind. Maybe it’s making such a name for yourself in PvP that the other team runs when they see your nameplate. For me, it’s raiding. It’s learning and progressing and coordinating. It’s the collective a-ha and the achievement (the kind you feel, not the kind that makes glowy swirls on your screen, though I like those too).

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 1

I returned to Warcraft this past fall. I’d stopped playing in May-ish and missed pretty much everything from May to August. I rejoined my guild and found that they needed me almost right off the bat because of the difficulty of recruiting for 25-mans on our server. It took me a little while to get a grasp on my moonkin-ness again, but that was nothing compared to the Firelands learning curve.

By the time I came in, most of the place was on farm. They were working on Domo, I believe. I had never even seen the instance, and I had to follow the color-coded dots of my raid members to find the entrance.

To them, these bosses were thoughtless fights. They’d done them many, many times before, and it was old hat. For me, I was completely lost. I had read strats to prepare myself, had even watched a few videos, but until you actually do a boss fight, you don’t really get it.

The best way for me to learn a boss fight is to learn it as a new fight: to struggle through, figure out what works and what doesn’t while everyone else is doing the same thing. As it was, I was learning on my own, and I was like an awkward cheerleader in a dance line: always one step behind the rest. The whole thing was extremely frustrating, and I only kept coming because I knew it would get better over time. I still never fully grasped the nuances of a lot of the early fights in Firelands.

No one likes to feel like the slow one. No one likes to feel left behind. It’s not unfair that this was the way it was, but that doesn’t mean it felt great.

Reason #1: I missed out on the collective a-ha moments, and I felt awkward and out-of-place for most of the instance.

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 2

Practically every caster in the guild was at some point in the progression of the legendary staff. There was a mage who was supposed to be getting it next, but he stopped coming, and suddenly I was being given the pieces for the first quest. This was, as I saw it, probably my only opportunity to ever see a legendary. I knew that on the totem pole of legendary staves, I was at the bottom, but I was hopeful nevertheless.

It took me a while to get all the Embers. My husband asked me to take Tuesdays off for a while to watch Biggest Loser with him, but I jumped on every time I could, and eventually got all of them.

I had basically bankrupted myself early in the expansion on two DMC:V’s for myself and my husband, and because I had stopped playing, I had never made the gold back. While I was collecting Embers, I was also diligently farming when I could for the gold to buy the items I would need for the staff.

I paid the 9k and completed the first quest and the next couple. I one-shotted the Nexus event in a moment I can only describe as freaking awesome. It came time for me to collect the foci from the raid.

We went in, and they were wearing down heroic Shannox while I ran around collecting shards. I got them, formed a focus, and I put it down, the spear hit it–and me. I never got healed and died right next to the charged focus. I asked for a rez, but my mic was broken and no one saw it in raid chat. By the time I got rezzed, the focus was gone, and the boss was dying. I was really upset.

But we moved on to Beth’tilac. I had read about this boss, but I had misread about the number of shards that drop. I collected three, but it took me so long that by the time I got up and put it on the web, Beth’tilac was coming down for the last time.

At that point, the raid gave up on me getting the rest of my foci, and wiped out the instance without looking back. I felt like an unimportant idiot. Mostly, I felt extremely disappointed.

The following Tuesday, Dragon Soul came out.

We went into Firelands last night to help other people do steps to get their staff. The race to get through Firelands as quickly as possible is not conducive to the step I’m on, and I’m not on anyone’s priority list for the staff.

Months ago I realized I wouldn’t ever see it completed, or at least not until late MoP when people get bored and I can maybe bribe them to help me. However, it’s still a disappointment, and going in there, especially to watch everyone else get their staff, is like salt in a wound.

Reason #2: Firelands reminds me of disappointment and failure.

Last night was not a fun night for me. I go because I’ve committed to raid and backing out because I’m a little butthurt would be lame. But I won’t like it.

And you can’t make me.


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I Told You So: The Decay of the 25-man, Part 2

Yesterday I explained the reasons I believe 25-mans are harder than 10s. To quickly recap:

  1. It’s harder to get 25 people together in the same place at the same time.
  2. 25 raiders means there are more opportunities for someone to fail.
  3. It takes longer to get 25 people on the same page (this was stated in the comments much more clearly than I said it in my post; thank you Emmalise, for describing the collective aha! moment!)

Some of the more aggressive people on either side of the 10- and 25-man issue would use this either to attack: “25’s don’t take any additional skill; it’s just people-wrangling;” or defend: “25-mans are harder for lots of reasons, and you’re just trying to make excuses why you can’t do it.”  (Yes, I actually have heard both of those come from real players). The point I’m making is that yes, 25-mans are harder, and yes, largely because there is some “people-wrangling” involved, but that doesn’t make that aspect of it wrong or right–it’s still just a matter of preference. [Insert diatribe about learning to respectfully disagree here.]

So if it’s not an issue of right and wrong, and it’s all about preference, shouldn’t the ability to choose between 10- and 25-man raids without being penalized for picking 10-mans be awesome? In theory, yes. I think raiders should absolutely be able to choose between 10- and 25-man raids based on what suits their motivation for raiding. Unfortunately, theories tend to be difficult to pull off in practice, and the problem with pulling this one off is, as I said at the end of my last post, that choosing to do a 25-man raid is becoming more and more difficult.

Previously, if you wanted to be taken seriously in overall progression, you were expected to do 25-mans. 10-mans were in their own sort of bracket, which actually would be perfect IF there wasn’t such a stigma attached, and in Wrath, there absolutely was a feeling of 10-mans being “lesser progression” in guilds that were unable to successfully complete 25-mans, although I hardly thing that should be the case.

Those who wanted to be taken seriously in progression raided in 25-mans, and even though they hated waiting for the people who were slower to learn or just bad performers to step up and execute boss fights correctly, they accepted that if they wanted the shiny(er) epics and they wanted to be able to boast about their raiding progression, they would have to put up with it. If not handled well by a guild’s leadership, this could lead to some serious burnout. This was the problem of Wrath: this dynamic coupled with months and months (and months) of the same content caused widespread burnout among raiders.

Enter Cataclysm, and we run into a new problem: the slow decline of 25-mans. I’m not sure how true this next statement is, but it seems reasonable that this decline has started mostly on servers not well-known for their progression because the pool of competitive raiders is smaller, and the raiders in the above scenario, who do everything right and want to progress and are tired of waiting for the stragglers suddenly have a new option: 10-man progression.

With the achievements and the gear being identical regardless of which type of raid you run, there’s much less stigma attached to 10-man guilds, and running with a smaller roster means you have very detailed control over who’s in and who isn’t. You don’t have to put up with players who don’t perform up to your standards if you really don’t want to. You don’t have to take anyone just to fill up your raid; if you want to be picky, there’s room to do that, whereas a 25-man raid on a server with fewer committed raiders often finds itself taking people who either aren’t as good or aren’t as committed just to have enough people to raid.

Understandably, the people who suffered from burn out last time either went straight into 10-mans this time or have found themselves having much less patience as their 25-man raids start hitting the wall.

As those in this second group realize that the 10-man option is available, this leaves them in a place to take one of two steps: either they can leave their guild and find a 10-man raid group, or they can try to push their guild to either improve or move to a 10-man format. When you go to your guild master or raid leader, who is no doubt as frustrated as you are, and say, “I’m sick of this. Why am I trying so hard when these people aren’t? We really need to do something about this, or I’m going to have to go somewhere else and raid,” you put your leadership in a tough predicament.

Maybe they’ll try first to help the poor players improve, but you can only do so much–part of raiding is individual accountability. When that doesn’t work well enough, perhaps they’ll try to recruit and phase out the people who still aren’t performing. This might actually work, but if you’re on a server with a low raider base and an even lower rate of raider transfers, it might be difficult if not downright impossible to find raiders who fit what you’re looking for.

The next step is to consider 10-man progression, but then there’s a whole host of questions that come with that: one 10-man, or two? If we opt for one, what will the people who aren’t invited to the 10-man do? If we opt for two, will we end up with an A-team/B-team dynamic, and do we want that?  (From where I sit as a raider, two 10-mans will always lead to an A/B team type situation, so you might as well be upfront about it). If your guild decides to stay 25-man and try to cover for the weaker players, those people who originally came to your raid leader and said they were sick of it will leave, and often; these people are some of your best performers. If your guild goes 10-man, there are going to be people who are left out and feel that distinctly enough to leave. This is not a good situation for a guild to be in, but it is one that’s appearing more and more often.

Once a guild chooses to go to a 10-man format and chooses its raiders, those who either aren’t interested in 10-mans or have been left out of the groups are going to move on, especially the good ones who just couldn’t be fit into the roster for one reason or another. And if these people leave, there’s likely to be a transfer to a server where 25-mans are running more consistently, depleting the original server’s raider pool even more.

According to WoWProgress.com, there are now only 7 guilds on my server who have stepped into 25-mans at all, and one of them (my guild) just became a 10-man guild. Of those 7, only two have progressed beyond 6 boss kills. The 10-man progression list, on the other hand, has 17 guilds who are at 6 boss kills or above.

I don’t know what the solution to this is, but even if there is one, it’s probably too late to implement it, at least for this raiding tier. And perhaps there just aren’t enough people out there who think a solution is necessary to warrant figuring one out. I don’t really know what’s coming next for me in my guild situation, either; the next month or so will determine that. What I do know is that the WoW raiding scene is changing, and I feel like I’ve lost my place in it. A lot of us saw this coming when the announcements were made; we just weren’t sure what form it would take.

25-mans, at least on some servers, are dying; and I don’t think there’s any shame in saying: “we told you so.”

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5 Things You Should Know Before You App

There are a lot of tips to applying to guilds. If you want an overall guide, check out 10 Tips to Successfully Apply to a Raiding Guild over at HotsandDots.

One particular item on their list stands out to me right now, though; and that’s what I want to focus on: Do Your Research.

I have seen applications that were well-written and honest, but completely unraveled with a second glance, all because the person who applied didn’t do their research first.

Here are 5 things you should know about a guild before you apply:

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Icecrown Citadel: Lower Spire part 1

TLBC Strats: ICC

All sources indicate that tomorrow’s maintenance will open the second wing of Icecrown Citadel.  A lot of us have already cleared through the first wing with considerable ease, so I think we’re looking at the opening with mixed emotions–excited to press on, but wondering if there’s going to be more challenging encounters ahead.

Before we get there, though; there are still plenty of groups making their way through Icecrown, so I want to do a quick and dirty ICC strat guide.

The Initial Trash

The trash pulls up to Marrowgar are almost a boss in themselves for some groups, so this is worth mentioning.  Depending on how well your raid functions under chaos, you’ll definitely want to mark kill targets (at least skull and x), and you might want to consider CC (Shackle FTW).  Follow the same rules as always: casters go first, and in this case, you’ll want to take out the Servant of the Frozen Throne in packs where they exist.

There are traps in the hallway leading to the boss.  These can be seen and therefore triggered at will by stealthed rogues, but if you are unlucky enough to be without one, you’re very likely to trip a trap when you’re least expecting it.  The trap releases some REALLY BIG skeletons from the wall.  They’re not any more difficult than any of the other trash with the exception of Disrupting Shout.  Shout works just like Ignis’s Flame Jets (a very popular mechanic in this expansion, I’ve noticed), so when you see him casting Shout, stop casting until it’s over.

Marrowgar

Marrowgar

This fight’s concept is extremely easy, but the execution can be ridiculously tricky at first.  There are 3 abilities you need to prepare yourself for and react to:

1.  Bone Spike.  Intermittently, people in your raid will get Bone Spiked.  If you remember Najentus’s spines, raise your hand–same idea.  Instead of picking up the spine, however, you’re going to kill it.  Have a macro ready to /tar Bone Spike and watch DBM (or listen for the boss to say “Stick around…”) so you can kill the Spike as soon as it spawns.

2.  Coldflame.  It’s blue, but it’s fire.  Do we stand in fire, ladies, gentlmen, and chickens?  NO.  Don’t stand in the fire.  Don’t. Stand. In. The. Fire.  It comes out from the boss in straight lines (except for during Bone Storm, below), so head left or right if it’s coming at you.

3.  Bone Storm.  Marrowgar gets bored after he’s Spiked a few people and tried to Coldflame you to death, so he shouts “Bone Storm” and starts whirling wildly around the room.  Bone Storm hurts a little, but what’s worse is a) the fact that everyone spreads to kingdom come (sorry, healers), and b) Coldflame spreads like a virus around the room.  Stay away from Marrowgar and stay out of fire until he settles down from his tantrum.

Do that a few times, and you’ll be looting the first boss in Icecrown.

Lady Deathwhiser (from mmo-champ)Lady Deathwhisper

There’s significant packs of trash in her room, but they’re similar to General Vezax’s, so just mark and CC where applicable.  Highly advise pulling them out of the room.

Once you clear the trash and you’re facing Lady Deathwhisper (who, by the way, talks more than any boss I can think of, except MAYBE Kael’thas, who was also a windbag), you’re going to see two phases.

Phase One: The Mana / Add Phase

During this phase, the Lady puts up a mana shield.  Her mana shield has a 1:1 ratio, meaning whatever damage her shield takes is equal to the amount of her mana it uses.  You’ll have a couple of casters who will stand there and dps her shield.  I do this because she also has Curse of Torpor she likes to throw out ad nauseum, and I can easily shoot her, actually work up to a steady, significant dps output, and decurse.

While this is going on, there are adds that spawn in the room: Cult Adherents and Cult Fanatics.  There should be dps teams assigned to these adds.  Adherents are especially susceptible to physical damage, while Fanatics fall prey to spell damage.  When either of these gains the “Empowered” or “Reanimated” status (Empowered Adherent/Fanatic, Reanimated Adherent/Fanatic), the appropriate damage classes need to turn, target, and burn that add.  Unsurprisingly, I have a targetting macro for this, too.  If you check out my Jaraxxus strat, you can use that same macro, replacing those targets with Reanimated, Empowered, and Lady.

Once you get her mana to zero, her shield will fall and she’ll become just another tank and spank with a twist (the twist being that she spawns ghosts that wander around the room.  Yes, you should run away from them).  Clean up the adds, kill the boss, and move onto my favorite raid event ever so far.

The Gunship Battle


For those of you who did Kara back when it was still new (read: still had an attunement), do you remember the first time you did opera?  or the chess event?

Take that feeling, increase its cool factor by 92% and its blowing-up-stuff factor by 110 % and you have the Gunship Battle.  I have two items for you to consider:  Rocket Pack and Cannons.

Player Roles in the Gunship Battle

Note:  I’m going to write this from the Alliance perspective, because that’s how I’ve done it.  The horde strategy is the same, only the names and faction of the targets you’re killing will change.

Cannoneers.  In 10-man there are 2 cannons; there are 4 in 25-man.  Cannoneers will jump into the cannon, point at the other ship, and spam 1 until the meter on the right (same place you see pyrite levels in Ulduar) reaches about 85-90% and then hit 2.  The first ability increases the damage of the second, but it can also cause the cannon to overheat.   I usually get 14-15 of the first ability in safely before using the second, so that’s a good number with which to start.  Cannoneers are shooting at the ship, but they can multitask by aiming for the opposing faction’s attackers (in the case of the alliance, Kor’kalon Axethrowers).  This way, you’re helping the other dpsers in lessening the threat to your ship and also bringing down their ship.

away teamThe Away Team (the warlock leading our 10-man group earlier this week called it this, and I like it).  Keep your casters on your ship; you need them there to AoE the adds that come to you as well as helping take down the Axethrowers (or their Alliance equivalent) on the other side.  Pick a few melee (the fewer that can handle the assignment the better) and a tank to be in the Away Team.  They’ll need to make sure they pick up rocket packs from the gnome on the ship (everyone can do this, they’re a lot of fun).  At some point, the opposing faction is going to call in a battle mage who will come and freeze the cannons.  At that point, the Away Team will rocket pack to the opposing ship, tank the commander (Saurfang/Muradin), and kill the  mage.  As soon as the mage is dead, rocket back to the ship.  A healer or two will need to stand on the edge of your ship to reach the Away Team without having to join them.

The Home Side Tank & AoE Throughout the fight, the opposing faction will be portaling in adds.  They are super easy to handle.  Group them up, tank them, and let your AoErs go hog wild.

It’s really a blast, and you should be looting that chest in no time.

The final boss in the wing is Saurfang, but I’m going to deal with him in part 2.


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The ToGC Playbook: Northrend Beasts

Trial of the Grand Crusader is the heroic version of ToC, and comes in 10- and 25-man versions.  I’ve completed 10-man ToGC and we’re working on Twin Val’kyrs in 25-man.

As always, this guide is geared towards moonkin and ranged dps in general, but I will try to cover all aspects of the fight.

We’ll start with the Beast–the Northrend Beasts.

In my opinion, this is the worst pre-Anub boss.  If you can make it past NRB, Jaraxxus will seem like a joke.  This takes several different levels of coordination and awareness.

Honestly, there aren’t too many straight out fight mechanic changes, but everything hits harder and faster.  The biggest change is that the bosses no longer wait until you’ve killed the one before them.  They will come out on a specified timer, which means everything you normally do on this fight needs to be done better and faster.

— Gormok the Impaler —

There are 3 main things to be aware of on this fight:

1)  Fire.  Just like the fires in the regular version, these come in the form of molotov cocktails that land at your feet.  Spread out to avoid having two people getting hit by one fire.  These do a lot more damage than their regular counterparts, so moving out of them is key.  The longer you stand there, the more stacks of the DoT you pile on, so don’t think about whether or not you should move, don’t finish your cast, don’t do anything until you’re out of the fire.  This should be reflex for most of us by now.  Some people can see the black bottles flying at them in time to move.  I am not one of them.

The Levitation Trick: Okay, here’s the deal.  On ToGC-25 we have routinely levitated the ranged and healers to delay the movement needed.  Unless someone is targeted twice, that’s 2 minutes of not needing to move.  HOWEVER, in a ToGC-10 I was in on Friday, the levitation trick did not work properly.  The fire very smartly only targetted people who were not levitated, meaning we wiped because our tanks were dancing in fire.  Try this at your own risk, as it might have been hotfixed this week.

2) Snobolds.  These guys are just as annoying as the ones in regular.  YAY FOR MOONKIN FORM, as being shapeshifted makes us immune to snobolds and their frustrating silence.  You still need to kill these guys.  Ideally you’ll have enough dps to kill all of the snobolds as they appear.  All dps needs to switchALL DPS NEEDS TO SWITCH.  Hey, guys, ALL DPS NEEDS TO SWITCH TO SNOBOLDS. Stop padding the dps meter and contribute to the raid, please.

If your dps isn’t high enough to kill them all and still get Gormok down before the worms make their appearance, then prioritize healers -> casters -> everyone else.  It is safe to leave one snobold to be killed when the worms are coming out.

Tanks will be getting impaled throughout the fight and will be switching off to let the debuff fall off.  I think our tanks usually switch off at three.  I’m not sure of all the details myself, but I know that a pally throws Hand of Protection on the last tank on Gormok right before the worms come out.  I think this is to help manage the extra impale or two he took while the other tanks were preparing for the worms.

Healers on the tanks need to pay attention to tank switches.  We call out tank changes on vent, but healers still need to watch the “resting” tank and keep him up while his debuff falls off.  People will be getting fire debuffs without a doubt; hopefully they’re not eating 3 or 4 stacks of the stuff.  1-2 is pretty easily healable, so have a few healers spread around the room for raid heals.

–The Twin Jormungars–


I hate this part more than anything else in this first encounter.  Fair warning.

First things first:  SPREAD OUT.  If you’ve got DBM you should have /distance 10 up, and it should be empty.  Five people getting hit by toxin or bile is bad bad bad.

In our experience, Acidmaw always pops out of the ground a little to the left of the door through which the bosses enter.  Situate yourselves around this area and burn him as quickly as you can.  He will probably get one submerge before you kill him.  My treant cooldown usually comes up when Acid’s at about 73%.  I know he submerges somewhere between 30-50%, so I generally save my trees for when he emerges and we’re racing to burn down that last half of his health. Once he dies, Dreadscale will enrage, and you’ll be burning him down.

This fight is all about awareness.  Don’t stand in poison clouds, they will kill you quickly.  Don’t stand next to people.  If you get burning bile and there’s no one who needs the toxin cleansed off of them, try to get away from people.  Your aoe damage will be a pain for your healers to heal through.  The fight dynamics aren’t that complicated, but the execution is very tricky.

Tanks switch off during this fight for us.  We no longer have a ranged tank on Acidmaw when he’s still because with all of us going balls-to-the-wall, aggro and healing were issues.  One tank stays with Acidmaw.  The other two tanks beat on Dreadscale.  When Tank A gets burning bile, Tank B grabs Dread so Tank A can go cleanse all the toxined people who are very slowly walking towards him, and they rotate like that until Acidmaw dies.

Healers have my sympathy on this fight.  The tanks take consistent damage, the raid is getting toxin, the bile people are sharing the love, and the whole time everyone’s trying to stay in dps or healing range while remaining spread out.

–Icehowl–

Dreadscale is usually around 20% for us when the Icehowl announcement comes, so one of the tanks breaks off to go get him.  We are ordinarily able to kill Dread before Icehowl becomes attackable, but if he starts wailing away while you’re burning Dread’s last 10% or so, that’s okay.  Just focus on getting Dreadscale down so you can all move to Icehowl, and make sure healers switch to the Icehowl tank while you transition.

This fight works exactly the same as the regular version, with two important changes:  you no longer get a speed boost after Massive Crash, and he enrages on a timer.  In order to beat the timer, the majority of the raid needs to stay alive.

Arctic Breath and Massive Crash both hit for a lot more damage.  If you spread out a little, fewer people will get hit with Arctic Breath at the same time, which helps.  Still, healers need to watch for this and heal the frozen people.

Check Your Six.  We had several issues with people getting crashed into doorways or pillars or facing the wall, making it difficult to run away in time.  When DBM says Massive Crash is 10 seconds away, I make sure I’m on a flat part of the wall and turn my back to it so I have a clear view and am free to run.

This fight really is a tank and spank with a twist.  Handle the Massive Crashes correctly, heal through Arctic Breath, and beat the enrage timer.  GG.

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The Twit Storm

I honestly did not realize that many of you keep up with my Twitter.  I have such a hard time following everybody that I usually just skim, so you guys have my kudos.  You are much more patient people than I am.

I’ve had quite a few messages and responses asking me about my recent tweets (it is tweets and not twits, right?!) concerning my guild and what exactly happened.

I’m not going to go into extensive detail.  It’s unnecessary, and it’s guild business.  I will give you enough of the scenario to understand what happened, and we’ll call it a day.

It was brought to my attention in an extremely undiplomatic way that my dps is horrible and that my purpose for being invited to raids was to provide the crit-hungry casters my buff.

The fact is, I was already aware that my dps was low.  I’ve been checking into different things at EJ and Graymatter and other sources, trying some new specs (like the idea that Typhoon might be better for moving fights than speccing into Brambles, since it’s an available instant cast that won’t interefere with our DoT time), and swapping gear in and out to try to find the best fit.  It’s been a frustrating few weeks on the damage meter, that’s for sure.

I switched between 2pcT8/2pcT9.25 and 2pcT9/2pcT9.25 a few times, and found no real difference.  The 4pcT9 seemed to do better at the target dummy, if only slightly (I took an average of damage done for three 3-minute, no-cooldown rotations and used that to find an average dps), but in a raid scenario, it was hard to tell the difference between the two.

I double checked my enchants and my gems.  I made sure my rotation was still accurate.  I played around with things to minimize latency and movement.  I swapped trinkets and rings, and then swapped them again, and then swapped them again.

I still haven’t quite nailed down why I’m pulling 4.5k on 25-heroic Northrend Beasts compared to most other dps being between 5 and 7k.  But I’m doing everything I can to find out.

Finding out that people think you suck is pretty bad.  It’s worse when they downplay the work you’ve put into trying to make it right.  And that’s what it all came down to, and that, combined with some other recent developments, lead to my /gquit.

However, I was poked, prodded, talked to, and convinced, and after discussing my concerns with some of the officers, I agreed to come back.

I love my guild; I really do.  And it’s good to be home.

So now, I keep going.  Keep experimenting; keep learning;  keep trying to improve.  I’m not going to agonize over my consistent 13th spot, but I am going to do everything in my power to push past it.

I am more than a buff.  I am a moonkin.

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Mods — The Addons I Love and Tolerate

No, no; not this.

No, no; not this.

I’ve seen this post a lot lately from several different bloggers.  As a matter of fact, this is probably getting close to WoW Meme status in Azeroth’s blogsphere.  It seems logical to my two cents in, as well, so here is a list of mods that I use and why I use them.

***Long-winded disclaimer:  After reading the reaction to Christian’s mod post in Arcane Brilliance, I want to make it clear that I am of the opinion that however you get your job done in the raid (within reason) is what matters.  I have personal likes & dislikes about mods (i.e., I really enjoy playing and would never use a mod that “thinks” for me too much), but this whole issue is really up to the raider and his 24 buddies.  These are just my choices, and believe me, each of our raiders has their own set-up that works for them.  That being said, I hope if you see something here that appeals to you that you’ll give it a shot!

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My Must-Haves:

Deadly Boss Mods.  This is not only an irreplaceable tool, it’s expected of any raider we have.  This tracks and times the bosses abilities and cooldowns and makes sure you’re aware of anything important.  Lunatic Gaze, on Yogg-Saron, for example.  Or Death Rune in Iron Council.  You get the idea.  While you can certainly customize it to an extent (I had to move the default DBM timer bar placement because it was covering up my debuffs), it’s fully functional without having to touch a thing.  For me, this is a no brainer.  I wouldn’t raid without it.

Grid.  I love Grid.  My obsession with Grid began in BC.  I was a healer and mostly anti-mod for a while, but then another resto druid moved into town, and he was making me look bad.  He was using Xperl, but when I tried it, I got overwhelmed.  For me, too many options is just as bad as not enough.  Then I found Grid and the blessing of mouseover macros.  Now, even as dps, I hate going without it.  All the information I need in one handy little package. Grid is a replacement for the Blizzard raid UI (you know, where you go into your raid tab and pull the groups out).  Straight from the download it will track health of raid members, as well as cleansable debuffs, aggro, and incoming heals.  Once you get comfortable with it, there are a lot of customization options.  If you’re still using the default Blizz UI that ends up taking up half your screen I highly, highly recommend giving this a try.

Squawk and Awe.  At this point, I could probably switch to any kind of DoT or buff timer thanks to the Eclipse change in 3.2, but I’m not going to, at least not yet.  Squawk and Awe is still a great tool.  It’s compact and gives me all the information I really need to know.  It tells me which Eclipse is up when and when Moonfire and Insect Swarm fall off.  I tried to raid without this on the PTR, and couldn’t do it.  I had to go install it so I didn’t lose my mind.

Mods I Love

TitanPanel.  It’s still a great option for coords and information tracking, and my favorite feature for the past year has been the ability to track gold across all my toons.

Recount.  Best damage meter out there, and by the way, it has a ton of information when you start poking around in it.

I know, I know; Im sorry!

I know, I know; I'm sorry!

QuestHelper.  I am so ashamed to admit this, but I swore I would, so there it is.  I did NOT use it to level at all until my druid was already at 80.  I didn’t want to be directed, I wanted to explore the content, and for this reason, I don’t recommend this for new players.  Trust me, the knowledge you’ll pick up along the way when you level the first time is absolutely invaluable.  Don’t spoil it with a mindless leveling mod.  That being said, now that I have two toons to 80 and I’m trying to level 3 more, it’s very useful not to have to jump out to Wowhead to remind myself of where X,Y, and Z are.

Miscellaneous

Omen.  Okay, I know there are about 50 people right now looking at their screen and thinking WHAT?!  Omen is NOT MISCELLANEOUS!  Well, for me it is.  I’m not a big fan of Omen.  It’s a threat meter, and definitely useful for some (my magnet aggro husband relies heavily on it, for instance) I rarely pull aggro and I like Blizzard’s new threat-monitoring feature.  The only thing that Omen does that I find really useful is the sound warning:  when you start moving close to the top on threat, it warns you with a very ominous and unmistakable thunk in your headset.  If Blizzard were to incorporate this in their current threat system, I would never use Omen again.

oRA2.  I only recently started using this mod.  It’s a compact information mod that shows tank targets and cooldowns, and I really only use it to track Guardian health on Yogg.  Other than that, it just sits there looking cool.

Decursive.  My relationship with Decursive is an on-again, off-again affair.  I prefer to use my mouseover decurse/abolish poison in combination with Grid for most things, and it works just fine.  As a matter of fact, I only have ever used Decursive on two fights:  1) Kalecgos in Sunwell and 2) Yogg-Saron.  Curse of Doom is nasty nasty, and being able to see who has it, how long they’ve had it, and whether or not they’re in range combined with a click-to-decurse set up is extremely helpful for that fight.

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See?  My list is pretty short.  I know I’m one of the few who still like the standard UI, but I’m so used to raiding with it as is, I don’t see myself changing any time soon.  Besides, most of the mods that really makeover your UI are complicated, and I’m just not that into complicated.

I do encourage you to play around with addons.  Find out which ones suit you most and then find out how you can customize them to make them even more useful.

And, because it wouldn’t be fair to talk about all this stuff without showing you my UI, here it is (you can click on it to see it in its full size with the active mods identified):

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Heroic Ulduar: Mimiron

Make sure you have your game sound turned up for this fight.  Mimiron cracks me up as he explains his VO-L7R-ON system; clever little gnome.

Mimiron Trash

You wouldn’t stand on a bomb, would you?  Good, don’t do it here either.  For ranged dps it’s pretty easy.  Stand back and pop off marked targets and AoE when necessary.  There are assault vehicles that turn friendly when low on health, and raiders can and should jump into them.  Heal up the vehicles, because as you progress through the trash, you’ll need them to jump into packs of trash to blow up the bombs and stun the mobs.  Yours truly jumped into one this past week on 10-man, and the picture was priceless (check out our buddy Savante from Torn Empire on Durotan planting a garden under my bot!):

My bumper sticker says PWNKIN.

My bumper sticker says PWNKIN.

Once you’ve cleared the trash, you’ll get to ride on the tram.  That’s right, there’s a tram, and it’s cool.  Just make sure no one pushes the button until everyone is safely on board.  Take the tram to the Spark of Imagination, and from this point on you’ll have a portal there.  Play Frogger 2.0 through the bombs running around Mimiron’s room (they aggro, so don’t assume skirting behind them is safe like in Naxx; look for a nice, wide opening lest you become the target of someone’s rez macro).

The Diagram

After having a good chuckle over my Kologarn diagram, my husband told me that I couldn’t possibly do a diagram encapsulating Mimiron.  He was wrong.

LEET PWNZORZ!

LEET PWNZORZ!

In case that’s not enough info, here’s a more detailed account:

Mimiron Phase 1: The Leviathan

For this phase, spread your raid out around the room.  There are three “pie slices” if you will, and everyone should be spread out about equidistant from the boss, with healers in each slice.  Spread out so you’re about 10 yards from the nearest raiders (melee don’t count, they’ll be running in and out the whole time).  For us, this is one of the two easiest phases.  Melee will be running from Shock Blasts and avoiding mines, and tanks and healers will be blowing cooldowns to mitigate Plasma Blast.  For us, we stand still and dps  (tough, right?).  There are Napalm Shells to worry about, but our healers found it much easier to heal us if we just stood still through it instead of potentially running out of range.  Assuming the tanks survive, this will go quickly and you’ll be moving on to Phase 2 easily.

pewpew lzrsPhase 2: It’s All About the Pew Pew

During this phase, Mimiron will jump into a     stationary robot with big guns (no exaggeration).  For dps, this fight is knowing about when to move and when to stand still.  If you are targeted by the single fire gun, stand still.  This works like eye beams (sort of), and if you run you’re going to rain gunfire upon your friends.  It’s not a good way to keep them.

However, when P3Wx2 Laser Barrage starts (since you’re obviously raiding with an announcement mod…we’ve been over this), you should get a big smack in the face to tell you that he’s spinning up.  Whichever direction his cannon is facing when he stops for the spin up is where the barrage will start.  It will travel in a clockwise motion around the room.  If you are caught in it, you will die, so you and your neighbors in that slice of pie need to find a way out before he starts firing.

And finally, fellow moonkin, what do we do when a big red target of light centers on us?  Take three steps forward so the rocket blows up behind you instead of on your head.  No one wants to gather all your feathers.

Phase 3:  Use Your Noggin

When his guns stop blazing, Mimiron jumps into the head of his system…and I do mean head.  He comes back piloting a mechanical gnome head and releases waves of bots.  Our strat is fairly simple for ranged dps.  All of the ranged dps clumps up right in front of the entrance, with our head tank (usually a hunter) standing a few yards in front of us to guarantee aggro, and we do nothing but attack the head.  To our right, one tank collects Junk Bots.  To our left, another tank or two and melee work on the assault bots and bombs, with a melee dps (usually a rogue) keeping an eye out for the magnetic core and using it.  Once the head dies, we clean up the adds and move onto the final phase.

Phase 4: Put it All Together Now

In phase 4, Mimiron’s VO-L7R-ON bot becomes a complete unit, with each component at 50% health.  The phase 1 Leviathan no longer drops napalms, thank goodness, but still does Shock Blast.  The phase 2 Pew continues, but without the single-target guns.  The head continues to throw plasma balls at the closest and highest target on its aggro table, but no longer summons bots.

Go back to where you were for Phases 1 and 2, but be aware:  now the Laser Barrage is a little trickier.  For one thing, it’s on a movable platform, so if someone accidentally pulls aggro right before spinning up starts, you might have to recalculate where you’re headed.  Avoid rockets and barrage, and watch each segment’s health.  They all need to go down at the same time, so we usually assign groups to each segment and then shift dpsers to different targets as needed until Mimiron wakes up from Yogg’s daydream and stops trying to kill us.

There ya go.  Walking in there the first time is intimidating, considering all the chaos in the room, but you’ll get the hang of it and be moving onto Vezax before you know it.


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Heroic Ulduar: Thorim

I like this fight’s layout, although mastering it might take a little practice.  It took us a considerable amount of time to figure out exactly what combinations worked for us in the first phase.  I’m still going to focus primarily on our feathery ranged dps role, though.

Trash is very easy.  It’s two sets of two dark iron guys.  Tank the two together, and the tanks need to switch targets back and forth until they’re dead.  Single target dps them down.  Do this twice, done.

The Pull

When you walk in the door, there is an assortment of NPCs fighting a Jormungar in an arena-type event.  Kill the Acolyte healer first, then the Captain, then the other NPCs, then finally the Jormungar.  Honestly, I usually kill the healer, dot the captain, then Starfall + Hurricane.  Once everything is dead, Thorim will start a dialogue.  At this point, Phase 1 begins.

Phase 1

You will need to split your raid into two groups, one to play dodgeball-mini-boss-killing in the tunnel and the other to hold off adds in the arena.  I can’t give you a magic formula for who needs to be where.  I can tell you what works for us, and that should be a pretty good guideline.

The Arena Group‘s primarily going to focus on killing adds and staying alive in the arena.  You’re there to distract Thorim with a good show while the tunnel group sneaks in from behind.  We go melee-heavy in the arena because they’re better suited for it.  There are lots of silences in the arena, making it inhospitable to casters, and enough moving around in the tunnel to make it difficult for melee to do any good there.   Our typical arena group consists of two tanks, all the melee, a hunter or two, and 4-5 healers.  If you find yourself in the arena (I have been put in there before, but not in a while), run if you get the all too obvious DBM skull on your head, and the kill order is always Evoker -> Champion -> Warbringer -> Commoner.  Some groups AoE this part; we haven’t had luck with that yet.  Keep this up until Phase 2.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

The Tunnel Group is the one I’m usually in.  We go wait by the gate to the left until Thorim engages, then someone pulls the lever and we run in.  We generally have 1 tank, 1-2 healers, and all the caster dps.  There is trash and two mini-bosses to plow through in order to rescue the arena group.  The trash up to the first mini-boss is pretty simple; kill the Acolyte (Note to my mage friends:  if it is an Acolyte, then its heal needs to be interrupted, kk?) first then the Guardians while playing Dodge the Fireball.  The miniboss will raise one hand with fire and throw a fireball down that side of the tunnel.  Watch his hand and move to the opposite side of tunnel-o-flame (we have someone call it on vent to prevent dumb wipes).

Kill the first miniboss while the whole group is stacked up on his butt a la Attumen & Midnight.  As soon as the door opens, kill the Acolyte standing there and then let your tank run the spawning mobs up the stairs to stop the spawns.  Kill the second Acolyte once you get to the top of the stairs and then kill the second miniboss.  Run away from anyone who has a skull on their head as they become a stationary bomb that will hurt you (a lot).  As soon as the second miniboss is down, kill the adds and head in past Thorim and into the arena (careful–if you manage to do this and engage Thorim in under 3 minutes, you enter Hard Mode).

Phase 2

After all of that mess in Phase 1, this should seem relatively easy.  Clean up the adds left in the arena and start dpsing the boss.  The biggest thing you need to watch for are Lightning Charges.  You’ll see two streams of light traveling along the ground in a direction.  Get away from them, because once he finishes charging the orb, it’s going to blow up at you in a pie-slice shaped AoE.  You don’t want to be standing there when it happens.  Other than that, I just stand wherever I stop and dps him until I have to move again.

It might take you a few tries to figure out how to divide your groups, but once you get it, you’ll be collecting the loot and moving onto Mimiron.

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