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ICC Impressions

January 14th, 2010 Comments off

Well ICC has now been out, the new wing opened and our face has been smashed in.  We have cleared the first wing of ICC a few times here is my thoughts on the wing.

Trash farming is fun – however annoying.  It is nice to get upgrades on the rings.  Those are great free loot and in many cases become BiS items.  We even saw Rowan’s Rifle of Silver Bullets, which not really having a end game raiding warrior we sold on the AH to help with the purchase of future items.  The benefits are nice, the gold is decent, however there can be some time sinks and bad wipes.  When an alarm is triggered, which you want, that is 75 – 82 rep, many times, people will die, not a big deal.  You can do a few resets in a bit.  We did 2 clears of trash in about an hour.

Lord Marrowgar – I used to like Lord Marrowgar.  He was challenging at one point.  The fact that he could not be taunted put a lot of pressure on tanks and DPS to watch their threat.  It made the encounter have a sense of challenge.  He has since been nerfed and has become routinely boring.  Both of us tanks have gotten Bonebreaker Scepter, we are still waiting on Marrowgar’s Scratching Choker.

Lady Deathwhisper – I really like this fight.  It is challenging, requires good communication and heads up by all parties involved.  Even when we have it going right we have run up close to the enrage timer.  This was due to some bad shields and lack of casters.  The managing of caster and melee – with the ability to repel various attacks, having to DPS down a mana shield.  This is lots of fun.  Us tanks have not seen Ghoul Commander’s Cuirass.

Gunship Battle – Love it.  This fight is lots of fun.  I love bringing new people into it.  We spend about 10 minutes to play with them every time we start.  The fact that the mobs aggro a little different every time they come out of the portals makes the managing of adds fun.  I personally have not had to leap to the other ship, however it seems to be tons of fun.  This is the loot pinata fight – however it is lots of fun.  Still waiting on the tank loot – Abomination’s Bloody Ring and Neverending Winter.  I am really looking forward to both of these, however minor upgrades.

Deathbringer Saurfang – This is another good fight.  A unique mechanic.  Took some trial and error to figure out how to handle the blood worms.  We have opted to, thanks to the Disc Priest Zek, keep them on the stage aggro’d to the tanks.  The respective sides DPS down their worms then switch back to the boss.  Our last time fighting him, this work so well, we did not get a Mark of the Fallen Champion until about 13% left on his health bar.  It then became the DPS race.  We are cheating the encounter a little.  Mechanics were to try and get ranged to kill the blood beasts while kiting.  This however proved to be difficult at times.  Us tanks are still waiting on some kind of loot here too – Deathforged Legplates and Gargoyle Spit Bracers.

Needless to say DPS and healers saw a lot of loot in here.  In fact our lock received all the drops off of the first 3 bosses one week (or at the very least, one drop).

Now onto the new wing – full of 3 bosses and 2 mini-bosses.  The first two bosses are mini versions of Gluth from Naxx; Stinky and Precious.  We would kill Precious first, since she seems to be the most deadly of the two.  Both of these mobs have the Decimate and Mortal Wound abilities, Precious however has Awaken Plagued Zombies which summons a ton of undead adds and Stinky has Plague Stench.  We kite Precious down and around the stairs – once Stinky is out of range, they will howl to try and call each other.  We stop now and again to open up DPS.  Our hunters continually drop their frost traps to slow the Plague Zombies, these do not heal Precious, however they are the mini-enrage for the mini-boss.  We had issues AoE’ing down these adds.  So we constantly kite Precious until she is dead, then clean up the adds.  This entire time, the tanks are swapping from the ever quickly stacking Mortal Wounds.  Stinky is a little easier, yet more intense on the healers.  We tank this dog at the T intersection of her patrol.  So he AoE will not affect the healers tucked away safely in the corner – Range stand in the middle of the intersection and unload on the ugly puppy.  Range stands on top with the tanks so that they can receive heals.  These are fun, however frustrating – the amount of planning and effort it takes to kill them is either a gear check or a bad prank.  They should drop a emblem of frost between both of them.  We had more fun with the Zombie parades though with Precious, so that was a welcome laugh.

Festergut – Whoa – I don’t know what to say.  This has to be the most boring and intense fight I have ever been in.  I start out as the OT.  Just dps’ing away watching the other tanks stacks of Gastric Bloat.  No big deal, when he gets 9, I taunt, then the fun begins.  I have to generate as much aggro as I can.  He has also been inhaling gas the whole time so he is hitting like Mike Tyson in his prime driving a pick-up.  I am managing cool downs and doing everything I can to help out healers.  Once I hit my 9th stack I have to now, Salvation myself, click of righteous fury, and watch my aggro as I go back to DPS.  Meanwhile going back to watching the other tanks stacks.  Easy at first, towards the end I have to remember to turn RF back on and start gathering threat, all the while getting ready to tell the healers when I am about to swap, because – did I mention, he hits hard when there is no gas on the ground.  There is a part of this fight that is luck, if melee or ranged have to move to much to help with the inoculation then you might not have the DPS to kill him in the STRICT enrage timer of 5 minutes.  We ended up bringing in out Shaman healer (Zek’s alt) for heroism.  That proved to be a bit of the difference – we down him at 5 minutes and 1 second.  The loot did not include Cloak of Many Skins which I was really hoping for.

Rotface – I have no opinion on.  We tried him a few times then – ALL THE TRASH RE-SPAWNED!  Which sucked, but we did fight through it, rep and a nice 264 mail piece dropped that was a huge upgrade for the Holy paladin in the group.  The best we did on him was 75% or so.  It will just take some time to get the kiting mechanics down along with the meet up with the DPS that gets infected.  Not a huge deal, will just take practice.

I am looking forward to getting back in there this Friday and Saturday and seeing what damage we can do.  Should be cool and fun.  Hopefully we tear through the first half again – people get the needed upgrades and Festergut and Rotface treat us kindly.  I do plan on writing up a detail start for each of these bosses a little later, once I get a better feel for some of the later ones.  Hopefully that will help with some of the questions smaller strict 10 mans come up upon that cannot find the assistance they need.

Categories: 3.3, Raiding Tags: , ,

Is Raiding like Football?

November 17th, 2009 Comments off

I have been thinking a lot about this the last few days, especially after working on TotGC.  Football is a very tactical sport.  Those not familiar with the sport do not understand the intricacies of the the game.  There is a chess match going on, not just big hits and guys in tight spandex.  Teams constantly sacrifice position or players to see what the other teams scheme maybe, then they use one of their checks to adjust based on the movements or tells that are made.  These systems have built-in redundancies to help compensate for on the fly adjustments.  Now this is in a  perfect world, with two good coaches.   Then it just comes down to execution and still.   I can draw a corollary to raiding in WoW.

We are the Offense, the encounter is the defense.   The RNG is the audible called by the encounter.  Think about it for a second – Take ToC for example – on Northrend Beasts – we know timing on the impales, timing on the stomp, we know snobolds will happen, we know there will be fire – we do not know who will get the snobold or where the fire will land.  Raiding teams have set plans to address these changes – for us – only remove the snobolds from healers, get out of the fire, etc.  We have back-ups on when to use a battle-rez, who handles what when a person goes down – for instance, when our rogue has to run out on Jaraxxus when he gets Legion Flame – I know I have to interrupt the Fel Fireball while he runs out.  These redundancies and understanding of them help improve success.

With all this being said, success then is dependant on execution and recognizing these changes and making the adjustments.  I notice this all the time, especially when we are bringing in people that are not part of our regular raid group.  We developed a synergy (yup mark that off your buzz-word-bingo) while working on Yogg.  People became very aware of everyone’s responsibility and eventually we figured it out and succeeded.  Another thing with this is practice, you have to try encounters to recognized what certain things mean, how spells work, posistioning, maps (Yoggs brain room) and how to adjust to them.

So lets look at it, to raid you need to practice, build redunancy, recognize tendancies, adjust to deficiancies, and execute.  Football carries the same things.   Football is the only real good comparison because of the setup.  It starts from a static start, most other sports are always moving and always flowing.  Football works a lot like the boss encounters.  When it is all said and done, it should boil down to skill and execution.  To me, this has been proven by a few guilds going into Ulduar and clearing it in just blues.  So stay out of the fire, hit the right buttons, and win!

Edit: Added link to the blue run for Cadowin.

Categories: General, Raiding Tags: ,

We were’nt alone in the Dark, we had each other.

November 2nd, 2009 Comments off

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We went in Friday night, wiped a few times, however we resolved and knocked him out.

Took a while, but our luck was better then Dec’s luck getting a squashling.  Since we have finished current regular content we are going to start on Heroic ToC and some Ulduar Hard modes.

Great Job Guys!  I am very proud of all of you.

Categories: General, Raiding Tags: ,

Hmmm…Where to start…

October 2nd, 2009 Comments off

CC-DoneWell last night was a big night for the guild. We hit our first piece of raiding traction for the first time in a while. We went in and finished off Crusader Coliseum: Trial of the Crusader and got Call of the Crusade (10 player).  It started out a little shaky, however we made a few swaps and got it.  The two hardest fights for us were the Northrend Beasts and the Faction Champions.  That group just seems really random, however once you get those healers down , it becomes a cake walk.   I also never heard so many ears and eyes glaze over while explaining the Twin Val’kyr fight.  It just takes a while to get the caveats down for the two abilities.  We got them down on the second try.  It was a great effort to really clamp down and understand that mechanic.  We ended up 1 shotting Anub’arak.  It was a little hairy during phase 3.  We did get the big bug down.  This was a great boost to guld morale.  Especially we know we can get in there, gear up, and help us on the final two bosses in Ulduar.

In other news, 3.3 hit the PTR.  I have it installed and ready to go.  I am looking forward to getting in and getting that first 5 man and seeing what they have in store for us.  I also have some strategies that worked for us in Crusader Coliseum, I will pass those along this weekend.  Expect to see some news out of here in the coming days/hours since I have a lot to get out.

More Dots!

October 1st, 2009 Comments off

onyxia-flameOnyxia – Is well…not the same, however this is as intended. Blizzard has said this is supposed to be a celebration of the game and offer up some loot. We went in there and 3 shot her. Many of the raid had never fought her prior to 70.   This, however was fun and Blizzard did a great job in balancing it out.  It did take a few tries.  The first time, the whelps overwhelmed us, the second time we had a 50 dkp minus moment when someone spawned a ton of extra whelps.  The last attempt we were successful.  It was fun, everyone avoided the deep breaths and we got some nice loot.  Our Druid OT/DPS won the head, after we had some discussion he gave it to me.  I was very pleased to get it.  I was able to replace my  Repelling Charm with Purified Onyxia Blood Talisman.  This was great because not only do I get some avoidance and keep my Def capped, but I get that ever so needed +15 fire resistance.  The +20 plus hps for free is nothing huge, just a nice little extra piece.

Every group should get in there and get the Brood Mother down.  It is fun, not to difficult and yields some wonderful gear.  We saw the following:  Coif of Ten Storms, Glinting Azuresong Mageblade, and Bloodfang Mask.  Of course the gem bag, 22 slot bag, and head.  I had also received the sword, being the only spell caster that could use it.  Last thing the 3xEmblem of Triumph is a wonderful way to expand that collection each week.

One downside, and I don’t know why this is, the head no longer appears outside Stormwind and all folks less then 70 no longer get the buff.  Which is OK, just a little sad.

So get down to Mudsprocket and take her down.

Categories: 3.2, Raiding Tags: ,

Crusaders’ Coliseum: Trial of the Crusader

September 25th, 2009 Comments off

32-CotCI know I have been slow to post here lately, that is mainly due to the fact we have done nothing to post about.  We are hitting the end of the summer slump I think and starting to look back at the goal of finishing off current content.  Last night after a bit of guild drama, for another time and perhaps another place, we went back to the Coliseum.

First up, obviously, was the Northrend Beast collection.  These had been one shot.  These used to cause use fits in previous attempts, however last night seemed trivial.  Gormok the Impaler went down fast.  People were quick to move and handle the snobolds.  One thing we do slightly different that I have not seen written up is we have our melee take care of all snobolds.   This allows the ranged to focus squarely on DPSing the boss.  If a snobold lands on a tank for any reason, we clean those up while waiting for Acidmaw & Dreadscale.  We handle the implae by swapping on the third stack.  We also try to use out bubble early to clear the debuff, we also combine it with Divine Sacrifice.  The absorption of that damage is a nice way to help the healers out.  That is it, one of the few closest to a tank’n’spank in modern memory.

Acidmaw & Dreadscale use to be our major issue, however a few changes made them trivial.  We make sure we always focus them away from the center.  That is where all range group up.  I leave one DPS assigned to always being on the mobile worm.  All other DPS goes to Acidmaw, since his Paralytic Bite can be the most brutal if killed last.  We would have one tank be dedicated to being the mobile tank.  He is responsible for the mobile worm.  Does not matter which one it is.  This tank will get the debuff from the worm he is tanking.  So he is responsible for getting Burning Bile to those infected by Paralytic Poison.  He is also responsible to call out when tanking Acidmaw that he is infect by the poison.  Then the one person infected by the Bile in the raid can get to the tank so he can continue to tank.  We managed to get Acidmaw down after two burrows.  So that made the healers job a whole lot easier.  Then we just tanked swapped as we could using our Divine Protection.  Since he does have a damage increase since his buddy was killed.

Icehowl is last on the list and the easiest as long as people pay attention.  You tank him in the middle and the raid then spreads out around in a circle.  That way when he casts Arctic Breath, the number of people affected is to a minimum.  If you are a human, Every Man for Himself will get you out of the block, PvP trinkets work as well, however the DPS loss for the trinket change over is not worth it.  He will occasionally cast Massive Crash.  This is signified by him jumping to the center of the area and everyone being pinned to the wall.   This is also reason for spreading out at the beginning.  He will then focus on one person and charge them.  You will see “Icehowl glares at <name> and lets out a bellowing roar!” this person is the one being charged.  If you are looking at his butt or sides during this announcement, just start running towards him.  If you can see him head on, run away from his closet shoulder.  Example: <- O(  )O -> the O represent the shoulder, if you are the one being focused on, just pick a side and run.  The key is to avoid him from hitting anyone.  If he does hit someone, he will enrage, a hunter with Tranq Shot immediately, this will remove the enrage and greatly reduce the risk of him wiping the raid.  If he does not hit someone he is stuck on the wall for a few seconds, dazed, during which he takes extra damage.  That is it, just keep up the rotations and finish him off.

This is a fun fight with three phases, plus sub-phases.  Each has a different mechanic and does not allow much room to slack.  Everyone has a specific task to follow and are responsible for themselves at many moments.  It requires a team effort, coupled with individual effort to be successful.

Enjoy the loot and get ready for Lord Jaraxxus.   This update will be coming up shortly.

The power of the WoW Credit Card

June 17th, 2009 Comments off

Not only have I not paid for WoW in over a year and have a year of potential time banked, the credit card has bridged the social gap, breaking the ice at the local Gamestop.  I was paying for my copy of Ghostbusters with the WoW CC when they started asking about it.  I told the the story of how long I have had it, how I got it, how I keep the time balance so high.  Tip: Use the checks the CC company sends you to pay a big bill you would normally pay off, then just send the CC company the check destined for that service, e.g. Rent, Car Payment, Cable, etc.  We eventually got to classes played and progress in Ulduar.  They are 9.  The two clerks play rogues, so we got to talking on the rolls of the rogue in two fights, Assembly of Iron and Thorim.  I told them about the importance of the Throwing Specialization and Feint in those fights.  They were unaware of the interrupt for 3 secs on Fan of Knives.  This allows the movement of Stormcaller in Assembly easier and gives you a better chance to interrupt the heal in the arena on Thorim.  The big thing they learned was about Feint level 8.  They were unaware of the bonus that reduces 50% AoE damage.   They thought it was just a threat reduction tool.  This got me thinking, how many other people played through Wrath unaware of talent and ability changes in 3.X.  I for one, I am an example of this.  If you look at my statistics, you will see that the deadliest boss in Wrath is Keristrasza.  This is because on heroic, I did not know that the paladin ability Divine Protection was changed in Wrath.  In old WoW, it made the paladin invincible, however they could not attack.  In Wrath, it became a survivability cool down, reducing our incoming damage by 50%.  I was getting demolished at the start of her Enrage, I had no way to mitigate the increased incoming damge.  We finally got her down by timing a few heals.  Shortly after this I was doing some reading and saw that Divine Protection was changed.  My healer was grateful of this, he thought it was punishment up until then.   Before this Divine Protection had not been on my bar since I trained Divine Shield.  With all of this being said, you should go back and review your spells  and abilities.  You might find that one gem that increases your DPS/HPS or helps out your healers.  I know the game has been out in this new state for 6 months, however my conversation today proves that some people are still unaware of the changes that were made to some abilities and talents in Wrath.  All of this because I paid with my WoW Credit Card…go figure.