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Archive for January, 2011

Braggart

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This post is aimed at players in our raid but anyone is welcome to comment on it.

First off, our mission statement. We want to run a ten man progression raid that is able to take down current content. We are not aiming for server firsts, but want to be a serious raid. We raid two nights  a week, Friday and Saturday, 7-11 CST, every week.

Attendance and Performance

  1. First and most importantly, the consequences for raid-related behavior are just for our raid. This is not a ‘Guild Raid’. We have neither authority nor desire to impact your standing in guild. If you don’t work out with our raid, or don’t like our raid, you can stop coming and no one from the raid will give you any grief in guild or Vent. We try to play well with the other guild raids but we don’t consider this to be a guild run. The only ‘punishment’ for anything is not getting invited regularly, or at all.
  2. Second, attendance is important but ‘prior notice’ and ‘fair warning’ are even more important. I will have invites out every week early. Please accept or decline as soon as you can. If it’s going to take you to Wednesday to know if you can raid, sign up as tentative, tell me, and then change as soon as you know. Please communicate me if you decline as to why you can’t come; if you are burned out on raiding, I won’t bug you next week. If you just can’t make it this week but still want to be in the consideration let us know as early as possible. Reliability is a factor in deciding who gets invites.
  3. Once you have accepted, I try to set up “confirmed” and “standby” lists before Thursday  so you know. If you are standby, please hold your raid lockout open. Otherwise be free to do whatever you like that evening – as long as you’re willing to step out and join us if we need you. Feel free to ask me what “standby” means in your case: I may be able to tell you how likely you are to get in.

    On a side note: To be a successful reliable raid that is doing progression we have to have ‘standby’ people. It is important to the raid’s viability. No sports team goes to a game without the minimum number of players and expects to win. Likewise we have to have at least a mental list of those we call on when something happens or a fight needs a different strategy. Who is in the initial invite, who gets confirmed and who is on standby is variable based on what the raid needs most and what has the best chance of success. As we start actually making progression we will do what we can to get ‘alternates’ their shot at various bosses so they can keep gearing up.

  4. Raid time is 7 pm. That means be ready to start pulling trash at 7, with your flasks and  food buffs in your bags, not in a heroic, and not asking for a summons. We don’t have any authority to ‘punish’ but we stop putting unreliable people in the initial ‘confirmed’ slot, or will stop inviting them altogether. The raid must go on.
  5. Quitting time is 11 PM server. We plan to rarely pass that. If we have a boss to 1% we might take a vote to try one more time. If we take one you are free to say ‘no’ with zero penalty. The majority of the time we will end as near to 11PM server time as we can. This prevents raider burnout and also helps people keep outside commitments.
  6. Leaving early is frowned on. If you can’t stay the whole time, talk to Analogue about it BEFORE raid time/day. We can make adjustments in some cases but if you drop out early for something that is not an emergency we will take that into consideration the next time we send out invites. The raid must go on.
  7. Raid night is Friday AND Saturday. If you can only make one, be sure to let me know that. You will then have a lower priority for the other raid night that week. If I have to bring someone in to fill a slot on Friday, that slot belongs to them on Saturday if they want it. I don’t want to take advantage of people and get them saved to raids without any hope of finishing. It might take most of Friday to figure something out and it is bad for the success of the raid as a whole to be swapping people in and out too often.
  8. Performance: Gearscore and Recount are tools. We use them. We do not worship them. If you are the top dps but can’t do your interrupts and stand in fire, you are not as good as the guy doing less than you but not standing in bad. Period. Conversely if you are missing gear, we are going to ask that you find a way to fill those slots. A pair of  333 bracers is bad luck at the wrist slot; five pieces of green gear is a sign that you don’t really want to raid.  This is a fuzzy one. We take into account the numbers, the harder to quantify skills but also ability and willingness to learn, adapt or overcome. Attitude is weighed in and so is the vague general ‘fit’. Most of a successful raid is how well people work together. We will not bludgeon, threat, or cajole people to try and force them to fit in or follow the plan. We will just stop inviting them and find someone else.

Requirements for Raiding

  1. Deadly Boss Mods. No ifs, ands, or buts
  2. Ventrilio. You don’t have to talk; you do have to listen
  3. Vuhdo, Grid, or Healbot for healers, configured to show relevant debuffs
  4. One of the above or Decursive for mages, spriests, pallies, anyone who can remove bad things or apply good ones
  5. Gear to have at least cheap enchants and gems. We can help you with those; talk to us if you need enhancements. Armor packs are ok for tanks.  At least the lower level arcanum and inscription appropriate to your spec. This is very minimal. Further gearing up ‘requirements’ will be based on the need of the fight and will determine who gets confirmed and who doesn’t.
  6. Flasks and buff food. We’ll try to have feasts but at least have a stack of fortune cookies or something. You can use the 60/60 buff food, or the 90/90, your choice. Again, if you need things cooked, talk to Analogue.

Raid Composition

  1. Sometimes, for the good of the raid, we may not be able to take everyone who wants to come. If we have four dks who would really like to come, that is probably not viable.  If I have to choose between bringing a third druid healer or a paladin, I will probably bring the paladin. This is not a reflection on anyone. It’s just about getting bosses down.
  2. Sometimes we may ask someone to swap roles or even characters, or step out so we can bring someone else in. This will either be because of some mechanic (we need a knockback, so I have to go boomkin) or we just don’t have the right group composition (nobody with fast interrupts).
  3. These days buffs are fairly homogeneous so it’s unlikely that we’ll have to choose someone just because of a buff they bring. That said, if we have four druids and five plate wearers, we may miss some key ability, or even be running the risk of getting useless drops.  It probably won’t affect the raid as much as ranged/melee/tank/heals balance but we may take it under consideration.
  4. Swapping in and out people to tweak a strategy, fix an issue, improve DPS, increase healing, etc. will be done as needed for the good of the raid. We appreciate everyone having a good attitude about it. Please no drama over it. We value good attitudes. To be honest, someone with lower DPS that is willing to step out for the good of the group is probably more likely to keep getting invites compared to someone who has high DPS and a negative or abrasive attitude. LONG TERM success of the raid is as much a factor as week to week success.

In-Raid Behavior

  1. Everyone we invite is a mature adult (well, in some cases precocious teenagers are invited) who is another actual human being. Everyone deserves to be treated properly. Therefore, there is no insulting of other raid members in raid chat or vent. Mild and good natured teasing is ok; when it goes over the line and becomes attacking, that’s not ok. Use good judgment. If we have to warn you about it don’t be surprised if the invites stop coming.
  2. This includes trash talking. Some people love that stuff and can dish it out and take it just fine… but some people don’t. Don’t post your meters to brag or talk smack. If you want to call someone out for something whisper us about it. If you want to brag, do it in some other chat or after the raid. Our goal is the success of the raid as a whole. This requires a supportive environment where people can excel as a team.
  3. Drama and over sensitivity are likewise discouraged. And ‘blow ups’ are right out. If something or someone bothers you, say so. If you have a problem with someone, whisper us about it. If they stepped over the line tell them calmly, or tell us and let us deal with it. To a point… We aren’t mommy. We are here to raid, not to solve your personal frictions. We are not forcing you to raid so don’t force us to deal with your drama.
  4. Vent is to be kept clean. We’re not going to kick you for a slip of the tongue but swearing doesn’t make you a better raider. No sexist, racist, or hateful speech. I don’t care if you are, say, Polish, making “dumb Pollack” jokes is not all right. You can extrapolate from there to whatever minority group or opinion you like.
  5. Vent is to be kept clear. We won’t be total sticklers here either but during pulls, stay off the air. If the tanks miss a swap because you won’t shut up, that’s bad. If the healers don’t hear “Mana Tide down!” and go OOM, that’s bad
  6. Talking about strategy is fine. We love suggestions and insight. But once we have settled on a strategy, that is the plan for that pull. If we wipe, we can discuss it again later. Do not try to execute your own plan while we are expecting something else.
  7. After a fight keep the discussion to problem solving, trouble shooting, and simplify passing along information. Accusations and arguments do not help us get down bosses. Dispassionate discussion of what happened does. If we have to point out something you did wrong or ask you to do something different to tweak a strategy take it like an adult and don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes. Making mistakes does not get people kicked from a raid. Blowing up when called on a mistake might.
  8. If you don’t know, ask. We are willing to explain things and even re-re-explain them. If you are at all unclear on something before a pull please ask. If you don’t understand why we’re doing something, ask; sometimes the mechanics of a fight are complicated and need more than one explanation.
  9. Keep a good attitude. Wipes happen… in raiding they happen a LOT. We all know this and accept this. Complaining someone got us killed, whining about repair or flask costs do not earn sympathy. If you can’t wipe for hours with a cheerful attitude raiding is not for you.

Loot

  1. Currently, we plan on using priority rolls followed by main spec rolls followed by off spec. BUT, that is later, when we are getting several bosses down. For now things will be a straight single roll for main spec if anyone can use it or offspec if no one can.
  2. For BOEs, we’ve been pretty lax at letting people take them for alts and friends if no one in the raid can use them. That may change. We have people that have alts that are likely to be needed for swapping in and out to tweak strategies. Sometimes we might have to designate BOE drops for those characters. We will try to be as fair as possible.
  3. Don’t be a loot pig. If you get three drops in one run (yeah, not likely any time soon) be courteous and see who else can use them. Depending on the needs of the raid we might let you have all three or we might let someone else have something.
  4. Spirit is for healers. Yes, some dps casters can use spirit but healers get dibs. Hit is for caster dps. Healers can roll if the mages don’t want itRoll on gear that is appropriate to your class and role. If you roll on something that does not match we reserve the right to give it to tell you and ignore the roll. If you think we are mistake about it feel free to ask. We do not fly off the handle. Just being it up in a calm sensible fashion. We can admit we are wrong but we don’t respond well to dramatics.
  5. Veto Power: This early in the expansion we have lot of gear needs to make the raid viable. We, the raid leadership, reserve the right to redirect something based on greater need for the good of the viability of the raid. We don’t much because we are really nice people. The example might be to prioritize one person’s ‘off spec’ over another’s based on what the raid might need them to change to. We reserve the right to do this but in practice we almost never do. This might seem vague and annoying but frankly things like DKP drive me nuts. Way too complicated. And loot councils are cumbersome. We will retain full veto power but will listen to input from anyone that wants to say something. Then we will decide. In practice we just let the roll happen and award the loot. If someone has a really bad need for a particular item we might consider using veto power. I don’t expect this to happen much, perhaps not ever. If it does we will discuss it enough that everyone is reasonably happy with the decision. Just don’t confuse such a discussion with a council vote.

Have Fun

  1. Or else!

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Raid Expectations

It was the best of raids, it was the worst of raids; it was the strat of wisdom, it was the strat of foolishness; it was the pull of belief, it was the pull of incredulity; it was the heal-y zones of Light, it was the void zones of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way

Ok, so, apologies for the Dickens parody quote and from the wrong book at that (but honestly, Great Expectations was a terrible book). It just seemed appropriate for me. The weekend’s raiding was an emotional roller-coaster for me. Hopefully less so for my raid partners.

First off, we are not Serious Raiders. We are not a “raid guild”, nor is our run an official “guild run”. There are no apps and requirements but conversely Reversion and I have a free hand to manage things. Last week was our first raid at all, so it’s not like we have a bunch of super players who were ready the week after Cataclysm. I’m well aware that we’re weeks behind the world first but darn it, I am proud of my raiders because they try hard, they know their stuff, and they’re really pretty darn good. Gear will come; skill is, I think, there already.

So last week we raided only Friday and while we made a few token boss pulls in Bastion of Twilight, we were mostly there for the trash. Our dps was too low, our tanks’ gear was weak, the healers’ gear was lacking…. but we made the couple pulls and started to learn the basics of the fight. This Friday, we headed in with the determination to do some serious attempts.

First, though, I had to deal with my attendance issues. We’d had one raider tell me he just wasn’t feeling it, and wasn’t going to be raiding. One raider wasn’t levelled yet. One had horrible gear issues. One of my healers had to work until two hours past pull. And the other healer…. declined my invite.

Not a problem. I brought in another druid, Elia who has raided with us on her shaman or druid on occasion. I knew she was a solid player who’d have my back and heck, I’m always looking to expand my “healer bench”. Falahla, one of our two pro mages, got her hunter husband Ado to come along. He is a Serious Raider like we aren’t, but he was taking the week off so nothing kept him from trying boss pulls with us.  We pulled in Grom’s paladin, and a warlock who is in the other guild raid (to be specific, the player is in that raid but usually on a different character) and went.

We two-healed the trash without incident. Well, there was the time we accidentally pulled the second patrolling group while we were working on the first. “Everyone out!” Reversion ordered, and we made it…. except for poor Whodowhat the warlock, who had just zoned in and got eaten. Ooops. Elia and I coordinated our Lifeblooms, we used crowd control like the pros we are (if there’s one thing I want to boast about in our raid, it’s our crowd control. Reversion is expert at setting the pulls, our raiders are great at carrying it out and keeping things sheeped/frozen/repented, and as a healer I love that)

So we started making attempts on the boss. We had dragons 1,2, and 5 active, going around from the left; that’s the one that gives the boss an attack speed buff, the one that makes the boss stack a healing debuff on the tanks, and the one that makes the proto-dragon have a Flame Barrage ability. (I think; Reversion will have to correct me if I’m wrong [Rev: I edited it] ) The obvious first one to be released was the one with the attack speed buff. Healers couldn’t handle the tank damage otherwise.  Then we’d do the flame barrage one, so that we could see the incoming fire attacks and get out of it.

Well, long story short, the healing was brutal. Just brutal. We could keep either the tanks or the raid up, but not both. Around 9, our missing shammy healer came on and we asked the lowest performing dps to step out. He, being a good guy and knowing that his gear was terrible, graciously agreed and we brought in Chalandrae. That helped a lot.

Then one attempt, we get the second drake down and the healing gets so much easier. Everyone burns the boss. I throw some Wraths, Chalandrae fires off Lightning Bolts – and at 15%, he hits the enrage timer.

So we go back in, set up again, the tanks die. And again. We do some discussing and the healers all agree that the tanks felt squishier the last few attempts.  We check their gear. Reversion looks ok – well, now;  back at the start of the night, after doing all the trash and our first wipe on the boss, Ado asks in vent why exactly Reversion is wearing his fishing pole. Ooops. Logarithm’s gear has some pieces that are more dps-y than tank-y, and he definitely took more damage than Reversion. We decide that the good attempt, they just somehow used all their cooldowns perfectly and that’s so hard to replicate with our skill level (Rev: We do pretty well with cooldowns all the time but that first phase, if you have just one dragon out, is a real healing race with what the tanks take and what the raid is getting from the fire balls. That one try it just happned that what was falling from the sky, what the healers were casting, and what the tanks were poping, all dovetailed perfectly.) But it’s quitting time anyway, so off we go.

Now, during the raid I determined that I had made a serious error. I had forgotten to put Saturday’s raid on the calendar, and some of my raiders thought we were only going Friday. I had to talk to a few and assure them that we were indeed going Saturday and please not to go with a different group that was rumored to be going.  But all day Saturday I was nervous. We were already having attendance issues and now….

Saturday afternoon I whispered with the healer who had declined our invite, asking him what was up, since I’d seen him online when we were. He said he didn’t think we were geared enough to down bosses; I said that we knew we had some weak slots, and one guy whose gear wasn’t that great and we asked to step out when we had a viable replacement and an obvious need for a stronger raider. He clarified that he meant tanks and healers needed “all 346 and one or two purples”.

Ok, I got mad. If you Wow-Heroes’d me (apparently a favorite of some guildies) you’d see I have a 316 trinket, because I haven’t got the heroic version of it yet and I prefer it’s spirit proc to any of the higher ilvl trinkets that I have. And 333 bracers because, darn it, there’s two pairs of heroic leather bracers out there and I can’t get either to drop. But I had just the night before gotten an epic staff from Bastion trash (it’s so cool; it looks like a Twilight Hammer symbol!) , we were gemmed, enchanted, and darn it we’d hit the enrage timer at 15% to go the night before. Which I pointed out.

Well, we got back after church and the other raid had started – but my core raiders were waiting for us in vent. I got us; seven of us. I added whodowhat, and then…. we needed another healer and a dps. Elia hadn’t come online, but Chalandrae had so I had a shammy healer, but after last night I knew we needed three.

Karius started asking around, and found us some people from her old guild; Squishi the feral druid, and Jhudara the shammy. So we were set. Two shammy healers and a tree sounded good to me!

We went and started making attempts, refining our strategy all night. Finally we settled on three tanking it – Squishi turned out to be a great bear as well as a cat – and releasing two drakes at once, burning them down, then killing the boss. It started being obvious that we could survive into the boss-burn stage with this. Once the healers OOMed and we wiped; I asked the shammies to drop their mana tide totems in a defined order and to call out when they were doing it, and that helped.

By the end of the night we were reliably into the final phase and hitting the enrage timer with 12% or less to go. Our best try was 9%. We discussed trying to two heal, or find a way to get more dps, but we came up against the end of the raid.

Now, this is why I titled my post “raid expectations”. That just seemed the theme of the whole weekend. That raider who didn’t think we were geared enough? The raid he went to didn’t do as well on the same boss; by 10 pm Saturday he’d rsvp’d for next week’s raid. Elia, who heals for the other guild raid, mentioned how much she enjoyed our expert crowd control usage. We’ve been having a discussion with some guildies who just don’t see CC as that important. It’s really funny but those guildies are invariably NOT healers.

Jhudora, the pugged in shaman, kept whispering me about how much she liked our raid for keeping Vent fairly business like and not having vulgarity and mean-ness in our raid chat. I admit, I was sort of taken aback, but then I remembered that that’s one reasonwhy I decided we should run our own raid; because that crude “humor” annoys me so much. I find a lot of women who run with us really enjoy the non-sexist, non-crude, affirming atmosphere. We often has 5 or 6 female players in our raid.

Well, I invited Jhudora to come with us next week too and hopefully she will – she’s exactly the sort of healer I want.

I did decide that the guildie who said we weren’t geared enough has a point (Rev: A small one. An average of one upgraded item per person and we likely would have had the boss down. The raid that person bailed on us to go to wiped hard and broke up early), and this week I WILL get exalted with Wildhammer for a couple epics there, we WILL upgrade some of Reversion’s gear, and we WILL work with our raiders to see a few upgrades, make sure they are enchanted, grind mats for flasks and feasts (we ran out halfway through Saturday night) and hit things really hard this weekend. I want Halfus to come down; then we’ll decide whether to push on or to visit Magmaw or Omnitron.

This already is a wall of text so  I’ll save my discussion of what I want in and from my healing team for later this week. Until then, I’ll just note that this week I have 13 invites out on my raid invites – and 8 confirmed,  4 tentatives.

Oh, and does anyone know a good addon for doing calendar invites and stuff? I want to be able to do Fri and Saturday’s invites at the same time without the hassle…

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So the first few times through H SFK we skipped Commander Springvale (third boss; upstairs right after the dining room boss). Well, we tried him, wiped to adds, didn’t come close to downing him, and moved on. Then someone told us the strategy, and we refined it farther, making it easy.

First, clear the room he’s in. Then, go clear down the ramparts, at least the three guys + pat. You can even go all the way and then come back when you’re done, if you’re in a guild group or expect people to stick around.

Next, have a tank who has some sort of speed boost. A druid works great, the bonus speed in cat form can give a big head start. Also some dps who can CC are valuable but not required.

If you have cc’ers, have them stand by the door to the ramparts. The tank stands at the other door. Mark CC targets. Have the dps apply cc. Roots, Shackle Undead, and Repentance work on undead. As soon as the ccs go out, the tank taunts the boss and runs downstairs, through the dining hall, through the kitchen, and to the courtyard.

While he’s doing this, whoever was doing crowd control run to the ramparts and jump off into the courtyard. Be sure to jump through the right side!

Everyone meets back in the courtyard. The tank keeps the boss pointed away from everyone else so that his aoe shadow breath stuff doesn’t hit. Stay out of the death and decay.

If one or more of the adds comes with him, get the adds down fast. Interrupt the adds as much as possible. Unholy Empowerment is the ability that you want to interrupt. It lets the boss stack additional Word of Shame stacks on people. These are not dispellable and will just kill you dead, or your healer’s mana and then you. They remove 5% of the targets MAX health per 3 seconds – not something you can heal through.

They may fix him so he leashes, in which case you’ll want to cc one add, burn the other, then burn that add, then stay on the boss til more adds come in, but if you don’t have strong dps this will be tricky.

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How To Use Healing Meters

So, my fellow healers, do you run with Recount (or Skada) or not? What do you use it for? I know there are healers who just don’t bother installing a recount-type addon, and I think that’s a mistake since it gathers good data for us. On the other hand, I’ve run with healers who look at their heals-per-second minute as thought it actually means something, or worse, as though “winning” that category in a raid means that they are the best healer.

First Things First: Your heals per second number means basically nothing. Ignore it. It’s a trap. In fact, in many cases the healer doing, say, 11k heals per second is objectively a worse healer than the one doing 7k. Why? Because often the big, heal-meter-padding skills are going to run you out of mana. Cataclysm healing is a marathon, not a sprint. Looking at heals per second is akin to saying “This guy averaged 8 miles per hour, and this guy averaged 5, so the first one wins” in a marathon – without realizing that the first guy dropped out at mile 5 and the second one went on to finish the race. Heals per second only counts the time you actually spend healing. So if you do, say, 100k heals in 10 seconds and go OOM, you just did 10k HPS. But the healer next to you who does 200k over the entire minute-long fight just did about 3.5k HPS. Now, maybe you blew all your mana saving a tank from some unexpected thing, and that saved the day. But it’s more likely that you just blew all your mana and then stood around looking pretty for the rest of the fight.

All right, that’s done. So let’s talk about what you can get out of a healing meter.

First, there’s the DPS/damage done tab. I prefer the “Damage Done” tab in recount to the DPS tab. The damage done will show me the course of the whole fight, not just the average. I can easily see that Mr. Rogue has great dps but poor overall damage because he’s slow getting into fights or dies a lot. The most useful part of this tab is knowing who to battle rez, blow a cooldown for, or give some specific damage-boosting cooldown. In a raid, this will often be called for you but if it’s up to your discretion, this part of the meter can help you out a lot.

Second, there’s the informative tabs – Dispells, Interrupts, Crowd Control, CC Breakers, etc. Now more than ever it’s good to know who is dispelling things, interrupting, or breaking crowd control  – and Recount keeps track of all these things. If you’ve never flipped through the tabs, do it now. You might be surprised that Mage 1 does 95% of the decursing while Mage 2 never bothers. Or remind the Enhancement shaman to use his interrupts.

Third, there’s the healing meter tab. I just said that HPS weren’t useful, but the breakdowns can be. You can see what spells you or the other healers are using, and spot problems in rotations (assuming you know rotations well enough). I like to glance at it and make sure that I’m using a fairly balanced mix of spells, with Lifebloom counting for a lot of my heals. If you think someone is underperforming, this tab can help you figure out where and why.

Fourth, the overhealing tab. Ahhh…. now this one is key. In Wrath I’d often see huge overheal numbers, as a druid. I’m working hard to get those down. A little overheal is not a problem; things like Wild Growth can overheal, as can Lifebloom or Efflorescence or…. but keep an eye on your percentages and try not to have much there. I’m trying to get my overheals below 10%.

Note: Paladins are likely to have a good bit of overhealing due to Beacon of Light and Tower of Radiance, but if you look at their parse and see a lot of other overhealing, you might ask why that is.

And most importantly, to me, the death reports tab. I’ve just started really using this one, but man does it have a lot of information. You can get a tick-by-tick rundown of the last seconds of a fight, showing incoming damage and heals by name. There’s even a way to see it in graph form. So you can see who was healing the tank just before he dropped, and who wasn’t. I’m not saying this so you can call people out better, but for learning. It’s also a good way to confirm what killed someone: “Yup, you stood in the whirlwind”, or “Yeah, the boss was beating on you for a good ten seconds there”.

So if you’re not using it, download Recount or Skada and give it a whirl. If you are using one, explore a bit and see what other tabs you have never really looked at. Right now we need all the analysis tools we can get our hands on as we learn strategies and encounters without the safety margin of inflated gear.

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Oh, hi there. How was your Christmas break? Did you play a lot of WoW?

Welcome to Monday. Hope it didn’t hit too hard.  Honestly it wasn’t too bad here; the water heater was on and that always makes for a good start to the day. Now here I sit, working – er, waiting for someone to get back to me – and it’s time to get some fresh content up!

So Friday was our first Catacylsm raid night. As a reminder, Reversion and I are wrangling a raid with guildies. It’s not a raid guild – ie, no applications for raid slots, no serious raiding culture – but we’ve got some darn good players. We’re not officers, nor do we have powers to reward or punish beyond just inviting or not inviting to the raid. During the end of Wrath, we ran with an open loot system; I’ll be doing Loot Master from now on but we’re still just planning to roll on stuff. Honestly Loot Council takes too much time in a raid like ours, DKP is a pain in the butt, and anything else just doesn’t fit us.

As always I sent out invites the weekend before. I had one straight “can’t make it” and one who warned me she was unlikely to be able to go; that was ok. I asked a backup, and we had two empty slots to fill anyway.

There’s another raid like ours in the guild, on Sunday/Mondays, so after asking around and finding out that they planned to start in Blackrock Descent, I decided we’d go to Bastion of Twilight. Some of our raiders are the same people, and until they get all their alts geared up they may be raiding on the same character in both raids. I didn’t want to worry about lockouts, or burnout. Plus, I figured if we had empty slots it would make sense to try to fill in with people from the other raid.

As Friday approached, my gear looked ok, Reversion’s was looking good, even my brother’s tank set was nice and shiny. He came to visit last week and we were able to do some good runs, as well as rep grinding to get gear. But I knew some others in our raid weren’t really ready yet. I decided we’d wait and see. Then Thursday night Repgrind told me that Bastion trash is dropping epics at a pretty good rate, and I had a plan. I sounded out several of my invitees and they agreed; we’d start with some trash clears and see how things went.

Friday night rolls around. One of my raiders doesn’t show, one of the new invites. I find out later his internet choose that time to explode. We gave him twenty minutes, as we went out there (pro tip: there’s no summoning stone at Bastion of Twilight, so get there early) and got arrangements made. Then we pulled in a  dps DK to replace him. She was in the other raid so I figured we were helping guild raiders anyway.

We start clearing trash. It hits hard, but we had an expert guide – Ado, a hunter who used to be in our guild and whose wife is a core raider in our run. He’d been in here enough to be an expert on setting up the pulls, and was willing to clear trash for a chance at epics, even if he couldn’t help with boss attempts. It sure made the first few pulls a lot easier! Not to mention his 14k dps…. anyway. Toward the end of the first trash clear, a one hand sword drops. I’m conflicted. The stats are more dps-y than tank-y, but my brother’s warrior really needs the sword. The DK, who is not a member of our run, could definitely use it. Finally I tell them both they are eligible, they roll, and my brother wins the sword.

I believe there may have been some discontent with my decision but hit is a tank stat when you’re not hit capped against raid bosses yet! And I allowed both to roll, I didn’t just award it to my brother. Regardless, three pulls into the next run, it drops again and goes to the DK, who was thrilled. It dropped again later that night and we gave it to the same DK, so she’s dual-wielding some pretty sweet swords now!

We reset trash five times and had five epics drop; three of the sword, the agility trinket, and a gun that went to my brother as the only person there who could use it. The trinket went to someone not in our raid. So as a gearing up attempt, less than stellar. As a learning experience? Just great.

So after the fifth clear, the natives were restless and we decided to try some pulls. We read what abilities the active dragons would do and decided to release the whelps and the guy-who-gives-giant-aoe-damage ability. First time through, we released both and once and died. Ooops. Second two attempts we released the larger dragon first, and died to fire. Final attempt, we took the whelps first and died, more slowly but as surely from being knocked around. Honestly we knew going in that we didn’t have the dps for it.

I’m hoping the night served as a reminder to a few people that they still need some gear, maybe enchantments or flasks or whatever else. I’ve got next week’s raid scheduled and some personnel changes to make, perhaps (apparently the person I thought was tanking the other raid, does not in fact have a raid slot at all right now. I need to talk to him and see if we can change that) All in all I had fun though I’d like to actually start downing bosses soon. I’ve got the raiding bug!

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