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Archive for the ‘CritsnGiggles’ Category

Friday night we went straight for Bastion of Twilight, as planned. Logarithm’s still off playing Army Men so we brought the new tank who joined the guild last week, Sirius. He worked hard all week and got a lot more epics.

We started right on Cho’gall  – well, we had to kill trash first of course. But we started settling in to the fight. Everyone knew what they were doing. DPS switched to the adds, healers had a good balance.

We worked hard for two hours and then one attempt we got solidly into Phase 2. His health ticked down…. and down… and down. We started losing people. We called for the shaman to pop and keep killing him. He was at 1%…. then less…. then the last of us died. At .6%. That was a heartbreaker.

We did a few more tries that night but were getting sloppier so made the call to go to BWD and kill some farm bosses. We had a couple tries on Magmaw, then one shot Omnomtrom, then failed twice on Maloriak. It was pretty clear that the hard work on Cho’gall had made us tired and sloppy.

Next night, just before raid time I realized my third healer couldn’t come and we looked around for options. Kerick and I briefly discussed two healing it, but while I knew we could manage phase 1, I was really worried about phase 2. Fortunately we were able to get hold of Sharelore who runs with us a good bit. She agreed to bring her priest and we headed back.

This evening, our dps seemed even better but Sirius wasn’t surviving as well. After a good few wipes, we asked him to step out and brought in another guild tank. He did so pretty graciously and we got to work.

Things were a lot more stable with the new tank. He didn’t need as much healing and since he was a druid, his dps was pretty insane. He could even go cat when Reversion had the boss and get some real numbers in.

It took a few tries to settle in. Then we had an attempt that was working beautifully. Cho’gall was up on his throne calling eyeball adds. Our dps stunned and killed them. Our healers chained cooldowns. Both tanks took turns  using their Tranquilities. I died. Other people died.

Then Cho’gall died.

The achievement spam was awesome; not just the kills for all of us, but the guild achievement too!

We lined up for screenshots but none of mine seem to have saved. I don’t know what’s up with that.

For the rest of the night, we were on a high. Reversion stepped out and let Sirius come back and we went and one shot Maloriak, Atramedes and Chimaeron – technically Chimaeron was a two shot, but the first attempt, someone accidentally pulled before the robot came up. So I’m not counting that.

Everyone in the raid really stepped it up this week. Some of our dps added 4k to their average. Most everyone got new gear or used Ask Mr. Robot to optimize and it really showed. Our next progression is going to be Al’Akir; we went and tried him and got into phase 2 twice in our four attempts. I don’t think we’ll have as much trouble with this guy.

But anyway, after a lot of thought I’ve realized why I really like Cho’gall. It’s the best fight I’ve done this tier for emphasizing the the raid as a group. Chimaeron is about your healers being good. Other fights are about positioning. Omnomtrom is about DPS switching targets. Maloriak is all on the tanks. Halfus – well it’s a little different every week; the first minute is a healing check, then it’s a burn fight.

Cho’gall requires tanks to trade swaps perfectly, to keep the boss positioned right, and to handle adds that have to be very carefully placed. A good tank will use all his cooldowns many times on that fight.

Healers have to coordinate who heals whom, who runs around healing the raid during the adds phase and who stays with the melee. In Phase 2, stacking cooldowns is really important.

Ranged DPS have to switch to adds, burn them down, and get back to the boss. Slowing and killing the Blood of Cho’gall adds is absolutely key to the fight.

Melee really get to shine in phase 2 with the eyeball adds. A good melee-er can keep one stunned while he slaughters it. They can help a lot with the worshipping too, although we found a good trick this time; have the whole raid stack carefully and then set our fire mage just a little farther out. If he wasn’t mind controlled, his Blast Wave could break out the affected people instantly. It meant we really didn’t have to think about worshiping when the adds weren’t out.

And of course, everyone has to not stand in bad. I thought our raid is really good at this, and our Cho’gall attempts showed me that I’m right. We almost always went into phase 2 with most people at 10 or less corruption. The adds tank usually had the worst time with corruption because he’s flirting with those stupid puddles.

So, I really think this fight shone as an example of a really good raid fight. I hope we have a lot more like that in 4.2!

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So yesterday I spent most of the afternoon running around on my shaman in the Badlands, leveling her, while waiting for the refrigerator to get delivered. Reversion was raiding that evening – the Sunday/Monday night people have the worst luck with tanks and he keeps getting pulled in there – and while I was tempted to play with my DK (more on her later this week), after dinner I looked at guild XP and realized we were at 75%. Of Level 24. The raid would get 5-6 bosses down, no question…. but that wouldn’t get us to 25 that night.

Well, ok, my holy pally needed some gearing runs. So I whispered Repgrind and asked if she was interested. She was. I started asking in guild…. then reached for my phone and called my brother to tank.

We got a full guild group, and drew Vortex Pinnacle. Usually I like how fast that place goes; this time all I could see was the number of bosses we needed to kill to reach max level. Reversion and I compared notes; the ten man raid seemed to be contributing about 2% guild xp per kill, while our 5 man was contributing 1%. That seemed about right.

I wiped us on the final boss in VP when I didn’t cleanse Log’s debuff and left him stuck out in the middle of the electrical attack. Oops. I swear I didn’t see him marked by a debuff…

We came back, killed the boss. I asked for a couple minutes and then another go. We swapped out one dps for another, but Chan stuck around for more on his paladin even though I was rolling against him on offspec gear (both of us are building tank offsets).

Karius swapped for her spriest, and this time we got Blackrock Caverns. We ventured off… cleared the first set of trash, pulled the first boss, and died after too many adds came out and didn’t get dpsed down. Our group was a lot lighter on dps this time, having essentially three undergeared dpsers and an undergeared healer. Log was really carrying most of that group. We went back, discussed, and killed the boss. We proceeded through the instance, carefully pulling trash and paying attention to boss mechanics. No problems on Corla or the forgemaster guy. I suggested very strongly that we skip Beauty, so it was straight on to the end.

Then we paused to discuss who would kite the adds. Initially we decided to let the ret pally try. We set up, pulled, and gave it a good try, but the boss didn’t die and I went OOM. Came back, Repgrind offered to try kiting in her holy spec and throw down Lightwell to help with the healing. I liked that plan, so we gave it a try, but she couldn’t hold aggro against the DK tossing around Blood Boil. We came back again, no luck. Came back the fourth time, asked everyone to be really careful not to AOE, and this time, the boss died.

And…. the guild was at 94% XP.

Time to queue one more time, even though we were tired and Log was supposed to be studying for a test. This time we got Deadmines. Rep had switched back to her mage and Chan swapped for his boomkin so we could blow through this place. Meanwhile the raid was making great time on bosses and there was another full guild group running. Yes!

Our guildmaster signed on, first time I’d seen him all weekend, and someone told him to look at guild XP. He cheered for us.

We downed the first two bosses in Deadmines and were working on the third as the raid group went to Four Winds for a quick Council kill. Then this happened.

So when we wiped, we called it, and I logged onto Analogue to join the lion buying fest.

There were half a dozen or so of us outside the guild vendor store, so we decided on a parade!

We had lots of curious bystanders looking at us, dive bombing us, trying to join the parade on their lesser mounts, etc.

We’re not the first guild to 25 on our server but there’s maybe three others. Might only be one Alliance side, we’re not sure. So these lions aren’t common yet.

After parading slowly all through SW, we went outside for pictures

(We had people trying to interfere with our screen shots, hence the bad angle)

Quite a few folk in guild were on but couldn’t join because none of their toons have the rep with the guild. Including out GM!  Ooops. And yes, 1300 for these mounts is a bit silly but they are pretty darn cool looking and for guild pride, you can’t beat lions.

We’ve been in Crits and Giggles for about 8 months now and I’m so glad we came over. It’s a blast, whether we’re raiding or just parading around SW.

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Hey, Rev here.  I have not posted in a bit so I figured I should get some sort of update out. So I have been raiding 4 nights a week. Ug. Actually it is not too bad but it does blow a lot of nights out of the water. The other guild raid, the raid formerly known as ‘raid 1’, runs on Sundays and Mondays. There was an attempt at getting a third raid off the ground, opposite Analogue’s and my run on Friday Saturday but it looks like that might not be going on any more. I think the guild could support another raid but really mid week might work better for the people that want such a run.

Anyway, Raid 1 had been having some personnel swaps and ended up with a tanking hole. A few weekends back they asked me to fill in with ‘squishy bear’. Also known as Reciprocal, squishy bear is my other 85 druid tank. People ask why I have two 85 bears…. Well… I like them, heh. Reversion’s gear is looking pretty sweet (just 2 blues left) but Reciprocal is still lightly geared (all blue with a handful of purple). Fortunately for Raid 1 I knew the fights they were in so I did not have any issue stepping in with the spare bear.

So since then I have been getting roped in week after week. Trying to convince myself it was just as a fill-in until they get another tank… well it looks like a long term arraignment. I have had some disagreements with a person or two in that raid… but hey, we are raiders and raiders know when to buckle down to business and ignore meaningless stuff. The raid is business and the show must go on and all that. And ‘go on’ it has The group is quite experienced and well balanced and for the last few weeks we have had the same crew each time. That helps a LOT. Our own raid, Analogue’s and mine, has had issues with that, as her last post mentioned, and that has really slowed down our progression.

The interesting thing about running with two groups is seeing strengths and weaknesses and seeing what works despite differences. For example the Friday Saturday crew tends to do a better job keeping the magmaw adds out of the melee. But the other raid, who sometimes fails at that tends to get them killed faster. The strats we use cause this difference as a natural outgrowth. One has everyone stacked in melee. That causes more rdps to not have to move and they get their firepower on target faster and harder. But that also means there are more chances for someone to be too far from melee and drop a set of adds on the raid. The other group has more people at range. This keeps the adds one where they can’t get to tanks and such but it also means the rdps is moving a lot and can’t kill them as fast. Interesting differences and tradeoffs.

I love tactics. I guess that is why I like raid leading. It does get hard being in someone else’s raid. I have to bite my tongue a lot. I have to keep my interjections to a minimum. Thinking of myself as a fill-in actually helps with that. I can shut up and let them do it the way they want to. That raid already has a lot of ‘cooks in the kitchen’ so one more, even if I have a high opinion of my own ideas, does not actually help the strategy. At some point more inputs just muddy things up. So for me it is an exercise in just looking for those critical bits I think need mentioned, or else just the bits that apply to my part of the fight.

So where are we at? Well ‘raid 1’ last week cleared 5 of6 in blackwing and this week we came back, did 5 of 6 and spent a whole next night wiping on the end boss. They also popped over and after a few wipes got their first kill in the Throne of the 4 Winds. So right now both raids stand at 7 of 12 bosses. Each raid has gotten ‘guild raid first kills’ on 4 bosses. The Friday-Saturday crew got got first kills on Halfus, Omnomnomitron, the 3 wind bosses, and the twin dragons. The Sunday-Monday crew has took first on Magmaw, Maloriac, Chimeron and Atrimedies. In three of the four of those on both sides the other raid went in soon after and downed that boss.

As you can see we are neck and neck. It is great that this guild can field two progression 10 mans. Right now overlap between the raids is 2 people on a regular basis with 1 or two more swapped in on occasion. Those people are usually alts. We have many people with multiple raid ready alts. (I have been killing raid bosses on 3 of my 4 85s)There is plenty of cross communication of strategies as well. We also are coordinating what epic level enchants we buy so the both raids will have access to the good stuff.

Each raid has gotten down one boss the other has not so the guild wide progression is 8 of 12. We have made guild attempts at two others. So as a guild we have fought 10 of 12. Personally I have been at the first downing of I think 7 of them and for 11 of the ‘raid first’ kills if I remember right. We expect to get a minimum of one more next week, perhaps two, and there is a smaller chance of 3. If we get lucky we are just a couple weeks from fully clearing all 12. More likely we are 4 to 5 weeks from that. Also it is the outer edge of that before any one raid or even one character gets all 12. Right now the Friday Saturday crew is working on the Ascendant Council and planning to go right into Chogall after that. The Sunday-Monday crew has been working on Nefarian but is considering if they want to go hit somewhere else first. I logged off before that discussion was done so I am not sure what that plan is for next week.

What I am trying to say with all these stats is that we are doing great! Grats to all Crits and Giggles raiders and keep up the good work! If Bliz holds off 4.1 just a little longer we can down all the normal heroic bosses before more content is out. And we are sure to get them down before any new raid content is out.

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That Worked

How many people out there raid with their full perfect team every week? I envy you. I don’t know we’ve ever had our “perfect” team. Seems we always have to pull someone in. This week may be an exception; I don’t know. After that we’ve got three weeks in a row where Reversion and I will be out definitely twice and possibly more. That’s not going to help.

Anyway, this week we were missing our mage, the lovely Falahla, and Saturday her husband our shadow priest would also be unable to play. I started recruiting a guildie early in the week but he tentatively was helping out a different raid. He promised to keep me posted. And one of our semi-regulars would be available Saturday but not Friday so at least that was one slot filled.

Friday rolled around and I asked Repgrind to make sure that either we got the warlock or someone else – because I was going to be over in the next town standing in line for an ipad. I’d be back before raid time, but maybe not in time to find our tenth man. She promised to help out, of course, and I set off on my quest without any concerns.

I get back and find that Whodowhat can after all! Huzzah! Lock buffs for me! But…. where’s our hunter? She logged off right before raid time…. I got into a conversation with her sister and it turned out there was some RL stuff going on. Ok. RL comes first… but now I have to find a replacement. We get someone and head to Bastion.

Halfus dies easily but the Twins take a bit. Actually even Halfus and his trash took us a while – yes we one shot them but things just felt slow, like we weren’t all really feeling it. I certainly wasn’t and I couldn’t identify why, but raid just felt off.

After far too many wipes  – I think 3 maybe 4 but I’d like to two-shot those guys, at most – we got the twin dragons down and started clearing toward the Council. We wiped on that trash, came back, cleared it, and just before we started discussing the pull, two of us dc’d.

We waited…. and waited. Nothing. Finally we gave up and decided we’d switch to BWD and do Magmaw and Omnitron. We got some guildies’ alts and went over. We decided to do Omnitrom first; it took a couple tries. Then we went to Magmaw, wiped, and we were past quitting time so we disbanded. A bit disappointing, really, only three bosses down in the whole evening and no attempts on our progression fight but that’s how things happen sometimes.

Saturday night, rinse and repeat – again had to get a spare guildie in to fill a slot. Only… what we could get, was another healer. Empyrean, our new priest healer, isn’t comfortable dpsing. Kerick would have swapped to her mage but we really needed those paladin heals. We were bringing in a  disc priest and I realized sadly that the best person to go dps was me.

Probably I should have gone for my mage but I do want to be able to boomkin respectably, and there’s gear I need, so I just swapped specs and we started on Magmaw. The first couple attempts didn’t go to well; Empyrean was trying to heal our whole ranged group and it wasn’t working. So we had the disc priest come out too, and Kerick kept Logarithm and the melee alive. That worked and the worm died.

Downstairs to Maloriak. We one shot him, just like last week. Logarithm is an awesome off-tank and does a great job rounding up the adds. I never get healing aggro  from the giant untauntable guys. We did better on that fight than we ever had before because our setup was just a bit more AOE heavy. That was probably the only fight in BWD that night that I felt like I was really doing my job as dps.

Reversion and I had previously discussed strategies for what to do Saturday nights after Maloriak and had sort of agreed we wanted another look at Chimaeron. So we went over there. We ended up using a four healer strategy…. and the fourth healer was not me. Nope, we had our elemental shaman go resto and I… stayed boomkin. There were a couple wipes as people learned the fight, but eventually we got everything down. Reversion and I used our Tranquilities at specific Feud phases, we had two shaman casting Healing Rain, and just enough dps to get through it.

When Chimaeron went nuts and started one shotting the dps, I wasn’t totally sure we’d make it before enrage, but after the tanks died, he went after Grom, who bubbled and managed to keep his attention for a long time. It gave us the edge we needed, and he went down.

I am really glad we got that kill, but selfishly – it’s  healing fight, and we didn’t get it until a setup where I wasn’t healing. It kind of makes me feel bad. It was the right call for our raid setup but I just don’t enjoy dpsing, not when I should be healing.

 

We did a few tries on Atramedes then went over to Throne of the Four Winds to do Conclave. Had a couple new people so we had two wipes. After the first, I went heals and swapped with the disc priest. She hadn’t been there before and I know how to heal that fight in my sleep and we were all tired… so after the third try, when they went down, it was more a sigh of relief than of triumph.

It worked. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had with this raid, but I did enjoy myself.

Next time though, I’m making Kerick switch. So what if the tanks die? I think we know what’s important here…

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… over. With a steamroller.

Let’s start at the beginning, a week back when Logarithm told me he had army duty this weekend and wouldn’t be able to tank. Not a problem. I just got our friend Repgrind to gear up her dk tank as her next alt.  You raid leaders who don’t have someone who says, “Oh, we really need a holy pally? Spare tank? One-handed sheep-herder? I can bring that”  – I feel sorry for you guys.

Then Falahla tells me she can’t play Saturday. I can manage that too; one of our healers’ boyfriend was hoping for a chance to raid on his mage, I’ll just swap him in. And of course we’re just down one dps right now completely so I need to find that 10th man. I can manage that. Of course, I have to find someone who isn’t in the other Friday/Saturday night raid, but how hard could that be?

Well Friday afternoon rolled around and I didn’t have anyone, but I was actually on WoW in early afternoon so I decided to make an effort. Between sessions with the rented steam cleaner and my carpets, I scanned guild for a likely victim…. hmmm… there’s Fyuria. He raids Sunday/Monday but he mentioned his dk was interested in getting a few runs in, maybe he’s available. Whisper him. He’d love to help but he’s working Saturday and doing moving-related chores Friday night. Too bad. I mention that we’re going to Halfus and the twin dragons tonight (Friday) and that since his raid is working on BD, he could bring his main with us if he could fill in. I think that intrigued him; he asked about our start time, and then a minute later came back with a “Sure, I can rearrange things and be there”. Success!

So then raid time rolls around. We have one raider in a roll she doesn’t usually player, one substitute, but a pretty good feel for things. We clear the trash, pull Halfus, and one-shot him again. The healing was a bit hairy but Kalyon’s tanking was awesome. The nice thing about Halfus is we’ve gotten good enough at him that it feels like we have a solid shot at downing him no matter what the combo.

We cleared to the twins and settled in for however many attempts it would take. I’d like to say we one-shot things, but we actually did not. We had to work out positioning issues, how to handle things like getting sucked into Twilight, how to deal with the boss being offset a bit…. how to know the dragons are switching, who can iceblock or disperse out of a Blackout, who needs to be dispelled and share the pain, that sort of thing. Halfway through Reversion switches to tanking and we have Kalyon switch to her mage Karius. The extra ranged seems to help a lot (one issue we were having was ranged taking too much damage from meteors while running around)

Finally, one attempt, everything clicks and boom, they’re dead! That puts us at 6/12 for the expansion!

We discuss briefly and have some miscommunications and end up at Throne of Four Winds. Again, first time for Kalyon tanking though she’s healed here and first time at all for Fyuria. I pick Kalyon to heal, letting our shammy take Reversion. and off we go. Three platform swaps later and the bosses go down perfectly. On that fight, we have learned all the mechanics so well that the only place we risk wipes is in getting one boss dead too soon. Last week that happened twice; this week we one shot the place.

So off to Magmaw to get a head start on BD. One of my healers is whispering me as we go, warning me she’s really tired. Her sister just had a baby and the whole family is somewhat stressed and not sleeping right now. I understand and sympathize but since I can’t replace her at this point and we want to down Magmaw, I ask her to carry on, and she agrees.

The giant worm looms over us like a …. um… giant worm. With arms. As usual. First time for Kalyon to tank him! We get started, I get in position and realize that the hunter and rogue are both going to misdirect parasites to me… eeep…. Reversion always comes to Magmaw on his hunter and he does misdirect to me because I have ginormous healing aggro anyway, but I guess I didn’t really pay attention to that fact before. No pressure, Analogue!

We actually wipe to some stupid stuff. And then to Kalyon dying and I honestly didn’t know whether it was her new-ness to tanking the fight, or our healer who was operating on very little sleep, to encourage. Whatever. A third wipe and we’re all getting grumpy, so Reversion says the magical “Last pull of the night” words and we kill the dang worm.

So anyway, 4 bosses in one night is the best we’ve done yet this expansion! Woot!

Saturday night, I’m getting the group set up. I’d arranged with a ret pally in guild to fill our empty slot since Fyuria couldn’t. We had Jhudora’s friend coming on his mage. We were good. I thought.

My first sign of trouble was when Jhudora told me her friend’s schedule had just been changed and he couldn’t raid with us. And then when I started inviting people and my sleepy healer from last night wasn’t online. And then when the paladin said that 1, he had gotten saved to Omnomtron and 2, he wasn’t sure if the other competing raid wanted him.

We can handle this, I think. We happened to be in vent with a guild shadow  priest who hadn’t gotten much raiding in yet, and he was interested in coming in, even just on Omnomtron and then stepping out for the paladin. We could do that. And I convinced Jhudora to beg a friend to come in for us.  Reversion went to town and talked to Trade chat. We got a holy paladin, we summoned everyone, and we went to meet the Council of ‘Trons.

People killed adds. People ran away when they had debuffs. People interrupted stuff, didn’t stand in bad, switched targets, and we one-shot the big guys. Not our first one shot but the first one with so many non-regulars! It felt great! And…. Security Measure Alpha, my pretty ring, dropped, and I had a bad moment. Jhudora’s priest already had the ring… and I really really wanted it… but there was the pugged paladin. I had to let him roll. And… two shadow priests, both with healing offsets and talents that mean they  like spirit just fine…

I sighed and told them to roll, and Eltard won the ring. I have to say I was glad it stayed in our raid.  It’ll drop again, those guys are so farm it isn’t funny.

Downstairs to Maloriak, the only other boss in here we’ve downed before. We clear trash, we explain the fight, we start wiping. And wiping.  I analyze the paladin’s healing. This doesn’t make any sense…. he’s using nothing but Divine Light and Word of Glory, with a couple Holy Shocks. He’s beaconed Kalyon but is doing 80% of his heals on her and 10% on Reversion. Then I figure it out; he’s hitting Kalyon with Divine Light and using the Holy Power that generates to heal Reversion with Word of Glory. Um. Sorry, but once Rev gets more than 3 little adds on him, he’s going to need more than that. I gently ask him to heal Reversion directly, and the next attempt is more stable.

Not long after that, Mr. Paladin has to go – family aggro. Sigh. I look around. Someone in raid mentions Phlame, a lovely guild priest. She agrees to come in! We go summon her and I notice that she’s an absolutely adorable dwarf. Awwww.

I’d like to say that change did it for us. That would be a lie. At 10:50, Reversion announces “Last pull of the night”. And this time everything works. Reversion will have to give more details but what made all the difference was we had Eltard, standing out and spriesting, call out how many adds had been released, when to let more through and when to cancel. That let Grom concentrate on interrupts. It’s hard to do that and watch the adds and melee all at once. We also had to be really precise at who had what assignments. We had Cyla purge Remedy, Grom interrupt adds, and Kalyon disrupt the Arcane Storms. It worked. The adds came when we wanted them, we got into the final phase, kept enough people alive long enough, and she died. And dropped Kerick’s paladin bracers as she’s on her dk tanking. Stupid bosses.

Two last notes: if anyone thinks we sound cool, and might want to run with us, let us know. We’re looking for a good dps, preferably with a side of tank but a good dps is the important thing.

Second: This is why I love VuhDo:

See that icon on Approximate? We’re doing Magmaw, and it means that there’s a parasite in him. I know two things: he’s going to need more heals, and shortly, it’s going to jump out and need killing. I also know when nobody has a parasite and can reassure the raid. (Sorry honey; this is the only shot I caught. Approximate was not the only worm-victim that night!)

See I updated VuhDo two weeks ago and realized all these cool new icons had been added in, I didn’t have to do any extra work to get this! No GridStatusParasitesInMyStomach or anything!

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Last night we get on, hoping to have Tol Barad so we can do BH. Alliance doesn’t do well at holding TB but we do seem to take it Tuesdays just long enough to get runs in. Well, we didn’t have it, so we went off to run heroics.

Got two runs in with two sets of alts (and my brother) when TB  changed hands. We found out because a guildie started trying to put together a 25 man.  Well, I hate 25 mans, so we stayed quiet, planning to build a ten man out of alts once they’d done 25.

Only it took them a while to get things together and they started asking us to go – and then, Reversion was changing characters from an alt to his main, and on logging in, had a group invite that he thought was from us but was actually to the 25 man. And once he was inside, we felt stuck. we didn’t want to be rude to guildies, and come on, it’s just BH, how bad can it be?

So my brother got in (last week, he tried to go during the afternoon because he usually has class at night. This same person told him he couldn’t tank it because he didn’t have 150k health unbuffed. We told him later that was garbage) and I reluctantly switched off of Invariant, where I’d been working on excavating my epic purple archeology ring, and onto Analogue. The raid was about half full and more trickled in.

Our friend Repgrind was wisely staying out. Until I mentioned that there were no holy paladins yet, and how bad could it really be, right? And she reluctantly joined. A few more people, three or four pugs, and we were almost ready. I asked Falahla if she wanted to go, thinking hey, quick free epics and points. Right?

So there we are getting ready. I’d forgotten how much of my UI a 25 man Vuhdo setup takes.  Five healers; I started whispering Kerick and Elia to try to set up a dispell priority between us, since I expected us to be dispelling and not so sure what the other two healers would do. Elia pointed out we had  a priest and surely, he would mass dispel and save us a lot of mana. Right? And Kerick’s UI, being not set up for 25s because she doesn’t do them, as I well knew,  doesn’t lend itself well to things like “You cover Group 3″.  Oh well.

First attempt, I notice things aren’t getting cleansed, start cleansing. People die. Fell firestorm hits. The flames hit really freaking hard. We wipe. Ugh. I die some time before the wipe which means Elia wins the dispel meter  with 9 to my 5. The priest is saying he managed to get off mass dispel 2 or 3 times and then he got distracted with heals. I check. He cleansed two people. So either he dispelled once, or we were dispelling people before he could, or he had terrible aim. Sigh. We go back, try again. Wipe. Go back again.

This time on the meter I see 25 dispels each for me, Elia, and Kerick, with the next healer at 16 and the priest at… 5. Ouch.

Finally I speak up and say “Look, we need to all cover a group”. I hand out assignments, specify who is in those groups for those who don’t have their UI set up like that, and finally just say “if you can’t tell who is in your group just cleanse someone”.

It seemed to help. Even if just three of us could see “assigned” groups easily, it seemed to focus us enough that cleanses were going off, not missing them, or wasting mana cleansing people someone else had just sniped. A couple people die but we’re doing ok mostly – and then suddenly people start dropping. Oh. We hit enrage with 5% to go. Ouch.

Now, Baradin Hold drops pvp gear and so we had a couple people who are more focused on pvp than pve. Mostly they were doing fine, but there was one mage… he’s a guildie, a nice guy but totally into PVP. We took him on a heroic last week and he kept dying to puddles of poison, water spouts, etc, because he just isn’t expecting environmental damage to be an issue.  His dps was under 5k. PVP gear for the win, I suppose. But he was the one doing the most “oh we should have had that” moaning! And he…. well, we said as we were running back that “if we’d had a few more people we would have done that” meaning a few more people alive longer. He was confused and thought we needed more people in the raid. It’s funny how you can play the same game with someone, someone who is good even, but be talking different languages.

Finally we get back, do things the same way again, and this time the guy dies. In all it’s been close to an hour and a half, between trying to find people, trying to get them there, trying to get them all at their keyboards and not sniping at each other, trying to get them to do the right thing, trying to recover from wipes…. ugh. NOT worth the extra points, or loot. The loot was all pvp garbage anyway. I won a cape and gave it to Elia because she pvps a lot more than I do (and again. Things that piss me off. Warlocks rolling on capes with spirit. Come on).

Half the raid is people I don’t mind running heroics with sometimes but won’t raid with. In only a few weeks I’ve gotten used to having raid vent be friendly and cheerful and professional. Last night it was noisy, people talking over each other, people being obnoxious, and people inspecting gear and calling each other out over Vent, which is…. inexcusable to my mind. If we’re trying to get ready to go and you see a minor issue with someone, whisper them. It’s wasting 23 other peoples’ time to do it over vent, it’s disrespectful and annoying to the person being examined. And this happened not once but twice with two different sets of people, although one case was way more egregious.

We could have run that place 10 man twice as fast. Easily. Probably more than that because we don’t wipe in 10 mans. I’m not making that same mistake again. I’ll be rude; the annoyance is not worth it to me.

I’m really glad Blizzard made 10 and 25 mans exclusive in Cataclysm. I don’t want to be forced to do 25s for gear or to farm points. I love my ten man raid, I have fun with a couple close friends. In 25 mans you’re a cog in the wheel, and the other 24 cogs may or may not be people you like, at all.

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I woke up this morning thinking of all the things I have to do today. Half day of work, got to get a build out for testing before I sign off. Cleaners coming, got to pick up socks. Friday afternoon usually means some gallivanting for Nomster and me. Probably better pick up some beer and margarita stuff – it’s raid night!

Seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I argued that we couldn’t commit to scheduled raiding, yet here we are, not just committed but running two four-hour raids every week – and that doesn’t touch the tip of the iceberg! I think I need to make some sort of schedule for myself of raid support tasks to make sure they’re done. Right now, it goes something like this:

  • Put out the week’s invites. I usually do this Friday night during the raid, actually, because I know everyone is on and can sign up.
  • Check who can’t come or is tentative. Find someone else to cover those slots
  • If anyone is getting benched, figure it out now
  • If there’s anything odd about the lineup, discuss it with Reversion
  • During the week, run my daily every day for Valor points
  • Do my JC daily every day. Try to figure what patterns will most help other raiders
  • There’s always some other grind. This week it was leveling enchanting so as to be sure to put unused epics to good use. Some weeks it’s archeology, looking for Tyrande’s Friggin’ Doll. I’ve finished my rep grinds, I’m bypassing the Tol Barad dailies because that’s just one thing too many…
  • Reversion is running heroics on his second bear to get Chaos Orbs; I think he’s the only maxed leatherworker in guild and we have several people lined up for epic chestpieces.
  • Tuesday night, as soon as Reversion is home, log on and build a Tol Barad raid. We seem to always have TB on Tuesday nights, and rarely any other time. Sadly by the time we get on, 2/3rds of guild is saved on three alts. This week we took three puggers from Trade but they did just fine.
  • Assess raid supplies Wednesday, decide if we need to fish or farm flasks. Make flasks no later than Thursday
  • All through this period, answer whispers from raid members about where we’re going, what role they are playing, gear related questions, how should they spend their valor points, what alt should they level, who is the tank this week, where are we going again?, which bosses first? did you already do Baradin Hold? can you help me with this piece of gear? do you have this gem cut?
  • Run randoms with any guildies, but try hard to get raid members in. One night this week we split into two groups because there were 8 of us wanting a heroic!
  • On raid night, get online and build the group, answer the “where are we going” question again, assign raid assists and set loot threshold
  • Sit back and do what Reversion says – except, I still boss the healing team around so sometimes I have to speak up…

It sounds like a lot of work, and I’m not getting much chance to play alts, but it’s really worth while and I don’t mind. I have the “ahead of time” work; Reversion takes over as raid lead, with me tossing in healing assignments/suggestions when warranted.  It means neither of us has a crushing load.

The key is, we chose all this, and we run it all; if I had to do this much work for some raid that I didn’t feel like I was “running”, I’d hate it. Heck, I don’t know that I’d commit every Friday and Saturday night to raiding if we weren’t running it. I’d always feel like “maybe there’s something else we want to do”. Hint: as a pair of married WoW players, with a two year old,  raiding is about the best and cheapest Friday night date you can get.  No babysitter required!

Honestly I didn’t quite realize how much extra time would be involved when we decided to start a raid, but it’s worth it. Once I have a bit more gear, once everyone is really settled into the grind, I’ll have more spare time for alts. And it’s not like this is all we do! We went out for dinner just this Wednesday. And came home and found people whispering us to run randoms as soon as we logged back on… but hey! That’s a social life!

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Four Down

Our raid continues, Friday and Saturday nights. I think our roster is finally firming up. Ado’s shadow priest levelled from 60 to 85 and geared up in probably record time and was able to join us the first time this week; we had one of our paladins drop out two weeks ago so we’re not so melee heavy; I finally bit the bullet and brought in Kerick the paladin to heal. I wanted to have Repgrind on her mage but, we have a mage and a shadow priest and the one druid/two shaman heal team was…. not working out. Don’t get me wrong; both our shaman are great healers but we needed more single-target oomph.

That change happened partway through Friday night’s Magmaw attempts. Our team was a little different this week than last week and it took about 8 tries to get him down. Logarithm was solo tanking him for I believe the first time; Reversion initially tried boomkin-ing, but then swapped to his hunter. With two hunters, the worms didn’t have a chance. Once we got our kiting strategy down, Magmaw collapsed once again. And dropped a lovely leather agility bracer. That Reversion would have loved… if he hadn’t been on his hunter. Oh, and the spell dagger for the second week in a row, poor Karius would have loved that if I hadn’t made Rep switch to healing.

Then we went and worked on Omnitron. As a raid we hadn’t worked on it at all yet, although our melee shaman had healed attempts for the other guild raid, Ado of course has killed it many times with his main, and two of us had at least seen a couple wipes. Still it was essentially a totally new fight for us, and I was really proud how fast we picked up on things. Sure, a few times people ran the big beam of death through the raid, and we had one or two people get eaten by adds, and once I stood too close to a boss as he came up and got nommed before the tank could taunt it off – but the learning happened fast, and we got that kill decently before closing time.  Another first for our raid, and our guild!

Saturday night we went to Bastion of Twilight right off. We had originally planned a three tank strategy but the third tank, not a regular, got called into work at the last minute so we went with a two tank plan instead. Reversion tanked the boss and got Hand of Protection to get stacks off; Logarithm did the adds. We brought up the whelps and single targeted them. Once a few were dead, Log released the Time Warden and tanked him as well. Raid burned down the whelps and other dragon and then we burned the boss.

Our first try went so beautifully. The whelps died, dragon died, we got on the boss, burned him down, down – I lost Rev, battled rezzed him, we kept going, then we lost Log but by then we had the adds down. 10%… 5%… and he enraged at 3%. We got him a tiny bit further and wiped at 2%.

Ouch. Went back in, found some of us had forgotten to flask, while others said they didn’t flask until after the first attempt, which… I disagree with vehemently, because of just this sort of thing. We would have one shot him if a couple people had had a bit more dps, or if we hadn’t let Log drop there. But it didn’t matter now. We picked ourselves up, buffed, flasked, and did the same thing, again perfectly, and this time Halfus died.

Finally. We’ve been working on him for weeks now. This was a hugely satisfying kill. I’d been sure that all we needed was a slightly more favorable drake configuration, and now we had it. We’d done so much work, come sometimes heartbreakingly close, with hard drakes, and now all the hard work paid off. We know this fight intimately, and I expect we’ll be able to manage harder drake combos as they come back up because we’ll start having more gear.

Since that took less than an hour, we had lots of time left, so as planned we went to Throne of Four Winds and killed the Council of Air again. Took a few tries; Log hadn’t been in on our successful attempt last week, we had a few people in different roles,  and some bad luck with the ranged platform getting blown off a lot. Still, they died in the end, and with an hour left, we went BACK to Bastion and pressed on.

We killed trash toward the twin dragons. All night we hadn’t had an epic drop so it was time for one, and when I pointed out the sparklies on a kill that wasn’t mine to loot halfway through a trash pull, someone looked at it. “Agility leather”. I was surprised; I know the Bastion trash loot table, and there’s no agility leather there, but sure enough there it was, a purple hat – a world drop BOE epic! Cool!

Well, it went to Reversion of course. Nobody else in the raid could use it, he could, and it was his birthday so obviously that was meant for him! Someone did say something about how everyone should be allowed to roll on it for selling but I hope he was joking. Still, there’s a reason why we use master looter powers. We are trying to prevent loot drama, but if it’s going to happen, I intend to hold the ace cards.

So! Loving our raid. I’m so thrilled to be making real progress. Four kills, three of them guild firsts (and with four kills I think our guild is now somewhere around server 20th. Our server…. is weak.) People show up, do their jobs, and have fun. I can’t wait to do more progressing, see more fights. We need a little more work to get our current kills to real farm status, obviously, but once we do I’m excited to see how far we can get!

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Filling Dead Air

In radio, the one thing you don’t want is “dead air” – nobody talking. It makes people change channels. In blogging, is no post better than a stupid one? I don’t actually know.

We’ve been in a holding pattern the last few days. I’ve been under the weather, not literally like my northern guildies, but metaphorically, dealing with flu. We’ve got raid night tonight and tomorrow so I’m excited for that but so far this week – another Baradin Hold bosskill, yawn. A couple random heroics. My T11 2 piece set bonus – achieved last night – coolness. It’s feeling very mid winter, that quiet stretch of time between Christmas and spring where you just hang out and exist.

Our guild is running a fishing contest – http://crittys.wordpress.com/ – and I’m falling further behind the leaders (fishing on my mage, Invariant) but having fun. If we haven’t got the fish achievement yet it should fall shortly, and then, fish feasts for all! Lokicat, you’re insane though; 1,500 fish in four days? Yikes!

I love our guild. So much – the last four months of WoW have been so awesome. Moving when we did was totally the right call. We had time to finish our Wrath goals and jump into Cataclysm fresh off the start. A lot of bloggers seem to be going through the guild drama/raid drama/WoW goals drama that we knew would come for us at the start of Cata if we didn’t move. I just want to urge anyone who is hesitant, make the move to that guild or server you’ve been considering now.  The expansion is still young, conquer it with people you want to be with!

And we’re coming up on our first bloggiversary here in two weeks.  We’ll probably have some retrospective type posts then but wow, what a ride. Totally didn’t see this coming when we started!

Have a great weekend, y’all. Us? We have to figure out how to balance Raid Night with Reversion’s birthday tomorrow; tradition calls for lobster, but raid night commitments mean we have to be back before 7… ah well, with Nomster, the romantic dinners tend to be a bit more practical and less candlelit anyway :)

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I knew going into this weekend that we had some raid makeup issues. My brother, our off tank, couldn’t make it. One healer was unavailable Friday. Then, unexpectedly, one raider had to bow out entirely. We’ve been working to try to get a nice stable roster but most weeks we’ve had to bring in at least one person from outside the raid and I wanted to change that. I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Jhudora, the awesome shaman healer that I had been bringing in for the last three weeks even though she’s in a different guild, /gquit and moved over to Crits and brought a friend with her, a hunter/warrior. Our missing healer is trying hard to get herself on a consistent schedule so she doesn’t have to miss Friday nights. And Ado’s shadow priest had leveled from, like 60 to 82 in record time and would probably be 85 by the end of the weekend.

But that still left this week to get through. I talked to a couple guildies, found one who was tank geared and eager to get in, another, a dps warrior, who jumped at the chance to come. Yay! And then I logged in Friday night and the substitute tank couldn’t make it; at the last minute he’d been placed on call for work. Boo…

Well, there was one fight we thought we could do with only one tank, Magmaw. And we’d put some practice in there. And we had Jhudora’s friend Locklyn the hunter eager to get in and try…. so I made Karius switch from mage to paladin, green bracers and all, and we headed for Blackrock, still one dps down.

And who is that at the stone there? That’s a guildie on his raid geared warlock…. Whodowhat, what are you doing in that pug? A few whispers and he agrees to ditch them and come with us. Now at full strength we head in. Locklyn grabs his warrior to help with the trash, then swaps back to the hunter and we get started.

The “stack in melee” plan works well but the ranged are having trouble controlling the adds. They need more room to kite than we can give them with the healers in melee. After a few wipes, Jhudora suggests that she can go out and heal them; she’s figured out the rhythm of the fight enough to dodge the pillars of flame and the worms. Things start going a lot better. Worms are kited, burned, we’ve got several melee dps on the boss full time, all of them get turns learning how to use the chains and spikes. We’re getting past the second head down phase consistently; I start having to use Potions of Concentration to regen mana. Having this fight in melee range means Karius can whack the boss for mana regen, so she doesn’t have to worry about mana hardly at all. And Reversion is so good at managing his cooldowns we healers barely notice the armor debuff he’s taking every Mangle cycle. Which is pretty damn impressive – some of the people in raid didn’t realize we were one tanking it but it gave us a lot more freedom to deal damage.

Suddenly it all clicks and bang, down goes the worm! Raid first kill! I’d helped kill Magmaw the previous week with the other guild raid but this time it actually meant something, I was playing my proper role in my proper team and now all the rush of victory was there, that wasn’t when I was just filling a hole.

Now we have two hours left in raid night  – things came together that fast – so we head over to Throne of Four Winds after persuading Locklyn to switch to his tank and work on that. Jhudora switches to her disc priest – an ideal class and spec for the ranged platform there; she can levitate herself and just not take fall damage at all. We start work there. Most of us have seen the fight at least a bit. We get two hours of solid attempts in, really making progress over the last time we were in; some of our wipes we had bosses down to less than 30%.

Saturday night we go back to Throne, with a few raid comp changes; our missing healer returned so Karius gets to go frost; the tank that couldn’t make it the night before can come tonight so Locklyn gets to hunter; and the dps warrior couldn’t make it anyway so we balance out ok. It takes a few tries for the new tank to learn the fight, a few tries for the healers to get the rhythm. I had just learned the night before that the left-hand boss guy, the one with the adds, is enraged for a few seconds after coming out of the special ability phase and to heal extra hard there. We wiped at least once because I didn’t realize that. Now we get down to serious attempts – and less than halfway through raid time, the Council goes down. I admit to being a bit surprised, actually; the ranged platform downed theirs, then jumped to the center boss and I’m honestly not sure whether the center platform or the other side came down first. It actually felt a tiny bit anticlimactic; sometimes healing big fights feels that way because you’re not really watching a boss’s bar go down… down…. down…. THERE!

And THAT kill was a guild first, not just for our raid.

Then we went to Bastion of Twilight, killed trash like the pros we are, and wiped spectacularly about ten times on the boss. The drake combination this week…. well going into it we weren’t sure whether it was the worst, or second worst combo; I’m pretty sure it’s the worst but not entirely sure why. The damage we were trying to heal through is just massive. As a side note one of our raiders is an enhance shammy for us but a resto druid for the other guild raid, and she mentioned to me last night that she “will not” heal that encounter as a progression fight (not in response to me asking her if she was willing, I was curious why she was switching characters in the middle of their raid but they’d decided to go over there for a while). She’s done it a few times for our attempts but I can certainly sympathize. If we get past the first minute and a half things are ok but that minute and a half is absolutely a nightmare as a healer.

Our spriest-in-waiting dinged 85 and started running heroics yesterday (yay for having purples ready to go) so with luck our roster this weekend will be closer to whatever the permanent makeup looks like. We (Reversion and I) would really like to have about 12 people who rotate in as needed, but this is a casual guild and we may get pushback from people because they want permanent slots. I’d really like to know that if we have to miss (and coming up in March, there are some days we will have to miss) that the raid can still go on…

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