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Archive for the ‘Personal Story’ Category

I’ve been leveling my shaman for a while now. She’s reaching the end of Outlands and I can’t wait to get to Northrend. I have been a little burnt out on BC dungeons this time so I’m doing more questing.

She did basically every quest in Zangarmarsh. That wasn’t too awful, they were fairly well spread out. Then she bogged down. Went over and did the Nesingwary and Ring of Blood stuff in Nagrand. I’ve always liked those. Especially when I can make my husband come and one shot Ring of Blood with his hunter.

But in general the BC quests have been like pulling teeth. Wisdom teeth. No anesthetic.  I think I figured out why, too, when I was over in Terokkar Forest. I stopped by Allerian Stronghold and picked up a dozen quests. That in and of itself seems so odd these days; “modern” quest design gives you three quests, maybe, all related, that you do and turn in.

No matter. I had to collect seeds, kill Warp Stalker, collect wolf tails, kill peons, kill Arroaka…. the usual.

It was the wolf tail quest that got me. I was supposed to collect 12 of them. In “modern” design, that would mean that every wolf dropped a tail. In BC design, apparently the drop rate was about 40%. I  had to kill over 30 wolves to get enough.

Then I went to kill Arroakka. I believe the quest told me to kill 6 of one sort and  20 of another. I had a quest to take out their leaders too. I flew up to the leaders, assassinated them, and killed their guards. Great; now I have to kill 17 Arakkoa Strikers or whatever they are. Oh – the other annoying bit was the leaders were in three camps, fairly separate, so I had to fly around looking for them. One camp was well out of the way…

Kill 20 whatevers isn’t that big a deal, but these days, I’d expect to see a quest that says “kill any 20 Arakkoa”, not “20 Strikers and 6 shaman”. I much prefer the mix and match sort.

Same with drop quests. If it’s a number greater than 6, I expect guaranteed drops. If it’s more than 20 I expect multi drops!

I would rather have three different quests requiring me to kill different wolves, than one quest that required 3x wolf death.

I doubt that revamping BC is very high on Blizzard’s priorities. Northrend was a lot closer to “modern” quest design if I remember right. But it does occur to me that Blizz has set my standards a lot higher. Any other game that comes along and wants to woo me had better do quests that are at least up to the easy and story level of Cataclysm.

Reversion tells me stories about other MMOs he played, Asian grindfests where literally all you did was go out and kill mobs until you levelled. I can’t even imagine that being fun. It occurs to me that a lot of our complaints about WoW are kind of silly when you compare it to other games. And the thing that makes me think WoW has more life in it than the naysayers think is that WoW improves itself. It reinvents itself. 6 years ago, “kill 20 whatevers” was state of the art questing and a huge improvement over all the competition. Today, “you and NPC Bob proceed through the zone, having an adventure and a story, while doing quests that support that story” is the new bar that any other game must meet.

 

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Whew, long weekend over! I played lots of WoW. Since the two times we did leave the house for any length of time we went and spent lots of money, or planned on spending lots of money, that’s probably a good thing. (We’re thinking about buying a kayak. With peddles and a sail. It’s kind of more of a boat).

Anyway most of the weekend that I wasn’t raiding I played my little shaman, Anastrophe. Raid went great – we downed 10 bosses this weekend. Nobody new but it was a record number of kills in a single weekend. But this post is about the shaman.

Friday morning she was level 48 and hanging out in Searing Gorge. I blasted through a bunch of zones and got  her to 58 Sunday. Did a few quests in Hellfire and started queueing for dungeons. She’s got an Ele spec for questing and a Resto for dungeons. The first time I queued, I signed up for “random Classic dungeon” and got Upper Blackrock Spire; I zoned in, planning to change specs and drink, to find my party halfway through fighting the big corehound. Ooops. And Vuhdo wasn’t updating because I was in combat and I have my other raid frames disabled (yes Reversion mocked me for that but – eh) so I hit “ctrl-v” a few times until I could see friendly unit frames, found the tank, and threw heals at him. We lived, I switched specs, we killed the final boss in there and dropped group.

That was fun.

Well I kept queuing between questing and by Monday was over 60. That’s when  I started doing BC dungeons. And we all know what comes with BC dungeons… Death Knights! Woot!

They  were all worgen, and about 2/3rds of them did not suck. 50% of the tank dks did not suck. There was one I tried to kick but he dc’d first. And then there was Shaaler.

I’m level 63 ish and I queue and get Underbog. Cool. I even have the quest for here. Three dks, all from the same server, two with complimentary names. No problem. The tank is very competent and the one dk is putting out great numbers, but Shaaler is…. not so good. His damage looks terrible and then – he rolls on intellect mail. Well, he rolls greed and complains that the game won’t let him roll need.

The other two dks start explaining to him, very reasonably I thought, that he doesn’t want that, and why.

This is the start of the exchange. It goes on for some time with them explaining what stats he wants, and him insisting that it’s ok that he wants intellect.

I decide to inspect him. Sure enough…

 

Sigh.

We get to the end of the instance. Now he’s pulling out the “I just came back to the game after two years” card. I point out that DKs didn’t use intellect two years ago either, and the tank claims to have only been playing for a month and HE knows how to gear so that’s just not a valid excuse.

We finish the run, I thank everyone and drop out. About five minutes later I decide to queue again. In the meantime I’m telling Repgrind this story.

I zone in. Slave Pens, cool! I can finish the quest to find all the missing druids. And then I notice Shaaler is back again. Ugh. And then…

Maybe I was rude but – seriously he though he was going to tank? Wearing intellect gear? This I have to see.

He runs in and kills trash. He has no idea where he’s going, so we try to guide him. We head up the ramp toward the first boss. This boss is a Bog Lord dude, and just before him there’s a pair of Bog Lord trash adds. They hit fairly hard but aren’t that big a deal, really.

The first clue I have that this is going to go badly is Shaaler putting a skull on the boss. And then he runs in. Without killing the trash first. They aggro on him and kill him in about a second.

I try to run away, die. Reincarnate too early and die again.

We run back in – by “we” I mean “me and the dps”. Shaaler doesn’t see fit to release. One of the dps starts telling him just how stupid he is.  As we’re running back, I start to put a reason into the vote kick box – when he drops group.

Well that saves us the trouble. We get back and his body is still there.

We get another dk tank. This one knows what he’s doing and the instance is a breeze.

Honestly I don’t mind dks, or dk tanks, even at that level, but this guy takes the cake for me.  He spends an entire run being told he’s wearing the wrong gear, that he needs to go and read up on his class, and then – he requeues as a tank. Unbelievable.

Anastrophe is 64 now! Watch out world, she’s coming up fast!

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Useful post in the works. Stay tuned.

This weekend I did a little of everything. Friday we got our first shot at a troll dungeon and it was hard. I think some of the fights are going to need tuning. However I did like that for many of them you have to think, and use common sense. Positioning and movement are important – like in raiding. I particularly like the bear boss where you have to take turns getting charged. Not a melee friendly fight though.

Friday night was our raid and wonder of wonders we had an entire raid of regulars. Wow. We extended a lockout at BOT, took a couple tries and downed Council. We made a change the last attempt in how we kited the Monstrosity and it made a huge difference. I think it will end up being a farm boss before long.

Then we went to work on Cho’gall. It had been at least a month since we’d worked on him so I wasn’t sure how it would go. Our first attempt we got him to almost 50% and I was impressed. After a couple tries, I suggested Kerick and I two heal it. I wasn’t sure how that would go, but our dps was light and we were getting overwhelmed with adds.

It turned out to be very do-able. Yes, we had to be on our toes and yes, there were times when a tank died because we had to move right then, but I think it’s a good strategy.

Our best attempt got him to 27% – we’re going to be making the transition to phase 2 real soon. Or we would if I wasn’t losing a tank for three weeks. Sigh.

Saturday night, though, we were down a healer and two dps, so we took what we could from guild, re-shuffled a bit, and went to BWD. Magmaw took three tries, partly from a new healer, partly from low dps. Omnomtron we one shot. Can’t remember the last time we wiped on them. Went downstairs, one shot Maloriak, went to Atramedes and spent the next hour and a half there.

Meanwhile I’m eyeing the clock… see, my paladin still has two achievements to go on Noblegarden.  I screwed up and thought it ended Sunday, not Saturday, and she still has to find a tauren female, and then go do the bunny love thing. That part would be easy, but tauren females? Not so much.

About 10:30 we declared last pull of the night – and downed him. And my hat dropped. My leather int hat. The last piece Analogue needed for [Cataclysmically Epic]. I put it on long enough to get the achievement, dropped it in my bag to enchant up later, and logged over to Divergent.

Reversion and Kerick helped me hunt, and then Kerick found a tauren for me in Uldum! She summons me there, I hit the flowers, and the achievement was done. Then it was off to Goldshire for some bunny love, and I finished the holiday with almost an hour to spare.

Sunday we owed Repgrind some help so we went pvp’ing. Rev’s hunter, my druid, and her paladin were basically unkillable together. Honestly… at least for this week, a raid geared healer is unkillable anyway. They’d attack me, I’d heal myself, and Rev would kill them. We managed to get all the parts Kerick needed and most of those that our friend Bocat wanted but ran out of time to do the last piece with Bo. Let us know if you need more help later this week!

And then it was time to log off for some real life gaming – D&D session at our house. Whee!

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I’m back! I realize I didn’t actually mention that I was going on a two week business trip and our blogging would be a bit scarce, but it’s true. I logged onto WoW a few times while I was gone but my setup was terrible, the internet was weak, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I missed three full weekends of raiding!

Got back late Saturday night, Sunday I logged in and decided to finish leveling my paladin, Divergent. I couldn’t remember how far I had to go – so I was pleasantly surprised to see she had two bars to fill. Six quests later, she was 85.

I flew back to Stormwind, dropped my ret spec, and respecced both my Holy and my Prot specs since I probably screwed up some of my Holy talents on the way up. Then I went through my gear… Divergent’s tank gear  is nonexistent, she doesn’t even have a shield and weapon. Well, she does; for her Holy set. Not exactly optimal. But her Holy set isn’t bad. Most of it was 333, a few weak slots here and there but not too bad. I only had to wear two pvp pieces to meet the minimum level requirement for heroics. And I thought briefly about running normals but – I was pretty sure with Reversion tanking for me I could manage. He decided to pull out his gnome warrior. Now the warrior is not as well geared as his two bear tanks but she’s respectably outfitted for heroics. And she’s a blacksmith who can make me gear with Chaos orbs. I thought about all the lovely plate in SFK and decided we’d queue for that. I asked in guild if anyone wanted to come and one guildie did, if we didn’t mind him rolling on plate. I warned him I would be rolling against him on tank gear and he was fine with that. So I was happy with how we’d stacked the deck.

Our random people were a mage and a hunter. Great, I love mage cookies. We started and had some roughness as I remembered how to heal on a paladin. Got to the first boss and I honestly wasn’t prepared for how fast the dps were killing him and didn’t have people really healed at the point where he goes Dark Archangel. Which resulted in, I think 2 of the 3 dps dying. But we downed him, I rezzed, and we went on.

Next boss, we get there, we’re killing trash, and we aggro him and wipe. Oops. Run back, do it right, he dies. Up the stairs to Commander Springvale who we haven’t killed since they changed it so you can’t kite him away from his adds. We decide to give it a try, and he dies. Again I lose some of the dps. I really am a little weak as far as gear goes. If I weren’t really good at healing this would be impossible.  And my mana pool is terribly small. If I’m not in melee range smacking the boss for regen, I run out fasst. Fortunately the awesome dps levels are making all the fights quite short.

I was still occasionally letting a dps, or myself, die, which was annoying but seemed reasonable. The hunter kept pulling aggro; he was doing about 12k and Reversion’s warrior was doing 5.5k and the hunter wasn’t using Misdirect or Feign Death. So my heart wept, really it did, when he died occasionally.

We get to the end boss and wipe. I just wasn’t able to get Reversion healed up fast enough. We go again, and our dk died really fast and we don’t have the dps to kill him before I’m out of mana. One more time, and this time I pop my cool downs one after another. A druid healer who plays another class of healer usually has great reflexes, good triage skills, and weak cooldown usage. Druids just don’t have cooldowns like priests and pallies do. I don’t even know which ones to use together, which to use separately… I’ll have to do some real research.

But at last, the boss dies, the instance is done, and I’m ready to check out. We’re saying the usual “thanks for the run” politeness, and then this:

 

 

This guy has said…. nothing, the whole run. Now when we’re safely done and can’t kick him, he feels like he should open up and tell us what for.

Two months back an SFK run with only three wipes would have been a great run. Now apparently it’s a “you suck”. No allowance for poor gear – I had mentioned my mana pool being small and why, earlier in the run, so yes, he knew I was under geared.

He made me laugh! I thought it was great. He clearly knows nothing at all about tanking and healing if he could say that. And he couldn’t even play his own class right; his dps might have been good but he didn’t, as I said before, use Misdirect; when we were doing the boss with the adds, he trapped the first one and then ignored traps like they were a plague; and at least once he had to rez his pet mid fight because he’d forgotten until then.

Ah yes. Welcome back to WoW, Analogue. Hope you missed it!

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I did a little work on leveling my paladin this weekend. She’s working through 84. Sunday she got the Twilight Highlands opened and joined a quest for Crucible of Carnage. Since she’s going to be holy at max level I’m picking up int gear as it drops. Not a fan of ret; I either have no buttons to push or too many. Ugh.

So now and then I heal an instances to work on her xp, instead of questing. Sunday it had been a while since I’d healed but I queued with some guildies and we got Stonecore. I think we had three guildies but the tank was a pugger.  I know Repgrind was along for sure.

First, the tank drops group. Ok. So we wait a bit and a minute or two later here comes another tank. He charges in. Thankfully Repgrind interrupts the guy who turns into a whirlwind because I don’t think the tank believed in interrupts. Or crowd control.

So we proceed through the dungeon. Now my standards for tanking are pretty high, because Reversion is an awesome tank, but even so this guy is not good.  He’s not terrible, he holds aggro, but that’s it. He doesn’t use CC and he doesn’t communicate with us. We kill the first few bosses and proceed to Orzuk while killing as little trash as possible – which wipes us once and nearly wipes us another time. Sigh.

And then he sets up to pull Orzuk… without killing either of the trash packs closest to him. I ask in guild if it’s for real but decide to let him try – because I want to laugh. We start. He fails about half of the time to run far enough away from the pound thing. Sigh.  And then it happens – the group we didn’t clear gets pulled, and we die.

We run back and kill that group and then Orzuk. Sigh. Why we couldn’t just do that at first…

The final fight I managed to kill a lot of the adds because I know how to make them stand in bad stuff. Not sure the tank did much of anything. Repgrind interrupted lots of Force Grips and it ended up being pretty easy to heal.

Fade to black.

Monday night Reversion was tanking for the other raid so Repgrind and I queued up together, again me on the baby holy pally and her on her warrior. This time we got Vortex Pinnacle. Once again the tank disappears almost as soon as we reach the instance – a dc this time. I was going to give him a  minute but someone started a “kick” vote immediately. Five minutes later a new tank appears and we start.

“Gogogo” says the mage. Why must it be a mage who always does this sort of thing? I love mages, I was a mage before I was a healer, but man they seem to be the worst. And I pride myself on keeping mages alive!

“Gogogo” was about all he said and he said it every few minutes. We were making good time too! Then we killed a boss and jumped platforms…. and the mage sat there on the other platform… and sat…. and sat. Finally he moves. “Back,” he says, not having said he was going afk in the first place. “Gogogo”.

We keep going. We clear the first of the groups by the lightning triangle things, you know where there’s a set of steps up after them with star balls at the top. Well we’re recovering after the fight…. and Mr. Mage says “gogogo” and runs up and starts. Well I saw a dot moving and followed, then realized it was the mage and the other three party members were still downstairs. So I stopped healing him. The rest of the party comes and starts joining in. I tell Repgrind “DPS slower!” as the mage’s health creeps down… and down…. and then he dies. Victory! We kill the stars and I rez him. He doesn’t say anything…

We finish the trash pulls, go down, kill the other stars, and are looking at the boss. Mr. Mage is still upstairs. Finally he comes down and says “Gogogo” so we pull.

I was trying so hard to see if I could get him killed that I…. let myself die. Fortunately at that point the boss was almost dead and they finished without me. I think it demonstrated pretty clearly, though, that I can’t heal stupid. Not stupid tanks, not stupid mages, and not even myself when I’m stupid.

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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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One year ago, we put up our first blog post! Since then we’ve posted 396 articles, comics, random thoughts and raid reports. We’ve received about 1475 comments and more blog hits than we thought was possible when we started! Along the way we’ve made some really good friends too.

We started blogging together as an experiment; it quickly became a way for us to engage with other WoW players in a fun and relaxed way. At the time we were friend alts in a hardcore raid guild, occasionally pugging ICC content and consistently killing up to Putricide. We were focused on our stable of alts and on enjoying WoW together, as a couple.

Reversion started his Tanking 101 series here. He’s thinking about a new series on a similar theme but if the stat reports are right, we’re still getting a lot of hits on the Tanking 101 article.

And this is the very first Corporate Raider comic! We’ve both had a lot of fun with these. Reversion does all the art and 95% of the ideas. Sometimes I suggest one to him but mostly my contribution is snickering at them.

I did an occasional series with titles of “Think Like A Healer”. I still like this one where I discussed interface evolution. Later I’d write up a Vuhdo guide. I still think that the UI is critical for a healer and a good one makes a big difference.

By May we were getting farther in our ICC pugs and occasionally running GDKP runs with the big guild we were in.  Those were a lot of fun!

In June I wrote a silly post about what I’d do as a raid boss that got linked on WoW Insider – we got about 10k hits in two days, definitely our biggest exposure ever.  After that our average viewers per day was considerably higher than it had been; I think it raised our profile nicely! And it was a fun piece to do, even if it wasn’t an original idea.

In August we took… well, not a “WoW Break”, but we were playing Starcraft. I got the Mini Pet from Reversion’s collector’s edition, hah! Andhad more fun with an RTS game than I’d thought I would.

In September, we came to a realization that we were not where we wanted to be for Cataclysm, so we started guild shopping.  We had a couple awesome offers and decided to move to Winterhoof to join Crits and Giggles, with Repgrind and Troutwort and it was awesome. Crits worked us into one of their 10 man raids and a few weeks later, the Lich King was dead. Wow.

Well, after that we watched Blizzcon and were in such a state of excitement over Cataclysm and having had raid success what we decided to start our own raid. We talked to people in guild, built a group, and had some success. Any follower of our blog since can tell what an important part of our WoWing the raid has become. We love it!

The Shattering hit and then Cataclysm and it was time to start leveling again, we stood in fire, we hit 85 and started running dungeons and raids. And here we are!

It’s been an awesome ride. We’ve made some great friends this year, achieved some awesome WoW goals. We’ve seen our focus shift from being total alt-o-holics to more serious raiders, but we still love our alts! I’ve learned a lot about WoW, and healing, and even leadership this year. I’m so glad we decided to start this blog.

And so glad we started it together. I’d been thinking about blogging a bit and when Reversion mentioned he was interested too I wasn’t completely sure how that would work. But I’m so glad we did, it’s a great project for us to share and I have to think it’s more interesting than just me spouting random stuff would be.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us on this ride. We’re hoping you’ll stick around for the next year, because I don’t know what’s going to happen but I know it’s going to be great.

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Guild VS Raid

This week, I’ve read several posts about people’s guild organization, management, and member ranks. Vidyala wrote about it; so did Saga, Alas, Zelmaru. There were others too I just don’t have them all at my fingertips.

Reading all this made me realize Reversion and I got luckier than we thought when we moved to Winterhoof to join Crits and Giggles. We already knew it was full of friendly people, some of whom were bloggers, with raiding opportunities anda  culture we’d like. What I didn’t realize was how apparently rare it is to find a setup where raid != guild.

There are currently two raids in Crits; our Fri/Sat and a Sun/Mon, both ten man raids. As more people gear up there will probably be a third raid. We’re not likely to develop a 25 man, tens are our strength.

There are several guild officers in Crits. I mostly know because of who I have to ask for invites for new alts. Officers work hard behind the scenes to set stuff up – but so can any member that wants to. Reversion and I have not been hampered by our normal-member status; in fact it probably helped to create the raid we wanted, where every raider has an equal voice – but Reversion and I are the benevolent dictators because we do the organizing.

There are two ranks of “normal” member in the guild, one for all members who have authenticators, with guild bank access and repair funds, and one for non-authenticator-members without. That’s it. There’s no “elite” raiders or “unimportant” socials. No “trial period” for the guild. No need to remove people because their gearing up is slower.

Admittedly, we are not a Serious Raiding Guild. We are not trying for server first, or server tenth. Reversion’s and my raid has yet to down our first boss (Tol Barad guy does not count) while the other raid just killed their first Sunday (I got to step in for that). On the other hand, at 7pm Friday all my raiders are online, in vent, at the instance, ready to go. They listen and do what we ask and we have fun.

I want us to get some more bosses down so we can demonstrate that you CAN be a social guild with raiding success. That you can choose raiders based on their personality fitting with everyone else and demonstrated potential to not be bad, rather than their uber gear.  But what I like best is knowing that if someone doesn’t fit in our raid, that they may still fit the guild. When the two are not the same thing, there are options like that. We have a guildie who is a notorious PVP’er, the sort of guy who is server-infamous; we’re not a pvp guild and he does his own thing but for whatever reason he likes us. We’ve added a couple members in the last week from a similar level of raiding guild (ie, not very, but wants to raid) because we’re a nicer environment and don’t kick people because they’d rather be a shaman than a priest. We have people with ten alts in the guild, people with none.

It’s nice, it’s low-stress, and it’s our WoW home.

 

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More Raid Status

*** To all RSS readers: sorry about the double post. Ignore the other one. ***

So we had another weekend of raiding and again no bosses down. But there was progress on some fronts.

Friday we went back to Halfus and tried him again. We were very hopeful because we got him down to 7% last week and into the teens several times before the enrage. We had more DPS this week so we were pumped to ‘geterdone’. Sadly it was not to be. We had nearly the same dragon combination but the difference was critical. We had the Slate dragon which gives the stacking debuff. No sweat. You just have to tank swap. Not worth it to wake him up. We also had the Time Warden same as last week. That is the one that gives the aoe fire rain. Ok, so we kill that one. Last was the Storm Rider. He was in place of last week’s Nether Scion. So in place of the tanks taking a little more damage we had raid wide aoe and knockback that that has to be interrupted PERFECTLY. Ouch. This combination was probably the worst possible. The raid damage is quite bad and the knockback is killer on the heals. We pretty much got creamed. We did change things up and bring in a enhancement shammy to help with the interrupts but it was just nasty. In retrospect we could have kept trying and gotten lucky, the DPS was there but the healing was having a lot of trouble. But we didn’t.

For the second half Friday’s run we popped over to Throne of the Four Winds and tried to learn that fight. Pretty interesting stuff. Big learning curve with all the jumping around. We wiped several times to people not getting to the bridge fast enough. And we were having an issue with the warrior tank being too soft. That closed out Friday. In retrospect we were making ok progress at learning it and should have gone back there Saturday… We didn’t.

Instead decided to go for Magmaw. I blame my eagerness to get something down. I was so hopeful about Halfus all week that I was willing to reset the learning curve and try a boss that was supposed to be ‘easier’. That was a mistake. Magmaw I chalk up to raid balance. We were short on hard hitting AOE at first. We had two mages, both went frost for the slowing effect, one boomkin and a lock. We started off having a big problem with the adds, naturally. We knew the theory and tried the basic strategy of moving all the ranged in a tight pack.

DPS was marginal, healing was marginal and our movement and kiting was marginal. By ‘marginal’ I mean it might have worked but it was so close to ‘barely’ enough that every little mistake was mercilessly unforgiving. So we wiped. We eventually swapped to the strategy where everyone is in melee except one sacrifice for the flame to target that Jaded Alt laid out on her blog.The “at ranged” was the lock. He also went to Affliction spec and that really upped his aoe DPS. That strategy started working by the end of the night and we made some progress. We managed to get Magmaw fully chained twice in a row several times, and got him to around 70%. Not nearly enough but good progress. I am convinced that if we had one of the mages go fire spec for more AOE dps (neither had a fire spec at the time. Karius of course went right out after the raid and swapped Arcane for Fire) or had brought in a good hunter that might have worked. Alternately having a DK aoe kite in place of the lock might have helped too. It is hard to say. I think we were starting to get it with a marginal raid makeup. With a slightly different make up it would have been easier. The boomkin knockbacks were very effective as were the mushroom’s slowing and the frost. But I don’t think the two blizzards and the shrooms all stacked… So there is some optimization we could have done. It looked like we were going to have real mana issues all around had we been able to get farther but it was hard to be sure.

Our DPS was looking better than ever this week except on Magmaw where the two frost specs really lowered the average of normally hard hitting mages.

We are still having issues with the warrior tank being soft. This week on the second trash pull before Magmaw we were able to compare apples to apples of damage and see he was taking almost 20% more damage than the bear. Prior to the last few raids I would not have though having a few slots of ‘DPS’ plate verus ‘tank’ plate would have made that large a difference. But apparently it does. Ouch.

Healing continues to be a challenge as is expected in this expansion. Having our healers hit a bit harder will be great as gear gets better, but so will the whole raid getting better about dodging things. On both counts I blame myself a lot for changing what bosses we went after. Next week we are going to pick just one and really cream it. If the drake combination is even slightly better that one will be Halfus. We have done him the most and know him best. If we had last week’s combination again he would have been down.

I was very happy with how well we went into fights raw and hit the ground running, trying things and learning new mechanics. I need to get better with the ‘directing’ side of things as far as calling out abilities or transitions.  I kinda wish there was an ‘observer’ role where I could raid direct without having to actually, you know, raid. Heh. Or at least not have to remember my rotation and cooldowns and what not.  The Throne of the Four Winds is pretty annoying for leading because you can’t see what is going on at all. It is just “Ow. Ah…. I am down” and health bars twitching all over. I should go find videos on each of the platforms… Well maybe later. I want to go after Halfus first next week.

Analogue notes: I am really happy with my healing team. I have three other ladies who run healers as needed for us – usually some combination of two druids and a shaman or two shaman and a druid. I also have Karius as my backup… she’s got a Holy paladin and is gearing up her Holy priest, but it’s hard to turn down her awesome mage-ness! We are getting to learn these fights and I think picking up really well on what we need to do. I’ve started to do combat logging and if I can just figure out how to use information out of World of Raids, we’ll be set. I think our heals Saturday especially were a little light; one of my two shaman are a bit undergeared, but she’s working on it. That dragon combo was kind of killer and it was with that input that Reversion made the call to switch. We just couldn’t keep tanks up, or the raid dropped.

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I have two main characters.

Analogue became my main during Wrath and probably will remain my main for as long as I play; I’ve just so merged my identity in WoW with “druid healer” that I don’t think I can change it. She gets leveled and geared first, that’s the name I use in Vent and on blogs and, well, it’s my WoW identity. Symbolically, she became my real main when she got name changed to Analogue. Originally she was named Metaphor, but when we moved servers the first time, that name was taken, so I looked for something themically similar and chose Analogue. It works for me.

Then there’s Invariant – who, like Analogue, was originally not named Invariant but Variant. Again, first server move, that name wasn’t available so I changed to Invariant. Either works. She’s a mage. She’s not the first character I rolled, but she is the first that actually appealed to me enough to get past 40. She was my first level 70, my second 80, and my third 85. Poor thing. But despite being leveled behind my priest, I identify with her a lot more than with my priest. Elucidate is just “Analogue’s priest”. Invariant is…. Invariant.

I’ve been able to keep her identity because I use her for very different things. I’m not that into damage dealing these days; I’m too perfectionist to like doing a lousy job, and too haphazard to get 100% performance out of my mage. Oddly I don’t have the issue with my druid… but it’s the role, not the character. I give 110% when I heal; when I’m doing damage I just don’t.

But somewhere along the way Invariant became my achievement runner, my pet collector, my archeologist. It seemed logical enough; mages have some advantages like portals to everywhere. Makes them a lot faster at world achievements. She got 50 pets; then she got serious and scored 75. Now I collect them just to have them.  She has the first mount achievement, and works slowly on getting more. Her archeology is 525 and I’m looking forward to plenty more time with that.

Do you have a dichotomy like this? One character for “fun” and one for “serious business”? Or a PVP main and PVE main, or a different identity for Horde and Alliance?

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