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Archive for the ‘Raid’ Category

2 Heals or 3?

The old ten man raiding favorite strikes again! Maybe 25 mans have their own version but every ten man raid I’ve done, there comes a point where you start talking about two healing it. Maybe the gear has gotten so good you’re wasting heals. Maybe the dps can’t quite manage an enrage timer and it would help. Maybe someone is missing.

For the last two weeks of raid we’ve had a night where one of our healers is out and the easiest replacement is for another dps. Now, I’m taking steps to give us more options by asking one of the spriests to gear up her holy offspec – fortunately MissP already did holy pvp, and the night I asked if she’d be willing she got I think 4 tokens for her offspec or something nutso. So in the future we should have more options.

Anyway. Back to us. Two weeks ago it was Kerick out, so me and the disc priest had fun. Last week the disc priest had family issues so it was Kerick and me tag teaming. And it was fun, and easy. We’ve been two healing Ultradragon since our first kill of him, but it turns out we really don’t need three healers on any of the fights. Our folks are darn good at avoiding damage, we’ve got nice tank cooldowns and good communication on our heals team.

There’s one really big exception to all this. Spine of Deathwing is just not something we can two heal. We tried it one week. Eep. Last week we got MissP to switch and the first try was still  awful, we had to go back and communicate a little better (Kerick ended up focusing on the tanks, I took the Searing Plasma people, and we had MissP aoe heal everything. Worked like a charm, even when we had to go through an extra cycle because the last plate didn’t fly off.

And we haven’t gotten Deathwing down but we’ve been two healing him for weeks trying to get a little more dps where we need it. I fully expect our first kill any time now and that we’ll be two healing it.

Does anyone have a strategy that lets you two heal Spine? I’m not going to bench any of our healers… in fact I’m going to ask that we all dps at least one fight per night, even if we’re doing 3k, so that we get some practice on our offspecs. I want us to two heal everything we can so we don’t get lazy. We’re going to hit heroics as soon as we kill this damn dragon and I want our healing muscles in good shape!

It’s just frustrating that we have such an easy time two healing the first 6 bosses and then hit this wall of “ugh” on Spine.

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I have not done a guide post in ages so hold on to your socks. Here goes.

Tanking Siege of Wyrmrest Temple for Dummies

It is easy! It is simple! Most of the tanks suck!

Wait what? Yeah. We have to kick them for extreme suckatude all the time. How is that possible? Easy! Most people don’t tank raids. By now all the hard core raiders are done with LRF and most of their alts are already geared up too. So you are left with people that don’t tank much. Have you been kicked from one? Do you die randomly or get whispers from irate healers? THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU!

 

Alright, that is enough capslock and exclamation points. Let’s get down to business.

Intro

Don’t que as a tank just to get a fast que. In raid finder this is both dumb and pointless. Do to the way statistics work tanks don’t have faster ques. If you want an instant que then click heals… And don’t tell anyone I told you that. I mean really. If you get kicked for extremely bad heals don’t you dare tell anyone I recommended you click heals. You know what? Don’t click heals. Just don’t.

Still reading? Then you must want to tank. You probably want to get that role bonus on real tank gear. Good. Lets do this.

 

Boss 1: More-standinbad-chok

Preboss trash:

Pull them, try to keep them all on you. Or let the other tank have one or two. Whatever. Nothing special about tanking these except doing threat to them. If you can’t do that then go play HelloKitty.

Boss:

He is big and he is easy. Pull him, stand there, hit him. If your health gets low or DBM whines at you then pop a cooldown. You do know what a cooldown is right? Oh for crying out loud… Any move that makes you die less is a ‘tanking cooldown’. Click = live = win. If you are not sure which of your moves make you dodge more, heal yourself, or take less damage then try a strategy I like to call: “read the damn tooltip”.

Where was I? Oh right, the boss. When he summons rocks and stuns you for a few seconds go and run behind one. Keep him targeted. When his cast is about done, go out and tank him some more. That is all. If you mess this one up please please please just que as DPS and stand around sucking your thumb like most of them do. We will all be happier that way. You can’t possibly do worse DPS than that hunter pulling 8 k last night.

 

Boss 2: Tentacleguy

What? That is not his name? Do you think I can be bothered to look them up and spell them right? His The trash around him is tentacles. You can’t miss him. He is on the left side when you go into Wyrmrest.

Preboss trash: Tentacles. Get on the biggest one and tank it. If it knocks you back move back to it again. Repeat for all packs.

Boss:

Pull boss. Stand in the center. Tank him. It is a one tank fight. Pop cooldowns if you get low on health. When the floor turns black move to stand in whatever AOE heals are near you. This boss (on LFR) might be the easiest boss to tank ever.

 

Boss 3: Slime dude

Yeah he has slimes. On the right when you go into wyrmrest.

Preboss trash:

Kill the slime packs. DON’T pull two packs. Mark a target. A purple one or blue one or whatever. Someone will tell you that you picked wrong no matter which you chose. Just pull one and watch their health bars. Whichever people are hitting more, do more threat to that one. Repeat for all packs.

Boss:

Did I say the last boss was the easiest ever? I lied. This one is. Stand in the center and tank him. That is all. Every now and then the DPS will run off and kill something. Ignore them. Some loudmouth is sure to point them at the right slime so don’t worry about any of that. Oh, if lots of adds spawn, do some AOE and help kill them faster. If a mana void spawns use some cooldowns until it dies. Space them out though. Those morons are not likely to kill it very fast. Until it dies your healers have no mana so use those cooldowns and stay alive.

 

Boss 4: Ice Wall dude… er chick?

Yeah ‘she’ is up top through the portal.

Pre boss trash:

Let people CC if they want. Don’t stress about it. Stuff comes from all around so keep your eyes open and your taunts handy. When the last big dude comes out pull him to the edge of the platform. That way when the boss spawns it kills the dumbest DPSer who forgot to move. This is LOADS of laughs so don’t taunt and spoil the fun.

Boss:

Pick the boss up as soon as that person dies. Now back up FAST. Are you dead? Yeah you should have finished reading this before pulling. This boss does something called ‘ferocious assault’. Or maybe ‘Frenzied Attack’? or was it ‘mana rage’? Whatever it is you will notice when it 2 shots you. Then someone will berez you and you can try again. Watch for the other tank to get killed by it too. He did not read this post. Now check your DBM timers. Every time the Frenzied Assault is about to go off… BACK UP! When it starts going off, keep backing up and pop a cooldown if you have one. If you do this you will live every time. If you don’t you are putting your life in the hands of the healers who are all checking facebook after that boring trash. Don’t do it! Back up 3 steps and amaze everyone with your incredible tanking skills. Other than that… follow everyone else. If they run out to the edge and you see a big add, tank it. If you see some crystal, kill that. As you are killing it watch for ice spike walls. Do NOT move until you see them. Once they spawn move clockwise and DON’T touch the wall. Also don’t look now but another wall is behind you. Yeah if you slow down you die. Don’t worry about the walls killing half the raid. That always happens. Enough will survive to win the fight… maybe.

 

Next time… Deathwing!

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Raiding Wins

What a weekend!

Friday night we went into Firelands with the usual crew, minus Slice but plus Bocat. (link goes to her recount of the weekend). We had some long afks but got our 6/7 down in a little under three hours. We two healed the first four fights  – Shannox, Beth, Ryo, and Alys – switched back to three for Baleroc and I don’t remember whether we two or three healed Staghelm; I know that we certainly could have. Had a great night for drops, too. Everyone except, I believe, Grom got a drop! We even had not one but TWO of the spellpower trash daggers drop so both our lovely priests are now wielding a Sterilized Scalpel.

Oh, and Alysrazor dropped her mount and that jerk Kisara totally won the roll. I swear he cheats ;-p

Anyway. A bit more than an hour to go on Rags, a full group of people who know the fight – I was optimistic. Kerick and I were planning to two heal it, assigning our priest to go shadow and do trap popping duty. I do like having a priest do the traps; if they realize they are going to land somewhere bad they can bubble themselves and often avoid death where a mage would go splat.

We pulled about four times, making solid progress every time. Our fourth attempt we got into Phase 3, but not cleanly; still, they got him to 15% after I died.Ado and Falahla had a strategy for handling meteors that seemed to work well – except one time where we got unlucky and it changed targets and picked a melee just as it was being kited past. That killed a bunch of us and wiped that attempt.

We picked ourselves up, came in again. Hit phase 3 hard, with everyone alive and full on health. We had some good luck on our attempts; at the phase 2 transition I seemed to be the one to get the – whatever the flame debuff is you have to run around the edge. I seemed to get that a lot and I was a great choice since I don’t have to help stun the adds in that phase.

Anyway, clean transition to Phase 3. We handled the meteors, kept pressure on the boss, people stayed alive – we hit 11% and everyone was alive – we hit 10% and he went down. Yay! Crits and Giggles is 7/7, at last!

And I got the head token so I’m rocking a 4set now :)

It was great. Next weekend Reversion and I are not raiding so I’m really glad we got him down now. Good luck to the crew tomorrow!

I’ll have a screenshot and some blather about our Saturday night fun later. Spoiler: We did a bunch of Lich King content and many of us are rocking new rides.

 

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Most specs have a set of glpyhs that is optimal. Sometimes you chose between one or more glyphs that are ok. For Resto druids, the proper Prime glyphs are Swiftmend, Rejuvenation, and Lifebloom. Glyph of Regrowth is a “gimmick” glyph. Ok every resto druid worth her salt swapped it in for Chimaeron, but mostly I’ve not seen anyone speak well of it.

What it does, is simple. If you have Regrowth active on someone, and that person’s health is below 50%, it refreshes. It keeps refreshing until they go over 50%. It actually sounds pretty good, then you start thinking…. how often are people below 50%? The other healers get them up past that, incidental heals work, how much good does this actually do? According to WowPopular.com, most resto druids don’t use this glpyh.

Actually, in progression fights? Sometimes people take damage and it just sits because the healers are trying to save the tank, or remember what else they’re doing. Sometimes I know a person is really low but I don’t have time to get him all the way up right now. Regrowth ticks are pretty small, but combine it with a Wild Growth and if the victim isn’t standing in bad any more, it can be enough to keep them going.

Regrowth isn’t a great spell to use. I’ll admit that. The heal is small and the mana cost is high. But it is fast, and if I get a Clearcasting proc better believe I’m using it. In a fight with high damage phases followed by low phases, I know that I can blow 30% of my mana on Regrowth spam and still get it back later. And that ups my throughput on the raid. If I were tank healing, the strategy would be really stupid, but usually I’m raid healing.

Just last week we were working hard on Ryolith and taking a lot of raid damage from volcanos. It was hectic as we learned the fight, and over and over I saved someone thanks to my auto-refreshing Regrowth. Cast it on them when they’re at 10% health, cast on someone else, keep going, save them all.

The glyph I gave up, Glpyh of Lifebloom, increases the crit change of Lifebloom. Which I have up all the time. So a crit chance increase is an obvious, definite HPS bump. But, if it’s not Tree Time, Lifebloom mostly stays on a tank. It’s a nice little bit of healing to help out Kerick and power my Clearcasting. But it’s not winning us the fights.

Glyph of Regrowth is unpredictable. If we do our jobs perfectly, then on most fights it doesn’t help much at all. But on progression fights where we haven’t learned not to take damage, and I am just trying to keep the raid alive another thirty seconds so we can get this phase down and have a better shot next time, it can really do wonders.  It’s very much a personal play choice thing.  I still might be fail for using it, but I’ve weighed my options and deliberately chosen this fail.

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First off, it’s so nice to finally have a pool of raiders with enough redundancy that I don’t run around in panic when Log has duty weekend. It’s going to be hard making sure that 12 people get enough raid time, but if the alternates aren’t getting enough play time we’ll make some changes. I finally have backup for every role! Now, if we’re missing a healer AND an rdps AND a tank, then we might have issues, but…

So Friday we went to Firelands. We killed our trash like pros. We had three wipes on Shannox and then killed him. Then we had a choice. We could go do Baleroc again, or we could do Beth’tilac and then attempt Ryolith, skipping Baleroc. We’d taken 25 tries the week before to get him down, we had a healer who hadn’t been there…. I was really leaning toward skipping him and going after another new fight.

Reversion pointed out that we need to keep downing fights we know so they can be on farm status for us. If we put off killing Baleroc again for a month we’d have lost all the knowledge we had of how to do the fight. I definitely saw his point… but I so wanted to get another boss down. The picture up top is what I imagine our raid was thinking. Usually we do a better job of blending our raid leading roles.

Anyway so we went to Baleroc. And two shot it. Reversion was definitely right :)

Then we went to Beth’tilac. We’d done four pulls on her about three weeks ago, that was it. We changed things up a bit from our last attempts – Reversion stayed down to tank the drone, Kerick went up to heal the tank, and I stayed down to work my druid awesomeness on the raid. We had a good attempt, but the raid damage was high, so Ado instructed people to be sure to taunt down the adds. Did another attempt, adds were better but still a lot of damage, so we swapped who was going up for dps and kept the mage we’d been sending, downstairs.

Next attempt was really good, so we kept the strategy and pulled again. This time the adds died awesomely and we made it into phase 2 for the first time ever – and next thing I know she’s dead. I just barely got my head out of the “aaahhhh new phase what do I DO?” mode when boom, dead. Nice job raid!

Then we went to Ryolith and spend the next hour, four hours the next night, and two hours Sunday wiping on him. Stupid volcanos. But you will go down, you monstrous…. thing…. you!

And then we get to play with a big bird. I watched a vid. I’m psyched.

I am loving how our raid is gelling. When Rev and I decided to start a raid, it was because we wanted to see new content before it was old content. About all we really hoped for was a solid group that could down things. Instead, I’ve got an awesome group of friends who can surprise me even now with awesomeness. I know some of the raiders better than others, but I consider all of you my friends. Heck I actually have a “real” friend right here in town now because of this raid, and that’s just too awesome to contemplate.

Oh wait. I take that back. Log’s not my friend, he’s my brother. And Reversion probably doesn’t want me to put him in the “friends” zone either :)

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The other main guild raid, usually called ‘Raid 1’, packed it in last night. They had been having some bad luck and frustration and the raid leader had enough. I will not say more on that either to speculate or analyze because it is but not my place and also I don’t have any details anyway. I only mention it at all because we have a lot of guildies that drop by here so it is a relevant news item.

Personally it does make me think of a few things. First off it probably means the guild will lose a few raiders. That is a shame. But if someone wants to raid they have to go where the raiding is. We have a lot of good raiders in this guild and only a few of them are actively in our Fri/Sat run. That brings my thoughts around to a second point. That point is that this guild can still support another raid or two. There was/is also another Friday Saturday run but it has a lot of the same raiders as the Sun/Mon group so I don’t know what the status of it is. No I am not speculating, I just don’t know. But even aside from that group this guild can probably support another raid. We will have to see if anyone steps up to try and run one.

This brings me to another random thought. Maybe we will start a regular alt night raid. Maybe on Sunday or Monday. We actually did run one of those last night… Well we started to and then we realized we had all but one of our people, including the two missing from our Saturday night attempts…. So we went back to Firelands. Heh. However before we went we dropped by TotFW and knocked that out which got Bocat her title :D

My final random thought on raids packing it in is how much can I help out or support other raids in the guild. I was actually in the other run for a while. I kept a whole geared tank alt set aside for several months to either run regularly with them or as a standby. I am sure that was helpful to them. At some point though I decided 4 nights a week was too much and stopped. There is only so much raiding you can do at any one time. So I am left wondering if I/we could have done more to help? Maybe. Without burning out? I don’t know. Probably not… but I do wonder. Also if another raid formed I might try to help… If they needed it… maybe. It would depend on the schedule and how I was feeling. Honestly 8 hours a week is plenty of raiding….. but sometimes I want to just pull out a DPS alt and pew pew. I have no real conclusions there. Just a few of  the thoughts and feelings that float by at a time like this. Alright that is enough random thoughts for a ‘news’ post.

For any Raid 1 folks that leave the guild I want to say good luck in whatever you do and where ever you go. And for any in guild raiders thinking about starting a different run I say go for it… but it is a lot of work and stress so be warned. I can’t promise any help but there are a lot of good raiders in the guild so there is probably room for another raid. I hope so. I don’t think I want us to be the only game in town.

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Progression, huzzah!

To recap: I’ve been having difficulty in filling the roster lately. Mostly due to people having other commitments during the summer. Between one thing and another last week was the first time we were able to put a solid two hours on Shannox, and he went down.

This week Log had already told me he’d be out so I needed another tank. Thursday I got online, looked around, and hooked up with a tank who has run with us a few times, another bear tank named Squishi. He’s friends with multiple people in our raid, and solid, so I was happy.

Friday morning Log called me to say…. his drill weekend turned out to be NEXT weekend and he could raid tonight if I wanted.

Well, having already asked someone else for that slot I told him he was on standby.

Raid time comes. We group up, we kill trash, Shannox spawns, and Jhudora, my third healer, dc’s. I get a message that she lost power and doesn’t know when it’ll be back. After a while, we decide to go on without her. We finally settle on Logarithm coming in to tank and Reversion going heals.

We work out assignments and start learning the fight. It takes about four tries to really feel like we’re back in the groove, then a couple below 30% wipes, then boom, he’s dead. Not quite farm status, not when a new tank has to learn the fight, but we’re very confident of him.

With an hour of raid time left we go knock out Bastion real fast.

Saturday night we come back to Firelands. After a little discussion we decide to head to Baleroc. I’ve got Kerick and Sharelore the druid as my heals team – two druids and a paladin. Kerick’s done the fight as a paladin already so I’m hoping that will help the learning curve.

To make a long story short I really like this fight. It seemed to have something for everyone to learn and we had to communicate well. Early on we were getting a lot of early Decimation Blades that killed Rev because he didn’t have enough health and the healer on  him  at that point (me) had no stacks at all. Rev swapped out his trinkets for one with a bit more stamina to help his health pool get high faster and started popping Tol’vir potions; he could usually dodge about 50% of Decimation Blade swings which was a huge help. We adjusted our healing strategy slightly to get someone with stacks on Rev a bit sooner, we had two people calling out different things, one managing the list of dps to get hit by the crystal, one telling the healers to switch. Near the end I got some help to figure out when to hit the crystal target with a single heal to get me some stacks, then back on Reversion until it was officially my time to swap off. I need to do more research on this fight myself.

We got a 8% wipe and then it was close to quitting time. We feasted up for our last pull of the night – and then got a Decimation Blade right off the bat and wiped. Came back, had time for another try – same thing happened. But someone survived the wipe, mass rezzed, and even though Rev and I pointed out that it was now well past quitting time, someone pointed out that the feast was still there and everyone agreed. One more try.

This time we survived the initial phase of the fight where the healer on Reversion had no stacks. We swapped off tank and raid healing duty cleanly. The dps all did their part perfectly. And then, almost surprising me when he finally went down, Baleroc was dead.

2/7, with our second kill following tight on the heels of our first! I was so proud of our raid. It took us 25 attempts to down him. No one complained about repair costs, that this was taking all night, that wiping isn’t fun. Everyone learned their jobs and performed well.

To me, this is progression raiding. I don’t think of progression in terms of keeping up with the Joneses or Paragons, but of pushing your own raid group to achieve more and more every time. And we are! That makes all my headaches as I try to work out who is raiding every week, worthwhile.

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