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Archive for May, 2011

Alas had a great post this week about setting up an addon for Suicide Kings loot. It got me thinking about our raid, and our loot system – or lack of one. See, I run as master looter but we don’t do dkp or any of that. We don’t even do Loot Council (I think Loot Council for 10 mans is silly anyway)

Officially our loot rules are “Need before greed, upgrades before side grades, main before offspec, don’t hog the loot”. That leaves a lot of wiggle room but so far it’s worked really well. I can’t tell you how many times two people have rolled on loot, only to have the winner say, “Hey, wait, your bracers are way worse than mine, give it to her instead.”

Or when the other husband and wife team were playing clothies and I’d get a drop, I’d just give it to Falahla anyway and let her take care of it.  I wonder if that’s why Ado levelled another hunter for us?

Have we had some drama? Sure, but the drama has come from two sources:

1. BOEs – when no one in the raid needs them, what to do? Someone always has an alt who wants them. Someone else has an auction spec that could use the cash. Lately I’ve taken to just having everyone roll and whoever wins can do as they like.

2. Alts. We have a fairly stable group of raiders but there are always roster changes. Log can’t make it? Ok bring Kalyon instead of Kerick and bring a different healer in. Now we’ve got a different plate wearer taking those drops, and maybe another int mail person who wants loot that would otherwise go to a raider’s offspec.

Here too the rule is simple: if you came in for us, you get to roll on loot. Again, this can cause drama, but all of our raiders are decent people, grown adults who understand that when it comes down to it we’re here to have fun.

But since I am loot master, I can if necessary be the petty dictator. Let’s say there’s that last point on my list – don’t hog the loot. People are going to have different thresholds of what that means. I keep a running track every night of who has gotten what. If, say, a healer has gotten two drops and a trinket  drops I’ll remind them of that and ask the other healers to roll first. This only applies to main spec! I’ll never punish someone for getting lucky with offspec rolls.

I could see needing a more formal system if we had less reasonable folks around, or there was any tendency to loot drama. In a ten man, though, the raid leader is able to know what her raiders need for drops and head off the drama before it comes. And my problem with most systems is it rewards the “regular” raiders at the expense of people you bring in to help one week. Those are people who are going out of their way to help you, and getting nothing but Valor points for it.

Honestly?  If people demanded a formal loot system, I’d suggest GDKP. Then at least if you don’t get loot you get gold.

I’d love to hear from other ten man raiders – do you use DKP varients, open rolls, loot council, or does it all vanish into the raid leader’s wife’s bags never to be seen again? <whistling>

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Suave

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Someone asked for a story about our horde alts…

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Interest was  a bit nervous about queuing up for her first dungeon.  “What if the healer doesn’t like me? What if the dps don’t respect my threat?” she worried. “Everyone says death knights just faceroll. I don’t want to faceroll. I want to do a good job.”

She decided to seek out a friend of hers, as much as she had friends. She wasn’t one of Interest’s clients, but she’d heard of her a few times. Another death knight, but a Worgen. She didn’t have very clear memories of her time under Arthas’ command, but she really hadn’t remembered any worgen. But in the last few months she’d seen dozens just sort of pop up. It was kind of strange, actually.

“Hi Adverse,” she said when she found the other death knight, who was just lounging around Stormwind. Interest really didn’t like this town much. Everyone here was too tall and she still had memories of coming here to talk to the King after the battle at Light’s Hope. Even now she expected guards to throw rotten fruit.

Adverse was lounging in a tavern in the Dwarven District. “Hey Interest. What’s going on?”

“I’m embarking on a stretch of leveling,” Interest explained. “Going to queue for dungeons. I thought perhaps you’d like to come along? I’m tanking.”

Adverse set down her glass. She was in human form. It made her look less scary. “I might be interested,” she agreed. “Though at our level the dungeon finder is full of death knights.”

“Yes, but still, I know what I’m doing. I think.”

Adverse looked down at her and nodded. “Sure. It’s worth a try.”

Interest had to wait while Adverse got ready. She hadn’t been doing much adventuring either. The problem of underemployed Death Knights had been an article in the Azeroth Business Times just last month.  At the time Interest had just been glad she was a banker, instead of a layabout in a gutter like a lot of her fellow ex-minions of the Lich King seemed to be. Oh, there were the shining stars of the Death Knight lifestyle who had made it to level cap – twice – and tanked for elite raids. But for every one of those there were three more who were still wearing their starter gear, sitting around in Stormwind’s Trade District.

“Ok, I’m ready,” Adverse said, startling Interest out of her reverie. Interest closed her eyes, screwed up her courage, and queued as a tank.

Nothing happened. She opened her eyes slowly. Still in Stormwind. “What happened?” she asked. “I thought tank queues were fast?”

“Not at this level.” Adverse rolled her eyes. “Every dk fresh out of the Plaguelands thinks he can tank, and queues that way. It’s healers who get fast queues at 58.”

“Oh.” She felt a bit foolish. “I see.”

“Don’t worry, the queue doesn’t seem so bad. Have a drink. Calm down.” Adverse sat back at the bar, leaning her giant sword up next to her.

Interest couldn’t relax though. She paced up and down – and then suddenly the room dissolved and was replaced. She was standing on a rampart, a doorway behind her, a bridge in front of her, and an Orc moving toward her across the bridge.

“Don’t worry, he won’t pull yet,” Adverse said. Interest looked around. Who were her companions?

Well, there was Adverse. And a Night Elf… Death Knight. And another worgen… Death Knight. And one very, very lonely looking gnome priest.

“Oh dear,” Interest said. “This will be interesting.”

“Hurry up or they’ll pull for you,” Adverse warned.

“Gogogo,” said the Night Elf, bouncing on her toes.

“Ok, I’m going.” Interest pulled her sword off her back, took a deep breath, and charged.

The next few minutes were  a rush of blood and disease and death. She knew she wasn’t working her rotation in the most optimal fashion. She kept letting orcs get behind her to strike at her back. And her health bounced alarmingly. But she fought the other three DKs for aggro, kept mobs off the healer, and they left a pile of corpses in their wake.

They got upstairs and found a huge demon lurking. She’d never faced anything like this before! She charged in. The demon lord taunted her as she attacked, but she didn’t hesitate until he fell.

Whoosh! Something almost hit her in the face. She stepped back, puzzled.

“That’s just an achievement,” Adverse said. “Come on, you must have got them before.”

“Maybe,” she said. “It’s been a while. And why does it come up n ow? We still have a boss to kill, we haven’t finished this place.”

“Dunno. Guess they made a mistake.” Adverse shrugged. “Let’s go get that dragon guy.”

They chased over to the other platform. Interest killed the last two guards and that seemed to alert the guy flying around on the dragon. You had to give him credit for alertness, Interest mused. All the people she’d slaughtered, but he was finally taking notice.

“You have faced many challenges!” he roared, circling on his dragon. “Pity they were all in vain!”

She ignored his words and waited until he was off his dragon, then charged him as he raced toward her party. He roared in anger, and she roared back, chopping at his knees. He seemed to be at a distinct disadvantage in striking back; her small size made her a hard target to hit. Meanwhile the other DKs gathered around and hammered on him. With a groan, he dropped to the ground.

And now his dragon landed. She turned to face the new threat, and the dragon breathed fire at her. It hurt. A lot. Being small was no protection against dragonflames! She felt like she was roasting inside her beautiful heirloom plate.

Behind her she could hear the healer frantically chanting. At her side, Adverse  swung her own blade ferociously. Interest managed to turn the dragon away from their healer and desperately popped a cooldown.

Then, suddenly the dragon collapsed. She stepped back, dropped her sword, and took a deep breath of clean air.

“Nice job,” Adverse said. “Oh, darn, he didn’t drop anything good. Well maybe the Satchel of Annoying Goods will be ….” she grimaced. “Intellect plate. Again. Do I look like a paladin?”

Interest gazed up at her tall friend, clad in the same golden heirlooms that she herself wore. Maybe just a bit,” she said cautiously “Only from the waist up though. You look like a Death Knight to me.”

Adverse grumbled something she didn’t quite catch. “I’m off for a pint,” the Worgen announced, and disappeared.

Interest looked again at the body of her fallen foes, and grinned. This is more fun than I thought.

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Tree of Life. Before Cataclysm, it was the Resto druid’s hallmark. Now it’s a super cooldown, the equivalent of the Hulk smashing out of his wimpy body to smash something. Even more so if you’re not running with the Glyph of No Thanks Pedotree. Lasts 25/31 seconds depending on talents.

Tranquility. With patch 4.1, Tranquility got a big boost for Resto druids. Instead of being a button you forget about, or hit accidentally and then curse, it should be a part of our toolbox that comes out every fight. Like Tree of Life, we want to time it to get the most use out of it. Lasts 8 seconds.

Right now these are our big cooldowns as Resto druids. There’s a lot of discussion over whether these are enough, since they aren’t particularly tank healing oriented or obvious life savers.  Personally I really like them. I enjoy feeling like a Resto druid isn’t just interchangeable with a Holy Priest or Resto Shaman.

To get the most out of our cooldowns, we need to time them right. With the reduced cooldown on Tranquility we can use either of them twice in a raid fight, at least once in any instance boss fight. The cooldowns are short enough we can use them on trash without worry that they’ll be down when we need them. So when is best to use them?

First, any time you want to hit Tranquility, toss out Wild Growth first. The HOT will trigger our mastery and get more healing out of the spell.

Hit Tranquility when three or more party or raid members are hurt, or time it to go off with a big boss ability that’s going to do lots of AOE damage.

For Tree of Life, throw it in one of two situations: First, to straight up boost your heals. Second, if you’re running low on mana, pop TOL and throw Lifebloom around. When you get Clearcasting procs, toss out an instant cast Regrowth. Don’t waste your time with cast-time spells in this mode, or Rejuv, but do throw out WG as it’s stronger than it used to be.

I’m not a theorycrafter, I don’t do heroic raid fights and we’ve yet to down end bosses so take my advice for what it is, but here’s when I find myself getting best use out of both cooldowns:

Magmaw –  Use Tranquility after a Molten Tantrum to get people up. Works beautifully if you’re using the all-stack-in-melee strat, still works if you’re kiting but you have to time it. Use TOL if you’re kiting worms or something else that requires movement. Remember if you’re in TOL and the head’s down and you don’t need to heal/regen mana, throw Wrath. It’s mana free in TOL and you might as well help out.

Omnotron – Use Tranquility when Magmatron does Flame Jets. Use TOL during Poison Protocol, especially if you’re being chased.

Maloriak – use Tranquility either during the red phase when the flame goes off, or during the green phase. We usually have more damage in red. Use TOL whenever you like but make sure it’s back up for P2. That phase can be movement intense and tanks can take spiky damage.

Atramedes – Time Tranquility for the ground phase at a point where you won’t have to avoid discs. Our raid stacks the ranged up in one spot so it’s great. TOL might be a good choice for air phase but honestly we don’t usually have much damage on that phase. Save it for spiky damage or if you get low on mana.

Chimaeron – coordinate with the other healers. You’re going to want to do both during Feud. I’d advise using Tranq the first time, TOL in combination with another healer’s cd the second time, and Tranq might be off cooldown the third Feud. Not really sure. If TOL’s back up in phase 2, pop it and use Wrath. You should be out of mana by then and you’re not healing anyway so go nuts with your tiny dps.

Throne of Four Winds – use TOL when you’re healing on the green/adds platform. Use Tranquility on the blue/ice platform during the aoe damage phase. If you’re on the wind platform, take a nap.

Halfus – pop TOL ten seconds after the pull. Keep people alive. When it fades, use Tranq after the Lifeblooms expire. That should get you past the damage intense part. You’ll have both back later so use them wisely.

V&T – use Tree on the second dragon. Tranquility can work for healing after a Blackout if another healer is dispelling and your timing is good.

Twilight Council – TOL in phase 1 at some point when you’re moving and there’s damage. Tranq in phase 2 after the raid gets hit by a big ability. Try to have both off cooldown for Phase 3. Blow Tranq first to get people nice and high, then use Tree to keep the fight going as long as possible.

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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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