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Archive for the ‘Raid’ 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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Raid Goals and Milestones

I love being co-raid-leader with Reversion of our raid. I think the job is too big for one person to manage, honestly. I handle logistics and back end stuff; he gives fight strategies and leads Vent. Behind the scenes we spend a lot of time discussing the raid, our raiders, goals and priorities.

This weekend we extended our BOT lockout to work on Cho’Gall. Until he’s down, he is our progression boss. Friday night we brought in a brand new to the guild tank, a healer we haven’t run with in ages, and after two hours we had back to back attempts where we got below 25% and into phase two. After that we went and killed Magmaw/Omnom/Maloriak, to get a head start on Saturday.

Saturday we headed back with my preferred healing team (me, Kerick the paladin, Jhudora the shaman) and tried Cho’gall again. We’re getting really good at getting to phase 2. It’s going to take time to get through that and down Cho’Gall but I know we can do it. After we put in about 9 wipes on him we did our Four Winds kill  – I still enjoy that place even now that we have it completely on farm – and then to BWD to finish off there.

We one shot Atramedes. I believe that’s our third kill of him as a raid but it really feels like we’ve got that one on farm. We can handle a little sloppiness, we aren’t having issues with sound, people know what to do.

Then we went to my archnemesis Chimaeron. We discussed cooldown use and healing assignments and started. First attempt I did terribly. I managed to forget what group I was healing and I’d stacked the cooldowns wrong too. We died at the third Feud. We came back, I fixed my attitude and readjusted what cooldowns we use, and we killed that – creature.

I was actually surprised but this is the first time we’ve had my favorite heals team in there in a long time. Add in the new shaman cooldown, plus we had a paladin tank so we had a cooldown there too, and the fight just wasn’t bad. For the record, first Feud we used my Tranquility. Second Feud we used the Spirit Link totem. Third Feud we used Rev’s Tranq, my tree, and the pally cooldown.

So we’re making good progress but we have a lot of work to do to stay progression minded. For the next…. well, more than likely it’ll end up being all summer, we have people out. I’m working on that. The guild just invited a very cheerful new tank who I’m hoping to lock down as an alt for us since we can offer him a guaranteed slot for basically the next two months.

4.2 is on the horizon somewhere and Rev and I are talking about our goals. Our raid is not a heroic mode raid. We’d like to go back and do some heroics once we down end bosses but that’s just not quite where we are right now, or we’d be more than 9/12 regular right now. So when Firelands comes out we’re going to concentrate on getting new content down. We will finish all of the 4.0 bosses though.

See, as a raid I want us to put together the caster staff. I’ve talked to a few raid members who’ve agreed that Falahla, our Arcane mage, is the  choice for that staff. It represents to me a great goal for us as a raid. We have to clear the 4.0 content. Then we have to get 4.2 bosses on farm to get the shards. And at some point we will have to kill Ragnaros.  I have no idea yet what sort of timeline we can expect to try to live up to but if we do it before the NEXT content patch I’ll be happy.

I know a lot of raids are hurting right now. The summer slump hits us all hard. But with both short and long term goals in mind, it motivates me to get the work down to keep our raid running. We have 6-8 people who will attend unless they are physically unable to. That means even if we have to pug a blind walrus and a melee hunter, we will run our raids every week. It’s a very reassuring thing to know, as a raid leader, that unless you get really really unlucky you won’t have to replace more than two people any given night.

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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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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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Last night Reversion joined another guild’s raid on his hunter to help them out. He’s done that a few times now with this group and they’re all nice people. Less progressed than the Crits and Giggles raids are, but working hard. Last night they were having trouble getting people, or getting the right balance, and I listened in on vent.

 

They decided to have one of their two shaman healers (they were running two shammies and a disc priest) switch to her druid, which she did good naturedly although expressing that she likes her shammie a lot more. After they downed Magmaw with that setup she stuck with the druid and they went to  work on Omnitron.

I guess they had a little trouble with him; they spent a while analyzing what was going wrong and the druid said something about how “she was sure she’d done way too much overhealing”. I got Reversion to check his meters. She was at 27% overheals.

Druids of the world, that is not too much overhealing!  I went back to a kill we did on Omnitron last month (I haven’t been raiding much so I don’t have anything more recent than that) and looked at our numbers.

 

31.8% overhealing and as a raid, we do darn good at stay out of bad stuff, our tanks aren’t squishy, they use their cooldowns. In a group struggling to get this boss on farm I’d expect to see more overhealing, honestly.

Broken down further, the actual numbers for our healers looked like

 

 

(I cheated. This fight is always really good for my numbers. It’s the same fight this other raid was talking about, after all!)

Might be hard to read, but I’ve got 28% overheals, the paladin has 27%, and the Holy priest as 24%. As a rule of thumb I’ve noticed druids and paladins top the overhealing meters this expansion. If you’re one of those two classes, don’t panic. When I was starting I was getting closer to 37% overhealing. As the raid gets better and you learn the fights, the overhealing drops.

(Note for numbers people: the reason our cumulative overhealing is a lot higher than our individual percentages is that we have a bear tank. Reversion’s mastery procs healing, and it usually inflates overhealing numbers a lot)

So why was the druid healer I eavesdropped on worried? Because she wasn’t really a druid healer; she was a shaman healer in a druid body. Shaman right now look at meters and see overhealing as bad. I won’t go into all the details there because I’m not a shaman expert at all. It’s important to remember when switching classes but not roles that more than just spell names change.

I’m guilty of that. When I paladin heal, I notice I’m better at triage healing than a lot of pure paladin healers; I can get a party up from low without losing people, and I’ve heard other paladins complain about that. But I’m terrible at using cooldowns. Druids have…. er….. Tranquility. And Natures’ Swiftness which I think I ditched the last time I redid my spec, it’s really useless. Paladins have Hands of Various Things, Divine Favor, Divine Other Thing, Shiny Big Angel Thing, Avenging Wrath….If I want to be half as good on my paladin as I am on my druid, I need to get better at using those. They’ve got a great toolset and I’m not working it right.

But anyway; if you switch to a druid and see overhealing, don’t panic.  This is Working As Intended.

 

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We have some folks tanking our raid this week that don’t normally tank. So I decided to post the short short version of how to tank 9 of 12 cata raid bosses. This is VERY simplified and aimed at poeple that already know the fights as a DPS or healer and just need to know the tanky bits. Enjoy!

Magmaw

  • Get in range fast. Don’t ranged pull and then run in slow.
  • Try to not use big cooldowns when you get omnomnomed (mangle) but if you have to, use them.
  • When he comes up off the spike be sure you are in your tanking position and that you do some serious threat as fast as you can.
  • Use something to stay alive for the first 30 seconds after he comes up off the spike. That is the worst time for heals.

That is all. He is easy.

Omnomnomistron Defense

  • Pick up bosses fast on that first cycle. This is CRITICAL. Keep your camera on the next boss near wakeup time and have your taunt ready.
  • Don’t stand near bosses that are about to wake up unless you plan to pick them up fast
  • Know which boss is your turn and which is your partner’s
  • Tank your boss a 1/3 or ½ way across the room from your partner. If you are too close adds or fire beams can kill you or the other tank.
  • Be ready to click off your auto attack and stop hitting the bosses for 10 seconds when their shield is up. The shield last 10 seconds. When it goes down,  start up your rotation again.

-Fire guy

  • Keep him slightly to one side of the room. Think about where people are going to run from the laser thingy.

-Poison guy

  • Move out of the poison cloud FAST. Leave the boss in the cloud if you can.
  • Put him against a wall, or in a good spot and KEEP HIM there. Don’t move around. The kiters need a consistent spawn point for the adds.
  • Stun one add yourself if you can.

-Lightening guy.

  • Don’t move around a lot. People need to stay spread so just pick a spot and let them move around you.

-Arcane guy

  • Move him out of puddles fast.
  • Interrupt as much as you can.
  • Dont forget to still interrupt while he shield is up.

Maloriak

-Boss tank

  • Know who is doing what interrupts. If you are doing some do them right. If you are having trouble with them try to swap the plan around so you can do the storms. Infact, unless you really have a handle on the add thing, just do the storms.
  • Make sure you don’t accidently hit an add pack instead of a storm.
  • Hold the boss right where he starts. Use the first few seconds of the fight to line him up. Remember he runs back to the pot when he throws a vial. Don’t follow, just wait in your lined up spot.
  • If you get the first mark on your head don’t move, but pop some big cooldown to stay alive.
  • When you go to the back for the green phase, remember the boss will hit hard and there will be an arcane storm to interrupt. Move back to the proper boss spot as soon as you can while still interrupting all arcane storms. Missing one now will wipe the raid.

-Add tank

  • Pick up adds fast. Get plenty of threat and debuffs on them as soon as they come out. By the time you are at 3 packs you are going to be getting pounded. If the fire is coming when you have 3 packs, don’t stand in it.
  • Get the adds to the bottom of the steps FAST when it is green vial time.
  • If you get 3 packs in the second cycle they hit harder than the first time. Big time ouchy.
  • Get max threat on BOTH huge adds as FAST as you can when they come.

Chimeron

                -boss tank

  • Find your spot before the fight starts and STAY THERE (until the last phase).
  • Watch for the ‘double attack’ DBM announcement. When you see it don’t do anything, but start watching CLOSE for a big green/yellow vertical arc the boss does toward the other tank (or watch for the other tank’s health to dip). When you see it, taunt. If you don’t see it, but the boss is instead casting massacre, taunt anyway. The other tank usually picks the boss off you before the massacre starts and the boss should be back on you after it goes off.
  • When it is stack up time you don’t have to be doing much threat or being in tank mode at all. You can throw heals or whatever you want to keep people alive.
  • Be sure to be back in tank mode doing good threat as the stack-up phase (feud) ends.
  • In the final phase live as long as you can while dragging the boss to the back left corner.

-Off tank

  • Watch for the double attack announcement. When it goes off, taunt right away and then do your best threat for a few seconds.
  • After a double attack, remember to let the other tank have the boss back. Slow your threat if you have to.
  • Don’t forget to stack up!
  • If the double attack is really a massacre (DBM announces a nonexistent double attack before massacre) let the main tank have the boss back.
  • As you go into the final phase, run to the far right hand end of the room and try to live as long as you can.

Bind dragon (1 tank)

  • Tank the boss in the center of the room or wherever the raid leader says.
  • Tank him at max melee
  • Dodge the rings as good as you possibly can but try not to back up. Just move side to side
  • If the flame breath targets you or is headed your way, move! It might LOOK like it is going to go behind you but it still gives you sound.
  • Stay moving in the air phase but be ready to pick up the dragon when he lands.
  • In the later phases, just position the boss as best you can WITHOUT moving through any walls of fire. If people whine that he is in a bad spot mostly ignore them. Just do your best with the room you have to maneuver.

Throne of the 4 winds

                Go read my old post on this one. Tips for the conclave of the wind

Halfus

-Boss tank

  • Range pull then get on the boss.
  • Interrupt if you have that dragon.
  • Watch your stacks and clear them if you have that dragon. The stacks go to 20. Don’t let them get over 14 before you clear them. Don’t let them get over 9 without using some cooldowns.
  • Try to pay attention to where the other tank is if you are going to have to tank swap.
  • If you have the interrupts dragon be sure to spam your interrupts as you come out of the 3rd stun when he does the triple stuns.

-Off tank

  • Pick up the dragon as fast as you can.
  • Kill it while doing maximum threat.
  • They hit hard so use cooldowns if you need them
  • Be ready to pick up the second dragon fast when the first dies.

Twin dragons

  • Keep the purple one in a stable spot without plenty of space all around it for people to spread out.
  • Dodge the fire spray on the purple dragon.
  • When the dazzling swirls appear on the ground dodge them while running toward the center of the room. Run fast. Turn your back on the dragon. Use cooldowns.
  • Pick up the blue in the center of the room and do good threat even before he feet hit the ground.
  • Keep him in the center and faced away from the ranged group.
  • Don’t move around much and if you do, tell the melee in vent that you are moving.
  • When the fire strips come, remember you can move away from them without moving the dragon. If it comes in the middle just face him to one side or the other and you will be save. If it goes down on a side then just face him toward the stairs on either side.
  • If a void zone appears just shift to the side.
  • This fight is ALL about using the ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys to side step and rotate the dragon.
  • After the 3 flame strip be ready for the purple dragon to land
  • Tank her in the center.

Elemental council of jerks

                You know… I don’t feel like explaining this one right now. Let’s just leave this at 8 of 12. :P

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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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So, this week’s raid started off awkwardly. Another guildie has decided to try running a Friday/Saturday night raid at the same time we are. And one of my raiders has vanished – nobody has heard from him in over a week. I thought I’d swap in one of my healers as dps and we’d be ok, if underpowered, but due to poor communication, she had thought her weekend was free and agreed to help out the other raid Friday. I bashed my head into the wall, got her to agree to come with us Saturday, and started asking everyone I could think of to come. Everyone who had a geared character not already raiding was already helping out with this new raid.

Finally, one of my raiders came up with the suggestion that her sister get on her boyfriend’s mage and come help us out. It was good enough for me, so at raid time we had 10 people. Yay!

Friday nights are Blackwing Descent for us. It took us three attempts on Magmaw and three on Omitron. I’m hoping we start one shotting both fights real soon now. There’s no reason why we can’t. Magmaw dropped a pretty leather chestpiece; I took it as it was a slight upgrade over the one I had and no one else could use it. Then Omnitron dropped awesome shoulders for me! Those got me excited. They look amazingly cool, I’ll have to get a screenshot of them. They have little feathery wings and are awesome.

We had lots of time left so we went downstairs and started attempts on Maloriak. We’d tried Chimaeron the previous week and were looking for something different. Several hours of work and things were starting to come together, but we ended the evening without downing the boss.

Saturday night we headed for Bastion of Twilight where we blew through the trash and one-shot Halfus, on the most difficult combination that we’ve defeated yet. So proud of my raiders! Then we conferred. We’ve been working on the twin dragons, but people were eager for another shot at Maloriak; we’d gotten much farther on that fight than on the twins. We decided to go to Maloriak by way of Conclave of Winds so we could take out our other farm boss.

Conclave was a bit harder this week due to our dps makeup (had swapped out a hard hitting hunter for a less geared elemental shaman). Twice we executed the fight perfectly, only to screw up our timing and have a boss revive three seconds before the last one went down. The third time, we watched health bars, coordinated carefully, and got them down. Yay!And hurrah for belts nobody wanted. They went into my disenchant pile as I explained I was going to get Power Torrent and then we’d coordinate enchants; someone else in guild was about to buy Landslide so I don’t need to get that.

And then off to Blackwing and Maloriak. Our hard work the night before paid off and we two-shot the fight. Yay! 5/12 is definitely progress, if slow. With an hour left, we went and worked on Chimaeron for a while but it’s not coming together quite yet.

So Reversion and I have been discussing what would be our best plan for progression. Should we keep downing all our farm bosses, or concentrate on new fights? Perhaps if we went to Bastion on Friday nights, we’d get more work done on the twin dragons. The other major raid in the guild is focusing on Blackwing Descent and it’s worked well for them; took them a while to get down Magmaw and Omitron but they’re on farm now, they got Maloriak down Monday of the week before we did, and they worked on Atramedes this week. We’re working on Chimaeron and the twin dragons, but I’d drop Chimaeron for Atramedes in a heartbeat. I like working two raids at once; it keeps things from getting dull. But  I can see the point of focusing attention on one raid.

I’m wondering how other raid groups handle this!

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