Archive for the ‘Raid’ Category

Four Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Tips for the Conclave of the Wind

We went after the first encounter in the Throne of the 4 Winds on Friday after we dropped Magmaw and again on Saturday and got them down. Videos on this fight helped but I noticed there were several tidbits of information that we did not get from videos. These small ideas were key to getting them down so I figured I should post about it. Go watch a video and then read this. It will make more sense that way.

This fight has 3 bosses that all need to die within 1 minute of each other. You need 2 ranged, 2 tanks, 3 heals and 3 of any other sort of DPS.

When setting this fight up I like to put raid makes on the floor of the entrance platform and have everyone stand on them and move back and forth to practice the phases of the fight. The left boss is green because he does plants and healing, the center/top boss is blue for his ice and the right boss is any color (what color is wind?). We will call the right platform yellow


One heal (preferably one that can reduce fall damage), Two ranged DPS.

One healer, one tank

One healer, one tank, 3 DPS melee or anything.

This is the configuration at the start of the fight. The fight has two alternating phase. The bosses all have an energy bar. This bar fills from 0 to 90. Ninety is full, not 100%. Don’t mix up ‘percent’ and the energy number or your timing will be wrong. At 70+ energy people need to shift to be near the bridge they are going to use. At 80 energy people move. At 90 energy the wind bridges vanish and you have to already be moved.


At 80, all the DPS on the right/yellow platform move to center/blue. Everyone on the green platform goes to blue and everyone on blue (tank and healer) goes to green. It is important to note as you are moving there might be a boss there taking a swing at someone. Also on the blue platform there might be an ice patch you land on. Get off it fast. The healer on the right/yellow platform does not move. That person stays there until that boss dies.

Special attack phase.

At 90 the bosses do a big attack. Lasts only a short time. During that time the DPS should be burning the blue boss. As soon as the boss energy bars drop down everyone needs to be moving back. EXCEPT, the tank and the heals on the blue and green platforms. They only move once per cycle. The ice boss applies a debuff so you can’t go back there right away. There will be plenty of aoe damage on the ice platform and everyone also needs to stay off the fickin ice patches and out of the spray of ice.

Now for the real tips…

Right platform, wind, yellow

This platform does not need a tank because the boss just stands there and shoots stuff at you. The big risk here is getting blown off. If the whole squad gets blown off the boss silences the raid and everyone dies. It is possible to recover from a blow off, if you did not die. So try to get back on the platform fast. There will be tornados. Don’t let them hit you. The big thing is that periodically the boss will start channeling a knockback and slowly turn clockwise, sweeping the blast of wind around the platform.

-When he is doing the sweeping move he holds one hand out in the direction he is doing it

-If you are far back it is easier to see the boss’s move but takes more running to get away from it

-keep your camera at max zoomed way out to see better.

-If you get blow off toward the inside of the ring of platforms, you live and get carried back to the platform. If you get blow off AWAY from the ring you die.

-Don’t stack with everyone else. If one of you gets blown off it is not a wipe. If you all get blown off it is probably a wipe.

Center platform, ice, blue

-Don’t stand on the ice

-Don’t point the boss at your healer or anyone else on the platform

-Always be ready for you or the healer to get ice under them. Have your next movement after that planned out.

-Don’t move to the bridge too early or it will get blocked up with ice.

-Don’t move to the bridge too late or it will be too late. If you don’t jump in time the debuff will drop you.

-If you are jumping to the other platform and you left an ice patch near the bridge, tell people in vent so they will be ready to move fast.

Right platform, life, green

The boss drops healing rings and you have to move him out of them fast.

-The INSTANT you see him casting ‘soothing winds’ turn and run away. He will move as soon as he is done and he will not heal up. You HAVE to keep him out of these rings.

CRITICAL: The area of healing is larger than what it looks like. WATCH the bosses health bar. If it is taking ‘up’ ticks move him farther away.

-Don’t stand in the green yourself.

-When he casts ‘nurture’ adds will spawn from the flowers.

-Don’t let adds stand in the green.

CRITICAL: When 3 or more adds stand together they do bursts of AOE. Tell every DPS to spread out, find some adds and tank/kill them themselves.

-Do NOT gather the adds up.

-The tank should kill the adds too, just don’t turn your back on the boss.

-The adds MUST be down before the end of the cycle.

– NO DPS should be back on the boss until ALL adds are down. Communicate and let people know if there is still one up.

-The healer should stand near someone that can get adds off them. Don’t run away from your people or they can’t get that thing off you.

-DPS needs to spot any packs that are larger than 2 (3 or more) and pick one, hit it hard, and move it away.

-Single target DPS the adds. Don’t AOE them. AOE is garbage now and you can’t afford to have too many up in a pack. IF there is a pack of 3, single targeting one down fast will REALLY help the healing situation out.

-keep all adds and the boss well away from the center of the platform while killing adds. This is critical. He will drop another circle of green either on himself or an add. Be ready to move him off it. If this circle is any where even remotely near the center of the platform then the boss will take big heals during the end of cycle phase. If he is standing on a circle he will heal to full in that phase. See the picture for the areas where the boss should NOT be at the end of the cycle.

-It is ok to leave him standing in green when you jump on the bridge at 80 energy. He will teleport to the center of the pad a moment later. In fact it is GOOD to have him drop that last green patch there because you know he will not heal in the ‘big move’ phase.

-Killing adds fast is a critical key to this fight.

CRITICAL: Keeping that last green circle from dropping in the center is also key to winning. Don’t take it lightly. When we messed it up a little we lost. When we did it right we creamed the fight. Make sure the boss is well clear of the center when energy is 50 and higher.

-At the start of the next round the green boss will be enraged. This makes him bigger so he is actually closer to any healing circle. This also makes him CREAM the next tank.

CRITICAL: The next tank needs to attack him during the ‘big move’ phase and apply all tanking debuffs that he has available before the boss comes out of the big move. Tanking cooldowns should be saved for this time. If the enraged hits are too hard you should apply the debuffs and then run away before he comes out of the move. This will buy you a few seconds of not getting hit. The enrage wears off fast so those few seconds are precious.

Here are my super professional pictures of the tanking on the green platform. Here the boss is green and we are about to pull. The blue arrow is the bridge to the blue platform.

Next the boss is casting his healing circle and the tank is turning to run.

Here is the new boss location well clear of the circle. Remember, the healing area is a lot bigger than the graphic of the circle.

As you are fighting the adds each time here is the area that you want to avoid.

But! If you run to the bridge at the end the boss might drop a circle as it is chasing you. So you can’t drag him across that area. Also you don’t want to be too far from the bridge. So THIS is the real area to avoid.

Do recap, let him drop the first circle in the center and then keep him in the upper left area for the later circles. There may be two, so leave yourself room to drop two in that white area. Boss positioning is very key on the fight but it is not totally obvious how key it is. Move fast and position the boss well.

And also… no that is pretty much it…

Oh wait… if you get on a wind bridge at the very edge of it you can get blow to kingdom come and never land on the other side. Get on bridges ONLY in the center area. Try this out before the fight. It does not kill you. See how sensitive they are so you don’t screw it up in the real fight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This post is aimed at players in our raid but anyone is welcome to comment on it.

First off, our mission statement. We want to run a ten man progression raid that is able to take down current content. We are not aiming for server firsts, but want to be a serious raid. We raid two nights  a week, Friday and Saturday, 7-11 CST, every week.

Attendance and Performance

  1. First and most importantly, the consequences for raid-related behavior are just for our raid. This is not a ‘Guild Raid’. We have neither authority nor desire to impact your standing in guild. If you don’t work out with our raid, or don’t like our raid, you can stop coming and no one from the raid will give you any grief in guild or Vent. We try to play well with the other guild raids but we don’t consider this to be a guild run. The only ‘punishment’ for anything is not getting invited regularly, or at all.
  2. Second, attendance is important but ‘prior notice’ and ‘fair warning’ are even more important. I will have invites out every week early. Please accept or decline as soon as you can. If it’s going to take you to Wednesday to know if you can raid, sign up as tentative, tell me, and then change as soon as you know. Please communicate me if you decline as to why you can’t come; if you are burned out on raiding, I won’t bug you next week. If you just can’t make it this week but still want to be in the consideration let us know as early as possible. Reliability is a factor in deciding who gets invites.
  3. Once you have accepted, I try to set up “confirmed” and “standby” lists before Thursday  so you know. If you are standby, please hold your raid lockout open. Otherwise be free to do whatever you like that evening – as long as you’re willing to step out and join us if we need you. Feel free to ask me what “standby” means in your case: I may be able to tell you how likely you are to get in.

    On a side note: To be a successful reliable raid that is doing progression we have to have ‘standby’ people. It is important to the raid’s viability. No sports team goes to a game without the minimum number of players and expects to win. Likewise we have to have at least a mental list of those we call on when something happens or a fight needs a different strategy. Who is in the initial invite, who gets confirmed and who is on standby is variable based on what the raid needs most and what has the best chance of success. As we start actually making progression we will do what we can to get ‘alternates’ their shot at various bosses so they can keep gearing up.

  4. Raid time is 7 pm. That means be ready to start pulling trash at 7, with your flasks and  food buffs in your bags, not in a heroic, and not asking for a summons. We don’t have any authority to ‘punish’ but we stop putting unreliable people in the initial ‘confirmed’ slot, or will stop inviting them altogether. The raid must go on.
  5. Quitting time is 11 PM server. We plan to rarely pass that. If we have a boss to 1% we might take a vote to try one more time. If we take one you are free to say ‘no’ with zero penalty. The majority of the time we will end as near to 11PM server time as we can. This prevents raider burnout and also helps people keep outside commitments.
  6. Leaving early is frowned on. If you can’t stay the whole time, talk to Analogue about it BEFORE raid time/day. We can make adjustments in some cases but if you drop out early for something that is not an emergency we will take that into consideration the next time we send out invites. The raid must go on.
  7. Raid night is Friday AND Saturday. If you can only make one, be sure to let me know that. You will then have a lower priority for the other raid night that week. If I have to bring someone in to fill a slot on Friday, that slot belongs to them on Saturday if they want it. I don’t want to take advantage of people and get them saved to raids without any hope of finishing. It might take most of Friday to figure something out and it is bad for the success of the raid as a whole to be swapping people in and out too often.
  8. Performance: Gearscore and Recount are tools. We use them. We do not worship them. If you are the top dps but can’t do your interrupts and stand in fire, you are not as good as the guy doing less than you but not standing in bad. Period. Conversely if you are missing gear, we are going to ask that you find a way to fill those slots. A pair of  333 bracers is bad luck at the wrist slot; five pieces of green gear is a sign that you don’t really want to raid.  This is a fuzzy one. We take into account the numbers, the harder to quantify skills but also ability and willingness to learn, adapt or overcome. Attitude is weighed in and so is the vague general ‘fit’. Most of a successful raid is how well people work together. We will not bludgeon, threat, or cajole people to try and force them to fit in or follow the plan. We will just stop inviting them and find someone else.

Requirements for Raiding

  1. Deadly Boss Mods. No ifs, ands, or buts
  2. Ventrilio. You don’t have to talk; you do have to listen
  3. Vuhdo, Grid, or Healbot for healers, configured to show relevant debuffs
  4. One of the above or Decursive for mages, spriests, pallies, anyone who can remove bad things or apply good ones
  5. Gear to have at least cheap enchants and gems. We can help you with those; talk to us if you need enhancements. Armor packs are ok for tanks.  At least the lower level arcanum and inscription appropriate to your spec. This is very minimal. Further gearing up ‘requirements’ will be based on the need of the fight and will determine who gets confirmed and who doesn’t.
  6. Flasks and buff food. We’ll try to have feasts but at least have a stack of fortune cookies or something. You can use the 60/60 buff food, or the 90/90, your choice. Again, if you need things cooked, talk to Analogue.

Raid Composition

  1. Sometimes, for the good of the raid, we may not be able to take everyone who wants to come. If we have four dks who would really like to come, that is probably not viable.  If I have to choose between bringing a third druid healer or a paladin, I will probably bring the paladin. This is not a reflection on anyone. It’s just about getting bosses down.
  2. Sometimes we may ask someone to swap roles or even characters, or step out so we can bring someone else in. This will either be because of some mechanic (we need a knockback, so I have to go boomkin) or we just don’t have the right group composition (nobody with fast interrupts).
  3. These days buffs are fairly homogeneous so it’s unlikely that we’ll have to choose someone just because of a buff they bring. That said, if we have four druids and five plate wearers, we may miss some key ability, or even be running the risk of getting useless drops.  It probably won’t affect the raid as much as ranged/melee/tank/heals balance but we may take it under consideration.
  4. Swapping in and out people to tweak a strategy, fix an issue, improve DPS, increase healing, etc. will be done as needed for the good of the raid. We appreciate everyone having a good attitude about it. Please no drama over it. We value good attitudes. To be honest, someone with lower DPS that is willing to step out for the good of the group is probably more likely to keep getting invites compared to someone who has high DPS and a negative or abrasive attitude. LONG TERM success of the raid is as much a factor as week to week success.

In-Raid Behavior

  1. Everyone we invite is a mature adult (well, in some cases precocious teenagers are invited) who is another actual human being. Everyone deserves to be treated properly. Therefore, there is no insulting of other raid members in raid chat or vent. Mild and good natured teasing is ok; when it goes over the line and becomes attacking, that’s not ok. Use good judgment. If we have to warn you about it don’t be surprised if the invites stop coming.
  2. This includes trash talking. Some people love that stuff and can dish it out and take it just fine… but some people don’t. Don’t post your meters to brag or talk smack. If you want to call someone out for something whisper us about it. If you want to brag, do it in some other chat or after the raid. Our goal is the success of the raid as a whole. This requires a supportive environment where people can excel as a team.
  3. Drama and over sensitivity are likewise discouraged. And ‘blow ups’ are right out. If something or someone bothers you, say so. If you have a problem with someone, whisper us about it. If they stepped over the line tell them calmly, or tell us and let us deal with it. To a point… We aren’t mommy. We are here to raid, not to solve your personal frictions. We are not forcing you to raid so don’t force us to deal with your drama.
  4. Vent is to be kept clean. We’re not going to kick you for a slip of the tongue but swearing doesn’t make you a better raider. No sexist, racist, or hateful speech. I don’t care if you are, say, Polish, making “dumb Pollack” jokes is not all right. You can extrapolate from there to whatever minority group or opinion you like.
  5. Vent is to be kept clear. We won’t be total sticklers here either but during pulls, stay off the air. If the tanks miss a swap because you won’t shut up, that’s bad. If the healers don’t hear “Mana Tide down!” and go OOM, that’s bad
  6. Talking about strategy is fine. We love suggestions and insight. But once we have settled on a strategy, that is the plan for that pull. If we wipe, we can discuss it again later. Do not try to execute your own plan while we are expecting something else.
  7. After a fight keep the discussion to problem solving, trouble shooting, and simplify passing along information. Accusations and arguments do not help us get down bosses. Dispassionate discussion of what happened does. If we have to point out something you did wrong or ask you to do something different to tweak a strategy take it like an adult and don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes. Making mistakes does not get people kicked from a raid. Blowing up when called on a mistake might.
  8. If you don’t know, ask. We are willing to explain things and even re-re-explain them. If you are at all unclear on something before a pull please ask. If you don’t understand why we’re doing something, ask; sometimes the mechanics of a fight are complicated and need more than one explanation.
  9. Keep a good attitude. Wipes happen… in raiding they happen a LOT. We all know this and accept this. Complaining someone got us killed, whining about repair or flask costs do not earn sympathy. If you can’t wipe for hours with a cheerful attitude raiding is not for you.


  1. Currently, we plan on using priority rolls followed by main spec rolls followed by off spec. BUT, that is later, when we are getting several bosses down. For now things will be a straight single roll for main spec if anyone can use it or offspec if no one can.
  2. For BOEs, we’ve been pretty lax at letting people take them for alts and friends if no one in the raid can use them. That may change. We have people that have alts that are likely to be needed for swapping in and out to tweak strategies. Sometimes we might have to designate BOE drops for those characters. We will try to be as fair as possible.
  3. Don’t be a loot pig. If you get three drops in one run (yeah, not likely any time soon) be courteous and see who else can use them. Depending on the needs of the raid we might let you have all three or we might let someone else have something.
  4. Spirit is for healers. Yes, some dps casters can use spirit but healers get dibs. Hit is for caster dps. Healers can roll if the mages don’t want itRoll on gear that is appropriate to your class and role. If you roll on something that does not match we reserve the right to give it to tell you and ignore the roll. If you think we are mistake about it feel free to ask. We do not fly off the handle. Just being it up in a calm sensible fashion. We can admit we are wrong but we don’t respond well to dramatics.
  5. Veto Power: This early in the expansion we have lot of gear needs to make the raid viable. We, the raid leadership, reserve the right to redirect something based on greater need for the good of the viability of the raid. We don’t much because we are really nice people. The example might be to prioritize one person’s ‘off spec’ over another’s based on what the raid might need them to change to. We reserve the right to do this but in practice we almost never do. This might seem vague and annoying but frankly things like DKP drive me nuts. Way too complicated. And loot councils are cumbersome. We will retain full veto power but will listen to input from anyone that wants to say something. Then we will decide. In practice we just let the roll happen and award the loot. If someone has a really bad need for a particular item we might consider using veto power. I don’t expect this to happen much, perhaps not ever. If it does we will discuss it enough that everyone is reasonably happy with the decision. Just don’t confuse such a discussion with a council vote.

Have Fun

  1. Or else!

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It was the best of raids, it was the worst of raids; it was the strat of wisdom, it was the strat of foolishness; it was the pull of belief, it was the pull of incredulity; it was the heal-y zones of Light, it was the void zones of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way

Ok, so, apologies for the Dickens parody quote and from the wrong book at that (but honestly, Great Expectations was a terrible book). It just seemed appropriate for me. The weekend’s raiding was an emotional roller-coaster for me. Hopefully less so for my raid partners.

First off, we are not Serious Raiders. We are not a “raid guild”, nor is our run an official “guild run”. There are no apps and requirements but conversely Reversion and I have a free hand to manage things. Last week was our first raid at all, so it’s not like we have a bunch of super players who were ready the week after Cataclysm. I’m well aware that we’re weeks behind the world first but darn it, I am proud of my raiders because they try hard, they know their stuff, and they’re really pretty darn good. Gear will come; skill is, I think, there already.

So last week we raided only Friday and while we made a few token boss pulls in Bastion of Twilight, we were mostly there for the trash. Our dps was too low, our tanks’ gear was weak, the healers’ gear was lacking…. but we made the couple pulls and started to learn the basics of the fight. This Friday, we headed in with the determination to do some serious attempts.

First, though, I had to deal with my attendance issues. We’d had one raider tell me he just wasn’t feeling it, and wasn’t going to be raiding. One raider wasn’t levelled yet. One had horrible gear issues. One of my healers had to work until two hours past pull. And the other healer…. declined my invite.

Not a problem. I brought in another druid, Elia who has raided with us on her shaman or druid on occasion. I knew she was a solid player who’d have my back and heck, I’m always looking to expand my “healer bench”. Falahla, one of our two pro mages, got her hunter husband Ado to come along. He is a Serious Raider like we aren’t, but he was taking the week off so nothing kept him from trying boss pulls with us.  We pulled in Grom’s paladin, and a warlock who is in the other guild raid (to be specific, the player is in that raid but usually on a different character) and went.

We two-healed the trash without incident. Well, there was the time we accidentally pulled the second patrolling group while we were working on the first. “Everyone out!” Reversion ordered, and we made it…. except for poor Whodowhat the warlock, who had just zoned in and got eaten. Ooops. Elia and I coordinated our Lifeblooms, we used crowd control like the pros we are (if there’s one thing I want to boast about in our raid, it’s our crowd control. Reversion is expert at setting the pulls, our raiders are great at carrying it out and keeping things sheeped/frozen/repented, and as a healer I love that)

So we started making attempts on the boss. We had dragons 1,2, and 5 active, going around from the left; that’s the one that gives the boss an attack speed buff, the one that makes the boss stack a healing debuff on the tanks, and the one that makes the proto-dragon have a Flame Barrage ability. (I think; Reversion will have to correct me if I’m wrong [Rev: I edited it] ) The obvious first one to be released was the one with the attack speed buff. Healers couldn’t handle the tank damage otherwise.  Then we’d do the flame barrage one, so that we could see the incoming fire attacks and get out of it.

Well, long story short, the healing was brutal. Just brutal. We could keep either the tanks or the raid up, but not both. Around 9, our missing shammy healer came on and we asked the lowest performing dps to step out. He, being a good guy and knowing that his gear was terrible, graciously agreed and we brought in Chalandrae. That helped a lot.

Then one attempt, we get the second drake down and the healing gets so much easier. Everyone burns the boss. I throw some Wraths, Chalandrae fires off Lightning Bolts – and at 15%, he hits the enrage timer.

So we go back in, set up again, the tanks die. And again. We do some discussing and the healers all agree that the tanks felt squishier the last few attempts.  We check their gear. Reversion looks ok – well, now;  back at the start of the night, after doing all the trash and our first wipe on the boss, Ado asks in vent why exactly Reversion is wearing his fishing pole. Ooops. Logarithm’s gear has some pieces that are more dps-y than tank-y, and he definitely took more damage than Reversion. We decide that the good attempt, they just somehow used all their cooldowns perfectly and that’s so hard to replicate with our skill level (Rev: We do pretty well with cooldowns all the time but that first phase, if you have just one dragon out, is a real healing race with what the tanks take and what the raid is getting from the fire balls. That one try it just happned that what was falling from the sky, what the healers were casting, and what the tanks were poping, all dovetailed perfectly.) But it’s quitting time anyway, so off we go.

Now, during the raid I determined that I had made a serious error. I had forgotten to put Saturday’s raid on the calendar, and some of my raiders thought we were only going Friday. I had to talk to a few and assure them that we were indeed going Saturday and please not to go with a different group that was rumored to be going.  But all day Saturday I was nervous. We were already having attendance issues and now….

Saturday afternoon I whispered with the healer who had declined our invite, asking him what was up, since I’d seen him online when we were. He said he didn’t think we were geared enough to down bosses; I said that we knew we had some weak slots, and one guy whose gear wasn’t that great and we asked to step out when we had a viable replacement and an obvious need for a stronger raider. He clarified that he meant tanks and healers needed “all 346 and one or two purples”.

Ok, I got mad. If you Wow-Heroes’d me (apparently a favorite of some guildies) you’d see I have a 316 trinket, because I haven’t got the heroic version of it yet and I prefer it’s spirit proc to any of the higher ilvl trinkets that I have. And 333 bracers because, darn it, there’s two pairs of heroic leather bracers out there and I can’t get either to drop. But I had just the night before gotten an epic staff from Bastion trash (it’s so cool; it looks like a Twilight Hammer symbol!) , we were gemmed, enchanted, and darn it we’d hit the enrage timer at 15% to go the night before. Which I pointed out.

Well, we got back after church and the other raid had started – but my core raiders were waiting for us in vent. I got us; seven of us. I added whodowhat, and then…. we needed another healer and a dps. Elia hadn’t come online, but Chalandrae had so I had a shammy healer, but after last night I knew we needed three.

Karius started asking around, and found us some people from her old guild; Squishi the feral druid, and Jhudara the shammy. So we were set. Two shammy healers and a tree sounded good to me!

We went and started making attempts, refining our strategy all night. Finally we settled on three tanking it – Squishi turned out to be a great bear as well as a cat – and releasing two drakes at once, burning them down, then killing the boss. It started being obvious that we could survive into the boss-burn stage with this. Once the healers OOMed and we wiped; I asked the shammies to drop their mana tide totems in a defined order and to call out when they were doing it, and that helped.

By the end of the night we were reliably into the final phase and hitting the enrage timer with 12% or less to go. Our best try was 9%. We discussed trying to two heal, or find a way to get more dps, but we came up against the end of the raid.

Now, this is why I titled my post “raid expectations”. That just seemed the theme of the whole weekend. That raider who didn’t think we were geared enough? The raid he went to didn’t do as well on the same boss; by 10 pm Saturday he’d rsvp’d for next week’s raid. Elia, who heals for the other guild raid, mentioned how much she enjoyed our expert crowd control usage. We’ve been having a discussion with some guildies who just don’t see CC as that important. It’s really funny but those guildies are invariably NOT healers.

Jhudora, the pugged in shaman, kept whispering me about how much she liked our raid for keeping Vent fairly business like and not having vulgarity and mean-ness in our raid chat. I admit, I was sort of taken aback, but then I remembered that that’s one reasonwhy I decided we should run our own raid; because that crude “humor” annoys me so much. I find a lot of women who run with us really enjoy the non-sexist, non-crude, affirming atmosphere. We often has 5 or 6 female players in our raid.

Well, I invited Jhudora to come with us next week too and hopefully she will – she’s exactly the sort of healer I want.

I did decide that the guildie who said we weren’t geared enough has a point (Rev: A small one. An average of one upgraded item per person and we likely would have had the boss down. The raid that person bailed on us to go to wiped hard and broke up early), and this week I WILL get exalted with Wildhammer for a couple epics there, we WILL upgrade some of Reversion’s gear, and we WILL work with our raiders to see a few upgrades, make sure they are enchanted, grind mats for flasks and feasts (we ran out halfway through Saturday night) and hit things really hard this weekend. I want Halfus to come down; then we’ll decide whether to push on or to visit Magmaw or Omnitron.

This already is a wall of text so  I’ll save my discussion of what I want in and from my healing team for later this week. Until then, I’ll just note that this week I have 13 invites out on my raid invites – and 8 confirmed,  4 tentatives.

Oh, and does anyone know a good addon for doing calendar invites and stuff? I want to be able to do Fri and Saturday’s invites at the same time without the hassle…

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Oh, hi there. How was your Christmas break? Did you play a lot of WoW?

Welcome to Monday. Hope it didn’t hit too hard.  Honestly it wasn’t too bad here; the water heater was on and that always makes for a good start to the day. Now here I sit, working – er, waiting for someone to get back to me – and it’s time to get some fresh content up!

So Friday was our first Catacylsm raid night. As a reminder, Reversion and I are wrangling a raid with guildies. It’s not a raid guild – ie, no applications for raid slots, no serious raiding culture – but we’ve got some darn good players. We’re not officers, nor do we have powers to reward or punish beyond just inviting or not inviting to the raid. During the end of Wrath, we ran with an open loot system; I’ll be doing Loot Master from now on but we’re still just planning to roll on stuff. Honestly Loot Council takes too much time in a raid like ours, DKP is a pain in the butt, and anything else just doesn’t fit us.

As always I sent out invites the weekend before. I had one straight “can’t make it” and one who warned me she was unlikely to be able to go; that was ok. I asked a backup, and we had two empty slots to fill anyway.

There’s another raid like ours in the guild, on Sunday/Mondays, so after asking around and finding out that they planned to start in Blackrock Descent, I decided we’d go to Bastion of Twilight. Some of our raiders are the same people, and until they get all their alts geared up they may be raiding on the same character in both raids. I didn’t want to worry about lockouts, or burnout. Plus, I figured if we had empty slots it would make sense to try to fill in with people from the other raid.

As Friday approached, my gear looked ok, Reversion’s was looking good, even my brother’s tank set was nice and shiny. He came to visit last week and we were able to do some good runs, as well as rep grinding to get gear. But I knew some others in our raid weren’t really ready yet. I decided we’d wait and see. Then Thursday night Repgrind told me that Bastion trash is dropping epics at a pretty good rate, and I had a plan. I sounded out several of my invitees and they agreed; we’d start with some trash clears and see how things went.

Friday night rolls around. One of my raiders doesn’t show, one of the new invites. I find out later his internet choose that time to explode. We gave him twenty minutes, as we went out there (pro tip: there’s no summoning stone at Bastion of Twilight, so get there early) and got arrangements made. Then we pulled in a  dps DK to replace him. She was in the other raid so I figured we were helping guild raiders anyway.

We start clearing trash. It hits hard, but we had an expert guide – Ado, a hunter who used to be in our guild and whose wife is a core raider in our run. He’d been in here enough to be an expert on setting up the pulls, and was willing to clear trash for a chance at epics, even if he couldn’t help with boss attempts. It sure made the first few pulls a lot easier! Not to mention his 14k dps…. anyway. Toward the end of the first trash clear, a one hand sword drops. I’m conflicted. The stats are more dps-y than tank-y, but my brother’s warrior really needs the sword. The DK, who is not a member of our run, could definitely use it. Finally I tell them both they are eligible, they roll, and my brother wins the sword.

I believe there may have been some discontent with my decision but hit is a tank stat when you’re not hit capped against raid bosses yet! And I allowed both to roll, I didn’t just award it to my brother. Regardless, three pulls into the next run, it drops again and goes to the DK, who was thrilled. It dropped again later that night and we gave it to the same DK, so she’s dual-wielding some pretty sweet swords now!

We reset trash five times and had five epics drop; three of the sword, the agility trinket, and a gun that went to my brother as the only person there who could use it. The trinket went to someone not in our raid. So as a gearing up attempt, less than stellar. As a learning experience? Just great.

So after the fifth clear, the natives were restless and we decided to try some pulls. We read what abilities the active dragons would do and decided to release the whelps and the guy-who-gives-giant-aoe-damage ability. First time through, we released both and once and died. Ooops. Second two attempts we released the larger dragon first, and died to fire. Final attempt, we took the whelps first and died, more slowly but as surely from being knocked around. Honestly we knew going in that we didn’t have the dps for it.

I’m hoping the night served as a reminder to a few people that they still need some gear, maybe enchantments or flasks or whatever else. I’ve got next week’s raid scheduled and some personnel changes to make, perhaps (apparently the person I thought was tanking the other raid, does not in fact have a raid slot at all right now. I need to talk to him and see if we can change that) All in all I had fun though I’d like to actually start downing bosses soon. I’ve got the raiding bug!

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