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Archive for the ‘SAN’ Category

Monday night Rev and I log onto Argent Dawn to see what SAN is up to. There’s a few folk around, so we decide to re-attempt Blackwing Lair. Hairy and Daruma join, as do Missholloway, Rogerstring, our soulstone-slave Invariant (my RAF alt, on follow and not doing anything) and Norinka, a SAN druid who hadn’t joined us before.

First, we got attuned. We found the guy who drops the letter that starts the quest (that Jack built? wait…) outside of Blackrock Spire, cleared UBRS fast, and touched the orb behind the dragon boss there. Then we could use the orb outside the instance to get in BWL.

First boss was still dead from our weekend attempt so we went and faced down the corrupted red dragon, the one that dots you with a dot that kills you at the end. We had it carefully planned; Consolidate was Soulstoned and would Brez me, Norinka would Brez if she could, and we’d just burn him down.

We started. Daruma threw Heroism, I popped my wings, tanked, got dotted, died, got rezzed, re-taunted – and he dropped before too many more of us did.

Hilariously, Hairygiblets and Rogerstring still had the dot at the end. Five seconds later as we’re examining loot, they drop dead…

We continue upstairs and find a room full of pillars, whelps, and a slowing field. None of us knew what to do; a guildie who wasn’t there mentioned that a stealthed rogue could disable the field. Great! Except… we didn’t have a rogue. Oh well. We started wading through the room in slow motion, me trying to grab aggro, wishing paladins had a charge… Hand of Freedom wasn’t really helping (it didn’t remove the slow effect but would prevent one re-application sometimes)

Invariant, being low level, died from aoe or something. So did Rogerstring. I decided we should press on to the end, hope that killing the boss at the end would stop the field and let us get out of combat (the whelps just kept respawning) so we could rez. This is important.

The supressor whelp room is actually two floors. Invariant was dead on the first floor. The rest of us pressed slowly onward, like something from a bad horror movie. The kind with endlessly spawning whelps.

We found a boss, killed him. The field didn’t drop, but the room just past didn’t have it. I decided to start clearing trash while Consolidate slowly made his way down to get Invariant. At this point Consolidate was the only one healing. This is important too.

I pulled a few trash mobs, planning to kill them before they could kill me. It was working – until out of nowhere there’s a DRAGON in my FACE eating my SPLEEN. Through my face. Yeah. And he knocked me back into 9000 adds, who instantly start whacking me. I tried healing myself but kept getting interrupted. Most of us died right then. I sighed.

Consolidate was downstairs, and not dead, and I’m thinking he can rez me when I hear a “whoa!” behind me and turn to look at his screen. The dragon had just summoned him! We hadn’t known it would do that.

Long story short – we all ran back.

We again started clearing trash in the room and again the dragon appears, but this time we’re ready and take him down! Not that bad as long as there’s heals in the room.

More trash dies. Some of it was nasty, with lots of shadow bolts. Some of it resisted magical damage, ie Holy damage, ie there I was futilely throwing my abilities around and keeping aggro mostly by force of will. Fortunately we had a hunter, and when Norinka shifted to cat, things really died.

We moved into a big room – the whole place was very cool, lots of draconic experimental remains lying around – and see a dragon, some big dudes, and a dragon in the room that followed. Wise to their tricks, we killed the trash behind us, then pulled the dragon. Sure enough he knocked us around like crazy, but we prevailed!

By this time it was late, so we called it for the night, agreed to extend our lockout and finish up Tuesday.

Tuesday rolls around and so does patch 3.3.5. And the servers are DOWN! Sigh. Reversion and I are forced to spend quality time together, play with our daughter, go for ice cream… then, just at Nomster’s bedtime, the servers were up. Sort of. Once we got through, there was a number of SAN folk around so we re-grouped up, asked if anyone else wanted to finish the place, and started summoning.

Well, other people did want to come. They kept coming as we progressed, so here’s the final list:

Divergent – me – paladin
Consolidate – Reversion – druid
Hairygiblets – hunter
Daruma – shaman
Tasteless – druid
Shiftless- druid
Norinka – druid
Dropout – paladin
Edamaxim – dk
Enyss – druid
Vet – hunter
Missholloway – paladin
Rogerstring – shaman
Invariant – useless

(no order here, this is how they appeared in one screenshot I have)

So some subset of us kill that dragon we’d left alive the night before, then Chromagnus the penultimate boss, a two headed dragon-corehoundy-looking-thing. And there we were, on Nefarion’s balcony.

He didn’t look that impressive sitting on the throne, even if his head was on fire, but he was a real raid boss. Vet had lot of experience killing him and gave us a rundown – kill adds coming through the doors on phase one, take him by the balcony on phase 2, beware of “class calls” – incidentally, I was really impressed that they added a class call for DKs. That’s a nice touch. Most of us seriously overgeared the place and the class calls ended up not being an issue for anyone but the hunters who had to un-equip their bows or they’d get broken.

So we fought him. During part of it, Invariant died, and Nefarion called out the line I have as the title for the post, heh.

And then – he died.

SAN is hoping to go to Molten Core tonight. After that… who knows but we’re loving the old school raids as we wait to get enough 80s to do Ulduar and ICC. If you’re on an American server and this sounds fun, join us! Roll an alt or transfer and come play!

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SAN Weekend Raiding Update

We were hoping to raid with SAN Saturday afternoon, but we had issues getting people to fill slots, a narrow time window- basically, it wasn’t going to work so we agreed to try again Sunday. Later that evening, Reversion and I signed back on to try to recruit guildies to go visit UBRS and BWL for some classic WoW fun times. We got a great turnout!

Me – Divergent – as the paladin tank
Rev – on Consolidate with leet druid heals
HairyGiblets - the hunter
Daruma and Rogerstring - our shamans
Missholloway - an almost-level-appropriate paladin
Delwyn the Rogue – level 72 at the time I think
Invariant - my 58 warlock on the RAF account, along to give soulstones and that’s about it.

We wandered into Blackrock Spire and headed for the Upper part, slaying all who stood in our way. First notable accomplishment: the whelp room! We turned off Retribution Aura, made the shamans wait to throw totems, I ran around clicking eggs like crazy then we AOE’d and boom, filled Guild chat with achievement spam. Lots of Jenkins titles that night!

We finished tearing along through UBRS and found the BWL entrance. I zoned in, then back out since I wanted us to get the UBRS achievement and we hadn’t yet. Tip: zoning out of BWL and back in sets you at the entrance to BRS and you have to run all the way back…

Anyway, we killed the end boss for UBRS and proceeded into Blackwing Lair. None of us had been here before and we weren’t sure what to expect. We figured out we needed to mind control and have the big dragon kill eggs, but wiped twice trying to get the hang of it. Finally we realized that you really just need to ignore the adds because if you kill them they keep spawning. So I worked my butt off to aggro all the adds, Consolidate healed me, the boss, the raid, whoever, and the guildies took turns mind controlling the boss. They did great, I avoided killing the boss when he wasn’t mind controlled (I think I did that one of our wipes) and with a great sense of accomplishment, he went down.

You don’t have to take my word for it either! Hairygiblets videoed our fight and linked it on his blog: here

Oh, another tip: Our first wipe, we didn’t have to run back because Daruma Reincarnated. Our second wipe, we all died, and Consolidate volunteered to run back. Unfortunately, ALL the trash in UBRS had respawned and he and Hairygiblets had to fight their way back in. It seems like there’s a really short respawn timer. Actually the bosses and stuff were back too. I’m not sure what was going on there.

Having passed the first test, we were ready to see more. So we poked our heads into the next room and found a corrupted red dragon who needed to be put out of his misery. He has an annoying mechanic though; he puts a dot on someone, and after a couple seconds, they die from it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Every third dot goes to a tank… so we had a really limited window to get him down, and we didn’t. Got him about halfway. Unfortunately it was quite late so we called it. Next time we’ll bring more bodies as dot-soaking-targets.

A very fun little evening, though!

Sunday afternoon as promised, guild members signed on. We ended up with only five of us; Divergent, Consolidate, Hairygiblets, Datq the resto shaman and Daruma, so we picked up puggers and went to ICC, with me healing and Consolidate tanking this time.

Hairy got some video from this too.

To summarize, we made trash die, we one-shotted the first three bosses, we went to Saurfang, has blood beast issues like you’d expect with multiple first time people (some of the puggers were new too I think) and then a top dps’er ragequit, and some of us were running out of time so we called it.

Again, this raiding with SAN is a lot of fun and anyone who has a spare 80 or is looking for somewhere to role an alt could do worse than joining a blogger guild. Guild chat is never dull!

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We’ve been using Recruit a Friend to level up some alts on Argent Dawn where SAN lives, but the obvious flaw with this scheme was that Reversion was about to get multiple level 60s characters and I wouldn’t have any once the RAF account lapsed. So we did the obvious thing and linked an RAF account to my main account for him to play, making four active accounts for us for a while (Analogue main, Analogue RAF, Reversion main, Reversion RAF)

And obviously once you’ve got four accounts that can level at triple XP speeds, what do you do? Run all four at once, of course! So Reversion created a hunter (main) and a druid (RAF), while I created a shaman (main) and a paladin (RAF). Rev has two computers setup on his desk so he has one account on each; my offside machine is having video card issues so I hooked up a second monitor to my machine and ran two WOW instances in windowed mode.

Reversion is planning to discuss some of his strategies for getting the most out of his setup; he uses a lot of macros and interesting techniques. Mine are a bit less complicated and less effective, since I only have one mouse and keyboard to control things and I have to switch which WOW is the active one in order to do things on that character.

Some general things we’ve learned: We set up with me controlling both my accounts and Rev doing both of his, which works ok except we’re constantly having to check to make sure the other halves of our RAF pairs are close enough for XP. If we do another quartet like this we might have to swap accounts around.

Our mains have heirlooms for an additional 20% XP gain and some really hard hits. We have to work to keep the other characters close to the same level. Usually, we just pick some drop quest to only do on the lower characters and haul them back to level.

The hunter is doing most of the damage. With the heirloom chest, shoulders, bow, and sword, things just drop dead. If we’re out questing I run with the shaman and nuke things with lightning bolts and save the paladin for healing when things get sticky. Going to talk about our adventures in Deadmines in a bit and how that was different.

The key for me being able to do this successfully is Vuhdo, that queen of mods that I’ve rhapsodized in the past. Both the paladin and the shaman start out with one long slow heal; I mapped that in Vuhdo to right click. Later they gain a short heal and a dispel; I’ve set the short heal to the right side button and the dispel to the mouse wheel scroll up action. All I have to do is move my mouse to the correct Vuhdo setup and click. At worst I have to click twice, if I am trying to do something in the copy of WoW that was not active, the first click activates it and the second does what I want.

We quested in Teldrassil, then moved to Westfall where the killing is good and the quests are plentiful. Seems there was a plague of red-bandana’d Defias. And some gnolls. There were a lot less of both after we steamrolled across the zone, a multi-boxing killing machine of death. (Wait, killing machine of death? You’re getting carried away there…)

In ordinary questing, I pretty much ignored the paladin except to keep up buffs, loot quest items, and throw some heals. The one macro I did write on both accounts that was key was a follow macro:

/tar CharacterName
/follow

A neat trick for this macro is you can do as many /tar lines as you want. So if you’re doing multiple sets of RAF pairings, write one account-wide macro that looks like this:

/tar Character1
/tar Character2
/tar Character3
/follow

and you don’t have to keep recreating it. The downside is, if you have more than one of these characters in your party it will end up targeting the last one on the list, even if that character is not there, or offline, so plan things out carefully.

Anyway the ordinary questing went well. Reversion’s hunter did most of our killing, my shaman helped and my paladin threw around heals. Since I was mostly using lightning bolts on my shaman, I could set a lightning bolt casting, switch to the shaman, start a heal, switch back and do lightning, switch back and do heals… it worked really well.

We did all the quest chains leading up to Deadmines and dinged 20 on all our characters. I took my shaman to get her water totem, and then we went and manually found the entrance to Deadmines (how weird is that!) and decided to see how well we could do. We were a higher level than the instance, so we thought we had a pretty good chance.

I started pretty much the same way I’d done the questing, with the paladin basically just on follow. Then we got to the first boss, the ogre dude, and I figured what the heck, it’s easy to grab aggro with a paladin, so I turned on Righteous Fury, taunted, and let the paladin tank while I healed and threw lightning with the shaman. It worked really well. The guy dropped and we didn’t.

After that I worked harder to use the pair. Most fights didn’t last long enough, but when a patrol came by I’d grab aggro with the paladin, start healing with the shaman, and drop some fire novas when I could. Reversion shot things and Moonfired on his druid and we were just steamrolling through the place.

It helped a lot that we were higher level, that we knew the place well, and that we knew our classes and roles well. Reversion’s original main is a hunter and that class is like a well worn pair of shoes for him. I have a paladin tank and I set this paladin’s abilities in the same spot as that tank’s. I’ve never done a shaman past about 25, but I do know how to heal and I’d already set up Vuhdo to let me do what I needed; tanking and healing at the same time was not too hard.

The worst times we had were with patrols coming up behind us – they do that a lot in Deadmines. It would take a while to grab aggro, and peoples’ health would get pretty low. But we got to the boat with no wipes!

We took down Mr. Smite easy – Reversion’s hunter hits like a ton of bricks and he took out the adds fast so we didn’t have any trouble getting through the stuns. Then we carefully cleared onto the boat. Being higher level here really helped. It is tricky at the best of times not aggroing half that boat down from above, and when you’re maneuvering multiple characters at once it gets hard.

We took down Captain Greenskin with only minimal “ack we’re going to die heal heal grab aggro ack DIE!” angst – nobody actually died – and then set up for Van Cleef himself. I set my totems, switched to the paladin, pulled, consecrated, switched to the shaman and healed, switched back to pick up more adds, back again to heal – and then the “Achievement Complete!” box popped up, we finished taking down the adds, and victory!

Of course after this screenshot we jumped down and killed Cookie. I stole his rolling pin, hah!

And we were done! Turned in quests, and logged out for the night. Whew!

It was a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to seeing what else we can pull off with a quartet like this. Might be slower than with actual other players, but on the other hand we don’t have to deal with idiots…

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Raiding with SAN

SAN was supposed to go to Ulduar Saturday afternoon, but we couldn’t find another tank or some dps (only seven SAN folks were able to attend) so we decided to do the weekly, Marrowgar. From SAN, we had:

Me, Divergent, as a holy paladin
Reversion as Consolidate, a feral druid
Harrygiblets the hunter
Enyss the Resto druid
Shifthappens the Resto druid
Edamaxim the DK
and (I think) Norinka the Boomkin

We pugged in another tank, a shaman, and a mage and set off to ICC to clear trash. Whee! Some folks had never been in there, but the SAN folks were all on vent and we had a good time clearing – until Enyss dc’d. We still had trash to clear so we kept going. Then she came back in Vent and told us her internet was dead (she was using dialup for Vent) with no sign of coming back, so we sadly decided to replace her. We decided to go with two healers and the pug tank brought in a hunter friend of hers.

We had some fun with giants and traps and wiped once – heh – but got all ready at Marrowgar. Gave the briefing and went ahead.

Well the bonespikes just didn’t get attacked, people didn’t stack back up after bonestorms, and we wiped. We had at least three people who were new to the fight so I wasn’t surprised. I told people to stack on the tree – Shifthappens was doing a really good job getting back into position and it’s very easy to spot the tree and stand on him. (Note to Blizzard: please let us keep trees around in Cataclysm…)

I glanced at Recount so I could remind people to switch to Bonespikes and I got a surprise: neither pugged DPS had attacked the bonespikes at all. A mage and an elemental shaman, I couldn’t think of any excuse for that since they’d agreed that they understood what they needed to do. Even the new SAN people who hadn’t seen this fight had some damage to the spikes! I called them out specifically and reminded them to switch to spikes and to avoid fire; they agreed.

We went again. THIS time, the spikes died. (Harry had been trying a /tar bonespike macro that hadn’t worked before; this time he switched manually. I don’t know if anyone else had the same problem but the change was obvious). People stacked back up after fires. It wasn’t a fast kill, but slowly Marrowgar’s hit points dropped until at last he was dead.

We were victorious! Loot got handed out and while the SAN folks were eager to continue, the puggers dropped and we couldn’t progress.

I checked combat logs after the fight and guess what? All the SAN folks, even the new ones, had killed Bonespikes like they were supposed to. That mage and shaman? Nope. The mage not at all, the shaman had a little damage against the spikes but not much. Yes they were high on overall dps but they hadn’t bothered doing what they needed to do. Sigh.

So anyway SAN raid group needs more people! We’ve got a really good spread of healers; what we need is another good tank and some solid dps. Ranged or melee. We’d like to do more. Daruma the shaman is about to ding 80 and be ready to raid with us; with just a few more folks we can start working in ICC. If a blogger guild raid sounds like fun, it is! So if you’ve got a spare character lying around, transfer it over to Argent Dawn US Alliance side… or level one up. Plenty of folks around to help you gear up and get ready.

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I transferred my prot/holy pally to Argent Dawn to play in SAN Sunday afternoon. I’ve recently gotten her Holy gear at least viable. It was a weird mishmash of ilvl 200 blues and 251 purples for a while but oh well. Anyway SAN went to Naxx and I decided to to raid heal. I’ve done a few heroics but this was my first raid.

I set Vuhdo up (or so I thought) to show Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield and set my mouse click bindings and we were ready to go. Or not; as we started clearing trash I realized that Vuhdo wasn’t showing me what I needed to know. I like having my raid frames set to show class colors and have the bars correspond to health. So as the person takes damage his health bar gets less full, very intuitive. Well it wasn’t doing that; the bars were just sitting there, a dull dirty color. I knew why things were screwy – Vuhdo recently released version 2.0 and I haven’t figured out all the tricks, and since I’d just transferred servers all my settings were off. It took two bosses to figure out what was going on since you can’t change Vuhdo settings while you’re in combat (argh). Anyway I need to find resources for the new version of Vuhdo and link them because some of the changes were not intuitive. (If anyone had the same problem I did, it turned out I needed to select the “Health bar/class color” option on the Panels > Bars page, in one of the dropdowns there.)

That angst over, I settled into healing. I Beaconed the lesser geared tank and spammed heals on the other tank (Reversion’s second druid Consolidate was one of the tanks and a guildy Warrior, Craghammer, the other), just like my paladin research told me to do.

For a while I just spammed Holy Light but I started running out of mana so I had to remember to go Judge Wisdom and take some swings at whoever we were fighting whenever I could. That helped a lot. Then I tried using Flash of Light, since the tanks weren’t taking that much damage, and that worked pretty well too. I kept forgetting about that instant cast heal spell thing. Somehow paladin healing feels like it should just be spamming heals. Instant casts were throwing me off.

It was a lot of fun running old content with the SAN folks. We chatted on Vent and had a good time (and this being a blogging guild, Vent chatter included discussion of Wow demographics, whether women played healers more, as well as just strategy)

I failed at Heigan dancing – I’ll justify myself and say I *thought* I was a step forward of where I was when I stopped to cast a heal. I’m not used to not being able to heal on the run. Then I missed the jump from the platform at Thaddius – twice. Oops. Good thing the raid overgeared the place!

And we wiped spectacularly on the Horsemen, once, as we tried figuring out a strategy. We’d been nine manning it up to then because one of our pugged folks went afk after the first boss and got kicked. After that wipe one of our other puggers disappeared without a word, so we grabbed two more random people and finished the Horsemen off. No problem. Not even an interesting fight.

One of the new folks wanted to tank, so Reversion went heals and Enyss, who had been healing, went boomkin. We went upstairs, killed a dragon, and then took down Kel’Thuzad. Boom! Achievement completed! Actually that was my first Naxx full clear in one session. I didn’t really get into raiding until ToC came out. Even massively overgearing the content, it was an accomplishment. Still, I found the first few fights while I was getting used to paladin healing most interesting than later on. There’s just no sense of danger in Naxx these days, not unless you take off gear and nobody is willing to do that. It’s fun seeing the old fights but – they’re dated, and that’s sort of sad.

Monday night we took Consolidate and Divergent to a TOC pug. The pug took a while to form and they had trouble deciding what they wanted me to do. I ended up healing, along with Consolidate and another paladin, this one far better geared than me, if snotty. This was a full pug, nobody else from SAN along, and on the worms literally half the raid dies, including Consolidate.

Well both tanks are up and so are the paladin healers so I check that I’ve got one tank beaconed and the other pally has the other tank and I start spamming Flash of Light on the rest. The one dps’er and the two tanks. Yeah. We down the worms without too much trouble and in comes Icehowl.

It turns out that as long as the healers don’t run out of mana, Icehowl is kind of easier with only five people because there’s less chance of someone getting trampled. It took us ten minutes to down him but nobody got trampled even once, nobody else died, and I didn’t even run low on mana. I’d used pretty much nothing but Flash of Light and the other paladin commented something about how he was doing most of the healing. I said nothing, but by the end of the run, yes, Other Pally had almost 50% of the heals (versus Consolidate and myself) but was also beating Consolidate on overhealing. Beating a druid at overhealing doesn’t say much. AND he was keeping people way too high on phase 3 Anub… but that didn’t matter. We steamrolled TOC, I picked up some upgrades for Divergent’s healing set, getting her to almost that psychologically important 5k gearscore. She’s definitely ICC viable in both specs now.

Anyway I love the versatility of the paladin. Paladin tanking is a lot of fun in 5 mans, although I find raid tanking boring. You get to set the pace, be the leader, in 5 mans, but in raids you just get hit in the face. I’d rather heal, where it feels like you’re helping out everyone else on the team to get their job done. Kind of like being a cheerleader. Only, you know, useful. And with better outfits.

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A New Project!

So last night we saw a group was forming to run Nax on Single Abstract Noun(Argent Dawn US). So my wife and I decided to take our spare tank and healer and server transfer them. So now we have a heal/tank and tank/heal pair on Argent Dawn –US in SAN with ICC viable gear for all those roles.

So we had the idea of a new project. We have been thinking about what we might want to do in Cata and even between now and Cata. We are getting fair results with PUGing ICC groups and getting into occasional guild alt runs but it feels like we need a smidge more… SOMETHING to get a push to downing Arthas. All we really need is a better pool of raiders to draw from then what we have been getting semi randomly.

 Basically our idea is to form a 10 man group inside SAN and to court enough 80s, either from internal leveling up or from getting MEMBERS (not strangers) to server transfer, and then to make those into a viable raid group.

We are not trying to ‘run’, ‘take over’ or in any way control the guild. This is a voluntary end game raid team pulling primarily from SAN members and open to any SAN. We will pug the rest of the slots as needed. We are going to be a subset of the guild, not setting any directions or agenda on the guild as a whole. If this project interferes at all in the atmosphere of ‘fun’ of the guild as a whole we will nix it and move on to some other project.

 We plan for it to be a viable group so while we are laid back and not picky we will be doing what we can to build the team up and advise people as needed to have viable dps/tanking/healing and to do their part.

We will not tolerate dead weight (in the long term) but will do everything in our power in a friendly constructive way to make anyone that wants to come into ‘non-deadweight’ including (within reason) gear runs and pointing people at class and fight resources. I think anyone can be built up into a viable raider. But raiding is not for everyone. This means no GS requirement and no experience requirement but come ready to learn and willing to work to gear up if you are short on gear or knowledge.

So come as you are and be ready to learn the fights, gear up, and do well.

 This is SAN so we are not going to bother with complicated rules unless a need for a stated policy pops up.

 We are targeting to raid 1-2 nights a week. That would get us into LK with only minimal raid lockout extensions. We might start by doing one ICC run and one ‘old raid’ run.

 Chances are 100% that there are SAN with far more raiding experience than myself of my wife. So we will be drawing on the knowledge and leadership of anyone willing to come and help. I am personally 10/12 in ICC 10 mans (I forget where on 25). We also have a lot of practice putting together PUGS of ICC and dragging them as far as we can.

 Because SAN is still short on geared 80s we will probably start with some more runs like the NAX run last night. Plus since our alts are also under geared we will have a strong early focus on gearing up.

 We are planning to start with 10 man but might run some 25 if there is interest. Also SAN seems to be heavy on tanking and healing so keep in mind you might be need a DPS off spec or alt (Analogue and I plan to have some DPS alts for the project).

 We are not concerned about perfect class balance or any other srsbzn. All we want is a desire to see new content. All we need is the willingness to work a little to get there.

 Currently we are targeting Friday night to get started by 8 server (EST). If there is interest in another time or day we will be open to it.

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