Wrath, a retrospective… the bits I missed

So, as various commentators have pointed out I missed a few things while writing my last piece on Wrath.

Raiding (or the little ones I forgot)

Obsidian Sanctum

A simple enough raid, kill the mini-bosses, nuke the big boss, control the adds and dodge the (moving) bad.  I like the simplicity of engaging the various hardmodes, which also feeds into making it simple to change direction and go for the easy kill after spending too long working on the hardmode.

Being a single boss raid also helps in that going for the easy mode kill doesn’t cause a lot of extra work for the following week requiring an extension of the lock.

Eye of Eternity

To be honest I think it’s horrible, much like it’s baby brother The Oculus, both were attempts to get the whole “vehicles in raiding” mechanic moving and if I’m feeling generous they were both classic first attempts.  Lots of ideas which the developers wanted to try out but little experience in how they would work in reality.

Both are definitely filler raids, there to give some flavour and a break from the larger progression tunnels full of bosses.  Having more like OS & RS in the expansion would be nice, less of the EoE style encounter please.

Ulduar 10 – Planning

So looking at the team, we have the following U10 capable toons, those I think are the most likely candidates are flagged blue, there are also some combinations which are impossible as there are less people than toons in the list (for example Korenwolf / Unferth / Wubbles are all on the same account)

Tanks

  • Korenwolf (Paladin)
  • Ariciel (Druid)
  • Malfeasant (DK)
  • Unferth (Druid)

Healing

  • Kaylad (Holy Paladin)
  • Baradan (Disc Priest)
  • Meridian (Shaman) / Siyara (Druid)
  • Cresside (Holy Priest)
  • Unferth (Druid)

DPS

  • Keone (Warlock)
  • Sangamon (Hunter)
  • Mardia (DK)
  • Mardek (DK)
  • Brethil (Warrior)
  • Yave (Warlock)
  • Siyara (Druid)
  • Cresside (sPriest) / Bieslook (Mage)
  • Wubbles (Warlock)

I’m reckoning

Tanks – 2
Healing – 3 (pulling one into off-spec dps where it seems good)
DPS – 5 (ideally splitting between ranged and melee)

If any of the team has particular desires for specific roles etc, you know where to find me.

The plan…

Yoggie, I have a message for you, the bucanners are coming and we’re going to kick your godly old arse back into the nether where it belongs.

At the moment we’re fielding around eight players (having the two newest guild members around is helping massively, though pretty much everything which drops is an upgrade for them at the moment [was it wrong to take them both into ICC10 with ave iLevel 120 gear?]), Ulduar is a pretty place, with the mix of gearing it’s possible to work through without too much pain.

After spending about 90 minutes being kicked in TotC (weekly) we pootled over to Ulduar and mashed through the first three bosses on the progression line (I’m going to keep razorscale & Ignis back as “we need something to kill after wiping” bosses).

Next week we aim for Crazy Cat Lady, Hodir and possibly a look at Mimi.

So, what can you do for the raid?

  • Enchant / gem / work out your rotation
  • Bring fish! 🙂  [Hell just providing uncooked is enough into the guild bank for someone else to cook up]
  • Bring flasks [or indeed herbs to make flasks, see above]
  • Some fights we can just gear our way through, others we’re going to wipe on, so ponder, contemplate and just think about killing that old god!
  • Youtube, wowwiki and so on, and I’m thinking particularly about the Mimiron fight, it’s a complex one.

So, warm up those DPS cannons, let’s kill us a raid instance.

Edit: Adding Onyxia onto the “when we need something different to die on” boss.

Wrath Progression… no more

The raiding guild I was in finally imploded yesterday afternoon, if we’re all honest it’s been building for about 6 weeks or so, pretty much since Arthas was safely dead and the bulk of the raiders got their 25-man Kingslayer.  While progression was maintained for a while on heroic modes it was clear that sign levels were dropping off, it took truely massive efforts on the part of the officers to get a second LK kill in for those were standby on the first one.
We’ve dropped a raiding day to help us through the lull, but even with that signs for the two remaining days were dropping off (we barely scraped enough for one raid last week).  This week, the first raid is dead in the water before we reach invite time, 18/25 signed, pathetic.  So the officers have officially called it and the guild is offiically closing for business on the 29th, it’s 5th birthday.
What killed the group

Split personality

Realistically the group never really worked out what it wanted to be, hardcore raiding, friendly to people with a life, there to have fun etc etc.  Based on our progression and after reading some thoughts from Kevlon I would have to place the group in the ‘hardcore’

Personalities & Expectations

There are some in the guild who don’t hide their expectations that it was a hardcore progression guild which shouldn’t have had time for new raiders, only wanting experienced players who’ve raided a lot.  All those who were in the guild will be able to point at one or more names easily.  Their true colours have been showing through in the post-announcement chat on the channel, “I hope she doesn’t have to experience a true raiding guild” “we coddle too much” and so on.These are people who I don’t think really grasp where the guild was in global progression or indeed within the server, decently progressed, certainly more cleared than a goodly proportion of the global raiding community but at the position in the food chain where we’re seen as a friendly entry point or a stepping stone to the top guilds on the realm.

The comments from one of the officers about not letting teenagers into a raiding guild are particularly laughable knowing one of the teens and that he was a teen himself when accepted and I would still consider him to be pretty much a kid and in need of some hard life lessons to knock the arrogance off.

Too long in ICC

It’s been a hell of a time, ICC opened in December 2009, by the time Cataclysm goes live on the servers it will have been open for 11-12 months, a year near as dammit.  The first push through on normal keeps people interested but there are problems at the choke points where the wiping raid after raid on a single boss which can’t be skipped is just painful.Coming back to the heroic modes on some is just a joke (lolship particularly) and others we have a solid challenge to beat, but fundamentally we’re still doing the same damm fight as before with a few extra bells and more health on the boss.

Boredom / end of Wrath

This is one of the core parts of the failure, I suspect that over time knowing who was leading the chairteam it would have morphed more into a hardcore raiding guild and been more demanding on the raiders it was looking for.  However the simple fact that we have seen the content for nine months with no new solid lumps of content in sight before Cataclysm members simply weren’t signing.  The depressing thing is that they didn’t have the manners or simple thought to let the team know they wanted to step back, go do other stuff and so on, I suspect that it was a case of “off playing something else, I should have a slot in the raid when I want to come back” without thinking that all social enterprises like raiding require some extra push from everyone to keep it going through the barren periods.

Could it have survived?

I’m in two minds about this, the group could have gone on a raiding hiatus with ad-hoc raids being organised for those needing their fix, however the group would have lost some core raiders doing this as they moved on to pastures new looking for something to bridge the gap into Cata (it was happening already).  So the structure would have been there but it would have taken work in the initial phase of Cata to bring the roster back up to scratch.

Something may yet arise from the ashes, we’ll see.

Where next

Probably a break from progression raiding until Cataclysm with some pugging / Team Pirate runs.

Tanking Halion

Ruby Sanctum, it’s a filler raid, it exists to give a tiny piece of lore for the upcoming expansion and to stop players unsubscribing by giving us a whole new internet dragon to kill.  However in some respects it’s better than the content which has gone before.

The trash requires some thought, particularly from the tanks in how they position and manage the knockbacks, there’s nothing like picking up an extra pack or two due to a badly handled knockback to ruin your day, and repair bill.  Of the three minibosses, two are in the “loot pinata” category.  However one again requires thought, co-ordination and a bit of planning.

However, they’re all there as a starter course for the main event, Halion himself.  Big, ugly and let’s be honest, pink.

Normal dragon rules apply, tail does a swipe, the head has some serious bad breath and he cleaves.  Healers and DPS, you do know where you’re meant to stand and it’s not at either end.

Much like a baby bad things come from the head and tail.

Phase 1

Nuke, nuke, run away when the debuff lands on your head (hope your cleansers are up to speed) and drop the puddle of bad away from the raid, ideally towards the edge.  The tank needs to move the boss when the meteor strikes leave fire in the wrong place.  Easy.  (Note: Tank here is ‘Fire Tank’ or FT)

Phase 2

There’s a couple of things to watch, the Twilight tank (TT) has to go through the portal first and pick up the boss and turn him a bit so the rest of the raid isn’t nuked as they come through.  Popping a cooldown helps the healers a lot here.  FT and possibly a healer will remain in the Fire realm as this makes the P2 -> P3 transition easier.

Some description of the twilight realm is in order, as with the fire realm we have the circular arena bounded by the walls of fire, the portal spawn points for P3 are at 11 & 5 o’clock as seen from the instance portal.  The boss will remain in the center and around the edge of the arena some shadow orbs circle the raid and boss.  (Heroic mode there are four equally spaced).

The cutter is the key to this phase and realm, evey 30 seconds for 10 seconds a beam of shadow energy fires between the two orbs, don’t be in it (14-16k damage on 25-man normal every second you’re in it).

TT will initially get his position stablised and watch for the orbs around the circle, we’ve been going for a positioning where the cutter spawns to the right of the tank with the raid to his left (the dragon’s right).  This keeps the raid clear of his tail which can ruin everyone’s day.  The TT will start moving the boss, spinning him in position clockwise, keeping the far orb and the tail as the reference point.  It’s worth using the targeting circle as a guide, but do not be on top of it as this means there is very little room for error on the cutter, so back off a bit.

Keep the boss turning, announce clearly over vent when you’re going to start moving him and keep going, focusing on positioning and as much threat as is possible while being constantly on the move.  DPS will have to watch their threat and back off, with the movement there is a limit to how much threat the tank can throw out.

Phase 3

The raid splits and dps has to be balanced between the two realms, for both tanks this is pretty much a repeat of what they’ve been doing before, slightly easier for the TT as there are less in the raid in the twilight realm giving everyone more space to move.

That’s it.  Oh and if you’re anything like me have the cold pack for your shoulders ready.

Stupid things to do in a Raid

Sapphiron : Mages, please do not iceblock when the dragon goes up, as confusion can occur when everyone goes to hide behind iceblocks, and then die because you decided to add an extra one into the mix.  Use your legs like everyone else.

Sartharion : Ubergeared warrior dps, if you’re going to wallop the boss so hard during a 3D zerg attempt please be standing on the other side of the boss to everyone else, so when the big ugly dragon turns to you and burps we don’t end up with the entire raid being cooked.

Raiding update

The summer is getting to the guild quite significantly, there’s a general air of “Meh”, we have lack of numbers even for the Wednesday raid (Team Tank filled the dps gaps again), and one of the core dps has announced an intention to leave the game / greatly reduce this play time (external to wow reasons).

This week’s raiding has been juggled so we get to see Arthas again given that we’ve only killed him twice as a group, I’ve not been in on either which combined with keeping the 10-man lock for Team Pirate means no achivement OCD satisfaction for me or title.  Hopefully this gets resolved tonight and we go for another dragon kill down at the Sanctum, possible some heroic training.

So, with Cataclysm coming where does this leave things?

It’s clear from the realm itself that things are very very quiet.

EO is having problems getting enough players online, even for the reduced summer schedule (Saturday is on hiatus for the moment), typically from the dps team which tends to mean we have a player or two from team tank filling in the gaps (just as well I didn’t keep the healing off spec).

Very few pugs for the weekly raid, whereas a couple of months ago /trade was spammed with them all week, the heroic queues for healers are up (4 minutes or so), though slightly perversely the queue times for dps are actually down, but I guess that’s also a sign of the number of players who are just not in the system at the moment.  I’m seeing a lot of activity down in the levelling zones, so a stack of players are off getting an alt or two levelled up and shedloads more RP (I play on an RP PvE realm).

What’s coming which will bring the players back?

  • Dragon lead destruction and the lead up event (that’s a no brainer)
  • Reclaiming Gnomer and the Troll homeland (I’ll be playing on my horde alt for that as well)
  • Cataclysm itself
  • Nothing else I can think of

So enjoy the quiet while it lasts.