Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
What I'm talking about is the reader I use to keep track of every blog I read. There's always this moment of hesitiation every time I prepare to unsubscribe from a blog I've found. Many bloggers go dark for a while and then come back, and I'm always worried that maybe they will return and I'll miss it. This is especially true if it's a blogger that I enjoyed reading because of thier style over thier substance. I don't really know why I worry about these things. My reader is now full of blogs that have either closed the doors, stopped blogging about WoW, or in some cases, have gone on to full WoW bashing. I don't really care what you want to write about, but unless you're just a good writer in general, I probably don't want to hang around.
The other group that I regularly unsubscribe from is bloggers that only give me a teaser in the reader. I don't want to be forced to visit your site just to check out your post for the day. So today I went through and ripped off the bandage. A whole list of blogs I unsubscribed to. It's alright. My organized side thanks me for getting rid of blogs that I just don't read and only hit "mark all as read" just in case there's something interesting. And it's now a lot easier to scroll through to the blogs I do want to read.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Some of the differencesThe first difference between normal and heroic is the add (shocker - heroic mode = adds!) that shows up and jumps on your raiders (think snowbalds from ToC). They can be interrupted, have low HP, and need to be nuked quickly. You can't target them until they land on someone, but they need to be focused quickly. Besides doing a little damage, they add 10 sound per hit, so someone can get in trouble very quickly. The second difference is Nef will occasionally mess with your raid by nuking a gong before you can click it. It's good to have someone as a backup gong hitter, because this can really bite you in the butt. Just make sure you don't hit two gongs if you don't need to. Finally, the damage is just crazy high. Fire moves faster and lasts longer on the ground, there's more sound disks (they always launch at someone, never towards the wall), and the disks in Phase 2 explode faster.
It's pucker timeThis fight has a lot of spike healing, but it didn't have the same pressure feel as Magmaw. There are some lulls during the fight where you can nab mana via Divine Plea, and I personally like to stand with the melee so I can heal them with LoD and HR. I also snag a few melee swings to get just a little more mana if I can. The big difference is that any moment that may lead to "must heal now!" generally means your target is already dead. Of course I say that now, but my WoL and HPS says I was really cooking. Maloriak is next on the 2 heal list. It's going to be a week before we get ay attempts on him though, due to us missing a raider this week. Working on new H-mode bosses with a PUG isn't my idea of a good time.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I have to say that this is really the first fight where I felt like the healing was the way it was supposed to be in Cata. It felt like healing heroics in greens, being way undergeared, and just struggling - except, not.
The difference was, everything was working like it was supposed to. Cooldowns were used, mana was conserved and regened properly, and the raid flexed extremely well. One comment was made by our MT though that really made Monger and I /headshake. He asked if we shouldn't three heal it because everyone's HP was fluctuating so low - generally around 50-75%. Monger summed it up perfectly.
Welcome to Cataclsym healing.
That is exactly what it was supposed to be like. None of the hits that killed anyone on previous attemts would have been avoided if we'd run 3 healers or 5. You take a 150k shot, and odds are, you're smoked. Also, unless you're the tank, what the hell are you doing taking that shot? All that damage should either be avoided or mitigated. You don't need to be at 100% HP all the time.
How we did it
Our healing team is typically Monger and myself - Priest and Paladin. I suppose this is why I laugh at those who say they need a healer channel, especially in 10m (25 I can kind of see it). If I need to make a change with Monger it's just a /w away. If we're three healing, I have vent. It doesn't hurt that this isn't our first time healing together either.
For healing, I focused on the MT, while Monger healed the raid. If you look at our healing done by actor, you can see that about 50% of my healing was on Vonkaiser, and Monger was very evenly spread over the raid. Almost as if our classes were designed to work that way!
We used a Pally tank on Magmaw, with a DK picking up the skele adds. Parasites were kited by the hunter and frost mage, and nuked by everyone. Skeles were burned down as needed, and we timed an impale for the phase change and Bloodlust.
Bring me more
This is what I've really been looking forward to in Cata fights. This was one of the first fights I've finished near empty, and really had to dig out all the tricks on. I'm hoping for more of the same on Atramedes and Maloriak.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Right now my current passion is arguing with Monger about what we can 2 heal and what we can't. Right now we're 2 healing H-Magmaw, 3 healing H-Chim, and 4 healing H-Halfus. I want to knock Chim down to 2...
Back to the BoEs
Fortunately, or not depending on your PoV, I'm not the only person in my guild who hates farming. We all do. Sure, some of us do it from time to time for various reasons, but none of us get excited about it. Personally, I think my hatred stems from back in Vanilla when I was working on my Thunderfury. I've never been a big AH player, I had no DPS gear, and I was a tank through and through. Heck, I didn't even have any real high level alts. So I ground out the gold I needed slowly but surely. Man that sucked.
While gold is exponentially easier to come by today, I still don't want to grind for it. Fortunately, there are those with really deep pockets, that ensure that we don't have to.
It started in Ulduar
Back when our 10m first got going in Ulduar, we recognized that we were extremely lazy as a group when it came to farming, and that there were plenty of folks out there dying to spend their hard earned gold on the epics and recipies we collected. Enchants were in high demand, patterns for epics, orbs, etc. We recognized early on that selling say, a tailoring enchant for 10k and then spending 1k to have it crafted for the single person that needed it, was way more efficient and profitable.
ICC threw a bit of a wrench into those plans, but there were still BoEs to sell, and it kept us from having to really work. GDKP runs at the end really loaded our pockets, but that doesn't have anything to do with BoEs.
What we pay for
Right now our guild funds every aspect of our raiding. Flasks, food, gems, enchants, repairs - you name it, we pay for it. BoEs are sold in guild (after one 'oops' at the start - sorry Thraxx) for 5k. If nobody wants to pay the 5k and use the item, we sell it on the AH. Once the gbank hits 60 or 90k, we knock it back down to 30k and split the rest. I think we've had 2 or 3 splits already since the launch of Cata. You don't get any interest on the money, so there's no use in having it sit there.
This type of thing really does wonders for all of us. It allows about 1/3 of the guild to raid on a second server with some older raid partners that aren't at the same level we are. Some of us take the time to level alts or just play less, and a couple of the guys are playing Rifts on the side. The biggest thing for me is there's no pressure to do anything but raid well. I'm not scrambling to get flask materials, fishing or herbing for my buff food, etc.
How far will the money stretch?
We've already seen a decline in prices for some of the items we get, heck the healing belt is probably better served as a Maelstrom crystal. But even if you figure each raider is spending 200g a night in repairs (sure, maybe more), and 100g a night in buff food/flasks/pots (heck say 300g), that's 5k a night we're spending. I don't think it's near that much, but say it is. One good BoE drop will net 20-25k, and a bad one will get 5k. While we do have dry runs (like last night in BoT), we generally get 2 or 3 BoEs a week. That's a lot of funds we're pulling in.
Who knows. By the time Firelands rolls around we may be dipping into our own pockets again. It's certainly possible. Firelands will bring a whole new round of BoEs and other profitable goods though, and I'm sure that we'll start to see some decent GDKP runs cropping up in the future.
It sure beats farming.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As a Paladin we have three distinct builds that we can play. Holy, Prot, and Ret. While I leveled with a Holy and a Prot set, now that I'm down and dirty with raiding, I run with two different Holy builds - much like our Prot pally has two different tank specs, and I think our Retadin even picked up a build without Eye for an Eye just for tanking Chimaeron.
Who owns your second spec?
With a second spec runing you a measly 10g now, the question comes up as to who controls your second spec? Is it reasonable for your guild to expect that you maintain two different builds for handling different encounters? Should hybrids be expected to maintain an offset just because they can? Those are questions each guild and player will have to answer for themselves.
The availability of large and diverse builds kind of went away with the new talent system. Requiring 31 points in your primary tree really limits your flexibility, but I don't think this is a bad thing. The talents are already confusing if you don't know what you're looking for, and doubly so if you haven't done a lot of research. Do you put points in Blessed Life? Is 2/2 Eternal Glory needed?
For everyday healing, I run with a 31/5/5 build. 1/2 in Last Word, and 1/2 in Enlightened Judgements. Last Word is a talent that is just filler for most situations. A crit is nice, but odds are good that if your target is sub 35%, you're going to be rocking a lot of other stuff in their direction. Enlightened Judgements is unneccasry after 1 point - you'll have more than enough hit if you aren't gimping your Spirit. If you are gimping your Spirit, well that's another post.
For H-Chimaeron I run this build. This is more like a Shockadin setup, but without Blessed Life and Eternal Glory. In my logs I've found that over an average Chimaeron fight I'll get about 12 HP from BL and EG each. While that's 24 free HP, I need the DPS output in P3, and AM buys a few extra seconds for everyone else. This also lets me pump out some DPS on H-Halfus.
Those are my two 'standard' builds, but I'd certainly play with more. Builds that had cleanse and don't, some with Blessed Life, others with PoJ. I'd go crazy!
I could fill up every available spec with some variant of a Holy build I'm sure. If we had unlimited specs, well then sure, I'd suddenly have 15 different combinations of PvE/PvP Ret/Holy/Prot builds, probably just because I could. There's certainly nothing wrong with just using a basic cookie cutter build either. I haven't found a fight yet that I 'had' to spec out of that for, it's just convenient.
Blizzard/Activision is a profit making company. Their job, through the making and sellign of video games, is to generate revenue. Period. Asking them to use some of their profits to help out Japan is like asking GE to donate a portion of each lightbulb sale. Yeah, it's great, and I think it would generate a lot of relief, but that isn't what they do.
Companies like this operate with huge budgets, and amazing expences. Blizzard announced in a blue post that they were matching company donations - an amazing feat. They are certainly under no obligation (and as a stockholder I want them to make the right choices) to do so, and this comes right off their bottom line. I'm guessing there may be some kind of tax incentive to do so, but they don't OWE anyone.
I think what they did with the Panderan is great, and I"m sure that the profits for every pet and mount in the Blizzard store far outpace the development costs. I'm also certain that this is true for pretty much every other profitable company out there. If you aren't making more than you're spending, you'll be outta business pretty fast.
So do I think it'd be great to see a pet or mount split the proceeds with the Red Cross? You bet. Unfortunately there are millions of people in need, not just the ones we see on television. Would the world be a better place if all of these organizations had the money they needed? Possibly. But that's starting to drift a little to close to the wrong kind of government for me (where everyone has the same things). There's a reason why Animal Farm didn't work.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Calling a wipe
This is one of the more challenging calls to make as a raid leader. In a 10m raid losing a single healer generally means 50% of our heal team is gone, or the third healer that we've convinced ourselves we need is dead. If a tank dies, the odds of someone picking up his boss/adds is slim to none. If a DPS dies, we lost 15-20% of our DPS. That's pretty significant. We also only have one BRez until 4.1, and then it will be one of our tanks doing the rezzing - right into melee range (nom nom cleave).
While there are obviously going to be a lot of variables, here's a few basic guidelines.
Two or more people dead - in a 10m guild this is crippling in most cases. Some exceptions would be the final phase of a fight, particularly if it's a burn phase (i.e. sub 30%).
Death in the first 10% - generally the fight is better off being wiped if this happens. While we've made some really good attempts where we stray from this, they are rare.
Pre-phase 3 on H-Chim - We've tried all kinds of combos with this, and 99% of the time doing a rez before P3 just results in a whipe. Especially if it's one of the tanks (and it generally is).
How to respond to a wipe call
Now while I've been guilty myself of occasionally dragging out a fight for a few moments, here's a few basic guidelines to keep your raid leader from using your name as a test vehicle for some really colorful metaphors.
- Stop healing - Not after the next one, not after you blow a CD to see if you can get a massive heal - immediately. Stop doing anything that will keep you alive.
- Stand in the fire - This is one of the rare times you want to stand in the fire/Giant Big immediately. The faster you die, the faster another pull can occur.
- Taunt the boss - Odds are they'll one shot you.
- Turn your back - I remember putting my head in my desk last week when our DK tank announced that he lived for 45 seconds after a wipe was called and no heals on H-Chim. Where's that survival during a fued double strike? Hmmm?
- Don't run - this just drags it out, and your odds of escaping are almost zero. Hell, I get irritated at our hunter who FDs in Nef's pit. A-hole. Of course I also mock him when he misses the elevator. Dumb goblin.
- Die, get back, rebuff - look at the logs while everyone is getting food buffed or when you're flying back to the instance. Unless it's your assigned job, don't lie there waiting on a rez. Lazy.
How to call a BRez
This is something we really have to work on, as a BRez call needs to happen quickly, and without hesitation. Five people asking "BRez?" to the raid leader is probably going to get someone else killed. It's helpful to have a set of guidelines up before the pull. Some examples would be, first DPS in P3 of H-Chim, or don't rez pre 50%.
The last thing you want is questions around your BRez, or worse, someone walking away from their keyboard when a BRez goes out. Stay focused, and listen to the raid leader. Remember, it's better for them to be wrong than for you to be wrong.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Not what we wanted
Monger and I were really torn on the Halfus strategy. First and foremost, we want the boss down. There's no bonus loot for making the fight extra difficult, or doing it your own way. There's just normal mode and heroic. One thing that we shoot for though, is to not follow a set 'strategy'. We've noticed time and time again that the strategy that works for one guild may not be the best method for us. We've defeated a lot of bosses using non-traditional methods (single tanking, low healers, etc).
Our goal for Halfus was to do a 2 healer, 2 tank, 6 DPS strat. The theory here was that with the extra DPS we would be out of the danger zone faster, meaning less healing needed in the long haul. We didn't get to spend a lot of attempts trying this (due to scheduling), and wound up using the safer (and more boring) 4 healer method instead. While I will admit that there were still plenty of pucker moments, the 4 healer strategy is certainly more stable. On the downside, we did hit the enrage timer once - but we're pretty sure that's because we lost a DPS on the first pulse in P2. Having 2 Lightwells was pretty awesome though, since you can click on them even during the knockdowns.
I will probably go with a modified Shockadin spec, similar to what I am using for Chimaeron, for our next Halfus kill. This will let me dish out some DPS without punching holes in my mana bar, once we get to P2. This was bringing back memories of some old raids where you'd call for every DoT you could get - even Holy SW:P.
Now we move on to Atramedes and Maloriak. We spent a good bit of time on Cho'gall, and it doesn't seem that bad. I suspect we'll probably get H-Cho'gall before we get the Double Dragons. We'll see.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Now grants 540 Spirit for 6 sec after casting Holy Shock.
Now that's a buff that I'm sure even Chase could get behind. If you manage to cast HS on every CD (which you should be anyway), that is a flat 540 buff to your spirit for the entire fight. Doing some quick napkin math, this works out to about 333.33 (repeating of course) mana returned per cast.
So let's see here...1873 mana per cast of Holy Shock, with 333 returned, means you're getting about 20% of the mana back on your cast. Assuming you're casting it on CD, you'll get 5 of these casts off every 30 seconds, giving you about 1665 mana back.
Stop the presses!
Oh my goodness, it looks like the mana returned from this is actually LESS than the mana returned before. The biggest difference (and I will admit, it is big enough to be the deal breaker here) is that we WANT to be casting HS every CD. Holy Radience isn't something we necessarially want to be casting unless we need to. So overall, we might see a slightly higher mana return from this change than we did with having our buff be attached to HR. I know for example that I cast a lot more HS than I do HR, so we'll see.
In the end though, it's going to be pretty much of a wash. It'll be enough of a change to help tide you over until you start picking up T12 (I assume we'll see T12 with this content patch), and I'll definately pick up a set of Cho'gall's shoulders now, just so I have one more piece to mess with.
Most guild application are fairly straight forward affairs, though some are certainly more developed than others. Like a job application, this is a guild's opportunity to get to know you before they take the time to actually speak with you. Because of this, it's generally your first (and often only) chance to tell them what they want to hear about you.
Typical questions are about your spec, role, playtimes (or playstyle), former raid experience, former guilds (and why you left) etc. They want to make sure they aren't getting a habitual guild hopper, or someone who just opened WoW for the first time ever. These questions are generally fair and easy enough to answer (if you put 30 sec worth of effort into it), but then we come to the big one.
The big lie
The one question that sets you up for failure faster than anything else, at least if you're being expected to tell the truth on everything.
Are you willing to sit out for another raid member?
Uh - what is no? Look, you're recruiting for my role here. Your board specifically says you have a high need for a Holy Paladin, hence my application. So why would I sit out for someone else? Maybe if it's an extreme case where we really need that one extra DPS, but then I want to know why you're not sitting that guy who you have 2 or 3 of his class in.
In all honesty though, I play to raid. I also think it's pretty poor form to expect someone to be on and available, but not actually raid. Requireing you to be on vent or (worse) sitting outside the instance logged in - on the CHANCE you'll be called in. Bugger that. I can make an exception if you're in a guild that is racing for world (maybe, and I mean MAYBE server) firsts. In guilds like Paragon and Vodka you do whatever it takes for those kills. Then you resume normal play again, and ratchet down.
Unfortunately, this attitude doesn't seem to be the popular one, because larger guilds need a bench to operate. You want your bench players to have some idea of the fights, and it doesn't hurt them to get gear. My only response to that is...
I don't care - I want a white one
Honestly, I could care less about Jimmy the 3rd Pally getting in to heal or what not. I don't play the game for Jimmy, I play for me. If I make the scheduling requirements to raid, I expect to be in there - every single raid.
There's probably at least one
I'm sure that of my few readers (and the thousands of raiders) at least one or two are honestly ok with sitting out for the good of the raid. Personally, I want to throw up and tell the applicant to grow a pair every time I read something like "I'm completely ok with sitting, because it's for the good of the raid that everyone gets a chance to experience the content and get some gear". /vomit